Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘Imperialism

Paul Mason: Victim of Russian Propaganda? New Charges.

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Paul Mason has been the target of a sustained attack by the conspiracy site Grayzone. The latest Private Eye carries a story which alleges that the left wing journalist and author has been attacked because of his anti-Putin views and campaigning. The aim? To create, as with the spread of disinformation against other critics of Russia’s ruler, “such a bad smell” that “their natural allies steered clear of them”.

Private Eye. 15.6.2022.

The objective of making Cde Mason a pariah seems to have worked in some circles, though many have commented in the last few days that the whole affair has become too confusing to make any sense.

Those kicking up a fuss and making stink include Lindsey German, Stop the War Convenor and a leader of the revolutionary socialist groupuscule, Counterfire. Many of her points against Mason are harsh polemic, which whether you agree with her or not, are fair game. But apparently there are legal issues in what she has said:

Paul Mason: blinded by the right – weekly briefing

Counterfire has temporarily suspended access to this article after Paul Mason threatened us with legal action. We are consulting our lawyers.

George Galloway’s former bag-man Kevin Ovenden and a contributor to the anti-NATO Morning Star, the daily independent of the Communist Party of Britain and owned by the co-op, also has also written on the Counterfire site.

We publish it as a public service to the movement.

How does a socialist turn into a nark?

Kevin Ovenden on Paul Mason’s alleged plans to collude with the state to attack the anti-war left

There has been a good deal of discussion about the claims that Paul Mason has been working and looking to work more deeply with British intelligence and others to get academics sacked and to destroy the anti-war left.

I would make this point. To explain this it isn’t necessary to look for external or psychological factors. The direction of travel has been clear for the last five years.

First, the obsession with the anti-imperialist left and the liberal theory of the two extremes.

Building upon that, interventions arguing that antifascism is successful only when working with the liberal-democratic state in what he calls a popular front. I understand his book on fascism uses Greece as an example justifying that strategy. That’s the opposite of the truth. The antifascist movement intervened by slicing into the state the better to expose the critical support parts of it lent to Golden Dawn.

(Note, the phrase, “I understand” seems to indicate Ovenden has yet to read the book).

Of course, Mason argued, one must have democratic oversight of the state to make sure elite forces, and the hard right itself, don’t use it for their purposes.

But that is provided by parliamentary democracy. For all the nods to bits of Marxism, he really did mean it when he relaunched himself as a social democrat.

It’s then just a short leap to justifying to oneself that working with what used to be the unmentionables associated with the Foreign Office and Home Office – MI6, MI5 and the others – is not only justified (as part of the global struggle against the new fascism, you understand) but is without danger because you yourself will be in a position of oversight.

You are very clever. You are important. You will ensure it doesn’t get out of hand. And you will be on hand to say which academics should be purged, which should be pulled into the operation, and which persuaded to be more careful in the future.

And because you have control, this will not be an anti-left operation. Rather it will be against the “Starls” and “Tankies”, words that are used to describe the whole of the anti-imperialist left. You are the native informant who can advise who is the acceptable far left and who is an enemy of both you and of the state.

You can even tell yourself it is what Trotsky would have done if you still face any cognitive dissonance with your past.

(Trotsky did no such thing, which is why he was banned from the western imperialist states. Had he done, entire universities and institutes would have been named after him in the West.)

So all this is perfectly explicable on the known and publicly available interventions – including an obsession with and fixation upon the Morning Star newspaper and the Stop the War Coalition.

If you make a political choice that it is very important to destroy the anti-imperialist left, then this is the logical end point.

You could call it the anti-Stalinism of fools. But it is linked very closely to the pro-statism of social democracy.

Let us not forget Ovenden’s former Capo dei capi.

Written by Andrew Coates

June 16, 2022 at 8:42 am

UN: war crimes warning over death sentences for Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner, and Saadoun Brahim

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UN issues war crimes warning over death sentences in Ukraine war. Al Jazeera.

The United Nations has declared that unfair trials of prisoners of war amounts to war crimes, after three foreigners captured while fighting with Ukraine forces were sentenced to death by pro-Russian rebels.

British citizens Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner, and Moroccan national Saadoun Brahim were sentenced to death on Thursday by pro-Russian separatist authorities in eastern Ukraine’s breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

The spokeswoman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Friday that authorities in the pro-Russian self-proclaimed republics in Ukraine had not met essential fair trial guarantees for some years, and “in the case of the use of the death penalty, fair trial guarantees are all the more important”.

“OHCHR is concerned about the so-called Supreme Court of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic sentencing three servicemen to death,” UN spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said in a statement.

“According to the chief command of Ukraine, all the men were part of the Ukrainian armed forces and if that is the case, they should not be considered as mercenaries,” Shamdasani said.

Such trials against prisoners of war amount to a war crime,” she added.

Russian television.

Meanwhile in modern Russia: a screaming match on state TV as to whether captured British citizens Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin should be shot, hanged, quartered or exchanged for ransom (the release of Russia’s frozen assets), as they hope to cause a rift in British society.

Written by Andrew Coates

June 10, 2022 at 5:53 pm

Ukraine, “the West Bears a Heavy Responsibility for this Conflict” – Stop the War Coalition.

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“West bears a heavy responsibility for this disaster.”

The revolutionary socialist groupuscule, Counterfire, leading member, Lindsey German, publishes this text from the Stop the War Coalition (StWC) – Convenor, Lindsey German.

Prolonging war and blocking peace: NATOs deadly role in Ukraine. Chris Nineham. Deputy leader of the StWC, associated with the micro-party Counterfire, and the author of Capitalism and Class Consciousness: the ideas of  György Lukács.

The anti-war movement opposed the Russian invasion from the start. But the West bears a heavy responsibility for this disaster. Senior US foreign policy figures from Henry Kissinger to Madeline Albright and from George Kennan to William J. Burns, the current head of the CIA, have advised that the eastward expansion of NATO up to the Russian borders would be deeply provocative to the Russian ruling class. NATO decision makers knew this, but carried on regardless.

The StWC then indulges itself in a vision of how things might have been, but never were,

Last minute diplomacy might well have averted the war. Many senior former US diplomats and Russia experts urged the US to accept Vladimir Putin’s offer of talks before the invasion took place in January. The advice was rejected. As Ivan Katchanovski, a Ukrainian professor of political studies at the University of Ottawa argues, “The US and UK governments show no efforts or desire to achieve peaceful settlement of the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine”.

Oddly the StWC does not mention who these ” senior former US diplomats and Russia experts” were. The link above is to “Diplomats & experts: negotiate, or expect ‘drastic escalation’ by Russia” is the record of a debate held under the aegis of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft generally identified with the realist school of American foreign policy (1). The Chair of the meeting, Anatol Lieven now argues (Guardian, May) that, “Support for Ukraine is legitimate and necessary, but it has also already achieved its most important goal: that of preserving Ukrainian independence and sovereignty over the great majority of Ukrainian territory, and deterring further Russian aggression.” Brandishing the threat of escalation Lieven leaves the issue of what Ukraine should do now in the air, while urging no more NATO/West escalation of the conflict.

The StWC follows this train of thought and warned against the following,

The British government, as ever following the US lead, is sending longer range missile systems to Ukraine for the first time. The government described the M270 weapon system they are despatching as a “cutting edge” military asset which can strike targets up to 80 kilometres away “with pinpoint accuracy.” Ukrainian soldiers are due to be brought to Britain for training in how to use the missiles.

As even some of the mainstream media point out, on top of the four precision-guided, medium-range rocket systems sent by the US last week, this decision marks a new stage in the war in which the West is prepared to provide the Ukrainian military with the capacity to strike deep in to Russian territory, something they previously carefully avoided.

This is one in a series of escalations on the part of the Western powers. It provoked immediate retaliation in words and deeds from Vladimir Putin – including the first bombardment of Kiev for five weeks – as Western leaders must have known it would.

It underlines the fact that the West is still pushing for nothing less than the complete defeat of Russia while Russian troops continue their offensive.

The StWC has this call,

The war in Ukraine is developing into a proxy war between Russia and NATO and it is the Ukrainian people who will suffer the consequences.

Rather than sending extra missiles to Ukraine, which is already awash with foreign artillery, the British government should be urging for a ceasefire and the recommencement of peace talks.

We continue to demand that Russian troops withdraw from Ukraine and that the British government stop fuelling the conflict.

Join us outside the Ministry of Defence on the International Day of Action for Peace in Ukraine on Sat 25th June to call for peace and de-escalation in Ukraine.

Stop the War Deputy president Andrew Murray says: “Yet again the British government is escalating tensions and prolonging conflict by sending arms to Ukraine.

“It is risking a wider and still worse conflict.

“It should change course and start pushing for a ceasefire and peace talks.”

Why Russia should follow the StWC’s call and withdraw, or negotiate, without the pressure of armed military resistance to their invasion, is not explained. We are left none the wiser as to what there is to “negotiate” – perhaps a concession to Putin on the Donbass, a promise never to join NATO, or the EU? “Disarmament” of Ukraine ? And “Denazification”?

Now there is this:

Aiden Aslin has also fought for the Kurdish YPG in Syria.

Aiden Aslin is a British-Ukrainian[4] national and current Ukrainian Marine[5] who previously fought with the Kurdish People’s Defence Units (YPG) militia in Rojava, northern Syria.[6] His nom de guerre is “Rojhat Rojava”[citation needed] and he served in the Lions of Rojava group which is a part of the YPG.[7] In 2018 he travelled to Ukraine and enlisted in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.[8] In April 2022, he was captured by Russian forces in the besieged city of Mariupol during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”


(1) This is how the  Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft has been described, (Washington’s Weirdest Think Tank. Led by Trita Parsi and backed by Charles Koch (Note: far right libertarian) and George Soros, the Quincy Institute seeks to redefine the contours of American foreign policy in the Middle East, China—and beyond. ARMIN ROSEN APRIL 28, 2021)

The Quincy Institute fills a real and, in retrospect, obvious gap in the Washington think tank environment, which helps explain why Parsi and his co-founders were successful in assembling funding and other forms of support for the group. Believers in some aspect of realism or strategic restraint could be found at a number of D.C. policy shops and throughout academia—there were the so-called “progressive realists” at the mainstream Center for a New American Security, the anti-imperialists at the leftist Center for Policy Studies, the James Baker-nostalgic right-realists at the Center for the National Interest, and the skeptics of foreign entanglement at the libertarian Cato Institute. But until Quincy, no single organization had tried to unite or organize them.

Supporters believe Quincy seeks to rebalance the foreign policy debate. “There have been strategic alliances for decades between liberals and neocons, so why not amongst their enemies?” asked Quincy nonresident fellow Samuel Moyn, a professor at Yale University who has written several books on the history of human rights, in a Zoom interview. “Even the liberal internationalist foreign policy-neoconservative alliance is a left-right alliance. So that fact alone can’t be problematic.” Moyn says that Quincy’s range of left- and right-leaning figures share “a commonality around querying the purposes of dominance, whether it’s military or not, in part because of the costs involved.”

Written by Andrew Coates

June 9, 2022 at 4:37 pm