MARGINAL NOTES ON THE PARIS EVENTS

The crisis of this accursed capitalist system of production offers us only unending social and economic barbarism. Economic devastation has increased financial parasitism and speculation, first as effect and then as cause of the collapse of an economic system that is struggling to escape from its irreconcilable contradictions. It has brought unemployment, job insecurity and impoverishment to the working class, and progressive proletarianisation to the middle classes. We have had drastic cuts in the welfare state, shrinking pensions, the assault on living standards of millions of workers and devastating policies of sacrifice; all for a supposed economic recovery that is always just around the corner. In fact however all this is for the perpetuation of a social system that, in order to survive, has an absolute need to wage war on the world of work in terms of increased exploitation and lower protection for those who produce wealth for capital’s managers and administrators.

Socially the capitalist crisis has produced a whole series of ideological monsters justifying violence, in the aggressive pursuit of self-interest through a series of wars. Behind the ideological trappings, of "supposedly democratic" religious or secular, dictatorial or "populist" justifications is the barbarity which nourishes capitalism as a result of its own contradictions. In simple terms, the bourgeoisie of the "Christian and democratic" West has imperialistically attacked the Arab and Muslim Middle East for oil with all the consequences that flow from it. In the same imperialist vein, despite less financial and military power, a part of the Islamic world has reacted. In the middle of it all is the usual energy issue of oil and oil revenues, which bring about shifting political alliances and, when necessary, the devastation of wars carried out directly or by proxy.

The tragic events in Paris can only be assessed within this framework. The issue is not about freedom of expression nor the easy condemnation of Islamic terrorism, as if the West had nothing to do with it. Don’t forget that, in their time, the Taliban and Al Qaeda before them, were creatures of the US in its war against Soviet imperialism in Afghanistan. Before taking an autonomous road the Islamic State itself, got funding, weapons and political backing from the US, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. The states who are now fighting it do so because it has escaped their control and threatens to disrupt their strategic interests. But we wrote about all this in the previous issue of Battaglia Comunista. We now want to highlight another aspect: the attitude of Western political forces in response to what happened in France after the Paris events.

The Right soon raised their howls for revenge. In France, as in Germany and Italy, they took the lead in proposing the need for the death penalty. Today against Islamic terrorism, tomorrow against anyone who stands against the "sacred" institutions of the family, of God and of the fatherland, just as in days of old. They have criminalised immigration, turning each migrant into a potential murderer. They have made the colour of someone’s skin the indelible human and social mark of those who must be excluded, rejected and condemned. The Right have finally been able to hoist their banners of xenophobia, the most vulgar racism, homophobia and all the ideological baggage which a few decades ago, in a perhaps less virulent crisis than this, was the basis for the justification of a World War where over fifty million died, in the most infamous holocaust in recorded history.

The moderate, "democratic" but equally conservative world, correctly cried out against the horror of Islamic terrorism. Of course, they forgot about the much greater terrorism of the western and Christian world which, in the name of counter-terrorism and bringing democracy, has shown that it needs no lessons from anyone when it comes to barbarism. At the present juncture, while stressing the distinction between radical and moderate Islam, whilst not criminalising immigration, laws are being passed that limit activity, and increase social control in case of a "Coulibaly" emergency. In the pipeline they aim to clamp down on other "crimes" that would call into question the whole system, but this time, on the level of the class struggle. Meanwhile, the European ruling class, both centre-right and centre-left, accept the distinction between moderate and radical Islam, and are working on blackmail. For example, in Italy right of residence is promised, not to those fleeing hunger and war and death for themselves and their children, but to those who denounce compatriots who are suspected of terrorism.

The most pathetic ideological tragedy is seeping though the ranks of a feeble left, dressed up as communist and revolutionary. Confusion reigns in the old and new Stalinist milieu as well as amongst the ideologically ill-defined alternative struggle organs. People’s struggle is mistaken for class struggle, terrorism for revolution, sometimes reactionary and barbaric religious extremism for the radicalism of the proletarian struggle. Very often they support nationalism and religious fanaticism which leads them to defend dictatorial regimes to the bitter end. Regimes whose only "merit" is to be seen as victims of Western aggression, as in the case of Syria or Libya, and not as part of a more complex imperialist framework. It is true that there is a social context to all this which has its roots in the crisis and economic hardship. However it is equally true that once misled, these militants become blind tools in the hands of religious myths and eternal nationalism, inspired by covert and overt imperialist aims of a conservative and reactionary character. From here its a short step to politically support the old al-Qaeda, the partisans of Assad or to consider as anti-imperialist any other expression of Islamist terrorism. Even if there have been strong condemnations of the horrific executions of Western prisoners as well as the new "Caliphate’s" military advances in Syria and Iraq (initially due to American and Saudi funding) from inside this “left” there are still illusions. Nothing prevents them from thinking that, once detached from the imperialist umbilical cord and acting, not for, but against the old sponsor, there could be, in a not yet politically defined future, a somehow "positive" role for the "Black Caliph", as IS continues to be attacked by the West, the US and its colluding Islamic allies, because it is "objectively" anti-imperialist.

There are essentially two confused and sometimes contradictory justifications for more or less unconditional support, not just over the events in Paris, but over atrocities related to reactionary religious fundamentalism, or the most reactionary nationalism, as has already happened in the past. The first is that these movements and their military organisations are the expression of an anti-imperialist political consciousness and therefore worthy of uncritical support. These people forget, however, that the first requirement of anti-imperialism is the fight against capitalist relations of production. If it is not anti-capitalism it is not anti-imperialist. They confuse the struggle of organisations of the most ruthless fringes of the bourgeoisie with the class struggle which, in reality, has not yet appeared and which these practices and policies combine against to keep it from ever being born. This allows for a single terrorist incident, a civil war or an all-out offensive or defensive fight which does not scratch the capitalist system in any way, to end up being an effective tool in the hands of economic conservatism and political repression. Viewed politically the working class has to organise its own party, with an autonomous strategy and an appropriate tactic, which takes its fate into its own hands, so that anti-capitalism becomes the fundamental basis of anti-imperialism. If it doesn’t its fate will be in the hands of this or that bourgeois faction whether secular, moderate religious or radical religious, for goals that not only do not belong to it but which give crucial support to its class enemy.

The second justification, which is a real joke, is posed in terms of a syllogism more likely to be the ideological baggage of the immigrant underclass and the petty bourgeoisie (often second or even third generation) in France and in England rather than in Italy: this is "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". Broken down into simple terms the syllogism goes like this: if the Assad regime and an independent prospective "Caliphate", like the Taliban and the first jihadists in their time, are fighting US and Saudi imperialism who are our enemies, they automatically become our friends, and allies. It’s a syllogism that has been taken up in the Paris banlieu, as well as amongst some young Westerners who have enlisted in the ranks of Isis just as the forces of the confused Left mobilise in favour of Assad. Certainly Syria looms much larger in this discussion since it has many political fans in the ranks of the European pseudo-left. In this context though, the two (the Assad regime and Isis) actually cancel each other out: some even say that, there are secret agreements between the two contenders putting them in the same camp. In that case political aberration has ended up in stupidity. It should be clear that Syria is in fact a component of the Russian-Chinese imperialist axis, with political loyalty to Iran, and that the project of building a new and imperialistically "autonomous" Caliphate, based on historical and geographical territory of the Ottoman Empire, means the annexation of all those states who are now living off oil revenues. In this scenario existing states will be eliminated to make way for the ambitious programme of a new oil and financial imperialism no different from the current ones. It should also be stressed, for those who believe, as a good 20% of the Arab population of the Middle East and a large chunk of immigrant youth in the banlieues of Paris or the suburbs of London or other European capitals believe, that such a project, just like the defence of Syria's Assad, has nothing to do with the emancipation of the workers of the area in question, indeed, it would be its negation.

Finally, it should be added that anti-imperialists cannot seek allies among already existing or nascent imperialisms, and that the enemy of our enemy is himself an enemy, who is sometimes even more dangerous. All the movements, all organisations which base themselves on Islamic fundamentalism, have within their statutes a "phobia" of communism, the rejection of any acceptance of the class struggle because it is contrary to the Koran, but above all contrary to their bourgeois, capitalist and imperialist project. Behind all jihadists old and new, for any religious faith, from Saudi Wahabbism to the Alawites of Assad, just like the new Caliphate, under the flag of Syrian nationalism, or the black flag of Al Baghdadi, and the green of Islam lies only the most ferocious anti-communism. Giving any credit to these lies in order to make these "tactics" the new strategic credo for the proletarian masses in either the West or the region in question is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.

FD

Monday, January 26, 2015

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Battaglia Comunista

Mensile del Partito Comunista Internazionalista, fondato nel 1945.

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