Crowdfund Appeal for John Pilger’s Latest Film – Please Donate and/or Share!

Perks include your name in the end credits (£20). a copy of the DVD hand-signed by Pilger (£50), and a ticket to the London premier with Q/A and a chance to meet the legendary documentarian (£150).

My last film, The Coming War on China, was only completed because of the generosity and solidarity of the hundreds of people whose names appear in the end-credits. For me, watching those names roll is one of the proudest moments of the film.

Initially, I was reluctant to crowd-fund and said so in the preamble on the crowd-funding site; I believed most people needed the money in their pockets and it was up to me and my colleagues at Dartmouth Films to convince likely institutions or rich donors with a conscience (yes, they exist) to impart their loose change.

But when one of the major funders of the film suddenly pulled out, it looked like the film and its editing would grind to a halt.

The crowd-funders came to our rescue: people who gave a fiver or what they could afford (and often couldn’t afford). What struck me was the entirely gracious way people offered to help. They weren’t giving charity, they said; they were delighted, even honoured, to be partners in the making and success of a film they considered important.

Today, I am again making an appeal for support – this time for a film whose urgency touches all our lives, literally.

It’s about the NHS, the last bastion of a truly people’s institution without which so many of us would stumble and fall and perhaps not survive.

The film is certainly a tribute to the NHS; but, above all, it’s a warning.

Under our noses, often secretly and deceptively, our National Health Service is being undermined and sold off: piece by precious piece to the likes of Richard Branson and the giant American health insurance companies that are at the root of the misery that is American healthcare.

The privatisation of the NHS has been mostly insidious – by “stealth”, as one of Mrs Thatcher’s cohorts once advised. But since 2010, the “reforms” have speeded up. It’s got to the point that if we don’t act now, we’ll wake up one day to an unrecognisable health service that is no longer ours.

As with my previous films, this film will be in cinemas and on network TV, bringing a vital public message, and warning, to a mass audience.

With this urgency in mind, please support this work – again, with whatever you can afford. Your name will appear with special honour as the credits roll…

Top Five Worst US-Supported Dictators

With friends like these, who needs democracy?

1. Suharto


Between 1965-6, Indonesian dictator Suharto carried out mass anti-“communist”pogroms that cost over a million Indonesian lives, mostly landless peasants. The CIA had a ‘kill list’ of some 5000 PKR leaders, ticking off their names as they were murdered. The American press welcomed what had happened. While accurately describing the horrific slaughter, Time Magazine insisted that it was “the West’s best news for years in Asia”. The New York Times called the bloodbath “a gleam of light in Asia”.

With Suharto’s nationalist predecessor Sukarno finally out of the way, capitalism was restored to the former Dutch colony: Western corporations and the IMF & World Bank swept in, literally redesigning Indonesia’s economy at a conference held in Switzerland.

In 1975, US President Ford gave a green light for Suharto to invade the small neighbour of East Timor. By the occupation’s end in 1999, 25-33% (125,000-200,000) of Timorese had been extinguished under the genocidal military occupation. When the Indonesians started running out of arms in 1978, the Carter administration began an annual $200 million arms flow to Suharto. In the 1980s, Reagan escalated the arms sales. Four years after the 1991 Dili massacre, Clinton proposed the sale of twenty F-15s to “our kind of guy” Suharto, continuing his predecessor Bush I’s illegal training of Indonesia’s Red Berets, behind some of the worst Timor atrocities.

2. Saddam Hussein


Originally a Soviet client, Saddam Hussein was courted by the West following his aggression against post-revolutionary Iran in 1979, leading to a ten-year conflict that killed 1m+ on both sides. Hussein was armed to the teeth by the US, Britain, France and other Western countries.

His WMD components came from American, British and German firms. When 20,000 Kurds were gassed to death by Iraqi forces at Halabja, US President Reagan blamed the Iranians. When the Kurds rose up against Saddam following the Gulf War, Washington supported the tyrant again, reasoning that there was no opposition to replace him that “the free world” favoured.

At the height of friendly Iraq-US relations, Hussein wiped out 300,000 people in the Al-Anfal campaign. In addition to bogus WMDs, this was used to justify the 2003 invasion, long after the campaign had finished.

3. Shah of Iran


Installed by a 1953 CIA coup that ousted Iran’s secular democratic government after it threatened to nationalise the country’s oil in accordance with popular aspirations, Pahveli ran a corrupt family dynasty while his CIA/Mossad-trained “SAVAK” police ran torture chambers and death squads. By 1975, Amnesty International described Iran as having “the highest rate of death penalties in the world…and a history of torture which is beyond belief”.

His opponents were sodomised by cattle prods and made to sit on hot grills, or in the electric chair; others were raped, pissed on, had their nails torn out, and subjected to near-drownings and mock executions. In 1979, US President Jimmy “human rights” Carter praised the Shah for transforming Iran into “an island of stability”. Months later, he was overthrow by the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

4. Rios Montt


After seizing power in Guatemala through a military coup in March 1982, the Christian televangelist launched a savage counterinsurgency campaign that soon became wholesale genocide of tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans in the northwest highlands.

Five months into the slaughter, US President Ronald Reagan warmly greeted Montt and praised him as “a man of great personal integrity and commitment”, while decrying the “bum rap” he was receiving from Amnesty International and other human rights groups reporting his massacres. Reagan’s spin doctor Elliot Abrams, currently Trump’s coup manager for Venezuela, rationalised and whitewashed this Indian holocaust.

In 2013, Montt was finally tried for crimes against humanity and genocide.

5. Batista

imageAfter presiding over 20,000 deaths, the US-backed thug was overthrown by Fidel Castro’s revolution in 1959. During his brutal reign, Cuba became a playground for the American mafia while 40% of the economy was controlled by U.S. corporations. Castro’s reversal of this colonial relationship by nationalising US assets led to Cuba’s seemingly endless punishment by Uncle Sam.


The Truth About UK Knife Crime

This week I saw a rather blatant piece of BBC propaganda designed to legitimate Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May’s expansion of police powers on the pretext of combating knife crime in the UK. As the propaganda piece’s own victim interviews indicate, the recent knife crime epidemic is very real. But the aim, by presenting the working-class testimonials, is to channel public sympathy behind the expansion of police stop-and-search powers as a remedy to the problem.

It is noteworthy that no one has sought to consider what documented impact stop-and-searches actually have on UK crime. The impact, according to the latest study, is literally 0%. Conversely, according to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, this year’s UK knife murders are almost the exact same amount as those following contact with police. This is why the right-wing press, with its newly found concern for working class people, has to rely on emotions rather than facts.

That London is one of the world’s safest cities (and we’d do well to compare it to, for instance, cities in Yemen we’ve helped ravage) does not prevent racist tabloid headlines from branding it a lawless “Wild West” overrun by black gangs, a thinly veiled slur on the capital’s multiculturalism. Nor for that matter does it prevent opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose Blairite councillors continue to obey his dictum that they stick to May’s budget cuts, from lamenting the withdrawal of 21,000 police officers from the streets, vowing in his manifesto to finance an additional 10,000.

Since austerity began in 2010, UK child poverty has gone from 25% to 33%, while mental health problems have increased in tandem with government mental health cuts. Meanwhile, just 1000 people in the UK control 33% of the country’s wealth[] while £69.9 billion is annually dodged/evaded by corporations and the super-rich.

Despite 2,400+ children killed or disabled by road accidents in David Cameron’s first year, no equivalent calls for extra road safety have been made by the Tories, who have undoubtedly exacerbated the problem by closing 760-odd youth centres in the name of austerity.

The ruling elites see France’s Yellow Vest revolt and tremble. Still reeling from the economic crash of 2008 and the impact of austerity, they are seeking to militarise their societies in order to contain the damage the capitalist system is generating. Any doubts about the real agenda can be seen by the intervention of Tony Blair into the phony debate.

A brief(ish) comment on “racial pay inequality”

Starting next month, UN rapporteur Philip Alston will conduct a ten-day investigation into Britain’s rising poverty and its links to ongoing Tory austerity. A previous such report on UK housing in 2013 was branded “a Marxist diatribe” by then housing minister Kris Hopkins.

£110 billion thus far, Tory cuts have amounted to £1.375 billion per year. Compare that with £25 billion a year in corporate tax avoidance, £11 billion a year in low-wage subsidies for top retailers/supermarkets, and a similar annual figure in free insurance and guarantees for the very banks that crashed the economy. All these figures predate 2010, the year that austerity begun.

Meanwhile, on the pretence that there is “no money” for the NHS, the world’s greatest healthcare service is being deliberately allowed to collapse in order to market its private selloff as a rescue mission.

Meanwhile, middle class “liberals” and their pious windpipe The Guardian wrap their political focus around abstractive identity politics (await my future post on this), a necessary distraction making the rounds today as inequality increases and the bourgeoise sleep with one eye open.

The latest example of this distraction from class to “identity” is a UK report on racial inequality pay, as if general inequality pay and its attendant class divide is nonexistent. Suffice it to say that, in light of the real issues aforementioned, identity provides the media and bourgeoise with a much-needed distraction therefrom.

Let’s talk about pay inequality, shall we?

UK wages dropped by 11% since 2007, while the next decade “is set to be the worst in 200 years for pay packets”[1]. The UK already ranks 103 out of 112 countries for pay growth since the 2008 crash. Income growth will increase by a mere 0.3% over the next four years once housing costs are accounted for: “incomes will rise slowly for high income households, stagnate in the middle and fall at the bottom…over £12 billion [in pending cuts] are a key component…the biggest rise in inequality since the late 1980s”[2].

One example cited by the Resolution Foundation of how workers are being robbed of a decent wage is companies forcing an effective pay cut to fund shortfalls in defined pension schemes. An average 10 percent of money paid into defined-benefit schemes over the past 16 years has been funded by suppressing wages, an effective 0.6 percent cut compared with employees in companies that do not have a deficit. Fully 85 percent of the 6,000 defined-benefit schemes are closed to new members[1].

Speaking of inequality, nearly a quarter of Britain’s wealth goes to the richest 1% – whose wealth jumped by 10% this past year – while just 0.8% goes to the poorest fifth. 1.5 million Brits (incl. 0.33m kids) are currently destitute, while food bank usage has jumped by 52% in Universal Credit areas. Of the 33% of UK children currently in poverty, two thirds are from working, not “scrounging”, households. And on that topic, nearly six million working families are worse off than they were a decade ago and barely managing thanks to an “unprecedented pay freeze” and “cuts in welfare support to working families” (Resolution Foundation 09/16).

Stick around for my next post about Britain’s gentrification war, about to go turbo.

  2. Resolution Foundation “Living Standards 2017”


The Long War on Central America

The story behind America’s immigration issues today

…150 Contras attacked two villages in the southern province of Rio San Juan with 88-mm mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, killing six children and six adults and injuring 30 others. Even cooperatives of religious pacifists who refused to bear arms were destroyed… In El Salvador too, the army attacks cooperatives, killing, raping and abducting members[1].

These were the killing fields of Central America. Throughout the 1980s, the Reagan administration armed, trained and funded terrorist death squads worthy of ISIS:

Many top Salvadoran, Honduran and Guatemalan army officers were trained at the School of the Americas in Panama, and then after 1984, Fort Benning in Georgia… The 15,000-men contra army – employing kidnapping, torture, rape and murder – targeted health clinics, schools, agricultural cooperatives, bridges and power stations (i.e. State Department-authorised ‘soft targets’[1]).

…Similar atrocities occurred in neighbouring El Salvador, where US-trained troops stabbed, decapitated, raped and machine-gunned 767 civilians in the village of El Mozote in late 1981, including 358 children under age thirteen. Congress ended up funding almost $6 billion to this tiny country, making it the largest recipient of US foreign aid per capita in the world. Wealthy landlords were running the right-wing death squads and murdered thousands of suspected leftists. The death toll from the war reached 70,000[2].

The contras: America’s terrorists

In 1988, an Amnesty report accused Reagan’s El Salvadoran death squads of “killing and mutilating victims in the most macabre way…[bodies] mutilated, decapitated, dismembered, strangled or showing marks of torture…or rape”. Women were publicly hung from trees by their hair, their breasts cut off and faces painted red.

Two years earlier, the US had dismissed a World Court ruling against its “unlawful use of force” against Nicaragua, quickly vetoing a pair of subsequent UN resolutions to the same effect and providing an extra $100m in military aid to the contras in 1987[1].

Of the 20-30,000 civilians who ultimately perished in the Nicaraguan conflict, the contras were responsible for the vast majority[2]. Among the victims were six Jesuit intellectuals and archbishop Oscar Romero, “the voice of the voiceless” whose radical liberation theology favoured the empowerment of the poor: a threat to US finance capital.

The US war on Central America began long before Reagan. In 1823, the Monroe Doctrine asserting America’s divine right to singularly control the hemisphere. The first to challenge this was Augusto Sandino’s poorly-armed guerrilla insurgency against the US invasion of Nicaragua, launched in 1912 to defend its conservative puppet Adolfo Diaz against a Liberal revolt, secure US monopoly over canal construction and open the country up to international banking[3].

Sandino favoured the unification of all of Central America. “Nicaragua shall not be the patrimony of Imperialists”, he proudly declared. “I will fight for my cause as long as my heart beats”.

Anastasio Somoza (left) and Augusto Sandino (right)

The outbreak of the Great Depression forced the US to withdraw its troops from Nicaragua in 1933 but, the following year, head of the US-commanded National Guard Anastasio Somoza ordered Sandino’s assassination and seized power in an eventual coup d’état.

For the next 44 years, Somoza ran a mafia-like dynasty that controlled whole swathes of industry and almost half the country’s arable land. Somoza’s opponents were often dumped alive into a live volcano from his US-supplied helicopters. The Carter administration sponsored a $65m IMF loan for Somoza even as he bombed his own people[3].

A month before his overthrow by the 1979 Sandinista revolution, a member of his National Guard shot dead American reporter Bill Stuart live on camera, cementing US antiwar opposition that forced Reagan to resort to clandestine terror: Somoza’s national guard regrouped in neighbouring Honduras with CIA funds, arms and training before launching a ferocious campaign to undermine the revolution’s remarkable social reforms.

During the 1980s, the Reagan administration also armed, trained and funded the Guatemalan army as it conducted a brutal genocide of some 100,000 indigenous Mayan peasants. The general responsible, finally sentenced in the Hague a few years ago, was welcomed to the White House by fellow born-again evangelical Reagan, who called him “a man of great personal integrity”[2]. According to documents seen by the late investigative reporter Robert Parry, Washington had full knowledge of the subsequent native Indian genocide, yet continued to give him aid[4].


In 1989, Reagan’s successor and former CIA chief George Bush Sr. launched an invasion of Panama to secure US control of the strategic Panama Canal, indiscriminately killing thousands of civilians[5] and leading to the capture and sentencing of one of his ex-employees, Manuel Noriega, for crimes mostly committed while on the CIA payroll[1].

Washington’s long war on Central America continues today in different forms. In 1994, the Clinton administration passed NAFTA, a profit bonanza for US corporations and Wall Street while a disaster for Mexican agriculture unable to withstand the competition. Earlier that year, Clinton had the border militarized via Operation Gatekeeper, clearly anticipating – notes Chomsky – the exodus from Mexico that NAFTA would generate[1].

In 2009, the Obama administration engineered a coup against the elected government of Honduras. Since then, US “anti-drug” operations constitute an occupying force echoing previous US occupations of the island: the victims of a helicopter attack on a boat of Mothers Day celebrants included two pregnant women, one of them a single mother of six, and apparently no traffickers. Such helicopters are piloted by Guatemalan mercenaries on the US payroll.

Criminal violence related to the drug war in Central America is skyrocketing. Homicides are way up. There is massive deforestation, driven in many places by the demand for biofuels; intensified corporate mining, including open-pit mining, is poisoning water supplies. Political repression is likewise on the rise, in places like Honduras’s Aguán Valley and in Guatemala’s Polochic Valley. The old Cold War alliance between death squads and a landed class seems to be back in operation, albeit updated: “death squads” are now legal security companies, often staffed with veterans from global hot spots, including former paramilitaries from Colombia, while landlords now receive funding from international development agencies to convert their fields into biofuel plantations to supply the United States with its energy needs[1].

Today’s atrocious policy at the US-Mexico border is the latest chapter in this long war on Central Americans and Mexicans. Mexican protesters called Obama the “deporter-in-chief”: he warehoused and deported 2.7 million, more than any US president before him. Under Obama, they were systematically beaten, tortured and raped by CBF agents. In one case, hungry babies were deprived of milk, while others vomited from repeatedly receiving contaminated meat and milk[6].

His successor Donald Trump has accelerated this savage policy, including the now suspended (due to public outrage) family separation policy that violated the US-ratified Genocide Convention.

US-NATO wars this century helped create the conditions of “Europe’s” refugee/migrant crisis. Reagan, Clinton and Obama’s policies have had a similar contribution to the flight of Central Americans and Mexicans to North America.

Trump’s proposed wall epitomises the mentality of imperial self-entitlement that discards history and refuses to acknowledge responsibility. Such an attitude of blind arrogance brought down the Roman empire. History does not bode well for Donald Trump’s campaign slogan!

  2. Oliver Stone, The Untold History of the United States (PBS Mini Series)
  3. Nicaragua (freely viewable at
  5. The Panama Deception
  6. ACLU report 05/18

The Irrelevance of the World Cup

So your team lost. Never mind. It’s just a game, after all. Grab a happy meal.

They say that simple things please simple minds, but that formulation hardly explains the phenomena of national mourning attending England’s loss in the World Cup. With internet and the like, knowledge is at our fingertips today.

Western power has obliterated whole sections of other societies whilst its corporations are bringing the industrialised world to the brink of ecological collapse. Unfortunately, the real world has no place in the artificial universe of a self-indulgent consumerist society. Terrorism is only objectionable when it happens to us, but we sleep tight (or endlessly twitter on our made-in-sweatshop devices) knowing that we “don’t know” our governments are doing the same. And God forbid that the victims should expect to just turn up at our shores on dingies to escape war!

One is hard-pressed to think of anything more pathetic and childish (not to say criminally negligent, given the above) than a grown man or woman crying after losing a game. Other connotations come to mind, not least of which are self-absorbed and shallow.

It was said that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. Today, the triumph of evil relies mostly on silent witnesses whose tacit consent puts them at odds with any designation of “good”.

“Even when it was happening, it wasn’t happening”

As a dozen boys were rescued from Thailand, hundreds of children lay dead in Yemen from UK bombs and missiles dropped by Saudi Arabia. They continue to die. Those children and their families are not worth the same attention and concern accompanying a football these past couple of months. The Thai kids did, though, because the media told us to care. If the media omits something, that means it’s not happening. “Even when it was happening”, to quote UK playwright and “lefty” Harold Pinter, “it wasn’t happening”.

Hundreds of children and women perished under the illegal drone attacks of that wonderful progressive Barack Obama. According to herd ethics, the doubling of drone attacks by Trump is far less grevious a crime than his bigotry and mysoginy. That’s because his bombast unmasks the predatory nature of US empire, whose European dependents have duly benefited.

And let’s remember: Russia is the source of all evil. They poisoned the Skripals, they’re trying to take over Europe, and they interfered in the US elections. We know this, because we heard it on the “news”. The lack of evidence substantiating any of these delusions is moot: they are political lies designed to suit a geopolitical agenda. Tony Blair may be retired from politics, but his spirit continues to haunt the corridors of Whitehall.

Luckily for the denialists, I’m not going to go into details of climate change evidence. Got google? Use it. Try reconnecting with what’s really going on in the world. You already know the mainstream corporate media is lying to you. Stop pretending otherwise. Take responsibility as a citizen of the planet. Knowledge is power.

Oh yeah, and screw the World Cup.


Which Europe Do We Truly Want?

On the centenary of the First World War, German chancellor Angela Merkel questioned the future survival of European integration, a project designed to consolidate and salvage European postwar capitalism and close the nationally-divided ranks of its imperialist bourgeoisie.

The absence of a unified policy response to the global financial crisis in 2008 marked the beginning of the end of the project’s modern constitution, the European Union. Never without its dissenters within the bourgeoisie, the project’s divisions have come to a head with crises like the Eurozone, the refugee crisis engineered by US-EU wars, and now the very question of continued membership of EU states: in effect, the spectre of a nationalist breakup of the Brussels empire.

Brexit: Behind the Immigration Smokescreen

A turning point in the European crisis, the slender “no” vote in Britain’s EU referendum defied the dominant Europhilic section of her ruling class and plunged the nation into perhaps its greatest political crisis since the English civil war in the 17th century. A blow to imperialism and its insane war drive against nuclear-armed Russia, its official nationalist articulation by arch-reactionary UKIP did not withstand its progressive left-wing core: a defiance of Europe’s neoliberal priesthood in Brussels.

City of London: Home of British imperialist finance


The Remain camp, however, got overwhelming support from Britain’s corporate sector, for whom Europe is the single most important market. The majority of the business and political elite also backed Remain on the grounds that the interests of British imperialism are best served, as they generally have been since WWII, by dovetailing Britain’s foreign policy with America’s foreign policy: the so-called ‘special relationship’.

The Lexit campaign was equally nationalistic, hinged as it was on the defence of the ‘sovereignty’ of the capitalist state and the international advancement of British imperialism (see articles at It was mounted by ex-left opportunists who sought to advance themselves politically and financially by engineering the election of a Corbyn government.

The worst of the lot (unsurprisingly) was Labourite George Galloway, who shared a stage with Nigel Farage in the name of what he called – flashing his Stalinist credentials – a ‘Churchill-Stalin’-type tactical alliance.

Neoliberal Europe

Like the IMF and World Bank, and regardless of the fact that Soviet (state-capitalist, not socialist) economic life was worse, the EU dutifully transitioned to neoliberalism following the collapse of the keynesian consensus, swallowing up the economies of Eastern Europe with brutal policies of austerity and privatization.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the so-called PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) countries, where the Brussels bureaucrats have imposed savage austerity cuts since the 2008 financial crash that have spelt disaster for the populations.

Brussels dismissed a majority “no” vote in a Greek referendum and continued to impose austerity cuts that have plunged the country into a devastating depression, followed through by a spineless government (Syriza) elected on the basis of its fake left credentials.

Betrayed: The anti-austerity vote by the Greek people

Article 63 of the TFEU prohibits restrictions on the movement of capital both within the EU and between the EU and the rest of the world, while article 53 prohibits the EU from enforcing labour rights such as the minimum wage or the right to strike or join a trade union.

Short of a unanimous vote by all member states to amend such pro-free market clauses, prospects of EU “reform” were always illusory. Ditto a unanimous vote by the Council of Ministers to reverse the EU’s extensive powers.

‘Kept the peace in Europe’?

As documented by John Pilger, this aggressive free market drive by the EU – part of a broader eastward expansion in tandem with imperialist NATO following the demise of the USSR – played a central role in the NATO attack on Yugoslavia in 1991 that murdered at least 500 civilians and became the model for even more murderous wars of aggression based on ludicrous lies about WMDs (Iraq 2003) and pending genocide (Libya 2011).

NATO’s indiscriminate terror bombing of Yugoslavia (1999)

Far from preventing a third world war, the EU has contributed to the prospect: when it tried to barge its way into Ukraine with an Association Agreement in late 2013, the EU and US helped engineer an illegal coup – led by neo-Nazis, no less – to oust the elected government after it cancelled the Agreement at the last minute. Since then, a civil war has wrecked the country, while NATO has carried out the biggest military buildup on Russia’s borders since the Nazis.

Under Article 42 of the Lisbon Treaty and protocols 10-11 of the Functioning of the EU, the EU must conform to NATO planning, a point reiterated by one of the protocols in the Association Agreement signed off by the new US-installed regime.

Despite official denials from Kiev that it had prospects of joining NATO, this partly prompted Russia’s “invasion” of majority-Russian Crimea, already home to Moscow’s crucial Black Sea Fleet with its treaty quota of 25,000 troops at the historic naval base.

The Return of Fascism

The betrayals of the liberal bourgeoisie and the absence of a genuine left-wing alternative and perspective in electoral politics has lead many desperate and confused voters into the arms of the extreme right: the only remaining anti-EU force. Thus Italy has gone right, Hungary has gone quasi-fascist and the betrayals of Syriza could mean Greece may elect neo-Nazi Golden Dawn too. Such is the consequence of the neoliberal and antidemocratic EU.

Fascism returns to Europe: Greek neo-Nazis exploit “left” capitulation to the Troika

As the EU collapses, Russia provides a common enemy against whom all member states can unite and salvage the European project, propelling the war drive against Russia that now threatens humanity’s survival more than any time since the Cold War. But being dependent on Russian energy exports, this aggressive campaign has only compounded internal division within the EU elites on whether to favour or oppose/moderate this campaign.

The EU thus finds itself riddled with seemingly irresolvable political and economic contradictions and crises that put the very future of the European project into question. Its very premise that Europe’s historic tendency for conflict between competing nation-states could be resolved without obliterating the national division of a globalised economy – capitalism’s central contradiction – is an absurdity highlighted every day. The struggle for a democratic Europe is part of the struggle for a democratically planned global economy of collective ownership of resources and industry to the benefit of all, not the few.

Socialism or Barbarism?

Scientists have referred to the period since 1945 as the Anthropocene epoch, denoting an era in which humanity has developed the means for its own destruction. This epoch now appears to be coming to a head as decades of corporate rape of the earth and its resources are bringing civilization to the precipice of climate catastrophe.

The second major threat facing the human species is nuclear war, as NATO and the US conduct the biggest military buildup since 1945 against Russia and China, whose economic and strategic alliance in recent decades has exacerbated the decline of American imperialist hegemony (Nuclear Apocalypse: A True Possibility).

It is in this context of crisis that the question of whether or not capitalism should be reformed or abolished, first posed by the internal socialist debate over a century ago, proves more relevant than ever.

Reform or Revolution?

With the entry of the German Social Democratic Party (the world’s leading socialist party) into the Reichstag amidst the great boom of the late 19th century, a revisionist tendency emerged within the party’s leadership that began to prioritise reform over revolution. Eduard Bernstein became the chief theoretician for this tendency.

The revisionists argued that private ownership of the means of production – capitalism in a nutshell – could be eaten away by gradual workplace reforms, and that the resultant increase in social equilibrium would convince the capitalist class of socialism’s ethical superiority (as if they weren’t already convinced but couldn’t care less – socialism doesn’t bring them profit, their sole priority).

Revolutionary Marxist and German Communist Party (KPD) leader Rosa Luxemburg outed this deception, explaining that reform was the revisionists’ end goal, not merely a non-revolutionary method it was naively proposing to abolish the capitalist system.

Rosa Luxemburg (left) and Eduard Bernstein (right)

Like the post-1945 economists as well those who lauded the “wonders of the market” in the run-up to the 2008 crash e.g. the Fed’s Alan Greenspan, Bernstein’s equation of “boom = the end of periodic crises” proved premature. By contrast, Luxemburg’s foresight was due to the scientific nature of her analysis: she was basing her analysis on the objective laws/dynamics of the capitalist economy.

1914: Barbarism Prevails


When WWI broke out in August 1914, the SDP voted for war credits in the Reichstag. In so doing, it betrayed a series of resolutions passed that had promised a call for direct action in the event of war.

Crucially, the SDP’s line-up with the German ruling class also served to deprive the mass pan-European revolt that finally did break out against the war in 1917-8 of the compass of leadership. Socialists across Europe were so shocked precisely because so many, including much of the SDP’s own rank and file, were unaware of the scale and nature of the reform vs. revolution debate, if aware at all.

The SDP backed the ruling class because the activation of an antiwar movement threatened to topple that very class, of which the SDP were now firmly a part. They had degenerated into a conservative bureaucracy that rejected the possibility of workers’ revolution.

Socialism or Barbarism?

On the eve of the First World War, Rosa Luxemburg posed the choice between socialism or barbarism.

Just as wage/benefit freezes and mass layoffs are unavoidable under an economic system of profit competition, so are bank bailouts and bombs provided by the home state. The Marxists were alone in their appraisal of the First World War as being rooted in the capitalist system, from which imperialism cannot be extricated. America’s wars and coups that have killed millions since 1945 have been on behalf of the same corporate elite that monopolises political and economic life within the United States.

Ending imperialism requires ending capitalism, namely by nationalising the corporate and financial sectors of the economy.

Fifty Years Since the Brink of Revolution

1968 seemed like another year of post-war prosperity. The great postwar boom had just past its zenith the previous decade, the kids seemed happy with the counterculture movement, and America beat the Soviet Union in the race to the moon.

Suddenly, in Southeast Asia, the courageous Tet Offensive by the peasant people of Vietnam took the US occupation of their country by complete surprise and produced a political and financial debacle for the American empire that would have a lasting impact on its continued strength in the world. For the first time, American television became saturated with horrific images of the realities of war that enhanced world consciousness.

The resulting US anti-draft movement was largely confined to students and young people and therefore failed into link up with broader society and develop into a revolution, but contributed to the political pressure that forced the US to withdraw from Vietnam by 1975. Risking his career, world heavyweight champion boxer Muhammad Ali refused to serve, declaring: “No Viet Cong ever called me nigger”. Before his assassination in 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. renounced the war, declaring: “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world is my own government”.

Televised repression: Shocking images of anti-war protests vs police outside the 1968 DNC

Much of the left had begun to write off the revolutionary potential of the Western masses, arguing that rising living standards and the postwar boom meant capitalism had “bought them off”. This view would be annihilated by the unparalleled events of May-June 1968, when France’s Paris University was shut down by a student revolt against the dictatorship of General Charles de Gaulle. On the Night of the Barricades, hundreds were injured as they bravely pushed back police. When the unions called a one-day strike, an unexpected 10 million answered the call. Hundreds of thousands occupied factories and took to the streets. This was a revolution.

The brink of revolution: May-June 1968 sees history’s biggest general strike (10m)

On May 30, the PCP plotted their betrayal. “We can only profit from a general election”, the trade union’s leaders insisted. They lauded General de Gaulle’s subsequent radio announcement of free elections the following June and lead everyone back to work via the concessions granted under the so-called Grenelle Agreement.

In Italy that same month, all but one university became occupied, and a hundred artists occupied the Palazza della Triennale for fifteen days. The students and workers linked up, specifically the southern peasants who had migrated to the urban north only to become exploited and abused, notoriously by Fiat and Pirelli.

In 1972, workers in Chile took over their workplaces and formed councils (‘cordones’), prompting a CIA-backed coup on September 11 1973 that replaced democratically elected president Salvador Allende with General Pinochet, a fascist whose horrific junta of mass torture and gang rape butchered up to 60,000 men, women and children. Future UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who became Pinochet’s lifelong friend and even attended his deathbed, later told him on camera: “…it was you who brought democracy to Chile”!

‘The first 9/11’: CIA-backed coup crushes Chilean democracy on September 11 1973

As in the Argentinian revolution two years later, hence also falling to a right-wing military coup butchering tens of thousands with US aid and support, Allende believed in a parliamentary/constitutional road to socialism and had refused to issue arms to his followers. Had he done so, the revolution may have had a fighting chance.

In 1974, Portugal’s compulsory military service and bloody colonial wars in Africa prompted an internal officer coup that galvanised a mass uprising of workers, sailors and officers on the streets. The reformist PSP party killed the revolution by subordinating it to the bourgeois coup/MLA. The following year, however, Spanish workers inspired by the Portuguese revolution rose up and toppled long-time fascist dictator Franco.

Fifty Years On

The neoliberal counter-revolution, begun in Pinochet’s Chile and then globalised by UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and US President Ronald Reagan at the turn of 1980, was a direct response to the power of organised labour demonstrated by the 1968-75 revolution.

The post-war welfare society, whose Bretton Woods structure began to unravel with the onset of the global recession of the 1970s, had seen the international working class’s share of GDP rise from about 50% to 66%. No longer sustainable under globalised capitalism, the neoliberal counter-revolution reversed this trend, funneling billions to the 1% through austerity, privatization and deregulation. The unions were smashed.

The fiftieth anniversary of the 1968-75 revolution coincides with French strikes against the privatizations of President Macron, whose right-wing policies echo those of de Gaulle.

2018: French strikes against privatization of public services

The current labour fightback began under Macron’s predecessor Hollande, whose draconian labour law enabled a vicious austerity regime. To boost corporate profits and competitiveness, he presided over a wave of wage cuts, layoffs and plant closures. Goodyear workers battled with riot police and tear gas.

The ongoing teachers’ strike in West Virginia (US) was also presaged by Trump’s “liberal” predecessor Obama, whose war on teachers and autoworkers earnt him big Wall Street dividends in the form of speech fees after he left office.

The stinking corpse of zombie capitalism has no more lifeblood with which to provide a decent standard of life for the masses. Slowly but surely, and despite the treacherous straightjacketing by the trade union bosses and bourgeois “left” parties to this day e.g. France’s Socialist Party (Hollande) and Anti-Capitalist Party, people are rising. Capitalism, said Marx, digs its own grave.


Neil Faulkner, “A Marxist History of the World: From Neanderthals to Neoliberals”,

Peter Schwartz, “1968: The general strike and the student revolt in France”, Parts 1-2 of 4,

Neil Faulkner, “A history of postwar Britain (without the boring bits)”, YouTube

The Real Factors That Have Driven RussiaGate

A manufactured ‘grand enemy’ that serves to unify a crisis-ridden and divided Western power structure

The manufactured RussiaGate scandal that has engulfed US politics since the election of President Donald Trump has been branded my some as the New McCarthyism. Despite memo after memo, the US Intelligence Committee recently concluded there was no proof of Russian interference in the 2016 election: the suspicion of all those with “a modicum of intelligence” (John Pilger).

It all started with the leakage of DNC emails to Wikileaks, a whistleblowing organisation whose courageous editor-in-chief Julian Assange, currently holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, denied that Moscow was the source, who was more likely a DNC employee disgruntled by the DNC’s replacement of Bernie Sanders with Hilary Clinton, effectively guaranteeing Trump’s victory.

Wikileaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange: Russian government is not the source for 2016 DNC email leak

Clinton, whose corruption and war crimes were laid bare by the emails’ contents, began to cite Russian President Vladimir Putin as the leak’s source, having “hacked” the DNC’s computer system. An evidently unhinged Hilary threatened (nuclear) war against Russia and China in response to their alleged cyberattacks.

Having previously threatened to “totally obliterate” Iran in response to a hypothetical Iranian missile strike on Israel, Clinton obviously does not extend this right to Iran, victim of cyberwarfare by the Obama administration and Mossad.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress that the RussiaGate story was the conclusion of a dozen agents he handpicked from America’s top three intelligence agencies, not all seventeen as Clinton had claimed during the election campaign. Clapper’s belief that Russians are genetically anti-Western may give an indication as to how random his handpicking was…

It is remarkable that no proof for RussiaGate emerged prior to the election, America being in possession of a global surveillance racket whose exposure by State Department whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 did not elicit a comparable response from the media and politicians. Oh, well. If saint Obama’s reputation can survive massacring hundreds of children by drone and arming Saudi and Israeli war crimes, it can surely survive an illegal spying program…

RussiaGate has been driven by both domestic and geopolitical factors:

1. Consolidate US elite and public support for the New Cold War

Since the 2014 Ukraine crisis, the world has effectively entered a New Cold War. Profitable as ever for the military industrial complex, the US establishment obviously wants US public opinion on board.

Significantly, even US elite opinion was divided as to whether Russia or China should be prioritised as the chief challenge to US global dominance. Since RussiaGate, however, it seems both nuclear rivals are in Washington’s crosshairs. This is perhaps the most dangerous period since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

2. Criminalize domestic dissent

The 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement reflected growing anti-capitalist sentiment among the American masses, sentiment bound to increase as police shootings, gun rampages and other social ills increase. As society breaks down, dissent must be silenced.

As Facebook and Google seek to censor real journalism under the guise of curbing “fake news”, the criminalization of dissent as treasonous collaboration with a foreign adversary has clear totalitarian implications. Fascism, said Lenin, is capitalism in crisis.

3. Scapegoat Trump and other societal ills

Trump capitalised on the anger created by neoliberal deindustrialization, a bipartisan policy the Democrats hope to distract from by blaming a foreign source for his election victory. This obviates critical analysis of the Trump phenomena and externalises the blame, as if it has no roots in American society. Estranged from the Democrats, many of Trump’s rustbelt voters were from former Obama strongholds, who suffered the brunt of job offshoring and infrastructure decay.

By the same token, US politicians are now blaming gun rampages – an expression of societal breakdown courtesy of bipartisan pro-corporatism – on fictional Russian Twitter trolls!

When it becomes increasingly obvious who is really responsible for America’s social ills, namely the ruling 1%, the latter are forced to resort to nonsense that only further reflects the reality they seek to obstruct.

US corporations and Wall Street are the ultimate meddlers in US politics: according to a congressional study, 93% of US elections have been won by the candidate that got the most funding. Millions of dollars are required to get on the ballot, guaranteeing the constant monopoly of the two main bought-and-paid-for parties: the Demopublicans and Republicrats.

Insofar as its economic/strategic interests determine both domestic and foreign policy, this elite also meddles in the blood of US citizens, not to mention that of millions of innocent civilians in the countries targeted by US wars. By the logic of RussiaGate, this is ample grounds for a domestic insurrection. For the American people, the real election meddlers are at home.