cropped-dokument-1-seite0016.jpgG20 Summit: A Symbol for Global Capitalism and its Crisis

Imperialist Leaders Maneuver amid Accelerating Rivalry between the Great Powers and Mass Protests on the Streets

 

Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 10.07.2017, www.thecommunists.net

 

 

 

  1. The G20 Summit in Germany’s port city of Hamburg and the events surrounding it represent an accurate picture of the present world situation. During their 7-8 July meeting, the imperialist leaders desperately negotiated behind closed doors in an attempt to reach a compromise that would bridge the gaps between their conflicting interests. While they succeeded in doing so for issues on which they share common interests, they glaringly failed to do so for other matters. At the same time as the conference was being held, militant mass demonstrations on the streets of Hamburg reflected popular outrage towards the arrogant “leaders” of the world.

 

  1. We are living in a world of drastic upheavals. Among other things, this is reflected in the fact that, for the first time in the history of such summits, the imperialist leaders of the world’s biggest powers were forced to formally admit in their official communiqué issued at the end of their negotiations that they failed to reach an agreement on the issue of climate change. US President Donald Trump – in contrast to all other heads of states – insisted that the world’s biggest imperialist power, as well as its second-largest emitter of carbon, will formally leave the so-called Paris Climate Accord. The significance of this is that the US will now see itself free to increase its greenhouse gas emissions which, to a large extent, are responsible for a large portion of global warming. Furthermore, in the recent G20 summit, the Great Powers could only thinly conceal their profound disagreement on the issue of global trade. Again, in particular it was Donald Trump who adhered to his chauvinist-protectionist “America First” policy.

 

  1. Of course, behind this lack of consensus there are no ideological differences between the various parties, arising from the adherence of one side or another to some more “progressive” goals. Rather, while still the biggest power, albeit a rapidly declining one, US imperialism is both in a position to take a more aggressive protectionist stand against its rivals, as well as simultaneously being forced to do so. The other imperialist powers – like the European Union, China, Russia or Japan – are by no means more progressive than the North American aging giant.

 

  1. On issues where the interests of the imperialists coincided, they were able to make “progress” – to the detriment of the oppressed peoples. Trump and Putin, together with their respective foreign ministers, held a long meeting where seem to have reached a significant amount of agreement on how to liquidate the popular uprising in Syria. They formally agreed to impose a cease-fire and to create a “de-escalation zone” in the regions of Deraa, Quneitra and Suweida. US Secretary of State Tillerson emphasized the joint reactionary interests of these two imperialist powers in smashing the armed popular struggle against the Assad dictatorship and pacifying the country by a settlement imposed by the Great Powers (in the template of the so-called “Astana-Deal”). Reporting on the meeting of the world’s two biggest robbers, Tillerson said: “And I would tell you that, by and large, our objectives are exactly the same. How we get there, we each have a view. But there’s a lot more commonality to that than there are differences. So we want to build on the commonality, and we spent a lot of time talking about next steps.” Tillerson even openly admired Russia’s aggressive support for the Assad’s barbaric war which has claimed the lives until now of at least half a million persons: “Maybe they’ve got the right approach and we’ve got the wrong approach,”[!] said the former CEO of ExxonMobile, US Secretary of State (New York Times: U.S., Russia and Jordan Reach Deal for Cease-Fire in Part of Syria, 7.7.2017)

 

  1. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and its sections in the Middle East restate their support for the ongoing Syrian Revolution. We call upon all activists around the world to continue their solidarity work with the workers and peasants of Syria in their heroic fight against the Assad regime and encourage them reject any counter-revolutionary settlement initiative like the Astana Deal. We similarly express our support for the right of national self-determination for all oppressed peoples – including the Kurdish people in Turkey and Syria. Long live the socialist revolution!

 

  1. The G20 summit also approved German chancellor Merkel’s misnamed “Partnership for Africa” initiative. While ostensibly designed to aid the impoverished African peoples, this initiative in fact only serves the interests of the imperialist monopolies by letting them buy up Africa’s raw materials, while they avoid paying taxes to the governments of these nations, and instead repatriate their huge profits back to their home countries. Furthermore, the initiative openly serves the imperialist agenda – in particularly that of the European Union – by strengthening its political and military grip on northern and central Africa in order to put down armed resistance and to prevent millions of Africans migrating to Europe (see, e.g., the French president Macron’s recent initiative to create a 5,000 soldier-strong regional anti-terror force for the Sahel region).

 

  1. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and its Zimbabwean section condemn the imperialist “Partnership for Africa.” We once again emphasize our solidarity with the popular resistance against imperialist exploitation and oppression on the African continent. We support popular uprisings against reactionary dictatorships and austerity attacks. Likewise, the RCIT calls upon the working class and the oppressed of Africa to expropriate the imperialist monopolies and expel the troops of the Great Powers along with their local auxiliaries. For a socialist federation of Black Africa!

 

  1. The G20 summit also impressively demonstrated the wide-spread popular outrage against the imperialist leaders who are destroying the social and ecological living conditions of humanity. For three days more than 100,000 people protested in the streets of Hamburg, expressing the rejection of the agenda of the Great Powers by the workers and oppressed around the world. These protests were also a vivid demonstration that the world-wide popular struggle against the attacks of the ruling class around have not receded – contrary to various predictions of doomsayers among the reformist and centrist left.

 

  1. The brutal attacks against the demonstrators by a force of German police numbering 21,000 cops equipped with numerous anti-riot water cannon vehicles – and including at one point the presence of special police units openly wearing machine guns on the streets – showed once more that the state apparatus is a tool of repression in the service of the ruling capitalist class.

 

  1. Naturally, such a positive evaluation of the mass protests against the G20 summit should not allow us to ignore some obvious weaknesses in its organization. Among them was the counter-productive role of some sectors of the so-called Black Block anarchists who senselessly attacked and, in several instances, even set alight small shops and ordinary cars. It was also very problematic that a large contingent of the Kurdish PKK/YPG marched at the head of the huge demonstration of 100,000 on Saturday. This sent a very wrong signal to the world and in particular to the Syrian people given the utterly reactionary role of the petty-bourgeois Stalinist-nationalist YPG as foot soldiers of US imperialism in their offensive to conquer northern Syria. All these weaknesses reflect the still influential role of Stalinist and anarchist forces among the so-called “left” in Germany.

 

  1. In the light of the mass protests against the G20 summit, the RCIT reemphasizes the conclusions of its “Urgent Call for Revolutionary Unity” as well as other programmatic documents: We call upon all organizations and activists honestly striving towards the creation of a new Revolutionary World Party to join forces on a joint programmatic basis. The RCIT is committed to serious discussions and the closest possible collaboration with all forces who share such an outlook.

 

 

 

International Secretariat

 

 

 

* * * *

 

 

 

For the RCIT analysis of the current world situation and the acceleration of capitalism’s contradictions, we refer readers to our numerous articles and documents accessed on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/. In particular we refer readers to the following documents:

 

RCIT: World Perspectives 2017: The Struggle against the Reactionary Offensive in the Era of Trumpism. Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries, 18 December 2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2017/

 

RCIT: Theses on Capitalism and Class Struggle in Black Africa, 13 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/africa-theses/

 

RCIT: Syria: Condemn the Reactionary Astana Deal! The so-called “De-Escalation Zones” are a First Step towards the Partition of Syria and a Conspiracy by the Great Powers to Defeat the Revolution, 7 May 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/astana-deal/

 

Michael Pröbsting: Is the Syrian Revolution at its End? Is Third Camp Abstentionism Justified? An essay on the organs of popular power in the liberated area of Syria, on the character of the different sectors of the Syrian rebels, and on the failure of those leftists who deserted the Syrian Revolution, 5 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/syrian-revolution-not-dead/

 

RCIT: Urgent Call for Unity and a Joint Struggle on a Revolutionary Platform. An Open Letter to All Authentic Revolutionaries for an International Conference on the 100th Anniversary of the October Revolution to Advance the Building of a Revolutionary World Party, 09.01.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/rcit/urgent-call-revolutionary-unity-1/

 

Michael Pröbsting: The Meaning, Consequences and Lessons of Trump‘s Victory. On the Lessons of the US Presidential Election Outcome and the Perspectives for the Domestic and International Class Struggle, 24.November 2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/meaning-of-trump/

 

 

 

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cropped-dokument-1-seite0015.jpgZambia: Down with the State of Emergency!

 

Everyone Out to the Streets to Fight for Democratic Rights and against the IMF-Imposed Austerity Attacks!

 

Joint Statement of the International Secretariat of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and the Socialist League of Zimbabwe (Section of the RCIT in Zimbabwe), 09.07.2017, www.thecommunists.net

 

 

 

  1. Zambian President Edgar Lungu declared a state of emergency throughout the country on 6 July in the wake of a series of fires which broke out in markets and courts in Lusaka, Kabwe, Mongu, Monze and Choma. While Lungu has made the extremely dubious claim that the political opposition is responsible for these “acts of sabotage,” it is much more likely that the regime itself initiated these provocations.

 

  1. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and its Zimbabwean Section strongly condemn this declaration of a state of emergency. This is an authoritarian step by a reactionary regime rapidly losing any popular support following its imposition of drastic austerity measures dictated by the IMF, as well as its shameless attacks on basic democratic rights. We call upon all workers, poor peasants and youth in Zambia to protest against this anti-democratic and reactionary act and to begin making preparations for a general strike.

 

  1. Zambia is an impoverished, semi-colonial country where the economic conditions of the masses reflect its victimhood to the imperialist exploitation and oppression of the entire African continent. Zambia is rich in raw materials, being Africa’s second largest producer of copper, ranking seventh globally. Furthermore, the country has considerable reserves of uranium, a mineral in high demand, particularly with the increase in civilian nuclear energy projects around the world.

 

  1. However, being dominated by imperialist monopolies, Zambia has been unable to develop a diversified domestic economy, with the result that it is almost entirely dependent on its exports of copper and cobalt, which together account for 64% of the country’s total exports. Consequently, when the price of raw materials collapsed on the world market in 2015, Zambia was heavily impacted. Today about 60.5% of Zambians live below the officially-recognized national poverty line, and it can be taken for granted that real unemployment is much higher than the official figure of 14%.

 

  1. Under the dictates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), since the early 1990s Zambia has been forced to privatize large sectors of its industry as well as cut state subsidies. Today, the country is dominated by Western imperialist powers like the US and Britain, by South Africa as well as by the great emerging Asian imperialist power of China. Since last year, the country’s stock of external debt has increased by US$300 million to US$7.2 billion, the latter being equivalent to 31% of the country’s GDP. As a result, with the IMF’s pistol at it temple, the government has announced a 75% rise in its tariff for electricity, a measure which will further aggravate the dire economic conditions of most people. Cuts to fuel subsidies are also in the cards.

 

  1. The government’s series of austerity attacks, as well as the effects of the foreign domination have provoked popular resistance as well as growing divisions inside the ruling class. President Lungu emerged as the successor head of state following a power struggle after the death of President Michael Sata at the end of 2014. Lungu and his misnamed “Patriotic Front” (PF) are governing the country in the interests of the imperialist monopolies. However, in order to accommodate popular outrage they camouflage their pro-IMF policy with some “anti-imperialist” rhetoric. As this is not sufficient to stabilize the political situation, Lungu is increasingly suppressing all dissident voices. His authoritarian, Bonapartist regime is systematically silencing the media, including having closed the country’s biggest independent newspaper, The Post. It has arrested many activists of opposition parties. It has banned student union activities at the University of Zambia in the capital Lusaka. It has even arrested Hakainde Hichilema, the leader of the main opposition party – the United Party for National Development (UPND) –, under the Kafkaesque pretext that his convoy failed to pull off the road and make way for Lungu’s motorcade!

 

  1. However, the RCIT warns against having any illusion in Hichilema and his UPND. Hichilema is a former business consultant and darling of the business elite. He limits his rhetorical protests on democratic issues but fails to raise any opposition against the draconian IMF programs. Both the PF as well as the UPND are openly bourgeois parties which loyally serve the imperialist powers and the domestic capitalist class.

 

  1. It is urgent that socialist and democratic activists in Zambia prepare for mass struggles against the pro-IMF attacks on social gains and public ownership of key industries, as well as against the regime’s attack on democratic rights. They should call for the immediate release of all political prisoners. Activists should also call for the formation of action committees in the workplaces, schools, universities and neighborhoods. They should push the trade unions to organize strike actions. They should also advocate a united front of all forces which are ready to fight against these attacks. Such popular protests should be united in a general strike and a popular uprising to bring down the Lungu regime. In this context it is important to advocate the formation of self-defense groups designed to protect the masses against attacks by the regime’s thugs and which, in the future, can serve as a springboard for workers and peasant militias.

 

  1. It is crucial that socialists in Zambia organize to build a new mass party of the working class which also defends the interests of the urban and rural poor. Such a party must be independent of any factions of the capitalist class as well as of all imperialist powers. Such a party must be democratic, with all functionaries earning no more than the wages of an average worker. Such a party should help organize the working class to fight back against all economic and political attacks by the regime, the IMF and the Great Powers. Furthermore, the RCIT proposes that such a party should combine the struggle for the defense of the immediate interests of the masses with a program for the expropriation of the foreign monopolies and the big domestic capitalists, culminating in a revolutionary overthrow of the ruling class and the founding of a socialist state led by the workers and peasants.

 

  1. The RCIT calls upon activists in Zambia to link the struggle against the Lungu regime with a Pan-African and global perspective. Our struggle for liberation in Zambia must be tied to the struggle of our brothers and sisters against the imperialist powers and domestic reactionary regimes – starting from Zimbabwe and Morocco to the popular struggles against Assad in Syria, General al-Sisi in Egypt, and against the ongoing Israeli aggression of the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank.

 

The RCIT sends its greetings to all Zambian revolutionaries and calls them to join forces with us in the international struggle for a socialist future!

 

* Down with the State of Emergency! Defend democratic rights! Immediate freedom for all political prisoners!

 

* Down with the IMF-imposed austerity programs!

 

* For the renationalization of all key industries under control of the employees!

 

* For the forming of action committees in the workplaces, schools, universities and neighborhoods!

 

* For a united front of all forces to stop the attacks of the Lungu regime!

 

* Everyone out to the streets! Prepare for a general strike!

 

* For a program of public employment and the rescinding of social cuts!

 

* For a workers’ and peasant government based on popular councils and militias!

 

* For a united Intifada of the workers and peasants – from Lusaka, Harare, Rabat, Idlib, and Cairo to Jerusalem!

 

* For a socialist federation in Black Africa!

 

* For a new mass workers’ party! For a revolutionary Workers International!

 

 

 

* * * *

 

 

 

For the RCIT analysis of the liberation in Black Africa, we refer readers to our numerous articles and documents accessed from the Africa and Middle East section of our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/. In particular we refer readers to the following documents:

 

RCIT: Theses on Capitalism and Class Struggle in Black Africa, 13 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/africa-theses/

 

Platform of the Socialist League of Zimbabwe (Section of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency), https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/rcit-zimbabwe-platform/

 

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cropped-cropped-dokument-1-seite0015.jpgLetter to South African Socialists on the “Platform for the Left Bloc in the ‘Zuma Must Go’ Campaign”

 

 

Note of the Editorial Board: Below we publish a letter which has been circulated amongst socialists in South Africa. It has been sent by the RCIT in late May in response to the publication of the draft “Platform for the Left Bloc in the ‘Zuma Must Go’ Campaign” written by the comrades Ahmed Jooma and Shaheen Khan. The platform has been published on the website of the Khanya journal (http://khanyajournal.org.za/platform-of-the-left-bloc-in-the-zuma-must-go-campaign/).

 

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

Dear comrades,

 

 

 

Thanks for forwarding us your “Platform for the Left Bloc in the ‘Zuma Must Go’ Campaign“. We think that this document is highly interesting and provides a useful basis for discussion among revolutionaries in South Africa and internationally.

 

In the following letter we would like to outline some observations on your platform. We will not outline here our assessment of the political situation in South Africa in the last years and refer you, as a summary of our views, to two documents of the RCIT (http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/south-africa-election-tactics/, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/south-africa-workers-party/) as well as our recently published Theses on Black Africa (https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/africa-theses/).

 

Obviously we ask you to take into account that we have to refrain ourselves to rather general remarks as we are not so closely familiar with the current concrete situation in South Africa. Hence we will focus here on some analytical and methodological issues.

 

We want to emphasize that we agree with your economic analysis, your general anti-capitalist and socialist outlook as well as your denunciation of the Stalinist/ANC strategy of NDR which in fact has always been only a cover for its capitulation to White Monopoly Capital.

 

Your analysis of the ‘State Capture’ by the Zuma faction of the ANC and its fusion with a sector of capital (Gupta, etc.) sounds sensible and convincing to us.

 

You repeatedly speak about the ANCYL/WL/MKMVA as (semi-)fascist forces. While we are aware that petty-bourgeois-nationalist, populist forces have the potential to become fascists, we are not sure if this is a correct characterization in this case. In general, we would warn against a too loose use of the term “fascist” and would restrict it to paramilitary movements in the service of imperialist capital with the goal to annihilate the workers government and bourgeois democracy. In our opinion it is not necessary to characterize the Zupta regime as potentially fascist in order to legitimize the need to focus the struggle against it. Yes, revolutionaries should support the present mass protests against the regime because it represents a reactionary, increasingly Bonapartist neoliberal regime in the service of monopoly capital.

 

We agree that revolutionaries must not support any wing in the current power struggle inside the bourgeois, popular-frontist ANC.

 

We agree with your assessment of the present situation as having the potential to transform into an “Arab Spring” situation and hence the necessity to fight for a revolutionary Action Program.

 

We agree with your criticism of the NUMSA leadership and of their strategy of abstaining from the growing mass movement.

 

It seems correct to us to say that the present mass movement against the Zuma regime has a cross-class character. We also share your approach that it would be sectarian to organize a small movement outside of this mass movement. It is necessary to fight inside this mass movement and to combine it with a perspective to fight for working class independence and against the influence of the bourgeois (e.g. DA) and petty-bourgeois parties (e.g. EFF) and to finally destroy their influence.

 

In this context it might be worth mentioning that Trotsky – contrary to the ultra-leftists – also argued for working inside the mass action committees of the French popular front in the 1930s in order to better break up the popular front.

 

On the other hand, joining organized political popular front campaign like “Save SA” would be completely unprincipled for Marxists.

 

We strongly support your perspective to call for the creation of action committees as the basis for an authentic mass movement.

 

Our biggest difference with your document is probably that we consider your call Bring Forward General Elections!” as completely wrong. We consider it as wrong because it shifts the focus of the current mass struggle to a parliamentary level. Naturally, if elections take place revolutionaries will not ignore it and either stand candidates independently, participate in a workers party or give critical support to reformist/left-populist parties. But in the current situation it would massively disorientate the mass movement if you call for elections now. The focus must rather be to better organize and mobilize the mass movement towards a general strike and a popular uprising in order to prepare for the overthrow of the government. This could open the perspective for the formation of the government of the workers and poor.

 

In contrast your slogan of elections now does NOT open the perspective for a workers government because i) such a workers government should be based on soviet-like councils and militias and not the parliament and ii) there exists currently no party you could call to vote for and which would fight for a workers government inside the parliament.

 

In this context we want to draw your attention to the fact that you do not mention the issue of the armed self-defense of the working class and the poor against the state repression and the “fascists” a single time! This however seems to us to be an important issue – even more so should it be for you since you characterize your enemies partly as “fascists”! We also mention this because there is a strong reformist tradition in South Africa which creates illusions in the possibility of a peaceful transformation to socialism (the Stalinist SACP, the centrist CWI/WASP, etc). Hence these forces all oppose or are silent on the necessity of the arming of the working class and the poor. The task of revolutionaries is to fight against such illusions and openly denounce their reformist supporters.

 

In general we feel you should give more emphasis to the issue of building a mass workers party respectively a Bolshevik organization fighting for a revolutionary program. A “Left Bloc” in the best case can only be a temporary thing.

 

Finally we have a question to you: do you consider South Africa as an imperialist or a semi-colonial state? Or do you share Patrick Bond’s opinion that it is sub-imperialist?

 

We hope our comments are of any use for you and look forward to your thoughts.

 

 

 

Revolutionary Greetings,

 

Michael Pröbsting (International Secretary of the RCIT) and Tinashe Mhukahuru (Zimbabwe Section of the RCIT)

 

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cropped-cropped-dokument-1-seite0015.jpgPrinciples and Tactics in War

 

By Rudolf Klement, The New International, May 1938, Theoretical Journal of the Socialist Workers Party (US-Section of the Fourth International)

 

 

 

Note of the Editorial Board: Read a preface by Michael Pröbsting as well as introductory remarks on Klement’s article here.

 

 

 

The review of the book The case of Leon Trotsky in the first number of the periodical Der Einzige Weg quotes the following interesting statement of comrade Trotsky on the difference in the tasks of the proletariat during a war between France-Soviet Union and Germany-Japan (reproduced here somewhat more completely):

 

Stolberg: Russia and France already have a military alliance. Suppose an international war breaks out. I am not interested in what you say about the Russian working class at this time. I know that. What would you say to the French working class in reference to the defense of the Soviet Union? ‘Change the French bourgeois government’, would you say?

 

“Trotsky: This question is more or less answered in our document, The War and the Fourth International, in this sense: In France I would remain in opposition to the government and would develop systematically this opposition. In Germany I would do anything I could to sabotage the war machinery. They are two different things. In Germany and in Japan I would apply military methods as far as I am able to fight, oppose, and injure the machinery, the military machinery of Japan, to disorganise it, both in Germany and in Japan. In France it is political opposition against the bourgeoisie, and the preparation of the proletarian revolution. Both are revolutionary methods. But in Germany and Japan I have as my immediate aim the disorganisation of the whole machinery. In France I have the aim of the proletarian revolution . . .

 

“Goldman: Suppose you have the chance to take power during a war, in France, would you advocate it if you had the majority of the proletariat?

 

“Trotsky: Naturally.” (p. 289)

 

Within the limits of a book review it was naturally impossible, with this isolated, half-improvised, necessarily incomplete and special colloquial statement, to develop the general problems of the revolutionary struggle in wartime or even to throw a sufficient theoretical light on that special question. Since the above quotation thereupon unfortunately led to misunderstandings, and worse yet, to malicious distortions (“preparing for the civil peace in France”, renunciation of revolutionary defeatism, etc!), it is well to make up here for the previous neglect.

 

As to the basic principles of the revolutionary struggle against war and during it, considerations of space compel us to confine ourselves here to our theses on war,* which were adopted in May 1934 by the International Secretariat of our movement, have since formed one of the most important programmatic documents of Bolshevism, and acquire more topical importance with the passing of every day.

 

With regard to the specific question that interests us, comrade Trotsky, in the statement above, makes reference to the following points in the theses on war:

 

44. Remaining the determined and devoted defender of the workers’ state in the struggle with imperialism, the international proletariat will not, however, become an ally of the imperialist allies of the USSR. The proletariat of a capitalist country which finds itself in alliance with the USSR must retain fully and completely its irreconcilable hostility to the imperialist government of its own country. In this sense, its policy will not differ from that of the proletariat in a country fighting against the USSR. But in the nature of practical action considerable differences may arise, depending on the concrete war situation. For instance, it would be absurd and criminal in case of war between the USSR and Japan for the American proletariat to sabotage the sending of American munitions to the USSR. But the proletariat of a country fighting against the USSR would be absolutely obliged to resort to actions of this sort—strikes, sabotage, etc.

 

“45. Intransigent proletarian opposition to the imperialist aims of the given government, the treacherous character of this ‘alliance’, its speculation on capitalist overturn in the USSR, etc. The policy of a proletarian party in an ‘allied’ as well as in an enemy imperialist country should therefore be directed towards the revolutionary overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the seizure of power. Only in this way can a real alliance with the USSR be created and the first workers’ state be saved from disaster.” (p 21)

 

The wars of recent years did not represent a direct struggle between imperialist powers, but colonial expeditions (Italy-Abyssinia, Japan-China) and conflicts over spheres of influence (China, Chaco, and in a certain sense, also Spain), and therefore did not for the time being, degenerate into a world conflict. Hitler hopes to attack the USSR tomorrow just as Japan attacks China, i.e. to alter the imperialist relationship of forces without directly violating the essential interests of the other imperialisms and thereby temporarily to localise the conflict. These events, occurring since 1934, have clearly shown that the above-quoted theses on the attitude of the proletariat of imperialist countries are valid not only in an anti-Soviet war but in all wars in which it must take sides—and those are precisely the ones involved in recent years.

 

* * *

 

War is only the continuation of politics by other means. Hence the proletariat must continue its class struggle in wartime, among other things with the new means which the bourgeoisie hands him. It can and must utilise the weakening of its “own” bourgeoisie in the imperialist countries in order relentlessly to prepare and to carry out its social revolution in connection with the military defeat engendered by the war, and to seize the power. This tactic, known as revolutionary defeatism, is one of the strongest levers of the proletarian world revolution in our epoch, and therewith of historical progress.

 

Only, where the struggle is imperialistic only on one side, and a war of liberation of non-imperialist nations or of a socialist country against existing or threatening imperialist oppression on the other, as well as in civil wars between the classes or between democracy and fascism—the international proletariat cannot and should not apply the same tactic to both sides. Recognising the progressive character of this war of liberation it must fight decisively against the main enemy, reactionary imperialism (or else against the reactionary camp, in the case of a civil war), that is, fight for the victory of the socially (or politically) oppressed or about-to-be oppressed: USSR, colonial and semi-colonial countries like Abyssinia or China, or Republican Spain, etc.

 

Here too, however, it remains mindful of its irreconcilable class opposition to its “own” bourgeoisie—or its political opposition to the Soviet bureaucracy—and does not surrender without resistance any of its independent positions. As in the imperialist countries it strives with all its strength for the social revolution and the seizure of power, the establishment of its dictatorship, which, moreover, alone makes possible a sure and lasting victory over the imperialists. But in such cases, it cannot and does not, as in the imperialist camp, seek revolutionary victory at the cost of a military defeat but rather along the road of a military victory of his country.1

 

Class struggle and war are international phenomena, which are decided internationally. But since every struggle permits of but two camps (bloc against bloc) and since imperialistic fights intertwine with the class war (world imperialism—world proletariat), there arise manifold and complex cases. The bourgeoisie of the semi-colonial countries or the liberal bourgeoisie menaced by its “own” fascism, appeal for aid to the “friendly” imperialisms; the Soviet Union attempts, for example, to utilise the antagonisms between the imperialisms by concluding alliances with one group against another, etc. The proletariat of all countries, the only internationally solidary—and not least of all because of that, the only progressive—class, thereby finds itself in the complicated situation in wartime, especially in the new world war, of combining revolutionary defeatism towards his own bourgeoisie with support of progressive wars.

 

This situation is utilised with a vengeance right now and certainly will be tomorrow, by the social patriots of the social democratic, Stalinist or anarchist stripe, in order to have the proletarians permit themselves to be slaughtered for the profits of capital under the illusion of helping their brothers of the USSR, China and elsewhere. It serves the social traitors, furthermore, to depict the revolutionists not only as “betrayers of the fatherland” (just as they are now shouted down as agents of Franco). All the more reason why the proletariat, especially in the imperialist countries, requires, in this seemingly contradictory situation, a particularly clear understanding of these combined tasks and of the methods for fulfilling them.

 

In the application of revolutionary defeatism against the imperialist bourgeoisie and its state there can be no fundamental difference, regardless of whether the latter is “friendly” or hostile to the cause supported by the proletariat, whether it is in—treacherous—alliance with the allies of the proletariat (Stalin, the bourgeoisie of the semi-colonial counties, the colonial peoples, anti-fascist liberalism), or is conducting a war against them. The methods of revolutionary defeatism remain unaltered: revolutionary propaganda, irreconcilable opposition to the regime, the class struggle from its purely economic up to its highest political form (the armed uprising), fraternisation of the troops, transformation of the war into the civil war.

 

The international defense of the proletarian states, of the oppressed peoples fighting for their freedom, and the international support of the armed anti-fascist civil war must, however, naturally take on various forms in accordance with whether one’s “own” bourgeoisie stands on their side or combats them. Apart from the political preparation of the social revolution, whose rhythm and methods are in no way identical with those of war, this defense must naturally assume military forms. In addition to revolutionary support it consists, consequently, in military support of the progressive cause, as well as in the military damaging of its imperialist opponent.

 

The military support can naturally take on a decisive scope only where the proletariat itself has the levers of power and of economy in its hands (USSR, and to a certain extent, Spain in the summer of 1936). In the imperialist countries which are allied with the countries conducting progressive and revolutionary wars, it boils down to this: that the proletariat fights with revolutionary means for an effective, direct military support, controlled by it, of the progressive cause (“Airplanes for Spain!” cried the French workers). In any case, it must promote and control a really guaranteed direct military support (sending of arms, ammunition, food, specialists, etc), even at the cost of an “exception” from the direct class struggle.2 It will have to be left to the instinct and revolutionary perspicacity of the proletariat, which is well aware of its tasks, to make the right distinction in every concrete situation, to avoid injuring the military interests of the far-off ally of the proletariat out of narrow national class struggle considerations, no matter how revolutionary they seem, as well to avoid doing the dirty work for its “own” imperialism on the pretext of giving indirect aid to its allies. The only real and decisive aid that the workers can bring the latter is by seizing and holding the power.

 

It is otherwise—so far as the outward form of its struggle goes—with the proletariat of the imperialisms engaged in a direct struggle against the progressive cause. In addition to its struggle for the revolution, it is its duty to engage in military sabotage for the benefit of the “enemy”—the enemy of its bourgeoisie but its own ally. As a means of revolutionary defeatism in the struggle between imperialist countries, military sabotage, like individual terror, is completely worthless. Without replacing the social revolution, or even advancing it by a hair’s breadth, it would only help one imperialism against another, mislead the vanguard, sow illusions among the masses and thus facilitate the game of the imperialists.3 On the other hand, military sabotage is imperiously imposed as an immediate measure in defense of the camp that is fighting imperialism and is consequently progressive. As such, it is understood by the masses, welcomed and furthered. The defeat of one’s “own” country here becomes not a lesser evil that is taken into the bargain (a lesser evil than the “victory” bought by civil peace and the abandonment of the revolution), but the direct and immediate goal, the task of the proletarian struggle The defeat of one’s “own” country would, in this case, be no evil at all, or an evil much more easily taken into the bargain for it would signify the common victory of the people liberated from the existing or threatening imperialist yoke and of the proletariat of its enemy, over the common overlord—imperialist capital. Such a victory would be a powerful point of departure for the international proletarian revolution, not least of all in the “friendly” imperialist countries.4

 

Thus we see how different war situations require from the revolutionary proletariat of the various imperialist countries, if it wishes to remain true to itself and to its goal, different fighting forms, which may appear to schematic spirits to be “deviations” from the basic principle of revolutionary defeatism, but which result in reality only from the combination of revolutionary defeatism with the defense of certain progressive camps.

 

Moreover, from a higher historical standpoint these two tasks coincide: in our imperialist epoch, the national bourgeoisie of the non-imperialist countries—like the Soviet bureaucracy—because of its fear of the working class which is internationally matured for the socialist revolution and dictatorship, is not in a position to conduct an energetic struggle against imperialism. They do not dare to appeal to the forces of the proletariat and at a definite stage of the struggle they inevitably call upon imperialism for aid against their “own” proletariat. The complete national liberation of the colonial and semi-colonial countries from imperialist enslavement, and of the Soviet Union from the internal and external capitalist destruction and anarchy, the bourgeois democratic revolution, the defense from fascism—all these tasks can be solved, nationally and internationally, only by the proletariat. Their fulfilment grows naturally into the proletarian revolution. The coming world war will be the most titanic and murderous explosion in history, but because of that it will also burst all the traditional fetters and in its flames the revolutionary and liberation movements of the entire world will be fused into one glowing stream.

 

To present clearly, even now, to the proletariat the problems of the coming war and its combined tasks—this serious and difficult task is one of the most urgent of our day. The Bolshevik-Leninists alone have taken it upon themselves to arm the proletariat for its struggle and to create the instrument with which it will gain its future victories: the programme, the methods, the organisation of the Fourth International.

 

Brussels, December 1937

 

 

 

Notes

 

  1. We leave aside the case where wars between two non-imperialist countries are only or predominantly the masked combat between two foreign imperialisms—England and America in the Chaco war—or the case where the war of liberation of an oppressed nation is only a pawn in the hand of an imperialistic group and a mere part of a general imperialistic conflict—Serbia from 1914 to 1918.

 

  1. It may confidently be assumed that for the French bourgeoisie in wartime a strike of the Marseilles harbour workers, which makes an exception of war shipments to Russia in which it is least of all interested, would be particularly vexatious! No less nonsensical would it be, for example, in the course of a printers’ strike, not to allow the appearance of the labour papers which are needed for the strike struggle itself.

 

  1. Lenin wrote on 26 July 1915 (see Gegen den Strom) against Trotsky’s false slogan of “Neither victory nor defeat” and said polemically:

 

“And revolutionary actions during the war surely and undoubtedly signify not only the wish for its defeat but also an actual furtherance of such a defeat (for the ‘discerning’ reader: this by no means signifies that ‘bridges be blown up’, that abortive military strikes should be staged, and in general that the revolutionists should help bring about a defeat of the government).” (My emphasis—RK)

 

  1. Naturally military sabotage in favour of the non-imperialist opponent of one’s own bourgeoisie is not to be extended in favour of its imperialist ally. The German proletarians, for example, would seek to disorganise militarily the eastern front, to help Soviet Russia; for the western front, where a purely imperialist war would be raging between Germany and a France allied to the USSR, “only” the rule of defeatism would be valid—for the French proletariat as well as for the German.

 

 

 

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cropped-cropped-dokument-1-seite0016.jpgDialectics and Wars in the Present Period

 

Preface to Rudolf Klement’s Principles and Tactics in War

 

By Michael Pröbsting, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), June 2017, www.thecommunists.net

 

 

Note of the Editorial Board: Read Rudolf Klement’s article here.

 

 

Below we reprint an article written by Rudolf Klement, one of Trotsky’s secretaries, who was at the time of its writing a member of the International Secretariat (IS) of the Movement for the Fourth International. Before we give some additional information on the background of this article, we would like to present some thoughts on the importance of this document.

 

Klement’s article is particularly valuable because it demonstrates a dialectical approach to the issue of war between states and classes. As the RCIT has discussed repeatedly, with the decay of capitalism, the resulting brutal offensive of the ruling classes and imperialist powers, as well as the accelerating rivalry between the Great Powers, have all led to a dramatic increase of democratic and national liberation struggles in addition to conflicts between various states.

 

On such a backdrop it is hardly surprising that the vanguard of the working class and the oppressed is increasingly faced with contradictory conditions. In addition to conflicts between two or more Great Powers, armed confrontation can also break out between different non-imperialist states in which both sides serve as the proxy of a Great Power. However, it is equally possible that only one side in such a conflict plays the role of a proxy while the other assumes a more independent position. Such conflicts between non-imperialist states can also involve one side attacking another because the latter supports democratic rights or a just war of liberation. Qatar’s being attacked by the Saudi-led bloc – encouraged to do so, in fact, by Trump– is a current example of this last case. (1)

 

The continuing Syrian Revolution – a legitimate democratic liberation struggle against the brutal tyranny of the Assad regime – is yet another relevant case. Here, on one side, is the Assad regime which receives massive support from Russian imperialism along with that given it by the Iranian regime. On the other hand, in Syria there is a heterogeneous mixture of secular and Islamist petty-bourgeois organizations, a number of which receive, to varying degrees, support from other states (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the US, etc.). (2)

 

The ongoing war in Yemen is another example of such a complex situation: In this case there is a just war of defense led by the petty-bourgeois Islamist Houthis, backed by Iran, against a Saudi-led coalition, which tacit support by Western imperialism. (3)

 

In the context of this introductory discussion, it behooves us to contemplate yet another entirely possible scenario: If, in the near future, US imperialism launches a war against North Korea, a small Stalinist bureaucratic workers’ state, the latter will most assuredly be supported by the emerging imperialist power China. (4) In such a situation, the RCIT would defend North Korea against the US, regardless of China’s support for Pyongyang.

 

By contrast, in situations like the civil war in Donbass in eastern Ukraine, in the autumn of 2014 a once legitimate popular uprising against the reactionary, pro-Western coup in Kiev was transformed into a proxy war between Western and Russian imperialism, thereby leading us to switch to a neutral position, where we had previously supported the Donbass rebels. (5)

 

In this brief introduction, we don’t intend to elaborate in detail our positions on these or similar conflicts, but rather refer readers to the numerous documents which wse have published in the past. For now, we only wish to draw attention to an extremely important theoretical problem: What stand should revolutionaries take in conflicts in which imperialist or reactionary forces intervene, in one way or other, on both sides?

 

Unfortunately many socialists answer this question in a mechanistic, simplistic way, automatically concluding that, because of the interference of imperialist and or reactionary forces on both sides, they are best advised to take a neutral position. While such a conclusion may be both correct and applicable in a number of cases (as our changed position on Donbass cited above illustrates) it can also be incorrect in other cases. As we have elaborated elsewhere in more detail, revolutionaries have to take into account the origin, history and driving factors (as well as secondary) of any given conflict, as well as the class nature of the different camps. (6)

 

If this is not done, Marxist analysis and the revolutionary art of elaborating tactics would be reduced to a mere tallying of pluses and minuses. However, in fact, reality is a “concrete totality, a unity of the universal and the particular” – to use the words of the distinguished Soviet philosopher of the 1920s, Abram Deborin. (7)

 

Hence, Marxists are obliged to undertake a concrete and dialectical study of any given conflict and to take into account all factors and their interrelationships. Hegel once noted in his Science of Logic that the universal must not be understood as a merely abstract but “as the universal which embraces within itself the wealth of the particular.” (8) This is why a conflict or war has to be studied in all its aspects, with the general, fundamental, as well as its secondary, particular, characteristics. Such an approach must follow Lenin’s dialectical method to study a thing or a process „from appearance to essence and from less profound to more profound essence.“ (9)

 

Those socialists who always take a neutral, abstentionist position in such complex conflicts and wars, mistakenly believe that such a line will ensure that they defend the independence of the working class. However, in fact, they only defend the working class’ independence from reality by preventing it from advancing its own interests by participating in the concrete struggles between the social forces.

 

In contrast to such abstentionists, Marxists have to study concretely a given conflict or war and derive the appropriate tactics from it. Without such an approach Marxism is reduced to a sample of abstract truisms and a tactical passivity of waiting on the sidelines for better times, while in realty millions of workers and oppressed are fighting for their democratic and social rights against the ruling classes.

 

In conclusion, we repeat what we already stated some years ago: “It is true that imperialist powers have historically tried to utilize democratic struggles for their own ends and interfere in them. Such interference must be opposed by Marxist forces. But as Lenin said, in the epoch of imperialism the big powers will always try to interfere and utilize national and democratic conflicts. However, this fact should not lead Marxists to automatically adopt a defeatist instead of a revolutionary-defensist position in such conflicts. Rather, the position taken by Marxists should depend on which factor becomes dominant – the national, democratic liberation struggle or the imperialist war of conquest.” (10)

 

 

 

Footnotes:

 

(1) See on this Michael Pröbsting: Qatar-Gulf Crisis: Another Offensive of the Arab Counter-Revolution, 10 June 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/qatar-gulf-crisis/

 

(2) The RCIT has published numerous documents on the Syrian Revolution which can be viewed on the Africa and Middle East section of our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/. Our most important recent documents on this issue are:

 

RCIT: Syria: Condemn the Reactionary Astana Deal! The so-called “De-Escalation Zones” are a First Step towards the Partition of Syria and a Conspiracy by the Great Powers to Defeat the Revolution, 7 May 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/astana-deal/

 

Michael Pröbsting: Is the Syrian Revolution at its End? Is Third Camp Abstentionism Justified? An essay on the organs of popular power in the liberated area of Syria, on the character of the different sectors of the Syrian rebels, and on the failure of those leftists who deserted the Syrian Revolution, 5 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/syrian-revolution-not-dead/

 

Yossi Schwartz: Raqqa: Defeat the US Imperialist Offensive! An assessment of the US/SDF/YPG war against Daesh, April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/us-offensive-in-raqqa/

 

RCIT: Defeat the Imperialist Invasion in Syria – Victory to the Revolution! Down with the American and Russian interventions! No to the imperialist plan to divide Syria! Down with the butcher Assad and his imperialist allies! 13.03.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/imperialist-invasion-in-syria/

 

(3) For the RCIT’s analysis of the Yemeni Revolution we refer readers to:

 

RCIT: Yemen: Condemn the Massacre in Sana’a! Down with the Al-Saud Gang of Aggressors! 11.10.2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/yemen-massacre/

 

RCIT: Greetings to the Yemeni ‘Socialists against Aggression’, 15 July 2016, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/greetings-to-yemeni-socialists/

 

RCIT: Revolution and Counterrevolution in the Arab World: An Acid Test for Revolutionaries, 31 May 2015, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 36, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/theses-arab-revolution/

 

RCIT: Yemen: The al-Hadi Puppet Government Calls for an Imperialist Invasion!  Victory to Yemen! Defeat the Al-Saud Gang of Aggressors! 8.5.2015, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 36, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/assault-on-yemen/

 

Yossi Schwartz: The War in Yemen, Iran and US-Imperialism, 20.4.2015, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 35, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/yemen-war-us-and-iran/

 

RCIT: Defend Yemen against the Al-Saud Gang of Aggressors! No to Sectarian Divisions and Civil War! For a Workers’ and Popular Government! Joint Statement of the International Secretariat of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and the RCIT Yemen, 3.4.2015, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 34, www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/saudi-aggression-vs-yemen/

 

Mohammed Al Wazeer: Yemen Under Attack, RCIT Yemen, 15.4.2015, www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/yemen-under-attack

 

RCIT: Yemen: Down with the Price Hikes! For a “Second Revolution” to Establish a Workers and Fallahin Government! 3.9.2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 27, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/yemen-uprising/

 

Yemen: The Mass Protests continue, Report from a Yemeni Supporter of the RCIT, 4.9.2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 27, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/yemen-report-4-9-2014/

 

(4) For the RCIT’s analysis of the conflict on the Korean peninsula we refer readers to:

 

RCIT: North Korea: Stop the War Mongering of US Imperialism! Down with the imperialist sanctions against North Korea! No political support for the Stalinist Kim Regime! 4 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/us-aggression-vs-north-korea/

 

RCIT: New Imperialist Threats in East Asia: Hands off North Korea! 12.3.2013, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/defend-north-korea/

 

RCIT: No War against North Korea! Call for Protests on the Day when a War starts! 6.4.2013, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/no-war-against-north-korea/

 

(5) For the RCIT’s analysis of the civil war in the eastern Ukraine we refer readers to:

 

Michael Pröbsting: The Minsk Agreement and the Civil War in the Ukraine, 20.2.2015, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/minsk-agreement/

 

Michael Pröbsting: The Uprising in East Ukraine and Russian Imperialism. An Analysis of Recent Developments in the Ukrainian Civil War and their Consequences for Revolutionary Tactics, 22.October 2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/ukraine-and-russian-imperialism/

 

RCIT: After the Fascist Pogrom in Odessa: Advance the Struggle against the Counterrevolution in the Ukraine! Commemoration for the Fallen Fighters in the Struggle against the Counterrevolution! All Out for the International Day of Antifascist Solidarity on 8 May! 6.5.2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 23, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/after-odessa-pogrom/

 

RCIT: Counterrevolution and Mass Resistance in the Ukraine, 17.4.2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 22, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/mass-resistance-in-ukraine/

 

Joint Statement of the RCIT and the Movement to Socialism (MAS, Russia): Ukraine: Rivalry between Imperialist Powers escalates after Right-Wing Coup: Stop the Imperialist Saber-Rattling! 2.3.2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 21, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/ukraine-war-threats/

 

MAS: Ukraine/Russia: The victory over the imperialist colonialism is impossible without the proletarian revolution! in: Revolutionary Communism No. 21, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/mas-declaration-5-3-2014/

 

RCIT and MAS: Right-Wing Forces Take Power in the Ukraine: Mobilize the Working Class against the New Government! 25.2.2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 19, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/right-wing-coup-in-ukraine/

 

MAS: No to the Terror of the Bandera-Fascists! Stop the Repression against the Communists of Ukraine! 22.2.2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 19, http://www.nuevomas.blogspot.co.at/2014/02/no-to-terror-of-bandera-fascists-stop.html

 

RCIT: “Ukraine: Neither Brussels nor Moscow! For an independent Workers’ Republic!” 18.12.2013, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 18, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/ukraine-neither-brussels-nor-moscow/

 

(6) Michael Pröbsting: Liberation Struggles and Imperialist Interference. The failure of sectarian “anti-imperialism” in the West: Some general considerations from the Marxist point of view and the example of the democratic revolution in Libya in 2011”, in: RCIT: Revolutionary Communism, No. 5; http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/liberation-struggle-and-imperialism

 

(7) Abram Deborin: Lenin als revolutionärer Dialektiker (1925); in: Nikolai Bucharin/Abram Deborin: Kontroversen über dialektischen und mechanistischen Materialismus, Frankfurt a.M. 1974, p. 125 (out translation)

 

(8) Georg F. Hegel: Science of Logic, Prometheus Books, New York 1969, p. 58

 

(9) V.I. Lenin: Conspectus of Hegel’s Book The Science Of Logic. Section Three: The Idea (1914); in: LCW 38, p.221

 

(10) Michael Pröbsting: Liberation Struggles and Imperialist Interference

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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cropped-cropped-dokument-1-seite0016.jpgBritain: Grenfell Tower Fire: When a Poor Man’s Life Isn’t Worth £8

 

Fight back against the terror of the rich over the poor!

 

Article by Almedina Gunić, Revolutionary-Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 18.06.2017, www.thecommunists.net

 

 

 

The number of dead from the Grenfell Tower fire is continually rising and will most likely reach more than 100. This was no simple accident or tragedy. We’re not talking about some everyday local news item which is covered by a short article and which is already forgotten while we’re still reading it. In the case of the Grenfell Tower fire, we are talking about a tragedy that, beyond its terrible reality, is also symbolic of something that shapes the life of our entire society: The oppression of us, the working class.

 

Read the articles about the reasons for the Grenfell Tower fire. Read the explanations why, outrageously, highly flammable material was used during the building’s refurbishment instead of investing £2 more per square meter for safe, inflammable material. Calculate that we’re talking about £5,000 of extra cost that wasn’t invested in a building housing 600 people, an expense that would have come to a little bit more than £8 per person (1). Read the statements of the fire fighters who warned, years ago, about the building’s being unsafe as it had no working fire alarms and no sprinklers, infractions that were repeatedly ignored by officials. Examine the map of Kensington and Chelsea and locate where the most and the least deprived parts are, and you will discover that Grenfell Tower is situated in the poorest area not only of London but of the entire country. Last but not least, if you live too far away to speak personally with the poor people living in the area in the vicinity of the Grenfell Tower, then watch the videos of them on the internet, read their comments, listen to the interviews with them. They know why this happened to them or to their neighbours and why it would never have happened just few kilometres away in the wealthy areas of South Kensington and Chelsea. This, they know, is because of class differences. In the eyes of the wealthy classes, the poor man’s life is not worth another £8.

 

Cosmetic improvements instead of concerns for safety

 

The non-fire resistant cladding of the Grenfell Tower was obviously used when refurbishing the building to make it look less shabby for the wealthier elements in Kensington. Besides the suspicion that the cladding of the tower was used illegally, its use shows the priorities of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council and the company with which it worked, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO).

 

The Grenfell Action Group, a local initiative that has been struggling for many years to improve the workers’ living standards wrote: „In May 2013 a serious electrical fault causing multiple power surges at Grenfell Tower posed a major fire risk to residents many of whom witnessed smoke coming from light fittings and other electrical appliances, some of which actually exploded.“ (2)

 

Instead of investing the £10m refurbishment budget allocated to upgrading the building’s clearly deficient safety standards, it was spent on superficial, cosmetic repairs to make the tower look better from outside and to create the illusion of improvement. To economize, the work on the infrastructure of the building was of very poor quality. The building firm Leadbitter made a bid to improve insulation and replace the defective heating and water system, but the price set for this offer was £11.27 million, which was £1.6 million over the allocated budget. Instead, the KCTMO accepted the bid made by Rydon Ltd. to do the job for £8.7 million, which ultimately involved fitting boilers in the middle of hallways, laying exposed pipes across carpets of residents, and so on. (3)

 

They want to get rid of the poor

 

The poor people in North Kensington are a hindrance for the prosperous wealthy areas which are in the process of systematically expanding throughout Kensington. The capitalists who are investing in Kensington real estate are doing their best to get rid of the working class character of the area, i.e., they want to get rid of the poor people currently living in the northern part of the borough. Real estate prices in North Kensington have increased since last year by a staggering 17.93% (4), more than double the average increase of 7% for all of London. (5) Social benefits for public, local projects have been cut, with the result being that the number of private structures has increased, despite many local initiatives having been launched to save public housing. As the Labour MP Emma Dent Coad summed up: „There are groups supporting the community stables (hanging on), the sports centre (partially privatised), the nursery (closed), the construction training centre (closed), the day centre for people with dementia (closed), Citizens Advice bureau (relocated), Acklam Village community space (under review) and, not least, a group dedicated to tackling the vile and toxic air pollution that kills more than 80 people a year in the borough and causes the early onset of dementia.“ (6)

 

However, the heroic, hard work of local proletarian initiatives to improve the living standard of the working class in the area, instead of reaping rewards, turns out to be like the task of Sisyphus battling against the will of the rich gods. These proletarian initiatives are doing their utmost to stop the social cleansing of the workers and poor that is taking place in Kensington. As one resident, Peaky Saku, put it in a BBC live interview: „They want more reasons to knock these blocks down. There is two options: Regenerate the blocks or they can knock them down. And after that I am not so sure that this (the fire) was totally an accident. (…) The way they don’t want us here, that there’s rich man’s block over there (…) these fires have never happened before.“ (7)

 

The rich, anti-social behaviour and capitalism

 

This is the law of evolution written by capitalism. It is not the survival of the fittest as Darwin proclaimed; it is the survival of the richest. And the richest don’t need to fit in as they can buy themselves into everything.

 

Their social behaviour is not one that fits into the needs of humanity. “We have now done 12 separate studies measuring empathy in every way imaginable, social behavior in every way, and some work on compassion and it’s the same story,” the social scientist Dacher Keltner said, “Lower class people just show more empathy, more prosocial behavior, more compassion, no matter how you look at it.” (8)

 

Otherwise it would not be the case that unintelligent children with a wealthy background are 35% more likely to earn more money in later life than extraordinarily intelligent children from among the poor. (9) Similarly, it would not be that the average working household is £345 a year worse off than before the capitalist crisis started in 2008 (10), with the poor being 57% poorer than before and the rich being 64% richer (sic!) than previously. (11)

 

The mentality of the super-rich who are cleaning their shoes with a £50 note to remove the „peasant dirt“ (not a cliché but something that is really happening! (12)) is much more representative of the reality of the capitalist class than what they generally want to admit in public. In Kensington they don’t just remove the „peasant dirt“ from their shoes, but are obviously doing their best to remove the cause of the „peasant dirt,“ i.e., the working class people from Kensington as such. No wonder that the Grenfell Tower fire triggered protests of outrage by the working class.

 

Protestors and politicians

 

Theresa May has proved completely inept in this situation as she hid from the tenants and their working class neighbours, and instead praised the few policemen who used their riot equipment to support the fire-fighters. It is typical that her sympathies go with the repression apparatus and its weapons, even though, atypically in this case, the police violence was used to defend the heroic fire fighters instead of their normal brutally beating down of protestors. May is the authentic public face of the Tories who are arch enemies of the working class and who are working overtime to play at the empathy game with the victims of the fire. No wonder she didn’t show up at the scene of the fire — she would have been attacked by the protestors within seconds.

 

Work for the Labour Party is much simpler, as its ambiguous nature as a bourgeois workers’ party helps their officials to a certain degree to relate to the Kensington workers and poor. Jeremy Corbyn arrived after one hour in North Kensington to talk with people there. He criticized the local council for not using the unoccupied houses of the rich in Kensington to provide the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire with shelter in the same area. Corbyn also backs the demands of the Grenfell Action Group and the Radical Housing Network to have public investigations of the causes of the fire. (13)

 

As a result, the Labour leader’s general political agenda is viewed as radical and socialist by many of his enemies who hysterically warn against a Corbyn-led government: „The Labour Party and the country need rescuing from his dangerous campaign!“ (14)

 

Indeed the progressive ideas in his agenda, like the nationalisation of the railways and the energy sector, Britain’s leaving NATO and the Trident (nuclear weapons) programme, the building of one million homes and others justify critically supporting him in the elections and against the Blairites in the Labour Party. (15) However, we should not forget that we most likely lost more than 100 of our class brothers and sisters in the Grenfell Tower fire because of the system Corbyn, at the end of the day, supports. Not to speak of the untold millions of dead class brothers and sisters who have lost their lives as a result of the crimes of capitalism.

 

Kill the rabid wolf

 

This is a war against us and our lives that has been going on since the 18th century, since the very beginning of capitalism. In this class war we are losing our health and, in the end, our lives and the lives of our loved ones. The location, type and quality of our dwelling places are just one front in this war. According to statistics, disease and injuries (all of them avoidable) caused by poor housing cost the NHS at least £600m per year (16) and 3.8 million workers are in poverty because of high rental housing costs. (17) Studies show that the bedroom tax led to „increased poverty and had broad-ranging adverse effects on health, wellbeing and social relationships“. (18)

 

When we were kids, it was fun to play „Which animal do you see?“ as we looked at the black mould on the walls of the tiny bedroom the three of us shared with our parents. Respiratory illness was the less funny part of the mould game. As adults, we witnessed the painful death of our class brothers and sisters in the Grenfell tower fire and become angry as hell. No wonder, protestors stormed the Kensington town hall to confront the RBKC council, chanting „No justice, no peace!“ Which brings us exactly to the point: There is no justice and there should not be any peace until we end this war being waged by our rulers against us by overthrowing them!

 

It is like a rabid wolf attacking a village, killing most of the villagers. The Tories and Theresa May are the owners of the wolf, and enjoy watching him attacking the village and say „Sorry, folks! We hadn’t planned it this way.“ The left wing of Labour headed by Jeremy Corbyn is merely trying to become the new owners of the rabid wolf, and their plan is to hypnotize the beast and to transform it into a calm, healthy and happy bunny rabbit. But somehow, this just won’t work out.

 

The wealthy wolf

 

For more than a century, Social Democrats are trying to convince our class to come to an arrangement with the oppressors. South Kensington’s Labour MP, Emma Dent Coad, uses this tack when she says:

 

South Kensington has stepped up for North Kensington with donations, love and expert help. Kensington has come together to grieve and to help and to show it cares. This is a huge first step and over the next weeks, months and years we will work together, with honesty and transparency, to address and resolve the issues around the horrendous and frightening event that has revealed Kensington’s true face.“ (19)

 

What is true is that many of the people from the wealthy areas of Kensington offered their help, donated money and even worked as volunteers during the days since the fire. But at the end of the day, they don’t go back to shabby houses and have to struggle to meet the basic needs of life. At the end of the day, they need nearly a hundred dead around the corner to bring them to the notion that they should somehow help their poor neighbours. But this is cynical hypocrisy, because the affluent of Kensington, like the well off everywhere, live with poorness in front of their eyes every single day and consistently ignore it. Not because they were born bad but because they were born well-off.

 

If the median annual income in Kensington is over £100,000 (20), why don’t the “enlightened” prosperous of Kensington, those who felt so moved to help following the fire, voluntarily cut down their own standard of living to a more moderate one and donate the rest to the poor families? For a couple with two children who are among those living within the lowest 10% of UK incomes, the average annual income is only £19,700. (21) In other words, the median income of a Kensington household is equivalent to that of 5 poor families in UK.

 

The answer why the rich and well-off don’t share their wealth with us is that they are not wealthy despite our being poor – they are wealthy because we are poor. Their wealth is not a gift of fate. The profits of companies and multinational cooperation are stolen money from us, the workers. The way those companies and multinational corporations generate profits must, by necessity, harm our health, our lives and the nature in which we all live in. Not only in case of the murderous profit-thought which killed our brothers and sisters in the Grenfell Tower fire, but in all areas of our lives as working class persons.

 

A side-note on the Grenfell Tower fire and the Daesh terror attacks

 

Finally, let us note that the Grenfell Tower fire cost about as many lives as the combined number of all victims of all so-called Islamist terrorist attacks in Britain since 2005 (92 dead). (22) But while the ruling class whipped up public hysteria about the danger of “Islamist extremism,” they didn’t give a damn about the deteriorating living conditions of the working class and the accompanying danger to our lives!

 

Naturally, this does not diminish the vile, reactionary nature of the terrorist attacks by Daesh against innocent civilians. (23) But it is revealing that such terrorist attacks are exploited by the ruling class in order to drum up hatred against Muslims and to invest many millions of pounds in expanding the domestic repression apparatus, including increasing the surveillance of the people. Compare these sums to what they are doing now! How much money will they now invest, after the Grenfell Tower fire, in better and safer housing?! How much will they actually and effectively increase the regulation of all the companies involved in construction and public safety?!

 

Fight back the rich people’s terror

 

The anger and the hate against all of those people who are directly or indirectly responsible for the cruel death of our brothers and sisters in the Grenfell Tower fire is exploding, as the protests in its wake have demonstrated. This is a very important step towards ending such tragedies for good, but it is only a very small first step on the path of doing so.

 

Those guilty for the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire must be held accountable. Let us fight for:

 

* Immediate public investigations organized and led by local structures of the working class in Kensington like the Grenfell Action Group, the Radical Housing Network and others and with the participation of the fire fighters union! These public investigations should be conducted together with the victims of the fire and their families and friends!

 

* For a tribunal of the workers and poor of Kensington, including the victims of the fire, to decide on the punishment for those guilty and the compensation for the victims!

 

* Open the books of KCTMO and all the companies that have worked with it in the past and present — their bookkeeping ledgers, bank accounts, tax returns, etc. — to the public investigation organs and the tribunal of the workers and poor of Kensington! There must be an end to their “business secrets”!

 

* Investigation of each and every tower building and other project initiated by KCTMO by the fire fighters of Kensington and local action groups of the workers and the poor to prevent another tragedy. Every measure that the fire fighters and local action groups demand for the security and the health of the tenants of each building run by KCTMO must be met immediately and completely!

 

* All unoccupied houses in Kensington and Chelsea must be opened for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, as well as for the homeless and the poor who are living in overcrowded, unhealthful flats and houses! Why should those houses be unoccupied for the profit of the speculators and landlords while people lack an intact and healthful home?!

 

* Stop the closure of fire stations! Re-open modernized fire stations (including those, which were closed during the last years) and massively increase the number of firefighters and pay them a higher wage for the heroic job they are doing!

 

* Social Housing is not a privilege that can be taken away – it is rather a basic human right that we fight for! For the expropriation of the wealthy landlords and the housing companies to organize a decent living standard for all!

 

* Immediately end the bedroom tax and every other housing law that harms the poor! For public control of rent, organized by local, regional and nationwide organs of the workers and the poor!

 

* Massive investment in all public structures that the workers and poor of Kensington and Chelsea demand, including nurseries, sports centres, schools, etc. This should be financed by the expropriation of the super-rich of Kensington and Chelsea and by a massive increase in taxes for the rich! Why should we continue to tolerate that the average annual income in Kensington is over £100,000 while the workers and poor in Kensington are crowded in small and shabby flats and can’t afford enough food and medicine?

 

Activists inside as well as outside the Labour Party, in the trade unions and in local initiatives, should fight for such a program aimed at a massive improvement in housing conditions all over the country. We urge all Labour MPs, including Jeremy Corbyn and Emma Dent Coad, to support all of these demands, to fight for their implementation and to express solidarity with and participate in the people’s protest actions. You say that you are willing to fight for the interests of the poor. Now prove it! Of course, these steps need to be taken even if Corbyn is not willing to take them.

 

The storming of the Kensington town hall showed the militant spirit of the workers and poor. We need a mass movement throughout the entire country for the massive improvement of the housing conditions, paid for by the rich. It is urgent that we organize local people’s assemblies in all working class and poor estates nationwide and bring together all local housing initiatives. These assemblies should elect delegates and hold a national conference in order to build a national housing movement that will fight for our rights.

 

Activists must fight inside the trade unions and local initiatives as well as inside the Labour Party for official support and the active participation of their organizations for such movements.

 

All class-conscious activists inside Labour should put pressure on their MPs to prove in deeds their solidarity and loyalty towards the poor in Kensington. The Blairites and their friends in Labour will do whatever they can to stop such a consistent proletarian politic. Every class-conscious activist inside Labour should fight for the expulsion of the Blairite party apparatus from Labour.

 

Whatever the concrete steps now taken, it is clear that we need a new workers’ party that authentically fights for the interests of the working class and the poor, not only in Kensington or London but throughout all of Britain. We believe that such a new workers’ party should be based on a revolutionary program. We need to kill the rabid wolf. We need to smash capitalism via a socialist revolution!

 

 

 

Footnotes:

 

(1) The chronicle of a tragedy foretold: Grenfell Tower, by Jamie Doward, The Guardian, 17 June 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/17/grenfell-tower-government-councils-fire-safety

 

(2) The Grenfell Action Group Blog, https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/

 

(3) Grenfell Tower refurbishment used cheaper cladding and tenants accused builders of shoddy workmanship, by Sarah Knapton, The Telegraph, 16 June 2017, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/16/grenfell-tower-refurbishment-used-cheaper-cladding-tenants-accused/

 

(4) Foxtons Market Trends, North Kensington, How is the North Kensington property market performing? https://www.foxtons.co.uk/living-in/north-kensington/

 

(5) London Housing Market Report, updated March 2015, https://data.london.gov.uk/housingmarket/

 

(6) For years, I’ve seen Kensington’s poor treated with disdain, by Emma Dent Coad, The Guardian, 18 June 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/17/for-years-ive-seen-kensington-poor-treated-with-disdain

 

(7) Grenfell Tower resident Peaky Saku told BBC Victoria Derbyshire his thoughts on the fire that engulfed the West London tower block on Tuesday 14 June: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buV929MqlWc

 

(8) Social Class as Culture: The Convergence of Resources and Rank in the Social Realm, Article (PDF Available) in Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20(4):246-250, August 2011, https://www.researchgate.net/journal/0963-7214_Current_Directions_in_Psychological_Science

 

(9) The triumph of Tim Nice But Dim: Posh but stupid children end up earning more than the poor-but-gifted, by Thomas Burrows for Mail-Online and Eleanor Harding, Education Correspondent For The Daily Mail, 26 July 2015, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3174961/The-Triumph-Tim-Nice-Dim-Report-says-posh-stupid-children-end-earning-poor-gifted.html

 

(10) UK inequality narrows but many working people are worse off, by Phillip Inman, The Guardian, 10 January 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jan/10/uk-inequality-working-people-pensions-ons

 

(11) Britain’s divided decade: the rich are 64% richer than before the recession, while the poor are 57% poorer, by Nigel Morris, INDEPENDANT, 10 March 2015 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/britains-divided-decade-the-rich-are-64-richer-than-before-the-recession-while-the-poor-are-57-10097038.html

 

(12) MILLIONAIRE-HEADS Rich Kids of London spark fury by flushing a Rolex, using champagne as a door stop and wiping ‘peasant’ dirt off their shoes with £50 notes, by Sarah Barns, 19 September 2016, https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/1811057/rich-kids-of-london-flush-away-a-rolex-use-champagne-as-a-door-stop-and-wipe-their-shoes-with-50-notes/

 

(13) The Radical Housing Network, http://radicalhousingnetwork.org/

 

(14) Jeremy Corbyn must be stopped, by Telegraph View, 22 August 2015, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/11817162/Jeremy-Corbyn-must-be-stopped.html

 

(15) See on this RCIT Britain: Britain: Elections are a disaster for Theresa May and the capitalists! Now is the time to strike! Bring down this weak and discredited minority Tory coalition! 14 June 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/uk-elections-disaster-for-may/; RCIT Britain: UK General Election 8. June 2017: Vote for Labour – but organize the resistance! Critical electoral support for Jeremy Corbyn on an anti-war and anti-austerity program! For a constituent assembly, peoples assemblies and action committees to fight for a real workers government! 25.04.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/uk-general-election-6-2017/

 

(16) The three housing problems that most affect your health, by Jake Eliot, The Guardian, 8 August 2014, https://www.theguardian.com/society-professionals/2014/aug/08/housing-problems-affect-health

 

(17) Housing crisis ‘creates in-work poverty’, by Kevin Peachey, BBC, 7 December 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/business-38219881

 

(18) Tenants hit by bedroom tax suffer range of health problems, study shows, by Patrick Butler, The Guardian, 16 March 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/mar/16/tenants-hit-by-bedroom-tax-suffer-range-of-health-problems-study-shows

 

(19) For years, I’ve seen Kensington’s poor treated with disdain, by Emma Dent Coad, The Guardian, 18 June 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/17/for-years-ive-seen-kensington-poor-treated-with-disdain

 

(20) Income in wealthiest area tops £100,000, The Telegraph, 24 August 2007, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1561185/Income-in-wealthiest-area-tops-100000.html

 

(21) UK incomes: how does your salary compare?, by Patrick Collinson, The Guardian, 25 March 2014, https://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/mar/25/uk-incomes-how-salary-compare

 

(22) See Wikipedia: List of terrorist incidents in Great Britain, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents_in_Great_Britain

 

(23) See on this RCIT Britain: Second Terror Attack Comes to Britain, 5th June 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/london-attack/; RCIT Britain: Britain: Terror Comes To Manchester – War Comes Home, 23.05.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/manchester-terror/

 

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cropped-cropped-dokument-1-seite0015.jpgBritain: Elections are a disaster for Theresa May and the capitalists!

Now is the time to strike! Bring down this weak and discredited minority Tory coalition!

 

Statement of the RCIT Britain, 14 June 2017, www.thecommunists.net

 

 

 

The British general election of 8th June produced not the overall victory for May and the Tory government that they hoped for. May who called the elections in the hope of pushing through a hard Brexit which was aimed directly against working-class interests, hoping to politically destroy Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party has made a grave-mistake – she failed to get a majority in the parliament! The British ruling class is now in deep crisis.

 

Furthermore the results show that the right-wing-populist UKIP has been wiped off the political map. We have already seen a disastrous result for UKIP during the local elections last month as well as the fact that they have continuously been losing ground since autumn 2016. The collapse of the far right-wing UKIP saved the Tories at the general elections as the overwhelming amount of former UKIP voters swung to the Tories. It is the concrete policy of Theresa May with her aggressive approach against immigrants, her determination to cut ties with the EU by a hard-Brexit strategy, her anti-liberal sentiment that attracted UKIP voters to come back to their rightful home i.e. the Conservative party.

 

The Scottish Nationalists did badly losing seats to the Tories as well as Labour. Nicola Sturgeon’s call for a second referendum on independence did not go down well with voters. Beside the harsh alienation of the Scottish Labour Party bureaucrats against Corbyn caused many working class voters who supported SNP until now to return again to Labour because of Corbyn. The more nationalist sectors who are in favour of the Brexit support the Tories and the hard-liner May (we shouldn’t forget that a third of the SNP voters backed Brexit).

 

The tactic of the Tories to push for new elections was obviously based on the hope to win more seats by the sympathy of Brexit supporters of various political backgrounds for the hard-liner May. However the result is a loss of 13 seats and a massive gain for Labour led by Corbyn gaining 30 seats.

 

Hence “Britain has a hung parliament, with no party holding an absolute majority in the House of Commons. After 650 results out of 650 in the snap General Election the state of the parties is:

 

Con: 318 Lab: 262 SNP: 35 Ukip: 0 LD: 12 Others: 23 (326 needed for a majority)

 

Theresa May has said she intends to form a government, with the support of the DUP (the North Irish loyalist party), and guide the country through Brexit talks.

 

Jeremy Corbyn called on Mrs May to resign and said the Conservatives should stand aside for a Labour minority government”. [1]

 

May has cobbled a coalition together with the extremely reactionary Democratic Unionist Party led by Arlene Foster from Northern Ireland. It is doubtful whether the May Government will last long and it is a probable chance that new elections will have to be called.

 

“An online petition demanding that the Conservatives scrap plans to form a government with DUP support, gained nearly 300,000 signatures in just 12 hours. Signed by 278,843 people at the time of writing, it also calls for Theresa May to resign after she lost her parliamentary majority. Speaking outside No 10 after the result became clear, the prime minister said she would seek to form a minority government with a “confidence and supply” agreement with the Northern Irish party”. [2]

 

Although Corbyn and the Labour Party failed to win more votes than the Tories he is the political victor in this election. His anti-austerity and anti-war campaign found resonance among large sections of young and working people who despise the Tories because of their austerity policies, including zero hour contracts, privatisation of the NHS, food banks, cuts in social care and welfare benefits as well as for their racism and chauvinism towards migrants and their families.

 

The Blairites have been keeping their heads down and have made no comment on how close Corbyn came to being elected Prime Minister and forming a minority Labour government. At the moment they are keeping their powder dry and waiting for an opportunity to attack and eventually remove him as leader. They are bitterly disappointed that Corbyn did so well and confused about the outcome of the elections. Even though the Blairites managed to win the support of the Scottish Labour Party which goes so far that the SNP even tried to convince Corbyn supporters in Scotland to vote rather for the SNP than for Labour if they want Corbyn to have a chance their open war against the popular demands of Corbyn harmed them a lot. Furthermore it has not been helpful for the Blairites that Jon Cruddas explained the growing support for Corbyn inside Labour with strange conspiracy theories about a “Trotskyist invasion” of Labour led by Corbyn. The arch war criminal Tony Blair has had nothing to say since the result of the general election.

 

Michael Roberts a Marxist economist made this comment on his blog about the effect on British capital and their jitters at a weak conservative government. “The UK election result is a personal disaster for the Conservative leader Theresa May. She called the snap election to get a big majority and crush the opposition Labour party and its left-wing leadership. But instead the Conservatives lost seats and its majority in parliament and Labour under leftist Jeremy Corbyn increased its share of the vote dramatically after a vigorous campaign. The turnout was 69%, the highest since 1997, when the figure was 71.4 per cent. It seems that young people turned out for Labour, particularly in the big cities. Labour gained 10% to reach 40%, while the Conservatives also increased their share by 5% to 42%. The big loser was the anti-EU anti-immigration party UKIP which collapsed”. [3]

 

Most of the centrist groups like the British affiliates of the IMT (Socialist Appeal), L5I (Red Flag), CWI (Socialist Party) and the SWP opportunistically tied themselves to Corbyn’s coat tails without realizing and openly stating that he is a left reformist and ultimately a defender of British capitalism. Corbyn has always had a close relationship with the labour aristocracy and the labour bureaucracy. He even stated that he will put 10.000 extra police on the street which is against the aspirations of class consciousness workers, blacks and migrants as well the youth in Britain. Corbyn argued against the sharp oppression of young activists who were on the streets in the London uprising in August 2011. However defence of the youth in words and an increase of police forces in deeds demonstrate the ambiguous character of Corbyn. It shows the danger of following blindly and uncritically the left reformist Corbyn instead of openly challenging his politics.

 

The RCIT in Britain in its most recent statement on critical support for Corbyn pointed out the weaknesses of the centrists and their attitude to the united front.

 

“Centrists either of the ultra-left variety or the opportunist’s variety has never being able to understand the role of the Marxist united front as practiced by Vladimir Lenin or Leon Trotsky. The RCIT in a major study of the Marxists classics explained our attitude to the United Front and our tactics towards reformist parties like the British Labour party.” [4]

 

“However, opposite trends cannot be excluded – at least temporarily. Under certain circumstances such parties can even experience an initial rejuvenation (see, for example, the British Labour Party under Corbyn) In contrast to such an opportunistic approach, as Bolshevik-Communists; we would work inside such a party while openly advocating our independent program. While cooperating with other forces within the party, we would uncompromisingly fight against reformist and centrist tendencies. We would try to patiently convince the majority of the party to adopt a revolutionary perspective. If this fails and the party degenerates into an ossified reformist formation, revolutionaries would draw the conclusions and split from such the party, taking with us all amenable militant workers and oppressed, and found an authentic revolutionary party”. [5]

 

Of course, as we have argued in several documents, social democracy and the Labour Party in particular have a history of betrayal and cowardice and will betray as soon as they will have the opportunity to do so.

 

“Of course, as we have indicated above, no one should have any illusions about these new reformist or populist parties. Ultimately they will betray the working class and the oppressed either when they have the opportunity to enter a government or when they play the leading role in a mass struggle. It is for this reason that revolutionaries must warn the masses in advance about the true nature of the leaderships of these parties. But at the same time, Marxists must not ignore the politicization and radicalization of sectors of the working class and the youth which currently find their expressions in support for these new parties. Any sectarian abstentionism against this process would only guarantee the isolation of revolutionaries. This is why critical electoral support for such parties, in addition to entryism under certain circumstances, can be a legitimate instrument for Marxists in the current period.” [6]

 

However, the RCIT in Britain when advocating critical support for Corbyn in the recent election recognized that under his leadership the party had rejuvenated and attracted a huge swathe of youth.

 

“However, with the successful campaign of the left-reformist Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn in summer 2015, this decline has been turned around. Despite open hostility by the pro-Blairite party establishment, Corbyn’s campaign was based on an anti-austerity and anti-militaristic platform which created huge enthusiasm among young people. In the space of a few months, the Labour Party’s “membership jumped from 201,293 on 6 May 2015, the day before the general election, to 388,407 on 10 January 2016. This development is an important indicator that bourgeois workers’ parties, even after a long period of decline, can revive and be rejuvenated if newly-radicalized youth and workers see no alternative to them to politically express their desire for change. Labour’s membership comeback also demonstrates how wrong numerous centrists (like, for example, the CWI) were when they declared in the early 1990s that the Labour Party (and social democratic parties in general) is no longer bourgeois workers’ parties. We authentic Marxists have always rejected this assumption while, at the same time, having also consistently denounced the opportunistic adaption to Labourism and never-ending entryism as practiced by the CWI’s former comrades, the IMT of Ted Grant and Alan Woods”. [7]

 

The RCIT in Britain emphasises the necessity for activists in the Labour Party to organize and accelerate the struggle against the treacherous Blairite wing in the party bureaucracy. [8] The task must be, now more than ever, to expel the Blairites as the most open and aggressive agents of the ruling class inside the party.

 

Furthermore the CLPs and branches must demand from their Labour MP’s to vote in Parliament consistently against all austerity attacks as well against all racist, anti-democratic and militaristic bills.

 

Finally, it is urgent to prepare a general strike to bring down this Tory minority government. Obviously Corbyn and the left-reformist bureaucrats in Labour will not support voluntarily a general strike because this demand is an attack on capitalist society and neither Corbyn nor his left-reformist friends are willing to go down this path. However such a general strike is crucial for the working-class in Britain in order to advance the struggle against the capitalist class, for jobs for all, for an end of racism and chauvinism, for an increase in social benefits, and a marked improvement of the NHS, etc.

 

This general election has produced a hung parliament with a very weak and discredited minority Tory government. This crisis is reflected in all the major metropolitan imperialist nations.

 

The RCIT in Britain puts forward the following transitional demands and proposals for workers and the oppressed who want to join the fight and overthrow this hated Tory Government.

 

* For an indefinite general strike to bring down this discredited weak Tory minority government!

 

* Kick out the Blairite wing of the Labour Party!

 

* Demand from all Labour MP’s to oppose all austerity attacks as well against all racist, anti-democratic and militaristic bills!

 

* For self-defence guards of workers and migrants to defend our communities against fascist and police provocation!

 

* For open borders for all refugees, full equality for all migrants, equal wages full citizenship and the right to speak their own language!

 

* Self-Determination for the people of Scotland!

 

* For a unified Ireland as a 32 County workers republic as part of a United Socialist States of Europe!

 

* For a workers government pledged to bring down capitalism and for the destruction of British imperialism!

 

 

 

We call on all workers and the oppressed to join the RCIT in Britain as the first step and help to build a new World Party of the Socialist Revolution which will be the Fifth International.

 

 

 

Footnotes

 

(1) http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/general-election-2017-live-coverage/ar-BBCfgRt

 

(2) http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/almost-300000-people-sign-petition-against-the-tory-dup-deal-in-just-12-hours/ar-BBCnJGj?li=BBoPWjQ&ocid=SK2MDHP

 

(3) https://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/uk-election-british-capital-in-disarray/

 

(4) https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/uk-general-election-6-2017/

 

(5) https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/book-united-front/chapter-4/

 

(6) https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/book-united-front/chapter-6/

 

(7) https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/book-united-front/chapter-6/

 

(8) https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/uk-general-election-6-2017/

 

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