BEA to RR (17 March 2019)
Dear RR comrades
We have been happy to find one of the closest tendencies and to engage in political discussion with you.
In this letter we’d like to reply to your 26 Feb email, especially the preferential questions.
1. On Libya and Syria
We agree with your position on Syria.
“We definitely take “the other side of the barricades”when there are imperialist forces involved. Those forces have been active by means of financing, training and giving logistical military support to certain “rebels”fighting in the civil war.”
“What we are complaining about is the fact that the IBT did not seem to recognize this element of the civil war and declares to be “neutral”in conflicts between Assad’s army and rebel armies in general (even if those are financially and materially supported by U.S. imperialism).”
However, it still seems that you have slightly different view on Libya that only after the direct military involvement of imperialism (in March) you could side with the domestic force fighting against the imperialism or there had been no imperialist “financial, material or military support”from imperialism to the “rebel”force before March.
“We think that there was a very short period –namely between February and March 2011 — in which neither of the two contending factions of the bourgeoisie in Libya had yet been financially and militarily maintained or supported by imperialist powers (this would be the part we “agree with the IBT”)… However, it was not until March that major imperialist powers started preparations for an intervention to bring the opposition the opposition to power and that marked a qualitative change. When this happened, it was a duty of all socialists to take a general position of “fight on the other side of the barricades”, even if it was dominated by Pro-Qaddafi forces.”
You said that “between February and March 2011–in which neither of the two contending factions of the bourgeoisie in Libya had yet been financially and militarily maintained or supported by imperialist powers.”And you added that “this would be the part we “agree with the IBT”.”However, the IBT knew that from the beginning it was not a degenerated event, but was ‘imperialist regime change’using domestic agents which was receiving financial, military and logistic support from imperialism.
“This is a fair summary of events in Libya—“massive air power” destroyed the armed bodies loyal to Qaddafi and opened the door for local quislings to scramble to fill the vacuum.
“In both Libya and Afghanistan, the immediate result of “regime change” was the installation of new puppet leaders with strong American connections. Afghan President Hamid Karzai—who was appointed leader at a conference in Bonn, Germany in December 2001—had worked with the CIA as a fundraiser for the anti-Soviet mujahedin 20 years earlier. Libya’s new prime minister, Abdurraheem el-Keib, who holds American citizenship, attended school in the U.S. and taught at the University of Alabama before moving to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to chair the Electrical Engineering Department at the Petroleum Institute, where his research was partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
“The attack on Libya, like the earlier interventions in Serbia, Afghanistan and Iraq, was preceded by a barrage of lies—in this case focused on claims of a wholesale slaughter of civilians by the Qaddafi regime following the 17 February 2011 “Day of Rage”protest.…It is now clear that there was no more “genocide”in Libya than “weapons of mass destruction”in Iraq in 2003.
“After months of bitter conflict, the cumulative effect of the imperialist bombardment (supplemented by opposition militias aided by hundreds of foreign special forces) succeeded in decimating Qaddafi’s military.…For the most part, however, the “rebels”were not a major factor, apart from their value in drawing fire from Qaddafi’s forces, who thereby made it easier for NATO airstrikes to target them.
“In fact, it was not “a loose network of young activists”but rather the imperialist-linked National Conference for the Libyan Opposition (NCLO—subsequently subsumed by the TNC) that initiated the 17 February demonstrations, as the SWP subsequently admitted.”
―Libya & the Left: NATO, Rebels & ‘Revolutionary’Apologists
But the IBT concluded a hypocritical or at best illogical position.
“When NATO bombing commenced, the question of Libyan sovereignty was indeed clearly posed, and the nature of the conflict changed from being an intra-elite struggle to a fight between a neocolonial regime and a coalition of imperialists and their lackeys. The attitude of Marxists changed accordingly—from defeatism on both sides to military support for Qaddafi and his supporters against the imperialists and their TNC auxiliaries.”―ibid
Do you agree with this analysis and conclusion of the IBT?
2. On ‘Victory’question about February in Russa, and Egypt in 2011 and Iran in 1979
In the last December conversation, when we talked the “limited, contradictory and partial”victory and “two faces”of the results of the Egypt, Iran and February revolution, comrade Kaleb commented “Their coming to power is never described as a “victory”or “partial victory”of any kind by Lenin or Trotsky, but as a maneouvre of the bourgeoisie to fool the masses.”And we replied to that question in 7 Dec.
It seems that you still have same approach.
“From the point of view of state power, February was no more of a victory than Iran 1979 or Egypt in 2011. From the point of view of self-organization of the working class, February was way superior to Iran or Egypt, since there was no creation of organs of dual power in the latter cases. Any gains achieved in those situations (in terms of democratic rights or opening for revolutionary ideas) should of course be defended.”―26 Feb
You are adding “From the point of view of state power”and repeated the words several time. Does it mean the change of the class character of the state? And if there is no change of the class character of the state, it cannot be a victory?
And you talked and repeated that as if we argued that “the ascension of different bourgeois forces to state power (the Islamic fundamentalists in Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt) is ‘victory’. No, that was not our argument and not what we call ‘victory’and defend. We guess that you and we put different meaning in the term ‘victory’or you make a straw man argument.
“As you know what we call victory is that Czar’s old regime was overthrown, the army changed their loyalty from Czar to Soviet, workers’and soldier’s Soviet was built and it had real power, so dual power situation was risen, Bolshevik rapidly grown on the legal and mass base, and most of all it gave the subjective and objective situation to overthrow capitalist system as a whole.”―Bolshevik EA, 7 Dec
Most of all, the historical events gave the subjective and objective situation to overthrow capitalist system as a whole to the working class. In Russia which had the revolutionary leadership, they achieved the final victory, while Egypt and Iran could not. We believe that they were significant chances for us which never could be dismissed.
Then, can we call ‘victory’to the events Lenin and Trotsky explained below, if we follow your assumption of ‘victory’? In those event, was “state power”question involved or not?
“Every Socialist would sympathise with the *victory*of the oppressed, dependent, unequal states against the oppressing, slave owning, predatory ‘great’powers.”
―Lenin, Socialism and War
“If Mussolini triumphs, it means the reinforcement of fascism, the strengthening of imperialism, and the discouragement of the colonial peoples in Africa and elsewhere. The *victory*of the Negus, however, would mean a mighty blow not only at Italian imperialism but at imperialism as a whole, and would lend a powerful impulsion to the rebellious forces of the oppressed peoples. One must really be completely blind not to see this.”
—Trotsky, On Dictators and the Heights of Oslo
3. On Iran from 1979 to 1983
It seems that you describe the Iranian event in the period too simply, “the ascension of the Mullahs.”Shah was an imperialist stooge regime which had been installed by the imperialist backed coup in 1953. In the anti-Shah protest, there were not only radical Islamists(there were also significant layer of pro-Shah Mullahs too), but also organized working class with other layers of working people. And in the struggle the Iranian working class were rapidly radicalized. Working class built their own alternative organization, ‘Shuras’, like workers’Soviet in 1905 and 1917, directly controlling the key industries. They did not agree with ‘Islam republic.’What the Iranian working class lacked at the time was the revolutionary leadership while there were Stalinist or guerrillaist political tendencies, Fedayeen, Mujahedin and Tudeh.
After the abdication of Shah and the collapse of the old regime, in Feb 1979, the state power was not a monopolized one. The collape of the old regime raised the question: ‘which class rule the state?’like Russia after Feb in 1917. There were competition for the state power in which Iranian working class engaged through various political organizations. Finally about 1983, Khomeini, as the bonapartist leader of bourgeois class, won the game and became the final winner after serial crushes of secular left organizations one by one. Fedayeen in 1980, Mujahedin in 1981 and Tudeh in 1983.
We think that the question ‘who could take power?’is strongly related with the question ‘which political formation working class support’? We do not think the political tendency which abstain the struggle against Czar, Shah and Mubarak could not get the strong support from working class.