Another capitulation to the imperialist pressure in the aftermath of the Manchester terror attack
By Michael Pröbsting, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 25 May 2017, www.thecommunists.net
The terror attack in Manchester has not only provoked a wave of right-wing Islamophobic hatred like Katie Hopkins' outrageous call for a "final solution" against Muslims, but also an acceleration of state repression like the positioning of the British army on the streets of the UK. It has also pushed various centrists to adapt to this social-chauvinist pressure. (1)
An example of such adaption to this social-chauvinist pressure is that of the "Red Flag" which has been operating within the Labour Party for nearly two years now, and which was known for decades as "Workers Power” – the British section and flagship of the "League for the Fifth International" (L5I). Formerly this was a revolutionary organization from which the founding cadres of the RCIT were expelled in 2011. (2)
We have recently drawn attention to the huge shift to the right of this organization. In particular, we have pointed out that the leadership of this organization has changed its traditional position of consistent anti-imperialism and now "critically" supports the imperialist European Union and its Single Market against populist right-wing forces. Similarly, the L5I has adapted to the Islamophobic hysteria in Sweden, calling all Islamists "fascists" and supporting state repression against them. (3)
The latest link in this chain of pro-imperialist social-chauvinism can be found in Red Flags' statement regarding the Manchester terror attack. It contains a position which has never been heard in the more than 40 years of this organization’s existence. While Marxists – and hence, until recently, also our former comrades – have always stood in fundamental opposition to the imperialist repression apparatus, Red Flag has now substantially softened this position. (4)
In its statement on the Manchester attack, Red Flag writes: "We share in the universal appreciation for the members of the emergency services who risked their own lives to organise medical and security for the victims." (5) As everyone knows, and Wikipedia confirms, the police are a crucial part of the emergency services of the state. (6) The police – in addition to the medical services and the fire fighters – naturally played an important role in the reaction to the Manchester terror attack. Together with the army they play an even more important role in the advancing the machinery of state repression which is going to terribly impact the Muslim migrant communities in Manchester and throughout the entire country. Just ask their brothers and sisters living in France!
Naturally, there would be nothing wrong in the L5I’s congratulating the nurses and fire fighters – who are part of the working class – for their helping victims of the attack. But to congratulate our class enemy – the police, a critical part of the imperialist state apparatus of repression – is nothing but an adaption to social-chauvinist pressure.
Such a collaborationist attitude to the police has a long tradition in the camp of reformism and centrism. The left social democrats and the Stalinists often support the police against "extremists." Likewise, centrists like Peter Taffee's SPEW/CWI, flirt with the police and consider them "workers in uniform." As the examples of their British and Swedish comrades demonstrate, the L5I has now joined the camp of these opportunists.
Lenin insisted that the state question was a clear line of demarcation that would completely separate off authentic Marxists from all sorts of revisionists. He emphasized that the working class must stand for "the destruction of the entire bourgeois state apparatus from top to bottom". (7) The L5I's "share in the universal appreciation" for the police is nothing but a collapse into vulgar reformism and in utter contradiction to such a Marxist approach.
Unfortunately, this is not the L5I's first capitulation to imperialism nor, we fear, will it be its last. We can only hope that revolutionary militants inside the L5I will revolt against this scandalous degeneration into naked anti-Marxist centrism.
(1) The statement of our British comrades on this tragic event can be read here: RCIT Britain: Terror Comes To Manchester - War Comes Home, 23.05.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/manchester-terror/
(2) The RCIT has dealt with the centrist degeneration of the L5I in various documents. See e.g., Michael Pröbsting: Marxism, the European Union and Brexit. The L5I and the European Union: A Right Turn away from Marxism. The recent change in the L5I’s position towards support for EU membership represents a shift away from its own tradition, of the Marxist method, and of the facts; August 2016, in: Revolutionary Communist No. 55, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/eu-and-brexit/; Michael Pröbsting: Does the EU Represent "Bourgeois Democratic Progress"? Once again, on the EU and the Tactics of the Working Class – An Addendum to our Criticism of the L5I’s Turn to the Right and Its Support for EU Membership, 16.09.2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/eu-brexit-article/; Manfred Meier: Nachbeben des Brexit - Zur Rechtswende von GAM/L5I: das „JA“ zum Verbleib in der EU, August 2016, http://www.thecommunists.net/home/deutsch/gam-brexit/; Michael Pröbsting: The British Left and the EU-Referendum: The Many Faces of pro-UK or pro-EU Social-Imperialism. An analysis of the left’s failure to fight for an independent, internationalist and socialist stance both against British as well as European imperialism (chapter III.3.), August 2015, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/british-left-and-eu-referendum/; RCIT: Where is the LFI drifting? A Letter from the RCIT to the LFI comrades, 11.5.2012, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/centrist-degeneration-of-lfi/; On the history of the RCIT and the L5I, see our book by Michael Pröbsting: Building the Revolutionary Party in Theory and Practice. Looking Back and Ahead after 25 Years of Organized Struggle for Bolshevism, December 2014, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/rcit-party-building/
(3) See Michael Pröbsting: The Guardians of Swedish Imperialist Democracy. Another remarkable document from the ex-Trotskyist L5I, 09 May 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/l5i-opportunism-2/; Michael Pröbsting: The Market Marxists. Two remarkable documents from the ex-Trotskyist L5I, 25 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/l5i-opportunism/
(4) Our position on the terrorist attacks which took place in Europe in recent years can be read in RCIT: Terror in Brussels: The War comes Home. Daesh-Terror is the Result of Imperialist Terror! Oppose any State of Emergency and Repression against Muslim Peoples in Europe!, 23.03.2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/brussels-attack/; RCIT: Terror in Paris is the Result of Imperialist Terror in the Middle East! Stop France’s and other Imperialist Powers’ Warmongering! No Mobilization of the Army inside France! Defend the Muslim Peoples against Chauvinist Hatemongering and State Repression! 14.11.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/terror-in-paris/; RCIT: World Perspectives 2016: Advancing Counterrevolution and Acceleration of Class Contradictions Mark the Opening of a New Political Phase, Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries (January 2016), 23 January 2016, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2016/; RCIT: Increasing Instability and Militarization in the European Union. On the Tasks of Revolutionaries in the New Political Phase which has Opened in Europe after the Terrorist Attack in Paris, 08.12.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/militarism-in-eu/; RCIT: France after the Attacks in Paris: Defend the Muslim People against Imperialist Wars, Chauvinist Hatemongering, and State Repression! 9.1.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/statement-paris-attacks/; Michael Pröbsting: France: “Communist” Party fails to Vote in Parliament against Imperialist War in Iraq! 15.1.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/french-pcf-iraq-war/; Michael Pröbsting: After the Paris Attack: Socialists must Join Hands with Muslim People Against Imperialism and Racism! Reformist and Centrist Forces try to derail the Workers Movement by Failing to Stand up for Solidarity with the Muslims and Against Imperialist War-Mongering! 17.1.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/france-defend-muslims/; Michael Pröbsting: The Racist Character of Charlie Hebdo and the pro-imperialist campaign “Je Suis Charlie”. Solidarity with Muslim People! NOT Solidarity with Charlie Hebdo! 17.1.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/racist-charlie-hebdo/
(5) Red Flag: Manchester Arena: the war on terror has turned all civilians into targets, 23/05/2017, http://www.redflagonline.org/2017/05/manchester-arena-the-war-on-terror-has-turned-all-civilians-into-targets/; in German: Selbstmordanschlag in Manchester, http://www.arbeitermacht.de/infomail/946/manchester.htm
(7) V.I.Lenin: Theses on the Fundamental Tasks of the Second Congress of the Communist International (1920), in: LCW Vol. 31, p. 186