Tendance Coatesy

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Russian Protests Against Ukrainian War Escalation Erupt. Left Stands in Solidarity while Stop the War Coalition is Silent.

with 30 comments

In his just published L’épreuve et la contreépreuveDe la Yougoslavie à l’Ukraine the French journalist and veteran left-winger Edwy Plenel begins his defence of internationalism, “Un nouvel impérialisme menace la paix du monde, et il est russe.” The reality of the Russian invasion of Ukraine forces us to look at this straight in the eye.

One of the founders and mainstays of Mediapart, he dubs this an “imperialism of revenge”, born of the resentment of nations who have lost their leading place in the world and who turn their wounds into aggression against other peoples and states. It is equally driven by a mission, to defend a conservative and identitarian world-vision, an alternative to Western decadence. Russia is also a nuclear power, run by a man and his clan of oligarchs, which has swung from authoritarianism to dictatorship. In the present international balance of power, Plenel, who began his career in the 1970s working for the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire paper, Rouge, declares, countering Russian aggression means having to deal with NATO (“composer avec OTAN” Page 37).

L’épreuve et la contreépreuve merits its own review. But for the moment these lines offer some clear lines of thought: Russia invaded Ukraine. Internationalists should oppose it root and branch. As Plenel says on Mediapart, (En défense de l’internationalisme 12th of September).

Being in solidarity without conditions or reservations with the resistance of the Ukrainian people to the Russian invasion does not prevent us from fighting the disasters for which the powers that support Ukraine militarily, the United States in the first place, are responsible. But these disasters can never justify abandoning the Ukrainian people today to be under the yoke of Putin’s Russia, just as the Syrian people were left under the boot of the Assad dictatorship.

“Il faut aider l’Ukraine, y compris militairement, dans l’espoir de mettre fin aux ambitions de l’impérialisme Russe.” (Page 106) Ukraine must be helped, including militarily, in the hope of putting an end to the ambitions of Russian imperialism.

Putin faces domestic opposition:

Pleney’s views, in outline, are widely shared on the European left.

The National Union of Miners has submitted this motion to the Labour Party Conference:

Motion Title: Ukraine
Motion ID: 1287
Conference notes:

  1. That Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to tens of thousands of deaths; nine million fleeing Ukraine and ten million internally displaced; horrendous war crimes and human rights abuses by Russian forces.
    Conference believes:
  2. That Russia’s war, waged by a power that oppressed Ukraine for centuries, is unjustified, unprovoked imperialist aggression.
  3. For the sake of democracy and resisting growing authoritarian tendencies globally, Ukraine must win.
  4. That Western governments have not yet given Ukrainians sufficient weapons to liberate their country and bring peace to Ukraine.
    Conference condemns all who would seek to exploit the cost-of-living crisis to undermine support for Ukraine.
    Conference resolves:
    To declare solidarity with the people of Ukraine and their labour movement who are resisting the invasion.
  5. That Labour will campaign for:
    a. A free united Ukraine, with any peace deal determined by the people of Ukraine.
    b. Increased military aid necessary to enable Ukrainians to free their country, including modern tanks, aircraft and artillery.
    c. Justice for victims of war crimes, including POWs killed.
    d. Lifting of restrictions on refugees fleeing Ukraine.
    e. A socially progressive reconstruction in which trade unions and civil society are properly recognised and can democratically participate.
  6. That the party will also:
    a. Promote Ukrainian trade union fundraising appeals for aid
    b. Encourage CLPs to invite Ukrainian labour movement speakers.
    c. Call a National Day of Action, ‘Labour Supports Ukrai

There are those who take a different view.

On the Stop the War Coalition’s site Chris Nineham, Vice-Chair of the Stop the War Coalition, author of Capitalism and Class Consciousness: the ideas of Georg Lukács and supporter of the revolutionary Marxist group, Counterfire, has not been silent.

For those who wish to see why the marginalisation of the Stop the War Coalition has happened there is no better place to start than here.



Never Lose Sight of Western Responsibility.

Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a new mobilisation of reservists and his statement that Russia is prepared to use ‘various means of destruction’ if Russia is threatened, marks an alarming new escalation in the terrible war in Ukraine and must be condemned. It makes chillingly clear once again that we are nearer to great power nuclear confrontation than at any time for generations.

It is without doubt a recognition of major military setbacks for Russia as the Ukrainian’s autumn offensive has forced Russia into humiliating retreats, particularly in the north of the country.

It also shows in the starkest possible way that the current Western strategy of backing the Ukrainian army by pumping vast amounts of weapons into the country, huge numbers of troops into the region and by economically isolating Russia is inflaming the war and risking further catastrophe.

Never Forget The Cost of Living Crisis:

Truss has been leading the calls for increased military spending across the NATO alliance to pay for a Western war against authoritarianism, “The free world needs this economic strength and resilience to push back against authoritarian aggression and win this new era”. She has launched a new review of British foreign policy and committed Britain to spending a record 3% of GDP on defence – more than any other European country – till the end of the decade. This of course at a time when many people will be facing the prospect of not being able to heat their homes or feed themselves this winter.

Never Forget Ordinary People.

Ordinary people in Ukraine, Russia and the wider region cannot possibly benefit from this dreadful conflict. Whether the war grinds on for months or years more or whether it suddenly flares up into a terrifying wider confrontation, it will be they who suffer most.

But this war is blighting the lives of millions around the globe. It has caused life threatening food shortages in countries across the global south. It is a major contributory factor to the inflationary crisis we are all facing. Now once again politicians and commentators are nonchalantly discussing in the media the possibilities it raises of nuclear conflagration.

It is up to all of us to do everything to try and end this madness and to challenge the idea that there can be any winners in this war.


Socialist Worker gives their outline on the debate about Ukraine at Labour’s Conference.

Left wing MPs earlier this year withdrew support for a Stop the War Coalition statement opposing Western involvement in the war in Ukraine.

Now the right are confident that they can pass a motion supporting the West’s Nato military alliance in Ukraine. Another motion by the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign calls for the West to escalate the war by pouring in more weapons.

Meanwhile no left wing ­organisation is proposing any anti‑war motion. And no Labour MP is speaking at Stop the War’s annual conference fringe meeting.

This the Stop the War at Conference:

Written by Andrew Coates

September 22, 2022 at 11:40 am

30 Responses

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  1. Putin apologist John Wight in today’s Morning Star:

    (From Wight’s piece ‘Putin rolls the dice not only on Ukraine, but also on his own leadership and legacy’):

    ‘Of course Putin is well aware that none of the regions that vote in a time of war to join the Russian Federation will be internationally recognised., just as Crimea’s incorporation into mother Russia in 2014 has not been

    ‘But he and his advisers and supporters clearly no longer require or desire the sanction of the West when it comes to Russia’s security or strategic interests. Putin has tirelessly pointed to the rank hypocrisy that abounds in Western capitals when it comes to such matters and no right-thinking person could disagree.

    ‘Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 international law has been observed by Washington and its allies and satellites in the breach. And, too, Putin is right to point out the aforementioned’s stance towards Moscow ever since has been that of Rome vs Carthage – ie Russia “delenda est” (Russia must be destroyed). This malign stance of Western ideologues is the root cause of the current conflict in Ukraine, not any mad desire of Putin to recreate the “Soviet empire” as claimed by his opponents.’

    Jim Denham

    September 22, 2022 at 12:07 pm

    • That would be the John Wight who is suspended from Twitter….

      Andrew Coates

      September 22, 2022 at 3:10 pm

      • The irony of Wight lambasting someone for introducing violence into political debate then in the next sentence threatens to “smash them”.
        He has always struck me as someone who sits alone in a darkened room, drinks and broods.


        September 22, 2022 at 4:51 pm

        • The faux hardman act is incredibly tedious, if for no other reason than that he has put on a ton of weight and is now such a baldy blimp that he has to take brooding photos from below to not look like a fat cunt. https://johnwight1.medium.com/

          My guess is that he’s been gorging himself on biscuits and pies and hitting the booze during lockdown. Type II diabetes can’t be far off in his future.


          September 23, 2022 at 1:07 am

    • Arfur (Boffy) goes CPGB (Provisional Central Committee)

      Letter, today’s Weekly Worker,

      “I agree with Mike Macnair’s argument that the US is seeking to encircle China, and the war against Russia in Ukraine is part of that strategy (‘Grand strategy and Ukraine’ September 15).”

      “Whichever is the case, it’s unlikely that EU workers facing having their homes deprived of energy and seeing their workplaces closed for the greater glory of US imperialism, when they know that plenty of cheap energy is available via Nordstream2, are going to sit idly by while that happens.”

      Arthur Bough


      Andrew Coates

      September 22, 2022 at 3:39 pm

      • Its not a matter of going CPGB (PCC) or otherwise, as I have set out the argument for more than a decade, now, including here. Nor am I alone in that analysis. Paul Mason made pretty much the same analysis several months ago, about what US/NATO intentions are, where he quoted chapter and verse from US strategic documents stating exactly what the US seeks to do in The new American Century, and to deny either Russia, and particularly China any global role.

        Paul mason has at least been honest in stating his support for US imperialism in seeking to smash Russia and China, and so bring about that condition, even if he did then rather contradictorily say in the same article that what is going on currrently is not an inter-imperialist war!

        And, the fact is that the energy crisis in Europe currently is a direct consequence of that war and the sanctions that NATO and the EU has imposed on Russia, including not opening Nordstream2. It is indeed, EU workers who are suffering the consequences of that NATO action.


        September 22, 2022 at 4:27 pm

      • Incidentally, I note that you miss the main thrust of the letter, which is that the main competitor to US imperialism is the EU not China!


        September 22, 2022 at 4:43 pm

      • “Whichever is the case, it’s unlikely that EU workers facing having their homes deprived of energy and seeing their workplaces closed for the greater glory of US imperialism, when they know that plenty of cheap energy is available via Nordstream2, are going to sit idly by while that happens.”

        It must infuriate you that EU workers are overwhelmingly opposed to Russia’s criminal actions. Your rage is palpable. I have to say its very amusing to me.


        September 22, 2022 at 5:12 pm

        • It must also infuriate Boffy that Jim Denham, one of the “agents of US imperialism in the British labour movement, such as the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty” wrote this excellent article in the latest Solidarity.

          Perhaps after the Weekly Worker he should write to the Morning Star,

          “Trash Ukraine to curb prices?
          Submitted by AWL on 21 September, 2022 – 9:25 Author: Jim Denham
          Flyer for Czech far right demo
          The Morning Star of 5 September finally came out openly with an argument that they and others have been hinting at and skirting round for months: that the war in Ukraine is a major cause of the cost of living crisis, so support for Ukraine must stop.

          The paper cited the 70,000 strong “Czech Republic First” rally in Prague on 3 September as the model for the kind of movement it wants to see in Britain. The rally was organised by the far right with the support of the rump Czech Communist Party and aimed as much against the 400,000 Ukrainian refugees the Czech Republic has taken and Czech foreign policy in general (especially membership of the EU) as the cost of living. Anti-vaxxers and covid-deniers were also present.

          Alongside banners bearing slogans such as “The best for Ukrainians and two jumpers for us”, Zuzana Majerová Zahradníková of the hard-right, anti-EU Trikolora party told protesters: “Fiala’s government may be Ukrainian, it may be Brussels, but it is definitely not Czech.” Some demonstrators wore T-shirts praising the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, while others carried banners voicing anti-EU (and anti-Nato) sentiment.

          The Czech Republic’s inflation rate is 17.5% (August-August). Fact-check: Hungary, where the government has refused to take refugees or give positive aid to Ukraine, is at a similar rate (15.6%).

          The Morning Star has started coming out openly with this line since editor Ben Chacko attended the Unsere Zeit Press Festival (organised by the German CP) at the end of August, and was evidently impressed by people like the Die Link MP Sevin Dagedelen and German CP leader Patrik Köbele, both of whom called for “peace” (i.e. Ukranian capitulation) as a key demand in any campaign against energy price hikes.”


          Andrew Coates

          September 22, 2022 at 5:43 pm

          • Except, Andrew – The Tendance Coatesy – Coates, you know full well that I wrote a comment on your own blog a few days setting out that the issue of the economic war against Russia and China has nothing to do with the question of whether you support NATO’s continued backing of Ukraine (in reality NATO’s war against Russia, using Ukraine as a weapon in that war – or not.

            Its perfectly compatible to say that you support Ukraine, and NATO’s backing of it, whilst pointing out that the sanctions are a bad idea, that they hit workers not capitalists (including Russian capitalists), that they are ineffective, and so on. Indeed, the AWL itself has run stories saying that the sanctions are counterproductive.

            If boycotting Russian energy has actually boosted Russian revenues and strengthened its economy, thereby, which they have, as well as providing China with the ability to buy more Russian oil and sell more higher priced refined product into the EU, what does that have to do with NATO/Ukraine’s war against Russia, or whether to continue support for it? Nothing at all. On the contrary, I would have thought that as a supporter of the war and all its horrors, you would also have wanted to end those counter-productive sanctions, because if they are not damaging but benefitting Russian capitalists, I would have thought that as a partisan of US imperialism, you would oppose them as undermining your war aims!

            At least be consistent in your supine allegiance to your masters.


            September 23, 2022 at 10:51 am

        • I am also opposed to Putin’s actions, so that rather makes your attempt to avoid the substantive issue even more hopeless, and your impression of rage, or attempt to cultivate even more false. Opposing Putin’s regime, and his war in Ukraine does not require socialists to support the reactionary regime of Zelensky backed and promoted by NATO imperialism, any more than opposition to Galtieri’s invasion of the Falklands in 1982, required socialists to back Thatcher’s imperialist war against it!

          The AWL (who were the WSL Majority in 1982) have of course, abandoned that principled Marxist position adopted at that time as they have become pure and simple liberal imperialists in the service of US imperialism.

          Opposing Putin’s invasion, neither requires socialists to back the reactionary regime of Zelensky, nor its NATO backers, and nor does it require EU workers to sacrifice themselves on the economic battlefield of NATO boycotts of Russian energy that threatens to destroy the EU economy, lead to deaths of EU workers from cold, all the while leaving US imperialism to sit back in the glow of an EU destroying itself as the main competitor to US capitalism, and allowing US energy companies – like Russian and Chinese energy companies – to make big bucks out of selling much higher prices oil and gas!

          And, of course, as liberals and social-democrats pursue that idiotic policy against the interests of EU workers, all the time it plays directly into the hands of the European far-right, as the Italian elections are likely to show this weekend. As Trotsky put it,

          “Fascism is a form of despair in the petit-bourgeois masses, who carry away with them over the precipice a part of the proletariat as well. Despair as is known, takes hold when all roads of salvation are cut off. The triple bankruptcy of democracy, Social Democracy and the Comintern was the prerequisite for fascism. All three have tied their fate to the fate of imperialism. All three bring nothing to the masses but despair and by this assure the triumph of fascism.”

          For Comintern, here, simply read the petty-bourgeois left like the AWL.


          September 23, 2022 at 10:39 am

          • Opposing Putin’s invasion does however require supporting the right of Ukraine’s elected government to acquire the means to defend the country from wherever it can. Without which, you’re not offering solidarity, merely the left version of ‘thoughts and prayers’.

            By the way, if reactionary leadership disqualifies a colonised people from support, I have some really bad news for the Palestine solidarity movement….

            Two Sheds Ted

            September 24, 2022 at 12:10 am

            • Opposing Putin’s invasion does not at all mean supporting Ukraine’s reactionary government and state, and its NATO puppet master! being opposed to death by hanging does not require me to support death by electric chair instead.

              If there were actually a revolutionary force in Ukraine fighting against the Russian invasion, and also committed to overthrowing the reactionary Ukrainian government and state, then, of course, revolutionaries would support it, and support arms being sent to it. But, there isn’t, and the task is to build it.

              On Palestine, its a good example. Of course, revolutionaries support the right of Palestine to self-determination, just as we do that of Ukraine. The point is, however, that the truth is always concrete, and the question to be asked is not whether we support that right in the abstract, but whether we support the actual struggle being undertaken, with its actual leadership, the forces involved and so on.

              So, supporting the right of Palestinians to self-determination does not at all require me to support the actual struggle being undertaken, not be revolutionaries, but by petty-bourgeois reactionary nationalists of Hamas et al. Indeed, not only is that my position, but its also the position of the AWL!!!! Similarly, being opposed to the US occupation of Iraq, did not at all commit me to supporting the struggle against it conducted by the reactionary jihadists, and the same applied to the struggles waged by those jihadists in Libya, and Syria.


              September 24, 2022 at 9:48 am

            • Still waiting for my response to this nonsense to appear.


              September 24, 2022 at 4:04 pm

  2. Its dangerous to respond to protests in Russia on the basis of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”. Many of those opposing Putin are worse even than him and his vile regime. They are the even more loony, Russian nationalists. But, even at best they are bourgeois liberals, who would act as simply vehicles for the dismemberment of Russia and its conversion into some kind of semi-colony used for cheap labour and the supply of raw materials and energy that would be a huge defeat for the Russian working-class.

    We want Putin defeated, but its only a revolutionary working-class that can bring that about in a progressive manner.


    September 22, 2022 at 4:31 pm

    • “We want Putin defeated, but its only a revolutionary working-class that can bring that about in a progressive manner.”

      An empty slogan like Militant’s call for a revolutionary union of the UK and Argentina being the solution to the Falklands War.


      September 22, 2022 at 5:51 pm

      • No, its not an empty slogan at all, and not at all the same as the Militant’s call in the Falklands War. Its the same call that the AWL, including Jim Denham made during the Falklands War of neither support for the reactionary regime of Galtieri, nor support for the imperialist regime of Thatcher, and a continued struggle by the working-class of both countries for their respective defeat. unfortunately, since then, the AWL has degenerated into a Stalinoid/healyite, petty-bourgeois studentist gang, that acts as apologists for US imperialism and its allies, much as their ideological mentor James Burnham did.


        September 23, 2022 at 10:27 am

        • “Stalinoid/healyite, petty-bourgeois studentist gang”

          This must be — while amusing — one of the least coherent descriptions of a leftist groupuscle that I have ever seen.


          September 23, 2022 at 5:18 pm

          • Then you clearly don’t understand the Marxist analysis of Stalinism as a petty-bourgeois formation and ideology, and the rude, bullying methods of Stalinism were to be seen in the Healyite sects, which themselves were petty-bourgeois. Students are by definition petty-bourgeois as Trotsky describes, and nearly all of the sects, today, are comprised of students or ex-students who long to continue that existence, and whose orientation is towards such students, as they have signally failed – understandably – to present any kind of attractive environment for, or attraction to actual workers.

            And, the nature of the AWL, as a group of around 90 people, the same number it has had for the last 60 years, in its various manifestations, and its method of operation does not even qualify it to be called a sect, but is more like a gang.


            September 24, 2022 at 10:15 am

    • Poor Arthur’s thoughts on this issue need not detain us: it’s not that he disagrees with Lenin on The Socialist Revolution And The Right Of Nations To Self Determination (the clue’s in the title- and the great revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg did, indeed, disagreee): his problem is that – possibly because of S-RCD – he evidently is incapable of even *understanding* Lenin’s position. This, of course, does not prevent poor Arthur spewing out interminable, ultra-boring irrelevant tirades that entirely miss the point. Sadly, he is now more or less lined up with the CPGB and other incoherent people whose position on Ukraine (not exactly supporting Putin’s invasion but certainly not supporting Ukraine’s right to defend itself) simply makes no sense – and that’s the charitable way of putting it.

      Jim Denham

      September 22, 2022 at 6:08 pm

      • Oh dear poor old Jim Denham, what has he and his gang come to. On a previous thread he made all these same accusations, and when I answered them in detail with chapter and verse from Lenin, showing that he was denuding Lenin’s concept of class and class struggle from the issue of self-determination, and instead reducing it to being merely the bourgeois-liberal concept, he claimed first that I hadn’t answered his question, without justifying that troll-like response, and then when I answered it several more time, with even more explicit quotes from Lenin to show why he was wrong, he simply slunk off back into his stupor.

        He also asked me to provide data about the indices of freedom and democracy in Ukraine, and when I did, showing clearly the opposite of what he wanted to hear, he again slunk off tail between his legs. When I pointed to all the cases when the AWL does not support let alone advocate self-determination – Iraq, Serbia, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, India – and instead supports US imperialist occupation – Jim again has no response. When I point to all of the occasions when the AWL has backed jihadists and reactionaries, where they are in alliance with US imperialism, such as Libya, he again has no response, instead trying to divert on to what a progressive role US imperialism was playing, and avoiding the question of the AWL’s support for jihadists!

        Now, he does the same again, avoiding the actual issue under discussion and resorting to the tricks of the troll, and of crude Stalinoid amalgams, And, again, he spices all of that up with the AWL’s usual abuse and insults in place of argument, to which he has now added in to that lexicon the use of openly disablist language. What a vile, degenerate bunch. No wonder you feel at home with imperialist butchers, jihadists, corrupt, anti-working-class, Ukrainian oligarchs like Zelensky, and the Nazis of the Azov Battalion alike!


        September 23, 2022 at 10:23 am

  3. United Front:

    Andrew Coates

    September 23, 2022 at 7:17 am

  4. Jim Denham and the AWL’s position on Ukraine is a vulgarised version of the position taken by the Thornett faction over the Falklands in 1982, and which the AWL’s predecessors and myself opposed. See – https://boffyblog.blogspot.com/2022/04/idiot-anti-imperialism-falklands-and.html.

    The Thornett faction (WSL Minority) argued, once the fighting had started, that Argentina was not an imperialist state, whereas Britain was, and so although they opposed the reactionary regime of Galtieri, it was necessary to support it against British imperialism, on the basis of the right of Argentina to self-determination. Today, the AWL put the same argument in relation to Ukraine, claiming to oppose the reactionary regime of Zelensky (though as seen with Denham’s comments in relation to its corruption and so on they frequently, in practice, apologise for it, and its support of Ukrainian Nazis), they claim its necessary to defend it against Russian imperialism.

    In 1982, the WSL Majority Faction, of which both I and Denham belonged, argued that the war was reactionary on both sides. We opposed Galtieri’s invasion of the islands, on the basis of the islanders right to self-determination, but opposed the British war against Argentina in the name of support for that right of self-determination. Indeed, at that time, I wrote several documents setting out the Marxist-Leninist position on that question of self-determination, using the very same quotes used now that Lenin claims show I don’t understand Lenin! I can’t remember Denham producing anything at that time.

    We argued the right of the islanders to self-determination did not trump the requirement to avoid war, and the inevitable deaths of workers on both sides. So, whilst we opposed Thatcher’s War, in the name of self-determination for the islanders, so we also opposed Galtieri’s war, and the claim that we should support it in the name of Argentinian self-determination against Britain. There is a clear parallel with Ukraine. In it, the Donbas is equal to the Falklands, Ukraine’s opposition to their autonomy, and its military actions against it are equal to Galtieri’s invasion of the Falklands, whilst Russia’s occupation of the Donbas, in response, is equal to Britain sending the fleet to defend that right to self-determnation.

    Today, the AWL and Denham put the same argument that the Thornett Faction put, in 1982 in support of Argentina. They claim that Ukraine has a right of self-determination against Russian imperialism, in the same way it was argued that Argentina had a right to self-determination against British imperialism. In other words, the AWL and Denham have adopted the position of the idiot anti-imperialists from 1982. They equate opposition to Russia (Britain)’s invasion, with support for Ukraine/NATO (Argentina), on that basis, which amounts to nothing more than the naïve concept of campism, and of “My Enemy’s Enemy Is My Friend”.

    The AWL’s position today is a vulgarisation of the Thornettite position in 1982, because then, they did put forward their position on the basis of a misguided and wrong interpretation of the Marxist position, and a genuine desire to be on the side of opposing imperialism, even if in defence of a reactionary, second rate, sub-imperialist state. They had also the further justification that Argentina was fighting against Britain alone, apart from tacit support from some European states like Spain that had ethnic links to it. Argentinian was not getting huge amounts of money and weapons from some other imperialist power, or from Stalinism, the closest being its purchase of French fighter jets and Exocet missiles.

    The AWL has no such excuse today. They know these positions, but typical of their Shachtmanite “practical politics”, which ditches principle in favour of simply picking up convenient arguments to justify whatever its current position might be, they bowdlerise them, and grossly distort them, as Denhmam has done in his comments here. They have adopted all of the positions of campism, of my enemy’s enemy is my friend, and of idiot anti imperialism, which 40 years ago they opposed, and they are doing so in order to justify their cringeing apologism for US imperialism. In 1982 Thornett’s support was for an Argentina standing against imperialist Britain, behind which stood NATO imperialism. Nevertheless, he was wrong. Today, Denham and the AWL, stand in Thornett’s shoes, but not in support of a sub-imperialist power fighting an imperialist power and its allies, but in support of a reactionary capitalist state that is merely the tool of NATO imperialism, and the massive military and economic power it wields. As Paul mason put it some months ago,

    “This was the week America took charge of the Russia-Ukraine war.”

    View at Medium.com

    He at least has the honesty to describe what is going on as an inter-imperialist conflict, like WWII, and to have come down openly on the side of US imperialism. Denham by contrast would have us believe he is still an opponent of US imperialism, and that was is happening in Ukraine is solely a question of self-determination. In his naïve, in fact troll like bowdlerising manner, he talks of,

    “The Socialist Revolution And The Right Of Nations To Self Determination (the clue’s in the title)”, showing his typical superficiality of approach. Well, of course, contrary to his argument, the clue is in the title, because it does not say, “The Defence of Reactionary Regimes, and Their Right To Self Determination”, which is Denham’s position. Lenin and Trotsky entirely rejected Denham and the AWL’s liberal view of self-determination, and made it inseparable from the concept of class struggle and permanent revolution.

    So much is that the case that their recognition that liberal and imperialists like Denham and the AWL were misusing “self-determination” to justify the defence of the fatherland, in already independent capitalist states that they through out the term “self-determination” altogether! In place of it, they put the right of nations to free secession.

    “”Such a perversion is, on the one hand, the social-chauvinist trend, socialism in word and chauvinism in deed, the use of the ‘defence of the fatherland’ slogan to hide the predatory interests ‘their own’ national bourgeoisie pursues in an imperialist war and to maintain the privileged position of citizens of rich nations which make enormous profits by pillaging colonies and weak nations”….

    Instead of the word self-determination, which has given rise to numerous misinterpretations, I propose the perfectly precise concept: “the right to free secession”.”



    September 23, 2022 at 2:23 pm

    • Poor, ignorant, deluded Arthur: he simply cannot come to terms with Lenin, can he? As I said, the clue’s in the title: “The Socialist Revolution And The Right Of Nations To Self Determination”. All his verbosity and waffle cannot get round it. He could, at least, admit that he disagrees with Lenin and supports Luxemburg – a perfectly respectable position to take, but poor Arthur apparently doesn’t want to let himself off the hook that easily. Oh well – his ignorance (and/or S-RCD) is there for all to see. And I do not intend to waste any more time on his tiresome bleatings.

      Jim Denham

      September 24, 2022 at 12:39 am

      • Except I did come to terms with Lenin, and fulfilled all of his requests to answer his questions, and the result was he ran away from the facts and the debate, because the truth is he does not have the intellectual tools to engage in serious, rational debate, and even if he did, no amount of such tools could support the argument he is trying to make, better brains than his have tried and failed.

        Its not me that is arguing Luxemburg’s position but Denham! Lenin argued against the Polish Socialists who wanted to subordinate the class struggle against Tsarism to their own national struggle for independence, thereby separating them from the Russian proletariat and their combined class struggle. It placed the bourgeois-democratic demand for self-determination above the class struggle, in the same way that Denham seeks to denude the concept of self-determination of any class and class struggle content, turning him in to a purely bourgeois liberal, indeed, rather like Pilsudski, as Denham and the AWL are clearly on the same rapidly rightward moving course given their current alliance with Zelensky and the Nazis of the Azov Battalion, as part of their obeisance to US imperialism, just as in the past they supported the jihadist allies of US imperialism in Libya, with such disastrous results.

        Here is Lenin on the position of the Polish socialists and their advocacy of polish self-determination above the needs of class struggle.

        “See to what monstrous conclusions this monstrous logic leads, even from the viewpoint of the programme demand for Poland’s restoration. Because the restoration of Poland is one of the possible (but, whilst the bourgeoisie rules, by no means absolutely certain) consequences of democratic evolution, therefore the Polish proletariat must not fight together with the Russian proletariat to overthrow tsarism, but “only” to weaken it by wresting Poland from it. Because Russian tsarism is concluding a closer and closer alliance with the bourgeoisie and the governments of Germany, Austria, etc., therefore the Polish proletariat must weaken its alliance with the proletariat of Russia, Germany, etc., together with whom it is now fighting against one and the same yoke. This is nothing more than sacrificing the most vital interests of the proletariat to the bourgeois-democratic conception of national independence. The disintegration of Russia which the P.S.P. desires, as distinct from our aim of overthrowing tsarism, is and will remain an empty phrase, as long as economic development continues to bring the different parts of a political whole more and more closely together, and as long as the bourgeoisie of all countries unite more and more closely against their common enemy, the proletariat, and in support of their common ally, the tsar.”

        (The National Question In Our Programme)

        A concise condemnation from Lenin of the bourgeois liberalism and nationalism of Denham and the AWL, from Lenin, so now, Denham have been intellectually pummelled again can slink off to his stupor once more, and take his Stalinoid/healyite disablist abuse with him. What a disgrace he and his gang have become.


        September 24, 2022 at 10:03 am

        • Perhaps you ought to also polemicise with this chap…

          Why the British Socialist Workers Party; Socialist Party of England and Wales; and Socialist Appeal could be going through profound crisis! by Anthony Brain.

          “The British SWP and Socialist Appeal could be beginning to go into terminal crisis due to not pulling back on their right-wing line on the Ukraine war. In fact they are going further rightwards. Socialist Appeal downplayed the danger of world war 3 and nuclear suicide by provoking the Russian bureaucracy. There were implications in Jorge Martin’s article that Putin is exaggerating the Imperialist threat to Russia. Martin contradicts himself by quoting Putin about the drones; warplanes; and ships approaching southern Russia. Then like the SWP there seems to be support for capitalist restorationist forces overthrowing Putin.

          The SWP are supporting armed mutinies in Russia in forces backed by Imperialism and capitalist restorationist forces. As I quoted Cannon the other day defencism and defeatism in war and revolution are irrconciable. The SWP is defeatist on Russia and semi-defencist with Imperialism only opposing them on the basis of provoking nuclear war with Russia. They oppose Imperialism in passing by 3rd camp formualas. As Cannon said about the Shactamanites and Cliff over the Korean war 3rd campism sometimes is a reflection of social patrotic pressures.

          The Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) on their Newsline website have explained two to three days ago the class stakes to stop capitalist restoration in Ukraine and the neo-Nazi forces. They documented in detail how the neo-Nazis in Ukraine have worked hand in glove with Imperialism since 2013. Tony Cliff may have had a different line to the SWP like other Jewish socialists due to the Neo-Nazi threat in Ukraine.

          The SP was not suffuincently critical of some of the labour movement leaders who support the Monarchy as an institution. Trotskyists unlike Hannah Sell always challenge the Trade Union Bureaucracy; New Labour; and Social Democrats the subordination to the ruling class which crystalises through the crown and Monarchy. Sell has a halfway position of not taking these forces up with upholding the principle of fighting for a Republic. On this question they were to the right of the AWL. This half-way position on the Monarchy could produce one of the worse crisis in the SP history.


          The Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) on their Newsline website have explained two to three days ago the class stakes to stop capitalist restoration in Ukraine and the neo-Nazi forces. They documented in detail how the neo-Nazis in Ukraine have worked hand in glove with Imperialism since 2013. Tony Cliff may have had a different line to the SWP like other Jewish socialists due to the Neo-Nazi threat in Ukraine.”

          Andrew Coates

          September 24, 2022 at 3:57 pm

          • Not sure what some of that means (capitalist restoration in Ukraine, for example!), and I’m also not sure that the labels “left” and “right” are useful – indeed not sure they are useful in general.

            I have no time for the social-pacifist position of the SWP, SP et al, any more than the social imperialist position of the AWL, USC et al. But, the main task of Marxists in war is to oppose their own ruling class, which in this case also means NATO, and those allied with it, and acting as apologists for it.

            Incidentally, I found the words of Blairite former Defence Secretary, and former NATO Sec. Gen. George Robertson interesting where he said that NATO may have “goaded” Russia into invading Ukraine, a position I had suggested some time before the invasion occurred. Robertson himself had made that suggestion prior to the invasion – https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/former-nato-chief-says-west-26475492.

            Of course, that doesn’t stop him opposing Russia, and supporting a NATO he once led that he now says goaded Russia into a war that is killing thousands, and is reactionary on all sides, but, again, it does mean that he is at least more honest in his class allegiances, and support for imperialism than many who claim to be Marxists!


            September 24, 2022 at 4:16 pm

          • I have responded, but again, the response has disappeared.


            September 24, 2022 at 4:20 pm

  5. Today, the AWL stands in alliance with the fascists of the Azov Battalion, which occupy a prominent place within the Ukrainian state and military, and alongside Zelensky whose regime glorifies the Ukrainian Nazis of the 1930’s, like Bandera. Of course, they try to act as apologists for all thee vile, reactionary, anti-working class forces that their “idiot anti-imperialism” has led them into alliance with. But, its not the first time. They did the same thing in allying with, and apologising for Libyan clerical fascists in 2011. They wrote,

    “Is the NTC led by unsavoury elements? Yes. Are Islamists involved in the revolution? Yes. But what do you expect? If you wanted to wait indefinitely for a revolution that was spontaneously socialist, in a country with no freedom of speech, no kind of independent labour movement, no civil society – you’d be waiting a long time.”

    Of course, it was not just that the clerical fascists were “involved”, but that they comprised the entirety of the around 14,000 Libyan rebels involved, though the main force came from NATO bombing, and the actions of the Special Forces of the feudal Gulf Monarchies, who one AWL member at the time, ridiculously claimed were the means by which bourgeois-democracy was being brought to the region!

    Of course, these arguments could have been applied to the role of Hamas or Hezbollah, or the Islamists in Iraq, but in each of those cases, the AWL correctly dismissed them! Such is the way bureaucratic centrism zig and zags in line with its “practical politics”.

    And, further apologising for, and attempting to minimise the role of fascists and reactionaries, as they do today in relation to Ukraine, they wrote,

    “No-one’s claiming things will be perfect now. We don’t “support” the NTC. We’ve written (in the current Solidarity) about the battle the Libyan people now face against neo-liberal economic policies and, yes, Islamism. Things aren’t so sewn up as you imply; the idea that “the flag of Al-Qaeda flies over Benghazi”, as if ultra-Islamists have taken full control in Libya, is just untrue.”,

    But, no amount of apologism and wishful thinking could change the reality that the forces they had lined up with to overthrow Gaddafi, were, even more reactionary! In fact, its becoming a habit, because as they lined up to get rid of Boris Johnson, they ended up with the even more reactionary regime of Truss and Kwateng! The claim that the flag of Al Qaeda might not have been hanging over Benghazi may have been technically true, but only because the flags of other clerical fascists and jihadists were competing with it, whilst a carnival of reaction reigned felt most rapidly and harshly by Libyan workers, and particularly black Libyan workers.

    And the alliance with the corrupt Ukrainian oligarchs, their state, and other reactionary forces will bring the same results now.


    September 25, 2022 at 3:22 pm

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