NATO: planning to win a nuclear war

The US and British military are planning for war with Russia, and the US Army has commissioned a report entitled ‘War with China: thinking through the unthinkable’. US Defence Secretary Ash Carter said the US must prepare for ‘a return to great power competition’ with a ‘high end enemy’, meaning Russia and China, ‘we must have – and be seen to have – the ability to impose unacceptable costs on an advanced aggressor that will either dissuade them from taking provocative action or make them deeply regret it if they do’. A NATO Review 2016 article calls for ‘increased inclusion of nuclear-capable aircraft in future NATO military exercises’ to sow doubt in Russian minds about when NATO might order a nuclear attack to counter any Russian breakthrough on NATO’s eastern front.

The British government has increased troop deployments in Central and Eastern Europe. The US has stationed missile defence systems in Poland and Romania and advanced stealth fighters in Germany. The intention is to make Russia a defenceless target.

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Imperialism and the split in the working class movement

Alexis Tsipras

Members and supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group attended the conference celebrating 50 years since the First Tricontinental held in Havana, Cuba in 1966. The event, ‘Legacies of the Tricontinental: imperialism, resistance, law’, was held at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, on 22-24 September 2016. The 1966 Conference of the Peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America, or Tricontinental, was attended by over 500 representatives from national liberation movements and governments from some 82 countries. Among the delegates in 1966 were Fidel Castro, Salvador Allende and Amilcar Cabral.

The First Tricontinental condemned imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism and pledged solidarity with the Vietnamese people’s struggle against US imperialism. Che Guevara sent a message of solidarity before leaving for Bolivia saying ‘Create two, three…many Vietnams, that is the watchword.’

In 2016, workers and oppressed peoples of the world face many of the issues that were addressed in 1966. We print here two of the contributions made to the Coimbra conference by David Yaffe and Trevor Rayne.

Imperialism and the split in the working class movement

Speech by David Yaffe

In Marxism Today January 1990, the British communist historian Eric Hobsbawn, who in his earlier Communist Party days did much to revive the discussion of the issue of the labour aristocracy, made a reactionary and pessimistic assessment of the situation at the time of the collapse of the socialist bloc when he wrote:

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Crisis and the manipulations of high finance

Tricontinental 50

Members and supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group attended the conference celebrating 50 years since the First Tricontinental held in Havana, Cuba in 1966. The event, ‘Legacies of the Tricontinental: imperialism, resistance, law’, was held at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, on 22-24 September 2016. The 1966 Conference of the Peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America, or Tricontinental, was attended by over 500 representatives from national liberation movements and governments from some 82 countries. Among the delegates in 1966 were Fidel Castro, Salvador Allende and Amilcar Cabral.

The First Tricontinental condemned imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism and pledged solidarity with the Vietnamese people’s struggle against US imperialism. Che Guevara sent a message of solidarity before leaving for Bolivia saying ‘Create two, three…many Vietnams, that is the watchword.’

In 2016, workers and oppressed peoples of the world face many of the issues that were addressed in 1966. We print here two of the contributions made to the Coimbra conference by David Yaffe and Trevor Rayne.

Crisis and the manipulations of high finance

Speech by Trevor Rayne

By the beginning of September 2016, the world’s top ten investment banks had paid out almost as much in fines and penalties in 2016 as they did in the twelve months of 2015. Together they paid $9.8bn, far below the 2014 figure, when the top ten paid out $58.2bn in penalties and fines. The top ten banking cheats are HSBC, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, UBS and Credit Suisse plus five Wall Street banks. Goldman Sachs tops the penalty list so far in 2016; for mis-selling mortgage backed securities.

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Brexit intensifies Britain’s crisis

after brexist

The vote by a small majority, 51.9% to 48.1%, to take Britain out of the European Union (EU) will have historic consequences for the trajectory of British imperialism, particularly if, as new Prime Minister, Theresa May, ruefully insists ‘Brexit means Brexit’. However, more than a month after the EU referendum vote it remains unclear what Brexit actually means and abundantly clear that next to no contingency planning by the Cameron government or the Brexit camp was in hand to deal with it. After the referendum result was announced, the leader of the Leave campaign, Boris Johnson, somewhat horrified by its totally unexpected outcome, said that there was ‘no need for haste’ to start exit negotiations with the EU. And May has made it clear that she will not invoke the EU’s Article 50 clause this year, which is the pre-condition for starting formal exit negotiations with the EU.1 David Yaffe reports.

Before the referendum, the IMF laid out a bleak scenario for Britain’s economy should the British people vote to leave the EU. It foresaw a ‘negative and substantial’ hit to the British economy, permanently lower incomes and the relocation of financial services and jobs from London and other UK financial centres to European cities such as Frankfurt and Paris. This prognosis looks almost certain to be borne out over the coming months and years. The immediate aftermath of the vote to leave saw $2 trillion wiped off global stock markets, with the pound falling to its lowest level against the dollar for 30 years. While some stockmarkets, including the FTSE 100, soon bounced back, other economic indicators pointed to serious problems ahead. Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, took steps to calm the markets by releasing a further £150bn of lending by relaxing regulations on the banking sector. He indicated that he would consider cutting interest rates from their already record low level and use whatever monetary policy tools he still has available to support the British economy.

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The Chilcot Inquiry: Imperialists waged illegal war

‘The most important questions – war, peace, diplomatic questions – are decided by a handful of capitalists, who deceive not only the masses, but very often parliament itself.’

VI Lenin, Ninth Congress of the Russian Communist Party, 1920

The Iraq Inquiry (Chilcot) report was published on 6 July 2016, seven years after it was commissioned by Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown.* The Financial Times concluded that the entire political, military and intelligence establishment are condemned by the Chilcot report (7 July 2016). However, no politician will be prosecuted, no general demoted and no spy chief stripped of their honours as a result.

Sir John Chilcot said of the Inquiry that:

‘Above all, the lesson is that all aspects of any intervention need to be calculated, debated and challenged with the utmost rigour. And, when decisions have been made, they need to be implemented fully. Sadly, neither was the case in relation to the UK government’s actions in Iraq.’

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