Step #1: Identify Your Enemies

We discussed knowing your enemies in a previous post. That’s a great idea, but first you need to figure out who they are in the first place.
Assembly Line Human writes:

On the other hand, if someone who opposes me even slightly and acts like an ass, decides that’s reason to ruin me, decides to fight dirty, decides that I should be destroyed and will listen to no reason, then I don’t respect that prick. The antifa are like that. These are people I oppose and have NO respect for. They cannot be reasoned with, they don’t want to reason. They are mad dogs. I don’t respect people who act like animals. I don’t respect someone who says they’re a Trotskyite, or an “Anti-Racist Activist” because these people act like asses.

I think those antifas hate me too, and I know the Trots do. The Trots despise me and many Twat/Twot/Trot sites have existing bans on linking to me under a “no platform for fascism” thing. Most Trots are truly revolting.

On the other hand, if someone who opposes me, even slightly, acts like an arse, decides that’s reason to ruin me, decides to fight dirty, decides that I should be destroyed and will listen to no reason, then I don’t respect that prick.

Those are your enemies. Period. Anyone who thinks people like that are some sort of “friends to be reasoned with who have differing views” is insane. One of the first rules of life is not just know your enemies but identify them in the first place. That person – is an enemy! Those people – are my enemies! Of course this can lead to paranoia, but if you have a healthy ego that is not inclined to paranoia and only decide that someone is an enemy a a last resort, then I don’t see a problem with it.
I definitely have some enemies, and I am not paranoid at all. In fact, I am “anti-paranoid” in that I am inclined to believe that everyone likes me even though for sure it is not true. If you do not identify your enemies and isolate them if not get away from them, your life is going to be very unpleasant.
I think one of the main problems with people is they keep associating with “friends” who are more enemies than friends. Those are called frenemies. I have some pretty strict criteria that you need to abide by to be my friend. Really, it is not that hard to abide by it, but a lot of folks just can’t I guess.
The rules are pretty simple. I will explain it in a post.

On Alain Soral

Here.

You can read his Wikipedia entry and see what he is up to. I just did, and although I don’t agree with him on everything, I would rather have guys like this running the media than our present elites which push a combination of Cultural Left + radical, pro-rich, pro-corporate, anti-people neoliberal capitalism.

That’s pretty much the worst of the Left combined with the worst of the Right. The worst of both worlds.

And the people who push this represent the elites of the entire West. Pushing back against this are people like Soral (who is still quite a Leftist despite whatever lies you hear about him), Putin and Alexander Dugin’s Eurasianism. According to the Left, all of these people are part of something called the Red-Brown Movement which is some weird mixture of Far Right and Far Left, or Socialism/Communism + Fascism, the former being the red and the latter being the brown.

It’s mostly Trotskyite idiots (the poison of the Western Left) like this guy who push the line that Putin, Dugin and Soral are fascists. I do not see a lot of evidence for it, or if they are, then I suppose I must be a fascist myself! Soral still talks like the Marxist he has always been. He was even a Marxist when he “turned far right” and joined the National Front. Reading  through his Wikipedia entry, he still seems awfully Leftist, or if he’s a Rightist, than that is the sort of Right that I could easily support.

He talks and complains about Jews too much, which I think is unnecessary, but he makes some valid points:

In France, all forms of growing communitarianism (gay, Islamic, etc.) form and strengthen through imitation of, hostility towards and opposition to Judeo-Zionist communitarianism, whose privileged status constitutes the communitarian jurisprudence by which their claims against the Republic are supported.

Here communitarianism apparently means Identity Politics as best I can tell. He says that Identity Politics blows (and it does), but all of the IP crowd really got their IP from the biggest IP’ers of them all…ta dum..the Jews!

Well, maybe. At any rate, it’s an interesting comparison. Have you ever noticed that the Jews are the only people on Earth who get to be nationalists, nay, even worse, ethnic nationalists? So the Jews get their National Socialist state over in Palestine, an ethnic nationalist state if there ever was one, but nobody else gets to have one, and if anyone tries, they are fascists and Nazis!

Well that means ethnic nationalism is fascism and Nazism, right? Ok, I will not object. But let’s follow this through here. That also means that the Jews’ sleazy ethnic nationalist project in Palestine is also…wa-la! Fascist and National Socialist, right?

Nope. Everyone else’s ethnic nationalism is fascist and Nazi, except for that of the Jews, because their ethnic nationalism somehow isn’t fascist and National Socialist like the rest! Or whatever. One reason people tire of Jews is because they are always being hypocritical and pushing blatantly unfair and contradictory lines like the above about just about everything, which is what we should expect from an ultranationalist tribe like the Jews because that’s how ultranationalists everywhere act.

As part of the debate on laïcité in French schools, Soral claimed to prefer the Muslim veil to thong underwear.

I don’t agree, but that’s pretty funny anyway.

Alain Soral has denounced communitarianism as a “poison.”

Assuming that communitarianism means IP, he is indeed correct.

To him, feminism was invented by women tiring of their role as mothers. Soral distinguishes two types of feminism: that of the “flippées” (“freaked-outs”) such as Simone de Beauvoir, and that of the “pétasses” (“bitches”) like Élisabeth Badinter. Soral claims that the most problematic inequality is not between men and women, but between rich and poor, and that feminists, who generally come from the upper classes of society, attempt to distract attention from this struggle.

Well no kidding. The Female IP project known as feminism blows, just like all IP. And he divides feminists up into the lunatics and the bitches, although I would argue that most of them are a combination of the two.

When you’re talking with a Frenchman who is a Zionist Jew, and you start to say, well maybe there are problems coming from your side, maybe you might have made a few mistakes, it’s not always the fault of other people if no-one can stand you wherever you go… because that’s basically their general history, you see… for 2,500 years, every time they settled somewhere, after about fifty years or so, they get their arses kicked. Surely something strange here ! It’s as though everyone is wrong except them. And the guy will start barking, yelling, going mad… you can’t be able to carry on with the conversation.

Oh poor Jews! They pissed people off everywhere they went, but it was never their fault! That’s right Jews, keep on blaming other people!

Jews are like the guy who gets tossed out of every bar in the city yet insists that he is doing nothing wrong, and it’s all the establishments’ fault for tossing him. Where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire. I would wager that the Jews have not spent the last two millennia not exactly trying to win friends and influence people, right?

Soral believes that communitarianism in France could have a similar effect, if the French Republic fails to apply its prestigious 1905 Law of Separation of Church and State, which is enshrined in the French constitution. According to a recent TV interview (Direct 8 / 88 minutes), Alain Soral stated: “Today, no one was surprised to see French presidents, prime ministers and other high French political figures meet elusively with the Jewish representing body every year in Paris, meetings that go against the laws of France and send mixed signals to the Republic.”

Well no kidding. The French state France is based on strict separation of church and state known as laïcité. And then the leaders of France go off every year and meet with the heads of the French Jewish community! But that’s not a violation of laïcité now, is it? More Jewish hypocrisy. You wonder why others tire of these people.

A Brief History of the Neoconservatives

Jason Y writes:

How does this relate to the neocons, as some have said they had Trotskyite roots? I always had a hard time understanding this. I mean, how could W. Bush, the furthest thing from a leftist or communist you can think of, could be in with communists?

I am not sure. Many of the Trots were Jewish. For whatever reason, many Trots turned into neocons. They began turning away from Communism with the revelations about Stalin and Stalinism, including Khrushchev’s secret speech.
A lot of them simply left Communism and formed the anti-Communist Left, or became anti-Communist liberals like my later father. The CIA set up a number of organizations and journals to work out of starting in the 1950’s. One was called the Congress for Cultural Freedom.
It was during the 6-Day War that many really turned against the Left. As I said, most were Jews, and Jews the world over who had never cared much about Israel rallied round the Israeli flag in 1967. This was the start of this group’s big break with the Left.
The Vietnam War was going on too at this time, and many of this group were pro-war. They were sickened by the pro-Viet Cong and what they saw as anti-patriotic attitudes of the antiwar crowd. Many of this crowd were older conservative Jewish guys, and they were disgusted and sickened by the counterculture, especially by the fact that many of its leaders were Jewish, which they saw as bringing shame on the Jews.
This group began to merge with Jewish conservatives who had always been around but had not been very common. This goes back to the time when Jews first came here and many were poor and living as renters. Many of their landlords were rich Jews. A lot of these poor Jewish renters became leftwingers and specialized in taking their Jewish slumlords to court all the time. This caused a major split in Jewish society and the Jewish landlords saw the Jewish leftwing tenants as some sort of treasonous
“enemies of the people.”
This group nevertheless stayed with the Democratic Party, but they had started to become the rightwing of the Democratic Party. In the 1970’s, they began to congregate around Henry “Scoop” Jackson’s office. Jackson was known as “the Senator from Boeing” and he was widely known as a super hawk. He strongly supported Israel and the Vietnam War. Support for Israel and the Vietnam War became intertwined in this crowd.
In the 1970’s, some early proto-neoconservative publications came out, mostly published by Jewish rightwing Democrats.
When the Reagan Administration came around, many of these proto-neocons got jobs in the Reagan Administration. Most of them specialized in Cold War politics where they become wild, crazed, fanatical Cold Warriors. Particular focus was on ramping up military spending and opposing nuclear arms reduction.
They made alliances with such characters as Frank Gaffney, a wild-eyed Cold Warrior. This was the trajectory of characters like Richard Perle who cut their teeth as Cold Warriors under Reagan. Paul Nitze was another proto-neocon from this era. Jean Kirkpatrick can also be seen as a proto-neocon. Really Reagan’s foreign policy was already a neocon activist foreign policy as we supported fascists and mass murderers the world over in the name of opposing the USSR.
I am not quite sure what happened to the neocons during the 1990’s. I think they may have formed a lot of their classic neocon organizations. Some of them worked closely with Israel’s rightwing government during this period.
With Bush’s selection and theft of the election in 2000, many neocons ascended into power. After 9-11, they gained a lot of prominence.
Both Trotskyites and neocons could be seen as radical revolutionaries. Generally conservatives are supposed to be cautious folks. The Trotskyite plan was always “world revolution.” Since socialism in one country was not possible, Communist revolutions the world over would have to be sparked in order to ensure that large states like the USSR could succeed. The neocons are also wild revolutionaries like the neocons and they also believe in a sort of world revolution involving attacking and undermining their enemies all over the world and instituting regime change in many enemies of the US.

The Legacy of Trotsky: The Ruination of the Western Left

Jason Y writes:

Also he egged on Germany and urged them to attack the USSR, which they soon did. He said a Nazi conquest of the USSR would be a good idea.
Why? That’s crazy. That’s like an Israeli joining Al Qaeda. Do you have quick sources, backing this claim up?

Trotsky thought the Nazis could be controlled. Use them to go in and take out Stalin, then get them to back off while a Trotskyite Administration was put in instead.
Also, all through the 1930’s, Trotskyites worked closely with the Nazis and the West to undermine the Soviet state. There was sabotage all over the USSR during this decade, and it was all caused by these groups. This is what caused Stalin to go nuts and institute the Great Terror, when hundreds of thousands of mostly innocent people were killed.
I do not have a source for it, but I did read it just recently. It doesn’t surprise me one bit. Trotskyites hate one thing and one thing only – Stalin and “Stalinists.” Stalinists happen to be every Commie who isn’t a Trotskyite! They will collaborate with anyone and everyone, no matter how evil, slimy or reactionary, to defeat their hated “Stalinist” foes.
Trotsky just wanted Stalin gone one way or another. Latter day Trots continue in this insane tendency. They have supported the CIA, the Pentagon, US imperialism, neo-Nazis, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Islamic fundamentalists, you name it, all to bring down real existing socialist (“Stalinist”) states. Currently Trot nutcases are supporting the liver-eating, head-chopping radical Islamist Syrian rebels. They are also firmly behind the Nazi regime in Kiev. Trots have been supporting Nazis forever. Their marriage with Nazism goes all the way back to the 1930’s.
I cannot put into words how much I hate Trotskyites.
The real problem is that Trots have taken over much of the Hard Left in the West. This is one of the reasons why the Hard Left in the West is so useless, ridiculous and insane – because it’s been controlled by Trot nutcases for decades.

Ukrainian Nationalism is Nazism

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giYwMVSlAGs
Pretty much all Ukie nationalists are Nazis. It is simply a National Socialist movement. What is odd is that some of these Nazis are Jews! The presence of Jews is odd but not extremely unusual. I have always said that Israel was a National Socialist country. National Socialism can unfold in any country. Anyone is susceptible to it, and National Socialism need not be anti-Semitic though it often is. As we can see, in Israel we have a wildly philosemitic National Socialist movement. In the place of the Jews are the Arabs. More than an anti-Semitic movement, this Ukie nationalism is more of an anti-Russian National Socialist movement, with the Russians substituted for Jews.
There are indeed some liberal-Leftists in Ukraine, but their failure has been profound. They are not necessarily Nazis themselves, but they are also extremely Russophobic, and they support the Nazis by not criticizing them. They support them with their silence. The Trotskyite sectarians, of course, refuse to discuss Ukrainian Nazism at all, and instead focus all of their rage on their favorite enemy – the “Stalinists.”
The Libertarian-anarchist grouping has not been much better. Many marched in the Nazi Euromaidan protests, and a number of anarchists have even joined overtly Nazi battalions like the Azov Battalion to fight in the Donbass. Many Libertarians have lent strong support to the new Nazi government.
This represents a scene we see all to often – the utter collapse of the Left in the face of an extremely popular ultranationalist movement in their land. This is truly pitiful. The Ukrainian Left have a lot to be ashamed of. I will exempt the Communist Party of the Ukraine from my criticism. They have suffered greatly during this war, many comrades have been killed, arrested, beaten or tortured. Party headquarters have been burned down and otherwise destroyed. The party itself has recently been outlawed. Of course this shows the regime’s true colors. The first thing fascist movements do when they take power is attack and outlaw the CP. History has proven this well.

Moon of Alabama

This is a superb blog, widely despised by the Lunatic Western (Trot) Left, so you figure it must be good for something. When I saw Louis Proyect, poster boy for the dysfunctional Western (pro-US imperialist Trot) Left, bashing away at Moon of Alabama that seemed like a pretty good recommendation to me.
The author of MOA is a fine author and the site has been around for some time. He is actually quite reasonable, which surprised me. His basic position is anti-US imperialism. He opposes the imperialism of both the Liberal Interventionist Left and Neoconservative Right (What’s the difference!?), which is after what I would call “the bipartisan foreign policy consensus.” Vietnam threatened to upset this hoary relic of the Truman Era, so the Vietnam Syndrome had to be destroyed. This was actually cited by monsters like Rumsfeld and Cheney as a major reason to invade Iraq in 2003 – to overcome the Vietnam Syndrome! What the Hell kind of reason is that to stage a Nazi-like war of aggression against a sovereign state?
On Ukraine, he supports the self-defense forces in the East and Russia and opposes the Ukrainian Nazis and the Western scum backing them.
On Syria, he supports Assad against the diabolical Sunni Islamists. On Iraq, he supports non-intervention.
He supports the Palestinians versus the Israeli criminal regime, and for this apparently he gets constantly bashed as an anti-Semite. I have been to his comment section and it is just straight up clean Left anti-imperialists in there with few if any confused or depraved anti-Semites. Sounds like a false charge.
The comments are even better than the short posts. The commenters are extremely knowledgeable and very smart. Fascinating stuff, better than anything you get in the Lie Machine called the US MSM media.

Why the Western Left Is So Trotskyite

Third Eye writes:

In what world is the western left Trotskyist? Hell, not even the old Trotskyists are really Trotskyist anymore. The combine of academics, NGOs, bureaucrats, and lawyers that passes for the “left” amounts to a bunch of glorified lobbyists.

Most of the significant Marxist grouplets in the US (the ones with actual names and organizations) are Trots. The biggest Western Marxist websites (In Defense of Marxism and WSW) are Trot-run.
If that doesn’t satisfy you, you can head on over to Marxmail and see for yourself. Western Marxists often fulminate against the “Stalinist” Left. Any Marxist who goes on “Stalinism” is a Trot, no matter how much they try to deny it.
Furthermore, the obsessions with homosexuals, transsexuals and other oddbodies, women, minorities, immigrants, criminals, Muslims as “oppressed” groups in the West as opposed to lining up with the true oppressed of the 3rd World is a sign of the Trots. The whole Identity Politics thing in the 1960’s was a Trot project.
The people they call Stalinists always focused on economics and never cared about divisive identity politics all that much. That stuff just divides the working class anyway.
Set race against race, men against women, gay people against straights, oddbodies against normal bodies, Muslims against infidels, immigrants against natives, criminals against decent people – way to go!
Way to divide the working class!

Want to Work in US Journalism? Try on Your Straightjacket First

I have a question.
If you are Communist and a Green Party member, are you of the Marxist-Leninist school of thought or the Trotskyite school of thought?
I myself am a centerish-rightwinger with a lot of far-left influence. Well actually I may not be a rightwinger at all, but the current bipartisan infestation of both parties by imperialism, Washingtonian federalism, political correctness, and economic irresponsibility makes me repulsed by both parties. The Dems and the G.O.P are merely polarized extremities of the same spectrum, and originated as a single party anyways.
I guess when I was about 7 or 8 I was a classical Objectivist Libertarian. My dad was a high level executive for Toyota and made a lot of money, so I was naturally greedy, following the immaturity of my prepubescent brain. When I moved to the United States in 2011, my dad began working as a stockbroker dealing in microstocks. I saw how he fucked people over daily and ruined a lot of lives.
By the time I was 12 I became sort of a hardcore communal Christianity type commie. I guess I was reviled by the actions of my father and started to feel sympathetic to the plight of the proletariat masses. I felt more in common with the ideologies of Mao Zedong rather than my former hero Chiang Kai-Shek. I also used to be enthralled at the prospect of ruling with an iron fist, and disposing of those who question your methods with a McCarthyism like demagogic appeal to the stereotypes the common people have of communism.
Well I guess now that I am not decided one way or another. I guess I still have a lot of time to think about it. I do wish to become a journalist when I grow up, but as a correspondent for what? Fox or CNN? Lib or Con?

You have had an interesting political evolution.
Really I am just a socialist as opposed to a real hardcore Commie. But I think the people the Trots call Stalinists a lot better than the Western Trots themselves, who are insane and represent everything wrong about the Western Left in general. Most of the Western Left is Trot or Trot inspired.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a conservative journo or a liberal one. There are plenty of jobs for both. But the liberal journos in the US are not very liberal. They are less liberal than Democratic Party liberals, who aren’t very liberal anyway.
You have to support the bipartisan foreign policy consensus and the bipartisan neoliberal economic consensus and it would help to support the PC Cultural Marxism which is all the rage (see the bipartisan support for amnesty). You must support US exceptionalism and US imperialism. If you do not support these things, you will be told very quickly to shape up or ship out and if you do not, you will be rapidly fired.
All US journalists have very strict limits on what they can report without being fired by their corporate masters and their attack dogs, the editors. The US press is a controlled propaganda institution that speaks with a single voice on the big questions of the day.
Look at the Iraq War. Name on large newspaper, newsmagazine, TV news or radio news station that opposed that war either in the run-up or in the months afterwards. Name one, one.
Name one large MSM outlet, right or left, that is taking Russia’s side on the Ukraine matter. Name one. See?
It is a state-controlled propaganda institution, like Pravda in the USSR.

The American Sheeple

They are so easy to manipulate!
They are so easy to manipulate!

Wow, manipulating the American sheeple is almost as easy as turning on a light-switch. All they have to do is get the US Free Press (TM) on the side of the latest imperial adventure. That’s never hard to do when 100% of the American media (thank God for “freedom of the press”) lines up with the imperial conspiracy du jour.
Of course, the US Left is pretty much dead. Not only that, but it’s barely even Left anymore. Whenever US imperialism is hatching its latest plot against humanity, it always to get the US “Left” on board. You can always round up folks like this horrifying “anti-fascist” Anton Shekhovtsov and Louis Proyect.
Shekhovtsov is a pro-US imperialist, pro-Ukrainian Nazi, Ukrainian nationalist. What the heck is an antifa Ukrainian nationalist anyway? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms?
Proyect is the awful leader of the Marxmail list, which itself is full of many a “Marxist” useful idiot cheerleading for US imperialism.
Because, you know, the Ukrainian Nazi revolution was a revolution (according to the Trots on Proyect’s blog), and Trots need to support “revolution” everywhere! Even Nazi revolutions, fascist revolutions, fake color revolution conspiracies run by US imperialism, revolutions staged by the CIA using local rightwing proxies of this or that type, no matter – they’re all revolutionaries!
When the US Left starts cheerleading for the machinations of US imperialism in the name of “anti-fascism” or “revolution” or the Bullshit Cause of the Day, the “Left” itself is pretty much of a joke, and it isn’t even Left anymore either. What is it? Who knows? A bunch of irrelevant insane people?
With a Left like that, we may as well say screw it and make alliance with the Right. If rightwing nationalist parties in Europe are supporting the Russian people fighting resisting Nazi exterminationists in East Ukraine, so be it. Rightwing nationalists aren’t exactly optimal, but at least they are fighting US imperialism and opposing the EU/IMF road to serfdom.
We’ll take all the allies we can get. And frankly, I would rather sit down and have a cup of coffee with a rightwing nationalist than some “Leftist” or “antifa” down on the front-lines amid the tracer bullets, fighting the good fight for US imperialism, the EU, the IMF and the neoliberal project in general. In wartime, you don’t make your volunteers take ideology tests. They show up at the recruiting station with a gun, fine, you send them to the front. War is no time for ideological purity tests.

Americans and Ukraine: Portrait of a Brainwashed People

I would also like to complain about how sickeningly brainwashed Americans are. 90% of Americans support sanctions on Russia for the annexation of what has always been Russian land, the Crimea. That’s a pretty incredible figure. But I suppose it makes sense in that in the US media, generally from the Right to the Left, you will hear one and only one story about Russia and Ukraine – the pro-government “bipartisan foreign policy consensus.” You will never see, in any major media, anything from the Russian side. I had hopes that the Internet would change all of that, but apparently most of them are just as brainwashed as ever.
The truth is that most Democrats are diehard Democrats and they simply every single that the Democratic Party is for. Right wing, left wing, centrist, atrocity, no matter. Democrats who claim to be liberals and progressives willingly support the most insanely reactionary foreign policy of all. They have for decades and there is no end to this in sight. These same liberals will typically support any rightwing crap a Democratic President does these. And looking back at the Clinton and Obama Presidencies, that’s a lot of rightwing crap. When a Democrat is in office, most Democrats simply support every single thing he does, period.
I figure most Republicans are just as dumb. Whatever the Republican Party line is, that’s their line. When a Republican President is in, he can literally do no wrong. Of the Republicans I know, you will never hear a peep out of them in protest to anything they do. Republicans are always right. If a Republican wants to know what to think about something, he just turns on Fox News or goes to his favorite rightwing website. The websites and the station are all saying the same thing anyway and never disagree, so no matter. The Republican simply believes whatever Fox and the websites tell him to believe. No further thought is required.
If a Democrat wants to know how to think on some particular issue, he turns on “liberal” news stations like MSNBC or CNN. CNN is not a progressive or liberal station by any means, and best I can tell, CNN is pretty much the same thing as Fox. MSNBC indeed is different, but how different are they on Russia and Ukraine.
If the TV’s not on, the Democrat opens up a rightwing “liberal” newsmagazine like Time or Newsweek (many liberals will proudly tell you that they subscribe to “liberal” Time or “liberal” Newsweek), and Timesweek tells them what to believe. Usually about the same as CNN, or actually more to the Right than that. If the magazine hasn’t come yet, you can always look at the daily paper. Your daily paper editorializes all through its “news” pages, and on foreign policy, Fox, MSNBC, CNN, Timesweek, your local paper and both political parties (due to the “bipartisan foreign policy consensus”) are saying the same thing.
I suppose that it is understandable that in a USA with media about as controlled as that of the Soviet Union it might be hard to find folks who don’t tow the government line or fall in line behind the “foreign policy consensus.”
Some more Left publications have lined up behind the US and against Russia: The Nation and Rolling Stone. In addition, almost all Trotskyites are against Russia and are urging neutrality on this issue – the Trots’ attitude is – you guessed it – both sides are “fascists.” The always execrable Trot Louis Proyect has been supporting Ukraine from the start.

A Trotskyite Gets It Right for Once

The Trots are split on the Ukraine question. Quite a few of them are supporting US imperialism and backing the neo-Nazis in the Ukrainian government. Others urge support for Russia and the eastern separatists. Yet more seem to be saying that neither side should be supported. This last is similar to their line in WW2 – Trotsky held that WW2 was simply a battle of one group of capitalists (the Allies) against another group of capitalists (the Axis). He also also continued to advocate the overthrow of the USSR regime even when it was clearly under threat from the Axis. Thankfully, one of Stalin’s secret agents killed this traitor in Mexico City. Never was an icepick put to better use!
Every now and again, a Trot gets it right:

Imperialism is not just a rude word for US foreign policy.

But he follows it with typical Trot nuttiness:

It is a global system of which Moscow is as much a part as Washington.

Um, nope. Russia is not an imperialist country, and it is not part of the US imperial project.
Then he revisits it with a reprise of Trotsky’s fence-sitting in the early days of the war:

Or should we have taken sides in the Valentine’s Day massacre and supported the North Side gang against Al Capone in the name of a multi-centric underworld?

But this line was a stroke of genius. I will bold it below just to highlight how important it is to realize this:
Imperialism is not just a rude word for US foreign policy.
Oh yeah! Nail, meet hammer.

This Asshole Wrote a Book?

Repost from the old site.

And Verso, of all houses, stooped to publish it? The subject itself is reasonable; I just think that this guy, and all of the silly acolytes he surrounds himself with, is a putz. And so is his Trotskyidiot party, by the way.

As long as he is on the subject of all these former Leftists transitioning to the Right since the fall of the USSR, and in particular aligning themselves with the War on Terror (the pro-war Left in the UK, the neoconservatives in the US), I wonder if he will touch on the notion and an unbelievably over-representative number of them are Jewish?

I mean, in the UK and in the US, this movement, at least at the beginning, was for all intents and purposes are Jewish movement. It’s still practically a Jewish-led movement at the very least.

Will Dickie touch on this most sensitive of subjects? Of course not. He’s got an anti-Semitism phobia worse than a stadium full of rabbis.

Screw you Dickie.

Here’s his blog. It’s popular and gets about 2,100 visitors a day. We get 3,200.

He’s actually really smart and writes well, but you can say that about a lot of assholes. He hates me and has banned from his stupid blog. He banned me for anti-Semitism, but I really didn’t say much. You don’t have to say much over there. Just say the word “Jew” with the wrong inflection and you’re pretty much done.

Dickie says that I am actually an anti-Semitic rightwing racist provocateur who has infiltrated the Left in order to try to taint the Left with racism. Or something. Whatever, dude. He’s also banned at least one of my commenters too.

Wikipedia Jews Attack James Petras

Repost from the old site.

James Petras is a fine man of the Left who has long been interested in Latin America and especially revolutionary movements down there. He has long supported the FARC revolutionaries in Colombia (as does this blog) and lately he has been supporting the Movement of the Landless in Brazil.

He’s a great labor organizer who goes down to Latin America and works with the people, getting his hands dirty with the workers and peasants themselves. He’s a towering intellect, and has often criticized Left movements from a Far Left perspectives, accusing them of being sellouts. For instance, he has gone after the FMLN in El Salvador lately for pursuing a half-hearted effort at reform.

I believe he was going after Evo Morales in Bolivia lately. He’s great for tearing the masks off these Latin American Leftists who the US press is screaming Commie Bloody Murder about, showing us that many of them are not even very far to the Left and the proposals they are offering are quite moderate and unlikely to seriously shake up socioeconomic relations in these places.

It’s always great to read him on anything having to do with the Latin American Left.

Lately he has sort of gone off on a bender against US Jews and particularly the Israeli Lobby and Israel. He has received some criticism for this from the Left, especially the anarchist Left (see Three Way Fight) and Maoists. Maoists and anarchists (Three Way Fight critique here) are among those on the Left who are particularly sensitive to charges of anti-Semitism and go to great lengths to avoid such.

This despite the recent rightwing Jewish – Zionist rewriting of history that shows the entire 20th Century Left as being anti-Semitic. See Why the Jews? The Reasons for Contemporary Anti-Semitism by Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin for more on that – it’s actually an excellent read and I recommend it.

The ADL has recently weighed in against Petras, accusing him of fomenting some kind of “New Anti-Semitism” (this means an anti-Semitism focused mostly on Israel). All of this crap is a rather minor sideshow to Petras’ excellent corpus and career, but as you can see in his Wikipedia entry, most of the entry is given over his tussle with the Jews.

On the discussion page, the Wikipedia Jews have gone nuts, accusing him of being an “anti-Jewish racist” and other bullshit. There’s the usual crap about Israel Shamir on there, straight from the UK Spotlight Trotskyite antifa loonie-tunes accusations – Shamir as a Swedish neo-Nazi living in Norway.

In fact, Israel Shamir, whatever one thinks of him (and he surely has his anti-Semitic moments) is a Russian Jew, son of a famous rabbi, who immigrated to Israel, fought in the Israeli military, wrote for some Israeli papers, moved to Japan where he translated Japanese haiku books, moved back to Russia where he got involved in some dubious anti-Semitic far right Russian publications, moved back to Israel, where he currently resides in Jaffa (in fact, you can probably even visit him there – lots of folks do).

It’s really sad that this “Swedish neo-Nazi” bullshit has been allowed to gain as much traction as it has. Yes, his Wikipedia page says that too. I know what you were thinking. Chip Berlet is one of the leaders of the Israel Shamir Lynch Mob. Berlet, the strange “Marxist” who is in deep with the radical right libertarians that rule Wikipedia.

Looks like the Wikipedia Jews got pretty much thwarted on this one. Maybe someone is finally starting to reign them in over there. Note that “Humus Sapiens” is one of the most notorious Wikipedia Jews, active for years now. Still at it, I guess.

Check out the article history. Real food fight.

Links to some Wikipedia nasties.

Wikipedia Jews: Jayjg, one of the worst Jewish POV-pushers on Wikipedia. Humus Sapiens, a Russian Jewish immigrant to the US. Izak, one of their sidekicks.

Slim Virgin , one of the worst ones of all. I understand that SV is not even Jewish (!); she’s just some Gentile philosemite. She’s obsessed with 1. The Jews, 2. 9-11. SV is one of the most horrible and abusive administrators on Wikipedia. She was so abusive that the Wikipedia Review undertook an investigation of her.

She was very hard to track down as she covers her tracks very well, but they eventually determined that she is a former Cambridge University graduate student named Linda Mack who was hired by investigative reporter Pierre Salinger and John K. Cooley to investigate the Lockerbie bombing.

Two Libyans were eventually convicted of the bombing, and Ghaddafi was ordered to pay a huge fine, but there is good evidence that Libya had nothing to do with the bombing. There is also evidence that UK law enforcement knew this but went after Ghaddafi anyway because they hated him and wanted to wrap up the case.

It is still not known who was behind the bombing, but the Iranian regime was probably the author of the attack. The attack was probably a payback for the US shooting down of an Iranian airliner during the Iran-Iraq War, an act that the US said was accidental. Iran refused to accept the accidental shootdown theory.

Linda Mack was instrumental in steering Salinger and Cooley towards the Libyans. Salinger and Cooley eventually decided that Mack was a spy with the UK’s notorious MI5 intelligence agency (the British CIA). Linda Mack is now reportedly living in Alberta, Canada under the name Sarah McEwan.

Antifascist, who uses the same handle and has the same obsessions as a notorious Jewish Zionist who used to stalk anti-Zionists on Indymedia, often issuing them horrible death threats. He’s obsessed with Wendy Campbell and Gilad Atzmon.

His name is Ketlan Ossowski ( blog here) and he is described as an obsessive Jew who uses Leftism and anti-fascism as a cover to promote Zionism. I strongly suspect that he is the same guy who stalked and threatened Wendy Campbell. Zeq, long-notorious, the lone Wikipedia Jew busted in the CAMERA fiasco, now banned.

Others: Roland Rance, a Jewish Marxist (Jewish first, Marxist far distant second) from London, famous from the wars over Gilad Atzmon and Mary Rizzo’s Peace Palestine blog, apparently active in the Socialist Workers Party and in with the Lenin’s Tomb crowd. I’m not going to comment on this guy much as he’s written me civilly via email.

Just another frothing Trot about sums it up though.

Murdering Mao

Nice from a Maoist list I am on. The author is Harry Powell. He lays out pretty well the rightwing offensive to completely discredit the modern socialist experience as a total failure which was led by the worst homicidal maniacs that ever lived. How do we counteract that? For starters, Communists should quit killing people, no matter how much they deserve it. Communists kill one person, and the rightwingers will scream about it for the next century.
Note that this is not just a rightwing offensive, but it’s also being carried out by centrists, liberals and even Leftists like Trotskyites, who do themselves few favors by indulging in counterrevolutionary ideology.
Finally, the idea of a Labor figure accusing the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition of being “Maoist” is ridiculous!

MURDERING MAO

Here are the opening paragraphs of a recent article in a British
national Sunday newspaper:

Chairman Cameron’s regime is not a million miles from Mao

Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer, Sunday 19 December 2010

I put it down to Tony Blair. Also to Margaret Thatcher. And to Mao Tse-tung. To understand this government, you need to appreciate the debts that it owes to these three influences: Labour’s triple election-winner, the Conservatives’ most radical postwar prime minister, and the Chinese dictator responsible for the deaths of more of his own people than any other leader in history.
To be fair to the coalition, it is not their ambition to replicate the body count heaped up by the Communist party of China during Mao’s lethal reign. Nor does this government share many of the late tyrant’s political ends. Yet in its methods, I am increasingly struck by the strange similarities between the regime of Chairman Mao and that of Chairman Cameron.
Some of the coalition’s senior figures are conscious of this; some of them are even proud to draw the parallels between themselves and the author of The Little Red Book. In recent weeks, I have heard one important figure in the government talk of unleashing a “cultural revolution” in the public services and another hailing devolution of power away from the centre using Mao’s old slogan: “Let a thousand flowers bloom.”

Further on:

I have actually heard more than one member of the cabinet explicitly refer to the government as “Maoist”.

And:

They are urged on from within Number 10 by the prime minister’s principal strategist, Steve Hilton, who is probably the most Maoist person in the government.

It is but the latest episode in a never-ending barrage of propaganda to discredit the first wave of socialism in the world and those who led this revolutionary movement.
Andrew Rawnsley, a prominent apologist for the New Labour Government that was, now tries to undermine the current Conservative/ Liberal Democrat Government in Britain by likening it to the socialist regime in China during the period when Mao Tse-tung was its leader. Rawnsley is trading on an assumption, probably accurate, that most of his readers believe that Mao and his comrades were mass murderers.
Mao, he tells us, was “responsible for the deaths of more of his own people than any other leader in history”. This is the accolade normally reserved for Stalin but now, it seems, he has been overtaken by Mao.
Factual accuracy – like specifying just how many millions Mao was supposed to have killed – is not highly prized in this sort of writing. It was, of course, a hundred and not a “thousand” flowers which Mao called upon to bloom. But the facts don’t matter here. The main point is that Rawnsley thinks that the worst thing he can say about the Cameron/Clegg Government is that it is “Maoist”.
Rawnley’s article is based on what over the last twenty years or so has become a major trait in the dominant bourgeois ideology of Western capitalist societies: the idea that socialism has failed, that attempts to bring about socialist transformation were led by homicidal mass murders and have been complete disasters. Most people in countries such as Britain and America think that they “know” this to be “true”. Rawnsley feels confident that his readers will share this “knowledge” with him.
Recently I was talking with a Trotskyite, a history teacher, who told me that “Mao murdered millions”. I asked him to tell me something about which people were murdered, how, where, when and why. All he could say was that “there is this book which tells you about it” although he could not name the title and author and he had not read it.
Further discussion revealed that he knows nothing about the history of modern China and he conceded that this is the case. I quoted Mao to him: “No investigation, no right to speak.”
Here we have a person interested in history and socialism but his knowledge of People’s China has no doubt been picked up from exposure to the popular mass media. Like most of us, he assumes that the ideas he absorbs from the general culture in which he lives are true until he comes across contradictory evidence. Given this climate of opinion, communists have an ideological mountain to climb, something I have discussed in my pamphlet Media Representations of the Socialist Period.
There is a linguistic dimension to this reactionary ideological
obfuscation. In recent years in Britain I have encountered young people from mainland China, especially students, who think of themselves as “communists” but whose outlook is completely bourgeois. They find it confusing to encounter an English person calling himself a communist but who is highly critical of the present regime in China on the grounds that it is on the capitalist road.
One postgraduate journalism student tried to clarify my ideological confusion for me by quoting Teng Hsiao-ping: “For all to become rich, a few must become rich first.” Of course, most people in the West still think of China as “communist” and given the media images of billionaires, corruption and consumerism in China today this simply compounds this linguistic mess.
Is it possible for communists to undermine this sort of reactionary ideology which proclaims that socialism has been a disastrous failure? However hard we may strive to do so, we are only likely to meet with some success if the objective conditions are favourable for us to do so. Now in Western capitalist societies we may be entering a period when it is possible to begin to undermine some of this reactionary
nonsense.
The imperialist wars on Iraq and Afghanistan followed by the world-wide financial crisis of two years ago have considerably weakened bourgeois ideological hegemony, the dominance of reactionary ideas. The student protests in Britain over raising university fees together with the general movement across Europe against public spending cuts on
services and benefits could provide the right climate of opinion for an ideological fightback. But are there any communists left to do it?

George Habash, a Revolutionary Life

Repost from the old site.
The following tribute to George Habash, leader of the Palestinian Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was delivered to a meeting organized by the CPGB-ML in Central London on Saturday 10 February 2008. The Communist Party Great Britain Marxist-Leninist, basically a hardline pro-Stalin group, last time I checked. This document is interesting for various reasons.
For one, it shows that hardline Communist rhetoric in the style of the former USSR is still popular. The PFLP are lauded for being a hardline Marxist-Leninist organization. It’s hard to say whether they still are or not, as they seem to be downplaying this in recent years, and no one really knows what Communism even means anymore.
It is true that there was a Communist state in South Yemen, but I am not sure if they accomplished much down there.
One of the biggest heroes of the Arab Left is Gamel Nasser, leader of Egypt. One great thing that he did do was to initiate a land reform. Most Arab states probably do not have feudal or semi-feudal land relations in the countryside anymore, but Egypt did in the 1950’s. 10% of landowners owned most land, and 25% of landowners owned almost all of the land.
The vast majority of the rural population was reduced to the status of landless laborers or sharecroppers in debt peonage on the land of the landlords.
Nasser was able to break up the large estates by buying them up via the government and giving the land to the sharecroppers. It was one of the great progressive events in modern Arab history. Back in the day in Yemen, you would go into the houses of the poor in South Yemen and see Nasser’s picture on the wall – they knew he was a hero to the Arab poor, and mostly for the land reform.
Unfortunately, land reform was not enough. Population was exploding and Egypt desperately needed to put more farmland into production. Hence the Aswan Dam, a necessary evil.
But even this did not solve the problems, as the rural poor continued to pour into the cities to look for nonexistent work. The landowners were bought off by assuring them a place in industry, which was and is heavily corrupt and tied in with the state. But the Egyptian economy was so shaky that the rich didn’t really feel like investing in it.
Socialism was and is a pretty easy sell across the Arab World, in part due to Islam. Islam is a pretty socialist religion, although fundamentalists will argue the point with you and point out that the Koran says that there are those who have more and those who have less and this is ok. Nevertheless, the Koran is hardly a raging individualist tract.
Nor are the deserts of the Arab World suited for individualism. In such an environment, the every man for himself libertarian is lost and probably dead quite quickly. One must form alliances or one will be destroyed. One must work cooperatively or the elements will take your life. In a world of perennial scarcity, mass hoarding by a few means death for many more.
Hence, in the past century, most independent Arab states have opted for some kind of socialism. Where the states could not do it, the religious or militant groups did. There is no hatred of welfare or government as we have it in the individualist US. Socialism is simply normal and free market libertarianism is seen as a bizarre and cruel aberration.
Nevertheless, in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and probably other places, the clergy did resist land reforms on the grounds that they were un-Islamic. Iraq, newly emerging from semi-feudal relations in the 1960’s, saw the Iraqi Communist Party become one of the largest parties in the country. It was particularly popular with poor Shia who flooded in from the countryside and poured into what later became Sadr City.
At that time, the Shia clergy were widely regarded as corrupt. They were tied in with large landowners, often involved in money-making scams, and were noted for enticing women into sexual relationships with them.
One of the few great things that the Shah of Iran did was to institute a land reform to realign the semi-feudal relations in the Iranian countryside. It went off pretty well, but some ethnic groups opposed it and hence were persecuted.
The tone of the Communist Party Great Britain Marxist-Leninist in the statement below is what might be called Stalinist or anti-revisionist.
Anti-revisionists hold that the problems with Communist states came from them leaving the path of true Communism and diluting their economies with capitalist relations. I do not know how much there is to that, so I can’t comment on revisionism. But even staunch Marxist sites nowadays post long pieces stating flat out that the Soviet model failed.
The North Star Compass is a pretty interesting site. It’s run by former Communists from the East Bloc and the USSR, and it is dedicated to the reestablishing of the Soviet Union as a socialist state. For these folks, Gorbachev was enemy #1. There are quite a few interesting essays there, and for those who think that Putin is a Communist, these guys really hate Putin.
For those who think that Russian Communists are all racists and anti-Semites, note that the North Star Compass despises the newly emerging fascist threat in the USSR.
There are many Trotskyite sites on the Net. The Trotskyites used to be totally nuts on the question of “Stalinists”. Can you believe that they supported the German attack on the USSR and opposed the Soviet army’s war in Afghanistan?
Trotskyites seem to have calmed down a lot lately. Many of them are supporting the Nepalese Maoists and the Colombian FARC. They even support Cuba. Usually this is measured with a tone that these states and movements would be better off if they adopted Trotskyism. Truth is that it is possible that Trotskyism has hardly even be tried anywhere, except possibly in the USSR from 1917-1922.
Trotskyites have a reputation as the ultimate splitters, and in the Philippines they have, incredibly, taken up arms alongside the feudal and fascist state against the Maoist NPA. In Defense of Marxism is a good example of a Trotskyite site.
It seems that many Communists nowadays in the West are Trotskyites of some sort. No one really knows what to make of them, and many Stalinists just laugh about them and regard them as irrelevant. Western Trotskyites seem to have a lot of money for some reason, and often put up nice websites. Non-Trotskyite Communist sites often have mild critiques of Trotskyism as some sort of irrelevant hairsplitting movement.
Western Trotskyites were heavily Jewish in the West until 1967 or possibly earlier. World Trotskyism opposed Israel in the Six Day War and Jewish Trotskyites consequently defected en masse. Many seem to have made their way into the neoconservative movement.
There are a variety of reasons for the heavy Jewish presence in Trotskyism, and that Trotsky himself was Jewish cannot be ignored. Trots have tended to oppose both Stalinism and Maoism as horribly brutal ideologies that committed atrocious human rights violations. Trotskyism has been a serious movement only in the West and it has tended to flounder in the rest of the world.
One of the Trots’ main points is that a rapid buildup of urban industry is essential for the development of a modern socialist state. Trots are almost the opposite of the Maoists and their emphasis on the peasantry.
There are sites that basically uphold the former USSR and even Stalin, but they are often angry at Maoists, whom they accuse of adventurism. In India, Maoists are killing traditional Communists in the state of Bengal, a state that has been run by pro-Soviet Communists for about 30 years now.
Marxism-Leninism Today is an example of a pro-USSR, pro-Cuba, anti-Maoist site. They support the CPI-M (Communist Party India-Marxist) in Bengal and are not too happy with the Indian Maoists for killing their comrades.
Here is a cool site by a Georgian artist who is the grandson of Joseph Stalin, showing the Stalin family tree among other things.
Stalinism.ru is a site run by Russian Stalinists, but if you can’t read Russian, it’s not for you.
The National Bolshevik Party is some sort of a bizarre marriage of Stalinism and racial nationalism (I don’t want to say Nazism, but I fear that is what it is). It’s Russian too, but check out the scary party image, complete with Nordic lettering, and the background on the homepage. Lots of related links at the bottom – looks like they have chapters all over the place.
Another great site, coming from a somewhat different point of view, a Maoist one, is the Single Spark. Although Maoists are often described as ultra-Stalinists, Maoists and Stalinists are not necessarily the same thing.
The Maoists have always been the real bomb-throwers on the Far Left.
Despite Cold War rhetoric, pro-Soviet Communists often did not take up armed struggle until all peaceful avenues for change were blocked, and the Left was up against a death squad state. Otherwise, the idea was to try to gain power through parliamentary means, despite Lenin’s denouncements of “parliamentary cretinism”.
If the state was reasonably democratic and not killing the Left, the pro-Soviets often argued that “an objectively revolutionary situation did not exist”. On the other hand, Maoists tend to reject all bourgeois democracy as invalid, particularly in very backward societies with mass extreme poverty and accompanying disease, hunger and premature death.
Hence, Maoists have launched insurgencies against formally democratic states as Peru, Sri Lanka, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Philippines, Nepal and India in recent years. In most of these cases, the pro-Soviet Left decided to sit out armed struggle, and the Maoists were denounced as adventurists irresponsibly taking up arms in spite of a lack of an objectively revolutionary situation.
In Peru, the war launched by the Shining Path led to a state that was less and less democratic and soon became just another Death Squad State. Thus in 1984, the pro-Cuban Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) took a vote and decided that “an objectively revolutionary situation existed” and opted to take up arms.
Another difference is that despite Cold War rhetoric, Maoists are often a lot more vicious than the Castroites and pro-Soviet rebels. Maoists have no qualms about killing “class enemies” – anyone prominent advocating rightwing politics or abusive landowners – whereas the Castroites often try to take the high ground in guerrilla war.
Examples in Latin America are the Castroite ELN in Colombia, URNG in Guatemala, FSLN in Nicaragua, FMLN in El Salvador, the aforementioned MRTA, and the FARC in Colombia. Despite crap from anti-Communists and the US government, all these groups have tried pretty hard to abide by the rules of war. At any rate, the overwhelming majority of grotesque human rights violations in each of these conflicts were committed by the state.
On the other hand, the Maoist Sendero Luminoso was a profoundly savage and cruel guerrilla group, though they almost seized power.
Communism doesn’t mean that much anymore. Cuba allows religious believers to join the party, and there are millions of liberation theology Leftist Catholics in Latin America and the Philippines. The Chinese and Vietnamese Communists have introduced major elements of capitalism into their economies, while retaining a great deal of socialism at the same time.
Over the course of a few years, from 2003 to 2005 and 2006, the Nepalese Maoists underwent a sea change in politics. They went from hardline Maoists railing against revisionists and opposing anything but the dictatorship of the proletariat, to an embrace of multiparty democracy and a mixed economy and measured critiques of Mao, Lenin and Stalin as outdated for the needs and realities of today.
I think this is fantastic. I care nothing about dogma. I just want results, and I don’t really care how you get there – capitalism, socialism, communism or whatever. If Marxism is indeed an ever-evolving science (which, if it is a science, it must be) then there must be no treating its elementary texts as some sort of religious books.
The works of Marx, Lenin, Mao and others must be regarded as the works of men, not Gods, positing theories. These theories must be tested in praxis to see how well they test out, as in any empirical investigation. The theories of these mortals will either test out or they will not, and if not, we need to adjust them accordingly.
We know what our goals are; all that is at stake is how to get there.
Let us listen to top leader Prachanda and other Nepalese Maoist leaders, from the Single Spark site:

Since MLM is a progressive science, the people’s war calls for ideology and leadership that is capable to complete a new People’s War in the 21st century. Our Party’s CC Extended Meeting last September held that the ideologies of Lenin and Mao have become old and inadequate to lead the present international revolution.
The political and organizational report passed by the meeting says, ‘The proletariat revolutionaries of the 21st century need to pay their serious attention towards that fact that in today’s ground reality, Lenin and Mao’s analysis of imperialism and various notions relation to proletariat strategies based on it have lagged behind.’
As Marxism was born in an age of competitive capitalism, the strategies and working policy formulated during the times of Marx had become old when they arrived at Lenin’s times of imperialism and proletariat revolution.
Similarly, the ideologies developed by Lenin and Mao at the initial phase of international imperialism and proletariat revolution have become inadequate and lagged behind at the present imperialistic phase. Therefore, ‘the main issue is to develop MLM in the 21st century and to determine a new proletariat strategy.1
The second [wrong trend] …is not to concentrate on how
revolutionary struggle can be developed in one’s country by developing correct strategy and tactics, but to talk more of world revolution, enjoy classical debate, eulogize strategy and tactic of the past successful revolutions, teach other fraternal parties as if they know everything about the concrete situation in that country and stick to what Lenin and Mao had said before. This trend represents dogmatism.2
What we think is that situation has undergone a considerable
change, so the communist revolutionaries must not stick to what Lenin had said about insurrection and what Mao had said on Protracted People’s War.3
Q. You have envisioned a people’s republic, no?
Prachanda: Mao Zedong’s People’s Republic cannot fulfill the needs of today’s world. It cannot address today’s political awareness appropriately. Mao said cooperative party theory; we called it competitive party theory. We have said let’s move ahead from the conventional People’s Republic and develop it as per the specialties of the 21st century.
Q. You do not follow the old concept of communism?
Prachanda: Definitely not. What happened without competition? In the USSR, Stalin gave no place to competition and went ahead in a monolithic way. What was the result?4
Does Communism make sense today?
P: It’s a big question, starting with Marx, Lenin and Mao Zedong, who wanted to apply the Marxist teachings in semi colonial countries. Now, we still need Marxism, but in accordance to the needs of the 21st century. We have to apply Marxist science in a very new context, understanding social, economic and also technological changes, without dogmatism and without sectarianism.
We are trying to develop a completely new concept, different from what happened in the past century. When we are in the government, our experiment will surprise everybody.
This will happen only if foreign investors trust a communist government…
P: Yes, I know. We cannot ignore the whole process of liberalization in the world. So, we will apply mixed economics to this country. Right now, we are not saying that we plan a total socialist economy, though we will not blindly follow western liberalism. We have some national priorities and we will welcome foreign investors, using capital from abroad for the well being of Nepal.5
Though Mao made some bold experiments to revive and develop socialist democracy, his efforts did not result in any qualitative advance. Why did socialist democracy ultimately fail? Why did it have to bear the stigma of ‘totalitarianism’ from its adversaries? If the revolutionary communists of the 21st century have ‘to win the battle for democracy’, as Marx and Engels had declared in the famous Communist Manifesto, we must dare to question the past practice in socialist democracy and take some bold initiatives.6.
All selections from this document7.

CPGB-ML Tribute to Habash

In his 1944 speech, “Serve the People”, Comrade Mao Zedong said these famous words:

All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Szuma Chien said: ‘Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather.’ To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather.

Today, the heroic Palestinian people are continuing to resist, whether in the breaking of the barrier with Egypt to alleviate the genocidal siege of Gaza, or in the martyrdom operation at Dimona, the nuclear site where imperialism and its stooges do not demand inspections, to express a sense of grief at the loss of Al-Hakim, Dr George Habash, one of the greatest leaders of the Palestinian people, and, more importantly, to celebrate his glorious life and give real political vitality and clarity to the essential work of building solidarity with the Palestinian people in the British working class and in the anti-war and other progressive movements.

Nice memorial poster of PFLP leader George Habash. In all of the obits in the US news, few detailed the reason for the radicalization of Habash. At university in Lebanon, he was apolitical and preferred to play guitar. He raced home during the “Israeli War of Independence” to his home in Lydda. Jewish militias attacked the town and forced 95% of the city to flee.
Most were Palestinian Christians. His sister died of typhoid fever during the siege of the town and Habash buried her in the backyard. He blamed the Jews for blocking access to the hospital that could have saved her. There were some notorious massacres of Palestinians during the attack on Lydda, including the execution of many young men in a mosque.
The Jews forced Habash and others to line up and leave their homes and all of their possessions. One man asked if he could return to get the keys to his house and for making this request, he was shot dead in front of Habash’s eyes. From that point on, the apolitical future doctor was transformed into a revolutionary.


Comrade George Habash, who has passed away at the age of 82, gave more than six decades of his life to the revolution. He was born into a prosperous Greek Orthodox family in the Palestinian city of Lydda.
At that time, the Palestinian people were under the rule of the British colonial mandate, which was systematically preparing the way for the creation of a Zionist settler colonial state, which, in the words of Sir Roland Storrs, the first British governor of Jerusalem in the 1920s, would form “for England a ‘little loyal Jewish Ulster’ in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism”.
In the summer of 1948, whilst studying medicine in Beirut, George went back home to help organise resistance to the Zionist catastrophe that was sweeping over the Palestinian people, driving them from their ancestral homes and lands into exile and dispossession.
At this time, he and his whole family, along with 95 percent of the inhabitants of his native city, were forced out at gunpoint by the Zionist terrorists and ethnic cleansers commanded by Yitzhak Rabin. Years later, Habash was to observe:

It is a sight I shall never forget. Thousands of human beings expelled from their homes, running, crying, shouting in terror. After seeing such a thing, you cannot but become a revolutionary.

During al-Nakba, the catastrophe, more than 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and lands, made stateless and refugees.
Graduating as the first in his class, Dr Habash eschewed the chance to pursue a lucrative career, opting instead to open a people’s clinic offering free treatment and a school for refugees in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
Around this same time, he and his comrades founded the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM), the first pan-Arab movement to take up armed struggle against colonialism and to win back the lost lands.
The significance of the ANM should not be underestimated. Not only was it to be the root of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP); from its ranks also came revolutionary forces in many parts of the Arab homeland, including the National Liberation Front in Aden and South Yemen, which not only defeated British imperialism in a revolutionary armed struggle to win national liberation, but, later as the Yemen Socialist Party, leading the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, stood in the vanguard of to date the only real attempt to build an Arab socialist state on the basis of the scientific principles of Marxism-Leninism and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
In the 1960s, Comrade Habash, like many other anti-imperialist fighters then, before and since, came to accept that the liberation struggle of the oppressed people, if it was to be crowned with success and carried through to the end, needed to be based on Marxism-Leninism. Lamis Andoni, an analyst for al-Jazeera, who knew Comrade Habash well, expressed matters this way in his tribute to his friend:

He belonged to a generation influenced by Franz Fanon, Mao Zedong, General Vo Nguyen Giap and later by Che Guevara. In their views, colonialism epitomised systematic, institutional violence and subjugation of people under its control …
In the early 1960s, George Habash, already a paediatrician in Amman known for treating the poor for free, endorsed Marxism as he grew convinced that the national struggle should not be separate from the struggle for social justice.

After the founding of the PFLP in December 1967, following the Arabs’ bitter defeat in the June 1967 war, Habash declared that the struggle was “not merely to free Palestine from the Zionists but also to free the Arab world from remnants” of Western colonial rule. All Arab revolutionaries, he said, “must be Marxist, because Marxism is the expression of the aspirations of the working class”.
In a 1969 interview, he declared:

By 1967, we had understood the undeniable truth, that to liberate Palestine we have to follow the Chinese and Vietnamese examples.

Indeed, Comrade Habash paid close attention not only to the Chinese and Vietnamese revolutions, but to the experience of all the socialist countries and the revolutionary movement in all parts of the world.
Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were also two countries close to his heart and with which he and the PFLP forged tight bonds of active solidarity. In the memorial hall for Comrade Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, the Korean comrades proudly display the several awards and medals presented to their great leader by the PFLP over the years.
Under Habash’s leadership, the PFLP forged close and active ties of combat solidarity with national liberation movements in all parts of the world – the ANC in South Africa, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and the Irish Republican Movement, to name but a few, embracing training, material assistance, joint operations and moral encouragement.
In the September 1970 hijackings that gave the PFLP worldwide fame, Leila Khaled was joined by Patrick Arguello Ryan, a militant of the Sandinista National Liberation Front and the only martyr of those operations.
In 1983, after the Nicaraguan revolution, the Sandinistas commemorated Arguello by renaming the Geothermal Plant at Momotombo in his honour. A poster still available on the PFLP website describes Arguello as the “symbol of common Nicaraguan/Palestinian struggle”.
Comrade Habash sought to translate into reality, and himself embodied, these inspiring words of Che Guevara, which go to the very essence of proletarian internationalism:

Let the flag under which we fight be the sacred cause of the liberation of humanity so that to die under the colours of Vietnam, Venezuela, Guatemala, Bolivia, Brazil will be equally glorious and desirable for a Latin American, an Asian, an African and even a European.

Comrades, The Palestinian revolution is a complex and difficult one, throwing up many challenges and inevitably differences of view. Equally inevitably, Comrade Habash often found himself embroiled in internal controversy, particularly in terms of the sometimes painful compromises, concessions and retreats that have been forced on the Palestinian people at various times.
But what shines out is the fact that he never lost sight of the importance of unity in the national liberation movement.
In their own tribute to their leader, the PFLP put matters this way:

In 1987, with the outbreak of the great Intifada, Dr. Habash called for upholding Palestinian national unity, and convening the Palestinian National Congress in Algeria in 1988.
Comrade Al-Hakim always understood national unity as a necessary condition for the continuation of the struggle and the national liberation movement, whether in Beirut during internal fighting among Palestinians and after as well, recognising that the internal contradictions among Palestinians could not be solved through military mechanisms, but rather through the democratic processes of the liberation movement.

Lamis Andoni, to whom we have already referred, wrote:

‘His message to the Palestinians was to restore our unity,’ Issam Al Taher, a senior aide, who saw him a day before his death said.‘Unity, unity, unity — that was his only message,’ said Al Taher.

Andoni notes of the relationship between George Habash and Yasser Arafat:

The two men never severed ties and continued a complex relationship of camaraderie and rivalry until the end.

Andoni continued:

Tall and handsome, Habash exuded a certain charisma that disarmed his distracters who admired his persistence but criticised what they saw as rigidity. A stroke that partially paralysed half of his body changed his appearance later but did not affect his ardour for the cause.It was that Habash that I saw and met for the first time in Tunis in 1983. The PLO was expelled from Beirut too and most its leaders moved to this northern Mediterranean capital of Tunisia. Habash moved to Damascus, Syria instead.
On that day the PLO was holding a meeting. Most of the leaders had arrived and then there was a stir and silence. Habash entered slowly on crutches, hampered and subdued by his physical disability.
The hall, filled with hardened fighters, stood on their feet while Arafat hugged Habash and escorted him to his seat.

Of the final period of Habash’s life, Andoni notes:

He would get so distressed during conversations discussing the events in Palestine and most recently in Iraq, that his wife, and closest friend Hilda, would interfere to stop it.When Israel besieged Arafat in 2002 in his compound in Ramallah, Habash stood by his rival. When Arafat died, amid Palestinian suspicion that Israel may have been involved, Habash deeply mourned him.
The few times I was able to see him over the last three years, he never stopped monitoring and learning every detail about Palestinian life. His physical ailment deepened the sense of soulful pain he internalised.
Those who were with him during his last days recall how disturbed he was by the rift between Fatah and Hamas. He opposed the strategy of Mahmoud Abbas, the current Palestinian president, of accommodating US and Israeli demands but did not endorse Hamas’ military take over of Gaza.
His main concern was the damage brought upon the Palestinians by the most serious internal rift in their history.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the mourning for Comrade Habash has transcended the differences in the Palestinian ranks. President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of national mourning, noting that Habash had dedicated his life to struggling for his people. Hamas leader Ismail Haneya said, “Dr. George Habash spent all his life struggling for the cause of the Palestinian people.”
Islamic Jihad described him as a “real leader” and other Palestinian organisations paying their tributes included the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestine Popular Struggle Front, who said that his path was and is one of liberation for the Palestinian and Arab people.
In its December 1967 Founding Statement, the PFLP declared:

The masses are the authority, the guide, and the resistance leadership from which victory will be achieved in the end. It is necessary to recruit the popular masses and mobilise them as active participants and leaders …
The only language that the enemy understands is the language of revolutionary violence …
The slogan of our masses must be resistance until victory, rooted in the heart with our feet planted on the ground in deep commitment to our land. Today, the Popular Front is hailing our masses with this call. This is the appeal. We must repeat it every day, through every breakthrough bullet and the fall of each martyr, that the land of Palestine today belongs to all the masses.
Every area of our land belongs to our masses who have defended it against the presence of the usurper, every piece of land, every rock and stone, our masses will not abandon one inch of them because they belong to the legions of the poor and hungry and displaced persons …
The struggle of the Palestinian people is linked with the struggle of the forces of revolution and progress in the world, the format of the coalition that we face requires a corresponding … coalition including all the forces of anti-imperialism in every part of the world.

Much more can be said on the life, work and legacy of Comrade Habash, but in summary these are some of the things he advocated and taught:
• That the fundamental way to liberation lies through armed struggle and people’s war based on the masses.
• That for the struggle to be successful and carried through to the end it needs to be based on Marxism-Leninism, the scientific world outlook of the working class.
• That the oppressed peoples must uphold proletarian internationalism in their struggle for liberation, based on militant unity within and between the three major currents of the world revolutionary process, the socialist countries, the national liberation movements, and the working-class movement in the imperialist heartlands.
• That the liberation of the nation necessitated the principled and democratic unity of all the forces of the nation, even though major differences will also exist and must be struggled over.
Clearly, all these are not just lessons for the Palestinian people alone.
In June 2000, age and ill health led Comrade Habash to step back from the day-to-day leadership of the PFLP. Giving an inspiring speech on that occasion, in many respects he wrote his own epitaph. He told his comrades:

What I have lived through over the course of these militant decades, and the rich experience I have acquired, is not a matter to be taken for granted. It is your right, and the right of coming generations to review the content and lessons of this experience with all of its many successes and failures.

As befits a man who gave all of his own life and strength to the revolution, Comrade Habash said of the martyrs, the prisoners and his comrades, and it is with Comrade Habash’s own words, from his farewell address, Palestine Between Dreams and Reality, that we conclude this tribute:

I remember each of the martyrs, one by one, and without exception – those martyrs to whom we are indebted, for whom we must continue the struggle, holding fast to the dream and holding fast to hope, and protecting the rights of the people for whom they shed their blood. Their children and their families have a right to be honoured and cared for. This is the least we can do for those blazing stars in the skies of our homeland.I also remember now the heroic prisoners in the jails of the occupation and the prisons of the Palestinian Authority – those militants who remind us morning and night of our patriotic duty by the fact that they are still there behind bars and by the fact that the occupation still squats on our chests. Each prisoner deserves the noblest signs of respect …
Now permit me to express my gratitude to all the comrades who have worked with me and helped me, whether in the Arab Nationalist Movement or in the Popular Front. They stood beside me during the hardest conditions and the darkest of times, and they were a great help and support for me. Without them I would not have been able to carry out my responsibilities.
They have been true comrades, in all that the word implies. Those comrades helped to create a congenial atmosphere, an environment of political, theoretical, and intellectual interaction that enabled me to do all that was required. Those comrades have a big place in my heart and mind.
I offer all my thanks and appreciation to each one of them by name. In addition, to the comrades who vigilantly guarded me, looking out for my safety, all these long years, I offer my gratitude …
As a last word, I feel it necessary to say that I know well that the goals for which I worked and struggled have not yet been attained. And I cannot say how or when they will be attained. But on the other hand, I know in light of my study of the march of history in general, and of Arab and Palestinian history in particular, that they will be attained.
In spite of this bitter truth, I leave my task as General Secretary of the Front with a contented mind and conscience. My conscience is content because I did my duty and worked with the greatest possible effort and with complete and deep sincerity. My mind is content because throughout my working years, I continually based myself on the practice of self-criticism.
It is important to say also that I will pay close attention to all your observations and assessments of the course taken by the Popular Front while I was its General Secretary. I must emphasise that with the same close attention, if not with greater attention, I will follow and take to heart the observations and assessments of the Palestinian and Arab people on this course and my role in it.
My aim in this closing speech has been to say to you – and not only to you, but to all the detainees, or those who experienced detention, to the families of the martyrs, to the children of the martyrs, to those who were wounded, to all who sacrificed and gave for the cause – that your sacrifice has not been in vain.
The just goals and legitimate rights which they have struggled and given their lives for will be attained, sooner or later. I say again that I don’t know when, but they will be attained.
And my aim, again and again, is to emphasise the need for you to persist in the struggle to serve our people, for the good of all Palestinians and Arabs – the good that lies in a just and legitimate cause, as it does in the realisation of the good for all those who are oppressed and wronged.
You must always be of calm mind, and of contented conscience, with a strong resolve and a steel will, for you have been and still are in the camp of justice and progress, the camp whose just goals will be attained and which will inevitably attain its legitimate rights. For these are the lessons of history and reality, and no right is lost as long as there is someone fighting for it.

Notes

1. Ashok. (May 2006). Our Experiences of Ten Tumultuous Years of People’s War, The Worker#10, pp. 68-73. On Lenin and Mao, p. 71.
2. Basanta. (May 2006). International Dimension of Prachanda Path. The Worker #10, pp. 82-90.
3. Ibid. On Models: Page 87.
4. Kishor Nepal. (June 2006). Prachanda Interview. Maoist Revolution Digest.
5. Alessandro Gilioli. (Early November 2006). Prachanda: Our Revolution Won . L’espresso, Italy. Excerpts.
6. Prachanda. (November 18, 2006). Democracy: The Forbidden Fruit or Nectar for Progress? Speech at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi.
7. MLM Revolutionary Study Group in the U.S. (Dec. 21, 2006). Assessing Recent Developments in Nepal: A Bibliography on the State, a Peaceful Transition to Socialism, Democracy and Dictatorship, Negotiations and Their Relevance to the International Communist Movement in the 21st Century.

From Trotskyites to Neoconservatives (Short Version)

A commenter asks if there is something about Trotskyism that turned them into neocons:

Do you think there is something fundamentally sinister about Trotskyism that makes such transformation inevitable?

Not really, but they are super-revolutionaries. They believe in worldwide revolution. Spontaneous worldwide revolution. They don’t believe in socialism in one country, remember? They want the whole world in revolt.

The Trots used to just be a bunch of Jews. They liked Trotsky because he was a Jew and supposedly Stalin sacked Trotsky due to anti-Semitism. Trotsky was running around telling everyone that Stalin was an anti-Semite. Also, Stalin was a conservative and a nationalist and he undid a lot of the radical changes that the Trot types had done before 1927. So anyway, if you were a Commie and a Jew in the West, you were supposed to be a Trot.

Then with Khrushchev’s secret speech, the full weight of Stalin’s atrocities, 3.2 people just murdered in peacetime, came out. Actually they were throwing around numbers like 20-110 million. Lot of Commies in the West, including most of the Trots, abandoned Communism and turned into Cold War liberals in the 1950’s associated with a CIA publication called Encounter. They were regularly trotted out to show how liberals hated Communism as much as conservatives. My Dad came out of this mold. Fierce liberal who hated Communism.

With the 6-day war in 1967, the group radicalized. They supported Israel, and they got behind the Vietnam War in a big way as a Cold War thing. Also they became these cultural conservative Jews who were sort of waging war on their fellow Jews. They saw the Counterculture as a bunch of traitorous Jews, and they were pissed. So they were pro-Vietnam War, pro-Israel, pro-Cold War and anti-counterculture.

In the 1970’s this movement grew around a few very obscure journals which have since gone under the names of which elude me. The group coalesced around Henry “Scoop” Jackson’s office in the Senate. He was known as the Senator From Boeing. Jackson represented Washington State. He was this “liberal” who was all tied in with the military industrial complex, a hawk on Vietnam in the 1970’s and a Cold Warrior. My father loved him.

He was a Gentile, but the neocons saw him as Israel’s best friend. All of these guys, Perle, Wolfowitz and the rest of them, come out of this environment. They still wanted to be Democrats though because they were still liberal Jews at heart.

When Reagan came in, they saw their opening and joined on board for the pro-Israel Cold War ride. They formed a BS committee called The Committee on the Present Danger. The whole reason for its existence was to say that the CIA was lying in its estimates on Soviet strength and that the Soviets were stronger than we were and about to conquer us.

This was all lies and apparently they knew this, but they pushed it anyway. They got the CIA to revise its estimates of Soviet strength to dramatically overestimate it. This was the Reagan defense spending ramp up thing. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Frank Gaffney, Perle and other scoundrels were all involved in this.

Most of them were turning into Republicans already when Bush Jr came in, and they made a rush to sign up. Most of his administration came out of the CPD and JINSA, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. The purpose of JINSA is, through corruption and propaganda, to sort of merge the Israeli military and its MIC with the US military and its MIC. It has sort of worked.

The rest is history.

Trace the trajectory of Norman Podhoretz of Commentary Magazine and Irving Kristol of Public Affairs Magazine (William Kristol’s father). Those were some of the original proto-neocons who are now full-on neocons.

The Position of the Left on Western Culture, Whites, Judeo-Christianity and Islam

A little debate here. The first quote is me defending secularism, the second one is Abiezer Coppe defending the Western Left against my charges. I reiterate after the blockquote with evidence from around the world.

It is sickening the way that the Left is sucking up to Islam. Stop it right now! It’s all because Muslims are fighting European Judeo-Christian “colonizer-imperialist” types in Israel and now in Iraq, Afghanistan and even in Europe. To the Left, European Judeo-Christian civilization is evil, and hence so are all Whites. Jews are considered White. We are all racist colonizer/imperialist slavers.

The dark Muslim noble savages are fighting evil White Euros, and the Left cheers.

The Left hates:

1. Euro Whites
2. Euro Christians
3. Euro Jews
4. The West

The dark Third Worldist oppressed darkies are fighting a holy war against all four, the West can’t get enough of it. I’m not sure if the Zionists ever mention this, but I think they are right. The Left even dislikes the Jews because now they are the ultimate expression of the White Judeo-Christian Western Euro colonizer.

No Robert, stop spreading lies about the Left. The Left aren’t that racial. You’re just spouting.

A sane Left will support Christian values as highly progressive. See Slavoj Zizek on Christianity.

Support for Islamism. The Maoists and Trots do it, and that’s about it. It’s third Worldist Idiotism…if you convert to Islam YOU CANNOT LEAVE. The penalty for leaving the Islamic religion in Pakistan is six months in prison, according to a commentator on Radio 4. Is this true?

Of course it is true. That’s if they don’t kill you.

I am talking about the Western Left.

The real existing Left, the one that matters, is not anti-West or anti-Christian.

The Latin American Left is pro-West and pro-Christian. Many of them are Christians. Even the leadership of Sendero Luminoso were Christians, including Abimael Guzman, who is still a Catholic! The Filipino Left is pro-West and pro-Christian.

This is the Liberation Theology Left, and I love it. Jesus was a Commie! In those countries, priests pray alongside the rebels and in some cases even serve in rebel armies. The Sandinistas had priests in their cabinet. Hugo Chavez is very much a Liberation Theologian; this is the best way to describe him. There is a lot of good theory coming out of Cuba nowadays since believers can join the party. They are calling themselves Christian Marxists. Even Fidel says Christianity is compatible with socialism and Communism.

The Indian and Nepalese Maoists don’t mind the West or Christianity. If there is a beef with anything, it’s Hinduism.

The real existing Left in all Muslim states is not too wild about Islam! The Left in the rest of the world cares nothing at all about Western culture or Christianity.

This anti-West, anti-European, anti-Judeo-Christian, anti-White shit is mostly just rebellion on the part of Western Leftists against their own eeeeeeevil religions and cultures.

Maoists in general are not too wild about Islam. The Iranian and Afghan Maoists are some of the most Islam-hostile groups in the Islamic world. They’ve basically had it up to here with Islam.

The Filipino Left has made alliance with Muslim separatists on a strategic basis and gets along with them well. The Indian Maoists support separatists in Kashmir.

Trots are always pro-Islam anymore, but they are irrelevant outside the West, which means they are irrelevant in the Real World.

Trotskidiots Support Contras in the Philippines

Just to show you how useless Trotskyites (Trotskidiots) are, this Trotskidiot named Pierre Rousset has been championing a variety of splitters in the Filipino revolutionary movement as “the real Left.” They range from social democrats to Trotskidiots. The problem with a lot of these groups is that they are out and out traitors! A number of them have formed “independent revolutionary armies” with names that have phrases like “Liberation Front” in them.

Problem is that these “Liberation Fronts” work side by side with the Philippines military and police as paramilitaries and death squads to attack the real revolutionaries, the Maoist NPA. They also abduct, torture and kill people seen as “NPA supporters,” really just innocent civilians who have not taken up arms or broken any laws.

Trotskidiots are worse than useless. They are out and out traitors! They supported the Taliban contras who fought against the Red Army in Afghanistan, the refused to oppose the anti-Nazi front in World War 2, insanely arguing that the Axis and the Allies were simply “two arms of the capitalist movement.” Nearly the entire Western Left is now in the hands of these worse than useless Trotskidiots. What a shame.

By the way, never was an icepick put to better use!

What follows is a press statement from Cordillera People’s Democratic Front, an arm of the NPA’s aboveground political front in northern Luzon (that’s where the Cordillera region is). The statement warns people about the so-called Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army, and tells them not to be fooled by the name as it’s nothing but a reactionary government death squad. Apparently these are former NPA members who surrendered about 10 years ago, sought amnesty and then asked to form they own contra army to fight the NPA.

The CPLA Is in the Same Sinking Boat as the Ampatuan Private Army and Other Armed Groups Coddled by the Arroyo Regime

Simon Naogsan, Spokesperson
Cordillera People’s Democratic Front
December 15, 2009

The most recent in the long-running series of splits in the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) has produced a purported new and reformed group but is composed of the same old opportunist elements. The reported ouster of Mailed Molina and the rise of a new group led by Arsenio Humiding is nothing more than a quarrel over the division of spoils within their dwindling organization.

This same thing has repeatedly happened to the CPLA in the past as various factions squabbled over the funds, weapons, and jobs in the AFP that were dangled before them by the reactionary government.

As an armed group devoid of any ideological mooring, the CPLA serves as a special paramilitary force for AFP counter-insurgency operations in the region. Its members were involved in horrible human rights violations such as the abduction, torture, and murder of Cordillera Bodong Association chairman and Cordillera People’s Alliance vice-chairman Ama Daniel Ngayaan and the killings of scores of Cordillera activists and civilians.

Various factions of the CPLA serve in the private armies of warlord-politicians in Abra and other Cordillera provinces. In Isabela, CPLA members serve in the private army used by the warlord Dy clan in land-grabbing activities. In recent years, even the PNP has complained about the armed robberies, extortion, land grabbing, illegal logging, drug dealing, gambling protection rackets and other crimes perpetrated by the CPLA.

The current CPLA interim leadership keeps on harping on the same tired issues of the integration of more of their members into the AFP and the continuation of their supposed peace-talks with the government. This
underscores their confused and laughable position. Peacetalks are held between adversaries. The CPLA is not an adversary of the government. In fact, the CPLA is pleading for more of their members to be integrated into the reactionary armed forces.

The CPLA raises the issue of their imaginary peacetalks and their empty threats of “going back to the hills” whenever they demand more financial assistance and projects from the government.

The CPLA should be ashamed calling themselves rebels or a “liberation army.” It is simply a criminal armed group used by the military in counter-insurgency operations against the NPA, the rest of the revolutionary movement, and the people. The CPLA is in the same sinking boat as the infamous Ampatuan private army and other armed groups funded, equipped and coddled by the military and the Arroyo regime.

The Cordillera Peoples Democratic Front (CPDF) calls upon the public not to be deceived and to vigorously reject the purported new and reformed CPLA. It is nothing more than an armed gang of lapdogs begging for crumbs from an increasingly isolated regime. The CPLA must be immediately disarmed, disbanded, and punished for the various abuses and human rights violations it committed against the Cordillera people!

Peter Tobin, “India and Nepal – Big Brother Little Brother Part 2″

This is the 2nd part of Peter Tobin’s excellent essay, India and Nepal – Big Brother Little Brother. He is a fine writer and I am honored to present his work on my site.

This post is very long, running to 115 pages on the Web. Nevertheless, it is not a difficult read, as I have read it several times already. Still, it would be best to print it out and read it at your leisure.

This article deals with the recent history of India and Nepal in a manner in which most of us are not familiar.

He also ties in Indian nationalism with Irish nationalism and compares and contrasts the two movements. Tobin’s analysis is interesting for a Marxist, as he negates the notion that the IRA is taking a progressive stance in calling for the unification of all of Ireland.

Instead, he sees it as opposed to the progressive axiom of self-determination. A proper Marxist POV, says, Tobin, would be for Irish nationalists to allow the right of self-determination to the counties of Northern Ireland. He compares this reluctance on the part of Irish nationalists to Indian nationalists’ refusal to grant the right of self-determination to Muslims on the subcontinent, a fascist project that led the violent partition of India, endless war in Kashmir and a very hostile reality between India and Pakistan.

Hence, Irish national unification nationalism, like Indian national unification nationalism, is a fascist project as is the case with most national unification or nation-building projects, not a progressive or Left one.

There are many other interesting tidbits here. Tobin notes that the Hindutva movement actually has its roots in normative Indian nationalism and the Congress Party itself and such heroes as Gandhi and Nehru can be seen as Hindutvas themselves. That India has always dominated Nepal in a brutal and callous way shows that India itself, like Israel, must now be recognized as an imperialist power in its own right.

I made quite a few edits in the text, but for style, punctuation, grammar and spelling only.

1947 INDIA SPRINGS FROM THE HEAD OF MARS

Over the past generation India has shed its non-aligned status and has formally placed itself in the Anglo-Saxon camp. For a number of reasons, some of which I will outline below, it has become a fully active member of the ‘War on Terror’.

To a large extent this has laid bare that which was previously obscured by the radical rhetoric and sometimes practice of the Congress leaders of the pre and post independence movement: that is the phenomenon of a Hindu Great Power chauvinism which lays claim to the entire subcontinent including the Hindu Kush, the Himalayas and what is now Pakistan.

It was initially conceived in the first decades of the twentieth century by the nationalist ideologue Savarkar who introduced the concept of Hindutva (Hinduness) to describe all movements and parties under the umbrella of Indian nationalism.

It is there in Nehru’s Discovery of India written from 1942 onwards while interned by the British. Published in 1946, it formed the Hindu response to those who would challenge the territorial assertions of Indian nationalists. The extreme form of Hindutva can presently be seen in the murderous cretinism of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party, Indian People’s Party) founded in 1980 and now the second largest party in the Lok Sabha.

It is salutary to note that Modi, the leading BJP minister in the Gujarat regional government, personally organized the massacre of over 2,000 Muslims in that state in 2002. The BJP is also pro-American and committed to the neo-liberal project.

There is therefore no substantial ideological or political difference between the BJP and the CI Establishment in this claim to the entire subcontinent. What they have, they hold; where they don’t have control, they have consistently followed expansionist policies of economic and military penetration to achieve that end.

Following independence, initial animus was directed against what were held to be the pretensions of Jinnah’s Muslim League in claiming national rights based upon majority Muslim populations in the North West and East of India. Jinnah rightly claimed that in a few years he had turned:

Muslims from a crowd into a nation.

The emergence of Muslim nationalism provoked the Indian Congress politicians and ideologues into the corrupt, anti-democratic inveigling of a large chunk of Kashmir into the nascent Indian state completely disregarding the wishes of the vast majority of the population there for integration with their coreligionists in an equally nascent Pakistani state.

It reflects, like Irish nationalists in their continued refusal to accept self-determination for the Loyalist population in the six counties, their rejection of a ‘two nation’ theory applying on the subcontinent.

That and the seizure of Hyderabad began India’s first, but by no means last, war of aggression in 1948.

As the largest power on subcontinent, India has always acted with impunity in defending and extending its border and influence. Besides the wars with Pakistan which culminated in the dismantling of that state in 1972 with the detachment of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), it had the arrogance to launch a war against China in the Askhai Chin in 1962.

Its military caste, inflated with hubris inherited from its former imperial master, expected a walkover. The military ignoramus, Mountbatten, who had been parachuted into the high command of SEAC (South East Asia Command) in 1943 over the head of the more competent General Slim, through his royal connections, claimed that India had:

A magnificent army, a capable air force, and a good navy brought up by the British. Look at the terrain and tell me how the Chinese can invade. (sic) I would hate to plan that campaign.

The only correct statement in the above was that the Indian Army was a British creation; its officer class was comprised of Koi Hais (Anglo-Indian Blimps) who, emboldened by all their wars and particularly the walk-over in annexing Portuguese Goa in 1961, were gung ho for war against China. L’appetite vient en mangeant.

In the final event, their army was outmaneuvered, outfought and outclassed by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, and the Indian government was forced to withdraw its troops and territorial claims which, significantly, were based on the British unilaterally imposed McMahon line. (Vide: India’s China War, Neville Maxwell, 1969.)

These territorial assertions were partly based on the fact that the Askai Chin is part of Kashmir, the whole of which Indian nationalists lay claim to, as detailed earlier, but significantly also on the basis that the new line was a secret provision of the 1914 Simla Agreement between the then Dalai Lama and Britain and followed upon the British invasion of Tibet a decade earlier. British historians euphemistically refer to this event as the ‘Younghusband Expedition’.

It was inspired by the adventurist Viceroy, Curzon, seeking to exploit the growing weakness of Manchu China by encouraging Tibetan separatism and to forestall the Russians from gaining influence in that region, reflecting the anti-Russian ‘forward’ school of Raj expansionism that had been evident in Afghanistan and North India throughout the 19th century.

The Chinese had never accepted this invasion or the agreement that resulted from it and which changed British policy, a policy which up to 1904 had recognised that Tibet was under the suzerainty of the Court of the Middle Kingdom. The emerging Kuomintang, from its progressive beginnings under Sun Yat Sen to the later years of the Bonapartist reaction of Chiang Kai Shek, upheld the ‘One China’ policy.

After China ‘stood up’ with the 1949 Liberation, there was even less likelihood of it accepting the spurious legacy of Curzon’s geopolitical cartography. It was not, therefore, as the deluded Mountbatten stated, an ‘invasion’ but a consistent policy of refusing to acknowledge imperialist borders aimed at fragmenting China. The Chinese Communists fought a defensive war against India in order to re-assert the acknowledged historical unity of their country.

Delhi’s aim of enforcing what had begun as a British land grab emphasizes how completely Nehru’s Congress government adopted the reactionary politics and territorial parameters of their former colonial masters. In this sense the war of aggression against the People’s Republic was not an aberration but was entirely consistent with India’s general expansionist policies on the subcontinent and particularly consistent with its attitude towards China.

A long standing animus towards the Communist country was previously seen in the comfort and aid given to the Tibetan Yellow Hat clique and their post 1914 attempts to secede Tibet from China.

Despite all the rhetoric of Third World solidarity that came out of Bandung in 1954 and the Panch Sheel (five points) agreement, where the two countries had agreed not to interfere in each others’ internal affairs, India allowed these separatists, fronted by the youth Gyatso, the Dalai Lama (a CIA creature then as now), a haven after the failure of their American-backed armed uprising in 1959 which the Indian government allowed to be organised from Kalimpong (Nehru himself admitted that the place was ‘a nest of spies’).

After the defeat of this Tibetan ‘Bay of Pigs’, they were allowed to resettle in Dharmsala, which was said to be the biggest CIA base in the world outside of Langley at that time. India essentially allowed the US to pursue its proxy war against China from its territory.

Its anti-colonial soul was further betrayed to a new, but equally expansionist, superpower, when Congress accepted its British inheritance from the instance of independence. For example, it took over with alacrity the policy of keeping Hindu rulers in majority Muslim areas; the British had pioneered this stratagem after the success of the first Sikh wars in 1846 in Jammu and Kashmir based on the principle of divide and rule.

Independent India inherited directly these petty princelings and through them disenfranchised the Muslim populations in those states.

Only lip service was paid to Gandhi’s pacifism. For years before his assassination, he had already been marginalized by the radical group around Menon and Nehru who were the real powers in formulating policy and strategy. Like the Dalai Lama, he has since become a saint to sections of a gullible, dim, historically ignorant Western petit-bourgeoisie.

Nehru put this more aggressive and hardheaded projection of the national interest very clearly in the Lok Sabha in 1959 in relation to the border dispute with China:

But where national prestige and dignity is involved, it is not the two miles of territory, it is the nation’s dignity and self-respect that becomes involved. And therefore this happens.

Yet he continued to delude himself, invoking Gandhi, that “basically we are a gentle people” who “emotionally disliked war,” that had been forced on them by the “warlike Chinese.”

The controversial but perceptive Bengali writer Chauduri, (Inter alia he argued that the Indians were originally Europeans who had been corrupted and denatured by an exotic, tropical environment.) in an acclaimed series of essays, saw through the hypocritical rhetoric, and penetratingly observed a few years after the war:

Hindu militarism is a genuine and powerful force, influencing Indian foreign policy…the conflict with China was inspired almost wholly by Hindu jingoism with the Hindu possessiveness as a second underlying factor. (The Continent of Circe, Niraud C. Chauduri, 1965. p. 107. Circe was a sorceress and weaver of spells from Greek legend.)

This bellicose militarism swept the country, reactivating the concept of the Dharma Yuddha (righteous war) but in a degraded and incompetent form. It demonstrated what a powerful force militarism had become since independence.

However the defeat in the Indian-Chinese War not only strengthened the position of the ‘capitalist roaders’ within Congress but led to one of the biggest defeats of the Party in the history of elections anywhere, when it was swept away in Jaipur in 1962 by a the victory in a ballot by the Swatantra party which championed the free market and was backed by business and many of the former princes.

It proved to be Nehru’s ‘last hurrah’ and effectively ended his political dominance. It was also the end of the experiment with socialism, and India began the sad trajectory that has culminated in its present junior partnership in transnational capitalism.

What this jingoist war did reveal was that the imagined form of an herbivorous Orientalized humanism could not conceal the real substance of a carnivorous and hegemonic bourgeois nationalism. The Gandhian hiatus was a thin varnish which tried to cover an historic Hindu martial spirit, that had as its ideological lodestone the aggressive ardor and warlike tales of the Mahabharata.

1950 INDIAN INTERVENTION IN NEPAL

This newly emergent Indian imperial policy can be clearly seen in the response to the crisis in Nepal in 1950 which saw an alliance of Nepal Congress and King Tribhuvan against the hundred and fifty year rule of the Ranas.

The Ranas were a feudal dynasty that controlled Nepal for that historical period. Unlike their earlier homologues, the Russian Boyars, they did not face a Ivan the Terrible until Tribhuvan, and they exercised a firm grip with a succession of Kings being more or less figureheads. After they seized power with the help of the British in 1846, they remained firmly allied to the East Indian Company and post 1857 Raj in defending British interests in Nepal.

It was the Ranas who facilitated the recruitment of Gurkha mercenaries into the British Indian army, for which they received a payment per head.

During the 1930’s and 40’s, Nepal was swept up in the growing and powerful campaign for independence in India, and there were attempts to set up a Nepalese Congress Party which drew support from primarily the Hindu populations in the Kathmandu Valley and the other major urban centers and from the Terai, which borders India.

The Ranas’ response was brutal suppression – activists were hung or imprisoned, and many driven into exile; principally to India, where they received asylum and support from the Congress Party and the government it subsequently formed in 1948. Nepali Congress was therefore launched in India in 1950 under the auspices of the Congress government.

It is of some significance that at its first conference, NC repudiated non-violence as a tactic in the struggle against the Ranas and began agitating for an armed invasion from India to coincide with an internal uprising in the towns and cities.

Though they were dependent on support from India, such was the situation in Nepal that they were prepared to take a position on the application of Gandhian passivity and its obvious uselessness to the Nepalese situation. The ‘saintly’ pacifist Mohindas consistently held firm to the principle of non-violence and had little sympathy for those who advocated armed struggle.

Thus he refused to intervene to save Baghat Singh, a revolutionary Communist who advocated and engaged in armed struggle, from execution in 1931. By his silence, Gandhi colluded in his execution. Gandhi also retained a dislike for the martial pretensions of Subhas Chandra Bose. For all his vaunted humanism, he was a social reactionary who resolutely defended the caste system.

This militant stand reflected the radicalism of the new born NC. Many of its early leaders, such as GP Koirala and his brother, BP Koirala had cut their teeth in the brutal struggles to establish trade unions in the jute mills of Biratnagar, Nepal’s largest industrial concentration close by the Indian border. GP became the first Prime Minister after the 1990 Andolan and remains an influential NC leader at the present time.

NC’s militancy was in stark contrast to the Congress Party of India which had undergone a process of embourgeoisiement and a growing attachment to Hindu chauvinism. This was reflected in its subcontinental strategy as regards to Nepal and similar neighboring states, as they were all considered as being within India’s sphere of influence.

The unruly Nepalese infant party was to find its interests subordinated to this world view, and this was clearly shown in the events between 1950/2. Nehru initially encouraged and assisted in preparing NC for an armed incursion into Nepal. The current Ranas, the Shamshers, were regarded by Indian nationalists as having been British clients and, as noted earlier, had proved ruthless in persecuting the embryonic nationalist movement. Nehru stated in the Lok Sabha in 1950:

In the inner context of Nepal it is desirable to pay attention to the forces that are moving in the world – the democratic forces, the forces of freedom and to put oneself in line with them, because not to do so is not only wrong according to modern ideas but unwise according to what is happening in the world today.

By late 1950, preparations for an incursion by the Mukti Sena (Liberation Army), as the armed wing of NC styled itself, were well advanced. Though its rank and file were mainly Nepalese, stiffened by a core of recently demobbed Gurkhas, it was largely officered by ex-Indian National Army Boseites.

That this was facilitated by an Indian Congress government demonstrated the schizophrenic attitude to Bose and his forty thousand strong Indian National Army (INA) recruited from Japanese prisoners of war. When they launched an invasion of India in alliance with their Japanese allies in 1944, their cry was ‘Chalo Delhi‘ (on to Delhi), the cry of the 1857 rebels. This consciously emphasized the continuity of the ‘long revolution’.

By declaring for armed struggle against the British, Bose repudiated the Satyagraha strategy (literal translation: ‘to maintain the truth’.) This was the name given to the program of civil resistance. Gandhi used this definition because he wanted to distinguish it from Thoreau’s concept of civil disobedience. That Bose allied himself with Japanese expansionism was a logical step; “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

It was the same conclusion that Irish nationalists, such as Pearse, Connolly and Casement, reached prior to 1916, in respect to Germany, and indeed a policy the rump of the IRA continued during the 1939-45 war. In respect to the struggle for Irish independence, this line of march succeeded in the years immediately following the 1916 Easter Rising and reasserted the physical force tradition over the parliamentary wing of Irish nationalism.

The charismatic Bose, however, while remaining on the margins of nationalist agitation and not able to shake the grip of the Gandhian Congress Party over the movement, nevertheless engendered, at least, posthumous respect for his patriotism and commitment. Such was his popularity with Indians in the closing years of the war that Gandhi and Nehru, albeit from different positions, were forced to oppose the British proposal to try ex-members of the INA. (Bose died in a plane crash in 1945 and so was beyond British lynch law.)

He became a hero, revered because he had frightened the British not just with the INA as a direct military threat but with the prospect that its very existence provided a mutinous pole of attraction to its own Indian Army. This reflected the nervousness evinced by the British that followed the first great War for Independence in 1857 with respect to internal security and, for example, was the reason the Raj refused to send Indian Army regiments to the Mesopotamia campaign in 1915 during the First War.

Eventually his martial spirit proved more attractive to Indians than the pacifist pieties of Mohindas. Satyagraha was replaced by Duragraha (to hold by force). The former, in the eyes of militant nationalists, demanded too much Dhairya (forbearance) in the face of the enemy. It was not surprising that Gandhi’s assassin, Godse, was a leading Hindutva militarist fanatic.

The incursion into Nepal from India succeeded in linking up with internal opposition forces, and within a month, the Ranas were destabilized. But India at this stage was concerned with stability on its border, and complete victory was snatched away from NC with India forcing a three way agreement between the Ranas, the King and NC.

The NP leader, GP Koirala’s, aim of a constitutional monarchy was dropped, and the issue of a promised constituent assembly was kicked into the long grass, Tribhuvan, his successor, Mahendra and the Indian government all reneged on it. Monarchical absolutism asserted itself, and within a few years the prisons were filled with Congress activists along with many Communists whose movement had grown since the founding of the CPN in 1949, a response to the failure of NC and its lack of radicalism.

The Party’s launch coincided with the first translation of the Communist Manifesto into Nepalese by its first leader, Pushpa Lal (also a veteran of the Biratnagar trade union struggle). The work had an immediate resonance among the radical intelligentsia, especially the sections on pre-capitalist social formations that were immediately relevant to the Nepalese situation.

In addition, there were the Manifesto’s political demands, many of which had already been achieved in developed bourgeois democracies, e.g. progressive taxation, free education and elections, which were revolutionary demands in the context of a authoritarian, feudal state.

In 1960, Tribhuvan’s successor, Mahendra, consummated this process by declaring an end to political parties and parliamentary government and instituting the Panchayaat system, a feudal talking shop convened under the King. This lasted until the first great Andolan in 1990 which relegalized the parties and reintroduced a Parliament complemented by, what was intended to be, a constitutional monarchy.

Thus for forty years, successive Indian governments did little to assist Nepalese democrats in their struggle against monarchical absolutism.

Nehru’s government had in fact used the crisis of 1950 to extract yet another unequal treaty, the first of which had been initiated by the British in 1816 with the imposition of the Sugauli Treaty, which made Nepal a captive market for industrial goods produced in India, followed by the later Nepali-India Trade Agreement of 1923 which created a ‘common market’ between the two countries.

The 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty extended that grip and gave the Indians monopoly control over Nepal’s commercial, industrial and finance sectors. This was reviewed every ten years, and the events from 1990 onwards have seen no change in India’s economic domination; it is presently estimated that 80% of Nepal’s industry and commerce is in the hands of Indian capitalists.

They also took over from the British the process of exploiting Nepal’s huge water resources initiated by the 1920 Sherada Dam Agreement and cemented by the further exploitation of the 1954 Kosi Agreement and 1959 Gandaki Agreement.

The Indian ruling class took further advantage of the 1990 upheaval to have all the Nepalese rivers declared a ‘common resource’ for Nepal and India in a ‘Joint Communique’ between the two governments. They added a qualitative twist in 1996 with the Integrated Mahakali Development Agreement which assumed control of the entire Mahakali River for India’s power and irrigation needs.

As Bhatterai, (now number two in the leadership of UCPN(M) after Prachanda) noted:

The Mahakali Treaty, however, has adopted a more devastating form of neocolonial exploitation and oppression by talking equality in theory but in practice ensuring monopoly in the use of water and electricity to the Indian expansionists and imposing trillions of rupees of foreign debt upon Nepal. (B. R. Bhatterai, The Political Economy of the People’s War, 1998, published in The People’s War in Nepal – Left Perspectives, editors A. Karki & D Seddon, p.128)

All of these agreements have progressively dispossessed Nepal of its greatest natural resource. They have particularly affected the Terai, the southern plains contiguous to India and Nepal’s ‘grain basket,’ in order to benefit Indian industrial and agricultural interests.

From the outset India has used its geographical, political and economic position over Nepal to ensure that its hegemonic interests predominated.

When it suited, they allowed Mahendra and his successor, Birendra, to expand and consolidate power, but when the latter attempted to take an independent position specifically by ‘playing the China card’ by buying and importing arms from the People’s Republic in the late 1980’s, they responded with a refusal to renew a trade and transit treaty in 1989 and effectively launched a economic blockade on Nepal.

This, on a country that by this time could not produce enough to feed its population, was devastating, and it caused tremendous deprivation in Nepal.

This crucially weakened Birendra’s Panchaayat and provided the nexus for the 1990 Andolan. (This was as important as the People’s War from 1996 to 2006 proved in creating the conditions for the second Andolan.) The thinking in Delhi with respect to the uprising was that Nepal was now so dependent on India they could manage and control any resulting democratic change as they had always done.

Not only was the major Nepalese party, NC, completely in their pocket by this time, but there was a growing Hindu comprador capitalist class which which would automatically respond to their influence without being urged to.

In the nineties and the first years of the new century they were content to allow the fledgling democracy under NC and its principal ally, the CPN(UML) to attempt to turn Birendra into a constitutional monarch. This changed when the PW grew in influence, and there emerged a strong connection with the Indian Maoists.

The crucial event which propelled them, yet again, to back monarchical despotism was the beginning therefore of the PW in 1996. There was a hitch with the murder of Birendra and his family, allegedly by the Crown Prince, Dipendra, in 2001. He somehow managed to shoot himself in the back of the head with an assault rifle and took two days to die. Thereafter he was referred a the ‘King in a coma’.

It has since emerged that the attack was carried out by an American trained special forces unit organised through RAW (cf. the CIA murder of Ngo Dinh Diem, the Vietnamese President, in 1963; of Patrice Lumumba in the Congo in 1960; of Panama’s Torrijos in 1968; and the numerous bungled but hilarious attempts to assassinate Castro.)

It led to the accession of Gyanendra, who after 9/11 gave the US a pledge to reinvigorate the war against the Maoists, which Birendra had shirked, provoking American fury and his subsequent assassination. Gyanendra in return received armaments and dollars from the US. The fact that he could act autonomously in giving this assurance emphasized the crucial flaw in the 1990 settlement which had left the RNA subject to unilateral, monarchical control.

After a visit by Powell in February 2002 where this understanding was cemented between the Americans and Gyanendra, the Indian government found itself in a bidding war with Uncle Sam and their faithful British ally.

It was keen to see its previous influence restored with the belief that the Anglo-Saxons would undermine their former neocolonial control ceded to American interests and particularly their desire to encircle and monitor the growing power of China. The inclusion of the secular Maobaadi as ‘terrorists’ can be seen in this light.

The Indian government had been to the fore in supplying the regime with arms and logistical support. The supply of armaments was, however, suspended after Gyanendra’s dismissal of his government and the restoration of monarchical absolutism. Indian policy from 2002 onwards represented a break from the ‘two pillar’ strategy which supported both the parliamentary forces and that of the King. At the heel of the hunt, they did not care “what color the cat was as long as it caught the mouse.”

The reasons successive Indian governments had failed to make a objective evaluation of the Maoist movement related to the threat they represented to stability in the region and particularly their threat to abrogate such Indo-Nepalese agreements as the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950, the 1996 Mahakali Treaty along with all similar unequal treaties.

Also of significance to them was the Maobaadi’s networking with India’s own Maoists, which had finally led to the establishment of the Coordinating Committee of Maoist Groups in South Asia in 2001, creating a formal structure to expand revolutionary armed struggle in that region. It only confirmed Indian paranoia.

India had, from 1996 onwards, identified with the monarchy and the parliamentary forces, and along with the US, UK and Belgium poured in armaments to equip the growing Royal Nepalese Army, which by 2006 was approximately 70,000 strong. India provided 25,000 Insas combat rifles, the US 20,000 M16 carbines, South Africa and Belgium 2,000 machine-guns.

Britain further provided two Islander STOL (Short Take-off Or Landing) reconnaissance aircraft, which were adapted and fitted with 50mm heavy machine guns and 200mm mortar bomb racks which, along with two Russian M17 large helicopters, were used to massacre villagers in Maoist held territory as they gathered for political meetings.

The RNA was up against the PLA of 30,000 that had grown from half a dozen Maoist urban refugees which had gone “into the jungle” in 1996 armed with a couple of rusty Lee Enfields but which had built offensive and defensive capacity by expropriating arms and munitions from the police and the RNA.

The Indian government during this period abandoned its previous pragmatic policies which sought a stable Nepal. Their backing of Gyanendra and the reactionary parliamentary forces only exacerbated the crisis. The CPN(Maoist)s’ call for the ending of all the unequal treaties was not unique; it was shared by many in Nepal. The shrinking strata of national capitalists supported this policy as they resented the expansion of Indian domination of the Nepalese economy with the attendant rise of a comprador class.

On the question of solidarity among the Maoist parties on the subcontinent, the Indian government wrongly saw them as a monolithic and undifferentiated entity, which precluded them from showing any flexibility. Instead they resolutely refused to talk to the Nepalese Maobaadi. This was despite the fact the influence of CPN(Maoist) was on the rise (by the time of Jana Andolan in 2006 they controlled nearly 80% of the countryside).

If the Indians wanted a stability on their northern border, there was a necessity to engage with the Maoists at either a formal or informal level.

There is some evidence that CPN(M) recognised the strategic threat that India presented and were concerned that at some stage they would send in their army to forestall or overthrow any regime with pretensions to independence. They were also worried that the fall-out from 9/11 had placed them on the US list of ‘terrorists’ and were prepared to try and reduce their growing list of foreign enemies by exploiting contradictions among them and by attempting to detach India from the Anglo-Saxons.

To this end, the anti-Indian rhetoric of the Party was toned down in the few years after 2001 as they tried to establish some form of dialogue with the Indian government. They were comprehensively rebuffed.

India chose to stay aligned with the US, which regarded the Nepalese Maoists as a bloody and inflexible party; the US Embassy even raised the specter of a Khmer Rouge style takeover in Nepal. They accepted therefore Gyanendra’s argument that they should be included in the War Against Terror the US launched in 2001. What was significant in their inclusion was that the Maoists were secular and thus did not qualify for the nomenclature of Jihadist.

The Americans, with the acquiescence of the Indian government, therefore extended the original criteria to define a terrorist entity as where “…two or more people combine to threaten existing property rights.” This was a active policy which included US military ‘advisers’ training and equipping the RNA and flooding Nepal with CIA operatives.

Like the global phenomena of AIDS, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Avian flu, the Americans were everywhere in Nepal and so became hated by the Nepalese. I witnessed this first hand on both my visits to Nepal. They were so unpopular that many visiting American students used to stitch a Maple Leaf decal on their backpacks in a pathetic attempt to pass as Canadians.

Despite Indian worries regarding potential threats to subcontinental hegemony from outside powers, they looked on as the Americans and Gyanendra sabotaged the peace talks in January 2003 between the Maoists and the then Prime Minister Deuba. They even expressed anger at being marginalized by not being consulted beforehand by either of the two parties engaging in the talks exploring the possibility of peace.

The Maoists were acting in good faith, as they had long indicated a desire to ‘leave the jungle’ and enter the multi-party system.

Apart from suspending arms shipments, which by that time were surplus to the RNA’s requirement, they never seriously challenged Gyanendra’s suppression of all political parties in 2002 until 2005 when, alarmed at the growing success of the Maoists and the impact any victory would have in India, they relinquished the ‘Two Pillar’ policy in favour of the parliamentary parties.

Sotto voce they were equally perturbed at the growing US presence and influence in Nepal which threatened their traditional hegemony. At this juncture they ceased calling the Maoists ‘terrorists’ and facilitated peace talks between the seven parliamentary parties and the Maoists in India. It was obvious to them by now that Gyanendra was a busted flush.

How had a secular republic born in a bitter struggle against imperialism, within only sixty years, reached a fundamentally reactionary and chauvinist polity? This is I want to address in the next section – that and to contrast India’s weaknesses and strengths in the successful struggle against the Raj and the failure after 1947.

IRISH AND INDIAN NATIONALISM – A COMPARISON

The duplicities, antidemocratic maneuvering and aggression shown towards the Muslim League and Pakistan were underpinned by hostility to Muslim claims to self-determination wherever on the subcontinent they formed a majority.

Muslims were not granted any rights to a national identity, as they were seen as Indians under the skin (there is little racial difference) who needed to have their ‘false national consciousness’ stripped away to reveal their ‘true’ Indian identity.

It is very similar the ideological position that Irish nationalists use to deny Protestants in the six counties of Ireland a right to a national identity. Irish and Indian nationalists saw their respective Protestant and Muslim communities as settlements through conquest.

This concept of a national essence is bourgeois metaphysics; it falls into the category of historical idealism. From a materialist position, a nation is first and foremost an historically constituted stable community of people who share a common culture, language and mode of production from which arises a national consciousness. It is where an ideology becomes a material weight.

The other striking similarity between Hindu Indian and Irish nationalist assertions is the claim to hegemony over a defined geographical territory. In the case of the former, it is to the whole subcontinent, including the retaining arc of the Himalayas, and in the latter to all the island of Ireland.

In the case of the former, it arose from a determination to hold on to the territorial parameters established by the British and fortified by the ancestral Hindu belief that the ‘Land of Snows’ was in mystical counterbalance to the Gangetic Plains and Mount Olympus of the Indian gods.

For Irish nationalists, it was the myth that there had been an ‘historic Irish Nation’ prior to the arrival of the British. But the defeat of the High King of Ireland, Brian Boru, at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 by the armies of Leinster and Dublin effectively ended any maturation of the embryonic nation. Thereafter until the Anglo-Normans arrived in 1170, the island was a patchwork of petty tribal families engaged in semi-permanent warfare. It was these divisions which facilitated Strongbow’s incursion.

The failure of the Irish tribes to establish a recognized central kingship was noted four hundred years later by a Tudor agent, who reported to Henry VIII:

There be more than sixty countries inhabited by the King’s Irish enemies, where reigneth more than sixty chief captains, whereof some calleth themselves kings, some kings peers, and every one of the said captains makes war and peace for himself, and holds by sword and hath imperial jurisdiction, and obeys no other person.

That much is to the debit, and it exposes the ideological and political limitations of bourgeois nationalism, but it has to be set against the fact that whatever the negative features, the Irish and Indian struggles for independence were genuine anti-imperialist movements against their British imperial masters.

Each was an heroic and ultimately successful trailblazer for many subsequent anti-colonial struggles.

The tactics that eventually achieved the final expulsions of their respective British occupiers differed: the Irish, after the late 19th century parliamentary Home Rule campaign which collapsed in ignominy after 1916, successfully pursued a strategy of guerrilla war with the mass support of the agrarian Catholic population, while the Indian movement under Gandhi’s leadership pursued a policy of mass agitation and civil disobedience purportedly based on Ashima (non-violence).

Nevertheless, each of these national liberation struggles were bitter and bloody in strikingly similar ways. In the case of the former, for all the subsequent pacifist gloss emerging from the secular beatification of ‘Gandhiji’ about the campaign to drive out the British, we know that for every Robert Emmet, James Connolly or Kevin Barry there was a Mangal Pandey, Lala Lajpat Rai or Bhagat Singh.

The ‘Quit India’ movement organised at the height of the British empire’s life and death struggle with the Japanese Empire was no tea party. The notion that Congress achieved independence through nonviolence was a myth, fostered by the Congress Party and particularly Nehru to bolster his credentials as a principled international statesman working working for world peace and nuclear disarmament – India became a nuclear power post-Nehru.

There was genuine political and ideological support from Irish nationalists with the Indian struggle, a genuine sympathy with fellow anti-colonialists based upon the assessment that what the British first practiced in Ireland – famine, war, dispossession, exploitation, ethnic cleansing and genocide – they then visited on the rest of the World.

de Valera underlined that solidarity when he took George Washington’s words:

Patriots of Ireland , your cause is mine.

and in 1920 said that

the cause of Ireland is the cause of India, Egypt and Persia.

Fittingly he was an honored guest at the Indian independence ceremony in 1948.*

Stalin, the CPSU’s principal spokesman on the national question, noted the link between the two struggles:

Not only has bourgeois society proved incapable of solving the national problem, but its attempts to “solve it has inflated it and turned the national problem into a colonial problem and has created against itself a new front stretching from Ireland to Hindustan. (Marxism and the National Question, Tenth Congress CPSU, J.V. Stalin,1921, pp. 106/7)

In the postwar years, the two new states followed a similar domestic and foreign policy, and in this lay the seeds of their present vicissitudes. Early attempts by the Irish to develop an agrarian based economy free from dependence on British capitalism proved abortive. The endeavors of the newly elected Fianna Fial government of 1932 to pursue policies to protect and stimulate Irish agriculture and industry behind import taxes led to a tariff war with Britain.

This reflected the need of all newly independent countries, whether nationalist or Communist, to pragmatically follow the advice of the great German empirical economist, Frederick List. In opposition to the theology of Smith and his ‘hidden hand,’ he observed that newly emerging nations needed to protect their home markets and their fledgling home industries with tariffs against the predations of the existing dominant world economic powers of finance capital.

He further argued that the ‘visible hand’ of the state is necessary to stimulate and oversee the process. His prognostications led to establishment of the Zollverein, which drew the many German states and principalities into a customs union that laid the economic basis for Germany’s political unification in 1871.

Thus India and Ireland came to the conclusion that if they continued to allow unfettered access to their home market by more powerful and technologically advanced free trading imperialists, then so long would they be economically dependent, as they could not hope to compete on a level playing field.

In its own way, India initially followed List’s principles, with a socialist twist. Encouraged by the Congress leadership around Menon and Nehru, it launched a programme of nationalization and attempted to lay the basis of a planned economy with a series of five year plans.

Although they achieved a growth in GDP of 4%, it was not sustained, as there was no corresponding revolution in social and property relations as had happened in the Soviet Union and China, and which unleashed the energy and productive genius of their emancipated masses and led to the subsequent industrial take-offs in those countries.

As Lenin pointed out clearly and as was later developed by Mao, there needed to be both a cultural revolution and a radical transformation of extant property relations following the political seizure of power which involved the masses in a complete revolutionary challenge to the existing order.

The newly empowered Indian Congress government failed to grasp this post-imperial axiom, and thus the caste and the feudal land systems were left untouched.

In the intense political and ideological rivalry that existed between the two newly liberated countries of Communist China and Congress India, it was, however, the former who succeeded economically and lifted their people out of absolute poverty and immiseration with a commitment to the ‘cradle to grave,’ ‘iron rice bowl’ policy and by comprehensively taking the socialist road.

It was the Chinese Communists who saw that in Stalin words that:

…the national and colonial questions are inseparable from the question of emancipation from the power of capital… (Ibid, The National Question Presented, J.V. Stalin, p. 114)

It can be argued that in the final analysis, China has integrated itself into world capitalism, but its socialist, autarkic period up to the late 1970’s enabled it to do so on its own state capitalist terms.

Compare China, even in its Maoist period, to the squalor and degradation that the majority of Indians, both in town and country, continue to live in, and only a fool or a reactionary would not conclude that India has failed by any measurable criteria.

India, under the growth and influence of a bourgeois comprador class, has integrated itself into the economic neoliberalism of the Anglo-Saxon world.

Chaudari predicted with remarkable foresight this eventuality earlier when he wrote:

Working within the emerging polity of the larger Europe, the Anglo-Saxon can be expected to lay claim to a special association with India on historical grounds. In plain words I expect either the United States singly or a combination of the United States and the British Commonwealth to re-establish and rejuvenate the foreign domination of India. (Autobiography of an Unknown Indian, N.C. Chauduri, 1951.)

Later, in 1962, he observed:

In the fulfillment of their destiny the American People will become the greatest imperial Power the world has seen, and they will repeat their history by having the blood of the Dark Indian on their head as they have that of the Red. (The Continent of Circe, N.C. Chauduri, 1965, p. 85)

THE STRUGGLE FOR INDIA & NEPAL

This revolution has now reached India and here the minerals which it stands in need of are found for the most part in the territories of the aboriginals. Very powerful forces stand behind the movement: the policies, interests, money and technical skills of nearly all Western nations: and, above all, the all-consuming Hindu avarice.

All this in combination is breaking down the isolation of the aboriginal, threatening not only his security but existence. There is a Hindu push towards the wilds, which never existed before, and very large vested interests are being created for the Hindus in the homelands of the primitives. The white ants are on the march. (Ibid, N.C Chauduri, 1965, p. 76)

Given the failure of autarkism, India has increasingly adopted neoliberal economic policies, making India safe for international capital and expanding the wealth of the Hindu ruling class. This process was cemented during the 2006 meeting with Bush by the commitment of the Indian government where India agreed to ‘liberalize’ their economy by opening it to multinational companies looking for cheap labor and expanding the extraction of India’s natural resources.

Although as can be seen in the prescient quote above, notwithstanding that it was written in terms that would now be termed as passé or non-PC, the seeds were planted a generation ago. In doing so they have heightened the contradictions within Indian society and have led to campaigns of resistance springing up in opposition to a reactionary economic strategy enforced by state terror which is accurately defined as fascist by revolutionary Communists on the subcontinent.

In this respect the much heralded ‘economic miracle’ of the past few years is only confined to 10% of the population, mainly the city dwelling middle classes. It is based on hi-tech industries and insourced cheap labor through bilateral agreements for international companies seeking increases in absolute surplus value.

For the rest of the population in both town and country, living conditions have worsened considerably over this period. The majority of unfortunate rural Indians still eke out a primitive existence in Stone Age conditions. Most of these peoples live in conditions of deprivation, without regular access to decent nutrition, health care, education, clean water, etc.

The manic need of transnational imperialism to seize India’s resources to feed wasteful overconsumption in the developed Western World, as was noted earlier, has led to land wars against the indigenous Adivasis in India’s poorer regions like Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, West Bengal, Madya Pradesh and Jharkand.

To enforce these policies, gangs of rightwing vigilantes, goondas, licensed by the regional and central authorities, are conducting what at best can be described as ethnic cleansing and genocide against these tribal peoples. The process noted by Chauduri in the 1960s has considerably accelerated over the past decade.

The three major parliamentary parties, CI, BJP and the CPI(M) or Communist Party of India(Marxist), are committed to expanding this reactionary program further, which can be clearly seen in the states where one or the other of them is in power. In Chhattisgarh, for example, where the BJP hold sway, there is an attempt to fast-track this process and allow voracious extractive monopolies to plunder resources following the dispossession of the tribal ethnics at the hands of vicious paramilitary Salwa Judum (Freedom Marchers, sic).

The only serious opposition to this neoliberal capitalist strategy are principally the Maoist groups, in alliance with the affected Adivasis, who are engaging in armed struggle in many states, forming a red belt that runs down the spine of India.

They have an armed presence in over 180 of the 600 departments of the country, and they have been described by the Indian CoS as presenting the ‘greatest menace to India’s internal security.’

The Indian ruling class is agitated by the threat of Maoists exercising any sort of power and enacting a radical programme in Nepal, which they have hitherto dominated and where their ‘mini-me’ Nepalese counterpart has so slavishly followed their path into even deeper reaction.

It is true that during the struggle against the King, culminating in his defeat, India facilitated peace talks between the Maoists and NP and the UML, which led to the Maoists declaring a cease fire. The alliance that arose between the Seven Party Alliance and the Maoists worked to overthrow the monarchy.

The Delhi government, for example, released Guarev, a UCPN(M) politburo member, and its principal spokesman on foreign policy, so that he could participate in these talks. But the depth of the ongoing hostility to the Maoists is reflected in the fact that he was interned along with thousands of indigenous Maoists and tribal resisters, without charge or trial for three years, under the draconian State Security laws inherited from the British. These are the same laws under which they martyred Baghat Singh.

The motives for this temporary change lie not in India reconfiguring its policy towards Nepal but because they expected that the Maoists would not prove up to the task of operating within a multi-party democracy and would fail any substantial electoral test.

They were not alone in this assessment; internal and external observers thought the Maoists would come a poor third in any such contest. To some extent this was not entirely a complete fantasy, as in the 1994 elections an earlier incarnation of the Maoists, the UPFN (United People’s Front Nepal) failed to win a single seat in a contest where the UML emerged as the winner with 88 seats, followed closely by NC with 83 seats.

What went against their 2008 expectations was the fact that the inspiration brought about by the PW dramatically increased the electoral appeal of the Maoists among a critical mass of the population. So it was that the Maoists confounded all the pundits gathered in Kathmandu by winning 40% of the electorate and emerging as the single largest party, with NP coming second with 30% of the vote and the UML in third place with around 20% in the April 2008 election.**

The key to the present crisis is the refusal to accept that the CPN(M) had a mandate for change and this is what provoked the subsequent plotting against the Prachanda led government.

The Americans played a strong role in the orchestration of the anti-Maoist campaign. The US has steadfastly refused to remove the designation of ‘terrorist’ from them, unlike Delhi which had not used the description since 2002.

The US State Department reinforced this scheming with a recently commissioned survey on the 2008 election in order to undermine the credibility of the electoral success of the UCPN(M) by alleging that it was the product of brute force and intimidation. They specifically singled out the Young Communist League for vilification and cited their defensive campaign against Indian inspired and separatist agitations in the Madesh bordering India.

Although the Party honored its word given during the peace talks with the SPA and put the 30,000 strong PLA into UN supervised cantonments, it had in reserve almost 300,000 YCL cadre for the electoral battle which for a number of reasons proved crucial to electoral ascendancy. A prominent bourgeois journal claimed that:

The YCL is just another name for Maoist guerrillas not openly carrying guns. (An Armless Army, The Nepali Times, 20/27th April, 2007)

Their relative numerical strength in a population of just over 23 million is a reflection of the appeal of the Maoists to the youth of a country where nearly 60% of people are under 30.

This US policy parallels with their policy towards Hamas in Gaza which had, at the behest of the West, called a cease-fire in 2006 and similarly entered an electoral battle.

When it proved similarly successful, it was similarly rubbished, and the goals for lifting the isolation of Hamas were moved further away. Here too, the leadership of the US was determinate and expressed the message to those it still regards as ‘terrorists’ that “however you play the game – you will lose!”

‘WAVING THE RED FLAG’ – THE CPI(M) & CPN(UML)

I have covered so far the role that India has displayed in relation to Nepal. I have also tried to outline how the NCs’ development and present objectives either coincide with or are determined by this neocolonial power. I now wish to turn to the UML, ostensibly a ‘left’ party, and show how it came to campaign in this ‘orgy of reaction’ that saw the Maoists driven from power. Although it was precipitated by right wing Army officers, the final blow against Prachanda and the UCPN(M) was the UML’s withdrawal from the coalition government and subsequent open support of Katawal’s actions.

How did this happen?

That a Communist party should sabotage a left government committed to radical policies in alliance with internal and external reaction came, initially, as a shock to many.

Notwithstanding the fact that many of members I was privileged to meet were sincere, dedicated comrades and which made the critical analysis I eventually reached all the more difficult, though I was impelled to do so by a sense of Communist commitment.

What misplaced use of dialectics by the UML leadership led them to such a clearly reactionary pass?

Was it unique, or did it mirror the drift of the CPI(M) away from revolutionary Communism and a capitulation to a pro-capitalist position?

I will argue the latter; that each party reached similar political and theoretical positions and modified, or even abandoned, socialism under the dead weight of reaction on the subcontinent and beyond. Their mentors and paymasters are drawn from those sources.

I first got involved in Nepalese politics through GEFONT/UML.

In October 2005 I went to Nepal for two reasons; the first to trek up the Khumbu to Everest Base Camp, and secondly, as a Communist, I had become interested because the People’s War had been raging there since 1996 against the unpopular American, British and Indian backed feudal monarchy and the supine, corrupt parliament.

I did not have to go far to establish contact, as UML’s trade union wing GEFONT was organised at the hotel where I stayed on arrival (which was owned by the King’s sister) and I met their shop steward – who was also its Maître’d’. Through him I visited their head office in Kathmandu on the wonderfully named Putali Sadak (Butterfly Road) and there met Chairperson Neupane and other members of the executive, among whom were Bishnu Rimal and Binda Pandey, and their research and international officer, Budhi Acharya.

I found myself more at home than in the UK, where Communists have to work within a single Laborite trade union movement, the TUC. The Nepali trade unions are organized like their French counterparts, with the main political parties each having their own union centre. The Nepali Trades Union Congress (NTUC) was, for example the trade union face of NC. GEFONT, in this respect, has the same relationship with the UML as the CGT has with the PCF, although, unlike the CGT, GEFONT’s 300,000 members are also Party members.

I was particularly impressed that pride of place, in a very busy, comprehensive and dedicated research department, was given to a shelf with Progress Publishers‘ forty two volume editions of Lenin. I could not imagine a British trade union head office being so equipped. I had a similar frisson when I visited the UML office in Pokhara and saw, proudly displayed, on the wall of the Regional Secretary’s office, posters of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao.

The division between the two Communist parties is not parallel with the splits in the West: there is no anti-Stalinist crawling to petit-bourgeois liberalism or any reflection of the Sino-Soviet split in their mutual opposition. Trotskyism, as in any genuine revolutionary struggle in the developing world, has no purchase or relevance. Disagreements are fundamental and are not based on what Freud called “the narcissism of small differences.”

I was also struck by the wide range of activities GEFONT was engaged in; they were fighting battles against child labor, for literacy and numeracy programmes, campaigns to eliminate bonded labor (Kamaiyas), women’s rights, etc., battles which in the West we had long ago won. Alongside these endeavors, they were also occupied with the more recognizable free collective bargaining activities on behalf of diverse industrial and service groups that is part of our normal warp and weave.

In addition, health and safety is taken very seriously in a country where life is cheap, hard and short. For example: as a carpenter and ex-building worker for most of my working life, it was a shock to see masons and their laborers manhandling large blocks of dressed natural stone in flip-flops! The quality, however, of their tradesmen, including carpenters and joiners, was really outstanding, especially given the primitive conditions they work under.

The quality of GEFONT’S propaganda and research on this range of issues was excellent, detailed and exhaustive, equal if not superior to that of any UK union.

I was also informed that the following April, the population led by the SPA in the urban centre – principally in the Kathmandu Valley – together with the Maoists who were dominant in over 80% of the rural areas, were going to rise up against the monarchy by means of a nationwide Bandh in a repeat of the 1990 Andolan that had challenged Birendra. The fact that they could predict this six months in advance demonstrated how far and well the peace talks between the SPA and the Maobaadi, which were ongoing in India, were going.

I went home, but with my appetite whetted, and I resolved to come back the following April. I continued learning the language, studying its history and writing, and wrote what in retrospect was a naïve article which the Labour & Trade Union Review was good enough to print. In this piece I drew on the spirit of unity that was evident across the political spectrum and was particularly pronounced between the two Communist parties previously and literally at war over the difference in their respective strategies of armed or electoral struggle.

I also attempted to get my union, UCATT (Union of Construction, Allied Trades & Technicians), to establish fraternal links, but as with any labor organisation it balked at association with ‘Communists.’

I finally counted at least seven serious Communist parties, CPN(M) and the UML being the biggest, as opposed to the UK where the various organisations laying claim to being Communists amount in relative terms to three men and a dog, as opposed to these Nepalese parties which could count on the support of 60% of the population and which, if unity was maintained and developed, I opined, would make Communist advance unstoppable.

To this end, I went through dialectical contortions, arguing that the two principal parties, despite the profound differences between them over strategy, were each correct from the positions they occupied in a society where the unequal development between the urban and the rural was strongly pronounced.

Hence the UML flourished in the strong civil society of the towns and cities because they reflected the objective economic and political needs of the urban masses against the relatively advanced, though increasingly comprador, capitalist system which applied there. In any event, the Maoists proved surprisingly strong in the urban centers as the 2008 election showed. They even defeated the UML General Secretary of Nepal in the two Kathmandu seats where he stood!

The Maobaadi, advancing People’s War on the other hand, reflected those values of the rural masses in a struggle against a residual but still strong martial feudalism that had received a new lease of life from the backing of the Anglo-Saxon and Indian governments who advocated and promoted increased military repression against the ‘terrorist’ threat in the countryside.

That was then and this is now: with the alliance between the bourgeois parliamentary parties and CPN(Maoist) shattered and with the former backing the military against the political authority of the Prachanda government.

The UML support for the Katawal coup places them firmly in the camp of bourgeois reaction and counterrevolution. It provides a classic case that it is not what you call yourself but what you do that counts.

Neither is that position an aberration in respect of the UML but instead reflects a process that has been ongoing since the 1990 Andolan.

This was a turbulent period, with twelve changes of government in eleven years. The UML were enthusiastic participants in this parliamentary game and even provided a Prime Minister for nine months in 1994 with the UML General Secretary Adikhari replacing GP Koirala, the leader of an increasingly fractious NC.

This decade long charivari did much to discredit the parliamentary parties as more and more Nepalese became increasingly disenchanted with these displacement politics activated in lieu of necessary radical action. They had had high hopes that, following the success of the Andolan and the humbling of Birendra, Nepal would go through a transformation where the many problems that had gestated under the monarchy would be swept away with measures that, for the first time in Nepalese history, would favour the masses.

They expected programs to tackle poverty (Nepal is the 17th poorest country in the World), to deal with illiteracy, child labor and the caste system, to enact justice and equity for the Janjatis; of these, ending feudalism (especially on the question of land ownership) being the most prominent. It was also hoped this new democracy would expand and modernize Nepal’s lamentably underdeveloped infrastructure.

That these problems were not dealt with was not, however, solely due to the narcissistic political squabbling during these wasted years.

Another crucial factor limiting any room for a radical program was that from the launch of the ‘new democracy’ in 1990, GP Koirala’s NC government continued and expanded Birendra’s initiative in 1985, admitting the IMF and the World Bank as arbiters of Nepal’s economic and social destiny. These multilateral bodies are the economic arm of American imperialism and enforce neoliberal capitalist nostrums through the comprador class in whatever particular country they have either a foothold or full control.

The mechanism used is the euphemistically named the ‘Structural Adjustment Program,’ (I have retained the American spelling) which implements privatization and price-dictated market policies.

What semblance there was in Nepal of a mixed economy was dismantled; a process overseen by economic hit men dispatched there as IMF/WB enforcers. Thus subsidies on fertilizer, essential goods and services were abolished, and the few enterprises that were state controlled were privatized.

This meant that prices on such items as petroleum doubled overnight, causing tremendous hardship for the majority of the Nepalese people who were reliant on that commodity for domestic use and transportation. Privatization in its turn led to redundancies, closures, asset stripping and the slashing of wages and conditions for the employees kept on by their new masters.

This latter was carried out for purely ideological reasons even if the enterprise was a thriving, going concern. They were sold off at four or five times less than their extant value in the face of any commercial logic. It was similar to the legalized theft that was initiated during the corrupt, philistine Thatcherite period in the UK, although no scraps were thrown to the Nepalese masses as a bribe as happened there. All the plunder went either to Nepalese compradors or Indian capitalists.

The SAP also terminated the licensing system which had assisted those enterprises which were export-led and left them at the mercy of more powerful and developed external economic interests which have successfully penetrated the Nepalese market.

Also drastically affected were state expenditures in health and education. Even the minimum welfare provisions that did exist were reduced, and tariffs that protected Nepalese industries, particularly small scale manufactures, were ended.

These policies were enacted during the high water mark of triumphalist free market capitalism, and they were no different to those forced upon the countries of the former Soviet Bloc or indeed anywhere else the tentacles of this global octopus envelops. A similar breed of carpetbaggers to those that swept over Eastern Europe after 1989 poured into Nepal, with Indian capitalists to the fore.

In Nepal, as elsewhere, these destructive ‘Year Zero’ economics caused tremendous hardships for the respective peoples who fell under their aegis.

THE UML AND THE STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT PROGRAM

As has been noted, the NC government that took power in 1990 was an enthusiastic participant in the SAP, demonstrating the growing influence of a comprador bourgeois in its ranks. Politically and ideologically, it demonstrated that NC had become the Nepalese wing of CI.

How then did the newly formed UML respond to the SAP and its harsh effects on the mass of population? How did it respond to the phenomenon of globalized capital out of which the SAP stratagem emerged?

How did it address the fact that the dominance of international capital intensified the socioeconomic disparities between the developed and the developing world?

The answers to those questions reveal the crucial dilemma that lies at the heart of its political theory and practice and show how it occupies the same terrain already inhabited by its Indian homologue, the CPI(M). It also demonstrates the gulf between it and the CPN(M).

In regard to the first question, they did not fail to note the deleterious impact on the living and working standards of the Nepalese masses.

A prominent UML commentator summed up the results:

…the State after 1990 haphazardly followed neoliberal economic policy which did not actually suit Nepal’s constitutional vision and socio-economic reality. This produced a systematic race to the bottom dynamics, poverty, inequality, social alienation and political protest.

Analyzing the mistake of policy makers, a social scientist says – “The post 1991 governments, however, deviated from the welfare state and sought to create a subsidiary state where poorer people subsidized the rich and the powerful. It was actually the outcome of heavily increased pressure of Globalization in our national scenario.” (Challenging Globalization, World of Work, B. Rimal, 2005 p.214)

Given this recognition, what policies did the UML advance to oppose the negative effects of IMF/World Bank diktats on Nepal?

In this respect, I will concentrate on one major policy advanced in response to the demand of the IMF under the SAP for privatization of sixteen publicly owned enterprises, as it is indicative of the UML’s general politico/economic strategy. I will quote below from GEFONT policy statements, given that its policies are interchangeable with those of the UML.

In the first place, it acknowledges the role of transnational capital’s liberalization of the Nepalese economy but gives some role to the pressure from the indigenous capitalist class:

The business class, basically the big house bosses has high influence on the state power now. This kind of influence, although it was limited before 1990, highly expanded after the restoration of multiparty democracy. With a high volt emphasis on privatization after 1991, lobbying of big houses has increased manifold. (Study & Research, 2004, Section 14)

The principle driving this demand is that:

Instead of taking a long and arduous route for a new company, eases the prospective investors into a ready-made business enterprise. (Ibid, Section 4)

It also complains that:

With the blind and haphazard privatization of public enterprises, both production and employment have been adversely affected. (World of Work, 2005, p. 215)

However, this did not mean that there was a root and branch opposition to this reactionary program and its clear deleterious effects on Nepal’s people; instead, it promoted a policy of attempting to minimize those effects and making the process more efficient. The slogan therefore was:

Selective liberalization – selective privatization. (Ibid, p.47)

In other words; rather than the ‘blind and haphazard’ approach, it wanted one targeted on enterprises that needed ‘restructuring’ so they could compete better in the world market. So, for example, loss making, unproductive and technologically backward jute mills were among those where privatization was supported. It was even suggested that the Hetaunda cotton mill be added to the list; despite the fact that it had an adequate capital structure and modern machinery, it was ‘operationally inefficient’.

There was a complaint against privatization where enterprises were profit making and also when new private owners did not deliver the promised benefits or even where they were closed down; as in the case of an agricultural tool factory. They also complained where blatant asset stripping was evident, as in the case of the Bansbari Leather and Shoe Factory.

Generally they were concerned that the program, whether it showed successes or failures, had no provisions for either retraining or redeployment for the increased unemployment it created.

The most significant privatization that was supported was that of Nepal’s existing water utilities. The reasons given were that it was severely undercapitalized and operating with antiquated technology. It also had meager coverage of the country with 70% of Nepalese not having access to clean water. (This is one the principal causes of the high infant mortality rates.) I recall describing the privatization of our utilities, including water, in the UK as adding a qualitative twist to the legalized theft of all our nationalized and public enterprises and comparing it to the fate of Nepal’s water.

My GEFONT/UML comrades were extremely defensive and noted that it only contributed 15% of Nepal’s nugatory publicly owned industrial assets (which accounted for only 2% of the country’s GDP and 3% of its employment). Because I, along with nearly Nepalese, was swept up at that time in the spirit of the ‘Andolan,’ I accepted the argument at face value.

Later, in a spirit of ’emotion recollected in tranquility,’ it became clear that while it was an extant severely underdeveloped utility, it was perhaps Nepal’s greatest natural resource, with a truly massive developmental potential. Vide my earlier section on India’s long established recognition and exploitation of this resource through successive unequal treaties.

Furthermore, I noted that its commodification gave it an exchange value that overrode its use value as a basic necessity for all life, human or otherwise. It had instantly become a source of profit that devalued its crucial importance for day to day existence.

In the final analysis, however, the overarching criticism of privatization was that it was ideologically driven and not based on any economic rationality. The main reason that the entire program of liberalization was failing, GEFONT/UML argued, was because there was a failure to give an adequate role to the state.

It was argued that where SAP’s had been extremely successful, government intervention had played a dominant role, as in South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, where these programs had produced ‘high growth with equity’. (Ibid, p.47)

But these were singular exceptions in long established social and economic formations which were contrary to the anti-statist presupposition behind the neoliberal phenomenon which originated in the US and the UK during the Reagan/Thatcher years and was thereafter imposed on the rest of the world through the IMF, WB and WTO.

The state was, therefore, not a mechanism for solving social and economic problems; it was, as Reagan asserted, the problem. So the governments of developing countries were there to serve principally as facilitators of international finance capital.

This even applied within the imperial heartlands, as was noted by the Washington insider, Robert Reich, in his book, Supercapitalism :

Democracy and capitalism have been turned upside down.

In short, the political institutions of bourgeois society no longer regulate capitalism, but instead market forces regulate the political institutions. It is they who say what is and is not possible.

This naivete regarding prospects for the utilitarian state in the face of the dominance of monopoly capitalism ran through the UML like the print in a stick of rock. It informed their desire for tripartism, for industrial democracy, a mixed economy, Keynesian deficit spending and for an expanded welfare state when these have become anathema to the major world capitalist powers.

What they wanted was the type of social democratic settlement that had marked the postwar years in Europe until the 1970s, not realizing that this was a tactical contingency that Western capitalism had conceded to its labor movements and working classes not because it was some inevitable evolution of a humane economic consensus but simply to make the system more attractive to the peoples of the ‘Free World’ in the face of competition from a planned, ‘cradle to grave,’ full employed, socialist Eastern bloc.

America, while supporting this social democratic settlement among its European allies through, e.g., the Marshall Plan, was able to avoid these stratagems because its labor movement was comparatively weak, and its working class consciousness was underdeveloped and fragmented.

Therefore, despite the fact that the immiseration of the 1930’s was as pronounced in the US as it was in Europe, there was no equivalent pressure there to follow a similar course. This, plus the fact that the rapid expansion of its consumer culture began shortly after it switched to a fully employed wartime economy, as opposed to Western Europe where conspicuous consumption started fitfully and differentially, began a good fifteen or twenty years after the war.

What social change did come to the US as a implicit result of the existence of a USSR Soviet Bloc was in the granting of civil rights as demanded by a powerful national lobby, led by the NAACP, to the descendants of its black slaves. Similarly, the struggle against Apartheid only succeeded because of the direct support of the USSR.

With the gradual erosion of socialism following the de-Stalinization initiated by Khrushchev in 1956, free market capitalism began a process of reassertion. It was spurred on by the fact that the Keynesian solution to the problems of underconsumption and unemployment, which had distinguished capitalism before the postwar social democratic consensus, was coming to the end of its useful life as it had led to the rapid increase in the rate of inflation, creating social and economic instability.

Monetarism became one of the main free marketeers’ instruments for addressing this problem – a brutal policy of restricting the money supply would increase its value, not just by making it scarcer as a commodity in itself but by reducing government expenditures, specifically on welfare provisions. It also decreased overall consumption, although Thatcher’s regime added the additional measure of rolling back the hitherto strong British trade union movement that had flourished during the war and after.

It was, however, the suicide of the USSR in 1989 and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Bloc that finally saw the end of this historically contingent postwar settlement. Capital now saw no need to keep its working classes mollified through the mechanisms of full employment and welfare statism. Social democracy proved to be a comparatively short hiatus in the history of capitalism and was replaced by the predatory neoliberal model which finds crude, brutal expression in contemporary world capitalism.

In the developing world, which had been drawn into the world market and where a growing proletariat is increasingly becoming the source of increased absolute value to expansionist transnational monopolies, the neoliberal model’s dominance could be maintained through either the neocolonial stratagems of creating and supporting comprador bourgeoisies in these super-exploited countries or by using the model’s superior military might either directly or indirectly by Western invasion or arming it’s comprador stooges to crush any progressive resistance to the hegemony of Western imperialism, or where necessary, an admixture of these modalities.

Iraq is an example of the former, Nepal of the latter.

The UML, like its sister party, the CPI(M), has not understood, therefore, that the social democratic dog has barked but the caravan of finance capital has moved on.

There is a similar naivete in the UML’s self-image on offering a middle way between the Scylla of capitalist imperialism and the Charbydis of Communist revolution. In this sense, its propaganda is replete with condemning the excesses of these oppositional forces, e.g.:

Today’s Nepal is in the quagmire of extreme Leftist and Rightist ideologies and, as such, (is) caught in the crossfire of violence and counter violence (of) these extremist ideologies. (Ibid , p.iii)

And again:

The “People’s War” launched by the CPN(Maoists), the Communist faction heavily marred with ultra Leftist thinking and terrorist activities, has been a serious concern of Nepali politics. The state is still under the control of reactionary and anti-worker forces. And the movement for the democratization of Nepali society still continues. (One Union, 2005, p.2)

The UML too thought that it could beat the Maoists electorally following the 2006 ceasefire and the subsequent April Andolan. In fact, it was humiliated and lost a third of its electoral support.

The UML has also promoted extreme military measures against the Maobaadi both before and after it became a member of Koirala’s NC government when it launched in the 1998 ‘Killer Sierra Two’ operation; a brutal army crackdown under the guidance of American and Israeli military advisers against the Maoists and their supporters over a more extended geographical area than Operation Romeo in 1996.

Throughout the period of the PW, it backed any repressive legislation against the Communist revolutionaries. Though still steeped in the idea of Communist opposition, the leadership was determined to play the role of a respectable parliamentary opposition, and the glaring contradiction gave it problems with its rank and file. It maintained this posture despite a drain of cadre who take their Leninism seriously which continues to this day. It has also led to a fierce debate withing the leadership.

The leadership’s re-branding has been described as an attempt to become a Eurocommunist style party and to move away from Leninist insurrectionist vanguardism. Gramsci, a great original Marxist thinker, became widely read among leading cadre. I was asked to send an English edition of Prison Notebooks to a Central Committee member, as it was difficult to obtain anywhere on the subcontinent. I was only too pleased to do so, and it made me realise how much we in the West take easy access to such theoretical works for granted.

The UML was attempting to give intellectual ballast within a Marxist spectrum as a means of justifying its embrace of reactionary politics. As was noted earlier, unequal development between the urban centers, particularly the Kathmandu Valley, and the countryside, particularly in the West where the Maoists flourished, was pronounced.

It meant that a strong civil society existed in the former, and therefore using a Gramscian conceptual framework was no mere fanciful affectation but could be accurately used as a tool of descriptive critical analysis.

The Maoists implicitly recognised how developed this urban civil society was. It was one of the reasons they modified Mao’s original PPW strategy in the context of Chinese conditions of “letting the countryside encircle the city,” realizing that any attempt to take urban areas by force would lead to a Pyrrhic victory at best and therefore a political defeat. The UML’s problem was the political line that was grafted onto this matrix that left it open to a charge of opportunism.

Whatever the new strategy, it steadily lost electoral support from the highpoint of 1994 when it emerged as the largest party with 31% of the vote, the biggest number of seats, and formed a short lived government under Man Mohan Adikhari, to the electoral humiliation of 2008.

The most crucial problem the UML faces is not its participation in parliamentary politics but its attempt to find a middle ground between two irreconcilable forces. In the developing world, the contradiction exists in its most antagonist form as the privileges of the Western World depend upon the increasing deprivation of the populations of the former.

War, famine, hunger, dispossession and superexploitation is the lot of the majority of the peoples in this Third World. The stark choice facing the twenty-first century is, to paraphrase Luxembourg, “Socialism or capitalist barbarism,” or as Arundhati Roy, the writer and activist, put it in relation to India, “either justice or civil war.”

There is no halfway house, and attempting to inhabit one will not only fail but implicitly gives support to a reactionary status quo.

It has also led increasingly to the UML, like the CPI(M), giving explicit support to, if not actually initiating, retrograde policies and stratagems. The Maoists have gone as far as claiming that the UML is in thrall to US and Indian interests, and that is borne out with its participation in the coup that provoked the resignation of Prachanda and the withdrawal of the then CPN(M) from government. It openly backed the CoS, Katawal, with one of its rewards being the installing of UML leader as Prime Minister.

What is also illustrative of the UML’s subservience to Indian interests is the failure to ever criticize the policies of successive Delhi governments. I have previously detailed, for example, how Indian administrations have used their economic and geographic dominance to force a series of unequal treaties on Nepal, following the example of their previous British masters. The Maoists have consistently called for their repeal, and this is a popular Nepalese demand.

Yet the UML is silent on the issue for the most part. In one instance referred to earlier, they were actually the government that facilitated and signed the 1996 Mahakali River Treaty (Mahakali River Integrated Development Treaty). This marked a new low, even by the standards of previous treaties, in giving India full control of the river in return for next to nothing. When it was ratified by the Parliament, it outraged many Nepalese who concluded all the parliamentary parties involved were Indian stooges, and rumors even circulated that the UML lead negotiators had taken money under the table.

Another measure which brought UML further opprobrium, especially from the Janjatis, was the decision to broadcast news in Sanskrit, which is spoken by no one in Nepal. This further fueled the resentment among those tribal groups already aggravated by the imposition of Nepali as the national language and the introduction of compulsory Sanskrit in schools which were controversial features of the 1990 Constitution.

Nepali, like Hindi, is a member of the Indo-Aryan group of languages which have their roots in Sanskrit (similar to the role that Latin played in Europe in relation to the evolution of the romance languages). Nepal is a multiethnic, multilingual society with over sixty ethnic groups, each with its own language, customs and religions.

For over two hundred years, these groups were excluded from political and economic power by dominant Brahmin castes who established Hindu dominance and sought to impose cultural and linguistic homogeneity upon all the peoples of Nepal.

In the Panchaayat era of Mahendra and Birendra, the slogan “One people – one language – one religion,” only intensified the resentment of the Janjatis against the phenomenon of Hindu domination. Unlike their Indian counterparts, the Adivasis, they form a sizable part of the population, and they supported the first Andolan by way of challenging Hindu hegemonic chauvinism. They felt betrayed however by the policies of the new democratic parliament which actually took steps to consolidate Hindu power.

This was especially true of the first NC government who dominated the shape of the new constitution and was controlled by the upper Hindu castes. What was surprising was the notionally progressive UML continued and even intensified the entrenchment of Hindu cultural and political control when they took over the reins of government from NC in 1994. The issue of the Sanskrit radio news emphasized this reactionary policy.

Consequently, many Janjatis flocked to the Maoist banner after the PW was launched in 1996 as the Maoists offered to reverse the domination of the minority Hindus in favour not only of the tribals but of the Dalits and the Terai Madeshi. The campaign against Sanskritism and the demand for cultural, political and economic freedom was an important part of the CPN(M) program.

It served to underline the fact that the UML, despite its residual Leftist rhetoric, was firmly set on a path of reaction first trodden by the CPI(M). How far this has taken the latter is shown by the recent events in West Bengal where a ‘Left Front’ government has been in power for over thirty years and now openly represents monopoly capitalist interests. It has gone, in the words of one local critic, “from Marxism to marketeering.”

This has been dramatically shown by its attempts to ethnically cleanse Adivasis from a 40 km square area around Nandigram, designated by the government as a Special Development Zone (SEZ), so that Salim, an Indonesian based multinational, can establish a huge chemical complex there.

Local resistance has been so fierce that the government dispatched 4,000 armed police, cadre and goondas to crush it. The violence and terror of this campaign led, in one notorious instance, to a massacre of 14 unarmed demonstrators. Consequently, leading CPI(M) cadre have been targeted and assassinated by Maoist guerrillas, acting as the armed wing of the CPI(Maoist).

It was mentioned earlier that this is prompted by the central government as part of the accommodation to a neoliberal strategy and is replicated in the individual states selected by whatever party is in power. The Left Front regime’s ruthless behaviour is in this sense no different from that of the BJP in Chhattisgarh, even to the extent of sending in CPI(M) cadre leading gangs of armed goondas against the Adivasi resisters.

That the UML is capable of such reactionary extremities is not in doubt; in its brief period of government, it proved that, far from establishing a progressive hiatus, it was indistinguishable from its NC predecessor, not only continuing its reactionary policies but formulating new ones of its own.

CONCLUSION

Like the NC, the UML has become a creature of Indian interests, and while each has developed by a different political route, they have arrived at the same destination. As they each largely draw support and membership from the Hindu segment of the population, they are culturally and linguistically homogeneous to India. Consequently they each find no great difficulty in pragmatically deferring to India’s economic and strategic power.

Like the Maoists, they recognize that, for example, Nepal is not self sufficient and is dependent on Indian imports to feed its population. Unlike the Maoists, however, this serves to bolster their pragmatism in the face of that power. Generally, again unlike the Maoists, they have no fear of Indian expansionism and would not even recognize the term. They rather see the growth of India’s influence as a natural reflection of its overall dominance in all the important spheres alluded to above, including its geographical position in relation to landlocked Nepal.

They are each willing agents, even if unconsciously, of the ‘Sikkimisation’ of Nepal. Sikkim voted in 1948 to stay out of India but gradually succumbed to Indian influence, a process stimulated by failure to produce an efficient government under its monarchy and which culminated in the 1975 occupation by the Indian Army and the subsequent referendum which a majority of the Sikkimese voted to ditch their King and become the 22nd state of the Indian republic.

They are each what could be termed ‘Indo-pendent’ parties, and thus, along with the reactionary pro-Indian officer class of the Nepalese Army, they found no difficulty in collaborating and scheming with primarily the Indian government but also with those of the US and UK in a campaign of sabotage against the Prachanda-led administration which culminated in the military coup recounted at the beginning of this article.

The weight of India’s actual and potential leverage on Nepal has also been implicitly recognised by the UCPN(M) and is one of the principal reasons behind its decision to move from the strategy of protracted People’s War and to the arena of multiparty democracy. It is, like freedom, a recognition of necessity; the realization that India could strangle any Nepalese revolutionary government at best or crush it by military intervention at worst.

It the understanding that there is no Socialist Bloc that can aid and support it, as was evident in the case of the Chinese Revolution, which could rely on the solidarity of the USSR to pursue its People’s War against a comprador Bonapartist Kuomintang clique and which led to victory in 1949.

Prachanda, in a recent meeting in London, said, in this respect:

The UCPN(M) cannot copy either the Bolshevik insurrectionist 1917 seizure of power in Russia or that of the CPC’s victory in China in 1949 but has to ‘develop’ its own strategy based on a concrete analysis of existing Nepalese conditions.

The looming and threatening power of Indian reaction is one of those conditions. The UCPN(M) has upset dogmatic Western Maoists by this adaptation to the existing reality and has developed a strategy to recognize the particularity of Nepal in the 21st century.

The acceptance of multi-party democracy by the UCPN(M) is such a ‘development’ and is not an opportunist stratagem to achieve power but is a long-standing principled policy to establish a ‘new democratic state’ in place of the present bureaucratic/comprador structure. It does not contemplate, therefore, establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat following a Protracted People’s War, Prachanda in a speech in 2002 articulated this position:

…we want to clarify once again we are committed to guarantee party freedom in the new state power to be constructed after the destruction of feudal autocracy. The state envisaged by us will not be a one-party dictatorship. The freedom to operate political parties according to one’s ideological convictions and contest elections will be guaranteed.

There only the activities of such elements upholding feudalism and inviting foreign domination will be curbed. We are committed to establish and develop a people’s democratic system of the twenty-first century. Such a democratic system won’t be a mechanical imitation of the traditional kind but will be guided by the people’s needs of the twenty-first century.

In this light the commitment to draw the previously oppressed and excluded classes and castes within Nepalese into this process is a part of extending and deepening this ‘new democracy.’

It also accepted that this stage of political transition will be dominated, in the words of Bhatterai in a 2008 interview, by a “capitalist revolution”who further gave the assurance that, “We will not nationalize large scale industry and we will respect free enterprise.” That this is not in contradiction with orthodox Marxist-Leninism, as he further said:

Marx, Engels and Lenin have already addressed this question. Between feudalism and socialism there is capitalism. But we have not yet had a capitalist stage in Nepal. It is therefore necessary to develop one.

The desire of the UCPN(M) was:

To go beyond Mao. We need to elaborate our own model. Marxism is not a religion, it is a science. We want to develop Marxism. (Le Monde, 11/04/2008, Author’s translation)

This capitalism will not be a comprador but a national one. It is a distinction that Mao himself made:

In the period of the bourgeois-democratic revolution, the people’s republic will not expropriate private property other than imperialist and feudal private property, and so far from confiscating the national bourgeoisie’s industrial and commercial enterprises, it will encourage their development. We shall protect every national capitalist who does not support the imperialists or the Chinese traitors. In the stage of democratic revolution there are limits to the struggle between labour and capital.

The labour laws of the people’s republic will protect the interests of the workers but will not prevent the national bourgeoisie from making profits or developing their industrial and commercial enterprises, because such development is bad for imperialism and good for the Chinese people. (On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism , Mao Tse-Tung, 1935, pp. 168/9 Selected Works, Vol.1)

Following a recent Central Committee meeting which produced unity after a party sanctioned ‘two line struggle’ regarding this position, a member of the UCPN(M) politburo wrote:

And those who were in favour of restructuring the state explained that they too were engaged in a struggle, but it was a different type of struggle which may look Rightist and reformist in form but that in essence it was neither Rightist or reformist. This is because all these steps are being taken not to consolidate the old feudal and comprador/bureaucratic set-up but to achieve a new restructured state. (Thesis, Antithesis & Synthesis, Hsila Yami, Kantipur Times, August 2009)

This is a classic exposition of the “negation of the negation.” It demonstrates the subtlety and sophistication of the Nepalese party cleaving closely to Mao’s analytical methodology. It has been criticized by the Communist Party of India(Maoist) as Rightist deviation from the strategy of PPW which intends to culminate in the smashing of the existing state. They are rightly engaged in armed resistance the length and breadth of India against the forces of a social-fascist comprador state.

But they will find it even harder than in Nepal for the “countryside to encircle the city”, as civil society is even more entrenched in Indian urban centers than in Nepal.

It is certainly a qualitatively different application from the religio-dogmatic, karaoke forms that pass for Maoism among some Western anoraks.

Finally, there is no inevitability that the strategy of the UCPN(M) will be successful, any more than there is about the victory of the worldwide proletarian revolution, but it is certainly better equipped, intellectually and politically, to handle the twists and turns that are distinctly manifest and unique in Nepal as they are indeed in all revolutions.

*My grandfather,Gabriel Byrne, was typical in this respect; he was a volunteer with the 6th Battalion of the Irish Republican Army during the 1918-21 War of Independence. He took the Republican side in the civil war that followed and for a while was de Valera’s driver. He was interned for a time in the Curragh and remained a ‘Dev’ man until his death in 1969.

He came from the Dun Laoghaire working class and started life as a railwayman at the station there, from which many Volunteer operations were launched including a famous ambush on the Marine Parade, two hundred yards from Dun Laoghaire station, where several Black and Tans died in a bomb attack on their Crossley Tender. In peacetime, through hard work combined with a shrewd business sense he became a newsagent in Monkstown next door.

He never lost his republican radicalism or his antipathy to British imperialism. When I was twelve, he thrust E.M. Forster’s Passage to India into my hands and said: “If you want to know what the British were like in India – read this!”

**I was not surprised by the results, as during April 2006, I went on a solo trek around the villages off the Annapurna Trail, a region that was supposed to be one of the few rural areas left under the control of the God-King’s army. Equipped with some Nepalese language, I found ubiquitous evidence of Maoist activity and propaganda and that they had almost total support from the people thereabouts.

One of the few exceptions was an ex-Ghurka shopkeeper who by coincidence had been quartered at barracks in Aldershot where I had worked as a carpenter during the late sixties. The CPN(M) opposes the recruitment of Ghurka mercenaries into either the British or Indian armies.

If I gave the Maoist greeting, Lal Salam (Red Salute), to peoples in fields or villages, it was readily returned, and I made many friends. The commitment was genuine and heartfelt and shaped by years of oppression from a state which was only visible in a repressive military form. The PLA was stood down in that area as part of the CPA.

If you Google: “Peter Tobin – Bishnu Rimal,” you will find an interview I conducted with the latter (a UML Central Committee member) a few days after the victory of the Andolan which will confirm that I guessed right on the depth of Maoist support.

REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bhattarai, B. Monarchy versus Democracy.

Chauduri, N.C. The Continent of Circe.

Hegel, G.W.F. The Philosophy of History.

Karki, A & Seddon, D. The People’s War in Nepal – Left Perspectives.

Mao Tse Tung. On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism, Selected Works, Vol. 1.

Marx, K. The Future Results of British Rule in India, Selected Works, Vol.1.

Maxwell, N. India’s China War.

Misra, A. War of Civilizations – The Long Revolution (India AD 1857).

Muni, S.D. Maoist Insurgency in Nepal.

Rimal, B. Challenging Globalization.

Stalin, J.V. Marxism and the National Question.

Thapa, D. A Kingdom Under Siege.

Yami, H. Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis.

PERIODICALS & JOURNALS

Himal – Southasian

Kantipur Times

Le Monde

Nepal Telegraph

Nepali Times

The Worker, Journal of the UCPN(M)

UML/GEFONT PUBLICATIONS

One Union

Study & Research

Trade Union Rights

World of Work

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank Kumar Sarkhar for his explanation of the term Bhadralok, and also for drawing my attention that any description of Indian civil society that does not represent its multiethnic, multilingual and multifaceted political culture and therefore exaggerates Hindu hegemony will be unbalanced. While I do not therefore resign myself from the ‘Two Nations’ theory in respect of Ireland, I do need to study the Indian experience further – after all comparisons might be odious.

He has also provided me with details of the position of the CPI(M) with regard to partition and their discussions with Stalin and Zhdanov representing the CPSU. This has pointed to a gap in the article relating to early history and development of the Indian CP.

I would like to thank Tongogara Tewodros for drawing my attention to Hegel’s views on slavery.

I would also like to thank Sudeshna Sarkar for correcting a Tourette’s grammatical tic I had developed by correcting my spelling of Hindu names, and by pointing out that KP Bhatterai was the first PM following the 1990 Andolan, and not GP Koirala. Her article on a sacred Hindu relic was helpful because it detailed the section of the Mahabharata where the Pandavas brothers flee to the Himalayas racked with guilt at the enormity of their victory over the Kuaravas brothers following the mythic battle of Kurukshetra.

This episode both bears out and challenges the notion of a historical martial Hindu spirit (which is proposed by Chauduri and which this article tries to confirm with the history since Independence); it confirms it in the battle, which although one among many, is pivotal, it modifies it with the anguished withdrawal of the victors. This rejection of the world finds its echoes throughout Hindu literature and history where powerful figures step down, practice virtue and find spiritual solace.

It was not particularly confined to Hindu myth – we have the historical figure of Siddhartha Gautama who relinquished his princely status in order to ‘become one with himself and the universe’ and become Buddha in the process.

Finally, I would like to thank her generally for a vigorous exchange on issues raised in the article.

Peter Tobin
September 2009

Excellent Piece on Stalin

On Socialist Methods & Stalin-Era Purges, by Mike Ely of the Western Maoist grouplet Kasama. I have the same issues with Kasama as I have with the rest of the Western Left, and there is no need to go into them at this time. I don’t even support Marxist revolution in the West. My attitude is we don’t need it. It didn’t work very well in Eastern Europe anyway.
Nevertheless, Ely of Kasama, an organization which upholds Stalin as a member of the Marxist tradition that they follow, seriously condemns Stalin’s killings and repressions, for good reason I think.

The communist movement (justifiably!) denounces the beating of Rodney King, the killing of Oscar Grant, the shooting of Amadou Diallo, the assassination of Malcolm or King, the jailing of Peltier and Mumia, the holding of so-called “enemy combatants” without evidence or trial… These are outrages — and often the innocence of the victim is a part of that outrage.So what does it mean, if someone…can (with a wave of their hand) minimize the state execution of hundreds of thousands of people (without trial and often, it must be said, without evidence)? Is it that different because those were nominally socialist cops who pulled the triggers?

Indeed! I have always wondered about this, but I figured most Commies were simply so insane that all police repression in capitalist societies was pure evil, whereas all police repression in Commie societies was fine and dandy. This never made sense to me. Repression is repression, end of story.

There were in the 1930s quotas for arrests (just like there were quotas for other forms of production) — i.e. the cops in a particular locality were required to produce so many spies and reactionaries. Imagine what that produced? There was permission to torture signed at the highest level. Imagine what that meant for the emergence of “confessions” and new denunciations of new suspects for the machinery.

That there were actual quotas for arrests in the 30’s in the USSR is outrageous. Obviously, cops just rounded up anyone they didn’t like and called them a spy. The fact that torture was allowed means, obviously, that any confessions obtained are obviously tainted. About time Communists said this.

And I am saying that huge numbers of those who were caught up in this were not spies, or reactionaries, or saboteurs, or deserving of death or punishment.There was explicitly a policy (high in Stalin’s government) of “punishing ten to make sure one doesn’t go free.” There was a terrible ratcheting up of harshness, so that the punishment for a casual remark could be denunciation, imprisonment and worse. (Should someone disappear into prison for saying “I wish the Tsar was back”? Mao, by contrast, said that people should be allowed to make such remarks without fear.)
There was in the 1930s USSR a conscious policy of “mopping up” — i.e. assuming that the time had come to remove everyone who had ever been suspect, or a problem, or had gotten some taint on their record (support for non-Bolshevik parties in their past, involvement with an internal opposition, travels or relatives abroad, history of “making trouble,” and so on.)
And there was a policy of blanket blaming all kinds of industrial breakdowns, snafus, accidents, shortfalls, confusion, chaos, delay, and disagreement on conscious sabotage — to deflect anger and impatience from those in power.
There was a conscious policy at the highest levels of using imprisonment and execution as the means of enforcing discipline within the government i.e. getting republic and enterprise officials to say “how high” when told to jump. (Molotov’s own wife was imprisoned after World War 2, held as a kind of hostage to his continued service.)

Incredible. The first sentence really hits you hard. Vast numbers of those arrested were not even spies, saboteurs or even reactionaries. In fact, many were die-hard Communist revolutionaries. That someone could go to prison for a simple casual remark is madness. Even Mao agreed. That this period was used to “mop up” anyone who was felt to be a troublemaker now or in the past shows the fraudulent nature of the purges.
And any failures in production were seen through the insane paranoid lens of sabotage, when it often was not the case. And imprisonment was used as a discipline-enforcing measure in the party, even when the victims were completely innocent. Outrageous!

And the charge that the punished were agents and saboteurs were (in the main) fantasy, paranoia and conscious frameups.

Yes, the majority of those persecuted were not even guilty of the charges against them. How tragic.

The purges involved an overlay of several things:a) a determined terrorizing of the “middle management” (including especially communist leadership at the republic and enterprise level) to enforce an extreme responsiveness — in part as part of the preparation for war.
b) an approach to solving political problems and disunity that rested heavily on police killing or disappearing those raising political disagreements.
c) a runaway process of mutual denunciation and witchhunting that raged far outside any single central control (mutual denunciations, clique struggle by arrest, settling of old grievances and suspicions) etc.
d) an acute high level line struggle over how to deal with the threat of Nazi invasion (with Litvinov, Bukharin and perhaps Tukachevsky on the side of continuing to seek alliance with Britain and France, and Molotov and Stalin deciding to deflect Hitler by seeking a “non-aggression pact.” It was a struggle analogous to the sharp fight between Lin Biao (on one side) and Mao with Zhou Enlai (on the other) over how to deal with the mounting threat of a Soviet strike on Chinese nuclear facilities.

That’s probably one of the best summaries of the purges I have ever seen.

Anyone who thinks that second kind of repression (recklessly using the full means of an established state in this way) is justified or should be imitated, has abdicated a responsibility to learn from this past, and has really announced their determination to become new oppressors. And even if you don’t think so, everyone else will!And I might add: that people who want to conduct mass campaigns of execution should declare themselves early and loudly — so they can be carefully kept far far away from revolutionary preparations and future state power.

Indeed. For Chrissake, let’s not do this again. If for only one reason, because no one will ever let us come into power again for the fear that we may turn our guns on them at some point. Bottom line is Communists just flat out need to quit killing people when they are in power. At the very least, we can begin to get rid of the “Commie murderer” meme that the Right loves so much.
On the other hand, there is value in Stalin. See here later on in the post:

Stalin was the leader of the International Communist Movement for 40 years and helped solidify much of Communism’s advances during that time. In that time, the Soviet Union developed the world’s first socialist economy- something only barely glimpsed within Lenin’s time.

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union developed the first planned economy, and struggled to develop the first collectivized mechanized agriculture (in the place of an extremely backward peasant society). In this they succeeded with great results.

The Red Army met and defeated the most powerful army in the world. 3.5 million highly mechanized Nazi troops invaded — confident of conquering the first socialist country. And these (previously invincible) armies were hurled back to defeat. In the end, after 27 million Russians died due to Nazi atrocities, it was the troops of Joseph Stalin that took the Nazi capital Berlin, and drove Hitler to suicide!
Under Stalin the communist movement became truly international — with the Comintern (and its fraternal parties) appearing all over the world. While Stalin led the world movement, there were new seizures of power.
When he died 1953, the communist forces were in power in a third of the world, and in his time at the leadership of the CPSU he led a series of important line struggles to uphold and strengthen the dictatorship of the proletariat and forge a road forward toward socialism. His struggles with the rightist, state-capitalist line of Bukharin, and the defeatist line of Leon Trotsky were important and historic contributions to communist practice (and theory).

The truth? From another post:

I think it’s really time to break out of the whole paradigm of “the Great Peerless Helmsman Comrade Stalin” vs. “the Murderous Bloodthirsty Tyrant Stalin” debate…Comrade Stalin laid somewhere in the middle of those two stereotypes.

The Trotsykite Plot Against Stalin, A Tale of the 1930's USSR

I have been saying for a long time on here that the Purges and Great Terror of the 1930’s, especially 1937-38, were in part a response to a plot within the party to kill Stalin and overthrow the leadership of the party. Trotskyites were involved in the plot. They had cut a deal with Nazi Germany. After the hoped-for invasion of the USSR, the Nazis would allow the Trots to take power in the rump USSR. In return, the Trots would give the Nazis the Ukraine and Belorussia, at the least.
People deride the existence of such a plot, and say there is no evidence for it. It’s true that the evidence is a bit sketchy. However, this recent article by top Soviet scholar J. Arch Getty shows that Trotsky was indeed involved with oppositionist circles in the USSR in the early 1930’s anyway, giving at least partial support to the Trotsky As Traitor theory outlined above. I have only given this a cursory look over. Feel free to check it out.

Trotsky in Exile: The Founding of the Fourth International

By J. Arch Getty*

Soviet Studies, vol. XXXVIII, no. 1, January 1986, 24-35

Leon Trotsky’s formal political break with the Bolshevik Party came in 1933 with his decision to renounce allegiance to the Third International (Comintern) and to form a Fourth International. The rupture had not come easily for him. Although the Bolshevik leadership had expelled him from the party in 1927 and exiled him from the Soviet Union in 1929, Trotsky, for his part, had never formally split from the party or the Comintern.
From the time of his exile to the 1933 break, pro-Trotsky communists (‘Bolshevik-Leninists’) had tried to work both within and outside the official parties of the Comintern in order to influence their policies in a Trotskyist direction and Trotsky had been reluctant to organise or sanction new Bolshevik-Leninist parties outside the framework of the Comintern.
He had consistently maintained his allegiance to the Third International and expressed his willingness to defend the Soviet state and Bolshevik monopoly of power against internal and external class enemies.
His four-year loyalty to the party that had exiled him was based in part on his fears of the dangers facing the Soviet government. Trotsky defined the Stalinist regime in this period not as a rightist or ‘Thermidorean’ counter-revolution but rather as a centrist political faction which ‘zig-zagged’ between left and right.
He believed and feared that the zig-zagging and incompetence of Stalinist leadership could, however, produce a crisis in which the real political right (kulaks, nepmen, Whites, or even a man on horseback) could take advantage of the chaos and mount a genuine counter-revolution. In such circumstances, Trotsky would feel bound to support and defend even the Stalinist centrists from an attack from the right that could topple the Soviet state.
He therefore resisted suggestions that he adopt the slogan ‘overthrow Stalin’ or organise a new political party which could split the Bolsheviks in a time of crisis.1
When studying political actors and theorists it is always difficult to separate the subjective from the objective. Does a politician adopt a particular policy or stance as a result of subjective personal motivations or objective analysis? Treatments of most Bolshevik (and especially Stalinist) politicians have routinely stressed personal ambition as a determinant of political or theoretical pronouncements.
But few of the hagiographical or scholarly works on Trotsky have questioned his intellectual integrity or asked critical questions about the personal motives behind his theoretical and political positions. Since Isaac Deutscher’s pioneering biography, Trotsky has been ‘the prophet outcast’, a tragic hero whose personal and political life was shaped—often disastrously—by his objective theoretical views more than vice versa.2
In particular, Trotsky’s 1933 decision to form the Fourth International has been explained as a function of an objective economic, social, and political analysis of the situations in the Comintern and the USSR. Yet Trotsky’s private writings and activities suggest that his changing theoretical evaluations of the USSR and the Bolshevik Party resulted at least in part from the vicissitudes of his tactical position and partisan hopes and not vice versa.
Trotsky was a politician as well as a political analyst and one should not be surprised to discover that his private political activities continued in exile or, as with most politicians, influenced his public theoretical pronouncements.
Formation of separate political organisations and renunciation of allegiance to the Comintern would have made Trotsky and his followers members of a separate, anti-Bolshevik political party and would have placed him and his partisans completely outside the pale of Bolshevik politics. Such a stance would doom any chance for him to return to the Moscow party leadership.
With hindsight, for Trotsky to have harboured such hope seems naive and quixotic, but the uncertainties of the dynamic political and social crisis of 1929-32 made many things seem possible. Indeed, Trotsky believed in and hoped for the possibility of a return to the Moscow leadership and worked tirelessly for it. The collapse of his last hope for a recall to Moscow coincided with his decision to form the Fourth International.
Using Trotsky’s public writings of the 1930s, most writers have agreed that Hitler’s crushing of the German Communist Party (KPD) and workers’ movement in February-March, 1933 led Trotsky finally to question his allegiance first to the KPD and then to the Comintern and its member parties.3
Trotsky was angry with the KPD and its Comintern masters for not forming a ‘united front from above and below’ with the German socialists (SPD) to block Hitler’s victory. In March, he wrote a series of articles in which he called for the formation of a wholly new German Communist Party rather than the resuscitation of the KPD.4 Writing under the pseudonym ‘G. Gurov’, Trotsky suggested that the decision had been taken reluctantly:

‘Just as a doctor does not leave a patient who still has a breath of life, we had for our task the reform of the party as long as there was the least hope. But it would be criminal to tie oneself to a corpse.’5

Although Trotsky now sanctioned the formation of a new non-Comintern party in Germany, he stopped short of renouncing loyalty to the Third International or Soviet Communist Party and refused to approve the creation of new communist parties anywhere except Germany. In reply to a rhetorical question about giving up on the Comintern as a whole, ‘G. Gurov’ waffled: ‘In my opinion, it would be incorrect to give a rigid answer . . .’.
He then suggested that the German disaster could serve as an object lesson that could shock other communist parties into reforming Comintern policy. ‘The question has not been settled for the USSR, where proclamation of the slogan of the second party would be incorrect . . . It is not a question of the creation of the Fourth International but of salvaging the Third.’6
Again, on 9 April 1933, Trotsky maintained that ‘we do not break with the Third International’. In response to a question on whether it was not inconsistent to break with the Comintern in Germany and not elsewhere, Trotsky minimised the issue as a matter of ‘bookkeeping’. ‘If, however, the Stalinist bureaucracy should bring the USSR to ruin . . . it will be necessary to build a Fourth International.’7
For four months following a call for a new German communist party, Trotsky declined to extend his renunciation of the KPD to the Soviet or other communist parties. It was not until mid-July that he finally announced that one cannot remain ‘captive to one’s own formula’ and that hope for Comintern reform was dead.
In an article entitled It is Necessary to Build Communist Parties and an International Anew, he wrote that the Soviet Communist Party was no longer a party at all but merely ‘an apparatus of domination in the hands of an uncontrolled bureaucracy’. There was, therefore, no party with which to break.8 Five days later, he wrote that ‘the Bolshevik Party no longer exists’ and that accordingly it was time to ‘abandon the slogan of the reform of the CPSU’.9
Apprehensive that he would now be widely regarded as an anti-Soviet counter-revolutionary, Trotsky still refused to call for a revolution in the Soviet Union. In his view, Soviet Russia was still a workers’ state that ‘can be regenerated . . . without a revolution’.10 It was not until 1 October 1933 that he asserted: ‘No normal “constitutional” ways remain to remove the ruling clique. The bureaucracy can be compelled to yield power into the hands of the proletariat only by force’. (emphasis Trotsky’s).
Still queasy about the implications of this position, he argued that such force would not be ‘an armed insurrection against the dictatorship of the proletariat but the removal of a malignant growth upon it’. He was advocating not ‘measures of a civil war but rather the measures of a police character’.11
Trotsky’s October call for the use of force against the Soviet party regime was not qualitatively new. He was only dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s of his key July statements renouncing the Bolshevik party and denying its existence.12 If reform were impossible and if the Stalinist clique refused to abdicate power, then the July position already implied removing it by force.
Trotsky’s July renunciation of the Comintern and Bolshevik party and his simultaneous call for a new International comprise the chief watershed in the political activities of his exile.
Why, after the mid-March articles on Germany did it take Trotsky four months to follow the clear logic of his position and break with the Comintern? His admiring biographer Isaac Deutscher found the delay ‘illogical’ but explained simply that ‘the logic of his new venture soon got the better of Trotsky’ in the months that followed. Deutscher attributed Trotsky’s peculiar hesitation on the matter to his longtime loyalty to the Comintern and his fear of Russian counterrevolution.13
While these factors were pertinent to the 1929-32 period, an explanation based on them does not fully account for the illogical four-month pause between breaking with the KPD and renouncing its Moscow Comintern policymakers. Did either rightist danger or Trotsky’s loyalty to the Comintern decrease so dramatically after the March KPD disaster?
Trotsky himself anticipated questions about the delay. He had written in April that a Fourth International would not be necessary until the Stalinist clique brought the USSR to ruin. Since he never claimed that any action on Stalin’s part between March and July brought the USSR any closer to ruin than it already was, both the delay and the proposal of a Fourth International needed explaining. Indeed, on 27 July 1933, Trotsky admitted that logically the Comintern break should have come in April.
First, he explained that a disagreement between himself and his ‘German comrades’ on the question of a new party had caused friction in the ‘Left Opposition’ and delayed the total break. Trotsky had had to convince his German followers of the necessity for a break. Second, he claimed that between March and July he had been waiting to see if the parties or leadership of the Comintern would ‘wake up’ and abruptly change their policies.14
It is hard to weigh the importance of either these factors for Trotsky’s unusual indecisiveness. It is true that the German Trotskyists with whom he corresponded resisted the notion of a new party, although Trotsky had not taken them seriously enough to consult with them beforehand and had never shown much reluctance to break with the small European leftist groups which defied him.15
The other explanation, that Trotsky waited four months for the Comintern quickly to admit the error of its ways, is even less convincing. No one had less reason than Trotsky to be optimistic about the Comintern and no one had so relentlessly documented its failures over the preceding decade.
Trotsky could not have been so naive or ignorant of Comintern politics as to expect either a mea culpa from the Comintern Executive Committee or an independent, defiant policy from the member parties. It seems therefore that the lack of Comintern reform cannot explain the timing of the call for a Fourth International.
Yet Trotsky’s typically polemical, assertive, and self-justifying writings have led scholars to accept his version of the Fourth International decision and to ask few questions about his procrastination. The issue is of more than simple antiquarian or psychological interest since both published and archival documents suggest another side to Trotsky’s life in the 1930s quite apart from his journalistic and editorial activities.
Behind the scenes of his public reflections on the Comintern, Trotsky was trying both to organise illegal opposition groups in the USSR and to negotiate with Moscow for his legal return.
Long before the 1933 disaster in Germany, Trotsky had tried to maintain contact with followers in the USSR. Since 1929 he had corresponded with those of his adherents who were in internal exile in Serbia or Central Asia.16 He had tried to smuggle copies of his Byullenten’ oppozitsii into the Soviet Union, and through his son Lev Sedov (who lived in Berlin) had maintained contacts with tourists and Soviet officials travelling to and from the USSR.
As it became clear that his letters to the Soviet Union were being screened and intercepted by the secret police, he switched to postcards, since he believed that they were scrutinised less carefully.17
At the time of the Moscow show trials, Trotsky denied that he had any communications with the defendants since his exile in 1929. Yet it is now clear that in 1932 he sent secret personal letters to former leading oppositionists Karl Radek, G. Sokol’nikov, E. Preobrazhensky, and others. While the contents of these letters are unknown, it seems reasonable to believe that they involved an attempt to persuade the addressees to return to opposition.18
We know considerably more, however, about another clandestine communication between Trotsky and his supporters in the USSR late in 1932. Sometime in October, E.S. Gol’tsman, a former Trotskyist and current Soviet official, met Sedov in Berlin and gave him a proposal from veteran Trotskyist Ivan Smirnov and other left oppositionists in the USSR for the formation of a united opposition bloc.
The proposed bloc was to include Trotskyists, Zinovievists, members of the Lominadze group, and others. Sedov wrote to Trotsky relaying the proposal and Trotsky approved. ‘The proposition of the bloc seems to me completely acceptable’, Trotsky wrote, ‘but it is a question of bloc, not merger’. ‘How will the bloc manifest itself? For the moment, principally through reciprocal information.
Our allies will keep us up to date on that which concerns the Soviet Union, and we will do the same thing on that which concerns the Comintern’.19 In his view, the bloc should exclude those who capitulated and recanted: capitulationist sentiment ‘will be inexorably and pitilessly combatted by us’.20
Gol’tsman had relayed the opinion of those in the Soviet Union that participation in the bloc by the Right Opposition was desirable, and that formation of the bloc should be delayed until their participation could be secured. Trotsky reacted against this suggestion: ‘The allies’ opinion that one must wait until the rights can easily join does not have my approval . . . .’
Trotsky was impatient with what he considered passivity on the part of the Right Opposition. ‘One struggles against repression by anonymity and conspiracy, not by silence’.21 Sedov then replied that the bloc had been organized. ‘It embraces the Zinovievists, the Sten-Lominadze group, and the Trotksyists (old “—”)’22 ‘The Safarov-Tarkhanov group has not yet formally entered—they have a very extreme position; they will enter soon.’
Ironically, back in the Soviet Union, the leaders of the bloc were being rounded up by the police at this precise moment. Ivan Smirnov and those around him (including the economist Preobrazhensky) had been arrested ‘by accident’. It seems that a provocateur in their midst had denounced them on a separate matter. Moreover, Zinoviev and Kamenev had been arrested and deported for knowing about the oppositional Ryutin platform and not reporting it to the authorities.
Although these events certainly disrupted the bloc, Sedov was not despondent. He was sure that the police had found no documents or ‘Trotskyist literature’ on Smirnov, and while ‘the arrest of the “ancients is a great blow, the lower workers are safe’.23
At about this time, Trotsky attempted to contact his ‘lower workers’ directly. During a brief stay in Copenhagen, he handed a letter to an English supporter named Harry Wicks who was to convey it to oppositionists in Russia. The letter began: ‘I am not sure that you know my handwriting. If not, you will probably find someone who dies’.
Trotsky went on to call upon loyal oppositionists to become active: ‘The comrades who sympathize with the Left Opposition are obliged to come out of their passive state at this time, maintaining, of course, all precautions’. (emphasis Trotsky’s) He went on to give names and addresses of safe contacts in Berlin, Prague, and Istanbul to whom communications for Trotsky could be sent, and then concluded, ‘I am certain that the menacing situation in which the Party finds itself will force all the comrades devoted to the revolution to gather actively about the Left Opposition’.24
It is clear, then, that a united left oppositional bloc was formed in 1932. In Trotsky’s opinion, the bloc existed only for the purposes of communication and exchange of information, and from the evidence, it is clear that Trotsky envisioned no secret ‘terrorist’ role for the bloc, as Moscow would charge four years later.
There is also reason to believe that after the decapitation of the bloc (through the removal of Zinoviev, Kamenev, Smirnov, and others), the organisation included mainly lower level, less prominent oppositionists: followers of Zinoviev, but not Zinoviev himself.
Finally, it seems that Trotsky attempted to maintain direct contact with the allies’. The seize and strength of the 1932 bloc cannot be determined and one does not know how threatening it was to the regime. In any case, events would show that both Trotskyists and Stalinists took it seriously.
Aside from the bloc, Trotsky was pursuing another strategy in these months. During the autumn of 1932 he had written to his son Sedov that it would be strategically important to offer to ‘cooperate with the regime in power’ in order not to alienate potential supporters within the Stalin apparatus.25 In March 1933 Trotsky made a final attempt to ‘cooperate’ with Moscow by magnanimously offering to return to the Moscow leadership.
Three days after his ‘G. Gurov’ article breaking with the KPD, Trotsky made his formal offer to return to the Politbureau leadership under certain conditions. He made his proposition in a remarkable secret letter sent to the Politbureau on 15 March.26Trotsky’s letter was based on his perception that economic catastrophe was overwhelming the party leadership which now needed the support and participation of all factions in order to rebuild the party and maintain power.

‘I consider it my duty to make one more attempt to appeal to the sense of responsibility of those who presently lead the Soviet state. You know conditions better than I. If the internal development [of the country] proceeds further on its present course, catastrophe is inevitable’.

Trotsky referred to the Politbureau to his recent articles in his Byulleten’ oppozitsii for his analysis. He cited Hitler’s recent victory in Germany as evidence of the bankruptcy of Comintern policy and asserted that disasters like that had led to a ‘loss of confidence in the leadership’. ‘Chto nado sdelat’?’ What was needed was a ‘rebirth of the party organisation’ in order to reestablish confidence, and the Left Opposition was willing to cooperate.
Some of you will say, Trotsky mused, that the Left Opposition merely wants a path to power and is offering to cooperate only to get back inside the leadership. However, the question, Trotsky replied, is not power [!] for this or that faction but rather the survival of the workers’ state and international revolution for many years:

Only open and honest cooperation between the historically produced fractions, fully transforming them into tendencies in the party and eventually dissolving into it, can in concrete conditions restore confidence in the leadership and resurrect the party.

Trotsky then promised that a returning Left Opposition would not persecute any party members who had opposed it in the past.
After describing the conditions which demanded the return of the opposition, Trotsky made the remarkable offer. Alluding to the platform of the Left Opposition, he insisted:

Renunciation of this programme is of course out of the question . . . But concerning the manner of presenting and defending this programme before the Central Committee and the party, not to mention the manner of putting it into effect, there can and must be achieved a preliminary agreement with the goal of preventing shocks or splitting.

Trotsky thus proposed that the Left Opposition be allowed to return to the leadership as a ‘tendency’ within the party, and insisted that his group would not publicly renounce its critique and programme. He was, however, leaving the door open for a deal under which agitation for this programme could be held in abeyance for an indefinite period.
Trotsky was willing to re-enter the leadership without the usual recantation but with the suggestion that for the sake of party unity he would refrain from criticism. This was a new proposal. Previously, he had demanded unlimited freedom of criticism for the opposition within the party, but now he was making oppositional criticism conditional on an ‘agreement’ to be worked out.
The contradiction with Trotsky’s previous conditions and demands explains the secrecy of the letter.28 Unlike his previous open letters to the Soviet leadership, this epistle was never released or published by Trotsky.29 He concluded the letter by informing the Politbureau that they were receiving the only copy of the document. This would leave the Politbureau ‘free to choose the means’ to begin discussions.
The 12 March article KPD or New Party? and the 15 March secret letter were interrelated. First, Trotsky may have thought that his call for a new party in Germany would put pressure on the Moscow leadership, which would conceivably opt to take Trotsky back rather than face a split in the Comintern. Second, the secret letter to the Politbureau also helps to explain why he wrote the 12 March article under a pseudonym.
Pending a reply to his 15 March offer, Trotsky was not yet committed to the Fourth International and the pseudonym would allow him later to deny that he had broken with the Comintern parties. Such ‘deniability’ would have been important to him if Moscow had responded favourably to his offer to return. In such a case, Trotsky’s restored position in the Moscow leadership would have been inconsistent with a call to break with the KPD and it would have been necessary to disavow ‘G. Gurov’.
Trotsky’s delay in breaking with the other parties of the Comintern (including the Bolsheviks) can thus be partially explained. After March, he was waiting for Moscow to answer his secret letter before committing himself publicly to a Fourth International. As much as waiting for the Comintern to admit its mistakes and reform itself, Trotsky delayed his break with Moscow in order to keep his personal options open.
A month and a half later, Trotsky despaired of receiving a reply from the Politbureau. On 10 May 1933 he set the Politbureau an angry coda to the March letter, which he entitled Explanation.30 This short statement began by noting that the Politbureau had only replied to him with silence.
He stressed again the danger facing the Bolshevik regime and pointedly warned that the regime could fall because of the mistakes committed by the Stalin faction. He then ominously served notice on the Politbureau that he now felt free to agitate among the lower ranks of the Stalinist bureaucracy.
‘We are sending this document [the March letter plus the May explanation] to responsible workers in the belief that among the blind, the careerists, and the cowards, there are honest revolutionaries from whose eyes one cannot hide the real state of things . . . We call upon these honest revolutionaries to make contact with us. Seek and ye shall find’.
The 10 May Explanation marked the end of Trotsky’s attempts to return ‘legally’ to the Moscow leadership. The disaster in Germany, the clumsy economic policy of the apparatus, and finally Stalin’s refusal to negotiate with him convinced Trotsky that any kind of cooperation with the Stalinist faction was impossible.
But his 15 July article It is Necessary to Build Communist Parties and an International Anew was still two months in the future. Why did he further delay his total break with the Bolsheviks and the Comintern?
While simple indecision was certainly part of the answer, it may well have been that Trotsky felt that the 1932 bloc still offered possibilities short of a total break with the Comintern. As we have seen, Zinoviev and Kamenev had been expelled from the party and exiled in October 1932 for their knowledge of the Ryutin platform.
In an article on their expulsion dated 19 October 1932, Trotsky had taken a generally soft, sympathetic, and conciliatory attitude toward the two leaders. (They were, after all, still members of the ephemeral bloc.) Their expulsion from the party and their lack of recantation still put them in Trotsky’s camp, as he saw it.31
Any hopes that Trotsky entertained about the viability of the bloc were shattered in May 1933. Fewer than 10 days after Trotsky appended his May ‘Explanation‘ to the secret letter, he learned that Zinoviev and Kamenev had capitulated to Stalin, recanted their sins and repledged their loyalty to the Stalinist faction. Their departure from the opposition embittered Trotsky.
In a 23 May article he described the two as pitiful, tragic, and subservient.32 On 6 July he rallied against them once again and denounced their capitulation in strong terms.33 The leaders (if not the lower workers) of the bloc were gone.
Both of Trotsky’s non-public strategies were now in ruins. The Politbureau had ignored his offer to return and the recantations of Zinoviev and Kamenev had decapitated the 1932 bloc. The options which Trotsky had sought to keep open were now closed and he could no longer hope for a return to Moscow in the near future. Nine days after his bitter article against Zinoviev, he penned the fateful 15 July article breaking with the mainstream Communist parties and the Comintern.
There was no longer any point in remaining ‘captive to one’s own formula’. The party which one month before Trotsky had sought to rejoin ‘no longer exists’ and was now incapable of reform. It is almost as if Trotsky equated reform of the party with his return to it.
There was more to Trotsky’s life in exile than theorising and publishing. Taking the formation of the Fourth International as a case study, one can see that his partisan activities affected the nature and timing of his theoretical assertions. Indeed, the failure of Trotsky’s secret political strategies was a major component in his decision to break with the Comintern and to go it alone.
His conspiratorial machinations were not only factors in the decision, but they were important and perhaps better account for the four-month delay in breaking with Moscow than do his public explanations.
It seems reasonable to suppose further that Trotsky’s activities were grist to the mill of those hard-line Moscow politicians who favoured repression of the opposition. His activities could not but have provided political ammunition for those in the Kremlin who demanded stern measures.
Trotsky’s secret letters to followers in the Soviet Union, his organisation of the 1932 bloc, his formation of the Fourth International, his call for the overthrow of the party leadership by force, and his continued opposition to Comintern policies (particularly to the Popular Front) later made it easy for hard-liners to portray Trotsky as a devious and ‘unprincipled’ plotter who was scheming to return, forming conspiracies, and opposing communist parties both politically and organisationally.
In looking back over Soviet history since 1933, Trotsky’s activities and writings’ might at first seem pointless and irrelevant. Indeed, there is considerable pathos in his actions and writings. After years in exile, he still wrote as if he were part of the leadership. In criticizing the first Five-Year Plan he often used the first person:

. . .we have not entered socialism. We have far from attained mastery of the methods of planned regulation. We are fulfilling only the first rough hypotheses, fulfilling them poorly, and with our headlights not yet on.34

With hindsight, his attempts to organise secret blocs and his offers to return to Moscow seem sad. Following Deutscher and others, Alec Nove observed ‘how few were his followers, how politically ineffective, even meaningless, were his eloquent, if sometimes dogmatic words’.35
But hindsight can be misleading. Bolshevik party history showed how quickly political fortunes could change. At the end of 1916 Lenin and his circle of expatriates must certainly have seemed dubious candidates to rule the Russian Empire, but war, social conflict, and political paralysis quickly changed the situation.
The social and political upheavals of the 1930s combined with the fascist threat of war offered the possibility of a similarly fluid and dynamic situation. Stalin’s removal and Trotsky’s return did not seem so far-fetched to either of them.
It seems that the Stalinists took the possibility quite seriously and never relaxed their pressure on Trotsky and Trotskyism. The Stalinist press constantly vilified Trotskyism as the ‘vanguard of counterrevolution’. Trotsky’s mail to the USSR was intercepted and his entourage was infiltrated by Stalinist agents.36 Secret police officer Yakov Blyumkin was shot simply for meeting Trotsky abroad.37
Later, in 1936, the 1932 bloc became the evidential base for the Moscow show trials and the massacre of Trotskyists in the Ezhov Terror which accompanied them.38 In the Spanish Civil War, hard-pressed Spanish and Russian communists took the trouble to round up and shoot Trotskyists. The Soviet government put continuous pressure on the governments of Norway, Belgium, France, and Mexico in an attempt to deny Trotsky an exile sanctuary or base of operations.
Finally, in 1940, with war on the horizon, Trotsky was assassinated in Mexico. Stalin thus made sure that history would not repeat itself. In whatever crisis that might follow, there would be no brilliant exiled revolutionary personality to return home in a sealed train as Lenin had done in 1917.
University of California, Riverside
* The author is grateful for a research grant from the University of California, Riverside’s Academic Senate Committee on Research.

Notes

1 The Trotsky Papers (Exile Correspondence), Houghton Library, Harvard University, 10248, 4777 show Trotksy’s discussions with his son on such questions. Robert H. McNeal, ‘Trotskyist Interpretations of Stalinism’ in Robert C. Tucker, ed., Stalinism: Essays in Historical Interpretation, (New York, 1977) pp. 30-52, analyses Trotsky’s changing theoretical evaluation of Stalinism.
See also the summary in Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet Outcast. Trotsky: 1929-1940, (New York, 1963) pp. 172-5.2 Most writers on Trotsky in exile have concentrated on his writings rather than his political activities.
See Alec Nove, ‘A Note on Trotsky and the “Left Opposition” 1929-31’, Soviet Studies, Vol. 29, No 4, (October, 1977) pp. 576-89; Richard B. Day, ‘Leon Trotsky on the Problems of the Smychka and Forced Collectivisation’, Critique, No. 13, 1981, pp. 55-68; Warren Lerner, ‘”The Caged Lion”; Trotsky’s Writings in Exile’, Studies in Comparative Communism, Vol. 10, (1977), pp. 198-203; Samuel Kassow, ‘Trotsky and the Bulletin of the Opposition’, Ibid., pp. 184-97; Siegfried Bahne, ‘Trotsky on Stalin’s Russia’, Survey, No. 41, (1962), pp. 27-42.
Exceptions include Jean van Heijenoort, With Trotsky in Exile: From Prinkipo to Coyoacan, Cambridge, Mass., 1978 and Deutscher, The Prophet Outcast. op. cit.
3 Deutscher, The Prophet Outcast, op. cit. pp. 198-200; Michel Dreyfus, ‘Trockij dall’ opposizione di sinestra ai fondamenti di una nuova internazionale (1930-1935)’, Ponte, Vol. 36, No. 11-12 (1980), pp. 1316-31; Jean van Heijenoort, ‘How the Fourth International Was Conceived’, in Joseph Hansen, et. al, Leon Trotsky: The Man and His Work, (New York, 1969), p. 62; George Breitman and Bev Scott, eds., Writings of Leon Trotsky [1933-34], (New York, 1975), p. 10 (hereafter WLT [1933-34]).
4 ‘Tragediya nemetskogo proletariata’, Byullenten’ oppozitsii, (hereafter, BO) No. 34, pp. 7-11 (dated 14 March 1933); ‘KPG ili novaya partiya?’, Ibid., pp. 12-13 (dated 29 March 1933); ‘Krushenie germanskoi kompartii i zadachi oppozitsii’ Ibid., pp. 13-17 (dated 9 April 1933); ‘KPD or New York? (I)’, Writings of Leon Trotsky [1932-1933], New York, 1972 (hereafter WLT [1932-1933], pp. 137-9 (dated 12 March 1933: not the same article as ‘KPG ili novaya partiya?’ cited above).
5 ‘KPD or New Party? (I)’, WLT [1932-33], p. 137.
6 Ibid., p. 138.
7 BO, No. 34, p. 15.
8 ‘Nuzhno stroit’ zanovo kommunistcheskie partii i International’, BO, No. 36-37, p. 21. (dated 15 July 1933).
9 ‘Nel’zya bol’she ostavat’ sya v odnom “Internationale” so Stalinym, Manuil’skim, Lozovskim, i Ko’, BO, No. 36-37, p. 24. (dated 20 July 1933).
10 Ibid.
11 ‘Klassovaya priroda sovetskogo gosudarstava’, BO, No. 36-37, pp. 1-12 (dated 1 October 1933) In the Moscow purge trials of 1936-38, Prosecutor Vyshinsky would quote from this article as evidence that Trotsky advocated the violent overthrow of the Soviet government.
12 The editors of the Writings of Leon Trotsky see the 1 October article as a qualitative evolution in Trotsky’s thinking, see WLT [1933-34], p. 10, Jean van Heijenoort, however, correctly notes that the ‘perspective of reform was definitely abandoned’ in July. (‘How the Fourth International Was Conceived‘, op. cit. p. 62.)
13 Deutscher, The Prophet Outcast, op. cit. pp. 205-7.
14 ‘For New Communist Parties and the New International’, WLT [1933-34], pp. 26-27 (dated 27 July 1933).
15 See ‘The German Decision Against a New Party’, Writings of Leon Trotsky: Supplement (1929-1933), (New York, 1979). pp. 218-9 (dated 19 March 1933); ‘We Must Have a Decision on Germany’, Ibid., pp. 223-5 (dated 3 April 1933).
16 Sedov’s address book contained the exile addresses of Trotskyists in the USSR. Trotsky Papers, 15741. The Exile Correspondence section of the Trotsky Papers contains copies of such letters.
17 See Trotksy’s account of these difficult communications in The Dewey Commission, The Case of Leon Trotsky, (New York, 1937), pp. 128-32, 261-6, 271-3. This volume is the transcript of the 1937 Commission of Inquiry chaired by John Dewey which investigated the charges made against Trotsky at the 1933-37 Moscow show trials. Trotsky participated willingly in the inquiry.
18 Trotsky Papers, 15821. Unlike virtually all Trotsky’s other letters (including even the most sensitive) no copies of these remain in the Trotsky Papers. It seems likely that they have been removed from the Papers at some time.
Only the certified mail receipts remain. At his 1937 trial, Karl Radek testified that he had received a letter from Trotsky containing ‘terrorist instructions’, but we do not know whether this was the letter in question.
19 Trotsky Papers, 13095 and 10107. Quoted by permission of the Houghton Library. See also Pierre Broue, ‘Trotsky et le bloc des oppositions de 1932’, Cahiers Leon Trotsky, No. 5, Jan.-Mar. 1980), pp. 5-37 for background on the bloc.
Included in file 13095 is a 1937 note from Trotsky’s secretary van Heijenoort which shows that Trotsky and Sedov were reminded of the bloc at the time of the 1937 Dewey Commission but withheld the matter from the inquiry.
20 Trotsky was always bitterly opposed to those who capitulated to Stalin or who recanted their opposition. He wrote such persons off completely.
21 Trotsky Papers, 13095. Quoted by permission of the Houghton Library. Alec Nove has shown that while there were some differences, Trotsky’s critique of Stalin’s industrialisation and collectivisation plans resembled that of Bukharin and the right. (Nove, A Note on Trotsky and the “Left Opposition“, op. cit. pp. 576-84).
Indeed, Trotsky’s spirited defence of the smychka and rural market relations, his criticism of the ultra-leftist campaign against the kulaks, and his advocacy of planning on the basis of ‘real potentials’ were similar to the strictures of Bukharin’s ‘Notes of an Economist‘.
See, for example, Trotksy’s ‘Problemy razvitiya SSSR’, BO, No. 22, pp. 1-15 and ‘Sovetskoe khozyaistvo v opasnosti’, BO, No. 31, pp. 2-13. (For another view which sees continuity in Trotsky’s critique from the 1920s to the 1930s see Day, Trotsky on the Problems of the Smychka.)
In the light of the apparent similarities between his and Bukharin’s critiques, Trotsky was anxious to maintain the separate identity of the Left Opposition. He wrote in 1932 that although ‘practical disagreements with the Right will hardly be revealed . . . it is intolerable to mix up the ranks and blunt the distinctions’. (WLT Supplement (1929-1933), p. 174).
In a secret letter to his son about the 1932 bloc, he warned Sedov not to ‘leave the field to the rights’ (Trotsky Papers, 13095). Despite Trotsky’s efforts, Moscow hard-liners were able to portray Trotsky as a scheming ‘unprincipled’ oppositionist and to denounce ‘Left-Right’ conspirators at the Moscow show trials.
22 Trotsky Papers, 13095 (excision of word in original document). Quoted by permission of the Houghton Library. Shortly thereafter, Trotsky wrote cryptically that ‘As far as the illegal organisation of the Bolshevik-Leninists is concerned, only the first steps have been taken toward its reorganisation.’ WLT [1932-33], p. 34.
23 Trotsky Papers, 4782. Quoted by permission of the Houghton Library.
24 Trotsky Papers, 8114. Quoted by permission of the Houghton Library. See also The Case of Leon Trotsky, pp. 274-5.
The editors of WLT claim that the letter was intended to help Wocks’ credibility among Russian Trotskyists in London, Writings of Leon Trotsky [1932], (New York, 1973), p. 328 but the archival copy contains a notation which shows that the letter’s intended destination was the USSR.
25 Trotsky Papers, 10248 and T-3485. Quoted by permission of the Houghton Library.
26 Trotsky Papers, T-3522. Quoted by permission of the Houghton Library. See also WLT [1932-33] p. 141-3.
27 Hard-liners in the Moscow leadership must have noted and argued that Trotsky’s proposal that his “fraction” retain is distinctive programme after readmission to the party ran counter to Lenin’s famous 1921 ban on factions and factional platforms. (On Party Unity, adopted at the X Congress in 1921).
28 Without revealing his offer to Moscow, Trotsky wrote that ‘mutual criticism . . . may have a different character depending on the extent to which it is consciously prepared by both sides and in what organisational framework it takes place’. (‘Nuzhno chestnoe vnutripartiinoe soglashenie’, BO, No. 34, p. 31, dated 30 March 1933).
These cryptic remarks may have been published in order to prepare his followers for Moscow’s possible acceptance of Trotsky’s proposal to make criticism by the opposition conditional and restricted.
29 For an example of the more common ‘Open Letter’, see Trotsky Papers, T-3423.
30 Trotsky Papers, T-3522. Quoted by permission by the Houghton Library. On the last page of the July issue of Byullenten’ oppozitsii, Trotsky referred vaguely to the 15 March letter to the Politbureau.
While mentioning neither his offer to defer the opposition programme nor his May ‘Explanation’, Trotsky claimed somewhat inaccurately that the March letter simply repeated his long-standing offer to return to the Bolshevik party ‘under conditions guaranteeing us the right to defend our views’, see ‘Pochtovyi yashchik’, BO, No. 35, p. 22.
31 ‘Stalintsky prinimayut mery’, BO, No. 31, pp. 13-18 (dated 19 October 1932).
32 ‘Zino’ev i Kamenev’, BO, No. 35, pp. 23-24 (dated 23 May 1933).
33 ‘Zinoviev on the Party Regime’, WLT [1932-33]. p. 286 (dated 6 July 1933).
34 ‘Sovetskoe khozyaistvo v opasnosti!’, BO, No. 31, pp. 2-13 (dated 22 October 1932).
35 Nove, A Note on Trotsky, op. cit., p. 589.
36 Van Heijenoort (With Trotsky in Exile, pp. 93-102) maintains that Sedov’s close assistant Mark Zborowski (alias ‘Etienne’) was a Stalinist agent. NKVD defector Alexander Orlov in testimony before a US Senate hearing, also denounced Zborowski and provided detailed information.
See US Senate, Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act, Testimony of Alexander Orlov, Washington, D.C., 1962. Trotsky Papers, 15765 is a file on the suspected Stalinist agents in Trotsky’s entourage.
37 See Rex Winsbury, ‘Jacob Blumkin in Russia, 1892-1929’, History Today, Vol. 27, No. 11, 1977, pp. 712-18, and Deustcher, The Prophet Outcast, op. cit., pp. 84-8.
38 See J. Arch Getty, Origins of the Great Purges: The Soviet Communist Party Reconsidered, 1933-1938, (New York, 1985), Chapter 5 for a discussion of how the 1932 bloc might have influenced Soviet party politics in 1936.

Beyond The Pale Is Where You Want To Be

Reacting to my recent post about the Net Left basically refusing to link to me (I don’t necessarily give a damn really, and most of the folks who would show up I would probably have to ban sooner or later from the Comments), Lafayette Sennacherib posted the comment below, which I am posting.

And they are such hypocrites about this ‘no platform for fascists’ bit (It also includes no platform for anyone who claims that Jews have anything to do with Israel). Take the British Leftie bloggers (I don’t know the US ones apart from the mindnumbingly pompous Jewish agent Louis Proyect) Socialist Unity (Andy Newman) or Lenin’s Tomb: They would bar you for life for linking to David Duke, but both link to Harry’s Place.
Now, David Duke opposed the war in Iraq and advocates nothing more extreme than racial separatism (which I disagree with), like black leader Louis Farrakhan, and pointedly dissociates himself from White Supremacism (of course he is a racist but…).
Harry’s Place on the other hand, claims to be Left (‘humanitarian’, ‘decent’ left – you know the rest), but is a blatant Jewish race-hate site, hosting the most vile anti-Islam and anti-Arab filth, masses of it and constantly; and they supported, justified and lied to support and enable, advocated for the US policies that have so far killed at least 3 million (US arming of Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war, the Gulf war, the sanctions, the Iraq invasion, the ongoing genocide in Palestine), and deprived the whole of Iraq and Palestine of education, healthcare and adequate food and housing.
The Harry’s Place lot are as guilty of this as Goebbels and Streicher were for Hitler’s sins. But the Lefties have no problem linking to HP; many of them post there regularly; and they allow the vile pervert David T. (who runs the shithole) and others to post on their own blogs. So what has David Duke (or Robert Lindsay) done to compare with this? Who have they killed?
Chomsky, in his essay which was used (without his permission) for the intro to one of Robert Faurisson (Holocaust revisionist), in his defense of Faurisson’s free speech talked about the ‘Left’s’ “… ongoing commitment to totalitarian and Stalinist practices…” [ ok, I disagree with him about Stalin]. They’re no different now.
They are committed to a top-down vanguardist structure, where the leaders (unelected and mostly Jews of course) decide what can be said. This is exactly the opposite of ‘the working class in power’ that they claim to want; it is the opposite of the effective, informed democracy that most of us would like to see.
These weirdo Trots and the career bureaucrat trade unionists who still call themselves Communists – these are not a ‘Left’; as Chomsky (again) said, “The Leninists have done nothing in recent years but disrupt populist movements.” That’s it. Dishearten and discourage. Mystify, bewilder and bore.
These people are an obstacle standing between the working class and an effective Left movement. There can be no doubt whatsoever that they are infiltrated to the point that their policies are effectively decided (or at least vetoed) by the secret security services of the capitalist states and the Zionists of course.
Beyond their pale is where you want to be.

I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says here, but there are many good posts.
First, Proyect is not a Jewish agent; instead, he’s Jewish, 500 years kosher as I see it.
Duke is definitely a White Supremacist, and I don’t like his type one bit. He’s one nasty piece of work. All these White nationalists are White Supremacists in one way or another. There are a few who think that Northeast Asians are better than Whites, but that’s a rare bird. The racial separatist impulse is automatically based on supremacism, which is one reason I can’t stand any racial separatism.
For a case in point, look at Zionism. A racial separatist system. Let’s look at some more: Apartheid, Jim Crow, sundown laws, restrictive covenants, redlining, ethnic cleansing, “population transfers.” This is where racial separatism leads, right into the sewer. Think about it. Racial supremacism must logically lead to either apartheid, expulsion or extermination. There are no other alternatives; that’s the only road it can head down.
That said, I have nothing but contempt for any of the individuals above, and by the way, Louis Proyect has also pre-emptively banned me from his Marxist Mailing List, even though I’ve never applied to join. If I ever do, I’m already pre-banned. The banning grounds were that I’m a racist and a fascist.
And it’s true that the British Net Left has apparently banned links to me under some “no platform for fascism” crap.
This fascist stuff cracks me up. I hate fascists. I’m a fascist? What the Hell, man?

Public Suicide Fad Hits Argentina

[wpvideo MC5yaPEo]
Note: Repost from the old blog.
I am looking for a translator to translate this post into Korean. Email me if you are interested.
Warning! Graphic footage! Do not watch if you are easily upset! An 8.4 MB version of the video with better resolution can be downloaded on this site here.
The public suicide fad has spread to Argentina. Above is the video of the live TV suicide of Mario “Malevo” Ferreyra, an Argentine former police official. He killed himself on live TV in Tucumán Province, Argentina.
Malevo Ferreyra was Chief of the Brigade of Investigations of the State Tucumán in Argentina in the late 1970’s at the height of the Dirty War. In 1993, he was convicted for murdering three robbers in 1991.
He escaped from the courthouse clutching a hand grenade in each hand (!) and later turned himself in after the former governor of the province reduced his sentence. He served seven years for the killings. He ruled Tucumán with an iron fist before, during and after the Dirty War.
A warrant was issued by the National Guard yesterday for his arrest for kidnapping and torture during the Dirty War. The crimes were committed when he served at a secret weapons-depot-turned-detention center during the Dirty War. Just before the police were coming to arrest him, he committed suicide in front of his wife and kids on national TV.
He had just finished an interview the TV station Cronica on top of a water tank at his rural home in Tucumán. His home was surrounded by police and he would be arrested shortly. He protested his innocence, then said, “Hasta siempre, Maria (I will love you forever, Maria),” pulled out a .45 caliber revolver from his boot and shot himself behind the ear. He died on his way to the hospital shortly afterward.
After he shot himself in the head, his son embraced him and his daughter panicked.
Families of the victims say that the suicide was part of a pact of silence that would ensure that Ferreyra would not have to testify against his former colleagues.
Argentine politics is nasty, and sometimes deadly, business, with a lot of impunity, but that seems to be changing.

A typical image if “El Malevo” with his usual sombrero. Looks like a hard-living fellow. The name may come from a famous silent movie by the well-known Argentine director José A. Ferreyra (same surname) from 1921 called, La Maleva. I’m not sure what the movie is about. Ferreyra is a common surname in Argentina. The name may also be a play on a nickname of a famous Argentine soccer player Osmar “Malevo” Ferreyra (video).
Here is another photo of El Malevo. I’m not sure what is going on here, or who the woman is. He looks like a pretty rough character. So do those guys around him. Argentine provincial politics is nasty, hardcore stuff. Sort of a cross between Sicily and Mexico. Lot of tough guys in power throwing their weight around, not much of a rule of law, political arrests and attacks, harassment of and attacks on journalists, corrupt and venal judges. The usual stuff.

Tucumán is a somewhat backwards, “provincial” province in the hinterlands of Argentina. It’s mostly agricultural back there, with a lot of sugar cane cultivation. The cops and politicians in this part of Argentina are some of the most brutal, venal, clannish and corrupt in the country.
There are still Indians living in this part of Argentina, and people are much more Mestizo here than in the rest of the country. It isn’t gaucho country, and it’s not the Pampas. More like the foothills of the Andes.
In the mid-70’s, this province was the scene of a little-known foco revolutionary movement led by the ERP (People’s Revolutionary Army). It failed, as all foco-inspired movements did. The ERP was then devastated by the Dirty War – they were history 1 1/2 years into the counterinsurgency. The ERP has long since abandoned armed struggle and now exists as a political movement.
Budd Dwyer, anyone? Video of Budd Dwyer’s live TV suicide here (warning: graphic). Jesus Christ man, the blood runs out of his nose like a waterfall.
I found the case of Christine Chubbuck, another public suicide, this time of a newscaster on live TV during her broadcast (!) to be particularly poignant.
I don’t like to diagnose the dead, but it looks like she had traits of Avoidant Personality Disorder . It’s something like social phobia, but a lot more pervasive. What’s odd is that she had such an extroverted job and most avoidants are serious introverts.
The symptoms are there: the lack of romantic relationships despite a tremendous desire for one and her beauty, good job, education and brains; the unrequited love for a colleague at work who would not reciprocate.
And at the same time, whenever people at work made friendly gestures towards her, she would blow them off. This is the “get them before they get me” mentality. I will reject them before they reject me. It’s perverse, but like a lot of perverse stuff, has its own crazy logic.
Good overview of APD. I don’t think I have ever known one. The primary symptom is extreme hypersensitivity to rejection. I’ve known people who have some of the hypersensitivity though. If you criticize them, they look like they are going to burst into tears. Then they often get really angry. These are grown “adults”, say 40 years old. I think they are babies, but maybe I should be kinder, since I’m not exactly normal myself.
I had a therapist once and I asked him if I was an avoidant. One of my games is “Psychiatric Medical Patient Syndrome” – going through the DSM and worrying I have every illness in the book. He said, no, because he had criticized me and I took it well. He said he had had 7-8 avoidants, and as soon as you criticize them in therapy, they get up and walk out of the office and never come back. That’s about the size of it.
Truth is, I really don’t care if people like me or not, as long as they hang around with me. I would be perfectly content to have beautiful women coming over here every day, screwing my brains out, pretending to like me, but actually hating my guts. As long as they pretend to like me, it’s all good. I don’t care what’s in someone’s deepest soul.
I’m also not freaked out by rejection. After about the millionth time, you pretty much get used to it. I figure if I freaked out about every little rejecting encounter I get, I’d probably be continuously suicidally depressed. You have to make it through life somehow. No one has to like you anyway; it’s a free country. Plus I’ve rejected lots of people myself, so what comes around, goes around.
Chubbuck also seemed to be awfully regressed into an almost childhood state when off work, despite being an uber-professional on the job. Strange case.
I had never heard of Dwyer’s or Chubbuck’s case until the Internet.
There are no available videos of the Chubbuck suicide, but there are five seconds of Chubbuck footage here on Youtube. There is also a Chubbuck segment on The Boulevard of Broken Dreams, a TV show (video clip). The police confiscated all of the Chubbuck suicide tapes as evidence of a crime and turned them over to the family.
In the excellent movie Network (1974) “I’m mad as Hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”, the lead, a TV newscaster, threatens to commit suicide on live TV.