Why do Marxist-Leninists support some non-socialist governments?

Many opponents of Marxism-Leninism, the revolutionary science, lampoon MLs for our support for non-socialist governments, such as those of Syria, Iran and Zimbabwe. They try to paint us as ‘red fascists’ who kneejerk support any government opposed to the US. Many comrades new to the left are confused as to why we support these governments, and that can lead to promising young comrades being sucked in by Trotskyites and Anarchists, and taken off the path of truly revolutionary socialism. This is of course, a big problem and a great shame, and so we have written this piece to serve as a resource to explain this complicated issue.

Before we can begin with looking at specific instances, we must first define what it means to be progressive. To be progressive means, in Marxist terms, to be on the right side of history, to support social progress. The scientific philosophy underpinning Marxism-Leninism, namely dialectical materialism, explains how the process of change is the process of the resolving of contradictions. This can be proven universally in nature. For example, in the process of movement of physical objects it is the resultant force which dictates how the object will move, the net sum of opposite forces acting on an object. One can see this in Newton’s Third Law: “Every action has an equal and opposite re-action.”

One of the tactics of pro-capitalist educational institutes is to attempt to separate the natural world from the world of politics and society. They subtly paint the matter so that it looks like natural laws are not applicable to matters of politics. This is a metaphysical, and fundamentally incorrect, way of viewing the world. The actions of humanity are just as natural as any actions carried out by any other combination of forces and reactions, and laws of the natural world are thus completely applicable to the world of politics.

Thus we can see that this law of contradiction has place in the process of social change, and there are two sides of the coin – revolutionary and reactionary, progressive and regressive. So to be a progressive means to be a revolutionary, to be for the cause of moving society forward. Being a progressive does not mean being a socialist, though a true socialist is always a progressive. In certain circumstances non-socialists can be progressive. A prime example of this is that of Maximilien Robespierre in the French Revolution. Robespierre was a capitalist, and supported universal suffrage for men only. Obviously in a modern context, this would be reactionary, however, compared to life under the rule of the feudal lords of France, where suffrage was only for nobles who owned a lot of land, this was very progressive. Robespierre supported Capitalism in its revolution against Feudalism, he supported the higher stage of social development against the lower, and thus was a progressive revolutionary.

Often the slider between ‘progressive’ and ‘regressive’ is thought of in an idealised sense, where no matter the situation someone is either progressive or regressive based on certain fixed policies they hold. This we call the metaphysical perspective, the view of nature as static and unchanging, literally ‘beyond physics’. Of course, this view is nonsense; to hold this view means one believes absolutely everyone prior to (in our case) Marx was a regressive reactionary – in such a situation society would have moved backwards for the 100,000 years of human development before Capital was written – of course this is ludicrous. Whether one is progressive or regressive is entirely a matter of context.

We are living in the era of imperialism, the final stage of capitalism, where capital has reached its most aggressive and global phase, the era where capitalists expand their influence as far as possible and try to dominate the whole world’s markets. In this era, more than any before, capitalists attempt to control other nations and subjugate their people in order to make profit. In such a situation, the national question is of vital importance. Joseph Stalin’s work on the subject, Marxism and the National Question, asserts that socialists must respect the right of nations to self-determine, to decide their own destiny. Indeed, a nation can choose, if the people wish, to move backwards, as long as it is their choice to do so and they are not dominated by other nations.

With this in mind, revolutionary movements against imperialism must be supported even in the instance that they are not explicitly socialist. If a movement or government’s actions are opposed to imperial domination of their country, they are progressive in the specific context. Such revolutions are called national bourgeois revolutions, revolutions of a nation’s native bourgeoisie and people against an imperialist bourgeoisie. Anything that weakens the forces of imperialism ultimately makes socialist revolution easier, and brings the time of it nearer, and thus they are progressive, because they help bring the higher stage of development, Socialism, nearer.

We are under no delusions that people like Bashar al-Assad or Hassan Rouhani are comrades, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t progressive, they aren’t on the right side of history, and they aren’t working for good by their actions of weakening imperialism. We can, of course, criticise policies of theirs, we don’t believe them to be perfect in any sense of the word, but ultimately they are on the same side as us and ultimately we must either embrace them and support them against imperialism. Either we support them, or we oppose them, and if we oppose them how are we anything but reactionaries, cheerleading for imperialist invasion and destruction of national self-determination.

 

Book Recommendations

Dialectics of Nature – F. Engels

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/EngelsDialectics_of_Nature_part.pdf

Socialism: Utopian and Scientific – F. Engels

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1880/soc-utop/

On Contradiction – Mao Tse-tung

https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-1/mswv1_17.htm

Marxism and the National Question – J. Stalin

https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1913/03.htm

Dialectical and Historical Materialism – J. Stalin

https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1938/09.htm

 

 

General Election 2017 – what does it mean?

It was widely believed at the beginning of the election that the Tories would win a landslide, as Labour trailed 22 points behind in polls, and 80% of Labour MPs opposed Corbyn’s leadership, openly declaring him to be unelectable, along with their colleagues in the Tory party and the bourgeois media.
Even during the election campaign the majority of Labour candidates refused to acknowledge or support Corbyn, and many openly opposed his manifesto.

But Corbyn surprised his critics, fighting a dynamic and engaging campaign, winning the support of youth in particular with more new voters enrolling than in the Brexit referendum.

Despite this Labour lost the election but increased its number of seats. The Tories failed to win an absolute majority and were forced to conclude a grubby pact with the DUP, who even they find socially reactionary, though politically they are cast from the same mould.

Corbyn has secured his leadership of the Labour party for now. Despite all the talk of Corbyn being a rabid left-winger he has fought on a moderate social-democratic platform akin to many across Europe, and he certainly has not threatened the economic workings of the crisis-ridden capitalist system, which is the root cause of the austerity agenda he claims to fight.

Meanwhile Momentum continues to attract all the fake socialists who continue to believe in pie-in-the-sky solutions to capitalism. The truth is, without overthrowing capitalism there are nothing but hard times ahead for the British working class and workers of all countries.

The communists support every struggle of the working class to fight for improvements in their conditions, but this support seeks at the same time to convince workers of the need for proletarian revolution, not to lull them into the false but reassuring belief that their needs can be met within capitalism. No amount of tweaking at the edges of economic or foreign policy is going to make this parasitic and dying system serve the interests of the working class or cure the chaos in which we now find ourselves.

The programme of the Labour party is, at best, a prayer that the ills of capitalism can be solved within the capitalist system. Our position is that, with the best will in the world, they can’t. Workers’ salvation lies not with Saint Jeremy or Stern Theresa, but with the workers themselves. 

Unpalatable as this truth may be, ultimately we will not be able to vote our way out of the crisis. Either the crisis will lead the working class deeper into poverty and war, or workers will organise themselves to defeat the crisis by overthrowing capitalism and building a socialist society that is capable of meeting their needs.

Bin men in Birmingham on strike

Red Youth activists joined bin men on picket lines across Birmingham today as Unite members walked out over pay and Labour Council cuts to services. Perry Barr tip, Lifford Lane, Tyseley and Digbeth were all out on strike, with only a handful of scabs crossing pickets. We reproduce below links from local media and todays article from the Birmingham Worker.

Video: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/birmingham-bin-lorries-queuing-depot-13262436

BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-40456211

The Birmingham Worker:Birmingham Worker

Defend the bin men!

Oppose Labour council cuts

Continue reading “Bin men in Birmingham on strike”

Academies: One Step Further to Losing Our Education

It is important in the face of the government’s malicious project to downsize the NHS to the point of forced privatisation, that we don’t forget the other major attack currently being launched against the working class of this country – the academisation of our education system. The ruling class’ plan for “all schools to become academies”, as was announced in the 2016 Budget, and then clumsily retracted, is not a plan that is going to disappear for long; it is inevitable under capitalism. State education costs far too much for the government to manage, and it is much more profitable for them to hand over the responsibility to school ‘sponsors’. However, simply doing so in the public eye would never work, so they have hidden behind words like ‘academisation’ to disguise what is really going on here: privatisation.

Continue reading “Academies: One Step Further to Losing Our Education”

Grenfell was mass-murder

The horrific fire at Grenfell Tower, which has killed so many working-class people, demonstrates the terrible reality of housing in Britain today.

In the richest borough, with house prices over 38 times more than the average annual salary, people ultimately died because flammable cladding cost the borough and construction companies a mere £5,000 less. The unnecessary cladding, which would have saved residents minor amounts on their fuel bills, had the effect of prettifying the tower for the surrounding neighbourhood of luxury properties, and raising the value of nearby council-owned land.

Kensington and Chelsea Council spent £8.6m on the ‘refurbishment’ of the tower, while ignoring, or rather hiring companies to ignore, the needs of residents. The Grenfell Action Group has comprehensively documented problems and complaints made to the council over the years, including power surges and faulty wiring.

Grenfell is part of the social cleansing of London, which has already seen thousands of families conned or evicted from their homes in London to make way for the property developers, who build investment opportunities for the super-wealthy. Around 1,400 homes in the borough remain empty year-round, at a combined value of £664m, with house prices in Kensington and Chelsea tripling in the past two decades.

No inquest or inquiry into Grenfell will provide justice for the dead, or security for the survivors. While some companies, CEOs, and public officials may receive fines and jail time, and some survivors have been housed in new luxury flats, the reality is that the working class in Britain will never have safe, affordable, and secure housing while the capitalist system remains.

“When one individual inflicts bodily injury upon another such that death results, we call the deed manslaughter; when the assailant knew in advance that the injury would be fatal, we call his deed murder. But when society places hundreds of proletarians in such a position that they inevitably meet a too early and an unnatural death, one which is quite as much a death by violence as that by the sword or bullet; when it deprives thousands of the necessaries of life, places them under conditions in which they cannot live – forces them, through the strong arm of the law, to remain in such conditions until that death ensues which is the inevitable consequence – knows that these thousands of victims must perish, and yet permits these conditions to remain, its deed is murder just as surely as the deed of the single individual…

  • Condition of the Working Class in England, Engels, 1845