Nato and Germany
The tide of public opinion in Germany is as overpowering as elsewhere: “Stop the Russian invasion!” “Defend Ukraine!” “Send them more weapons!” Sustaining this tide is an all-encompassing media campaign and no politician is exempt.
Every epoch has had its call to battle the forces of evil. Once it was anarchism, then Bolshevism. After those menaces were defeated, new ones were required. In 2001 it was ‘terrorism’, but with that frightening term eroding, it is being replaced by ‘authoritarianism’. The gargoyle staring at us from magazine covers - after Stalin, Mao and Fidel have died and Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and Muammar Gaddafi have been eliminated - is now a scowling Putin. And with him Russia, which must be ostracised, sanctioned, wrecked, starved and, above all, defeated. And the weapons are ready, with $800 billion spent annually in the USA - about 13 times Russia’s military budget (not counting the others in Nato). In Germany, a special €100 billion fund was added to its already huge military outlay. All this is to ‘achieve security’.
But even the most valid comparisons with past or present dangers cannot minimise the Putin government’s share in the guilt for the present horror! Nor can they overcome worries that Putin may indeed be dreaming of a ‘greater Russia’, denying Ukrainian rights to independence and sovereignty. Nor do accusations of Nazi rule justify the violation of international law, the wrecking of so many towns, cities and families, despite a very real Bandera cult and the strength of Azov thugs. It is more than likely that a massive attack against the Russian-speaking Donbas republics was planned and Putin moved to prevent it. But was invasion the only method of prevention? I cannot say.
But there can be only one answer to current escalation, with growing election-related American belligerency, ever more powerful weaponry which will cost ever more lives, mostly Ukrainian ones - and the constant menace of atomic war. The answer must be to pressure Biden to support negotiations and peace. I think this must top the agenda, worldwide, of every progressive! The call for peace is also heard from inside Russia, despite attempts to silence it. I hope it bears fruit - but not for those Russians who yearn for a Nato victory - and one more regime takeover!
In Germany, weak attempts to avoid total confrontation and work for peace were heard from chancellor Olaf Scholz. But timid words in this direction were soon shushed by his coalition partners: the rightwing Free Democrats, ready to spend billions for war and weapons, but not tax the billionaires one more euro; and the Greens, once seen as progressive, now nicknamed ‘Olive-Greens’, with foreign minister Annalena Baerbock loudest in the ravenous pack. Scholz knows that resisting either partner could sink his coalition ship and end his captaincy. Both of them (and his own party) have happily joined in many state-level coalitions with the rightist Christian Democrats and could try it again nationally. His fears of their desertion could explain his loud support for the €100 billion package for the military.
Olaf Scholz now plans to forget past insults from Kyiv and pay a visit, together with Emmanuel Macron and Italian premier Mario Draghi, all of them somewhat hesitant till now but all fearful of media accusations of being slouchers, the threesome will be listening favourably to Zelensky’s insistent demands for heavy weapons. They will undoubtedly be spared embarrassing encounters with the Nazi-like flags, insignia and tattoos of the Azov battalions or visits to giant Bandera statues.
While the western winds were blowing stronger, partly out of sympathy and solidarity, partly tainted by the smell of nationalism and hatred, where in Germany was Die Linke (‘The Left’) - a party traditionally standing for peace and opposing the weapons race? Sadly said, it’s better not to ask!
After its disastrous results in the national election last September, where it sank to 4.9%, down from 9.9% in 2017, and only squeezed back into the Bundestag as the weakest party, down to 39 seats from 69. Drastic changes were more than urgent! But they were not made, and in three state elections Die Linke again lost catastrophically.
A heavy blow hit in April, when the more ‘reformist’ co-chair, Susanne Hennig-Wellsow, resigned because of her “personal situation” as a mother - but with a veiled attack on her more militant co-chair, Janine Wissler, based on a nastily distorted article in the crafty magazine Der Spiegel. That journal has always been an enemy of Die Linke and wrote of Die Linke’s mishandling of “sexism”.
Because of the co-chair’s resignation, the many election defeats and the charges of sexism flying around (although Die Linke has a female majority in its Bundestag delegation and in state legislatures), it was decided to elect an entire new leadership at the party congress in Erfurt on June 24-26. Defying the unjust media attacks, Janis Wissner will run again for the top office. Since she is a left-leaning female West German, a likely co-chair might be a reformist-leaning male East German.
But the party is sharply divided. The ‘reformers’, who based their disastrous campaign last year on hopes of joining a national coalition with the Greens and the Social Democrats, have had to bury this dream (for now). Even if feasible, the party would have to abandon opposition to Nato and the deployment of German troops in foreign wars and occupations, and its resistance to big armament plans or sending heavy weapons to Ukraine. The ‘left wing’ of Die Linke insists that this would mean giving up its position as the lone party of peace, thus becoming irrelevant.
Such basic questions will likely be at the centre of debate in Erfurt at the end of the month - and in the choice of co-chairs and all other positions. Will the party choose sides? Will it find some compromise? Could it split, forming two weak parts, leaving a peace position unstated in the Bundestag and the media? In two weeks we should know.
Hands off regime!
I have just read Yassamine Mather’s article on Iran in the Weekly Worker (‘Deaths, deals and demonstrations’, June 9). My own view on Iran and Turkey (there is an article on Turkey by Esen Uslu in the same edition) as a republican socialist and anti-monarchist is that Iran and Turkey should not have internal breakdowns at this moment in time and that the protests and demonstrations she speaks about, though understandable, should not be encouraged by revolutionaries on the outside.
It’s vital that those two countries - especially Iran, which is in a different boat from Turkey - should remain in the current hands of state. Turkey is really a different kettle of fish, as it is a member of Nato and, though a distant prospect, is a candidate for European Union membership. It is not in the pocket of Israel and has frequently and confidently lashed out at its government.
I know from seeing the London government in action that their statistics have little relationship to reality, but statistical arguments in general should be treated with great caution, as they are the root bed of propagandists the world over. They are extremely attractive to the scum of the earth, as they can be presented in stunning fashion - they are a form of psychological terror, intended to shut up opposition thinking.
Yassamine’s article isn’t guilty of statistical perversion, but the article by Esen Uslu uses them to great effect. I am not convinced by any statistical arguments. Statistics are highly manipulative and in the wrong hands, deadly.
The fall of Iran is the last thing the world needs (outside of the satanic agents of western regime gangsterism). What we need is the fall of Ireland and Iceland rather than the fall of Iran. We need falls that weaken western mafia gangs, not ones that strengthen them. You have one thing in common with the Jewish state of Israel and that is your antagonism to the Islamic state of Iran. Strange bedfellows.
All the energies and plotting of worldwide revolutionary movements should be fixed on western capitalist states. Iran could not then pursue a capitalist path, as the bottom would drop out of that market overnight. Iran is being targeted by the Satanic regimes because they cannot control its government and its domestic and foreign affairs. Again we end up with strange bedfellows. Yassamine Mather’s article strikes a common purpose with unholy forces. She mentions Hands Off the People of Iran. What we should have - as it would be highly provocative to that government in London - is Hands Off the Government of Iran.
There is one single enemy of the human race, and it is not Iran or Turkey: it is the US, EU, UK and their evil allies. We will never get freedom, democracy or fairness as long as these Nazi demigods exist on earth. You can remove the Islamic regime in Tehran, but the people will not be liberated.
The weakest links in this Satanist rule on earth are where the nesting centres lie. In Washington DC, in London, in Brussels. In the international terrorist organisations they control, such as the International Monetary Fund. Removing the current regime in Tehran would not do the people of the EU, US and UK the least good: it would make their situation far worse, as it would open up the path to Moscow and Beijing, and worldwide totalitarian and genocidal nightmare.
There is a very good reason why Tehran, Moscow and Beijing are opening up a splendid era of relations between themselves and it’s all to do with geostrategic stability and resistance to the demented western governments who have become psychiatrically insane, as their hold on world power starts to wane.
Gerry Downing writes: “The [Revolutionary Internationalist League] was part of the Trotskyist International Liaison Committee, that broke with both Sean Matgamna’s line of support for the fleet and Alan Thornett’s line of ‘a plague on both your houses’.”
This is just plain wrong. In 1982, I was heavily involved in the debate inside the Workers Socialist League, on the side of Matgamna’s majority faction, against the minority faction of Thornett. It was the position of the majority to oppose the war on both sides. That is also the position I hold today in relation to Ukraine-Russia. We most certainly did not offer “support for the fleet” during the Malvinas war, as Downing suggests.
The position of the Thornett minority, once the shooting started, was that it was then necessary to support president Galtieri and the Argentinian junta, even though they had not done so before the shooting started. Ironically, that is the position of Matgamna and the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty today, in supporting the reactionary, corrupt regime in Ukraine, and its Nato imperialist masters.
I have no time for Matgamna’s petty-bourgeois, pro-imperialist sect today, but that is no reason to distort and lie about history. That is the method of the AWL itself.
Why should engine drivers not be paid £60,000? How much, exactly, should they be paid instead, and why? MPs complain that they cannot live on £84,144 plus gargantuan, self-certified expenses. Boris Johnson has made the same complaint about £164,080 plus expenses. What do any of the workers who will soon be on strike do at work? Get drunk? Watch pornography? Similarly, why should any particular worker be paid less than a Fleet Street comment writer, or a talking head on television?
Who are these agency workers who would be capable, at a moment’s notice, of taking over the jobs of the railway workers? What have they been doing hitherto? Rail fares have gone up by more than inflation, and the railways receive enormous public subsidies that are being passed on to bosses and to shareholders that routinely include foreign states. Those states use that money to keep fares low in their own countries, where rail strikes are perfectly legal, contrary to what is now being claimed.
The money is there, and it is very largely public money. The question is whether the British public, such as our railway workers, should be the ones to get it.