In Britain, Imperialism, Venezuela
Joti Brar on imperialism and Communist parties

Joti Brar. Photo Credit: Scottish Worker

Published by the Orinoco Tribune, published on July 24, 2023.

Caracas (—During an interview with British communist Joti Brar, the European political leader expressed her frustration with the way the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) and the Greek Communist Party (KKE) have initiated an international campaign against the Bolivarian Revolution and against the anti-imperialist cause, after the recent rupture of relations and subsequent confrontation between the PCV and the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

On July 24, Jesús Rodriguez-Espinoza—the editor and founder of the Orinoco Tribune—interviewed the British communist cadre, who is an anti-imperialist and socialist leader of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist). Brar has been involved in the socialist movement since an early age, working as trade union organizer and as a writer on topics such as imperialism, socialism, and the working class. She also actively participates in the World Anti Imperialist Platform.

Inter-imperialist debate

Brar was first questioned about how some forces—especially in the Global North—hold the notion that the war in Ukraine is some sort of imperialist battle between Russia and Ukraine in a “neo-colonial” revival of the old Russian empire and also have created the idea of China as another imperial power. Brar clearly responded that capitalist forces have taken Marxist-Leninist terminology and “turned [them] against us,” including words like imperialism and colonialism.

“They use these terms which are Leninist, which are Marxist terms which have an emotional impact on socialists, right? And they use them to describe their actions. They talk about Russia as an aggressive imperialist power. So that immediately has an emotional impact on people who identify as socialists, right? “Oh gosh, I can’t be on the side of aggressive imperialists,” and then they say what they want to do, bless them, is to decolonize Russia … Don’t you understand? So the imperialists are very good at taking our terminology and using it against us. But of course, this only works if you’re a self identifying, emotional communist, and not an actual student of socialism. Because if you study Marxism, this won’t fool you … the root cause is opportunism.”

The Brirtish Marxist further spoke on the Ukrainian issue, regarding the idea that Vladimir Putin simply woke up one day and decided he was going to attack Ukraine because he’s an evil, aggressive monopolist and wants to loot the country, stating that such an idea “doesn’t make any sense.” In her opinion, this is one of the reasons behind the creation of the World Anti Imperialist Platform, “because clarity is really needed.”

On this same issue—specifically, regarding the component of political training—she highlighted the fact that many “Marxists” treat ideology as a “a reading list that they did once.” She emphasized that only a methodical and recurrent reading of the Marxist-Leninist classics is capable not only of countering bourgeois propaganda that every person has to withstand on a daily basis, but to bring back one’s convictions and sharpen perspectives on relevant issues.

In response to a question about the responsibility of Trotskyists and Anarchists on the deviations from the real Marxist-Leninist ideology, Brar said that Trotskyism is “a modern movement created and funded by the state machinery of the west. It’s a petty bourgeois ideology, but it’s been heavily promoted, created, funded in order to catch revolutionary young people, particularly students—who would otherwise be a reserve of the revolution—to keep them busy for a while and then spit them out.”

Brar added that they are “catching people who sincerely want to do something about the injustice they see in the world,” when asked about how to bring those participating in good faith in these deviations to the Marxist-Leninist side. “So those people are really our people, they’re people who should be with us. But they’ve been caught by this machinery and that’s a shame for them … you’ve got to recognize that their ideology itself is absolutely incompatible with socialism.

“It’s a pro imperialist ideology, essentially, that the organizations, many of them, are led and funded by the state. They’re not going to be pulled into anything useful, but many of their people are sincere people, who are just misinformed and miseducated by this machinery. So is there hope for catching some of these people, changing their minds, pulling them back? Of course; if there wasn’t, if you can’t change people’s minds, you can’t make a revolution.”

“The good left and the bad left”

Referring to the stigmatized so-called “bad Latin American left” and the “good” one portrayed by Chile’s Boric, the British communist without blinking stated that “we’ve seen how Chile is earning its good boy points,” regarding “the latest statements from Boric about how Russia is an imperialist aggressor in Ukraine,” adding that “[the west is] demanding this submission before their holy crusade,” and that “those countries refusing to bow down are the countries which are independent, the countries which run their own foreign policy and make their own decisions and try to run their countries in the interests of their own people, and not in the interests of US or British or French banks. And because they do that, they are vilified.”

Brar also spoke about her visits to Venezuela, remembering her travels to the country in 2019—at the peak of US and European aggression—and also most recently in 2023. She noted that during the most recent trip, she could “feel that despite the difficulty, there was a change in the atmosphere, there was hope in the air that says, we have weathered everything they’ve thrown at us, and we’re still here. And not only are we still here, but the world is changing and the cavalry is coming, and we are going to have the ability to build our economy the way we’ve been promising ourselves we will,” a change that is not there yet but that is in the making.

“They try to isolate countries and then they tell us, oh, it’s isolated, as if it made the choice,” Brar stated, on the imperialist narrative regarding truly independent countries that are not bending to US and European hegemonic pressure. “We’ve been hearing it about North Korea for decades, haven’t we? ‘Oh, it’s hermetic hermetically sealed.’ And you’re like, you’re trying to seal it! I don’t think that’s the Korean’s choice.”


For the second part of the interview, Brar became the interviewer, and questioned Jesús Rodriguez-Espinoza about the PCV’s recent allegations against the Venezuelan government, as well as its move asking international communist movements to join them in signing statements “condemning the Venezuelan government right at the moment when imperialism is attacking.”

“No matter what the content of your dispute is, this is not the behavior of an anti-imperialist,” Brar commented. “So I don’t even know about the details of the allegations that they make, but the way that they’re making them is extremely worrying to me.”

In his response, the editor of the Orinoco Tribune’s emphasized the fact that the whole confrontation is the result of the leadership of the PCV being co-opted by Troskyist tendencies, that most recently has taken the form of accusing President Maduro of being neoliberal. According to Rodriguez-Espinoza, such a position is a big mistake, because Chavismo has been always very committed to the people, to the working people, to the working class, and not to the corporations and the private sector and big capital.

Rodriguez-Espinoza added that since 2018, Maduro’s administration—forced by the illegal US enforced blockade and the resulting economic crisis—has made some decisions that some people might term neoliberal without context, but, in reality, the decisions are strategic retreats in order to face the crisis; “a crisis never seen in Venezuelan history.”

Adding to this point, Brar linked the PCV behavior to that shown by the Greek Communist Party (KKE), which has in recent years been serving as ringleader of the aforementioned theory of an “inter-imperialist” war, regarding the NATO war against Russia in Ukraine. She worried about the damage these organizations are doing to the communist movement, noting that it feels like a tragedy because many might think that these organizations with allegedly strong cadre formation are going to be the “steel at the heart” of anti-imperialism, but are instead acting in the opposite direction.

The British communist leader added that she found the number of Communist Parties around the world who have rushed to sign every statement that the PCV asks them to sign both shocking and irresponsible. Rodriguez-Espinoza meanwhile commented that besides his criticism against the PCV’s actions, he doesn’t support movements to judicialize the PCV, condemning moves of the PCV leadership that have revealed their alignment with far-right organizations both inside and outside Venezuela.

Joti Brar was recently interviewed by Alexander McKay from Red Star Radio during the most recent meeting of the World Anti-Imperialist Platform, held last March in Caracas, Venezuela. As a part of the interview, she described in detail the inspiring experience she had during her recent visit to the home of Chavismo.


EDITOR’S NOTE: We remind our readers that publication of articles on our site does not mean that we agree with what is written. Our policy is to publish anything which we consider of interest, so as to assist our readers in forming their opinions. Sometimes we even publish articles with which we totally disagree, since we believe it is important for our readers to be informed on as wide a spectrum of views as possible.

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