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The Longest War, the Most Humiliating Retreat

Lunes, 30 Agosto 2021 17:55

"The Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely", Joe Biden declared solemnly on July 8th, 2021 in the East Room of the White House. Barely a month and a few days later, the Taliban entered the Afghan capital Kabul, after the withdrawal of the bulk of the imperialist troops and the fleeing of the puppet president, Ashraf Ghani. Biden bet that the 300,000-strong Afghan army supplied by imperialism would control the situation, but it collapsed within weeks; leaving his government exposed to a never-before-seen evacuation operation, "the largest airlift in history" according to Biden himself, which has become the most humiliating withdrawal ever seen. A new delusional statement by the US president, who said that the US had gone to Afghanistan not to build a democratic nation (nation Building) but to defuse the terrorist threat, was answered by a branch of ISIS with an attack at Kabul airport itself with the toll of more than 170 dead, including 13 US troops. The attack on Thursday 26th August pushed the NATO allies with troops on the ground to end the evacuation operations, leaving only the nation "leader of the free world" that had managed to organize a coalition of 42 countries around the occupation. The Yankees have until August 31th to finish the evacuation, a period in which they can only expect new attacks and desperate images of refugees trying to flee from the chaos left behind after 20 years of military occupation.


Imperialism and its shadow

The withdrawal from Afghanistan is an example of the complicated situation in which US imperialism finds itself in the historical deepening of its decomposition and in the ever-greater difficulties it has in trying to resolve world’s capitalist crisis. It’s part of the difficulties to give an idea of a way out of the pandemic, with the discussion of the post-pandemic and a supposed and longed-for boom of the world economy, that clashes with a perspective of small rebounds and new falls that configure rather a tendency towards depression and the worsening of the imbalances at all levels. Imperialists even reach such delirious discussions as that "thanks" to the Delta variant, inflationary tendencies are being contained (!!!). Biden’s administration and his coalition government, which appeared as a replacement in the face of the failure of the change of imperialist orientation that the Trump’s administration meant, in a very short time has collided with all the contradictions that undermine the US world hegemony. And it is forced to make decisions at the level of the least costly withdrawal, for a supposed reordering of forces that nobody believes. Especially the strategic rivals like China and Russia, who are taking a stand. The agreements between China and the Taliban to consolidate the territorial domain of both states and at the same time to integrate the new Afghan "government" into the framework of the Chinese belt and road initiative (BRI) is an example. The US being forced to negotiate with Russia for an anti-terrorist network in the country is another. But the main weakness of US imperialism is not the challenge of rivals but the structural decomposition, the economic and social destruction, that its own actions sow at every step. It is fighting against its shadow, and it is losing. The problem is that this advance of decomposition destroys the living conditions of our class and of the oppressed peoples of the world.


"Nation building”, detonation of nations

Perhaps Biden's statement that the real objective of the US in Afghanistan and, let us add, in Iraq, was not "to build a nation" or, rather, to build from the outside a semi-colonial, modern and democratic bourgeois state in its own image and likeness, is true. Perhaps that was just an excuse, and they have rather followed the military doctrine elaborated after the US victory in the Cold War of "Shock and Awe" that the military commanders of Bush Jr. boasted about when those invasions were carried out in 2001 and 2003, with the dreadful Donald Rumsfeld in the lead. Basically, it was a tactic of imperialist terrorism, which crumbled in the face of the resistance of armed groups and of the Iraqi and Afghan masses soon after the US arrival, marking the defeat of the invasions very early on, although the troops remained in what they called a "quagmire". The thesis of the Empire exercising state terrorism on a global scale, just like its “progressive” counterpart, the Empire vs. the multitude of autonomists like Negri and Holloway, collapsed with the national resistance of the oppressed peoples, which developed in the Middle East and beyond, and continues to develop to this day. Could it be this fallacy that Biden wants to sell us again?

The contradiction between the state form of bourgeois domination and the internationalization of the productive forces, between the socialization of production and the private accumulation of capital, cannot be resolved in a bourgeois supra-state. This is becoming clearer with the decline of US hegemony. But the idea of the creation of new modern bourgeois states in the epoch of crises, wars and revolutions is no less utopian. And the attempts to carry it forward have clashed time and again with the contradictions of the material bases engendered (decomposed) by capitalism. This discussion not only explains the imperialist utopias, but brings us into the debate within the proletarian forces themselves. The defeat of imperialism in Afghanistan tastes like death, because the Taliban takes power. This can only be explained by the crisis of revolutionary leadership of our class.


The IV International

Thus, we see how many currents of centrist Trotskyism start the classic game of finding the lesser evil, some celebrating the seizure of Kabul by the Taliban, others campaigning for democracy in Afghanistan against the persecution of women. We must be clear: this moment of defeat of imperialism cannot be capitalized without the determined intervention of the world proletariat on the side of the oppressed peoples of the Middle East. We must deploy a campaign in the trade unions for the withdrawal of all imperialist bases from the Middle East and from all oppressed countries. It’s also necessary that in the imperialist countries the trade unions fight for the unrestricted entry of refugees, for equal labor rights and for their integration into the ranks of our trade unions according to industries. Trade unions in all countries must resort to all necessary means to help strengthen and eventually rebuild the workers' organizations in Afghanistan, sending funds, supplies and defending them from the attacks of the Taliban and the warlords. It’s in this struggle, where the best and most determined anti-imperialist fighters of our class will be able to act together and discuss the program to confront the imperialist states and their lieutenants in our ranks, the trade union bureaucracy, to lay the basis for the reconstruction of the revolutionary leadership of the working class, the Fourth International and its national sections. In this way, we will be able to collaborate in strengthening the workers' vanguard in Afghanistan and the Middle East, to fight for a Federation of Socialist Republics in the region over the destruction of Israel, as a political form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. There can be no other way out for Afghanistan, because any idea of a national democratic state (the statist utopia always pursued by centrism) lacks material basis due to the very dynamics of the decomposition of capitalism.

The catastrophe of the withdrawal from Kabul is a warning also for the revolutionary ranks: never has the achievement of a progressive slogan such as the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan been so far from advancing the positions of the world proletariat. We must act seriously, quickly and decisively. Class struggle has no mercy for the indecisive and the confused. We propose to the Trotskyist currents that defend the program of the dictatorship of the proletariat to hold an International Conference to prepare the prerequisites for the reconstruction of the Fourth International.

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  • New Zionist colonialist offensive

    Full support to the Palestinian struggle


    The Zionist bombardments of the Gaza Strip launched by Netanyahu and the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) on Tuesday May 11th and Wednesday May 12th are the most recent acts of an escalation in the Zionist offensive to definitively strip the Palestinians of their right to national self-determination. For imperialism and Israel, the surprise was the capacity of Hamas to respond to the provocations with attacks on Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, something that had not happened for years. The launching of rockets whose offensive capacity is tiny compared to the firepower of the Israeli air force, far from what the Zionist propaganda portrays, is simply a response to the new colonialist offensive of Zionism.



    Immediate causes


    The elements of the conjuncture that ignited the clashes are related to a series of provocations mounted by the Israeli entity and by Zionist ultra-right movements. On Monday 5/10, the Israeli Supreme Court was to rule on a lawsuit to evict Palestinian inhabitants of the neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, in East Jerusalem. In the end, the court did not issue its decision on that day, but that fact evoked the metaphor of the dispossession of a people from its territory, surprisingly inciting celebratory mobilizations, since every May 10 Zionism "celebrates" its occupation of East Jerusalem in the so-called 6-day war of 1967. This year, the mobilization was organized by the ultra-right and was intended to intimidate not only the Palestinian neighborhoods of the city, but also to outrage Muslim religious temples. The Zionist security forces, for their part, exerted pressure on the Palestinian population by restricting the possibility of gathering around the temples, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque, on the grounds of anti-COVID health measures. Of course, while declaiming that the Israeli population has already reached herd immunity thanks to the mass vaccination supported by the Zionists and imperialism, we can ask ourselves... how many Palestinians have been vaccinated? Yet another metaphor of this rotten system. However, the provocations didn’t remain unanswered: the Palestinians confronted the security forces in the old city of Jerusalem, the ultra-right march had to be diverted by the authorities, and in the face of the repression of the Palestinian demonstrations, the armed groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad began the rocket attack on Jerusalem, which continued the following day on the economic capital, the "invulnerable" Tel Aviv, putting the Israeli "iron dome" anti-projectile shield to test.


    After the rockets were launched, the IDF advanced and intensified its bombardment of the Gaza Strip, with clashes also occurring in the West Bank (western bank of the Jordan River) and, another new development, clashes within Israel itself in cities with large Arab populations such as Lod. Over time, demonstrations in support of the Palestinians have spread to other cities in the Arab world, such as Amman (Jordan) and Beirut (Lebanon), and even to London, Chicago and other European and US cities. At the time of writing, Israeli bombardments and the launching of rockets from the Palestinian side continue, with a toll of at least 65 Palestinians, among them 14 children, and 7 Israelis dead (El País, 5/12) and hundreds of wounded.


    To complete the picture, it’s also necessary to take into account the political crises affecting both Israel and the PA. Israel is coming from 4 failed elections, which have so far failed to establish a government majority within its parliamentary system, although they have registered a shift to the right and extreme right of the possible coalitions, pressuring the government to a hard line, more and more prone to complete the ethnic cleansing. Meanwhile, Abbas of the Fatah movement, the current "virtual" president of a PA without territorial control, decided to postpone the PA elections, triggering a crisis with Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and is estimated to be in a position to win those elections.


    War in Palestinian territory


    It’s necessary to remember that before the Zionist occupation, which began before the creation of Israel, the territory where the Zionist enclave and the semi-occupied Palestinian territories are located today, was the historic Palestine. After the partition, as it was literally called by the UN, Israel not only evicted the Palestinian inhabitants that populated its "half", but has been engaged in annexing the rest of the territory. In the 1967 war, it invaded East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, along with the Golan Heights (Syria) and the Sinai (Egypt). After various peace agreements, from Camp David to Oslo, the project of US imperialism was to try to negotiate a status quo by creating a phantom Palestinian Authority (PA) to govern, under Israeli tutelage, what would be a future Palestinian state in the first 3 territories. It should be noted that the Gaza Strip, on the one hand, and the West Bank and East Jerusalem, on the other, have no territorial continuity whatsoever: the Israeli territory separates them. This fraud of a plan, which later acquired the name of road map, was not even carried out, with the hard wing of Zionism advancing the colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem through the movement of settlers and the establishment of checkpoints. Today, 220,000 Zionist settlers have taken up residence in the "Palestinian part" of Jerusalem, claiming the right to "return" to pre-partition lands, a right they deny to Palestinians not only from the semi-occupied territories, but from refugee camps in Arab countries and those who emigrated to the rest of the world.


    Under Donald Trump’s administration, Netanyahu and Israel achieved a major breakthrough which was the recognition of Jerusalem as the indivisible capital, with the US establishing its embassy in the city. This changed the status and showed an even more open turn of imperialism in favor of Zionism and blocked any attempt to negotiate any kind of peace agreement. This line was followed by several Arab countries, such as Morocco and several states of the Persian Gulf, and also had an important support in the dictatorship of General Al-Sisi in Egypt, which sealed the western border to the Gaza Strip, the only Palestinian territory where the Israeli security forces have no control, although it’s actually an open-air prison besieged by Zionist planes, which today unload their bombs on the population.


    Today, there’s a great mystery regarding Joe Biden's plan for the region. While discursively he has shown himself to be tending to a greater balance in an attempt to resume negotiations, the current conflict is a litmus test of his ability to discipline the extreme Zionist wing and at the same time try to liquidate through negotiations the Palestinian national liberation aspirations under the permanent imperialist tutelage of the PA or any other artifact that serves those ends. The breakdown of the post-war institutions, which in fact created Israel (UN), is the structural problem it faces in providing any way out for the problem.


    For the defeat of Israel


    The proletariat of the whole world and its vanguard must be clear that this is not a confrontation "of centuries" (Zionism began to colonize Palestine at the beginning of the 20th century and Israel was created in 1948) between two peoples but a struggle between an oppressed nation and the establishment of an imperialist enclave in the heart of the Middle East to control its strategic interests and oil. Zionism is a reactionary ideology and movement, which postulated a reactionary way out for the Jewish people, persecuted for centuries, based on the colonization of a territory inhabited by another people and to defend the interests of imperialism. For this reason, we say that Israel is not even a bourgeois state properly speaking, but an imperialist spawn created at the moment of its greatest decomposition. The revolutionaries and the vanguard of the working class must intervene in this conflict on the side of the Palestinians, with actions that affect imperialism and its military machine in production, such as the stoppage in the imperialist industries and the blockade of the transports destined to or coming from Israel. We must support all the mobilizations for the end of the Israeli bombings, for the end of the blockade of Gaza and for the withdrawal of the checkpoints and colonies from Jerusalem and the West Bank. The workers of the countries of the region, first of all their central battalions of the oil branch, hold the key to advance in the expulsion of imperialism from Syria, Iraq, Libya and, of course, Palestine, fighting against the Arab bourgeois governments that are accomplices and partners of imperialism. They have a great ally in, and must seek the support of, the workers movement of Europe and the US, who suffer the attacks of imperialism to unload its crisis and the costs of the pandemic.



    For the destruction of the State of Israel!

    For a Federation of Socialist Republics of the Middle East and the Maghreb!


    (first published in Spanish on May 13th)

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