Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Social-Imperialism and Ukraine - Part 9 of 37

The USC also leap to the defence of Zelensky's regime in respect of accusations of anti-Semitism, pointing to the fact that Zelensky is Jewish. But, such confidence in the regime is not shared by many Jews in Ukraine itself. The NYT, for example, reported,

“Eduard Dolinsky, director general of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, a group representing Ukrainian Jews, said that some in the country do derisively refer to those far-right groups as ‘Naziki’ - ‘little Nazis’ - as Mr Putin does. On social media, Mr Dolinsky in recent years has frequently called attention to things like the renaming of a major stadium in western Ukraine for Roman Shukhevych, a Ukrainian nationalist leader. He commanded troops that were implicated in mass killings of Jews and Poles during World War II.”

And, in Dolisnky's Twitter feed, we find further evidence of such anti-semitism, as WW reported.

“Dolinsky’s Twitter feed describes a steady stream of anti-Semitic incidents that would be a major scandal anywhere else except Ukraine. On February 8, he tweeted about an upcoming event at Kyiv’s Maidan Museum, devoted to the “ideas and modern challenges” of the Nazi-collaborationist, Stepan Bandera (“The main ideas of World War II Ukrainian ultranationalist Stepan Bandera,” he interjected, are “the ethnic cleansing of Poles and murder of Jews”). On February 7, he tweeted about a skit at an Orthodox church featuring Ukrainians in traditional dress pledging to boycott paysatye: i.e., Jews with payot or side curls. On February 4, he tweeted footage of a school play in Lviv about a Jew named Moshko who “takes a little, cheating, robbing, always with money, hryvna, euro, cents - he will lend it with percent. And if you not return - he’ll get all your stuff ...” On February 3, he tweeted about a nativity play featuring yet another skulking Jew, who declares that the messiah will give “us - kikes with peysim - a lot of money””

Public beheading of Chinese Communist By KMT 
And, so, when we come, also, to this fascist influence, we have again apologia of a type that almost certainly would not be produced, were it not that the USC find themselves in bed with these fascistic elements, in order to support the war being waged by the Ukrainian state, in which those elements have a role. This is almost identical to the role of the Stalinists during the Chinese Revolution, in 1927, as part of their Popular Front with the bourgeois-nationalists of the Kuomintang, even on the day before the KMT, murdered thousands of communists in Shanghai.  The fact that the 2014 Maidan Coup was financed and sponsored by the US, is glossed over, and we are simply told that it was “contradictory”, and aimed at corruption, which is a joke given the corrupt nature of the current regime. We are told,

“The tragic fire in Odesa was not part of a generalised pattern of repression of trade unionists but an isolated incident. Those killed were not trade union activists but supporters of the overthrown regime who took refuge there after clashing with opponents. Atrocious as these deaths were, they were not murders of trade union leaders or activists by the Ukrainian government.”

Oh so that's alright then! So, now we have the grotesque spectacle of supposed Marxists and international socialists apologising for Ukrainian fascists, by claiming that its just an isolated incident, and ridiculously that it was not carried out by the government, as though it is not always the case that fascist goons undertake such actions via paramilitary organisation rather than in state uniforms, although there has been plenty of violence meted out by people in Ukrainian uniforms too.

And, as Irish Marxism has indicated, in relation to the corrupt, illiberal nature of the regime,

“The right wing US think-tank The CATO Institute has an annual ‘Human Freedom’ index, a combination of separate indices for personal and economic freedom. Its 2021 report shows that Ukraine is the third worst country out of 22 in Eastern Europe while the Russian Federation is the worst. Over 165 countries Ukraine is number 98 while Russia is 126. The freest country at number 1 is Switzerland, which scores 9.11 for human freedom while Ukraine scores 6.86 (75% of the Swiss score) and Russia scores 6.23 (or 68% of the Swiss score). We are expected to support the war of Ukraine with 75% of the ‘human freedom’ of the freest against Russia with 68%. The war of 7%. It is relevant to note that while in 2021 Ukraine ranked 98th, it ranked higher at 82nd in 2008, so that relatively it has gotten worse, but so has Russia from 112th to 126th.

The second index is that of ‘Transparency International’ which reports the perceived levels of public sector corruption in 180 countries/territories around the world. It scores these countries out of 100, with the lower the score the more corrupt a country is perceived to be. The 2021 publication reports that the least corrupt countries included Denmark, Finland and New Zealand, scoring 88 each. Ukraine is 123rd on the list while Russia is 139th. A better indication of the difference is that Ukraine scores 32 out of 100 while Russia scores 29, meaning that the former scores 36% of Denmark etc. while Russia scores 33%. Not a pile of difference; 3 to be exact.”

Tuesday, 21 March 2023

A Contribution To The Critique of Political Economy, Chapter 2.C Theories of The Medium of Circulation and of Money - Part 3 of 20

Bourgeois society, at that time, consisted only of the expanding role of the merchant and money lender, and the sole purpose of their activity was to acquire more money M – C` - M`, or M – M`, even if, having done so, they had to advance it all over again.

“Money as the end and object of circulation represents exchange-value or abstract wealth, not any physical element of wealth, as the determining purpose and driving motive of production. It was consistent with the rudimentary stage of bourgeois production that those misunderstood prophets should have clung to the solid, palpable and glittering form of exchange-value, to exchange-value in the form of the universal commodity as distinct from all particular commodities. The sphere of commodity circulation was the strictly bourgeois economic sphere at that time. They therefore analysed the whole complex process of bourgeois production from the standpoint of that basic sphere and confused money with capital.” (p 158)

For industrial capital, by contrast, the aim is not an accumulation of more money, but of more capital, in the form of an increased physical mass of capital. It does seek to obtain more iron, rather than more gold, if, for example, its a steel producer, locomotive producer and so on. Its that which enables more labour to be employed, and so more profit to be produced.

“In the reproduction process of capital, the money-form is but transient – a mere point of transit.”

(Capital III, Chapter 24)

Bourgeois economists, as apologists of the bourgeoisie, attempt to present capitalism as simply just the way that society organises production so as to most efficiently meet its needs. That capitalists enrich themselves in this process is just an aspect of the way the system operates. Adam Smith, in describing the operation of “the invisible hand” says that the butcher and baker, in supplying commodities to the market do not do so out of altruism, but in order to make money. Its just that, in doing so, the market relations established between them, founded upon competition, encourages production by the most efficient means, and so maximises the production of the greatest quantity of use values at the lowest prices. And, so far as it goes, this is true, as Marx and Engels described as far back as The Communist Manifesto, in setting out its revolutionary role in smashing apart the old feudal monopolies, and continually revolutionising production.

But, what it fails to take into account of is that, unlike previous modes of production, its aim is not to maximise the production of use values, to meet societies needs, but to maximise exchange-value, and specifically surplus value, so that it can, once more, be thrown into circulation, advanced for the purchase of commodities on an even larger scale, so that even greater sums of exchange-value and surplus value flow back to it. This fact that the aim is not the satisfaction of society's needs, but the continual accumulation of wealth is most stark under Mercantilism.

“The unceasing fight of modern economists against the Monetary and Mercantile systems is mainly provoked by the fact that the secret of bourgeois production, i.e., that it is dominated by exchange-value, is divulged in a naively brutal way by these systems. Although drawing the wrong conclusions from it, Ricardo observes somewhere that, even during a famine, corn is imported because the corn-merchant thereby makes money, and not because the nation is starving. Political economy errs in its critique of the Monetary and Mercantile systems when it assails them as mere illusions, as utterly wrong theories, and fails to notice that they contain in a primitive form its own basic presuppositions. These systems, moreover, remain not only historically valid but retain their full validity within certain spheres of the modern economy.” (p 158-9)

Monday, 20 March 2023

Social-Imperialism and Ukraine - Part 8 of 37

The idea that Russia could take the whole of Ukraine is absurd, or, at least, to try to do so would destroy it. It did not even take the whole of Georgia in 2008, when it could easily have done so, when it responded to genocidal attacks by the Georgian state on the ethnic Russians in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Doing the same thing with majority Russian areas, elsewhere, is the most that Russia could hope to achieve. Statements by the Ukrainian regime, and others, that Russia would move on to Poland and other European states are ridiculous. This is the same Russian state that, only a few months ago, these same people were saying was going to be rolled up, and sent packing even from Eastern Ukraine. Now they want us to believe that this same Russia is capable of rolling over the whole of Europe, which even the much more powerful USSR never attempted!  It is just silly imperialist war-mongering.

In terms of the actual Marxist objection to supporting a position of “defence of the fatherland”, in respect of Ukraine, the USC throw up the Aunt Sallies ready to be knocked down, though the social pacifist arguments of Murray and the StW, facilitate them in that venture. The USC write,

“All of this ought to be obvious to socialists and internationalists. Yet the character of the Zelenskiy government, the influence of the far right, the role of the US and NATO and a range of other issues are frequently raised as reasons to reject assistance to Ukraine’s need to resist its invasive imperialist neighbour.”

What should be obvious to socialists and internationalists is that we do not promote the idea of bourgeois defencism, of defence of the fatherland, but the position of revolutionary defeatism, of “The Main Enemy Is At Home”. Instead, the USC present bourgeois-democratic demands for national self-determination as being socialist demands, and they avoid discussion of the Marxist position by, instead, focusing on these ephemeral and superficial issues of the political complexion of the Ukrainian government and so on.

The USC, are keen to present the glowing liberal and democratic credentials of Zelensky's government and to defend it against charges that it has banned political parties, and attacked workers rights and trades unions. In other words, they are left acting as apologists for a right-wing, reactionary government whose actions, were it not involved in this war, any decent socialist would be condemning! Indeed, before the war many liberals, even, did condemn!

What the USC are doing is identical to the role of Stalinists in the 1920's who sought to deny the true nature of the Kuomintang to whom they were subordinating Chinese Communists, and which Stalin even allowed into the Comintern, at the same time that the Left were being expelled from it, and who were attacking the disastrous line of the Stalinists.  Within weeks, the KMT were slaughtering Chinese communists in their thousands in Shanghai.  (See: Trotsky - Lessons of The Chinese Revolution)

It is the same attitude that the Stalinists adopted towards the liberals in the Spanish Popular Front - despite the fact that the bourgeoisie those liberals were supposed to represent had all gone over to Franco - and, in turn that the centrists of the CNT and POUM adopted towards the role of the Popular Front, and the Stalinists within it.  The result was the same, the Popular Front Republican government soon turned on those centrist and revolutionary forces, and acted as the hangman of the revolution, allowing the victory of Franco.  (See: Trotsky - The Spanish Revolution and also Trotsky - The Third International After Lenin, and Trotsky - Challenge of The Left Opposition, Writings 1923-29).

Their apologia amounts to saying only that its not as anti-working class as some of its detractors, in StW, present it as being, but not absolutely terrible is not the same as still not being terrible, let alone, being progressive, and even less being “truly revolutionary”, as described by the Theses On The National and Colonial Questions, as the condition for socialists offering support. It doesn't even amount to the equivalent of saying that Starmer's Labour is a lesser-evil than Boris Johnson's Tories, but more like Nigel Farage is not as bad as Nick Griffin! This is the kind of lesser-evilist nonsense that these politics of apologia, and popular-frontism, based on the idea that "my enemy's enemy is my friend", lead you into.  It is the epitome of idiot anti-imperialism.

And, indeed, its not just socialists that have attacked the policies of Zelensky's government. Ukrainian trades unionists themselves have pointed to its anti-working class policies, as have EU based liberals and reformists, and for the USC to try to claim that, at least those unions are free to vent that opposition, itself, also, now limited, is rather like defending the Tories anti working-class politics by noting that unions in Britain are free to protest about them! But, as set out above, the whole argument is specious, because the Marxist opposition to bourgeois-defencism is based not upon the degree to which any given government is reactionary, conservative or progressive, but on the fact that the state itself is a capitalist state! That the USC cannot deny, and their apologia, here, amounts only to quibbling over just how reactionary and anti-working class Zelensky's government is.

And, in the years prior to the war, bourgeois media across the globe was in little doubt that it was pretty reactionary, and corrupt. In 2019, Bellingcat ran this story about white nationalists linking up with the Azov Battalion. During those times, the BBC, NYT, Guardian, and Times all ran stories about the reactionary nature of Ukraine. The US Congress voted in March 2018 to temporarily block military aid to the country’s far-right Azov Battalion because of its white-supremacist ideology. But, now at the sound of gunfire, the Social-imperialists are quick to jump to the defence of the democratic credentials of their ally in Kyiv, and even to paint the Nazis of the Azov Battalion in more rose tinted pastel shades.

We've seen it before, when many of the same elements tried to pretty up the clerical-fascists and jihadists allied to US imperialism in Libya.  Indeed, large sections of the Left made the same mistake in relation to the Khomeiniites role during the 1979, Iranian Revolution against the Shah.

Sunday, 19 March 2023

A Contribution To The Critique of Political Economy, Chapter 2.C Theories of The Medium of Circulation and of Money - Part 2 of 20

As Marx described earlier, in the circuit C-M-C, it is always the case that M is suspended for some time, before again resuming its circuit. This fact is what enables it, in its congealed form, to become merchant and interest-bearing capital. What the mercantilist theories observed was this reality on a national scale. In fact, as Marx describes, in Capital II, it is necessary for merchant capital, and money-lending capital, to resume its circuit, for it to grow, as it is for productive-capital

Commodities only ever remain in their money form ephemerally, because the merchant must advance a larger sum of money, to buy a larger quantity of commodities, if they are again to sell these commodities, and obtain a larger mass of profit. The same is true for the money lender, but, for a moment, this wealth is always congealed as a sum of money.

“It is no refutation of the Monetary System to point out that a ton of iron whose price is £3 has the same value as £3 in gold. The point at issue is not the magnitude of the exchange-value, but its adequate form.” (p 156)

It is only when considering productive-capital, and, thereby, industrial capital that this argument applies, because, for industrial capital, it is not capital in its monetary form that is decisive, but capital, precisely, in the form of commodities required for production. For industrial capital, the circuit does not begin and end with money, but with productive-capital. 

Here, money forms just a fleeting moment in this circuit, and the accumulation of capital takes the form, not of an increased quantity of money, but an increased physical quantity of productive-capital. Indeed, as Marx demonstrates in his analysis of the release of capital, such an increase of capital, is consistent even with a reduction in its money equivalent, and so of the mass of money-capital.

Capital is a social relation, and the accumulation of capital means an expansion of this social relation, i.e. an expansion in the quantity of labour exploited by capital. What determines that is not the value of the capital, but its physical mass, as Marx sets out in Theories of Surplus Value. For example, take a linen producer. Yarn has a value of, say £100 for 100 kilos, which can be converted into 100 metres of linen, by 10 workers, who are paid £50, and produce £50 of profit. The workers are paid in arrears. If the value of yarn drops to £50, the capitalist can now buy 200 kilos, and employ 20 workers, or employ the same 10 workers for twice as long. The total money-capital employed remains the same at £150 (now comprising £50 constant and £100 variable), but the total capital as a social relation has doubled, because twice as much labour is now employed and exploited. The total surplus value produced has doubled from £50 to £100, and it is this that capital is concerned with.

“Growth of capital involves growth of its variable constituent or of the part invested in labour power...

Accumulation of capital is, therefore, increase of the proletariat.”

(Capital I, Chapter 25)

The industrial capitalist increases the surplus value they produce by employing more labour, but the quantity of labour they employ given any technical composition of capital is determined by what physical quantity of material they process. So, as Marx describes in Theories of Surplus Value, Part II, the cheaper the commodities that comprise this constant capital, i.e. the lower the value composition of capital, the more of them the industrial capitalist can advance to production, and so the more labour they can employ, and the more surplus value it produces. But, the mercantilists were writing before this industrial capital became dominant.

“With regard to the special attention paid by the Monetary and Mercantile systems to international trade and to individual branches of national labour that lead directly to international trade, which are regarded by them as the only real source of wealth or of money, one has to remember that in those times national production was for the most part still carried on within the framework of feudal forms and served as the immediate source of subsistence for the producers themselves.” (p 158)

Saturday, 18 March 2023

The ICC and Putin

Putin heads up a vile, anti-working class regime that every socialist wants to see gone.  We would like to see Russian workers deal with him in he same way that Italian workers dealt with Mussolini.  But, the decision of the International Criminal Court to charge Putin with war crimes, shows it up for what it is, an instrument of imperialism, indeed much as is the United Nations, and other global para state bodies.  We can have no more faith in these global state bodies of the ruling class dealing with our class enemies than we can with the capitalist courts dealing with our own rulers, or acting impartially in disputes between labour and capital.

Its not that we doubt that Putin and his vile regime is guilty of all kinds of horrendous crimes, but so too are many other politicians and regimes across the globe, that the ICC is not bringing to book.  For example, Biden was quick to back the ICC's decision, but had to do it in shame faced manner, because he had to admit that the US does not recognise the ICC either!  And, for good reason, because if the ICC operated impartially, then it would have long since hauled US leaders before it to answer for the thousands of Iraqi children and civilians that died as a result of the US blockade of essential medicines and so on that took place during its opposition to Saddam Hussein.

Indeed, it would have been hauling both US and UK politicians before it for the war crimes committed at Abu Ghraib, on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, and so on.  If it were able to look back it would be dragging other US and UK politicians and military leaders before it for the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam, the blanket bombing of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, not to mention the dropping of nuclear bombs on Japan.  

It would also be dragging UK politicians and military personnel before it for the shooting of unarmed civilians in Northern Ireland, and for the operation of a shoot to kill policy, implemented in Ireland and in Gibraltar.  It would also have plenty of material to work with in relation to the deportation of British children in the 1950's and after to Australia, not to mention the systematic abuse of children by the Catholic Church and so on.  But, the British government backed by Starmer has passed laws protecting British soldiers from any sanction.

But, it would also have been hauling before it politicians and military personnel of the colonialist and racist, Zionist state in Israel, not only or its racist laws, and systematic discrimination against non-Jews, but also for its documented illegal military occupation of Palestine, the Golan Heights and so on.  It could do toofer and try Putin and his mate Netanyahu at the same time.  But also, Al Jazeera and others have been calling for nearly a year for the ICC to bring charges in relation to the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh, but it has failed to do so, whilst Israel openly brags that none of its soldiers will face action for the murder.

The ICC like the UN and other global para state bodies is just an instrument of imperialism, and consequently of its dominant powers, even though that most dominant imperialist power, the US, does not recognise it, and refuses to allow it to adjudicate on the upholding of those very principles it is supposed to support and abide by.  It is like the absolute monarch sitting above their laws.

As such, the ICC is highly partial in its operations, and the charges against Putin, whilst undoubtedly valid, are simply a part of the current global imperialist war being waged by US imperialism and its allies against Russia and China.  At the start of the last century, Trotsky wrote about the Balkan Wars, where similar things could be seen.

Countries in the Balkans, in the first Balkan War fought for national independence against their oppression by the Turkish, Ottoman Empire.  Given the historic links between Tsarist Russia, and the various Slavic nations in the Balkans, Russian liberals offered their support to these national liberation struggles, doing so, obviously for its own imperialistic reasons, in opposition to Turkish imperialism.  You could take the events and cut and paste them, and the arguments used, almost word for word for the actions and arguments used by liberal interventionists to justify US imperialism/NATO supporting this or that struggle against occupation or oppression across the globe, including, now, in Ukraine.

And, so too could the fact that, then, the media of the time in reporting events only mentioned the war crimes and atrocities committed by the Ottomans, whilst failing to mention the equally atrocious acts of those that were at war with them, including those supposedly liberating armies from Russia.  A glimpse of those atrocities commited by Serbs against Turkish civilians is given by Wikipedia.  Writing in response to the fact that his own reporting of Russian atrocities against Turks were repeatedly censored, Trotsky says to the Russian liberal Miliukov,

"You are one of the initiators and inspirers of what is known as the 'Neo-Slavonic' movement, which comes forward not otherwise than in the name of the most respected general principles of civilisation, humanity and national freedom.

You have frequently, both in the columns of the press and at the tribune of the Duma, assured the Balkan allies – that is to say, the dynasties and dynastic cliques ruling in the Balkans – of the unaltered sympathies of so-called Russian society for their campaign of 'liberation'.

Recently, during the period of the armistice, you made a political journey to the Balkans; you visited several centres and, what is of particular importance, you went to the regions recently conquered by the allies.

Did you not hear during your travels – it must be supposed that this would be of interest to you – about the monstrous acts of brutality that were committed by the triumphant soldiery of the allies all along their line of march, not only on unarmed Turkish soldiers, wounded or taken prisoner, but also on the peaceful Muslim inhabitants, on old men and women, on defenceless children?

Would you not agree that a conspiracy of silence by all of our 'leading' papers.... that this mutual agreement to keep quiet makes all of you fellow travellers and moral participants in bestialities that will lie as a stain of dishonour on our whole epoch?

Are not, in these circumstances, your protests against Turkish atrocities – which I am not at all going to deny – like the disgusting conduct of Pharisees: resulting, it must be supposed, not from the general principles of culture and humanity but from naked calculations of imperialist greed?”

Of course, the Russian liberal interventionists had no intention of reporting the "bestialities" committed by the liberating forces, any more than today they report on those committed by Ukrainian forces, or other forces engaged in wars as allies of US imperialism.  The response of the BBC to the mild criticism of Gary Lineker to the barbarous nature of Tory government policy in respect of asylum seekers, which even the Home Secretary herself admits probably breaks human rights laws, is just this same partiality on a very minor scale, compared to the way the bourgeois media acts to promote the interests of imperialism, by decrying the acts of its enemies, whilst keeping quiet or whitewashing its own barbarous acts.

To expect these institutions to act in any other way, let alone as the social-imperialists do, actively promote the involvement of imperialism in resolving the problems of the world's oppressed, is not just naïve, but an outright betrayal of workers interests.  We cannot rely on our class enemy, and its capitalist state to act impartially, let alone to promote our interests, whether it is in relation to the national economy, or in relation to human rights across the globe.  Those that suggest we can are deceivers of the working-class who should be shunned and thrown out of our movement.  As Trotsky put it, in relation to the Balkan Wars,

"But it is not at all a matter of indifference by what methods this emancipation is being accomplished...  That positive, progressive result which history will, in the last analysis, extract from the ghastly events in the Balkans, will suffer no harm from the exposures made by Balkan and European democracy; on the contrary, only a struggle against the usurpation of history's tasks by the present masters of the situation will educate the Balkan peoples to play the role of superseding not only Turkish despotism but also those who, for their own reactionary purposes, are, by their own barbarous methods, now destroying that despotism...

Our agitation, on the contrary, against the way that history's problems are at present being solved, goes hand in hand with the work of the Balkan Social Democrats. And when we denounce the bloody deeds of the Balkan 'liberation' from above we carry forward the struggle not only against liberal deception of the Russian masses but also against enslavement of the Balkan masses.” (p 293-4)

When we see those in the labour movement who are more than familiar both with history, and with the ideas of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky, take such words, and turn them into their opposite, so as to justify their current support for such liberal intervention, as for example in Serbia, Libya, and now Ukraine, what are we to make of such people? 

The AWL, for example, took Trotsky's writings above, to justify, if not openly give support for the intervention of US imperialism, which would have been a more honest approach on their part, then, for a refusal to oppose it, as Trotsky demands above.  They take one part of what Trotsky wrote,

“An individual, a group, a party, or a class that ‘objectively’ picks its nose while it watches men drunk with blood massacring defenceless people is condemned by history to rot and become worm-eaten while it is still alive."

And, interpret it to mean that we cannot sit idly by whilst a Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Assad or Putin carry out atrocities, and, if our own weakness means we cannot stop them, then why would we oppose them being stopped by some other force, such as US imperialism/NATO?  Of course, if they applied that consistently, they would demand the same action against the Zionist regime in Israel, and so on, and, of course, would be calling for the US to invade and bring about regime change in Moscow and Beijing!

But, of course, as all of Trotsky's writings above demonstrate, this paragraph means the opposite of what the AWL would have us believe.  It was not written as a justification for liberal intervention, but in opposition to it, the atrocities that Trotsky refers to are those of the "liberators"!  And, that is made clear in the paragraph that follows the one the AWL quote, but which the AWL never quote along with it.  In it, Trotsky makes clear that he is referring to atrocities committed by the liberators against which the socialists should protest.  He says,

“On the other hand, a party or the class that rises up against every abominable action wherever it has occurred, as vigorously and unhesitatingly as a living organism reacts to protect its eyes when they are threatened with external injury – such a party or class is sound of heart. Protest against the outrages in the Balkans cleanses the social atmosphere in our own country, heightens the level of moral awareness among our own people. The working masses of the population in every country are both a potential instrument of bloody outrages and a potential victim of such deeds. Therefore an uncompromising protest against atrocities serves not only the purpose of moral self-defence on the personal and party level but also the purpose of politically safeguarding the people against adventurism concealed under the flag of ‘liberation’.” (p 293) (emphasis added).

We need to deal with all crimes against humanity, but we cannot give credence to the institutions of imperialism as impartial agents in any such process, and those like the AWL that suggest otherwise are simply acting as conscious agents of that imperialism within the labour movement, and should be removed from it.  It is for the working-class itself to deal with the butcher's, all of which serve the interests of our class enemies in one camp of imperialism or another.  Asking the UN, NATO, the ICC and so on, to deal with our class enemies is like asking Satan to deal with the devil.

Social-Imperialism and Ukraine - Part 7 of 37

The USC say,

“The conflict would then indeed not be prolonged, as Andrew Murray fears: rather it would result in the victory of a militarily superior Russia – but the suffering of the Ukrainian people would thenceforth be very prolonged indeed.”

This is pure speculation, and not very well founded speculation at that. Firstly, as Blairite, former NATO Secretary General, George Robertson has admitted, NATO goaded Russia into invading Ukraine. There was never any possibility that Russia could occupy the whole of Ukraine, as the Ukrainian and NATO propaganda sometimes pretend. Its ability, even to seize all of the areas of Eastern and Southern Ukraine, with majority ethnic Russian populations has been fraught, and taken a year. Having been drawn into the war, its objective has almost certainly only ever been to consolidate those areas, rather than to go any further. Indeed, given the heavy shelling of those areas, after 2014, by the Ukrainian state, spearheaded by the forces of the Azov Battalion, and given increased anti-Russian sentiment amongst the ethnic Ukrainian population, it is highly unlikely that Ukraine would ever be able to reincorporate those areas and Crimea, back into Ukraine, without either severe ethnic cleansing, or a prolonged civil war.

As Marxists, we do not fetishise lines drawn on maps, as defining national borders, and, given that, the most obvious solution, currently, would, then, be for Ukraine to accept that Crimea and the Donbas are gone and not coming back, and a peace treaty established on that basis. That would also create the potential for socialists to argue the need for Russian workers to deal with Putin themselves, and begin to forge links with workers in Ukraine and elsewhere. The first part of any socialist strategy in Ukraine, would be for Ukrainian socialists to demand an end to the attacks on Eastern Ukraine, by the Ukrainian state, and for implementation of the promised extensive regional autonomy.  A comparison can be made with the experience of the Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia, in 1939, and Trotsky's response to that is instructive in relation to the current events.

Trotsky, notes in relation to the Sudeten Germans,

“It would seem that the Czechoslovakian democracy which stood under the August protection of Franco-British democracy and of the "socialist" bureaucracy of the USSR had every opportunity to show the Sudeten Germans the great advantages in reality of a democratic regime over a fascist one. If this task had been resolved, Hitler would not dare, of course, to make an attempt on the Sudetenland. His main strength lies now precisely in the fact that the Sudeten Germans themselves want unity with Germany. This desire was inspired in them by the rapacious and police regime of Czechoslovakian "democracy" which "fought" fascism by imitating its worst methods.”

Trotsky found no reason to argue against the Sudeten Germans seeking to be separated from “democratic” Czechoslovakia, and joining Nazi Germany. He explained their reason for doing so.

“Only pitiful babblers or fascist crooks can speak of the irresistible "call of blood" in connection with the fate of the Saar, the Austrian and Sudeten Germans. The Swiss Germans, for example, do not want at all to go into slavery under Hitler, because they feel themselves masters in their country, and Hitler would think ten times before attacking them. Intolerable social and political conditions must exist for citizens of a "democratic" country to be seized by a desire for fascist power. The Germans of the Saar in France, the Austrian Germans in the Europe of Versailles, the Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia felt themselves citizens of third rank. "It will not be worse," they said to themselves. In Germany, at least, they will be oppressed on the same basis as the rest of the population. The masses prefer under these conditions equality in serfdom to humiliation in inequality. The temporary strength of Hitler lay in the bankruptcy of imperialist democracy.”

And Trotsky, completely rejected the idea, put forward at the time, not only by the democratic imperialists, and social imperialists, but also the Stalinists, that any such redrawing of maps by Hitler should be confronted by an imperialist war waged against Germany. In words that apply perfectly to today's situation, and the response that Marxists should have towards Putin, and towards NATO imperialism's war drive, Trotsky writes,

“The democracies of the Versailles Entente helped the victory of Hitler by their vile oppression of defeated Germany. Now the lackeys of democratic imperialism of the Second and Third Internationals are helping with all their might the further strengthening of Hitler's regime. Really, what would a military bloc of imperialist democracies against Hitler mean? A new edition of the Versailles chains, even more heavy, bloody, and intolerable. Naturally, not a single German worker wants this. To throw off Hitler by revolution is one thing; to strangle Germany by an imperialist war is quite another. The howling of the "pacifist" jackals of democratic imperialism is therefore the best accompaniment to Hitler's speeches. "You see," he says to the German people, "even socialists and communists of all enemy countries support their army and their diplomacy; if you will not rally around me, your leader, you are threatened with doom!" Stalin, the lackey of democratic imperialism, and all the lackeys of Stalin —Jouhaux, Toledano, and Company — are the best aides of Hitler in deceiving, lulling, and intimidating the German workers.”

(Phrases and Reality)

Today, it is the social-imperialists of the USC engaged in that same role.

Northern Soul Classics - Black Mother Goose - Patrice Holloway