Reporting on the new “party-in-formation” in the Netherlands, Andries Stroper calls the founding conference of De Socialisten (The Socialists) “historic” (‘Uniting a motley band’ Weekly Worker October 13).

Yet, other than being purged by the openly pro-bourgeois coalitionist bureaucracy dominating the Socialist Party, what have the groups involved in De Socialisten got in common? Well, very little, it would appear, apart from a mutual willingness to engage in unprincipled unity-mongering.

That the SAP-Grenzeloos, the Netherlands section of the Fourth International, supports the US proxy war in Ukraine and Nato arming the Kyiv regime (naturally, under the banner of ‘national self-determination’), seems to be a minor detail that can be skipped over today and dealt with at some future conference. Meanwhile, the emphasis is on comradely exchanges, avoiding sectarianism, the cheerful mood and the virtues of compromise.

Amazingly, the comrade says the original perspective document produced by De Socialisten failed to “carry any direct mention of Ukraine”. A clear case of ‘don’t mention the war’ - comic, if it were not criminal.

Not that the successful amendment proposed by the Communist Platform improved matters. Instead of setting down a concrete, principled position on Ukraine, there were vague, utterly irrelevant musings about the “fight for a worldwide democratic republic” and opposing reactionary “separatist movements”. Once again, ‘don’t mention the war’.

Let us be clear, the SAP (Socialist Alternative Politics) is a social-imperialist organisation which sides with its own bourgeoisie (the Netherlands government, headed by Mark Rutte, boasts of being the 10th largest arms supplier to Ukraine). Like the rest of the so-called Fourth International, the SAP has evidently betrayed the cause of socialism and gone over to the US and Nato. The SAP Trotskyists are, therefore, on the other side in the class war and ought to be treated for what they are: renegades, turncoats - not slightly misguided friends.

Comrade Stroper takes pride in the Communist Platform playing the leading role in the Socialistenconferentie and the fudging of differences: a disgrace. There seems to have been a headlong collapse into the most abject centrism - that is, the opportunism of the post-August 1914 Kautsky sort - which wants to hide unity with the social-imperialist right under the cover of ‘Marxist’ phrases about the “worldwide democratic republic” and “workers’ power at an EU level”.

The present-day situation has more than a whiff of pre-World War I about it. Except, this time, with the added horrors of nuclear and other such weapons of mass destruction. Specifically, there is a US drive to impose regime change in Moscow and Beijing in the name of democracy and standing up for the national rights of small nations. Ukraine is the launchpad: Taiwan, Tibet, Hong Kong and Xinjiang will follow.

Under such circumstances Marxists must uphold principles - not fudge, not seek unity with Stinger-missile socialists. Principled communists in the Communist Platform will rebel.

Jack Conrad

Marxism flawed

John Smithee’s attack on the pro-Labour strategy is pure unadulterated ultra-leftism (Letters, October 13). Regarding the rightwing Labour leadership, he supports the view that “never again will they let another George Lansbury or Jeremy Corbyn come to be leader”. He also supports the ultra-left view which argues that the trades unions are no longer part of the workers’ movement. That such ideas are circulating on the left shows how alienated some ultra-leftists are from the labour movement in Britain.

The argument that the right wing is in total control of the Labour Party and will now never lose that control is actually belied by the victory of Corbyn. Regardless of his removal from the leadership, his winning the leadership in the first place should be regarded as a harbinger of future development. Personally, I don’t lose much sleep when the right expels ultra-leftists who fail to understand the nature of the present crisis and how to respond to it.

Comrade Smithee argues that, “As far as Marxists are concerned, the Labour Party is dead’. This argument completely ignores the real crisis global capitalism is facing. International capitalism is now facing an energy crisis, and we are now only at the very first stage - resulting from the fact that global oil production is now peaking and will soon start to decline. The Labour right, like capitalism in general, drew its strength from abundant supplies of cheap energy, which could always keep pace with rising demand. The coming decline of oil production will usher in the decline of capitalism worldwide.

This is already leading to an inflationary situation and a cost-of-living crisis. Where is the cheap energy replacement for oil? Some put their hope in nuclear fusion. But, so far, it takes more energy to produce the fusion than the fusion actually creates. This is like using ten barrels of oil to extract one barrel. So if the energy crisis is the background to the present problems of capitalism, the question for the left is: what role will the Labour Party play when capitalism faces collapse?

Unfortunately for the radical left, the Marxist narrative (and Marx himself, back in the 19th century) did not know that an energy crisis could lead to the collapse of capitalism - although there were people who knew this was possible. So much for German theory, which some people regard as superior to English empiricism.

When ultra-leftists argue that the Labour Party is dead for Marxists, I counter by saying that any debate about the Labour Party which ignores the energy crisis, which Marxism in fact ignores, is irrelevant. Like the North Korean communists, I have moved on from Marxism - although in my case it’s in the direction of democratic socialism.

Marxism is a flawed, semi-obsolete doctrine from the 19th century, based on philosophical materialism. This doctrine teaches that ‘being’ determines consciousness. If this was true, then communism would not be possible, because our present ‘being’ is capitalism, based on the primacy of private ownership. The theory that ‘being’ determines consciousness, which Marxism adheres to, also doesn’t explain how the Communist Party lost control overnight in the ex-Soviet Union, although there was no mass anti-communist uprising, as there was, for instance, in Hungary in 1956, and there was mostly state ownership of the economy. ‘Being’ influences consciousness, but does not determine it.

When Smithee says we should focus on building a mass communist movement, the relevant question is, what should this movement be based on? Do we continue with all the flawed Marxist ideas of the past, including the idea that dictatorship is a principle under socialism?

Tony Clark

Activists cleared

Three activists have been found not guilty after their rooftop occupation of Israel’s largest arms firm, Elbit Systems, in November of last year. Elbit’s operations at the premises, we now know, involve the export of military equipment direct from the Bristol site to Israel. The judge discharged their cases after Elbit Systems and the Crown Prosecution Service failed to prove their case against the three defendants, Lucky, Alfie and Meg.

In Bristol Magistrates Court on October 17, the judge ruled that there was “no case to answer” to the charge of aggravated trespass. The activists were being prosecuted under section 68 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 for “disrupting lawful activity”. Elbit failed to prove that its activity at the Bristol site was lawful, while its witnesses and their statements to police attempted to conceal the fact that the site held active export licences for the shipment of products to Israel. Elbit failed to put forward a single employee as a witness and its only representation was from the ex-police head of safety and security for Elbit Systems UK, Martin Kelly, who joined their payroll only after the November action took place.

The defence, meanwhile, exposed the flaws in the crown’s case with ease. Outside the court, groups of supporters proudly flew Palestine flags throughout the day, drawing significant engagement from passing crowds and motorists and keeping morale high throughout the day.

The defendants said on October 17: “Today we stood up to Elbit Systems in court, forcing this murderous company to reveal to the public authorities the extent to which it lies to the public about its lethal dealings. Elbit was so invested in maintaining the falsehood that it does not export weapons of mass murder to Israeli defence forces that it was unable to marshal any convincing evidence, failing to answer questions effectively and leaving the judge with no choice but to dismiss the case. Elbit is guilty, and we won’t stop until their secrets are dredged to light and all their sites are shut down.”

Palestine Action


Will the war in Ukraine bring peace to Yemen? American intrigue in western Asia and eastern Europe could well be the beginning of a slow death for US hegemony.

The bear trap of Donbas was used by the American administration and Nato to lure Russia into a prolonged conflict in the killing fields of eastern Ukraine. Putin was faced with a terrible dilemma: either Russia invaded Donbas to prevent a bloodbath to be unleashed by the Nazi Azov battalions in the liberated republics of Lugansk and Donetsk, who seceded from the illegal fascist coup in Kiev in 2014, or Putin could stand idly by and watch a massacre of Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the regions bordering Russia.

To the Americans it didn’t matter which happened first - the outcome would be the same. Russia was to be broken on the borders of Ukraine and at the altar of American exceptionalism. Internal divisions were to be exploited, coercive economic measures applied and the Russian establishment were to be forced to dethrone Putin and replace him with a compliant, pro-western simpleton.

Russia would be finished as a foil to the unipolar new world order America and Nato have been developing over the last several decades. China would soon become submissive in the face of American sanctions and threats to destabilise the country, destroy the currency, create war on its borders and foment violence in Hong Kong - a simple plan that was always destined to fail. The Russian people in general are completely behind their leader. Putin is a real statesman on the world stage. He has probably the highest domestic approval rating of any head of state in the world.

Russia, China, India and Iran, alongside the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, are building a new, multipolar world order, where mutual cooperation, national sovereignty and international consensus will herald a new unprecedented era of peace and global prosperity. The new Silk Road from China to Europe and beyond will be a boon for business, and give unprecedented opportunities to Africa and the global South.

The Biden administration has badly miscalculated. The illegal sanctions imposed by Europe and America on Russia have backfired. Far from destroying the Russian economy, they have invigorated the rouble and are laying waste to western European economies - in particular France, Germany and the UK. With energy rationing on the horizon, coupled with exorbitant inflation and rising interest rates, Europe is heading into recession and the cold war will turn into a cold winter. European businesses will either relocate to energy-abundant nations like the US, or collapse.

Biden - who once derided the crown prince of Saudi Arabia as a pariah because of his alleged involvement in the brutal murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist - has been forced to go cap in hand to that very same Mohammad bin Salman, begging him to increase oil production, so Europe could fulfil some of its energy needs. The attack on the Nord Stream pipeline was to prevent Germany backtracking on its commitment to adhere to sanctions on Russia.

As European citizens across the continent denounce their governments’ actions, it will be those very same people who will ultimately pay for the failed, short-sighted policies of Nato and American administrations in continuing to arm Ukrainian fascists.

The special relationship between America and Saudi Arabia may be coming to an end, since MBS has refused to succumb to American demands to increase oil production. Some American politicians are threatening sanctions, a withdrawal of American troops from Saudi Arabia and suspending or ending arms sales to the kingdom.

The war currently being waged on Yemen by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, is directed and armed by America, France, Britain and Israel. It is an indirect attack on Iran in a proxy war, used to destabilise Yemen and further isolate the Iranians, while making huge profits for the western military-industrial complex.

America has used Saudi Arabia and its export of terrorism to undermine Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, using the Saudis’ own money and mercenaries to pay for and prosecute the war. In Ukraine they are using Ukrainian conscripts and neo-Nazis to fight their proxy war against Russia in Donbas.

Perhaps now, as a rapport seems to be growing between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and relations between Moscow and Riyadh are warming, Yemen may yet prosper. If the crown prince decides the future of his monarchy may best reside in joining the new alignment of nations, a by-product of that decision could be the full suspension of the war on Yemen and a lifting of the siege, which currently has millions of Yeminis on the edge of starvation. If the House of Saud joins the new multipolar alliance, it is Israel and not Iran that will be further isolated.

I pray for peace in Yemen, Donbas, Palestine, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, and I long to see the full liberation of all those countries from foreign colonial interference.

Fra Hughes