Thursday, July 24, 2014

Workers World Party silent on Sarcelles synagogue attack

Anti-Semitic demo outside Sarcelles synagogue

Readers of this blog know I have pretty strong thoughts on the dangers of anti-Semitism and Jew-hatred for the working class and its allies.  The "socialism of fools" is a deadly trap that threatens to demobilize the growth of independent working class political action.  I cannot put it better than a comrade on social media yesterday:

Antisemitism is a poison in our movements because it takes the fire off the capitalist class. It redirects the anger of the masses towards the brutality of capitalism instead towards the ghost of Jewish conspiracy. It disorients us, and can ultimately shatter the workers movement. That's why we take it seriously.

Another comrade added:

Jew hatred is not a conjunctural and passing phenom of the 19-20th centuries. It's in the DNA of capitalism.

When workers and farmers begin to resist the consequences of austerity and the grinding "recovery" touted by the big-business press, Jew-hatred is a ready go-to. 

One of the chief responsibilities of a communist party today is explaining the roots of anti-Semitism, its danger to class solidarity and class political independence.  Fortunately, the communist movement has produced a wealth of material to accomplish this important task [here and here].

A few incidents of anti-Semitic violence have occurred in the last few weeks, accompanying large and successful marches in solidarity with the embattled population of Gaza. These events have been covered in the bourgeois press, usually in the spirit of spreading demoralization and spiking public opposition to  Israel's bombing and invasion. In France the government used the incidents to attack democratic rights and freedom to march.

Jewish-owed business looted in Sarcelles

One of the best communist analyses of successful protests against Israel's war on Gaza, and accompanying anti-Semitic incidents, is "Palestinian Solidarity Strengthened, Hamas Influence Weakened" by James Robb.

In the article, Robb explains and celebrates political strengths of a large Gaza solidarity rally in Auckland, New Zealand.  March organizers built a serious and inclusive event, and explained at the outset that any expression of anti-Semitism was unacceptable.

The feeling of strengthening solidarity with the Palestinian people under attack was so powerful on the Auckland march, I was tempted to believe that a similar shift was taking place around the world – a similar loosening of the influence of the Hamas perspectives, a similar political strengthening.
Not so, apparently. Demonstrations against the Israeli assault on Gaza  in both France and Germany took an anti-Semitic turn. A synagogue and several Jewish-owned shops were damaged in Paris. This video of a demonstration in Berlin shows part of a crowd chanting “Jew, cowardly pig, come on out and fight.” The French government is trying to take advantage of the political confusion that these actions generate to ban all demonstrations in support of Palestine, while the right-wing forces push to scapegoat immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa. Let no one try to talk down the importance of these developments or explain away the anti-Semitic violence and threats that marred these demonstrations.

The violence this weekend in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles, where a demonstration of several hundred marched on a synagogue and looted Jewish-owned shops and restaurants, has been widely covered in the bourgeois press [here and here].  

However, the reality of these events, the important lessons they hold for the international workers movement, are being ignored by the U.S. middle class left.  

Workers World newspaper presents Sarcelles anti-Semitic demo as "youth rebellion"

Workers World newspaper, organ of Workers World Party in the United States, is a case in point.  In the last few days, this paper has carried several articles on Gaza solidarity marches [here, here, and here.]  It has even referred to the Paris suburb Sarcelles.  About the looting and synagogue march, not a word:

The French government took the extraordinary step of outlawing pro-Palestinian demonstrations. Despite threats of prison and fines, organizers estimate that up to 10,000 people attended a rally in central Paris. In the city’s northern suburb of Sarcelles, young demonstrators erupted in rebellion against the ban to show solidarity with Gaza. Police arrested 38 for their alleged participation in the protest. (RT, July 20)

Is looting Jewish-owned businesses, and marching on a synagogue, a show of solidarity with the people of Gaza?  A thousand times no!  This rationalization strengthens the claims of the Israeli government that its opponents are motivated by Jew-hatred.  Such actions set back Gaza solidarity.  They demoralize and discourage all those who, inspired by the demonstrations last week, might have come out for the first time next week.

When Workers World decided to mention the Sarcelles demonstrations, it was incumbent on them as self-professed revolutionary socialists to explain the truth: Jews and their synagogue had been targeted by some demonstrators, and this was unacceptable.  Instead, WW obscured the facts to shield their readers from a discussion of the social fact of anti-Semitism today.  

Why did they do this?  Because in the left activist movement in which they swim, any serious political discussion of the reality of Jew-hatred today it would be too scandalous to endure.  It would make WW a pariah in the  milieu they have themselves spent decades building.  It is a world where anti-Zionism is promoted, while "neoconservatives" [i.e. Jews] are presented as the root of all evil U.S. government actions [here, here, and here], events like those in Sarcelles become non-events. They just never happen.  

The U.S. middle class left, typified by Workers World, is unwilling, unequipped and incapable of facing up to this crucial question.

The left in the U.S. likes to refer to itself as the "lesser evil." But because of its role as a derailer of class clarity and independent working class political action, "greater evil" is a more appropriate sobriquet.


Monday, July 21, 2014

"The truth must not only be the truth; it must be told and acted upon"

I wanted to share this post from a comrade on Facebook.

While reading the comments and "explanations" for why Israel "had to" bomb the Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah, Gaza, I'm reminded of Baruch Spinoza and the enduring value of the practical conclusions of this 17th-century worker-fighter for human progress: no matter what happens to one-self in life, one needs to understand beyond one-self to come to grips with life.
To do that today, one has to step back a bit and see what is happening with a longer-range sense of history, with the political approach of a citizen of the world, of a working-class internationalist. 
 The borders; the states; the national divisions and oppressive class relationships institutionalized by the competing (and sometimes "allied") "victors" coming out of the mass slaughters of World War I and World War II - that whole imperialist-imposed order is unraveling as we speak, from the battlefields of Iraq to the mines of Turkey, from a Kurdistan in becoming to the still-not-extinguished popular fight in Syria.

No matter what the ruling class of Israel - or any other ruling class or capitalist force in the broader region or on Earth - does today to close democratic and political space, working people will continue to meet each other, they will share experiences with each other and over time converge in life and political organization and thinking.

The truth must not only be the truth; it must be told and acted upon. We have to offer ourselves as working people a way forward; a political road in common that will transcend any border they put in our way. The fight for socialist revolution and a democratic and secular Palestine is not a matter of making an abstract "choice" among many others, it can not be postponed; it is a matter of offering ourselves the necessary conditions for freedom and life before un-ending horror and drawn-out death.
Leon Trotsky was right in 1940: the salvation of the Jewish people - AND the Palestinian people - lies in the victory of the world socialist revolution.
Israel is a PART of this changing world; that is a social fact there is no turning back from, and its ruling class will not escape the coming mass challenges to its power from "the inside", by workers and poor farmers who are Jewish, Arab, Russian, Eritrean; "native-born" or "immigrant". For that, there is NO wall that will ever "work".
Its not 1948, 1967 nor 1973 anymore; no Iron Dome nor "permanent military State" can change that. The world is getting smaller and the prospects for a politically independent (from any kind of exploiters) working-class course of action are broadening, propelled forward by the very workings and inevitable consequences of the capitalist world economy.
This massively imposed suffering for the people of Gaza is NOT about Hamas, Fatah nor any other - in historical terms, momentary - misleadership or political obstacles, whose bourgeois corruption and thugishness can not offer the Palestinian people (nor any other people) a unifying perspective nor peace, land and bread. 
Much more is at stake for the only class that produces all wealth and guards the common achievements of human culture, the international class whose collective labor and social transformation of nature offers a tomorrow, if that word is to have any future meaning at all.
No matter how many "targeted assassinations", invasions and bombs they rain down periodically upon the people of Gaza (or anywhere else); no matter how much suffering, hunger or misery they directly or indirectly inflict on the Palestinian people, the capitalist ruling class of Israel will not break the will to fight of the Palestinian people for land and dignity. That is also a fact, an inescapable historical, political and moral fact.
There is no "security" nor "peace" for the Jewish people (most of whom live outside of Israel) as long as the rule of Capital dominates the world; a historically outmoded system of economic and social (dis)organization that inevitably - if its not conquered in time by the united and conscious action of working people internationally - will once again unleash fascism on a mass scale as a means to survive, targeting the Jewish people once again...
The ruling class of Israel can not do otherwise than what they are doing today. They can not offer the working people of Israel (nor of Gaza and the West Bank) a real and livable future. They can not offer anything else than war and the mentality of the besieged. And what they "offer" the population of Gaza today is a glimpse of what they will offer anyone resisting their rule inside of Israel itself.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Articles on Ukraine from The Militant newspaper 2004-2014

The Militant has been publishing reports on the class and national struggle in Ukraine for the last eight months.  They are unmatched in their accuracy and Marxist political clarity. Staff of The Militant have also made two trips to Ukraine for one-the-scene reports and interviews.

Pre­-2013 Ukraine articles from the Militant

Ukraine articles 2013­2014 from the pages of The Militant newspaper

I collected the articles together for easy access.  

If anyone else finds them useful, please share them around.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Workers World Party blames "neoconservative element" influence for downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17

Workers World Party today is blaming U.S. "neoconservative" puppet masters who pull Kiev's strings for the downing of the passenger plane over Ukraine.

"....We also believe that the popular resistance forces in southeast Ukraine do not control weapons capable of shooting down a plane flying at that altitude, nor do they have any interest in shooting down a civilian airliner from Malaysia. Only U.S. and EU imperialism can gain and are trying to gain by exploiting the incident and using it against Russia."

For the truth about the "righteous and heroic, anti-fascist resistance" pro-Moscow forces in Ukraine, please read:


As infighting and desertions spread among armed separatist groups in eastern Ukraine, government troops have been retaking cities, including Kramatorsk, Druzhkivka, Artemivsk and Slovyansk — the headquarters of the separatists’ so-called Donetsk People’s Republic.
On July 2, supporters of Ukrainian sovereignty demonstrated in the southeastern city of Mariupol, where workers drove out separatists in May and again in June.
Anti-Ukraine forces are increasingly unpopular and losing their base of support in the east. Noting that “cases of kidnappings, thefts and armed attacks” targeting working people and industry have grown, Independent Trade Union of Miners of Ukraine chair Mikhailo Volynets called June 21 for workers to undertake “the creation of a labor guard, whose militants could protect not only their enterprises and workplaces, but also their lives and those of their families.”
Alexei, a local driver, told Associated Press by phone that he left his house in Slovyansk July 5 and saw that the armed gunmen had fled. There was some damage to previously occupied buildings, but most of the rest of the city was left untouched.
“Everything is different now. Tonight is the first night with no shelling,” Mikhail Martynenko, 58, a security guard at a market near Slovyansk, told Reuters July 7. “People are in a better mood and there are more people on the streets.”
As separatists vacated Slovyansk, Igor Strelkov, Russian military agent and “commander of the Donetsk People’s Republic,” posted a video online saying his men had “lost the will to fight.”
“They want to live in Russia,” he said. “But when they tried to assert this right, Russia doesn’t want to help.
“I do not claim that Russia does not help,” he quickly added. “But that which we desperately need, does not, at this time, arrive.
“Some believe that I am panicking, that I’m not ok,” he concluded. “Yes, I am not ok.”
Some separatists are regrouping in the city of Donetsk, capital of the eastern Donetsk province, where they still control government buildings but have otherwise done little to interfere with the day-to-day administration of the city government. Donetsk Mayor Alexander Lukyanchenko has maintained municipal services; city workers just finished installing bike lanes downtown.
But Lukyanchenko estimates that some 100,000 people have fled Donetsk in recent weeks as the city is beset with fighting among competing gangs of armed separatists and their thuggery against the population.
A separatist faction from nearby Horlivka led by Igor Bezler, another Russian intelligence officer who goes by the name “Demon,” was routed by rival separatists after he attempted to seize the Donetsk city police station for himself.
“There is an exchange of fire among the separatists,” Iryna Verigina, from the eastern city of Luhansk, told a Ukrainian television station July 8. “They are shooting at each other.”
“Since hundreds of rebels flooded into the city [Donetsk] at the weekend,” Reuters reported July 8, “armed men have been out on the streets, setting up new barricades and checkpoints and stopping pedestrians and motorists.”

Russia stands back
The capitalist government of Russian President Vladimir Putin has not acknowledged the paramilitaries’ calls for Russian military intervention. On the Fourth of July Putin sent a message to U.S. President Barack Obama calling for improvement in relations between the two governments.
A state-funded poll released July 7 showed two-thirds of Russians oppose the country sending troops into Ukraine. Most workers are weary of war following decades of Russian military interventions from Afghanistan to Chechnya and Georgia. They face falling wages, 7 percent inflation and seek greater political rights and space to organize. Russian bosses are foremost concerned about maximizing profits and political stability in Russia and the surrounding region.
Moscow also faces growing discontent among workers and farmers in Crimea, annexed and occupied by Russian troops since March. Prices have soared 20 to 50 percent. As Russia cut off trade with Ukraine, store shelves went bare. Tourism, the main industry, plummeted, cutting jobs and pay. Medication prices have soared beyond the reach of working people. Few Russian banks opened up to replace Ukrainian banks closed by the new regime.
Farmers report they expect a good harvest, but everything else — from irrigation to credits to export possibilities — has been disrupted. “On a scale of one to five, we are at negative three,” Sergei Tur, head of the Association of Farmers and Landowners of Crimea told the New York Times July 7.
Oppressive measures against the 300,000-strong Crimean Tatar population, who overwhelmingly oppose Russian rule, have grown. On July 7 Moscow banned Refat Chubarov, the leader of the Tatar ruling Mejlis assembly, from entering Crimea for five years. Mustafa Dzhemilev, the long-standing leader of the Tatars and leader of the Mejlis until last year, was slapped with a similar ban in April.
Support for the Crimean occupation among Russian working people is low. The government’s appeal to give up a day’s pay to help fund costs of the annexation got little traction. “In our department, not one of us made the donation,” hospital worker Tatyana told Reuters July 6. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

George Novack in defense of Marxism: reading notes from Polemics in Marxist Philosophy

Polemics in Marxist Philosophy can be purchased here.

Ideas have their own power, and the way to power is guided by ideas.  But they are products and parts of the total process of social development.  Dialectical materialist consider them to be conceptual reflections - and projections - of the conditions of the natural and social environment in which people act.


16. the clash of doctrines speeds progress.

25.  Marxism - Growth of productive forces is the prime motive power.Propels humanity forward, saved from stagnation.

Qualitative leaps to more efficient modes of production
=object criterion to placing one social formation
on higher rung than other.

Working class is agency whose functions enabled it to 
bring about transition: 
capitalism to socialism= human advancement.

historical materialism = sociology of knowledge

Study of history linked to political practice.

Study the past in order to make contemporary history more consciously and effectively.

E.H Carr: "Historiography is a progressive science in the sense that it seeks to provide constantly expanding and deepening insights into a course of events which is itself progressive."


Led to historical materialist understanding of interplay of its objective and subjective sides
Humans could be passive sufferers or progressive agents
Outcome of collective efforts often exceeds or diverges widely widely from intention or expectation.
Progress in class society has ironic and antagonistic character.

29.Only revolutionary action by the masses has originated, extended, or safeguarded peoples liberties against repressive and reactionary types of rule.

30.Productive capacities developed under capitalism mean the material prerequisites for socialism for socialism  already exist.
Very few of the subjective factors have ripened: 
-no labor party in U&.S.
-little or no class consciousness in the U.S.

35. "Praxis" interpreters of Marxism
-reject universal scope of Marxist thought;
-reject scientific character of Marxism;
reject dialectics of nature.

"Polemics" defined:
Philosophy is by its very nature an enterprise of criticism.
Polemic: a militant reply using reasoned arguments upon a position or proposition worthy of defense.
Have pros and cons of question been set forth so issues at stake are clarified by confrontation of opposing views?

-in philosophy - materialism
-in logic - dialectics
- in sociology/economics - aligned with working class and anti-capitalist struggles.

Anti-Marxists always deny their own philosophical ideas are disposed in favor of aims, operations, and outlook of any particular social class.  This is deception and delusion and is an impossible stance to adhere to.

Supreme merit of Marxism as living philosophy and a philosophy of life consists in conscious fusion of its theory with practical efforts that involve and effect broad masses in action.

46.Marxism must be a flexible instrument of critical analysis to deal with the development of contradictory elements in all things.

The logical explanation for progressive nature of evolution is that dramatic revolutionary point where the new replaces the old and lifts things to a higher stage.

57. TROTSKY - Politics is the culture of the proletariat on the road to power.

52.  Marxist philosophy gains assent by its concordance with the facts of experience, the insight of its analysis, and the truth of of its conclusions.

53.  There is a class bias and there are class political implications in every shade of philosophy.

Frankfurt School philosophers maintain they must by the very nature of their activity be hostile to society and state regardless of its content and direction because their reason for existence [as philosophers] is to be critical of that which exists.  Philosophy is eternal and unchangeable adversary of all institutions.  This is ahistorical idealism and intellectual anarchism cut loose from any class morality.

59.  To philosophize is to criticize.
Motive force of human progress is discontent.
Dialectical method is vigorously critical.


91. Materialism

Matter in motion [NATURE] has self-sufficient existence.
Everything in human life is derived from and dependent on the OBJECTIVE world.
[idealism = nature dependent on Spirit]
Hegel - nature is schematized reflection of logical process.
MARX - on Hegel's idealism - the same as saying "the son begets the mother."

91.  Humanist exponents of PRAXIS say neither nature or thinking, but human activity , is the essence of reality.  Leaves aside question of whether mind or matter, the subjective or the objective take priority in existence.

Idealism = No object without subject.
Object a shadow "reflective moment" cast by the subject.
Over time the subject has been called: god, mind, spirit, nous, the word, et cetera.

92.  Frankfurt School: objective world is result of human activity.  Object can only be said to exist via mediation of human subject.

92.  Materialism: [as against Frankfurt school]
Nature has objective reality before and apart from the human subject.
All sciences confirm this.
The earth and its lower organisms had a prolonged history, before humanity came on the scene with its distinctive productive activities.

Practice = motive force of SOCIAL history
But no the BASIS of material being.

Lukacs, History and Class Consciousness:
"Existence is the product of human activity"
"Nature is a societal category"

George Novack: the CONCEPT of nature is a socio-historical category, but NATURE ITSELF is not.
The world is not a human product.

93. Dialectical materialism not only deals with what is specifically human, but with ALL REALITY.
Marxism does not limit itself to social experience, although social experience is where most of its attention rightly rests.
Anthropocentric notion:  that nature only exists as a product of human activity, a societal category.

Nature is independent of the human mind and human activity.  Nature operates independently and in accord with its own laws.

OBJECT-SUBJECT relation is a balance:
productive activity is interaction of object and subject.

Nature is objective to the human subject: object-subject relationship develops as nature converted to social use by labor.

Progressive modification of nature by productive activity by humankind;
and in the correlative transformation of humankind itself as the powers of production grow.



What is subjective [ human ] - governed by objective realities, laws, and necessities.

Social being determines social consciousness.

The subjective factor can be very important - depending on material circumstances of the moment.
This is what necessitates the building of a revolutionary party.
The subject is afforded ample room to act by the reciprocal interplay pf objective-subjective.
Physical organism is object.
Social being is a subject with a psychological/intellectual inner life.

HUMAN =  physical organism
           social being

Praxis Marxists exaggerate the subjective element and underestimate predominance of real objective conditions.  This is conductive to voluntarism, ultra-leftism, and adventurism in politics.

Humans alter their habits, form and transform social realities, redirect the course of events through deliberate interventions, but
under historically-created conditions that have lawfully determined the nature, direction, and scope of said transformative powers.

96.   Extreme subjectivism in politics can turn into capitulation,
Subjectivity in the extreme leaves no room for objective analysis of situations so that campaigns/struggles can be corrected.

99. Social phenomenon are not all directly the result of economics
economic conditions are ultimately decisive in historical developments.

All political/social elements play their role amid
an endless host of ACCIDENTS [ political element, legal element, philosophical element, religious element]
but the ECONOMIC element finally does assert itself.


97.  Marxist philosophical tenets

a. Independent existence of material reality;
b. primacy of objective conditions;
c. objectivity of knowledge.

Theory of knowledge: capacity of human mind to reflect surrounding world more-or-less accurately.

Properties and relations of things that we sense, perceive, and handle are conceptualized via the abstractive and generalizing powers of logical thought.

The content of our ideas corresponds with and more and more approximates what objectively exists.

98.  Marx: "With me the ideal is nothing but the material world reflected in the mind of man, and translated into forms of thought.


Social character of human reason.

Active, productive subject [people] works out generalizations, ideal modes, and categories which when tested in social practice disclose their correspondence with or variance from essential features of things.

Human beings are not passive receptors or spectators in their environment.

They are doers, enquirers, and strugglers who engage in labor and other practical activities directed by their ideas,
and who develop conceptual equipment in accord with changing circumstances and social relations.

If our sensations, perceptions, and ideas did not truly reflect events occurring outside us and give reliable confirmation about the phenomena, conditions, and laws of reality, cognition would be worse than useless, it would have no practical value orienting us to what is happening or in dealing with difficult situations and CHANGING them.

100.   Marxism is a scientific theory based upon correct knowledge of objective reality in the same sense as the natural sciences/

Human affairs and physical phenomena are governed by lawfulness, which is fundamental to scientific method.

There is no opposition between objective truth pf science and interests of the proletariat.  They are inseparable.

104.  Dialectics & contradiction

Natural evolution passed over into dialectics of social evolution.
From material root in nature, this was the precondition and necessary basis for social evolution.

Dialectics of nature = precede dialectics of subject/object

Nature comes before and creates preconditions for subject/object.

Law of transformation of quantity into quality. 

105.  Natural science: foundation of all knowledge
Unitary nature and universal scope of Marxist theory, which reflects material unity amidst qualitative of external world .

Dialectics of nature precedes on its own, long precedes human existence, perception, and action and gives birth to them.

Nature is dialectical and a knowledge of nature [which flows from it] is dialectical.

106.  Specific domains of science have specific laws: astronomy, chemistry, electronics.  

More general laws of motion intermingle with and arise from specific laws in these specific fields of knowledge.

A. Nature
B, Society
C. Thought Process

Laws of dialectics of nature [laws of motion] operate throughout all three divisions of being [nature, society, mind].
a. transformation of quantity into quality
b. conversion of possibility through probability
to categorical necessity.

107.  Marxism is the scientific explanation of reality [ nature, society, mind]
Materialist dialectics applies to natural phenomena and human history.
Marxism: a body of doctrines derived from scientific analysis of nature, society, and human thought.

[Struggle for socialism is not a voluntary selection among different options by conscious proletariat - it is a result of progressive class struggle against imperialism, anchored by work of a Marxist party to allow working class to achieve class consciousness & consciousness of its historic struggle.]

Marxism would not be "realistic" unless based on true knowledge of objective reality.  It is so because Marxism is a science of nature not just society.

110. Marxism is a theory of revolutionary action because first and foremost it is a scientific doctrine based upon true knowledge of the material conditions of development-> 
because these determine the nature, scope and effectiveness of social change and political activity.

Law of progressive development.
The new replaces the old at a higher level as the outcome of the conflict of opposing forces.

232. Dialectical materialism true for all sectors of reality which enter into into human experience: nature/society/thought.

Dialectical materialism arose out of the study of universal processes of
a. becoming
b. modes of being

Each level of being has its own specific laws.  These laws merge with the general laws covering all spheres of existence and development.

Existence +development = context and method of dialectical materialism.

253.  Foundations/hallmarks of dialectical materialism"
a. all reality consists of matter in motion;
b. social life and intellectuality are the highest manifestations of the development of matter.

[idealism: essence of reality see in spirit, ideas, supernatural, personae]

The basis of all life, of all human action and thought, and the object of knowledge, was the being and becoming of the independently existing material world.

Material nature's universal evolutionary process is dialectical in character.  Proceeded through conflict of antagonistic forces.

Antagonistic forces slowly accumulate changes, which eventually explode old formations, creating cataclysmic upset [or, revolution].

272.  Objective reality is the root, not heaven or "free will."

a. Consciousness grew from unconsciousness
b. psychology from physiology
c. solar system from nebulae

Accumulation of quantitative changes transform into qualitative changes.

Dialectical thinking grows out of dialectics of nature: our thought is one form of expression of changing matter.

273.  Various aspects of social activity are an integral whole, historically evolving in accord with the development of productive forces and interacting with one-another in a living process where material conditions of life are ULTIMATELY DECISIVE.

277. Human history: a succession of various economic systems each operating in accordance of its own laws.

Growth of productive forces determines transition from one system to another:
a. technique
b. organization of labor

Changes in social order come when matured productive FORCES can no longer be held in check inside old FORMS of property.

Action and reaction of one class upon another propels this historical process.  

At stake: acquisition and distribution of surplus.

Class struggle:  struggle for surplus product.


a. What classes are struggling in a country?
b. What are their interrelations?
c. How and in what direction are these relations being transformed?
d. what are the objective tasks dictated by historical necessity?
e. On shoulders of what class does the solution of these tasks rest?
f. With what methods can they be solved?

279.  FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIETY: material substructure
Property forms
Relations of production [slave, serf, wage]

Only in the long run does economics take precedence over politics.

Regimes, institutions, parties, and leaders are defined by the role they play in upholding or changing existing relations of productions .  

ROLE OF INDIVIDUALS depends on broader historical facts.  Social and political power is a function of relations between people and ultimately between classes.

Prominent personages wield power not solely on their own account but on behalf of social forces greater than themselves.

Every leader represents material interests of a specific class or combination of classes.


Social -----> individual
General -----> particular
Whole-----> part
Material -----> intellectual


Power is not a personal possession that can be transported at will like any commodity from one owner to another.

Intelligent individuals with correct ideas and strategy are still subordinated to historical tides of their time and prevailing relations of class forces.


Personality: a living reality grown out of definite social conditions and reacting upon them.

a. Kerensky, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin represented and incarnated a different correlation of social forces both national and international; 
b. a different degree of determination by the working classes; 
c. a different stage in the development of the Russian Revolution, and the state and society which issued from it.


Priority of matter and nature
human will & human activity

319. Marxist epistemology

Sense perceptions are doorway to more or less accurate reflection of actual material world.

Humans ACTIVELY interpret sense data, they are not simply PASSIVE receptors.

Marxist epistemology rejects existence of innate sense categories proposed by Kant.



Sunday, July 13, 2014

Uighur nationality does not exist for Workers World Party leader

Xinjiang region of Western China

A new star has arisen in the anti-terrorism punditry firmament:

The Chinese province of Xinjiang has recently become the site of an episode of violent terrorism. A suicide bombing has killed 39 Chinese people in a market place, and in addition, 29 were stabbed to death at a train station.  The response of the Chinese government has been swift, with 113 people being sent to prison.
As the world watches China’s noble attempt to keep this violence from spreading, a question remains unanswered: Is the United States involved, this time?Currently, the United States is sponsoring terrorists all over the world. The violent insurgents in Syria, who behead, torture, and murder on a daily basis, are receiving US funding and support. These terrorists have bombed schools and hospitals. In addition, they actively recruit children as young as 11 and 12 to join their ranks. Despite these activities that fit any basic definition of “terrorism”, these terrorists, many of them being imported to Syria from other countries, are receiving direct US support.
The US is also supporting terrorists in Venezuela, who seek to remove the elected government led by the United Socialist Party (PSUV). The US is coddling the People’s Mujahadeen, a group violent extremists who seek to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran.
US funding of violent extremists takes place in order to destabilize, weaken, or overturn regimes that are not obedient servants of Washington. The US has sponsored terrorism in China for over fifty years. While this track record is largely unknown or unacknowledged in the US, the Chinese people know it very well....

This is the opening of Workers World Party leader Caleb Maupin's article "Terrorism in China: Is the US involved, this time?" published on the website New Eastern Outlook.

It might seem strange for a Marxist-Leninist defender of Sam Marcy, Kim Jong Un, Raphael Correa, Dilma Rousseff, and Nicholas Maduro to have their articles appear in such a venue.  New Eastern Outlook is a bourgeois website that supports capitalist regimes in countries like Russia and Iran. But NEO can also be seen as a new and slick headquarters for what Workers World Party leaders call the "global class war."  Hence its appeal as an outlet for Maupin.

What is "global class war"?  It is a post-World War 2 ideological rationalization for Popular Front and social democratic middle class left politics in countries around the world.  Its purpose was and is to deflect, disorient, and demobilize struggles for independent class political action by workers and farmers.  Our class was led to countless defeats before and after World War 2 as a consequence of this treacherous politics. 

Support for regimes and organizations that work to shut down political space for independent working class political action is the sine qua non of Popular Front and "global class warfare" politics.

In the fun-house mirror worldview promoted by these forces, it is not just the promotion of particular social democratic leaders as worthy of our trust.  It is the deliberate support of governments in capitalist states like Iran and Russia, and in workers states like China and North Korea, that use cop methods to shut down workers struggles.  They brand protests and militancy by workers as fascist cabals organized by NATO, the International Monetary Fund, the "neocon conspiracy" and the CIA. They then let loose their dogs of war. 

One prop in this process is the punditry of left figures like Maupin, who seek to speak with authority in the name of communism.  Across a variety of new and old media, Maupin brands supporters of Ukraine's national struggle as fascists, and confidently proclaims Bashar Assad's poison gas attacks against Damascus workers districts as a "false flag" provocation perpetrated by US-backed Muslim extremists. 

No smear of workers and farmers is too outrageous when it comes to discrediting our struggles.  

Maupin deliberately obscures the fact that workers and farmers, be they in the imperialist countries or the countries oppressed by imperialism, are the biggest enemies of imperialism. 

The "terrorism crisis" in China

Maupin writes:

It is interesting to note that the terrorist campaign in Xinjiang, that has already resulted in scores of deaths, is reported to be led by Sunni muslim extremists. The US has funded Sunni Muslim extremists in Syria in an ongoing attempt to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic. In addition, the US funded Sunni Muslim extremists in Libya to overthrow Gaddafi, and dismantle the top oil producer on the African continent. Currently, the US is indirectly funding the Sunni Muslim extremist ISIS organization in Iraq, through the proxy regime in Saudi Arabia.

The US has a long record of funding extremists and terrorists who seek to overthrow the Chinese Communist Party. The US is currently funding extremists of the same variety as in Syria and elsewhere, as those just arrested in China. The question before us now is: What role is the United States playing the current unrest in China?
Are the Anti-Chinese terrorists the same as the terrorists in Syria, Libya, and Iraq, and who are receiving the backing of Washington and London?
The deal for a natural gas pipeline between Russia and China is the latest event, in the gradual changing of the geo-political landscape. The US and European billionaires seek to have the world economy centered around them, and to have all the peoples and natural resources of Africa, Asia, and Latin America as theirs for the taking. The want no viable competitors, and they want scarcity of resources, in order to keep the prices high.

This kind of reductive obscurantism is deliberately dishonest. The abstraction called "terrorism " has been used by bourgeois political commentators to discredit every political action and organization of the working class since the French Revolution, and Maupin knows this all too well. 

Who are the "Muslim extremists" Maupin insinuates are a bought-and-paid-for Fifth column of the CIA in Xinjiang province?  Maupin refuses to name them. He refuses to apply the apparatus of scientific socialism  to explain their motivations.  His inexhaustible store super-historical abstractions and the-enemy-of-my-friend-is-a-terrorist justifications fall into line with the authors of books like Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorism.  

In 2009 U.S. communist Cindy Jaquith did explore the question:

....Uighurs are an oppressed nationality in China and also exist in some Central Asian countries. There are large Uighur concentrations in China’s westernmost province, Xinjiang. They speak a Turkic language, written with Arabic script, and are predominately Muslim. Most Uighurs are farmers living in rural areas.
Following the fall of the Qing dynasty in China in 1911, there were several attempts to form independent Uighur republics. Uighurs fought for independence and in 1933-34 an Islamic Republic of East Turkistan existed. In 1944 Uighurs favoring independence, backed by the Soviet Union, established the Second East Turkistan Republic.
After the 1949 Chinese revolution, the Chinese Communist Party came to power and Beijing declared Xinjiang a Chinese province. It was later classified as an “autonomous region” in 1955. Although the Chinese constitution identifies Uighurs as an official ethnic group whose language and religious rights are protected, discrimination against Uighurs by employers, the government, cops, and the courts has persisted.
Uighur students began organizing in the 1980s as part of the rising struggles among youth in China for democratic rights and against corruption. In the 1990s small groups of Uighurs, including some favoring secession, carried out armed attacks on Chinese government targets.
The Beijing bureaucrats initially labeled Uighurs who oppose their policies “splitists,” although not all favored independence. Today dissidents are more likely to be branded “terrorists,” based on alleged ties between a Uighur organization called the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and al-Qaeda.
In the 1990s Beijing went on a major campaign to develop the resources of, which contains a third of the country’s oil and natural gas and 40 percent of its coal. This was part of the deepening evolution of the Stalinist regime’s course, from bureaucratic state ownership and planning, and forced collectivization, toward promoting privately owned capitalist enterprises and foreign investment....

Today Beijing forbids Uighurs from  practicing their religion, and has outlawed fasting at Ramadan.  In service to such affronts, Uighurs are forbidden even the right to be called Uighurs in Maupin's article.

Beijing's statements blaming Uighur terrorists for attacks this year in Xinjiang Province echo smears from 2009.

Again, Jaquith in 2009:

....The latest round of fighting was sparked by rumors that Uighurs were stabbing Hans with syringes filled with poison or HIV virus. On September 3, 10,000 Hans demonstrated in the city of Urumqi, the provincial capital, saying they were not getting police protection and demanding the firing of the provincial Communist Party chief. Five people were killed.
....Hans are the dominant nationality in China. But they are relative newcomers in Xinjiang Province, a traditional homeland of the Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking people who practice Islam.
Most Hans have migrated to Xinjiang in the last 50 years for jobs in the oil, natural gas, and coal industries and on state-run farms, where they are favored over Uighurs for employment. A similar migration of Hans to Lhasa, Tibet, has been encouraged by the Stalinist bureaucracy in Beijing with the aim of ensuring its control there.
In Urumqi, Hans now outnumber Uighurs by three to one. As Beijing has developed the western region, increasingly by capitalist methods over the last two decades, the inequality between Hans and Uighurs has become more glaring. Most Uighurs are farmers in the countryside. Their average “disposable income” is about one-third that of residents of Urumqi, who earn about $1,800 a year, according to Reuters.
The government has announced that 25 people are charged with syringe attacks. Police have threatened to impose the death penalty for those convicted, reported the Chinese news agency Xinhua. The report added that those who “deliberately concoct and spread false information” about needle stabbings risk five years in jail.
But many questions remain about what actually happened and to what degree the alleged needle incidents were political in nature. According to Xinhua, one of those arrested was a Uighur drug addict who allegedly fought off arrest with a syringe. Two others are accused of attempting to rob a taxi driver, threatening him with a needle.
“Days after reports of the attacks in the state media, credible evidence seems in short supply,” wrote the September 8 Toronto Star. “The government said more than 500 people claimed to have been attacked, but only 170 show any signs of injury.”
“Some of those who said they had been stabbed actually suffered from mosquito stings,” reported Xinhua.  
....Beijing routinely accuses Uighurs who protest their oppression of having connections to a small Uighur organization called the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, which Beijing says has ties to al-Qaeda.
In June a rumor that Uighur factory workers in Guandong Province had raped a Han woman led to an attack by Han workers. Two Uighurs were killed. The rape story turned out to be false.
When Uighur students organized a march in Urumqi to condemn the factory killings it turned into several days of fighting between Hans and Uighurs, leaving at least 186 dead. More than two hundred people, mostly Uighurs, are awaiting trial on charges stemming from that incident.  

Labor conscripts 
More has surfaced on the programs begun in 2002 that send Uighurs from Xinjiang to factory jobs in Guandong Province and other industrial areas. Beijing presents these programs as a kind of affirmative action, promising Uighurs they will earn much more than they can farming in Xinjiang. The July 15 Washington Post reported that the program is not voluntary, however. In the villages around the city of Kashgar in Xinjiang, “residents said each family was forced to send at least one child to the program—or pay a hefty fine,” wrote reporter Ariana Eunjung Cha.

Cha interviewed Liu Guolin, the Han owner of a textile plant in Hebei Province that has been hiring Uighurs. The 143 women workers sent to his plant were accompanied by a cop from Xinjiang Province, who kept the women from praying in the factory or wearing headscarves. “Without the policeman, I assume they would have run away from the very beginning,” Liu said.

Meanwhile, Beijing has stepped up joint military exercises with Moscow supposedly aimed at “terrorists” in Central Asia.  

US imperialism is trying to curb China's rising power.  At the same time, both the U.S. and China continue their efforts to curb the growing militancy of workers and oppressed nationalities within their borders.

*   *   *

Uighurs once held at Guantanamo as terrorists

Maupin's course as an expert anti-terrorist is leading him to a convergence with bourgeois politics.  Rationalizing China's oppression of the Uighurs by labelling Uighurs as Muslim terrorists is on a parallel track with Washington labelling its working class opponents terrorists as well.  These actions all flow from use of national oppression to divide and disorient workers and farmers.

There is a concrete convergence today between Maupin, New Eastern Order, and Washington in smearing Uighurs as terrorists and Muslim extremists.  Until 2013 Washington had Uighur "terrorists" imprisoned without charge in Guantanamo.  They have now been dispatched by the U.S. to Albania.  I'm sure Beijing appreciates this, and if Maupin is not careful, he will soon approve of it, too.

Anti-terrorists make strange bedfellows.