Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Syria Fact Sheet: Victory to the Revolution!

Rebel fighters hold their weapons as they take their positions near the town of Kafr Nabuda in Hama province, Syria, Oct. 11, 2015. The Syrian army, backed by allied militias, has made advances in western Syria after heavy Russian airstrikes. (photo by REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah)

1)       U.S. sheds crocodile tears over Aleppo while their own coalition is waging attacks on people across the region; the tears are for the deal they had with Russia. The U.S. never had a problem with Assad while they were employing his torture chambers against captured Afghanis and Iraqis during the Iraq war or while he kept Palestine in check.   Indeed the U.S. refusal to arm the opposition with heavy artillery, anti-tank, anti-aircraft MANPADS and SAMS has long indicated the two-faced non-commitment to any revolutionary upsurge of the masses for democracy.  The U.S. has always been hedging its bets in search of the new pawn or in deference to Assad. The Obama “red line” declaration after Assad’s Sarin gas attack on Ghouta proved this. That pro-Assad figures in the west have had so much fun disputing the truth of the attack is due to the Obama administration’s refusal to energize their press control, exactly for doublethink reasons when they found no support in Congress for enforcing any red line.
2)       The Arab national revolution emerged again in 2011 with the democratic and economic demands of the masses across the Middle East and North Africa.  The people's demands could not be met under regimes that sustained imperialist control and perpetual semi-colonial subjugation.  Thus the masses came in collision with imperialism.  Both the dominant western imperialism and the emergent Russia/China bloc contesting for geopolitical advantage and control of semi-colonial resources and markets.
3)       The counterrevolution emerged from multiple quarters against the masses in the region from Egypt to Libya to Syria. The majority of local counterrevolutionary forces are proxies for imperialists, East or West. Thus we see Hezbollah backing Assad, while additional counterrevolutionaries are the proxies for regional players and are external expressions of intra-royalty factions in Saudi-Arabia and/or counters to Iranian intervention, and a virtual invasion by Iran with Russian technical and logistical support. To survive the masses have had to find arms where they can. This disturbs sectarians who equate the stencils on the arms crates with imperialist control over the end users. Some of these sectarians say there is no Syrian working class.
4)       The bourgeois army officers and Syrian capitalist renegades around the FSA/SNC who abandoned Assad and ran off to Geneva to make alliance with imperialism claim leadership of the opposition and make alliance with western imperialism in the hope of gaining control in a post Assad regime subordinate to the U.S./EU and free from the Russian bloc. They do not speak for the revolution, nor for the Local Coordinating Committees (LCC).
5)       Russia is not anti-imperialist; Russia is looking at Syria as a fertile territory for investment of its surplus capital.
6)       The bombing of civilian populations by Assad and Russia with no real opposition from the west is aimed not at ISIS or Al Qaeda but at the civilians who are organizing their own self-defense, including their own self administration.
7)       The Local Coordinating Committees (LCC) established across Syria are the form that self-organization takes, they are the natural organs of self-defense and survival created by a civilian population under siege.  Inside the LCC’s both the democratic aspirations of the masses and the need for civil administration and defense from the neo-liberal barrel bombs of Assad unite a civilian opposition against all anti-democratic forces. Thus they are an embryo of workers councils for self-administration of the society by the working population and the lower middle class and dispossessed farmers driven to the cities by climate change.
8)       U.S., Russia and China suffer overproduction of Capital and are desperate to find places to put it to use where they can assume profit in actual investment and not speculation. Syria has the misfortune of geographic location to be right where profitable pipelines can be built.  For Russia, Syria is a host that offers naval and airbases on the Mediterranean, a geopolitical objective of the first order as a counter to the U.S. bases that ring this body from Morocco to Turkey. This is also a proxy war over the allegiance of important business partners for both imperialist blocs, namely the business of Turkey and Iran.  For Turkish and Iranian business, the Russian bloc, just like the U.S. bloc would sacrifice the national liberation of the Kurdish people just as readily as sending their bombers or facilitating invasions of Syria.
9)       But make no mistake, none of these profit-making objectives can be achieved by either bloc so long as the revolution is contesting political power with the regime; both Russia and the U.S. endeavor to crush the Revolution; Russia seeks to obliterate it and fortify the personal regime of Bashar Assad; the U.S. seeks to combine elimination of the revolutionaries with co-optation of forces it can make amenable to the survival of an Assad regime minus Assad.
10)    The revolution increasingly comes to understand that national liberation from the combination of the Assad dictatorship and the invaders allied to Assad requires breaking with imperialism completely. This places socialism on the order of the day as the only way out and that the national democratic revolution has no hope of realization in a bourgeois parliament but must be carried through to victory by the armed masses and their own workers-democratic organizations. Stalinophiles count as nothing the proliferation of hundreds of Local Coordinating Committees or their five years of experience administering and exercising growing powers in areas liberated from Assad.  
11)    Defense of Rojava against ISIS was at first heroic and led by the Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) with armed women’s detachments taking the fight against brutal counterrevolutionary theocracy. But as has happened numerous times in the post-WWII era, Kurdish national liberation has collapsed into an unholy alliance with U.S. imperialism. That this time, the betrayal was managed by the Maoist PKK (Kurdish Workers Party), the same group that lately abandoned the armed struggle within Turkey, shows how the stagist theory of Stalinism, in practice, abandons the masses when a revolutionary victory is within their reach. The U.S. forced the YPG to abandon the fight against Assad, just as it co-opted FSA forces on the southern front
12)    Co-opted forces allied to one or the other bloc can only deliver a carved up Syria corresponding to contemporary spheres of economic interests. Assad howls that this is what Washington wants, but has nothing to say about the forced redistribution of populations-- actual ethnic cleansing -- that is the object of the Russian air campaign against Aleppo and the invasion by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.
13)    Since the end of WWII the semi-colonial states have been driven by the need of their peoples to liberate their economies from the parasitism of imperialism.  The Russia/China bloc is not leading an anti-imperialist bloc that can win national independence for semi colonies from imperialism.    Russia and China are not leading an anti-imperialist united front a la the World Social Forum’s dream of a “21st century Socialism,” rather they are trying to wrest countries from U.S./EU imperialist control across the global south and claim the semi-colonial prizes for their own profit.  Did their BRICS bank bail out their preferred popular front in Brazil and head off the U.S.-inspired impeachment? No!
14)    Today internationalist workers must defend the Syrian Revolution as it is the front line in the struggle of the international proletariat and oppressed masses against the designs of imperialism, the system that each of the two blocs employs in a quest for control of all the world’s trade and labor. This is what is at stake in besieged Aleppo. Take the side of the masses against every one of their would-be masters! Victory to the Syrian Revolution!
Communist Workers Group – USA (CWG-US):
Website: www.cwgusa.org/

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Monday, October 10, 2016

The World is Upside Down, Capitalism is Not Working!

Image result for The capitalist world is upside down

The common phrase “The World is Upside Down” reflects the widespread concern that things are not right in the world. I will argue that it is not the world that is upside down but capitalism, and that this has always been so. The catchphrase “Capitalism is not working” is closer to the truth, but likewise when has that not been true? What we face today is the decline and fall of an upside down society making way for a new society which is right way up.

Neocon market rules

Neocons (my term for all neoliberals, neocons and neo-classicals) assume that capitalism is the best society yet and anything wrong with it results from interference by monopoly interests taking control of the state. Capitalist society is seen as made up of individual citizens buying and selling commodities. The role of the state is to defend the private interests of such individuals from those who would used the state to disposses them. Spending on the police and military are a justified ‘overhead cost’ of running capitalism. This ideology of a class neutral state was always an attempt to hide the real role of the capitalist state in making capitalism work.

In fact since NZ was colonised by white settlers, the state always played the leading role in creating the market and then regulating it to manage the economic use of land, labour and capital. NZ history abounds with examples of the use of the state power to dispossess Maori, subsidize farmers, regulate unions and monopolise producer boards and so on…

This history disproves the ideology that the market rules without state intervention. There would be no market without the state. The neocons suffer from hubris and bad faith and when it become obvious that they use the state to advance their private interests. They bait and switch like crazy to deflect attention away from the key role of the state back to the dogma of market rules. For them the World is only Upside Down when the state does not work to make capitalism profitable by filling their pockets.

Liberals and Labourites

Liberals have always been in love with the big state because they think that the market can only work if regulated by the state. The left in government can use the power of the legislature and bureaucracy to work in the interests of social harmony, equality and welfare. Witness the First Labour Government. However, this is a faustian pact because in the process workers are turned into slaves of the state which regulates them as drones to supply the profits of the bosses e.g. the labour unions.

When they realise their dreams of social equality have fallen into the great abyss between the rich and poor, their refrain is; oh dear, The World is Upside Down, Capitalism is Not Working. For liberals to put the world right side up and make capitalism work they have to try harder. This means turning into neo-liberals and using monopoly state power to deregulate society. Workers become more productive (that is exploited) making more profits – witness the Fourth Labour Government. Scratch a liberal and you find a neocon.

In fact as the global capitalist crisis worsens and threatens to bring with it climate collapse, liberals are in a state of panic clutching as all sorts of panaceas to make capitalism work and stand the world rightside up. The problem is that it is they, the liberals, who are Upside Down. Liberals try to make society free of conflict. They get upset when they realise they can’t make capitalism work without collaborating with neocons. Labour’s great search for the middle class is running away from its working class base and the reality of class society. But the futile search for a classless state to manage a kinder, gentler society cannot overcome their cognitive dissonance.

Radicals aroused

Radicals reject both the neocon market rule mantra and the liberal delusion that social harmony and equality can by created by state reforms. The more market dementia of neocons and the cognitive dissonance of liberals cannot be solved unless the deeper cause is challenged – class struggle. Once the power of the classes are equalised then wealth can be equalised and capitalism is turned right side up and begins to work.

But what sort of classes? For radicals the problem is the unequal distribution of wealth made possible by capitalist control of the state. The bosses screw the workers by cutting their wages to increase profits. To correct this the bosses’ control of the state has to be overthrown so that workers can organise society by regulating equal exchange. For some (socialists) this means workers must take power to control the state, for others (anarchists) once state power is destroyed, there is no need for a state.

However, anti-capitalism in all of its forms fails to get to the root of capitalist exploitation and oppression. Classes formed by unqual exchange cannot be eliminated by workers replacing capitalists with workers running the state or substituting workers control over exchange. This is because capitalist exploitation does not result from unequal exchange (except as a bonus) but by the expropriation of value at the point of production. Without the expropriation of the means of production owned by the capitalist class, no amount of workers power in the state can overturn the exploitative social relations of capitalism.

Marx to the rescue

Marx’s critique of capitalism proves that neocon, liberal and radical ideas are all expressions of the ideas of the ruling class, that is bourgeois ideology. The neocons celebrate this, the liberals are ambivalent and impotent, the radicals are fooled by capitalism’s classes appearing as based on market relations. The key to understanding this is that bourgeois ideology is not invented by intellectuals but produced along with commodities as the fetishism of commodities.

Capitalism appears right side up because the unequal social relations where labour power is exploited are inverted to appear as equal exchange relations. Marx explains this inversion of reality as ‘commodity fetishism’. Instead of workers’ labour power being seen as the producer of value, value appears to be inherent in the product – commodities. Hence the struggle over the distribution of value becomes represented as one over the exchange of value in the market between workers, capitalists and landlords.

It follows that capitalism cannot be made to work by eliminating state interference in the market (neocons) reforming it (liberal) or taking it over (radicals). Capitalism as a society is created upside down to allow one class to profit from the exploitation of nature. It only works because it is upside down. So when capitalism works for neo-cons, liberals and radicals, it is still upside down. It can only be made right side up by a critique which goes to the roots of capitalist society and which drives a revolutionary transformation of capitalism into socialism.

How Marx arrived at his critique of capitalism, penetrating the fetishism of commodities and understanding of the contradiction between capitalist society and nature, stems from his critique of the German philospher Hegel, who, while standing on his head was stood right side up by the young Marx. I will deal with this in another post.

Reblogged from:


Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Kashmir: As Tension Mounts on Indo-Pak Border, Entire Opposition, Including the Stalinist-left, Throws its Weight Behind the War-Hysteria, Fascism and the Saffron Government

Sonia Gandhi, President of the Congress Party, in bed with the Saffron regime and Stalinists

On Wednesday, September 28, Indian armed forces allegedly carried out military expedition, termed as ‘surgical strikes’ 3 kms inside the Pak administered region of Kashmir, claiming 38 dead. The operation is claimed to have been conducted at seven different points between the two military sectors Poonch and Koopwara, in retaliation to the attack by Pakistan sponsored terrorists upon the Uri Military base of Indian forces, earlier this month. Later in the day,fearing retaliation from Pak army, territories over 10 kms strech on Indian side of the line of control passing through Kashmir and Punjab, have been ordered to be evacuated.

Pakistan however has denied any such surgical operation by Indian forces, claiming it to be ‘false boasting’ for oblique purposes, but admitting to casualties, two dead and nine injured, in heavy cross-border artillery shelling and firing. The feeble and half-hearted denial however does not inspire much confidence. Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan had called an emergency meeting of his cabinet after denouncing the ‘unprovoked and naked aggression’ by India.

Post strikes, the Indian Interior Minister Rajnath Singh, also called the all party meeting, at his North Block office on September 29, purportedly ‘to discuss the ensuing situation’. The explicit purpose of the meet was however to rope in all opposition parties, from Congress to Stalinists, in celebration of the aggression and to endorse and approve the policy of the saffron government aimed at escalation of war.

All leaders of the opposition parties, including Sitaram Yechury, leader of the Stalinist Left-front, supported the alleged military strike by the government, in one voice.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj drove across to 10, Janpath, at around 4 pm to brief and convince Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

After dubiously criticising the soft paddling by the Modi government in response to the Uri attack earlier this month, the Congress-led Opposition finally joined hands with it to back the Army’s “surgical strikes” on terrorist launchpads across the line of control, openly.

The leaders, present in the meeting, including Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, CPM’s Sitaram Yechury, NCP’s Sharad Pawar, JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav, BSP’s S C Mishra and RJD’s Prem Chand Gupta, were informed about few details of the military operation, that took place allegedly at few points across Kupwara and Poonch.

The meeting was attended by top brass of the ruling party and the government, including the Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar, Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu, and Minister for Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan.

Over the last ten days after Uri attack, the Congress and the opposition led by it, had been urging the government to respond strongly to Pakistan. On Thursday, it backed the government fully after the alleged retaliatory military strikes by it.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi tweeted:
“All of us stand firmly united against terrorism and those who support and sponsor it. The Congress Party and I salute the Indian Army and our jawans for acting valiantly to defend our country and our people. Jai Hind.”

Sonia Gandhi, President of Congress party, said in a statement that the party “stands with the government in its actions today to protect our country’s security and deal with the menace of terrorism from across the border”. She said that the strike was a “strong message that conveys our country’s resolve to prevent further infiltration and attacks on our security forces and our people”. Congratulating the Army, she hoped that “Pakistan will recognise that it bears a great responsibility in the continuing cross-border terrorist attacks against India” and said that she expected Islamabad to take “effective action to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism that it has supported…”

Former defence minister and senior Congress leader A K Antony said that the strike was “inevitable” since infiltration by terrorists trained by the Pakistan Army is continuing unabated. “Given the situation, it was an inevitable action. I congratulate the Army and the government. Pakistan should now stop sending terrorists into India. There is a limit to India’s patience.”

Venkaiya Naidu said after the all-party briefing, that “details were given by the DGMO about five-six places across the LoC along Kupwara to Poonch”. “All political parties complimented the Indian Army enormously. They assured that they were totally with the government to face any situation. They were all very happy,” said Venkaiyah Naidu. “The feedback we are receiving is that the entire country is very happy about the swift action taken by the Indian Army,” he said.

JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav said that “all parties spoke in one voice”. RJD’s Gupta said the leaders backed the government for “all actions being taken in the interest of the nation”.

Former Minister of State for Defence and Congress leader M M Pallam Raju, speaking to reporters in Hyderabad, supported the military action, cautioning the government that Pakistan was expected to retaliate.“I think this is a good retribution. But at the same time, we have to be prepared. We should also be prepared for retaliation from their end,” said Raju.

General Secretary of CPI (M) and leader of the Stalinist left-front, Sitaram Yechury assured the government of the support of the left on the issue and asked the government to “ensure the safety and security of the country from cross-border terrorism”.
Resorting to demagogy, Yechury expressed hope that now there would be no “further escalation in hostilities”. “We hope that now incidents like those at Pathankot and at Uri will not recur,” he said, implying that Pakistan must learn a lesson. Fully conscious of the fascist, warmonger character of the saffron government, Yechury continued to advise it to engage in ‘diplomatic and political moves to defuse tensions’.

Opposition parties, Stalinists included, have carefully prepared the ground for this support to fascist government. After the attack on Indian Army base in Uri, they dubiously criticized the Government, for its inaction and soft stance on the issue. Through such criticism, they in fact consciously facilitated the government to carry out the cross-border military expedition.

Bourgeois parties aside, the Stalinists were in the frontline in performing this dubious duty towards the government. Paying only lip service to the cause of peace and harmony, the Stalinists did never oppose the war efforts of the government and the conscious built-up of nationalist hysteria around it.

Stalinists are crisis managers of capitalist regimes. On all vital issues and important turns they have stood support to them and have rendered critical assistance to the regimes enabling them to overcome the crisis, again and again.

Hailing the military strike, Arvind Kejriwal, leader of AAP claimed, “the entire country stands behind the armed forces”. AAP Minister Kapil Mishra demanded the withdrawal of the status of ‘most favoured nation’ from Pakistan.

United resolve of all opposition parties on the issue of war and their tacit support to the war policy of the government underscores the class character of the war in the offing, in the interests of the class of the rich and the elites.

The strikes of September 28, are another step ahead that draws South Asia even more closer to first ever open armed conflict between the two nuclear armed states of India and Pakistan. Since 1965, both states of India and Pakistan have been in almost permanent war mode against each other, now covert, then overt.

Mounting tensions between India and Pakistan are offshoots of the military drive directed by the US led NATO military alliance, all over the globe. The deep geo-communal divide, the legacy of the reactionary partition of 1947, between implicit hindu India and an explicit muslim Pakistan, supplies necessary fuel to these rivalries. Indian sub-continent is fast turning into a battlefield between the rival imperialist powers and national states backed by them.

Recent backout of India and Afghanistan followed by Bangladesh and Bhutan from SAARC meeting at Lahore, is the clear sign of escalation of these tensions in the region and polarization of the national states into rival camps.

Both India and Pakistan are tilting to hostile big power alliances led by US and China, respectively. Both are armed with deadly nuclear weapons. Any conflict between them may develop into a nuclear conflagration and may turn entire South-Asia into a huge graveyard of human corpses. The damage is incalculable.

It is clear that the military strikes of 28 September, had followed the green signal from the US, as US officials have refused to condemn the strikes. For long, US is pampering and encouraging aggressive designs of India to balance the Chinese influence in Asiatic region and with express motive of roping in India into an anti-China alliance.

After coming into power in 2014, the saffron government under Modi has stepped up the offensive against Pakistan in covert war. Restraining itself from raking up a direct conflict against China, Modi government eyes the softer target Pakistan for a convenient ride. Last month, it had openly threatened to dismember Balochistan from Pakistan. In the process, Pakistan is driven closer to China, perfecting the military polarization in South Asia.

Massive military built-up in South Asia makes it spectacular that war is on the horizon and anytime the volcano may erupt, engulfing entire region to its flames.

As pseudo-left takes to sharp right turn to national chauvinism and war, the task before the working class is to oppose the war from an internationalist perspective and use the anti-war platform as ready bastion for socialist revolution.

Without necessary assistance of the lefts, to bind the youth and workers behind the war designs of their bourgeois regimes, it would not be easy for the regimes, if not at all impossible, to make through to the war. It is thus imperative for the working class, in the struggle against war, to expose the pseudo-left, primarily Stalinists, as stooges of their national bourgeoisie and nationalism. The fight against war is above all the fight against the false left, inside the camp of the working class, to foil their designs to befool the working class and youth and tie it down to the war agenda of bourgeois regime.
 Youth and workers must oppose the war and jingoism and must muster their weight around the program of Workers’ Socialist Party that proposes to reverse the reactionary partition of 1947 through a revolution from below, reunify the Indian sub-continent and on that basis unify the South Asian Countries into a Union of Socialist Republics under a Workers’ and Peasants’ Government.

-Rajesh Tyagi/30.9.2016