Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Mason

Morning Star on Capitol “Carnival” and need to fight Joe Biden “Restoration”.

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History of Communism on Twitter: "#OpenAccess "The Communist Party of Great Britain and the struggle against social fascism" The Communist International, 15 March 1932. https://t.co/Tjc1aviGdK @MRCWarwick @evanishistory #SocialFascism #Sozialfaschismus ...

British Communists have a Long History of Expertise in Fighting Fascism.

Some on the left have already begun to dismiss the assault on the US Capital as a ‘pantomime’. Or as one leading cadre puts it, ” less Nuremberg and more fancy-dress party.”

How we laughed at their  antics….

The above writer, Nick Wright, stalwart of the Communist Party of Britain, CPB writes in the Morning Star. 

Trump hysteria ends in anti-climax. Nick Wright.

Under Biden, as before, we need the broadest possible class-conscious coalition against the capitalist machine that intends to march the US and the world into more war and poverty — singling out Trump as a ‘fascist’ aberration only hinders that task, writes NICK WRIGHT.

Wright points out with expertise in putsches all kinds that that,,

…a coup needs decent staff work, careful planning, a modicum of secrecy and enough disciplined troops to look credible for CNN.

Trump supporters’ effort at the beginning of this month failed to meet every one of these criteria — and a question naturally occurs.

Why is the Washington political Establishment so invested in the presentation of Trump’s carnival outing as a threat to the existing order?

Hard-nosed cadres of the CPB were wondering that.

Now a bit of theatre does not just turn up and happen.

Even a bal masqué has its organisers.

Meet Trump’s Pro-Insurrection “Intellectuals

CHRISTIAN VANDERBROUK

We should have known January 6 was coming, because Trumpism’s “intellectual” wing called for it, for weeks.

Last December, Ross Douthat suggested that “there are two Republican Parties.” One of them governs dutifully, “certifying elections, rejecting frivolous claims and conspiratorial lawsuits, declining to indulge the conceit” that Donald Trump’s defeat could be overturned anti-democratically.

The article continues,

 

The other GOP, Douthat argued, “is acting like a bunch of saboteurs.” However, these Republicans “are doing so in the knowledge—or at least the strong assumption—that their behavior is performative.”

He called it dreampolitik, “a politics of partisan fantasy that . . . feed[s] gridlock and stalemate and sometimes protest but not yet the kind of crisis anticipated by references to Weimar Germany and our Civil War.”

So that brings in sense of proportion.

 

But saying that a real coup was not on the cards is not Wright’s principal intention.

 

First, he attacks the real enemy, Paul Mason.

Britain’s own prophet of impending fascism, Paul Mason, speculated immediately after the Capitol riot, “if the militias ever turn up to an event like this — and that could be as early as the inauguration — America is looking at a serious fascist challenge for power.”

In emboldened type he argues that the far right “understand the weakness of the state machine they are up against, despite its bloated, militarised character.”

In hyperventilated hyperbole Mason then went on to argue that Trump “overtly and physically reached out to the fascist element in his base and their immediate response was to take that as permission for the most shockingly violent act.”

Mason has a book to sell but — even in his chosen marketplace for fleetingly held and indisputably daft ideas — to equate this pantomime protest as a “shockingly violent act” invites derision.

Most people would agree with Paul Mason’s main argument, which is that fascists, and the far-right, were present in the gambol around the Capitol. They form an important part of Trump’s political base.

MAGA is a form of National populism, which has its counterparts in Europe – parallels with parties classes on the extreme right, such the French Rassemblement National of Marine Le Pen, at present, however fleetingly,  leading in the opinion polls.  They, like Trumpism, are “dependent on the reactionary mobilisation of distinctive national narratives of nationhood and empire. ” None easily fits into whatever  “boilerplate fascist formulae” can be found. Obviously the French far right appeal to les Français de souche, French history, and la terre et les morts,  is not going to be the same as the US, with its ” racist specifics of the slave and settler state.”

Trump was  in power, and with a lot more power than national populists in Poland and Hungary. There was no totalitarian  state, and no mass fascist unified movement – the idea that the GOP was one hardly arises. But it was national populist, claiming to embody the Will of the People, and contemptuous of anybody who opposed it. It was socially illiberal. It was economically nationalist, encouraging others to follow, as when Trump actively backed Brexit. as Paul Mason has called it, it was national neoliberalism (Clear Bright Future: A Radical Defence of the Human Being 2019).

The next point is to gain traction for the idea that Joe Biden is the new enemy of all progressive humanity, if not worse.

To Wright,

The forces that coalesced around Trump’s thwarted bid for a second presidency cannot be retrofitted into the commonplace conceptions of a fictionalised “fascism” to prettify Biden’s restoration regime.

Not a word on what kind of regime the Trump Presidency was. Was it a revolution, now followed by Bourbon Biden?

The final objective of the article is clear: it is to mobilise against the “restoration regime”.

The most pressing need is for the working class to act in its own class interests, the liberal outriders of the neoliberal order want us to outsource anti-fascist action to the capitalist state machine.

….

Building the widest anti-racist and anti-fascist coalition is a priority — but in undercutting the fascist appeal to workers, the principal strategic objective of the left and the working-class movement must be to become the most powerful advocates for working-class interests and against the governments of big capital.

Watch out for those liberals and socialists who collaborate with the state machine not to mention governments of  big capital.

A word for them occurs, social….fascists, not enemies of fascism but objectively their allies.

O for the days of the Popular Front….

We look forward to reading Paul Mason’s forthcoming book: How to Stop Fascism  Paul Mason (out in August).

******

J.V. Stalin. Concerning the International Situation

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

January 27, 2021 at 12:47 pm

Conspiracy Theories and QAnon: Ideologies for a Mass Society?

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Ideas for a Mass Society?

Is conspiracy thinking gaining ground across the world? Sunday’s anti-Lockdown rally in London has gained a lot of attention. Some on FB who claim to be on the left give the protest credibility, arguing that there are real concerns about restrictions on people’s freedoms, that the event was not “really” right wing”that   this pandemic will be used  to remould the world, with tighter, top down, medically led authoritarian governments with intrusive surveillance and excessive monitoring.

In this week’s Workers’ Liberty there is a vivid picture of one of the theories that has gained popularity, QAnon.

What exactly do QAnon followers believe? The answer is complicated. By this point, QAnon has snowballed into an all-encompassing super-conspiracy. Believers frequently disagree with each other on details, but there’s room for you in the movement whether you believe that the Earth is hollow or that it is flat.

QAnon centres around a supposed military intelligence officer, “Q”, who is exposing a corrupt cabal in the US government by posting cryptic messages on anonymous imageboards. The first “Q drop” — referring to Q’s arcane messages — appeared on 4chan’s neo-nazi /pol/ board on 28 October 2017. The drops later migrated to 8chan, a site infamous for its popularity among mass shooters and paedophiles.

Other foundational beliefs are: There is a deep state run by Satan-worshipping paedophilic Democrats, who drink the blood of children to satisfy their adrenochrome addiction. (In real life, adrenochrome is the product of the oxidation of adrenaline, and has no addictive properties.)

In Les Origines du populisme published at the end of last year the writers that the failures of the right and he left have left the way open for radical “anti-system” parties. They cite Hannah Arendt, that what we are witnessing is the “passage tumultueux” from a “société de classe” a une société de masse” faite d’individues abandonnés a eux-mêmes au milieu des désordres du monde”. A mass society in which individuals are left alone faced with the world’s tumult, is fertile ground for many forms of ‘anti-system’ ideas.

Mashalleling substantial research they argue that the old class aligned politics has been eroded to the point where in a “mass society” people are mobilised  through their resentment, lack of trust in others, and cultural issues. If, in France, there is now a substantial working class vote for the far-right Rassemblement National, it is not a result of wage-earners casting their ballots for the the RN as workers but to show their “défiance générale a l’égard des institutions et du reste de la société.” They, unlike those inclined to favour radical left protests against the ‘system’ are not inclined to demand wealth redistribution, but search security. So that despite there being class divisions, however altered by the decline of industrialisation and production,  people’s political consciousness, they argue, are polarised according to different “champs de force” (force fields), notably on immigration, and “valuers d’ordre cultural”.

The Communist vote in France for example, has declined from double figures to a couple of percentage points while the same social groups show a majority backing the RN. . This does not mean that former Parti Communist français voters have migrated to the racist right. It is their contemporary  “sociological” make-up. The only  legacy the researchers can trace is that the radical left Jean-Luc Mélenchon and La France insoumise I support does show a political connection with areas which showed past Communist voting.(1)

Conspiracy theories could be said to represent this defiance at the degré zéro of confidence in other people and institutions. They are  personifications of forces that appear to threaten security. There is some evidence, in France and elsewhere,  that there is a cross-over with support for right-wing populism.  Full-time proponents of conspiracy theories are on the far-right who draw on a tradition going back to 1930s fascism and beyond and would wish to see a general front of the “people” against the enemy, the cosmopolitan leftists and their puppet-masters, the  globalists. Its most recent manifestation is in protests against rules trying to stem the spread of Covid 19 by means such as mask-wearing. (« L’adhésion aux différentes théories du complot est un trait caractéristique des “antimasque’’ »). These display every kind of reaction to destabilising outside forces, the means used to bring in the New World Order. 

Hannah Arendt’s  The Origins of Totalitarianism has been described as a “story of the deterioration of the state ….woven together with her story of the loss, across all classes, of common interests and a shared world.” (2) In the complex book that tied to uncover the patterns that led to Nazism and Stalinism,  Arendt talked of the effects of imperialism – in Rosa Luxemburg’s sense of a drive for expansion and exploitation of ‘non-market’ societies – as creating a ‘mass society’. At the top there is a free-booting class of buccaneers fighting it out in the world market. The politics that resulted eroded civic duty, republican and democratic values,

“When, in the era of imperialism, businessmen became politicians and were acclaimed as statesmen, while statesmen were taken seriously only if they talked the language of successful businessmen and ‘thought in continents’, these private practices and devices were gradually transformed into rules and principles for the conduct of public affairs.”(2)

In the same pile was the “mob” people without any stable place in society. There was tribal nationalism, insisting that “its own people is surrounded by a ‘world of enemies”. There was a “. break down of class system, rise of “one great unorganised, structure less mass of furious individuals…” “The chief characteristic of mass man is not brutality and backwardness, but his isolation and lack of normal social relationships.”(3) , Arendt asserted that ““Totalitarian movements are mass organisations of atomised, isolated individuals.”(4) Conspiracy thinking was their mainstay.  They manufactured an ideological a “fictitious world”of plotting enemies. These ideas were sustained by parties, undemocratically run (by the leader principle or Stalinist ‘democratic centralism’) , in effect, secret societies operating the plain light of day. Their audience lapped their propaganda up, unmasking the “true” cabal running the planet.

Can we say that the Web is a mass communication vehicle for such a “fictitious world”.

Paul Mason suggests that in some respects  we can,

At a literal level, QAnon purports to explain what neither liberalism nor Marxism nor mainstream conservatism can: why the world doesn’t work; why nothing changes; why power elites persist. But at a sub-literate level it serves a function that Arendt identified in the ideologies of both Nazi Germany and the USSR: to promote irrationalism. Observers of QAnon networks have likened their activities to a collaborative roleplay game: you have to work out what the cryptic “Q-drops” mean, and to do so you have to consult other atomised and confused people. It’s fun, it creates structure and meaning, and then – when you take to the streets over, for example, a road closure proposal by the local council – you “find each other”.

…….

Arendt understood that the purpose of conspiracy theories was to make people knowingly complicit in irrationalism: to shut them off from facts, analysis and reason, and to create a closed world in which everything makes sense. In the “lying world” created by Nazi propaganda, she wrote, “through sheer imagination, uprooted masses can feel at home and are spared the never-ending shocks which real life and real experiences deal to human beings and their expectations.

It is these “uprooted” masses, people without confidence in others, without trust, without a stake in movements that they have confidence in, that can be swept up in conspiracy thinking. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, make it available, and a participative experience, at the touch of a keyboard. The world of those who individually ‘uncover the truth’ is in this respect, the opposite of the anti-democratic 1930s totalitarian party structures.

The QAnon conspiracy theory, however, is not the work of a single person: unlike the Nazis, we have a networked information society and the “wisdom of crowds”. The theory has a life of its own, and is being deepened and made more comprehensive with the addition of health and lifestyle lunacies, and the Covid-19 conspiracies.

 How far the growth of these ideas can be explained in terms of “mass societies”, a society of alienated individuals held together by a culture industry that served the interests of capitalism remains open. Arendt’s theory is more precise than the Frankfurt school’s general picture of cultural “production”, although one might add to her picture a tendency to grasp at the individualist  ‘irrationalism’ of a variety of fads, including belief in conspiracies.  But her portrait was of the political conditions in which organised bodies of the far-right manufactured and sustained conspiracy thinking as a weapon of struggle, under very different conditions than post-war prosperity and today’s relative economic disjunctions and the processes of a deeper globalisation than the globalisation at play in the 19th century.

There are, at present, no mass totalitarian movements, with disciplined numbers of armed supporters, willing to fight their enemies. National Populism is not totalitarian but claims a monopoly of voice to command a nation’s  Sovereign power. It appeals to those “standing outside society’s political representation” with a call to join together against an enemy, not to place them in concentration camps. Its class support may be wide but the class fractions whose driving it are a combination of those who benefit from national protectionism, and, most visible  in the British case,  the most reactionary elements of finance capital who profit from inter-state competition and markets hemmed in by the same nationalist imperatives without inter-state regulation.

National populism is based on national neoliberalism, private enterprise states, farmed off public services, and efforts to return to a battle for economic advantage on the world market.  It has yet to find enduring roots, or structures. but what it has bears little direct resemblance to the totalitarian wave of the 1930s. Trump is a loud-mouth at the head of a 19th century caucus party that’s adapted to the information society. The French Rassemblement National, for example, has, to begin with, only just over 20,000 members and has so far served more as a warning, and a unifying call to back the Macron centre than a government-in-the-waiting.  The recent Presidential victory in Poland of the Law and Justice Party has as in Hungary, consolidated an authoritarian, paternalistic state, but has not swept opponents into exile. The Islamist populism of Erdoğan has put opponents in gaol, and is prepared to act to restore Ottoman imperialism yet has not driven dissenting masses into camps.

Britain has only experienced a simulacrum. The Brexit Party were founded by businessmen, railed against foreigners and the EU,  headed the British European Polls in 2019,  and vanished, with the cash, into their pockets. Johnson dallies with national neo-liberalism and patriotism on behalf of a team of pick-pockets and chancers. And its international project is an effort to grab the coat-tails of Trump….

Zékány observes,

People are thoroughly dissatisfied with the political establishment. They feel powerless, and on some level they know that the ruling class — although they wouldn’t use the term — doesn’t care about them. The years pass, they keep voting, and things don’t seem to get any better. Inequality is growing, and has been growing for years.

The immediate thought is, what can we do about that? How can we build, as Mason proposes, ” a political and social alternative to the present” To begin with he says we need to explain “, what’s wrong with QAnon, and climate denial, and the “plandemic” myth, needs to be the subject of sermons, school curricula and, above all, the speeches of serious politicians.” How could we encourage a politics built on trust and projects that recognise the class structures that hold people back, exploit them and divide them in a common project to redistribute wealth and  change things for the better?

The last group would not include those in the Labour Party and left fringes who spend most of their time attacking the new Labour Leader, Keir Starmer.

 

******

(1) Les Origines du populisme. Enquête sur un schisme politique et social (2019) . Yann Algan Elizabeth Beasley Daniel Cohen Martial Foucault

Le populisme est le produit de deux secousses telluriques. Premier séisme : la montée d’un immense ressentiment contre les partis et les institutions politiques. Face à l’échec de la droite et de la gauche à contenir les excès du capitalisme, la radicalité « anti-système » a brisé les compromis que l’un et l’autre camps étaient parvenus à édifier. Deuxième séisme : la fin de la société de classes, au profit d’une société d’individus pensant leur position sociale en termes subjectifs. Une nouvelle polarité en résulte, qui sépare les « confiants » des « méfiants » envers autrui. La droite populiste surgit au croisement d’une double méfiance – à l’égard des institutions politiques et à l’égard de la société. Elle prospère sur le désenchantement démocratique, tout en renouvelant le clivage gauche-droite. Fondé sur des données inédites, cet ouvrage se révèle essentiel pour comprendre le présent et l’avenir des sociétés démocratiques.

(2) Page 220. Hannah Arendt. For Love of the World. Second Edition, Elisabeth Young-Bruehl. Yale University Press. 2004.

(3) Page 138.The Origins of Totalitarianism. Hannah Arendt. André Deutsch. 1986 (1951) See also. Hannah Arendt Politics, History and Citizenship, Phillip Hansen. Polity Press. 1993.

(4) Page 317,The Origins of Totalitarianism.

(4) Page 313,The Origins of Totalitarianism.

See also:

 

Written by Andrew Coates

September 3, 2020 at 12:10 pm

China, Human Rights, and the New Internationalist Left.

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Internationalist Left Defends Human Rights.

Human rights are criticised from two principal sides. National Populists, defend a nation’s absolute sovereign right to make laws without legal interference.  Rights legislation, national and international, are the result of a “fear of democracy”. Luke Gittos writes on Spiked, “The existence of a human-rights framework owes everything to postwar elites’ attempt to exert economic and political control over the heads of European peoples.”

From another side, human rights are accused of promoting and even justifying neoliberalism. The neoliberalism of a market society would only be the theoretical deepening and the  realisation of the liberal individualism of their market origins. By their absolute and uncompromising character, individual rights would only promote the figure of a bad citizen concerned only with her own interests.  Andrew Murray writes, “the preference for individual rights over the collective has come to which has come to predominate on much of the Western left, a flowering of the more poisonous seeds of personal identity and human rights” (The Fall and Rise of the British Left. 2019)

Democracy without rights is not a democracy. The majority will of the voters, as expressed at the ballot box, is not the only criterion of democracy it is only a consequence of these primary criteria of equal rights and freedom for all. wrote Justine Lacroix and Jean-Yves Pranchère in Les droits de l’homme rendent-ils idiots ? at the end of last year,

In a powerful assault on the idea that human rights are ‘bourgeois’ and individualistic Lacroix and Prancheere take up a thread running throughout the  history of the First International. Marx and Engels, despite their criticisms of  flowery phrases about “right and duties” – the weight of the late 19th century democratic and national struggles led by figures such as the Italian republican Giuseppe Mazzini, backed demands for social and individual rights and legislation to protect workers’ interests. These were demands going back to the limitation on the working day to which Vol 1 of Capital devotes a whole chapter.These are rights, as they remind us, that for socialists should balance both “liberty and equality”. In this respect we could say that the Trade Union movement is one of the biggest movements for human rights in history.

By the end of the 19th century socialist leaders, such as Jean Jaurès, put democratic rights, individual and collective at the centre of their politics. Many on the left continue their work. By contrast, today “Populism” is not a defence of liberty but a claim for identity “d’un peuple homogène”(Page 17) By affirming absolute national sovereignty in the name of the “people”, a ‘general will’ that exists only through their own parties,  populists and others deny the real voices of individuals and conflicting classes.

Reviewing the book for the radical left  Lignes de Crêtes  observes that

JYP and JL methodically destroy the rhetoric of being ‘anti-system’ means being against political liberalism and  the rhetoric according to which social rights and civil liberties are the individualistic and selfish corollary of economic oppression.  and are opposed to social rights. this rhetoric definitively died with Stalin, but it is not the case, even in certain parts of the radical left, where pitting the ‘societal’  against social issues,  has become commonplace.

That socialism was a proposal to go beyond the original human rights, and was seen as a base to be extended and consolidated, and not to be destroyed has again been largely forgotten. Jean Yves Pranchère and Justine Lacroix remind us. Deconstructing certain hypocrisies based on the formal appeal to human rights is not the same as naming them as an ideological enemy in itself. At a time when it is fashionable to support autocrats like Maduro or Assad, in the name of the destruction of the Established Order, the reminder is vital.

Review: Les droits de l’homme rendent-ils idiot ?

This is the conclusion of Les droits de l’homme rendent-ils idiots ?

“les droits de l’homme devraient être le nom d’une politique de la solidarité, qui ne content pas compenser l’exclusion sociale par des mécanismes d’assistance, mais qui lie les libertés civiles et politiques à une reprise de la question sociale au sense le plus large, incluent les conditions du vivre-ensemble et donc la construction d’un monde commun puisse s’épanouir l’individualité de tous.” (Page 97. Les droits de l’homme rendent-ils idiot ? 2019.)

Human rights should be the name of a strategy of solidarity, one that is not just a means of fighting social exclusion by support mechanisms, but one which binds civic and political freedoms in ways that bring back the social issues in in he broadest sense, including the conditions of community life, and, as a result, building a common world in which everybody’s individuality can flourish.

Political developments have  brought China  and human rights to the fore.

We are not dealing with the limits of bourgeois ‘egotistic’ rights but an autocracy whose methods, re-education, camps, forced labour,  are intimately connected to the Stalinist tradition of Maoism.

The repression that hybrid Stalinist-Capitalism of the CCP state has unleashed is an assault on human rights.

Left solidarity is no respecter of national sovereignty, or the interests of nation states.

Labour has officially taken notice:

Paul Mason offers one of the best approaches to what the left should, and can, do.

Here are some of his points:

 

The left, and above all anyone who thinks the term “Marxism” is worth saving, should be outraged. But parts of the British left seem determined to apologise for China’s crimes against human rights and free speech.

In recent Labour meetings at which activists have tried to raise solidarity with democrats and trade unionists in Hong Kong, or with the Uighurs, they have been met by accusations that they are “promoting Western imperialism” and “media lies”.

If anybody doubts this they can see recent tweets,

https://twitter.com/Rango1917/status/1291323643310546944?s=20

Or the comments underneath this Tweet from Momentum:

Former leader of the International Marxist Group, John Ross, has joined in,

Ross’ argument, recycled from 1960s Soviet Bloc interventions at the UN, is at root that giving people better material living conditions is more important than the ‘bourgeois’ freedoms of expression. Not a very good counter to criticism of political oppression, and the lack of independent trade union rights.

The former Trotskyist has  been at it in the Chinese state media.

False U.S. accusations against China expose its own human rights problems: People’s Daily commentary

John Ross, former director of Economic and Business Policy of London, said that China has “a real understanding of human rights” and “the key human right is to stay alive.”

The right to life is among the most basic human rights enshrined in the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” of the United Nations.

The so-called “human rights abuse” fabricated by some ill-intentioned U.S. politicians constitutes an affront to Chinese people’s anti-virus fight, the article said.

 

Paul Mason, by contrast, continues:

I am certain that the renewed salience of the Uighur question, which was ignored for years during the “golden era” of Sino-British relations declared by George Osborne, is in part being driven by the US’s newly aggressive stance on China. But the point of being a socialist is being able to walk and chew gum at the same time.

This, however, seems beyond the two left-wing publications in the UK that appear committed to whitewashing China’s authoritarian form of capitalism: the Morning Star and Socialist Action.

He asks,

 The problem for the left remains, as it did in the original Cold War, of how to support democracy, human rights and workers’ rights in China – and in its wider diplomatic sphere of influence – without supporting the Sinophobic rhetoric and aggressive militarism of Donald Trump’s America.

He develops the theme,

What should distinguish the British left’s approach to China is knowledge of and engagement with the workers’ movement. Beyond the outright CCP apologists there is a more widespread belief, born out of lazy cultural relativism, that it is somehow imperialist or even racist for British people to criticise China’s human rights record.

This is the clinching argument,

For those of us on the left who want to maintain an architecture of thought based on historical materialism, whose genealogy runs from Marx, through the early Communist International, the “Western Marxism” of the 1930s, the New Left of the 1960s and the anti-capitalism of today, I am afraid taking a position on Xi’s actual ideology is not a luxury.

Xi’s “Marxism” is overtly and systematically anti-humanist. Its endlessly repeated loops of closed and meaningless phrases make the Newspeak of Orwell’s Oceania sound positively lyrical. The forced, televised confessions of corrupt officials are – as China expert Christian Sorace has argued – part of an attempt to create “affective sovereignty”: love of the party above the state, irrespective of what it says or does.

Human rights are universal.

They will be defended against this “Marxism”.

Xinjiang – Neither Washington nor Beijing: the Left Must Stand With the Uighurs

Ben Towse,

The international left cannot duck out just because Western powers criticise China. We cannot support our enemy’s enemy, uncritically regurgitating its propaganda as the Morning Star shamefully does. But nor can we ally with our imperialist rulers.

We must think about alliances and action independent of the ruling classes. We must reaffirm the left’s understanding of the transnational working class, and oppressed peoples, as their own emancipators. In the tradition of consistent anti-imperialism, we must look to build a ‘third camp’ that makes links and solidarity across borders, opposing all our rulers and exploiters. As inter-imperialist tensions escalate into a new Cold War, update the old slogan: “Neither Washington nor Beijing, but international socialism”.

For instance, despite harsh repression, class struggle in China continues to seethe with unofficial disputes and strikes. Far from uniformly anathematising (or idolising) the entire nation, let’s seek to reach out to this potent force of Chinese workers against the state and ruling class.

 Building international solidarity.

The Uyghur Solidarity Campaign UK, with which I’m an activist, has been formed to build solidarity in the workers’ movement and the left in the UK. The campaign has protested monthly at the Chinese embassy with London’s Uighur community (resuming this week after a coronavirus-hiatus), and in March we invaded the Oxford Circus flagships of Nike, H&M and Microsoft to protest forced labour. A solidarity motion passed at Labour conference last year; a range of union branches and PCS have joined the protests; and socialist MPs including John McDonnellKate Osamor and Nadia Whittome have got on board.

There’s much more for the campaign to do in terms of alliance-building, protest, and direct action. There are also clear international connections to make around anti-racism, state violence and reproductive freedom.

A particular goal of the campaign is worker action. From trade union history – Lancashire textile workers rejecting slave-picked Confederate cotton in the US civil war, Scottish factory workers grounding Pinochet’s jet engines, French and Italian dockers refusing to move Saudi arms in 2019 – we know capitalism’s global supply chains provide avenues for concrete action. Organised workers in businesses connected to surveillance and forced labour in China, from dockers to programmers to shop assistants, could have huge leverage.

Back this campaign!