BIAS, THE BBC AND THE STRIKE  

By Mark Andresen

This summer’s plethora of industrial action across the UK has reminded us of the mainstream media’s historic disconnect between the priorities of the middle and working classes.

  Sky reporter Kay Burley’s comedically out-of-touch questions to the RMT’s Mick Lynch in June was one of the more bizarre examples. ITV’s Richard Madeley’s baiting of Lynch was no more successful. Meanwhile, to Government ministers and MPs’, such an obvious question as, how do you justify prioritising additional billions of military expenditure in overseas wars over social policy back home? never passes either’s lips. Their woeful omissions of knowledge at least appeared genuinely incompetent; the BBC’s own omissions are long-observed editorial choices, which date from their founding as a private company one-hundred years ago.

  Four years later, the General Strike represented the first test of allegiance for a national media outlet. From the outset, it fell in with the Establishment line. This was the result of a combination of factors: John Reith – the 6′ 6” tall, craggy son of a Scottish Presbyterian minister and first Director-General, respected and feared in equal measure – was a committed Unionist who saw his role as supporting, not challenging, the status quo. His refusal to broadcast a message with undertones mildly sympathetic to the Strike, from the Archbishop of Canterbury, has to be considered in the light of another, accusatory, against the strikers by the Archbishop of Canterbury. While this was a personal decision of Reith’s, the Company’s now compromised status ensured any such future executive decision would be partial. At the time, this could be construed as more structural than intentional.

  Trevor Harris notes: ‘Reith’s main difficulty was that as Managing-Director of the British Broadcasting Company he was head of a private enterprise. Yet, as Chief Executive of a company, which was financed by a fee payable annually by each listener, a fee collected by the Government which, further, licenced all broadcasting, Reith was also head of a publicly controlled company.’

  It is therefore ironic that the supposed ‘independence’ the company advertised as a positive selling point, in  terms of accountability, is also that which has consistently compromised its raison d’etre.

  Harris adds: ‘Throughout the brief Strike, Reith saw himself as guardian of the Company and the Company as the guardian of public order. Reith himself announced both the beginning and the end of the conflict, even inviting (Prime Minister) Baldwin – in order to avoid an inquisitve crowd at the BBC’s premises at Savoy Hill – into his own home to make a crucial broadcast . . . Reith’s (view) was that a Government-controlled broadcasting service could only support a viewpoint clearly opposed to the Government on that Government’s sufferance. And going against a proclaimed state of emergency could well have been treasonable.’

  Tom Mills confirmed: ‘It was left officially “independent” on the understanding that it would continue to broadly serve the political objectives of the Government and the interests it represented.’

   Scannel & Cardiff meanwhile argued that, with its reconstitution into a public corporation after the General Strike, the BBC “crossed the political threshold” by becoming a “governing institution” with aims and functions delegated to it by Parliament, committed to co-operation with Government, and sharing its assumptions about what constituted “the national interest.”

  Therefore, despite its international growth as a Corporation, the only major structural change through subsequent decades (particularly since the founding of the BBC News channel twenty-five years ago) has been technical; i.e. the efficiency in making those same contacts via speed-dial. This has only served to further embed, broaden and make more casual the web of mutual co-operation.

  Yet, an individual representative voice of the people, once given the chance, can still circumvent such expansion. Fast-forward to 2022 and the RMT’s Eddie Dempsey has shown himself as adept, succinct and influential on the mainstream media as Lynch. This two-pronged attacking defence of their position has proven key in the visual, dominant, rolling news media of today and produced (albeit briefly) an advantageous circumvention of state media beyond anything imaginable by the BBC’s first Director-General in 1926.

  What remains is lip-service from the BBC hierarchy to the term ‘balance’; one rarely anticipating compromise from the middle-class boss, but too often from anticipated capitulation of the worker. 

  Harris stated: ‘the customary rejoinder to the horns of the dilemma on which the BBC seems caught, is to assert that since people on both sides of the political spectrum are grumbling, then the balance must be about right. But, for some, “balance” seems a disengaged, passive substitute for a more forensic approach. Applying “balance,” in the words of one observer, merely means that the BBC’s news coverage becomes “increasingly cautious and constipated.” Impartiality, in this reading, seems to have become equivalent to making only a series of negative choices . . .’

  Such negative choices today as presenting authority figures from thinktanks, with no experience as workers in the current environment, as arbiters of fact. ‘Balance’ is, to some extent, achievable where politics isn’t the subject under discussion; where it is – when the Overton Window of ‘centrism’ has shifted so far to the Right – ‘balance’ favours those who oversee where it resides.

  Earlier this year, both the BBC and ITV featured unintentionally amusing commercials highlighting their ‘independence’ and presenting their news with ‘absolutely no spin.’ If the definition of omission is “the action of excluding or leaving out,” then, in that, they certainly succeeded. A small development in recent years is how thinktank representatives have been introduced, as both ‘right-leaning’ and ‘left-leaning’; a differential that, at one level, may appear trivial, but may also be a result of viewer pressure rather than decided in isolation by a Tim Davie dictat. Such an incremental change is no solution in itself, yet as a regular inclusion in one of the most respected of mainstream media outlets may represent the first dent in its subjective presentation of ‘facts.’ Best case scenario, (if only unintentionally), this admission may be the first small foot-in-the-door of shifting the perception of the uncommitted viewer to self-question what they are being fed and from where it is being sourced.

Communist Fight issue #10 now available!

Communist Fight issue #10 is now available

This issue has two overriding and interlinked themes: the fight against imperialist war, and against the ruinous attacks on the working class and oppressed masses occasioned by the interlinked capitalist economic and environmental crises that are intertwined with imperialism’s wars.

The lead articles on the front and back pages take up all these questions in some depth. The front page lead on Ukraine, by Liz Hoskings, is an all-out attack on Russophobia, imperialist militarism and its overt support for Nazism as a means to wage this NATO proxy war on Russia. It also includes a historical treatment of the national question, which is a different angle to previous articles, and should provoke some debate and hopefully increased understanding. Sharing the front page is an analysis of the fuel price attack on the working class, which is a much more serious attack on the entire working-class population (as well as much of the middle class) than the Poll Tax ever was. It is notable that working-class resistance to the Poll Tax played a major role in bringing down the arch-neoliberal regime of Thatcher in 1990. This crisis is much bigger, the attack more ferocious and entrenched, and intertwined with the effects of 40 years of privatisation and plunder by the bourgeoisie against those gains of the working class that were the product of its most historic struggles, not just in Britain but internationally. The potential for mass action is much greater, but the crisis of leadership of the working class is even more stark. This article addresses the many factors that go to make up this crisis and attempts to point a political way forward.

The back page article, on the other hand, addresses the severity of the environmental crisis we now face, in the context of his summer’s massive and deadly heatwaves in Europe, as well as the complete dereliction of the bourgeoisie on this question, which is driving human existence into great peril. All these questions are intertwined, as capitalist collapse and rampant environmental degradation are driving potent threats to our civilisation all over the planet.

A major component of this journal is transcripts of an international discussion that took place online in May to address the Ukraine conflict and the war drive against Russia and China in the context of Victory Day, the celebration of the defeat of Nazi Germany by the USSR in 1945. The effective rehabilitation of Hitlerism by the ruling classes of the West in the current proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, exposes the real nature of the war on the Eastern Front: basically, a class war against a naked imperialist attack. The destruction of the USSR has now led to an imperialist drive to colonise Russia and China in which the temptation to make use of ‘captive nations’ fascists has proved irresistible to the bourgeoisie, especially given the decline of the imperialist hegemon, the US, which has introduced a degree of desperation into their conduct where any means will do to try to reassert US domination. All these questions and much more are discussed in the transcripts.

Other items included are: an account of our intervention in the Socialist Labour Network to try to get that organisation to adopt a principled, anti-imperialist position on Ukraine, which showed evidence of a gradual opening of sentiments on the left to such a position, even if we did not achieve instant success. We have material on the French legislative elections in June, which were an opportunity to put forward our independent class position on opposition to popular frontism in a situation where a popular new left party, La France Insoumise led by Mélenchon, engaged in a coalition that has at least an element of popular frontism about it. Another article in this issue denounces the obscene attempts by the Tories to deport refugees to Rwanda, a statement of genocidal intent if there ever was one. We have an historical analysis of political bias and the BBC by Mark Andresen, an article by our Brazilian comrades about the potential for a coup in the upcoming elections as Lula and the Brazilian workers movement try to throw out the Nazi-populist sociapathic president, Bolsonaro. And we have a commentary on the recent assassination attempt against Salman Rushdie, that is sharply critical of this author and scores the West’s hypocrisy about ‘free speech’ for Rushdie when it is suppressing the Russian media for fear of the truth being disseminating about their involvement with Hitlerites in Ukraine.

This issue is, as usual, very much focused on the struggle against imperialism and war, as a communist journal should be.

Mikhail Gorbachev: A Brief Obituary

Mikhail Gorbachev died on 30th August aged 91. The architect of glasnost (openness)  and perestroika (reconstruction), his ‘reforms’ to the regime created by the political counterrevolution in Soviet Russia/USSR in the early 1920s, finally brought about the downfall of the first workers state after more than six decades of the political monopoly of a privileged, new kind of labour bureaucracy. This bureaucracy had stymied the world revolution and decades later led to the growth of a layer of youthful middle class and aspiring bourgeois from in and around the bureaucracy. This provided the social base for the political liberalisation of glasnost, seemingly in tune with working class interests in freedom of political debate within the workers’ state. But this was part of a programme of ‘market socialism’ that undermined economic planning, leading a rapid decline in living standards of the working class.

This demoralised the pro-socialist elements that initially rallied to Gorbachev, and instead led to the increasing ascendancy of neoliberal ideologues and frankly agents of Western imperialism, who consolidated around Boris Yeltsin as the more consistent expression of what was implicit in perestroika –  the return to capitalism. Gorbachev’s conciliation of Western imperialism led to agreements with the US that proved to be chimerical – from the 1987 INF Treaty to limit short-range nuclear missiles in the European theatre, which was torn up by the supposedly Russia-friendly Trump in 2018, to the verbal agreement with James Baker, US Secretary of State, that NATO would not extend ‘one inch’ to the East in response to Gorbachev not vetoing German reunification. Which was torn up by the Clinton administration in 1997, which in turn laid the basis for the aggressive expansion of NATO and the current NATO-provoked conflict in Ukraine.

There is little doubt that Gorbachev started out as a genuine liberal Stalinist, motivated to a considerable degree by disgust at the stifling of political and intellectual life at the hands of the bureaucratic regime that he had been trained by, and inherited. But he had no political answer, as did the bureaucracy generally. His complete failure to embrace anything other than illusory capitalist forms of so-called ‘democracy’ led to disasters and impoverishment of many in Eastern Europe and the USSR, particularly in the early to mid-1990s, when Russia suffered what can only have been millions of deaths from malnutrition and suicidal economic-induced despair, the human counterpart of an collapse of living standards that led to a 5 year fall in life expectancy in what was the USSR. Only under Stalin’s forced collectivisation disaster had there been a comparably large fall in life expectancy in peacetime.  This was under Yeltsin, who seized power in Russia after the August 1991 coup attempt finally gave him the opportunity to dismantle the USSR. Yeltsin expressed Gorbachev’s marketisation programme more consistently that Gorbachev himself, which ironically led to a similar disaster for Russian workers than happened to sections of the population under Stalin. Reflecting the fact that counterrevolution was and is a barbaric programme. The greatest indictment of Gorbachev was that he became that midwife of that barbaric programme, and indeed of some of the greatest defeats for the working class in the 20th Century, whose consequences could prove to be grave to humanity. We Marxists are fighting against those consequences today. 

CALL OUT FOR ACTION

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdkWxJ2Be36Ae8KbnG_7DpBfOTbxcdq-NFQehZbZ3glnXwFhA/viewform

Stop the war of US/NATO imperialism against Russia! Stop US preparations of war against China!  

The US/NATO proxy war in the Ukraine, is probably the opening battle of World War Three! The US promotion of fascist forces in Ukraine highlights the connection between imperialism, fascism and imperialist war. US imperialism and its imperialist vassals are currently threatening to expand the war in the Ukraine by starting a disastrous war against China.

US imperialism only holds a single conventional military winning ‘card’ against China: Its naval military dominance. That is why a large section of the US ruling class wants a war with China NOW! They know that in a few years, even this naval military advantage will disappear and are willing to incinerate the entire planet in in their panic. Sections of the US ruling class are also banking on the insane idea that in the event of full scale war with Russia and China, the US can win a nuclear war.  Can we afford to let these imperialist vampires destroy the planet, without an international outcry?

There is, surely, a debate taking place, RIGHT NOW, within the ruling class over whether to go to war against both Russia and China NOW. We cannot be passive in this critical moment. This is a call out for groups and individuals to come together to plan to organise in the face of this threat!  Initial ideas for actions to be discussed include:

1) PROTESTS

The workers and the oppressed people of the planet need to hold militant INTERNATIONALLY COORDINATED DEMONSTRATIONS in cities all around the world, against the plans of the US-led imperialist warmongers! The common slogans will be confirmed by those who come together but currently are:

Stop the war of US/NATO imperialism against Russia! Stop US preparations of war against China!

2) PANEL

Monday September 12th is the 200th day since Russia launched its military intervention in Ukraine. The proposal is to hold a panel focussing on the first 200 days on the war in Ukraine  to discuss its implications for the international class struggle.

Endorse the call out and get involved!

If you or your group would like to be part of these discussions for planning actions to “Stop the war of US/NATO imperialism against Russia! Stop US preparations of war against China!” or would like to endorse the call out for the panel and the protests then lease let us know action by filling in the form below or sending an email to nowaronrussiaandchina@proton.me


We have named the new network organising these protests the Worldwide Organising Network Against Fascism, Imperialism, Racism and Exploitation (WORLDONFIRE) Current Endorsers – Organisations

  • Class Conscious (Australia and US)
  • Communist Revolutionary Action(KED)  (Greece)
  • Consistent Democrats (LCFI Great Britain Communist League (LCFI – Brazil) Militant Bolshevik Tendency (LCFI-Argentina) Socialist Workers League (LCFI- US)
  • Komite Esperansa (Timor-Leste)
  •  Partido Obrero Socialista de Costa Rica
  • Socialist Fight (UK)
  • Socialist Unity Party (US)
  • Trotskyist Fraction – Proletarian Vanguard (Brasil)

Current Endorsers Individuals

  • Karin Hilpisch (Germany)
  • Abubacarr Socialist Jallow (The Gambia)
  • Queile Batista Cabral Soares (Brasil)
  • Catherine-Anne McCloskey (US)
  • Marguerite Elia (US)
  • Penguimedes (US)
  • нкпј (Serbia)
  • Ezequiel Corvillo

International Online Campaign Meeting: Free the Kononovych Brothers! 

Free the Kononovych Brothers! 

Free all Ukrainian Political Prisoners! 

Restore political and media freedoms in Ukraine!

7pm British Summer Time, Thursday 25 August. Access details will be circulated closer to the date.

Speakers from the UK, US and Ukraine.

Mikhail and Alexander Kononovych, members of of the youth wing of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU), were arrested by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on 7th March 2022, and tortured in a Kiev detention centre. The SBU, Ukraine’s intelligence agency, has charged them with being “propagandists” and aiming to “destabilise” the internal situation in Ukraine. 

Their trial began in Kiev on 1 July via teleconference. In their first speech to the courtroom, the brothers said their charges had been fabricated, and appealed to the European left: 

“Comrades, we appeal to you and we want the deputies of the European Parliament to visit Ukraine and be present at our court session so that they see with their own eyes and tell the whole world how the court is arranged.”

The Kononovich Brothers have become symbolic of the thousands of victims of a brutal reign of terror, arrests, torture and murders unleashed in Ukraine since February 24 by the SBU, which is known to collaborate closely with neo-Nazi groups including the Azov Battalion and Sich-C-14 (well known for violent attacks on Roma settlements).

This includes the killing of at least 11 town mayors accused of collaborating with Russian or Donbas forces, the banning of all opposition parties, and the closure of all TV stations except one government controlled . 

Ukrainian president Zelensky himself issued an ominous warning that “there would be consequences for collaborators,” and an advisor to the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, Anton Gerashchenko, commented on social media about one mayor’s murder: “There is one less traitor in Ukraine.”

This reign of terror is detailed in these articles, with extensive photo and media evidence:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10571663/Pro-Russian-mayor-city-eastern-Ukraine-shot-dead-kidnapped-home.html?ito=email_share_article-top

Confirmed speakers: 

Chris Williamson, former Labour Party MP

Alexey Albu, Borotba (Struggle), survivor of the May 2 2014 Odessa Trade Union House Fire massacre

Steve Sweeney, former International Editor, The Morning Star, investigative journalist

Leonid Ildukhin, Union of Ukrainian Political Emigrants and Refugees (depending on communication availability with eastern Ukraine)

Phil Wilayto, Odessa Solidarity Campaign (USA)

(Additional speakers to be confirmed)

We also urge recipients to sign the international petition to Free the Kononovych Brothers:

https://www.change.org/p/freedom-to-mikhail-and-alexander-kononovich

Please share the petition and this message

Organised by: International Ukraine Anti Fascist Solidarity

NO PASARAN!

НЕТ ФАШИЗМУ!

IUAFS Blog:         https://iuafs.blogspot.com/?m=1

Facebook groups:

“International Ukraine Anti Fascist Solidarity”

“Free the Kononovich Brothers” 

Rwanda Deportation Sociopathy

The plan to deport refugees to Rwanda conceived by Tory Home Secretary Priti Patel is an initiative worthy of Jack the Ripper. It’s the next best thing to Auschwitz in the eyes of Patel and their fellow sickos. But Auschwitz is in Poland and for its own racist and xenophobic reasons, Poland will not consent to being a deportation destination for the British. Rwanda was chosen as a symbolic destination because of its history of genocide. The perfect dog whistle that says: “we think that refugees should be murdered with machetes, or in gas chambers, but we don’t have the guts to openly say so”. It’s designed as a form of subliminal terrorism against those seeking asylum in Britain, that if they do, they will be sent to somewhere where they are likely to be brutally murdered. This is irrespective of conditions in Rwanda today, they are not the point here.

This is the shock-jock tactics of the far right today, which got a toehold in government through Johnson’s Brexit Tory government. Patel is a fanatical cheerleader for Zionist terrorism against the Palestinian people, who had to be sacked by Theresa May for secret meetings with Israeli politicians and officialdom aimed at promoting an agenda of bringing Zionist style repression against those considered untermenchen right into the centre of British politics. Not that British politics under previous Tory (and Labour) administrations was not usually uncritically pro-Zionist in any case, but this goes somewhat further and involves the importation of Zionist repressive techniques into British politics. Indeed, Israel tried the same ‘solution’ to African refugees seeking refuge there but had to abandon the idea.

Patel is also a firm supporter of the rapidly Islamophobic and fascist BJP Prime Minister Modi in India. After his election victory in 2019, she tweeted “Congratulations to our dear friend Prime Minister @narendramodi on your victory in the elections. Wishing you & the people of India every success under your dynamic leadership.” This for someone who is trying to deprive millions of Muslims born in India of their Indian citizenship, by means of discriminatory religious tests of ancestry to ostensibly determine citizenship. Just the sort of scheme Patel would approve of, as she has pushed through laws that give her similar powers to arbitrarily remove citizenship here.

As Marxists we advocate complete opposition to all immigration restrictions by imperialist states. These systematically destroy the lives of hundreds of millions in the Global South, through deadly, predatory wars for raw materials and ‘regime change’ against anyone who defies their economic diktats. Through the imposition of economic disasters, impoverishing privatisation, and attacks on the living standards of the poor, enforced by imperialist organisations such as the World Bank and IMF. The underlying purpose of these outfits is to maintain and expand the subordination of the bulk of humanity by the imperialist club of oppressor states – North America, Western Europe, and Japan, whose wealth is massively enhanced by economic and military plundering of lesser developed countries as prey.  

Britain is not unique, unfortunately in its appalling bigotry against refugees. Terrible crimes are being committed by ‘democratic’ governments around the imperialist world and elsewhere driven by racism seeking to keep out ‘alien’ refugees– while those considered ‘deserving’ and ‘desirable’ in a racialised sense – for instance Ukrainians supposedly fleeing ‘Russian aggression’ – get preferential treatment. Others – mainly non-whites – get treated with incredible brutality. Recent instances include the massacre of at least 37 Black African migrants who were trying to enter Melilla, a Spanish colony/territory, and hence the EU, on the coast of North Africa, from Morocco on 24 June. They appear to have been massacred by Moroccan and Spanish border guards.  Earlier, there was the suffocation of 51 Central Americans who crossed the US-Mexican border in a truck at San Antonio, California. Such smuggling and the dangers accompanying it are the product of imperialism which destroys whole countries and robs them of their wealth, and then expects populations to eat it and not try to move to where their filched wealth and living conditions have been taken. This is the ‘normal’ operation of today’s imperialism, under the warrior ‘liberal’ Biden, or the ‘socialist’ coalition of the Socialist Party and Podemos in Spain.

But even within this framework, some recent developments have a peculiar pathology, as epitomised by the Johnson regime in Britain, and recently Trumpism in the US. Priti Patel is one of the dregs of the Johnson Brexit regime, the kind of warped, fringe element that the British bourgeoisie would not in decades past have countenanced in government for a moment. This is an expression of the decay of bourgeois politics and the discrediting and exhaustion of the neoliberal paradigm. Unlike in the early years of the Thatcher and Reagan ‘revolutions’ large numbers of people cannot be mobilised by the imagined joys of privatisation and free market economics. The project is to a considerable extent discredited; it has led to the decline of the proletariat though large-scale outsourcing of industrial jobs, and a growth of lumpen demoralization in parts of the ‘traditional’ working class in Western countries, particularly the predominantly Anglo-Saxon countries of Britain and the US, but not confined to them.  It has led to a major decline in the standard of living of the proletariat, and a great deal of demoralization in the core, often previously best organised sectors.

This has resulted in fertile grounds for the kind of demagogy often in the past associated with fascism, which is where politicians like Trump, Johnson and Priti Patel come in. Both Brexit, and the rise of Trumpism, were signs of despair at neoliberal attacks, and a casting round for a culprit for decaying conditions other than the ruling class at home. This really involved foreigners, migrants, or other ruling classes than our own, and the reassertion of privileges that workers in imperialist countries had been conditioned to believe were theirs by right, belonging to a master nation, that were recently snatched away by neoliberalism. Workers with this privileged aristocratic consciousness, in fact a kind of reformist consciousness, when these were taken away, naturally evidenced a nationalist response which such bourgeois dregs were able to exploit. Later they will certainly sober up and draw opposite conclusions, but that is for the future.

Organisations to the far right of the mainstream have never been that successful in Britain, but the Tories have at times discreetly co-opted such trends. As did Margaret Thatcher with her ‘concerns’ that the ‘native’ British feared being ‘swamped’ by those with an ‘alien culture’, which allowed her to absorb much of the base of the National Front of the 1970s. But there is little that is discreet about Johnson’s regime today, or Patel’s role within it. The fact that she comes from an immigrant family, and has even acknowledged that her own actions, if done in the past, would have excluded her own family, is just one more perverse provocation and indicative of the nature of Johnson’s cabinet, with a high percentage of freaks and perverts.

This obscenity was a means for Johnson’s regime to try to stave off collapse: the Rwanda issue was part of its desperate fightback against the Tory coup that just consumed him, pushed by the popular opprobrium his pathological lying gave rise to. But now the various Tory contenders, from Hunt to Javid, are falling over themselves to justify the policy and pledge to continue it. The reason is clear: they need the support of the same Tory membership that elected Johnson in 2019, which has basically absorbed much of the ultra-reactionary mass base of UKIP.

The Johnson regime’s attack, in progress when he quit, on the European Convention of Human Rights, whose court issued an injunction to stop the Rwanda deportations (and which the government is preparing to defy), will likely be continued his successor. It could however envelop them in contradictions as Johnson achieved his election in 2019 with not only a hint, to say the least, of electoral fraud in some places, but also by lying about the Brexit agreement itself, as a supposedly ‘oven ready deal’. The Rwanda attack on migrants goes hand in hand with his attack on the ‘Northern Ireland Protocol’ in the Brexit deal.

But the Brexit deal was formulated to be compatible with the Good Friday Agreement signed by the Blair government in the 1990s. The contradiction is that is Johnson’s central lie in the General Election in 2019, and would be successors, if they continue with this policy of unilaterally abolishing the customs checks between the island of Great Britain and the 6 County statelet that are central to that agreement, will be breaking that agreement, endorsing Johnson’s biggest lie, and breaking with the legal element of the Good Friday Agreement which includes the European Convention of Human Rights as a central element. It is not clear that the current gaggle of Tory MP’s will be capable of doing that, given that the new PM will have no popular mandate at all, and will be seen to be breaking a legally binding international agreement that Johnson freely signed. They will be in conflict also with the largest party in the 6 County statelet, Sinn Fein, which recently overtook the Democratic Unionists in that regard, and which also give popular expression to the rejection of Brexit by the 6 County electorate. A very tangled web indeed, and a powder keg.

And unless they break with the ECHR, the Rwanda policy looks untenable, as the European Court has already ruled it effectively unlawful. The Tory leadership election is already shaping up as ‘Wacky Races’ with a drive to convince the 100,000 Tory members, not the MPs, that they are in tune with the beliefs of many of these reactionary scum. But the Tory MPs, unlike the leadership contenders, fear the wider electorate within a short period, and being seen to be a continuation of Johnson’s lying pathology is not likely to endear them in that sense.

Outrage against this barbarism is natural and healthy, as is a desire for vengeance for all the crimes of Johnson, and the Tories from the last 12 years of mass murder through austerity under Cameron and May, mass murder though barbaric malign neglect and profiteering in the Covii-19 pandemic under Johnson, the years and years of ‘hostile environment’ abuses and persecution of migrant communities such as Windrush, and many more unspeakable abuses. Vengeance, and given their disdain for ‘human rights’, complete deprivation of such rights for the scum involved, is a completely laudable idea. But we should not be diverted into support for New Labour in doing so. A new Tory leadership could conceivably stymie Starmer’s pathetic attempts to ride into government on the back of Johnson’s collapse in popular esteem. A hung parliament seems a likely result.

And the migrant/refugee issue is one of many reasons why no socialist or anti-racist should be trying to elect New Labour, either under Starmer or some Blairite successor. Recall that like the austerity attacks on the disabled, the hostile environment for migrants did not begin under the Tories but was carried on from the Thatcher years by New Labour, who forbade refugees from working and issued vouchers for food etc. so they would be marked out for reactionary attack. New Labour in power was as vile in its chauvinism as Priti Patel: one grotesque chauvinist after another instituted deportations under Blair and Brown: Straw, Blunkett, Charles Clarke, Jacquie Smith, Alan Johnson, as vile a crew of abusers as you would find anywhere. Under Corbyn, Diane Abbot was mercilessly attacked by racists outside and within Labour simply for proposing to stop some of the worst abuses that were common to Tories and New Labour, but as part of Corbyn’s inner circle, which proved weak and incapable of waging war against the chauvinists in their own party.

 We need an independent working-class party with a programme that opposes all imperialist measures against refugees and migrants more generally. Smash imperialism’s apparatus of repression and xenophobia! Solidarity with those fleeing imperialism’s crimes and those of its proxies!

Against the new Coup! Lula president! For a National Meeting of Popular Committees of Struggle!

The Decline of the American Empire

The 21st century has been marked by the decline of US imperialism. The US has been racking up military defeats and retreating in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and Ukraine. The hybrid wars it orchestrated in Hong Kong, Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, Belarus and Kazakhstan have been defeated. And what worries imperialism is the unstoppable process of expanding the trade blocs led by China and Russia.

Imperialism, increasingly desperate to maintain its dominance at any cost, resorts to hybrid wars, parliamentary, electoral, Nazi-led coups d’état, lawfares, massacres, bacteriological/chemical weapons and may even call for a world nuclear war.

In Brazil, imperialism prefers Bolsonaro to avoid strengthening the BRICS with Lula and will support the 3rd coup since 2016.

The Military Party

The Armed Forces are the armed wing of the imperialist control of Brazil, they are part of the US global repression through the Southern Command. The generals act as a military party, in a centralized way, with a program independent of the Executive and international orientation. The military supported the impeachment and the coup that took Lula out of the elections in 2018, they have already announced their strategic plan to continue controlling the country, in the executive positions, in the maintenance and expansion of the measures taken by the coup governments, in the privatization of SUS and of public universities. 

The Nature of Bolsonarismo

Bolsonarismo is a political movement designed to deepen the new cycle of capital accumulation against the working population and natural wealth. The current semi-fascist government is the most radical political-police faction of finance capital’s offensive against the proletariat. It is composed of military, militia, bullet, bible and ox benches. It emerged with the coup within the coup in the 2018 elections and was supported by Trump. It used the lawfare promoted by the Lava Jato operation supported by the STF, the Legislature and the media, to project itself politically.

But Bolsonarismo is different from the previous ruling bourgeois parties, such as the Tucanos and the PMDB that supported its rise. This difference lies in the influence of the masses, permanently regimented and not just in electoral campaigns. Therefore, it is not enough to defeat Bolsonarism electorally, it is necessary to crush it politically, not defend its representatives under any circumstances, not make a united front with it, expel it from the streets.

The Judiciary Party

The STF (Supreme Court) is the Central Committee of the Judiciary Party, the most autocratic power in the Republic. When the traditional parties of the bourgeoisie are in a crisis of hegemony, other powers assume the role of “organization of society” and of “political/ideological leadership”. The STF is a co-optative bureaucracy, whose “bionic” appointment by the executive is approved by the legislature and today is the main “guarantor” of the coup process. The STF and Globo’s media power represent the two main fractions of the bourgeois opposition to contain the particular excesses of Bolsonarism for the general good of the coup regime.

The broad front of the PT with the coup plotters

Instead of betting on the political organization of the great mass exploited and oppressed by the coup plotters, building Popular Committees and strengthening the street, union and popular struggle, PT (Workers Party), PSOL (Socialism and Liberty Party) and PCdoB (Communist Party) chose to expand the popular front with historical enemies of workers such as Alkmin and the PSDB (Socialist Democracy Party), and the Network. This tactic paves the way for new defeats, new blows.

The popular front would have much greater power of social mobilization than Bolsonarism, with the CUT, MST, CEBs, hundreds of mass union and popular organizations, but it renounces this power in favour of conciliation with fractions of the bourgeoisie that supported the entire coup process. against the left itself and the people. Therefore, the coup process was reversed in Bolivia, by popular pressure in the streets, in one year, and in Brazil we are threatened with a new coup within the coup. 

The upsurge of the regime against the people, the social fighters, and their parties

Having conquered the neutralization of the power of popular mobilization of the liberal-reformist left, the coup process starts, at that moment, to suffocate the rebels, from the virtual resistance (in the case of the PCO) to the parliamentary resistance (Renato Freitas/PT; Glauber Braga/PSOL) of opposition to the coup/privatist/racist process. They persecute the PCO (Workers Cause Party) because that party’s audience has become the virtual extreme left of Lulismo. They hunted Renato for fighting racism. They persecute Braga for questioning the privatization of Petrobras. At the same time, repression against the exploited and oppressed population with fascist methods increases. This was the case of the summary execution of Genivaldo de Jesus Santos in Sergipe in the “Gas Chamber” of the federal highway police, in a clear state terror operation, when Genivaldo committed the same traffic violation that Bolsonaro commits on his motorcycles. They executed the indigenist Bruno Pereira and the journalist Dom Philips in Amazonas for being obstacles to the policy of violent expropriation of indigenous lands and natural resources promoted by the Bolsonarist bourgeois regime.

Is it possible to defeat the new coup

As in Bolivia, it is possible to defeat the coup, arrest Bolsonaro, continue the struggle to break the cycle of accumulation supported by the super-exploitation of workers and by socialism. The central task of the working class at this moment is to defeat the Bolsonarista movement. It is necessary to avoid his re-election/coup, defeat the strategy of the military party, and that of the judiciary and media parties (which aim to discipline Lulismo), and nationalize all strategic companies, including the media and the Central Bank to liquidate the cycle of coup accumulation.

For a National Meeting of Popular Committees of Struggle

In the war against fascism/imperialism we critically support Lula’s candidacy. The popular force of this candidacy must be grouped and organized for the struggle in committees in each place of work, residence and study. We need to hold a National Meeting of these Popular Committees of Struggle to prepare resistance to the ongoing coup, defend the right of the proletariat to elect Lula and ensure that his mandate meets the demands for which the working population votes for the PT candidate.

It’s needed:

Revoke the entire political legal legacy of attacks on the rights and living conditions of the working class (counter-reforms and privatizations).

Freeze commodity prices and tariffs/taxes. 

Make up for all salary losses for the period. 

To defeat Bolsonarism and coupism at the polls, it is necessary to mobilize the population on the streets.

Worker-Controlled Indexation of ALL Wages, Benefits and Pensions! (Leaflet for TUC demonstration)

RMT contingent on 18 June TUC cost of living march

This is the Communist Fight leaflet that was distributed on the TUC demo this afternoon.

Demand FULL COMPENSATION for Inflation!

NATO’s Nazi-Loving Sanctions and Tory Thievery Are Hammering us — ZERO TOLERANCE!!

Working-class people are being crucified by profiteer-engineered inflation with parasites pocketing the loot. Sanctions against Russia, part of the proxy war that the Biden administration initiated, with support from the Tories and New Labour, have massively increased the problem. These neoliberal plunderers engineered a coup in Ukraine in 2014 to bring to power Ukrainian Nazis and their political servants, who for eight years massacred and brutalised the nearly half of Ukrainians who speak Russian. Eventually in 2022 Russia sent its troops into the South and East of Ukraine to protect its people.

Western-funded Azov Nazis captured in Mariupol

Now they are demanding that WE PAY for their fascistic war. Instead of using relatively cheap Russian oil and particularly gas, we pay US suppliers who search for new sources of oil and gas, though we should be phasing it out to move towards non-hydrocarbon energy and save ourselves and our children from the disastrous consequences of climate change.

They demand that we pay triple our fuel bills, £2 a litre for petrol or diesel (and rising), and a massive hike in the price of basic foodstuffs driven by the same hikes in transport costs. Food shortages have been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. How come? For one thing, it has now been established, but not reported by the billionaire press, that NATO client Ukraine mined ports in the Black Sea, where grain and other food-stuffs are exported. In other words, it’s
the West’s allies causing food shortages, part of punishing Russia for defending itself against 30 years of NATO expansion, and 8 years of ethnic war and terrorism against Russian-speakers in the Donbass. Ukraine is the only country in Europe that has openly Nazi regiments in its forces – like the Azov Regiment.

We should have no truck with this, nor make ‘sacrifices’ for it. The Western media is full of lies, fake stories about Russian soldiers raping babies, and other lies invented by Western-backed Nazi propagandists. Russians are targeted for racism: those politicians who say ‘keep politics out of sport’ when anyone complains about racism and Israel, or the old South Africa, are banning academics, athletes, musicians, dead cosmonauts, and books by dead authors, for being Russian. And they expect us to ‘sacrifice’ – freeze or starve (or both!) – for their Nazi-loving war effort.

Even before Ukraine, there was a surge of inflation, fuelled by Brexit tariffs and the mountains of money filched by Tory privateers. Johnson repeatedly sabotaged public health measures that should have protected us against Covid, partying at our expense while tens of thousands died of neglect. He handed billions to his mates in corrupt contracts. leaving us with one of the worst death rates in the world.

We should demand full indexation of everyone’s wages, pensions and benefits, which should rise directly in line with RPI, under control of committee of trade unionists and other workers, claimants, pensioners, etc. If it takes a general strike to get that, so be it. Instead of mouthing platitudes, union leaders should be initiating grass roots campaigns all over the country. They should use militant methods of struggle – strikes to catch up pay and benefits with inflation, disruption of roads and transport until they pay up, mass-based defence guards to resist bailiffs, brutal police and fascists, our own tradespeople to reconnect people who have been cut off from energy supplies, etc. All union leaders and politicians like the wretched Labour Party, who claim to speak for us should be put on the spot and challenged to lead mass actions to stop these attacks: or get out of the way to make way for others that will.

100 days of Russian resistance in Ukraine against historic NATO offensive

The first hundred days since Russia launched its military operations in Ukraine have shown two things. First, it is clear that the US and its allies hoped to use the war to destroy Russia’s ability to defend itself against imperialism. The second is that imperialism’s plans to defeat Russia ran into big problems. Russia is clearly winning the war in the East. The surrender of Mariupol, an 80% Russian/Russian-speaking city that saw horrendous massacres in 2015 and then years of occupation by the Nazis Azov, is a major victory for Russia and the people of Donbass.

The Russian army, with its allies from the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, is on a widespread advance west of Donetsk and Lugansk, and in the process of taking Sievierdonetsk, with smaller towns and villages nearby, encircling large numbers of Ukrainian troops. Entire battalions are surrendering and refusing to fight. Zelensky is trying to pass a law authorizing Ukrainian officers to summarily execute such soldiers.

Once the East is consolidated, the main military objective must be Odessa, another mainly Russian-speaking city, which suffered terrible massacres – the May 2014 Trade Union House massacre, where 42 died and many more were wounded. Odessa is occupied by Nazi detachments as brutal and sinister as those in Mariupol. If Odessa is liberated, that would make Ukraine landlocked and would be a strong incentive to sue for peace. Along with joining up with neighboring Transnistria, which is also targeted by NATO.

The war drive plunged Western economies into chaos. Financial and energy sanctions against Russia have considerable effects around the world, exacerbating inflation and even food shortages. This is putting enormous pressure on workers; the “cost of living” crisis that imperialism created caused enormous discontent and suffering.

Russia is the world’s leading gas producer. Western Europe needs its gas, as do many other countries. Russian insistence on payment in rubles by “hostile” countries blunted sanctions; it recovered, and the ruble is now the best performing currency worldwide. Which threatens the US with a run on the dollar and its collapse as a reserve currency. Germany, Italy and France have struggled with US sanctions. The blunting of sanctions is massively helped by the Eurasian economic bloc with China, Iran, etc., centered on the China-led “One Belt One Road” infrastructure project.

Russia must be supported in its war against imperialism!

When Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, it created a dividing line between Marxists who quickly accommodated themselves to the imperialist war drive against Russia and those who recognized that the events in Ukraine were part of the long term agenda of Western imperialism to subordinate Russia and open up its resources for exploitation. The attempts to expand NATO eastward, including into Ukraine, are part of the US war plans to position advanced weaponry, including nuclear weapons, close enough to Russia so that it can launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike and “win” a nuclear war. It poses an existential threat to Russia and its working class

Some of the groups that stood against the war impulse began to organize. A “Marxists Speak” event was held denouncing the war. Groups and individuals from North and South America, Oceania, South Asia, East and Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe fought for this perspective around the May Day declaration and contingents.

The links between the struggle against imperialism and fascism were highlighted at a May 14 event to commemorate the USSR’s Victory over Nazism Day. Those who engage in these initiatives are, as the Bolshevik Group of South Korea observed, “the most courageous and revolutionary parts of the world proletarian movement”.

This happened during the most acute war hysteria at the beginning of the war. The defeats that imperialism and its proxies have already suffered, along with the economic consequences, have somewhat dissipated the Russophobic hysteria that initially cowed many in the labor movement. It is now noticeable that even a layer of formerly left-wing social democratic militants see the case for defeating imperialism and defending Russia and Donbass. This raises the need for all these forces to organize themselves politically, on an internationalist and revolutionary basis, to fight to overcome these threats to the future of humanity.

LCFI Statement: Capitalist Murder in the Amazon

Dom Phillips and Bruno Periera

The disappearance and probable murder of British journalist and conservationist Dom Philipps, and indigenist Bruno Araujo Periera in the Amazon is yet another barbaric manifestation of the brutal despoilation and destruction of ecology and essential natural resources by today’s decadent imperialist capitalism, and the ruthless way that the profit-gouging bourgeoisies deal with anyone who gets in their way.

Dom Philipps is a freelance journalist, though at the time of his disappearance he was working for the London Guardian as well as researching in the Amazon rainforest for a book, apparently to be titled How to save the Amazon. He was also working on an investigation into illegal mining, possibly for a story in the Guardian. They point out he is a longtime contributor of theirs who has also worked for the Washington Post, New York Times, and Financial Times.  

Bruno Periera is an official (though on leave)  of Brazil’s Indigenous Affairs agency, a previous adviser for the Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley (UNIJAVA). In the Javari Valley is where the largest concentration of indigenous peoples live in voluntary isolation on the planet. Periera is one of Brazil’s foremost experts on indigenous peoples. In fact, UNIJAVA stated that it considered Periera “the greatest authority in the country” in working with isolated peoples in the region. (https://www.brasildefato.com.br/2022/06/10/bolsonaro-e-presidente-da-funai-atacam-credibilidade-de-indigenista-desaparecido-na-amazonia).

There are several actors in this conflict, but it should be divided into two blocks: On the one hand, large, medium and small extractive capital, Bolsonaro and the leadership of FUNAI – Fundação Nacional do Índio (National Indian Foundation), a state body directed by Bolsonaro’s agents. On the other hand, there are Indians and their organizations, indigenists and FUNAI state workers who are associated with INA, an NGO-union of Associated Indigenists.

This scandalous murder caused some embarrassment to Brazil’s far right president, Jair Bolsonaro, on the eve of the ‘Summit of the Americas’ in Los Angeles, and he had to appear to be interested in solving the case, in making his forces be perceived as investigating the disappearances properly. He doesn’t seem to have really managed that.

The Guardian justifiably complained in its Editorial (8 June) that:

“…overall the response from the Brazilian authorities has been at best sluggish and underwhelming. A helicopter – essential in searching such a vast area – was not employed until Tuesday morning. A criminal investigation was not opened until later that day. Only a handful of troops appear to be involved in the search, in a region with plentiful military resources. This minimal response is wholly inadequate. Human Rights Watch, the Observatory for the Human Rights of Isolated and Recent Contact Indigenous Peoples and many others have been pressing from the start for swift and committed action by the Brazilian government. A full search-and-rescue operation is needed, with real backing at the national level.

Unfortunately, the president, Jair Bolsonaro, has shown little interest in an appropriate response. Worse still, having taken two days to address the disappearance, he appeared to blame the men: ‘Quite frankly, two people in just one boat, in that kind of region, absolutely wild, is an adventure that isn’t recommendable for anyone. Anything might happen. It could have been an accident. They could have been executed,’ he said.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jun/08/the-guardian-view-on-an-amazon-disappearance-find-dom-phillips-and-bruno-pereira

Everyone knows Bolsonaro doesn’t give a damn about such things, and actively supports illegal mining, logging, fishing and poaching interests in what is supposed to be one of the world’s most crucial conservation zones. Commercial interests involved in these are those almost certainly responsible for the killings of Philipps and Periera. The state forces now say they have found ‘human remains’, and one person they have arrested, a fisherman who had threatened Philipps and Periera in front of witnesses, apparently had blood in his boat. This may be so, it may be false, and it may be that it is with the broad complicity of the federal government which encourages predatory extractive capital and demonizes indigenous people, indigenists, and ecologists. Certainly Periera has been slandered by Bolsonaro ally Marcelo Xavier, the president of FUNAI, who falsely claimed that Periera’s excursion with Phillips was in some way ‘unauthorised’.

Brazil Indiengous Protest in London

In fact, as neo-Nazi ruler of Brazil, Bolsonaro is the current and best represents the political interests of those who executed Pereira, Philipps and many others as the leader of the rubber workers, Chico Mendes, and sister Dorothy Stang. Bolsonaro’s Brazil has become the “fourth country that kills the most environmental activists in the world. Most of these murders are concentrated in the Northern region, according to a report by the global witness organization. The murder rate of indigenous people increased by 21.6% in 10 years, while homicides in general fell.” (Folha de São Paulo, June 11, 2022).

Bolsonaro, Biden and Imperialism

It is no doubt creditable for the Guardian to publish Dom Phillips’ material, but this is massively outweighed by the Guardian’s own support for imperialism, which puts it the camp of Bolsonaro. Indeed, its desperate appeals to imperialist politicians to save these victims have a surreal aspect to them:

“The government is highly unlikely to change course without international pressure. That must first be brought to bear to produce an adequate response to this disappearance. John Kerry, the US climate envoy, has said he will look into the case. The shadow foreign secretary, David Lammy, has already urged action. Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, should press the Brazilian government to scale up search efforts, as a matter of urgency. Too much time has been lost already. No more must be squandered.”

ibid

It is surreal not least because of the Guardian’s apologias for Biden as an imperialist politician – one of the worst – which makes him an ally of Bolsonaro in any case.  The Guardian supports Biden’s proxy war in Ukraine, and his sanctions against Russia, the logical corollary of which, with its boycotts of Russia’s considerable oil and gas products, is a massive drive to expand oil and gas production under the control of the United States. The US is once again promoting economic wars over oil and gas as a weapon in its drive for ‘full spectrum dominance’ over the peoples of the world, a drive that the Guardian fully supports, as its hysterical retailing of the worst lying, Russophobic propaganda in history since the beginning of geopolitics as a science created in Britain (geopolitics is born aiming for control of Eurasia), as clearly has been practiced in current proxy war.

The Guardian is among those promoting illusions in Biden, as a supposed defender of the environment, against the likes of Bolsonaro. But though it may be creditable to publish articles by people like Dom Philipps criticizing Bolsonaro’s crimes, the fact is that their wonderful Joe Biden chose to meet with Bolsonaro in this summit, and chose to exclude Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua from attendance, for one straightforward reason – those three governments are not subservient to US imperialism. This is a manifestation of the same imperialist project, of punishment of those who disobey US imperialism, and rewarding its allies and lackeys, that is to the forefront in the war drive against Russia and China.

The Cuban workers state, as well as the bourgeois regimes cursed by imperialism in Nicaragua and Venezuela, who choose to ally with Russia and China to safeguard their own national independence from US domination, are punished in fundamentally the same way Russia and China are being punished. Or at least that’s the idea – the ‘punishment’ of Russia seems to have backfired. The idea that Liz Truss, foreign secretary in the most belligerent of Biden’s allies in the Ukraine, driven by the self-serving interests of an openly corrupt governmental clique around Johnson, would care two hoots about this, is cretinous in the extreme.

Bolsonaro gives open expression to capitalism’s most barbaric tendencies, which if not overthrown internationally will bury human civilisation and much else besides. However, Bolsonaro is not alone, he was brought to power as part of an imperialist offensive of financial capital against the working class in Brazil and its political influence by US imperialism, and specifically funded by a wing of the US bourgeoisie that is openly hostile to projects to counteract global heating and an end of the use of fossil fuels, etc. Furthermore, whatever secondary divisions the various bourgeois factions have, they will unite against any challenge to imperialist or capitalist domination anywhere in the world. Thus, Bolsonaro was welcomed in Los Angeles when Cuba etc. were anathema.

We Need a Class Programme to save the Amazon

Amazon deforestation

Bolsonaro’s genocidal programme towards indigenous peoples in the Amazon basin is a major threat to world ecology and thus to the future of humanity. His ruinous rule during the pandemic left 90 million workers underemployed and unemployed, in a country where only 12% of the workforce is unionised. But Bolsonaro is only a client, in power by virtue of the crusade against the workers and peasants of South America by US imperialism. This epitomises some serious objective barriers to the advance of the proletariat that can be overcome only by an independent class programme.

Obviously, the preservation of crucial assets for the survival of human civilisation, such as the Amazon, is a worldwide class issue for the global proletariat. National solutions to these problems are utopian if not reactionary and this again underlines why our programme must be broadened out from the national to the international and indeed global plane. There is a desperate need to accelerate the conversion of industry from fossil fuels and the likes to renewables, possibly through the intermediate use of sources of nuclear energy in some forms. This is done recklessly under the world dominance of imperialist lucrative anarchy, as Chernobyl demonstrated (in a degenerate workers’ state under intense imperialist pressure) and Fukushima and other sequels that we may not even know of.  All these things, from disaster relief to the migration of parts of the world proletariat to safer locations to rapid technological change, pose the necessity for workers control and independent organs of workers power, such as soviets, to oversee and force the changes necessary to ensure human survival. Therefore, we are now uncompromisingly against imperialist attempts to “internationalize” the Amazon, that is, to make it a direct dependence on imperialism.

Concretely, humanity and the preservation of nature that humanity needs to live depends on the class consciousness of the working class and its allies among other oppressed groups, peasants, indigenous peoples, etc., the construction of a new world party of the socialist revolution.