Archive | January 8th, 2013

DPRK’s satellite launch stuns imperialists

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem Sr
www.lalkar.org

The year 2012 ended on a high note for the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), when this small socialist nation, which is subject to crippling embargoes by US imperialism and other reactionary forces, became the tenth nation to succeed in independently launching a space satellite. Just the previous month, capitalist south Korea, held up as a supposed miracle of development by the bourgeoisie worldwide, had to suspend its own third attempt at a satellite launch.

In a 12 December dispatch, the Korean Central News agency (KCNA) reported:

“Scientists and technicians of the DPRK successfully launched the second version of satellite Kwangmyongsong-3 into its orbit by carrier rocket Unha-3, true to the last instructions of leader Kim Jong Il…

“The successful launch of the satellite is a proud fruition of the Workers’ Party of Korea’s policy of attaching importance to science and technology. It is also a great event in developing the country’s science, technology and economy by fully exercising the independent right to use space for peaceful purposes.” (‘KCNA Releases Report on Satellite Launch’)

The imperialist powers and their compliant monopolist media, which like to oscillate between sneering at the DPRK for its supposed backwardness and poverty whilst simultaneously presenting it as a dire and existential threat, were taken aback by the success of the launch, which they were forced to reluctantly concede.

The New York Times quoted Riki Ellison of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, a Washington DC-based group of hawkish cold warriors, describing the satellite launch as a “fundamental breakthrough” and a “resounding achievement”. Ellison’s apparently out of character praise for Pyongyang naturally served the malign intention of seeking to ratchet up imperialist hostility, as he went on to note that the remaining steps that the DPRK would need to take to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) were “much easier” than the satellite launch.

The newspaper further quoted Harvard astronomer Jonathan McDowell, who tracks global rocket launchings and space activity, who said the satellite “ was orbiting a little higher than the International Space Station, reaching about 360 miles. He called the orbit’s accuracy ‘pretty good’ for a first launching .” (‘After rocket launching, a call for new sanctions’, 12 December 2012)

The Financial Times put matters more pointedly, if grudgingly and churlishly:

“US President Barack Obama delivered a withering put-down on North Korea’s long-range rocket ambitions after a failed launch in April, saying that its engineers ‘don’t seem real good’ at ballistic missile technology.

“Following Pyongyang’s apparently successful satellite launch on Wednesday, the US president can no longer dismiss its rocket programme quite so easily.

“By seemingly putting a satellite into space before South Korea, its much richer and more developed neighbour, Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s 29-year-old ruler, has scored a big domestic propaganda coup to round off his first year in office.” (‘N Korea pulls off coup with rocket launch’ 12 December 2012)

Using the words “apparently” and “seemingly” to refer to a universally acknowledged fact fails to detract from the appropriately withering jibe at Obama’s imperial hubris.

Stung by this fresh evidence of what even a small, beleaguered nation can achieve when it adheres to the road of a socialist planned economy, the United States, Japan, south Korea, Britain and other reactionary powers immediately began a campaign to impose further sanctions on the DPRK, preferably using the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as their instrument.

Britain’s ambassador to the UN, Mark Lyall Grant, told Reuters: “In our view [the security council] should react, it should react quickly, and it should react strongly to this provocation.”

Mr Lyall Grant’s wish was not granted. After closed consultations on 12 December, the Security Council confined itself to a brief statement, claiming that the DPRK’s actions violated its resolutions passed in 2006 and 2009, after the DPRK had successfully conducted nuclear tests, which seek to impose a ban on the DPRK conducting “any launch using ballistic missile technology”.

Members of the Security Council will continue consultation on an appropriate response given the urgency of the matter,” the UNSC statement continued. Yet evidently, some members of the UNSC, notably China, do not share the imperialists’ view of the supposed urgency of the matter, as there has been no follow up by that body with the passage of weeks up to the time that we went to press.

Whilst expressing what he termed “regret” at the DPRK’s satellite launch, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei declined to criticise it directly, instead noting that “the DPRK is entitled to the peaceful use of outer space”. According to a Xinhua report:

“Hong said the DPRK’s satellite launch has highlighted the significance and urgency of resuming the six-party talks, which are aimed at realising the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

“‘We hope all sides concerned will make concerted efforts to resume and advance the six-party talks process,’ he added.

“In response to a question on possible sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, Hong said the Chinese side holds that the Security Council’s response should be ‘prudent and moderate’ and conducive to maintaining the overall peace and stability of the peninsula instead of escalating tensions there.” (‘China maintains contact with relevant parties on DPRK satellite launch: FM’, 13 December 2012)

It should be noted that, for a considerable time now, it has been the United States, Japan and south Korea that have refused to resume the six-party talks, despite repeated calls by China, Russia and the DPRK.

In this situation, the United States’ strategy is to attempt to bully and pressure China into agreeing to further sanctions against its Korean socialist ally, against both its national interests and better judgement, by threatening an alternative unilateral response by the United States that would directly target China under the pretext of targeting the DPRK.

The New York Times clearly set out this gangster logic:

“The United States and its Asian allies began an effort on Wednesday to impose additional sanctions on North Korea after its largely (whatever that means – Ed.) successful rocket launching, but this time Washington added a warning to China: Failure to rein in Kim Jong Un, the North’s new leader, will result in an even greater American military presence in the Pacific…

The essence of the American strategy, as described Wednesday by administration officials, was to force the Chinese into an uncomfortable choice.

“‘ The kinds of things we would do to enhance the region’s security against a North Korean nuclear missile capability,’ one senior administration official said in an interview, ‘are indistinguishable from the things the Chinese would view as a containment strategy’ aimed at Beijing .

“ They would include increased patrols in waters the Chinese are trying to claim as part of their exclusive zone, along with military exercises with allies in the regi on. “‘It’s the right approach, but whether it works is another matter,’ said Christopher R. Hill, who was the chief negotiator with North Korea during President George W Bush’s second term, and is now dean of the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, on Wednesday . ‘The approach of thickening up the anti-missile effort is something that would get China’s attention.’”

There is, however, a fatal flaw in this US strategy, which the New York Times itself refers to, albeit without elaboration, but rather almost in passing:

“Many of those efforts are planned anyway as part of President Obama’s ‘rebalancing’ strategy to ensure a continued American presence in Asia. The president has repeatedly said he has neither the desire nor the ability to contain China’s rise (the reference to ability is more pertinent than that to desire – Ed.), but the rebalancing is clearly intended to keep the Chinese from nudging the United States out of the region.

“Already, the Chinese believe that America’s anti-missile efforts from Alaska to the Pacific are designed to counter their own nuclear arsenal.” (New York Times, op cit)

In other words, the problem for the imperialist mafia here is that, by threatening to do something you are doing anyway in order to make your adversary act against their own interests would seem to be almost a textbook example of making an offer you can refuse.

Doubtless through gritted teeth, the Financial Times explained to its readers that sanctions, in any case, are of little use in preventing the DPRK from meeting its strategic objectives and that, far from opening up the DPRK to further crippling punishment, the satellite launch may in fact also serve to push the USA towards the negotiating table, which has long been the DPRK’s goal:

“ But existing sanctions – including an arms embargo and restrictions on financial transactions – have failed to halt North Korea’s advances in missile technology and they will do little to stop it developing functioning nuclear warheads, argues Andrei Lankov, a professor at Kookmin university in Seoul .

“‘Sanctions have never worked in dealing with North Korea and they never will,’ he says

“ Some analysts believe that the growing, if still distant, nuclear threat from North Korea may force the US to revive talks with Pyongyang, despite concerns about rewarding it for ‘bad behaviour ’.

“ Relations nosedived in April when North Korea launched a rocket less than two months after it agreed to suspend weapons development in return for US food aid .

“‘Negotiations do not necessarily mean concessions,’ says Choi Jin-wook at the [south]Korea Institute for National Unification. (In the case of the USA talking to the DPRK they do, but the south Korean gentleman is attempting to sweeten the pill before asking his master to swallow – Ed.) ‘The US can’t postpone negotiations any further.’” ( Financial Times, op cit)

It is precisely for such reasons that anti-imperialists around the world share in the success and pride of the Korean people. The Fars news agency reported Iran’s congratulations to the DPRK, with Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri noting: “Dominant powers, like the United States, cannot halt the progress of independent states, who through resistance can quickly tread the path of scientific and technological self-reliance.”

Although, for various reasons, few states will currently speak publicly in such forthright terms, Brigadier General Jazayeri’s words in fact reflect the widespread sentiment throughout the developing countries.

Speaking at a banquet, given in Pyongyang on 21 December to honour the scientists, technicians, workers and officials who contributed to the successful satellite launch, Comrade Kim Jong Un said:

Our country is strong and the revolutionary cause of the party is steadily making victorious progress as we have such genuine patriots as you

“The present era is the age of science and technology and the age of knowledge-based economy and national power is decided by the level of the development of science and technology. The position and prospect of the country and the nation hinge on it.

“ Our party pays deep attention to developing space science and technology, which constitute the acme of ultramodern science and technology, and regards the possession of satellites and carrier rockets as an important issue in building a great, prosperous and powerful nation… You should develop and launch a variety of more working satellites including communications satellite and carrier rockets of bigger capacity with the same spirit and stamina with which you successfully launched satellite Kwangmyongsong 3-2 

“No force on earth can block the advance of the powerful country unshakeable in ideology and strong thanks to science and technology and the great people united close around the party…

“Let us make redoubled efforts to bring earlier the day when we will fly the red flag of victory on the face of a thriving nation.”

The Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) sent a letter to Comrade Kim Jong Un, congratulating the Korean people on their successful satellite launch.

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Gang rape outrage in Delhi

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem Sr

www.lalkar.org

On 16 December the most egregious assault took place on a Delhi bus on a young female student who was on her way home from the cinema with a male friend. She was gang-raped by the six other male passengers, who apparently thought they had the right to ‘punish’ her for being out after dark with a man who was not her husband, and both she and her friend were attacked with iron bars which in her case were also used to cause severe damage to her internal organs, that later necessitated the surgical removal of 90% of her intestines. When she and her friend became unconscious they were thrown out of the moving bus on to the road. A week later, after a brave fight for her life, she died in hospital as a result of organ failure. She has now been dubbed ‘Braveheart’ and ‘Daughter of India’.

When the attack became known, the young people of Delhi, men as well as women (men in fact somewhat outnumbering women) came out on to the streets in their tens of thousands to protest against the failure of the Indian authorities to take steps to ensure the safety of women at all times. It turns out that Delhi is the rape capital of India, if not the world:

“ Official statistics reveal that Delhi is India’s ‘rape capital’ with 414 rapes in 2010 and more than 600 this year alone. Only one in three reported cases end in conviction but campaigners believe victims are so afraid of the police – many officers believe victims are to blame – that only one in 50 rapes are registered .” (‘Death of Delhi gang rape victim horrifies India’, Telegraph, 29 December 2012).

In India as a whole, rape and violence against women in general is a major problem: “National statistics show that in our country, a woman is raped every 20 minutes. Daily life for women is littered with abuse – unwelcome stares and leering, groping and harassment, lewd comments on the street; beatings, molestation and rape by male family members and threats for dowry in the home. Rising figures of female foeticide show that [large numbers of]girls are killed in the womb. Women who assert their independence and marry outside the caste or community are beheaded or hacked to death by their own families in ‘honour’ killings ” (Maya John, ‘Fight violence against women across the country!’, Centre for Struggling Women).

And rape is used not only to terrorise women and suppress their growing tendency towards independence, but also as a means of religious and caste oppression, with members of the majority religion, or of the higher caste, feeling that they have a god-given right to make “these people” (i.e., the oppressed) see that they must know and accept their lowly place in society. Given that the advance of capitalism is, as it does everywhere, breaking down the old feudal structures that assigned extremely subordinate positions to women, as well as to members of minority religions or low castes, life is seeing to it that those who were the most oppressed under feudalism no longer accept their subordination.

Engels explained in ‘Origin of the family, private property and the state’ that because capitalism had made it possible for women to earn money outside the home and thus made them less dependent on their husbands, a mortal blow had been struck at the domestic slavery that had been women’s lot for many centuries: “… now that large-scale industry has taken the wife out of the home onto the labour market and into the factory, and made her often the bread-winner of the family, the last remnants of male supremacy in the proletarian household are deprived of all foundation, except, perhaps, for a leftover piece of the brutality towards women that has become deep-rooted since the introduction of monogamy ” Engels (‘Origin of the family, private property and the state’). [Note that when Engels uses the word ‘monogamy’, he is talking about households where the wife is subordinated to the husband’s every whim, i.e. domestic slavery. It is domestic slavery he is condemning, not sexual exclusiveness].

It is because those who have traditionally been oppressed are no longer prepared to accept this, and no longer have to either, that they are deemed to be “ asking for” the furious and frequently violent retribution that is all too often meted out to them by those who are nostalgic for the old order.

“[In] September in Haryana… twenty cases of gang-rape were reported in a month and many of these were Dalit women raped by upper caste men. In 2006, Priyanka and Surekha Bhotmange, two Dalit women demanding rightful ownership over their land, were raped, stripped and beaten to death by a crowd of dominant caste men and women in Khairlanji, Maharashtra. During the Gujarat riots of 2002, many Muslim women [were] raped and murdered by Bajrang Dal and VHP activists. These women were all attacked not only because they were women but because they were Dalit and Muslim women. In the past month, two minor girls were raped in other cases in north and east Delhi on December 16th itself. A young woman in Siliguri was drugged, gang-raped, and then burnt, and a 5 year old Dalit girl was raped and killed in Bihar ” (Maya John, op.cit.).

Why was nothing being done?

The mass protests that have been taking place in Delhi and other centres of India ever since the dreadful facts came to light, while demanding severe and brutal punishment for the offenders, are also very much directed against the Indian government for not taking the steps needed, in the light of the widespread danger of rape that is constantly threatening India’s working women, to ensure their safety. Such was the anger of the demonstrators that when Delhi’s Chief Minister, a diminutive 74-year old woman called Sheila Dikshit, sought to address them, they would not allow her to speak at all. And certainly it is clear that the political will to take the necessary measures, that India could well afford, to protect its citizens has certainly been absent.

This lack of political will is to be explained by the fact that the various bourgeois political parties vying for control of the Indian government or the government of any of its component states cannot, if they want to get elected, afford to take a stand on any issue of principle because of the probability that this will offend people who might otherwise have voted for them. So they have no principles, preferring to rely on fielding charismatic candidates, or rich candidates with a large following of hangers-on, and on the straightforward purchase of votes. More importantly, no bourgeois government tends to put a very high premium on safeguarding the interests of those who are relatively less well off. A combination of all these factors has led to almost total inaction.

And when did the Indian government get galvanised to act? When tens of thousands descended into the streets to protest, when the government’s immediate response was to send in the police with batons and tear gas to try to terrorise the peaceful protesters – to no avail, we are glad to say. In the end the mass protests persuaded several of the more intelligent big shots of Indian bourgeois politics to condemn the barbarity of the rape and to make promises of reform of various kinds. The Indian government also arranged for the victim to be taken to the hospital in Singapore where she unfortunately died in spite of the best medical care that money could buy which the Indian government found itself compelled to proffer.

One can only hope that the shock and anger that the 16 December crime has engendered will imbue even the callous moneybags who control the Indian government with a desire to remedy a situation which has truly put them to shame in the eyes of the whole world.

The depressed state of women and the so-called low castes is eloquent testimony to the consequences of the failure to complete the anti-feudal democratic revolution, for the extreme oppression of women and the low castes in India is inextricably linked to the continued existence of semi-feudal relations and the absence of revolutionary land reforms, which alone could have destroyed feudalism root and branch throughout the Indian countryside.

Ultimately, though, we can be sure that it is only with the completion of the democratic revolution and passing over to socialism, when it is the working class which wields state power and wields it for the benefit of the members of its class, that there is a real incentive to ensure that the needs of ordinary working class women are properly catered for. Neither the Soviet Union nor China suffered a painful interregnum between the prevalence of the feudal oppression of women and the advent of women’s emancipation since the change was managed by the proletarian state and not by the state of the exploiting classes. In Europe it is true that the change was not marked by such aggravated violence as characterises India today, but as Engels explains in ‘Origin of the family’, there were historical factors at play in Europe that somewhat attenuated the worst effects of monogamy for women. However, as is clear from the reports (that came out at the same time as the dreadful news from Delhi) of an Italian priest warning women that they should not provoke their husbands to domestic violence by failing to keep their house tidy or by dressing provocatively, even in Europe there is a fair amount of domestic violence and general denigration and contempt towards women (as typified by so-called jokes at the expense of mothers-in-law and blondes) which still awaits the advent of socialism before it will be finally swept away.

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The US election: Wall Street wins once again

NOVANEWS

Posted By: Sammi Ibrahem Sr

www.lalkar.org

The US general election of 6 November 2012 has come and gone, with President Barack Obama re-elected to a second four-year term, the Republicans retaining control of the House of Representatives, and Democrats that of the Senate. Consequently, the gridlock that the US Congress experienced during the two years preceding the elections promises to continue.

Big business backs both parties

This election, involving an expenditure of $6bn, of which $2.6bn was accounted for by the presidential contest alone, was the most expensive ever in the history of the US – or any other country for that matter. Four-fifths of these vast sums came from US business, indicating the corrupting power of big business and its ability to manipulate the electoral process which goes by the name of ‘US democracy’. Finance, insurance and construction contributed to the campaign funds of the two parties the enormous sum of $350m, of which $150m was provided by Wall Street alone.

In addition to direct campaign contributions, the two parties – appositely referred to as the Republicrats in view of the fact that the contents of their policies on domestic and foreign questions are indistinguishable from each other, and that both of them govern in the interests of US imperialism – received hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of free advertising during their pre-election conventions and the much-hyped, if vacuous, presidential debates, all provided by the giant monopoly capitalist media outlets. The saturation coverage of these events was only matched by the lack of thought content and any meaningful policy proposal on the part of the presidential candidates, as well as scores of delegates at the respective conventions, all of whom seemed to take perverse delight in making the most vacuous and senseless speeches, which nevertheless managed to send their equally empty-headed audiences into fits of frenzy.

No policy differences

As to policy differences between the two parties, and between the presidential candidates, one could not put a cigarette paper between them. There was agreement on both sides, before as well as during the election, that the most important issue facing the US ruling class in the area of economic policy was to cut the budget deficit. Both were agreed that this should be achieved through the imposition of a draconian austerity programme on the overwhelming majority of the American people, so as to save the skin of US monopoly capitalism, while preserving its position of dominance in the overall system of imperialism – against rival imperialist powers, as well as rising non-imperialist countries, such as the People’s Republic of China, whose growing economic, military and diplomatic prowess represents a mortal danger to US hegemony. Such an austerity programme could only be implemented through a combination of tax rises, spending cuts, and intensified exploitation of the working class.

Already, in the aftermath of the mid-term 2010 Congressional election, which handed the majority in the House of Representatives to the Republicans, Obama galvanised the lame-duck Democratic-controlled Congress to put into effect the Republican campaign platform of retaining the Bush tax cuts for the rich – and this in complete violation of Obama’s campaign promise and the programme of the Democratic Party in literally every Congress race, as well as in clear disregard of the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the US electorate and population at large. This same deal also rewarded the rich with a much less onerous inheritance tax – exempting all but the 50 richest families in the US from paying any inheritance tax at all. As a sop to the poor, and to make the rest of the deal palatable, it also provided for a reduction of social security contributions for the next year “for everyone”.

Even before these 2010 mid-term elections, when the Democrats controlled the presidency as well as both houses of the Congress, Obama, by an Executive Order, had appointed an 18-strong bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Headed by Alan Simpson (a former Republican Senate leader) and Erskin Bowles (a Democrat and a board member of Morgan Stanley, whose wife graces the board of JP Morgan Chase), split equally between Democrats and Republicans, the Commission was loaded with representatives of monopoly capital, the main items on whose agenda comprised benefit cuts to the poor and middle America and privatising and robbing social security, Medicare and Medicaid.

In the summer of 2011, Obama and John Boemer, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, agreed a trillion dollar deal to raise taxes and cut benefits, but the Tea Party supporters scuppered the deal. The Tea Party antics so angered Paul Krugman, a supporter of Obama, that he expressed his ‘exasperation’ in the following terms in the New York Times: “ President Obama has made it clear that he’s willing to sign on to a deficit-reduction deal that consists overwhelmingly of spending cuts, and includes draconian cuts in key social programs, up to and including a rise in the age of Medicare eligibility. These are extraordinary concessions … The president has offered deals that are far to the right of what the average American voter prefers – in fact, if anything, they are a bit to the right of what the average Republican voter prefers ” (‘Getting to crazy’, 14 July, 2011).

The Tea Party is the product of the deepest economic crisis ever to afflict US imperialism. It arose out of the frustration and deep anger, particularly of several millions of middle class people, at the speedy and gigantic transfer of wealth by the political leadership of the Republican and Democratic parties from their hands into those of Wall Street and the giant corporations through hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money to bail out the very scoundrels who played their part in exacerbating the crisis of overproduction. But sadly the rage of the petty bourgeoisie was cleverly manipulated by the billionaires and their reactionary ideologues and turned into an elemental force demanding further drastic onslaughts on the working class – the poor, the destitute, the homeless or those threatened with homelessness. All the same, the Tea Party folk have proved to be rather awkward and less inclined to be overly obedient to the interests of Wall Street than the traditional Republicans and Democrats. In the summer of 2011, they frustrated Congressional action on the raising of the US government debt ceiling for long enough to cause a downgrading of the US credit rating for the first time in history – a real, if small, blow to US imperialism.

After the 2008 election, the incoming Obama administration followed in the footsteps of the outgoing Bush administration by doling out hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out the criminal Wall Street fraternity, while stubbornly refusing to bail out millions of ordinary people who have lost their homes and jobs and whose lives have been utterly ruined. The bail-out of the banks was followed by the rescue of the car industry.

As for the poor and middle class people in the US, the Obama administration’s record is bleak indeed. During Obama’s first term, real median household income declined every year, down to the level of 1999; the number of people living in poverty climbed from 39.9m at the time he assumed the presidency to 46.2m. During the same period, profits grew by 63%, and the stock market registered a rise of 73%, while receipts from abroad increased by 39%. His economic team included such enthusiastic supporters of bank deregulation as Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner.

Civil Liberties

On the civil liberties front, the following observation by a committed Republican, Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of Treasury during Reagan’s first term and an Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, in a September 2010 article, exposes eloquently the myth surrounding the allegedly liberal Mr Obama, and reveals the really close collaboration between the two parties of US finance capital as they drive US society in the direction of fascism: “ The Bush/Cheney/Obama National Security State has eviscerated the Constitution and civil liberty. Nothing remains. The fascist Republican Federalist Society has put enough federal judges in the judiciary to rule that the president is above the law. The president doesn’t have to obey the law against spying on American citizens without warrants. The president doesn’t have to obey U.S. and international laws against torture. The president doesn’t have to obey the Constitution that mandates that only Congress can declare war. The president can do whatever he wants as long as he justifies it as ‘national security.’ The president’s part of the government, the unaccountable executive branch, is supreme.” (‘The true cost of war’, vdare.com, 2 September 2010).

Roberts continues , “This is the legacy of the Bush/Cheney regime, and this criminal regime continues under Obama. America’s ‘war on terror,’ a fabrication, has resurrected the unaccountable dungeon of the Middle Ages … This is the true cost of ‘liberating’ Iraq, that is, of turning Iraq into an American puppet state that sells out its people for America’s interests.”

Whereas Bush refrained from launching a frontal legislative attack on habeas corpus, merely asserting that preventative detention was inherent to presidential powers during times of war, it was left to the disgraceful Mr Obama to effect legislation to be passed nullifying the domestic rule of law, without arousing serious Democratic opposition. Obama had promised to close down Guantánamo, but it is still open for its grisly business of torture.

Neither prior to, nor during, the election campaign did the Republican Party murmur a single word in opposition to, or in support of, the Obama administration’s policy on questions of civil liberties or internal repression. Obama’s administration deported twice the number of undocumented immigrants in less than 4 years than did Bush during his 8 years in office.

Foreign policy

As to foreign policy, both the parties support Israel to the hilt, with Obama and Romney vying with each other to be more Zionist than the Israeli Zionists. Obama has provided substantial military help to Israel, vetoed UN Security Council resolutions censuring Israel for its settlement policy and frustrated every attempt to secure UN recognition of Palestine as a member state of the UN.

It is a measure of the ‘democratic’ credentials of US imperialism that its two strongest allies in the Middle East are: first, the apartheid and brutal state of Israel, which exists through the continued expropriation of, and waging permanent war of extermination against, the Palestinian people, and, second, the brutal Saudi-led medieval autocracies. If Bush waged predatory wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama has transferred the bulk of US troops from Iraq (while leaving behind several tens of thousands of soldiers and mercenaries) to Afghanistan and extended the war to the Pakistani areas bordering Afghanistan, using drone warfare to kill thousands of innocent civilians. As compared to Bush’s 52 drone strikes, Obama has launched 300.

The ‘liberal’ Mr Obama has been as relentless in unleashing violence against the oppressed peoples as was the Bush administration. His government has used massive armed force to secure the brutal overthrow and murder of the Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. It is busy at the moment organising and financing, through its Gulf stooges, a similar outcome in Syria, with its sights firmly fixed on Iran as the next target for attack. With the shift of its pivot to Asia, the Obama administration is doing its best to encircle China, while at the same time secretly negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Deal with its allies and stooges, which all but excludes China from joining it.

Thus, when it came to choosing between Obama and Romney, the US electorate could opt either for a dull and openly reactionary Romney or a charismatic and intelligent reactionary with an undeserved reputation for being liberal. It was a choice between two protégés of Wall Street – equally committed to protecting the interests of US imperialism at the expense of the working class at home and the oppressed peoples abroad.

The US elections bring to mind the never-to-be forgotten observation of V I Lenin, made in his brilliant work, State and Revolution“Imperialism – the era of bank capital, the era of gigantic capitalist monopolies, the era of the development of monopoly capitalism into state-monopoly capitalism – has demonstrated with particular force an extraordinary strengthening of the ‘state machine’ and an unprecedented growth of its bureaucratic and military apparatus, in connection with the intensification of repressive measures against the proletariat both in the monarchical and in the freest, republican countries…. The forms of bourgeois states are extremely varied, but their essence is the same; all these states, whatever their form, in the final analysis are inevitably the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.”

No change of government, no change of personnel, has the least effect on the essence of this dictatorship of the monopoly capitalist class. Democrats and Republicans succeed each other in the White House and in the Congress – all serving the interests of monopoly capitalism, whose rule remains unchanged under the surface of this endless changing of the guard. Whichever party comes to office, Wall Street always wins and the American people are always on the losing side – until such time, that is, as they overthrow this gang of bloodsuckers and their political representatives in a proletarian revolution.

Republican strategy unravels

In the end, in spite of strong opposition to his re-election on the part of a significant section of the ruling class and older white voters, Obama won, largely because the Republican ‘Southern Strategy’ has come apart. This strategy was the product of the mid-1960s. Consequent upon the civil rights legislation and desegregation, white voters in the south deserted the Democratic Party. Prior to that, the Republican Party attracted miniscule white support in the south, but 90% of the black electorate backed the Republican Party as the party of Lincoln, who had been instrumental in the abolition of slavery. From the mid-1960s onwards, the scales were reversed, with black voters backing the Democrats, while the Republicans, appealing to underlying race prejudice, secured a strong electoral base among disenchanted white voters in the south.

It is this strategy which lies in ruins, owing to the demographic shift in the US. By 2010, the percentage of non-Hispanic whites had declined to 64% of the population. The Democrats managed to sew together a coalition of black and Latino people, women, youth and a section of the whites. In contrast, the Republicans came to rely overwhelmingly on white voters – who made up nearly 90% of their support. Even though only just over half of Obama’s support came from white voters, he was able to clinch the presidency with the help of other sections of the electorate. Romney depended on men, older Americans, whites (especially white evangelicals and Catholics) all of which fell short of delivering him the presidency. Population projections indicate that the share of Latinos in the US population will climb from 17% at present to 29% by 2050, while that of Asians will climb from 5% to 9% over the same period. At the same time, the share of the whites will come down to less than 50% by 2050. Obama’s campaign drew larger support precisely from those sections of the population whose numbers are set to grow in the coming decades.

The chasm dividing the two constituencies saw to it that the presidential campaign became a nasty affair, with resort to invective and barely-disguised racist exchanges and attempts by Republican-controlled states to restrict voting by poor and black people with obstacles being put in the way of voter registration.

By their opposition to abortion, misogynistic remarks concerning rape and characterising an advocate of easier access to contraception as a ‘slut’, the Republicans managed to strengthen support for Obama among women voters. By their racist attacks on Obama, Republicans further strengthened the resolve of black voters to vote for Obama. By their hostility to ‘illegal immigrants’ and their enthusiasm for the militarisation of the Mexican border, they likewise drove the Latinos to the Obama camp – not bad considering the Obama administration’s utter failure to back the reforms desired by these groups.

Obama’s victory provoked howls of rage in the Republican camp, which accused the Democrats of electoral fraud. There were petitions for states to secede from the Union, hand in hand with death threats against Obama. Finding the thought of a second term in the White House for Obama unbearable, some committed suicide. The word ‘nigger’ made frequent appearances in twitterspace – this is a country where the word is so offensive that it is usually referred to as the N word by the mainstream media. How this bitter divide, pushed wide open by the election, will unfold is difficult to foretell, other than to say that it will have a significant bearing on political developments in the US.

‘Fiscal cliff’

With the election over, and the end of the year approaching with each passing day, the principal issue haunting US imperialism is the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’. The continuing decline of US imperialism has been ameliorated by a steady accumulation of debt. However, this mounting debt cannot be accumulated forever. This has become clear to the US ruling circles, especially since the near meltdown of Wall Street in 2007-8. The reduction of the debt, therefore, has assumed an unprecedented urgency. The ‘fiscal cliff’ represents a package of tax increases and government expenditure cuts which will automatically kick in on 1 January 2013 unless Congress can come to an alternative agreement. While falling off the ‘fiscal cliff’ will effect a reduction of $600bn in the deficit, the consequence of this huge reduction is expected to push the US economy into another deep recession, with a resultant rise in the already steep rate of unemployment. “ Absent a deal, most economists agree, we will have another recession. Absent a deal, the sense that our republic is crashing will become a global problem”, so wrote Joe Klein in the 17 September 2012 issue of Timemagazine (‘Paralysis rules – the looming budget crisis raises a key question: can either candidate close on a deal?’).

US imperialism faces yet another damaging problem – the necessity to raise the debt ceiling, the Congress-sanctioned limit on the amount of money that the Federal government can borrow. Failure to lift this ceiling would prove far more catastrophic for the US economy than the plunge over the ‘fiscal cliff’, for a halt to Federal borrowing will result in even bigger and speedier cuts in Federal spending. Given the animosity between the two sides, it is difficult to foretell where they can reach a compromise on this question, as indeed on the fiscal cliff. One thing is certain, i.e., that the date when this ceiling must be raised is only weeks away. It is within the realm of possibility that the world may soon be treated to the spectacle of the ruling class refusing to compromise, thus driving US capitalism over the edge of the cliff into another deep economic crisis – with fearful consequences throughout the world.

Absence of a revolutionary movement

The real tragedy is that there is no truly working-class revolutionary movement in the US, which has the vision to struggle for the overthrow of US imperialism as a part and parcel of its struggle for emancipation. This for the following reason. At the end of the Second World War, US imperialism, which emerged as the strongest imperialist power, soon went on to establish its hegemony over the entire imperialist camp, as Britain was much weakened by the end of the war and all other imperialist powers lay prostrate. In the following 60 years of untrammelled hegemony, the US was able to extract superprofits from the rest of the world – a state of affairs which put the stamp of parasitism on the entire US society, including the working class, while a large parasitic middle class grew and became embedded in US society.

Parallel with this economic development, the very organisations established to defend the interests of the proletariat, militant CIO labour unions, were by and large co-opted by Wall Street. The Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA), an influential body in the international communist movement following the Second World War, pursued the Browderite revisionist line that an alliance between US imperialism, on the one hand, and the workers, oppressed peoples and the newly-emerged socialist camp, on the other hand, could be just as productive for the long run, as had been the temporary alliance of the Soviet Union and the anti-fascist forces with US imperialism in the course of the glorious Soviet-led victory over fascism. Such a line could not but have a devastating influence on the working class organisations, for it facilitated their co-option by US imperialism. Not surprisingly, then, the leading lights of the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labour & Congress of Industrial Organisations) and other unions have since then been the loyal servants of the Democratic Party and, through the latter, loyal servants of US imperialism. Until this treacherous leadership is removed, the working-class movement in the US will make no significant progress.

For more than five decades, the CPUSA has consistently championed the Democratic Party in every presidential race. And, although the CPUSA is a very much weaker and marginalised organisation these days, it continues to exercise a significant influence in reformist trade unions and other reform groups. And a meaningful alternative to this revisionist party has yet to emerge. In the meantime, the CPUSA continues to propagate support for the Democratic Party as the lesser of two evils. Like revisionists everywhere, the CPUSA separates imperialist policies from imperialist economies to be able to exaggerate the role of the ‘far right’ and to underestimate the inevitable imperialist drive to war and fascism, to violence, domination and reaction all along the line, both in the domestic and external sphere, under the leadership of the Republicans and Democrats alike.

Way forward

After the bitter experience of the 4 years of the Obama presidency – years of repression at home and predatory wars abroad – the international working class and the oppressed peoples beyond the frontiers of the US have by and large rid themselves of the petty-bourgeois illusions about the ‘black’ president and the myth of US democracy. It is only to be hoped that the working class of the US, in particular the African-American and Latino sections of the population, will likewise rid themselves of their petty-bourgeois illusions in ‘US democracy’ and the aura that surrounds the persona of the first black US president.

The only way out is that the international proletariat and the oppressed peoples of the world wage a resolute and ruthless struggle against imperialism, headed by US imperialism, for national liberation, socialism and communism.

In this regard, one can do far worse than listen to the sane advice of Larry Hamm, an outstanding Afro-American community leader and head of New Jersey’s much-respected People’s Organisation for Progress (POP). Speaking to an overwhelmingly Afro-American banquet gathering in North Carolina in the spring of 2012, as the POP was in the thick of its eventually successful 381 straight days of street protests, Hamm took the following approach to the then-impending presidential election:

“ I know y’all and I know what you’re going to do on election day. And I may vote for him, too. But we need to face the fact that we’ve allowed Obama to cause much more damage to us than we ever would have let Bush do. What I’m concerned about is not what you do on Election Day. The most important day of the 2012 Presidential election season will be the day after the election. We’ll need to be out there fighting for decent jobs and homes, quality health care for all, saving our unions, a clean environment, ending the Wall Street wars at home and abroad, bringing the war dollars home, protecting and improving Social Security and Medicare, democratic rights including Afro-American and immigrant rights and developing a more vigorous fight for workers power .”

Let the working class in the US and elsewhere, let the oppressed peoples of the world, take their cue from these words of Larry Hamm and intensify with renewed vigour the struggle against US imperialism – against exploitation of one human being by another and one nation by another.

Posted in USAComments Off on The US election: Wall Street wins once again

The crisis of capitalism and the future of socialism

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem Sr

www.lalkar.org

Harpal Brar, Chairman of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) (CPGB-ML) was invited by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) to a two-day conference in Beijing. Entitled ‘The crisis of capitalism and the future of socialism’, the conference was organised by the World Socialism Center of CASS and the Centre for Contemporary World Studies of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CCCPC) and was held on 29-30 November 2012.

In addition to the 19 foreign delegates – from Cuba, the US, Britain, Germany, Vietnam, Russia, Nepal and France, nearly a hundred Chinese Marxist academics and communists participated in the deliberations of this very important conference. To give the reader an idea of the significance attached to this conference by the organisers, we shall name here a few of the highly-placed academics and communists who made presentations to this 3rd World Socialism Forum: Prof Hou Huiqin, former deputy director of the Central Policy research of the CPC; Prof Hu Hao, Deputy Director, the research centre of The Contemporary World International Department, CCCPC; Prof Jian Shunxian, International Department of the CCPC; Li Lian, Secretary-General of the former CPC Advisory, whose presentation went under the title ‘The myth of eternal capitalism’; Prof Song Mengrong, Lioning Provincial School of the CPC; Zhang Quanjing, former minister of Organisation Department of the CCCPC, who presented the paper entitled ‘Essence of imperialism will never change’; Prof Zhao Yao, International Institute for Strategic Studies of the Central Party School CCCPC, whose paper dealt with ‘The Tremendous and Profound Changes in the World Situation after the Financial Crisis’; Zheng Kayang, former minister of Policy Research Ministry of the CCCPC, who dealt with ‘The Changing Current Economic and Political Situation’; Zhao Keming, General, former Political Commissar of the National Defence University, the theme of whose presentation was ‘Adhere to the path of common prosperity’; Prof Cheng Enfu, President of the Academy of Marxism, CASS; Prof Li Shenming, Vice-President of CASS, director of Research Centre of International Socialism, CASS; Zhao Jidong, Chief Editor,Xinhuanet, of the Xinhua News Agency, and Wang Wen, from the editorial board of Global Times. The last two also made presentations at this conference.

Xia Weidong, Wang Liqiang, Wu Enyan and Fan Jianxiu – all from the Research Center of International Socialism of CASS – moderated the first four sessions, while the concluding session was moderated by Prof Hu Hao, deputy director of the Research Center of the Contemporary World of the International Department of CCCPC.

It was an exceptionally informative conference, with contributions by exceptionally erudite and intellectually gifted Chinese communists and academics of the highest calibre. We strongly recommend that those of our readers who are interested in learning about the details of the presentations at this conference visit the CASS website.

Presentation to Conference by Harpal Brar

Harpal Brar submitted a lengthy presentation which will shortly be available in print form, as well as on our website. Meanwhile, we indicate immediately below some of the points he made during his contribution.

The crisis facing the capitalist world is the worst crisis of overproduction ever faced by capitalism. The workers are in want of the means of subsistence because they have produced too much of the means of subsistence. The present crisis, he said, had shaken faith in the market. Jack Welch, former chief executive of General Electric was compelled to denounce the shareholder value movement as the dumbest idea, whereas Lawrence Summers, until recently the head of Obama’s Economic Policy Team, was obliged to observe that the idea of the market being inherently self-stabilising had been dealt a fatal blow. State intervention was back in favour, even if presently this is appearing in the form of socialism for the super-rich through gigantic bail-out funds for the rescue of the pillars of finance capital and giant monopoly corporations.

Although the crisis made its appearance in the financial sphere, at bottom it is a crisis of overproduction. As Marx explained long ago, the fever of speculation is only a measure of the shortage of outlets for productive investment: the depressed state of industry is reflected by an expansion of speculative loans and speculative driving up of share prices.

The latest crisis is only a continuation of the crisis which began in the far east in the middle of 1997 and then spread to Russia by August 1998, with world markets taking a pasting. The march of the crisis was temporarily halted through a co-ordinated orgy of cuts in interest rates by the principal imperialist powers. However, the wheels began to come off with the bursting of the dotcom bubble by the end of 2000.

Then followed 3 years of destruction of the productive forces and products alike, after which the world capitalist economy began its temporary climb out of recession, for the reason that, while business investment collapsed and equities plunged, the robber barons of finance capital shifted to the property sector, thus engineering a housing market bubble. The inevitable crash in the property market, which arrived in the summer of 2007, while burying house owners and other investors in real estate under a mountain of debt, left many a financial institution badly burnt, bringing the imperialist financial edifice to a near-meltdown, accompanied by a decline in world output and trade.

The continuing impoverishment of the masses, notwithstanding the real estate bubble, undermined consumer spending and economic growth, thus bringing to a grinding halt the short-lived recovery and precipitating yet another recession, only one that was far more horrendous, for the “ …last cause of real crises always remains the poverty and restricted consumption of the masses as compared to the tendency of capitalist production todevelop the productive forces as if the absolute power of consumption of the entire society would be their limit” (Karl Marx, Capital Vol III, p.484).

Consequent upon this crisis, misery and unemployment have spread like wildfire. In September 2012, the unemployment in the European Union of 27 countries stood at 10.6% of the workforce (25.7m workers), while in the Eurozone, the unemployed accounted for an even higher 11.6% of the labour force. In Spain and Greece, the unemployed accounted for a horrendous 25% of the workforce, with youth unemployment in these two countries reaching the unprecedented 50% mark. In Britain the unemployed numbered 7.8% of the workforce, while in the US they accounted for 7.9%.

With the financial meltdown, the market capitalisation of the major imperialist banks and other financial institutions suffered catastrophic falls, forcing the imperialist governments to part-nationalise them and inject Gargantuan sums to bail out all but bankrupt institutions. This in turn has resulted in huge budget deficits and increases in national debt. For each year of the first Obama presidency, the US experienced a trillion dollars’ worth of deficits (9.3% of GDP). The EU’s budget deficit is of the order of 6.6%, whereas that of Britain stands at 12.4%. The US national debt amounts to 103.6 per cent of its GDP, that of the EU is 87%, and the UK’s 66.1%, while Japan owes a whopping 200% plus.

The governments of imperialist countries have borrowed large sums of money to bail out financial institutions, and this debt has to be serviced. The heavy burden of debt has, on the one hand, undermined the creditworthiness of some of the governments, forcing the latter to pay unrealistic rates of interest to the very sharks which have just been rescued by them; and, on the other hand, it has forced the governments to impose draconian austerity measures on the working class and the broad masses through a mixture of spending cuts, tax rises, and attacks on social benefits.

The crisis is having devastating effects on the lives of the peoples of eastern Europe and Africa.

As was to be expected, in the midst of the deepest ever economic crisis, imperialism is forever engaged in waging wars – from Yugoslavia to Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria, with Iran being the target thereafter. At the same time, it is preparing for even bigger wars against Russia and China, especially the latter. With the focus of its military presence shifted to Asia, it is clear even to the blind that US imperialism is getting ready for a predatory, criminal, and risky, war against the People’s Republic of China, for the latter stands in the way of continued US hegemony. No matter how peaceful the intentions of the PRC government and its peoples, imperialism cannot change its nature, nor avoid the general crisis which is the force driving it to war and fascism. Equally, there is no doubt that if US imperialism should embark on such a risky adventure, the peoples of China and the world will hang it by its neck.

Imperialist attacks on the working class at home, its wars on the oppressed peoples abroad, the growth of inter-imperialist contradictions in the furious rivalry and competition between them, whereby each imperialist country attempts to get the better of others, are exacerbating all the major contradictions, arousing mass anger and facing the working class and oppressed peoples with a stark choice: either meekly submit to the diktat of imperialism and eke out a miserable existence, or pick up the banner of Marxism-Leninism, overthrow imperialism, and usher in a period of unending peace, prosperity, progress and fraternal harmony.

Harpal Brar concluded by saying that capitalism at its imperialist – parasitic, decadent and moribund – stage had nothing to offer humanity other than misery, destitution, unemployment, homelessness, squalor, degradation and war. Socialism alone offers humanity a bright future.

In other words, the crises of capitalism can only be got rid of through the proletariat seizing state power, transforming the socialised means of production into public property and organising production “upon a predetermined plan”, for the benefit of society as a whole.

To accomplish this act of universal emancipation is the historical mission of the proletariat”,said Engels, adding: “ To thoroughly comprehend the historical conditions and thus the very nature of this act, to import to the now oppressed proletarian class a fullknowledge of the conditions and the meaning of the momentous act it is called upon to accomplish – this is the task of the theoretical expression ofthe proletarian movement, scientific socialism” (Anti-Dühring, p.395).

Summary speech at close of conference

Harpal Brar was also given the honour of being asked to make the ‘Summary Speech’ at the close of the conference. During this speech, he emphasised the following points:

The collapse of the USSR and the eastern and central European socialist countries had sapped the confidence of the international proletariat in a socialist future for humanity. However, the latest capitalist crisis of overproduction has exploded the myth of the eternity of capitalism. Even the BBC, one of the principal propaganda arms of British imperialism, was forced to screen a programme on Marx and accepting as correct the Marxian analysis that capitalism was an incurably flawed system, which could not be cured but only overthrown by its gravedigger, the proletariat. None of this, however, prevents the bourgeoisie and its ideologues from making daily mindless assertions to the effect that Marxism is dead. On the contrary, Marxism is very much alive, for if it were to be truly dead, as is the assertion of bourgeois hacks, there would be no need for repeated assertions concerning its demise. The truth is that Marxism is the ideology of the modern proletariat; it can no more be annihilated than can the modern proletariat.

It is capitalism that is dying on its feet. Its upholders are trying all manner of panaceas, from Keynesianism to austerity measures, but without any effect. Capitalism is like the man in the Chinese fable dying of thirst, with only a cup full of poison to quench his thirst. Whether he drank it or not, death was the certain outcome.

Contrary to the assertions of its opponents, socialism is not a failed system. The collapse of the Soviet Union and other socialist countries at the end of the 1980s was by no means a collapse of socialism: it was a collapse of Khrushchevite revisionism, which, through its corrosive influence in every field, ranging from political economy to ideology, politics and culture, over a period of more than three decades, brought about the downfall of the great and glorious Soviet Union and other socialist countries. It was market socialism that brought disaster to the Soviet Union and other socialist countries in eastern Europe.

Touching upon the topic of the problems of corruption and inequality in China, to which frequent references were made by several Chinese comrades during their presentations at the conference, Harpal Brar said that rising corruption and inequality were merely symptoms of the penetration of the market into the Chinese economy. It is the market which has produced corruption and inequality, not the other way round.

The collapse of the USSR and the other socialist countries was doubtless a great setback for the international working-class movement. But the spectacle of the never-ending capitalist crisis of overproduction, the resultant mass unemployment, misery and endless war, are helping to restore the confidence of the international proletariat in socialism as the only way out for humanity faced with the colossal problems created by monopoly capitalism. Imperialism is not only the enemy of progressive humanity, but also the most powerful recruiting sergeant for the working class and national liberation movements. By sharpening all the contradictions – between labour and capital, between imperialism and the oppressed nations and peoples, and between various imperialist countries, it is bringing the working class to revolution. Imperialism is the eve of the social revolution of the proletariat.

Imperialism seeks domination, not freedom. It has nothing to offer humanity. This outmoded system cannot be cured. It must be overthrown; it will be overthrown. In the words of V I Lenin:

“ Only a proletarian socialist revolution can lead humanity out of the deadlock created by imperialism and imperialist wars. No matter what difficultiesthe revolution may encounter, and in spite of temporary setbacks or waves of counter-revolution, the final victory of the proletariat is inevitable” (‘Materials relating to the revision of the Party programme, April-May 1917).

And: “ Let the ‘socialist’ snivellers croak, let the bourgeoisie rage and fume; only people who shut their eyes so as not to see, and stuff their ears so asnot to hear, can fail to notice” that capitalism has no future, that it has nothing to offer other than misery to the vast majority of humanity, that this “ wild beast, capitalism, which has drenched the earth in blood and reduced humanity to starvation and demoralisation”, will be felled, that its end is “near and inevitable, no matter how monstrous and savage its frenzy in the face of death” (‘Prophetic words’).

We shall succeed if we do not lose our faith in a socialist future. “The chief endeavour of the bourgeoisie of all countries and of its hangers-on,” observed Stalin, “ is to kill in the working class faith in its own strength, faith in the possibility and inevitability of its victory and thus to perpetuate capitalistslavery” (‘Report to the Eighteenth Party Congress of the CPSU(B)’, (1939), Problems of Leninism, p.802).

The tasks of the international communist movement:

In the light of the prevailing capitalist crisis and the lessons emerging from the collapse of the Soviet Union and other socialist countries, the parties claiming to represent the interests of the proletariat, if they are to succeed in their noble mission of leading the working class in the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of socialism, must endeavour to inculcate in the working-class movement the following basic understanding:

1. that capitalism is a transitional stage in the long march of humanity from primitive communism to the higher stage of socialism – communism;

2. that capitalism long ago became a historically outmoded system, owing to the conflict between the productive forces, which are social, and relations of production (private appropriation); this basic conflict lies at the heart of recurrent crises of overproduction and the resultant misery of the working class;

3. that under the conditions of monopoly capitalism, capitalism has grown into a monstrous system of domination and exploitation by a handful of monopolist concerns within each of the imperialist countries and on a world scale by a tiny group of imperialist countries, which exploit, dominate and oppress the overwhelming majority of humanity inhabiting the vast continents of Asia, Africa and Latin America;

4. that, for reasons of the conditions peculiar to this stage of capitalism, imperialism cannot but result in incessant warfare waged by imperialist countries against the oppressed peoples (for instance, the current predatory war of Anglo-American imperialism against the people of Afghanistan and Iraq) and inter-imperialist wars, which have claimed the lives of 100 million people during the 20th century;

5. that socialism alone offers the way out of the contradictions of capitalism; it alone is able to offer humanity a world without the crises of overproduction, without unemployment, poverty and wars; socialism alone is able to provide the conditions for a limitless increase in production, unending prosperity, fraternal co-operation and peace among peoples and nations;

6. that capitalism itself creates the power, namely, the proletariat, which alone is capable of putting an end to the anarchy of production and all other horrors of the capitalist system of production, for “ of all classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie today, the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class. The other classes decay andfinally disappear in the face of modern industry, the proletariat is its special and essential product ”.

7. that the struggle of the proletariat for the overthrow of capitalism must be led by a vanguard revolutionary party of the proletariat;

8. that the state is nothing but an instrument in the hands of one class for the suppression of another class; that the proletariat too needs a state of its own; that the struggle of the proletariat for socialism must lead to the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, which lasts for a whole historical period, and is the instrument of the proletariat for suppressing any attempts of the bourgeoisie at the restoration of capitalism, on the one hand, and for creating the material and social conditions for the transition to the next, the higher, stage of communism, in which the state withers away and society is able to move from the formula “From each according to his ability, to each according to his work to “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”;

9. In the words of Lenin, “ If we translate the Latin, scientific historical-philosophical term ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ into more simple language, it means thefollowing: only a definite class, namely that of the urban workers and industrial workers in general, is able to lead the whole mass of the toilers andexploited in the struggle for the overthrow, in the struggle to maintain and consolidate the victory, in the work of creating the new socialist system,in the whole struggle for the complete abolition of classes .” (Lenin, ‘A Great Beginning’, June 1919);

10. that commodity production and socialism are incompatible and it is the function of socialism to eliminate commodity production and the market and make way for planned production, which instead of being regulated by profit is guided by the principle of the maximum satisfaction of the constantly rising material and spiritual needs of the people.

11. that all bourgeois prejudices against the Soviet Union of the period of JV Stalin’s leadership must be dropped. During that the Soviet Union made earthshaking achievements in every field – from socialist construction, through collectivisation, to victory in the anti-fascist war – of which the proletarians and oppressed peoples of the world have every right and duty to be proud. Negating that important period in the history of the international working-class movement has only served to negate the most glorious achievements of the working class to date, to defame the dictatorship of the proletariat and the international communist movement and to sully the banner of Marxism-Leninism. Our movement must understand that anti-Stalinism always was, and is now, a cover for attacking Marxism-Leninism and especially the dictatorship of the proletariat, the purpose being “… to kill in the working class the faith in its own strength, faith in the possibility and inevitability of its victory, and thus to perpetuatecapitalist slavery ” (Stalin, Report to the 18th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 1938).

12. that the guard and fight against all forms of opportunism – social-democracy, Trotskyism and revisionism – must never lessen, for “…the fight against imperialism is a sham and humbug unless it is inseparably bound up with the fight against opportunism” (Lenin, Imperialism – the Highest Stage of Capitalism).

13. that in its struggle for power, the proletariat in the centres of imperialism must wholeheartedly support the national liberation struggles of the oppressed peoples against imperialism, for the “… revolutionary movement in the advanced countries would actually be a sheer fraud if, in their struggle against capital, the workers of Europe andAmerica were not closely and completely united with hundreds upon hundreds of millions of ‘colonial’ slaves who are oppressed by capital ” (V I Lenin, The Second Congress of the Communist International, 1920).

Meeting with comrades from the International Department of CCPC

During his stay in Beijing, Harpal Brar had the opportunity to have a meeting with two comrades from the International Department of the CCCPC and exchange views on matters of mutual interest. At the end of this meeting, the comrades of the International Department handed Harpal Brar a letter, written on the instructions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and General Secretary Xi Jinping, thanking the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) for the latter’s messages of congratulations upon the convening of the 18th National Congress of the CPC and Comrade Xi’s election as General Secretary. The text of the CPC’s letter is reproduced below.

Heartfelt gratitude to the CPC and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

At the end of this report, the CPGB-ML would like to express its heartfelt gratitude to the CPC and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences for the invitation to Harpal Brar to participate in the very important conference on ‘The crisis of capitalism and the future of socialism’, as well as for the generous and warm hospitality accorded to Harpal Brar during his stay in Beijing.

May the relations between the CPC and the CPGB-ML continue to strengthen in our common struggle against imperialism and in the fight for a socialist future for humanity.

Posted in PoliticsComments Off on The crisis of capitalism and the future of socialism

The October Crisis Remembered

NOVANEWS

Posted BY: Sammi Ibrahem Sr

www.lalkar.org

Presentation made by Giles Shorter to the Stalin Society meeting, 25 November, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’ of 1962

Why remember the Cuban Missile Crisis?

The Stalin Society does not commemorate historical events for the sake of it. We only do this when we are convinced that there are lessons to be learned ofpractical significance. The Cuban Missile Crisis (or the October Crisis as it is known in Cuba) is rich in such lessons.

Anyone tuning into the BBC coverage of the genocidal assault upon Gaza last week will have heard one very persistent subtext pounding through like a constant drumbeat, which we can sum up like this: “ If only the resistance would stop firing missiles at Israel, then peace would at once descend on the region.” Forget the fact that Palestine isfighting for her life, that Gazans are starved and incarcerated in one giant concentration camp. If only the victims would stop resisting, then the lionwould lie down with the lamb and all would be well.

Back in 1962, siren voices insinuated the same seductive message. How arrogant and provocative of the Soviet Union and Cuba to plant nuclear weapons onCuban soil, just ninety-nine miles from Miami! Could they not see that by defending the socialist camp in such an aggressive way, they risked plunging usall into nuclear Armageddon? And conversely, when the missiles were crated up and shipped back to the Soviet Union, we were all told to breathe a sigh ofrelief. Sanity had prevailed! The world was a safer place! Khrushchev’s U-turn and Kennedy’s iron nerve has saved the day! Such was the collective wisdomof the apologists for imperialism.

Yet fifty years on from those events, do we really live in a safer world?

Fifty years on

Fifty years on from the Cuban missile crisis, the world has become an even more dangerous place than it was then. Imperialism is plunging into the deepestand most pervasive overproduction crisis ever experienced, leading to austerity and political repression at home and criminal predatory wars abroad.Socialist countries like China, Cuba and the DPRK remain steadfast, serving as a bridgehead to the future for the ever-expanding ranks of those driven toanti-imperialist resistance in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran and all round the world. Decisions taken now about how best to resist and overcomeimperialism will have incalculable consequences for mankind.

Conflicting opinions on the forthright approach of countries like the DPRK when it comes to struggling against imperialism carry an echo of the argumentsfifty years ago over the best way for the Cuban revolution to resist subversion and invasion. The idea that the hasty removal of Soviet nuclear missilesfrom Cuban soil by a rattled Khrushchev made the world a safer place does not bear analysis. Those who suggest otherwise should remember the cynicalhonesty of Madeleine Albright when she spelled out what she believed to be the reason Iraq was invaded and the DPRK was not: while Iraq did not possessWMD, the DPRK did. Today the readiness of the DPRK leadership to be forthright in defence of their socialist homeland, clearly identifying and counteringthe imperialist threat, is habitually presented in the West as the source of tension in the peninsula. Koreans know different however. Recalling themillions of comrades who sacrificed themselves in the victorious Great Fatherland Liberation War, they know well the real character of imperialism. Theyunderstand very well that the surest hope of peace is to be sought in the most resolute struggle against imperialism, not in the dream of permanentpeaceful coexistence with the class enemy.

Yet on the British left, this is seldom understood. Needless to say, the anti-communist Trots simply repeat verbatim the venomous lies and ridicule heapedon the DPRK by the imperialist media. The revisionists are more slippery, giving lip service to the defence of socialism but coming out in a rash when theDPRK risks doing anything that might upset the West. A while ago, when the DPRK decided to launch a communications satellite, the prominent then CPB member and CND chair Kate Hudson denounced this in the columns of the Morning Star as “unnecessary and provocative”. She added that “ regardless of whether its intentions are peaceful”, this step “risks others seeing the launch as a threat to regional security”! This is howsocial pacifism serves the class enemy.

This issue of how best to tackle imperialist aggression was key to the positions taken by the United States, the Soviet Union, China and Cuba in 1962, andthrows light on no less burning questions facing the masses today.

Background

The Cuban missile crisis of 1962 did not come out of a clear blue sky. Ever since the Red Army had comprehensively beaten the Nazi war machine and led theliberation of Europe from fascist occupation, the West had returned to its primary obsession: rolling back the socialist camp. By the beginning of the ‘60sthat camp had come to include, as well as Eastern Europe and China, also socialist Cuba.

The Soviet success in ending the brief US monopoly on the atomic bomb meant that earlier Pentagon dreams of overcoming the USSR through outright nuclearaggression had to be shelved for the moment, giving way to a long-term race in nuclear missiles, accompanied by efforts to destabilise Soviet allies – mostnotably Cuba.

The brilliant achievement of the Cuban people in 1961 at Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs) in repulsing the shambolic US-backed invasion staffed bycounter-revolutionary expatriate scum rocked the US back on its heels. For a spell efforts to undermine the revolution were confined to the murder ofrevolutionaries, wrecking operations and the bribing of foreign suppliers to send faulty goods. But by 1962 the threats again became more overt. 40,000 USsoldiers were sent out on a mock-invasion of an unnamed Caribbean island with the supposed aim of overthrowing a dictator codenamed Ortsac – i.e. Castrobackwards. A top secret report in January prepared for Kennedy spelt out plans to infiltrate CIA agents to carry out sabotage and organise hostile radiobroadcasts, and in February a timetable was prepared for regime change, with plans to begin guerrilla operations in August and September, with the cherryon the fantasy cake in the first two weeks of October, “Open revolt and overthrow of the Communist regime”.

What motivated the Soviet decision to seek Castro’s agreement with the deployment of Soviet missiles on Cuban soil is a complex question. Under both Leninand Stalin, it had always been clearly understood that the defence of the Soviet Union and the advance of the world revolution were indissolubly linked. Itwould have been unthinkable for Moscow not to have extended fraternal support to a tiny socialist country under threat of subversion and invasion by itsgiant imperialist neighbour. And it is certainly the case that the sharp threats against Cuba were part of a much wider strategic struggle against thewhole socialist camp, with the West constantly seeking to get enough of a competitive edge in the arms race to deter communist progress. In addition to itshome-based nuclear arsenal, in 1958 Washington had already deployed Thor Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs) in Britain; the deployment in 1961of Jupiter IRBMs to Italy and Turkey further increased the threat to Moscow. Moscow by contrast, whilst able to target US allies, could not get beyondAlaska on US soil at that early stage. The strategic advantage of missiles on Cuban soil, ninety miles from Miami, was self-evident. On the face of it,there was nothing obvious in Khrushchev’s decision which did not accord with Bolshevik practice. The defence of Cuba and the defence of the Soviet Unionwere two sides of the same coin.

Yet the dismal performance of Khrushchev as the crisis unfolded revealed just how much of a danger to socialist interests revisionism was proving to be. AsMao was to express it, under Khrushchev’s leadership the CPSU proceeded “from adventurism to capitulationism”.

Cuba agrees to missiles

Early in 1962 a group of Soviet military and missile construction engineers met with Fidel Castro, who welcomed the prospect of nuclear defences on Cubansoil. In July Khrushchev met with Raúl Castro and a secret agreement was signed. In the late summer Soviet engineers began work on a number of missilesites under the pretence of being irrigation and agricultural experts. Marshal Sergei Biryuzov, head of the Soviet Rocket Forces, returned from a fieldtrip to Cuba to tell Khrushchev that the missiles would be hidden under palm trees. On 8 September the first tranche of R-12 missiles arrived,then came a second on 16 September. Nine sites were under construction.

Given the heavy surveillance by imperialist espionage agencies and frequent violation of Cuban airspace by U-2 spy planes, it was surely predictable thatthe deployment would soon enough be rumbled. On 14 October a U-2 took photos revealing missile sites being built. Kennedy then ordered a blockade on Sovietshipping to put a halt to the transfer of missiles and warheads. (The blockade was rebranded as “quarantine” in an effort to skirt international law). Khrushchev responded on 24 October with a letter stating that the blockade constituted “an act of aggression propelling humankind into the abyss of a world nuclear-missile war”. On the same day he followed this up with an almostapologetic telegram, remonstrating with Kennedy that “If you coolly weigh the situation which has developed, not giving way to passions, you will understand that the Soviet Union cannot fail to reject the arbitrary demands of the United States.”Meanwhile the tension ratcheted up as the US Navy received orders to open fire on Soviet ships that tried to break the blockade.

Khrushchev wobbles…

On 26 October Washington upped the readiness level of Strategic Air Command (SAC) forces to DEFCON 2, effectively the final stage before outright nuclearwar. Twenty three nuclear-armed B-52s were sent to orbit points within reach of the Soviet Union and some 80% of SAC planes were ready for launch. Yetaccording to one source quoted by Wikipedia, General David Burchinal, “the Russians were so thoroughly stood down, and we knew it. They didn’t make any move. They did not increase their alert; they did not increase any flights, or their air defence posture. They didn’t do a thing, they froze in place.

Perhaps this appalling picture of military paralysis, if it is to be credited, is evidence that Khrushchev was allowing his revisionist illusions inpermanent peaceful coexistence to colour his judgement at this crucial juncture. Having invited Cuba to put its very existence on the line in the name ofsocialist solidarity, having raised the stakes so high by going head to head with Kennedy on the issue, it was the Soviet leader’s clear duty to see thestruggle through. Weakness at such a moment was infinitely more dangerous than standing firm. Yet it seems that Khrushchev preferred to place all hisreliance on trying to cobble together a get-out deal via back-channel communications.

The KGB Station Chief in Washington, Alexander Feliksov (alias Fomin) contacted a journalist on ABC News, John Scali, to ask him to sound out hisState Department contacts to see if they would do a deal: the Soviet Union would pull the missiles out of Cuba if the US “promised” not to invadeCuba. Five hours after the two men met, a long letter started coming through the wire. It was a personal plea from Khrushchev offering the samecapitulationist deal, a deal that depended entirely on Kennedy’s word of honour not to invade!

The letter said: “ I propose: we, for our part, will declare that our ships bound for Cuba are not carrying any armaments. You will declare that the United States will not invade Cuba with its troops and will not support any other forces which might intend to invade Cuba. Then the necessity of the presence of our military specialists in Cuba will disappear.”Elsewhere in the letter, Khrushchev tries to coax imperialism over to the virtuous path of peaceful coexistence, in the process merely tying himself up inknots and presenting Kennedy with an open goal. He pleads, “Mr. President, we and you ought not now to pull on the ends of the rope in which you have tied the knot of war, because the more the two of us pull, the tighter that knot will be tied. And a moment may come when that knot will be tied so tight that even he who tied it will not have the strength to untie it, and then it will be necessary to cut that knot, and what that would mean is not for me to explain to you, because you yourself understand perfectly of what terrible forces our countries dispose. Consequently, if there is no intention to tighten that knot and thereby to doom the world to the catastrophe of thermonuclear war, then let us not only relax the forces pulling on the ends of the rope, let us take measures to untie that knot. We are ready for this.”

…then wobbles again

The next day, 27 October, Khrushchev abruptly changed his tune again, this time having his new, tougher message broadcast publicly on Radio Moscow. Themessage ran like this:“You are disturbed over Cuba. You say that this disturbs you because it is ninety-nine miles by sea from the coast of the United States of America. But… you have placed destructive missile weapons, which you call offensive, in Italy and Turkey, literally next to us… I therefore make this proposal: We are willing to remove from Cuba the means which you regard as offensive… Your representatives will make a declaration to the effect that the United States … will remove its analogous means from Turkey … and after that, persons entrusted by the United Nations Security Council could inspect on the spot the fulfilment of the pledges made.”

This proposed deal seemed more concrete, demanding the removal of the Jupiter missiles from Italy and Turkey. But Kennedy chose simply to ignore thetougher-sounding new proposal, instead responding to the earlier capitulation. The only “improvement” was to be an unwritten “understanding”that the missiles in Turkey and Italy would “voluntarily” be removed after some unspecified period had elapsed. The letter from Kennedy oozescynical condescension, reflecting the propaganda humiliation to which Khrushchev’s prevarications had needlessly exposed the mighty Soviet Union.

“As I read your letter, the key elements of your proposals – which seem generally acceptable as I understand them – are as follows: 1) You would agree to remove these weapons systems from Cuba under appropriate United Nations observation and supervision; and undertake, with suitable safe-guards, to halt the further introduction of such weapon systems into Cuba. 2) We, on our part, would agree – upon the establishment of adequate arrangements through the United Nations, to ensure the carrying out and continuation of these commitments (a) to remove promptly the quarantine measures now in effect and (b) to give assurances against the invasion of Cuba.”

Khrushchev’s response, broadcast on Radio Moscow on 28 October, was craven in the extreme, stating that “the Soviet government, in addition to previously issued instructions on the cessation of further work at the building sites for the weapons, has issued a new order on the dismantling of the weapons which you describe as ‘offensive’ and their crating and return to the Soviet Union”.

The 42 missiles were loaded onto eight Soviet ships. The ships had to run the gauntlet of US observers, their hatches left open so they could make sure themissiles were really going.

Needless to say, US imperialism was cock-a-hoop at this outcome, recognising it as a splendid propaganda victory which revisionist vacillation had handed to it on a plate. As for Washington’s “pledge” to “respect the inviolability of Cuban borders, its sovereignty”, its“pledge not to interfere in internal affairs,” we need only ask the Miami Five how faithfully this pledge has been observed ever since!

As it turned out, Washington decided to get rid of the near-obsolete Jupiter missiles in Turkey and Italy the following year, arguably giving Khrushchev’sdiplomacy a theoretical victory on points. However, this did nothing in practice to diminish the damaging effects of Khrushchev’s vacillation and publicretreat. We can only imagine the shame and disgust of the Soviet engineers, who had seen it as their internationalist duty to go to Cuba to help defendsocialism, when they were then ordered to dismantle their handiwork, crate it all up and send it back to the Soviet Union under the baleful gaze of theYankee pirates. Both the Soviet Union and Cuba deserved better than Khrushchev.

From adventurism to capitulationism

It is possible that part of Khrushchev’s motivation for embarking so light-mindedly on so serious a course of action was to give the lie to Chinesecriticisms of revisionist passivity in the face of imperialist aggression – notably the refusal to assist China in developing her nuclear capability. Inpoint of fact, however, the humiliation and dangers to which this zigzagging revisionist leadership exposed the socialist camp only served to confirm theChinese comrades’ worst fears.

The October Crisis happened at a moment when fraternal relations between China and the Soviet Union were reaching breaking point, and Mao’s MarxistLeninist characterisation of Khrushchev’s handling of the crisis as moving “from adventurism to capitulationism” really hits the nail on the head.The criticism is not that one should never retreat – Lenin’s insistence on signing the very painful Brest-Litovsk Treaty with German imperialism wascorrect, and Trotsky’s preferred position of “neither peace nor war” was a disaster. The criticism is that, once so serious an undertaking asconfronting US imperialism with nukes 90 miles from Miami was embarked upon, it needed to be followed through to its necessary consequences. Contrary tothe view that Khrushchev’s retreat was a statesmanlike tactic which enabled Kennedy to pull back from the brink, the reality is that the combination oflight-mindedness and cowardice, of adventurism and capitulationism, actually emboldened US imperialism, making the world a more, not less dangerous place.We should ask ourselves: if Kennedy had met a sterner rebuff from Moscow over Cuba, would he have been so ready to launch the genocidal war in Indochinawhich cost so many Vietnamese lives?

Che: “We shall fight with what we’ve got

Just how imperfect Khrushchev’s spirit of internationalism really was comes out big time in the way that Cuba was treated. Castro was not a party to theSoviet decision to pack up the missiles and go home. Indeed, he only heard about the decision when it was reported on the media. Yet his agreement to hostthe missiles on Cuban soil had been won by an appeal to socialist solidarity!

Khrushchev’s attitude contrasts starkly with the assessment Castro made the other day when considering the fiftieth anniversary of the October crisis. “When Khrushchev proposed the installation here of medium range missiles similar to those the United States had in Turkey – far closer to the USSR than Cuba to the United States – as a solidarity necessity, Cuba did not hesitate to agree to such a risk. Our conduct was ethically irreproachable. We will never apologize to anyone for what we did. The fact is that half a century has gone by, and here we still are with our heads held high.”

For nearly thirty of those years Soviet assistance helped keep their heads above water, standing up for Cuba at the UN and assisting economically bytrading oil for sugar (though this continued dependence on sugar monoculture was a mixed blessing, be it said). That this fraternal assistance was offeredto Cuba and to other progressive countries was important and should not to be discounted, indicating as it does just how robust a Bolshevik legacy ofinternationalism was inherited from the days of Lenin and Stalin, a legacy which took fully three decades to be finally eaten away by revisionism.

Aware that the Cubans were fed up with his cavalier behaviour, excluding them from the negotiations and presenting the retreat as a fait accompli,Khrushchev thought to mend fences by encouraging them to hope that a hundred tactical nuclear weapons which had somehow escaped US attention could remainin Cuban hands to assist in the defence of the homeland. Yet this just repeated as farce what began as tragedy, as the revisionists again got cold feet,scared of what use Cuba might see fit to make of the weapons, and Mikoyan withdrew the offer again on 22 November – this time even without the excuse thatKennedy was breathing down their necks. In December these weapons too were crated up and returned to sender.

On 26 October, as Khrushchev was busy sending out mixed signals as regards Soviet intentions, Castro wrote him a letter which spelt out in plain terms whatshould be the communist response to US aggression. “I believe the imperialists’ aggressiveness is extremely dangerous and if they actually carry out the brutal act of invading Cuba in violation of international law and morality, that would be the moment to eliminate such danger forever through an act of clear legitimate defence, however harsh and terrible the solution would be.”

As the October Crisis unfolded, Che Guevara asserted that “Direct aggression against Cuba would mean nuclear war. The Americans speak about such aggression as if they did not know or did not want to accept this fact. I have no doubt they would lose such a war.”

And in November, looking back on the crisis, Che told the London Daily Worker, “If they attack, we shall fight to the end. If the rockets had remained, we would have used them all and directed them against the very heart of the United States, including New York, in our defence against aggression. But we haven’t got them, so we shall fight with what we’ve got.”

With such inspiring leadership, it is clear why socialist Cuba yet stands defiant whilst the Soviet Union, for so long so ill-served by revisionists,though enduring as an unquenchable flame in the hearts of progressive humanity, sadly is no more there.

Posted in RussiaComments Off on The October Crisis Remembered

EGYPT: the tortuous winding path away from Mubarak continues

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem

www.lalkar.org

In the July/August 2012 edition of Lalkar, we reported on the Egyptian elections of 16 and 17 June which saw Mohamed Morsi lay claim to the Presidency with just over 51% of the vote in a second round contest against former Mubarak loyalist Ahmed Shafik. At that time we were unsure of how the future for Egypt would unfold. We must say that we are still unsure as to the final direction but the few first faltering steps away from the Mubarak days are certainly interesting and in the ebb and flow of the political situation there are some positive points on show.

One of the first actions of the newly elected Morsi was to sack leading military personnel including the Defence Chief, Tantawi, and the Army Chief of staff, Samy Annan. These last two were then publicly given great honours for the service they had given the country. Tantawi, in fact received the Nile Collar, the highest award that can be given. These two were also made advisors to the President (more anon) and the Army kept its ‘National Defence Council’ which gives the Army a very real veto on matters of national security. Also, of course, there were no charges brought against any of the Army top brass, sacked or still in service, for any crimes committed during the Mubarak years and certainly no move against the Army’s vast economic interests and business privileges. This proves, if proof were needed, that the Army is still very strong in Egypt and only a crisis away from possibly retaking direct power.

The Army were not the only ones that Morsi and the Brotherhood needed to appease, he ordered the cutting off again of the tunnels which had been supplying Gaza and even sent Egyptian soldiers into Sinai to expel forces “intent on attacking Israel”.

The murderous bombing of Gaza in November saw Morsi telling the world that Egypt would not stand a ground invasion of Gaza and he took the opportunity of appearing as the peace maker in a visit to Gaza.

Quite how much of this response was because of pressure he was under from his own people or genuinely wanting to help the heroes of Gaza can only be guessed at along with what he would have done if the Zionists had gone ahead with a ground invasion.

Before he could be hailed in Egypt as a peacemaker for the Palestinians a public display of anger towards a new constitution from some quarters of Egyptian society arose.

The Draft Constitution has been criticised by some as “too Islamic” and by others as “not Islamic enough”.

In an effort to ease tensions between his own and opposition supporters, President Morsi put on hold the IMF loan that he had negotiated, a condition of which had been the unpopular proposed tax increases on a range of services including cigarettes, soft drinks, oil, beer, cement, fertiliser, mobile phone calls, water and electricity. He also annulled the decree he made on 22 November which had taken away the right of an obstructionist judiciary (many judges being Mubarak appointees) to nullify his decisions and put obstacles in the way of the passage of the new Draft Constitution, but which enabled the opposition to portray him as being a ‘Pharaoh’, as dictatorial as Mubarak, and to mobilise mass demonstrations against him. This is really a very important issue and lies at the heart of the current crisis.

In the short interval in which the judges’ powers were suspended, however, the Constitutional Assembly (yes, mainly made up of members of the Muslim Brotherhood representing the mainly Muslim Brotherhood elected Government) was able to finalise drawing up the draft constitution that has now been put before the Egyptian people, who have now approved it by a clear majority of over 60% of votes cast. This draft had enough concessions to the military for them not to openly move against it at present but the Judges Club (an unofficial body that has most of the county’s judges in it) decided not to supervise the referendum on the draft Constitution. However, there were enough judges found who were willing to carry out this procedure, but only over two days rather than the originally proposed one day. The Government decided, therefore, that the voting would take place on 15 and 22 December. The main part of the ‘opposition’, the National Salvation Front, opposed this idea but couldn’t decide on whether to call for a no vote or a boycott. In the end of course, they called for a no vote and the ballot of half the country went ahead on 15 December, when the voting time was extended in response to the high turnout according to Jon Leyne of the BBC reporting from Cairo.

No bourgeois constitution will ever satisfy us as a set of rules to live by but looked at against what Egypt endured not so long ago under military rule crowned by the autocratic figure of Mubarak this may well be a step forward. The draft has a clause saying that equality of all citizens should be observed and that freedom of religious practice will be extended to all the “Abrahamic” faiths (Islam, Christianity and Judaism) although insulting the Prophet and the Messengers would be a crime. A limit of two four-year terms of office is also included.

At this point it may help to remind ourselves who the opposition are. Some Leftists within Britain, and, undoubtedly, in other imperialist countries, portray the ‘opposition as the same forces that brought Mubarak down but this would be difficult to substantiate. Those who supported Mubarak, and yes, there were quite a few of them, now make up part of the ‘new’ opposition along with small parties and groups under the name of the National Salvation Front. The street demonstrations and rallies in the country have been held by both sides, although the Muslim Brotherhood claims that the majority of those who have died (mainly of gunshot wounds) have been their supporters. While this is unsubstantiated, it is certainly true that the police failed to intervene when ‘new’ opposition protesters ransacked the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo; and it is also claimed that the police also moved away and let ‘new’ opposition protesters breach the cordon round the palace from which the President conducts government business. This has forced Morsi to empower the military to take over relevant police duties.

There is some credibility to the idea that the Army are letting the Muslim Brotherhood (with a little help from them behind the scenes) hang themselves and are just waiting for protests, etc., to get out of hand before they step in (in the interests of ‘national security’) and restore ‘order’ and their rule. It is telling that the two sacked military chiefs referred to earlier, Tantawi and Samy Annan, who were made Presidential advisors by Morsi, resigned at the start of the protests. A broadcast by the Army, interrupting programmes, was made on Egyptian TV warning that it “would not allow” Egypt to enter a “dark tunnel with disastrous consequences.”

The Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi have claimed that attacks on them and their property, including the palace, have been funded from abroad by enemies in the Gulf. The names of the enemies weren’t mentioned but the monarchies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are two countries that have a particular fear of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Some, though not all, within the National Salvation Front have talked about the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi being backed by the USA but, while it would be understandable for the US to try to keep the Egyptian President onside for as long as possible, it is far more likely to be looking at ways to end the short reign of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, if only to help settle the nerves of its lieutenant in the region, Israel. The US are quite happy to use Muslim extremists to do their dirty work in the region but supporting Muslim governments that may turn out to be anti-zionist and/or anti-imperialist is definitely not to their taste.

Both Clinton and Obama have publicly called on Morsi to talk to the ‘opposition’ and to ‘respect the rights of all citizens’ despite the attacks on his palace, etc. Obviously there is a threat behind these words, but equally obviously these beasts who have washed their hands with the blood of millions have no understanding of irony.

However, Fox News.com published an article on 11 December stating that while Egypt is in turmoil, a gift of 20 of the latest F-16s are being sent to Egypt. The planes, with all the latest updates were promised to the Egyptian military during the last days of Mubarak to add to the 200 older models that they already possess. And while the Fox news manipulation machine quotes some of the representatives of US imperialism up on Capitol Hill meekly questioning whether the gift should still be delivered now that Morsi is in charge, Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Wesley Miller, was quite candid when he said “ The delivery of the first set of F-16s in January 2013 reflects the US commitment to supporting the Egyptian military’s modernisation efforts. Egyptian acquisition of F-16s will increase our militaries’ interoperability, and enhance Egypt’s capacity to contribute to regional mission sets .” Please note, there is no commitment to Morsi or the Muslim Brotherhood in these words. Any commitment is to its old friend the Egyptian military, the self-same Egyptian military that has so many connections within the ‘new’ opposition and the Egyptian judiciary.

No one can say with any certainty where Egypt is going at the moment or even where Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood want to go. There are no quick answers, and all we can do is keep watching and keep trying to analyse the situations as they arise.

Posted in EgyptComments Off on EGYPT: the tortuous winding path away from Mubarak continues

Report: 100 Nazi foreign jets training for Syria scenarios in IsraHell

NOVANEWS
Zio-Nazi female soldiers run towards tanks during a training exercise near illegally occupied city of Eilat.
Zio-Nazi Channel 2 TV station reported on Sunday that 100 Nazi fighter jets from around the world are training in IsraHell, including preparation for possible intervention in Syria.

The foreign pilots and aircraft arrived in the country in recent days, and will examine crisis scenarios if Syria uses chemical weapons, the report said.It did not release the names of the countries participating.

Last week, Zio-Nazi  TV channel said the Nazi air force was preparing for the joint training, which would include practicing bombing runs and air-to-air combat.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, SyriaComments Off on Report: 100 Nazi foreign jets training for Syria scenarios in IsraHell

Syria: why Assad may yet claim victory

NOVANEWS

guardian.co.uk

Reacting angrily to President Bashar al-Assad’s speech on Sunday calling for an end to the rebellion, the US state department said the Syrian leader was “detached from reality”. But much the same might be said of the US and of Assad’s other western and Arab foes, and with greater justification. After two years of bloody attrition, the unpalatable truth is Assad is still in power, shows no sign of heeding demands to quit and is far from beaten. The evolving reality is that Assad may yet see off his many enemies and claim victory in Syria’s civil war.

Explanations for this remarkable feat of survival lie not with Assad’s personal abilities, which are limited, nor with the durability of his domestic supporters, who are in the minority, nor with the president’s ruthlessness in prosecuting the military campaign. More potent has been his subtler achievement in convincing would-be western interventionists that awful though he is, what might follow him would almost certainly be worse. When leading Washington commentators such as David Ignatius start talking up a “truth and reconciliation” process, you kind of know the battle is lost.

This process of geopolitical re-education – it might be termed psychological counter-insurgency – has been gradual but highly effective. One powerful aspect is the highlighting of the growing role of Islamist fundamentalists inside Syria, whom Assad regularly decries as foreign terrorists threatening the Syrian nation. This jihadi “scare factor” is rooted in last February’s video message by the al-Qaida leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in which he called on pious Muslims, primarily Sunnis living in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, to help destroy the Syrian regime.

“Since then, the message has spread further afield, and the lure of joining the jihad in Syria against a Shia dictator is drawing in young men from around the world,” said analyst Tobias Feakin in The Australian. Rising numbers of volunteers, estimated at up to 2,500 in total from as far away as Indonesia and Xinjiang in China, have dispersed in myriad suspect groups including the Free Syrian Army, Liwa al-Islam, Katibat al-Ansar, Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra, which has close links with al-Qaida in Iraq.

The dawning realisation that Syria was not another Egypt or Libya, whose revolutions produced relatively clear-cut results, and that it might well become another failed state, harbouring al-Qaida fanatics bent on global confrontation, has had a big impact on western opinion, not least in the US. This fear has been compounded by numerous reports, widely credited in Israel and the US, that Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal could fall into jihadi hands. Barack Obama has warned Assad not to use such weapons against his opponents. The bigger fear is that they might one day be used against western targets.

The west’s hedging of bets over Syria has become glaring in recent months even as its rhetoric has intensified. Political demands, principally that Assad step down immediately and without preconditions, have become ever more inflexible. Led by France, the western position is that nothing less than regime change at the top will do. But at the same time, the argument about doing what needs to be done militarily and logistically to ensure that objective, for example by arming the rebels, seems to be over – and the rebels are the losers. Despite the rebooting of opposition forces under the umbrella Syrian National Coalition, weapons supplies and financial aid are drying up. Even the Sunni Gulf states seem to be having second thoughts as they contemplate a post-Assad Syria sliding into post-Saddam style anarchy.

Israel’s decision to build border defences across the Golan and Turkey’s deployment of Patriot missiles along its border symbolise this shifting reality. The aim now is not to liberate Syria but to isolate it and quarantine it and to contain the contagion.

The fact that the US and Britain have looked on as a second UN peace mission by Lakhdar Brahimi runs into the sand (the first, led by Kofi Annan, collapsed last year), the fact that no substantive pressure has been put on Russia’s Vladimir Putin to drop his Syrian diplomatic protection racket, the fact that military intervention is publicly and noisily ruled out and the fact that no concerted international humanitarian relief effort has been mounted to assist Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan all point to one conclusion: that the west is not serious about enforcing Assad’s demise. It is a message that Assad has undoubtedly heard.

“Despite the efforts of Brahimi – and also of more sympathetic powers such as Russia and China, as well as Assad’s Lebanese ally, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah – to promote a negotiated settlement, the regime has shown no interest in acceding to a democratic transition that would lead to its ouster. And its leaders believe they are fighting the rebels to a stalemate,” said Tony Karon in Time. Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma, told Karon that, whatever the US state department might say, the fact is that Assad is not budging.

Landis said:

“Absent some dramatic increase in external intervention, Assad could still be there in 2014. There’s nothing obvious in the current dynamic that’s going to force him out. He has barricaded the major cities with layers of security, allowing the impoverished periphery of some to fall into rebel hands, but then using his air power and artillery to devastate those neighbourhoods. Almost two years into the uprising and despite the rebels’ recent momentum, they have not yet taken full control of a single major city or town.
Despite the confident predictions coming from the rebels and their backers, nobody in the opposition today can explain how they’re going to win. The regime has the unity, it has all the heavy weapons. Many of the rebels continue to operate on the assumption that the US will intervene to tip the balance for them.”
But despite all the huffing and puffing in Washington (and London), decisive intervention is extremely unlikely. It is time the likes of Obama and William Hague admitted this reality and started dealing with what is, rather than what might have been.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Syria: why Assad may yet claim victory

US GOVT STILL NOT SEEKING EXTRADITION OF COLOMBIAN EMERALD CZAR AND PARAMILITARY DEATHSQUAD LEADER,EXPOSING THE PLAN COLOMBIA FACADE.

 NOVANEWS
Former “Emerald Czar” lawyer
(and current Supreme Court justice)
Fernando Castro Caballero.


US GOVT STILL NOT SEEKING EXTRADITION OF COLOMBIAN EMERALD CZAR AND PARAMILITARY DEATHSQUAD LEADER,EXPOSING THE PLAN COLOMBIA FACADE… “Emerald Czar” Document Spurs Controversy, Irecentlynvestigation ...

Colombian prosecutors will investigate allegations in a  published State Department cablethat billionaire Víctor Carranza was “responsible for the October 1997 Miraflores massacre.” Reports of the new probe came via RCN and W Radio in Colombia, who joined a number of other media outlets in covering our declassified dossier on Colombia’s “Emerald Czar.” (En Español @ VerdadAbierta.com)
Pivoting off of our document release, Semana magazine columnist Daniel Coronell points out that Carranza’s former attorney, Fernando Castro Caballero, who just took a seat on Colombia’s Supreme Judicial Court, will have the final word on another important human rights case allegedly tied to Carranza: the 1997 Mapiripán massacre.Coronell says that a recent investigation has found that Castro had far stronger links to Carranza than he has previously said: [A]n investigation by Equipo Nizkor found documents that show that the link was much closer than the magistrate wants to admit. The truth is that doctor Castro Caballero served as Víctor Carranza’s legal advocate in the formation and financing of paramilitary groups.
Coronell’s concerns about Carranza’s ability to manipulate the Colombian justice system are echoed in a declassified U.S. State Department cable published as part of our “Emerald Czar” collection.[ed notes:the us govt never,and even today hasnt asked for extradition,wich further exposes the facade and charade regarding the us and colombian extradition program…see why not here.. carranza,farouk,yair kleins financiers Colombi… – THENAKEDFACTS Links to this post – THENAKEDFACTS    ]
A cable from the U.S. Embassy in 1996 cites a source who explains that there had been two processes open against Víctor Carranza. In the first, none of the witnesses came forward. In the second, all of the witnesses had died.Coronell cites another cable from the collection in which a paramilitary leader using Carranza’s reported alias “freely admitted” that “he and men under his command” were “responsible for the October 1997 Miraflores massacre” and that the Colombian Army “had facilitated the operation ‘from beginning to end.’”“If Víctor Carranza is identified as the paramilitary chief of Meta and allied with the Castaño family,” asks Coronell, “should his former lawyer pronounce the final word of justice in the case of the Mapiripán massacre?
After previous attempts to prosecute Carranza failed to produce a conviction, the Human Rights Unit of the Colombian Prosecutor General’s Office (Fiscalía) opened a new investigation of Carranza’s paramilitary connections in February 2012 based largely on the testimony of former paramilitary chiefs linking Carranza to the financing and operations of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC).
[ed notes:the us govt cant demand extradition because carranza will sing and testify,that he did exactly what us military advisers did as well,train paramilitaries in conjunction with colombia military personnel,and he will most probably reveal how he was connected in such activities doing so, thru a covert cia program called key 51,wich other rigthwing paramilitary deathsquad leaders already testified to in courts,such as baqero and others…it gets even better,trust me,the I.C.C.(imperial tool) to wich colombia is a signatory has recently said(after years of inaction of course)claimed they would step in,to handle cases wich colombia courts hampered or failed to investigate,especially high profile cases such as this one..meanwhile they havent(no surprise ,they are a fraudulent front)…more interesting news… the following..  A Big Day for the US and the ICC: Rewards for Justice Program Extended
The new year has brought some big news for the relationship between the ICC and the United States. According to the great folks at the American Non-Governmental Organizations Coalition for the International Criminal Court (AMICC), on January 3 Congress passed an expansion of the Rewards for Justice Program. The program will now cover individuals indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).The enhancement of the rewards program will mean that financial rewards can be dolled out by the American government to anyone who helps in the achieving ”the arrest or conviction in any country, or the transfer to or conviction by an international criminal tribunal (including a hybrid or mixed tribunal), of any foreign national accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide, as defined under the statute of such tribunal.’” 
According to the legislation (full text of original bill here), the expansion of the program was done in order to “target other individuals indicted by international, hybrid, or mixed tribunals for genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity.” [ed notes:here is the kicker,both  ICC,AND US GOVT are silent on the Carranza case…and neither are demanding arrest nor extradition..and we understand why of course…whats great is that both us govt and ICC by taking no action in regards to this case expose themselves even more then they already are..though justice for victims of Carranza is nowhere to be found,this case is prime evidence that US GOVT and ICC want no justice and have no interest in seeing it happen contrary to their claims to champion just that..

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No US intervention in Syria … Statement by The Middle East Committee of Women Against Military Madness

NOVANEWS

 

There is a clear danger of yet another war in the Middle East. The United States is turning its attention to Syria, with the intention of engineering regime change in its favor.The Middle East Committee of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) fully supports the right of the people in all the countries of the Middle East to determine their own future and assert democratic rights. We are therefore firmly opposed to any external intervention, and this includes military intervention in Syria.NATO is already maneuvering to weaken Syria through sanctions, which have never been an alternative to war as much as a prelude to it, acclimatizing public opinion to the “inevitability” of war.
It is also interfering politically, trying to ensure that the Assad regime is replaced by one with an orientation favorable to what is always described as “our interests”—e.g., the pursuit of energy resources with trade agreements and geopolitical positioning that benefit US multi-national corporations.The Middle East Committee believes the Syrian people should assert their own democratic rights and determine their own system of government without the kind of external interference which has proved so disastrous in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other parts of the world. We therefore oppose all US-led attempts to create an unrepresentative “government-in-exile,” which would have no purpose beyond further legitimizing the case for military intervention.The Middle East Committee of WAMM therefore opposes all US-sponsored and supported military intervention in Syria.WAMM Middle East Committee
[ed notes;also see… Veterans For Peace urgently calls on the United States and NATO to cease all military activity in Syria, halt all U.S. and NATO shipments of weapons, and abandon all threats to further escalate the violence under which the people of Syria  are suffering 

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