Socialist Party

Stalinism and Afghanistan: socialists and the 1979-89 war: Workers' Liberty 3/55

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

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Afghanistan’s “Great Saur Revolution”, in April 1978, and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan that flowed from it 20 months later, at Christmas 1979, were two of the most important events of the second half of the 20th century.

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The Socialist Party gives ground to nationalism

Author: 

Ira Berkovic

At best, Hannah Sell’s article “Brexit and the left” (Socialism Today, the magazine of the Socialist Party, Issue 207, April 2017) is a series of platitudinous banalities. At worst, it is a wretched concession to nationalism.

The free movement that exists between EU member states should be extended, not restricted. Bosses’ use of migrant labour to undercut local labour should be met with common struggle and demands for levelling up, not calls to end free movement.

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Brexit: nightmare for bosses? Or for us?

Author: 

Liam Conway

Despite evidence of rising racism, as well as the likelihood of severe cuts to working class standards of living, the two main left groups in the UK continue to peddle much the same nonsense about Brexit as they did during the referendum.

To avoid difficult questions on how a worker-friendly Brexit can be achieved, some on the left have reverted to stressing the centrality of immediate campaigns.

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Introduction: A watershed for the left

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

Afghanistan’s “Great Saur Revolution”, in April 1978, and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan that flowed from it 20 months later, at Christmas 1979, were two of the most important events of the second half of the 20th century.

Afghanistan’s “Great Saur Revolution”, in April 1978, and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan that flowed from it 20 months later, at Christmas 1979, were two of the most important events of the second half of the 20th century.

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Part II: Ted Grant and Alan Woods on Afghanistan

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

What characterises Bolshevism on the national question is that in its attitude towards oppressed nations, even the most backward, it considers them not only the object but also the subject of politics.

Militant’s politics on Afghanistan were identical to the politics of the old Fabian imperialists, who thought of countries like Britain as the hub of contemporary progress. Militant looked to the USSR instead.

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Part III: Conclusions

In relation to Afghanistan, Militant abandoned the basic commitment to working-class political independence, as well as the Trotskyist programme.

The Russian bureaucracy and their Afghan supporters are in effect carrying through the tasks of the bourgeois democratic revolution in that country”, says Woods — though they are doing it in a “distorted”, Bonapartist fashion. The same idea is expressed by Grant in his 1978 article: the “proletarian Bonapartist” regimes “carry out in backward countries the historic job which was carried out by the bourgeoisie in the capitalist countries in the past”.

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Civilisation, backwardness and liberation

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

What is the attitude of Marxists to "backward" and "underdeveloped" countries and peoples who are being assaulted, occupied, or colonised by a more advanced but predatory civilisation?

No-one expressed it so clearly and so forcefully as Leon Trotsky:

What is the attitude of Marxists to "backward" and "underdeveloped" countries and peoples who are being assaulted, occupied, or colonised by a more advanced but predatory civilisation?

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Appendix: Ted Grant and Marxism

Author: 

Sean Matgamna and Martin Thomas

When the Russians invaded Afghanistan In December 1979, almost every “orthodox Trotskyist” group in the world supported them, or at any rate refused to call for their withdrawal. Some were wildly enthusiastic for a while. A big part of the so-called “United Secretariat of the Fourth International”, grouped around the Socialist Workers’ Party of the USA, hailed the Russians as “going to the aid of the Afghan revolution”.

The dominant notion in the Pablo-Mandel mainstream of the Trotskyist movement was that the “world revolution” was “on the rise”, but its “epicentre” was in the underdeveloped countries. Many would-be Trotskyists developed all sorts of illusions in this “revolutionary process”.

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