Archive | December 11th, 2015

Lebanon al-Manar TV pledges to air despite Arabsat ban

NOVANEWS
Logo of the Lebanese al-Manar television channel
Logo of the Lebanese al-Manar television channel

Lebanese al-Manar television channel says it will continue broadcasting after it was abruptly dropped by the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi based satellite communications operator Arabsat.

Speaking at a gathering of journalists, politicians, and other figures in the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Thursday, Ibrahim Farhat, al-Manar’s general manager, said the channel “will not be silenced by any arbitrary or unjust decision no matter who issues it.”

The remarks came almost one week after Arabsat, which provides services to 20 Arab countries, stopped broadcasting al-Manar, affiliated with the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah.

The Lebanese network said the move came after a participant on a live talk show criticized Saudi Zio-Wahhabi King Shalom in April.

Last month, Arabsat also suspended services to Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen TV.

In a statement published on Wednesday, Arabsat said it dropped the two stations, citing alleged breach of their contracts, which forbid broadcasting material that could spark sectarian strife as well as “insulting and slandering political and religious figures.” ???

Meanwhile, Mohammed Shirri, al-Manar presenter, described Arabsat’s move as “political,” adding, “The decision is against freedom and Lebanese sovereignty.”

Lebanon’s Information Minister Ramzi Joreige also accused Arabsat of breaching its contracts with al-Manar, al-Mayadeen and the Lebanese government, demanding compensation from the operator.

Hassan Fadlallah, the Lebanese lawmaker who heads the parliament’s media committee, further warned that action will be taken against Arabsat.

Al-Manar is currently being aired by Egypt-owned NileSat.

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War Against the People: a timely jolt to spur civil society action

NOVANEWS
Jeff Halper's book, War Against the People

Global pacification, the matrix of control and other nasties
By Stuart Littlewood

If you want something to scare the pants off you this Christmas ask Santa for this excellent book.

The author, Jeff Halper, is an American-Israeli Jew who trained as an anthropologist, joined the anti-Vietnam war movement and eventually moved to Israel. He is widely known to activists in the struggle for Palestinian freedom as the director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolition (ICAHD).This is an extraordinary organisation that resists the illegal Israeli occupation by often standing in the way of the bulldozers sent to destroy Palestinian homes, then rebuilding them – as a political act. Halper has been arrested eight times for civil disobedience towards demolition bulldozers. He was also arrested after breaking the sea blockade of Gaza.

ICAHD also provides education materials and organises study tours and fact-finding missions. It reports to the UN and works with other human rights groups “to present legal challenges to Israeli actions and policies in the occupied Palestine territory”.

The book paints a frightening picture of a largely unseen world of state-of-the-art nastiness.

More than 46,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished in the occupied territory since 1967, says ICAHD, and more than 120,000 in the entire country since 1948. ICAHD recently completed its 189th rebuild in a programme stretching back years and including many volunteers from around the world.

The book paints a frightening picture of a largely unseen world of state-of-the-art nastiness. Halper asks, for example, how the European Union’s continual upgrading of its relations with Israel, including the funding of a major weapons project through its Horizon 2020 programme, can be explained solely by guilt over the holocaust. How does one account for NATO’s designation of Israel as a major non-NATO ally? And how does Israel come to be accepted into the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the exclusive club of advanced economies, when its human rights record would normally exclude it?

Here is the story, in detail, of how Israel’s subjugation of the Palestinians and brutal occupation of their territory works to the huge benefit of the Zionist regime and to the advantage of its Western clients; and why the West is in no hurry to end Israel’s criminality and impunity.

The fact is, the illegal occupation represents an important resource. Firstly, it provides a testing ground for the development of weapons, security systems, models of population control and tactics. Secondly, being a major military power in its own right and able service other militaries and security services gives Israel an international status it wouldn’t otherwise enjoy. Without the occupation and the obscene programme of manipulation and experimentation on its captive Palestinians, how could Israel build up its unique know-how and sustain a strong international standing?

“Hybrid” wars

Halper also talks of “hybrid” wars and how, these days, major military powers are threatened by non-state actors who are mobile, able to access a wide range of weapons, are not confined to any particular battlefield and can wreak havoc in population centres far from their point of origin. “Irregular methods – terrorism, insurgency, unrestricted warfare, guerrilla war or coercion by narco-criminals – are increasing in both scale and sophistication and will challenge US security interests globally.”

These enemies are formless and do not adopt normal structures. Nor do they threaten directly the territory of major states but target their people, assets and way of life. They mingle with the population and are sometimes embedded in the fabric of society, and that is where the battle must be fought.

“The global pacification industry”

Halper also turns his spotlight on “the global pacification industry” and explains how Israel has developed niches in the pacification market in order to gain international status. Israel’s direct experience in conventional warfare with Arab countries and exercises with NATO, the US and others, its tangential involvement in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, and its long experience of irregular warfare with the Palestinians, has resulted in Israel producing an array of what Halper calls “securocratic” systems that puts them “at the table” with major arms companies and militaries.

Thanks to its involvement in the internal security operations of other countries Israel “has an unparalleled degree of securocratic reach throughout the world-system”.

Israel offers pacification solutions such as the matrix of control which it imposed on the Palestinians over 60 years ago and has sharpened ever since. This is reinforced by Israel’s well honed skills in propaganda and image control. The regime’s trick of reframing the narrative and casting itself as the victim defending against threats to its security while playing the aggressor is what Halper calls framing and lawfare. It breaks every rule in the international law book, but nobody seems to mind.

War Against the People looks inside Israel’s trade in military and security products and shows how these activities are converted into political clout. Thanks to its involvement in the internal security operations of other countries Israel “has an unparalleled degree of securocratic reach throughout the world-system”. How does Israel get away with it? asks Halper. Well, read his book to find out.

Strategic activism and counter-hegemony

Halper says activists now need to raise their game to the level of “counter-hegemony” and come up with a well-informed vision around which to mobilise an effective campaign. To this end he reveals that he’s involved in establishing an Institute for Strategic Activism to provide the infrastructure for counter-hegemony.

War Against the People exposes the evil intent behind Israel’s occupation and creeping annexation. It aims to arm activists with sufficient knowledge about global pacification and the way it supports the world-system for them to formulate an effective anti-security and counter-hegemony agenda.

This book is the ultimate antidote to Christmas. Read it while the good and the great in Western Christendom gorge themselves on Christmas fare without a single thought for the misery of the “little town of Bethlehem”…

I have twice visited Jeff Halper’s offices in Jerusalem and been taken on one of ICAHD’s “alternative” tours of occupation hot-spots to see first-hand the “irreversible facts on the ground” created by Israel’s demolition programme and squatter policy and the matrix of control at work. But none of this quite prepared me for the horror of Halper’s latest revelations.

This book is the ultimate antidote to Christmas. Read it while the good and the great in Western Christendom gorge themselves on Christmas fare without a single thought for the misery of the “little town of Bethlehem” which sits in tortured isolation, ringed by the soul-destroying ugliness of Israel’s 8-metre concrete separation wall with its gun towers, and the steel cattle-pen structures through which humiliated Muslims and Christians are forced to queue endlessly to reach the outside world. Those obscene barriers are necessary, so we’re told, to defend against threats to Israel’s precious “security”.

It is not difficult to imagine what a wretched Christmas awaits the starving, shivering children of Gaza, still living among the ruins of their bombed-out homes, and by communities right across the West Bank now fragmented and separated from friends and family by Israel’s merciless matrix of control. There is so much to learn about the hideous consequences of Israel’s occupation and theft of the Holy Land – before it’s too late.

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Children’s organisation faces major lawsuit in USA for child abuse

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Child Abuse - Eli-American Friends of the Israel Association for Child Protection

Marianne Azizi writes:

A USD 5 million lawsuit has been filed and accepted in the USA for child abuse in Israel.

This week Eti Ben Issachar filed a lawsuit against Eli-American Friends of the Israel Association for Child Protection and two co-defendants, Daphna Barak Erez and Michael Barak Nevo, demanding a trial by jury.

This is the second major lawsuit in as many months, and sources say there are more to come.

Last month a major lawsuit was filed and accepted in the US State of Oklahama to sue various organisations in Israel involved with the children of Marygold Collins, a British-Israeli mother of twins. Papers were duly served to all parties by hand or registered mail.

There has been an increase in lawsuits filed in the US, as well as petitions to the UN and other major legal actions in Israel itself, mainly regarding family laws, the closed courts and the lack of remedies inside Israel.

The Coalition for Children and Families in Israel (CCF Israel) has been three times to Geneva to ask for help in establishing an independent ombudsman for children’s rights.

More people are speaking up in Israel, and to date over 100 videos and testimonies have been recorded this year.

In the video below, family court lawyer Yaniv Moyal, who witnessed the despair of his clients, describes the corrupt nature of family law, welfare and policing in Israel.

His is one of many videos of lawyers and professionals speaking out to explain the situation.

Beware of strong language.

 

 

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Terrorism in America: ‘Obama narrowly defined it as an Islamic extremist event’

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By Liberation Staff
Terrorism in America: ‘Obama narrowly defined it as an Islamic extremist event’

The following is the transcript of an interview conducted by RT with Brian Becker, national coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition, on Dec. 7. Becker also appeared on RT’s “Cross Talk” the same day, along with two other panelists, in an episode entitled “Syria’s wheel of fortune.

On Sunday President Obama [delivered] a speech on how to defeat ISIS, while adding that the recent San Bernardino shooting was a terrorist act, calling for more effort to be made against extremist organizations.

RT: Recent polls show that more than half of Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of terror threats and specifically ISIL. Has his speech done anything to reassure them?

Brian Becker: This speech was noteworthy for what it did not say. It did not say that the primary force in Syria fighting ISIS is the Syrian Arab Army, the national army of Syria that has lost 65,000 – 80,000 men during the last four years. It did not take responsibility for the US role in fueling the conflict in Syria, and of course the war in Libya, both of which – along with the invasion and occupation in Iraq – gave the political space to ISIL. It did not mention that the Russia militarily intervened in Syria in a way that irreversibly changes the military dynamic and allows for an international coalition, and that the US government even to this day refuses to join with Russia and with the Syrian Arab Army in battling ISIL. So, all of the talk about ISIL being an existential threat, and at the same time omitting in the speech that there is actually a road map forward, that shows that the US government, Obama in particular, is still filled with so much imperial hubris that they can’t acknowledge that reality.

And also, he didn’t mention the attack on Planned Parenthood; he did not mention the terrorist attack in Charleston, where Dylann Roof killed black parishioners. Terrorism in America was narrowly defined to be Islamic extremism, when that is a very small minority portion of the terrorism that Americans are experiencing.

RT: Obama mentioned working with Turkey to seal its border with Syria, but also said the US will work with Russia. Do you see a contradiction here?

BB: Yes, of course, NATO’s eastern flank is Turkey now. Turkey is the second largest military inside of NATO; NATO is a US-led military alliance. What happens between Turkey and Russia, when Turkey shot down a Russian [fighter jet] and according to Turkey’s own accounts it was after the Russian [fighter jet] was in Turkish airspace for a total of 17 seconds. If that is in fact even the case, the US government obviously has responsibility for that.

Obama needs to find a way to stand up and say: “The Turkish government has right now the priority of attacking the Kurds.” If the US says that existential threat is ISIL, if ISIL is the real party, then there must be a congruence of interest with Russia and with the Syrian Arab Army to defeat that. And even though the rhetoric is shifted slightly by the Obama administration since the Vienna summit, the rhetoric is seeming more available for some sort of alliance, Obama won’t take responsibility for it, and he could have done that [last night] on national television and explain to the American people why there was an imperative need, but he won’t do that.

RT: Is there likely to be any significant changes in US foreign policy in the wake of the San Bernardino shooting?

BB: I think the Obama administration seems to be fairly hapless. It knows that the US policy has been an utter catastrophe. They funneled arms and money into the armed opposition groups, including ISIL, including The Army of Conquest, including al-Qaeda. They brought down the Libyan government before that in 2011. All of these actions created the political space for ISIL. ISIL grew up, Obama said: “Hey, they’re the JV team, we will contain them!” ISIL is not contained; they are striking Paris, bombing civilian airliners from the Sinai, blowing people up in Turkey, in the Southern suburbs of Lebanon, and inside the US.

The US is responsible for this fragmentation, but Obama seems as of yet unable to summon the will to say: “Yes, we will partner with the Syrian Arab Army, the main fighting force, the indispensable fighting force, if ISIS is to be defeated in Syria and of course to partner with Russia.” There seems to be a contradictory position, almost schizophrenia in US foreign policy as a consequence.

 

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U.S. sends special forces to Iraq

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U.S. sends special forces to Iraq

The United States is sending special operations troops to Iraq. Announcing the deployment, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced on Dec. 1 that the U.S. was deploying a “specialised expeditionary targeting force…This force will also be in a position to conduct unilateral operations into Syria.” Although Carter would not specify the number of troops, unidentified sources from the Obama administration have put the number at 200. The force being deployed is in addition to a previously announced deployment of 50 U.S. special operations troops in Syria.

The U.S. announcement met a strong objection by Iraq’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, who said: “There is no need for foreign ground combat forces in Iraqi territory” and that the deployment of such “ground combat forces (is) a hostile act.” He added, “The Iraqi government stresses that any military operation or presence of any foreign force, special or not, in any place in Iraq cannot be done without its approval and coordination with it.”

U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, claimed that the Iraqi government had received a briefing prior to Carter’s announcement of the deployment of the troops and that Washington would coordinate with Baghdad. “I can assure you that as the plans are developed, it will be in full consultation and with the full consent of the Iraqi government.”

Iraq’s prime minister is in a difficult position. In June 2014, ISIS captured Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, which it controls to this day. ISIS also controls the city of Ramadi, the capital of the Anbar province. Nearly 1/3 of Iraq is controlled by the Islamic State. Of course, Abadi wants to reclaim all of Iraq’s territory, but welcoming U.S. troops on its soil is something that evokes strong opposition from the people. The U.S. committed unspeakable crimes during its eight-year occupation of Iraq. The last thing that the Iraqi people want is another U.S. occupation, however much they may fear ISIS.

Prime Minister Abadi himself may not oppose the deployment of U.S. Special Forces, especially given the fact that Iraq’s military has proven to be an unreliable fighting force. This is not the military that fought the eight-year war with Iran. This is a military formed under U.S. occupation and organized and trained by the occupying forces. It lacks a true national identity and a resolve to fight. Iraq’s military lost Mosul and Ramadi essentially without a fight. Aside from the Peshmerga Kurdish militias, the only forces that have fought ISIS on the ground in Iraq have been the Shiite militias, based mainly in the south of the country. Two of the most powerful militias are Ketaeb Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq.

Responding to the news of the deployment of U.S. Special Forces, a Ketaeb Hezbollah spokesman said: “We will fight any foreign force, whether it belongs to the American coalition or another… We are determined to crush American soldiers if they are present in Iraqi territory.” Asaib Ahl al-Haq said Washington’s project was “to keep our country weak…We announce… our absolute rejection of this ill-fated project.”

U.S. strategy

On a visit to Baghdad, two Republican senators, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, on Nov. 29 called for U.S. force levels in Iraq to be increased to 10,000, with another 10,000 in Syria. Such calls have increased suspicions in Iraq of another U.S. occupation of their country being in the works.

McCain criticized the Obama administration for the deployment of only a limited force as representing “incrementalism” toward ISIS, saying that “It also indicates we don’t have a strategy.”

McCain’s criticism of the Obama administration is accurate. However, McCain and other Republicans do not really have a strategy either. While calling for more troops makes for stronger, more militaristic statements by politicians, it hardly shows a clear way for the U.S. to re-exert its lost hegemony over Iraq. Washington is dealing with the consequences of the abysmal failure of its “shock and awe” invasion and occupation of Iraq. In neighboring Syria, Washington is facing the defeat of its regime change strategy.

The fact that ISIS now controls so much territory in Iraq and Syria is the direct result of U.S. intervention. If it were not for the U.S. dismantling of the Iraqi state and military, ISIS would not exist today, much less control so much of Iraq. If it were not for the funding and arming of ISIS and other reactionary forces in Syria by the U.S. and its reactionary client states, ISIS would not control so much of Syria’s territory today. ISIS owes its existence to the U.S. dismantling of the Iraqi state and weakening of the Syrian state.

Serving corporate interests, Washington wanted to overthrow the independent state of Iraq and replace it with a market-friendly client state that would open its resources and markets to U.S. capital. It succeeded in overthrowing the Iraqi state at the cost of millions of Iraqi lives and thousands of U.S. troops. However, the new Iraqi state turned out to be neither stable, nor a reliable client. And now, the imperialist goal of a Middle East free of independence and resistance to imperialism is more elusive than ever before.

The U.S. anti-war movement needs to be vigilant against “incremental” increases in U.S. troop deployments escalating into an all-out re-occupation of Iraq, and possibly Syria. U.S. intervention is the root cause of the abyss that the people of Iraq and Syria find themselves in. Another U.S. occupation will not be the cure.

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Domestic terrorism: SFPD firing-squad execution of Mario Woods

NOVANEWS
By Nick Pardee
Domestic terrorism: SFPD firing-squad execution of Mario Woods

Protesters gather after community town hall meeting in the Bayview.

Photo: Mario Woods helpless and surrounded by SFPD firing-squad

In 2004 Mario Woods made a short documentary film in which he examined “the lack of resources in Hunters Point and its contribution to the overwhelming amount of violence that is currently taking place.” Eleven years later, in the very same Bayview Hunter’s Point district of San Francisco, Woods was executed by a San Francisco Police Department firing-squad of at least five officers who shot dozens of rounds at him from a few feet away.

Multiple videos of the murder have surfaced online and been shared widely. The killing has sparked justified outrage at a time when videos of murderous police terror have become commonplace in the mainstream news, forcing the issue into many people’s consciousness and heightening the struggle around it.

After the videos surfaced, a vigil was held to celebrate the life of Mario Woods at 3rd and Gilman in the Bayview district, at which hundreds of people gathered to honor Woods and be a part of the movement calling for justice.

Black Lives Matter Bay Area organizers took to the mic to give the community perspective on the killing. Rheema Calloway of BLM Bay Area stated, “We are here because there is a war against Black bodies here in San Francisco. It is a war that we’ve been fighting to where we only represent three percent of the population…There is no coincidence that the same time Mario was killed they were having a budget meeting about rebuilding the San Francisco police jail, and all that we represent, three percent of the population here in San Francisco, we are filling the jails, 56 percent. It’s no coincidence…We live in a city that does not care about the Black population. They don’t care about the homeless population…they’d rather increase the police to protect the new properties and the new families that are coming here. What about the people that have been in the Bayview for years?…We have supervisors and people in the city that should be ashamed of yourselves. The only reason why you come to the city right now is that people are dead…As a community we need to organize ourselves. City Hall is not gonna do it for us.”

Ronnishia Johnson of Black Lives Matter Bay Area echoed the theme of gentrification, saying, “What I want us to think about is that what happened to this young brother yesterday is a direct product of gentrification. We don’t often think about how the over-policing in our neighborhoods…stopping, frisking, harassing young Black men and the blatant murder of Black people in general is linked to these larger issues and systems of oppression.”

The community and family of Mario Woods immediately understood that the tactics of SFPD would be to demonize Woods and attack his character, in order to create a false narrative of officers fearing for their lives. Mario’s cousin Jeff spoke about these shameful tactics. He commented, “I’ve seen the post they put up about how he had a gang injunction. F— that gang injunction. Once you get put on that list you can’t get off it…All you gotta do is be hanging out on the street and they’ll slap you with a gang injunction. He was not a gang member. He hung out with people, oh well. I hang out with people. Everybody hangs out with people. That don’t mean you’re a gang member…All y’all seen that video, he was walking away, and I know him, I know why he was walking away. He just wanted to get away out of that situation. He wasn’t trying to hurt no police, he wasn’t trying to walk toward no police or be aggressive to nobody. He was probably trying to find someone he knew around here to help him get out of that situation.”

A solidarity statement regarding the malicious police murder of Laquan McDonald was also read by a Chicago organizer with the Progressive Labor Party. He spoke on the role of the police, saying, “We know that these police don’t serve and protect us. These police are here to serve and protect these bankers who are doing the gentrification in San Francisco, the same way they’re doing it in Chicago, the same way they did it in New York. If we ever want peace and security for our children we’re gonna have to get rid of capitalism, because that is what these police serve and protect.”

The ANSWER Coalition was among other organizations in solidarity that then joined the Bayview community in a march from the site of the vigil to a nearby church, where a town hall meeting was held with Woods’ family, his attorneys, and representatives of faith groups that spoke.

The next day, SFPD held a town hall meeting in the Bayview to unapologetically confront the community and justify their racist terror. Police Chief Greg Suhr has gone in front of multiple Bay Area communities to spew lies about the victims of police murder, and his actions can only be understood in the context of capitalist white supremacy that his badge-wielding thugs enforce in San Francisco. Earlier this year, Suhr fabricated details of the murder of Amilcar Perez-Lopez in the Mission by undercover SFPD officers. In 2014, he made the same case for the police murder of Alex Nieto in Bernal Heights.

At the town hall on December 4, Suhr presented a blown-up photo of a table knife and three still photographs of Mario Woods hunkered against a wall, to come to the absurd conclusion that he posed an imminent threat that could not be stopped.

The people were not fooled by Suhr. He was shouted down for his lies throughout the meeting and speakers made a point to show that there will be militant people-powered fightback against this blatant act of terrorism.

Elaine Brown, a former Black Panther Party member, remarked, “It is time for us to decide right now that we’re gonna be organized and we’re gonna take back these streets. And we’re not just gonna take them back from the police , we’re gonna have community control over what we have left of our communities…We have got to seize control of our own destinies. Do not keep begging these pigs for your own future, you’re gonna have to seize the future. So when we say “power to the people,” power to the people means we are the people, and we’re gonna take power into our own hands.”

Clarence Thomas, a representative of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10, told the crowd that the ILWU will be shutting down Bay Area ports on May Day 2016 as a national day of mourning for the lives lost to police murder. He elaborated, “When we had our last shutdown on May 1st, the police were very indignant, because they took exception to us referring to the killings of innocent Black people as the police reign of terror. Do you think that Mario Woods’ mother and family feel any different than the people who were killed in San Bernardino?”

Mario Woods’ execution happens at a point in time where terrorist acts by groups like ISIS are being used by capitalist ruling classes around the world to increase mass surveillance, violently repress dissent, and justify endless war, while the terrorist acts of white supremacists on Planned Parenthood clinics, Black and Muslim centers of worship, and poor and oppressed people in general are labeled as  individual cases of mentally ill “loners” lashing out.

President Obama has appeared on television in the wake of the Paris attacks and the mass shooting in San Bernardino to tell the public that the United
States will not be terrorized. When he says this, what he means is that the interests of the capitalist ruling class will not be threatened. Poor, working, and oppressed people are terrorized on a daily basis. If the so-called “War on Terror” was a campaign waged from the ground up by the people, then it would be capitalist cronies like Greg Suhr and Ed Lee that would be imprisoned after being tried for their crimes against the people.

Increasingly, video evidence is being leaked to the public that reveals the police to be organized terror groups that serve as occupying and gentrifying forces in our communities. They are gangsters for capitalism. They are servants of the political ruling class and the corporate interests behind them, and their loyal mouthpieces are people like Chief Suhr and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. In light of the execution of Mario Woods, the ANSWER Coalition demands that Chief Suhr be fired as an initial step in the movement for justice, which can only be won with the unified militant struggle of the people for revolutionary change.

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PSL statement on the Venezuelan election

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PSL statement on the Venezuelan election
The outcome of the December 6, 2015, National Assembly elections in Venezuela is a major victory for the right-wing forces of counter-revolution and U.S. imperialism, and a severe blow to the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and the Left in Latin America.

But it is not a historic defeat of the Left in the sense of the 1973 Pinochet/CIA coup in Chile or Hitler’s 1933 rise to power in Germany. In those and other counter-revolutions, the communist and socialist parties, labor unions and all progressive forces were crushed.

Despite its electoral defeat – in the midst of a severe economic crisis — the PSUV retains a strong mass base, the presidency and other important government positions on both national and state levels, and considerable support in the armed forces.

[Since this article was initially published, the opposition coalition, the “Democratic United Roundtable” (MUD), has won 109 of 167 seats in the National Assembly to 55 for the PSUV. Along with three Indigenous legislators who are aligned with the right wing, this secures the opposition a two-thirds majority, which gives them additional legislative powers.]

More than 50 national and regional parties belong to the MUD – including several with “socialism” or “green” in their names — but it is dominated by the COPEI (Christian democrats) and Acción Democratica (social democrats), the two historically dominant parties of the Venezuelan capitalist and upper middle classes. The MUD leaders have made it clear that they intend to overturn many of the social gains of the Bolivarian Revolution.

If the MUD wins at least 111 seats, it would be in a position to re-write the progressive Constitution approved by more than 78 percent of voters in 1999, and push for a referendum in 2016 to remove President Nicolás Maduro of the PSUV from office.

Maduro succeeded Hugo Chávez as president in 2013, following the late leader’s tragic death. Chávez first took office in 1999 and was the initiator of the Bolivarian Revolution that dramatically improved life for millions of poor people inside the country and elevated the anti-imperialist struggle in Latin America.

In his speech following the December 6 election, Maduro pledged to continue the struggle.

“The opposition hasn’t won, a counterrevolution has won . . . We have lost a battle today but the fight for a new socialism has barely begun,” said Maduro. “We see this as a slap to wake us up to act . . . We lost a battle, but the struggle for socialism and a new society begins now . . . It is time for a rebirth.”

Diosdado Cabello, president of the National Assembly, and First Vice-president of PSUV, said in statement:

“Pain and sorrow was losing our Eternal Commander [Chávez]. Losing the election was simply a stumble. We   must learn from the errors and move forward . . . In difficult times we raise the flags of Bolivar and     Chavez to learn from them. We are unconquerable Bolivarians and Chavistas.”

In a message to Maduro, Cuban President Raúl Castro wrote, “I am sure there are new victories to come for the Bolivarian and Chavista Revolution under your leadership. We will always be with you.”

The Bolivarian Revolution and its impact

The outcome of the struggle in Venezuela has great importance for all of Latin America, which is why the U.S., long the dominant power in the region, has been pulling out all stops in its campaign to bring down the PSUV government.

In 2004, Chavez and Cuban President Fidel Castro announced the launching of the Bolivarian Alliance for Latin America, which promoted coordination in economy, social development, culture, science and more between their two countries. In the years that followed, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and several of the Caribbean island states joined. Governments oriented toward independent development in Latin America were elected in Brazil, Argentina and more.

These developments were viewed in Washington as a dire threat to U.S. hegemony over the region. The Obama administration has worked long and hard to undermine progressive and socialist governments and the Left in general across the region. The U.S. has supported the recent election of the right-wing, pro-imperialist Macri in Argentina — after months of destabilizing campaigns which weakened President Cristina Fernández’s presidency — and the move to impeach Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff of the Workers Party in Brazil as part of this effort.

The State Department, the so-called National Endowment for Democracy and other U.S. agencies have sent tens of millions of dollars and other forms of assistance to build up and organize the opposition in Venezuela. The U.S. has also imposed economic sanctions that have exacerbated the economic crisis in the country.

Venezuela has the largest-known oil reserves of any country in the world, and oil accounts for 95 percent of the country’s exports. Before Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution, U.S. and British oil companies reaped enormous profits with minimal royalties paid to Venezuela. Meanwhile, 80 percent of the people lived in poverty.

That all changed under the Bolivarian revolutionary government. Oil revenues were used to fund a vast array of social program, including nutrition, housing, healthcare, employment, education, literacy, childcare and more. Extreme poverty was reduced from 21 percent to 5 percent.

The drastic drop in world oil prices from over $130 to under $40 per barrel, something over which the government had no control, was a fundamental cause of Venezuela’s economic crisis and soaring inflation. Hardest hit were the poor and recently poor who had been the main beneficiaries and supporters of the Bolivarian revolutionary process, causing significant demoralization and demobilization among the Chavista base.

Another key factor in the inflationary crisis was the hoarding of consumer goods, massive currency theft and flight of capital engaged in by the biggest corporate enterprises in the country.

Socialism and revolution in Venezuela

The capitalist media and politicians in the U.S. commonly and falsely refer to Maduro, as they did to Chavez before him, as a “dictator,” despite the fact that this was the 20th national election – counting presidential, legislative, constitutional and referendum elections — in the country in the past 17 years. Most of the media remains in the hands of the right-wing, and played a key role in the MUD victory.

In fact, what is most needed in Venezuela is the rule of the working class; in Marxist terms, the dictatorship of the proletariat. In Venezuela, the progressive and pro-socialist forces of Chavismo hold the reins of government and have a strong influence in the military, but the power of the Venezuelan capitalist class has not been defeated. There is a kind of dual power in the country, two competing centers of power that represent opposing class interests.

Contrary to capitalist propaganda, the dictatorship of the proletariat — or to put it in another way, workers’ democracy — is the most democratic form of class rule  because it represents the interests of the vast majority of society. Here in the supposedly “democratic” USA, we live under the dictatorship of the big capitalists — a tiny minority — who own all the productive wealth and decide what to do with it in their interests, not ours. Accompanying their economic power is an increasingly repressive state and mass incarceration.

The Bolivarian Revolution has been a great step forward for the people of Venezuela, Cuba and all of Latin America. The leaders have announced their intention to build a socialist society. We fully support them.

But the only way that the working class can actually take power is through a socialist revolution that “expropriates the expropriators” – that seizes the factories, banks, natural resources, means of distribution, and so on, most of which is in the hands of a tiny minority, the capitalist class. Such a revolution would break up the old state apparatus and fully consolidate power. A thoroughgoing socialist revolution is the only way that the productive wealth of society can be used to meet the needs of the people rather than enriching the few.

The leadership of the Bolivarian Revolution has had to function under the real conditions at hand. They have made great advances and contributions.  It seems clear that neither Maduro, nor Chavez before him, believed that the requisite conditions had yet come into existence for carrying out such a revolution.

A socialist revolution cannot take place without society entering into a revolutionary situation or crisis, and revolutionary crises cannot be wished into being. They occur outside the control of either the ruling class or revolutionaries.

The Russian revolutionary leader Lenin described the conditions that bring about a revolutionary situation in a famous 1915 pamphlet, “The Collapse of the Second International.”

“(1) When it is impossible for the ruling classes to maintain their rule without any change; when there is a crisis, in one form or another, among the “upper classes,” a crisis in the policy of the ruling class, leading to a fissure through which the discontent and indignation of the oppressed classes burst forth. For a revolution to take place, it is usually insufficient for “the lower classes not to want” to live in the old way; it is also necessary that “the upper classes should be unable” to live in the old way;

(2) When the suffering and want of the oppressed classes have grown more acute than usual;

(3) when, as a consequence of the above causes, there is a considerable increase in the activity of the masses…”

There have been many revolutionary situations in history that did not result in a socialist revolution succeeding, but there are no instances of such a revolution taking place where societies have not entered into an acute crisis.

“It is not every revolutionary situation that gives rise to a revolution; revolution arises only out of a situation in which the above-mentioned objective changes are accompanied by a subjective change,” Lenin wrote, “namely, the ability of the revolutionary class to take revolutionary mass action strong enough to break (or dislocate) the old government, which never, not even in a period of crisis, “falls,” if it is not toppled over.”

It is entirely possible that in the coming period the newly ascendant right-wing — which includes fascist elements — could, in its rabid desire to dismantle the Bolivarian Revolution, over-reach and engender a mass militant response. It would not be the first time in history that the “lash of the counter-revolution” drove a revolution forward.

The struggle over the future of Venezuela is now entering a new and entirely unpredictable phase, the outcome of which will be of tremendous importance for Venezuela, Latin America and the world.  All those who stand for revolutionary internationalism must stand in solidarity with the Venezuelan revolutionaries at this critical time.

Posted in VenezuelaComments Off on PSL statement on the Venezuelan election

Terrorism and some hard truths

NOVANEWS
US gun culture

By Lawrence Davidson

World War on Islamic State

I was waiting for a doctor’s appointment with only the magazine rack for company. I usually don’t pay much attention to news magazines, seeing as how the range of politically acceptable points of view are pretty narrow in such sources. However, with time on my hands, I picked up Time magazine (30 November – 7December issue), the cover of which announced, “World War on ISIS”.

I focused on a particularly interesting (and mercifully short) piece on this topic entitled,ISIS will strike America”. No doubt millions of readers will focus on this bit of prognostication. It is written by Michael Morell, former Deputy Director of the CIA. Morrell begins by telling us he has been an intelligence officer for 33 years and in that capacity his job is to “describe for a president threats we face as a nation” and then “look the president in the eye when his policies are not working and say so”. Given that Morrell managed the staff that produced George W. Bush’s briefings, one wonders if he ever practised what he preached.

…comparing attacks which have possible radical Islamic connections to the almost weekly gun-related attacks in schools, health clinics, court houses, movie theatres, domestic scenes and various street corner venues, we still have a very long way to go before Islamic State becomes our number one source of domestic violence.

In any case, Morrell now figuratively looks his readers in the eyes and tells them that “ISIS poses a threat to the homeland” through “its ability to radicalise young Americans [why just the young?] to conduct attacks here”. In truth, this potentiality has been known for years and various police agencies and the FBI have even been involved in setting up various entrapment schemes to prove the point. One might assume that they had to do this to counter the fact that an American’s chance of being harmed by Muslim terrorists is less than his or her chance of being struck by lightning.

Nonetheless, the probability of Morrell’s prediction coming true is certainly not zero, as the massacre in San Bernardino demonstrates. Yet, comparing attacks which have possible radical Islamic connections to the almost weekly gun-related attacks in schools, health clinics, court houses, movie theatres, domestic scenes and various street corner venues, we still have a very long way to go before Islamic State becomes our number one source of domestic violence. However, Morrell does not put his “threat assessment” in this context – either to his reading audience or, one can assume, to the presidents with whom he has made eye contact.

Republican presidential candidates

I have the uncomfortable feeling that every Republican presidential candidate has also read this edition of Time magazine, because suddenly they are all aping the cover page’s battle cry of “World War on ISIS”.

The trigger here is the recent tragedy in San Bernardino, California. According to the New York Times (NYT) of 5 December 2012, the San Bernardino attack has taken a “diffused and chaotic” Republican campaign and “reordered” it around the threat of Islamic terrorism. Thus, Chris Christie of New Jersey pronounced that “Our nation is under siege… What I believe is we’re facing the next world war.” Ted Cruz of Texas said, “This nation needs a wartime president.” Jeb Bush of Florida, sounding a lot like his brother (whose foreign policy incompetence started this epoch with the US invasion of Iraq), described “Islamic terrorism” as “having declared war on us” and being “out to destroy our way of life” while “attacking our freedom”.

In the same 5 December issue of the NYT, James Comey, Director of the FBI, said that the San Bernardino massacre “investigation so far has developed indications of radicalisation [of] the killers and of potential inspiration by foreign terrorist organisations”. Actually, it sounds as if something is missing here. Certainly, the husband-and-wife team who carried out the attack were seriously agitated and had built for themselves a small arsenal of firearms and bombs. However, according to the FBI, there is “no evidence that the killers were part of a larger group or terrorist cell”. Only late in this game, on the day of the attack, did one of the killers “pledge allegiance to the Islamic State in a Facebook post”.

So, it might be useful to ask if there were personal grievances that disaffected them and then, later, a “radicalisation” process supplied additional justification for their acts? None of these fine points will mean much on the national stage.The Republicans are in full apocalyptic exaggeration mode and no doubt the Democrats will soon be swept along.

Guns

In truth, there is a dual nature to the present “threat against the homeland”. The first and major aspect of the threat is the utterly insane nature of the country’s gun laws (or lack thereof), which allows practically every adult to arm him or herself to the teeth. The claim that it is access to all manner of assault weapons that keeps us all safe in our homes defies common sense and really constitutes an example of Orwellian doublespeak. In my estimation there is no organisation in the world, including Islamic State, more dangerous to American society than the National Rifle Association which insists that we all still live in some variant of the Wild West.

Of course, the Republicans dismiss the gun issue out of hand. Marco Rubio of Florida made the comment: “As if somehow terrorists care about what our gun laws are. France has some of the strictest gun laws in the world and they have no problem acquiring an arsenal to kill people.”

Actually, Rubio is wrong about France. If you want to see strict gun control you have to go to the UK, Canada, Japan or Australia (none of which, incidentally, prohibit hunting weapons). Of course, he is correct that terrorists don’t care about gun laws. However, his definition of who is a terrorist is woefully inadequate.

In my estimation there is no organisation in the world, including Islamic State, more dangerous to American society than the National Rifle Association which insists that we all still live in some variant of the Wild West.

Rubio and his fellow Republicans think that terrorism is only the violence associated with Islamic radicals, but that is just nonsense. Try to put yourself in the minds of those being attacked. If you are a child in a classroom or student on a college campus, a doctor or nurse in a health clinic, a judge and other official in a courtroom, a patron in a movie theatre, or someone in any of a hundred other public and private American venues being shot up in ever more frequent episodes, does the religion or ideology of the attacker matter, in any way, to the terror you feel? No. And it wouldn’t matter to Mr Rubio either if he found himself a victim.

So, here is the truth of the matter: the ubiquitous presence of guns suffuses our society with the constant potential for terrorist violence (and the US being one of the largest gun merchants to dubious governments abroad does much to transfer the potential throughout the world). The motivation of the one who triggers this violence is irrelevant to the terror it releases. The result is indeed an epidemic of terrorism in the United States that needs to be addressed, but that cannot be done by singling out Islamic State. All that can do is make things worse by directing public concern against the least of the factors endangering them.

Nonetheless, that is what the politicians will do. They will take up the cry of Islamic terrorism because it frees them from any immediate need to take on the real – and politically dangerous – problem of gun control. Most of them are cowards when it comes to hard truths and the difficult need to lay them convincingly before the public. It is always more expedient to rile the masses than educate them.

Conclusion

Much of the present breast-beating over Islamic terrorism is politically motivated exaggeration. Yet, even here the US government will not do much other than spy on its own citizens with ever greater intensity. To really make the US safe from Middle East terrorism, Washington will have to dump Israel, play hardball with Saudi Arabia, and swear off the regime-change policy that has so disastrously driven its actions in Iraq, Libya and Syria.

Even if by some political magic we are able to get rid of Islamic State and its propaganda, we would still face domestically bred terrorism. And this, of course, is the nature of the vast majority of our mass violence and mayhem. The fault is in ourselves, be it with economic inequality, recurring racism, xenophobia or just a pervasive culture of callousness ameliorated by nothing better than scattered volunteerism and a constant demand for charity. And behind it all is what the New York Times now calls “the gun epidemic” – an epidemic that weaponises a society that seems incapable of dealing with its own failures.

Posted in Middle East, USAComments Off on Terrorism and some hard truths

Turkish jets strike Kurdish positions in Iraq amid rising tension between Ankara & Baghdad

NOVANEWS
Image result for Turkish jets CARTOON
RT 

Ankara carried out airstrikes targeting Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) forces in northern Iraq, the Turkish army said on Wednesday. The action comes in the wake of rising tensions between Ankara and Baghdad over the deployment of Turkish troops in Iraq.

Ten F-16 fighter jets launched an attack between 10pm and 10:50pm on Tuesday, targeting PKK positions in the Kandil, Hakurk, Zap and Avasin-Baysan regions in northern Iraq, the Turkish General Staff said in a statement. It added that the targets were “destroyed in an aerial campaign.”

Tensions have been rising between Ankara and Baghdad after Turkey deployed hundreds of troops equipped with tanks and artillery to Iraq’s northern Nineveh Governorate last Thursday, saying they will train forces battling Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

Baghdad said it had not asked for the help of Turkish forces, and demanded their withdrawal after it said Turkey had “illegally” sent the troops into Iraq. Describing the move as a violation of sovereignty, the Iraqi government also asked NATO to intervene.

Meanwhile, Shiite paramilitary groups have threatened to use force against Turkey unless it pulls its forces out of Iraq. Likening the Turkish incursion to the occupation of Iraq by IS militants, Badr Brigade spokesman Karim al-Nuri said “all options” were available.

“We have the right to respond and we do not exclude any type of response until the Turks have learned their lesson,” Nuri said on Wednesday. “Do they have a dream of restoring Ottoman greatness? This is a great delusion and they will pay dearly because of Turkish arrogance.”

Also on Wednesday, the Iraqi parliament unanimously approved a motion condemning the Turkish intervention, supporting the government in taking whatever measures it viewed as appropriate.

Russia raised the issue at a meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday, expressing hope that Ankara will avoid escalating the situation in the region with any further reckless actions. Following the meeting, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said that Moscow expects Ankara to “settle the situation in Iraq in a way that would satisfy the Iraqi government.”

“Now the situation is within the focus of the attention of the Security Council, so we hope it will help resolve [it] to the satisfaction of the Iraqi government, whose sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence will be respected,” he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov slammed Ankara’s actions while speaking to Italian media on Wednesday.

Lavrov proposed a thorough examination of how Turkey performs goals set by the coalition in Syria. “We need to examine how a member of the US-led coalition – the Republic of Turkey – performs goals set by the coalition,” the minister said. “Why is it not bombing terrorists as such, but the Kurds instead?”

On Wednesday, Ankara argued that Turkish soldiers were sent to northern Iraq after a threat from IS to Turkish military trainers in the area. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that the deployment was an act of solidarity, not aggression.

“The [military] trainers in the Bashiqa camp were threatened by Daesh (Islamic State) because it is 15-20 kilometers from Mosul and they have only light arms,” he told media in Istanbul. “So when these threats increased… we sent some troops to protect the camp, not as an act of aggression but as an act of solidarity.”

Posted in Iraq, TurkeyComments Off on Turkish jets strike Kurdish positions in Iraq amid rising tension between Ankara & Baghdad

Britain out of Syria; Victory to Assad!

NOVANEWS
Search Proletarian search
The British imperialist forces’ bombing of Syria is a crime that workers must take no part in. British bombs in Syria are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Issued by: CPGB-ML

Issued on: 12 December 2015

Download this statement as a leaflet

A war of intervention has now been raging in Syria for nearly five years. This war is being fought by imperialism through its proxies, which include a handful of local Syrian crazed fundamentalists alongside nearly 100,000 foreign – including European – jihadis. 

These fighters have been unleashed by imperialism with the aim of overthrowing the legitimate, sovereign and independent government of the Syrian Arab Republic. So far, more than a quarter of a million Syrians, including nearly 100,000 soldiers, have died in the conflict.

The war in Syria is not, as some will have us believe, the result of ‘mistaken policies’ by western governments. It is a product of imperialism’s relentless drive for world domination – of monopoly capitalism’s insatiable drive to maximise profit by controlling raw materials, markets and avenues for profitable investment. 

Any government that pursues an economic or foreign policy that stands in the way of this drive for domination makes itself a candidate for overthrow in the eyes of the free-market fundamentalists in Washington, London, Paris and elsewhere.

Syria’s independent government has been an obstruction to this agenda for decades, and the US has invested huge resources in various attempts to create the conditions for ousting it. Former head of the US Defence Intelligence Agency, retired Lt Gen Michael T Flynn, has admitted that the US government took a “wilful decision” to create and nurture terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS) for use in such campaigns all over the Middle East and beyond. 

Since 2011, the Obama regime alone has sent more than $7.7bn worth of ‘military aid’ to the jihadis in Syria. US regional proxies and allies Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have all joined it in providing funding, training, safe havens and logistical support. 

The road to Tehran runs through Damascus

Ruling circles in the US have been preparing the ground for Syria’s destruction for many years. Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, has emphasised the need to “deconstruct” Syria to serve US interests, for only through such ‘deconstruction’ will the US achieve the next vital step in its regional domination plans: regime change in Iran. 

In 2009, O’Hanlon detailed the steps the US would need to take to achieve this goal. Before attacking Iran, he said, both Hizbollah and Syria would need to be eliminated. 

This report was not just an academic exercise: the Brookings Institute is backed by giant finance, armaments, oil and other monopolies, including JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, General Electric, Exxon, BP, Shell, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Comcast, Google, Facebook, Verizon, AT&T, Pepsi and Coca Cola. 

These monopoly corporations have a stranglehold over the imperialist governments, and are the driving force behind wars both in Syria and in the entire region stretching from the Middle East through Central Asia to the borders of the Russian Federation – all in the interests of grabbing mineral resources, markets and investment opportunities.

In the pursuit of domination, there is no crime that imperialism will not commit; no cruelty it will not stoop to; no mean method to which it will not resort. Through its jihadi proxies in Syria, it has been responsible for the murder of more than a quarter of a million Syrians and the displacement of 11 million more, five million of whom have been forced to flee the country. 

Some of these unfortunate victims are now turning up in Europe as refugees, there to be met with suspicion and hostility. In their desperate attempts to reach the safety of Europe, more than 3,000 refugees have lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea.

Russian intervention and Paris bombing

Two events have had a dramatic and transformational effect on the war in Syria. The first has been Russia’s intervention on the side of the Syrian government. At Syria’s invitation, the Russian air force started bombing jihadi targets on 30 September – with devastating effects on the terrorists’ infrastructure, bases and hideouts, ammunition dumps, oil exporting facilities and training camps. 

Closely coordinating with these aerial attacks, the Syrian army has advanced successfully into many areas that had been occupied by jihadi outfits such as IS and Jabhat al-Nusra. This joint effort has in two months inflicted more defeats on the jihadis than did US bombers in over a year.

The reason for the Russian/Syrian successes and the imperialists’ failure is simple: while the Russian/Syrian side is genuinelyengaged in a fight to destroy the jihadis, the imperialist invasion force, while pretending to fight against the terrorists, hasactually been focusing on its decades-old policy of regime change in Syria. 

Since only the terrorist groups (albeit with the support of imperialism and its stooge Gulf regimes) have the potential to overthrow the Syrian government, their destruction would undermine completely the imperialists’ aims. That is why, after a year of the US’s ‘fight against IS’, Syrians were reporting that the terrorists had actually grown stronger, not weaker.

Meanwhile, the only forces on the ground capable of defeating the terrorists are those of the Syrian army, which enjoys mass popular support and is under the command of the sovereign and legitimate government of Syria, headed by President Bashar al-Assad. 

And this is precisely what the Syrian army is doing, in close cooperation with the Russian air force. The Russian sorties have rattled imperialism and exposed its ‘anti-terrorist’ operations for what they really are – a PR exercise and a cover for the illegal destruction of Syrian civilian infrastructure. 

Recently, the Washington Post was obliged to report: “Posters of Putin are popping up on cars and billboards in parts of Syria and Iraq, praising the Russian military intervention in Syria as one that will redress the balance of power in the region. The Russian leader is winning accolades from many in Iraq and Syria who see Russian air strikes in Syria as a turning point after more than a year of largely ineffectual efforts by the US-led coalition to dislodge Islamic State militants.” 

This article was later removed from the paper’s website.

The second of these events was the coordinated jihadi onslaught in Paris on 13 November, which killed 129 innocent people and wounded another 350. 

This caused such an outrage in France and elsewhere that the imperialist powers were dragged into effecting (no matter how insincerely) a change of front. Having poured scorn on Russia’s President Vladimir Putin for years, the leaders of the US, Germany, Britain and France were suddenly queuing up to meet him and to seek his advice.

The result of all this has been a deep split in the imperialist camp between those who still wish to prioritise regime change in Syria and those who consider terrorism to be the greater danger. Through the force of events, and of public pressure demanding a serious fight against terrorism, the latter camp is presently gaining strength. 

As a result of the Russian intervention and the Paris massacre, imperialism is on the back foot, while the Russian government and parliament (duma) are setting the agenda. On 17 November, the duma approved a resolution calling for solidarity with all nations that have suffered attacks, and for the creation of an international anti-terror coalition, modelled on the anti-Nazi coalition created during the second world war.

This resolution listed IS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other such outfits as terrorist groups and called for the elimination of all sources of financial support for them, including funding through stolen and smuggled oil and antiquities (trades that have been openly facilitated by Turkey, the US and others). 

The duma’s legislators reminded “their foreign colleagues that Russia had repeatedly warned the international community about the dangers that came with destabilising the Middle East by nations that seek global dominance, first of all the United States”. 

Such a coalition, however, would only have validity – and only have any chance of being effective in its mission – if its members focused solely on carrying out targeted actions against terror groups in coordination with the government and people of the countries concerned – whether in Syria, Iraq or elsewhere. 

By contrast with such a coordinated, agreed effort, the presence of Nato forces in Syria today is in total violation of the wishes of the Syrian people and government, and Nato’s hostile actions there are in total contravention of international law.

The events in Paris have shone a spotlight on the imperialist powers’ collusion with murderous jihadi gangs. Nearly all the jihadis involved in the Paris massacre were home-grown fundamentalists from France and Belgium, who, despite being known to the security services, were able to travel freely between Europe and Syria. 

In fact, while they were acting as stooges of imperialism in the fight to overthrow the Syrian government, they were seen as ‘good’ jihadis and were facilitated in their crimes.

These mercenaries were brainwashed through Saudi Arabia’s mediaeval, fundamentalist brand of Islam (wahhabism) in mosques built with Saudi money and facilitated by imperialist governments, so it is entirely hypocritical for the representatives of imperialism now to feign shock and horror over the actions and ‘values’ of the very terrorists they themselves have brought into existence and nurtured with such tender, loving care.

British bombs – part of the problem

Meanwhile, the British parliament has voted to join the imperialist invading forces in Syria, enabled in no small part by our great ‘anti-war leader’ Jemermy Corbyn, who granted the rabidly pro-imperialist Parliamentary Labour Party a free vote on the question

Corbyn had been a lonely voice in verbally ‘opposing’ the bombing of Syria, but, in practice, his opposition amounted to precisely nothing, since granting a free vote to his MPs meant facilitating the very thing he claimed to be ‘taking a stand’ against. 

As everyone knew, a free vote for Labour MPs meant that Syrian civilians and Syrian infrastructure would soon be being bombed by the RAF. Indeed, the planes were on the runway before the debate was over, and their first target was, predictably, a Syrian oil refinery.

So it was that Stop the War’s former chair effectively gave a green light for war to be unleashed, confirming Britain’s peculiar status as a country where the anti-war movement is controlled by the very people waging war. 

Fearing mass resignations from the shadow cabinet, and despite a clear warning from Syria’s president that British military action in Syria would be unlawful and uninvited, Corbyn put his own political ambition and party politicking above the lives of the Syrian people, betraying workers everywhere in the service of Britain’s imperialist rulers. 

This betrayal will not be enough to lose Corbyn the support of his fake-left fanclub, of course. Praise of his ‘long game’ is already emerging. And, as has historically been the case, this game is being played with the lives of Johnny Foreigner. 

But, given the knife edge on which events are presently turning in Syria, the blood price may ultimately be paid by British workers, too, and far sooner than we might imagine, if we continue to allow ourselves to be sucked into the vortex of a third world war.

British workers need to understand what neither the imperialist ruling class nor our servile trade-union and anti-war leaders will tell us, which is that, unlike the Nato invaders, Russia was invited by Syria’s popular government to support its army and people. Russia is wanted in Syria; it is trusted by Syrians. 

Russia is helping target all terrorist groups that are attacking Syria’s people and trying to overthrow their elected government; Nato targets only those it cannot control. Russia is invested in the national independence of a free, secular, sovereign Syria; Nato wishes to destroy all vestiges of Syrian independence.

Despite these facts, Stop the War continues to parrot a nonsensical ‘neither Nato nor Moscow’ line, informing us that: “Stop the War has made clear its opposition to all foreign military intervention in the Middle East, including Vladimir Putin’s.” StW’s leaders stubbornly refuse to recognise that Syria’s invitation to Russia is an expression of the Syrian people’s self-determination – something they have repeatedly claimed they wish to see!

We in the CPGB-ML are clear, however: the request for help by the legitimate Syrian government to its trusted ally is to be welcomed, and can in no way be put on a par with the illegal and aggressive bombing campaigns of Nato imperialism. 

Whatever the outcome of Russia’s present efforts to assemble an international coalition against terrorism, in the final analysisall war, including wars waged using reactionary proxy forces, can only be ended by the successful overthrow of imperialism – this bloody system that has for so long subjected humanity to the torments of war, hunger, racism, poverty and disease. 

There is no other way out of the cycle of imperialist wars, which make way for the imperialist bandits’ ‘peace’, and which in turn merely prepare the ground for yet more imperialist wars.

Victory to the Syrian people; death to imperialism!

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