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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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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Socialist Party fail to draw lessons on Labour

Author: 

Michael Johnson

Clive Heemskerk, national election agent for the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), has signalled a turn towards the Corbyn surge in an article in The Socialist (28 September).

He argues that “consolidating Jeremy's victory against [the] continued opposition [of the Labour right] — by really transforming Labour into an anti-austerity, socialist, working-class mass movement — is the critical task facing socialists in Britain today.”

Since it emerged from Militant in 1991, the Socialist Party’s founding principle, raised to the point of dogma, has been that Labour had been irreversibly transformed from a workers’ party into a neoliberal capitalist party. The task of socialists, therefore, was to build a “new mass workers’ party” outside of Labour and its affiliate trade unions.

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Jeremy Corbyn shames the Socialist Party

Author: 

Rhodri Evans
Jeremy Corbyn says, rightly, that it is not migrants who depress wages. But the Socialist Party defends bans on migrant workers as a measure to protect wages.

One of the best bits of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour conference speech was his defence of migrants.

"It isn’t migrants that drive down wages; it’s exploitative employers and the politicians who deregulate the labour market and rip up trade union rights.

"It isn’t migrants who put a strain on our NHS; it only keeps going because of the migrant nurses and doctors who come here filling the gaps left by politicians who have failed to invest in training.

"It isn’t migrants that have caused a housing crisis; it’s a Tory government that has failed to build homes.

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Tories plan Great Wall of Calais

Author: 

Theodora Polenta

On 7 September, Britain's immigration minister, Robert Goodwill, announced that the government will build a four-metre-high wall for about one kilometre along the main port highway in Calais, France, to prevent refugees or immigrants boarding lorries to cross the Channel.

Construction will cost about £1.9 million, will start this month and is to be completed by the end of year. "Many continue to pass [the border]," said Goodwill, speaking to a parliamentary committee. "We have raised fences, now we will raise the wall."

Britain's immigration minister, Robert Goodwill, has announced that the government will build a four-metre-high wall for about one kilometre along the main port highway in Calais, France, to prevent refugees or immigrants boarding lorries to cross the Channel.

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