UNITE! Info #19en: 3/4 Social-imperialism's Afghan war

Rolf Martens rolf.martens at mailbox.swipnet.se
Tue Oct 8 21:38:29 MDT 1996

UNITE! Info #19en: 3/4 Social-imperialism's Afghan war
[Posted: 09.10.96]

[Continued from part 2/4]


A)     *Opposing standpoints*

On the recent execution of Najibullah, one of those people in
Afghanistan on whose "political line" even the Soviet revisionist
chieftain Kosygin had earlier commented (see Chapter 2):
"I cannot understand why this question arises...The question of
sending people who would climb into your tanks and shoot on your
people. This is a very serious political question.", I wrote to the
Jefferson Village Virginia Marxism list on 02.10 i.a.:

>The islamic "Talibans" who have recently conquered Kabul in
>Afghanistan, in the unfortunate internal fighting which has
>followed on the social-imperialists' forced retreat, are a pretty
>reactionary lot, it seems. But one thing they did well: They hung
>Nadjibullah, the infamous pro-Soviet Quisling.

This stung one other writer to that list into replying on the same
day, giving his own version of what had taken place in Afghanistan
in 1979-1989:

>I was frankly sickened by Rolf Martens recent post celebrating the
>execution,  by the newTaliban fundamentalist regime in Kabul,  of
>the former Afghan President,  Najibullah.

>I won't comment here on Mr Martens'  assessment of the historical
>viccissitudes of the past 17 years,  other than to say that while the
>Peoples' Democratic Party of Afghanistan [PDPA] made
>numerous (and highly visible) errors in their twelve years of rule,
>their sins were and are dwarfed by the actions of their enemies.

>As far as Mr Martens' reading of the historical record itself is
>concerned, well,  the less said about that the better.

>The governments of the PDPA,  it should be remembered,
>instituted a system of universal education,  literacy,  health care,
>and subsidized housing in nearly all of the 30 provinces of the
>country.  They fashioned a labor law that was the most progressive
>in Asia,  admitting workers from both the public and private
>sectors to specialized secondary and higher schools regardless
>of nationality,  age,  sex or other factors,  providing for free
>child care,  and raising wages by an average of 26 per cent (with
>the lowest paid receiving raises of up to 50 per cent).   They
>subsidized the distribution of petrol, diesel fuel,  kerosene,  sugar,
>wheat flour, and firewood and other staples to such an extent that
>famine in areas under their control was virtually eliminated.

>But by far the most important reform instituted by the successive
>PDPA governments involved land reform.    In the three major land
>reform acts (1978,  1981,  1985),  the effects were not confined to a
>redistribution of land in favor of the poorest peasant families.  They
>gave impetus to the growing cooperative movement and freed the
>peasants from the grip of landowners and usurers.  The same acts
>provided for the mass education of all in the countryside under the
>slogan "Everybody at the school desk", and attempted to put an
>end to discrimination against ethnic minorities, especially in the
>areas of culture and language.

>Opposed to this was the mujadaheen--a cancerous class of
>parasites,  the mullahs, the landowners,  the usurers-frenziedly
>feeding on the largesse of the Saudis,  the Iranians,  the Pakistanis
>and,  of course,  the most loathesome entity of all,  the Reagan--
>Casey CIA.    And since this is the Marxism list,  let us not fail to
>acknowledge the SWP,  the ISO,  and others who,  while as notably
>effective as a wet fart in a monsoon as far as doing anything good,
>are always willing to jump in at imperialism's behest, increasingly
>now even before being asked.  The back of my hand to all of them.

>And to you,  Mr Martens.

Reading this posting, you might think there wasn't any war at all
in Afghanistan during that time - no 1.5 million people killed, no
5-6 million refugees, no 7000 villages completely destroyed by
the invader through helicopter gunship bombing, for instance.

What that invader's puppet forces did, according to this writer,
was in the main to "institute a system of universal education",
"put into effect a labour law", "raise wages", "subsidize petrol"
etc etc. - all while the foreign ground and air forces they had
begged for on their knees to be sent in were ravaging the
country. And "the most important ting of all" they did was a
"land reform" - when in fact what was done to agriculture in
Afghanistan during the decade in question was its large-scale
destruction, when in fact the whole country was littered with
the enormous amount of anything between 10 and 60 million
mines, far more than had been used in any country in any of
the world wars and an enormous hindrance to the toiling of
the land in Afghanistan for many decades to come too.

"Well", he concedes, those puppet forces "made numerous
(and highly visible) errors". That's the *sum* of what he has to
say about the Soviet social-imperialists' 10 years long war of
aggression and the support of it on the part of their puppets.
He doesn't like my reminding people of it today: "The less
said" about my "reading of the historical record", "the better".

And he's "frankly sickened" by my finding the later execution of
one of those Quislings a good thing. "The back of his hand" he
gives to me, since I condemned the foreign genocidal
aggression and their part in it.

B)     *What's a Quisling?*

I don't know whether people on all continents of the world are
familiar with the term "Quisling". In Europe, and in particular
here in Northern Europe, it has been in general use since the
great anti-fascist war (World War II) as signifying a particular
type of persons held by most people to be among the most
despicable of all: One who rules "his" country as an underling to,
and by the support of the occupying troops of, a foreign
reactionary big power.

The term originates from the name of the Norwegian - born in
the same country as I, in fact - Vidkun Quisling, who as leader
of the insignificant and ridiculous Nazi party "Nasjonal Samling"
in the late 1930:s made several visits to Adolf Hitler, the Nazi
dictator of the big neighbouring aggressive and expansionist
power at that time Germany, to ask him please come and
invade his country and so, incidentially, provide him, Quisling,
with the support, so sadly lacking on the part of his countrymen,
necessary for him to become "Prime Minister" of Norway.

It was a similar request, of course, as that made by the Afghan
Taraki to the Soviet social-imperialist leaders some 40 years
later - cf Chapter 2, in part 2/4 of this Info item.

Quisling also, as is well known, eventually turned out to be just
as "lucky" as later Taraki or at least his colleagues. (I'm not very
well-informed on the exact fates of the various Afghan social-
imperialist puppets but as far as I remember, Taraki became
one of the victims of these colleagues of his even before the
Soviet invasion of the country had begun.) Nazi Germany did
invade Norway (and also Denmark) by a surprise attack on
09.04.1940 and installed "the original Quisling" as their puppet.

Precisely seeing such a particularly vile, ridiculous and
despicable creature as "their Prime Minister" it was that in
particular angered the Norwegian people into resistance,
eventually including armed resistance in the form of sabotage
and a budding guerilla movement, against the occupying Nazi
German forces; this touched people to their souls even more
than the presence and the actions of those foreign military
forces themselves.

Even the officers of the invading army themselves were not
too fond of this lackey. The commanding German general,
von Falkenhorst, when he had gotten military control over
Olso, the capital, and Quisling came to him and said that he
would now "form a government" of the country, telephoned
his boss Hitler and asked: "What am I to do with the fellow?
Can I arrest him?" A similar distaste, thus, on the part of the
perhaps insufficiently-briefed general, as that (perhaps
completely faked? perhaps to some extent genuine?) later
expressed by Kosygin to Taraki at the idea of "sending people
who would climb into your tanks and shoot on your people".

But not even such distaste, for such persons, was in the
least hinted at by the above-quoted writer to this Marxism
list. On the contrary, he had practically nothing but praise
for the Afghan invading-power-puppet "colleagues" of Taraki. It
was against me, who condemned them and wrote that they
deserved to be killed, that his "moral indignation" was directed.

This then is an example of something which experience has
shown to turn up again and again: The not only bourgeois,
but - when "the moment of truth" arrives - actually *arch*-
reactionary political standpoint of some people who proclaim
their adherence to Marxism, their desire for proletarian
revolution in the whole world. This is an important point I want
to make in this posting: How sharp is the struggle beween
genuine and phoney Marxism, how absolutely necessary it is
clearly to differentiate the one from the other.

C)     *A writer of contradictory words*

In the case of the writer I've quoted above, he had earlier seemed
to represent quite a positive political standpoint. Although a
member - as far as I understand - of the utterly revisionist party
the "CPUSA", he had, as one of the quite few who did this on an
individual basis, endorsed the call for a World Mobilisation
Commission to defend the revolution in Peru which was put
forward publicly in March of this year. This call for a WMC had
a particularly positive significance - or seemed to have so, at
least - in that it among other things declared as one task for the
proposed Commission really to propagandize and to represent
internationally the political line of Marx, Lenin and Mao Zedong,
which would then have meant, if acted on, the establishment of
some sort of genuine international leadership for he proletariat,
something which it's of the utmost importance today to achieve.

Now as it turned out, the initiators of this call for a WMC, together
with an unknown but obviously small number of close friends of
theirs, last August went ahead and constituted a "WMC" all by
themselves, withour bothering about such details as perhaps
consulting on this all those other organizations and individuals,
in a number of other countries, who had likewise endorsed that
call - by which they of course flagrantly went against the whole
basic principle of internationalist proletarian democracy and in
fact created nothing but a *Wrong* "Mobilisation Commission",
as I publicly pointed out. (I'll return to that subject.)

The above-quoted writer responded to this, that he saw no
fault whatsoever in that action by those people, and now after
I have become aware also of his standpoint concerning the
Quislings in Afghanistan and the entire social-imperialist war of
aggression against that country, I no longer find this strange. But
he for a while had me (and probably others too) fooled into
presuming that he was sincere when signing that document (the
original call for the WMC), and thus among other things stating
his support for the political line of Marx, Lenin and Mao Zedong.

What was and is the standpoint of Marxism, Leninism and Mao
Zedong Thought on the character of the Soviet Union of the last
couple of decades, up until its downfall in 1991? As all know,
that standpoint consists in pointing out that which is also obvious
to all about the character of that state, its completely revisionist
and social-imperialist character. As far back as in the late '60:s,
Mao Zedong clearly pointed out the similar character of the
bourgeois dictatorship in the then already long-since
degenerated Soviet Union to that of Hitler fascism.

So why then did that writer I quoted above sign such a call at
all that supported the correct standpoint of Mao Zedong, thus
naturally on the character of the Soviet Union too, if he in fact
was against that standpoint and in reality condoned such actions
by that state as its aggression in Afghanistan? I don't really
know. But it's another clear example at least of some people's
gladly speaking with double tongues, gladly signing one
statement the one day and one in the quite opposite direction
the other, if this serves their purposes, whatever more exactly
those may be. With Marxism, such behaviour has nothing to do.
Such people are frauds - whether more harmful or less, and
whether or not they're decieving themselves too - is another
matter. It's absolutely necessary that the actual revolutionaries
very clearly differentiate themselves from such people and
publicly distance themselves from them. Otherwise they will not
get, and will not deserve, any trust on the part of the masses

D)     *Excuses for a perhaps not conscious Right-extremism?*

Can there, in this particular case, be any excuses for the above-
quoted writer's writing as he did? On one level, it could perhaps
be said that there might be some. I don't hold the silly attempts
by the Soviet social-imperialist leaders, supported in this of
course by all Western bourgeois media too, to make people
believe their state was a "socialist" one, to be much of an
excuse for any half-way enlightened person to believe in this.
After all, even the Hitler fascists had said they were "socialists" -
the very word "Nazis" of course is short for "National-Sozialisten" -
and those who knew of at least some of the crimes of those
people could by no means be excused by their maintaining
that they had actually believed them.

But it's possible that the writer in question, a citizen of the USA,
had been sceptical to what had been reported by "his" govern-
ment and "his" bourgeois media about the atrocities of that
government's rivalling superpower in Afghanistan. If so, then
not wholly without reason. I've seen some "reports" here in
Sweden, for instance, on (supposed) events in that country that
did seem to be untrue and in fact the result of some CIA fake
"advertising". Even so, such scepticism cannot really justify a
"belief", by someone in the USA, that there was "no" war of
aggression being perpetrated by the social-imperialists in
Afghanistan. The standpoint of pretending this remains a
morally very degenerate one, even if it in my opinion would
have been even worse if the writer had been supporting an
aggression by "his own" government and not, as in this case,
that of a foreign one, of which "his" imperialist country was
(more or less hypocritically) stating its condemnation.

The role of the US imperialists in Afghanistan undoubtedly
*was* a murky one too, but nobody could sincerely have
believed that it was they who had tens of thousands of troops
in the country, bombed the villages there from the air, littered
the countryside with an unprecedented number of mines etc etc.
Neither were these things done by the largely Moslem-led
national resistance, the backward and in part feudalist character
of which of course could be no excuse for them either.

E)     *Some more propagandists of aggression*

Some other writers to the same Marxism list likewise
presented matters in approximately the same way as the one
I've chosen to quote at length, and/or likewise expressed their
moral indignation, *not* at the social-imperialists' genocidal
aggression or their miserable puppets' support for it, but at
my condemnation of these crimes.

Someone actually wrote that the Soviet social-imperialists
had "exerted a civilizing influence" on Afghanistan. If killing
1.5 million people, forcing 5-6 million more to flee, littering
the country with mines and destroying 7000 villages is thought
to be an act of "civilizing" a country, what atrocities, in the eyes
of that "Marxist", would then be sufficient for him to call them

A couple of people even quoted with approval and satisfaction
the opinion of someone or other who had said "if any country
deserved to be raped, it was Afghanistan"(!) *That* at least
was a somewhat more candid statement, in the vein of that
"declaration of policy" by some US imperialists back in the late
60:s in relation to the peoples of Indochina: "We'll bomb'em
back to the stone age." (They failed in that too, of course.)

Is it any wonder, considering that such persons are invariably
presented by the openly bourgeois media as "the Communists",
that quite a lot of people in several countries today hold the
opinion that "Communism means nothing but dictatorship and
oppression"? The genuinely Marxist-Leninist forces in the world
today are so pitifully few - I'm not saying that they despite this
don't hold enormous possibilities in their hands - that it's natural,
unfortunately, if many people never heard of any other "Communism"
than one ore more of those caricatures of it that are rightly
known as revisionism or phoney"Marxism".

In the next chapter, I shall discuss how this phenomenon, that
of revisionism and, as in this case, a revisionism accentuated to
the point of its really deserving to be called "Quisling 'Marxism'",
may be explained in social terms.

[Continued in part 4/4]

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