Garland Nixon and Joti Brar: capitalism, imperialism, the ‘left’ and the Platform

What motivates the drive to war? Why are workers in the west becoming so impoverished? How can we understand the times we live in?

Garland Nixon is a veteran progressive radio and television talk show host. Describing himself as an anti-imperialist, in this discussion Garland interviews vice-chair of the Communists Joti Brar on matters ranging from the World Anti-imperialist Platform, our attitudes towards Russia and China today, and the ultimate causes of the dire conditions being now faced by workers in the west.

Joti begins by introducing the reason for the formation of the World Anti-imperialist Platform – explaining that a proper analysis of what’s going on in Ukraine makes it clear that the Ukraine war is really a fight between the US-led Nato imperialist bloc and the camp of anti-imperialism.

This leads us to question why so many organisations of the ‘left’, especially in the imperialist countries, have declared a ‘plague on both your houses’ – declaring Russia to be a fledgling imperialist nation which is ‘just as bad’ as the aggressive imperialist alliance.

This confusion means we need to get back to basics. What does ‘imperialism’ actually mean?

To get an understanding of the scientific-socialist term imperialism, we need to turn to the epoch-defining works of VI Lenin. Rather than using the word as a term of abuse, to be carelessly thrown around and to brand nations without really looking into the matter, we have to investigate the concrete conditions of a nation’s economic life to see whether or not they fit the bill.

Russia, most assuredly, does not.

Garland Nixon’s incisive questioning from a progressive perspective gives Comrade Joti the opportunity, as a Marxist-Leninist, to explain her views on a great number of topics, creating a useful discussion and putting many key questions into the kind of all-important context that is so notably missing in even the most ‘in-depth’ of bourgeois corporate media.

The resulting conversation provides a useful introduction to and overview of the communist approach to all the burning questions of our times, including:

  • the fundamental contradictions of the capitalist economy, which lead to economic crisis and war;
  • the inherent weakness in the imperialist system, despite its seeming strength, and the existential threat that the system is currently facing with the latest and deepest-ever crisis;
  • the root causes of inflation, and of the huge surge in asset, land and stock prices;
  • the reasons for welfare gains made by workers in the heartlands of the rich imperialist nations in the post-WW2 period, and the root causes of the privatisation, unemployment and decay now affecting workers everywhere;
  • the reasons why the imperialists have found themselves banding together for survival in the postwar era, and why they target Russia and China specifically;
  • the impact of the Soviet Union and the socialist camp on the history of the last century;
  • the problem with so much of the self-identifying ‘left’ in the imperialist countries;
  • the formation of the World Anti-imperialist Platform and the aims it has set for itself;
  • how the question of immigration is used and abused by the imperialist ruling class to keep workers divided and blaming one another for their problems, and western trade unions’ complicity in this process;
  • why only socialism will enable us ultimately to escape the downward spiral of inequality, poverty, crisis and war

This conversation was originally broadcast on Garland Nixon’s YouTube channel on 26 April 2023.