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Brazil on Edge

Story of October 3
Lorde/Zionism
Suicide virus?
Class Struggle No 124 Autumn 2018

Briefs
thousands of babies in Syria on Youtube, he wasn’t
Lorde and Zionism shocking youth raised on war games and the TV
It seems that Lorde has educated herself about the coverage of the never-ending war on terror. Or
Zionist state, and now supports BDS, good on her. ghoulishly replaying those who fell from the twin
Perhaps she needs to educate herself about the towers continuously.
Syrian fascist state that is killing its own people.
We don’t know her position on Syria but it would be
likely to be consistent with those who recognise
oppression when they see it whether in the form of
Zionism or the Assad regime. Unlike the cynical
Zionists who paint Assad black in order to paint
themselves white.
The difference is that the Zionist state is an imposter
that only exists because it occupies Palestine. No
state can be free when it occupies another. For that
He wasn’t recording the epidemic of GIs who suicide
reason, BDS is a useful tactic to expose this fact,
because they are abandoned to PTSD. What he was
rather than performing in Israel to convey the same
doing was unintentionally busting the hypocrisy of
message.
those who don’t want youth to talk about suicide
because they might do it. Logan Paul is no maverick.
He allowed himself to be trolled, rounded up and hog
tied by the moral sheriffs of the West and tarred and
feathered in Main Street while Wall Street couldn’t
give a damn.
The Japanese have dealt with this shocking situation
with resignation. Many people go to the forest below
Mt Fuji to kill themselves. A famous novel “Norwegian
Wood” by brilliant author Haruki Murakami features
In the case of Syria, would boycotting all those it. Did the family of the suicide make any effort to
countries such as the US, EU, and Russia that are find him? Are they shocked or insulted? Should we be
intervening in the Syrian civil war to smash the shocked on their behalf? Suicide is almost a ritual in
popular revolution, achieve anything? No. Unless she Japan where alienated youth end their lives in their
is banned or otherwise put in danger. Far better to thousands every year. Just like more GIs kill
visit these countries and use her music to reach all themselves in the US than in actual wars. And who
those who are opposed to their regime’s military gives a damn? Who did Logan Paul cause offence
invasions and occupations of Syria. For the freedom other that the sanctimonious self-appointed moral
of Palestine and Syria cannot be won without the guardians of US cultural imperialism and its
active support of those who living in the imperialist profiteering movie and internet empires?
powers act to stop their military being used to smash So instead of groveling before the moral police, let’s
these liberation struggles. talk about suicide, record it, rub the noses in it of
those who ignore, personalize it, treat it as an
Logan Paul & Suicide offence against private ownership of bodies, as part
of their celebration of or submission to a dying
Calling out the ‘maverick’ Logan Paul for his coverage economic system that sacrifices its youth in the
of a Japanese suicide below Mt Fuji is hypocrisy. Yes, millions with impunity. Let’s show youth that
he is a self-promoter and he should have edited the capitalism kills in all of its gory detail for its sacred
jokey stuff off his video. He needed to mea culpa for profits. Kill capitalism, save yourself, and save
that. But he wasn’t recording the brutal deaths of humanity.

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Class Struggle No 124 Autumn 2018

Labour’s fails 100 Days in Government Test


We take a look at the promises from the Labour party when campaigning and on taking office –
what will these really deliver for working including under-employed people? As we argued in
previous issues of Class Struggle, Labour forming a Coalition with openly capitalist parties means
it cannot claim anymore to be a party that represents workers. It has an excuse to betray its
working-class voters by trading any real gains for workers in exchange for becoming the
government. That is why our balance sheet of wins and losses for workers in the first 100 days
is boringly predictable. Once Labour signed the fiscal responsibility deal with the Greens it
meant it can’t even adopt Keynesian spending to stimulate economic growth (boost profits) let
alone spend on what workers need (living wages). And to win Peters to form a government,
Labour and Greens had to trade away some of its promises to appease his populist, conservative
supporters. The result is that Labour now openly betrays workers on behalf of predatory,
parasitic, international finance capital - most dramatically by signing the TPPA11! Labour is fully
exposed as a open bourgeois party. We need an independent mass workers party!
deliver? Nothing substantial. Subsidising private
Cash trickle downs to profits landlords instead of taxing capital gains means that
Tertiary fees will be dropped a year at a time. But the cause of the crisis is left untouched. The market
fees themselves are less of a barrier to poorer cannot solve the problem. This just perpetuates
families accessing tertiary education than living property speculators parasitic on workers’ wages. We
costs. Raising student allowances by $50 a week will are for minimum standards for all houses, homes,
be pocket money for some students able to access a apartments, accommodation (boarding houses,
student allowance, the rest will have to increase motels, lodges, etc) to be set by working people.
their student loans, or continue to work part time to Increase secure tenancy for tenants to have longer
survive. The rent subsidy has gone directly into rent term guarantees.
rises. Only a free, universal education from pre-
Banning overseas ‘speculators’ from buying existing
school to tertiary paid for by taxing profits and
houses will reduce demand but it won’t stop
rents can deliver the education we need!
speculation in new builds whether the landlords are
Increasing the minimum wage to $16.50 an hour is an Chinese or Kiwis. We are stuck with workers making
insult to low paid workers. We need a living wage for speculators rich. Why not tax the speculators? The
all workers. And even $20 is not enough! Only tax working group cannot address this as their terms
workers and students organising union-based of reference exclude it. Too many MPs owning
wages and prices committees can decide what multiple rentals to allow Labour to entertain this
wage, allowance or benefit they need to live on! radical solution. We say a 100% capital gain tax on
all speculative rental profits to drive the parasites
Tinkering with Workplace Law out of business!
Labour’s tinkering with the workplace law doesn’t
State Houses for all who need them!
even undo the worst of the last National
government’s attacks in favour of employers. And Gov’t will stop the state house sell-off. Should we be
doesn’t help most workers employed by small happy? Not when there is no serious attempt to
businesses with 20 or fewer workers. They still face replace those sold off by previous Governments. We
the 90-day fire at will scenario. Labour’s workplace are against “social housing” as a thinly veiled return
policy is based on the ideology of fair shares between to capitalist philanthropy and a quasi-market
labour and capital. Yet global capitalism’s terminal substitute for state housing. A state house with rent
crisis can only be solved by capital at the expense of pegged to 20% of income should be a right for all
cutting wages. To defend wages and conditions we those who need it!
advocate strikes and occupations. Ultimately
The “KiwiBuild” programme cannot produce
putting people before profits means expropriating
affordable homes when the building industry is beset
the means of production under workers control!
by profiteering monopolies like Fletchers,
Fiddling with the Housing Crisis exploitation of subcontractors, terrible health and
safety records, poor employment records (including
Labour proclaimed a housing crisis when attacking super-exploitation of illegal migrants, cash jobs –tax
the National government, but what do they actually
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Class Struggle No 124 Autumn 2018
free) which have driven up the costs and made Global capitalism is in its terminal crisis and all
housing unaffordable to most workers. So, Labour Labour can do in its first 100 days is tinker and fiddle.
dodges the issue and sets up another committee - the We get more committees, reports and talk shops: a
“Affordable Housing Authority”. Ministerial Inquiry to fix our mental health crisis, an
inquiry into the abuse of children in state care, a Tax
Obviously Labour refuses to put working people
Working Group, a Clean Waters Summit, an
before profits. It won’t challenge the property-
independent Climate Commission, an Affordable
owning democracy where land grabbing and
Housing Authority.
speculation has always been a shortcut to wealth.
Driven by the banks, property speculation will remain But talk shops don’t create change especially when
a fact of life enriching landlords and banks. We say they fiddle with symptoms and don’t touch the real
we need a massive public works scheme to provide causes of these problems. For example, tax evasion
jobs for unemployed youth in the building trades by the rich, profiteering at the cost of substandard
and a crash program in state house building until housing and damaging the environment are all
the demand for rental houses is met. symptoms of capitalism in its terminal decline. We
say Destroy capitalism before it destroys us!
Fiddling with Family Incomes
TPPA11 cancels all the 100 days hype
Working families get a few crumbs. Paid parental
leave, and $60 per week for the following year is too The signing of the TPPA11 (Trans Pacific Partnership
little, and if it has to be applied for, then it won’t Agreement) is a sell-out of NZ workers to the global
reach those who need it. A winter energy bonus is monopolies like Google, Microsoft or Apple who have
welcome relief to some, but a stopgap in the absence the power to sue governments that tax or regulate
of warm and healthy homes. So, in effect it is a bonus their profits. What to do? We say national sovereignty
to (privatised) energy companies. means nothing if the working people do not control
the economy. The profits from the TPPA11 will go
Child poverty. Labour expresses liberal concern. Sets
into the pockets of the foreign and NZ capitalist class,
a child poverty reduction target and budget reports
the losses will empty the pockets of the workers.
on child poverty statistics. Goals are good but where
is the action? We can’t solve child poverty without Therefore, against the power of Big Pharma or Big
full employment, a living wage, and decent, Tech to monopolise patents and supply we say:
affordable, healthy housing. So, we are back to the
• Socialise the health and communications
spending constraints of fiscal responsibility!
industries under workers control to provide
Mental Health, Prisons and Cannabis full access and free health and
communications for all!
Mental ill-health is a symptom of capitalist society
that is broken and is alienating of the majority of the Against the power of monopolies to dictate
people. We know that most of the prison population economic, social and environmental policy by
have mental health problems or are in for drug refusing to pay taxes on capital gains and profits we
offenses. Labour wants to cut the numbers in jails but say:
won’t look at the obvious measures to achieve this.
• Repeal the Fiscal Responsibility Act and tax
So far it plans to build the Mega prison at Waikeria.
profits and capital gains to pay for free
We say No Mega Prison! One alternative to new
comprehensive health, education and
prisons is legalising cannabis. That would cut the
welfare!
prison population by half at least. But the deal done
• Organise workers committees and councils
with NZ First will put decriminalisation or legalisation
to determine economic, social and
to a binding referendum only in 2000. We say legalise
environmental policy to meet our needs!
cannabis now! Close the prisons! Rehabilitate
offenders in socially useful work or training on • Nationalise without compensation the big
union pay rates! four private banks and turn Kiwi Bank into a
single State Bank under workers’ control!
Climate catastrophe • Nationalise without compensation all
The “nuclear issue of our age”? Oh please. Zero net foreign and NZ corporates that sack workers
carbon emissions goal by 2050. We will all be dead or or close down!
dying by then. Capitalism is the cause of climate We are for an independent workers party with a
change. We say the alternative facing us is survival program for a Workers Government to expropriate
socialism or human extinction! capitalist property, socialise the economy and plan
production for need and not profit!
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Class Struggle No 124 Autumn 2018

Busting the Cannabis Madness Myth


The Green's Bill to extend access to Medical Cannabis came up for a vote to send it to Select
Committee on 31st January. It was voted down 73 to 47. A majority for the Bill would have sent
it to Select Committee - a relatively democratic forum to challenge the myths surrounding
cannabis without the debate being dominated by the hysteria of the corporate media and the
lobbyists for Big Pharma. It would have forced the health bureaucracy to defend their 'scientific
evidence' about the 'harm' of cannabis against serious criticism. Its defeat proves that there is
entrenched opposition in parliament to liberalising Medical Cannabis, especially the right to grow
and supply outside of the control of Big Pharma.

Clearly the 'refer madness' myth hyped for decades


remains the main barrier to reform. Our target has to
be the pseudo-scientific and bureaucratic devotion to
the myths underlying prohibition that has stymied all
genuine cannabis reform in NZ. The biggest lie is that
cannabis causes psychosis. Progress with cannabis
law reform is cripplingly slow. Why? A century of
stigmatisation and prohibition has embedded a
reactionary ‘harm’ mythology from the days of
‘reefer madness’ to today’s ‘cannabis psychosis’ in
the popular culture, health science and medical
practice. The mythology claims that cannabis is
addictive, leads to ‘harder’ drugs, makes you anti-
social, dumbs you down, makes you fail in education,
perform poorly at work, and in the end, it makes you The NZ Drug Foundation (NZDF) rejects the MOH
mad. These are myths that conveniently blame method of arriving at 32 deaths. It adopts a more
individuals as ‘dope fiends’ rather than the victims of moderate approach; that harm does not arise from
the alienating capitalist society into which they are “toxic overdoses”, but the “long-term effects” of
born. use. “Cannabis does cause harm, but the harm comes
We won’t make any headway towards the from heavy long-term use and is mostly linked to
liberalisation of cannabis and other drugs until we mental health – lasting physical harm is unlikely,
debunk these ‘harm’ myths, and understand the while poisoning or death is unheard of.”
nature of capitalism and its effects, inequality, So, the NZDF proposes ‘decriminalisation’ of cannabis
poverty, social breakdown etc, as the real cause of use by 2020 combined with heavy state regulation
drug use, and that drug abuse is a consequence of a and licensing to minimise ‘harm’. It seems that the
policy of prohibition. But let's skip the historical Drug Foundation is trying to steer the public debate
lecture and go straight to the misuse of science to for law reform down the path of least resistance. Yet
bolster a hysterical prohibition culture. that resistance seems to be coming mainly from the
NZ Misuse of Drugs Act and the myth of ‘harm’ Government and Health bureaucracy rather than in
the general population.
The NZ Misuse of Drugs Act makes cannabis use a
crime (unless waived by Ministerial approval) rather This conflict between ‘harm’ and ‘health’ is evident
than a health need, on the grounds that it causes in the Drug Foundation itself. On the one hand, the
harm to health and can lead to death. Even if NZDF Executive Director Ross Bell argues that the
Cannabis were ‘decriminalised’ the assumption of District of Columbia (US) legalisation of use, but not
‘harm’ requires a ‘least harm’ approach to law trade, might be best for NZ: “Mr Bell looks to the
reform by the Ministry of Health (MOH) which District of Columbia which changed its approach
considers that cannabis ‘contributes’ to 32 deaths per towards marijuana as recently as last year. It
year in NZ. legalised its use, but not the trade in it, so under a

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Class Struggle No 124 Autumn 2018
new law, people can grow it, use it and give it away, denied financial support and criminalised explains
but they can't sell it. This is most closely in line with much of the risk of suicide.
how Kiwis use it, Mr Bell said, suggesting it could be
But the biggest driver of the 'minimal harm' orthodoxy
a starting point for discussion here.“If you think of
in the NZDF model reform relies on the Canterbury
the way Kiwis use cannabis, often they're not getting
Study led by David Fergusson. Take the link between
it from the tinny house. It might be the first thing
smoking cannabis and the risk of lung cancer. A US
we allow is for people to grow and give.””
study using a large sample, done by Tashkin, showed
However, the Drug Foundation’s official new reform that the 'normal, moderate’ level of cannabis
proposal repeats the ‘cannabis causes harm’ mantra. smoking had no measurable link to lung cancer. Not
“We know that the majority of people use cannabis only that, cannabis smoking was better than non-
without serious harm. However, a small proportion smoking for some people! This study, however, was
experience negative impacts such as anxiety, contradicted by the NZ study which did find a
depression, memory loss and mood swings. Those ‘correlation’ between heavy smoking and lung
who use cannabis long term may face health risks damage. Tashkin says: “The largest epidemiologic
such as respiratory disease (if smoked) and mental (case-control) study of the association between
illnesses such as schizophrenia, at least for those marijuana use and lung cancer failed to demonstrate
who may be predisposed. Cannabis impairs driving, that marijuana increases the risk of developing lung
especially when combined with alcohol. It also (or, for that matter, upper airway) cancer.” He notes
carries the risk of dependency in around one in 10 that a much smaller, recent study from New Zealand
users. Heavy use by young people has been linked to did claim to find a link, but only in very heavy users.
poorer outcomes in education and employment as He says, “The authors’ interpretation of their data
well as a reduction in IQ points, though the research can be faulted because of the small numbers of
on this is mixed. Our verdict? Cannabis can be their subjects exhibiting such heavy use, which
harmful, so our law should focus on minimising rendered their estimates of risk imprecise."
harm, especially to young people. The best way to [Our emphasis]
minimise harm is to tightly regulate use.”
The Scientific American, however, is more precise:
[Our emphasis]
“… looking at residents of Los Angeles County, the
The evidence for and against ‘harm’ scientists found that even those who smoked more
than 20,000 joints in their life did not have an
The evidence contests the ‘harm’ myth. It shows that
increased risk of lung cancer.” [Our emphasis]
the “negative effects” attributed to cannabis such as
anxiety and depression, mood swings and even Tashkin is saying that the Canterbury study cannot
memory loss are widely experienced in society by claim to have found that heavy smoking of cannabis
many who don’t use cannabis, and when they occur causes lung damage. His Los Angeles sample of heavy
among the few users who 'overdose', this like any drug users found no significant correlation. The NZ sample
overdose, is largely the result of prohibition which of heavy smokers was too small to exclude all other
works against safe and controlled conditions for drug factors that may explain the correlation between
use. cannabis and lung damage. Therefore, the positive
correlation in the NZ study between cannabis use and
Dependency is another word for addiction and this
lung damage may be a consequence of lung damage
claim is widely disputed, notably by Carl Hart, not
caused by some other unmeasured cause.
only for cannabis, but for other ‘hard’ drugs as well
(to his own surprise). He finds that when offered While very heavy smoking of cannabis causing lung
choices between drugs and money his experimental damage may be ‘common sense’, Tashkin's large
subjects will often reject drugs and take the money study was able to control for confounding factors and
proving that drug addiction is learned behaviour in did not find any correlation, or causal link. If there
situations where you don’t get to choose money. are doubts about the Canterbury project’s results on
lung damage, perhaps the NZDF concern about
And the familiar story that cannabis ‘abuse’ by youth
studies 'suggesting' a causal link between cannabis
harms their schooling, college prospects and can lead
use and ‘psychosis’ in adolescents should be also be
to suicide, and so on, is probably the effect of
re-examined.
prohibition. When kids who are expelled from school,

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Class Struggle No 124 Autumn 2018
Cannabis and Psychosis: Search for a causal link influences, such as education, employment etc., that
did change over the time-frame and could ‘confound’
One of the reviews of studies (7, one of which was
the association between cannabis use and psychosis.
the Christchurch study) into this link by Le Bec PY et.
By testing the association among all confounders,
al. (2009) found that “cannabis may be an
against cannabis use, and against psychiatric
independent risk factor” for psychosis:
symptoms, the study concludes that there is still a
“Together, the seven studies were all prospective
residual association between cannabis use and
cohorts and represented 50,275 human subjects.
psychosis, ‘independent’ (with its own causal effect)
There were three European studies (from Sweden,
of the influence of all confounders, that justifies
Holland and Germany), one from New Zealand and
treating cannabis as a contributory cause.The second
one from Australia. Only one study of the seven did
important conclusion was that the study was able to
not show a significant association between cannabis
compare the subjects scores on all the relevant
consumption and increase of the risk of developing a
variables over a time frame between 18, 21 and 25
psychosis. However, this study had some bias, such
years of age, and data collected at those three points
as low level of cannabis use and the lack of
showed that the “direction of cause” was from
evaluation of cannabis use after inclusion. For the
cannabis to psychosis, rather than the reverse.
six other studies, data show the existence of a
significant association between cannabis use and How does one include all possible alternative causes
psychotic disorders (with an increased risk between in a longitudinal cohort study with a relatively small
1.2 and 2.8 in Zammit et al.'s study), particularly sample size, so that cannabis stands out as the
among vulnerable individuals (that is with a pre- ‘independent’ cause? Note that for the sake of the
psychotic state at the time of inclusion). Therefore, argument about 'cause' I am not challenging the
all the studies that assessed a dose-effect validity and reliability of the data such as 'psychiatric
relationship showed this link between cannabis use symptoms' at this point. Nor am I competent to assess
and the emergence of psychosis or psychotic the statistical methods used to perform these ‘tests’
symptoms. The fact that all causal criteria were in the Christchurch study. However, an assessment of
present in the studies suggests that cannabis use such statistical methods was included in the review
may be an independent risk factor for the of the field by Ksir and Hart in 2016. They reviewed
development of psychosis. Results seem to be more the evidence in support of two competing theories
consistent for vulnerable individuals with the (hypotheses) between cannabis and psychosis; the
hypothesis that cannabis use may precipitate “contributing cause” view held by the Christchurch
psychosis, notably among vulnerable subjects. In study, and the “shared vulnerability” view held by
particular, early onset of cannabis use during the review authors.
adolescence should be an environmental stressor
Cannabis and Psychosis: A Critical Overview
that interacts with a genetic predisposition to induce
a psychotic disorder.” [Our emphasis] According to Ksir and Hart (2016):
“Interest in the relationship between cannabis use
Note that the closest that this review comes to
and psychosis has increased dramatically in recent
finding that cannabis may be a cause of psychosis, is
years, in part because of concerns related to the
that, “…cannabis use may be an independent risk
growing availability of cannabis and potential risks
factor for the development of psychosis.” The
to health and human functioning. There now exists a
strength of that suggestion comes down to what are
plethora of scientific articles addressing this issue,
referred to as “all causal criteria” being controlled
but few provide a clear verdict about the causal
as potential confounders, that is, alternative causes.
nature of the cannabis-psychosis association. Here,
So, what is the strength of this claim in the
we review recent research reports on cannabis and
Christchurch study? In their 2004 paper Fergusson et.
psychosis, giving particular attention to how each
al. addressed the problem of testing ‘causal linkages’
report provides evidence relating to two hypotheses:
to eliminate other explanations.
(1) cannabis as a contributing cause and (2) shared
Fergusson et. al. (2004) describe how their statistical vulnerability. Two primary kinds of data are brought
method allowed them to control for ‘confounders” to bear on this issue: studies done with schizophrenic
(i.e. other possible causes) both, “fixed” influences, patients and studies of first-episode psychosis.
such as age, gender etc that did not change over the Evidence reviewed here suggests that cannabis
time-frame of the data, and “time-dynamic” does not in itself cause a psychosis disorder.
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Class Struggle No 124 Autumn 2018
Rather, the evidence leads us to conclude that moderate road which makes the assumption of
both early use and heavy use of cannabis are more ‘harm’ an excuse to protect individuals from harming
likely in individuals with a vulnerability to themselves. The question of what constitutes ‘harm’
psychosis. The role of early and heavy cannabis use is reviewed, and the myths that cannabis is a
as a prodromal [symptomatic of an attack or disease] 'gateway drug', that overdoses are 'toxic' and can
sign merits further examination, along with a variety even cause death, are rejected. Nevertheless,
of other problem behaviors (e.g., early or heavy use cannabis is still held to cause ‘harm’ among youth,
of cigarettes or alcohol and poor school long-term heavy users and those genetically or
performance). Future research studies that focus socially at risk of mental illness. For that reason law
exclusively on the cannabis-psychosis association will reform must be gradual, based on ‘best science’ and
therefore be of little value in our quest to better guided by the medical model of ‘least harm’.
understand psychosis and how and why it occurs.”
The second approach is that cannabis is a harmless
[Our emphasis]
natural plant, used as a preventative and palliative
In other words, the authors conclude that cannabis medicine over millennia. Cannabis and our
cannot be shown to be a cause of psychosis, and the endocannabinoid system have co-adapted over our
best interpretation of the limited evidence is that it history of evolution. It is not only ‘harmless’ it is
suggests that cannabis may be part of a “shared ‘harm-killing’ with many (including as yet
vulnerability” where those ‘vulnerable’ to psychosis undiscovered) health benefits. These include pain
may use cannabis along with other substances as a relief replacing opioids, stopping spasms in MS, and
means of self-medication. The policy conclusions seizures in epileptics and pain in advanced cancer
that flow from this review article are to reject etc. And coming over the horizon is the prevention
cannabis as a cause of psychosis on the basis of a and elimination of diseases including cancer,
weak claim of “contributory causation”, and to Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, etc. In assessing these
address the common social and genetic factors that health benefits, we should combine all sources of
cause this ‘shared vulnerability’ associated with evidence: anecdotal, medical, laboratory research,
cannabis use. This shifts the focus away from the epidemiological, as well as the ‘gold standard’
prevailing model of “harm” towards a model of clinical trials, to understand fully the important role
“preventative health”. of cannabis in our lives.
That this is a highly politicized area is attested to by We conclude that the ‘harm’ associated with
the debate between Ksir and Hart and the authors of cannabis is mainly caused by the policy of prohibition
one of the studies they reviewed, over why a that reflects the objectives of powerful groups and
correlation cannot as a rule be a cause, and whether class interests in society and is reproduced in
the appropriate policy response is the legalization of research assumptions and media sensationalism. It is
cannabis and other drugs or continued prohibition. not an attribute of cannabis itself but of politically
loaded economic and social policies. We can see this
The significance of these policy options is clear if the
clearly in the benefits that have accrued in many
most obvious cause of ‘harm’ is prohibition itself
nations such as Portugal and Paraguay, and in those
rather than the ‘harm’ attributed to cannabis. For
US states where decriminalisation or legalisation has
example, the US study referred to above claiming
occurred. Medical Cannabis has now been approved
that cannabis use led to school dropouts, failure to
by WHO. But we still have to overcome the fear of
attend college, and more suicide attempts, could
THC as the cause of ‘reefer madness’ and prove that
easily be explained as the effects of prohibition. The
in a safe, legal environment, CDB cannot be
author advocates that prohibition should be replaced
separated from THC and the other components of
by prevention.
cannabis without losing the full health benefits of the
Prohibition causes the harm attributed to cannabis herb.
The reform debate therefore comes down to one of We can make a start as capitalism goes into its
two approaches. First the ‘harm’ model. Modest and terminal decline and fall, but only fully reap the
incremental change via decriminalisation leaves the benefits of cannabis as part of the socialisation of
growth, sale and consumption, regulated and production for need and not profit in a socialist
licensed, redirecting drug policy from prohibition society that has returned to nature in time to avoid
towards state control and regulation. This is the human extinction.
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Class Struggle No 124 Autumn 2018

Iran; For Permanent Revolution in Iran and MENA!

1) The new uprising in Iran is of world-historic enmeshed in the net of financial and diplomatic
significance. It proves that the masses are ready and dependence.”
willing to fight to overthrow capitalism in its death Just as the Russian revolution proved the
throes. The Iranian workers and poor farmers refuse theory/program of Permanent Revolution correct, so
to pay for the terminal crisis of global capitalism with did Iran’s future development. The constitutional
their lives and their living standards. Marxists reform of 1906 limited the powers of the Shah but
understand that this uprising is overdue and can only could not escape the “net of financial and diplomatic
end in socialist revolution or barbaric counter- dependence” without breaking free from British,
revolution. But we are not alone in this historic German and Russian imperialist rivalry for control of
perspective. An Iranian man, aged 111 years, speaks Persian oil. Iran’s national revolution was never
of being born at the time of Iran’s (then Persia) first completed because it was caught in the post WW1
step toward bourgeois revolution that took place in grip of imperialism’s attempts at re-division of the
1906. He said “I knew this day would come, I stayed world in the face of international revolutionary
alive for it”. He lived through the whole epoch of upsurge. The Russo-Persian treaty of 1921 protected
imperialism in Iran during which its national the Soviet revolution from White incursions from the
development was held back by the rivalry of the south while granting shipping rights in the Caspian
Great Powers, aided by their national bourgeois Sea to Persia. Such was the re-division of the world
agents, and the treacherous petty bourgeois which removed Russian imperialism from the scene
‘democratic’ left, in the contest for control over replacing it with the power of the Soviet Union up
Eurasia as the key to world domination. until Stalin’s deal with the Anglo-American bloc
during WW2.
(2) When Lenin wrote “Imperialism; The highest
stage of Capitalism” in 1915, Iran’s place in global (3) Iran took advantage of the post WW2 re-division
capitalism was already subordinated to imperialism. and the wave of decolonisation, but like most of the
Lenin defined imperialism as a system in which colonies fell short of completing the national
imperialist oppressor countries dominated colonial democratic (bourgeois) revolution. That succeeded
oppressed countries. However, a handful of countries only in China where the capitalists refused the offer
were ‘transitional’ or in between which included to share power with the Maoist CCP and fled to
Persia, China and Turkey. He called these semi- Taiwan, and belatedly in Cuba where the US refused
colonies: "..,countries which, formally, are to share power forcing the Castroites into the arms
politically independent, but which are, in fact, of the Stalinist USSR. In 1951 Mossadegh’s National
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Class Struggle No 124 Autumn 2018
Front, committed to oil nationalisation, won a of the Stalinist Tudeh party which followed the
parliamentary majority and overturned the absolute fatalist Stalinist line of making a democratic
power of the constitutional monarchy but failed to go revolution in alliance with the ‘progressive’
all the way to throw out the national bourgeoisie in a bourgeoisie to kick out the imperialists. The
socialist revolution. The result was a hugely popular Stalinists refused to learn from their betrayal of the
anti-imperialist bourgeois government that revolution in China in 1927 when their ‘ally” and
nationalised the oil industry. However, the popular honorary member of the Comintern, Chiang Kai Shek,
workers and poor farmers movement lacked a turned on the Communist Party and massacred its
revolutionary Bolshevik-Leninist Party capable of leadership.”
breaking the popular front. Mossadegh attempted to
Again, this serves to demonstrate that unless the
negotiate with the imperialists while they imposed
workers lead the poor peasants to revolution then the
production and trade sanctions as well as a naval
reactionary national bourgeoisie will use its
blockade. US and British agents created divisions in
leadership of the anti-imperialist popular front to
Mossadegh’s support and in 1953 they conspired to
turn on the workers and oppressed and smash the
stage a coup to restore their ownership and control
socialist revolution. The lessons of October have still
of Iranian oil and to restore Reza Shah Pahlavi as
not been learned. The Stalinists, Guevaristas,
Constitutional monarch.
renegade Trotskyists and Mujahedeen (Maoists) put
The coup attempt failed initially, as the National their trust in bourgeois democracy rather than the
Front and the Tudeh (Communist Party) took to the revolutionary workers and poor peasants. Again and
streets and the Shah fled to the US. The US and again, the workers and poor peasants rise up but
Britain planned a second attempt. This time the coup lacking a revolutionary Marxist party they are
succeeded mainly because Mossadegh demobilized defeated by the reactionary bourgeoisie, serving
his mass support and the Stalinist Tudeh party lulled directly or indirectly the interests of one or other
into the complacency by the apparently victorious imperialist power.
popular front which included its rival Islamic
movement presaging its reactionary role in 1979. (5) The Islamic Republic and its near-40-year
Losing support in parliament, Mossadegh then staged dictatorship and episodic resistance to it has, up to
a referendum to dissolve parliament and strip the its present situation as part of the Russia-China bloc,
Shah of his remaining powers; a left constitutional gone to war in the Middle East to re-partition it from
coup which lost him more support. Foreshadowing Iraq to Lebanon. It is trying to solve its semi-colonial
Allende in Chile in 1973, Mossadegh did not mobilise crisis at the expense of lesser semi-colonies and the
his support nor call for their resort to arms. All that working peoples of the Middle East and Iran. At least
was needed then was to neutralise Tudeh by twice now, after the Astana parley and after Sochi,
infiltrating provocateurs into the party to provoke a the world has been spun a tale of a Syrian settlement.
‘communist insurrection’ losing Mossadegh more All that has been settled, from the point of view of
support, and finally instigating pro-Shah officers the Iranian rulers, is that Syria will have to pay for
under General Zahidi to arrest him and take control the intervention in support of Assad! And meanwhile,
of the government. the continuous expansionary policy has introduced
Iraqi, Syrian and Yemeni masses to the behaviors of
(4) We summarize our position on the 1979 anti- “volunteers” from the dreaded Iranian Revolutionary
imperialist revolution and the counter-revolution by Guard Corps. These not only mete out repressions and
the Islamic bourgeoisie of the bazaar: steal everything in sight in “liberated” areas but have
their fingers in every sort of economic enterprise
“The tragedy of the 1979 revolution showed that Iran
wherever they are, all with the blessing of the
was ripe for revolution but lacked a revolutionary
theocrats.
leadership. The workers and poor peasants were the
force behind the anti-Shah revolution but were led As a result Iran is pumping capital and mercenaries
by liberals and Stalinists who allied with the Islamic into Iraq and Syria and Yemen in a subordinate role
national bourgeoisie who by 1981 had turned on the to Russia and China, mending its bridges with Turkey
most advanced workers and exterminated many and Qatar, and starving its own workers and
thousands of the best militants. The failure of the peasants. So the determinants of the uprising are a
socialist revolution can be clearly blamed on the role history of semi-colonial uneven and combined

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Class Struggle No 124 Autumn 2018
development and facing a global crisis which creates railways to ports and power plants — between China
all the objective conditions for revolution but which and Europe to pave the way for an expansion of
still lacks the vital subjective condition of a trade.”
revolutionary Bolshevik-Leninist Party. With only two
The masses revolt is general and not limited to the
alternatives, ultimately, the Iranian masses must find
largest cities. The Government claim made to the
the road to Leninism to be able to carry their
U.K. “Guardian” that the demonstrations have faded
revolution through, because the only other
is spurious. The revolt combines economic and
alternative is worse reaction than they have
political demands and calls for the ouster of the
experienced to date.
theocrats and Grand Ayatollah Khamenei have been
How the struggle is developing and the two taken up across the country. Zamaneh Media reports
imperialist blocs that the second half of 2017 has seen a spike in labor
walkouts over non-payment of wages and mass
(6) We read that ninety percent of Iranians are layoffs. The protests are not limited to the industrial
feeding themselves with the equivalent of food workers, who have suffered the worst of it, but have
stamps, and that these are slated to be further cut. spread to all wage labor sectors. Zamaneh reports the
Where 27% of the Gross Domestic Product was state repressions have hit national minorities harder,
devoted to social welfare and a basic floor akin to the also, such as the many Kurds who are miners.
Brazilian Bolsa de Familia for all in 2008, a World
Bank study now crows how this has been “reformed” Our orientalist “left” assures us of either (a) there is
down to 3% today. Youth unemployment is massive, no working class there, or (b) that this is just the
latest in a string of C.I.A. put-up jobs on the Middle
double digit inflation has become a permanent
Eastern and North African masses. We’re here to tell
fixture and the government minimum wage is ⅓ of
you there exists a ‘pre-revolutionary situation’ in the
the official ‘minimum necessary income’ for a family
language of Bolshevism. We condemn in advance any
of three. This condition prevails as a result of the
attempt to foist a popular front on the Iranian
costs of the theocrats’ wars taking place during a
masses. They are rightly sick of the leaders who bring
global crisis of capitalism, and especially since Iran
them nothing but wars, poverty and union-busting
has been backing Assad’s counterrevolution with both
repressions. When once they realize that these
blood and treasure. An uptick in international
conditions are dumped onto them by an enemy social
investment was supposed to result in improved
class, they too will recognize and reject any “half-
standard of living conditions, as was the re-election
way” schemes, whether popular fronts or Constituent
of Rouhani, whom the western press calls a
Assemblies, and the state those support.
“moderate.” But while the shares of stocks have been
sold, nothing got better on the street. In the last (7) Left reformist factions and fake Trotskyists,
month, gasoline prices have doubled. Where
necessarily are exposed and defeated by dialectics.
Germany and Spain were the big investors after the
If the protest movement sustains and grows over into
2009 protests (over the fake election results), today
permanent revolution by forming workers councils,
the money floods in from China:
occupying factories etc., and it actually begins to
“China is financing billions of dollars’ worth of
challenge for power, we can expect the pro-Assad
Chinese-led projects in Iran, making deep inroads
left to jump to the defense of the regime as they did
into the economy while European competitors
in Syria. These faux leftists are so fixated on their
struggle to find banks willing to fund their
unipolar world view and blinded by their western
ambitions, Iranian government and industry officials
orientalist-chauvinism that all they can see,
said….The Chinese funding, by far the largest
whenever an angry populous in the semi-colonies rise
statement of investment intent of any country in
up against despotic capitalist regimes, is the
Iran, is in stark contrast with the drought facing
nefarious hand of the CIA. The faux left, (actually
Western investors since U.S. President Donald Trump
much like the Voice of America, which suggests
disavowed the 2015 pact agreed on by major powers,
hardline clerics are behind the protests!), believes
raising the threat sanctions could be re-imposed.
the regime can be reformed/ improved. Or this
Iranian officials say the deals are part of Beijing’s “left”, the people themselves are not capable of
$124 billion Belt and Road initiative, which aims to revolution--so they must be the tools of Wall St. Thus,
build new infrastructure — from highways and when Trump lauds the uprising, at no political cost to

11
Class Struggle No 124 Autumn 2018
himself or his brand, the fake left sees an army of Spring,” we see spontaneous uncoordinated revolts
spies and provocateurs at work. not organised by any bourgeois faction or outside
influence. In Iran, blame is directed at the regime,
The regime has launched an offensive to stop the
not sanctions, etc., hence slogans opposing
protests. This may drive them underground as in Syria
intervention in Syria and Gaza represent a proletarian
where armed militias emerged to defend the uprising
internationalism, not a CIA plot. This is evident in the
from violent repression. It will be difficult (not
demand of the head of teachers union who calls for
impossible) for the fake left to present the protests
an end to the regime (he was jailed by the regime for
in Iran as the work of the CIA and/or Islamic radicals.
5 years so cannot be a CIA stooge). So, the regime is
Of course, they will try to say it is a “color
unlikely to be able to bury this uprising by taking the
revolution,” i.e., an anti-corruption, pro-capitalist
line that US/Israel etc., are to blame. Hence the
one, but not many will buy this for long. They cannot
imperialist left defence of the regime is already
defend the regime in their more usual way, claiming
exposed as bankrupt! We do not disdain to make our
that the regime is secular and democratic, being fully
view of what needs to be done known:
backed by Erdogan and Putin (albeit with caution,
Putin’s plans rely on keeping an alliance with Iran • For international labor solidarity with the
irrespective of leadership)! Naturally the Iranian Iranian masses!
masses have little time for these western petty- • For labor actions and labor political strikes
bourgeois. Color this revolution RED! We call on to defend Iranian trade unionists and
workers everywhere to down tools and engage in workers!
labor actions in solidarity with the Iranian uprising! • Down with the clampdown on social media!
(8) Following the government-sponsored pep rally RT Drop all charges and free all arrested
news declared the uprisings to be over and "like any protesters!
violent protests" unacceptable. Shades of Marikana! • For Permanent Revolution in Iran! End the
The faux left gave the ANC a free pass and for the regime! Smash the bourgeois/clerical state!
last 6 years they have given backhanded if not • Set up workers councils and militias, split
outright support to Assad. This is the nexus of the the army, no return to the Shah, unite the
SCO/BRICS (Shanghai Cooperation Organization and revolution with the resistance in Syria and
Brazil Russia, India, China, South Africa) bloc which Palestine!
rallied to the emergent Russia/China imperialist bloc • Down with imperialism including both the
the various capitalist semi-colonies trying to break U.S./E.U. bloc and the SCO with Russia and
free or remain viable while free from US/EU China! Down with the bourgeois/clerical
imperialism. So alongside cheers from the World lackeys!
Social Forum/LINKS assemblage, from Chavez gifting • International workers' support for
Assad the Bolivarian sword to Iran supporting Assad reopening of the Iranian revolution joined
against the Syrian Revolution, the semi-colonial with the Arab Revolution!
comprador capitalist classes (Bolivarian, Southern • For the right to self-determination for the
African, and Iranian...) act to stop the wave of Kurdish People! For a socialist Kurdistan!
proletarian revolutionary aspiration seeking to make • For a Bolshevik Leninist Party that does not
the national democratic revolution permanent-- that cede the leadership to Stalinists, Maoists,
is, socialist. The Stalinist left alongside LINKS, the Bolivarians and Guevarists!
Castroists and the faux Trotskyists of the PSL and • For a workers and poor farmers state!
WWP, have chosen to support one imperialist bloc • For a federation of socialist republics of the
over the other. A hundred years after October and Middle and Near East!
they repeat the social-imperialist treachery of • For a new, revolutionary Workers’
August, 1914. International, based on the method and
The common determinant of the current wave of Trotsky’s 1938 Transitional Program:
protests is the austerity due to the global economic “Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of
crisis being downloaded onto the semi-colonies by the Fourth International”!
the imperialist powers. As in every uprising since the
Tunisian eruption at the beginning of the “Arab Liaison Committee of Communists. 8th Feb 2018

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Class Struggle No 124 Autumn 2018

Brazil 2018 elections: Break with the Popular Front!


For an Independent and Revolutionary Alternative!

December 12, 2017 Sao Bernardo do Campo homeless workers encampment

The following is translated and reprinted from our comrades of the Revolutionary Workers
Group of Brazil (RWG-BR).
The 2018 presidential election in Brazil is set to take orchestrated by the allies of the PT in the
place in the greatest period of instability in the government, especially the current president Michel
country since re-democratization in the 1980s. Temer’s PMDB, her erstwhile allies fomented the
The global crisis of capitalism with the fall in the rate impeachment of Dilma.
of profits that broke out in 2008 — which has
But the crisis, corruption and the offensive of the
provoked great instability around the world — did not
“Car-Wash” did not stop with the PT. After the fall of
spare Brazil. In 2011 the crisis hit the country hard
Dilma, the bourgeoisie that ruled in alliance with the
and in 2015 and 2016 Brazil had the biggest recession
PT in its 14 years of government and maneuvered to
in its history. Dilma and the PT re-elected themselves
overthrow it, are now also targets of the “Car-Wash”.
in 2014 denying the existence of the crisis and
Even the PSDB, which was not part of the Lula/Dilma
promising that the country would “grow again.” The
governments, and is the largest right-wing party in
fall of GDP, high inflation and unemployment,
opposition to the PT, and that before the PT
increased misery and reports of corruption,
administration was itself in power for 8 years, is
increasingly amplified dissatisfaction among workers
reached by the scandal. All those who have governed
and poor people.
the country in the last decades are under the eyeball
The bourgeoisie and the media, who did not mention of the “Car-Wash”.
the depth of the world capitalist crisis, started an
In spite of the political crisis, with moments when his
offensive against the PT (The “Workers Party”), with
government seemed to be coming to an end like the
the main weapon being the Lava-Jato (“Car-Wash”)
leak of the recording of the conversation between
operation, saying that the problem of the crisis in the
Temer and the owner of the JBS (the meat
country was the PT and corruption. With a
manufacturer under investigation for corruption-bad
parliamentary manoeuvre, supported and
13
Class Struggle No 124 Autumn 2018
meat transl. note–see ref. link below), the revelation months, he maintains that his government “did more
of the president’s involvement in corruption keeps on for the workers”, that his government “invested”,
spreading. Temer has managed to approve that it is necessary to “make Brazil grow again” and
“reforms,” such as labour austerity measures, the that for these feats he is now persecuted by the
spending ceiling PEC (a “PEC” is a proposal of media and “Car-Wash”.
constitutional amendment–ed.), High School Reform
Many workers are hopeful that with the return of Lula
and to conduct pre-salt oil auctions.
to the presidency of Brazil, the pre-crisis conditions
However, the Social Security Reform, the main may return, that is: “investments” and full credits.
proposal of “A bridge to the future” program that But we know that this is not possible. Withdrawal of
spells out Temer’s actions as president after the rights and attacks on living conditions of the
impeachment of Dilma, is very difficult to carry out working class are the only way out for the
for the current government. Temer has also bourgeoisie and imperialism. What could happen
maintained the Lula/PT’s “progressive” policy of to an eventual new Popular Front government that
approaching Russian and Chinese imperialism and the will have to approve measures to attack the
BRICS. He visited China a few months ago and came working class, who have survived Dilma and now
back “impressed” with the country’s interest in Michel Temer?
investing in Brazil. Temer also proposes the
However, Lula’s candidacy is one of the great, and
“reconstruction” of Syria, putting Brazil in support of
many, unknowns for the 2018 elections. Lula is
the dictator Assad who massacres the Syrian people
threatened by the “Car-Wash”, which promises to
and tries to end the revolution.
condemn him making his candidacy impossible. What
The media and the bourgeoisie, who support “Car- can happen if Lula is prevented from contesting the
Wash” and attack the government, say that the elections? The PSDB elected the current Sao Paulo
continuation of the political crisis and corruption is governor, Geraldo Alckmim, as party chairman and
what makes it impossible for the government to everything is headed for him to be the legendary
approve the economic measures they support. They candidate next year, with a divided and rather worn
are not against the economic measures that the party. But a strong bid, which will have lots of money.
government wants to implement, especially the Alckmin has so far been free from corruption and
Pension Reform, which is considered the great villain certainly the candidate of greater stability for the
of the public accounts deficit. But they think the bourgeoisie.
Temer government is not able to approve them. The
In polls for the 2018 elections appearing in second
PSDB, which at its December conference decided to
place, behind Lula, is the far-right candidate,
leave the government, made a point of reassuring its
Bolsonaro. A federal deputy for the PSC (the Christian
commitment to the Pension Reform.
Social Party), he is known for his extremist
Faced with the greatest economic crisis and political statements and defense of the military dictatorship.
instability the Brazilian institutions are already However, he is now leaving his current party and is
discussing the electoral process that will choose the having difficulties closing agreements with the
new president and national congress in October, parties he is in unity discussions with. All these are
2018. PT and PSDB have been in power for the last 23 “nanny” parties.
years and PMDB was in all the governments since the
But beyond the traditional right and the reformist
re-democratization, and each are in crisis, worn out
left, in the electoral debate for “an exit to Brazil”,
with reports of corruption, the austerity measures
reactionary sectors appear to be saying that they
they apply and with very low popularity. The
have the best “exit,” like the declaration, months
bourgeoisie is divided. Small parties try to present
ago, of an army officer saying that in case of “chaos”
themselves as alternatives, many are parasites
the military must “act”.
seeking gains from office or in search for celebrity,
but also the extreme right ideology sees a possibility The PT is the largest leftist party in the country. It
of advancing, in addition to interventionists who call was built in the workers’ struggles against the
for a military dictatorship. military dictatorship in the 1980s and generated
great expectations among the entire working class of
In the re-election of Dilma, the PT denied the crisis
Brazil. The PT’s alliance with the bourgeoisie and a
and promised the “return of growth”. Now the PT
popular front government that ruled for the
says that the crisis has been caused by the current
bourgeoisie, big banks and corporations and
government and promises to return to investments
imperialism, show that we should not put our hopes
and economic growth if Lula is elected in 2018.
in bourgeois elections. In these elections the workers
During Lula’s campaigns across the country in recent
need an alternative to any popular front.
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Class Struggle No 124 Autumn 2018
It is necessary to stand against alliances of the PT In fact, whether opportunistic or sectarian, PSOL
with the bourgeoisie; this is the main reason for and PSTU propose an alternative to the PT, but
the PT’s betrayal of the workers. For the PT to be not an alternative to the Popular Front.
on the workers’ side, it is necessary to break with
Among private sector workers, especially the
the bourgeoisie.
metallurgists, the workers are blinded by the PT/CUT
However, the PT has never left its alliances with the and the union bureaucracies, with the help of the
bourgeoisie and nothing indicates that it will leave PSOL/PSTU, through the “Brazil Metalworking Front.”
them in the 2018 elections. On the contrary, it is Just as PSTU/PSOL support the bureaucratic bloc with
increasingly linked to the bourgeoisie, especially to the union bureaucracy in the workers’ movement
the “coupists” who also try to defend themselves against “labor reform” and social security cuts, they
against “Car-Wash” prosecutions. During Lula’s support the same bureaucracy in the organization of
travels across the Brazilian northeast, he joined on metallurgists. In the factories of the San Jose dos
the platform with figures connected to the “colonel” Campos (SJC), controlled by the PSTU, workers of
of Alagoas, Renan Calheiros (PMDB), a well-known several factories made a move and went on strike.
corrupt oligarch who was in the PT government and The union leadership kept all the strikes isolated by
is also accused in the “Car-Wash” investigation. Lula factory, with economist guidelines and left the so-
also publicly stated that it is possible for the PT to proclaimed “unity” and “fight against Temer and the
make alliances with the parties that defended reforms” for the Bloc it has with the bureaucracies
Dilma’s impeachment. and the “National Days of Mobilization”.
Recently it has been proved
once again that diverting the
struggle into bureaucratic
blocs with the trade union
bureaucracy serves to
demobilize and demoralize the
workers’ struggle. This was on
top of the betrayal where the
CUT and other central
bureaucracies disregarded the
general strike of 5/12, which
had been agreed among
themselves against the Pension
Reform. The same had already
occurred in the General Strike
on June 30th, which was
boycotted by most of the
plants, and by the CUT.
Another sector of the left that is quite numerous and
PSOL and PSTU, the largest parties on the left that has great influence is the MTST (Movement of the
opposed the popular front government, say that a Homeless Workers), and its leader Guilherme Boulos
leftist alternative is needed in the elections. (GB), and the sectors around him. Even the
Everyone claims to defend a “Left Front” in the mainstream of the PSOL prevented its party congress
elections. PSOL defends a slate as an “alternative” to in early December from deciding on a presidential
Lula/PT and is already discussing who to nominate. candidate, because they want to persuade the leader
However, the major currents of the PSOL are not of the homeless workers to be the candidate for the
against alliance with the bourgeoisie and many cases party. The MTST is the largest housing movement in
have already occurred in past elections and occur in the country. The occupation “People without Fear”
the workers ‘and students’ movement, such as the in Sao Bernardo do Campo(SBC), started on a large
PSOL alliance with the PPL (Partido Patria Libre) in plot occupied by a few hundred people in December.
the elections to the Poa prefecture in 2016. In a week, the occupation expanded to 8 thousand
The PSTU in the last elections rejected the Left front families! The “People without Fear” occupation of
and launched its own candidacies, but in the union SBC is a great expression of the social crisis we are
movement it makes alliances through bureaucratic experiencing. What is the outcome for the homeless
blocs with the union bureaucracy linked to bourgeois movement?
parties like the PDT, Solidarity, PPL, etc.
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Class Struggle No 124 Autumn 2018
The main housing policy of PT governments was the fighting fascism. On the contrary, it creates illusions
Minha Casa Minha Vida program. This program was in bourgeois democracy, demobilizes and
part of the PAC (Program for the Advancement of demoralizes the workers and opens the way to
Children), which included other sectors of the fascism.
economy, was based on the public financing of works
Workers need to break with the bureaucracy that
of large contractors, through PPPs (Public Private
drives trade unions and union centrals. Workers who
Partnership law projects) and concessions. Big
have made great movements and strikes in recent
construction contractors have never made so much
years need to move forward to the formation of
money. They are the same ones who won a lot in the
committees of workers and oppressed who can take
contracts with Petrobras and in the cartels that
in their hands the course of the movement itself and
negotiated with the government, today denounced in
strike, resuming their traditional methods of struggle
the “Car-Wash”. The boom in the sale of commodities
such as pickets and general strike.
and the large inflow of revenue enabled the PT to
apply neoliberal policies in the country with some Without this we will get more of; for example, in the
concessions. For MTST and its leader GB, demanding teachers’ strike in Rio Grande do Sul (RS) that for
from the government My House My Life is the solution years the union leadership has kept workers on strike
to the housing issue and is the solution for the more away from the workplace, preventing and/or
than 8,000 families in SBC and the millions of discouraging picketing at school doors. This happened
homeless in Brazil. GB, on several occasions, has during the 94-day strike of this year (2017) and even
appeared on the platforms with Lula and the PT. in 2016, when the students formed a true united front
and occupied the schools! Or what has happened in
In the big cities of Brazil, with millions of
the mobilization and construction of the General
unemployed, homeless, and workers losing rights and
Strike, in which the summits of the union centrals
living conditions –in the interior and small cities the
decided to carry out the general strike in meetings
indignation of the poor people is increasing with an
between four walls–in the same way that they
unbearable condition of life– it is not difficult to hear
regularly ‘go-through-the-motions’!
of the revolts of those who set fire to prefectures and
burn politicians’ effigies. In the countryside there is MTST and its leaders must break with the
a real civil war. Landowners and their paramilitary bureaucracy and the bourgeoisie!
groups decimate indigenous populations and Advance the construction of committees of
massacre rural workers and small farmers. workers and oppressed people and self-defense
Recently, in OESTE BAIANO, the people of a city organized to fight against the bourgeoisie and
invaded a farm and destroyed the entire imperialism.
hydraulic/electric system for irrigation, which left For a Congress of Workers elected on grassroots
the river without water to supply the population. The committees to discuss and decide the course of the
end of public services, as one of the government’s fight!
key measures to cut spending, has hit heavily the
municipal, state and federal civil servants, who have For a government of Workers’ Committees!
initiated several strike movements across the In the 2018 election, support for workers’
country. committees to launch their candidates as tribunes
Last October we saw the left holding events to against the Popular Front!
commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Russian For a revolutionary workers party that organize
Revolution. The uncertainties and instabilities that the vanguard workers to fight for workers power!
permeate the debate over the 2018 elections should
bring to the fore debates such as the 100 years of the For a new Revolutionary Workers International
Russian revolution, the need for the Brazilian based on the method of Trotsky’s 1938
revolution and a Bolshevik party, and for an Transitional Program!
independent and revolutionary response from the Sources:
workers to this crisis. This is not happening; the http://fortune.com/2017/09/14/jbs-batista-brazil-
examples and teachings of the Russian Revolution temer-corruption-insider-trading/
have remained only for “feast days.” On the Video of general strike action:
contrary, the “revolutionary” left says that the https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-politics-
socialist revolution in Brazil is not possible! protests/brazil-protesters-police-clash-in-first-
Capitalism cannot solve the crisis without fascism and general-strike-in-decades-idUSKBN17U0EX
barbarism. The Popular Front is not capable of

16
Mieville: The Story of October.
Part 3. Epilogue: After October
The October insurrection was not the end of the story but the beginning. For Lenin the
insurrection was the easy part; building socialism was the hard task. At the victorious Second
Congress, late on the 26th, Lenin declares: “We shall now proceed to construct the socialist
order.” The first steps are to nationalize the land and stop the war.

“But” says Mieville: ‘socialism’ is not the same as proletarian ‘socialism’.


It depends which class benefits from that ‘socialism’.
“the war is not ended, and the order that will be
The Bolsheviks were the only party representing the
constructed is anything but socialist. Instead the
vanguard of the proletariat. The Mensheviks
months and years that follow will see the revolution
represented moderate workers and petty bourgeois
embattled, assailed, isolated, ossified, broken. We
whose internationalism fell well short of a proletarian
know where this is going: purges, gulags, starvation,
revolution to overthrow the Provisional Government
mass murder. October is still ground zero for
and stop the war.
arguments about fundamental, radical social change.
Its degradation was not a given, was not written in Mieville chides the Left Mensheviks for walking out of
the stars.” the Soviets and handing the majority to the
Bolsheviks and Left SRs. He says:
Mieville doesn’t go far beyond October to assess the
historic impact of the revolution and its fate, other “The Left Mensheviks, committed anti-war
than to rehearse the main reservations about its internationalists, have a case to answer, with their
success. walkout in October 1917. Coming straight after the
“The story of the hopes, struggles, strains and congress voted for coalition, this decision shocked
defeats that follow 1917 has been told begore and and upset even some of those who went along with
will be again. That story, and above all the questions it. ‘I was thunderstruck,’ said Sukhanov, of an action
arising from it – the urgencies of change, or how he never ceased to regret. ‘No one contested the
change is possible, of the dangers that will beset it – legality of the congress… [This action] meant a
stretch vastly beyond us. These last pages can only formal break with the masses and the revolution.”
offer a fleeting glance.”
Mieville is misleading himself and his readers if he
Here Mieville’s strength as a story teller comes thinks that the Left Mensheviks who stood for a
undone as he rehearses a familiar list of arguments ‘socialist coalition’ in the Constituent Assembly could
but without a full balance sheet of all the forces that complete the bourgeois revolution and win peace,
determined the outcome of the revolution. True, land and bread in the face of imperialist war and
‘lessons’ are beyond the brief of the ‘story’ of threat of invasion. At the first test, they could not
October, but since it ventures forth in that direction, even fight to defend their majority in the Soviet, and
we need to critique its shortcomings, to re-affirm the walked out at the critical point, “isolating
‘lessons’ we take from October for today. themselves from the masses and the Revolution”.
They wrote themselves off as a revolutionary force.
Did the Bolsheviks hijack the revolution to
Their better members became Bolsheviks. Their
create a one-party state? worst became enemies of the revolution.
Mieville is concerned about the ‘hardline’ that the The closest the Soviet Government came to being a
Bolsheviks should form a ‘one-party’ state. ‘socialist coalition’ was in early 1918. In January the
“The pro-coalition All-Russian Executive Committee Left SRs (who had split with the Right SRs) joined with
of the Union of Railway Workers demands a the Bolsheviks in the new Soviet Government. This
government of all socialist groups. Neither Lenin nor was a socialist coalition of poor peasants, soldiers and
Trotsky, both hardline on the question, attend the workers. Together they closed down the CA
resulting conference: those Bolsheviks who do – dominated by the SRs representing petty bourgeois
Kamenev, Zinoviev and Milyutin – agree that a peasants who opposed the revolution. That is why
socialist coalition is the best chance for survival.” Lenin asked the Cossacks to close down the CA to test
Why are Lenin and Trotsky “hardline” on this their support for the revolution. Then in March the
question? ‘Socialism’ since Marx’s time is not unique Left SRs resigned from the government because they
to the proletariat. Bourgeois and petty bourgeois opposed signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. They
Class Struggle No 124 Autumn 2018
wanted to continue the ‘revolutionary war’ to defend revolution. Was deserting the revolution rather than
the new workers and peasants state. feeding it justified? In July the Left SRs assassinate
several leading Bolsheviks and in August make an
Why did the Left SRs and the Bolsheviks fall out of
attempt on the life of Lenin. There was no prospect
this treaty? Representing poor peasants and soldiers,
of restoring a ‘socialist coalition’ across the clear
the Left SRs were exposed to the reactionary position
class line now drawn between those who fought to
of the peasantry in general whose world view was
defend the revolution and those who sided with the
limited to private land ownership. The Left SRs saw
counter-revolutionary attack on the Bolsheviks.
fighting Germany as the necessary defence of their
national class interests. ‘Peace’, land and bread At every point where the fate of the revolution is in
could only be defended by victory over the the balance the Bolsheviks prove themselves able to
imperialist invader. On the other hand, the mobilise the masses to defend the revolution. Those
proletariat (workers who are active in class struggle) who claim to represent workers but who turn their
and the vanguard Party which represents its universal backs on the revolution cannot then whine that they
and historic class interests (a la Marx and Engels in were ‘hijacked’ by a one-party Bolshevik state.
The Communist Manifesto) do not see the revolution
The question of whether an isolated, backward,
in national isolation. The defence of the new workers
soviet Russia could have avoided ‘state capitalism’ is
state had to be subordinated to the interests of the
answered by Lenin well before the revolution.
international proletariat.
Replying to the charges in the Left Communist journal
“For until the world socialist revolution breaks out,
Kommunist in May, 1918, that the Bolsheviks are
until it embraces several countries and is strong
betraying the revolution by going back to ‘state
enough to overcome international imperialism, it is
capitalism’, Lenin writes:
the direct duty of the socialists who have conquered
“It has not occurred to them [Left Communists] that
in one country (especially a backward one) not to
state capitalism would be a step forward as
accept battle against the giants of imperialism.
compared with the present state of affairs in our
Their duty is to try to avoid battle, to wait until the
Soviet Republic … It is not state capitalism that is at
conflicts between the imperialists weaken them
war with socialism, but the petty bourgeoisie plus
even more, and bring the revolution in other
private capitalism fighting together against both
countries even nearer.” Lenin in “Left-wing”
state capitalism and socialism. The petty bourgeoisie
Childishness, May, 1918.
oppose every kind of state interference, accounting
The Bolsheviks were divided (what’s new?) with some and control, whether it be state capitalist or state
siding with the Left SRs. Lenin and Trotsky argued for socialist.” “Left-Wing” Childishness”
a negotiated peace to stop the destruction of Russia’s
In order to make the ‘transition’ from capitalism and
resources needed to build socialism. The
socialism Russia needs state capitalism to develop
‘revolutionary war’ would lead to the destruction of
the forces of production to prepare for socialism. This
the revolution. Trotsky argued for peace negotiations
requires state ‘interference’ – hiring capitalist
to gain time to allow workers and soldiers in the
owners, appointing ‘one-man’ managers etc to direct
warring imperialist countries to strike and mutiny and
production in industry. Then after the failure of the
make their own revolutions. Critical time was needed
German revolution, it was necessary to ‘retreat’ to
to build Bolshevik parties in these countries to win
the NEP. The peasants dream of becoming rich had to
workers from the treacherous social democrats and
be harnessed to increase productivity on the land to
Kautsky’s centrist United Socialists. Ultimately, the
feed the industrial workers who were building
Bolshevik leadership approached the question of
socialism. Without ‘peace’ there was no possibility of
peace as reducing the impact of the war on the ability
developing the land – nationalised by the revolution –
of Soviet Russia to extend the revolution
and providing ‘bread’. Hence ‘war communism’ was
internationally. But in the event this effort fell short
part of the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ necessary
of the end of the war by some months and the
to mobilise the forces of production to defend the
German invasion of the Ukraine forced the Soviet
revolution. Without it, the new workers and
Government to sign the Treaty on March 3rd.
peasants’ state would have been further decimated
The civil war followed immediately in May and the by war and starved into submission.
Left SRs then turned on the Bolsheviks over peasant
Part 4 continued next issue:
resistance to state requisitions to feed the
Was Russia Ready for Revolution?

18
What We Fight For
individual "freedom" and "equality". It reveals how
Overthrow Capitalism and why the reformist, Stalinist and centrist mis-
Historically, capitalism expanded world-wide to free leaders of the working-class tie workers to bourgeois
much of humanity from the bonds of feudal or tribal ideas of nationalism, racism, sexism and equality.
society, and developed the economy, society and Such false beliefs will be exploded when the struggle
culture to a new higher level. But it could only do this against the inequality, injustice, anarchy and
by exploiting the labour of the productive classes to barbarism of capitalism in crisis, led by a
make its profits. To survive, capitalism became revolutionary Marxist party, produces a revolutionary
increasingly destructive of "nature" and humanity. In class-consciousness.
the early 20th century it entered the epoch of
imperialism in which successive crises unleashed For a Revolutionary Party
wars, revolutions and counter-revolutions. Today we
The bourgeois and its agents condemn the Marxist
fight to end capitalism’s wars, famine, oppression
party as totalitarian. We say that without a
and injustice, by mobilising workers to overthrow
democratic and a centrally organised party there can
their own ruling classes and bring to an end the
be no revolution. We base our beliefs on the
rotten, exploitative and oppressive society that has
revolutionary tradition of Bolshevism and Trotskyism.
exceeded its use-by date.
Such a party, armed with a transitional program,
forms a bridge that joins the daily fight to defend all
Fight for Socialism the past and present gains won from capitalism, to
By the 20th century, capitalism had created the pre- the victorious socialist revolution. Defensive
conditions for socialism –a world-wide working class struggles for bourgeois rights and freedoms, for
and modern industry capable of meeting all our basic decent wages and conditions, will link up the
needs. The potential to eliminate poverty, struggles of workers of all nationalities, genders,
starvation, disease and war has long existed. The ethnicities and sexual orientations, bringing about
October Revolution proved this to be true, bringing movements for workers control, political strikes and
peace, bread and land to millions. But it became the the arming of the working class, as necessary steps to
victim of the combined assault of imperialism and workers' power and the smashing of the bourgeois
Stalinism. After 1924 the USSR, along with its state. Along the way, workers will learn that each
deformed offspring in Europe, degenerated back new step is one of many in a long march to
towards capitalism. In the absence of a workers' revolutionise every barrier put in the path to the
political revolution, capitalism was restored between victorious revolution.
1990 and 1992. Vietnam, China and Cuba then
followed. Today only North Korea (DPRK) survives as Fight for Communism
a degenerate workers’ state. We unconditionally
Communism stands for the creation of a classless,
defend the DPRK against capitalism and fight for
stateless society beyond socialism that is capable of
political revolution to overthrow the bureaucracy as
meeting all human needs. Against the ruling class lies
part of world socialism.
that capitalism can be made "fair" for all; that nature
can be "conserved"; that socialism and communism
Defend Marxism are "dead"; we raise the red flag of communism to
While the economic conditions for socialism exist keep alive the revolutionary tradition of the'
today, standing between the working class and Communist Manifesto of 1848, the Bolshevik-led
socialism are political, social and cultural barriers. October Revolution; the Third Communist
They are the capitalist state and bourgeois ideology International until 1924, the revolutionary Fourth
and its agents. These agents claim that Marxism is International up to 1940 before its collapse into
dead and capitalism need not be exploitative. We say centrism. We fight to build a new, Fifth, Communist
that Marxism is a living science that explains both International, as a world party of socialism capable
capitalism’s continued exploitation and its attempts of leading workers to a victorious struggle for
to hide class exploitation behind the appearance of socialism.
Class Struggle No 124 Autumn 2018

For a World Party of Socialist Revolution!

Liaison Committee of Communists


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20