More Years for the Locust: the Origins of the SWP Paperback – June 16. 2012 by Jim Higgins (Author), John Game (Foreword), Phil Evans (Drawings)
“Style is the Man”,
A proverbial saying, early 20th century, meaning that one’s chosen style reflects one’s essential characteristics; earlier in Latin, and the French naturalist Buffon (1707–88) in the form, ‘Style is the man himself.’
“Everyone has the right to be stupid on occasion, but Comrade Macdonald abuses the privilege”.
At the end of the film The Shawshank Redemption, Andy Dufresne escapes from the prison in the night by crawling through the sewer pipe and escaping into a nearby river. Reviewing this book has a similar feel to it.
The author of this book Jim Higgins (1930-2002), began his political life as a member of the British Communist Party. He left in 1956 after reading Nikita Khrushchev’s ‘Secret Speech’, which denounced the crimes of Stalin. Nothing is mentioned in this book about Higgin’s life in the Stalinist Communist Party.
It is true that Higgins read “voraciously” the writings of Leon Trotsky but appears to have learnt nothing from then accept he did not agree with orthodox Marxism. Therefore it is a little strange that he joined Gerry Healy’s The Club that became the Socialist Labour League and later the Workers Revolutionary Party. The Club played an important role in major industrial struggles and within the Labour Party, especially the movement in opposition to the development of the H-Bomb. In 1958, the youth paper Keep Left was relaunched monthly, and members were sent into the Labour Party’s youth movement, the Young Socialists. Higgins almost immediately formed a faction against the leadership.
Although Higgin’s book purports to be a history of the Socialist Workers Party(SWP), he spends an inordinate amount of time and space attacking the SLL and Healy, which makes me believe that Higgin’s joined the wrong party by mistake. It seems pretty clear he was never a Trotskyist and retained much of his Stalinist baggage acquired during his membership of the Communist Party.
Higgins was thrown out of the SLL and joined Cliff’s Socialist Review Group (founded in 1950). This group would later turn into the International Socialists, which later became the Socialist Workers Party. Cliff’s Socialist Review came out of a factional struggle within the RCP. Before Cliff left the RCP, he had been a supporter of Max Shachtman’s state-capitalist thesis.  Cliff was to build his tendency by recruiting from amongst disaffected RCP members based on their agreement with Cliff’s revisionism of Marxism.
According to a Socialist Equality Party(SEP) perspective document, “Cliff was to argue that the Stalinist dictatorship was only the most finished expression of a new stage in the evolution of world capitalism, which was partially expressed by Labour’s post-war nationalisations and those conducted by the newly independent colonial regimes. He placed the intelligentsia alongside the Stalinist bureaucracy as the midwife of yet another variety of state capitalism. The industrial working class had “played no role whatsoever” in the Chinese revolution, while in Cuba, “middle-class intellectuals filled the whole arena of struggle”. From this, Cliff declared that Trotsky’s Theory of Permanent Revolution was wrong because, “While the conservative, cowardly nature of a late-developing bourgeoisie (Trotsky’s first point) is an absolute law, the revolutionary character of the young working-class is neither absolute nor inevitable… Once the constantly revolutionary nature of the working class, the central pillar of Trotsky’s theory, becomes suspect, the whole structure falls to pieces.”
Higgins completely agreed with Cliff’s attack on Trotsky’s work. In an article written in 1963, Higgin’s, agreed with his mentor and leader Cliff, saying, ” The demise of British Trotskyism (and it died sometime before the corpse was formally interred) cannot be blamed only on its tactical inadequacies. However, it is true that with a more realistic appraisal of the world, they could have continued for much longer. But like Trotsky, they founded their attitude on an erroneous analysis of reformism and imperialism with a fundamental misappraisal of Stalinism. The characterisation of Russia as a counter-revolutionary abortion hid the fact of the profoundly capitalist nature of the Russian economy, its dynamism and its ability to survive. Far from being a shallow-rooted caste, the bureaucracy was, and is, an integral part of the Russian body politic”.
When I say “Style is the man”, I do not mean Higgins wore bad clothes, which he did, but this book is not a serious history of the origins of the SWP or the early days of British Trotskyism. What passes for analysis from Higgins would not look out of place in the Beano or Dandy children’s magazines.
Given the seriousness of his subject matter, Higgin’s writes more like a comedian or raconteur than he does a serious historian or political activist. He is, after all, dealing with historical issues in which millions of people lost their lives due to the betrayals of Stalinism and Social Democracy. Books like these should have a certain amount of gravitas.
To conclude, this book was written 20 years after Higgins had left serious political activity and is written to settle a few old scores rather than contribute to understanding the history of British Trotskyism. You would have thought that his editor at Unkant publishers would have had a word with him. His so-called history is unserious, lacking in any academic rigour and is the work of a “mock historian”. Although talking about another ex Stalinist E.P.Thompson, this quote from Healy is apt for Higgins “Comrade Thompson seems to have cast away all the luggage. He was equipped within the Communist Party except one soiled old suitcase labelled anti-Trotskyism”. His book is a product of that training.
1. Higgin’s papers are left with Senate House Library, University of London. They are well worth a look because they contain a goldmine of pamphlets etc., about the history of the Fourth International.
2. The Heritage We Defend (30th Anniv. Edition): A Contribution to the history of the Fourth International-The work reviews the political and theoretical disputes inside the Fourth International, the international Marxist movement founded by Leon Trotsky in 1938. It is a devastating reply to former WRP General Secretary Michael Banda’s document “27 Reasons why the International Committee Should be Buried Forthwith and the Fourth International Built.” Contains a detailed and objective assessment of the political contribution and evolution of James P. Cannon, Trotsky’s most important co-thinker in the US, as well as the evolution of the US Socialist Workers Party.The 2018 edition of the foundational 1988 work by David North, chairman of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site, contains a new preface, photo section, and an extensive glossary.
 Ten Years for the Locust-British Trotskyism 1938–1948-https://www.marxists.org/archive/higgins/1963/xx/10years.htm
Review: Paul Flewers and John McIlroy (editors) 1956: John Saville, EP Thompson and The Reasoner Merlin Press, 2016, pp450, £20.
“Comrade Thompson seems to have cast away all the luggage. He was equipped within the Communist Party except one soiled old suitcase labelled anti-Trotskyism”. Gerry Healy
“I do not see class as a ‘structure’, nor even as a ‘category’, but as something which in fact happens (and can be shown to have happened) in human relationships. The notion of class entails the notion of historical relationship. And class happens when some men, as a result of common experiences (inherited or shared), feel and articulate the identity of their interests as between themselves and as against other men whose interests are different from (and usually opposed to) theirs. E. P. Thompson
E.P. Thompson had been dead for two decades and John Saville for 12 years. It is perhaps a little strange that in 2016 a book came out that republished for the first time three copies of the obscure The Reasoner journal that Saville and Thompson established during their split from the British Communist Party in 1956.
The essays in this book by McIlroy and Flewers largely provide Thompson and Saville with a Psuedo left cover for their anti-Marxist positions. This review will show that while breaking organisationally from the Communist Party, Thompson and Saville never broke from many of the ideological positions held during their time in the Communist Party, one of which was their hostility to Trotskyism.
In 1956 sections of the Stalinist bureaucracy turned on its commander in chief and partner in crime, Joseph Stalin. Kruschev’s “secret speech” was hardly secret and was not so much a political break with Stalinism but a mechanism to deal with the raging political and economic crisis that gripped world Stalinism.
Khrushchev’s speech was typical of a man implicated in all the major crimes committed by the Stalinist bureaucracy. One subject all the Stalinist bureaucrats agreed on was the correctness of the struggle against Leon Trotsky, the only leading Bolshevik not to have been rehabilitated by the Stalinists. Khrushchev said, “We must affirm that the party fought a serious fight against the Trotskyists, rightists and bourgeois nationalists and that it disarmed all the enemies of Leninism ideologically. The ideological fight was carried on successfully … Here, Stalin played a positive role.“
Khrushchev had a very limited understanding of the social forces he was inadvertently unleashing with his speech. Far from preventing revolution, he opened the floodgates. His response was the same as Stalin before him: to unleash terror on the working class worldwide.
Trotskyists inside Gerry Heally’s Socialist Labour League welcomed the crisis inside the Soviet Communist Party. Healy sought to clarify the issues involved in the crisis of world Stalinism. However, Pseudo Left groups such as the British Socialist Workers Party muddied the water and argued that despite Khrushchev’s Speech, there was “a process of self-reform” going on under pressure from the working class Stalinism would move in a revolutionary direction.
Thompson got a warm reception from the British SWP, who broke from the Fourth International in the early 1940s. The SWP, from its inception until the present day, has given these emigrants from Stalinism a left cover and justified their reformist and nationalist adaptation and orientation. According to SWP member David Mcnally E P Thompson, “was the greatest Marxist historian of the English-speaking world and had a “political commitment to freeing Marxism from the terrible distortions of Stalinism, a commitment which originated in the battles of 1956 within the official Communist movement. “
It is perhaps an understatement to say that the speech caused mayhem in the British Communist Party. It lost over 9000 members, most of its important intellectuals, and nearly all its historians inside the Communist Party Historians Group. The leaders of the Communist Party of Great Britain attempted to deal with the crisis by suppressing any opposition occurring inside the party.
Historians John Saville and EP Thompson were among many who refused to bow down to the party line and issued the three magazines published in this book. Saville and Thompson resigned their party membership, saying, “We believe that the self-imposed restrictions upon controversy, the ‘guiding’ of discussions along approved lines, the actual suppression of sharp criticism – all these have led to a gradual blurring of theoretical clarity, and the encouragement among some communists of attitudes akin to intellectual cynicism when it has been easier to allow this or that false proposition to go by than to embark upon the tedious and frustrating business of engaging with bureaucratic editorial habits and general theoretical inertia” (p137).
While the Reasoner was critical of Stalin and some of his crimes, it said nothing about the persecution and murder of hundreds of thousands of left oppositions, including the state murder of most leading Bolsheviks, including Leon Trotsky. They stayed silent on the Show Trials and purges carried out by the Stalinist bureaucracy.
Perhaps the worst aspect of this book among many is that it continues the lie that Thompson or, for that matter, Saville were Marxists. After leaving the party, Thompson cherry-picked which bits of Marxism he would use while rejecting orthodox Marxism. His criticism of Stalinism was not from an orthodox Marxist position; instead, he advocated a form of “socialist humanism”.
After closing down The Reasoner, Thompson founded the New Reasoner in 1957 along with historian John Saville. The group was made up of ex and current members of the CPGB. It also attracted a varied group of people who had left the Fourth International and members of the Labour Party who wrote articles for the magazine. Most ex Stalinists from the Communist Party dropped out of politics altogether or found an easy life within the Labour Party and trade union apparatus.
Thompson was avowedly hostile to an international revolutionary perspective and sought to imbue his new publication with an “English Marxist” tradition. Thompson rejected orthodox Marxism, and in its place, he preached a form of utopian socialism entitled socialist humanism. To protect his so-called Marxist credentials, he launched “a series of reckless, stage-managed and convoluted polemics against a series of academics, intellectuals who in one form or another had been mistakenly labelled Marxists”. Thompson held the belief that classical Marxism was sectarian. He believed that this “sectarianism” and “purism” dated way before the Russian Revolution.
While Thompson and Saville shared hatred of early classical Marxism, they reserved their most vitriolic hatred for the Trotskyist’s inside the SLL. It must be said that the editors of this book share Thompson’s attitude towards the Trotskyists inside the Socialist Labour League.
The orthodox Marxists or Trotskyists in the Fourth International, which was led in Britain by Gerry Healy of the Socialist Labour League (SLL), saw the crisis within the British Communist party as an opportunity to insist on the counter-revolutionary nature of Stalinism. Healy went on an offensive to win the most important cadre from the breakup of the Communist Party. According to Stan Newens,” When the April 1957 Communist Party Congress took place in Hammersmith Town Hall, many of them, including Gerry Healy himself, were outside selling journals and lobbying delegates.” Those figures who had not been entirely corrupted by the years of lies and calumny of the Stalinist regimes throughout the world were won to orthodox or classical Marxism. Cliff Slaughter, Tom Kemp and Peter Fryer.
Marxists inside the SLL were hostile to Thompson’s politics but were open to debate. Healy was mindful of the sharp polemics that Thompson had been involved in and told Thompson that “The New left Must Look to the Working Class”.
While cordial in tone, Healy did not mince his words when he said, “What strikes one immediately on reading E P Thompson’s article is that he entirely omits the working class; consequently, there is no attempt to analyze the relationship between the left of today and the working class. One would imagine that the New Left had just arrived and existed in a world of its own. The opposite, of course, is the case. The New Left is not just a grouping of people around new ideas that they have developed independently. This new development on the left reflects a particular phase in the elaboration of the crisis of capitalism, which for socialists is the crisis of the working-class movement. Like movements among intellectuals and students in the past, the recent emergence of the new left is the warning of a resurgence of the working class as an active political force in Britain. The crisis which is the basis of such action finds its first reflection in the battle of ideas.”
During the early years of Thompson’s magazine, the Reasoner and later the New Reasoner, and later still the New Left Review, it is clear that he had no intention of debating with the Trotskyists. Despite Healy trying to secure cordial relations with Thompson and his supporters, it became increasingly clear that Thompson did not see the Trotskyist’s around Healy as a part of the working class. Healy’s response was to say that “Comrade Thompson seems to have cast away all the luggage, he was equipped within the Communist Party except one soiled old suitcase labelled anti-Trotskyism.” Thompson’s response to the SLL was to accuse it of factionalism. An epithet I might add that has been levelled at the Trotskyist movement throughout its history.
This book is useful to future generations of revolutionaries only because it is an example of how not to build a revolutionary movement. It is important to study the history of the workers’ movement both in Britain and internationally. Students and workers could do no worse than a systematic study of David North’s The Heritage We Defend.
In 2014 several capitalist newspapers reported that MI5 had been spying on many members of the British Communist Party starting in the early 1930s. MI5 systematically followed, broke into their house and stole documents of a significant number of academic members of the Communist Party. MI5 even went so far as to plant large numbers of agents inside the Communist Party. One agent, Olga Gray, succeeded in becoming secretary to Harry Pollitt, Secretary-General of the Communist Party of Great Britain. How much disruption was caused by these agents is a moot point. Madeline Davis seems to think not much. In her article, Edward Thompson, MI5 and the Reasoner controversy: negotiating “Communist principle” in the crisis of 1956, she downplays MI5 involvement in the aftermath of Kruschev’s speech. My point is why is none of this mentioned in Flewer’s and McIlroy’s book.
 The Heritage We Defend (30th Anniv. Edition): A Contribution to the History of the Fourth International-The work reviews the political and theoretical disputes inside the Fourth International, the international Marxist movement founded by Leon Trotsky in 1938. It is a devastating reply to former WRP General Secretary Michael Banda’s document “27 Reasons why the International Committee Should be Buried Forthwith and the Fourth International Built.”Contains a detailed and objective assessment of the political contribution and evolution of James P. Cannon, Trotsky’s most important co-thinker in the US, as well as the evolution of the US Socialist Workers Party.The 2018 edition of the foundational 1988 work by David North, chairman of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site, contains a new preface, photo section, and an extensive glossary.
Evan Smith and Matthew Worley (eds), Waiting for the Revolution: The British far left from 1956, Manchester University Press, 2017; 279 pp.; £75.00 hbk; ISBN 9781526113658
Obituary: Neil Davidson, October 9 1957 – May 3 2020
‘O what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive.’
“It might seem that the notion of tradition, unlike kilts and bagpipes, has been around for many centuries. Once more, appearances are deceptive. The term ‘tradition’ as it is used today is a product of the last 200 years in Europe. Just like the concept of risk, which I talked about in my last lecture, in mediaeval times, there was no generic notion of tradition. There was no call for such a word, precisely because tradition and custom were everywhere”.
Neil Davidson died on May 3, 2020. His death removes from the historical scene a gifted historian and a working-class autodidact that is rarely seen today. Davidson wrote on many subjects, including the historical status of bourgeois revolutions, Scottish politics and history, the relationship between the nation-states and capital and seventeenth-century intellectual thought. However, as this obituary will show, his historiography was always dominated by his pseudo-left political outlook.
Davidson was born 1957 in Aberdeen. He spent much of his childhood in a largely rural area of Scotland that Davidson would later write about as been the last part of the British Isles to lose its peasantry. Life was hard for Davidson growing up in a flat with no indoor toilet. Davidson had a tremendous work ethic and dedication to historical study. Davidson regularly rose at 5 am to study Marxist classics without the early luxury of going to university. The majority of his writings were done in the evening and weekends because he held a fulltime civil service job. It was only very late in life did Davidson escape the clutches of his civil service job for a life in academia. He became a senior research fellow at Strathclyde University. In 2013 he became a lecturer in sociology at Glasgow University.
He became radicalised during the early 1970s joining the International Socialists forerunners of the Socialist Workers Party in 1976. When Davidson joined the IS, it had already broken from orthodox Trotskyism, and from 1951 had sustained a systematic attack on the basic tenents of Trotskyism. Its then-leader Tony Cliff repudiated any chance of there being a social revolution in the post-war period. Cliff put forward his thesis that a form of “state capitalism “had taken place in the Soviet Union.
The IS postulated that this was a new form of capitalist exploitation on a world scale. The result of this theory was that it in the words of Chris Marsden it “lent capitalism a new lease on life”. He continued “the IS’ declaration that the Soviet Union was equivalent to US imperialism and its insistence that the reformist parties and trade union apparatuses represented the interests of the working class enabled it to secure a niche in a layer of the petty bourgeoisie that relied upon the welfare state and the trade unions for their privileges. This layer combined radical rhetoric and pressure on the labour bureaucracies to safeguard wages and public-sector jobs and services with unswerving opposition to any attempt to construct a working-class party independent of the Labour Party”.Davidson agreed with IS’s position on state capitalism because it made ‘made perfect sense’.
Davidson and the “Scottish Revolution”
Davidson produced a significant amount of material on Scottish history and politics. The books Origins of Scottish Nationhood (2000) and Discovering the Scottish Revolution (2003) defined Davidson’s attitude to the “Scottish Question”. Davidson’s main position on Scotland was that it existed as a Scottish state before 1707. However, there was no mass national consciousness. Whether a mass national consciousness developed naturally or was manufactured is a debate that still rages amongst historians. One does not have to agree with Hugh Trevor Roper’s politics to see that he had a point when he wrote in his article on the ‘invented traditions’ of Scotland, that the ‘the whole concept of a distinct Highland culture’ was a ‘retrospective invention’.
It would seem that Davidson spent most of his academic career looking for a Scottish bourgeois revolution. Some would say that it would have been easier to find Lord Lucan. Davidson is correct to point out that some decisive moments point to a significant pathway towards the goal of a Scottish bourgeois revolution. One of these events is the defeat of the last Jacobite revolt in 1746. However, this defeat was attained with the direct intervention of the British state and with the help of the Scottish lowland bourgeoisie. This action finally suppressed the last remnants of Scottish feudalism. It was very much a bourgeois revolution from above with the help of the English bourgeoise. The Scottish bourgeois revolution if you can find one, was, in the end, a pretty tame affair and no way comparable to that of the English bourgeois revolution of the 1640s.
Despite the rise of the Scottish Nation-state being intimately connected to the development of the English bourgeoise numerous Pseudo left commentators and historians have sought to argue differently in that it was an oppressed nation that needed to throw off the yoke of English capitalism.
Scotland, despite Davidson arguing to the contrary, was not an oppressed nation. On the contrary orthodox Marxists have argued it was, in fact, part of an imperialist state. The Psuedo Left revisionists downplay the Scottish ruling elites past crimes which have resulted in the Scottish bourgeoise making vasts amounts of money out of the brutal exploitation of millions the world over.
It could be argued that ever since 1707, workers in Scotland have been oppressed not because of their nationality but because of their class position within capitalist society. As a Socialist Equality Party(SEP) statement points out “The Act of Union in 1707 provided the framework for the development of capitalism and the vast growth of the productive forces. This, in turn, formed the basis for the emergence of the first industrial working class in the world. Since then, working people in England, Scotland and Wales have fought side by side in epic struggles, including the great revolutionary Chartist movement for democracy and equality, the general strike of 1926, the mass strike movement that brought down a Tory government in 1974 and the year-long miners’ strike of 1984-85.
The advocacy of Scottish independence is a reactionary response to the bankruptcy of the nation-state system, which no longer corresponds to the global organisation of economic life. In the last century, this fundamental contradiction gave rise to two of the most devastating wars in human history as the leading capitalist powers fought for world hegemony. Today, with the advent of global production, in which every country’s economy is integrated into a greater whole dominated by huge transnational corporations and banks, inter-imperialist and national antagonisms have reached a new peak of intensity”.
In order to justify his position regarding Scottish independence, Davidson was forced to continue the “invention of Tradition” historiography. I do not believe he falsified his research to fit a political perspective, but it is clear that his positions on Scottish history led him down a reactionary and nationalist road. In the first volume of his collected essays entitled Holding Fast to an Image of the Past (2014) of which the title is taken from Walter Benjamin’s ‘On the Concept of History’ (1940) Davidson warned that revolutionaries could without their knowledge, become ‘tools of the ruling class’.
Despite warning against this trait, it would seem that Davidson did exactly what he warned others against. Davidson became a foot soldier for the 2014 “yes” campaign for Scottish independence. He downplayed the reactionary nature of the “Yes” Campaign and ignored completely the significant opposition that existed to the separatist project among Scottish workers. Davidson exposed his political bankruptcy saying at a RIC meeting, “People in this room, people on the left, people out there on picket lines … believe in the unity of the British working class, and they dismiss some of us who argue for independence as useful stooges of the ruling class”.
Much of Davidson’s work on Scotland was done while he was still a member of the SWP. Davidson held a diametrically opposite line to the SWP who in the early 1970s had a semi orthodox line on Scotland history.
In 1974 they wrote “Scottish nationalism had not played any such progressive role since the 17th century when the idea of Scotland, or at least of the Scottish lowlands, as a nation grew up in opposition to Scottish feudalism. The struggles of the Scottish bourgeoisie against the remnants of feudalism took place more or less simultaneously with similar struggles in England, in the 1640s and 1688, with the movements in one country being intimately bound up with movements in the other.
The Act of Union between the two countries did not represent the suppression of the Scottish bourgeoisie by the English but rather an agreement between the two to exploit the British empire jointly. The Scottish bourgeoisie swung behind support for the Union after a colonial adventure of their own failed. Indeed, it can be argued that the final bourgeois unification of Scotland was only fully achieved with the aid of English arms when the pre-capitalist society of the highlands was destroyed in the aftermath of 1745. The Scottish bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie led no sort of struggle against British imperialism; instead, they mobilised the rest of the population in its support”. Suffice to say this is not the SWP’s position today.
Davidson on the European Bourgois Revolutions
Despite his differences with the SWP Davidson agreed with the SWP’s attack on basic Marxist theory. Davidson agreed with the SWP’s revision of Leon Trotsky’s theory of Permanent revolution. The Deflected Permanent Revolution was put forward by Tony Cliff in 1963. As the 2011 Historical and International Foundations of the Socialist Equality Party document points out “Cliff was to argue that the Stalinist dictatorship was only the most finished expression of a new stage in the evolution of world capitalism, which was partially expressed by Labour’s post-war nationalisations and those conducted by the newly independent colonial regimes. He placed the intelligentsia alongside the Stalinist bureaucracy as the midwife of yet another variety of state capitalism. The industrial working class had “played no role whatsoever” in the Chinese revolution, while in Cuba, “middle-class intellectuals filled the whole arena of struggle”. From this, Cliff declared that Trotsky’s Theory of Permanent Revolution was wrong because, “While the conservative, cowardly nature of a late-developing bourgeoisie (Trotsky’s first point) is an absolute law, the revolutionary character of the young working-class (point 2) is neither absolute nor inevitable… Once the constantly revolutionary nature of the working class, the central pillar of Trotsky’s theory, becomes suspect, the whole structure falls to pieces”.
Davidson’s adoption of the deflected permanent revolution thesis would dominate his work on the European bourgeois revolutions. Davidson’s book How revolutionary was the Bourgeois Revolutions is a culmination of all his work on the bourgeois revolutions. The first thing that strikes you about the book despite the excellent cover is the title. Why ask a question that you know the answer to. Any GCE Ordinary Level history student would know that they were very revolutionary.
The book is the product of decades reading and research. Davidson put his archival expertise to good use. The subject matter is complex, but the book is written with simple clarity without lowering the academic standard.
The concept of the bourgeois revolution is perhaps one of the most contentious subjects in modern-day historiography. As the American historian James Oakes points out, there is a tendency in historiography “to erase revolutions from all of human history.” The process, he noted, had been going on for decades. First… the English revisionists said there was no English Revolution, and then François Furet came along and said there was no French Revolution. We have historians telling us that the Spanish-American revolutions were really just fought among colonial elites that got out of hand and happened to result in the abolition of slavery”. A recent history Today magazine’s article called Do not Mention the Civil War. Why is Britain Embarrassed by its Revolutionary Past? Highlights this trend.
The academic researcher Chris Thompson is a prime example of this trend saying “the prolific use of terms like ‘bourgeoisie’, ‘feudal’ and ‘modern’ aristocracy, ‘proletariat’ and ‘non-bourgeois strata of the middle class’ invites comparison with the debates of the Communist Party of Great Britain’s historians’ group in the late-1940s and early-1950s recently edited by David Parker. Antique concepts like the claim that a class of urban capitalists were developing in the sixteenth century with feudalism or that these people were held to be socially inferior and were excluded from power by the Absolute States are given vigorous exercise. ‘Bourgeois’ revolutions inevitably occurred and, in their outcomes, promoted capitalism. There is also an undertow of historiographical controversy: Callinicos’s protest against the revisionist historians of the 1970s is linked to an attack on ‘Political Marxists’ like Robert Brenner and Ellen Meiksins Wood for their assistance in undermining a more authentically Socialist interpretation”.
It is perhaps a concession to these historians that Davidson’s book title tilts towards an accommodation with this prevalent view that these revolutions were not that revolutionary. Davidson is a political historian who incorporates his politics into his historiography. Davidson’s Philosophical Conceptions or world view is moulded to a significant degree by the Socialist Workers Party’s troika of theories that were a departure from classical Marxism. The Deflected Permanent Revolution, the Permanent Arms Economy and lastly the theory of State Capitalism.
Both the first and the last of these theories are the most relevant to our subject and Davidson’s adoption of these two theories underpin his understanding of the bourgeois revolutions. The fact that Davidson himself recognises in his preface when he says that how one defines the bourgeois revolution and capitalism in general defines, you view of the proletarian revolution.
In this instance, a correct understanding of the early Soviet state is a prerequisite for an understanding of proceeding and contemporary revolutions. Unfortunately, Davidson’s position on the early Soviet state is not one of an orthodox Marxist or Trotskyist.
Davidson’s and the SWP’s agreement with the theory of the USSR being State Capitalist had it is origins in the work of Bruno Rizzi’s who wrote in his book The Bureaucratization of the World: “In the USSR, in our view, it is the bureaucrats who are the owners, for it is they who hold power in their hands. It is they who manage the economy, just as was normal with the bourgeoisie. It is they who take the profits, just as do all exploiting classes, who fix wages and prices. I repeat—it is the bureaucrats. The workers count for nothing in the governing of society. What is more, they receive no share in the surplus-value… The reality is that collective property is not in the hands of the proletariat; but in the hands of a new class: a class which, in the USSR, is already an accomplished fact, whereas in the totalitarian states this class is still in the process of formation”.
The Russian Marxist Leon Trotsky who was acutely aware of this belief that the USSR was “state capitalist,” or some other form of exploitative society rejected this theory and did not attach great significance to it. According to the Marxist writer David North “the state-capitalist theory, the categories of Marxian political economy were abandoned and replaced with an unscientific descriptive terminology. It was a theory in which the element of economic necessity was replaced entirely with an extreme form of political subjectivism”. Again according to North “at the heart of the Rizzi positions was the repudiation of the Marxist appraisal of the revolutionary role of the working class.
As Leon Trotsky wrote “All the various types of disillusioned and frightened representatives of pseudo-Marxism proceed… from the assumption that the bankruptcy of the leadership only “reflects” the incapacity of the proletariat to fulfil its revolutionary mission. Not all our opponents express this thought clearly, but all of them—ultra-lefts, centrists, anarchists, not to mention Stalinists and social-democrats—shift the responsibility for the defeats from themselves to the shoulders of the proletariat. None of them indicates under precisely what conditions the proletariat will be capable of accomplishing the socialist overturn. If we grant as true that the cause of the defeats is rooted in the social qualities of the proletariat itself, then the position of modern society will have to be acknowledged as hopeless”. 
How does Davidson’s agreement with the theory of State Capitalism colour his attitude towards the bourgeois revolutions? Well, a constant theme of his book is the underestimation of the role political and social consciousness plays in revolutions which runs through the entire book. The SWP’s rejection of the revolutionary nature of the working class which is implicit in the theory of State capitalism leads them into all sorts of alliances with forces hostile to socialism such the Labour party, trade unions and even the Stalinists.
So what Is Davidson’s conception of the bourgeois revolution? Despite the book being 0ver 800 pages long, it is a little difficult to get a coherent picture of Davidson’s theory of the bourgeois revolution. He does state on page 420: “The theory of bourgeois revolution is not … about the origins and development of capitalism as a socio-economic system but the removal of backwards-looking threats to its continued existence and the overthrow of restrictions to its further development. The source of these threats and restrictions has, historically, been the pre-capitalist state, whether estates-monarchy, absolutist, or tributary in nature. In no bourgeois revolution did the revolutionaries ever seek to rally popular forces by proclaiming their intention to establish a new form of exploitative society but did so by variously raising demands for religious freedom, representative democracy, national independence, and, ultimately, socialist reconstruction”.
Davidson’s point that is not necessary for there to be a bourgeoisie that is active in the revolution for that revolution to be bourgeois. Davidson, like many in the SWP, tend to downplay the role of consciousness in history bourgeois or otherwise. The other tendency pronounced in the SWP is to see historical processes as fixed rather than fluid categories.
As the Russian Marxist Leon Trotsky noted: “Vulgar thought operates with such concepts as capitalism, morals, freedom, workers’ state, etc. as fixed abstractions, presuming that capitalism is equal to capitalism. Morals are equal to morals, etc. Dialectical thinking analyses all things and phenomena in their continuous change, while determining in the material conditions of those changes that critical limit beyond which ‘A’ ceases to be ‘A’, a workers’ state ceases to be a workers’ state. The fundamental flaw of vulgar thought lies in the fact that it wishes to content itself with motionless imprints of a reality which consists of eternal motion.
Dialectical thinking gives to concepts, by means of closer approximations, corrections, concretisation, a richness of content and flexibility; I would even say “a succulence” which to a certain extent brings them closer to living phenomena. Not capitalism in general, but a given capitalism at a given stage of development. Not a workers’ state in general, but a given workers’ state in a backward country in an imperialist encirclement, etc. Dialectical thinking is related to vulgar in the same way that a motion picture is related to a still photograph”.
As was said above a classical Marxist view is that social classes are not fixed concepts but are fluid. The bourgeois has existed in different forms as a class over time. It has changed according to how capitalism has developed and vice versa. Davidson’s downplaying the study of socio-economic forces diminishes one’s understanding of the development of capitalism and its bourgeois revolutions. While it is perfectly natural to concentrate on key players in the bourgeois revolutions, however, the downplaying of other social and political figures tend to lead Davidson in dismissing elements that made the bourgeois revolution more than just an objective occurrence. As Dominic Alexander writes “Davidson’s concentration on the analysis of key thinkers as such tends to downplay the extent to which revolution was a social and conceptual reality; that is to say, the analysis tends to emphasise the conservative aspects of leading thinkers’ ideas against the revolutionary context from which they emerged”.
Another aspect that colours Davidson’s understanding of the bourgeois revolution is his use of the SWP’s theory of The Deflected Permanent Revolution. The most important aspect in the development of Marx’s concept of revolution was the experience of the 1848 revolutions.
Marx correctly stated that the bourgeoisie could not be trusted with the future development of humanity and that responsibility had passed to the revolutionary working class “hence the new era was one of permanent revolution”. For decades Socialists have approached the experiences and lessons of 1848 in order to understand their revolutions. The greatest being the theoreticians of the Russian Social Democratic Party.
Davidson’s approach as regards the deflected permanent revolution is similar to his use of the State capitalist theory. As one writer puts it “The theory supplants non-revolutionary petty-bourgeois intellectuals and other bourgeois forces that presided over a “deflected permanent revolution”, consolidating state-capitalist formations in one country after another”.
In his introduction, Davidson believes that the 1949 Chinese revolution was a bourgeois revolution which led to a state capitalist formation writing “it could have been the socialist revolution, if the movements of the mid-1920s had succeeded, but ended up instead as the functional equivalent of the bourgeois revolution instead—a lesser but still decisive systemic shift”.
Suffice to say this is not an orthodox Marxist position on the Chinese revolution. It is not possible to go into any great detail the complex nature of the Marxist position on the Chinese Revolution however 955 this paoint was made by the American Socialist Workers Party, which concluded, based on the discussion in the Fourth International on the buffer states of Eastern Europe, “that China had become a deformed workers’ state. It was a transitional regime. Nationalised property and economic planning had been established, but the new state was deformed at birth, with the working class lacking any political voice or democratic rights. Either China would proceed towards genuine socialism, which required the overthrow of the Maoist bureaucracy at the hands of the working class in a political revolution—as advocated by the Trotskyist movement—or it would relapse back to capitalism”.
To conclude my main problem with the book is that because Davidson is wrong in his analysis of modern-day revolutions, how do we trust his evaluation of the earlier Bourgeois revolutions.
This point aside the book does provide us with a very useful reference point for a study of the bourgeois revolutions. Readers should acquaint themselves with a thorough study of Davidson’s and the SWP’s positions of defected permanent revolution and state capitalism and their critics within the classical Marxist movement.
In conclusion, despite Davidson leaving the SWP, he took with him all the ideological baggage he accumulated during his membership. The theoretical revisions of Trotskyism, the deflected permanent revolution, State Capitalism, were inculcated into Davidson’s work up till his untimely death. Are his books worth reading yes they are, but the reader should be aware that the buzzing bees in Davidson’s head are of a Psuedo left character?
The World Turned Upside Down: Britain’s Forgotten Revolutionary History [PDF] Socialist Appeal-2020
Review:For a Left Populism-by Chantal Mouffe-Verso-112 pages / August 2019 / 9781786637567
“What is now in crisis is a whole conception of socialism which rests upon the ontological centrality of the working class, upon the role of Revolution, with a capital ‘r’, as the founding moment in the transition from one type of society to another…”
Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe-Hegemony and Socialist Strategy The political alliance of the working class leaders with the bourgeoisie is disguised as the defence of the “republic.” The experiences of Spain show what this defence is in actuality. The word “republican,” like the word “democrat,” is a deliberate charlatanism that serves to cover up class contradictions. The bourgeoisie is republican so long as the republic defends private property.
Leon Trotsky-Lessons of Spain, 1936
The first thing that must be said about Chantal Mouffe’s new book: For a Left Populism is that it has nothing to do with Marxism, let alone Socialism. It would be more precise to describe her left populism theory as a rehash of the popular front politics of the 1930s under a new guise. The Stalinist popular front theory of the 1930s was responsible for some of the worst defeats suffered by the working class worldwide.
Mouffe is a leading theoretician of this “left populism”. While Left populism does bear some similarities of the Stalinist popular front theory, it is not merely a repetition of it. One similarity is its subservience to the capitalist’s system. However, Mouffe’s theory has no historical or political link to the working class. According to her book “What is urgently needed is a left-populist strategy aimed at the construction of a ‘people,’ combining the variety of democratic resistances against post-democracy in order to establish a more democratic hegemonic formation,”.I contend that it does not require a ‘revolutionary’ break with the liberal democratic regime”.
Chantal Mouffe is a crucial thinker for a large number of Pseudo Left movements around Europe and beyond. She is a critical advisor to the Momentum group. Mouffe bears directly Momentum’s endorsement of Aufstehen (Stand Up), a right-wing group that came out of Die Linke. Aufstehen repeats much from the right-wing especially its denunciations of “unrestricted immigration”.Her writings influenced groups such as Die Linke in Germany and La France Insoumise. A fervent admirer of Jeremy Corbyn because he “stands at the head of a great party and enjoys the support of the trade unions.”
Mouffe likes The Labour party because of its break with anything connected to the working class in favour of a defence of “political liberal institutions. She writes “the traditional left political frontier was established on the basis of class. There was the working class or the proletariat, versus the bourgeoisie. Today, given the evolution of society, that is not the way in which one should establish the political frontier anymore,”
Mouffe believes that a change in society can come about without destroying the capitalist state, she writes that “it is possible to bring about a transformation of the existing hegemonic order without destroying liberal-democratic institutions.”
Let us be clear Mouffe’s ideas have nothing to do with Marxism. As a real Marxist once said: “Marx’s idea is that the working class must break up, smash the ‘ready-made state machinery,’ and not confine itself merely to laying hold of it.”
Mouffe’s unnecessary use of technical terms in place of everyday language cannot mask over the fact that this populist strategy is anti-socialist and has disastrous implications for the working class around the world.Many pseudo-left parties in Latin America and here in Europe such as Podemos and Syriza have implemented her theories which have seen the imposing of EU austerity diktats and blocking the emergence of an independent political alternative for the working class. Far from opposing the far-right, her ideas have been central in disorienting and demoralizing workers.
Her form of petty-bourgeois politics is shared by postmodernist and “post-Marxist” intellectuals, such as Ernesto Laclau. It is no accident that Mouffe teamed up with Laclau, an Argentine professor,who was responsible for training half the leading members of Syriza at Essex University in Britain.
The book Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, co-written with Chantal Mouffe was a major attack on Marxism and the concept of the working class as a revolutionary force in society.Laclau and Mouffe called upon their readers “to discard the idea of a perfectly unified and homogenous agent, such as the ‘working class’ of classical discourse.” The search for the ‘true’ working class and its limits is a false problem and as such, lacks any theoretical or political relevance. Evidently, this implies. that fundamental interests in socialism cannot be logically deduced from determinate positions in the economic process.”
Mouffe’s Attack on Marxism
Like many other specialists in her field, Mouffe uses a specific type of language to mask over a deep-seated opposition to Marxism. Mouffe bemoans Marxist’s “who keep reducing politics to the contradiction of capital/labour and attribute an ontological privilege to the working class, presented as the vehicle for socialist revolution.” In plain language, she is trashing the entire basis of Marxist politics.
While Mouffe is evident in what she rejects what she advocates is a little vaguer. Mouffe it would seem will collaborate with anyone to build an “amorphous, programmatically undefined, supra-class and nationalist movement.”
As was made clear in the first paragraph, Mouffe does not class herself as a socialist and does not advocate a struggle against capitalism. In her many books, she does not rule out collaborating with right-wing forces.In a recent Guardian article, she writes “It is vital to realise that the moral condemnation and demonisation of rightwing populism is totally counterproductive – it merely reinforces anti-establishment feelings among those who lack a vocabulary to formulate what are, at core, genuine grievances. Classifying rightwing populist parties as “extreme right” or “fascist”, presenting them as a kind of moral disease and attributing their appeal to a lack of education is, of course, very convenient for the centre-left. It allows them to dismiss any populists’ demands and to avoid acknowledging responsibility for their rise ”.
It is hard to think of a more crass idea or a more shaper expression of her political bankruptcy. The genuine dangers of fascism cannot be opposed without mobilizing the working class on the basis of a revolutionary program. It will need to do more than “decorate reformism with a new vocabulary”. The logical outcome of pandering to the fascists is her fascination and rehabilitation of the Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt.
Schmitt was a leading Nazi jurist who opposed the doctrine “no punishment without a law” writing “Everyone understands that it is a requirement of justice to punish crimes. Those who, in the Van der Lubbe case constantly spoke of the Rechtsstaat did not place primary importance on the fact that an evil crime must find a just punishment. For them the issue lay in a different principle which, according to the situation, can lead to the opposite of a just punishment, namely the Rechtsstaat principle of no punishment without a law, nulla poena sine lege. By contrast those who think justly in a case see to it that no crime remains without a just punishment. I pit the Rechtsstaat principle against the principle of justice: nulla crimen sine poena—no crime without a punishment. The discrepancy between the Rechtsstaat and the Just State then becomes immediately visible. As the old adage says “by their friends shall ye know them”
Carl Schmitt is not the only fascist that is having his work rehabilitated. A significant number of avowedly fascist theorists like Julius Evola and some still active today such as Alain de Benoist, Paul Gottfried and Alexander Dugin are increasingly been given a platform both in bourgeois and petty-bourgeois media.
Mouffe’s attitude towards fascism bears a striking resemblance to the professors of the Frankfurt School who were advocates of the utilization of myths and other forms of irrationalist politics” in combating the fascists.
The demoralized professors of the Frankfurt School were experts in denying the revolutionary capacity of the working class, objective truth and the “grand narrative” of the revolutionary class struggle.
As Mouffe’s writings owe a lot to the various professors of the “Frankfurt School” it is worth bearing in mind its origins as David North writes “Associated with the work of Max Horkheimer, Theodore Adorno, Karl Korsch, Herbert Marcuse, Ernst Bloch, Erich Fromm and Wilhelm Reich, the influence of the Frankfurt School reached its apogee during the heyday of radical student protests in the late 1960s. After that wave of middle-class radicalism receded, the influence of the Frankfurt School was consolidated in universities and colleges, where so many ex-radicals found tenured positions. From within the walls of the academy, the partisans of the Frankfurt School conducted unrelenting war—not against capitalism, but, rather, against Marxism. In this struggle, they were remarkably successful. With rare exceptions, very little resembling Marxism—even if one means by that term only the rigorous application of philosophical materialism to the study of history, society and social consciousness—has been taught for several decades in the humanities departments of colleges and universities.
Mouffe’s new book is not an easy read and should only be attempted on a full stomach and with a glass of wine or two in hand. As was said earlier in the review her theories are nothing but rehashes of Stalin’s popular front theory and owe a lot to the professors of the Frankfurt school. That does not mean they are no less dangerous. Acceptance of her ideas are leading to significant betrayals of struggles throughout the world and should be opposed.
The Popular Front Novel in Britain, 1934-1940 (Historical Materialism Book) Hardcover – 16 Nov 2017 by Elinor Taylor.
The Tragedy of the Worker-Towards the Proletarocene-by The Salvage Collective-Part of the Salvage Editions series-112 pages / July 2021-Verso publication.
Liberation is a historical and not a mental act. Communists do not oppose egoism to selflessness or selflessness to egoism, nor do they express this contradiction theoretically, either in its sentimental or in its high-flown ideological form; they rather demonstrate its material source”.
From the start, it must be said that this book is a thoroughly reactionary, pessimistic, anti-Marxist and anti-working class diatribe. A reader would be hard press to find a more right-wing publication this year. It is to Verso’s eternal shame and damnation that it collaborated with its publication.
Despite containing a few left-wing phrases, the word communism is mentioned a few times. But even when they do this, they distort and pervert Marxism. Like in this quote from Marx, What the bourgeoisie produces, above all, are its grave-diggers taken from The Communist Manifesto, which is correct what follows is a perversion of Marxism they continue (the) “tragedy of the worker, must be her grave-digger as long as she works for capitalism. Capital never extracts energy from the Earth, but it makes a taxing withdrawal from the worker’s body”.
The authors have nothing to do with Marxism. The basic premise of this book is that Mankind is doomed unless it reverts to a pre-capitalist society and that the working class must share some of the blame for the state of the planet because it is a by-product of the development of capitalism.
While the authors of this book would like to think that their political outlook and solution to Mankind’s problems are new, you can trace their political outlook to that of The Frankfurt School. The authors share the same form of subjective idealism that believes in the primacy of thought over matter, the very opposite of Marxism.
As Tom Carter writes, “Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, two leaders of the Frankfurt School, concluded that the Enlightenment was to blame for all the authoritarianism and barbarism that characterised the first half of the 20th century, because it was all the inevitable result of a misguided attempt to exert control over nature through science and reason. Adorno would go on in Negative Dialectics (1966) to claim that all systemic thought is inherently authoritarian.
The Tragedy of the Worker’s main critique of Classical Marxism is that it is anthropocentric—that it is only bothered about human needs. The author’s viewpoints are of an ecocentric philosophy that is nature-centred.
As Joel Kovel, long-time editor of the journal Capitalism Nature Socialism, writes, “We believe in the intrinsic value of nature, and believe that the highest expression of this is the global reclamation of the commons, which we call ecosocialism”. It must be said that these so-called radical environmentalists have nothing to do with socialism or even Marxism. In many ways, they use these terms much like the Nazi’s did in the 1930s to fool the working class and hide their reactionary agenda.
While the political outlook of this so-called radical environmentalist stems from the Frankfurt School, the authors of this book, for the most part, came out of a bitter split in the British Socialist Workers Party in 2013. Their reactionary perspective that was tolerated and in many ways shared inside the SWP for so long says more about the SWP than it does about the authors of this book.
As Chris Marsden writes, “The dispute has focused almost exclusively upon allegations of rape made against a leading member of the party and the mishandling of the charges by the SWP’s Disputes Committee. The opposition is led by unashamedly referred to as the party’s “celebrity members”, such as Richard Seymour, who runs the blog Lenin’s Tomb, and fantasy writer China Miéville. It draws support from academia and the Socialist Workers Party Students Societies. Their views are posted widely, and internal documents are routinely leaked to hostile publications. Attempts by the SWP leadership to pose as an orthodox opposition to such positions are a transparent fraud. The SWP has incubated the elements involved in the anti-leadership faction and their politics. They draw on positions advocated for years by the party.
The Tragedy of the Worker was reviewed in the SWP’s main theoretical journal, the misnamed International Socialism by Ian Angus. Angus makes mild criticism of the book but offers an olive branch to the authors, saying, “Because of the unfortunate tendency of the left to treat every disagreement as grounds for ostracism, I must stress that this is a disagreement among environmental activists, and I raise it intending to advance our common project, which an open discussion of our differences can only strengthen”.
Angus completely ignores the confused, desperate, and deeply pessimistic approach these authors have to global climate change. Take this quote “In the era of Marx and Engels, and in the long century after, communists dreamed of liberating humanity and enjoying a world of plenty, sharing in abundance. Had October inaugurated a new era of revolutions, had barbarism’s reign ended a century sooner, perhaps that is the world we would have. If Communism – automated or otherwise – was possible at that moment, we hypothesise that now, as we race past tipping point after tipping point, it is no longer – at least not before a long and difficult age of repair. From our benighted vantage point, the birth, growth and exploitation of the working class have been inextricable from biocide and catastrophe. That is to say, global proletarianisation and ecological disaster have been products of the same process. The Earth the wretched would – will – inherit, will be in need of an assiduous programme of restoration. While we may yearn for luxury, what will be necessary first is Salvage Communism”.
It is hard to work out where to begin in attacking this reactionary nonsense. This idea that we could “salvage Communism” is hardly original. As David North points out, Michel Pablo made a similar approach in the 1950s. North writes, “The outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 provided a degree of political credibility to the conception that the United States was preparing for all-out war against the Soviet Union. Still occupied with a discussion that centred on the process through which the social character of the buffer states had been transformed under Stalinist auspices, Pablo seized upon the possibility of war, converted it into an imminent inevitability, and made it the starting point and centrepiece of a new and bizarre perspective for the realisation of socialism. Adopted at the ninth plenum of the IEC of the Fourth International in 1951, the theory of “war-revolution” argued that the eruption of war between the United States and the Soviet Union would assume the form of a global civil war, in which the Soviet bureaucracy would be compelled to serve as the midwife of social revolutions.
In the schema worked out by Pablo, the international proletariat ceased to play any independent role. Instead, all political initiative in shaping world events was attributed to world imperialism and the Soviet bureaucracy. This was spelt out in the document, suggestively entitled “Where Are We Going?” The theoretical essence of his perspective was spelt out as follows: “For our movement, objective social reality consists essentially of the capitalist regime and the Stalinist world. Furthermore, whether we like it or not, these two elements, by and large, constitute objective social reality, for the overwhelming majority of the forces opposing capitalism are right now to be found under the leadership or influence of the Soviet bureaucracy”.
To conclude, this book is deeply reactionary and pessimistic. The authors seem to want to wallow in their disorientation and pessimism, saying, “Salvage has earned its pessimism. There is much to be pessimistic about. Fascist politics have not enjoyed a better climate since 1945. The climate crisis is underway and bringing with it yet further fecund material for a reconstituted far-right. The organisation and militancy of the working-class continue to fray, as does the revolutionary tradition. Hope is still precious; it must still be rationed. Yet, having yearned for our pessimism to be proved wrong and been giddied by Evental shifts which allow for habitable outcomes to be war-gamed, Salvage is tentatively open to a more generous ration of hope. Salvage, recognising that the catastrophe is already upon us and that the decisive struggle is over what to do with the remains, is for the Communism of the ruins.
The authors are a collection of disillusioned petty bourgeoisie pseudo lefts who, even if they believed which I doubt that the working class could solve the climate crisis, they do not believe that now. They see the working class as passive and collaborates with capitalism in bringing about Mankind’s destruction. Not a revolutionary class that can fight for a socialist cause that will nationalise giant corporations and banks under workers’ control and abolish capitalism and the nation-state system.