Category Archives: Genocide

Who Killed Yasser Arafat?

Now we know he was poisoned – but by whom?

by Justin Raimondo

Yasser Arafat died on November 11, 2004, of a mysterious ailment. His enemies spread the rumor he had AIDS: David Frum, with typical classiness, claimed he had contracted AIDS as a consequence of having sex with his bodyguards. Now, however, it has been revealed Arafat was poisoned: the cause of his death was exposure to very high levels of polonium-210 [pdf], a rare radioactive substance. An investigation conducted by Al Jazeera showed Arafat’s personal items, released to the media organization by his widow, contained several times the normal level of polonium that would normally be detected on such items. The Palestinian leader’s terminal symptoms were similar to those experienced by victims of polonium poisoning: the substance targets the gastrointestinal tract and the subject wastes away.

Arafat’s Ramallah compound had been bombed several times by the Israelis, and they had the place surrounded – yet still he persisted. They couldn’t get him out. Worse, his plight was becoming a metaphor for the condition of his people, who were – and still are – prisoners in their own land. A former adviser claimed he was poisoned by the Israelis, who detained the Palestinian ambulance used to deliver Arafat’s medications to the Ramallah compound. At the time, one tended to write this off as a purely polemical exercise: in light of the new evidence, however, the question has to be asked.

Simply by continuing to exist in the face of such a sustained assault, Arafat was defeating the Israelis every day. They had to get rid of him. Did they? We’ll never know for sure, but it is worth noting that Israeli threats to kill him preceded his untimely death by less than a year. As is well-known, Israeli intelligence has carried out numerous assassinations: it is simply another tool in their international operations, one they have never hesitated to utilize. A passport-falsification scheme involving New Zealand, Britain, France, Spain, and a number of other countries was widely believed to have been meant to equip the Mossad’s crack team of assassins, who could slip into – and out of – target areas at will.

The Israelis hated Arafat with a particular passion, for two reasons:

1) His longevity – The Palestinian movement is thick [pdf] with factions, but thin when it comes to recognizable leaders. Arafat was the principal leader, and no one since his death has achieved his stature. He was a political survivor, having lived through numerous assassination attempts, and deflected the schemes of internal enemies to displace him. Simply by sticking around for so long, he became a living symbol of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination – and that is one big reason why the Israelis got rid of him.

2) His secularism – The Israelis encouraged the growth of groups such as Hamas in the beginning, in order to split away the more religious elements from the decidedly secular Palestine Liberation Organization/Fatah, which Arafat headed. It is easy to sell the Palestinians as crazed jihadists when a group like Hamas or Islamic Jihad is the most visible champion of their cause: the secular PLO presented the Israelis with a public relations problem. There’s another reason for the Israelis to have knocked him off.

One aspect of this case is extremely odd: polonium-210 is the same poison Alexander Litvinenko was dosed with. Litvinenko, a former KGB official, converted to Islam, joined the Chechen rebels, and became an associate of Boris Berezovsky, the notorious Russian oligarch wanted on charges of embezzlement in his home country. Litvinenko and Berezovsky are the Russian version of 9/11 Truthers: they believe practically every terrorist attack on Russian cities has been “staged” by Vladimir Putin in order to keep him in power. When he became ill, Litvinenko charged the Russian spy agency with poisoning him – although that seems highly unlikely.

Polonium-210 isn’t something you can buy off the shelf at your local Walmart. It isn’t even something a mad scientist might cook up in his home lab. About 100 grams are produced each year for specialized technical uses. The only entities with access to this sort of thing are state actors, or, at least, a private organization with very substantial resources at its disposal.

What’s interesting is that a diplomatic cable, dated Dec. 26, 2006 and published by WikiLeaks, details the conversation of a US diplomat with Russian spook Anatoly Safonov in which Safonov claims the Russians told the British about the importation of “nuclear materials” into London during the Litvinenko affair – and were told that the whole thing was “under control before the poisoning took place.” In the course of the same conversation, Safonov – Putin’s chief representative on terrorism-related matters – went on to describe a number of threats and their possible sources:

“Safonov noted the daunting number of countries that posed particular terrorism threats, mentioning North Korea, Pakistan, South Africa, Libya, Iran, India, and Israel (sic?). He described a range of dangers, stressing the more immediate threats posed by nuclear and biological terrorism, but also acknowledging the risks of chemical terrorism.”

While the use of “sic” is meant to indicate our diplomat’s incredulity at the inclusion of Israel in this list, what we now know about how Arafat died should tear away the blinders from several sets of eyes – yes, even at the US State Department.

Source

On the Day of American Independence

Today is the 4th of July, a holiday celebrated all over the nation as the date of American Independence from the British crown. I was considering burning an American flag to protest US foreign policy, imperial aggression, indigenous holocaust, sponsorship of terrorism, slavery and discrimination of minorities, etc., and promptly began wondering if flag-burning on public property is considered to be a fire hazard. Today is a holiday that is spent trying to spread patriotic feelings among our people, and thus in effect to try and goad them into flag-waving, chauvinism, jingoism and xenophobia. Patriotism, the way the imperialists see it, means love for their government and love for their class of oppressors. It means love for the police, the prison complex, the courts, the army and the ruling class dictatorship. It means love for the exploitive system of capitalism and the settler-fascists that have run it from the start.

On this celebrated day of the creation of the American state, it is time to take a look back at our long, star-crossed history, and it is time to present a challenge to ourselves—what has American really been about all this time? As Frederick Douglass famously said about this particular holiday in 1852:

“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

He continues,

“Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.”

There are those who might say that Douglass’s words no longer ring true because of the Obama presidency, and then there are those who know that a change in the ruler’s skin color does not abolish racism and oppression overnight. In addition, Major General Smedley Butler from the US Marines speaks about what real role the US military has been playing over the years:

“I spent 33 years and 4 months in active service as a member of our country’s most agile military force – the Marine Corps… And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect money in. I helped in the raping of a half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street… I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped get Honduras “right” for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was operate in three city districts. We Marines operated on three continents.”

These revelations are by no means new, since they have been given by many anti-imperialist and anti-colonialists since the beginning of the domination of American imperialism, which started after World War II and strengthened itself through the selling-out of the Soviet Union during the Cold War and the collapse of socialist Albania.

To give a more detailed or complete account of American foreign policy, which has always been driven by nothing more and nothing less than the capitalist system’s desire for global hegemony under American leadership, would take many pages and several lifetimes of research into the history of the modern-day Roman Empire. But this 4th of July, and keeping with our challenge to ourselves, a few examples taken from the recent history of the United States alone should serve to give an idea of what this class dictatorship has really been about since the beginnings of its foundation.


A History Lesson

In 1945, the US invades the Korean peninsula and declares a “temporary” partition of Korea. America installs an illegitimate American-friendly regime in the South, backed by a force of 50,000 troops. After 2,617 troop incursions in the Northern Pro-Soviet half, sometimes with as many as a few thousand troops, a war ensues when North Korea finally invades South Korea in response. A three-year war takes place and millions are killed. Thousands of American troops remain in South Korea to this day.

In 1966, a US-backed coup ousted President Sukarno of Indonesia and replaced him with the fascist butcher Suharto. Over a million people were hunted down and killed, including thousands of popular leftist leaders, whose names were given to the military by the American Embassy. Suharto would go on to rule Indonesia with an iron fist for decades. Newly-liberated East Timor was then invaded by Suharto’s Indonesia the day after President Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (both butchers of the Vietnam War) gave them permission. By 1989, over one-third of East Timor’s 700,000 people had been killed. Indonesia had US backing, including armaments, throughout its 24-year occupation.

In 1967, a US-backed military coup took place to prevent Greek politician George Papandreou being elected Prime Minister. The colonels declared martial law, implemented torture, beatings, arrests, leaving 8,000 dead in the first month. The coup leaders were fiercely anti-communist and pro-American, working closely with the CIA. The colonels held power until 1974.

In 1970, Marxist reformist Salvador Allende was elected as President of Chile. He nationalized the giant US companies. Soon, the right-wing, backed by the CIA and US foreign policy, engineered a 1973 coup lead by the infamous General Augusto Pinochet. Allende was overthrown and replaced by a fascist military dictatorship that used mass executions and torture. Thousands were murdered and disappeared. Chile became an economic experiment that led to economic growth for the richest while leaving many homeless and greatly decreasing economic equality.

In 1978 in Nicaragua, the popular and progressive Sandinista movement overthrows the US-backed dictator Anastasio Samoza. The US then launches a military occupation in order to prevent “another Cuba.” A program of terrorism and economic sabotage is begun, which leads to the US support of the infamous Contra death squads. The Contras prove to be one of the most brutal fighting forces Latin America has ever seen, infamous for burning down schools, churches and hospitals as well as using mass murder, rape and torture. The Contras massacre whole villages though to be sympathetic to the Sandinistas. Over 60,000 die. President Reagan labels them as “freedom fighters.”

Summation

From these examples alone—Korea, Indonesia, East Timor, Greece, Chile and Nicaragua, which are merely the most prominent of many dozens more ready-made examples including the Vietnam War—we can see that United States foreign policy has never been driven by a devotion to any kind of morality, nor by any kind of longing for freedom or democracy. From the start, the United States has been driven by the necessity to make the world safe for investment by capitalism, to enrich US armaments who contribute generously to Congress members, to prevent the development of any society which becomes an example of an independent alternative to the capitalist model and to extend its political and economic control over as much of the globe as possible.

Everyone alive today remembers the media immediately after the events of 9/11. “Why Do They Hate Us So Much?” the newspapers asked. Gee, I don’t know. Perhaps dropping bombs really pisses some “less civilized” people off. This is a simple list of the nations bombed since World War II:

China 1945-46, Korea 1950-53, China 1950-53, Guatemala 1954, Indonesia 1958, Cuba 1959-60, Guatemala 1960, Congo 1964, Peru 1965, Laos 1965-73, Vietnam 1961-73. Cambodia 1969-70, Guatemala 1967-69, Grenada 1983, Libya 1986, El Salvador 1980s, Nicaragua 1980s, Panama 1989, Iraq 1991-2002, Sudan 1998, Afghanistan 1998, Yugoslavia 1999, Afghanistan 2001 and Iraq 2003 (1).

It is worth noting that violence and exploitation are also not limited to outside the US borders, either. Of all western nations, the US has the greatest income inequality. 40% of the wealth is controlled by 1% of the population. The US has the greatest discrepancy in the world between the wealthy and the poor when it comes to health care, and also when it comes to life expectancy.

Finally, the Land of the Free has the highest number of its population in prison than any other state in the world (2). And all this is without mentioning the minute details of the oppressive structure of the class society as it exists for us every day. These sorts of atrocities will continue until this capitalist system is done away with through struggle and revolution in the US.

On the day of American Independence, among all other days, this is a fact for all of us to remember.

Sources

(1) Taken from Australian Options Quarterly No. 31, Summer 2002.

(2) From Scientific American, Dec. 2005

Source

Video: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death

White King, Red Rubber, Black Death
1:49:34
The story of King Leopold II of Belgium’s brutal colonisation of central Africa, turning it into a vast rubber-harvesting labour camp in which millions died.

Successful Conclusion to the Celebration of Victory over Nazi-Fascism Day!


Santiago, Chile, May 7, 2011

May 7, 2011 successfully concluded the series of events that the Communist Party of Chile (Proletarian Action) held in commemoration of the 66th Anniversary of the Victory over Nazi-Fascism. As part of the cultural celebrations, Party musicians and singers gave performances of high quality and interpretative content. We especially salute Comrades Alejandro, Enrique and Patricia who read with, with great emotion, Pablo Neruda’s poem Stalingrad. Likewise, we salute those comrades who prepared and screened historical videos about the Great Patriotic War and the defeat of Nazi-fascism.

A highlight of the evening, followed with great interest by all participants, was the main speech delivered by Comrade Eduardo Artes; whose speech was later published in pamphlet form, and distributed to the attendees.

A particularly emotional moment occurred when a participant of the evening’s events, Comrade Isaac Marquez approached the stand and presented Comrades Luis Aravena and Sanhueza Valdemar, of the Party leadership, a replica of the flag the Red Army hoisted in Berlin in 1945.

Comrades Edison Gutierrez of MAS-Chile; Vicente and Carlos of the Association of Peruvian Exiles in Chile; and Natalia of URRACAS de Emaus de San Bernardo were greeted with applause.

Below we reproduce Comrade Eduardo Artés speech and some pictures of the evening’s activities.

National Communications Commission of the Chilean Communist Party (Proletarian Action)

STATEMENT OF EDUARDO ARTÉS, First Secretary of the Chilean Communist Party (Proletarian Action).

Friends, comrades, and colleagues,

May 9th is a red letter day in the Soviet calendar and in the hearts of all communists and anti-fascists of the world, when the Nazi dream of “a thousand year Reich” falls and rolls in the dust. It is the day the red flag was raised by the Red Army in the heart of Berlin.

Today, as many in the West obscure the memory of May 9, 1945, insult socialism and seek to rehabilitate Nazi-fascist criminals, here in Latin America, in Chile, the Communists, the Chilean Communist Party (Proletarian Action) not only remembers this date, but studies those factors which brought it about. Far from a simple academic interest, we look to learn from it and thus make possible, in our own day, the overthrow of today’s imperialists; just as our comrades did with the brown beast, with Nazi-Fascism, in the Great Patriotic War, the anti-fascist struggle.

We must go to the root of the Soviet achievement — red, working class, and popular, as it was. For, it was certainly more than a simple victory; since attacked from all sides, many announced that the socialist state would be unable to withstand Hitler’s troops for even a month.

Many betted on the imminent defeat of the Soviet Union; in fact, openly proclaimed it. U.S. Congressman Martin Lice said, on June 24, 1941: “Within a month, Hitler will take over all of Russia“, and June 27th of that same year, the New York Post reported that “to save the reds from imminent defeat would require a miracle of biblical proportions.

But there were not only propagandistic and overt pro Nazi-Fascists proclamations; within the “Allies”, Britain and the U.S., its reactionary circles, dreamed of destroying the Soviet Union. Winston Churchill, giving vent to his anti-communism, encouraged the fascists to destroy the USSR. He did not hesitate to call for “drowning the baby in its crib”; and in October 1942, before the Stalingrad counter-offensive said: “We have to stop these barbarians in the East, as far away as possible.” Of course, Churchill counted on the Nazi Germans to “stop” the Soviets, and not that the latter would resist, and then get to Berlin itself.

It is well known that both the U.S. and Britain, forced into alliance with the Soviet Union due to a broad world-wide democratic and anti-fascist movement, took thousands of petty little actions to hamper the resistance and the subsequent Soviet advance against Hitler’s troops. Among other criminal acts, the Western “allies” repeatedly withheld valuable intelligence that could have saved thousands of civilian lives, the destruction of hospitals, schools, housing, food crops, military material, and of course the arms and lives of thousands of Soviet soldiers.

In 1943, in the very midst of the war, the Western “allies” tried to reach an agreement with Nazi generals and redirect the war solely against the Soviet Union. Furthermore, at the end of the war, England, and particularly U.S., protected a large number of Nazi officials and war criminals, transferring many of them outside Germany, even to Latin America, where they directly or indirectly gave their criminal experience to reactionary and fascist regimes, among others, that of Pinochet in Chile.

The U.S. brought home more than 180 German scientists, including their families, who were developing nuclear weapons and missiles for the Nazis. Today, without much trouble, we can say that both the U.S. and England had as a principle reason for their late and half-hearted participation in the anti-fascist coalition, preventing most of post-war Europe from having socialist regimes. They intervened to snatch popular victory away from the partisans in Greece and Italy, and from the Maquis in France. That is to say, to paralyze and destroy the popular guerrilla movements, which, led by Communists, were installing peoples democracies and socialism.

At that time, the dream of the so-called “Western democracies” vanished. This dream was to see the young proletarian State, led by genuine communists defeated and destroyed at the hands of Nazi-fascism. The end of this dream brought on the class hatred of their wretched reactionary leaders.

That the imperialists, the U.S. and Britain, acted thusly was somewhat predictable. We need to remember this, so that no one gets lost when analyzing the behavior of imperialist powers. What can be said to have been surprising to some, and repulsive to all, was the similar behavior of someone who presented himself, in life, as an authentic proletarian revolutionary, but who as has been demonstrated, was only venting his anti-communist spleen – I mean the foolish actions and the miserable figure of Leon Trotsky.

Between 1938 and 1940, just when Soviet workers, peasants and patriots were preparing with great heroism and sacrifice to deal with the impending Nazi-fascist aggression, Trotsky argued that ” the defense of the country can only be ensured by destruction of the autocratic clique of saboteurs and usurpers” and the insisted that “only the overthrow of the Kremlin separatist group can restore the military strength of the USSR. All who, directly or indirectly support Stalinism, all those who exaggerate the strength of his army, are the greatest enemies of the socialist revolution and of oppressed peoples. ““Only the Soviet proletariat rising against shameful new parasitic tyranny can salvage what’s left of the social foundations of the gains of October”. Moreover, so that none doubt the help and assistance given by Trotsky to the Nazis, in the midst of conflict, he once again, called for an uprising against the General Staff of the Anti-fascist struggle. Trotsky said that “the gains of the October Revolution he can only serve the people if they can stir action against the Stalinist bureaucracy, as when acting against the Tsarist bureaucracy and bourgeoisie (…) this can only be achieved one way: through the rising of the workers, peasants and Red Army soldiers against the new breed of oppressors and parasites. To prepare a rising of this magnitude requires a new party, the Fourth International. “

Trotsky’s interests coincided well with that of the Nazis, he supported the cowards and opportunists who sought to bring the Soviet Union to its knees before the brown beast. What a shame for the reactionaries and fascists that Trotsky’s new party, the “Fourth International”, was not taken to by the working class in the Soviet Union, or by the working class in any country. If they had, perhaps the Great War could have been prevented, the Red Army would never have come to Berlin and the world today would be ruled by the Nazi-fascists!

The denial and negation of the USSR’s principal determinant contribution to the fight for freedom, democracy and socialism, was not heard yesterday, when it prosecuted the war against the Nazi-Fascist Axis, at a time when reactionaries the world over boycotted the USSR, but TODAY.

66 years after the glorious 9th of May, 1945, they continue to deny the fundamental role in the defeat of Nazi-fascism played by the Red Army of Workers and Farmers, guided by the its Bolshevik leadership with Comrade Joseph Stalin at the helm. But the truth cannot be hidden forever, on the contrary, this stands out, like it or not — it is revolutionary.

Who can deny that the Soviet Union, the Red Army destroyed 80% of the German Nazi army in unforgettable battles such as Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk, Belorussia or Berlin; that 8 out of 10 soldiers killed in the war by the Germans, occurred on the eastern front; that of all the dead soldiers and civilians around the world during and following the war, a total of 50 million, 27 million were Russians. That was the tremendous contribution and sacrifice the land of the Soviets gave towards the defeat of the brown beast. The hatred and resentment of reactionaries around the world is understandable!

It is necessary to take into account the starting point of the Soviet state in its fight the war Nazi-fascism. Among many the factors to consider: The earlier disaster for old Russia, of the First World War; the backwardness of the peoples and nations that formed the Soviet Union under the old regime, with all the obscurantism and autocratic feudal remnants of tsarism; the recent nature of the revolution and seizure of power by the Bolsheviks, at the head of the worker-peasant alliance; the war against the intervention of the imperialist powers, which sought and to restore tsarism and drown in blood and fire the newly formed socialist state, a war that caused death and destruction and delayed the needed economic and social reconstruction demanded by the new society; and the resulting continued class struggle under the conditions of socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Furthermore, a reactionary and imperialist subversion promoted by well-paid agents distributed throughout the vast Soviet territory, which, with the support of the overthrown classes, carried out terrorist attacks, which caused extensive damage to production, and even the assassination of important cadre of the proletarian state, and as a final millstone, the work of revisionist and opportunist saboteurs, not least of which was Trotskyism, which as had been proven, often acted in unity and coordination with reaction, and even with the Nazis.

How does one explain that, in those years, the Soviets defeated the destructive machinery of the world’s most devastating war? Reply, but say it loudly, proudly, like a Communist, so that the reactionaries’, imperialists’ and traitors’ ears rumble. Say that it was the patriotic and revolutionary determination of the working class, the peasants, and the Soviet peoples, resulting from the correct direction of the Communist Party with Comrade Stalin at the head; it was the result of the ironclad unity of the proletarian state, the Communist Party and the Soviets. There was no other, nor there another explanation for such a great feat!

Our commemoration of the defeat of Nazi-fascism would be incomplete if we do not recall the great ramifications, at all levels, which this victory had on the communist movement and revolutionary movements for democracy and freedom worldwide. For example, it brought the global struggle for decolonization to a new level, contributing significantly to the emergence, among others, of an independent India, the birth of the People’s Republic of China and the countries of Popular Democracy in Eastern Europe. The struggles for national liberation and sovereignty properly became part of the struggle for socialism, as these occur in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolutions.

As part of our tribute to the 66th anniversary of May 9, 1945, we believe that is absolutely necessary to highlight the line Popular Front line agreed to at the Seventh Congress of the Third International, or Comintern, held in Moscow in July 1935, and the formulations and Report approved there, the report of the outstanding communist Georgi Dimitrov.

The first thing that needs to be understood, in all its dimensions, is that it was a tactic which, together with supporting democratic regimes and uniting with anti-fascist forces, brought the fight against Nazism and fascism to a new level. It was a clear expression of the approach and progress to socialism, and this is because it was formulated by the Communist International, whose analysis was that of true socialism, scientific socialism, utilizing the existing Soviet experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The Popular Front policy permitted the overcoming of, among other deviations, the sectarian policy of the German Communist Party, which equally combated Social Democracy and fascism. Although that party cannot be said to be that is responsible for the triumph of Hitler in 1933, that mistaken policy facilitated his rise.

Popular Fronts were born and grew challenging the spread of reaction, and in the heat of battle against fascism. Fascism was already a reality during the global crisis of the 30’s. Fascism had consolidated its hold in Italy, then in Germany. The fascists were presented as saviors of “national values”, which were being destroyed by bourgeois democracy and Marxism. Fascism, based on the more conservative bourgeois layers, sought as its primary aim, curbing and destroying the progress of the struggle for socialism represented by the world’s communist parties and, especially, the example of the emerging Soviet Union and its Bolshevik leadership under Stalin, which was the natural orientation of workers and peoples, both in the developed capitalist countries, and in those of dependent capitalism.

This Popular Front line not only had to face the intense fascist reaction against which it was formed, but also against Trotskyism, that eternal ally of reaction, which accused the Popular Front of abandoning any independent political action of the proletarian class. The Trotskyites did not understand or did not want to understand, that the Popular Front policy came from the proletariat for the unity of all anti-fascist forces.

We must bear in mind, that Trotskyism’s opportunistic criticism were supported by some revisionist practices, clear and specific deviations that were expressed in some communist parties, when implementing the Popular Front policy. A good example of this can be found in the old “Communist” Party of Chile, which made a strong shift towards the Right and towards revisionism, during the period of the Popular Front policy, falling squarely within the opportunist views, held in those years, by the Secretary General of the Communist Party USA, Earl R. Browder; who, as a result of this deviation, was expelled from the Communist movement, not only by the Third International, but by the Communist Party, USA itself.

One has to remember the efforts of Ricardo Fonseca to defend the proletarian revolutionary character of the Popular Front. He upheld the principles of Marxism-Leninism within the “Communist” Party of Chile, assumed the General Secretariat of the party, and defeated the former secretary general (forced to resign), Carlos Contreras Labarca, who was deeply committed to the ideological and practical deviations of the Browderist right. Luis Corvalan, who after the death of Ricardo Fonseca, on July 21, 1949, adopted the positions of Browderism and its ideological sibling, Khrushchevite revisionism – the greatest tragedy of the contemporary international communist movement. Moreover, during the defeat and slaughter that marked the fascist coup in Chile in 1973, Corvalan himself wrote that “Browderite revisionism made a dent in our party, weakening its ability to fight imperialism and weakening its role as vanguard of the working class in the struggle for its interests. Additionally, it tended to disarm the party ideologically in face of the immediate post-war struggles it would face.”

It is clear that, although there was no final victory, efforts were made within the “Communist” Party of Chile, by Marxist-Leninist to uphold the Third International and the Popular Front line. Therefore, the fraudulent efforts made by Trotskyites to present the Popular Front and its legal practices as a revisionist concept leading to the abandonment of the proletarian revolutionary path, are nothing but a hoax.

As an example, and in order to clear away some more of the lies put forward about the Popular Front policy, one should examine the program supported the Popular Front in Spain, which, as can seen, did NOT in any way entail “a waiver of class independence” : The Republican Party, Republican Left, Republican Union and the Socialist Party, General Workers Confederation, the National Federation of Young Socialists, the Communist Party, the Unionist Party, the Workers Party of Marxist Unification, while safeguarding their doctrinal principles, came to an understanding and a common political plan to strengthen its electoral lineup, and the standard of governance needed to develop the Republican left, with the support of labor, in the case of electoral victory. They publicly the bases and limits of their political consensus; and furthermore, they offered it consideration of the remaining Republican and labor organizations.

Today there is no longer a Soviet Union nor a strongly led world Communist movement, based on firm Marxist-Leninist positions, openly engaged in a multi-faceted battle against imperialism and reaction, against opportunism and revisionism — and their cousins, the Trotskyites. But, there are still communist parties and revolutionary organizations which adhere to the path of revolution and socialism. We seek to work to unite the revolutionary labor movement on a Marxist-Leninist, anti-imperialist and internationalist basis. These are the forward steps of today’s anti-fascist, democratic, popular and socialist struggles.

We are currently undergoing major mass protest movements among workers, peasants and youth, ranging across five continents. Lately, after the great workers’ demonstrations in Europe against unemployment and the capitalist crisis, we witnessed the uprising of the Arab peoples in the Middle East. The flags of freedom, against neo-liberalism, and for the revolution and socialism, are waving in the hands of millions, adding to the heroic and long Palestinian struggle against Zionism and imperialism.

Today there are societies that are undergoing a remarkable struggle for national sovereignty, for the right to the social development of their people. These are born and are driven forward by broad popular democratic mass movements, and within them, revolutionary and communist forces, with various levels of revolutionary development and proletarian political understanding. They are making efforts to properly address immediate tasks, while reaffirming the perspective of socialist revolution.

Bolivia and Venezuela, their governments, stand out in our Latin America, in opposition to imperialist and hegemonic designs, in demanding respect for their sovereignty. They join the heroic struggle that, for over half a century has inspired the Cuban Revolution. Elsewhere, in the same direction, we have the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nepal, and Belarus; all of them are engaged in a broad movement for national and popular rights and against capitalist imperialism.

We are clear about what happens when one cuts or abandons the ideological struggle in the face of bourgeois enemies. We should not care how these may be disguised, whether in leftist or rightist garb, we must give battle. The fall of socialist regimes, though momentary, is the leading example of where betrayal and revisionism leads. However, the wheel of history will not stop, and these countries, including those who were part of the Lenin’s and Stalin’s USSR, will come back to the future, socialism.

In the present struggle against the imperialist powers we have the experience of fighting Nazism and Fascism, and the experience of the Popular Front. These, which we have commemorated today, are a rich source of lessons in seeking to resolve the principal contradiction of the period in which we live and in bringing about a broad, anti-capitalist, mass movement, and a socialist victory. That is why we must beware of petty-bourgeois attitudes and positions; falsely leftist, which prefer to shake hands with the most reactionary rightists. Instead, we must make alliances with those sectors which, although objectively not Marxist-Leninist, are anti-imperialist and progressive, are in contradiction to and oppose imperialist hegemony. Likewise, we must especially beware of those who get carried away by excessive enthusiasm or are simply dedicated to sowing confusion; those who see “socialism” everywhere, confusing the contradictory processes of the struggle for national sovereignty and popular rights as automatically being socialist; and, not seeing them for what they are — part of the general fight for the Revolution and Socialism.

Petty bourgeois radicalism plays at revolution by attacking all those who are not with their maximum “program”. Whether they call themselves Trotskyites or not, whether they realize it or not, they act just like Trotsky. These appear different from the Khrushchev revisionists and their submissive and conciliatory false Parliamentary roads; but they are brothers in sowing confusion, liquidationism, and betrayal. They are the fifth columns of reaction. Embedded in the labor and peoples’ movement, they boycott the anti-fascist struggle; they deny the victory of the workers and peoples; and they deny the exploits of the Red Army, with Comrade Stalin at the head, which in its day destroyed the reactionaries’ dream to impose Nazi-Fascism on all mankind.

Comrades, the workers and peasants, the people, the democratic and revolutionary forces, the Communists were yesterday able to defeat Nazi-fascism. Today, let us arise and defeat imperialism. Let us achieve socialism.

Long live May 9, 1945!

Long live the Red Army and Communist Party of Stalin!

Long live the correct, proletarian, and revolutionary Popular Front!

Long live proletarian internationalism!

Long live Marxism-Leninism

Workers and peoples of the world, unite!

Reagan’s embrace of apartheid South Africa

His foreign policy legacy includes an alliance with a racist government

By Justin Elliott

The regime of apartheid in South Africa, under which nonwhites were systematically oppressed and deprived of their rights, is remembered as one of the worst crimes against humanity of the 20th century.

Despite a growing international movement to topple apartheid in the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan maintained a close alliance with a South African government that was showing no signs of serious reform. And the Reagan administration demonized opponents of apartheid, most notably the African National Congress, as dangerous and pro-communist. Reagan even vetoed a bill to impose sanctions on South Africa, only to be overruled by Congress.

On a trip to the United States after winning the Nobel Prize in 1984, Bishop Desmond Tutu memorably declared that Reagan’s policy was ”immoral, evil and totally un-Christian.” Reagan’s record on South Africa was also marked by at least one embarrassing gaffe, when he told a radio interviewer in 1985: “They have eliminated the segregation that we once had in our own country — the type of thing where hotels and restaurants and places of entertainment and so forth were segregated — that has all been eliminated.” Of course, that was simply not true, and Reagan later walked the statement back.

To learn more about Reagan’s policy on South Africa, I spoke with David Schmitz, a historian at Whitman College who has written widely on U.S. foreign policy. His new book is a biography of Brent Scowcroft. What follows is a transcript of our conversation, edited for length and clarity.

Where did things stand between the U.S. and South Africa when Reagan entered office in 1981?

Carter had imposed sanctions and restrictions on South Africa and also had publicly criticized the South African government many times. Reagan went back to supporting the government, and he did it under the guise of the policy of “constructive engagement.” This policy had been worked out by Chester Crocker, later a Reagan State Department official, who wrote about it in Foreign Affairs in 1980.

Can you define that term, constructive engagement?

The idea of constructive engagement was that there were moderates in the South African government and so you wanted to encourage them. And if you constructively engaged with them, they would promote gradual change, political reform and so on. But to just oppose the government would make it intransigent and that would create greater polarization, and that was a situation that only extremists would benefit from. The Reagan administration saw the African National Congress (ANC) as a dangerous, pro-communist movement. So the notion of constructive engagement was gradual reform. It was also linked to Reagan supporting the Sullivan principles as a proper way to bring about change.

What were the Sullivan principles?

They were an idea promoted by an American religious leader, Reverend Leon Sullivan, a Baptist minister in Philadelphia. What he said was that, if corporations agree to certain standards of fair employment in South Africa, they shouldn’t be subjected to protests or divestiture. At that time there were a lot of protests in the United States demanding that universities and corporations divest from South Africa. Sullivan argued that these principles would be part of a middle ground between two extremes that would allow for change and betterment of the conditions of blacks in South Africa. Reagan seized upon that. Constructive engagement was presented as a middle ground between apartheid forever and those that wanted immediate change — which Reagan and Crocker argued would lead to chaos that the Soviets would take advantage of.

So what did that policy mean on the ground? Were the two governments close?

Yes, the Reagan administration worked very closely with [South African Prime Minister] P.W. Botha. He came to Washington and there were meetings in Europe as well. Reagan gave a lot of public support to the South African government, portraying Botha as a moderate who was willing to start political reforms and would stay on the side of the United States and help us block Soviet influence in southern Africa.

How did that square with what was actually going on in South Africa?

Nothing was going on. The reforms were cosmetic at best. Sullivan would eventually say in 1987 that it didn’t work. The crackdown of 1986 and the reimposition of martial law just made a total lie out of the notion that there were moderates in the Afrikaner government.

Talk about that crackdown and the U.S. response to it.

There was a lot of pressure building up in the United States, and Congress was threatening to pass legislation that would put sanctions on South Africa and restrict the flow of American aid to South Africa. Reagan always said he would veto that. Then Botha gave a speech on Aug. 15, 1985, in the face of increasing unrest in South Africa — this known as the “Rubicon speech.” And he said that South Africa would never accept one man, one vote in a unitary system. Real democracy, he said, would lead to chaos. This disappointed Reagan. But he stuck with Botha. Pressure built both inside of South Africa and outside, and the protest inside of South Africa led to the imposition of martial law. Congress then voted sanctions.

Was this the incident in which sanctions were voted and Reagan vetoed and was then overruled?

Yes. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum took the lead of the Republicans. She said that the situation in South Africa was virtually beyond hope and that constructive engagement was irrelevant. This regime was not going to change unless forced to. The United States was just party to this continued oppression. That sort of broke the Republican unity behind Reagan on this policy. The larger context was that Reagan had just failed in the Philippines in trying to back [Ferdinand] Marcos to the end. The Reagan doctrine was collapsing in Central America as well, with opposition growing to his interventions there. So that was also now happening in South Africa. The House vote wasn’t even recorded, it was so overwhelming in favor of imposing sanctions. The Senate vote was more than enough to override the veto, which it did.

What about U.S. policy toward the opposition groups like the ANC and Nelson Mandela?

They called the ANC terrorists. It was just continuing this notion that the ANC members are the extremists and the South African government has these moderates, and you’re going to end up with one extreme against the other if you don’t work with the government. Clearly, it never worked. This was a flawed policy.

By the end of the Reagan years, had the policy changed?

Well, Reagan’s attitudes hadn’t changed, but the policy changed because Congress changed it and voted sanctions. That cut off a lot of the flow of American capital. Sullivan renounced his position. Bishop Desmond Tutu came to the United States in 1984 after being awarded the Nobel Prize. He speaks in the House of Representatives and says that constructive engagement is a farce, and that it just entrenched the existing order. He said Reagan’s policy was “immoral, evil and totally un-Christian.”

After Reagan met with Tutu, he was asked at a press conference to talk about their meeting. Reagan said, “It is counterproductive for one country to splash itself all over the headlines, demanding that another government do something.” Then he claimed that black tribal leaders had expressed their support for American investment. He was trying to discredit Tutu’s argument that U.S. policy had hurt blacks. Anti-communism trumped so much in Reagan’s view of the non-Western world.

Would you argue that Reagan’s foreign policy extended the life of the regime in South Africa?

Yes. It gave it life. It gave it hope that the United States would continue to stick with it. It gave it continued flow of aid as well as ideological support. It delayed the changes that were going to come. Then you had the big crackdowns in ’86 and ’87. So there was harm in the lengthening. There was harm in the violence that continued.

I think a lot of well-meaning people in the United States bought the Sullivan principles and constructive engagement, because it seems reasonable. Reagan would say, “If we’re willing to talk to the Russians, why aren’t we willing to talk to the South African government?” We’re going to encourage them to moderate and reform — it sounds reasonable. But there was no real pressure. It was all talk. And it was exposed as that.

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The Butcher of Congo

Leon Rom circa 1880

By Baffour Ankomah, New African, October 1999

Only 90 years ago, the agents of King Leopold II of Belgium massacred 10 million Africans in the Congo. Cutting off hands as we see in Sierra Leone today, was very much part of Leopold’s repertoire. Today, Leopold’s “rubber terror” has all been swept under the carpet. Adam Hochschild calls it “the great forgetting” in his brilliant new book, King Leopold’s Ghost, recently published by Macmillan. This is a story of greed, exploitation and brutality that Africa and the world must not forget.

This story is actually best understood when told in reverse order. Leopold never set foot in “his” Congo Free State – for all the 23 years (1885-1908) he ruled what Hochschild calls “the world’s only colony claimed by one man”.

It was a vast territory which “if superimposed on the map of Europe”, says Hochschild, “would stretch from Zurich to Moscow to central Turkey. It was bigger than England, France, Germany, Spain and Italy combined. Although mostly rainforest and savannah, it also embraced volcanic hills and mountains covered by snow and glaciers, some of whose peaks reached higher than the Alps.”

Leopold’s “rubber terror” raised a lot of hairs in Britain, America and continental Europe (particularly between the years 1900-1908). But while they were condemning Leopold’s barbarity, his accusers were committing much the same atrocities against Africans elsewhere on the continent.

Hochschild tells it better: “True, with a population loss estimated at 10 million people, what happened in the Congo could reasonably be called the most murderous part of the European Scramble for Africa. But that is so only if you look at sub-Saharan Africa as the arbitrary checkerboard formed by colonial boundaries.

“With a decade of [Leopold’s] head start [in the Congo], similar forced labour systems for extracting rubber were in place in the French territories west and north of the Congo River, in Portuguese-ruled Angola, and in the nearby Cameroon under the Germans.

“In France’s equatorial African territories, where the region’s history is best documented, the amount of rubber-bearing land was far less than what Leopold controlled, but the rape was just as brutal. Almost all exploitable land was divided among concession companies. Forced labour, hostages, slave chains, starving porters, burned villages, paramilitary company ‘sentries’, and the chicotte were the order of the day. [The chicotte was a vicous whip made out of raw, sun-dried hippopotamus hide, cut into a long sharp-edged cork-screw strip. It was applied to bare buttocks, and left permanent scars. Twenty strokes of it sent victims into unconsciousness; and a 100 or more strokes were often fatal. The chicotte was freely used by both Leopold’s men and the French].

“Thousands of refugees who had fled across the Congo River to escape Leopold’s regime eventually fled back to escape the French [in Congo-Brazzaville]. The population loss in the rubber-rich equatorial rainforest owned by France is estimated, just as in Leopold’s Congo, at roughly 50%.”

Hochschild cannot fathom how the reform movement in Europe focused exclusively on Leopold’s Congo when “if you reckon [the] mass murder by the percentage of the population killed”, the Germans did as much in Namibia, if not worse, than Leopold in Congo.

“By these standards”, Hochschild argues, “the toll was even worse among the Hereros in German South West Africa, today’s Namibia. The killing there was masked by no smokescreen of talk about philanthropy. It was genocide, pure and simple, starkly announced in advance.

“After losing much of their land to the Germans, the Hereros rebelled in 1904. In response, Germany sent in a heavily armed force under Lt-Gen Lothar von Trotha, who issued an extermination order (Vernichtungsbefehl):

‘Within the German boundaries every Herero, whether found with or without a rifle, with or without cattle, shall be shot… Signed: The Great General of the Mighty Kaiser, von Trotha.’

“In case everything was not clear, an addendum specified: ‘No male prisoners will be taken.”

By the time von Trotha’s murderous hordes had finished their job in 1906, fewer than 20,000 of the 80,000 Herreros who lived in Namibia in 1903 remained.

“The others [more than 60,000 of them]”, writes Hochschild, “had been driven into the desert to die of thirst (the Germans poisoned the waterholes), were shot, or – to economise on bullets – bayoneted or clubbed to death with rifle stocks.”

Hochschild tries to be fair here by pointing to what the Americans and the British were doing, or had done, elsewhere.

“Around the time the Germans were slaughtering the Hereros,” he writes, “the world was largely ignoring America’s brutal counter-guerrilla war in the Phillipines, in which US troops tortured prisoners, burned villages, killed 20,000 rebels, and saw 200,000 more Filipinos die of war-related hunger or disease.

“Britain [too] came in for no international criticism for its killings of Aborigines in Australia, in accordance with extermination orders as ruthless as Von Trotha’s. And, of course, in neither Europe nor the United States was there major protest against the decimation of the American Indians.”

Hochschild then poses the controversial question: “When these other mass murders went largely unnoticed except by their victims, why, in England and the United States, was there such a storm of righteous protest about the Congo?”

He answers the question himself: “What happened in the Congo was indeed mass murder on a vast scale, but the sad truth is that the men who carried it out for Leopold were no more murderous than many Europeans then at work or at war elsewhere in Africa. Conrad said it best [in his book, Heart of Darkness, based on the brutalities in the Congo]: ‘All Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz’.”

Kurtz is Joseph Conrad’s lead character in Heart of Darkness. He is “both a murderous head collector and an intellectual, an emissary of science and progress, a painter, a poet and a journalist, and an author of a 17-page report to the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs, at the end of which he scrawls in shaky hand: ‘Exterminate all the brutes’.”

Hochshild believes that Kurtz was Leon Rom in real life. Rom was born in Mons in Belgium. Poorly educated, he joined the Belgian army aged 16. Nine years later, aged 25 in 1886, he found himself in the Congo in search of adventure. He became district commissioner at Matadi and was later put in charge of the African troops in Leopold’s murderous Force Publique army in the Congo.

Rom’s brutality knew no bounds. It was such that even the white people working with him were shocked to their boots.

“When Rom was station chief at Stanley Falls,” Hochshild reveals, “the governor general sent a report back to Brussels about some agents who ‘have the reputation of having killed masses of people for petty reasons’. He mentions Rom’s notorious flower bed rigged with human heads, and then adds: ‘He kept a gallows permanently erected in front of the station’.”

Conrad had himself gone to Congo in 1890 at the time Rom was committing his atrocities. “The moral landscape of Heart of Darkness”, writes Hochshild, “and the shadowy figure at its centre are the creations not just of a novelist but of an open-eyed observer who caught the spirit of a time and place with piercing accuracy.”

So, how did Leopold come to own such a vast territory, exploited it, killed its people, took away its riches and never set foot in it?

Three things stand out in this sad story – the naivety of the African kings and people; the misfits of Europe sent to subdue the Africans; and the superior weapons of war that the Europeans possessed which the Africans lacked.

When the first Europeans (the Portuguese) arrived in Congo in 1482, they met a thriving African kingdom. “Despite the contempt for Kongo culture,” says Hochschild, “the Portuguese grudgingly recognised in the kingdom a sophisticated and well-developed state – the leading one on the west coast of central Africa. It was an imperial federation, of two or three million people, covering an area roughly 3,000 sq miles, some of which lie today in several countries after the Europeans had drawn arbitrary border lines across Africa in 1886.”

The great fascination of the Congo at the time was its mighty 3,000-mile river, variously called Lualaba, Nzadi or Nzere by the people who lived on its banks. Nzere means “the river that swallows all rivers” because of its many tributaries. Just one tributary, the Kasai, carries as much water as Europe’s longest river, the Volga in Russia and it is half as long as the Rhine. Another tributary, the Ubangi is even longer. On Portuguese tongue, Nzere became Zaire which was adopted by Mobutu when he renamed the country in 1971. Like most things African, the Europeans changed the river’s name to Congo.

In 1482 when the Portuguese sailor Diogo C%o accidentally came upon the river as it emptied into the Atlantic, he was astounded by its sheer size. “Modern oceanographers”, writes Hochschild, “have discovered more evidence of the great river’s strength in its ‘pitched battle with the ocean’: a 100-mile-long canyon, in place 4,000 feet deep, that the river has carved out of the sea floor… It pours some 1.4 million cubic feet of water per second into the ocean; only the Amazon carries more water.”

Thanks to satellite technology, the world now knows that much of the river’s basin lies on a plateau which rises nearly 1,000 feet high 220 miles from the Atlantic coast. Thus the river descends to sea level in a furious 220-mile dash down the plateau.

“During this tumultous descent,” writes Hochshild, “the river squeezes through narrow canyons, boils up in waves of 40 feet high, and tumbles over 32 separate cataracts. So great is the drop and the volume of water that these 220 miles have as much hydroelectric potential as all the lakes and rivers of the United States combined.”

In all, the river (Africa’s second longest) drains more than 1.3 million square miles, “an area larger than India,” Hochschild testifies. “It has an estimated one-sixth of the world’s hydroelectric potential… Its fan-shaped web of tributaries constitute more than seven thousand miles of interconnecting waterways, a built-in transportation grid rivalled by few places on earth.”

Thus, Congo was a jewel any colonialist would kill for. And the lot fell to Henry Morton Stanley to colonise it for King Leopold II.

Stanley was Welsh but he passed himself round as an American. He had first stumbled on the river on his second trip to Africa. Because the river flowed north from this point, Stanley thought it was the Nile.

Stanley’s background tells a lot about the brutality he unleashed on the Africans he met on his journeys. He had been born a “bastard” in the small Welsh market town of Denbigh on 28 January 1841. His mother, Betsy Parry (a housemaid) had recorded him on the birth register of St Hillary’s Church in Denbigh as “John Rowlands, Bastard”. His father was believed to be a local drunkard called John Rowlands who died of delirium tremens, a severe pyschotic condition occurring in some alcoholics.

John Rowlands Bastard was the first of his mother’s five illegitimate children. After an exceptionally difficult childhood spent with foster parents and in juvenile workhouses, John Rowlands Bastard moved to New Orleans (USA) in February 1859 where he changed his name several times – sometimes calling himself Morley, Morelake and Moreland. Finally he settled on Henry Morton Stanley which he claimed was the name of a rich benefactor he lived with in New Orleans.

Stanley would become a soldier, sailor, newspaperman and famous explorer feted by the high and mighty on both sides of the Atlantic. He was knighted by Britain and elected to parliament.

Though records show that Stanley wrote love letters to at least three women, he himself confessed despairingly in 1886: “The fact is, I can’t talk to women”. He eventually married “the eccentric high-society portrait painter” Dorothy Tennant on 12 July 1890 in a lavish wedding ceremony at Westminster Abbey in London, attended by the good and great of Britain, including Prime Minister Gladstone. Yet, Hochschild provides evidence showing that Stanley’s “great fear of women” prevented him from ever consummating his marriage.

After his honeymoon, Stanley himself wrote in his dairy; “I do not regard it wifely, to procure these pleasures, at the cost of making me feel like a monkey in a cage”. To which his biographer, Frank McLynn adds: “Stanley’s fear of women was so great that when he was finally called upon to satisfy a wife, [he] in effect broke down and confessed that he considered sex for the beasts.”

Hochschild adds his own telling comment: “Whether this inference is right or wrong, the inhibitions that caused Stanley so much pain are a reminder that the explorers and soldiers who carried out the European seizure of Africa were often not the bold, bluff, hardy men of legend, but restless, unhappy, driven men, in flight from something in their past or in themselves. The economic explanations of imperial expansion -the search for raw materials, labour and markets – are all valid, but there was pyschological fuel as well.”

Here Stanley had a common link with his ultimate employer, King Leopold II. Hochschild tells how the “loveless marriage” of Leopold’s parents affected the young prince. “If Leopold wanted to see his father, he had to apply for an audience”. The cold atmosphere in which he grew up haunted him in later life. He became an “ungainly, haughty young man whom his first cousin Queen Elizabeth of England thought ‘very odd’ and in the habit of ‘saying disagreeable things to people’,” says Hochschild.

Like his parents, Leopold and his wife, Marie-Henriette “loathed each other at first sight, feelings that apparently never changed”, Hochschild continues. “Like many young couples of the day, the newlyweds apparently found sex a frightening mystery.” Queen Victoria became their sex-educator. She and her husband, Prince Albert, gave Leopold and his wife (visiting from Brussels) tips about how to consummate their marriage. Several years later, when Marie-Henriette became pregnant, Leopold wrote to Prince Albert thanking him for “the wise and practical advice you gave me…[It] has now borne fruit.”

When Leopold finally ascended the throne in 1865, his undying desire was to own colonies. He tried everything under the sun to get a colony to no avail, including offering to buy the Philippines from Spain, buying lakes in the Nile and draining them out, or trying to lease territory on the island of Formosa.

He despised Belgium’s small size. “Small country, small people” was how he described his little Belgium that had only become independent in 1830. The brutal expeditions of Stanley in Africa finally offered Leopold the chance to land his prized jewel, Congo.

Stanley had made two “journalistic” trips to Africa, first in 1869 to find David Livingstone. The second was in 1874 where, starting from Zanzibar with 356 people (mostly Africans), he “attacked and destroyed 28 large towns and three or four score villages” (his own words) as he plundered his way down to Boma and the mouth of the Congo River on the Atlantic coast.

In 1879, Stanley was off again to Africa, this time under commission from King Leopold to colonise Congo for him. Stanley used the gun, cheap European goods and plain-faced deceit to win over 450 local chiefs and their people and take over their land.

Stanley apparently remembered how the 22-sq-mile Manhattan Island in New York Bay had been “bought” from the Native Americans by the Dutch colonial officer, Peter Minuit, with trinkets valued at just $24.

If Minuit could do it in Manhattan, Stanley could do it, too, in the Congo. Only that in his case, he just asked the Congolese chiefs to mark Xs to legal documents written in a foreign language they had not seen before. Stanley called them treaties, like this one signed on 1 April 1884 by the chiefs of Ngombi and Mafela:

In return for “one piece of cloth per month to each of the undersigned chiefs, besides present of cloth in hand, they promised to freely of their own accord, for themselves and their heirs and successors for ever…give up to the said Association [set up by Leopold] the sovereignty and all sovereign and governing rights to all their territories…and to assist by labour or otherwise, any works, improvements or expeditions which the said Association shall cause at any time to be carried out in any part of these territories… All roads and waterways running through this country, the right of collecting tolls on the same, and all game, fishing, mining and forest rights, are to be the absolute property of the said Association.”

With treaties like this, Stanley set forth to colonise Congo for Leopold. But the French would not let them have all the laugh. They sent Count Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza on their own colonising mission. De Brazza landed north of the Congo River, curved out an enclave for France and had a town named after him (Brazzaville). The enclave eventually became known as Congo Brazzaville, where the French too unleashed their own brutality on the local people.

Meanwhile Stanley was doing a “good” job across the river for Leopold, building a railway and a dirt road to skirt the 220-mile descent of the river. This was to facilitate the shipping of Congo’s abundant ivory and other wealth to Belgium to enrich Leopold and his petit pays. In 1884, Stanley finally left for home in England, his work for Leopold done.

Leopold next sent in his hordes, including Leon Rom, to use absolute terror to rule the land and ship out the wealth.

It was the brutality of Leopold’s agents that would catch the eye of the world and lead to his forced sale of Congo to the Belgian government in 1908.

Ivory had been the initial prized Congo export for Leopold. Then something happened by accident in far away Ireland that dramatically changed the fate of Leopold, his Congo and its people. John Dunlop, an Irish veterinary surgeon, was tinkering with his son’s bicycle in Belfast and accidentally discovered how to make an inflatable rubber tire for the bike. He set up a tire company in 1890 named after himself, Dunlop, and a new major industry was up and running. Rubber became the new gold, and Leopold was soon laughing all the way to the bank.

The huge rainforest of Congo teemed with wild rubber, and Leopold pressed his agents for more of it. This is when the genocide reached its peak. Tapping wild rubber was a difficult affair, and Leopold’s agents had to use brutal force to get the people of Congo to go into the forests and gather rubber for Leopold. Any Congolese man who resisted the order, saw his wife kidnapped and put in chains to force him to go and gather rubber. Or sometimes the wife was killed in revenge.

As more villages resisted the rubber order, Leopold’s agents ordered the Force Publique army to raid the rebellious villages and kill the people. To make sure that the soldiers did not waste the bullets in hunting animals, their officers demanded to see the amputated right hand of every person they killed. As Hochschild puts it, “the standard proof was the right hand from a corpse. Or occasionally not from a corpse. ‘Sometimes’, said one officer to a missionary, ‘soldiers shot a cartridge at an animal in hunting; they then cut off a hand from a living man’. In some military units, there was even a ‘keeper of the hands’, his job was the smoking [of them].”

Fortunately for the people, Edmund Dene Morel, a clerk of a Liverpool shipping line used by Leopold to ship out Congo’s wealth, discovered on his several journeys to the Belgian port of Antwerp in the 1890s that while rubber and ivory were shipped from Congo to Antwerp, only guns and soldiers were going from Antwerp to Congo. This marked the beginning of his massive newspaper campaign to expose Leopold and his atrocities in the Congo.

Morel’s campaign in Europe and America finally forced Britain to ask its consul in Congo, the Irish patriot Sir Roger Casement, to make an investigative trip all over Congo and report. Casement’s findings were so damning that the Foreign Office in London was too embarrassed that it could not publish the original.

Casement’s description of “sliced hands and penises was far more graphic and forceful than the British government had expected”. When the Foreign Office finally published a sanitised version of his report, an angry Casement sent a stinking 18-page letter of protest to his superiors in the Foreign Office, threatening to resign. He called his superiors “a gang of stupidities” and “a wretched set of incompetent noodles.”

In the end, the Belgian government was forced to step in and buy Congo from Leopold in 1908. Negotiations for the buy-out started in 1906. Leopold dragged his feet for two years, but finally, in March 1908, the deal was done.

“The Belgian government first of all agreed to assume [Congo’s] 110 million francs worth of debt, much of them in the form of bond’s Leopold had freely dispensed over the years to [his] favourites”, says Hochschild. Nearly 32 million franc of the debt was owed to the Belgian government itself through loans it had given years earlier to Leopold.

The government also agreed to pay 45.5 million francs towards completing Leopold’s then unfinished pet building projects. On top of all this, Leopold got another 50 million francs (to be paid in instalments) ‘as a mark of gratitude for his great sacrifices made for the Congo.’

“Those funds were not expected to come from the Belgian taxpayer.”, Hochschild writes. “They were to be extracted from the Congo itself.”

He finishes his book on a very high note: Calling this bit The Great Forgetting, Hochschild writes:

“From the colonial era, the major legacy Europe left for Africa was not democracy as it is practised today in countries like England, France and Belgium; it was authoritarian rule and plunder. On the whole continent, perhaps no nation has had a harder time than the Congo in emerging from the shadow of its past.

“When independence came, the country fared badly… Some Africans were being trained for that distant day; but when pressure grew and independence came in 1960, in the entire territory there were fewer than 30 African university graduates. There were no Congolese army officers, engineers, agronomists or physicians. The colony’s administration had made few other steps toward a Congo run by its own people; of some 5,000 management-level positions in the civil service, only three were filled by Africans.”

Yet on the day of independence, King Baudouin, the then monarch of Belgium, had the gall to tell the Congolese in his speech in Kinshasa: “It is now up to you, gentlemen, to show that you are worthy of our confidence”.

No cheek could be bigger! And you could well imagine how mad the Congolese nationalists like Patrice Lumumba were jumping.

Hochschild has written an excellent book. Africa owes him a huge debt of gratitude. New African highly recommends the book for compulsory reading in African schools and universities.

Copyright (c) IC Publications Limited 1999. All rights reserved.

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Why Yugoslavia Was Expelled from the Cominform

Below is a commonly-reprinted argument, the idea that the Titoites broke with the USSR over the question of not helping the Greek Communists enough.

Is this true? Not according to Nikos Zahariadis, General Secretary of the KKE and the symbol of Marxism-Leninism in Greece. This Yugoslav-leaning article will be followed by his essay.

— Espresso Stalinist.

Jun 28, 1948:
Yugoslavia expelled from COMINFORM

The Soviet Union expels Yugoslavia from the Communist Information Bureau (COMINFORM) for the latter’s position on the Greek civil war. The expulsion was concrete evidence of the permanent split that had taken place between Russia and Yugoslavia.

The Soviet Union had established COMINFORM in 1947 to serve as a coordinating body for communist parties in Russia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Italy, France, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Most Western observers believed the organization to be the successor to the Communist International (COMINTERN had been dissolved by Russia in 1943, in an effort to placate its wartime allies–the United States and Great Britain). With the hardening of Cold War animosities after World War II, however, the establishment of COMINFORM signaled that the Soviet Union was once again setting itself up as the official leader of the communist bloc nations. In addition, the inclusion of the Italian and French communist parties served notice that the Soviet Union wished to have a strong say in political developments outside of its eastern European satellites. Yugoslavia was an original member, but that nation’s leader, Josef Broz Tito, proved to be reluctant in following the Soviet line. Throughout 1947 and into 1948, Tito harshly criticized Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s lack of assistance to communists fighting for power in Greece. When Tito refused to tone down his complaints, Stalin ordered Yugoslavia expelled from COMINFORM.

After its expulsion, Yugoslavia continued to chart a communist, but distinctly independent, pathway in its domestic and foreign policies. The United States was delighted with the Soviet-Yugoslavia split, and actively courted Tito with economic and military aid in the late-1940s and 1950s. […]

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Tito Clique’s Stab in the Back to People’s Democratic Greece

Nikos Zahariadis
General Secretary,
Communist Party of Greece

From For a Lasting Peace, For a People’s Democracy!
No. 15 (42), 1 August, 1949

Every inhabitant of Greece knows very well that monarcho-fascism would not have been able to hold out for a few months had it not been for the all-round and open aid of the American and British imperialists.

Our main difficulties arise from the fact that the Anglo-American imperialists are stubbornly trying to retain a foothold in Greece. The country is highly important to them for strategic reasons, and they are trying to turn it into a vital bridge head against the People’s Democracies and the Soviet Union. Churchill’s old plans in this respect, for instance, are well-known. However, foreign imperialism’s positions in Greece were badly shaken last year by the military defeat of monarcho-fascism in the Grammos-Vitsi area and by the collapse of its strategic plan for 1948. The People’s revolutionary movement and the democratic army extended and consolidated their positions in Peloponnesus, Rumelia, Thessaly and on the islands of Samos and Eubeia.

This placed the monarcho-fascist regime in a critical position. In their reports General Papagos, Vendiris, Tsakalotos and others openly admitted that army morale had been shaken. Hundreds of men and officers were shot. King Paul himself was compelled to speak about the moral crisis in the army. The Athens clique was in severe economic difficulties and the political crisis was steadily sapping the foundations of monarcho-fascism. Both at home and abroad, people who were by no means our friends began to realise that the only way out for the reactionaries was to reach a peaceful settlement and conclude an agreement.

The treachery of the Tito clique was disclosed at the very moment when the crisis of monarcho-fascism was coming to a head. Tito’s treachery meant serious new difficulties for our people’s democratic movement, for it strengthened the determination of the Anglo-American imperialists to retain, at all costs, their hold on Greece for the very purpose of making full use of the Tito clique and extending their base in the Balkans. At the same time the Tito clique’s over to the camp of imperialism raised the deflated hopes of monarcho-fascism.

The people’s democratic movement of our country has never, since the time of the first occupation, known of such a cunning and foul enemy as the Tito clique. The Great Serbia chauvinism of the Titoites in relation to the resistance movement in Greece was evident as far back as 1943, when the leadership of the Yugoslav Communist Party declared that the people of Aegean Macedonia could only win their liberation within the framework of Yugoslavia. The corollary of this was that it was the prime duty of all Macedonian patriots to fight against the Communist Party of Greece and EAM and instead to collaborate with the Tito agents.

This was the directive followed by Tito’s man in Aegean Macedonia, Tempo (Vukmanovic). This was the directive applied in practice by their chief agent, Goce. Today is it being carried out by Goce-Koramidjiev gang. During all these years the Tito clique sent thousands of its agents into the Communist Party of Greece and into EAM with the job of undermining the Communist Party of Greece and splitting the unity of the people’s liberation movement.

It is clear that Greek reaction and Anglo-American imperialism could not have found a better ally than the Tito clique. The following detail is extremely characteristic: in October 1944 when the British landed in Greece, Tempo at the head of the provocative movement against the Communist Party of Greece, informed the Communists of Aegean Macedonia that he has asked Tito for two divisions to occupy Salonika. This was before the December events; the British were not sure that they could hold Greece. Preferring to see Salonika occupied by Tito than in the hands of ELAS, the British parachuted weapons onto the aerodrome at Grupista. These were sent on to Vapsori by Tito’s agents – Tempo, Goce and Pios – to be used against ELAS. Even during the Hitler occupation Goce and Pios formed groups of Macedonian and collaborated with Tempo. It can be regarded as an established fact that, as a consequence, Evans, former representative of the British military mission in Macedonia, insisted on the network of these groups being extended. It was at the help of these groups that Goce, Pios and Keramidjiev carried out their disruptive activities against the people’s liberation movement in Greece.

In December 1944 Tito, who dreamt of snatching Salonika from people’s democratic Greece, did nothing to help us fight the British, in spite of all his earlier pompous statements. If anything, he stepped up his slander campaign against the Communist Party of Greece, especially Aegean Macedonia.

Tito organised the mass emigration of Macedonians to Yugoslavia thus depriving Aegean Macedonia of its Macedonian population. Incidentally, the Greek monarcho-fascists have been trying to the same thing for many years, hoping to change the ethnical composition Aegean Macedonia. Then again, the Titoites are trying to recruit agents from these refugees who, after the necessary training, are sent to Greece to operate against the Communist Party of Greece, EAM and our people’s revolutionary movement.

Since 1943 the Greek Communist Party and revolutionary movement have been two fires: on the one side the foreign imperialists and monarcho-fascist, on the other- the Tito clique and its executive organ, the Goce- Keramidiev gang which had and still has hundreds of Yugoslav intelligence servicemen in Aegean Macedonia. In 1944, acting on orders from Skopje, Goce crossed over to Yugoslavia with his detachment. Today Goce and Keramidjiev have their headquarters in Skopje.

Time and again the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece drew the attention of the Central Committee of the Yugoslav Communist Party to the counter-revolutionary actions of these agents, proved by irrefutable documentary evidence, and demanded that their activities should be stopped. The Central Committee of the Yugoslav Party, however, did not do a thing to cut short these provocation actions.

It has been proved beyond doubt that Hristos Vlachos, who in 1947 in Salonika killed Yannis Zevgos, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Greek Party, was an agent of the Yugoslav intelligence, service and had received his instruction from Skopje. He arrived in Salonika on orders of the Yugoslav intelligence, placed himself at the disposal of General Zervas, an agent of the British Intelligence Service, and later murdered Zevgos. Five monarcho-fascist officers, some of them murderers of the people, escaped to Yugoslavia from a war prisoner’s camp with the help of Rankovic. The Central committee of the Yugoslav Party stated that it knew absolutely nothing about this, even though we gave them details of the date and the exact spot where the monarcho-fascists had crossed the border. Border officers and soldiers had informed us that the monarcho-fascists had crossed into Yugoslavia.

We have captured dozens of Yugoslav intelligence officers. In December 1948 two Yugoslav agents, Gunaris Menos and Gallios Mitsos, were detained in Prespa. These agents disclosed the names of the Yugoslav intelligence officers who had sent them and the assignment they had been given.

The Communist Party of Greece has at its disposal other damning proof of the treachery and disruptive activity of the Tito clique against the revolutionary movement in Greece. The nationalist gang of the treacherous Yugoslav leadership was always a mortal enemy to the Communist Party and people of Greece. Recent events are fresh evidence that the Tito clique helped and is continuing to help Greek and international reaction against the Greek people more and more openly.

In its communiqué of July 6, 1949 the General Headquarters of the Democratic Army stated that on July 5, 1949 monarcho-fascist troops used Yugoslav territory in order to bypass units of the Democratic Army in the Kaimakchalan area. The same day the “Free Greece” telegraph agency, basing itself on an official document (the report of lieutenant colonel Petropulos, commander of the monarcho-fascists’ 516th battalion, to General Grigoropulos, commander of the 3rd army corps), reported that on July 4, 1949, that is, on the eve of the day when the monarcho-fascists crossed Yugoslav territory, a meeting of Yugoslav and monarcho-fascist Greek officers had been held in the area of Popovolossi and Kaimakchalan. This meeting was attended by British and American officers. The Tanjug agency did not refute this fact, neither did the representative of the British Foreign Office when asked about this meeting. Again, neither did Tito deny it in his speech at Pola (Istria), on July 10, 1949. Like the Tanjug agency, he merely tried to refute the fact that an agreement had been reached allowing the monarcho-fascist to use Yugoslav territory.

Such was the Belgrade version when the United Nations Balkan Commission in Athens published its communiqué on July 21, 1949. The sole aim of this communiqué was to cover up Tito’s collaboration with the monarcho-fascists, a collaboration that had been laid bare by the General Headquarters of the Democratic Army and the Free Greece radio on July 6, 1949. This communiqué of the Balkan Commission is highly significant since, to begin with, for the first time in its history the Commission admitted that the monarcho-fascists had violated the Yugoslav frontier in the Kaimakchalan area on many occasions. It claimed, however, that this had been done by artillery and aircraft and not by infantry. Secondly, the communiqué admitted that a meeting of monarcho-fascist and Yugoslav officers had been held in the Kaimakchalan area.

After the Tito clique’s betrayal of the Greek people’s liberation struggle had been exposed in the eyes of progressive mankind and the Yugoslav people, the Yugoslav leaders found it necessary to mobilise yet another provocateur. On July 24, following the example of Tito and Djilas, Kardelj also made a statement to Tanjug on the Greek question. He denied everything: the agreement with Tsaldaris, the negotiations in the Kaimakchalan area, and the use of Yugoslav territory by the monarcho-fascists. He concluded by giving the Jesuit assurance that the Belgrade Government “continues to sympathise” with the movement of the Greek people, but that it “cannot force its assistance on them” and that “the agents of the Information Bureau who slandered Tito” are responsible for this.

We have never doubted the sympathy of the Yugoslav people. As for those who are responsible, “The Times” makes it clear when it writes that in his statement at Pola, Tito gave the Americans the necessary guarantees in advance for the dollars which he needs.

In order to mask their treachery, the traitors Tito, Djilas, Kardelj and company would have the world believe that morale of the Greek democrats is at a low ebb and that they are losing confidence in victory. As a matter of fact these Titoites are doing everything to undermine the morale of the Greek democrats. Tito’s treachery and his long-standing subversive activities against the people’s democratic movement in Greece are causing us serious difficulties. Tito has a deadly hatred for the Geek people’s liberation movement and is viciously fighting against it. But he is mistaken, and so are his monarcho-fascist allies and their common masters, if they think that they will be able to crush us.

Throughout Greece – in Rumelia, Thessaly, Peloponnesus, Epirus, Macedonia, Thrace and on the islands – the Greek Democratic Army is continuing its struggle against the enemy with unshaken courage in the face of enormous difficulties. A broad strike movement covering tens of thousands of factory and office workers is gaining strength in the cities. Hundreds of thousands of peasants who are literally starving to death in the cities where they have been forcibly driven by the monarcho-fascists, hate the Athens Government with all their soul. Reaction in Greece is in the throes of an economic, political and moral crisis from which it can find no way out. The Greek Democratic Army will come face to face with monarcho-fascism in the great battles that will be fought in Grammos and Vitsi.

We are fight because we want peace, because we want to establish democracy and the independence of Greece. Reaction is out for war. It wants to crush us at all costs and is using the Tito clique for this purpose. Thanks to the assistance and solidarity of progressive mankind, including the Yugoslav people, the people of Greece will be victorious both in war and will win a people’s democracy and national independence.

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Prelude to Genocide: How Capitalism Caused the Balkan Wars

The U.S. claims that the Balkan people are gripped by irrational hatreds. And that the U.S. (the self-appointed “cop of the world”) and their allies have no choice but to step in, bomb, impose, threaten and dictate. The imperialists insist that the people of the Balkans need outside forces to dominate them–to save them from themselves! It is an imperialist self-justification–based on crudely turning history upside down. It blames the people for the suffering imposed on them by capitalism.

The Balkan region of southeastern Europe is a complex “jaguar skin” of different nationalities. The Catholic northern part of Yugoslavia–including Slovenia and Croatia–had longstanding links to Austria and Germany to the north. The southern part of Yugoslavia had long historical ties eastward toward Greece, Turkey and the northern Slavic countries of Bulgaria and Russia.

History has created pockets of national hatreds here–the same way some towns or counties in the U.S. are known as white racist towns. But the hatreds of these rural backwaters did not need to infect and polarize the whole country. But over the last ten years, waves of war have washed over the Balkans, subjecting the masses of people to “ethnic cleansing” by death squads and now large-scale bombing by the U.S. and its NATO allies.

The origins of this warfare are not ancient–they are quite modern. These wars are caused by the capitalist rivalries of various ruling classes of the republics of former Yugoslavia–coldly egged on, armed, and backed by imperialist powers, like Germany, the U.S. and Russia.

This article looks at the history of Yugoslavia since its founding after World War 2. It shows that capitalist development caused tensions and inequalities within Yugoslavia and how reactionary war emerged from the power grabs of various bourgeois nationalist forces there.

Behind the Civil War

The nationalities living in the Balkan mountain area can unite–and they proved it. These peoples created a powerful multinational guerrilla movement during World War 2 to defeat the German Nazis and Italian fascists who occupied the region for three years. The peoples of Yugoslavia pinned down many divisions of Nazi troops–and ultimately freed themselves, guns in hand, in a communist-led resistance war. Modern Yugoslavia was build out of that unity–bringing together six nations and several other significant nationalities.

There was no reason why a new, progressive, multinational unity could not have been built. The key would have been uniting on the basis of the interests of the masses of people–along the road of socialism and proletarian internationalism.

But there was, unfortunately, never any real socialist transformation in Yugoslavia. The leaders of the new Yugoslavia, headed by Josef Broz Tito, betrayed the revolution and took the capitalist road–straight into the embrace of U.S. imperialism. This laid the seeds for the wars of today.

The Titoites broke the Yugoslav economy into small independent units. In agriculture, early experiments in collectivization were reversed–by 1957 virtually all the farms were in private hands. Nationalized industry was “privatized.” Individual factories were officially operating under “workers’ self-management.” But the policy was set by directors, and the real control was exercised by the market mechanism of capitalism. Without socialist planning, profit decided where investments flowed, what was produced, and who got to work. In reality “worker self-management” meant that wages were tied to factory profits–they were a form of piecework. Factories, industries and whole regions were competing with each other and profit was in command. And, more importantly, the proletariat did not have state power. It was impossible for them to revolutionize society.

The World’s First Experience with “Capitalist Roaders in Power”

By 1948 Tito was sharply criticized by the world communist movement, then led by Joseph Stalin. Meanwhile Tito was praised and supported by the imperialists–who were waging all kinds of warfare against revolutionary and socialist forces around the world. Tito claimed that he would walk a “non-aligned” path between East and West. But in fact, his Yugoslavia quickly became dependent on the imperialists–politically, economically and militarily–tied to the world capitalist market while he huddled under the U.S. “nuclear umbrella.”

For the first time in history a victorious armed movement led by supposed communists had come to power, but it set up a capitalist society. This was the first experience with “revisionism in power”–meaning a capitalist ruling class that claimed to be leading a socialist society.

The development of Yugoslavia was closely studied by revolutionaries like Mao Tsetung. In 1955, Khrushchev, a top leader in the Soviet Union, visited Yugoslavia and praised Tito. Within a year, Khrushchev himself had seized complete power in the Soviet Union and took it too down the capitalist road.

In 1963 under Mao’s leadership, the Chinese Communist Party sent an open letter called–Is Yugoslavia a Socialist Country?–to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In that polemic, Mao’s forces wrote: “The restoration of capitalism in Yugoslavia will make all Marxist-Leninists see better and enable people to realize more keenly the necessity and urgency of combating modern revisionism. So long as imperialism exists, there is apparently no ground for saying that the danger of the restoration of capitalism in the socialist countries has been eliminated.”

Capitalist Roots of National Antagonisms

Under the weight of growing debt to the West, the Titoites carried out new “reforms” in 1965. They moved to make their currency convertible to Western currencies–so that investments could more easily flow in and profits could more easily flow out. After 1968, foreign capitalists could invest directly in the private sector. Yugoslavia became the first revisionist country to set up a stock market. These innovations of the capitalist road are now being carried out in the rest of Eastern Europe.

Yugoslav proletarians were sent off as cheap labor for northern Europe–they basically became an “export commodity.” By 1971, over a million Yugoslavs were immigrant workers, over half of them in West Germany.

According to World Bank statistics, the wealthiest 5 percent of Yugoslav households earned 25 percent of the national income in the 1970s, while the poorest 20 percent of the population earned less than 7 percent. This was one of the most extreme income gaps in Europe–in fact, according to the World Bank, even India’s income distribution gap was not as big!

The northern nations of Yugoslavia–Slovenia and Croatia–were more highly developed industrially and agriculturally. The three southern national areas–Macedonia, Montenegro, and the Albanian region of Kosovo–were far more undeveloped and poor. Serbia, the largest national grouping, is in between North and South and is also a relatively poor area. These divisions within Yugoslavia got even more acute because of the capitalist development pursued by Yugoslavia. The rich got richer and the poor got poorer. Over decades, this created a powerful basis for antagonism between the nationalities of the country and for the growth of reactionary nationalism.

Investment flows where the profits are greatest. The industrial northern nations developed rapidly after 1945, while the poorer southern republics stagnated. When the 1990s started, per capita production in Slovenia was three times as high as it was in poorer regions like Macedonia. By 1970 the per capita income of the average Slovene was over six times that of the average Kosovar. Kosovo lives in Third World conditions–comparable to Bolivia or Morocco–while in Slovenia the standard of living is closer to that of neighboring Austria.

The villages in the poorer peasant regions of the south emptied. People went north for lousy jobs and barrack-like living conditions as “guest workers”–within the supposedly “equal” Yugoslav federation. These “guest workers” make up 15 to 20 percent of the Slovenian workforce and are treated like dirt.

The old phony-communist system of Yugoslavia was based on state capitalism and a complex system of balancing bourgeois national interests. Inevitably, that old federation became strained. Bourgeois forces leading each republic tried to shift wealth toward “their” nations.

Inequality Gives Rise to Political, then Military Conflict

In the 1980s the conflicts intensified because of classic “IMF crisis.” Yugoslavia sank deeply into debt to the International Monetary Fund and other international imperialist lenders–to the tune of $1.8 billion. The lenders demanded that capitalist Yugoslavia take “austerity” measures to pay back the debt, and this inflamed the conflict in the country.

The masses themselves were not especially gripped by national hatreds–certainly not at the beginning. Large parts of the population had intermarried. In urban areas people moved away from religion–which had been a form through which national hostilities had been expressed. Many people no longer identified with one or another nationality–but simply considered themselves “Yugoslavs.” Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia was famous for this kind of multicultural fusion. Today, the masses of people there still fondly remember the days when people lived and worked together peacefully.

Meanwhile, under the surface, the inequalities between Yugoslavia’s regions and the rival ambitions of the different national capitalist forces within Yugoslavia created conditions for an eruption.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, and imperialist power shifted in Europe, it tore old Yugoslavia apart. Warring bourgeois camps sprang out–claiming to protect the survival of different national groups–while they pursued their own interests and sought to divide the people along national lines.

After Tito died, an extremely reactionary movement won the leadership of the state-capitalist forces in Serbia. Led by Slobodan Milosevic, this political current insisted that the time had come for the Serbian nation (meaning the Serbian national bourgeoisie operating within the larger Yugoslavian state) to grab for itself–and impose its will by force. Milosevic, like most ruling class figures in the former Yugoslavia, was a former revisionist–meaning that he had been part of the ruling Yugoslavian party, the “League of Communists,” which was a phony communist, state capitalist government institution.

Some forces argue that the U.S. is attacking Serbia to enforce economic privatization and the elimination of “socialist” remnants in Yugoslavian society. These analyses are completely off the mark.

There is no socialism in Yugoslavia today and there never was. Yugoslavia has been controlled by running dogs of the U.S. and enemies of real communism for its whole history. Yugoslavia built its economy along capitalist and free-market lines over 40 years ago. And today, there is certainly nothing socialist at all about the economy of the Serb-dominated Yugoslav federation or the politics of local capitalist-nationalist reactionaries like Slobodan Milosevic. Milosevic is the top representative of the Serbian capitalist ruling class which is attempting a reactionary power grab in the region–and has collided with some larger interests of NATO’s imperialist/capitalists –especially those ruling Germany, Britain and the U.S.

In 1989 Milosevic made Kosovo a symbol and a starting point of this regional power grab. As he came to power within the Yugoslavian federation he revoked the autonomy that Kosovo had exercised within Serbia. He started to systematically impose a Serbian domination on the Albanian majority of Kosovo. He brutally suppressed a powerful strike among the Kosovo miners, expelled Albanians from the universities, imposed Serbian police and troops on the province–and generally made it clear that his government intended to drive Albanians from Kosovo. There were repeated incidents of police murder, as the cops acted like an occupying force.

All this signaled that military force was being applied to turn Yugoslavia into a Greater Serbia. It greatly accelerated the development of separatist sentiments among the ruling classes of the other nationalities (like Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia). The masses of people feared that they would soon be targeted for their nationality.

The capitalist forces controlling Slovenia and Croatia thought they could get a better deal outside of the Yugoslavian federation. They were encouraged, backed, and armed by newly reunited German imperialism. Once Croatia and Slovenia seceded, the Yugoslavian federation started to unravel. The Federal army command, dominated by Serbian officers, emerged more and more as the real power holding the Yugoslav federation together. Warfare erupted in waves.

First came war between the Serbian-dominated Yugoslavian army and the governments of Croatia and Slovenia that declared independence from Yugoslavia. That war ended with independence for both Croatia and Slovenia.

Then, a three-sided war erupted within the most multinational republic, Bosnia, as Serbian and Croatian militias fought to drive other nationalities out, and annex parts of Bosnia to their republics.

Both the Croatian and Serbian nationalists developed death-squad like forces that carried out “ethnic cleansing”–murderous terror campaigns designed to force the masses of people to flee multinational areas and group with their own nationality.

With major German and U.S. military backing, the Croatian forces were able to fight the Serbian/Yugoslavian army to a stalemate–inside and outside Bosnia. This led to the 1995 Dayton Accords where the U.S. and Milosevic together imposed a defacto partitioning of Bosnia between Croatian and Serbian forces–and cut the very ground out from underneath the Bosnian Muslims (who the U.S. claimed to be helping).

The third wave of fighting has now erupted in Kosovo–as Milosevic moved to defeat the armed Albanian forces resisting his reactionary nationalist moves. The campaigns of suppressing Albanians accelerated. Serbian death squad forces, like “Arkan’s Tigers,” made their appearance with high-level government support. This fighting is particularly troublesome for U.S. interests because it threatens to destabilize Macedonia–and carried a great risk of disrupting U.S./NATO alliances in this region.

This bitter series of Balkan wars is a living example both of how capitalism leads to the domination of one nation over another and how imperialism inflames conflicts among the people into reactionary war.

Reactionary Polarizations

The bitter events of years of civil war and ethnic cleansing have deepened painful chasms between the peoples of various nationalities that can only be overcome through tremendous struggle and revolutionary leadership. Progressive sentiments, opposition to ethnic cleansing and desires for unity are often heard among the masses of people throughout this whole region–along with considerable hatred of reactionary nationalist forces leading the governments of Serbia and Croatia. However, despite that, the political and military initiative has remained in the hands of those bourgeois nationalist forces.

Within these intense and often many-sided conflicts–there are forces who have been fighting for just causes. In particular, the Bosnian Muslims and the Albanians of Kosovo have been fighting in self-defense, and have raised just demands for self-determination and independence to guarantee the security of persecuted peoples.

The whole situation in the Balkans cries out for an armed, determined multinational force with a internationalist vision of solidarity between the peoples and a program for defeating reactionaries and building a new society. Unfortunately, there is no Marxist-Leninist-Maoist party in the Balkans today to lead such an armed struggle. One will have to be built. There is no shortcut out of this situation. Support for imperialist intervention and occupation will only deepen the divisions, confusions and sufferings among the people–and it will only strengthen the position of imperialism in the world as a whole to impose its interests on oppressed people.

Many millions all over the world are watching the bitter sufferings of the Balkan people. And there is a way for them to help create the conditions for something better. It is to firmly and forcefully oppose the interventions and intrigues of the U.S. and NATO. It would be a great contribution to the future of the Balkan peoples to make it as difficult as possible for the Great Powers to bomb and occupy, infiltrate local movements and governments, build up their favorite local reactionaries, and impose their interests over the bones of the people.

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Kwame Nkrumah: “I Speak of Freedom”

I Speak of Freedom

1961

For centuries, Europeans dominated the African continent. The white man arrogated to himself the right to rule and to be obeyed by the non-white; his mission, he claimed, was to “civilise”Africa. Under this cloak, the Europeans robbed the continent of vast riches and inflicted unimaginable suffering on the African people.

All this makes a sad story, but now we must be prepared to bury the past with its unpleasant memories and look to the future. All we ask of the former colonial powers is their goodwill and cooperation to remedy past mistakes and injustices and to grant independence to the colonies in Africa….

It is clear that we must find an African solution to our problems,and that this can only be found in African unity.

Divided we are weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world.

Although most Africans are poor, our continent is potentially extremely rich. Our mineral resources, which are being exploited with foreign capital only to enrich foreign investors, range from gold and diamonds to uranium and petroleum. Our forests contain some of the finest woods to be grown any where. Our cash crops include cocoa, coffee, rubber, tobacco and cotton. As for power, which is an important factor in any economic development, Africa contains over 40% of the potential water power of the world, as compared with about 10% in Europe and 13% in North America. Yet so far, less than 1% has been developed. This is one of the reasons why we have in Africa the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty, and scarcity in the midst of abundance.

Never before have a people had within their grasp so great an opportunity for developing a continent endowed with so much wealth. Individually, the independent states of Africa, some of them potentially rich, others poor, can do little for their people. Together, by mutual help, they can achieve much. But the economic development of the continent must be planned and pursued as a whole. A loose confederation designed only for economic co-operation would not provide the necessary unity of purpose. Only a strong political union can bring about full and effective development of our natural resources for the benefit of our people.

The political situation in Africa today is heartening and at the same time disturbing. It is heartening to see so many new flags hoisted in place of the old; it is disturbing to see so many countries of varying sizes and at different levels of development, weak and, in some cases, almost helpless. If this terrible state of fragmentation is allowed to continue it may well be disastrous for us all.

There are at present some 28 states in Africa, excluding the Union of South Africa, and those countries not yet free. No less than nine of these states have a population of less than three million. Can we seriously believe that the colonial powers meant these countries to be independent, viable states? The example of South America, which has as much wealth, if not more than North America, and yet remains weak and dependent on outside interests, is one which every African would do well to study.

Critics of African unity often refer to the wide differences in culture, language and ideas in various parts of Africa. This is true, but the essential fact remains that we are all Africans,and have a common interest in the independence of Africa. The difficulties presented by questions of language, culture and different political systems are not insuperable. If the need for political union is agreed by us all, then the will to create it is born;and where there’s a will there’s a way.

The present leaders of Africa have already shown a remarkable willingness to consult and seek advice among themselves. Africans have, indeed, begun to think continentally. They realise that they have much in common, both in their past history, in their present problems and in their future hopes. To suggest that the time is not yet ripe for considering a political union of Africa is to evade the facts and ignore realities in Africa today.

The greatest contribution that Africa can make to the peace of the world is to avoid all the dangers inherent in disunity, by creating a political union which will also by its success, stand as an example to a divided world. A Union of African states will project more effectively the African personality. It will command respect from a world that has regard only for size and influence. The scant attention paid to African opposition to the French atomic tests in the Sahara, and the ignominious spectacle of the U.N. in the Congo quibbling about constitutional niceties while the Republic was tottering into anarchy, are evidence of the callous disregard of African Independence by the Great Powers.

We have to prove that greatness is not to be measured in stockpiles of atom bombs. I believe strongly and sincerely that with the deep-rooted wisdom and dignity, the innate respect for human lives, the intense humanity that is our heritage, the African race, united under one federal government, will emerge not as just another world bloc to flaunt its wealth and strength, but as a Great Power whose greatness is indestructible because it is built not on fear,envy and suspicion, nor won at the expense of others, but founded on hope, trust, friendship and directed to the good of all mankind.

The emergence of such a mighty stabilising force in this strife-worn world should be regarded not as the shadowy dream of a visionary, but as a practical proposition, which the peoples of Africa can, and should, translate into reality. There is a tide in the affairs of every people when the moment strikes for political action. Such was the moment in the history of the United States of America when the Founding Fathers saw beyond the petty wranglings of the separate states and created a Union. This is our chance. We must act now. Tomorrow may be too late and the opportunity will have passed, and with it the hope of free Africa’s survival.

 — From Kwame Nkrumah, I Speak of Freedom: A Statement of African Ideology (London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1961), pp. xi-xiv.

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Video: How the CIA Helped Create the Crack Epidemic

Free Libya is Green Libya: Supporting the Real Libyan Revolution

by W. Yusef Doucet

“Will they now stand up and assume the real leadership necessary to make themselves relevant, or is overcoming their class allegiance to the Western bourgeoisie just too much to fathom? That’s probably too much to expect from a class trained to protect the interests of its benefactors in order to protect its own narrow interests. I guess this great task is up to the world’s African workers and peasants.”

For eight months now, NATO has executed an open crime against a sovereign African state and called it a democratic revolution. Libya was a stable, prosperous, debt-free country in Africa until it came under attack in February. The United States and the European Union cynically seized the opportunity provided by the genuine people’s movements in Tunisia and Egypt where the Western backed administrations were forced to remove their heads of state in attempts to manage the popular democratic movements in the streets. The U.S. and E.U. rapidly exploited the monarchist and “Islamist” resentment long present in Benghazi. The democratic aspirations of this opposition in Libya was dubious from the beginning, and within days of the actual opposition demonstrations that were not unusual in Benghazi, the “peaceful demonstrators” attacked a police station and suddenly emerged as a full-fledged armed faction. That U.S. and E.U. country Special Forces and intelligence forces had been on the ground from the very beginning arming and guiding what has become the National Transitional Council has become clear, and who denies the fact?

Even now, as this coalition claims to be the true and legal representatives of the wishes of the Libyan people, they represent maybe 5 percent of Libyans. They are an illegitimate entity thrust upon Libya by the force of NATO military power, and still they have not defeated the Jamahiriyah, the People’s Government of Libya. Through their actions, NATO has declared once again that no country can impart upon an independent path of development and an indigenous, culturally specific experiment with democracy. The West claims a monopoly on the meaning, form and practice of democracy, and the intellectuals, journalists and pundits in the West have shown themselves unable to remove the prejudices that convince them that democracy must look like and smell like the elite bourgeois democracy of the imperial countries. These are the same liberal bourgeois republics and constitutional monarchies that have perpetrated more than two hundred years of slavery, colonialism, and genocide attendant to capitalist production over the centuries. That doesn’t smell very good!

Through mainstream media, these professional talkers and writers made and continue to make the ground and air war palatable. Mainstream capitalist media rarely break with the official story offered by government. However on Libya, they have aggressively disseminated misinformation about Libyan society and the character of the uprising. Not every rebellion is a revolution. The media’s uncritical representation of the factions that would become the NTC cast them as democratic freedom fighters rather than investigate their reactionary monarchism and fundamentalism. Moreover, the media all but ignore the aggressive genocide taking place against the native Black population and migrant worker population. Early in the conflict, media spread the lie of “African mercenaries,” thus facilitating attacks against dark skinned Libyans and other Africans. Again, mainstream media reproduce the official story as a matter of course.

Unfortunately, the mainstream, corporate, pentagon friendly media were joined in the demonization of Gaddafi and the misrepresentation of the Jamahiriyah by the standard of progressive and liberal media in the United States, Democracy Now! and the Pacifica Network. Progressive/liberal media characterized the rebellion that began in Benghazi as a revolution rather than the counter revolution that it is. They provided airtime for opposition spokespersons and their supportive progressive and liberal analysts and pundits, which betrayed an antipathy to African and Arab revolutionary nationalism. They offered little to no air to voices in support of the Jamahiriyah; neither did they report on its democratic processes, again reproducing the government narrative. Those voices that make it onto Pacifica stations are brought on by independent producers like Dedon Kimathi at KPFK in Los Angeles and J.R. Valrey of Block Reportin’ at KPFK in Berkeley. Progressive/liberal media has been consistent in its unity with the mainstream on the question of Libya, revolutionary nationalist governments like Zimbabwe, and war in Africa, assuming their place in the continuum of the hegemonic narrative of empire. Much of the establishment Black press was only slightly better, refusing to criticize Obama directly, or doing so only obtusely, even when covering the anti-black violence of the NTC brigades. Tied to the two-party system, and especially the Democratic Party, the imperative to re-elect the undeserving Obama supersedes the duty to defend what was the most advanced country in Africa in regard to the human development of the population and a government that reached out to African Americans as members of the Pan-African nation. The Nation of Islam’s The Final Call’s coverage has been, on the other hand, exemplary.

Libya is the northern front in the re-assault on Africa. NATO countries engage in proxy war in Somalia while French troops continue muscularly to prop up the imposed government of Alassane Ouattara in Cote Ivoire, and now with troops on the ground in Central Africa, the U.S and Europe through AFRICOM has increasingly militarized their activities on the continent. These powers cannot abide African independence, nor will they allow China to continue to pursue its agenda in Africa unchallenged. As during the Cold War of the Twentieth Century, the US and EU again show their willingness to use African and Asian bodies in hot war to frustrate the interests of their competitors, this time capitalist-communist China. Where ever the U.S. and Europe are present in Africa, the countries are destabilized and in debt, and the people suffer. Despite their democratic rhetoric, their humanitarian rationalizations, and promises of economic growth, the Western presence in Africa, whether through diplomacy, covert and overt military intervention, economic investment, or settler channels, remains toxic. Now the poison flows through Libya, literally, as NATO has bombed both land and water with depleted uranium.

During the 1960s and 1970s, socialist and progressive sectors around the world recognized the heroism and thecorrectness of the Vietnamese people in their struggle against the U.S. inheritors of the French colonial project in Southeast Asia. The Vietnamese fought the most powerful military in the world and won the victory. Their struggle inspired revolutionaries across the Global South and among internal colonies in the Global North. Today Vietnam is a sovereign country.

Despite a number of independent journalists’ (e.g. Lizzie Phelan, Webster Tarpley, Stephen Lendmen, Gerald Perreira, and Thierry Meyssan) challenges to the dominant narrative on Libya, easily accessible on the internet and sometimes on cable news outlets like RT News, Libya still suffers from gross misrepresentations of the experiment in direct democracy and socialism embodied in the People’s Committees of the Jamahiriyah. Western professional progressives rarely take the vision expressed in the Green Book seriously, routinely falling into the “eccentric, flamboyant” Gaddafi” lazy reporting trap. The failure of what passes for leftist analysis in much of the U.S. and Europe to recognize the progressive and genuinely popular character of the Jamahiriyah makes them complicit in the disaster called the NTC that has befallen Libya. Nonetheless, the Libyan people continue to fight against the most powerful military alliance in the world, NATO. The NTC is nothing without NATO. The Green Resistance continues to fight. Libya is Vietnam. Can the Green Resistance rely on international support?

Libya is also Spain in the 1930s. During that struggle, the capitalist governments of the West stood by and watched the fascists bleed Republican Spain, despite material support from the Soviet Union, because in fact, they cared more about capitalist social relations and profits than they cared about democracy and the will of the Spanish people who elected the popular government. Today, they have destroyed the infrastructure of the most stable African country outside of Southern Africa, bombing them incessantly in support of racist, fascist and monarchist forces in the NTC who would have been defeated months ago if not for NATO air war. This time Russia failed to veto the key vote in the UN Security Council and can’t offer the same kind of material support, despite their distrust and defensive position vis-à-vis NATO. Their criticism of NATO since then, even as it helps challenge NATO’s narrative, still rings somewhat hollow. During the Spanish Civil War, progressive forces around the world organized themselves into international brigades to support the Spanish Republican and Loyalists forces materially and as brothers and sisters in arms. Can the international brigades today fly to Libya’s aid? Can African revolutionaries fight in Libya, knowing that the fight for Libya is the fight for Africa, and not care if they’re called mercenaries? What national African military will join the Green Resistance in its battle against a virulently anti-black, racist force in the NATO/NTC and the mercenaries they are now flying into Libya, like Xe (formerly Blackwater)?

Of course, now it is not so easy to offer material support or even ideological support to revolutionary movements. In the world of the Patriot Act, heightened security measures and full spectrum surveillance, one can quite quickly be arrested and disappeared for aiding and abetting “terrorism” if the group or movement one supports has been classified as a terrorist organization. Power has been very careful to police the degree to which groups and movements engaged in anti-imperialist and revolutionary struggle can be helped by exile and solidarity formations. The kind of fund raising and support that the ANC, the PAC, the PAIGC, the PLO, the IRA, the FMLN and similar movements enjoyed in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s into the ‘90s is mostly illegal now. The governments of the NATO countries will not likely look easily on activists among their own citizens and residents dedicated to restoring the people’s government they have spent so much money and time bombing. The formation of a group like C.I.S.P.E.S. (Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador) or Witnesses for Peace who worked to support citizens and revolutionary parties in El Salvador and Nicaragua during the 1980s grows increasingly difficult in the current surveillance climate. Even so, those of us committed to African sovereignty, African continental and diasporic integration, to socialism and people’s democracy, and to a brighter future for humanity need to find ways to support the Green Resistance in Libya. We need to find ways to be international brigades for Libya. Free Libya is Green Libya.

More than two hundred years of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie is long enough. Liberation struggles and revolutionary governments must be supported despite differences on some ideological points. The fate of an individual is not what is at stake. Despite his defamation in the mainstream Western press, Gaddafi is being mourned by millions in Africa and around the world. This attack has short-circuited the move toward African continental integration that Gaddafi championed. He acted independently in the interests of Libya and Africa, and offered real material support for the integration of Africa under one, gold standard currency, one army, and continental governing institutions. He supported revolutionary and national liberation struggles around the world. He was a genuine anti-imperialist. For many of us, the opinions of Minister Louis Farrakhan, Ms. Cynthia KcKinney and Warrior Woman of the Dine Nation matter more than the opinions expressed by the U.S. State Department and 10 Downing Street and disseminated by the New York Times, Le Figaro, CNN, AL Jazeera, et al. The Jamahiriyah is a genuinely popular government that has come under attack by the most powerful and advanced militaries in the world, yet they continue to hold out despite the loss of the revolutionary leader. Who speaks out? Who can help restore Libya and a united Africa? NATO, the UN and the NTC trivialized the African Union during this debacle, rendering the body all but ceremonial. Will they now stand up and assume the real leadership necessary to make themselves relevant, or is overcoming their class allegiance to the Western bourgeoisie just too much to fathom? That’s probably too much to expect from a class trained to protect the interests of its benefactors in order to protect its own narrow interests. I guess this great task is up to the world’s African workers and peasants.

W. Yusef Doucet is a faculty member of the Santa Monica College English Department. He co-founded and facilitated the Dyamsay Writers’ Workshop in Santa Monica, CA, the Third Root Writers’ Workshop in Pomona, CA, and a poetry reading series at the Velocity Café in Santa Monica, CA. Yusef is currently working on a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies at Claremont Graduate University. His research interests include Fanonian analysis, the policing effect of integrationist/post-racialist ideology and anti-blackness in the modern symbolic order. Yusef keeps a blog at freeignace.wordpress.com.

Source

Forbidding the “G-Word”: Holocaust Denial as Judicial Doctrine in Canada by Ward Churchill

“Where scholars deny genocide, [they] contribute to the deadly psychohistorical dynamic in which unopposed genocide begets new genocides.”

—Roger W. Smith, Eric Markusen and Robert Jay Lifton, “Professional Ethics and Denial of the Armenian Genocide” (1995)

Denial of genocide has become a matter of increasing concern in recent years, primarily as a result of efforts by a relative handful of neo-Nazi “scholars” to rehabilitate their ideological heritage by advancing arguments and “evidence” that the Hitlerian Holocaust of the early 1940s never occurred. (1) So insidious has Holocaust denial been considered by many governments that they have criminalized it, and prosecutions of deniers have occurred in France, Canada and elsewhere. (2) The United States bars known deniers from entering the country, and has supported civil litigation against individuals and institutions engaging in such activities. (3)

A related but far less noticed phenomenon has been the efforts of a significant number of ostensibly more reputable scholars to indulge in a sort of reverse denial. According to this group, the Holocaust undoubtedly occurred, but it was something experienced exclusively by Jews. (4) Here, the fates of the Gypsies, Slavs, homosexuals and others at the hands of the Nazis are routinely minimized and consigned to the ambiguous category of “non-genocidal suffering.” (5)

In their more extreme formulations, proponents of Jewish exclusivism hold not only that the Holocaust was a uniquely Jewish experience, but that it is history’s sole instance of “true” genocide. Exclusivists have gone on record, explicitly and repeatedly, denying that everything from the extermination of the Pequots in 1637, to the Turkish slaughter of more than a million Armenians between 1915 and 1918, to the more recent genocides in Cambodia, East Timor, Bosnia, Rwanda and Kosovo aren’t really examples of genocide at all. (6) Hence, while neo-Nazis deny a single genocide, exclusivists deny many.

There are of course other distinctions to be drawn between Holocaust deniers and those championing the exclusivity of suffering embodied in the Nazi Judeocide. Although their influence often exceeds their actual numbers, (7) the propagandists of neo-Nazism are by any definition a tiny fringe group. Those promoting ideas of Jewish exclusivism, on the other hand, comprise substantial majorities at the very hearts of the academic and media mainstreams. Moreover, their outlook has been adopted as official or quasi-official policy by numerous governments, including most prominently those taking the strongest stands against neo-Nazi deniers. (8) In sum, the Holocaust uniqueness postulations of Jewish exclusivism have assumed the status of an orthodoxy in historical/sociological interpretation, while those of neo-Nazism have not (and hopefully never will).

The reasons for this are not especially mysterious. The magnitude of their people’s catastrophe has generated among Jews an understandable need to find spiritual meaning in the experience, a matter which had led many to an unfortunate perversion of their own tradition in which they, a “chosen people,” were uniquely selected by God to endure the Holocaust. (9) More pragmatically—or cynically—others have realized that such suffering can be translated into a kind of “moral capital” and used to political advantage, particularly in garnering support for the Israeli state. (10) There is thus a clear, and often quite overtly expressed, desire among many Jews to claim an absolute monopoly in terms of genocidal suffering. (11)

For the elites of gentile societies, meanwhile, affirming the pretensions of Jewish Holocaust exclusivism carries with it an automatic absolution: If only the Nazi Judeocide can be qualified as genocide, it follows that only Nazis have ever been perpetrators or beneficiaries of the crime. The point is not insignificant. Genocide has been all but universally decried as a not merely “incomparable,” but an “unthinkable” offense, (12) one defying any possible redemption of those committing it (which is of course why neo-Nazis seek to “prove” their ideological forebears did not engage in it). As the Germans have long since discovered, the citizenry of no nation can take pride in a history besmirched by genocidal comportment. (13) Nor can any citizenry be counted upon to conveniently acquiesce in contemporary policies of genocide carried out in their name.

Far more than mere conceptions of “national honor” are at stake. Among those wishing to see themselves as “good people”—which is virtually everyone—the very term “genocide” provokes such deep and generalized revulsion that any official admission of its descriptive applicability to the national character, even historically, might threaten the hegemony upon which systemic stability largely depends.14 Genocide must therefore be denied at all costs, most often by explaining it away as being or having been something else altogether. For this purpose, constraining perceptions of genocide to the terms set forth by Jewish exclusivism serves non-Jewish interests as readily as Jewish.

Definitional Distortions

Genocide is not an old word, having “naturally” evolved over time to hold meanings contrary to its own. Nor was it meant to serve as a synonym for mass killing. When Raphaël Lemkin coined the term in 1944, he went to considerable lengths in explaining that it was intended to describe policies and processes designed to bring about the dissolution and disappearance of targeted human groups, as such. He wrote “Genocide has two phases, one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor.” (15) If these two conditions have been fulfilled, a genocide has occurred, even if every member of the targeted group has survived the process in a physical sense.

Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aimed at the destruction of the essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be a disintegration of political and social institutions—of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups. Genocide is directed at the national group as an entity, and the actions involved are directed at individuals, not in their individual capacity, but as members of the national group (emphasis added). (16)

In 1946, Lemkin was retained by the United Nations Secretariat to draft an international convention codifying the crime. Therein, genocide—that is, “policies aimed at eradicating targeted ethnical, racial, national, religious or political groups”—was defined in a twofold way: “(1) the destruction of a group,” and “(2) preventing its preservation and development.” (17) The offending policies were themselves grouped in three categories, all of equal gravity:

· Physical Genocide, meaning outright extermination as well as the imposition of “slow death measures (i.e., subjection to conditions of life which, owing to lack of proper housing, clothing, food, hygiene and medical care or excessive work or physical exertion are likely to result in the debilitation and death of individuals; mutilations and biological experiments imposed for other than curative purposes; and deprivation of livelihood by means of looting or confiscation of property).

· Biological Genocide, meaning the prevention of births among the target group (i.e., involuntary sterilization or abortion, as well as compulsory segregation of the sexes).

· Cultural Genocide, meaning destruction of the specific characteristics of the group (i.e., forced dispersal of the population; forced transfer of children to another group; suppression of religious practices or the national language; forced exile of writers, artists, religious and political leaders or other individuals representing the culture of the group; destruction of cultural/religious shrines or monuments, or their diversion to alien uses; destruction or dispersion of documents and objects of historical, artistic or religious value, and objects used in religious worship). (18)

The draft was then turned over to a committee composed of nation-state delegates to be “revised and condensed” before its submission to the U.N. General Assembly. During this process, the United States and Canada, acting in concert, were able to arrange deletion of almost the entire provision on cultural genocide, as well as all explicit references to slow death measures.19 As the matter was finally framed in international law on December 9, 1948, “genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:”

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on members of the group conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. (20)

Strikingly, even in this greatly-truncated delineation, only one in five criteria pertain to direct killing. Eighty percent of the legal definition of genocide thus devolves upon nonlethal policies and activities. The responses of the U.S. and Canada to this are instructive. The United States simply refused for forty years to accept the result. Finally, in 1988, embarrassed at being the only country so openly rejecting the rule of law, it attempted a ratification in which it claimed a “right” to exempt itself from compliance whenever convenient. (22)

Canada also submitted an invalid ratification, but much earlier, in 1952. The subterfuge in this case was to write domestic implementing legislation in such a way as to excise from the country’s “legal understanding” those classifications of genocidal policy in which Canada was actually engaged, retaining only those involving “physical destruction… killing, or its substantial equivalents” (that is, Article II(a), (c) and (d) of the 1948 Convention).

For purposes of Canadian law, we believe that the definition of genocide should be drawn somewhat more narrowly than in the [already much narrowed] international Convention so as to include only killing and its substantial equivalents…The other components of the international definition, viz, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of a group and forcibly transferring children of one group to another group with intent to destroy the group we deem inadvisable for Canada. (23)

In 1985, the parliament went further, removing the prohibition on involuntary sterilization (1948 Convention, Article II(d)) from Canada’s genocide statute. (24) No country, of course, whether it be Canada or the U.S. or Nazi Germany, holds a legitimate prerogative to pick and choose among elements of international law, electing to abide by some and not others. It possess even less of a right to unilaterally “revise” the Laws of Nations in conformity with its own preferences. As the Nazis were informed at Nuremberg, the requirements of customary law are binding, irrespective of whether individual sovereignties wish to accept them. (25)

Nonetheless, taking the cue from their governments, a range of “responsible” scholars shortly set themselves to the task of deforming Lemkin’s concept even further. In 1959, Dutch law professor Pieter Drost published a massive two-volume study wherein he argued that usage of the term “genocide” should be restricted to its physical and biological dimensions, and that cultural genocide should be redesignated as “ethnocide,” a term he erroneously attributed to “post-war French scholars.” (26) Thereafter, biological genocide was also quietly dropped from discussion as writer after writer defined genocide exclusively in terms of killing. (27) Forty years of this continuous “genocide equals mass murder” distortion has yielded an altogether predictable effect, not only on the popular consciousness but on that of many otherwise critical activists and intellectuals. This last is readily evident in the recent release of a book by Native Hawaiian sovereigntist and professor Haunani-Kay Trask, wherein genocide is defined as simply the “systematic killing of a people identified by ethnic/racial characteristics.” (28)

Friends of the Lubicon

Questions arise as to whether, after all this, Lemkinesque understandings of genocide still prevail at all, and if so, whether they retain the capacity to galvanize public sentiment. The answers rest, to some extent, in a handful of examples. In 1968, as part of the Russell Tribunal’s verdict condemning U.S. aggression in Vietnam, Jean-Paul Sartre concluded not only that was the policy itself genocidal, but that colonialism as a system inherently produces genocidal results.29 Considerable support was lent to the latter of Sartre’s findings in 1980, when the Tribunal published a report on conditions imposed upon the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere.30

Still further expansions on the theme have accrued through publications like Cultural Survival Quarterly, and in the Native resistance movements which emerged during the 1980s in places like Wollaston Lake, James Bay and Big Mountain, Arizona.31 Perhaps the most potent example, however, concerns the experience of a tiny Cree band at Lubicon Lake, in northern Alberta, who have been confronted with sociocultural eradication as the result of maneuverings on the parts of both the federal and provincial governments to allow the Daishowa Corporation, a transnational manufacturer of paper products, to “deforest” their traditional territory (within which government-sanctioned oil and gas exploration had already wrought a noticeable degree of havoc).32

After fruitlessly attempting to negotiate a resolution with both the corporation and participating governmental entities, the band, working through a non-native Toronto-based organization calling itself Friends of the Lubicon (FOL), announced a boycott of Daishowa products in 1991. The FOL made the genocidal impacts of the corporation’s planned clearcutting of Lubicon territory the centerpiece of its effort, developing a well-conceived media campaign to put its message across. As a Canadian court later put it, the “results of the Friends’ campaign against Daishowa…were, in a word, stunning.”33 Not only did typical Canadians prove quite capable of understanding nonlethal modes of genocide, they displayed a pronounced willingness to decline to trade with businesses complicit in such processes. On this basis:

Approximately fifty companies using paper products (mostly paper bags) from Daishowa were approached by the Friends. The list of these companies reads like a Who’s Who of the retail and fast food industries in Ontario—Pizza Pizza, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, Cultures, Country Style Donuts, Mr. Submarine, Bootlegger, A&W, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Woolworth’s, Roots, Club Monaco, Movenpeck Restaurants and Holt Renfrew, to name but a few. Every one of the companies approached by the Friends joined the boycott of Daishowa products. All but two did so…before their stores were picketed…Pizza Pizza was subjected to picketing outside its store on two occasions; Woolworth’s had a single store picketed on two occasions…Both Pizza Pizza and Woolworth’s joined the boycott.34

By 1994, the boycott was costing Daishowa millions of dollars annually in lost sales.35 Under such circumstances, it stood to lose money rather than profiting by cutting timber on Lubicon land. One result was that, although Daishowa had indicated that it would commence logging operations “as soon as the ground freezes over” in the fall of 1991, not a tree was felled.36 As FOL leader Kevin Thomas observed in 1997, the success of the boycott demonstrated clearly that there are viable alternatives for those genuinely opposed to genocide. Rather than simply bearing “moral witness” to what is happening half-a-world away in Tibet or Kosovo, it is entirely possible “to actually make a difference by focusing attention mainly on what our own government is doing right here at home and undertaking direct action to stop it.”37

“This can have a precedential effect,” Thomas suggests. “Halting genocide in one place helps lay the groundwork for halting it in all places. But, for this to happen, it’s essential that people be made aware of what genocide actually is. We’ve all been pretty systematically misled on that score, but if we’re confused, if we can’t recognize genocide for what it is when it’s happening right in front of us, there’s no way in the world we can change anything for the better. That’s why there’s been so much effort expended on keeping everybody confused about it: business as usual pretty much depends on an ability to perpetrate genocide more-or-less continuously, without its being recognized as such and, as a result, without its encountering significant opposition from average citizens.”38

Judicial Repression in Canada

The lesson was lost on neither the corporate nor the governmental sectors of Canada’s status quo. Consequently, naming Thomas and two other key organizers as principle defendants, Daishowa filed a SLAPP suit against the FOL on January 11, 1995. Citing millions in lost revenues and a steady erosion in its client base as damages, the corporation contended that the three men had conspired to employ illegal tactics such as an illegal secondary boycott, and were guilty of defamation by using the word “genocide” in their public outreach efforts.39

Even before the defendants had an opportunity to file a response to the allegations against them, a temporary injunction was issued to prevent them from engaging in boycott activities of any sort for ninety days. By then, Daishowa’s attorneys had requested an interlocutory injunction to extend the prohibition for the duration of the suit. This motion was “substantially dismissed,” but the FOL was ordered not to describe Daishowa’s planned activities as genocidal until a final ruling had been made.40 The following trial ended with one of the more brilliantly obfuscatory rulings in Canadian history.

At one level, Judge J.C. MacPherson’s lengthy verdict was a study in liberal legal scholarship, rejecting in an almost contemptuous tone each of Daishowa’s claims that the FOL’s boycott techniques had been in themselves unlawful. On the contrary, he concluded, “the manner in which the Friends have performed their picketing and boycott activities is a model of how such activities should be conducted in a democratic society.”41 All of this progressive cant, however, was simply a gloss meant to disguise the unmistakably reactionary core of what the judge had to say: that the FOL’s characterization of Daishowa’s corporate policy as genocidal constituted “an enormous injustice…bordering on the grotesque…cavalier and grossly unfair to Daishowa.”42 Having thus found that the FOL had indeed defamed the corporation, he forbade them—and everyone else in Canada—from ever again employing such accurate terminology to describe what the corporation was doing.43

It was not that MacPherson was unaware of the “plight” in which Daishowa’s activities had placed the Lubicons. Indeed, he remarked upon it at some length.

The essential subject matter of everything the Friends say and do is the plight of the Lubicon Cree…There can be little doubt that their plight, especially in recent years, is a tragic, indeed a desperate one…The loss of a traditional economy of hunting, trapping and gathering, the negative effect of industrial development on a people spiritually anchored in nature, the disintegration of a social structure grounded in families led by successful hunters and trappers, alcoholism, serious community health problems such as tuberculosis, and poor relations with governments and corporations engaged in oil and gas and forest operations on land the Lubicon regard as theirs—all of these have contributed to a current state of affairs for the Lubicon Cree which deserves the adjectives tragic, desperate and intolerable.44

Nor was he unaware that imposition of such conditions by “governments and corporations engaged in oil and gas and forest operations” conforms quite precisely with both the etymological and legal definitions of the crime of genocide, even under Canadian law. In his verdict, the judge quoted Raphaël Lemkin, the 1948 Convention and the relevant Canadian statute all three, only to disregard them, along with testimonies of a whole series of expert witnesses,45 in favor of the “plain and ordinary meaning of the word ‘genocide’” contained in Webster’s Dictionary. This, he insisted—although the dictionary actually didn’t—was “the intentional killing of a group of people.”46

MacPherson never specified the point at which he believed the content of abridged dictionaries had come to outweigh black letter legal definition in Canadian jurisprudence.47 Less did he explain how, using his “common sense” approach, anyone is supposed to distinguish between the Nazi extermination of the Jews and such relatively trivial phenomena as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (both involve the “intentional killing of a group of people,” and would thus seem to be equally genocidal under the judge’s “plain, ordinary” and utterly absurd interpretation).48 Nevertheless, he went on to assert that characterizations of genocide deriving from other definitions—those found in international law, for example—do not constitute “fair comment” about perpetrators and their activities.49

It follows that organizations like the FOL, devoted not only to direct action but to what even the judge described as a broader “educational” purpose, are left with an ability to confront genocidal processes only by referring to them as something else (which is to say, in effect, by implicitly denying that they are genocide).50 In the alternative, should such groups—or, presumably, the victims themselves—insist upon calling things by their right names, perpetrators have been perfectly positioned by MacPherson’s judicial prevarications to claim “damages” and/or take other legal action against them.

The Wages of Denial

As prominent exclusivist Deborah Lipstadt has noted, the “general public tends to accord victims of genocide a certain moral authority. If you devictimize a people, you strip them of their moral authority,” and thus a substantial measure of their ability to attract public support.51 Lipstadt was writing from an explicitly Jewish perspective, of course, and of her own people’s natural desire to be compensated in various ways for the horrors of the Nazi Judeocide. Her point, however, is equally valid with respect to any genocidally victimized group. Moreover, where genocide is an ongoing process—as with the Lubicons—the need for public support goes not to securing compensation, but survival itself.

This is by no means an academic consideration. Cumulatively, one result of a half-century of “scholarship” by people like Lipstadt has been the functional devictimization of literally hundreds of indigenous peoples, even as their very existence has been systematically extinguished. Refused moral authority by those better stationed to monopolize it for themselves—and thus unable to command public attention, much less support—a truly staggering number of Native societies have been pushed into oblivion since 1950.52 It is in some ways a perverse testament to the effectiveness of exclusivist propaganda that most such passings—whether physical or “merely” cultural—have gone not only unprotested but unnoticed by the general populace.

In this, the convolutions of legalism have played their role. Arcane preoccupations with the standards of proof required in establishing perpetrator intent, and exactly what scale, mode, tempo or proportionality of killing should be necessary for instances of mass murder to be considered “genuinely” genocidal, have done far more to mask than to reveal the realities of genocide. (53) Small wonder that there has never been a concerted attempt by the international community to enforce the 1948 Convention. Now J.C. MacPherson places his personal capstone on the whole sordid situation, entering a ruling which by implication transforms law from its potential as a weapon against genocide into one with which those engaged in it can shield themselves from any sort of effective exposure and intervention.

Denial of genocide, insofar as it plainly facilitates continuation of the crime, amounts to complicity in it. This is true whether the deniers are neo-Nazis, Jewish exclusivists, renowned international jurists or provincial Canadian judges. Complicity in genocide is, under Article III of the 1948 Convention, tantamount to perpetration of genocide itself. It is formally designated a Crime Against Humanity, those who engage in it criminals of the worst sort. There is no difference in this sense between a J.C. MacPherson, a Deborah Lipstadt and an Adolf Eichmann. (54)

And what of the victims? Unquestionably, any group faced with the prospect of systemically-imposed extinction holds not only the right but the obligation to defend and preserve itself by the best means available to it. Afforded the moral currency attending its circumstance, it may well be able to undertake this task both nonviolently and successfully. This, surely, is a primary lesson of the recent collaboration between the Lubicons and the FOL. Denied such currency, however, the victims can hardly be expected to simply “lie down in a ditch and die.” (30) To paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr., those who endeavor to make the success of peaceful resistance to genocide impossible only make violent resistance inevitable. They can have no complaint, morally, ethically or otherwise, when the chickens come home to roost.

____________________________________________

Endnotes:

1. Pierre Vidal-Niquet, Assassins of Memory: Essays on the Denial of the Holocaust (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992); Deborah Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory (New York: Free Press, 1993).

2. In France, there was the 1981 trial of Robert Faurisson, the country’s leading denier, for defaming Holocaust witnesses and scholars. In Canada, the most notable cases have been the 1985 prosecutions of James Keegstra, an Alberta school teacher who’d spent fourteen years indoctrinating his students that the Holocaust was a “hoax,” and Ernst Zundel, a Toronto-based publisher who is one of the world’s leading purveyors of such tripe. See Nadine Fresco, “Denial of the Dead: On the Faurisson Affair,” Dissent, Fall 1981; Alan T. Davies, “A Tale of Two Trials: Antisemitism in Canada,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Vol. 4, 1989.

3. The primary case in the U.S. was Mel Mermelstein v. Institute for Historical Review, et al., Superior Court of California, Civ. No. 356542 (Feb. 1981); British “historian” David Irving is among those barred from entering the United States because of his record as a denier.

4. See, e.g., Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War (New York: Henry Holt, 1985); Leni Yahil, The Holocaust: The Fate of the European Jewry, 1932-1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990).

5. This happens by way both directly and by way of omission. In Deborah Lipstadt’s Denying the Holocaust, for example, there is not so much as an index entry for Gypsies, despite the fact that this smaller people was subject to exactly the same Nazi racial decrees as Jews, were exterminated in precisely the same manner and in the same places as Jews, and, proportionately, suffered equivalent or greater population losses; Ian Hancock, “Responses to the Porrajmos: The Romani Holocaust,” in Alan S. Rosenbaum, ed., Is the Holocaust Unique? Perspectives in Comparative Genocide (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996). For direct assertions, see, e.g., Michael Berenbaum, ed., A Mosaic of Victims: Non-Jews Persecuted and Murdered by the Nazis (New York: New York University Press, 1990).

6. Although there are literally hundreds of iterations of the notion available from other authors, the most comprehensive assertion that the Nazi Judeocide is “phenomenologically unique” has been that advanced by Steven T. Katz in his massive The Holocaust in Historical Context, Vol. 1: The Holocaust and Mass Death Before the Modern Age (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994).

7. A poll conducted in Italy during the fall of 1992, for example, revealed that nearly 10 percent of the country’s adult population have been convinced that the Holocaust never happened; Jewish Telegraph News Agency, Nov. 11, 1992.

8. Examples of official policy include the quid pro quo entered into between the governments of Israel and Turkey by which the Israelis ban public characterizations of the Armenian genocide as genocide. In exchange, the Turks pronounce the Nazi Judeocide as the “real” genocide. Working together, the two governments were able to prevent the Armenians from being listed as victims of genocide in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.; Roger W. Smith, Eric Marusen and Robert Jay Lifton, “Professional Ethics and the Denial of the Armenian Genocide,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies, No. 9, 1995. Insofar as it has received not inconsiderable governmental support and endorsement, the Holocaust Memorial Museum itself, though nominally private, may be viewed as an example of quasi-official policy.

9. See, e.g., Arthur A. Cohen, The Tremendium: A Theological Interpretation of the Holocaust (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1981); John Roth and Michael Berenbaum, The Holocaust: Religious and Philosophical Implications (New York: Paragon House, 1989). For critique, see John Murray Cuddahy, “The Holocaust: The Latent Issue in the Uniqueness Debate,” in Philip F. Gallagher, ed., Christians, Jews and Other Worlds: Patterns of Conflict and Accommodation (Landham, MS: University Press of America, 1988); Arno J. Mayer, Why Did the Heavens Not Darken? The Final Solution in History (New York: Pantheon, [2nd ed.] 1990).

10. The term “moral capital” is taken from exclusivist writer Edward Alexander, The Holocaust and the War of Ideas (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1994) p. 195.

11. E.g., Yehuda Bauer, “Whose Holocaust?” and Edward Alexander, “Stealing the Holocaust,” both in Midstream, Vol. 26, No. 9, 1980.

12. Roger Manvell and Heinrich Fraenkel, The Incomparable Crime; Mass Extermination in the 20th Century: The Legacy of Guilt (London: Hinemann, 1967); Israel W. Charney, How Can We Commit the Unthinkable? Genocide, the Human Cancer (Boulder, CO, Westview Press, 1982).

13. See generally, Richard Evans, In Hitler’s Shadow: West German Historians and the Attempt to Escape from the Nazi Past (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989).

14. As the Italian theorist Antonio Gramsci described it, hegemony functions by way of a master narrative designed to convince the great mass of people that the prevailing order is natural, right and thus inevitable. Any concession by ruling élites that there is anything fundamentally wrong with the order over which they preside would of course undermine the very belief system upon which their own ascendancy depends; Walter L. Adamson, Hegemony and Revolution: A Study of Antonio Gramsci’s Political and Cultural Theory (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980) esp. pp. 170-9.

15. Raphaël Lemkin, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government, Proposals for Redress (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1944) p. 79.

16. Ibid.

17. U.N. Doc. A/362, June 14, 1947.

18. Ibid. For further discussion, see Robert Davis and Mark Zannis, The Genocide Machine in Canada: The Pacification of the North (Montréal: Black Rose Books, 1973) pp. 15-21.

19. On Canada’s role, see Canada and the United Nations (Ottawa: Dept. of External Affairs, 1948) p. 191. Overall, see M. Lippman, “The Drafting of the 1948 Convention and Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,” Boston University International Law Journal, No. 3, 1984.

20. U.S.T. _______, T.I.A.S. _______, 78 U.N.T.S. 277 (1948), Article II. The Convention’s third article makes it a crime not only to perpetrate genocide, but to conspire or attempt to commit it, to incite it, or to be otherwise complicit in its perpetration; for text, see Ian Brownlie, ed., Basic Documents on Human Rights (Oxford: Clarendon Press, [3rd ed.] 1992) pp. 31-4.

21. Lawrence LeBlanc, The United States and the Genocide Convention (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1991) pp. 7-12.

22. There can be no question whether parliament was aware its Native residential school policy violated Article II(e) of the Genocide Convention, the prohibition on forced transfer of children. The issue was raised repeatedly during the debates on ratification; Canadian Civil Liberties Association, “Brief to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, “April 26, 1969, p. 6. Yet this is one of the provisions deleted from the Canadian genocide statute, ostensibly because it had “no essential relevance to Canada where mass transfers of children to another group are unknown”; Special Committee on Hate Propaganda in Canada (1948); quoted in Davis and Zannis, Genocide Machine, p. 23. For background, see J.R. Miller, Shingwauk’s Vision: A History of Native Residential Schools (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996).

23. Special Committee on Hate Propaganda in Canada (1948); quoted in Davis and Zannis, Genocide Machine, p. 23.

24. Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46.

25. As the matter was put by a principle advisor to the chief U.S. prosecutor at Nuremberg, many of the charges brought against the Nazis were based in upon their violation of “customary international law—a system [evolving] under the impact of common consent and the demands of world security. Acquiescence of all members of the Family of Nations is not necessary for this purpose. All that is needed is reasonable proof of the existence of widespread custom”; Sheldon Glueck, “The Nuremberg Trial and Aggressive War,” Harvard Law Review, No. 59, Feb. 1946, pp. 396-456. This rule was affirmed by the International Court of Justice with respect to the Genocide Convention in an Advisory Opinion issued on May 28, 1951: “The principles inherent in the Convention are acknowledged by civilized nations as binding on [any] country, even [those] without a conventional obligation.” In effect, “reservations” to the Convention like that attempted by the U.S., or attempts to limit its scope by deleting portions of it in domestic implementing statutes, as Canada has, have no legal validity at all; see generally, Robert K. Woetzel, “The Eichmann Case in International Law,” Criminal Law Review, Oct. 1962, pp. 671-82.

26. Pieter N. Drost, Genocide (Leyden: A.W. Sythoff, 1959); The Crime of State (Leyden: A.W. Sythoff, 1959). In actuality, Lemkin himself coined the term “ethnocide” in a footnote on page 79 of Axis Rule—the same page on which the neologism “genocide” itself was invented—explaining therein that the two words are synonyms. Interestingly, subsequent researchers have simply repeated without further investigation Drost’s false attribution of “ethnocide” to French scholarship, as well as his unfounded contention that it describes something other than genocide; see, e.g., Kurt Jonasohn and Frank Chalk, “A Typology of Genocide and Some Implications for the Human Rights Agenda,” in Isador Walliman and Michael Dobkowski, eds., Genocide and the Modern Age: Etiology and Case Studies of Mass Death (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1987) pp. 7, 37.

27. Frank Chalk, “Definitions of Genocide and Their Implications for Prediction and Prevention,” in Yehuda Bauer, et al., eds., Remembering for the Future: Working Papers and Addenda, 2 vols. (Oxford: Pergammon Press, 1989) pp. 76-7.

28. Haunani-Kay Trask, From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai’i (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, [rev. ed.] 1999) p. 251.

29. Jean-Paul Sartre and Arlette El Kaim-Sartre, On Genocide and a Summary of the Evidence and Judgments of the International War Crimes Tribunal (Boston: Beacon Press, 1968). Although he was highly critical of Sartre’s “overgeneralized” formulation, Leo Kuper, one of the more astute analysts of genocide, by-and-large incorporated it into his own books: Leo Kuper, Genocide: Its Political Uses in the Twentieth Century (New Haven, CT, Yale University Press, 1981); International Action Against Genocide (London: Minority Rights Group, [rev. ed.] 1984); The Prevention of Genocide (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1985).

30. Russell Tribunal, Report of the Fourth Russell Tribunal on the Rights of the Indians of the Americas (Nottingham: Bertrand Russell Foundation, 1980).

31. Cultural Survival Quarterly is the journal of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Cultural Survival, Inc. On the resistance movements, see Miles Goldstick, Wollaston: People Resisting Genocide (Montréal: Black Rose Books, 1987); Boyce Richardson, Strangers Devour the Land: The Cree Hunters of the James Bay area versus Premier Bourassa and the James Bay Development Corporation (Post Mills, VT: Chelsea Green Publishers, [rev. ed.] 1991); Ward Churchill, “Genocide in Arizona: The ‘Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute’ in Perspective,” in my Struggle for the Land: Native North American Resistance to Genocide, Ecocide and Colonization (Winnipeg: Arbiter Ring, [rev. ed.] 1999).

32. The story of the Lubicon is quite complex; see John Goddard, Last Stand of the Lubicon Cree (Vancouver/Toronto: Douglas & McIntire, 1991).

33. Daishowa Inc. v. Friends of the Lubicon, Ontario Court of Justice (Gen. Div.), File No. 95-CQ-59707, Verdict of Judge J. MacPherson (Apr. 14, 1998) p. 21.

34. Ibid., pp. 21-2.

35. Thomas Claridge, “Judge to Rule May 19 on Lubicon boycott: Daishowa says $3-million annual sales lost,” Toronto Globe and Mail, May 1, 1995.

36. FOL briefing paper distributed by the Sierra Legal Defense Fund, beginning in 1996 (copy on file).

37. Conversation with Kevin Thomas, June 14, 1997 (notes on file).

38. Ibid.

39. Christopher Genovali, “Multinational Pulp Company SLAPPs Suit Against Activist Group,” Alternatives Journal, Vol. 22, No. 3, 1996.

40. Daishowa Inc. v. Friends of the Lubicon (1995), 30 C.R.R. (2d) 26 (Gen. Div.). The corporation immediately filed an appeal which resulted in reinstatement of the injunction against the FOL’s boycott activities more generally. This higher court ruling was later expanded to prohibit the defendants, their attorneys, and even selected expert witnesses from publicly discussing the case; Christopher Genovali, “Daishowa Tries to Gag Critics,” Alternatives Journal, Vol. 23, No. 2, 1997.

41. Verdict, p. 50.

42. Ibid., pp. 72, 68, 76.

43. Ibid., p. 76.

44. Ibid., pp. 42-3. MacPherson’s description of the situation in which the Lubicon have been placed should be compared with the explanation offered by the Saudi delegate to the drafting committee of what was/is meant by the language contained in Article II(c) of the 1948. This includes not only the “planned disintegration of the political, social or economic structure of a group or nation,” but the “systematic debasement of a group, people or nation”; quoted in Davis and Zannis, Genocide Machine, p. 19.

45. Among the expert witness submissions MacPherson ignored were an article, “Modern Genocide,” prepared by the McGill University law faculty and published in Quid Novi on November 30, 1987 (submitted in evidence as Defense Exhibit 30; Thomas Affidavit); a 1990 letter to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney prepared by the late James J.E. Smith, Curator of North American Ethnography for the Museum of the American Indian/Heye Foundation, in which it is concluded that “social and cultural genocide” is being perpetrated against the Lubicons (Defense Exhibit 4; Ominiyak Affidavit); a 1995 affidavit prepared by Dr. Joan Ryan, an anthropologist who combined 15 years experience documenting the destruction of Lubicon society with the very dictionary definitions the judge relied upon in arriving at an diametrically opposing conclusion. Both Dr. Ryan and I presented direct testimony during the trial. None of this is so much as mentioned in the Verdict.

46. Verdict, p. 71. MacPherson in fact quotes three different dictionaries, none of which posits “intentional killing” as synonymous with genocide. Webster’s refers to “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political or cultural group (emphasis added).”

47. MacPherson claims to have followed the dictum that “defamatory meaning must be one which would be understood by an ordinary and reasonable person”; Verdict, pp. 70-1. He neglects to mention, however, that the rule pertains only to instances where the terms at issue are not defined in law; R.E. Brown, The Law of Defamation in Canada (2nd ed., Vol. 1, p. 52).

48. Even MacPherson seems a bit uncomfortable with his definition. He suggests at one point that “physical destruction” rather than direct killing alone might add up to genocide. But then, apparently realizing that the sorts of conditions he’s already conceded the Lubicons are suffering would all too obviously fit this description, he simply drops the subject; Verdict, p. 71.

49. Ibid., p. 76.

50. Ibid., p. 39. This clearly goes to compelling the employment of euphemisms, the purpose of which is well-known. The Nazis, after all, referred to their Judeocide as the “Final Solution,” the transport of Jews to Auschwitz and other extermination centers as “Resettlement,” the literal killing therein as “Special Handling.” Such innocuous terminology was designed to obscure genocidal reality and thus constrain the probability of popular revulsion and unrest.

51. Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust, pp. 7-8.

52. In the United States alone, nearly a hundred such peoples have been declared “culturally extinct” by the federal government during this period; Raymond V. Butler, “The Bureau of Indian Affairs: Activities Since 1945,” Annals of the American Academy of Political Science, No. 435, 1978, pp. 50-60.

53. The implications were brought out clearly in March 1974, when, in one of the few instances where charges of genocide were filed with the U.N. Secretariat, the International League for the Rights of Man, the Inter-American Association for Democracy and Freedom and several other organizations accused the government of Paraguay of physically exterminating the Aché Indians. Paraguay’s formal response to these allegations was that, “Although there are victims and victimizer, there is not the third element necessary to establish the crime of genocide—that is ‘intent.’ As there is no ‘intent,’ one cannot speak of ‘genocide’”; Paraguayan Minister of Defense, quoted in Norman Lewis, “The Camp at Ceclio Baez,” in Richard Arens, ed., Genocide in Paraguay (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1976) pp. 62-3.

54. Those who experience a visceral reaction to my “overstated” comparison should recall that Eichmann was not accused of actually killing anyone. Rather, he was convicted of having devoted his bureaucratic and technical expertise—that is, his intellect—to organizing the delivery of Jews and others to extermination centers; Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (New York: Penguin, 1964).

55. Unidentified Lubicon, quoted in Thomas Affidavit, p. 24.

Video: Lowkey – “Long Live Palestine”

Hath not a Palestinian eyes?

I am a Palestinian. Hath not a Palestinian eyes? hath not a Palestinian hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Jew is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. The villany you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.

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