Category Archives: American Party of Labor

American Party of Labor on John Brown

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Taken from the A.P.L. Facebook page.

On the morning of December 2nd, 1859, abolitionist fighter John Brown was hanged. One of the leaders of the left-wing abolitionist movement and participant in the Underground Railroad, Brown came to realize that the institution of slavery could not be ended by peaceful means, and that such oppression had to be fought with force. He formed a militia of black and white people dedicated to striking against slaveholders in the hopes of sparking a slave uprising and insurrection to overthrow slavery in the United States.

In 1855-56, Brown organized successful armed struggles against slaveowners and pro-slavery militias in Bleeding Kansas. He planned to create a Free Republic in the Allegheny Mountains as a base for the fight against slavery, even composing a draft provisional constitution. Brown and 18 of his men raided a federal armory in Harper’s Ferry on Oct. 16, 1859, meaning to use the weapons to arm slaves, but the raid failed. Brown’s men were almost completely annihilated by U.S. Marines commanded by Robert E. Lee, as well as pro-slavery farmers and militiamen. Two of Brown’s sons were killed and Brown himself was wounded and captured.

In his speech to the court at his trial and sentencing, John Brown spoke these powerful words:

“Had I interfered in the manner which I admit, and which I admit has been fairly proved (for I admire the truthfulness and candor of the greater portion of the witnesses who have testified in this case), — had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf of any of their friends – either father, mother, sister, wife, or children, or any of that class – and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this interference, it would have been all right; and every man in this court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment. […] Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I say, let it be done.”

After his trial and execution, John Brown went down in history as a martyr and a fighter for liberation. Brown’s rebellion immediately preceded the American Civil War of 1861-65, and was one of the first open challenges to slavery.

John Brown’s legacy lies with millions of people who have given their lives to struggle against human bondage, against crushing systems of stratification, and against the gravest crimes of exploitation.

American Party of Labor: William I. Robinson’s Global Theory of Capitalism – The Problems of Transnational Class and State

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Globalization has become a subject of the utmost interest in recent decades. With the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the rise of capitalist hegemony in its most sincere form, some have argued for an “end of history” in which international capitalism reigns supreme, lead by the the United States, the chief victor of the Cold War. Others have articulated this differently.

William I. Robinson argues that the theoretical understanding of imperialism asserted by V.I. Lenin and upheld by other 20th century Marxists is insufficient for understanding the current state of affairs in modern global capitalist society. Rather, he asserts that a new theory which takes into account a negation of the nation-state as the main vehicle for advancing the cause of capital and fulfilling the profit ends of regional capitalists. He argues that the contradictions within capitalism are being globalized; that nation-states and national capitalists are being integrated into a larger transnational class and state.

It must be noted, however, that Robinson is not the first to make such an argument. Other theorists have made similar arguments in which the old notions of imperialism are replaced with more “global” perspectives which perceive the contradictions within capitalist nation-states taking place globally. These hypotheses would later lead those theorists and their adherents to anti-Marxist, anti-scientific conclusions which would render their theories less useful for a concrete understanding of capitalism on the world stage. There are problems which arise in trying to haphazardly apply intra-national contradictions in an international way. We will examine Robinson’s theory of global capitalism and using similar attempts at assessing capitalism internationally we will argue that the concepts of a “transnational capitalist class” and transnational state are problematic.

In his book, A Theory of Global Capitalism: Production, Class, and State in a Transnational World, Robinson argues that an epochal shift is occurring in capitalism in which the rise of transnational production is leading to the construction of a transnational capitalist class (TCC) and a transnational state (TNS). This theoretical understanding would, at first blush, seem eerily similar to one put forward by Karl Kautsky at the beginning of the century. Kautsky, on the eve of the First World War, argued

“From the purely economic standpoint… there is nothing further to prevent this violent explosion finally replacing imperialism by a holy alliance of the imperialists” (Kautsky, 1914).

This state of affairs is what he referred to as “Ultra Imperialism.”

Vladimir Lenin puts forward a different view in his work Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism:

“The capitalists divide the world, not out of any particular malice, but because the degree of concentration which has been reached forces them to adopt this method in order to obtain profits. And they divide it ‘in proportion to capital’, ‘in proportion to strength’, because there cannot be any other method of division under commodity production and capitalism. But strength varies with the degree of economic and political development. In order to understand what is taking place, it is necessary to know what questions are settled by the changes in strength. The question as to whether these changes are ‘purely’ economic or non-economic (e.g., military) is a secondary one, which cannot in the least affect fundamental views on the latest epoch of capitalism. To substitute the question of the form of the struggle and agreements (today peaceful, tomorrow warlike, the next day warlike again) for the question of the substance of the struggle and agreements between capitalist associations is to sink to the role of a sophist” (Lenin 1916).

Given the continuation of inter-imperialist conflicts throughout the 20th century, Kautsky’s theory has ultimately ended up in history’s dustbin. It is for this reason that Robinson took the time to briefly mention Kautsky and to separate his theory from “Ultra Imperialism” by saying

“My theory differs sharply from Kautsky’s in a number of ways that I cannot take up here except to note that competition has driven capitalist dynamics and will continue to do so” (Robinson 61).

He then goes on to describe how competition on an international scale has lead to mergers and acquisitions across state lines. Nevertheless this is insufficient, because Robinson ignores the issue of inter-imperialist warfare. Has capitalism evolved beyond wars between imperialist powers? Kautsky’s theory would seem to answer in the affirmative and, in a sense, Robinson’s does as well.

Another theoretical outlook which deserves to be examined in comparison to Robinson’s is Lin Biao’s. In his pamphlet Long live the Victory of People’s War! the Chinese politician Lin Biao wrote:

“Taking the entire globe, if North America and Western Europe can be called ‘the cities of the world’, then Asia, Africa and Latin America constitute ‘the rural areas of the world’. Since World War II, the proletarian revolutionary movement has for various reasons been temporarily held back in the North American and West European capitalist countries, while the people’s revolutionary movement in Asia, Africa and Latin America has been growing vigorously. In a sense, the contemporary world revolution also presents a picture of the encirclement of cities by the rural areas” (Lin Biao 1965).

Lin Biao, in an attempt to apply the Maoist concept of people’s war to the international struggle between the proletariat and bourgeoisie, pioneered a version of Mao’s “theory of three worlds” which perceives the world as being a global countryside surrounding a global city, paving the way for later adherents to his theory to apply class labels to entire nations, saying that the “first world” represents a global bourgeoisie and making such claims as “the first world proletariat is a myth.” At this juncture it is important to note that Robinson does not share Lin Biao or his modern-day followers’ understandings of a global countryside or global city, and indeed argues against the sort of assessments which fuel the line taken up by contemporary third-worldists.

We do not seek to label Robinson as a Lin-Biaoist or a Kautskyian. Rather, what we’d like to point out is the common failing of all three of these theories. What these theories demonstrate is that there are problems when one is too quick to apply phenomenon which can be empirically understood at the national level to phenomena occurring internationally.

The chief problem with Robinson’s theory of a “transnational capitalist” class is that Robinson underestimates contradictions among the bourgeoisie internationally, seeing a “bourgeois internationalism” that is not there. Uneven development among nations means that capitalists internationally frequently have different interests and not all of these interests can be met by full integration of their economic activity within the global marketplace. Any alliance, any “unity” within the capitalist camp is subject to how it benefits the profits of the individual capitalists within such an alliance. Unlike workers, who are able to reap benefits from the struggles of workers all over the world, a capitalist isn’t necessarily benefited by the success of other capitalists. As capitalists are forced to compete for what they perceive to be a limited number of material and market resources, the bonds which have formerly bound them begin to deteriorate. Within nations, compromise among capitalists is more possible and prudent. After all, they both have access to the mechanisms of state power and both have a vested interest in keeping the local proletariat in bondage. Yet internationally, inter-imperialist competition and warfare are a viable solution when unity and compromise become too much of a burden. The capitalist often has little to gain and much to lose when the capitalists of other nations are able to seize upon material and markets he desires and potentially has much to gain from their destruction.

Following with this error, Robinson’s theory of a transnational state is equally problematic, in that by concluding that

“[e]conomic globalization has its counterpart in transnational class formation and in the emergence of a TNS, which has been brought into existence to function as the collective authority for a global ruling class” (Robinson, 88)

he underestimates special functions of the state which this new transnational state has no mechanism to fulfill. These special functions include the reinforcement of a common ideology, the maintenance of a military and police apparatus for the defense of private property relations and (to varying degrees between advanced industrialized capitalist countries) some assurance of social welfare. These functions are essential to the maintenance of an economic system built upon class antagonism, for any state to exist and to perpetuate itself, nationally or transnationally, these specific functions need to be effectively managed in a centralized manner. Instead, these important functions are still carried out at the level of the nation-state. The consequence is that the nation-state is itself still an invaluable asset to those capitalists who exert control over it locally. It cannot be abandoned, nor can it necessarily be compromised by the needs of integrating the nation state into a broader transnational state apparatus if the cost of such an integration infringes on the national bourgeoisie maintaining their grips on the local proletariat.

In Robinson’s understanding of a transnational state, Robinson would seem to think of inter-imperialist conflict as a “thing of the past,” when in actuality, the distinct possibility of a clash of powers exists as Western hegemony begins to wane. Sure, Robinson allows for competition between capitalists in his theory, yet any conception of a transnational state would require that competition be limited insofar as it becomes a threat to this state apparatus. There are no guarantees in the current world situation that inter-state rivalries would manifest themselves militarily. Every attempt to build an international body that would prevent such violence has failed and will fail so long as different nation-states have interests which lie outside of a possible collective interest.

As the world situation evolves and new material realities emerge, many are lead to try and perceive what will be capitalism’s “next greatest leap.” From the time of Marx to the time of Lenin we have seen capitalism evolve into a system of imperial capitalism. Now, with the United States emerging as victor in the Cold War and with the evolution of communications technology and international commerce, theorists are tempted to call this the dawn of a “new world order.” The reality is that the rules haven’t changed since the days of rival imperialist powers. Capitalists still thirst for profit and still face differing conditions for the exploitation of the world’s laborers. To say that the world’s exploiters are coming together as a “transnational capitalist class” and are building a “transnational state” to advance the ends of their mutual exploitation is to ignore one facet of capitalism’s character which is most vital: the capitalist is in it for himself, and to defend that self-interest the capitalist is still willing to go to war with other capitalists. When nations are forced to compete for resources, when empire is forced to challenge empire, international relations can and will be placed second to the needs of the national bourgeoisie.

This reality, this inevitability of inter-imperialist struggle, has ensured that attempts at building lasting unity among capitalists abroad are but a mere pipe-dream in the long run. The facade of unity presented after the cessation of another inter-imperialist conflict will ultimately break in favor of the next one. As the leading imperialist power falls into decline in a matter quite reminiscent to the events leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union (economic crisis, ten-year-long occupations of Afghanistan, et al.) other powers will try to assert their dominance. The hope of some sort of unity among the “transnational capitalist class” in the wake of such a shift in powers is meager.

Given the essential problems in William I. Robinson’s conceptions of an emerging “transnational capitalist class” and “transnational state,” we argue that the Leninist model is still the best model for understanding the machinations of the capitalist system internationally — even in this moment where the words “globalization” and “transnational corporation” are on everyone’s lips. While Robinson deserves credit for attempting to assert a new theoretical model for understanding contemporary capitalism on the world stage, his theory is not a suitable replacement for the Leninist model.

Sources

Biao, Lin. Long Live the Victory of People’s War! Foreign Languages Press, 2003.

Kautsky, Karl. Ultra-Imperialism. 1914. Print.

Lenin, V.I. Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. 1916.

Robinson, William. A Theory of Global Capitalism: Production, Class, and State in a Transnational World. John Hopkins University Press, 2004.

American Party of Labor: Who Started the War?

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Anti-Communist Hysteria on the Rise

It seems that once again a specter is haunting Europe, if not the world. Yes, the specter of communism, which was supposedly totally discredited, debunked and rendered wholly irrelevant since 1989. The ruling classes of Europe and the industrialized imperialist world are again putting all their efforts into exorcising this demon; whereas ten years ago they scoffed at Marxism and communism as the profits of the internet boom, outsourcing and neo-liberalism rolled in, they are now in a total panic. That “discredited” theory has got them so terrified that they have, in the past few years, began not only to dredge up all the standard anti-communist propaganda of the Cold War years, but have even resorted to re-writing and re-interpreting history so as to invent new myths.

In Ukraine, the push for international recognition of the 1932-33 famine as genocide was successful under the aegis of Viktor Yushenko. A museum dedicated to the “victims of communism” was opened in Washington D.C. The Katyn massacre is bandied about endlessly while the millions of Polish civilians who died at the hands of the Germans are virtually ignored and the victories Polish People’s Army, which participated in the liberation of Warsaw and the capture of Berlin, is utterly forgotten on the world stage. The 60,000-100,000 Bolshevik prisoners of war who died in Polish captivity after the Russo-Polish war, a war started by Poland, are completely forgotten as well—they don’t count. The history of the Second World War is being actively re-written so as to totally omit the pivotal role played by the USSR and the world’s communist parties in the victory over fascism. Worse still, in 2009 there has been a trend to equate communism and Nazism, to proclaim them allies, and to actually blame Stalin for starting WWII. The praise for Hitler, allowing him to circumvent the Treaty of Versailles and re-arm, the hypocritical Non-Intervention in Spain and the betrayal of Munich are all to be forgotten. We are supposed to believe that it was the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact which gave Hitler a green light to go to war, while ignoring years of collaboration and encouragement for Hitler from the Western powers.

How far has the hysteria gone? In July of 2009, an OSCE parliamentary resolution drafted by Lithuanian Vilija Aleknaite-Abramikiene called for the 23rd of August to be made a day of remembrance for the “victims of Nazism and Stalinism.” This resolution attributes blame for WWII equally upon both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union; Munich and the years of Western support and collaboration with Nazi Germany and fascist Italy are ignored entirely. Possibly as a result of this decision, a new wave of articles hit the newspapers and internet around August to the 1st of September 2009, practically if not literally proclaiming Stalin guilty for starting WWII. This demonstrates that the hysteria has reached such a pitch that the ruling classes of Europe are more than willing to re-write even the most basic historical facts. It is absurd beyond all explanation that the Western powers could spend years trying to downplay if not totally ignore the Soviet Union’s role in destroying fascism in the Second World War, yet they are willing to make a most idiotic leap of logic to blame the whole war on the Soviet Union. One might ask whether or not such people would prefer the masses to believe that Stalin alone rather than Hitler started the war; I am inclined to believe yes. The ruling classes of Europe do not fear Nazism resurgent, but communism is a real threat. It is that fact which serves as a principle reason for the rise of anti-communist hysteria, which we will explore in detail later in this text. For the moment, let us focus on the allegation itself.

Addressing the Allegation

Anyone familiar with history has heard the term “Big Lie.” The term was coined by none other than Adolf Hitler, who explained that people would more likely believe a big lie simply because they would not expect anyone to tell such preposterous lies. Of course that theory is rather absurd; I could tell a big lie by claiming to have a pet dinosaur, and most would simply laugh at the claim. “Big Lies” do exist however, and those which are effective are those which are on one hand often repeated, and on the other so multi-layered that most people simply do not have the requisite knowledge to challenge them. A claim with one or two falsehoods or logical fallacies is easy to spot, but the lies surrounding this new mythology of the Second World War and the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact contain so many distortions and omissions that they are difficult to answer in detail without filling entire books. The best way to challenge these lies is to break down the claim into various parts and address each one in concise fashion. Thus let us begin to do just that.

Claim: Nazi Germany & the Soviet Union, by way of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Agreement, were Allies.

Firstly, a non-aggression pact is not an alliance. This might seem like legalistic quibbling, until one considers that Poland signed a non-aggression pact with the USSR in 1932, and later concluded a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany in 1935. One would be hard pressed to find any mainstream source of historical literature referring to Poland and the USSR or Poland and Germany as “allies,” despite the fact that Poland took advantage of Germany’s dismantling of Czechoslovakia to invade and seize part of the newly independent fascist Slovakia. It is worth noting that the territory seized from Czechoslovakia by Poland had a minority Polish population, a fact the reader should keep in mind for later.

One might claim that the pact was an alliance because of the transfer of raw materials to Germany. This fails for several reasons; first among them is the fact that again, Poland signed a trade agreement with Nazi Germany after signing the non-aggression pact with the latter. Again, nobody speaks of the “allies” Germany and Poland “carving up” Czechoslovakia. Furthermore, the US was still shipping vital scrap metal and oil to Japan despite the latter’s conquest of Manchuria and invasion of China. Japan received 80% of its oil from the US, which only cut off oil exports in 1940 when Japan invaded French Indochina. Again, who claims that the US and Japan were allies?

Much has also been said about the collaboration of American corporations with Nazi Germany, IBM most likely being the most notorious due to the role their products had in the Holocaust. Does anyone blame America for the Holocaust? While much is said today about the resources gained from the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, not a word is mentioned about the key role played by German subsidiaries of GM and Ford in arming the Wehrmacht. The switch-over from civilian to military production in these plants was not only known, but encouraged by the US-based corporate HQs of these companies. Perhaps far more importantly, the US corporations Standard Oil and Texaco provided Germany with vital supplies even after the war began. Standard Oil even assisted the Germans in creating synthetic fuel, which proved crucial to Germany’s war effort.

When considering whether the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, even taking into account the resource transfers to Germany, was the catalyst for the Second World War, it helps to realize that Albert Speer, armaments minister of Germany and a close confident of Hitler, once remarked that Hitler would not have gone to war had it not been for the capability to synthesize fuel.

Why did the USSR sign the Non-Aggression Pact with Germany? Western Conciliation and Collaboration sets the Stage

In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler laid out what he saw as a plan for the salvation and preservation of Germany and its people. Hitler understood that Germany could not possibly rely on a maritime empire with far-flung colonies like those of Britain or France. As such he envisioned a European, contiguous land empire expanding eastward. Unlike the fallen Austro-Hungarian Empire, which Hitler despised for its multi-ethnic, cosmopolitan nature, Germany’s new empire would expand into Belarus, Ukraine and European Russia, but the population would either be killed, deported, or sterilized and used as slaves. Upon invading the USSR in 1941, this process of ethnic cleansing, enslavement and extermination began from the first days of the invasion and would continue until the Germans were finally pushed out of Soviet territory. Incidentally the plan for the whole campaign was to take all the land up to what was called the Archangel-Astrakhan line, running from the north all the way to the Caspian Sea in the south. With chilling sobriety, German planners estimated that countless millions would die from starvation alone. This was the threat hanging over the USSR since Hitler came to power.

Speaking in the 18th Congress of the VKP (b) in March of 1939, Stalin put forth the line that the outside world could be divided into two camps. On one hand there were the “democracies” consisting of the United Kingdom, France and the US, all of which had an interest in maintaining the status quo. In the other camp were Germany, Japan and Italy. Having turned to fascism and nationalism in response to their economic predicaments, they had a natural inclination to seek out new markets via military means. Germany had no colonies and based on Hitler’s ideas, a genetic imperative to expand eastward. Italy had few colonial possessions but its eyes were focused on what seemed like easy targets such as Albania and Abyssinia. Japan held some colonial possessions for some time and had already began to expand starting with its conquest of Manchuria in 1931, and by 1939 it had already been engaged in a war against China for almost two years. While the “army faction” of the military junta ruling Japan wished to expand the China war into a war against the USSR, the navy faction sought new sources of oil and rubber in the colonial possessions of France, England, America and the Netherlands.

Given the situation at the time, it was clear that though England, France and the United States were imperialist states, they represented a far lesser evil than the rising Axis powers. Moreover, these states had a desire for peace, on one hand because their populations were not keen on going to war, on the other hand because they had large markets under their control and no reason to buck the status quo. The Soviet Union had an even greater interest in preserving peace; having barely completed its industrialization, it was imperative to equip and modernize its armed forces. Based on this disposition, the policy of the USSR was to seek collective security with England and France against Germany and Italy. There was only one problem with this strategy: the English and French had to be willing.

During the Russian Civil War, numerous imperial powers invaded the dying Russian Empire, hoping to strangle Bolshevism in the cradle and hopefully snatch their own piece of territory. Among the armies of intervention were the French and the British. When the Whites and their allies failed, the British and French attempted to create a “cordon sanitare” around the Soviet Union in hopes of stopping the spread of communism. The success of the fascists in defeating the communists of Germany and Italy suggested that they may become a bulwark against the USSR and communism. As such, though it was against their own objective interests, the Western powers became increasingly friendly to both Hitler and Mussolini.

From the time Hitler came to power in 1933, Britain and France began to cow to Germany at every opportunity. Britain made the first move, signing a naval treaty with Germany in 1935 which was vital to its rearmament. Nothing was done to prevent the Germany’s reoccupation of the Rhineland in 1936. Probably the most egregious act of Britain and France in terms of appeasement prior to Munich was the “Non-Intervention Agreement” concluded with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. This agreement prevented the Spanish Republic, the legally elected government of Spain, from having the right to buy weapons for its own defense. While the Republic was isolated by its neighbors, Germany and Italy sent thousands of men, along with planes and tanks for the nationalist rebels. The rebels were provided with oil on credit by Texaco. Upon seeing that Non-Intervention actually meant allowing the nationalists to destroy the Republic with ease, the Soviet Union quickly withdrew from the embargo and began to supply the Republic with high-tech arms. Thousands of pilots and other military advisors were sent to Spain while the Comintern organized volunteers from around the world to fight in the International Brigades. German and Italian U-Boats torpedoed Soviet merchant ships sailing to Spain, while on one occasion a Royal Navy vessel watched as the German Kriegsmarine shelled the Spanish coast in support of a nationalist attack. Spain was sacrificed in the hopes that Germany would look east and only east. Next on the chopping block would be Austria and Czechoslovakia.

The Germans managed to pull off their crooked “Anschluss” with Austria without any opposition from abroad. In the case of Czechoslovakia, the last democracy in Central Europe, the fate of this small country would be decided without its presence at the negotiating table. Also excluded was the Soviet Union, which later attempted to send weapons to Czechoslovakia (which sadly ended up in German hands). The annexation of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia meant that the country’s border defenses ended up in the hands of the Germans, leaving the last democracy in Central Europe to be picked clean by Germany, Hungary and Poland. Slovakia became a German client state under the fascist regime of Josef Tiso. Hitler was not satisfied with Munich though; he felt that he had been swindled, and “denied” the war he desired.

Soviet attempts to create an Alliance with Britain and France; the Ultimate Betrayal at Munich

Recognizing the threat posed by Nazi Germany, and with an understanding that their capability for war was at the time insufficient, the Soviets strove to create a collective security pact with Britain and France. When the Molotov-Ribbentrop Non-Aggression Pact was signed, the Soviets had been embroiled in negotiations with the British and French for six months. Negotiations stalled when the Soviets demanded transit rights through Poland and Romania should war with Germany break out. Both Poland and Romania were at the time anti-communist states with fascist or quasi-fascist regimes; both were embroiled in territorial disputes with the USSR as well. The British and French seemed willing to conclude a political agreement, but the Soviets quite rightly judged this to be useless without a military agreement. Stalin believed that there was the possibility the English would conclude a pact with the USSR and then not come to aid militarily if war broke out. Considering the Anglo-French reaction to the invasion of Poland, this fear might have been right in hindsight.

As negotiations broke down, it was the Germans who began to suggest an agreement to the Soviets. At first the Soviets did nothing; it was clear this was a ploy to spoil the negotiations with the French and English. At the same time however, it was becoming clear that the English and French were deliberately dragging out the negotiations, particularly on the military aspect of a pact. This idea was supported by the fact that the Anglo-French military delegation headed to Moscow not by plane but by a slow ship to Leningrad. With the English and French clearly sabotaging the negotiations in a vain hope of deterring Hitler by the mere threat of an alliance, the Soviets began to talk to the Germans.

In his book Stalin’s Wars, author Geoffery Roberts points out that aside from the lack of a provision condemning aggression against a third country by a party to the agreement, this Non-Aggression Pact was not much different than any other non-aggression pact the Soviets had signed in the 20s and 30s. Roberts characterized the pact as a pledge of Soviet neutrality in the event of a German war against Poland. It is also worth noting that prior to the beginning of negotiations with the Germans, Soviet intelligence as well as Stalin himself were convinced that a German attack on Poland was inevitable. All that mattered is where Germany would stop, an issue we will explore in detail later.

Roberts goes on to point out that in August 1939, it was not clear that Poland would fold so easily against the German war machine, which had yet to debut in combat save for limited action in the Spanish Civil War. While the English and French had guaranteed Poland’s independence, there was still the possibility of a Munich-style betrayal, which would have handed to the Germans either a part of Poland’s territory if not the whole country itself. This was a critical threat for the USSR because Poland in 1939 included the territories of Western Belarus and the Halychyna (Galicia)/Volhynia (Volyn) regions of Ukraine. Were Germany to occupy, by whatever means, all of 1939-era Poland, it would have brought their armies far closer to Kiev, Leningrad and Moscow. From East Prussia the Germans could also easily move up through the Baltic countries. To prevent this from happening, the Soviets agreed to “spheres of interest” in Eastern Europe that would theoretically keep the Germans at bay. Thus the pact not only bought the USSR time to reorganize and arm its forces, but also helped push the border westward. Of course the Soviets were aware that the Germans might not honor their part of the deal, and they were not pleased when the Soviets retook Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina from Romania, a move which brought them dangerously close to Germany’s vital oil supply from the fields of Ploesti.

After the war had already broken out, Stalin gave his opinion on the pact and the fall of Poland to Germany in a meeting with Georgi Dimitrov, leader of the Comintern, who noted it down in his diary. “A war is on between two groups of capitalist countries…for the redivision of the world, for the domination of the world! We see nothing wrong in their having a good hard fight and weakening each other. It would be fine if at the hands of Germany the position of the richest capitalist countries (especially England) were shaken. Hitler, without understanding it or desiring it, is shaking and undermining the capitalist system…We can maneuver, pit one side against the other to set them fighting with each other as fiercely as possible. The non-aggression pact is to a certain degree helping Germany. Next time we’ll urge on the other side…Formerly…the Polish state was a national state. Therefore, revolutionaries defended it against partition and enslavement. Now (Poland) is a fascist state, oppressing the Ukrainians, Belorussians, and so forth. The annihilation of that state under current conditions would mean one fewer bourgeois fascist state to contend with! What would be the harm if as a result of the rout of Poland we were to extend the socialist system onto new territories and populations?”

After 1945, that vision came true.

The Partition of “Poland”

Part of the “big lie” surrounding the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is the claim that “Germany and the Soviet Union attacked and divided up Poland.” At face value this seems true, until one actually looks at the details. While the Germans attempted to get the Soviets to invade as soon as possible, Molotov rejected premature intervention. The Soviets never crossed the Polish border until 17 September, after the Polish government had fled the country and the Germans had declared that they no longer recognized the existence of a state named “Poland.” This declaration gave the Germans “legal” grounds to drive right up to the Soviet frontier. In fact on several occasions German forces did attempt to just that, in hopes that the Soviets would not contest any ground they managed to grab. Thus, Red Army troops were sent into Galicia and Volyn under the orders to prevent the Germans from seizing these territories.

Did this invasion constitute an aggressive attack? Does this prove that the USSR was attacking Poland as an “ally” of Germany? Hardly—as noted before, Poland had a non-aggression pact with Germany when it seized a non-Polish territory of Czechoslovakia. Nowhere today in the mainstream media do we hear about dastardly Poland’s “alliance” with Germany and how the Nazis and Poles “carved up Czechoslovakia.”

There are some other facts worth considering as well. Most important of all are the facts surrounding the lie that the USSR invaded “Eastern Poland.” The territory of “Eastern Poland” at the time consisted of Ukrainian and Belorussian territories seized by Poland in a war of aggression back in 1921. With the Bolsheviks tied down in the Civil War, Poland rejected the borders it had been granted and attempted to take Belarus and Ukraine. The Poles managed to defeat Ukrainian nationalist forces and were poised to take Kiev when they were pushed all the way back to Warsaw by the Red Army. Despite this success, the Bolsheviks still had to contend not only with the White Guards but also the armies of the imperialist intervention. They signed the Treaty of Riga with Poland, ceding the disputed territories of Volyn and Galicia in Western Ukraine and territory in Western Belarus. Polish rule was unpopular; in fact a Ukrainian nationalist insurgency broke out in the late 20s, and the Germans even used supporters of this nationalist movement in their war against Poland in 1939. Had the Germans been allowed to take all of 1939 Poland, they would have been dangerously close to the USSR’s most vital territory.

It is also worth noting the reaction of the world to the Soviet invasion, particularly in contrast to the reaction to the German invasion. Honoring their pledge to Poland in word though not in deed, the English and French declared war on Germany on the 3rd of September 1939. Neither declared war on the USSR however. England, France and Romania had military alliances with Poland, and none of these countries declared war on the USSR. The League of Nations did not declare the Soviet invasion an act of aggression, nor did any other country. In fact not even Poland declared war on the USSR. Poland’s supreme commander even ordered the army not to resist the Red Army, while still urging continued resistance to the Germans. Here is the text of his order of 17 September 1939:

“The Soviets have invaded. My orders are to carry out the retirement into Rumania and Hungary by the shortest routes. Do not engage the Soviets in military actions, only in the event of disarming our units by them. The task for Warsaw and Modlin, which must defend themselves against the Germans, remain unchanged. Units towards whose formations the Soviets have approached should negotiate with them with the aim of the exit of the garrisons into Rumania or Hungary.

            Supreme Commander

            Marshal of Poland E. Rydz-Smigly”

It is also interesting to note that Winston Churchill himself, a die-hard anti-communist and a beloved icon of anti-communist authors today, was in favor of the Soviet action in Poland. Again, author Geoffery Roberts provides us with Churchill’s words from a radio broadcast of the 1st of October 1939:

“Russia had pursued a cold policy of self-interest. We could have wished that the Russian armies should be standing on their present line as the friends and allies of Poland instead of invaders. But that the Russian armies should stand on this line was clearly necessary for the safety of Russia against the Nazi menace…I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest. It cannot be in accordance with the interest or the safety of Russia that Germany should plant itself upon the shores of the Black Sea, or that it should overrun the Balkan states and subjugate the Slavonic peoples of south-eastern Europe. That would be contrary to the historic life-interests of Russia.”

The idea of an innocent Poland, beset upon by two predatory “totalitarian” “allies” has long stood as a useful myth not only to the anti-communists of Poland but also to the English, who have long maintained this myth to paint their involvement in the Second World War as being a selfless act in defense of a weaker nation. As laughable as this is, many still believe today that the USSR’s invasion of Galicia, Volyn and Belarus can be equated with Germany’s invasion, which not only occupied Polish land but also ethnically cleansed Poles from the Wartheland as they resettled the area with German colonists. Then again, most people have never heard of Galicia or Volyn.

Why Are They Rewriting History?

The history of the Second World War is complex beyond words. Thousands upon thousands of books have been written on the subject. Every major battle has produced its own collection of books, and in some cases documentaries and feature films. The history of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is itself incredibly complex. Here we have discussed only a bare minimum of facts, specifically key facts necessary for the refutation of this modern attempt to rewrite history. Exposing the facts about Western collaboration with fascism can only do so much good. The key issue is that in the past few years, fear of communism among the elite has risen to a level not seen since the McCarthy era. Why, if communism is supposedly dead and buried, do they need to go to such great lengths as to actually re-write history to a degree not even seen during the Cold War?

It is not entirely coincidental that as capitalism descends once more into crisis and as the leading imperialist countries find themselves embroiled in two losing wars, the drive to push communism beyond the pale of political discourse has led to the rewriting of history’s most basic facts. 1991 was supposed to mark the triumph of capitalism and the free market. It was called “the end of history.” Capitalism brings prosperity, the free market conquers all. Reality brought something much different however.

Within a few years, people who never had to worry about paying the rent, making ends meet or getting quality medical care suddenly found themselves helpless at the hands of rapacious thugs, gangsters and oligarchs. Millions were displaced as nations broke apart. Stability gave way to chaos, hopelessness, violence, sex slavery and human trafficking. Nationalism reached a fever pitch and tens of thousands of people were ethnically cleansed. Europe experienced its bloodiest conflict since the WWII. At first, many in Eastern Europe accepted the excuse that they had dismantled their old economies “too fast,” as though this was carried out according to their will as opposed to that of their respective ruling classes advised by and in collusion with businessmen and investors from around the globe. Things would get better after joining NATO and the EU, or a strong leader like Vladimir Putin would solve everything. It is now nearly 20 years since the fall of the Eastern Bloc, and the leaders who promised prosperous societies with respect for “human rights” have failed. They have failed and the people know it.

Now in the throes of an economic crisis, one which now threatens the imperialist European Union, the specter of communism is again haunting Europe. With the US still suffering from massive unemployment, that specter is haunting the US as well. All over the world, even people who were once mainstream liberals are now starting to question capitalism itself. Many are no longer just questioning “unregulated capitalism” but capitalism itself. When we look at the riots in Greece unfolding before our eyes, or the struggle of the TEKEL workers in Turkey, when we see an increasing number of Eastern Europeans admitting that they had a better life under their revisionist regimes than their incompetent politicians today, we easily understand why it is necessary for the European elite to equate communism with Nazism, the latter being a monster fed and raised by capitalism itself. No wonder the American elite pays Glenn Beck to scare the politically and historically illiterate with the same idiotic conflation. After 1991 they could proclaim capitalism triumphant and Marx discredited. Today Marx has been vindicated; economic crisis, unemployment and poverty are all inherent and eternal in capitalism and always will be.

There is no lie too great for the international ruling class when it comes to scaring the proletariat away from the path of liberation and emancipation. A few years ago they tried to erase the Soviet Union’s massive contribution to the defeat of fascism, the bastard child of capitalism. Today they are trying to tell us that Stalin was just as responsible for starting the Second World War. We can be certain they will continue raising the mythical body counts of communism to absurd levels as well. Try as they may, however, they will never exorcise this spirit from the mind of the working class, the one class of society that has the power to both provide for society’s needs and run society itself.

As Enver Hoxha once said: “No force, no torture, no intrigue, no deception can eradicate Marxism-Leninism from the minds and hearts of men.”

Sources

Furr, Grover. “Did the Soviet Union Invade Poland in 1939?.” Cyrano’s Journal (2009): n. pag. Web.

Pauwels, Jacques. “Profits über Alles! American Corporations and Hitler.” Labour/La Travail 51. (2003): n. pag. Web.

Roberts, Geoffery. Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953. 1st. Yale University Press, 2007. Print.

Source

American Party of Labor: Insights into Socialist Albania from “Pickaxe and Rifle”

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William Ash’s Pickaxe and Rifle: the Story of the Albanian People is a comprehensive, diversified, in-depth study and explanation of the experiences and the social system of the tiny, formerly Marxist-Leninist Balkan country. Ash was invited to travel to the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania in 1969. He visited again in 1971. He was given the opportunity of visiting the country during the Albanian Party of Labor’s Sixth Party Congress and of checking the draft typescript of his work with historians and state and party leaders, and most important of all, with workers in the factories and on the collective farms.

The 270-page book is divided up into twenty-one chapters, covering just about every aspect of Albanian life, from health, education and the status of women, to the party, state, and mass organizations to the state of the country’s economic development. An entire chapter is also dedicated to expressing the leisure time of the workers and the activities and resorts that are available to them. While examining the situation and lifestyle of socialist Albania’s workers, farmers, and intelligentsia, Ash dedicates the first eight chapters to the history of tiny Albania and the historical struggles for freedom and independence that have been characteristic of the country ever since the days of the Ottoman Empire.

First and foremost, William Ash is a Marxist-Leninist, and as an advocate of scientific socialism and proletarian revolution, Ash never skips a beat in providing a fluid and correct Marxist analysis based. For one example in chapter fifteen, he exposes the Khruschevite coup and the bureaucratic stagnation of the Soviet Union:

“One of the first indications that an entirely different line was being adopted by the Soviet leadership came in May, 1955, when Khrushchev unilaterally rejected the decisions of the Information Bureau and other communist and workers’ parties in respect to Tito’s betrayal of socialism and heading a delegation to Belgrade for the purpose of rehabilitating, without consultation, the Yugoslav leader. Two days before the delegation left Moscow the Albanian Party of Labour was informed of the visit and asked to approve a statement which Khrushchev had drawn up in the name of the Information Bureau without bothering to convene it. This the Albanian Party refused to do on the grounds that there had been no change in the line of the Yugoslav leadership since it has been condemned by the 1948 resolution of communist and workers’ parties represented on the Bureau” (Ash 182).

“The conference of the four great powers, the Soviet Union, the United States, Britain and France, at Geneva in July, 1955, was acclaimed by Khrushchev as ‘a new stage in the relations between nations’ and he described the leaders of the imperialist powers as ‘reasonable people who were trying to ensure peace’ – this on the eve of the Angle-French-Israeli attack on Suez!” (183).

“Instead of challenging the policy of nuclear blackmail which the United States government had used ever since the war to keep the world safe for the operations of monopoly capitalism, Khrushchev was going to use the Soviet Union’s nuclear capacity to get in on the act. This was the case as demonstrated later on when Albania’s opposition to the Khrushchev line prompted the threat from Kozlov, a member of the Central Committee of the Soviet Party, that ‘either the Albanians will accept peaceful co-existence or an atom bomb from the imperialists will turn Albania into a head of ashes and leave no Albanian alive’” (184).

“Class struggle does not cease even after the liquidation of the exploiting classes. It simply takes different forms as the battle between the ideas, customs and habits of the old exploitative society and the ideals and aspirations of the new socialist man is fought out in every sphere of social activity” (101).

These are but a few passages that Ash provides on the topic of the split in the world communist movement. The author pulls no punches in calling out revisionism and injustice, defending the contributions of Joseph Stalin and the resolute fighting spirit of the Albanian Party of Labor. Ash wastes no time getting down to business in the examination of the socialist state structure that existed within Albania. He provides a short history of the first constitution drafted under the surveillance of the people’s democratic government. By providing a comprehensive list of sources from both inside and outside the small Balkan republic, the author describes:

“The whole document of fewer than a hundred articles takes up only 40 pages of a very small book. This conciseness and simplicity stem from the fact that, unlike most constitutions, there are no ruling class interests to be concealed in elaborate verbiage, no complicated divisions of power to the state’s interference in business and finance, no pseudo-democratic formulations designed to give people the illusion of governing themselves” (98).

“All the major democratic organizations which enable the Albanian working masses to exercise state power originated and developed in the heat of national struggle. As they came into being in answer to the national need they were tested in the fires of the liberation war involving the whole people. Out of the National Liberation General Council grew the People’s Assembly; and the National Liberation Committee appointed by the Council became the Government, Prime Minister and Cabinet, elected by the Assembly. The National Liberation Councils at village, district, and city levels developed in the People’s Councils which are the local organs of state power” (99).

“Every citizens having completed eighteen years of age, regardless of sex, economic status, social position, religious belief or any other consideration, enjoys the right to elect and be elected to any elective body in the state. Electors vote directly for their representatives whether as members of a village council, as people’s judges or as deputies of the People’s Assembly itself. Polling is done secretly by sealed ballot in special booths and is under the supervision of electoral committees appointed by the mass organizations of the Democratic Front – trade unions, youth and women’s associations and the working collectives of industrial enterprises, agricultural co-operatives, government ministries, army units and so on. These same mass organizations of workers have the right to present any of their members as candidates” (103).

Throughout the section entitled “Albania’s Socialist Society,” it becomes clear that Ash went to great lengths to study and expound on the social organization of Albania. The author describes the socialist and democratic nature of the whole society, from the mass organizations such as the Democratic Front, the trade unions, the Labor Youth Union, the Albanian Women’s Union and the Union of Artists and Writers to the organization of the Albanian Party of Labor and the structure of the state as a whole. There is vast description of all parts of Albanian life.

In the last section of the book, William Ash describes the quality of life in socialist Albania. Although a relatively poor and tiny country, the sheer amount of progress made since the book was written in 1976 is astounding to say the least. The author provides an objective analysis combined with facts and statistics to show the outside world just how powerful a nation can become once it adopts a Marxist-Leninist political and economic line. In terms of describing the educational system and the consciousness of the youth and women of socialist Albania, Pickaxe and Rifle: the Story of the Albanian People offers insight into how the youth took the reigns of their own future and denounced the feudal practices that were once widespread throughout the country. To offer an example:

“Organizations of youth and women and the trade unions were mobilized in this campaign under the slogan: ‘In order to build we must acquire knowledge and in order to acquire knowledge we must be able to study and learn.’ Tens of thousands of those previously illiterate were enrolled in night schools without giving up production work, graduating first from elementary classes, then from seven grade schools and even completing secondary and higher school courses. By 1955 illiteracy among all those under 40 had been wiped out and not long afterward it was abolished among older people too. The night schools were maintained to consolidate this achievement and to keep people, particularly in the rural areas, from slipping back again” (223).

Compare this type of system, this amount of democracy and freedom of action, this style of liberation to modern-day capitalist Albania or any Western capitalist country. The incredible amount of self-initiative in terms of building relationships and developing the mind is unheard of in any country today, where women are still subjected to the domination of the man and where the youth are constantly being subordinated to the institutionalized curriculum, whether it is productive and popular with those actually doing the learning or not.

“In his great speech to the Fifth Party Congress on November 1, 1966, he stressed the need of linking teaching and education much more closely to life and labour. Speaking not only as a Marxist-Leninist but as one who had been a teacher himself, at the Korca academy before his dismissal on political grounds, he explained the political necessity of an ‘unceasing development of education to meet the demands of socialist society;’ and pointed out that ‘Our schools, for all the improvement in teaching and education, have not yet rid themselves of bourgeois pedagogy and revisionist influences…It is indispensable to revolutionize further the educational system…It is particularly necessary to take radical measures for the improvement of ideological and political education and for educating youth through labour…There is still too much formalism and verbalism, passivity on the part of pupils and stifling the personality of the young on the part of the teachers, too much officialdom in the relations between teachers and pupils resulting in conservative and patriarchal methods of education…There can be no talk of revolutionizing our schools without revolutionizing the great army of teachers who must set the example of a communist attitude toward labour and life’” (225).

The above passage, quoting Enver Hoxha himself, sheds light on what education would look like under a socialist system: the youth and the teachers acting coming together as respectable equals to build and revolutionize a truly democratic and progressive school system. Offering constructive criticism on the subject of socialist education, Comrade Hoxha does not exhibit narrow-mindedness and pessimism on the role of the youth in building and shaping the society that will belong to them. Instead, he encourages them to open their minds and explore their creative will and natural compassion to rebel against reactionary, subordinating teaching methods. How many other heads of state would have said such things in the open?

“In the schools and in the University teachers and professors had to adopt new methods and learn to accept the criticism of students as part of their own socialist rehabilitation. A few found the extension of democratic centralism to the educational system, with students taking an active role in organizing school life, too much of a break with the old academic traditions they had hoped to see re-established. They were released to go into production work, perhaps, to return to teaching when they have learned from workers the socialist ideology of the working class. And students, too, had to learn more thoroughly that socialist education has nothing to do with getting a degree in order to become ‘a man of authority’ or to ‘secure a comfortable post with a fat salary’” (227).

“A student is judged not on the marks he gets in competition with his fellows but on the help he gives others in mastering subjects. So successful has the approach proved that in such places as the Tirana Secondary school of Culture students through mutual aid in lessons have realized a hundred percent promotion rate and earned commendation for the exemplary tidiness and protection of socialist property” (227).

“Courses in Marxism-Leninism were made a living part of the curriculum and not just a routine subject to be got through in a mechanical way. Texts and lectures on dialectical and historical materialism were related to Albania’s own revolutionary history and students and teachers learned to apply the principles of scientific socialism to their own problems and those of their society. And since practice is the essence of Marxism-Leninism, students and teachers began to participate more actively in the political and economic life of the country, leaving their books and laboratories to study the application of theory on the production and social front” (227).

A strong initiative towards learning, acquiring knowledge and conscious discipline on behalf of the students themselves, combined with the life experiences and teaching expertise of the educators must be the bedrock of socialist education.

The social status of women has always been an important topic for those studying Albania’s application of Marxism-Leninism. Before liberation, women were required to be completely subordinate to the demands and wishes of the male. The Code of Lek was the set of rules and guidelines that governed the family in feudal times. Passages such as “the husband is entitled to beat his wife and to tie her up in chains when she defies his word and orders”, and “The father is entitled to beat, tie in chains, imprison or kill his son or daughter…The wife is obliged to kneel in obeisance to her husband” indicate the shear hostility and oppression towards women. Fortunately, these enslaving principles began to be sharply criticized during the liberation war, as men and women stood shoulder-to-shoulder to free themselves of the fascist invaders. As such, Pickaxe and Rifle dedicates a chapter to the role of women in the socialist family by comparing the gains and progress of the national liberation war to the binding feudal culture beforehand.

“In 1938 there were 668 women workers in all Albania, mostly girls of 14 or 16 working a ten hour day for appallingly low wages. By 1967 over 248,000 women, which is 42% of rural and urban workers, were engaged in production work on exactly the same terms as men” (235).

“’Women workers,’ Stalin has said, ‘urban and rural workers are the greatest reserve of the working class. This reserve represents half the population. On whether this reserve of women is with or against the working class depends the destiny of the proletarian movement, the triumph or defeat of the proletarian revolution and the triumph or defeat of proletarian state power’” (235).

In addition to the major gains made towards women’s rights during the years immediately following liberation, the author also carefully documents the continuous progression and enhancement of the status of females in socialist society. Approved in June 1965 and put into action in 1966, a new family code was adopted, which reaffirmed certain rights guaranteed in the Constitution of socialist Albania. This new family code is as follows:

“• Marriage is contracted with the free will of husband and wife and rests on solid feelings of love, equality and mutual respect. Only monogamous marriages are recognized.

• Partners in marriage can choose as their surname that of husband or wife or each may keep his or her original name or add them together.

• A wife can choose her work or profession without her husband’s permission and the handling of the family income is managed by mutual agreement.

• Personal property held by either before marriage remains his or hers and anything acquired afterwards is joint property. All children regardless of sex are entitled to equal shares in the inheritance of joint personal property and the wife is the heir of first rank.

• Divorce is allowed when a marriage has lost all meaning and cohabitation has become intolerable. Causes for divorce are continuous quarrels, maltreatment, breach of conjugal faith, permanent mental illness or punishment for serious crimes. There is no distinction between husband or wife in the right to sue for divorce and the rearing of children is confided to that parent who in the court’s opinion is better qualified to bring them up.

• All parental rights belong to both parents equally and disagreements are settled by tutelage committees or by the courts.

• Single mothers enjoy all due respect and the state guarantees their economic security and protection. Children born outside marriage are equal in every way to those born within.

• Abortions are allowed after consultation with a committee of doctors. Birth control is a matter of personal choice. There is no family planning in the sense of national campaigns to limit births because Albania is an underpopulated country in which all births are welcomed” (238-239).

These progressive family guidelines, set in law, are a happy example of solving family issues the right way in the right social context. It could be claimed that law does not necessarily solve every issue and serve as the final and complete solution, but the fact that such great strides forward have been made in terms of equality of the sexes is definitely a solid indication of the Party and the state’s attitudes towards the role of women in everyday life.

Lastly, Ash focuses a section on what there is to do in Albanian workers’ leisure time. As a generally warm country with multiple beaches and resorts, the author uses the example of the Durres bathing resort to show that workers do in fact have time to relax or take a vacation. Durres stands out in this sense, however, in that it is Albania’s top beach resort and that it is only open to trade union workers, which was comprised of 99% of Albania’s workers. As confirmed not only in Pickaxe and Rifle but in Albania Defiant (1976) by Jan Myrdal and Gun Kessle and translated by Paul Britten, Durres is not open for bureaucrats or tourists. It is exclusive in the sense that the best beach in the entire country belongs to the workers and the workers alone.

Aside from bathing resorts and vacations, there are a number of activities or festivities going on in the streets after the work day is over. Cultural centers, cafes, gymnasiums, and folk centers are open for all Albanians.

“At the end of the day’s work the whole population comes out into the broad boulevards, to stroll about greeting friends, to have coffee or something to eat in one of the many open-air cafes or restaurants in this warm country – whole families to three generations taking the fragrant summer air together or young couples walking hand in hand or, perhaps, happy bands of children weaving in and out of the crowds in some extemporized game” (217-218).

“There is something strange to the visitor from the West in seeing children running about through the streets in such abandon without any surveillance. In his towns they would soon be decimated by traffic. In Albania, after the end of the working day, there are no lorries nor motor cars to be seen and the streets and avenues belong entirely to the people for their communal perambulation which gives each wide thoroughfare the appearance of a fair ground” (218).

“In the sight of so many family groups of grandparents, parents, children and even children’s children walking, talking and taking refreshment together raises the question of why family relationships are so strong and satisfactory, the answer every one gives is that there is no economic restraint whatsoever compelling families to stay together. The only bond is that of mutual love and respect” (219).

“Or the evening crowds may seek various forms of entertainment in the local palace of culture where there are recitals, concerts, pageants or plays. They may go to cinemas where a growing number of the films shown are Albanian. They may enjoy the presentation in some large auditorium of that ever popular form, Estrada, which is the Albanian equivalent of the music hall – with acts by singers, musicians and acrobats, with dramatic sketches and comic turns. And in all these amusements and cultural activities the audiences are not merely passive in their enjoyment. Not only do they participate in the sense that every performance of any kind has developed collectively under the guidance of constructive criticism which everyone feels free to give but also because a large proportion of any gathering will belong themselves to some cultural group which no factory, school, office, co-operative farm or institution of any kind is without” (219).

Constructive criticism is a large part of socialist society, constantly reviewing and keeping what is progressive in the eyes of the people and renewing or doing away with what is not. What makes it especially notable is the fact that this is carried over to cultural and artistic life.

“National holidays celebrating the founding of the People’s Republic, historical anniversaries, victories, in the liberation war or in socialist construction raise to a higher degree the festive feeling to be encountered in the streets of the major towns. The broad tree-lined avenue leading from the statue of Scanderbeg in the centre of Tirana to the University on the outskirts of the city will be filled with representatives of the Democratic Front organizations, of factories and farms, of the armed services and young pioneers, marching past the reviewing stand near the Dajti Hotel under billowing red banners, shouting revolutionary slogans and paying their respects to Party and state leaders and guests from abroad” (219).

“All around the grove are bulletin boards with pictures of the activities of the co-operatives in the area and the achievements of the rural electrification programme. Strung overhead are banners inscribed with such slogans as Rroftë Partie e Punës e Shqipërisë – Long live the Albanian Party of Labor, Shqipëri, ‘land of the eagles’, is the Albanians’ name for their country; and among the dances performed by the men in the course of the merrymaking will be the famous eagle dance. Other banners wish a long life to Enver Hoxha or set out the main themes to be taken up in a brief political meeting by a representative of the Central Committee, perhaps the veteran partisan Birro Kondi whose brother also a great partisan fighter died in an accident after the war – ‘Without unmasking revisionism one cannot defeat imperialism’ and ‘the people of Albania and China’s millions are more than a match for any enemy’” (220).

“Then the vast crowed, more than 20,000, move to the long tables under the trees which are piled high with roast chickens and slabs of lamb, homemade bread, cream cheese, boiled eggs, tomatoes and corn on the cob. Vast quantities of very good cold beer are drunk during and after the feast to the sound of the constantly repeated toast Gezuer! – Good health! There is much moving about and groups at the tables are broken up and reform as old comrades are discovered and greeted affectionately. One of the good survivals of feudal customs, along with the open-handed hospitality one encounters all over Albania, deepened and given a new fraternal significance by socialism, is the close demonstrative friendship between men. Partisans seeing each other after an interval embrace and kiss warmly. Moving about as freely and greeted as affectionately are the Party and State leaders who have come from Tirana to join in the celebrations – the Foreign Minister who is also a deputy from this region, an ambassador, several members of the Political Bureau and Enver Hoxha’s younger sister” (220).

It’s very interesting to take note of the amount of simple pleasures there are to indulge in, and one of the most common joys in Albania involves the simple enjoyment of each other’s company. The workers are disciplined and hardworking, but they are neither puritanical nor austere. The embracing of the dialectical method can have far-reaching progressive consequences when applied to social practice, whether the practice pertains to culture, economics or the political system, or if it is used in simple social interaction.

In conclusion, Pickaxe and Rifle is an excellent, comprehensive account of the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania through the eyes of an eyewitness who has visited the country on more than one occasion. William Ash provides in his work a very well-put-together and very sincere study of the socialist system in Albania by covering nearly every aspect of Albanian life and the amount of freedom and organization the working class gains under proper Marxism-Leninism. Ash’s book, from examining the political and economic system of Albania to the social, artistic and cultural life, Pickaxe and Rifle is a breath of fresh air in a society plagued by lies and misinformation about communist theory and practice.

Reference

Ash, William. Pickaxe and Rifle: the Story of the Albanian People. London: H. Baker, 1974.

Source

Celebrate International Workers’ Day 2013!

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Today we celebrate May Day, also known as International Workers’ Day, a holiday celebrated by working people worldwide.

This day began in commemoration of the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago, where police fired upon workers striking for an eight-hour-day. Since then it has become a global celebration of the labor union movement as well as the economic and social gains made by workers.

Without labor, nothing is built, nothing prospers, nothing grows. Wealth, culture, technology, food, furniture, cars, houses, monuments—the workers have made all these things. All development since the beginning of history has been the result of human labor. The first historical act by a human being was production.

Despite this, this continual talk about the nonexistent “middle class” coming from the television has caused a loss of class identity among the American people. We live in an age where the phrase “working class” is a smear.

Let us create and consolidate organizations of workers to continue the legacy of May Day. The workers in every country, including America, must combat layoffs and rising unemployment while fighting for better working conditions, social and political rights, respect, a living wage and social support for the basic needs of other workers. Through its actions the working class is able to paving the way for the revolutionary transformation of the whole society.

Let us make May Day, 2013 a day to reinforce our revolutionary and independent spirit through unity and struggle. The age of working people having pride and self-confidence has begun!

127 years of May Day!

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MAY DAY IN CHICAGO

It was a sunny and unseasonably warm day in Chicago last Wednesday as upwards of 5,000 people through the downtown streets in celebration of May Day and in order to demand immigrant rights and an end to forcible deportations.

Organized by the Chicago May Day Coalition, an alliance spearheaded by several Latino, immigrant’s rights, and labor organizations; and including a number of religious and social justice groups, the 2013 May Day March and Rally was the latest in a series of May Day events in Chicago which, not only commemorate the sacrifice and the legacy of the Haymarket Martyrs; but, also strongly focus on immigrant workers’ rights and struggles. The largest and most successful of the annual marches was the 2006 march when an estimated one million workers of all nationalities marched across town and gathered in the Loop to demand an end to the deportation of immigrant workers.

This year’s May Day Coalition had issued the following statement (in Spanish and English) before the march:

Primero de Mayo – May Day
Día Internacional de los Trabajadores –
International Workers Day

Los trabajadores inmigrantes en Chicago lucharon en 1886 por la jornada de 8 horas de trabajo.
Los trabajadores inmigrantes derrotamos en 2006 la propuesta del Partido Republicano de volver un crimen federal no tener papeles en Estados Unidos.
¡Este año, los trabajadores inmigrantes tenemos que conseguir la ¡LEGALIZACION DE TODOS los indocumentados y tenemos que PARAR LAS REDADAS!

¡YA ES HORA!

El Primero de Mayo de 2013, Día Internacional de los Trabajadores, ningún trabajador internacional debe trabajar; ¡VAMOS TODOS A MARCHAR!
Vamos a marchar por la legalización, contra el cierre de las escuelas públicas, por el aumento del salario mínimo; vamos a marchar con los sindicatos, con las organizaciones de barrio, con los clubes de oriundos.
La cita es el miércoles Primero de Mayo en el Parque Unión (Ashland y Lake), a las 2 de la tarde, para comenzar a marchar a las 3 de la tarde a la Plaza Federal (Jackson y LaSalle). Mítin en la Plaza Federal a las 4 y media de la tarde.

May Day – International Workers Day

Immigrant workers in Chicago fought in 1886 for the 8 hour workday. We won!
Immigrant workers in 2006 fought against Jim Sensenbrenner’s bill to make a federal crime t olive in the United States without immigration papers. We Won!
This year, immigrant workers have to win LEGALIZATION FOR ALL and we have to STOP DEPORTATIONS!

This Is The Time!

On May Day 2013, International Workers Day, No International Worker will go to Work… WE WILL ALL MARCH FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM!
We will march for legalization for all International workers in the US; we will march against public schools closings; we will march to raise the minimum wage; we will march with the labor unions, with community and neighborhood organizations, with hometown associations.
We will meet on Wednesday, May First, at Union Park (Ashland and Lake), at 2 pm, and we will march at 3 pm to Federal Plaza (Jackson and LaSalle). Rally at Federal Plaza at 4:30 pm.

The march itself was energetic, but generally peaceful – according to official sources only a handful of arrests were made. Although the strongest demand voiced at that the march was for an end to deportations, and for full legalization of undocumented workers, slogans addressing various issues such as the Chicago School closings, police violence, and the ongoing war in Afghanistan and US intervention in the Middle East were also raised. At the conclusion of the march, a mass rally was held at Daley Plaza which featured addresses by immigrant’s rights and labor representatives, and US Senator Dick Durbin (D).

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The American Party of Labor Celebrates International Women’s Day

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Comrades around the world!

Today we celebrate March 8th, International Women’s Day. We reaffirm that the link between women’s liberation and total human emancipation from exploitation is unbreakable, and that we cannot have one without the other. To speak about revolution and the creation of a new society while ignoring the oppression of women is to march into battle at less than half strength.

Why is it so important that we make this affirmation on this day? In recent years many women have been justifiably put off by what shall hereby be referred to as the “left,” including some self-proclaimed socialist or communist organizations, due to numerous failures to demonstrate a proper attitude towards women’s liberation and proper behavior towards female comrades. In some cases, female activists have reported being marginalized and objectified, while in the more severe cases reports of sexual assaults have been inexcusably suppressed and victims intimidated, all for the sake of maintaining the integrity of the organization, as if an organization which ignores sexual harassment and even assault in its ranks could ever truly have the integrity that a revolution would inevitably require.

In this shameful series of failures on the part of self-proclaimed progressive forces, many groups and organizations have taken up a line on prostitution which only serves to justify and perpetuate patriarchy, as well as enrich the worst among capitalists. No matter how many reasoned arguments are made to refute their claims that prostitution is not “work like any other form of work,” and no matter how much evidence is mustered to show that legalized prostitution has failed to improve the lives of prostituted women while encouraging men to use women as they see fit, these “leftists” continue to insist that legalization of prostitution is the only possible road.

One of the major causes of these problems stems from what is an unfortunately very popular and vulgar belief, namely the idea that issues like women’s liberation must be put on hold until after the revolution, after the overthrow of capitalism. While it is true that the full liberation of women cannot be achieved so long as society is divided into hostile classes, this does not mean that revolutionaries, and in particular male revolutionaries, have no responsibility to wage a daily struggle against the oppression of women. If nowhere else, any woman should be able to find respite from a hostile world within the ranks of the workers’ movement. Once again, the primary burden of responsibility must inevitably fall on the shoulders of men in this regard. When we speak of women being oppressed, we must ask by whom are they oppressed, and the answer is men. This is not to be taken as a “divisive” statement accusing men but rather an objective fact. And it is for this reason that male revolutionaries must constantly be mindful of their behavior and call out sexism and misogynistic behavior or ideas whenever they might appear, and more importantly resolutely sweep them out of our organizations and coalitions.

On this day, International Women’s Day, the American Party of Labor publicly proclaims its support for the following:

  • Zero tolerance for sexual harassment and especially sexual assault within leftist organizations, coalitions, and events. Members should remain vigilant toward their own behavior and the behavior and attitudes of others.
  • Full rejection of any idea that claims women’s liberation and sexism in general are ideas which can “wait until after the revolution,” or that these things will be solved simply by the overthrow of capitalism. Oppression of women pre-dates capitalism, going back all the way till the beginning of class-based society. This being the case, how can anyone seriously claim that the overthrow of capitalism alone would end women’s oppression? The struggle against sexism, like racism and other social ills, must be waged within revolutionary organizations before, during, and after any hypothetical revolution. The regression of women’s rights in formerly socialist countries clearly demonstrates how difficult this struggle can be, how the overthrow of capitalism alone is insufficient, and how in the future any successful revolutionary party or organization must be ever vigilant on this front.
  • An abolitionist position on prostitution. The APL does not support the criminalization of prostituted women, and does not oppose the desire of any group of prostituted women to organize so as to acquire whatever rights and dignities they can attain by doing so, but the Party will not support any measures which legitimize pimps, traffickers, and buyers of sex. The only bourgeois legislation the APL can support on this issue would be any laws resembling the so-called Nordic Model, which criminalizes pimps, buyers, and landlords rather than prostituted women. This model properly puts the blame where it belongs, on the men who exploit women by selling or renting their bodies. In spite of the arguments by the prostitution industry, study after study show that this is the only bourgeois legal measure which reduces trafficking and risks toward women while providing prostituted women a path to exit from this vile trade. The legalization of prostitution means legitimization, making it “normal” for men to buy sex. Such a situation cannot help but to preserve and perpetuate patriarchy, as it would, and in fact already does, overwhelmingly benefit men at the expense of women.

So let us remember on this, International Women’s Day, that putting the struggle against women’s oppression on an equal plane with the struggle against capitalism does not detract from the latter, nor does it “divide” workers or set them against one another. The people who are guilty of such division are those who act as though female activists exist only to provide girlfriends and partners for male activists, those who turn a blind eye to sexual harassment, and those who masquerade as feminists seeking to empower women by giving them the “choice” to be prostitutes while arguing against any kind of consequences for the men who abuse them.

Waging a struggle against sexism and misogyny is what strengthens the movement and binds it together. Let us wage that struggle, comrades!

Are Guns the Problem?

Once again, in the wake of a shooting spree, bourgeois media makes the issue about gun control rather than the social pressures and problems that make people go over the edge and go on a rampage. Here’s an article from the Red Phoenix helping to wade through the murk of a debate that ultimately (and purposefully) misses the point.

— Espresso Stalinist

Intro: Tragedy, Violence and Bourgeois Discourse

Your average American is no stranger to murder. Periodically, we hear of another senseless crime, another mass murder, another tragedy taking innocent life. Like clockwork, whenever a high-profile shooting takes place in America, two sides of a ceaseless debate seize upon the broken pieces of the aftermath, opportunistically using these pieces in an argument related to legislative policy concerning firearms. On the one hand, you have a side advocating the restriction and prohibition of firearms, on the tightening of laws which confine the ownership and use of firearms, the capacity of their magazines, the level of government scrutiny in their purchase, sale and ownership. On the other hand, you have a group that resists these measures, seeing as the solution the total liberalization of firearms, arguing that the problems associated with firearms are the moral and cultural backwardness of those who use them for murder.

Both sides make themselves red in the face with emotional appeals, with one side envisioning the other as the face of pure evil, of being the side that puts handguns in the hands of children, or the side that burns the constitution and its protection of firearm ownership.

While this debate crops up, and while pop-psychology and cultural scapegoats are used to paint shooters as coming from another planet, the solution-oriented among us aren’t given much to go on as we endeavor to understand and change the phenomena of tragic violence. Sure guns are involved, but why are they picked up in anger for the purpose of homicide? Sure these mass murderers appear unstable, but is there something in the organization of our society that brings them to the breaking point, rather than into a situation where they can be treated? The gun debate will not, and cannot, begin to answer these questions. The reason for this is that the gun debate is a distraction, which purposefully ignores systematic understandings of our society for a convenient yet petty squabble. It is a squabble that ultimately serves power by ignoring the systematic violence and injustice inherent in capitalism.

The Gun Debate’s Two Utopias

Let’s examine the two positions of our “gun debaters” and their solutions for violence. The “anti-gun” crowd would endeavor to get rid of the means which people use to shoot one another by increasing the difficulty for shooters to procure firearms utilizing legal routes. By making it harder to get one’s hands on a gun, the argument may go, one makes it difficult to successfully commit a murder spree, and if the police and military are the only people able to have and use firearms, the would-be murderer may be easier to stop. If “guns are the problem,” then the society of the anti-gun utopians would be one where no civilian has had the opportunity to even touch a gun, let alone own one and use one, and thus be a safer society for the lack of the means to commit murder using firearms. This society, “free of gun violence,” is unlikely. The reason for this is simple: creating legal barriers will not prevent the illegal ownership of firearms. Even if firearms are outlawed, the main users of firearms will still be able to procure them, still find opportunity to use them and still have at their disposal a massive industry which exists to place guns in their hands.

The other side, when we examine the position of gun lobbies like the NRA, has it that guns are not so much a “problem” as they are a “solution.” The argument is that gun violence is the fault of “criminal elements” and that the solution is allowing more “good people” to own and carry firearms to protect themselves from “bad people.” They also argue that any infringement on the right to bare arms, as outlined in the second amendment to the constitution, violates their “freedom,” and as such, is reprehensible. Ignoring the “freedom” argument for a moment, and the implied racism of the “bad people” argument which we will explore more deeply later, let’s consider the “good people” “bad people” analysis and the implications of firearms on this equation. If the “good people” and “bad people” both have equal access to firearms, what necessarily is changed here? In his study on the correlation between gun ownership and gun violence, Gary Kleck found no strong positive correlation between gun ownership and rates of gun violence (meaning no strong trend suggesting that more gun ownership = more gun violence) yet on the same token, there was no evidence of a strong inverse relationship (meaning more gun ownership = less violence). So, despite the implied notion that more guns owned by everyday people will equate more safety for the rest of us by means of deterrence, we’ve no reason to suggest that this will be the case.

Essentially, what these two positions whittle down to is unrealistic “ideal worlds” and emotionalism, ineffective policies for curbing violence and purposeful ignorance of the essence of the problem. The anti-gun crowd will continue to bellow their simplistic analysis of the “gun problem” and the pro-gun position, as put forward by many a reactionary, say the problem is the “criminal element,” which will be solved by a combination of an expansion of our already bloated prison system and allowing those wealthy enough to afford an arsenal of guns to defend themselves from the “criminal element.” None of this solves anything or answers the harder questions. Rather, it regurgitates two ultimately tame and docile positions that are palatable for political discourse in capitalism.

An Argument that Ultimately Avoids the Issue

Let’s apply the logic of the gun debate to the issue of vehicle related death in the United States. In 2010, 32,885 people were killed in car accidents, compared to the 14,748 who were murdered in the same year. What if we had this debate every time a 20 car pileup killed a number of people? Let’s consider our hypothetical belligerents: the “anti car” and “pro car” side. The anti car side might want to raise the driving age to 25, place speed limiters and breathalyzers in every car, have cars guided by rails and rarely driven. The pro car side might find some constitutional argument, may argue that if more people drove cars, less pedestrians would be involved in accidents, and the problem is not cars but irresponsible drivers. Here’s the question that’s ignored, however: why do we have so many cars on the road to collide with one another in the first place?

The answer is several-fold. For one, urban flight and demographic shifts have lead to longer commutes for many workers, necessitating the use of automobiles to get to work. Powerful oil and automotive interests have worked tirelessly to protect their hegemony over transportation by battling efforts at improving public transit, supporting neo-liberal economic practices that prop up these enterprises and drain funding from programs which might offer solutions. Our transportation system, relying on cars as the chief means of getting people to and from work, is incredibly inefficient, pollutes the environment, drastically raises the cost of transportation for individuals through the need for regular vehicle maintenance and is profoundly unsafe, yet persists because of the profitability this system allows for a number of industries who play a key component of our economy. A “pro” “anti” debate in the realm of bourgeois political discussion is never going to result in the serious criticism of our political and economic system, of capitalism’s fault in the social problems that bring about the death and destruction that homicide and car accidents bring about.

The “Usual Suspects” – Scapegoats in Capitalist Discourse

Rather than viewing tragedy as the natural result of systemic problems, bourgeois analysis and debate has prepared a number of scapegoats for us to attack and scrutinize. Outside of firearms, violent video games and violent music culture and movies are blamed as a cause for motivating to action and desensitizing those people who end up shooting others. If it isn’t one of these, it’s the problem of one individual’s psychology, or it’s a problem of a neighborhood, bad parents or bad schools in bad communities. When racial chauvinists want to use tragedy as a pretext for spreading their bile, they’ll say its immigrants, blacks or other groups stereotyped as being “thugs.” The previously mentioned “bad people” are the seen as being culturally, morally and intellectually backward, unwilling (but not unable) to take advantage of “the American dream.” In addition to these, the scapegoats are the sides of the “debates” themselves, whether its “gun-control liberals” attempting to “criminalize self defense” or “gun nuts” trying to “flood our streets with weapons.” The daily controversy as presented within bourgeois media unravels and is engaged with precise choreography, like a well-rehearsed scene in a soap opera.

Each of these scapegoats is taken from an ideological disposition that benefits capitalism. Individualism, racial chauvinism, “politicians” being the problem (as opposed to the class they inevitably serve), “freedoms” being threatened (and a subtle nod to nationalism) – the cards being shuffled in this deck every time a tragedy becomes the topic of debate are as old as the United States itself. Every time this happens, there is a similar result: much talk, some bills shuffled around in the legislature, a protest or two followed by silence in the wake of the next tragedy or issue. A new day dawns on each and every issue, while the true causes remain obscured and the true solutions lie out of reach. This is a function, not a malfunction, of bourgeois democracy. Deeper questions are perceived as the realm of “out of touch” radicals, because the answer to the problems of a system do not lie within the preservation of that system.

The Unquestioned Guns and their Sanctioned Body Count

To illustrate this point, let’s consider some of the boundaries of the “gun issue” as observed by its debaters in the public realm. When Staff Sgt. Robert Bales murdered 17 Afghan civilians in an act of unprovoked, pre-meditated murder in cold blood, the debate didn’t turn to the idea that having the weapon was the problem. Hell, the question of what he and his fellow soldiers were doing in Afghanistan wasn’t taken as seriously as it must, despite a recent poll which suggests that 53% of Americans think we shouldn’t be there, and 68% who see the endeavor going “badly.” Though, the reason that this issue didn’t turn into a gun issue is that it is assumed that, for soldiers and police, gun ownership and use “isn’t the problem,” whether they commit murder or not.

Let’s recall Oscar Grant, who was shot in the back and killed by a police officer while he was cuffed and laying on the ground. The gun isn’t the issue for a cop, even if the cop decides to make an innocent person a murder victim. The United States is a leading manufacturer and exporter of weapons, giving guns to the Libyan rebels which they promptly used to murder blacks in Libya. Is there a gun problem there? No, of course not, since the United States is a “beacon of freedom and democracy” and anyone receiving weapons from them has to be a good guy, whether they are the armed forces of Suharto’s Indonesia, Nicaragua’s Contras, Mobutu Sese Seko’s Zaire, South Africa under Apartheid, Israel (who has used US made white phosphorus to murder civilians of any age). The list goes on.

The gun debate knows certain boundaries because, were it to cross these boundaries, sides in this debate may end up upholding a position that is against the interests of the US government and the ruling class. If we look at the profits of and spending on the U.S. arms industry, making weapons large and small, and how those weapons are spread all over the world and are used in genocide, state repression and general crimes against the world’s people, wouldn’t we have to question the very system that the United States is built on? Wouldn’t we have to question imperialism, colonialism, chauvinism and exploitation? The answer is that we would, and it is for this reason that we can’t ask certain questions within capitalist discourses’ “polite discussion.”

Conclusion: Systems of Violence, Alienation and Oppression are the Problem

In order to understand the problem, and move in the direction of a solution, we need to understand these larger systems which cause the problems, and understand the role they play in protecting the capitalist system and its profits.

Poverty, which is a product of our system and is necessary for the preservation of a reserve army of workers essential to keep wages down, is a major component in violent crime.

Racism is also a force that motivates violence, which we can see from the recent example of Zimmerman’s murder of Trayvon Martin for being black, young and in the wrong neighborhood.

Imperialism requires weapons and munitions of all sizes to expand its hegemony, and the industries themselves have a profit incentive to put weapons in the hands of anyone who can afford to buy them, regardless of their intentions.

The alienation and pain that our capitalist system brings about leads people to act out, whether they do so by harming others, or by using a gun to end their own life, like Dimitris Christoulas, who killed himself in in public while carrying a suicide note detailing the pain that Greece’s austerity measures had brought him. These forces aren’t things you can legislate away, can’t break by having a new suit in the White House, can’t ignore, and most certainly, can’t solve by having more or less guns.

Understanding the origins of a problem are where we must begin. It might not give us a simple or convenient answer, but it will point us in the right direction. Gun violence doesn’t happen in a vacuum, where the only factor bringing about or preventing violence are guns themselves. Our world is not a world of floating independent issues, opinions and actions divorced from everything else. Larger systems, be they economic, political, ideological or cultural, have bearing on what happens in our world. If we pretend that this is not the case, that a utopia can be found by implementing the right reform, or preventing a legislative effort, we blind ourselves to the mechanisms behind everything. When we do the opposite, when we work to understand our world for its component parts, for its class nature, struggles and change, the solutions to problems come into view.

Further Reading

http://www.hawaii.edu/hivandaids/Measures_of_Gun_Ownership_Levels_for_Macro-Level_Crime_and_Violence_Research.pdf

http://theredphoenixapl.org/2011/05/11/poverty-violent-crime/

http://theredphoenixapl.org/2011/05/22/right-wing-terror-on-the-rise/

http://theredphoenixapl.org/2011/05/03/alienation-the-pain-of-all-working-people/

http://theredphoenixapl.org/2011/06/27/the-case-of-oscar-grant/

http://theredphoenixapl.org/2012/04/10/austerity-kills-greeks-declare-financial-murder-at-funeral-of-elderly-man/

http://theredphoenixapl.org/2012/04/03/911-call-trayvon-martin-cried-for-help-before-gunshot/

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Libyan Rebels Imprisoning and Torturing Thousands

An estimated 7,000 detainees being held, including women, children and black Africans tortured for skin colour

Libya’s former rebels have illegally detained thousands of people, including women and children, according to the United Nations secretary general.

Many of the 7,000 prisoners have been tortured, with some black Africans mistreated because of their skin colour, women being held under male supervision and children locked up alongside adults, the report by Ban Ki-moon found.

The report, due to be published on Monday, presents a grim assessment of Libya following the civil war, with many prisoners held in private jails not under the control of the interim government and denied access to due legal process.

The UN chief said: “While prisoners held by the Gaddafi regime had been released, an estimated 7,000 detainees are currently held in prisons and makeshift detention centres, most of which are under the control of revolutionary brigades.”

Prisoners had “no access to due process in the absence of a functioning police and judiciary”, he added. Most courts were “not fully operational” due to a lack of security and a reduction in the number of judges and administrative staff.

Ban said that sub-Saharan Africans accounted for many of the detainees, while members of Libya’s Tawerga community had faced reprisals, including revenge killings, for their role in attacks by Gaddafi forces on the city of Misrata.

While Gaddafi employed some fighters from neighbouring countries as mercenaries, other Africans worked in civilian jobs in the oil-rich North African country. Human rights groups claim that some rebels made no distinction between the two.

The report raised concern about “disturbing reports” that war crimes had been committed by the rebels and former government forces in Sirte, where deposed dictator Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed last month.

UN officials have called on Libyans to respect human rights and refrain from revenge attacks after months of fierce fighting between rebels and Gaddafi loyalists.

Ban said that while the ruling National Transitional Council had made some moves to transfer detainees from private to state prisons, “much remains to be done to regularise detention, prevent abuse and bring about the release of those whose detention should not be prolonged”.

Libya’s acting justice minister has handed the UN mission in Libya a draft law on transitional justice, with the goal of uncovering the truth behind human rights violations, reconciling the country’s various rival factions, trying war criminals and compensating victims.

The UN’s concerns about Libya emerged as Bahrain’s western-backed security forces were accused of using “excessive force” and torture during the crackdown on the Pearl revolution this year in a critical official report.

The Bahrain independent commission of inquiry published a report on Wednesday which detailed the use by the information ministry and the national security agency of “a systematic practice of physical and psychological mistreatment, which in many cases amounted to torture”.

King Hamad Al Khalifa welcomed the report and pledged reforms and an end to impunity. But he ignored its finding that Iran was not involved in the unrest and blamed Tehran’s “propaganda” for fuelling sectarian strife.

The Bahraini government has pledged there would be no immunity for crimes. “All those who have broken the law or ignored lawful orders and instructions will be held accountable,” it said.

But Sheikh Ali Salman, leader of al-Wefaq, the main Shia political group, said: “We cannot say Bahrain is turning over a new leaf yet… because the government that carried out all those abuses is definitely not fit to be given the responsibility of implementing recommendations.”

The inquiry was appointed by King Hamad but headed by the US-Egyptian Cherif Bassiouni, a respected international lawyer. It was asked to investigate whether the events of February and March “involved violations of international human rights law and norms”.

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American Party of Labor Statement on the Killing of Muammar Gaddafi


No the Colonization of Libya!

With the victory of the NATO-backed rebels and the National Transitional Council, Libya has been colonized once again. Moammar Gaddafi, the leader of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, has been killed according to the country’s rebel government on October 20th, 2011. Gaddafi was murdered in his hometown of Sirte, a stronghold for his supporters.

From 1911 to 1943, Italy ruled Libya as a protectorate. Under the reign of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, the colonialists ruthlessly crushed any national resistance to fascism that would threaten Italy’s imperial interests over this oil-rich country. Now, in 2011, the country is once again under the control of foreign powers. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has states that the war against Libya is “over,” declaring the domination of Libya complete. Libya’s rich natural resources and enormous oil wealth, estimated to be among the greatest on earth, is once again to be siphoned by imperialism.

Gaddafi was executed on the spot in a brutal and arbitrary way, which raises questions about what sort of regime the Libyan “rebels” are going to build, as if the ethnic cleansing of black Libyans and foreign migrants from cities under their control, as well as their cozy relationship with the Western powers and NATO didn’t raise enough already.

A convoy of Gaddafi loyalists' vehicles is pictured destroyed ny NATO bombs and littered with bodies near Sirte

Bodies of killed Gaddafi loyalists around the drain pipe where the Libyan leader was allegedly found

Gaddafi’s Execution

Gruesome images of Gaddafi’s bloody corpse have been telecast with glee by TV channels all over the world. The circumstances for his death are reprehensible – he had attempted to flee the bombing assault on Sirte in a military convoy when NATO hit two of the vehicles with a Hellfire missile. The rebel forces allegedly found him hiding in a drain pipe near Sirte. Badly wounded in both legs from the bombs, Gaddafi was captured and executed by rebels.

Photos and cell phone video footage of the event, released shortly after the story of the capture broke, show a wounded and injured Gaddafi with his face and shoulders awash in blood. He appeared to have a wound on his head.


The rebel forces that captured him then began their assault, dragging him from his hiding place and beating the former Libyan leader. Video footage clearly shows Gaddafi grimacing in pain, being humiliated, shoved, beaten and bludgeoned. A dazed Gaddafi is then paraded around in the streets of the city to the sound of the baying mob of rebels, shortly before being shot several times in the head and stomach. Some claim he was shouting, “Don’t shoot!” before he was killed, but no one has verified that claim.

Images from Al-Jazeera show his body being dragged on the ground and paraded through the streets before being taken to a morgue, where rebels flocked to take photographs of the body. Afterwards, his body was taken to Misrata, a rebel stronghold, to be displayed in a freezer. Most reports say he was shot in the head with a 9mm while helpless after being captured and severely beaten. News sources are now changing their story, saying Gaddafi was shot while trying to flee.

Gaddafi’s son Mutassim was given a similar treatment by the “freedom fighters” of Libya. The news is now claiming he was killed in a “firefight” in Sirte, but pictures and video have already emerged of Mutassim lying on a sofa, injured and bloodied after his capture but still alive. Pictures of his executed corpse emerged hours later. Gaddafi’s Defense Minister Abu Bakr Jaber Younes was also killed during the capture, as was Abdullah Senussi and about fifty others.

Mohammed el-Bibi, a 20-year-old rebel fighter who is reportedly the one who pulled the trigger, has been hailed as a “hero,” brandishing a gold-plated gun said to have been owned by Gaddafi. Fittingly, he also donned a baseball cap with the New York Yankees logo. After the shooting, he was hoisted up by rebels, who fired volleys of bullets into the air and loudly chanted, “Allah Akbar.”

Mohammed el-Bibi (right) and another rebel waving a golden pistol allegedly taken from Gaddafi

The barbaric condition of Gaddafi’s death is symbolic, showing the nature of the rebels and giving indications of what life for the Libyan people will be like under their regime. Widespread destruction, poverty, dependence and humiliation, not “freedom” or “democracy,” will be the result of this aggressive attack and occupation of Libya.

Rebels celebrating Gaddafi's death

Lies & Propaganda in the Attack on Libya

Much like other wars the United States and NATO have waged, particularly the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the war on Libya began with lies. Much like the media told us the war on Iraq was because Saddam Hussein was building weapons of mass destruction and was going to attack the U.S., they have insisted this is a war to protect innocent civilians. In fact, recent events have shown that the Libyan rebels are not nonviolent, unarmed civilians, and many of the stories of Gaddafi’s atrocities were highly exaggerated.

To begin with, the media ceaselessly compared the Gaddafi government’s actions to the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, where ethnic Hutu militia murdered hundreds of thousands of Tutsis. Since then they have accused Gaddafi of “genocide.” As if that was not enough, accusations of “war rape” and “mass rape” by troops loyal to Gaddafi were spread by mainstream news, backed up by frivolous stories of Gaddafi distributing Viagra to his soldiers to encourage them to rape women.


Months into the civil war and NATO’s campaign, no evidence of a governmentally-sanctioned campaign of genocide or mass rape has been found. In fact, Time Magazine printed a retraction of the Viagra story soon after, and many other news sources admitted there was no evidence of such an action – it was pure warmongering propaganda.

The imperialist coalition of NATO has violated all international laws by waging aggressive and destructive war for their own economic self-interests in the name of “humanitarianism,” as they did in Yugoslavia, as they did in Afghanistan and as they did in Iraq.

Libya and the Arab Spring

Western leaders have tried to say that the revolt in Libya is exactly like the ones happening across the Middle East, including the successful popular revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, seamlessly integrating the events in Libya into the “Arab Spring” of revolutions and uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

The uprisings of the “Arab Spring” began in Tunisia, where protests led to the overthrow of pro-US dictator Ben Ali after twenty-four years in power. In neighboring Algeria, the people also flared up in resistance. Soon after, protests erupted in Egypt against the autocratic neo-liberal Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted from office by the revolution. After these events, the “Arab Spring” expanded in the region, and none of the ruling governments could stop them. In this context, Gaddafi took an opportunist position, claiming that the revolts in Egypt were led by Mossad, the Zionist secret service, and announcing that if he were in Tunisia at the time of the revolt, he would have supported Ben Ali. Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen and many others have since been the scene of protests and riots by opposition groups.

In contrast to the various revolts however, it has become obvious since the NATO intervention that the revolt in Libya is not a popular revolution or progressive. It is primarily an attack by racist and reactionary elements of Libyan society against the government of the Libyan Jamahiriya. This uprising might have been legitimate at one point, but it has been hijacked by reactionary pro-imperialist factions.

The Gaddafi regime, before its destruction by the rebels, did promote such privatization and neo-liberal policies to the detriment of its people. However, the NTC has not arisen to combat this turn to the right, but to make Libya even more right-wing. Libya has one of the highest GDP per capita in Africa, as well as the highest Human Development Index. Libya under Gaddafi also had free education, as well as free studies abroad, free medical care, free water, almost free electricity and homes funded by the state. Libya under Gaddafi was the most developed nation in Africa and much of the Middle East.

The anti-Gaddafi forces formed a committee named the “National Transitional Council” on the 27th of February, consisting of defecting interior ministers, various neo-liberals and former justice minister Mustafa Abdul Jalil, who under the Gaddafi regime oversaw and promoted privatization and liberalization policies.

What really reveals the rebels as puppets of foreign powers however, is that they were completely unable to secure victory without the help of NATO. Up until March 7th of this year, the forces of Gaddafi held the rebellion at bay. On March 10th to March 19th, at the request of NTC leaders and with the approval of the Security Council of the United Nations, the imperialist powers imposed a “no-fly-zone” on Libya. As early as March 17th, the United Kingdom and France recognized the NTC as the legitimate government of Libya.

The events came to a head on March 22nd, when the United States, France and Britain deployed a major bombing force to attack pro-Gaddafi targets, afterwards involving all of NATO in the brutal bombing campaign. Since then, the Libyan “rebels” have shown themselves to be a dangerous, crazed hodgepodge of a mob at best, and a ruthless band of killers at worst. They have lynched black Libyans for their skin color and have ethnically cleansed entire cities, all the while waving monarchist flags. Recent reports have even suggested they are rounding up black Libyans and placing them in concentration camps, where widespread rape and executions have been reported.

Omar Mukhtar, led native resistance to Italian colonization of Libya for decades

History of Libya

Libya, a Saharan country located in the heart of North Africa which dared to defy the United States and the European powers, has a fascinating history that is not often reported in the media. The reason being that if they reported on Libya’s past, it would expose how Africa’s right to economic self-determination has continuously been taken away, politically and militarily.

The same NATO countries currently bombing Libya have a history of occupying the country. Libya was a colony of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. After its liberation from Ottoman forces, it became an Italian colony. By 1931, more than 750,000 Libyans had died fighting the Italian occupation. Ironically, both Turkey and Italy are NATO members participating in the attack against Libya.

During World War II, Winston Churchill sought rapprochement with Mussolini, whom he described as a “Roman genius,” claiming that he “rendered a service to the whole world,” calling him “the great law-giver among living men for his anti-Communist stand.”

King Idris the I of Libya

After the war, the Kingdom of Libya under King Idris the I proclaimed its independence on December 24, 1951. Libya became a pro-US and pro-British monarchy. During the reign of King Idris, the Allied powers of Britain, France and the United States (also current members of NATO) enjoyed de-facto control of Libya. The United States built its first air base in Africa, the Wheelus Air Base, on the outskirts of Tripoli for $100 million. The entire country was devastated by the Second World War, which had obliterated what little infrastructure there was in one of the poorest countries in the world. There was virtually no education system or medical care in the country, no stable government and no administrative services.

King Idris & Richard Nixon

In contrast, the West had unhindered access to Libya’s oil and resources. The Wheelus Air Base was used in the Korean War and became a strategic asset for the U.S. Libya was the only source of Middle Eastern oil that wasn’t shut down by the closure of the Suez Canal, and soon the country had hundreds of millions of dollars worth of foreign private investment.

Flag of the Kingdom of Libya under the King - the favorite flag of the rebels

The true nature of the rebellion is shown by the fact that they wave the flag of British and U.S. puppet King Idris the I. After years of poverty under the corrupt monarchy, which sapped the national wealth for the rulers of the Kingdom and not for the people, a bloodless coup was staged by the Free Unionist Officers on September 1, 1969, led by Muammar Gaddafi.

After the coup, the new government assumed full control over oil production and refused to renew licenses for foreign military bases in Libyan territory. 51% of foreign banks and 51% of all oil companies such as Shell, Exxon, Texaco, Socal and Mobil were nationalized by 1973. Oil prices were raised for crude oil when Libya insisted on setting its own prices, and soon agrarian reform and social programs funded by oil revenue helped Libya build itself into the most developed country in Africa. The Western powers have never forgiven the Gaddafi Jamahiriya government for overthrowing their puppet monarchy, and since then Libya has been labeled as one of the “bad Arab states,” with Gaddafi being the lead “bad Arab.”

Where is Libya Heading?

Despite criticisms one might have of the Gaddafi government, NATO has no concern for the Libyan people. Its only mission is the hunger for its world domination.United States Vice President Joe Biden told the press that this invasion will set the stage for future military attacks. “This is more of the prescription for how to deal with the world as we go forward than it has been in the past,” he said. With this statement, the brutal power of NATO to violate the sovereignty of states anywhere they want, and to make the law everywhere in the world as they see fit, is put plainly for all to see.

Gaddafi loyalists fight with the green flag standard of the Libyan Jamahiriya

The foreign policy of U.S. imperialism for years to come will be shaped by bloody invasions which back reactionary puppet governments and suit the Western power’s economic interests. Powers like the United States use humanitarian justifications like “human rights” and “democracy” to support local rebellions and portray them as democrats even if they are little more than terrorists, thugs, drug traffickers or worse. Foreign imperialist powers do not intervene in oil-rich countries for “humanitarian” reasons, for but self-interest, for territorial conquests, and to gain new access to markets and resources.

The fighters against reaction and domination, who struggle still against leaders backed by imperialism’s ambition, must now keep in mind that NATO is watching and waiting to strike. Imperialism is out for blood, out to restore the hegemony it has built all over the globe that enforcers like Ben Ali and Mubarak pushed onto their people for decades. This is imperialism’s response to cries for liberation.

The death of Gaddafi will no doubt have the West proclaiming its “victory” over the resistance, but the Libyan people’s heroic resistance to imperialist war has not been in vain, because the world has been watching and all the peoples of the world have learned from their example.

Source

American Party of Labor: Reconsider Columbus Day

Happy Genocidal Maniac Day!

Five hundred and eighteen years ago, today 12 October, a momentous event happened. The supposed “discovery” by one Cristóbal Colón—also known as Christopher Columbus, landed on the Bahamian island of San Salvador and subsequently was labeled the “first” European to take notice of the Americas. Let us consider the supposed discovery. Can one be called a discoverer of a land, which was already populated by most anthropological estimates by at least one hundred million persons? It was not a primitive wilderness this man “discovered.” Rather, it was the work of a people who had no idea exactly how large the Earth was. The Americas in 1492 were already populated and had very large and developed civilizations—the Aztecs, Incas and Iroquois to name a few. They already had hundreds of nations spread across the continent. Rather than enriching these natives as one is lead to believe by Euro-centric history, Columbus and those who followed the trail he blazed have visited upon these peoples nothing but misery, from slavery and disease to outright genocide.

Contrary to the lies most Americans are told about this so-called great discoverer:

  • Columbus is responsible for the murder of millions of Indigenous people.
  • Columbus was a slave trader in Africa before invading America. He began the slave trade in the Americas. One of his first acts was to enslave the Arawak nation, which now extinct. He deserves no holiday, no parades and no statues.
  • Columbus Day celebrates the doctrine of “discovery” – the “legal” process that stole Indigenous peoples’ territories and continues today.
  • Columbus brought a philosophy of domination to the Americas that persists today in the domination of other peoples, domination of the environment, domination of other belief systems and the domination of women by men. Christopher Columbus is responsible for the Spanish colonization of the Western Hemisphere, which foreshadowed a general European colonization of the “New World.”

Columbus Summed Up

His first act of colonization sprang from his desire to establish a settlement on the island of Hispaniola, funded by Isabella I, Queen of Castile and Leon. Containing the modern-day nations of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, he founded the settlement of La Navidad (Christmas) on the north east coast of the island in 1492. The following year, Columbus quickly founded a second settlement further east in present day Dominican Republic, La Isabela, which became the first permanent European settlement in the Americas. The island was inhabited by the Taínos, one of the indigenous Arawak peoples. They were tolerant of Columbus and welcomed his crew as guests. They even helped him construct La Navidad.

From Columbus’ own log, he recorded the following:

“They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned… . They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… . They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want” (1).

“As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts” (1).

Colonization of the settlement began the following year, with 1,300 Spaniards arriving under the watch of Christopher Columbus’s younger brother, Bartholomew Columbus. The Spanish began to import African slaves, believing them to be better equipped for manual labor. The Taino population was hastily obliterated from a combination of disease and harsh treatment by their colonial masters. The natives lacked immunity to small pox and entire tribes were wiped out. From an estimated initial population of 250,000 in 1492, the Arawaks had dropped to 14,000 by 1517. From Howard Zinn:

“In the year 1495, they went on a great slave raid, rounded up fifteen hundred Arawak men, women, and children, put them in pens guarded by Spaniards and dogs, then picked the five hundred best specimens to load onto ships. Of those five hundred, two hundred died en route. The rest arrived alive in Spain and were put up for sale by the archdeacon of the town, who reported that, although the slaves were ‘naked as the day they were born,’ they showed ‘no more embarrassment than animals.’ Columbus later wrote: ‘Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.’

But too many of the slaves died in captivity. And so Columbus, desperate to pay back dividends to those who had invested, had to make good his promise to fill the ships with gold. In the province of Cicao on Haiti, where he and his men imagined huge gold fields to exist, they ordered all persons fourteen years or older to collect a certain quantity of gold every three months. When they brought it, they were given copper tokens to hang around their necks. Indians found without a copper token had their hands cut off and bled to death.

Trying to put together an army of resistance, the Arawaks faced Spaniards who had armor, muskets, swords, horses. When the Spaniards took prisoners they hanged them or burned them to death. Among the Arawaks, mass suicides began, with cassava poison. Infants were killed to save them from the Spaniards. In two years, through murder, mutilation, or suicide, half of the 250,000 Indians on Haiti were dead” (1).

Conclusion

The day celebrating Columbus was created in 1907. One hundred and three years later, it is time to remove this day celebrating violence, bloodshed and the dispossession and extermination of Indigenous peoples from our calendar. We must actively reject the celebration of Christopher Columbus and his legacy. We must also reject historical misconceptions regarding Columbus and his “discovery” of the Americas.

Works Cited:

1) http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/zinncol1.html

American Party of Labor Statement On The State Murder of Troy Davis

Troy Davis is dead.

Despite the appeals of many, despite an overwhelming lack of evidence in his case, the capitalist “justice” system decided that he must die.

Like a lynch mob in the American apartheid known as Jim Crow, the state has sanctioned murder in the name of punishing and terrorizing a community for its perceived trespasses. The events of yesterday aren’t simply a failing of a system, or a crime against a single individual. This is a crime against an entire community deemed “criminal” because of their skin color and class, and it is entirely intentional.

Capitalist “democracy” gives the pretense of being fair, just and impartial when it deals its punishments. The reality is far from it.

Capitalism uses its police as its representatives in class warfare. Their purpose, rather than to protect people or lofty and abstract principles like “justice,” is to protect and preserve the unjust antagonisms on which our society is constructed. To put it simply, they are the army of the wealthy, the defenders of their state. They are judge, jury and executioner in the streets when workers and the poor aren’t content with their lot. The system depends on such enforcers to maintain its everyday exploitation of working people.

It is for this reason that state repression cannot allow itself to be challenged. In the case that a police officer is killed, someone — regardless of guilt or innocence — needs to be made an example of.

Troy Davis was made to suffer and die not for a crime he committed, or even a crime committed by another person against a police officer, but to protect the everyday crime perpetrated by capitalism and its agents of repression.

The message that Troy Davis’ body sends is this: if anyone challenges the power of the police, anyone can be made a target for frame-up and murder.

If any reader still entertains illusions of “justice” being the end in mind of police forces and courts within capitalism, Troy Davis’ example is one of many that reveals how alien “justice” is to the American police and court systems.

There is no justice in a system which defends exploitation with state-sponsored murder.

There is no justice in a system which gives slaps on the wrists of corporate criminals who destroy the lives of millions, yet executes those whose guilt is in doubt.

In some of the last words he ever spoke, Troy Davis has asked those he has left behind to continue his fight.

We at the American Party of Labor condemn his murder, and the everyday terror police forces and the court system visit on working people in every corner of our country.

Troy Davis may no longer be with us, but Troy Davis and countless other victims live on in our minds and hearts as we struggle against a criminal justice system founded on the most criminal injustice.

We must not falter in this struggle, and we must not forget the sacrifice of those who we have lost to capitalism’s state repression.

Source

Eyewitnesses dismiss overnight rebel advances on Tripoli

From The Red Phoenix

Reports of tracer bullets and explosions over the Libyan capital have sparked rumors of the imminent defeat of Colonel Gaddafi and his regime. However, it transpired that most of these shots were fired by victorious Gaddafi loyalists.

On Saturday evening, rounds were fired close to a hotel hosting foreign journalists. Explosions were also heard in the area as NATO aircraft carried out heavy bombing runs after nightfall, the Associated Press reported.

Rebels were reported to be fighting in the city’s Tajoura neighbourhood, as well as near Tripoli’s international airport. There have been reports that fighting also broke out in the neighborhoods of Soug Jomaa and Arada in the east. The NATO-backed rebels in Libya claimed that a battle for the capital Tripoli could unfold by the end of the month, as they have now taken control of key cities around the Gaddafi stronghold.

However, all these reports have proven false.

Continue reading

About the American Party of Labor (APL)

The American Party of Labor (APL) is a Marxist-Leninist political party in the United States, founded in December, 2008. It follows the line of Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin and published The Red Phoenix.

In the fallout of a global recession, the people of the United States stand in a position of economic uncertainty. There is no end to the fighting in sight. In a time of growing environmental calamities, any solutions presented are inadequate. All of the problems facing humanity at this time require solutions. At this time, the world stage is in the hands of those who are in opposition to what is necessary to fix our circumstances and transform the situation in the interests of the people.

But where there are obstacles, there are forces for change as well, battering the walls of the status quo. For the creation of a modern society, for the affirmation of the rights of the people, and for the realization of the needs of all humanity. This historic role of turning defeat into victory is in the hands of the workers, farmers and youth of the United States of America, and this role will not be denied.

THE AMERICAN PARTY OF LABOR has a goal to establish a genuine democracy that elevates the lives of the people in the United States by building a revolutionary movement composed of workers of all ages; of all races, ethnicities, and nationalities; of all gender identities and identifications; and of all sexual orientations. Our Party believes that the only way to do this is through hard work and struggle. We call for a true government for the people and by the people. This is the only way to liberate the masses of poor in the United States.

http://americanpartyoflabor.org/