This is a translation of 제국주의의 아프가니스탄 패전과 노동계급의 임무 After AI’s translation, we proofread it. There might be errors. All comments are welcome.
Defeat of Imperialism in Afghanistan and
Tasks of Working Class
Welcoming the American defeat in the Afghan War!/ Watershed: The general trend has been leaned against imperialists/ Reactionary nature of Taliban/ More reactionary and barbaric imperialism/ Anti-Imperialist Resistance and Taliban/ People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan(PDPA) regime in 1978/ U.S. imperialist’s “secret operation” and Soviet involvement/ Women’s liberation under PDPA-Soviet rule and Taliban/ Hypocritical sympathizers of imperialism/ U.S. invasion in 2001 and the Taliban as ‘anti-imperialist’ force/ Taliban’s Fate/ Lenin and Trotsky’s teachings/ Task of Afghan and world working class
Welcoming the American defeat in the Afghan War!
With the fall of Kabul on August 15, the two decades of Afghan war ended with the defeat of the imperialists. Not only the U.S., but also the U.K., Australia, Canada and New Zealand which is the Anglo-Saxons imperialist bloc called the ‘Five Eyes’, and other leading predators actively engaged in the war. They spent a huge amount of war expenditure and mobilized a large number of advanced weapons such as drones. Nevertheless, imperialists failed to subdue the local guerrilas armed with humble equipment and was defeated.
This unexpected result is throwing a huge shock wave into the world situation. First of all, the imperialist camp, which upholds the global capitalist system, has lost much confidence in this absurd defeat. If they can’t win this kind of war, it will never be easy to extract super-profits from the colonial region. Fear also struck the colonial puppet regimes, which relied heavily on imperialist forces. The colonial puppets, who saw their masters running away for their own safety in the face of the crisis, lost much faith in the imperialists’ security assurance. The distrust between them will escalate uncontrollably at a moment of crisis that will inevitably come in the near future. On the other hand, the defeat of imperialism is a significant awakening for the colonial working people who groan super-exploitation and super-suppression of imperialism.
Watershed: The general trend has been leaned against imperialists
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries, the imperialist camp enjoyed unprecedented prosperity.As countries that had previously deviated from capitalism returned, imperialist expanded their super-profit extracting areas. The imperialist Command, NATO, has established submissive governments one after another in the Eastern Europe. But spring days didn’t last long. Things have changed a lot these days. For the past decade, pro-imperialist regime change operations, which are political infrastructure-building for imperialism to exploit super-profit, has suffered.
Despite nearly 20years of U.S. occupation, Iraq’s puppet regime remains unstable. In 2011, a civil war broke out by bribed reactionary local agents in Libya toppled down the left-wing nationalist regime of Gaddafi, under the aid of NATO bombing campaigns. However, the chaos has yet to be resolved. The situation is more difficult in Syria, where the operation was conducted by the same method. It has failed to bring down Assad, the target of regime change, and is on the brink of defeat due to involvements of Russia and Iran. Venezuela, the world’s largest oil reserves, has not been obedient since Chavez. Imperialist shook the country by the economic blockade and again staged a pro-U.S. coup in 2019, but it remained steadfast. After decades of threatening invasion, North Korea succeeded in the development of nuclear weapons. It is a big problem for imperialism if other targets learn to follow it. The U.S. threatened to start a war in 2017 to put down the nuclear weapon. In 2018, it tried to show a peace treaty as bait. However, there is no significant result. Iran has been a thorn in the side for U.S. imperialism since 1979. They assassinated Iran’s top military commander in January 2020 and threatened Iran by mobilizing all strategic assets such as aircraft carriers, but it is not flowing smoothly. Anez, who staged a pro-U.S. coup in Bolivia 2019, was imprisoned in March of this year.
Under these circumstances, the defeat of the U.S. means that after the spring days of imperialism, a phase characterized by the ‘general current of advantage for the global working class on the one hand and general disadvantages for imperialism on the other hand’ has begun. In the future, the collapse of imperialism and capitalism will proceed faster. The super-exploitation of imperialism will face more fierce resistance from all over the world. For imperialists to achieve something, it will take a lot more manpower and resources than before. Still, there will be more and more obstacles. The internal divisions of the ruling class will occur more blatantly. The colonial puppet regimes will be shaken even more.
Reactionary nature of Taliban
But the Taliban, who won the war, are anti-working people, anti-women and anti-communist political forces. They are rooted in rebels trained by the U.S. to disrupt the Soviet supports to Democratic Republic of Afghanistan which was found by People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) in 1978. These warlords bribed by dollar stood on the side of imperialism, demolished the social progress and committed fratricidal bloodsheds. It is an treacherous and corrupt force. It is similar to Ukraine’s Euromaidan and the Middle East’s IS forces.
In the 1970s and 80s, the Afghan people experienced significant reforms, especially in urban areas. In particular, it was unprecedented in terms of women’s liberation. However, in 1992, the victory of U.S.-backed Mujahedin brought all of the measures to naught. The woman was put back under feudal control.
More reactionary and barbaric imperialism
For this very reason, the majority of Afghans do not support the Taliban. Even in the early days of the U.S. military invasion, there was an atmosphere of welcoming the U.S. troops who drove out the Taliban. But the situation soon turned over. It was due to the Imperialist Army’s personal insult to the Afghan people and barbaric violence. They didn’t regard the Afghan people as human. They were stomped to death like an ant. Like American Natives, black slaves and Palestinian Arabs, the life of the Afghan people were devastated.
Torture and massacre of noncombatant civilians, including women and children, were common in imperialist military garrison. Not only adult women but also male and female children were raped(Jacobin). Still, nasty and hypocritical imperialist media and intellectuals call for the human rights of Afghan women and children.
Anti-Imperialist Resistance and Taliban
This is why the people of Afghanistan have come to resist against imperialism. They threw their lives against the imperialist destruction and despise of their way of life. They started to fight like bagging theirs head agaist a wall.
The Taliban was a reactionary alternative because progressive alternatives such as the Communist Party did not play a role. The Soviet Union has a significant share of reforms in Afghanistan. However, it has disturbed local communists considerably by forcing a Popular Front with non-existent ‘progressive capitalists’. Then they withdrew in 1989 and collapsed in 1991. The betrayal of the Chinese Communist Party against global working class was far more serious. China, which has been mired in conflict with the Soviet Union since 1960, has become a effective ally of the United States in its anti-Soviet policies. Along with the United States, they supported the Mujahedin rebels in Afghanistan. Under these circumstances, when the PDPA regime collapsed in 1992, the remaining communists were totally destroyed.
People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan(PDPA) regime in 1978
Afghanistan was an agriculture-centered, feudal, tribal, and decentralized society where the majority of its population lived in rural areas. In 1978, out of 17 million people, only 35,000 workers worked in factories, while 250,000 parasitic mullah class were in society. Landlords and tribal khans controlled 42% of the arable land. Life expectancy was 40 years, infant mortality was 25 percent, and half of children died before age five(WV No 776).
Under these circumstances, the monarchy and pro-imperialist regimes, which were patronized by British and American imperialism, did not care about the miserable lives of the Afghan people. Then, the ancien regime was overthrown by 1973 and 1978 coup. The PDPA, which had the program of modern reforms, seized power after the latter coup.
In colonies where the working class has not grown enough, intellectuals and officers often play a major role as social elites. They sometimes lead social progress through anti-imperialist and anti-feudal coups. The 1952 coup of Nasser, Egypt, and the 1969 coup of Gaddafi, Libya. The same is true of the 1992 coup attempt of Chavez, Venezuela. These anti-imperialist and anti-feudal regimes faced backlash from imperialism and the reactionary feudal forces.
U.S. imperialist’s “secret operation” and Soviet involvement
With the establishment of a pro-communist PDPA regime in Afghanistan, the CIA conspired a secret operation called the “Cyclone,” and the Jimmy Carter administration immediately approved it. $500 million was allocated to the operation, of which $70 million was spent bribing feudal religious groups which opposed to the PDPA regime’s anti-feudal measures(Counter Punch 2021/08/25).
The PDPA regime, which suffered from a devastating attack by the Mujahedin rebels, which received massive financial and military aids from the U.S., has asked the Soviet Union for military assistance. In December 1979, six months after the launch of the secret operation, the Soviet Union stepped into the deadly civil war.
Women’s liberation under PDPA-Soviet rule and Taliban
Unprecedented measures of progress were implemented in Afghanistan during the PDPA regime, from 1978 to its fall in 1992. Farming debts tormenting poor farmers were forgiven, the land was confiscated and distributed to farmers. Measures related to women’s liberation, a key indicator of social progress, were particularly outstanding.
Before the PDPA regime, women were unable to determine their own fate. Women were possessed like objects under feudal coercion. Education and social activities were prohibited. The wedding was decided by the patriarchy and the bride was sold for money. However, under the PDPA regime, women’s education became mandatory and women’s literacy programs took place across the country. Hundreds of schools were built for the program. The results were vivid. By the end of the 1980s, half of college students, 40% doctors, 70% teachers and 30% civil servants were women(Counter Punch 2021/08/25).
Mujahedin, led by feudal landowners, are groups that oppose the reforms of PDPA regime. These reactionaries felt threatened primarily by women’s liberation. This was because it was a symbolic event in which their long-held control was destroyed. These feudal groups, which viewed women’s liberation as ‘a shame of life,’ were organized under the command of CIA. They started their own business by expelling and killing PDPA female educators from their villages in areas beyond the reach of the central government.
After the collapse of the PDPA regime in 1992, civil war broke out between corrupt sects of the Mujahideen, and in 1996 the Taliban took control of the capital, Kabul. The liberation of Afghanistan disappeared like a spring dream. The feudal and barbaric recoil of the past has revived. Women were kicked out of school and society and were locked back in the house and imprisoned in burka.
Hypocritical sympathizers of imperialism
However, when U.S. imperialism was defeated in 2021 and withdrew, the imperialist media and intellectuals suddenly make a fuss with anxiety. They say about the tragedy of women in Afghanistan. They have well endured without much worry over the past two decades, when 240,000 Afghans have died and 3.5 million lost their home.
In fact, most of them opposed the PDPA regime and the Soviet Union during 1978~1992, when women’s liberation was realized at the highest level in Afghan history. Instead, they were on the side of Mujahedin, who severely oppressed women.
The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan(RAWA), founded in 1977, is one of them. On the surface, they said to fight for the rights of Afghan women, but supported the return of the overthrown monarchy in 1973. The PDPA regime was opposed from the beginning, and when Soviet forces intervened, the group joined the U.S. imperialist side and campaigned against Soviet forces. RAWA founder Mina Keshwar Kamal appealed to fight with Mujahedin to drive out the enemy of the Soviet Union(WV No 776).
U.S. invasion in 2001 and the Taliban as ‘anti-imperialist’ force
After a hunting is over, a hound is no use. While dealing with the PDPA government and Soviet troops, the Taliban were useful tools. But after those two disappeared, the Taliban became a nuisance. Afghanistan is a resource repository in itself, located between Russia and China and Iran, and is of great geopolitical importance to the United States. The Soviet Union, a powerful opponent, collapsed. The communist ghost seemed to have been eradicated, and there was no need to look around when using a fist. Thus, the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001.
Then things changed. The Taliban became a rally point for the Afghan people’s ‘anti-imperialist’ resistance. As previously discussed, it is not uncommon in history for reactionaries to be driven into anti-imperialist struggles if there isn’t other alternatives, such as communism. Anti-imperialism is not their choice, but their compulsion forced by imperialism. This is why an Islamic government was established in Iran during 1979~1983, and why Islamic political forces still have constant support in Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, and Palestine.
However, the situation changed again due to the defeat of the U.S. in 2021. Due to the defeat of imperialist forces, the Taliban’s temporary progressiveness was expired. It is now its destiny to expose its reactionary nature to the working people and be subject to overthrow. Like Kerensky of Russia and Chiang Kai-shek of China.
The Provisional Government of Kerensky was a reactionary regime that destructed the Bolsheviks in July 1917. But in late August, Kornilov staged a coup with British and French support. Kerensky then became a temporary a seawall against more reactionary force. The Bolsheviks temporarily formed a military alliance with Kerensky to defeat the Kornilov coup. Then in October, Kerensky was soon after overthrown.
In 1927, Chiang Kai-shek staged a coup in Shanghai, killing tens of thousands of Chinese communists. The Chinese Communist Party had to flee to remote area to save its life after being chased by Chiang Kai-shek’s forces. However, the situation changed in 1937 when Japan invaded mainland China. The Chinese people, including capitalists, forced Chiang Kai-shek to launch an anti-Japanese struggle. It conducted a Second United Front with the Communist Party of China. In 1945, Japanese imperialism was defeated. Four years later, Chiang Kai-shek, who lost in 1949, fled to Taiwan.
Lenin and Trotsky’s teachings
Lenin and Trotsky described the nature of the imperialism versus colonial struggle and the duties of the working class through various works.
First, Lenin explains the socialist mission in this way.
“For example, if tomorrow, Morocco were to declare war on France, or India on Britain, or Persia or China on Russia, and so on, these would be ‘just’, and ‘defensive’ wars, irrespective of who would be the first to attack; any socialist would wish the oppressed, dependent and unequal states victory over the oppressor, slaveholding and predatory ‘Great’ Powers.” -V.I. Lenin, Socialism and War
Trotsky also explained how to fight the ‘triangular struggle’ between ‘imperialism ─ anti-imperialism & non-communist forces-working class’ in articles such as On Dictators and the Heights Of Oslo (1936), On the Sino-Japanese War(1937), and Anti-Imperialist Struggle Is Key to Liberation(1938).
Among them, On the Sino-Japanese War(1937) provides very specific guidance to be used in the showdown between ‘imperialism vs Afghanistan’s Taliban’ and ‘the Taliban vs. the working class.’
In that sense, it is necessary to read a bit longer. We sincerely hope that advanced working class will read the entire article and learn deeply.
“Japan’s struggle is imperialist and reactionary. China’s struggle is emancipatory and progressive.
But Chiang Kai-shek? We need have no illusions about Chiang Kai-shek, his party, or the whole ruling class of China, just as Marx and Engels had no illusions about the ruling classes of Ireland and Poland. Chiang Kai-shek is the executioner of the Chinese workers and peasants. But today he is forced, despite himself, to struggle against Japan for the remainder of the independence of China. Tomorrow he may again betray. It is possible. It is probable. It is even inevitable. But today he is struggling. Only cowards, scoundrels, or complete imbeciles can refuse to participate in that struggle.
“But can Chiang Kai-shek assure the victory? I do not believe so. It is he, however, who began the war and who today directs it. To be able to replace him it is necessary to gain decisive influence among the proletariat and in the army, and to do this it is necessary not to remain suspended in the air but to place oneself in the midst of the struggle. We must win influence and prestige in the military struggle against the foreign invasion and in the political struggle against the weaknesses, the deficiencies, and the internal betrayal. At a certain point, which we cannot fix in advance, this political opposition can and must be transformed into armed conflict, since the civil war, like war generally, is nothing more than the continuation of the political struggle. It is necessary, however, to know when and how to transform political opposition into armed insurrection.
“To participate actively and consciously in the war does not mean “to serve Chiang Kai-shek” but to serve the independence of a colonial country in spite of Chiang Kai-shek. And the words directed against the Kuomintang are the means of educating the masses for the overthrow of Chiang Kai-shek. In participating in the military struggle under the orders of Chiang Kai-shek, since unfortunately it is he who has the command in the war for independence—to prepare politically the overthrow of Chiang Kai-shek ... that is the only revolutionary policy.”
Task of Afghan and world working class
The Taliban must be overthrown immediately for the sake of the emancipation of working people in Afghanistan To do so, working class of Afghanistan and the world should unite around the program of Permanent Revolution, which view revolution from a global perspective, not from a one-state perspective. The united international political party and Afghanistan’s working class vanguard will raise the following demands, along with the ‘abolition of private ownership.’
─Down with the Taliban!
─Eliminate feudal vestiges!
─Confiscation and redistribution of land for poor peasants!
─Elimination of all oppression preventing women from society!
─Defend the right to self-determination of minorities!
─Establishment of a secular republic based on the Soviet power!
─Through solidarity with the Chinese working class, defend the deformed workers’ state from imperialist encroachment and the overthrow of pro-capitalist parasites undermining the revolution of 1949!
─Strengthen solidarities with the global anti-imperialist struggle!
September 6, 2021