“All I know is that I am not a Marxist.” (Karl Marx)

A few days ago Arthur, David Mc. and I went along to a Socialist Alternative event at Trades Hall.  It had been advertised as a panel discussion on “Australian militarism

The general position  was that WW1, WW11, the Vietnam War, the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan were/are all pretty much the same war.  Not much to think about really. It’s all just imperialism and racism, capitalists grabbing resources , expanding markets, seizing territory, seeking strategic superiority.  I was initially surprised about the attitude to WW2, but realised after a while that it was necessary for consistency.  They have a simple theory about how the world works, and everything must fit it. No need to analyse any particular world event, the position is just given.
(For the record though, I should mention that Harry Van Moorst  (who was on the panel) actually gave an interesting talk about his experience in the anti-Vietnam war movement, and although he didn’t mention WW2, I’d say that he’d be unlikely to agree that it was just another imperialist war. His talk was lively and lacked the contrived tone of the other talks. )
I don’t usually pay much attention to the various revolutionary sects which continue to exist on the fringes of the pseudo-left because they are largely politically irrelevant. However it’s worth popping in to one of their “events” once in a while, just to remind oneself of what can happen when “Marxism” is embraced as a religion.  (I hesitated to use the word “Marxism” in that last sentence, but I couldn’t quickly think of a better way to put it. Clearly, calling oneself a Marxist  and peppering everything one says with references to  “class struggle”, “imperialism” , “capitalist crisis” and so on, has very little to do with  Marxism.  It brings to mind what Marx apparently said (to Lafargue) in frustration  about the French “Marxists”:   “All I know is that I am not a Marxist“.
The truly amazing thing about the meeting (which was attended by about 50 people) was the sheer fervour of it.  After the panel members had spoken, the chairwoman announced that it was now “discussion time” .But there was no discussion. It turned out that what is meant by discussion means something pretty much like ‘bearing witness”. People just took turns to stand up and “speak out”. . One after the other, people took turns to denounce evil (imperialism), and make a public display of their commitment to (I’m not sure what ).  No-one showed the slightest interest in discussing anything, let alone questioning the position taken by any of the panelists
There was one exception, and that was when Arthur got his turn.  He began with a simple remark about the fact that despite the widespread opposition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there’s no real anti-war movement. It has never gone beyond a diffuse and incomprehending anti-war sentiment.  He drew a contrast with the anti-war movement during the Vietnam era and said (something like) “surely you might want to consider that you’ve got something wrong?”.  At that point it was very clear that he wasn’t adhering to the spirit of the gathering so the chairwoman attempted to shut him up, by saying “I think you’ve said enough”.  Arthur had been speaking for only about one minute at this point. He managed to continue just a bit longer only by pointing out that the fact that he had been one of  the most notorious of the leaders of the anti-Vietnam war movement, was surely reason  enough to let him finish what he had to say. In the extra few minutes that he was grudgingly allowed,  he added a bit to what Harry van Moorst had said, in particular that during the Vietnam war, the reason that a powerful anti-war movement had developed  was because people had been able to move from being “against war”  to being on the side of the Vietnamese people, and wanting the US to be defeated.  The interesting thing  is that  today’s anti-war movement began with HUGE demonstrations which became steadily smaller,  whereas the anti-Vietnam war movement developed over many years from something very small, to a huge movement with real teeth. The reverse trajectories indicate a significant difference.  The opposition to the war in Vietnam was the result of a huge amount of debate and argument whereas the opposition to the war in Iraq has always been no more than a sort of default, anti-war sentiment.
There was a minor ruckus after Arthur sat down, when one of the panelists Diane Fieldes  (described as “Long term campaigner against the war on terror” ) jumped up to reply. She began carrying on about how it was obvious that the war in Iraq was just another imperialist war, while completely ignoring Arthur’s point about the anti-Vietnam war movement having grown up because people were actually able to support (and identify with) “the enemy”.    I couldn’t resist interjecting with “which side are you on then?”. To which she replied quite angrily, “the resistance”(!!)  After a few minutes of back and forth on this, we were pretty much silenced.  Perhaps some people there would have been  interested in hearing a bit more about what we thought, but there was no sign of that. The main response was just a bit of muted hissing, booing, muttering
‘Nuff said, really. These people have sunk to the position of not only regarding WW2 as a war not worth fighting, but actually advocating support for mass murdering jihadists in Iraq…. How deluded can you become???
All discussion was stifled at this point.  Announcements were made about various postering  campaigns, people put their names down on tsak lists which were passed around the room, and then  everyone sat around eating pizza.
Arthur, David  and I tried to talk informally to a couple of people, not so much about their views on Iraq and Afghanistan, but about the refusal to actually *argue* about it.  They didn’t seem to get it.  The whole notion  seemed entirely alien.

The (1890)  letter to C. Schmidt in which Engels wrote: “Just as Marx used to say, commenting on the French “Marxists” of the late [18]70s: “All I know is that I am not a Marxist.”,  contains the following paragraph:

In general, the word “materialistic” serves many of the younger writers in Germany as a mere phrase with which anything and everything is labeled without further study, that is, they stick on this label and then consider the question disposed of. But our conception of history is above all a guide to study, not a lever for construction after the manner of the Hegelian. All history must be studied afresh, the conditions of existence of the different formations of society must be examined individually before the attempt is made to deduce them from the political, civil law, aesthetic, philosophic, religious, etc., views corresponding to them. Up to now but little has been done here because only a few people have got down to it seriously. In this field we can utilize heaps of help, it is immensely big, anyone who will work seriously can achieve much and distinguish himself. But instead of this too many of the younger Germans simply make use of the phrase historical materialism (and everything can be turned into a phrase) only in order to get their own relatively scanty historical knowledge — for economic history is still as yet in its swaddling clothes! — constructed into a neat system as quickly as possible, and they then deem themselves something very tremendous. And after that a Barth can come along and attack the thing itself, which in his circle has indeed been degraded to a mere phrase”

One  could probably just replace “historical materialism” with “imperialism” and make a few other changes in order to make a similar point about today’s revolutionary sects.

Powered by ScribeFire.

94 Responses to ““All I know is that I am not a Marxist.” (Karl Marx)”

  1. 1 David Moxham

    Unless one is willing to radically reconsider all one knows, one is not ready to be a true Marxist. A mere diatribe by the intellectual left does little more to sustain the orthoxody, of which many of these intellectuals were born into its proflagacy.

  2. 2 informally yours

    Cryptic as ever David.

  3. 3 Dalec

    Keza, The broad based opposition to the Vietnam war was driven largely by widespread popular opposition to conscription. In particular mums and families. This factor does not play in the present wars as they are carried out on our behalf by volunteer soldiers and mercenaries, all accompanied by a massive “democracy now” campaign that manged to suck in the more gullible elements. (Our bourgois masters can learn too)
    You sure do a good job on the demolition of Trots but that is easy. Your comparison between public support for Iraq and Vietnam is not accurate at all.

  4. 4 informally yours

    “You sure do a good job on the demolition of Trots but that is easy.” Whoa there; that is the closest thing i’ve heard from Dalec as praise, back handed as it is, of this site. “Your comparison between public support for Iraq and Vietnam is not accurate at all.” I’ve re-read the article and the only ‘comparison’ I can see is one which says Iraq demos started out big, and ended up small, (trot chanting fests)while Vietnam was the opposite starting out small and ending up large. What is not ‘accurate’ about that? Other than that i’ve always thought the position by many writing here is such that you can’t compare all wars as oranges because there’s a great big bag of apples in the pile.

    Finally, to suggest that writers here were/are gullible and sucked in by ‘democracy now’ propaganda is ludicrous in the extreme.

  5. 5 Dalec

    IMV the real difference between the public response to Vietnam and Iraq has to do with the massive “campaign for democracy” that accompanied the Iraq war. From my memory the Vietnam “democracy” campaign was far more muted and totally ineffective. Add to this the fact that conscription is not exactly popular and has been abandoned in favour of an aggressive recruiting campaigns among the poor and the use of thousands of mercenaries, in particular by the US.
    Iraq does not appear to be emerging into the sunshine of democracy with any haste at all. I guess it might have something to do with the internal conditions. I am not alone in the view that there was the huge campaign that promoted the view that the real motive for the invasion and killing of Iraqi civilians was to bring democracy to them. It was never about Imperial conquest apparently.
    The invasion of Afghanistan has not met with strong opposition either, again because there is no conscription and there has been a really strong and systematic program of “embedding” reporters and the open recruitment of news organisations as propaganda vehicles.
    On WW2 we need to be careful, the immediate aftermath of WW2 saw the rise of anti-imperialist and anti colonialist struggles throughout the world. The emergence of a whole new raft of independent states, some of these fell to despotic regimes some had more democratic regimes that were quickly suppressed by the Imperial powers, Iran for example.
    The point being that what was primarily a popular anti fascist war quickly morphed into liberation movements in many parts of the world.

  6. 6 steve owens

    Dalek although I think anti conscription sentiment must have fuelled much anti war sentiment it does not explain why countries that weren’t even part of the war had large anti war movements. If you google “anti war demonstrations 1968” you get a sense of how the whole world was in motion. IE 1968; 10,000 West Berlin students hold sit in against the Vietnam war.

  7. 7 Dalec

    Steve, I agree the whole world was in motion in ’68. WW2 had an enormous “unforseen consequence” in that it unleashed the forces of national liberation around the planet, vastly accelerated the process of decolonisation and began to actually liberate people. This process was well under way by ’68 and probably reached its peak in the mid ’70s. In this climate the Vietnam war was seen for what it was.
    Today all this is history, some who were previously revolutionary have gone over to the side of the Imperial warmongers and the vast mass of people in the West have been bought off with low cost consumer goods and circuses.
    Billions of dollars have been invested since WW2 by the Imperial powers in propaganda: “think tanks” “Foundations” and “Institutes”.
    All this devoted to the suppression of the movement that began in the dark days of WW2.
    Should we by surprised? Not at all. The conquest of Iraq was also one of the biggest and best planned PR exercises in history. The anti-war movement had no chance against this – unlike the botched and pathetic PR campaign that went with the Vietnam war.

  8. 8 informally yours

    If pushed to ‘define’, I come from a philosophy background where we studied among other things materialist theory. I’m a historical dialectical materialist – others might define as Communist; Socialist; Stalinist; or Marxist Leninist)

    Seems I’m wondering if this position isn’t just a cop out on my part. Then i think that if Marx says he isn’t a Marxist then I don’t see how I could be one either. (Maybe I’m Engelian?) To me, it is sad that Marx had to disassociate himself from so many of the self proclaimed Marxists of his generation of Socialists and Communists. (And associated anarchists)

    From Marx’ popularity in recent polls it maybe that people seem to respect Marx but not Marxists?

  9. 9 steve owens

    Keza I also attended a Socialist Alternative function several years ago and suggested to them that their position on the Iraq war needed rethinking.
    I have previously written at this blog and suggested that people rethink their position on the second world war for the following reasons
    1 The Soviet Union participated in the invasion of Poland it sent congratulatory messages to the German army and held a joint military parade with the German army.
    2 The Soviet Union supplied Germany with essential war material during the Battle of Britain and offered to supply Germany with a submarine base near Murmansk.
    3 The British CP instructed members to disrupt production during the period that Britain faced Germany alone.
    4 The French CP hailed the German victory over France as a defeat for French imperialism. Soviet propaganda at the time portrayed the war as an inter imperial conflict with England and France as the aggressors.
    5 The Soviet Union entered into talks with Germany with the view of the Soviet Union joining the Axis Alliance.
    The evidence suggests that the Soviet Union was a covert ally of Germany up to the point of the German invasion of the Soviet Union.

  10. 10 Barry

    dalec’s argument fails in light of the fact that the media, from the get-go, was against the war in Iraq and defeatist during it. I participated in Vietnam demo’s when they were small but growing. It was quite an experience being part of a movement that grew and developed politically (ie, moved from ‘anti-war’ to solidarity with the Vietnamese against the fascist regime in the south). dalec’s frustration arises from the fact that it’s not possible to build support for a policy that would keep fascists in power and this became clear to most of the people who had previously marched in huge numbers against the Iraq war, once the elections were held there and the notion of ‘liberation’ became plausible. The Iraq ‘anti-war’ movement began huge, with media and celebrity support, and dwindled fairly quickly: the exact opposite of the Vietnam solidarity movement. dalec still doesn’t get it.

    Off to buy fish and chips now, and I have no interest in reviving a discussion that has happened at this site many times before, epecially now that neither the US nor the dalecs of the universe can possibly install another tyrant over the Iraqi people.

    Solidarity with Iraq!

  11. 11 Steve Owens

    I agree with Barry, solidarity with the people of Iraq.
    As to the Vietnam comparison, well there’s no comparison.
    In Vietnam the US supported a dictatorship, bombed the North and Vietnam’s neighbors whilst terrorizing much of the population in the south.
    With Iraq the anti invasion crowd argued that hundreds of thousands would die, that millions would become refugees and that constructing a representative government may well prove to be impossible. Sound familiar?
    The anti war movement died away because it was really an anti invasion movement. When the invasion occurred it changed the question from do you oppose the invasion to what does progress for the Iraqi people look like now?
    As one of Petreus’s aids commented “just because you invade stupidly that’s no reason to leave stupidly”

  12. 12 steve owens

    Just back to to Soviet Union, can anyone provide an alternate explanation for Basis Nord?
    It seems odd that at the height of the German naval blockade of Britain, that the Soviet Union would release impounded German ships and offer a submarine base to a Fascist country. I guess if your already supplying the German air force with aviation fuel…..

  13. 13 Dalec

    In the US FOX news, arguably the most influential network at that time, was a major and very vocal supporter of the war.
    I too took part in those early Anti Vietnam marches where we started on the footpaths and ended a million strong in city blocks.
    Steve is correct, the the opposition to Iraq was primarily opposition to the actual invasion. There was never a credible Iraqi National Liberation element for any-one to support.
    Remember the democracy for Iraq campaign came after the invasion and conquest as a post hoc justification.

  14. 14 Barry

    People took to the streets in huge numbers over Iraq because they didn’t like being lied to (WMDs) about the reasons for the war. Once the real reason was laid bare, and shown to be real by actual events (millions voting for a government in genuine elections), then people dropped off the ‘anti-war movement’ in their hundreds of thousands.

    Cyberman, if you’re reading this, please remind dalec of your “embryonic national liberation movement” in Iraq. It must surely be huge by now.

  15. 15 Steve Owens

    Barry if people took to the streets because we didn’t like being lied to, then we would never be off the streets.
    Personally I found that events were very immobilizing. Having been at a rally of 200K in Adelaide despite the only local newspaper taking a pro war line and realizing that this was the biggest demo (worldwide) in history. It was infuriating that this event was dismissed by the Prime Minister with not much more than a wave of his hand.
    This same Prime Minister then went on to claim that Saddam would put live people through an industrial shredder feet first so that they could witness their own mutilation. (lies)
    People generally knew from their experience of Gulf War One that pro war elements had utilized PR companies to lie to Congressional hearings so that “evidence” could be given by a “nurse” that she had seen Iraqi soldiers throw babies against walls.(lies)
    Once the invasion started I was angry that we were being lied to and angry that what we did changed nothing. I never attended another anti war protest, not because I had become enlightened about the “real” reasons for the war but because I could not see a reason to take to the streets, the bastards that run society just carry on, public opinion runs a poor second.

  16. 16 informally yours

    Steve there is no point having a PM if you don’t give them the benefit of the doubt that they and other government members have more info than the rest if us to form their ‘opinion’ on whether or not certain policy positions are real options or not. From the timbre of your last comment we’d be having public-opinion policy driven social solutions. Guess what that would mean? Bring back the death penalty. etc., etc., etc..

    We have an elected government so that their members can take into account the facts of the circumstances (and fallacies), often based upon classified information that was sometimes gained by secretive processes. We could discuss the in’s and out’s of this, but let’s just agree that since the Lao Tzu wrote the Art of War explaining the development of the diplomatic corps as executing war by other means and explaining how spying and clandestine efforts are best executed it has been part of the MO of the development of nation state’s.

    Dalec; “Remember the democracy for Iraq campaign came after the invasion and conquest as a post hoc justification.”
    I think this can be proven incorrect because they did not do what Noam Chomsky,John Pilger et al said, which was to install a puppet regime.

    In not doing this,it shows at least that there was something different in the way the thing was instituted. Just because your kid did a bad thing in the past does not mean they are doing bad things in the future. Same for the good old USA.

    Your post is not much more than infantile whining about how life is unfair and lots of bad things happen. By saying “once the invasion started” shows two things; first showing that once the action started you sensibly thought the anti-war angle was lost and therefore what is the point of wasting a saturday morning off work watching to see if things stay calm or not? – whether some silly trot throws a rotten apple at a cop, or things heat up another way. (or something thrown at an opposition group, as has happened at anti racism/NA rally’s, where we anti-racists were well and truly outnumbered with many kids and women in the numbers and NA peopled by security guard types?? Go figure)

    Second, that you use the term invasion in the loosest and least useful possible manner.

  17. 17 Steve Owens

    Informally yours thank you for your reply. To answer your question I don’t have any problem with putting any question to the people.

  18. 18 Dalec

    One thing that I don’t get is how is it that the US has gone from being the most powerful Imperial power in history to a benign global promoter of democracy?
    When exactly did this transformation take place?
    Surely the US would have told us that it was going into Iraq to bring democracy to the Arabs ? Why was it necessary to make up all that bullshit about WMD’s ?

  19. 19 patrickm

    Dalec; the U.S. ruling elite never called their system imperialist. Let’s face it they have always had to tell lies about what they were up to even when on the side of the angels as they were in WW2. When they were trying to prevent democracy in Vietnam they were there to preserve “democracy”. O.K., so they are ruling class liars trying to preserve their capitalist system. Lying is what they do best, or at least most.

    BUT what about WW2? Was it all just lies? Trotskyites had a policy position for WW2 that denounced united front policies of Stalinists and Maoists as some sort of class collaboration.

    Theirs was essentially a policy of denouncing one’s own ruling class (pretty popular in that era of economic depression) and denying any common class interest in the defeat of fascism.

    WW2 was to be treated as just a rerun of WW1, and as far as I can gather for this type of politics nothing has ever changed in any war since then.

    The (mostly theoretical) line was for turning any guns against one’s own imperialists. Naturally, the Trotskyites became incredibly isolated, and at the time (where any communists were in positions of power) they were appropriately accused of criminally disrupting the fight against fascism and dealt with accordingly. They were very often shot!

    This Trotskyite policy position unsurprisingly became infintesimally small as WW2 unfolded and following the line only revived years after WW2 (by any noticeable number of ‘leftists’) when the U.S. etc., had ended the front and reverted to attacks on communists and other radical democrats.

    WW2 had an enormous and foreseen consequence. The war ended in the predicted distaster for the ruling classes that had pursued policies of appeasment. Of course WW2 as it unfolded under communist leadership ‘… unleashed the forces of national liberation around the planet, vastly accelerating the process of decolonisation and began to actually liberate people’. In many places both where communists led, and also where communists were only one of the progressive forces.

    ‘This process was well under way by ‘68’ but there were many significant counter currents such as the war for greater Israel launched in 1967. So, in ‘this climate the Vietnam war was [often not] seen for what it [really] was.’ And many people became disoriented when Czechoslovakia was invaded; or Afghanistan; or when Cuban troops rampaged around Africa; or when Vietnam invaded Kampuchea.

    ‘Today all this is history, some who were previously revolutionary have gone over to the side of the Imperial warmongers,’ and would not even stand up to the Baathist annexation of Kuwait; or the Argentinian Generals’ annexation of the Falkland islands.

    These ‘leftists’ blame the masses for their politics and policies going out the back door. They say things like ‘the vast mass of people in the West have been bought off with low cost consumer goods and circuses.’ and think that just because ‘Billions of dollars have been invested since WW2 by the Imperial powers in propaganda: “think tanks”; “Foundations”; and “Institutes”’; that this explains something as to why all these imperial adventures ended in defeat!

    Actually often these imperial adventures were only ever supported in western countries by people that ridiculously called themselves leftists!

  20. 20 steve owens

    I looked up some information about Trotskyists and world war two.
    I looked at the Wikipedia entry about Ernest Mandel who was a leading member of the Fourth International. It states that during World War Two, he escaped twice after being arrested in the course of resistance activities and that he spent some time as a prisoner in a concentration camp.
    I then looked up an article by him called “Trotskyists and Resistance in World War Two”. In this article he argues that it is simply not true that Lenins position can be reduced to a formula and that there were 5 wars intertwined in World War Two. One of these wars was the National Defense of the Soviet Union which he describes as just war.
    It would be easier if we could reduce such people to caricature status.

  21. 21 steve owens

    I thought maybe the Trotskyite in question might be James Cannon who was also a leading member in the Fourth International and a leading member of the Socialist Workers Party USA but in examining “Socialism on Trial” the courtroom testimony of James Cannon it states that the SWP unconditionally support the USSR in a conflict with imperialism.
    The SWP did split over the question of unconditional support for the USSR with 40% of the members leaving. Their leader was Max Shachtman but can he be considered a Trotskyite? He broke with Trotsky while Trotsky was still alive and declared his opposition to dialectical materialism.
    Now it would seem that the orthodox Trotskyist position is support of the USSR in it’s war with Germany. At least that’s seems to be the position of the leading Trotskyists at the time.
    Now Trotsky didn’t die until 1940 and all current Trotskyist groups have their origin in the Fourth International which clearly did not have a formula view of war.

  22. 22 Dalec

    David, the US ruling class was seriously divided over WW2 and the support or opposition to Fascism as indeed were the ruling class many European states. Unlike the European states they had time to sit back and decide whose side they would be on (the most likely winning one). After Pearl harbour public opinion forced the US into the war against Fascism. The decision was not made on principle.
    The history of the US since then has been that it is entirely comfortable with fascist dictatorships of all shapes and sizes. It has assisted in the establishment of many of these regimes around the world and protected many.
    Now we are asked to believe that suddenly the US has changed into a champion of democracy, that it no longer invades countries , that it no longer maintains occupation forces.

    “The main sources of information on these military installations (e.g. C. Johnson, the NATO Watch Committee, the International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases) reveal that the US operates and/or controls between 700 and 800 military bases Worldwide.

    In this regard, Hugh d’Andrade and Bob Wing’s 2002 Map 1 entitled “U.S. Military Troops and Bases around the World, The Cost of ‘Permanent War'”, confirms the presence of US military personnel in 156 countries.

    The US Military has bases in 63 countries. Brand new military bases have been built since September 11, 2001 in seven countries.

    In total, there are 255,065 US military personnel deployed Worldwide.

    These facilities include a total of 845,441 different buildings and equipments. The underlying land surface is of the order of 30 million acres. According to Gelman, who examined 2005 official Pentagon data, the US is thought to own a total of 737 bases in foreign lands. Adding to the bases inside U.S. territory, the total land area occupied by US military bases domestically within the US and internationally is of the order of 2,202,735 hectares, which makes the Pentagon one of the largest landowners worldwide (Gelman, J., 2007).” http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=5564


  23. 23 steve owens

    Patrickm, The 4th International was I think the only Trotskyist organisation that existed in 1941. In August 1941 the 4th International opened their proclamation on the war with these words “The Soviet Union is at war! The Soviet Union is in mortal danger!……..Defend the USSR! The defense of the Soviet Union is the elementary duty of all the workers true to their class.”
    Now you claim that the correct way to handle these Communists that are agitating for the defense of the USSR is to kill them and you seem to approve of them being shot despite the fact that you see their position as being “mostly theoretical”
    Maybe you need to reconsider your position as not every question can be resolved with bullets.

  24. 24 steve owens

    Looks like I got it a bit wrong. Max Shachtman didn’t disavowal dialectic materialism but published an article where James Burnham did. Anyhow when Shachman left the Socialist Workers party he formed the Workers Party which I think could at that stage be considered in the Trotskyist tradition while also upholding the idea that the USSR wasn’t worth fighting for as it no longer had anything socialist about it.

  25. 25 steve owens

    Patrickm before we discuss the crimes of the Trots in any greater detail may I bring to your attention the Guardian newspaper article of January 22, 1941. This article looks at the recent banning of the British Communist Parties daily paper the Daily Worker. Apparently the Daily Worker had been vilifying the British government to the exclusion of any condemnation of Herr Hitler and was encouraging agitation among munition workers.
    I think we should remember that in the first week of September 1939 communists like those in the Australian party got it right. They condemned the German invasion and called for support of the Polish peoples struggle against fascism. Unfortunately this good position was overturned.

  26. 26 patrickm

    Steve; I have always thought that the average communist in the lead up to, and during WW2 was rather obviously just parroting the line as handed down by the party in each country, and that this line was usually just the local leadership following in an unthinking manner the line that was coming out of the USSR. This is not me being critical of the line as put by Stalin, but critical of the inability of others (like the idiotic British communists) to think and act for themselves.

    Nothing much changed until Kruschevite revisionism produced the major split that forced some party people into thinking. Most then transformed themselves over the next decade or so into another bunch of leadership following conservative party hacks.

    Very few people involved in left politics from my experience and review of the historical record were any good at thinking for themselves. Despite all the assertions the people I have experienced just weren’t radical democrats committed to the transformation of society by expanding democratic rights.

    They just weren’t Marxists at all. Most especially the more leading ‘Marxists’. They were more often than not conservatives not revolutionaries and they were very often anti-democrats. As Arthur said somewhere, often putting forth the line that democracy is a bourgeois fraud and pretending that this is the same as explaining that bourgeois democracy is a fraud.

    But this latest decade of barrel-scraping since the enemy of all progressive humanity launched their attacks on 9/11 has been a confirmation that Trotskyites are firmly in the enemy camp.

    Take this observation from Kerry;

    ‘There was a minor ruckus after Arthur sat down, when one of the panelists Diane Fieldes (described as “Long term campaigner against the war on terror” ) jumped up to reply. She began carrying on about how it was obvious that the war in Iraq was just another imperialist war, while completely ignoring Arthur’s point about the anti-Vietnam war movement having grown up because people were actually able to support (and identify with) “the enemy”. I couldn’t resist interjecting with “which side are you on then?”. To which she replied quite angrily, “the resistance”(!!) After a few minutes of back and forth on this, we were pretty much silenced.’

    She was not hissed and booed and debated off the stage in shame!

    The lies people tell themselves to avoid the responsibility of conducting themselves in an open, honest, and above board manner are truly breathtaking. This woman supports the enemy and cheers on from the sidelines as this enemy inflicts casualties on those that have brought the REAL liberation that she refuses to recognise.

    My experience with involved political people who have had any connection to any Trot group is that they are people, invariably and surprisingly shallowly trying to shut me up and harm my interests.

    They always have their excuses why democratic processes have to be dispensed with and why they had to tell some ‘minor’ lie, or simply lie by omission, but they know they are lying and playing their silly ‘politics are politics’ games.

    You say ‘I think we should remember that in the first week of September 1939 communists like those in the Australian party got it right. They condemned the German invasion and called for support of the Polish peoples struggle against fascism. Unfortunately this good position was overturned.’

    How about remembering that the Iraqi people are now liberated and that the facsists were thrown out of Kuwait and that the unprovoked annexation of the Falklands was reversed, and that the war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda is developing in a positive direction and that the failed war for Greater Israel is continuing to grind on in a predictable manner, as Zionism limps from one retreat to the inevitable next retreat. How about telling all that Somalia and piracy must be dealt with?

    Yes there was very poor understanding of what was going on with the Molotov / Ribbentrop pact, and the consequent Soviet return to the 1914 borders in the weeks after Hitler attacked Poland, but hey we already saw your efforts to paint Stalin as a collaborator with fascism. Do we really have to re-run that display of your incomprehending prejudice against the bad old ancestor?

  27. 27 Dalec


    She does skip lightly over the horror of Saddam but she does not wear the rose coloured glasses that you wear as you view Iraq and the ME from a very safe distance.



  28. 28 patrickm

    Saddam was part of the resistance until he was caught and rightfully hanged so she is not skipping over anything; she is supporting the same resistance that Saddam was supporting, and just as Saddam prepared resistance forces and supplies before he went into hiding – Diane Fieldes is on their side and said so!

    I’m opposed to that resistance, and have called for a united front against market place bombers, and Baathists and so forth, that have no demands that I want prioritised above catching or killing said market place bombers! Diane Fieldes is on the side of the resistance and just wants to then uselessly bleat that she does not support every action that they take, just like Tariq Ali, Pilger and Fisk etc

    They can’t be held to acount for the wrong actions of those that are legitimatly struggling for their… WHAT? These bastards can’t justify their position, so just like the “Maoists of KASAMA” they hide and run behind the word imperialism and the idea that the Iraqi government are puppets. They know they are lying and so will everyone that reads them in years to come.

    The correct way to look at this is to make political goals and then prioritise them and then to unite with others to achieve those goals.

    Diane Fieldes and the rest of this laughable ‘left’ has her goals totally and obviously arse about, and though she has her bigoted anti-US position to ‘morally’ sustain her among her irrelevant pseudo-left mates in Oz, but she can’t change a thing in Iraq BECAUSE THE LIBERATION IS REAL.

  29. 29 steve owens

    Patrickm may I bring to your attention the speech given by Molotov on March 29, 1940 at the 6th Session of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR
    Molotov starts with an update of the German vs British and French war.
    At no part of his report does he describe Germany as Fascist.
    Instead he talks of “…..the desire for peace expressed by Germany….” He talks about England and France in their “… imperialist policy towards Germany…”
    Now I agree with you that the policy of the British Communists was idiotic but I disagree that it was their policy, they were merely repeating what the leaders of the Soviet Union were saying.
    Oh and was Molitov greeted with boos and jeers? The text notes stormy prolonged applause.

  30. 30 patrickm

    Steve thank you for bringing Molotov’s report;
    to my attention.

    Did the British and French ruling elite in your view not have an “… imperialist policy towards Germany…” ?

    Here is what Molotov said

    ‘Recent events in international life must be examined first of all in the light of the war which broke out in Central Europe last autumn. So far, there have been no big battles in the war between the Anglo-French bloc and Germany, matters being confined to isolated engagements, chiefly on the sea and also in the air. It is known, however, that the desire for peace expressed by Germany at the end of last year was rebuffed by the Governments of Great Britain and France, and, as a result, preparations for extending the war were further intensified by both sides.’

    Note BOTH SIDES! But in what direction?

    Then he went on to explain what the British and French were up to (as well as the Japanese and the US and Rumanians and the the Finns etc).

    First rate Marxist political analysis. Concluding…

    ‘Such, on the whole, is the international situation in connection with the events of the past five months.

    From all that I have said, the main tasks of our foreign policy in the present international situation will be clear.

    Stated briefly, the task of our foreign policy is to insure peace between nations and the security of our country. [I agree] The conclusion that must be drawn from this is that we must maintain a position of neutrality and refrain from participating in the war between the big European powers. [I agree] This position is based on the treaties we have concluded, and it fully corresponds to the interests of the Soviet Union. [I agree] At the same time, this position serves as restraining influence on the further extension and instigation of war in Europe, and it is, therefore, in the interests of all nations that are anxious for peace and are already groaning under the enormous burden of privations caused by the war. [I agree]

    In summing up the events of this past period, we see that we have achieved no mean successes as regards safeguarding the security of our country in this period. [I agree] And it is this that makes our enemies furious. [I agree] Confident, however, in our cause and in our strength, we will continue consistently and unswervingly our foreign policy. [I agree] (Stormy, prolonged applause throughout the hall. The deputies rise.)’ All these years later having just read the report I second the applause. Including re lying about the casualties that were actually 4 times greater.

    I commend the report and don’t know what the fuck you are on about!

  31. 31 steve owens

    Hi Patrickm you say that you don’t know what I’m on about.
    Let me put it really , really simply.
    You have argued for years that the Iraq war is very similar to World War 2
    In the Iraq war Fascist Iraq invades Kuwait and Democratic America comes to the rescue. You have been outraged by people who down play the Fascist nature of Iraq and who emphasise the Imperial designs of America.
    In WW2 Fascist Germany invades Poland and Democratic England declares war on Germany.
    In Molitov’s speech he clearly omits to mention that Germany is Fascist while he emphasises the English Imperial designs. When people take this line on Iraq you call them appeasers.
    But its not just the Molitov made some appeasing speech it what his government did that needs an answer.
    When Fascist Germany invaded Poland the USSR sent congratulatory messages, it held a joint military parade, it conducted joint police actions to round up Polish resisters, it took 20,000 Polish officers into the forest and murdered them, it released impounded German ships and it offered to provide Germany with a U boat base.

  32. 32 informally yours

    Steve, your supposed high moral ground approach is naieve and or delusional.

    “To answer your question I don’t have any problem with putting any question to the people.”

    This approach is an abdication of responsibility that merely allows you to snuggle up with your prejudices. As it did at Flinders University when you supported the unconstitutional sacking of all of the office bearers of the Students’ Association.

    I wasn’t going to respond again to you, but i just heard on the radio that the ALP goes to the next election with the “policy” of creating a consensus driven people’s summit over climate change measures. The kind of ‘consensus’ summit mooted by the Gillard team is similar to the one that delivered the previous republic fiasco.

    Just because the consensus they were able to squeeze at the Republic summit put forward a preferred model did not mean that the general public respected this ‘process.’ In fact they rejected it out of hand and voted No.

    The Greens responding are hysterical, but are otherwise calling this for what it is, namely an opportunistic abdication of leadership by the Gillard team – which if you take seriously the Greens, which I don’t, means that we’ll all need wellington boots within the next 3 years if Gillard doesn’t deal with this now – yesterdaylike. More hysterical rubbish from the Greens.

    Thank goodness the ALP has had enough sense to get rid of Rudd, and halt the plans for ETS etc., but they obviously don’t have the cahoneys to be open, honest, and above board and create effective policy measures in not only this area but in others as well.

    Particularly “health reform” measures are very concerning because as far as i’ve been able to establish the Roxon reforms are even worse than the Medicare Gold Latham plan, and are the crassest policy measures that could have been proposed. Effectively placing the pressure on hospital staff to make decisions based upon keeping the funding up for departments by them meeting arbitrary turn around times rather than on clinical basis. This seems absolutely disastrous for patient outcomes.

    I’ve just heard Gillard commenting about the consensus process as needing to go beyond forum consensus and reach community consensus. All i can say is put the money into hospitals, or something more useful and put a lot more effort into party policy formation.

  33. 33 steve owens

    In The Lure of Neptune by Tobias R. Philbin he estimates that the 900,000 tons of fuel oil supplied by the USSR to Nazi Germany represents the total German naval usage during 1939-40.
    If you look at the Wikipedia entry for the German Soviet Credit agreement (1939) it ends with the observation that without Soviet deliveries of oil products, rubber, manganese and grain, Germany could barely have attacked the Soviet Union.

  34. 34 informally yours

    Come on steve do a bit of concrete research. Tell us what you think of the ALP health reform package – you are long time

  35. 35 informally yours

    Steve wrote “Let me put it really , really simply.
    You have argued for years that the Iraq war is very similar to World War 2”

    Note the nasty introduction, let me put it so simply that even you can understand. Both Sneering, contemptuous, not engaging in a spirit of furthering debate and knowledge.

    Then we get the second statement wrongly attributing an argument of equivalence or comparison that is not there when it comes to what has been said about the Iraq war and the WWII.

  36. 36 steve owens

    Informally your I’m happy to discuss health issues but its off topic, start another thread. I’m happy to explain how I supported students voting at Flinders Uni while you argued for a voting boycott but again its off topic. This thread is about peoples attitudes to war and about people not engaging in discussion when their formula view of the world is questioned.

  37. 37 Dalec

    Speaking of health issues these are the consequences of the US Imperial destruction in Fallujah that Arthur once bragged about.

  38. 38 patrickm

    I ‘have [not] argued for years that the Iraq war is very similar to World War 2’. Well, other than in the sense that it’s not unheard of for communists to unite with bourgeois forces even from countries like the U.S. and Britain, that were clearly imperialist countries and WW2 is the perfect example.

    It is the blinding example that forced Ken Loach to go scurrying off back to WW1 / Black and Tan Ireland to make his dopey metaphor for Iraq ‘The wind that shook the barley’. The exercise was pathetic and those that nodded approval for this cowardly running away from actual analysis of events into metaphor land of British bastardry of 90 years earlier, are exactly the types that now stand up at their functions and shout ‘I’m with the resistance’, or remain silent when panelists such as Diane Fieldes (described as “Long term campaigner against the war on terror”) says it.

    I stand with the liberators of Iraq and so ought you. I’m not for the resistance and I am opposed to those who are. Just as you support the elections in Iraq I support that process, and I laugh at anyone who argues that the government’s that flow from this Iraqi driven process are puppets. Hell, the U.S. can’t even force the Iraqi politicians into forming the new government. They operate to their own deal-making, trust-building, and power-sharing time table!

    Quite obviously nothing much can be done with them because Iraq is an independent country. But it is obviously still deeply involved in working through extremely complex questions of national liberation, and these are issues that can only be progressively resolved through democratic means and given the enemies faced in that region of the world over a quite protracted period (many decades of struggle lay ahead).

    Western progressives can have no policy that Diane Fieldes has.

    Progressives accept that the Iraqis run their country, and western countries can only provide assistance as and when requested and will have to leave when requested. I support Australian diplomatic presence in Iraq and the troops needed to protect those diplomats (not something I could have supported after Australian combat forces were withdrawn from Vietnam). I think you (Steve) probably support these policies as well. Diane Fieldes and her fellow travelers do not. She cheered the Rudd government’s removal of troops that had been playing a useful role and were still being requested by the Iraqi government, as that government was intensely fighting the enemies of all progressives. Request denied was Diane and Kevin’s policy!

    Marx’s letter to Lincoln stating that ‘the workers of the world are behind the stars and stripes’ was of course the war by war way to work through these issues! Instead of this style of concrete analysis of concrete events the brain-dead pseudo-Leninists resumed blaming Lenin’s analysis of the WW1 period (including the lead up to it and after war consequential events) for their inability to work out anything. ‘If the war was about Belgium then we would support it, but the war is not about Belgium’ is not IMV the faintest bit understood in the pseudo-left milieu.

    Instead, ‘imperialism’ the word had for years become a word of religious utterance rather than a a variable policy position to be properly applied to analyse of what other class forces were objectively doing etc. Imperialist policy settings from the superpowers allowed the simple-minded notion that whatever they are for, I am against to actually work pretty well for non-thinkers for many decades. But it hasn’t applied for decades.

    The pseudo-left avoid this revolutionary reality so powerfully demonstrated in application by Stalin, and then Mao from WW1 through to the end of Stalin’s life in 1953 when the Korean war had to be fought and the U.S. given a lesson. Since then has not the situation in Korea changed radically?

    Idiotic sectarians like the RCP types pretend to hold to a Maoist view while adopting a Trotskyist position on WW2? They then silence and call names and ban contributors from their sites, rather than debate any communist that has not changed from the traditional quite settled position on WW2 held by Mao all his bloody life. They are ridiculous people that can convince virtually nobody that they have a real grasp of how the world works.

    Here is a clasic example of the dribble that they sprout months after 9/11 and stick with all these years later when they can’t even convince themselves let alone stand up to debate.

    None of these emergent countries run by a new bourgeois (that called themselves communists once) were ‘looking for new masters’. That’s just not the way it works.

    The pseudo-left in Austrialia as demonstrated by those who attended the meeting that Kerry is reporting on are also isolated nutters with no credible theory of how the world is currently developing. They are not convincing anybody.

    I have always argued that the war aims in any war must be the starting point to any Marxist analysis. The war aims in the case of Kuwait were the annexation of Kuwait. This is not the way communists want the world to work. There will come a time when countries don’t invade others for the purpose of annexing the country and subjugating the peoples, and like Lenin said if the war were about Belgium then we would support it, but the war is not about Belgium. In this case the war was about Kuwait and we did support it. You were wrong and ‘we’ were right.

    Virtually the whole world of bourgeois governments stood up to the Baathists and made war on them, and threw them out of Kuwait. They did the right thing while Trots and others in the pseudo-left attempted to get in the way of this. Political development is now possible in Kuwait and is happening. The Kuwait ruling-elite is constrained as to how it can resist working class political development. That development is uniquely affected by the enormous wealth available to that particular owning class, where workers in Kuwait can be ‘bought off’ etc., but there is nothing that can be done about that.

    Further political development is a problem I admit. I also admit that left theory is not obvious and available to me anymore than I have credible theory for further revolutionary transformations in the advanced industrialised west. But not knowing what to do second is no excuse when faced with the issue of what to do first.

    IMV the U.S. is a bourgeois democracy and a retreating superpower that has had to (now quite obviously so) change policies in this period where I think imperialism is no longer (in any mass way) a going concern. I think the world has changed in the manner that Mao predicted when he suggested in the 1950’s that imperialism would not last long. I think he was dead right.

    Prior to WW2 imperialism was very much a going concern and the approaching war had to be considered in this light. The policies of Britain and France when they sacrificed Czechoslovakia and were trying to create their version of WW2, have to be fully considered and not hidden away from as you do when you present the issue of Poland as if it dropped from the sky.

    In the lead up to WW2 no major capitalist country had any supportable policies, they were all playing games. The USSR under the leadership of that period did have supportable policies but my view has always been that communists ought not have limited their stance to just defending the USSR and ought to have been independently thinking about the various issues as the changes unfolded.

    I have been over this before where you hold Stalin up as a collaborator and facilitator of Nazis and can’t see the need to repeat the exposure of the foolishness of that position. Despite the enormous effort required, Stalin demonstrated that he had understood what was required to fight and what was required to win and they did!

    Back to this last decade there are no ‘Imperial designs of America’ re Iraq because none would work! I supported this revolutionary war aimed at destoying middle eastern ‘stability’. That terrible stability is now gone and change is on the agenda. Imperialism was IMV a system of policies of division and redivision of markets etc.. This applied to U.S. policies in Iraq is a junk expression that ultimatly revolves around hopeless oil theory still clung to by the zombies that support the ‘Iraqi resistance’.

    To the extent that the U.S. ruling-elite now understand that their interests are served by abandoning their former policies is to the extent that we can applaud their troops that are liberating the peoples of Iraq. These are the soldiers that the various pseudo-left forces oppose, as they unite with and support the resistance that was planned for,established and funded and equipped by the Baathists etc.

    I support the government that is of the people, by the people, and for the people of Iraq. They are winning and despite all the ups and downs we predicted that they would. I support the liberation and condemn those in the west that tried to prevent this from occurring.

    In WW2, France and Britain were still following imperialist policies of appeasement even after they had been manouvered by the pact and ‘forced’ to declare war on Germany. Their policies needed to be exposed and broken with and unity with these forces could only arise after new policies were in place.

    The communist Molotov had for years denouced the Nazis while the British and French built them up to go East. Who does not know this? Now the diplomat of the U.S.S.R. does not feel the need to denounce the Nazis after having signed a pact of non agression with them and you put this forward as some form of sensible criticism. I understand from your previous exchanges that you do not approve of the pact. I don’t believe you have added anything further to your position.

    I would rather you address what is to be done currently to expose the pseudo-left of Diane Fieldes and her ilk rather than continue to denouce the victors of WW2 and how that victory was achieved.


  39. 39 keza

    Dalec wrote:

    “Speaking of health issues these are the consequences of the US Imperial destruction in Fallujah that Arthur once bragged about.

    Have you actually read the study you so triumphantly refer to Dalec? You can read the full pdf here .

    It’s crap research based on a questionnaire. I haven’t got time to write a blow by blow analysis, but there are some pretty obvious flaws. All over the net people are shouting excitedly about it, but how many of them have bothered to actually read the paper???

    Christopher Busby (the lead author) cites an earlier study to justify the use of a questionnaire for identifying cancer rates. When I looked at the reference list, I found that this previous study had been done by Busby himself and is reported in a book written by him entitled “Wolves of Water ” (sequel to a book called “Wings of Death”! )

    Busby is a man on a religious mission as you will see if you look at these links to “Wolves of Water”:



    You can read more about him here:



    I don’t think there’s much basis for thinking that this research was conducted with any degree of objectivity.

    In any case the findings of the bulk of research into depleted uranium and cancer rates is that there is very little (if any) connection. In contrast to Busby’s research, these findings have been based on extensive, longitudinal studies, and did not rely on answers given to a questionnaire filled out “together” with the interviewer. (What does “together” mean? … “helped by”???)

  40. 40 Dalec

    Lenin summarizes his definition of imperialism as follows:

    1) The concentration of production and capital developed to such a high stage that it created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life.
    2) The merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this “finance capital,” of a “financial oligarchy.”
    3) The export of capital, which has become extremely important, as distinguished from the export of commodities.
    4) The formation of international capitalist monopolies which share the world among themselves.
    5) The territorial division of the whole world among the greatest capitalist powers is completed.

    Please explain why the US does not fit into this description.


  41. 41 steve owens

    Patrickm I just don’t follow your logic. I can’t see any benefit in non aggression pacts with the Nazis. Poland had a non aggression pact with the Nazis and on 1st September 1939 Hitler showed that signing a non aggression pact with him wasn’t worth shit. So why would Stalin want to sign a non aggression pact when he must have known that Hitler was just about to drive a tank through the non aggression pact that he had with Poland.
    Poland had some claim to being a democratic society where as Kuwait had no claim to being democratic. So why get worked up about an emirate whilst not giving much of a toss for a semi democratic society like Poland?
    OK so with Lenin, if the question had been about Belgium then we Communists would have joined the struggle to free Belgium. Well on 1st September 1939 the question seems pretty clearly to be about Poland but Stalin just claims that the state of Poland had ceased to exist but if that’s so why later did the USSR enter into negotiations with the Polish government in exile?
    OK so you don’t want to talk about Basis Nord or about the USSR supplying Nazi Germany with fuel to prosecute the Battle of Britain but tell me this why when we get angry that Saddam gasses Kurds are we not moved when Stalin murders 20,000 Polish prisoners?

  42. 42 informally yours

    Now we’ve gone from “Let me put it really , really simply.”
    to “Patrickm I just don’t follow your logic.” A big improvement in tone. Readers will note that he has seemingly, seamlessly segued back to what Steve wants to discuss without reflecting upon what has just been said to him. This isn’t discussion.

    Then he decides to take up the moderator pose “Informally your I’m happy to discuss health issues but its off topic, start another thread.”

    My point was to bring you back to the present and concrete issues yet you took it as an opportunity to disengage/ridicule what is being said, taking up the skoolmarm persona which may help on mental health wards etc., but it’s not welcome as a discussion style at discussions I enjoy.

    As I recall, when we met at Flinders Uni you were just joining the International Socialist Organisation (ISO) which had become active on campus during/just after the invasion of Kuwait.

    Maybe you would like to talk of your experiences with so-called Marxist sects, on the all I know is that I am not a Marxist thread. As i recall the ISO split in the early 90s and become Socialist Alternative and you were a member of that as well? And isn’t this considered relevant in open, honest and above board discussion of a SA forum.

    I was foolish then to give the ISO the time of day but I was all fired up by the Students’ against war activities that were generated on the information provided at the time by the ISO leadership.

    Thinking about it even now takes me back to the back-room of the Students’ Asociation. (complete with escape hidey hole) Graham Hastings at the black-board giving a talk saying that Iraq and Kuwait had been separated by imperialists in the region, the “map-makers”, and Saddam was merely trying to restore former close ties. This is similar to how Christopher Hitchens describes that period as well. (Sadly, Christopher Hitchens recently announcing his diagnosis with oesophaggeal cancer)

    On this explanation, it did not fit with the ideas we had discussed in politics tutes about just war theory and so as a perceived unjust war I agitated against it.

    Don’t know how Graham H got it so wrong, but some time after the war I was shown an early 20th C map showing Kuwait existing before Iraq, and so i knew that I’d got it dreadfully wrong, but I was able to see the error, admit it, correct it and move on.

    When it came to Iraq MK2 I did not want war, (I also think almost nobody does want war) but when it is necessary it is necessary.

    On Poland, as I was not even alive when this was an issue I don’t consider myself too negligent in not spending precious time investigating it comprehensively. It is however a long bow to draw that I am not moved when learning “Stalin murders 20,000 Polish prisoners?”

    In answering your question; “Well on 1st September 1939 the question seems pretty clearly to be about Poland but Stalin just claims that the state of Poland had ceased to exist but if that’s so why later did the USSR enter into negotiations with the Polish government in exile?”

    The best answer I can give you is that “all that is solid melts into air”

  43. 43 Dalec

    I think that all would agree that WW1 was an out and out Imperial war.
    By the time of WW2 the contradictions within the colonial empires such as the British empire in India and parts of the ME, the Dutch empire in South East Asia and so on; were such that WW2 was a catalyst for the destruction of these colonial empires. The countries in Europe were too busy reconstructing themselves and too weak to do much about the liberation movements that broke out all over the globe. It was basically left to the US to attempt to bring about global order and to fight the “communist menace”. The US immediately set about installing puppet regimes in as many of the emerging nations as it could. South America, the ME and South East Asia. Where puppet regimes were too difficult it sought to become the indispensable ally or it bombed them back to the stone age. The stated aim was to bring peace and stability to the world, a modern version of the peace of Rome.
    By Lenin’s definition the US became an exemplar of Imperialism, an Imperialism that was backed up by the largest military industrial complex in the history of humankind. Iraq and Afghanistan are simply two of the most recent recipients of the US Jackboot. No its not about oil it’s about global domination. “Global Islam” has replaced the “communist menace” and the biggest economic threat to the US – China – must be encircled and defeated by whatever means. Hence the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
    Iraq was not a part of “Global Islam” until after the US invasion. It was simply low hanging fruit that begged for Imperial conquest.


  44. 44 patrickm

    Dalec; for Christ’s sake, when Lenin was writing Japan’s ruling class owned and had exclusive control over Korea; Britain’s had Ireland and India, etc., on through the list and including the tyranny of the Tsarist Russian empire. How can it be said now in this era of globalisation that ‘5) The territorial division of the whole world among the greatest capitalist powers is completed.’ is currently relevant? It may become so again but really right now do you think this stuff is what we have to start from?

    The seventy odd years since WW2 began has seen a lot of change and this is the era where the USA is the world’s largest debtor and their government bonds are being bought by the Chinese etc..

    Is Toyota a U.S. monopoly being excluded from German colonial markets leading to plans for an armed resolution of the problem? Or are there currently no plans for a redivision and market shares are all over the place?

    Is it the imperial plans of financiers in London; Tokyo; Hong Kong; New York; Shanghai; or Bonn; that you worry most about? Or does the desperate gathering together of the G20 indicate something rather more important for the world’s owning classes at present?

    The G-20 is made up of the finance ministers and central bank governors of 19 countries:
    Saudi Arabia
    South Africa
    Republic of Korea
    United Kingdom
    United States of America

    The European Union which is represented by the rotating Council presidency, and the European Central Bank is the 20th member of the G-20. To ensure global economic fora and institutions work together, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the President of the World Bank, plus the chairs of the International Monetary and Financial Committee and Development Committee of the IMF and World Bank also participate in G-20 meetings on an ex-officio basis.

    The G-20 thus brings together important industrial and emerging-market countries from all regions of the world. Together, member countries represent around 90 per cent of global gross national product, 80 per cent of world trade (including EU intra-trade) as well as two-thirds of the world’s population. The G-20’s economic weight and broad membership gives it a high degree of legitimacy and influence over the management of the global economy and financial system.’

    Is there currently any risk of foreign intervention to secure the financial interests of the monopolist finaciers that you are on about in say Greece or Portugal?

    Steve; if you ‘can’t see any benefit in non aggression pacts with the Nazis.’; then I think there is not much point in reminding you about Czechoslovakia and not much point in talking about the need to go to war against the German ally Finland; or to bully Rumania etc..

    But you probably understand that Stalin must have known that such a pact ‘wasn’t worth shit’ in any long run sense.

    The war to annex Kuwait and subjugate its people was just that (so naturally the trots abandoned the people of Kuwait) and all these years later you still don’t get it!

    The Polish redivision was part of the looming imperialist redivision of Europe where the have-not imperial power dudded at the end of WW1 wanted a rerun over the issues of WW1 on this front just for starters.

    Soviet forces only moved forward on 17 September after Molotov declared that the Polish government had ceased to exist. Curiously the day the Polish president Ignacy Moscicki, his government and the Commander-in Chief of the Polish armed forces resign and took refuge in Rumania!

    The Soviets had the choice of moving forward then when they did or leaving all of Poland to the loving care of the Nazis.

    On 18 Sept., ‘Under preasure from the German government, Rumania interns the members of the Government of Poland who had asked for assylum the previous day.’

    30 Sept., ‘A Polish government in exile is set up in Paris under the premiership of General Sikorski’ 217,000 Polish prisoners fall into Soviet hands (694,000 in German hands).

    6 Oct., last resistance ends and Hitler makes his speech in the Reichstag rejected by France on 11 Oct and Britain on 12 the same day as negotiations between Russia and Finland for an exchange of territory are opened.

    Just as the war was not about Belgium in WW1, WW2 was not about Poland but something obviously much bigger was planned by the British and the French as they built up the Nazis to smash the Soviet Union in the East giving Hitler Czechoslovakia. But hey you know all that because this has been explained before.

    We have fully discussed the issue of the pact and Soviet – German trade. You are adding nothing to change my view expressed previously that this trade worked a double treat for the short time that it lasted till the main event of WW2 started with the German attack on the U.S.S.R..

    BTW I am moved by what happened to the Poles.

  45. 45 steve owens

    Im not so much moved as I am inspired by the resistance by the Polish people despite having to resit 2 oppressors

  46. 46 patrickm

    OK Steve I just think one has to be daft or running a very peculiar agenda to think ‘The evidence suggests that the Soviet Union was a covert ally of Germany up to the point of the German invasion of the Soviet Union.’ But hey if that’s what you think, then one of those hats will have to fit by now!

    You have refused to concede any point (as usual) and reverted back to your rabid anti-communist position about the era before we were born IMV in order to remind any reader that, (as any good ALP type could tell you), communists really are as bad as Nazis; and I think everybody gets that.

    But we nasty commos are able to work with people holding views such as those of Christopher Hitchens re the modern world, and the wars of the ME and he’s not fond of Stalin. So I ask, why not? Now that you have moved as far as you actually have, just take that next dramatic step and accept and admit that you hold views similar to Hitchens re Iraq?

    Just to round out your position will you now make it clear that you wanted to do nothing about Kuwait (when you could have) and instead actively worked to do nothing and have now changed your view, like Hitchens has had to because you now know you were rather obviously wrong? Perhaps that’s too discomforting for you.

    Be clear; your former view on Iraq and before that Afghanistan was to side by default with Diane Fieldes and her ilk with Saddam’s mates in the resistance because despite breaking with the SA trot group and informing them they would have to rethink their position, you did not make any open, honest and above board effort to support united front politics, but rather pointlessly focused your efforts on exposing us bad old communists, and you do it BECAUSE we still had and have a good word to say about Stalin and Mao’s leadership of the WW2 era.

  47. 47 patrickm

    Sorry that should read; So I ask, (now that you have moved as far as you actually have) why not just take that next dramatic step and accept and admit that you hold views similar to Hitchens re Iraq?

  48. 48 Dalec

    The US may be the worlds biggest debtor, but it supports this status with the worlds largest military machine. In the late 19th century the US was also the worlds largest debtor due to massive borrowing from Europe. Guess what it did ? Told the Europeans that it was defaulting on the loans and if they wanted the money they had better send a really big army to collect it. That’s how they financed the railroads, ports and other infrastructure.
    Plenty of empires have gone bust, Spain in the 16th century just to name one.
    Fact remains, the the US is the only “Superpower” and it will do whatever it takes to maintain this status.
    One way to maintain this status is to invade and occupy weak states such as Iraq and Afghanistan. These military adventures massively enrich the ruling elite, are politically essential to certain section of the US society and serve to keep the debt collectors at bay.
    You may choose to believe the propaganda about the US and its noble task of bringing democracy to the “Muslim hordes” but I would suggest that the reality is far more mundane. No its not about American exceptionalism, not about oil, not about democracy, not about freedom. Its all about creating a world of constant war where no-one is brave enough to call in their debts. If global peace broke out tomorrow the US would rapidly become just another nation like any other and the Chines and the ROW would be asking for their money.
    The US has no option but to create a state of constant war.

  49. 49 steve owens

    Patrickm you ask me about my positions on Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan as if I have something to be embarrassed about.
    So let me run over the positions I took.
    When Iraq invaded Kuwait I supported sanctions being placed on Iraq because aggression should be punished.
    I opposed war on Iraq because I thought that many people would die and I also don’t think that democracies should come to the aid of non democracies. I think that the penalty for being a non democracy should be that you stand or fall on your own, sort of an incentive for non democracies to embrace the modern world for their own self interest.
    Once Iraq had left Kuwait I saw no reason to continue with sanctions.
    In Afghanistan I opposed the war as I thought that terrorism was better combated by police actions rather than by military actions plus I thought that Afghanistan would prove to be a military sink hole as it has been in the past.
    Once inside Afghanistan I have argued that foreign troops should protect the people, I just wish they would.
    In Iraq once the invasion had occurred I argued for immediate direct elections. I also argued that faced with an occupation army that fired on peaceful demonstrations, imprisoned thousands of people without due cause and started torturing them as well as facing death squads, then any group in Iraq has the right to self defence in the manner of their choosing.

  50. 50 steve owens

    Informally yours you state “Thank goodness the ALP has enough sense to get rid of Rudd..” Fuck! and you call yourself a member of the true left. The ALP has just moved to the right on a big Australia, on refugees and on taxing the richest people in Australia and your opinion is “Thank goodness”
    ps could you reproduce your leaflet on Afghanistan I want to read again how war is good for women.

  51. 51 paul

    interesting discussion going on here but steve i think you think poland is some little innocent non player in events leading up to ww2.

    polands inabilities in creating its own state with firm borders were as much of its own doing as any one else’s and in no small way sealed its own fate by acting like a miniture version of germany in imperial central europe.

    even after ww2 and up to 1947 polish and ukrainian ultra nationalists were fighting amongst themselves (200,000 dead i think )

    the aftermath of ww2 ultimately gave poland the strongest borders it will ever have and the soviet union played no small part in that.

    the soviet union in looking after its own interests creating long and lasting peace in central and eastern europe.

    the soviet union needed a strong poland as invaders of the soviet union had just cut through poland like a knife through butter on too many occasions.

  52. 52 steve owens

    Hi Paul, no I don’t think that Poland was innocent. Poland was keen to take it’s own advantage of the Munich sell out and grab it’s piece of Czechoslovakia but I see that as no more reason to say you brought it on yourself that to say to Kuwait that it’s funding of Iraq’s war machine brought it’s own chickens home.
    My point is that the resistance in Poland was an anti fascist resistance and that Poland had some democratic status. Once in Poland, Germany was sure to attack the USSR or Norway as it did.
    If you investigate resistance movements in occupied Europe it’s hard to deny that Poland’s was the biggest and the best, it’s impossible to believe that Communists both Stalinist and Trotskyist were unable to follow their democratic instincts and support the just struggle of the Polish people.

  53. 53 patrickm

    If people want to understand a bit more about the inter war period in the polish region try this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prometheism and you can quickly see what conserns the Bolshevics had about the type of leadership and danger that was at the very heart of polish military thinking http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%B3zef_Pi%C5%82sudski One does not have to dig very far into this issue to see just how foolish comparing Kuwait 1991 to Poland 1939 is. But I must admit that I have become used to this level of foolishness from supporters of supporters of the Baathist ‘resistance’ in Iraq.


  54. 54 Steve Owens

    Is that all you got? A dead General and a political project that according to your link was in decline and had been in decline for years.

  55. 55 patrickm

    That confirms my view on the level of foolishness involved with the supporters of supporters of the Baathist ‘resistance’.

    The first war between this lot and the Soviet Union had involved 1.5 million combatants and cost about 100,000 killed on the Soviet side and estimates of 50-90 thousand on the Promethenian-ist Polish / Ukranian / French etc., side, ending with the Soviets being driven backwards during this period of the 14 powers armed intervention.


    When that particular ‘seperate’ war ended many years of building an internationally structured and openly militarised political formation with deep connections internal to the Soviet Union, designed to smash the Soviet Union, and create a powerful new political entity that would stretch from the Baltic to the Black Sea began.

    But hey Steve knows all this! He knows or ought to know just who and what his ‘dead General’ was, and what his life’s work had been all about (both positive and negative to be sure) and the link is there to check it.

    Obviously what is dishonestly, or stupidly presented as insignificant by Steve was in reality a huge concern to the Soviet leadership, as anyone seriously studying this can quickly grasp with a light review of what is referred to as ‘Is that all you got’.

    This was not just any old dead general as Steve well knows! This whole complex problem was always war by other means when not war itself. Poland was a real clear threat as was Finland. The Soviet Union was surrounded by enemies on every front that were very serious. Poland was a huge part of one potential war that didn’t eventuate.

    It’s worth reminding Steve that things change and small can become large just like the communist forces under Mao, after the huge losses from the great retreat of the Long March,and the large can become small like the anti-liberation of Iraq demo’s.

  56. 56 steve owens

    Patrickm, I look at the stuff you linked to and what do I read. Edmund Charaszkiewicz who co ordinated the Promethian movement wrote in 1940 that Poland had turned away from the Promethian movement.
    Any how even if Poland was full of Soviet baby eaters as soon as they started to fight the Nazis they were worth supporting, your problem is that faced with supporting an anti Nazi resistance or swapping information with the Gestapo the Soviets chose the Gestapo.

  57. 57 patrickm

    The anti-communist line pushed by Trotskyites and Steve is that even if Poland and a large part of the Ukraine; Finland; Romania; Hungary; Latvia; Lithuania; Estonia; Bulgaria; Turkey; Japan; France; Britain; and the US; Germany; Austria; Italy; and Spain, (to name just the first few that come to mind) were all led by anti-communists actively (some more than others but all actively) working towards the destruction of the Soviet Union. This fact of life did not permit the ‘evil ancestor’, Stalin signing the non agression pact with the Germans led by the Nazis, and thus the consequent contacts between their security forces (during the partition of Poland period) and trade particularly aircraft fuel (then used against imperial Britain and France)!

    Instead, according to the person that said;

    Kuwait could and should be surrendered by the UN to the Iraqi Baathists without war to restore its independence because it wasn’t a democracy anyway, and because economic sanctions work and that should be the punishment to Iraq and that will fix the problem without war. Advice ignored by the rest of the political world.

    Steve says he wanted to shutdown almost all the oil trade from Kuwait and Iraq for as long as it took, and thus could probably show us documents from the period of the ISO supporting Desert Shield? Well actually, no he can’t because protecting all these other non democracies would not make sense and his group always opposed any military forces sent to the region and actually claimed that Kuwait was just an imperialist creation that the ‘workers of the world’ had no interest in preserving.

    I don’t recall any call for sanctions from Steve at the time but I do recall him pushing the ISO material. So I take that material to actually be his line.

    Anyhow later after the Baathists ‘left’ Kuwait (cute one Steve) he pushed his pseudo-leftist ISO – SA material for years denouncing the horrors of what the (then apparently unnecessary) sanctions were doing to the peoples’ of Iraq. (horrors he was previously prepared to inflict indefinitely himself apparently) AND in the typical pseudo-pacifist manner what had been done to destroy the Baathist army, accusing those that killed armed retreating Baathist troops of war crimes etc.

    Then he claims to favour the revolutionary overthrow of the Iraqi tyranny by the unarmed Iraqi masses who were easilly and mass murderingly put down by the Baathist troops that were left. Gawd help us!

    After Bush the 1st betrayed the Iraqi Shia and Kurds etc., pseudo-leftists even opposed the US no fly zones (Iraqis sing songs of praise to this day – not).

    According to this brilliant political analysis, as soon as Polish anti-soviet forces were fighting the Nazis, good communists would and should have all fallen into the trap set by the French and British etc., etc., and attacked the Germans to assist the Poles (and yes you guessed it most probably lost WW2).

    After all, under such circumstances (even before the winter war with Finland) Leningrad would have to have fallen, as would have Moscow and Stalingrad on the very first year with Guderian’s new methods running riot.

    The Soviets were in no fit state to do what WAS done just a few short years later at the cost on memory of 27,000,000 Soviet casualties. It is actually remarkable what the revolutionary Soviet Union achieved under Stalin’s leadership.

    Where was the second front Steve? Not till June 6 1944! Not till Nazi Germany was well on the way to being beaten.

    Anyhow, as amusing as the exposure of the idiocy of Trot thinking is to the historian types among us, I say that Steve is not even convincing himself that there is some sort of comparison to be drawn with his refusal to stand with the people of Kuwait because their country wasn’t a bourgeois democratic ‘Shangri La’.

    Steve and his Trot mates that proudly side with the ‘resistance’ forces made up of the Nazi-styled, Nazi thinking, Nazi acting Baathists and other assorted market place bombers, are not convincing anyone that they know how the world works and how to fight and win ‘a glorious future for the workers of the world’.

    After this exchange I have strengthened my views of the soundness of Stalin’s leadership during WW2 and the build up to it.

    Falklands war anyone?

  58. 58 steve owens

    Desert Shield? The US operation to place troops inside Saudi Arabia to protect it from Iraq. To be honest I don’t support US troops in Saudi Arabia, again it doesn’t make sense for democracies to support such regimens. Just for the record I wasn’t a member of the ISO during Gulf War 1 and I had some differences with them over Gulf war 1 and to be honest I used to tease them about their position on WW2.
    But my sins aside, I was wanting to point out that the position that Patrick earlier described as ludicrous was not just the position of the British Communist Party but was the position that all Communist Parties loyal to the Comintern took.
    When Nazi Germany invaded Poland the line was not to support the resistance but that the war was an inter Imperialist war. When Nazi Germany invaded Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland and France the line was not to support the resistance but to describe the war as an inter imperialist war where England and France were the aggressors.
    When Nazis Germany invaded the Soviet Union the line became that it was an anti Fascist war and Communist parties took the lead in all resistance movements except Poland’s which remained the first and the biggest resistance movement in occupied Europe. And yes the Soviet Union won the second world war the US could have played a bigger role but chose not to.
    Pat you make a big deal out of the universal hostility that the Soviet Union was exposed to but there must be a huge difference between the hostility that Britain expressed to the hostility that Nazi Germany expressed. One is incapable of attacking you because it doesn’t have a continental army and one has a huge army a common border and a pathological hatred but fortunately not enough oil to attack you, oops you just sold them enough oil.

  59. 59 patrickm

    It is no coincidence that today Barack Obama announced victory in Iraq. He is trying to swamp today’s bad news of the withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan by the Netherlands.

    ‘One after the other, people took turns to denounce evil (imperialism), and make a public display of their commitment to (I’m not sure what ). No-one showed the slightest interest in discussing anything, let alone questioning the position taken by any of the panelists.’

    Well only most of that applies to Steve, but unless we dig deeper into some of the implications of a war when we support it, then ‘their commitment to (I’m not sure what)’ will be seen to apply to ouselves as well.

    So, in that spirit I would like to leave behind Steve’s foolishness over Soviet preperations for WW2, which he addmits the Soviets won but only after the greatest effort the world has ever seen, and put forward some of my views on more challenging issues.

    I only hope my following views provoke a more honest discussion than the junk about Stalin the Nazi enabler, because I would have thought the views were once quite orthodox views for any revolutionary left involved in the advocacy of war.

    Most here have not drawn lessons and advanced a more detailed strategy for winning the war in Afghanistan and our western ruling class has been particularly tardy in addressing the socially disrupting changes that are required. So the masses who have lost confidence in their political leaders generally have [correctly] little confidence that they know what they are doing and consequently public support for the war is rapidly slipping and the enemy advances accordingly.

    There is a real ground swell growing as the casualties start to rise again and today it’s all over the MSM with the Wikileaks – the totallity of which IMV does leave the Australian head of wikileaks, as the final leaker, with blood on his hands. In short, anything that could assist the enemy or what the Diane Fieldes and other pseudos call the resistance that she supports should have been held back but anything that will assist the war ought to have been published.

    If we want to see a credible left on all issues re-emerge, and such a thing really did once exist then the hard questions can’t be left to the ruling classes to actually attend to.

    The bougeois liberal school theoretically puts forth the nuclear familly as the way to move the world forward, and the cultural revolutionary Marxists of China struggled to address this argument and uphold a collectivist approach. Rights and responsibilities and personal debt to the community that gave one the advantages that others did not enjoy were emphasised not wimped. The devil take the hindmost approach was not what the left ever stood for.

    What is in the interests of proletarian internationalists generally and specifically with respect to refugees from Afghanistan?

    How can we argue that western proletarian sons and daughters must be sent to risk their life, and I most certainly do, and not demand a similar effort from those they fight alongside and the Afghan people more generally?

    Ought we not demand that people stay at their post?

    Can revolutionaries tolerate a continuous brain drain of the brightest, or most educated and those with the most get up and go?

    Under the circumstances how can there be a legitimate refugee from Afghanistan? If they are threatened by the enemy then so are ‘our’ sons and daughters, and they must all stand together and hold that territory!

    If we haven’t a war fighting strategy that can give the Afghans fair protection (not obviously limitless because there is a war on) but such that we don’t expect them to be in mobile retreat, as Mao was on the Long (and sensible) March, then what are we doing?

    If Afghans are threatened by forces that are supposedly on our side, then they are either the enemy or those targetting them are and there is a real problem that needs to be sorted out to win this war, and we are not there to do anything else other than win this war and continue to transform the world in proletarian interests.

    What did Stalin and Mao require of people when they were on the job of contributing to the revolutionary transformation of their part of the world? Did they not require labour from civilians behind their armed forces? Did they not require military service from young men, and even not so young?

    I am for a big Australia and not the slightest bit worried about either world population levels, people’s carbon footprint and all the rest of the green worries. I want to see world wide the real developments such as have happened in Ireland where political refugees that previously fled rather than face a British hangman; or of later years internment, and where for some centuries economic immigrants left their family’s behind because there was nothing else to be done if one wanted more than to just eke out an existence. But they were running from the reactionary British army involved in a reactionary war not from contributing their bit in a just war that is being fought in the interests of all humanity.
    I want to see the greater carbon footprint that all this development really does imply.

    Greens lie when they say there is currently a prospect of development across the globe on non carbon based energy. The greens want self sacrifice across the board but most particularly from the ‘teaming poor’, that in reality they fear the very existence of. But the revolutionary left would be lying if we did not recognise the reality of what is required of the Afghan people.

    However, I have always thought that the most feeble minded thinking that starts from an elitist viewpoint, and a contempt for working people, passes for a left-wing view on the issues of refugees, and yet another not so discreet veil is drawn over the policy positions of Marxist leaders of bygone eras.

    ‘Refugeeing’ is becoming easier (as it ought to) and there are at present 14million on the UN’s books and it seems to me that this is a manifestation of the infancy of the other great movement of our era ‘and the people want revolution’.

    People seek refuge for various reasons and immigrate for others. That’s why it’s possible for people of good will to hold views that insist on an orderly flow of people. Mao and Stalin had quite a bit to say about the issue if you look at their life’s work and their own actions. In his day Mao was a famous fighting ‘refugee’ in his own country, and Stalin was a Georgian that moved to Moscow.

  60. 60 Dalec

    Your entire argument is posited upon a “war” against “terrorism”. What does that mean? Equally you could have a war against drugs, against crime, against all sorts of things.
    Terrorism, crime, drugs are criminal matters and should be dealt with by police forces and the forces of law.
    Oh but you will say these forces are inadequate so we need to declare “war”.
    If this “war” became an excuse for the wanton killing of civilians, for the extra judicial execution of suspects and for the support of corrupt and/or Fascist regimes (Such as in Pakistan and Afghanistan) you would presumably oppose it? If you do not oppose this sort of war why do you not support Israel as it executes its genocidal program against the people of the ME?
    Logic demands that your “war on terror” should include the invasion and subjugation of the populations of a very long list of countries that are controlled by very unsavoury regimes. Why do you consider it the duty of our “young” to fight to subjugate the general population of other countries. How about you volunteer? “even not so young”.
    Barry has argued for revolutionary change in places such as Iran, at least he has that right. He would probably know that the nature of the changes in Iran will comne from within, they cannt be dtermined by external forces. Your strategy of global war against “terrorism” will ensure that the people of Iran, for example, stay under the sway of the Ayatollahs as they defend their country from invasion.
    The entire US and NATO strategy in Afghanistan is seen by the Afghans as an invasion. Karzai is seen as a corrupt puppet. You want the people of Afghanistan to fight with the invaders?
    They are a lot smarter than that.

  61. 61 Barry

    In overthrowing Saddam Hussein, the dictator who the US originally propped up, the Coalition of the Willing was siding with the Iraqi people in their democratic aspirations. This has been proven by the consequences of the war: a federal democratic constitution (rather than the civil war dalec and co predicted and now hope for), multi-party competitive elections, a complete failure by any ‘resistance’ to gain popular support, good-will for the new democracy on the part of people around the world, including the hundreds of thousands who marched against the war in 2003 (never have the die-hards been so isolated). Of course, it’s an embryonic democracy and expect those who would have kept the old regime in power to seize on every big and small set-back and problem.

    My solidarity with the Iranians in their struggle for democracy is no more or less than what I felt and feel for the Iraqis. I like to think that the US is covertly supporting the pro-democracy movement in Iran (though the CIA are such fuddy-duddy conservatives that they’re probably only doing so minimally and probably giving most of their funding, etc to the exile community). Now any foreign support must be abhorent to the dalecs. “It is written” – only the internal contradictions can resolve anything. There must be NO outside support for oppressed people, especially not superior military force that might actually help free them and avert civil war and regional conflagration. Yes: “It is written”!

    Were I an Iranian activist, I’d be inspired by the example of Iraq: a tyrant overthrown and a democracy developing. Now that’s regime change. That’s revolutionary in my book. There’s as much chance of the Iranians uniting behind the current clericalist regime against ‘foreign interference’ and destabilization as there was of the Iraqis uniting against the US-led invasion to topple the old fascist regime. The dalecs have such a poor view of the people – democracy can only be “imposed”, as though the people didn’t want such change.

    They’ve shown they did want it – by voting by the millions in federal and local elections, often against threats by dalec’s ‘resistance’ to kill them for doing so.

    But all this has been said before, time and again. History continues to pass the dalecs by, yet they persist in recycling their old, discredited, arguments.

    As for Afghanistan, they need an ‘Iraq stategy’ rather than the strange alliance with warlords against the Taliban that resulted in a farcical election. No wonder it’s so bogged down. An Iraq strategy means using miltiary force to support the best democratic aspirations of the people. The strategy in Afghanistan is hardly inspiring and will remain quagmired until they get real about democracy, and prove it as has been done in Iraq. Despite the assumptions about them made by the dalecs, the Afghan people want democracy as much as anyone else.

    Presumably dalec believes in a total withdrawal of foreign troops, of waiting for the internal contradictions to unfold (as though they haven’t already), while he pushes ahead in Australia with the next exercise in green entrepreneurialism.

  62. 62 Dalec

    Have you ever actually been to Afghanistan?
    Do you have any detailed knowledge of the place at all?
    Have you studied in detail the history, geography and culture of the place?
    If not how can you pretend to be so prescriptive? Or is it just part of the “white mans burden” that you and your ilk so manfully shoulder. After all you belong to the most enlightened and forward looking country in the world so you must know what is good for the teeming Muslim masses. A bit of swamp draining eh?
    For the record Barry I argued – successfully and publicly – against the Qld anti war movement taking a position of support for the so called “resistance” in Iraq. This called for me to face down dozens of screaming Trots.
    You are supporting the so called Iraq government, by many accounts the most corrupt in the world, you want to force the people of Afghanistan into this mould? Have you ever thought that maybe they should be consulted?
    No you and your mates will erupt in glee every time a wedding party in some remote village is taken out by a remote controlled drone that is controlled by some kid in an office in the US. “That will show those terrorists who is in control”.
    There is nothing new under the sun Barry. May I respectfully suggest that you view this:
    Not He’s not my grandfather but he did stop the Fascist coup in the US in 1936.

  63. 63 Dalec

    This is Smedley Butler


    Nothing has changed much.

    He wrote:
    “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class thug for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

  64. 64 Barry

    Smedley D. Butler to be precise. I don’t know much about him beyond that statement made in 1935. He died in 1940. I wonder what he would have thought of the profits being made by British armaments manufacturers in the struggle against the Nazis. He was a Quaker, not a Marxist.

    Were he a democrat (small ‘d’) and an internationalist, he would have supported the overthrow of autocrats, tyrants and dictators – fascists – everywhere, and supported the right of people to vote for a government of their choice. This would have allied him with the Left.

  65. 65 Dalec

    Barry, perhaps you should learn about him, he was the most decorated soldier of all time turned peace activist and killer of fascist coups.
    A BBC Radio 4 investigation sheds new light on a major subject that has received little historical attention, the conspiracy on behalf of a group of influential powerbrokers, led by Prescott Bush, to overthrow FDR and implement a fascist dictatorship in the U.S. based around the ideology of Mussolini and Hitler.
    In 1933, Marine Corps Maj.-Gen. Smedley Butler was approached by a wealthy and secretive group of industrialists and bankers, including Prescott Bush the current President’s grandfather, who asked him to command a 500,000 strong rogue army of veterans that would help stage a coup to topple then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
    According to the BBC, the plotters intended to impose a fascist takeover and “Adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression.”

    The conspirators were operating under the umbrella of a front group called the American Liberty League, which included many families that are still household names today, including Heinz, Colgate, Birds Eye and General Motors.
    Butler played along with the clique to determine who was involved but later blew the whistle and identified the ringleaders in testimony given to the House Committee on un-American Activities.
    However, the Committee refused to even question any of the individuals named by Butler and his testimony was omitted from the record, leading to charges that they were involved in covering the matter up, and the majority of the media blackballed the story.
General Smedley Butler, author of the famous quote “war is a racket”, exposed the fascist plotters but was subsequently demonized and shunned by the government and the media.

    Even prominent historians are unaware of him.


  66. 66 Barry

    Seems to me like he would have supported the overthrow of Saddam Hussein but, then again, his notion that “war is a racket” is fairly silly and very different to a Marxist viewpoint which eschews pacifism and supports wars of liberation, including anti-fascist wars that topple dictators and replace them with more democratic systems, as in Iraq.

  67. 67 steve owens

    There is one more thing about World War Two that I wonder about.
    From July to October in 1940 Germany and Britain were occupied with the Battle of Britain. At this time the Soviet Union was being helpful by offering to host a U-boat base (the previously mentioned Basis Nord) During October and November Germany and the USSR conducted the German-Soviet Axis talks.
    Now Germany as most people know was short on oil, being a non oil producing nation they relied on captured oil, synthetic oil made from coal and Soviet supplied oil but the largest source was oil from the Ploesti field in Romania.
    Now here’s what I find interesting, the Soviet Union had a large military force stationed 100 miles from the virtually unguarded Ploesti field, they had operational plans on how to take this area but they just sat there for four months and left Germany’s greatest vulnerability unmolested. After this four month window of opportunity the German army moved into the field which was then left unmolested for years.
    It just seems odd that a socialist army would sit on it’s hands and let an opportunity the cripple the Nazi war machine pass by.

  68. 68 Dalec

    The “war against terror”.

    Who said this? ” Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. …voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country”

    I seem to read a lot of this stuff on these pages.

  69. 69 Barry

    More to the point, dalec, who said THIS:

    “The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination… the “global war on terrorism” has the hallmarks of a political myth propagated to pave the way for a wholly different agenda – the US goal of world hegemony, built around securing by force command over the oil supplies required to drive the whole project.”

    I’ll give you the answer:

    THE BRITISH NATIONAL FRONT on their website. Check out your analysis on their site here: http://www.national-front.org.uk/bogus.htm

    Their viewpoint and analysis is consistent with a neo-fascist point of view. The local Australian variant – Australia First – takes the same line. They opposed the war, which they saw and see as part of US plans for global hegemony and control of oil.

    I have spent years arguing with people like dalec against their right-wing views that in effect supported the dictatorship in Iraq, and I don’t feel too bad showing the direct and essential sameness between the overt right-wing and the pseudo-left in their analysis.

    Hmmm. What would old Smedley think!

  70. 70 Dalec

    My quote was from Goring (Goering) Gilbert, G. (1995). Nuremberg Diary. New York: Da Capo Press. pp. 278–279. ISBN 0306806614.
    Göring spoke about war and extreme nationalism to Captain Gilbert, as recorded in Gilbert’s Nuremberg Diary:
    You have fallen for the “war against terror” story, hook line and sinker. Now you resort to imputing neo-fascist ideology to me. That is pathetic Barry, as any-one who knows me will attest.
    I don’t think you are a neo-fascist a neo anything really, you have simply become rather obtuse in your old age.
    Once you and others on this site were heroes to the people, now you are seen as kinda dumb but well meaning mostly.
    You have fallen for the oldest trick in the demagogues book; (patriotic war) against an enemy that is nothing more than a bunch of criminal gangs that could easily be rounded up and incarcerated if the real will was there.

  71. 71 steve owens

    Barry I just need you to run the democracy argument past me again. The Iraqi government has recently banned trade unions in the electricity sector under the 2005 anti terrorism law. Police have closed union offices and seized union assets. Is your argument well its better than under Saddam? It is better than under Saddam but is it democracy?

  72. 72 Barry

    Steve, why should you need it to be run by you again? You’ve heard the argument many times over the past five or six years. But, for new readers: Iraq has gone from being under the heel of a fascistic dictator to a developing democracy. A key feature of this new and qualitatively better system is that Iraqis can vote for the government in competitive multi-party elections. Parties whose members were previously massacred (eg, the communists) now freely compete and (to stick with the example) have held to Cabinet posts since Iraq’s liberation. How-to-vote cards in Iraq are huge.

    In the old days, Iraq was run by a small clique based around an indivdual’s clan. He used those loyal to him among the Sunnis to suppress everyone else including dmocratically minded Sunnis. Now everyone else has new democratic power.

    I have no time for any allegedly left-wing point of view that down-plays the significance to democracy of competitive elections. It frightens me to hear people who speak of how democracy is just a ruse or a sham. It’s pseudo-left stuff, in my opinion, and also British National Front stuff. (The similarities are far too consistent and strong to be dismissed by the evidence of what one’s like-minded friends may think). Were it not for the concept of a ‘pseudo-left’, I’d probably be talking of a ‘fascist left’ (an oxymoron).

    The Left has been the staunchest advocate of democracy, going back to Marx in the C19th, and remains so. Or should. Thus, going from a situation in Iraq where previously people could not vote for a government of their choice to one in which they can is a momentous change for the better. It paves the way for a truly bright future by empowering the people in ways unthought of under the old order. It is regime change of the same magnitude as the overthrow of apartheid and the right to vote in South Africa.

    I support democracy everywhere: Cuba, North Korea, China, you name it.

    But, those who automatically opposed Iraq’s liberation from the start, will protest that democracy is more than just elections. Which is perfectly true. But note the “just”. They actually underrate the central role of elections in a democracy.

    Iraq is developing as a democracy in other areas too. Secular parties are on the rise, newspapers have proliferated since 2003 (the first previously illegal one to hit the streets was ‘Peoples Path’ published by the Communist Party – but there are now hundreds, big and small, all over Iraq.

    Iraqis are now able to take to the streets in peaceful protest marches against the government. Steve, you think they could do that under the old regime?

    NGOs were previously banned – now there are many of them. Iraq is more or less open to them.

    Severe penalties existed under the old regime for satellite dishes – now they’re a booming business.

    The old institutional trade union movement that was loyal to the Ba’athists now has competitors. I’m with the competitors, the new trade unions that are loyal to the democratic state. Ba’ath sympathisers among the leadership of the old ones will continue to manipulate the workers’ genuine concerns about their conditions for wider anti-democratic purposes and I support the suppression of the remnant fascists wherever they are in Iraq, just as I support democratic trade unions.

    I’ve found it telling that people like dalec need to misrepresent their opponents. No matter how often I corect him, he persists in saying that the pro-Iraq people at this site predicted a land of milk and honey there. We did no such thing. It was obvious that Iraq would have a very long struggle ahead of it and that problems would continue. But we did support the overthrow of the old order and its replacement with a democratic system.

    That system allows the people to deal with their problems as they see fit, not some dictator. The people may occasionally get it wrong, but it is they who will get it wrong. Personally, I have faith in the people, based largely on my study of history and everyday life experience.

    There are many other examples of how democracy is developing in Iraq but, really, why should I persist with this? Why keep debating with a couple of individuals with whom I debated for years and who have lost in Iraq and been proven so wrong?

    I recall a horror movie from the 1950s that showed that if you’re bitten by a zombie you become one. Best not to get too close.

  73. 73 steve owens

    Barry, the decree involving the Electricity sector bans all unions. Democracy involves freedom of association.

  74. 74 steve owens

    Barry the local Australian fascists opposed the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, did you? If the answer is yes then by the standard that you have put forward you are some sort of left fascist.
    I’m pleased that you support the struggle for democracy in China because I thought you were a big supporter of the previous dictatorship there.

  75. 75 Barry

    Steve, you need to post a link to the ‘local fascists’ to prove your assertion. Then I’d be able to respond. It’s certainly possible to reach the same conclusion from very different perpsectives but dalec and your analysis of Iraq – global hegemony of the USA – is identical to that of the British National Front. It’s not a matter of reaching the same conclusion from different perspectives but of thinking the same and understanding the world in the same way.

    The British National Front also probably shares your take on Mao ‘the dictator’. But I’m not interested in arguing about Mao. I did feel I could draw attention to the sameness on Iraq because I have spent years arguing with you guys, arguing properly, and now I’m not that interested in arguing the issue with you.

    Take the BNF reference as a parting shot.

  76. 76 steve owens

    Barry I don’t need to access the National Action web site, I was involved in the Campaign for an Independent East Timor and anyone who was involved can tell you that National Action would at times attempt to express their solidarity. Ask anyone who was politically active at the time.

  77. 77 Barry

    Well, I want to see evidence that their analysis and argument was the same as mine at the time. As I said previously, it is possible to reach the same conclusion from very different perspectives but it is another matter to have the same analysis and understanding. That is the issue and it requires evidence on your part, evidence from the source itself, primary evidence.

  78. 78 steve owens

    Demand what you like Barry. I never said I had a link to any fascist site. What I said was that it was well known by people involved with the Campaign that National Action opposed the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, plenty of right wingers did and on occasion National Action would attempt to be at the demo’s. At least that was our experience here in Adelaide.

  79. 79 Dalec

    Barry,So its OK to invade a country, kill hundreds of thousands of its citizens, force even more to flee the country, destroy its infrastructure appropriate resources and install an army of occupation all in the name of democracy?
    Says a lot for your ethical and moral universe.

  80. 80 patrickm

    Steve says ‘It just seems odd that a socialist army [not at war with either Romania or Germany] would sit on its hands [for the four months of the Battle of Britain] and let an opportunity to cripple the Nazi war machine pass by.’ Oh really!

    What seems odd to me is Steve demanding that the USSR launch a war against both Romania and the Germans because the Romanians were ALSO trading oil with the Germans, while the Germans were at war with the British imperialists, just after the French imperialists with the largest land forces in Europe had been routed by the Germans. (Along with the capitalist and imperialist governments of Holland, Belgium, Denmark and Norway)

    The ideal time (in Steve’s mind anyway) to confirm what the capitalists throughout the world had been saying for decades about the aggressive intentions of the lying communists. But hey, that aggressive intention is also believed by Steve!

    AND yet it’s not as if during this period, the revolutionary USSR had not been involved in dismembering the then ex Promethean minded Poland, and had not been at war against the ‘plucky little German ally’ Promethean minded Finland, and not as if they hadn’t swallowed the three Promethean minded Baltic states of the former Czarist empire that had secured their white’s led ‘freedom’ during the civil war period, and not as if Stalin had not bullied Promethean minded Romania into cedeing Bessabaria and North Bukovia to the USSR.

    Yet Steve is not satisfied with this level of aggression that had the capitalist press in Britain in a frenzy of anti-communism! No Steve demands that the USSR join with the British so that the British could and would do what exactly?

    The British and French and various Promethean minded countries led by Poland, had plotted for years to get the Soviet Union deep into war with the Germans, and Steve thinks it odd that communists declined to give them what they wanted.

    The British and French had tried to start WW2 as a war between Germany and the USSR but failed!

    Steve; as the old saying goes, what ever you do don’t give up your day job.

    Dalec: The idea that 9/11 could (forget your use of the word should) have been responded to by sending over a few (presumably x tens of thousand) Interpol officers to arrest OBL and dismantle AlQaeda etc., or some such proposal that keeps all the other armed forces in their home countries is self evidently loopy! You know it, and so does a dopey trot like Diane Fieldes, yet she is trapped supporting the ‘resistance’ that would murder her on sight!

    9/11 really (and obviously) did require the invasion of Afghanistan, that was fully expected by the enemy when they planned their criminal war. They planned to get the US that they had come to understand from its post WW2 policies, ‘in deep’, and ‘wear it down’ and out in a protracted war, and in this they have a sound strategy. They had done well against the old USSR and they have already worn out the Dutch who have thrown up their hands and are going home without winning.

    Imperialism is doomed and the people of the US do not have the same interests as the imperialists had. The ruling elite IMV could not conduct and ultimately win the protracted war that AQ and the various idiotic ‘anti-imperialist’ pseudo-leftists believed them to be compelled to fight. They never looked for any opption.

    The ruling elite at war cabinet level had to think their way through a war and be satisfied that they had a strategy for winning it. They had to adopt a policy that could be sustained if they were to take on a force whose strategy was to melt away and constantly regenerate itself and inflict a constant drip of casulalties on their opponents, who would be expending vastly more on their very expensive forces.

    The brutal maths, would go something like – if they could kill one Nato soldier a day, and lose say five of their own, then they would easily win if they planned for a two to three plus decade war. The enemy could replace their 2,000 losses per annum, but Nato would grow tired of losing their 200-400 per annum, together with the costs of doing so.

    They obviously did not count on getting the crap knocked out of their movement in the totally unexpected war to liberate Iraq – but they have had that happen and that is devestating for these reactionaries. The Iraqi people are now an implacable enemy of AQ and the whole politics that streams off from it, with absolutely no Dutch option available to them. AQ did not count on US policy reversing on the war for greater Israel, so when the war for greater Israel is ended in defeat and a democratic Palestinian state does come into being yet another front that AQ counted on to both generate and sustain the production of their fighters will have also collapsed.

    AQ had planned on growing stronger in Pakistan and not counted on the ongoing democratic political changes within Pakistan (that are vital for the war that is required on both sides of the border with Afghanistan), but those changes are slowly unfolding with US support rather than hindrance, and so the safe haven areas in the border regions will shrink as bourgeois democracy develops further.

    So is everything going well? Evidently not. But one can’t contribute to any progressive policy development if you misunderstand the whole reason for and nature of the war.

    What perspective could Diane Fieldes bring to the issue of supporting the further spread of democracy? For her it’s not happening at all anywhere that US troops are! The focus of her thinking is how to defeat the imperialist US superpower that is there (actually anywhere) for all the wrong reasons!

    How can Steve and Dalec, who have and continue to unite with the Diane Fieldes,’supporters of the resistance’ when their only policy is for an AQ assisting policy of troops out, contribute to anything remotely called progress in policy?

    Steve has the additional and constant job to point out that communists are not to be united with because they are really not democrats- not like his now beloved British and Polish Prometheans – but totalitarian mass murdering thugs (down with Stalin down with Mao) and enablers of Nazis anyway! Pure genius just like Diane Fieldes!

  81. 81 Steve Owens

    Patrickm, you me and Stalin agree on one thing. That is that Germany was going to invade the Soviet Union as soon as it pleased. My point is that Stalin could have averted this by advancing his army 100 miles into Romania there by being able to deprive Germany of the oil it needed to move it’s armies, fly it’s planes and move it’s ships.
    Germany without oil was going nowhere. Even if the armies in France had enough oil to get to Romania its worth noting that when Germany took Soviet oil fields they were unable to extract any oil due to effective sabotage and harrassment.

  82. 82 steve owens

    Look that was a bit sarcastic so I will put it straight. The Soviet Union divided Poland with Germany, the Soviet Union murdered 20,000 Polish prisoners, the Soviet Union assisted the GESTAPO in silencing Poles who objected to the occupation, the Soviet Union supplied Germany with essential war materials, the Soviet Union offered to host a German U boat base, the Soviet Union collected a whole lot of other peoples territory on the argument that these lands acted as a buffer between the Soviet Union and Germany, the Soviet Union also entered into discussions about the Soviet Union entering the Axis Alliance as the fourth member. The Soviet Union also passed on it’s opportunity to seize Germany’s major source of oil.
    All the above is factual and easy to verify.
    My point is that people will have to make up their own minds either the Soviet Union did the above because it was trying to postpone war with Germany or the above can be explained by the Soviet Union trying to avoid war by making Germany an ally.

  83. 83 barry

    dalec asked: “So its OK to invade a country, kill hundreds of thousands of its citizens, force even more to flee the country, destroy its infrastructure appropriate resources and install an army of occupation all in the name of democracy? Says a lot for your ethical and moral universe”.

    dalec, are you referring to the Allies during the anti-Fascist Second World War?

    (I know you’re not – but couldn’t resist making the obvious point as a supporter of collective security and international solidarity in the struggle against fascism and for democracy). Just how far to the Right can dalec move?!

  84. 84 Dalec

    Barry wants to equate WW2 with Saddams pathetic posturing in Iraq.
    Like where were the eqivalent of Fascist Germany, Fascist Italy Fascist Japan and the other axis allies?

  85. 85 barry

    Well, dalec, you DID make this point: “So its OK to invade a country, kill hundreds of thousands of its citizens, force even more to flee the country, destroy its infrastructure appropriate resources and install an army of occupation all in the name of democracy? Says a lot for your ethical and moral universe”.

    My response is: YES, under certain circumstances. And, YES, my ethical moral universe is very different to yours.

  86. 86 patrickm

    Steve you have let your anti-communist bias turn you into a laughing stock that simultaneously believes ‘…you me and Stalin agree on one thing. That is that Germany was going to invade the Soviet Union as soon as it pleased.’ and that ‘… the Soviet Union also entered into [some sort of serious] discussions about the Soviet Union entering the Axis Alliance as the fourth member.’

    Why not choose to believe that the communist leadership were actually very worried about being attacked from all directions (NB as had been their actual experience and what the reality of their existence was from the very birth of the SU, and what would have rather obviously happened if they had looked like being defeated by the actual Axis powers) particularly at both ends of the union. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Khalkhin_Gol

    Why not accept that the Bolsheviks were holding together the old vicious empire of the Russian Czars as the new revolutionary creation of a complex union of republics, hated and feared as a bad example by the ruling classes that ruled every other country that matters. Why not start by thinking they may have been worried about an attack by the Promethean minded governments that entirely surrounded them?

    Why not accept the long history behind massively powerful British and French imperialism and the schemes and plots that these imperialist ruling elites always (without exception) engaged in as they divided their opponents and conquered their massive empires? After WW1 the basic plan throughout the capitalist world was to destroy the Soviet ‘monstrosity’ and share out the spoils in the grand old manner.

    Prior to everything changing, these conservative ruling classes and their tiny ruling elites really did believe that nothing ever changes. Why not rermind us how the whites were regularly lining up and shooting their opponents?

    We all realise that ‘you were [not] a big supporter of the previous dictatorship there’ [in either the SU or China] so why pretend to come up with these great hindsight proposals to protect these dictators by making war on Romania? You have shown no understanding or support for the actual war, against plucky little pro Hitler Finland that was required to actually protect Leningrad and thus Moscow so why continue your farce of supposed support for a muted war against Romania for oil?

    You know what actually happened with Leningrad even after this front was vastly deepened and strengthened, yet no praise for bad old uncle Joe for doing this! At least a reasonable person might consider that without the earlier war against the German ally Finland, Leningrad would have been lost as would have the supply line from Murmansk!

    To be clear my perspective is that communist forces everywhere started off struggling for democracy and were met with white butchery on every occassion! It has in my view always been the born to rule whites that have planned and started the slaughter. The struggle for liberation is presented completely arse about by anti-communists like yourself.

    Apparently your point is that Stalin could have averted the German attack by starting the war early but you do not support where he did start it early i.e., to protect Leningrad and only after attempting to peacefully negotiate a land swap! Stalin moved all the borders of the SU West taking control of lands and the peoples’ there that all, without exception were controled by Promethean minded political and military forces!

    This is war or war by other means yet you apparently do not support the communists forcing Romania to cede the vast areas that were ceded the Soviet Union when you say ‘collected a whole lot of other peoples territory on the argument that these lands acted as a buffer between the Soviet Union and Germany’ BUT would have in hind sight supported a war for oil! Have you considered that this might not have brought on a dismemberment of the USSR with the Japanese perhaps starting a devastating war in conjunction with the Germans?

    The sad part is you appear not to notice just how foolish and US cold war Mcarthyite style this rabid anti-communism is. Your sqirming about on the issue of a war fought and won by communist forces before you were born; a war led by extremely experienced leaders who clearly spelt out their goals and their problems in documents like http://www.marx2mao.com/Stalin/REC39.html .

    But this harping anti-communism all occurs while your mates ‘resistance’ is currently, according to the news just now shooting Iraqi traffic police. Your mates are on the side of that ‘resistance’ why aren’t you exposing just how bankrupt they are? Why don’t you side with those who would enable the Iraqi people to live and develop as a modern middle eastern country based on their own constitution and democratic elections?

    Diane Fieldes supports people who have perhaps some supportable demands in theory, but because they do not support democracy, could not unite the many to defeat the few and correctly prioritise any of their demands. They are rabid sectarians or nationalists who want all foreign troops out as a first demand, they don’t want the new Iraqi armed forces developed first! They can’t win that demand so they kill anyone from the massive and broadly united political forces of the government and loyal opposition that they can! They do not want a non sectarian democracy with all it implies for the armed forces! What definition of enemy of all modernity could one come up with that does not start with these people! Diane Fieldes supports them. What clearer definition of the pseudo-left position do you want?

    Wars we have been witness to over the twentieth century are in the main very long term events. The war for Greater Israel did not spring from nowhere in 1967 it flowed from and was led by the same people who had had to settle for something less in 1948-49, and who then built towards and planned that new war. The hot wars between Pakistan and India have been nothing but the development of cold war issues between the two. The Vietnam war was many decades of struggle that can’t be thought about without the context of WW2. But the struggle of nations subject to the revolting dictates of imperialist exploiters like the ruling elites of Belgium or France etc., can’t be separated from the struggle of the Irish in WW1 and that from the earlier efforts. There is nothing completely neat and easy about any of this.

    Yet, you would rather not connect the dots and instead paint Stalin and the interwar period of the USSR as any garden variety right winger does. You do the same with Mao! Your belief that the actions and policies of the USSR ‘…can be explained by the Soviet Union trying to avoid war by making Germany an ally.’ are simply breathtkingly incompetent conclusions.

  87. 87 steve owens

    Hi,the you me and Stalin agree on one thing was the sarcasm that I was referring to in the second post.
    I have tried to present a lot of facts to support my conclusions however I have a belief that people will generally find ways to believe things that are in line with their previously held prejudices. I don’t exclude myself from this process but I do try and step back from my ideas and ask myself “does that really make sense?”

  88. 88 steve owens

    PS thanks for the link to Stalin’s speech who would have thought that the numbers of pigs would rise by 8 million from 1937 to 1938. Apart from the astounding rise in pig numbers was the election results that Stalin referred to. Imagine in 1937 98.6% of votes go for soviet government. Stalin then states how he shot some spies and the election of 1938 recorded 99.4% for soviet government.
    Now stand back and ask yourself does this really make sense?

  89. 89 informally yours

    Steve your problem remains viewing these things with both jaundice and hindsight. “Stand back and ask yourself does this really make sense”?

    Not sure what you mean here, but if you are saying do the election results make sense then I think they do. Under compulsory voting in Australia a similar percentage of the population effectively turns out.

    As for the snide remark about the increase in the number of pigs, you are obviously too much of a product of your time to realise the importance of ensuring critical food supplies to the cities. You can bet your bottom dollar that they were better fed workers in 1938 than in 1933.

  90. 90 Steve Owens

    Informally yours, I think that context matters. Its the late thirties the USSR has just undergone the great purges. Thousands of Communists were rounded up and shot or sent to Gulags. Hundreds of prominent Communists were put on trial, none were found to be innocent and they were either shot or sent to Gulags. Elections are held, it’s a one party state every candidate is a Communist Party member approved by the government. In that context what does a 99.4% turn out mean? What does a 99.4% vote for the soviet government mean?

  91. 91 patrickm

    Steve, Germany was going to invade the Soviet Union as soon as it pleased and only extreme right-wing nut jobs think that Stalin did not think this and either trusted or was fooled by Hitler. You are now deep in nut job land and simply ranting generalisations.

    Does your current position really make sense? You say…

    ‘…people [ought] rethink their position on the second world war for the following reasons
    1 The Soviet Union participated in the invasion of Poland it sent congratulatory messages to the German army and held a joint military parade with the German army.’

    Yes it is well known that they returned to essentially WW1 borders and I can’t imagine what else could have happened under such a circumstance.

    We all know that you oppose this at least as strenuously as the British and French imperialists did and that you also believe; ‘I think that the penalty for being a non democracy should be that you stand or fall on your own, sort of an incentive for non democracies to embrace the modern world for their own self interest.’ So given your insistence on the Nazis / Communist equivalence and your focus on oppossition to the “totalitarian’s” Stalin and Mao, it is reasonable for me to conclude that Stalin was correct in assuming that the SU would be left to stand or fall on its own by what you term the ‘democracies’ led by British and French imperialisms.

    Imperialisms who had just given the working people of the world the great gift of the slaughter in the trenches of WW1, and the next twenty years of bloody interventions and intrigues in Eastern Europe directed at smashing the best hope of humanity the very backward, very flawed Union of Soviet Socialist Republics led by that also flawed human being Joseph Stalin.

    I agree with the notion that the revolutionary SU was very far from perfect and perhaps the Mao assessment of 70% good 30% error is even far too generous, but I still know what side I’m on. I’m with the forces that brought an end to the imperialist 1st WW and am trapped by my own logic into continuing that support right through till well after WW2. You are, as usual, on the wrong side.

    You say ‘2 The Soviet Union supplied Germany with essential war material during the Battle of Britain and offered to supply Germany with a submarine base near Murmansk.’

    As if this adds anything more to your oppossition to the M-R Pact. It does not. It just shows up what you are desperately trying to run from, and that is that real world politics are not about promises. Yes they traded, and yes that includes ‘confidence building’ measures and compromises over military issues while the SU negotiators were trying to get something for their own side’s benefit.

    This real world struggle actually cost the real flesh and blood lives of over 200,000 Soviet soldiers in the winter war of this period when negotiations failed with Finland. But what do you focus on? Not the huge fight against the German ally Finland, but the dancing around with the Germans and an essentially worthless base that was part of real negotiations. That’s why you will never get it. You can’t focus on the main game and like a 10th rate magician, hope that other people will look elsewhere with this type of pathetic distraction.

    You say ‘3 The British CP instructed members to disrupt production during the period that Britain faced Germany alone.’

    This follows from the logic of the period and I have always thought that this made sense from the position of the communists in the USSR, but not for the British communists and (like Mao did) they ought to have respectfully gone their own way but I admit that this was not the way most communists parties were at the time, or I suppose ever after but this really alters nothing as it made sense from the point of view of the SU communists and if others were prepared to dutifully follow so be it.

    Fortunately, we live in an era where the only organised ‘left’ is a pseudo-left that must be opposed at every turn; like when trots like Diane Fieldes were trying to stop Pauline Hanson from speaking, or now when they support the anti-democratic resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan!

    You say ‘4 The French CP hailed the German victory over France as a defeat for French imperialism. Soviet propaganda at the time portrayed the war as an inter imperial conflict with England and France as the aggressors.’

    It was inter-imperialist and it was clearly a defeat for French imperialism and with the British and French imposed borders undone and the situation returned to that pre WW1 it was the British and the French that chose to go to war to maintain the borders that they had imposed. So I am stuck with supporting this conclusion. However your line that speaks of ‘Soviet propaganda’ is just right-wing twaddle and the political message coming out of the SU was far more subtle.

    You say ‘5 The Soviet Union entered into talks with Germany with the view of the Soviet Union joining the Axis Alliance. The evidence suggests that the Soviet Union was a covert ally of Germany up to the point of the German invasion of the Soviet Union.’

    Your point 5 is a nonsense but of course real negotiations had to be held with real world people on both sides and in the real world fools are not put in charge of negotiations with deadly enemies.

    Was Stalin correct in relying on the five constants of war? Yes. Was he correct in not trusting to the good will of British and French imperialists (those you respect and refer to as democrats)? Or ought he to have followed the advice of those that never refer to them in their true light as the conniving mass-murdering butchers of communists and working people’s that they were? You can carry on with this drivel but the forces that I believe are far better than WW1 type imperialists who were working towards WW2, led by Stalin had to conduct real negotiations with people who don’t believe anything but instead demand ‘show me the money’.

    Show me the money = navy base (however useless), oil, and trade generally, a halt to massive political exposure and geeing up your population to a high pitch of hatred towards the negotiation partner. These actions followed consequentially.

    Just like the Germans had to show the money to Stalin’s scientists and engineer’s etc., etc..

    You are really incapable of generating any sensible political position with respect to WW2 because you are not willing to put aside your childish delusions of what is and is not possible in the real world. One only has to think of the police you propose to send to sort out the modern issue of OBL- AQ and his mates in the Taliban in Afghanistan to see this.

    You ought to be able to see by now the real world is a very messy place where the enemy of all progress in the middle east is supported by pseudo-lefts but you are to distracted.

  92. 92 steve owens

    I think that the best way to pose the question is, Did Stalin have a clear set of ideas about the defense of the USSR?
    To build a modern army the USSR needed a modern industrial base. Stalin initially opposed rapid industrialisation then changed his mind and supported it.
    The Soviet Union in the 1920’s had a large well lead army with many commanders having battle experience.
    The leading General, Tukhachevsky argued that the army needed to be modernised. Stalin must have supported this because Tukhachevsky won the argument.
    Tukhachevsky also argued that modern war would be one of mobility, with concentrated armour formations supported by air power.
    Tukhachevsky lost this argument as between 1936 and 1938, 30,000 Red Army officers were executed. The Army purges.
    This left the Red Army with inexperienced officers who were more likely to follow orders and less likely to take initiatives.
    Also there was a theory change as the Red Army embraced static defense.
    Static defense became discredited when the German war of mobility pushed past the French static defense in 1940.
    This caused a turn around in the USSR and the Red Army was reorganised. Unfortunately the reorganisation was only partially completed when Germany attacked.
    Then there is the question of managing the German invasion. There’s no way Stalin could have been oblivious to it, he had a good spy network who were telling him that 4 million German troops were heading east. Warsaw streets were jammed for days with German military vehicles heading east. That’s what makes the immediate management of the Soviet side so incomprehensible. There’s no call to battle stations, in fact Soviet troops are instructed not to fire.
    Worse was the initial order when the USSR started to fight. The no retreat order in a war of mobility was insane. Here’s the Red Army units being surrounded with out the ability to retreat and reform lines. This ensured that the Red Army fought a static defense style while the Germans were able to apply mobility tactics.
    To me it seems that Stalin was working under the assumption that he had another year up his sleeve before the German onslaught.
    In the end the decision to rapid industrialisation seems to have been well founded from a military point of view as it was the USSRs ability to produce soldiers and weapons that was decisive.

  93. 93 Arthur

    For lack of a navigation scheme, I’ll use this topic to post some links to sites we should explore and might be able to interact with:

    Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee

    Maryam Namazie (still worker-communist party of iran but perhaps getting sharper?)

    Platypus Still haven’t checked it out thoroughly, came across other two via platypus or attacks on it and platypus via kasama.

    Denounced as Eustonite liberals but seems to be more oriented towards a marxist left, although strongly influenced by academia (“Frankfurt School”) and trots. Seems to be able to interact with pseudoleftists who denounce it as pro-imperialist.

  94. 94 Bill Kerr

    I found this Platypus page better to start from than their hard to navigate home page with its rotating articles: http://platypus1917.org/about/platypus-on-the-present/
    I skimmed some articles about Iraq and one about Hitchens. They are critical of “the left” but couldn’t see them state clearly their own position about the war:

    But the “Left” remains in a similar but in fact much worse predicament. The “Left” never asked the burning question: What if the Bush policy “succeeds?” Then what will be the basis for opposition to U.S. “imperialism?”

    Iraq is nothing like Vietnam, despite the wishes of the “Left” to have history repeat itself. If Iraq does not , as it appears it will not, fall apart or drag on in endless slaughter, but continues to stabilize, and does not give up sovereignty over its oil resources, etc., but simply allows the U.S. some minimal military presence through its embassy there, and continues to work with the U.S. against groups like al-Qaeda, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Hezbollah, the Kurdish PKK guerillas in Turkey, and willingly sides with the U.S., as it will inevitably, in any potential future wars against Iran or Syria, etc., will this mean that the U.S. invasion and occupation diminished Iraqi “sovereignty” and so was a phenomenon of U.S. “imperialism?” What will be the account of Iraqi motives in the arrangement achieved by U.S. intervention, as mere stooges for the U.S.?
    the fog of “anti war” politics

    Also picked up that they originated around the ideas of Moishe Postone:

    Platypus began in December, 2004 as a project for an international journal of critical letters and emancipatory politics, envisioned by a core group of students of University of Chicago professor Moishe Postone, who has studied and written on Marx’s mature critical theory in the Grundrisse and Capital towards the imagination of postcapitalist society since the 1960s
    history page

Leave a Reply