Garland Nixon and Harpal Brar: India, Russia, China and anti-imperialism

‘The corporate media change narratives to suit the imperialists’ changing objectives, and they expect their audience not to have a memory of more than 24 hours.’

Following his discussion with Joti Brar, Garland Nixon invites Harpal Brar in to talk with him about Russia, India and China, dealing with such topics as the break-up of the Soviet Union, the Ukraine war, and India’s relations with Russia and China in the context of the growing anti-imperialist sentiment around the world.

Comrade Harpal Brar, founder of the Communists, begins by looking at the Communist party in Russia following the demise of the Soviet Union. Whilst the party was initially outlawed, it was quickly re-registered in 1993 and is today the second-largest party in Russia. Harpal comments that the party’s leader, Gennady Zyuganov, had actually won an election against the west-backed Boris Yeltsin in 1996, although this victory was stolen from the proletariat.

On the topic of the proxy war in Ukraine, Harpal begins by stating the well-established fact within the anti-imperialist movement that Nato’s aim in this conflict is the looting and breaking up of Russia in a manner even more extreme than that which occurred in the 1990s under the Yeltsin regime.

But the Russians have not toppled their government. Why would they when, despite harsh sanctions and an active war on their border involving hundreds of thousands of troops, Russian living standards have barely been affected and the economy continues to function well?

Europe’s leaders have convinced themselves that Russia’s economy is no larger than that of the Netherlands, says Harpal. Perhaps with some data wrangling and the misleading metric of GDP, this might appear to be the case. But under the cover of ‘GDP’, everything from gambling to prostitution is counted as a ‘contribution’ towards the economy; as ‘growth’. This is not a serious economic measure.

The real economy of a country is in its industrial base: the way in which it creates real goods and services for its people. This is why Russia is able to sustain itself and grow its economy even while manufacturing armaments 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The sanctions war has failed. (More on this in our article EU quietly rowing back on self-defeating sanctions against Russia.)

On relations between India and China, Garland asks about the border 1962 conflict over the McMahon line. Pointing out that this borderline had been unilaterally decided upon by Britain at a time when neither the Indians or the Chinese were in charge of their own affairs, Harpal maintains that the Chinese have always wanted to sit down and discuss the issue at the negotiating table.

Unfortunately, efforts to achieve a meaningful resolution have so far failed, principally because (encouraged by Britain and the USA) the issue is forever deployed by the opposition in India as an electoral ‘accusation’. Any party in government that considers negotiating with China is accused of ‘giving in’ to India’s enemy. This tactic is deployed over and over again in the perpetual election cycle of a constantly vacillating bourgeois democracy, so that no serious progress is ever made.

On relations between India and Russia, Harpal comments that, following India’s independence, the government of Jawaharlal Nehru wanted to establish an industrial base. Whilst the imperialists saw no benefit in letting another country improve its economy with the aim of reducing imports of goods as simple as metal cutlery, the Soviet Union had no such compunctions, and built factories in India.

This began a fruitful relationship with the former Soviet Union, a relationship that transferred over to Russia following the fall of the USSR.

Russia has, historically, been India’s largest armaments provider. Trade has remained stable even into the present conflict. India refused to condemn Russia’s special military operation at the United Nations. It seems that US imperialism’s hopes of dominating India are falling apart.

So too in South Africa, where the government has refused to arrest Russian president Vladimir Putin in the case that he visits the country, after the ‘International’ Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for ‘war crimes’.

This conversation was originally broadcast on Garland Nixon’s YouTube channel on 17 May 2023.