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

[Continued from part 2/4]

            EVENTS '79-'89

A)     *Opposing standpoints*

On the recent execution of Najibullah, one of those people in
Afghanistan on whose "political line" even the Soviet revision-
ist 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 Af-
ghanistan in 1979-1989:

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

 >I won't comment here on Mr Martens' assessment of the histori-
 >cal 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

 >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 7,000 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 pet-
rol" 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 des-
picable of all: One who rules "his" country as an underling to,
and by the support of the occupying troops of, a foreign reac-
tionary 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 Sam-
ling" in the late 1930s made several visits to Adolf Hitler, the
Nazi dictator of the big neighbouring aggressive and expansion-
ist power at that time, Germany, to ask him please come and in-
vade his country and so, incidentially, provide him, Quisling,
with the support, so sadly lacking on the part of his country-
men, 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, Ta-
raki became one of the victims of these colleagues of his even
before the Soviet invasion of the country had begun.) Nazi Ger-
many did invade Norway (and also Denmark) by a surprise attack
on 09.04.1940 and installed "the original Quisling" as their

Precisely seeing such a particularly vile, ridiculous and des-
picable creature as "their Prime Minister" it was that in par-
ticular 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 Falken-
horst, when he had gotten military control over Olso, the capi-
tal, 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 insuffi-
ciently-briefed general, as that (perhaps completely faked? per-
haps to some extent genuine?) later expressed by Kosygin to Ta-
raki 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 Af-
ghan 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 po-
litical 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 pos-
ting: How sharp is the struggle beween genuine and phoney Marx-
ism, 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. Al-
though a member - as far as I understand - of the utterly re-
visionist 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 es-
tablishment of some sort of genuine international leadership for
the 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, to-
gether 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 in-
dividuals, in a number of other countries, who had likewise en-
dorsed that call - by which they of course flagrantly went
against the whole basic principle of internationalist proleta-
rian democracy and in fact created nothing but a *Wrong* "Mobi-
lisation 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 sup-
port for the political line of Marx, Lenin and Mao Zedong.

What was and is the standpoint of Marxism, Leninism and Mao Ze-
dong 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 ob-
vious to all about the character of that state, its completely
revisionist and social-imperialist character. As far back as in
the late '60s, Mao Zedong clearly pointed out the similar cha-
racter 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 revolutiona-
ries 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

After all, even the Hitler fascists had said they were "socia-
lists" - 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 maintai-
ning 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" go-
vernment 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 ag-
gression being perpetrated by the social-imperialists in Af-
ghanistan. 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 hypo-
critically) 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 indigna-
tion, *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 7,000 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 "barbarism"?

A couple of people even quoted with approval and satisfaction
the opinion of someone or other who had said "if any country de-
served 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 60s in re-
lation 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 op-
pression"? 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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