Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Anti-Imperialism of Fools: Charlie Kimber (SWP), Warns of ‘Inter-Imperialist War’ between Ukraine and Russia, Morning Star Pugilist John Wight Threatens Finland with ‘National Suicide’.

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Socialist Worker in February.

Charlie Kimber is, you had better believe it, National Secretary of the Socialist Workers Party and Editor of Socialist Worker. In that capacity he has recently proffered advice to the French left on strategy during the recent Presidential election. ” Mélenchon could have said, whoever wins on Sunday, take to the streets, don’t go to work on Monday, make it a day to signal that you won’t bow down to the fascist or the banker. Instead Mélenchon remains utterly fixated on elections.” (France needs a fightback to stop fascists Socialist Worker. 26.4.2022).

Alas, the French left ignored this well-meaning advice.

Will the left heed Kimber’s latest call? Prepare for a new phase of the war in Ukraine (Socialist Worker. 15.5.2022).

Now the war has settled into a horrific drawn-out confrontation, with generals and politicians anticipating this will be a long conflict. And more clearly than ever it is one between rival imperialisms with the threat of ­all-out assaults by nuclear-armed powers.

To underline the point Kimber states,

The whole claimed basis of the conflict has openly changed. It has moved from ­repelling an invasion to launching a war of conquest.


Some pundits think this will be like the Afghan war where for many years the US and its allies pumped in support to the Afghans fighting the occupying Russian army. But the US and Nato are far more directly involved this time, and can easily be drawn into the fighting which was never possible in Afghanistan.

The article ends with this call, no doubt an appeal to what Tel’s Nipper calls ‘extraparliamentary struggle’.

Just like revolutionaries then, we need renewed opposition to imperialist war. As it hits a new phase we need a new phase of resistance, ­knitting together the opposition to imperialist slaughter and the resistance to the strangling of working class living standards.

Any war of this scale, and in Europe, is bound to foment “imperialist”, US, EU, UK and Nato, involvement, not least because Ukraine had asked for their help against the imperialist Russian invasion, in the classic sense of an armed invasion to “extend a country’s power and influence through the use of military force.” This is, to state the obvious, not a war in which Ukraine is putting into effect a strategy, with the West’s support, of conquering Moscow. Russia may not have used brutal force to pursue the objectives of finance capital. But it looks to many that Putin’s actions correspond to the perception of national interests outlined in extreme form in Black WindWhite Snow: The Rise of Russia’s New Nationalism, Charles Clover (2016). That is a further expansionist phase of Russian nationalism and ‘Eurasia’ after the succession of Crimea to Russia and the Donbass enclave ruled by the ultras of the Slavic right, and red-browners, in the Donetsk ‘People’s republic’ since 2014.

Kimber is not alone in ignoring the call uniting most people, including a large section of the left – Stand with Ukraine! This does not mean support for a rival Ukrainian nationalist ideology, it is against an attack and an expression of solidarity with those assaulted and murdered by Putin’s brigades.

The remorselessly anti ‘West’, ‘anti-imperialists’, who, regardless of what the people of Ukraine, under the murderous attacks ordered by the Russian President and carried out by the Russian Federation’s military , experience and wish, point the finger at NATO, and Washington, are now in full throttle.

John Wight enters the fray. A well known self-identifying man of the left, Wight has written for a variety of newspapers and outlets, including the, Morning Star, Socialist Unity, the Toilet walls of the World’s End (Edinburgh), In a Huff, the Cape Wrath Advertiser, and Foreign Policy Journal (Vorkuta). He is also a regular commentator on RT and Radio Clachtoll Digital. The multi-tasking writer, whose only merit is to (to everybody’s surprise) have been against Brexit, is the author of This Boxing Game: A Journey in Beautiful Brutality. He has also written a memoir based on his time in Tinseltown entitled Hail Caesar? How the Anti-Communist Coen Brothers Misrepresent Hollywood’s Radical Tradition and My Studio Crucifixion.

The below outdoes Kimber’s would-be Leninist logorrhoea.

A sample of the wordsmith’s work appeared a few days ago in the organ of the British Communist Party, sorry, the independent, People’s Daily, owned by the co-op.

Finland’s decision to join Nato is tantamount to an act of national suicide, not security

Morning Star (where else?) – worn out phrase-mongering in italics.

It may be taboo to say it, but it was Nato expanionism, utterly hostile to Russia, that is the origin of this current conflict — and Nato growing even more will only increase the danger of world war, writes JOHN WIGHT

Sunday 15th May 2022

ALBERT EINSTEIN made the salient point that “Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved by understanding.”

If only the assorted panjandrums who currently occupy positions of power in the West would have grasped Einstein’s point, there would be no conflict in Ukraine right now and no enmity with Russia.

Churchill’s famous formulation of Russia as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,” suffers from a deficit of objectivity and a surplus of cant. It compels us to ponder the real enigma that is the Western colonial mind.

Fixed principles are a luxury for those whose tomorrow is certain to be as comfortable and privileged as their yesterday and today. For the rest of us, meanwhile, they are death itself when applied to a foreign policy of might is right.

Wildly unfashionable as it may be, Russia is the victim in this scenario and Zelensky a puppet dancing to Washington’s, London’s and Brussels’ tune. Now we have Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto doing likewise — doing so without bothering with the troublesome democratic device of a national referendum — and in turn ending the very neutrality that has been the guarantor of his country’s security since WWII.

The good ship Nato is also making room for Sweden to come aboard, thus turning Scandinavia from a bridge into yet another potential battleground between Russia and the West.

Whatever anybody might think of Putin, he has proved more than once his willingness to throw down militarily when push comes to shove. And, too, you don’t have to endorse the man or the direction in which he has taken Russia to understand that the direction in which he has taken Russia is where the West has led it.

Nato and the chaos its very existence creates is an arms manufacturer’s wet dream. The enhanced status it currently enjoys in Western chancellories on the back the conflict in Ukraine is proof positive that Western ideologues have learned nothing and forgotten everything.

Meanwhile a vast swathe of Ukraine lies in ruins and the streets of many of its towns and cities are running with blood.

This conflict did not start in 2022, it began in 2014 with the toppling of the last legitimate all-Ukraine government, led by Viktor Yanukovych and the subsequent direction taken in the interests of a section of the country’s population at the expense of another section.

This crucial point is of course lost in an ocean of propaganda that would have us believe that what we are living through is some morality play in which good is doing battle with evil.

The real evil is the lie that this rendering has informed.

Finland’s accession to Nato membership is completely regressive and underpinned by the catastrophically wrong conclusions drawn by the country’s political class to events in Ukraine.

At this critical inflection point in European and global affairs, Finland has just taken a momentous decision that may well plunge the country into the dark night of conflict in the foreseeable future.

History can either be used as a guide to a better future or it can be repeated to the detriment of that future. We, sadly, are living in an age when repeating the mistakes of the past is all the rage.



Away from Kimber and Wight’s ‘lots of reasons not to stand with Ukraine’ we have this from the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign.,

The response to Russian aggression must be the solidarity of the peoples of the world. Ukraine’s victory in the war will weaken authoritarian regimes in Syria, Belarus and other countries, and this will give the world a real opportunity to move towards democratic development with social and environmental justice.

STATEMENT of solidarity with Ukraine as adopted at the end of the Lviv conference.

Our left, trade union, feminist, and human rights communities, fight to promote Ukraine’s victory and its post-war prosperity, including:

  • Withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Ukraine, in particular, from the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
  • Military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, as well as the imposition of tough sanctions against Russia.
  • Introduction of a socially-oriented programme for the reconstruction of Ukraine, aimed at helping the country’s population, rather than enriching business elites.
  • A Renouncing the purchase of Russian fossil fuels entering a real energetic transition in order to replace fossil fuels with h t for , entering  without replacing them with purchases from other sources.
  • Abolition of Ukraine’s foreign debt and impossibility of withdrawing funds offshore.
  • Support for all refugees, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, religion, etc. Abolition of all discriminatory laws and practices.
  • Stopping anti-social reforms in Ukraine and abolishing high administrative fees that hinder the participation of the working class in political life.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 18, 2022 at 8:36 am

9 Responses

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  1. A manifesto dreamt up in NATO heaven.

    Arwyn Thomas

    May 18, 2022 at 10:44 am

  2. Just checked out the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign site. Ukraine and May Day page.
    There is a clip of a fascist demonstration Lviv 2015 passed off as a workers May Day commemoration.

    Arwyn Thomas

    May 18, 2022 at 12:46 pm

    • Are you a paid Putin stooge or just an unpiad useful idiot Arwyn?

      Jim Denham

      May 18, 2022 at 4:24 pm

      • The pro-imperialism of fools.

        Arwyn Thomas

        May 18, 2022 at 4:44 pm

  3. Thankfully the Stop the War/SWP wing (the SWP are now active in StWC again) and Red Brown Tankie misanthropes like Wight are a lot less influential on the Left now compared to 2003. Their star really has dimmed.
    In America too the small Red Brown fringe are exactly that. It’s telling that the most influential US left group , The congressional “Squad” and Sanders, voted for the 40 Billion defense funding to Ukraine. Good news !


    May 18, 2022 at 6:55 pm

    • There seems to be a convergence between them and Counterfire/StWC on this theme, “we need renewed opposition to imperialist war. As it hits a new phase we need a new phase of resistance, ­knitting together the opposition to imperialist slaughter and the resistance to the strangling of working class living standards.” – Kimber/SWP.

      (Counterfire site: Chris Nineham analyses the causes and consequences of the war in Ukraine and tectonic shifts in global power politics)

      “Now government after government is calling for massive increases in military spending at exactly the same time as they are forcing working people to bear the brunt of a new economic crisis. When everyone knows the war is making that crisis much more serious, this may well prove a difficult trick to pull off. There have been massive protests against economic depredation in Peru and Sri Lanka in the last few weeks. The possibility of food riots, fuel protests and other upheavals is built in to the situation. In the short term, wars tend to benefit incumbent governments and suppress social tensions. In the medium term they tend to radicalise.

      The basis for effective resistance is there. Whether it takes off will depend partly on what the left does. Two things are essential here. The first is we have to call out this war for what it is: a conflict between imperial powers. If we are blind to Nato’s role, the war becomes incomprehensible, or just the product of one man’s madness. Worse, we will end up effectively backing our own government. If we fail to condemn Russian aggression, we are ignoring the very act that started this phase of war and so we will cut ourselves off from anyone who is paying attention.

      The second thing is to insist that the movement will not be able to confront the cost-of-living crisis effectively without opposing the war. This is because the two things are connected. Continuing war and sharpened international conflict are already having drastic consequences, helping to push whole countries to the brink of collapse. It is also because governments in the West are using the war to distract and confuse, posing as champions of liberty, and even trying to blame Russia for the economic crisis.

      The first steps towards national and international movements against war are being taken. But there is much to do and the job could hardly be more important. As we know from the movement against the Iraq War, this will take a sustained effort of activism and organisation. It will also take clarity.”


      Andrew Coates

      May 18, 2022 at 8:57 pm

      • The above is all very interesting as a parlour game but will these carefully crafted positions affect things on the ground? Callinicos, in rare honest moments, admits that the “Revolutionary Left” is too small to effect events. That begs the question, “Why bother at all?”, unless these groups exist to provide an income for their full timers. They are as powerless now as they’ve ever been. Their marches and meetings are tiny compared with 2003. The most realistic scenario for them is to influence the Labour or Democratic parties and that isn’t happening or likely to.


        May 18, 2022 at 9:56 pm

  4. Meanwhile the Weekly Worker’s regular US correspondent backs the Trumpite far right US republican isolationists: https://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1396/about-turn-at-the-top/

    Jim Denham

    May 20, 2022 at 8:43 am

    • I read about the ‘Squad’ in the latest New Left Review, all four of them.


      I can’t say they struck me as left wing socialists, they would surely sit amongst the Labour mainstream..

      “Remember when a handful of young congressional progressives calling themselves ‘the Squad’ were going to take over the US Democratic Party? The big news is that the Democratic Party has now taken over the Squad.”

      That said the rest of the article is utter drivel…

      Andrew Coates

      May 20, 2022 at 10:45 am

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