Afghanistan

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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Trump boosts troops in Afghanistan

Author: 

Omar Raii

Those who wished to see an end to the United States’ longest ever military venture, its sixteen year-long war in Afghanistan, were left disappointed when in late August, Donald Trump committed to send more US troops in the country.

Trump has promised a further 4,000 troops and to scrap timetables for withdrawal. He has gone further than previous US presidents in explicitly calling out Pakistan for its “failures” in dealing with jihadists operating from Pakistani territory.

Trump’s words have highlighted what many have known for years, that the war in Afghanistan is not so much about rebuilding a country or helping the Afghan people as having geostrategic control over a territory has long been used as a safe haven for jihadist organisations.

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Marine A is no hero

Author: 

Will Sefton

Marine A: Right, get him closer in so PGSS can’t see what we’re doing to him… Marine A: Where is the CAT, Ugly call sign? [Referring to the helicopter that is watching them pretending to apply a field dressing to an injured Afghan insurgent.] Marine B: It’s gone that way? Marine A: Yeah Marine B: Went south, mate? (Gunshot) M: What was that? Marine A: There you are, shuffle off this mortal coil you cunt. It’s nothing you wouldn’t do to us. Marine B: I know. M: Exactly. Marine A: Obviously this doesn’t go anywhere fellas. Marine B: Yeah, roger, mate.

After a campaign by former and current members of the military, the Daily Mail and his family, Marine A, Sergeant Alexander Blackman, has had his conviction for shooting a wounded member of the Taliban in 2011 quashed and he will now be tried for manslaughter.

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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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Introduction (1985)

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

Just after Christmas 1979, 100,000 soldiers of the Russian army occupied Afghanistan. Five and a half years later the Afghans are still putting up an unquellable resistance.

Just after Christmas 1979, 100,000 soldiers of the Russian army occupied Afghanistan.

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The Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the British labour movement

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

Most of the Trotskyist organisations backed the Russians. Socialist Organiser was the only organisation in the entire “orthodox Trotskyist” political spectrum that condemned the Russian invasion and called for the troops to be withdrawn.

Most of the Trotskyist organisations backed the Russians in Afghanistan. Socialist Organiser was the only organisation in the entire “orthodox Trotskyist” political spectrum that condemned the Russian invasion and called for the troops to be withdrawn.

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Part I: Afghanistan before and after the 1978 coup

Afghanistan is one of the most backward countries on earth. Its population about 16 million. National income per head is less than $150 a year. Between one and two million people were nomads even before the Russian invasion created four million refugees.

Afghanistan is one of the most backward countries on earth.

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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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Part IV: Afghanistan: Defend the cities!

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

For nine years, the army and air force of the bureaucratic ruling class of the Soviet Union waged a brutal war of conquest against the peoples of Afghanistan. They napalmed villages and burned the crops in the fields. They devastated the countryside, wrecked the primitive economy, and drove as many as five million refugees — one quarter of the entire population — over the borders into Pakistan and Iran.

For nine years, the army and air force of the bureaucratic ruling class of the Soviet Union waged a brutal war of conquest against the peoples of Afghanistan. They napalmed villages and burned the crops in the fields. They devastated the countryside, wrecked the primitive economy, and drove as many as five million refugees — one quarter of the entire population — over the borders into Pakistan and Iran.

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