Category Archives: Congo / Zaire

J.J. Lawrence: Che Guevara

CheLaCoubreMarch

I have been asked to write an article on Che, which I am pleased to do. Before I write this article, I must insist that if you have not read anything on Che (apart from this article) you must read a biography on him. Che was the first time I had read on something involving communism, which had a huge influence on me. There are a great deal of articles on Che. I do not want to just write another short summary of his life. I have tried in this article to show key points which had significant impact on him, and why he became the man he was.

‘Because of the circumstances in which I travelled, first as a student and later as a doctor, I came into close contact with poverty, hunger, and disease; with the inability to treat a child because of lack of money; with the stupefaction provoked by continual hunger and punishment, to the point that a father can accept the loss of a son as an unimportant accident… and I began to realize that there were things which were almost as important to me as becoming a famous scientist or making a significant contribution to medical science; I wanted to help those people.’ (Che Guevara, 1960, speaking on revolutionary medicine).

Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara was a communist revolutionary, a social philosopher, a medical doctor and became an international figurehead for the communist cause. His dream was to change Latin America into a socialist utopia and end US imperialism there as well as helping the rest of the developing world free themselves of oppression. When I first read about Che, I was blown away, his life, his ideals, a tear came to my eye when I read about his final hour and his murder in Bolivia. From the moment he agreed to join Castro’s revolution, he dedicated his life to the communist cause , his determination was unbelievable. In my opinion there was a number of key points on how Che became the man he was and why he is such an icon to so many today.

(1)

The first “key point” in my view was his asthma. I know some people would not see this as hugely significant but to me it was. From such a young age it affected him terribly, he did not start school until the age of seven because of it. But his mother gave him a good basic grounding in education. The asthma was something to him that would not hold him back, it gave him so much resolve. It was the fact that he had asthma that gave him this determination to succeed and throughout his battles in Cuba, the Congo and Bolivia it affected him terribly. Surely it was physically demanding enough to be a guerrilla fighter and on top of that he had to cope with asthma, he became a severe and a ruthless disciplinarian to his troops who complained and showed physical weakness. He concluded that if he could manage with severe asthma that they should find it much less demanding than him. Overall it installed huge determination in him, his will to take part in physical activity, it would not stop him from being part of the team. One of his decisions to study medicine was his determination to find a cure for his side effects of his drugs he used for asthma. He eventually qualified as a doctor. He knew his asthma was a weakness, but it installed in him, a self determination that would last for the rest of his life.

(2)

His travels of Latin America, without doubt, had a profound impact on Che. He visited numerous countries throughout his travels, as the quote from Che says ‘Because of the circumstances in which I travelled, first as a student and later as a doctor’, he witnessed at first hand the social injustice, US imperialism, the devastating poverty of the downtrodden classes and the ethnic minorities. Just to think what may have become of Che, if he did not travel around Latin America? He visited nearly all of the Latin American countries. He saw what kind of life that some people had to endure, while people suffered in poverty, starving and treated like filth, somewhere down the road a US owned business rakes in the PROFITS while subjecting the workers to wage slavery. Che, in his travels, for example, came into contact with an old woman, who was asthmatic, with a heart condition. This woman couldn’t pay her way.

‘It is then, at the end, that we see the profound tragedy which circumscribes the life of the proletariat the world over. In these dying eyes there is a humble appeal for forgiveness and also, often, a desperate plea for solace which is lost in the void’

As each encounter with social injustice, poverty, US imperialism and disease, occurred, Che began to realize that the whole of Latin America was in desperate need of change. The whole system was corrupt. Che had throughout his travels, already read a great deal on Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin etc., then when he witnessed the devastating effect of capitalism and privately owned businesses (usually US) in Latin America, he knew his beliefs were right. To destroy the current system and once and for all bring social justice, an end to capitalism. To finish that quote with which Che showed his anger at the system:

‘How long this present order, based on absurd idea of caste, will last I can’t say, but it’s time governments spent less time publicizing their own virtues and more money – much more money – funding socially useful projects.’

He found himself in Guatemala, under a new government of Jacobo Arbenz, which nationalized land owned by United Fruit, plus various US multinationals who severely exploited the workers, while they accumulated the profits. Obviously the US were not going to allow their interest to be affected, just because Jacobo Arbenz wanted to give his people a better standard of living. It became clear that the CIA were planning to overthrow the new government, then install a puppet. Eventually the coup won, Che was outraged that the government failed to arm the people. He once again had witnessed US intervention. Che gained valuable experience from his Guatemalan experience, that there must be unity, and to arm the people, he also realized that Uncle Sam would have to be kept in the dark until the revolution was secure. He also met the woman that would become his wife, Hilda Gadea Acosta, she would introduce him to some members of the JULY 26 MOVEMENT. He arrived in Mexico knowing that he was prepared to join any type of revolution that was fighting to overthrow a dictator. This is where Che Guevara met a man who would change his life and the course of history.

(3)

In Mexico, he had heard a lot about the leader of the July 26 movement, now he would meet him. FIDEL CASTRO, this is without doubt, without question, Fidel Castro had the biggest impact on the life of Che Guevara. All of Che’s experiences, his childhood and his travels, he realized that social change was needed. Seeing the US imperialism around Latin America, the devastating poverty of the downtrodden classes, he realized that a revolution was the only way. He needed to find a cause? He needed to find a strong leader?

It had reached the climax for Che, he had found his leader for a revolution, in Che’s own words after meeting Fidel:

‘an extraordinary man. He confronted and solved the most impossible problems. He had an unshakeable faith that once he left exile in Mexico and arrived in Cuba he would fight, and would win that fighting. I shared his optimism. It was imperative to do something, to struggle, to achieve. It was imperative to stop crying and fight!’

For Che, to say something like that, so soon after meeting him, shows what impact Castro had on Che. He talked with Fidel in their first encounter on every conceivable subject, they were like long lost soul brothers.

In the various “key points” I have shown, I feel these were the fundamental factors in the making of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara. These various incidents in Che’s life had a huge impact on him, from him suffering asthma, his travels of Latin America and meeting Fidel Castro. They all helped create a man whose life was dedicated to people who suffered at the hands of injustice.

THE REVOLUTION AND BEYOND.

Throughout Cuban revolution, Che was to become a severe and ruthless disciplinarian. He once shot a man for falling asleep on guard duty and ordered executions of deserters etc. Some people have argued that he was too harsh and too severe. But in my opinion he was justified, he became so dedicated to the revolution that nothing on earth could jeopardize it. During the Cuban revolution, Che showed his bravery, his tactical skill, his determination and all this was noted by Castro who eventually promoted Che to commander. He showed that anything he applied himself to he could do, Che Guevara was quite simply, a rare bird. He was without question the best guerrilla fighter in the Cuban revolution, he showed, at times, a complete disregard for his own personal safety. Even when Castro had told him not to take part in some of the battles. He was always determined to lead by example. During the revolution he would meet the woman who would become his second wife, Aleida March. What was an important factor to me about Che Guevara, was educating the new rebels, he set up an education program during the revolution. He was determined to introduce them to Marxism Leninism, Castro didn’t want the communist element to be heard, of course if the Americans got wind of it the revolution might have been doomed. Castro, I believe was always going down the communist road, he just needed to keep it quiet from uncle Sam.

When the rebels had won, and marched into the cities of Havana etc. Che set about leading by example, he was determined to show the people that everyone must make sacrifices in the ‘new Cuba’. Like in all revolutions, traitors and former henchmen of General Batista were still in the air. Some highly publicized trials were held. Over 500 men were convicted for crimes against the people, Che was in charge of the trials and had the last say on the fate of the men. Some people were outraged, friends who knew Che before he joined the revolution were shocked. In my view it was absolutely justified, some of the men executed were guilty of horrendous crimes. Others were a threat to the revolution and deserved to die. It shows an interesting aspect in Che’s character, a man who always wanted to help the people and to bring social justice to the world, but he showed no mercy to the enemies and handed out death sentences to them unemotionally. What is so profound of Che was his dedication, just as he was as a fighter in the revolution. He was determined to see the ‘new Cuba’ have economical stability and make sure it survived. Che was entrusted with the crucial job of forging relations to bankroll the revolution by visiting the rest of the socialist states, such as the Soviet Union, China and various other countries. When he returned to Cuba, he had the great news of securing financial and political support of the two communist super-powers China and the Soviet Union. He worked immensely hard for the revolution, be it going round the world forging alliances with various nations or going to do volunteer labour work on a construction site in Cuba. Seldom do you see a politician doing that at present in England or anywhere. At times he worked 36 hours straight meeting various people to help the revolution. To me these examples of self sacrifice had a huge impact on me, to see a man work so hard, so honestly and all he wanted in return was not a big pay packet but for the rest of Cuba to follow suit. During the Cuban missile crisis, when without consulting Castro the Soviet leader Khrushchev had already done a deal with President Kennedy. Castro was furious, but kept a smile for Khrushchev. Che was furious, he never trusted nor did he ever like the Soviet leader.

It was Che who first denounced the new Soviet imperialism for not giving unconditional support to third world liberation movements etc. It was a part of Che’s character, he would always voice his opinion, whether it be attacking his nemesis, or criticizing the Soviet Union for its faults. History has proven Che correct about the former Soviet Union, with revisionists such as Khrushchev and the eventual collapse of it. Che saw this happening.

CONCLUSION.

Che Guevara had served as a vital cog in the Cuban revolution he felt it was time to leave for another adventure. He decided it was to be the Congo, to assist the rebels there. I believe, and I may be wrong about this, but Che knew he would not grow old peacefully, his heart lay on the battlefield. He left a letter for his children, to be opened if he was killed:

Dear Hildita, Aleidita, Camilo, Celia and Ernesto,

If you read this letter one day, it will mean that I

am no longer alive. You will hardly remember me,

and the smallest among you will have entirely

forgotten me.

 

Your father was a man who acted as he thought

best and who has been absolutely faithful to his

convictions.

 

Grow up into good revolutionaries. Study hard to

master technique, which gives you mastery over

nature. Remember that it is the Revolution which

is important and that each of us, taken in

isolation, is worth nothing.

 

Above all be sensitive, in the deepest areas of

yourselves, to any injustice committed against

whoever it may be anywhere in the world.

 

Yours always, my children. I hope to see

you again.

 

A big strong kiss from

Daddy.

His Congo and Bolivian missions were both disastrous, Bolivia proving fatal. But Che Guevara is an important historical figure, he is a prime example of what can be achieved, by only having huge determination and a dream. He was a dedicated Marxist-Leninist, the amount of effort, blood, sweat and tears he put in to further the cause of his idols was profound. When we look at politicians today who consistently misrepresent the people, it is sickening. Che dedicated his life to help the people, to demonstrate why communism was the only way forward. He was the second most powerful man in Cuba, he was loved by the people, a hero of the revolution. He was married with five children and could have grown old peacefully in Cuba, he gave everything up in Cuba to further the communist cause. He had an epic dream to bring the whole of Latin America into a socialist utopia, through armed revolution. When you realize how dedicated a human being must be to give up everything in Cuba, to help bring socialism to the whole of Latin America is astonishing. I believe the importance of Che Guevara is huge for the communist cause, he shows how communists should dedicate themselves to their beliefs. The NCMLU (Communist Party Alliance) follows the political principles of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, which is correct. But we should take from Che the honesty, dedication and self sacrifice to help the working class. With so much anti-communist feeling around the world, who accuse us of being ‘evil’, we can show them what a communist is and what we stand for. Tell them to read on Che, who only ever wanted to help the downtrodden classes of the world. For me, Che will always hold a special place in my heart, reading about him was the first time I had come into contact with communism.

Reading on him sparked off something inside me to help the communist cause. Upon reading on Che, it has led me to Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. In my opinion we will never see another human being of his kind.

We must all strive to be like Che, to show self sacrifice, dedication to the cause, to fight against injustice, racism and imperialism, to help bring about social equality and change the world. To quote Marx, ‘The philosophers have only interpreted the world in different ways; the point is to change it’.

I will finish with a part of a speech from Fidel Castro, speaking to the Cuban people after the death of his comrade.

 

‘a man of profound ideals, a man in

whose mind stirred the dream of

struggle…’

 

CHE GUEVARA

1928-1967

Source

ICMLPO (Unity and Struggle): Final Resolution of the 19th Plenary of the ICMLPO

In the Middle of the World, in an atmosphere of internationalist comradeship and solidarity, the members of the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (ICMLPO) met to share and discuss analysis and experiences. We arrived at resolutions that will contribute to the fulfillment of the historical role of the Marxist-Leninists, the revolutionaries, anti-imperialist and anti-fascist fighters, working class, oppressed peoples and youth.

On the International Situation

The Fundamental Contradictions of the Epoch Are Sharpening.

The international economic crisis that exists in some countries, particularly in Western Europe, and the economic decline of others are the clearest demonstration that the fundamental contradictions are sharpening: between capital and labor, between imperialism and the oppressed peoples and nations, between the imperialist powers and monopolies. It is a cyclic crisis that is developing on top of the worsening of the general crisis of capitalism that began a century ago.

The ideological and political struggle between the proletarian revolutionaries who are fighting for socialism, and reaction, liberalism and opportunism that are defending capitalism and imperialism is also deepening.

The imperialist countries are heading the economic decline, in the first place the United States, which has a zero industrial growth. In Japan there are further declines in the economy. Several countries of the European Union are facing a recession that is striking particularly Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland and is threatening France, Belgium and others.

The bourgeois economists themselves are saying that these countries will take many years to return to pre-2008 levels and start the recovery process.

The economies called engines of growth of capitalism, China, India and Russia are in a process of economic slowdown; this situation is accentuated in Brazil, which is declining steadily.

The dependent countries of Latin America, Africa and Asia are suffering the impact of the crisis on a smaller scale, due to the high prices of raw materials, natural resources and agricultural products; they are showing an uneven growth.

The monopoly groups, the imperialist countries, the local bourgeoisies and their governments are shifting the burden of the crisis onto the working masses, the peoples and the youth.

In all countries of the world, we see the increased exploitation of the working class under the pretext of increased competitiveness; in Europe there are massive layoffs of workers, reduced wages through blackmail, etc., an increase in job precariousness and labor flexibility under different names for the sake of maximum monopoly profit.

The migrants around the world are victims of this policy, and moreover they face discrimination, xenophobia and racism; they are placed as enemies of native-born workers who blame them for rising unemployment; they are a cheap labor force used by the capitalists for their greater accumulation.

In the countryside the conditions of life and work are worsening as a result of the pricing policy, of the free trade agreements that benefit the agribusiness monopolies. The agricultural businesses are developing hand in hand with the growing monopolization of the land, of the agricultural production and of the commercialization based on the super-exploitation of the workers in the countryside and the imperialist dependency imposed on the majority of the countries.

The youth is affected by the restriction of public education, converting schools into producers of cheap labor power in the service of capital; huge masses of young people, including university graduates, are joining the millions of unemployed.

While the large financial and industrial monopolies are still being fed by public funds, the social budgets, the money intended for public health, education, housing, social security, etc. are being diminished and cut back drastically; the years needed for retirement have been increased and in some countries the decision has been made to lower wages and increase the working day.

The crisis is of such a magnitude that imperialism and the governments are implementing increasingly brutal, aggressive, exploitative and repressive policies against the working and popular masses.

The Policies of Capital Are Becoming More Authoritarian and Repressive

Along with the economic crisis there is the political crisis of the bourgeoisie, expressed in the discrediting of the institutions, of politics in general, of bourgeois democracy and the political parties in particular.

One example of this reality is the high rate of abstention in elections in many countries, the loss of confidence in the traditional political parties of the bourgeoisie, including the reformist and social-democratic parties. In several countries this situation is leading to disenchantment, to the dissatisfaction of the masses, to the search for alternatives of change that are being covered by bourgeois options using the terms left, “democratic socialism” and “21st century socialism.” This also makes way for new reactionary forces, in some cases fascists, fundamentalists and populists that are demagogically presented as an alternative of change for the peoples.

Besides the loss of credibility of the national bourgeois institutions should be added the loss of prestige of the international agencies of capitalism and globalization such as the IMF, WTO, NATO, EU, UN, etc.

The masses have not advanced to the point where they can fully distinguish the parties that represent their interests. This is mainly due to the influence of reactionary ideas, to the ideological offensive of imperialism and the bourgeoisies so that they lose interest in the struggle for power and take up non-partyism, by which the ruling groups can continue to manipulate the masses and the power. It is also due to the presence and activity of different forms of opportunism and revisionism, and, of course, to the weakness and limitations of the revolutionary left.

Another manifestation of this trend is the involution of the so-called progressive governments, particularly in Latin America, which have shown their ideological and political limitations and in their capacity as administrators of the crisis they take measures that affect the people and criminalize social protest. In some cases they use the name of the left, of the revolution and of socialism to push forward their project of capitalist modernization.

In general, we are experiencing a process of growing authoritarianism, of the development of state terrorism in the exercise of bourgeois power, the denial of national sovereignty and the right to self-determination of the peoples, the restriction of civil and democratic liberties, the criminalization of social and popular struggle and the gradual abolition of the rights and freedoms of the people won through years of struggle.

The Struggle for a New Redivision of the World Is Sharpening

The inability of imperialism to resolve its crisis, the huge sacrifices of the peoples, of the working masses, forces it to seek other forms of solution. One of these is the preparation of new imperialist wars, the significant increase in the budgets for military spending, the occupation troops in the countries rich in natural resources and located in geostrategic areas such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Congo, Mali, etc. These are pushing forward new military aggressions.

This situation is particularly evident in Africa, a continent with vast natural and agricultural resources that imperialism is using to refine the technology and in order to try to get out of its crisis, and in the Middle East for the control and exploitation of the energy resources.

In these regions of the world the contradictions and rivalries between the imperialist powers and monopolies are evident. They show the tendency to a greater polarization between the United States and the European Union on the one hand and China on the other; Russia is joining the fight for its own interests, while the BRICS is projected as a new bloc for world domination.

In Syria a political and military conflict has been developing that involves the entire population, it has led to a reactionary civil war that is the pretext for imperialist and Zionist intervention. The weight of international public opinion, the particular interests of the various imperialist countries, the denunciation by democratic sectors and even by several governments and individuals, among others, has momentarily halted this intervention. The U.S. was only able to get France, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to join in this war of aggression. We emphasize that in this conflict British imperialism does not support the U.S. after several years of being its unconditional ally.

At the same time this showed a more active role for Russia on the diplomatic and military level, which in fact turned it, together with the U.S., into the arbiters of the conflict in Syria, ignoring the peoples and workers who will have to subordinate themselves to the plans of the foreign forces. The principle of self-determination of the peoples is once again being mocked and trampled upon by the imperialist countries.

The economic crisis, the super-exploitation of the working masses, as well as the politics of imperialist war and plunder is greatly increasing the forced and massive migration of millions of human beings who leave their country fleeing war, violence and misery and are looking for a better future. In this effort they are finding the borders closed, hundreds die in the crossing and, if they succeed in reaching their destination they are the object of the most cruel oppression and exploitation; they are abused and mistreated by the very imperialist powers who have caused the ruin of their countries.

The events in Syria, other events in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, the expansion of the Chinese economy are sharpening the inter-imperialist contradictions. China is gaining ground by an aggressive export policy, by important investments in the dependent countries, by holding U.S. Treasury bonds (it has become the largest creditor of the U.S.); moreover it is working to enhance its military apparatus.

It is no accident that the United States has made a priority of the Asian region as a strategic area in which it is concentrating its military force to maintain its position of supremacy.

The Response of the Workers, Peoples and Youth Is Growing Significantly

Imperialism and the bourgeoisie are placing the burden of the crisis onto the shoulders of the workers, peoples and youths in all countries, both imperialist and dependent.

But these people are not remaining passive; they are developing their struggle and organization. In this regard there stand out the continuing and important battles of the working class and youth in Turkey, Brazil, Egypt, Tunisia, Portugal, China, Bangladesh, Colombia, Chile, Greece and Spain, among others.

The anti-system actions of broad sections of the youth and the middle strata in various regions are joining the struggle of the workers, struggles that have gone beyond economic demands.

In recent months there have been gigantic waves of the masses who have accelerated and protested against the establishment; although they do not have a revolutionary direction they open the perspective of a new situation, they encourage the progressive and revolutionary forces.

In short, in all countries, the peoples are showing their discontent, they are protesting and looking for a way that leads to the solution of their serious problems.

An important struggle of the workers, peoples and youth against dictatorships and tyranny has taken shape in North Africa and the Middle East; in Tunisia and Egypt the struggle of resistance against imperialism and reaction is growing despite all the resources used to try to placate the struggles and divert them from their revolutionary path. Forms of this reactionary process are the utilization of Islamic fundamentalists, as well as coups and direct military interventions.

The ICMLPO is part of the workers and peoples who are fighting for their rights, for their social and national liberation. We are taking up our obligation to be where the battles are waged; we support them so that they may head towards their final objective. In particular we support the struggle waged by the people of Tunisia, by our fraternal party and the Popular Front to achieve the objectives of the revolution and people’s power.

The Tasks of the Communists in the Present Situation

In these stormy waters of the class struggle, it is up to us to develop policies and tasks that respond to the following questions: What is the social force that is able to defeat imperialism, the bourgeoisie and reaction? Who should lead the large and small waves of struggle? What kind of society do the workers need to replace this dying system?

To provide an answer to these questions it is necessary to consolidate, develop and build the Communist Party as the vanguard party of the working class, which is deeply and permanently engaged in the crucible of the struggle of the masses, in all cases, whether organized or spontaneous; we must work to unify these struggles and direct them towards the social revolution.

We intend to strengthen the mobilization and organization of the exploited and oppressed masses in all areas, using all forms of struggle and organization that correspond to the concrete situations.

It is of fundamental importance to foster the unity of the working class and the peasantry, as well as of all sectors oppressed by capitalism and other pre-capitalist forms of exploitation, under the leadership of the working class and its Party. We emphasize the need to highlight the best efforts to clarify the question of the popular front as well as to push forward the work of building it in concrete conditions.

We must pay special attention to work with the youth, who are bursting out vigorously in the social and political fight, to work to give them a revolutionary direction, and to work among the working women and women from the popular strata who constitute more than half of humankind, who suffer the effects of layoffs, job insecurity, etc. and have a great revolutionary potential.

In the discussion on the work with working women and women from the popular strata there we emphasize the need to build a broad movement of democratic, anti-imperialist and revolutionary women with its own objectives.

At this time our efforts are directed to organizing and strengthening popular fronts as a necessary tool to link and mobilize the broad masses against the plans of imperialism and reaction. Fronts and coalitions that will form around a programmatic unity that defends the interests of the working class, the working masses and the peoples.

The lessons of Marxism-Leninism and the practice of our parties teach us that we must fight to the end against all manifestations of sectarianism, of deviations from the right or left, maintaining firmness in principles and flexibility in tactics.

To fulfill the tasks it is necessary to fight ideologically and politically against imperialism and the bourgeoisie, as well as against the positions and practices of the collaborators and conciliators, which affect the workers and people by revisionism, opportunism, reformism and other forms that confuse and divert them from the goal of the social revolution as well as of the popular democratic revolutions.

We must organize a major offensive on what the left, the social revolution, socialism and communism mean. We must widely disseminate the proposals that we communists have in different realities, confronting what capitalism and its representatives have done to the workers, especially today, when they are trying to eliminate a century of social and democratic gains.

In 2014 it will be 20 years since the ICMLPO launched its proclamation to the world, its commitment to forge the unity of the international communist movement, to contribute decisively to making Marxism-Leninism into a material force of the workers and peoples to defeat imperialism and capitalism and establish socialism and communism as a society of full freedom and prosperity for the peoples.

The ICMLPO is fulfilling its role with determination, with important results that are still insufficient. Today we reaffirm our revolutionary commitment to consolidating and broadening it to ensure an internationalist, revolutionary leadership for the struggles of the working class, the popular masses and the oppressed peoples of the world.

Ecuador, October 2013

Enver Hoxha on Africa

HoxhameetsAfricans

Africa is a mosaic of peoples with an ancient culture. Each African people has its own culture, customs, way of life, which, with some variations, are at a very backward stage, for well-known reasons. The awakening of the bulk of these peoples has only recently begun. De jure, the African peoples, in general, have won their freedom and independence. But there can be no talk of genuine freedom and independence, since most of them are still in a colonial or neo-colonial state.

Many of these countries are governed by the chieftains of the old tribes who have seized power and rely on the old colonialists, or the US imperialists and the Soviet social-imperialists. The methods of government in these states at this stage are not and cannot be other than a marked survival of colonialism. The imperialists are ruling most of the African countries again through their concerns, their capital invested in industry, banks, etc. The overwhelming bulk of the wealth of these countries continues to flow to the metropolises.

Some of the African countries have fought for that freedom and independence they enjoy today, while the others have had it granted without fighting. During their colonial rule in Africa, the British, French and other colonizers oppressed the peoples but they also created a local bourgeoisie, more or less educated in the Occidental manner. The leading figures today, have also emerged from this bourgeoisie. Among them there are many anti-imperialist elements, fighters for the independence of their own countries, but the majority either remain loyal to the old colonizers, in order to preserve the close relations with them even after the f ormal abolition of colonialism, or have entered into economic and political dependence on the US imperialists or the Soviet social-imperialists.

The colonizers did not make large investments in the past. This was the case, for instance, with Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, etc. However, the colonizers drained the wealth of all these countries, seized large tracts of land, and developed a proletariat, by no means small in number, in some special branches of the industry, such as in the extraction and processing of raw materials. They also drew large numbers of workers to the metropolises, such as to France, for instance, but also to Britain, as a cheap labour force which worked in the colonizers mines and the factories.

In the other parts of Africa, especially in Black Africa, industrial development remained more backward. All the countries of this region were divided up, especially between France, Britain, Belgium and Portugal. Great underground riches, like diamonds, iron, copper, gold, tin, etc., were discovered there long ago, and industry to mine and process minerals has been set up there.

In many African countries, large, typically colonial cities, were built, where the colonizers lived a fabulous life. Now, on the one hand, the local great bourgeoisie and its wealth is growing and developing there, while on the other hand, the impoverishment of the broad masses of working people is increasing still more. In these countries a certain degree of cultural development has been achieved, but it has more of a European character. The local culture has not developed. It has generally remained at the stage reached by the tribes and is not represented outside them, in the centres with towering sky-scrapers. This has come about because, outside the large centres, were the colonizers lived, stark misery and extreme poverty existed, hunger, disease, ignorance and ruthless exploitation of the people, in the full meaning of the term, reigned supreme.

The African population remained culturally and economically undeveloped and continuously diminished in numbers, declining because of colonial wars, the savage racial persecution, and the traffic in African negroes, who were sent to the metropolises, the United States of America, and other countries to work like animals in the plantations of cotton and other crops, as well as in the heaviest jobs in industry and construction.

For these reasons, the African peoples still have a great struggle ahead of them. This is and will be a very complicated struggle, differing from one country to another, because of the state of their economic, cultural and educational development, the degree of their political awakening, the great influence which the different religions, such as the Christian and Moslem religions, the old pagan beliefs, etc., exert on the masses of these peoples. This struggle becomes still more difficult since many of these countries are actually under the domination of neo-colonialism combined with that of local bourgeois-capitalist cliques. The law there is made by those powerful capitalist and imperialist states which subsidize or control the ruling cliques, which they set up and remove whenever the interests of the neo-colonialists require or when the balance of these interests is upset.

The policy pursued by the big landowners, the reactionary bourgeoisie, the imperialists and the neo-colonialists is intended to keep the African peoples in permanent bondage, in ignorance, to hinder their social, political and ideological development, and to obstruct their struggle to gain these rights. At present we see that those same imperialists who used to lord it over these peoples in the past, as well as other new imperialists, are trying to penetrate into the African continent, by meddling in every way in the internal affairs of the peoples. As a result of this, the contradictions among imperialists, between the peoples and the bourgeois-capitalist leaderships of most of these countries, and between the peoples and the new colonizers, are becoming more and rnore severe every day.

These contradictions must be utilized by the peoples, both to deepen them and to benefit from them. But this can be achieved only through resolute struggle by the proletariat, the poor peasantry, by all the oppressed and the slaves, against imperialism and neo-colonialism, against the local big bourgeoisie, the big landowners and their whole establishment. A special role in this struggle devolves upon progressives and democrats, the revolutionary youth and patriotic intellectuals, who aspire to see their own countries advancing free and independent, on the path of development and progress. Only through continuous and organized struggle by them will life be made difficult for the local and foreign oppressors and exploiters and government impossible. This situation will be prepared in the specific circumstances of each African state.

British and US imperialism have not given to the peoples of Africa any freedom. Everybody can see what is happening in South Africa, for instance. The white racists, the British capitalists, the exploiters, are ruling there, savagely oppressing the coloured peoples of that state, where the law of jungle prevails. Many other countries of Africa are dominated by the concerns and capital of the United States of America, Britain, France, Belgium, and other old colonialists and imperialists, who have become somewhat weaker, but who still hold the keys to the economies of these countries.

In irreconcilable struggle against the revisionists and other opportunists, against all the lackeys of the bourgeoisie and imperialism, against Castroite, Khrushchevite, Trotskyite, <<three worlds>>, and other such views and practices, they have worked out a correct political line and accumulated sufficient experience in the struggle to put this line into practice, becoming the bearers of all the revolutionary tradition of the past, in order to use it and develop it further to the advantage of the workers’ and liberation movement, the preparation and raising of the masses in revolution.

The revolutionary situations existing today make it essential for these parties to maintain the closest possible contacts and consult with one another as frequently as possible, to be able to gain the maximum benefits from one another’s experience and co-ordinate their stands and actions on the common problems of the struggle against the reactionary bourgeoisie and imperialism, against Soviet, Chinese and other brands of modern revisionism, and on all the problems of the revolution.

Now that the peoples have awakened and refuse to live any longer under the imperialist and colonial yoke, now that they are demanding freedom, independence, development and progress, and are seething with anger against foreign and internal oppressors, now that Africa, Latin America and Asia have become a boiling cauldron the old and new colonialists are finding it difficult, if not impossible, to dominate and exploit the peoples of these countries by means of the previous methods and forms. They are quite unable to do without their plunder and exploitation of the wealth, the toil and the blood of these peoples. That is why all these efforts are being made to find new methods and forms of deception, plunder and exploitation, to dispense some alms, which, again, do not benefit the masses, but the bourgeois-land owner ruling classes.

Meanwhile the question has been made even more complicated, because Soviet social-imperialism long ago began to penetrate and entrench itself more and more deeply in the former colonies and semi-colonies, and because social-imperialist China has begun to make feverish efforts to get in there, too.

The revisionist Soviet Union carries out its expansionist interference under the guise of its allegedly Leninist policy of aid for the peoples’ liberation struggle, posing as the natural ally of these countries and peoples. As a means to penetrate into Africa and elsewhere, the Soviet revisionists employ and spread slogans of a socialist colour in order to deceive the peoples who aspire to liberate themselves, to liquidate oppression and exploitation, and who know that the only road to complete national and social liberation is socialism.

The Soviet Union also involves its allies, or better, its satellites in its interference. We are seeing this concretely in Africa, where the Soviet social-imperialist and their Cuban mercenaries are intervening on the pretext that they are assisting the revolution. This is a lie. Their intervention is nothing but a colonialist action aimed at capturing markets and subjugating peoples.

The intervention of the Soviet Union and its Cuban mercenaries in Angola is of this nature. They have never had the slightest intention of assisting the Angolan revolution, but their aim was and is to get their claws into that African country which had won a certain independence after the expulsion of the Portuguese colonialists. The Cuban mercenaries are the colonial army dispatched by the Soviet Union to capture markets and strategic positions in the countries of Black Africa, and to go on from Angola to other states, to enable the Soviet social-imperialists, too, to create a modern colonial empire.

Under the cloak of aid for peoples’ liberation the Soviet Union and its mercenary, Cuba, are intervening in other countries with armies equipped with artillery and machine-guns, allegedly to build socialism, which does not exist in either the Soviet Union or Cuba. These two bourgeois-revisionist states intervened in Angola in order to help a capitalist clique seize power, contrary to the aims of the Angolan people who had fought to win their freedom from the Portuguese colonialists. Agostinho Neto is playing the game of the Soviets. In the struggle against the other faction, in order to seize power for himself, he called in the Soviets to help him. The struggle between the two opposing Angolan clans did not have anything of a people’s revolutionary character.

The fight between them was a struggle of cliques for power. Each of them was supported by different imperialist states. Agostinho Neto emerged the winner from this contest, while socialism did not triumph in Angola. On the contrary, following the intervention from abroad, Soviet neo-colonialism has been established there.

Social-imperialist China, too, is making great efforts to penetrate into the former colonial and semi-colonial countries.

An example of how China intervenes is provided by Zaire, a country ruled by the clique around Mobutu, the wealthiest and most bloodthirsty clique on the African continent. In the fighting which flared up in Zaire recently, the Moroccans of the Sherifian Kingdom of Morocco, the French air force, and China, too, all rushed to the aid of Mobutu, the murderer of Patrice Lumumba. The assistance given by the French is understandable, because with their intervention they were defending their concessions and concerns in Katanga, and at the same time, protecting their men, as well as Mobutu and his clique. But what do the Chinese revisionists want in Katanga? Whom are they assisting there? Are they helping the people of Zaire who are being suppressed by Mobutu and his clique and by the French, Belgian, US and other concession holders? Or are not they, too, assisting the blood-thirsty Mobutu clique? The fact is that the Chinese revisionist leadership is assisting this clique not indirectly, but quite openly. To make this assistance more concrete and more demonstrative, it sent its foreign minister, Huang Hua there, as well as military experts and military and economic aid. Thus, it acted in an anti-Marxist, anti-revolutionary way. China’s interference has exactly the same features as that of King Hassan of Morocco and that of France.

The Chinese social-imperialists are interfering not only in the affairs of that country, but also in other affairs of the peoples and countries of Africa and other continents, especially in those countries into which they are striving to penetrate in every way, in order to establish economic, political and strategic bases there.

Enver Hoxha, Imperialism and the Revolution, Excerpts from “The Peoples’ Liberation Struggle – a Component Part of the World Revolution”

Left Anticommunism: the Unkindest Cut

noamChomsky

BY MICHAEL PARENTI

Despite a lifetime of “shaming” the system, NOAM CHOMSKY, America’s foremost “engagé” intellectual, remains an unrepentant left anticommunist.

In the United States, for over a hundred years, the ruling interests tirelessly propagated anticommunism among the populace, until it became more like a religious orthodoxy than a political analysis. During the Cold War, the anticommunist ideological framework could transform any data about existing communist societies into hostile evidence. If the Soviets refused to negotiate a point, they were intransigent and belligerent; if they appeared willing to make concessions, this was but a skillful ploy to put us off our guard. By opposing arms limitations, they would have demonstrated their aggressive intent; but when in fact they supported most armament treaties, it was because they were mendacious and manipulative. If the churches in the USSR were empty, this demonstrated that religion was suppressed; but if the churches were full, this meant the people were rejecting the regime’s atheistic ideology. If the workers went on strike (as happened on infrequent occasions), this was evidence of their alienation from the collectivist system; if they didn’t go on strike, this was because they were intimidated and lacked freedom. A scarcity of consumer goods demonstrated the failure of the economic system; an improvement in consumer supplies meant only that the leaders were attempting to placate a restive population and so maintain a firmer hold over them. If communists in the United States played an important role struggling for the rights of workers, the poor, African-Americans, women, and others, this was only their guileful way of gathering support among disfranchised groups and gaining power for themselves. How one gained power by fighting for the rights of powerless groups was never explained. What we are dealing with is a nonfalsifiable orthodoxy, so assiduously marketed by the ruling interests that it affected people across the entire political spectrum.

Genuflection to Orthodoxy

Many on the U.S. Left have exhibited a Soviet bashing and Red baiting that matches anything on the Right in its enmity and crudity. Listen to Noam Chomsky holding forth about “left intellectuals” who try to “rise to power on the backs of mass popular movements” and “then beat the people into submission. . . . You start off as basically a Leninist who is going to be part of the Red bureaucracy. You see later that power doesn’t lie that way, and you very quickly become an ideologist of the right. . . . We’re seeing it right now in the [former] Soviet Union. The same guys who were communist thugs two years back, are now running banks and [are] enthusiastic free marketeers and praising Americans” (Z Magazine, 10/95).

Chomsky’s imagery is heavily indebted to the same U.S. corporate political culture he so frequently criticizes on other issues. In his mind, the revolution was betrayed by a coterie of “communist thugs” who merely hunger for power rather than wanting the power to end hunger. In fact, the communists did not “very quickly” switch to the Right but struggled in the face of a momentous onslaught to keep Soviet socialism alive for more than seventy years. To be sure, in the Soviet Union’s waning days some, like Boris Yeltsin, crossed over to capitalist ranks, but others continued to resist free-market incursions at great cost to themselves, many meeting their deaths during Yeltsin’s violent repression of the Russian parliament in 1993.

Some leftists and others fall back on the old stereotype of power-hungry Reds who pursue power for power’s sake without regard for actual social goals. If true, one wonders why, in country after country, these Reds side with the poor and powerless often at great risk and sacrifice to themselves, rather than reaping the rewards that come with serving the well-placed.

For decades, many left-leaning writers and speakers in the United States have felt obliged to establish their credibility by indulging in anticommunist and anti-Soviet genuflection, seemingly unable to give a talk or write an article or book review on whatever political subject without injecting some anti-Red sideswipe. The intent was, and still is, to distance themselves from the Marxist-Leninist Left.

Adam Hochschild: Keeping his distance from the “Stalinist Left” and recommending same posture to fellow progressives.

Adam Hochschild, a liberal writer and publisher, warned those on the Left who might be lackadaisical about condemning existing communist societies that they “weaken their credibility” (Guardian, 5/23/84). In other words, to be credible opponents of the cold war, we first had to join in the Cold-War condemnations of communist societies. Ronald Radosh urged that the peace movement purge itself of communists so that it not be accused of being communist (Guardian, 3/16/83). If I understand Radosh: To save ourselves from anticommunist witchhunts, we should ourselves become witchhunters. Purging the Left of communists became a longstanding practice, having injurious effects on various progressive causes. For instance, in 1949 some twelve unions were ousted from the CIO because they had Reds in their leadership. The purge reduced CIO membership by some 1.7 million and seriously weakened its recruitment drives and political clout. In the late 1940s, to avoid being “smeared” as Reds, Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), a supposedly progressive group, became one of the most vocally anticommunist organizations.

The strategy did not work. ADA and others on the Left were still attacked for being communist or soft on communism by those on the Right. Then and now, many on the Left have failed to realize that those who fight for social change on behalf of the less privileged elements of society will be Red-baited by conservative elites whether they are communists or not. For ruling interests, it makes little difference whether their wealth and power is challenged by “communist subversives” or “loyal American liberals.” All are lumped together as more or less equally abhorrent.

Even when attacking the Right, the left critics cannot pass up an opportunity to flash their anticommunist credentials. So Mark Green writes in a criticism of President Ronald Reagan that “when presented with a situation that challenges his conservative catechism, like an unyielding Marxist-Leninist, [Reagan] will change not his mind but the facts.” While professing a dedication to fighting dogmatism “both of the Right and Left,” individuals who perform such de rigueur genuflections reinforce the anticommunist dogma. Red-baiting leftists contributed their share to the climate of hostility that has given U.S. leaders such a free hand in waging hot and cold wars against communist countries and which even today makes a progressive or even liberal agenda difficult to promote.

A prototypic Red-basher who pretended to be on the Left was George Orwell. In the middle of World War II, as the Soviet Union was fighting for its life against the Nazi invaders at Stalingrad, Orwell announced that a “willingness to criticize Russia and Stalin is the test of intellectual honesty. It is the only thing that from a literary intellectual’s point of view is really dangerous” (Monthly Review, 5/83). Safely ensconced within a virulently anticommunist society, Orwell (with Orwellian doublethink) characterized the condemnation of communism as a lonely courageous act of defiance. Today, his ideological progeny are still at it, offering themselves as intrepid left critics of the Left, waging a valiant struggle against imaginary Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist hordes.
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Sorely lacking within the U.S. Left is any rational evaluation of the Soviet Union, a nation that endured a protracted civil war and a multinational foreign invasion in the very first years of its existence, and that two decades later threw back and destroyed the Nazi beast at enormous cost to itself. In the three decades after the Bolshevik revolution, the Soviets made industrial advances equal to what capitalism took a century to accomplish–while feeding and schooling their children rather than working them fourteen hours a day as capitalist industrialists did and still do in many parts of the world. And the Soviet Union, along with Bulgaria, the German Democratic Republic, and Cuba provided vital assistance to national liberation movements in countries around the world, including Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress in South Africa.

Left anticommunists remained studiously unimpressed by the dramatic gains won by masses of previously impoverished people under communism. Some were even scornful of such accomplishments. I recall how in Burlington Vermont, in 1971, the noted anticommunist anarchist, Murray Bookchin, derisively referred to my concern for “the poor little children who got fed under communism” (his words).

Slinging Labels

Those of us who refused to join in the Soviet bashing were branded by left anticommunists as “Soviet apologists” and “Stalinists,” even if we disliked Stalin and his autocratic system of rule and believed there were things seriously wrong with existing Soviet society. Our real sin was that unlike many on the Left we refused to uncritically swallow U.S. media propaganda about communist societies. Instead, we maintained that, aside from the well-publicized deficiencies and injustices, there were positive features about existing communist systems that were worth preserving, that improved the lives of hundreds of millions of people in meaningful and humanizing ways. This claim had a decidedly unsettling effect on left anticommunists who themselves could not utter a positive word about any communist society (except possibly Cuba) and could not lend a tolerant or even courteous ear to anyone who did.

Saturated by anticommunist orthodoxy, most U.S. leftists have practiced a left McCarthyism against people who did have something positive to say about existing communism, excluding them from participation in conferences, advisory boards, political endorsements, and left publications. Like conservatives, left anticommunists tolerated nothing less than a blanket condemnation of the Soviet Union as a Stalinist monstrosity and a Leninist moral aberration.

That many U.S. leftists have scant familiarity with Lenin’s writings and political work does not prevent them from slinging the “Leninist” label. Noam Chomsky, who is an inexhaustible fount of anticommunist caricatures, offers this comment about Leninism: “Western and also Third World intellectuals were attracted to the Bolshevik counterrevolution [sic] because Leninism is, after all, a doctrine that says that the radical intelligentsia have a right to take state power and to run their countries by force, and that is an idea which is rather appealing to intellectuals.” Here Chomsky fashions an image of power-hungry intellectuals to go along with his cartoon image of power-hungry Leninists, villains seeking not the revolutionary means to fight injustice but power for power’s sake. When it comes to Red-bashing, some of the best and brightest on the Left sound not much better than the worst on the Right.

At the time of the 1996 terror bombing in Oklahoma City, I heard a radio commentator announce: “Lenin said that the purpose of terror is to terrorize.” U.S. media commentators have repeatedly quoted Lenin in that misleading manner. In fact, his statement was disapproving of terrorism. He polemicized against isolated terrorist acts which do nothing but create terror among the populace, invite repression, and isolate the revolutionary movement from the masses. Far from being the totalitarian, tight-circled conspirator, Lenin urged the building of broad coalitions and mass organizations, encompassing people who were at different levels of political development. He advocated whatever diverse means were needed to advance the class struggle, including participation in parliamentary elections and existing trade unions. To be sure, the working class, like any mass group, needed organization and leadership to wage a successful revolutionary struggle, which was the role of a vanguard party, but that did not mean the proletarian revolution could be fought and won by putschists or terrorists.

Lenin constantly dealt with the problem of avoiding the two extremes of liberal bourgeois opportunism and ultra-left adventurism. Yet he himself is repeatedly identified as an ultra-left putschist by mainstream journalists and some on the Left. Whether Lenin’s approach to revolution is desirable or even relevant today is a question that warrants critical examination. But a useful evaluation is not likely to come from people who misrepresent his theory and practice.

Left anticommunists find any association with communist organizations to be morally unacceptable because of the “crimes of communism.” Yet many of them are themselves associated with the Democratic Party in this country, either as voters or members, seemingly unconcerned about the morally unacceptable political crimes committed by leaders of that organization. Under one or another Democratic administration, 120,000 Japanese Americans were torn from their homes and livelihoods and thrown into detention camps; atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki with an enormous loss of innocent life; the FBI was given authority to infiltrate political groups; the Smith Act was used to imprison leaders of the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party and later on leaders of the Communist Party for their political beliefs; detention camps were established to round up political dissidents in the event of a “national emergency”; during the late 1940s and 1950s, eight thousand federal workers were purged from government because of their political associations and views, with thousands more in all walks of life witchhunted out of their careers; the Neutrality Act was used to impose an embargo on the Spanish Republic that worked in favor of Franco’s fascist legions; homicidal counterinsurgency programs were initiated in various Third World countries; and the Vietnam War was pursued and escalated. And for the better part of a century, the Congressional leadership of the Democratic Party protected racial segregation and stymied all anti-lynching and fair employment bills. Yet all these crimes, bringing ruination and death to many, have not moved the liberals, the social democrats, and the “democratic socialist” anticommunists to insist repeatedly that we issue blanket condemnations of either the Democratic Party or the political system that produced it, certainly not with the intolerant fervor that has been directed against existing communism.

Pure Socialism vs. Siege Socialism

The upheavals in Eastern Europe did not constitute a defeat for socialism because socialism never existed in those countries, according to some U.S. leftists. They say that the communist states offered nothing more than bureaucratic, one-party “state capitalism” or some such thing. Whether we call the former communist countries “socialist” is a matter of definition. Suffice it to say, they constituted something different from what existed in the profit-driven capitalist world–as the capitalists themselves were not slow to recognize.

First, in communist countries there was less economic inequality than under capitalism. The perks enjoyed by party and government elites were modest by corporate CEO standards in the West [even more so when compared with today’s grotesque compensation packages to the executive and financial elites.—Eds], as were their personal incomes and life styles. Soviet leaders like Yuri Andropov and Leonid Brezhnev lived not in lavishly appointed mansions like the White House, but in relatively large apartments in a housing project near the Kremlin set aside for government leaders. They had limousines at their disposal (like most other heads of state) and access to large dachas where they entertained visiting dignitaries. But they had none of the immense personal wealth that most U.S. leaders possess.

The “lavish life” enjoyed by East Germany’s party leaders, as widely publicized in the U.S. press, included a $725 yearly allowance in hard currency, and housing in an exclusive settlement on the outskirts of Berlin that sported a sauna, an indoor pool, and a fitness center shared by all the residents. They also could shop in stores that carried Western goods such as bananas, jeans, and Japanese electronics. The U.S. press never pointed out that ordinary East Germans had access to public pools and gyms and could buy jeans and electronics (though usually not of the imported variety). Nor was the “lavish” consumption enjoyed by East German leaders contrasted to the truly opulent life style enjoyed by the Western plutocracy.

Second, in communist countries, productive forces were not organized for capital gain and private enrichment; public ownership of the means of production supplanted private ownership. Individuals could not hire other people and accumulate great personal wealth from their labor. Again, compared to Western standards, differences in earnings and savings among the populace were generally modest. The income spread between highest and lowest earners in the Soviet Union was about five to one. In the United States, the spread in yearly income between the top multibillionaires and the working poor is more like 10,000 to 1.

Third, priority was placed on human services. Though life under communism left a lot to be desired and the services themselves were rarely the best, communist countries did guarantee their citizens some minimal standard of economic survival and security, including guaranteed education, employment, housing, and medical assistance.

Fourth, communist countries did not pursue the capital penetration of other countries. Lacking a profit motive as their motor force and therefore having no need to constantly find new investment opportunities, they did not expropriate the lands, labor, markets, and natural resources of weaker nations, that is, they did not practice economic imperialism. The Soviet Union conducted trade and aid relations on terms that generally were favorable to the Eastern European nations and Mongolia, Cuba, and India.

All of the above were organizing principles for every communist system to one degree or another. None of the above apply to free market countries like Honduras, Guatemala, Thailand, South Korea, Chile, Indonesia, Zaire, Germany, or the United States.

But a real socialism, it is argued, would be controlled by the workers themselves through direct participation instead of being run by Leninists, Stalinists, Castroites, or other ill-willed, power-hungry, bureaucratic, cabals of evil men who betray revolutions. Unfortunately, this “pure socialism” view is ahistorical and nonfalsifiable; it cannot be tested against the actualities of history. It compares an ideal against an imperfect reality, and the reality comes off a poor second. It imagines what socialism would be like in a world far better than this one, where no strong state structure or security force is required, where none of the value produced by workers needs to be expropriated to rebuild society and defend it from invasion and internal sabotage.

The pure socialists’ ideological anticipations remain untainted by existing practice. They do not explain how the manifold functions of a revolutionary society would be organized, how external attack and internal sabotage would be thwarted, how bureaucracy would be avoided, scarce resources allocated, policy differences settled, priorities set, and production and distribution conducted. Instead, they offer vague statements about how the workers themselves will directly own and control the means of production and will arrive at their own solutions through creative struggle. No surprise then that the pure socialists support every revolution except the ones that succeed.

The pure socialists had a vision of a new society that would create and be created by new people, a society so transformed in its fundamentals as to leave little room for wrongful acts, corruption, and criminal abuses of state power. There would be no bureaucracy or self-interested coteries, no ruthless conflicts or hurtful decisions. When the reality proves different and more difficult, some on the Left proceed to condemn the real thing and announce that they “feel betrayed” by this or that revolution.

The pure socialists see socialism as an ideal that was tarnished by communist venality, duplicity, and power cravings. The pure socialists oppose the Soviet model but offer little evidence to demonstrate that other paths could have been taken, that other models of socialism–not created from one’s imagination but developed through actual historical experience–could have taken hold and worked better. Was an open, pluralistic, democratic socialism actually possible at this historic juncture? The historical evidence would suggest it was not. As the political philosopher Carl Shames argued:

How do [the left critics] know that the fundamental problem was the “nature” of the ruling [revolutionary] parties rather than, say, the global concentration of capital that is destroying all independent economies and putting an end to national sovereignty everywhere? And to the extent that it was, where did this “nature” come from? Was this “nature” disembodied, disconnected from the fabric of the society itself, from the social relations impacting on it? . . . Thousands of examples could be found in which the centralization of power was a necessary choice in securing and protecting socialist relations. In my observation [of existing communist societies], the positive of “socialism” and the negative of “bureaucracy, authoritarianism and tyranny” interpenetrated in virtually every sphere of life. (Carl Shames, correspondence to me, 1/15/92.)

The pure socialists regularly blame the Left itself for every defeat it suffers. Their second-guessing is endless. So we hear that revolutionary struggles fail because their leaders wait too long or act too soon, are too timid or too impulsive, too stubborn or too easily swayed. We hear that revolutionary leaders are compromising or adventuristic, bureaucratic or opportunistic, rigidly organized or insufficiently organized, undemocratic or failing to provide strong leadership. But always the leaders fail because they do not put their trust in the “direct actions” of the workers, who apparently would withstand and overcome every adversity if only given the kind of leadership available from the left critic’s own groupuscule. Unfortunately, the critics seem unable to apply their own leadership genius to producing a successful revolutionary movement in their own country.

Tony Febbo questioned this blame-the-leadership syndrome of the pure socialists:

It occurs to me that when people as smart, different, dedicated and heroic as Lenin, Mao, Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega, Ho Chi Minh and Robert Mugabe–and the millions of heroic people who followed and fought with them–all end up more or less in the same place, then something bigger is at work than who made what decision at what meeting. Or even what size houses they went home to after the meeting. . . .

These leaders weren’t in a vacuum. They were in a whirlwind. And the suction, the force, the power that was twirling them around has spun and left this globe mangled for more than 900 years. And to blame this or that theory or this or that leader is a simple-minded substitute for the kind of analysis that Marxists [should make]. (Guardian, 11/13/91)

To be sure, the pure socialists are not entirely without specific agendas for building the revolution. After the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua, an ultra-left group in that country called for direct worker ownership of the factories. The armed workers would take control of production without benefit of managers, state planners, bureaucrats, or a formal military. While undeniably appealing, this worker syndicalism denies the necessities of state power. Under such an arrangement, the Nicaraguan revolution would not have lasted two months against the U.S.-sponsored counterrevolution that savaged the country. It would have been unable to mobilize enough resources to field an army, take security measures, or build and coordinate economic programs and human services on a national scale.

Decentralization vs. Survival

For a people’s revolution to survive, it must seize state power and use it to (a) break the stranglehold exercised by the owning class over the society’s institutions and resources, and (b) withstand the reactionary counterattack that is sure to come. The internal and external dangers a revolution faces necessitate a centralized state power that is not particularly to anyone’s liking, not in Soviet Russia in 1917, nor in Sandinista Nicaragua in 1980.

Engels offers an apposite account of an uprising in Spain in 1872-73 in which anarchists seized power in municipalities across the country. At first, the situation looked promising. The king had abdicated and the bourgeois government could muster but a few thousand ill-trained troops. Yet this ragtag force prevailed because it faced a thoroughly parochialized rebellion. “Each town proclaimed itself as a sovereign canton and set up a revolutionary committee (junta),” Engels writes. “[E]ach town acted on its own, declaring that the important thing was not cooperation with other towns but separation from them, thus precluding any possibility of a combined attack [against bourgeois forces].” It was “the fragmentation and isolation of the revolutionary forces which enabled the government troops to smash one revolt after the other.”

Decentralized parochial autonomy is the graveyard of insurgency–which may be one reason why there has never been a successful anarcho-syndicalist revolution. Ideally, it would be a fine thing to have only local, self-directed, worker participation, with minimal bureaucracy, police, and military. This probably would be the development of socialism, were socialism ever allowed to develop unhindered by counterrevolutionary subversion and attack. One might recall how, in 1918-20, fourteen capitalist nations, including the United States, invaded Soviet Russia in a bloody but unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the revolutionary Bolshevik government. The years of foreign invasion and civil war did much to intensify the Bolsheviks’ siege psychology with its commitment to lockstep party unity and a repressive security apparatus. Thus, in May 1921, the same Lenin who had encouraged the practice of internal party democracy and struggled against Trotsky in order to give the trade unions a greater measure of autonomy, now called for an end to the Workers’ Opposition and other factional groups within the party. “The time has come,” he told an enthusiastically concurring Tenth Party Congress, “to put an end to opposition, to put a lid on it: we have had enough opposition.” Open disputes and conflicting tendencies within and without the party, the communists concluded, created an appearance of division and weakness that invited attack by formidable foes.

Only a month earlier, in April 1921, Lenin had called for more worker representation on the party’s Central Committee. In short, he had become not anti-worker but anti-opposition. Here was a social revolution–like every other–that was not allowed to develop its political and material life in an unhindered way.

By the late 1920s, the Soviets faced the choice of (a) moving in a still more centralized direction with a command economy and forced agrarian collectivization and full-speed industrialization under a commandist, autocratic party leadership, the road taken by Stalin, or (b) moving in a liberalized direction, allowing more political diversity, more autonomy for labor unions and other organizations, more open debate and criticism, greater autonomy among the various Soviet republics, a sector of privately owned small businesses, independent agricultural development by the peasantry, greater emphasis on consumer goods, and less effort given to the kind of capital accumulation needed to build a strong military-industrial base.

The latter course, I believe, would have produced a more comfortable, more humane and serviceable society. Siege socialism would have given way to worker-consumer socialism. The only problem is that the country would have risked being incapable of withstanding the Nazi onslaught. Instead, the Soviet Union embarked upon a rigorous, forced industrialization. This policy has often been mentioned as one of the wrongs perpetrated by Stalin upon his people. It consisted mostly of building, within a decade, an entirely new, huge industrial base east of the Urals in the middle of the barren steppes, the biggest steel complex in Europe, in anticipation of an invasion from the West. “Money was spent like water, men froze, hungered and suffered but the construction went on with a disregard for individuals and a mass heroism seldom paralleled in history.”

Stalin’s prophecy that the Soviet Union had only ten years to do what the British had done in a century proved correct. When the Nazis invaded in 1941, that same industrial base, safely ensconced thousands of miles from the front, produced the weapons of war that eventually turned the tide. The cost of this survival included 22 million Soviets who perished in the war and immeasurable devastation and suffering, the effects of which would distort Soviet society for decades afterward.

All this is not to say that everything Stalin did was of historical necessity. The exigencies of revolutionary survival did not “make inevitable” the heartless execution of hundreds of Old Bolshevik leaders, the personality cult of a supreme leader who claimed every revolutionary gain as his own achievement, the suppression of party political life through terror, the eventual silencing of debate regarding the pace of industrialization and collectivization, the ideological regulation of all intellectual and cultural life, and the mass deportations of “suspect” nationalities.

The transforming effects of counterrevolutionary attack have been felt in other countries. A Sandinista military officer I met in Vienna in 1986 noted that Nicaraguans were “not a warrior people” but they had to learn to fight because they faced a destructive, U.S.-sponsored mercenary war. She bemoaned the fact that war and embargo forced her country to postpone much of its socio-economic agenda. As with Nicaragua, so with Mozambique, Angola and numerous other countries in which U.S.-financed mercenary forces destroyed farmlands, villages, health centers, and power stations, while killing or starving hundreds of thousands–the revolutionary baby was strangled in its crib or mercilessly bled beyond recognition. This reality ought to earn at least as much recognition as the suppression of dissidents in this or that revolutionary society.

The overthrow of Eastern European and Soviet communist governments was cheered by many left intellectuals. Now democracy would have its day. The people would be free from the yoke of communism and the U.S. Left would be free from the albatross of existing communism, or as left theorist Richard Lichtman put it, “liberated from the incubus of the Soviet Union and the succubus of Communist China.”

In fact, the capitalist restoration in Eastern Europe seriously weakened the numerous Third World liberation struggles that had received aid from the Soviet Union and brought a whole new crop of right-wing governments into existence, ones that now worked hand-in-glove with U.S. global counterrevolutionaries around the globe.

In addition, the overthrow of communism gave the green light to the unbridled exploitative impulses of Western corporate interests. No longer needing to convince workers that they live better than their counterparts in Russia, no longer restrained by a competing system, the corporate class is rolling back the many gains that working people have won over the years. Now that the free market, in its meanest form, is emerging triumphant in the East, so will it prevail in the West. “Capitalism with a human face” is being replaced by “capitalism in your face.” As Richard Levins put it, “So in the new exuberant aggressiveness of world capitalism we see what communists and their allies had held at bay” (Monthly Review, 9/96).

Having never understood the role that existing communist powers played in tempering the worst impulses of Western capitalism, and having perceived communism as nothing but an unmitigated evil, the left anticommunists did not anticipate the losses that were to come. Some of them still don’t get it.

Forever in Chains: The Tragic History of Congo

Nsala, of the district of Wala, looking at the severed hand and foot of his five-year old daughter, Boali, who was killed and allegedly cannibalized by the members of Anglo-Belgian India Rubber Company (A.B.I.R.) militia. Source: E. D Morel, King Leopold's rule in Africa, between pages 144 and 145

Nsala, of the district of Wala, looking at the severed hand and foot of his five-year old daughter, Boali, who was killed and allegedly cannibalized by the members of Anglo-Belgian India Rubber Company (A.B.I.R.) militia. Source: E. D Morel, King Leopold’s rule in Africa, between pages 144 and 145

FRIDAY 28 JULY 2006

The most blighted nation on earth goes to the polls this weekend – more in hope than expectation that stability and peace might result. In Congo, mass suffering has been a way of life ever since the Belgian King Leopold enslaved millions in the 19th century. Paul Vallely traces the story of a people for whom the horror never let up

One picture sums it up. It shows a man named Nsala sitting on the porch of a missionary’s house in the Congo. His face is a portrait of impenetrable sorrow.

Before him lie a small hand and foot. It is all that remains of his five-year-old daughter who has – together with his wife and son – been killed, dismembered, cooked and eaten by soldiers.

The photograph was taken during the biggest atrocity in recorded African history. And it was perpetrated not by Africans, but by Europeans.

No one knows how many people died, but it was at least three million men, women and children. Some historians say it was five million, or 10 million. The Encyclopaedia Britannica has said that as many as 30 million people may have perished.

It is but a single chapter in the long and bloody history of the Congo. This weekend, voters go to the polls in Democratic Republic of Congo for the first elections in 40 years, during which havoc has been wreaked by despotism and war. But will Sunday’s poll do anything to change lives there for the better?

The first that was written of the hot and humid river basin that straddles the Equator on the west of the great African continent came from Portuguese travellers in the 15th century. They had encountered a place called the Kingdom of Kongo and, with its capital city of Mbanza Kongo, it had a population close to half a million people. It was a highly developed state at the centre of an extensive trading network.

Merchants traded all manner of raw materials, the most precious of which was ivory, but which also included a wealth of manufactured goods such as copper and ironware, raffia cloth and pottery. It was also a centre for the buying and selling of individuals captured in war. Long before the arrival of the Europeans, the slave trade existed. The ruler was a king who rejoiced in the title of “Mother of the King of Kongo”.

Not much more was heard of the place in Europe until the great Victorian missionary explorer David Livingstone discovered that quinine was the key to unlocking the African interior. He became a hero and a household name in the second half of the 19th century, but then disappeared into the bush. The New York Herald sent another intrepid Briton to find him, and the young man, Henry Morton Stanley, walked into the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations with his greeting: “Dr Livingstone, I presume?”

Across the other side of the globe, King Leopold II of the Belgians read about it over breakfast in the The Times, which was thrown from the continental mail train into the grounds of his palace each morning. (His butler ironed it before the monarch read it.)

Leopold had been of the opinion for some time that “il faut à la Belgique une colonie”. He didn’t want to miss the chance of getting a good slice of what he called the “magnifique gâteau africain”. But he was having a hard time persuading the Belgian government to agree. So he decided to acquire a colony by himself. In doing so, he ignited what came to be called “the scramble of Africa”.

Stanley’s encounter with the Congo was being hailed as the most important geographical “discovery” ever made in Africa. The king summoned the Welshman and in 1878 commissioned him to go back – under the guise of an international scientific and philanthropic association, which he called the International African Society – to negotiate with the local chiefs.

Over the five years that followed, Stanley concluded some 400 “cloth and trinket” treaties with the Congo chiefs. The Africans thought they were signing friendship pacts, but they were in fact selling their land.

Leopold, who was devious as well as greedy, persuaded the world that he was acting from humanitarian motives. In 1884, the The Daily Telegraph, perspicacious as ever, opined: “Leopold II has knit adventurers, traders and missionaries of many races into one band of men under the most illustrious of modern travellers [Stanley] to carry to the interior of Africa new ideas of law, order, humanity and protection of the natives.”

That year, at the Berlin Conference called by Bismarck to carve up Africa – which no African attended, even as an observer – Leopold displayed some nifty footwork. He persuaded the Iron Chancellor that, in order to exclude Germany’s rivals, Britain and France, from the important new region, it would be best to declare it a free trade area and give it to him. Not to Belgium, not even to the Belgian crown, but to him personally.

Without ever setting foot there, Leopold II had become the owner of nearly a million square miles of unmapped jungle, 75 times the size of Belgium itself. Ivory was what the king had his eye on. And, though plenty of it was yielded, Leopold struggled to make a profit. In 1895, he tried to give the colony to the Belgian government because it was costing him too much.

But then a Scot called Dunlop invented the pneumatic tyre for his bicycle, and the worldwide boom in rubber began. In the Congo, wild jungle vines that yielded the stuff grew everywhere. The natives would slash them and lather their bodies with the rubber. All that Leopold needed to do was to persuade the natives to scrape it off into huge baskets for him.

He did this by setting quotas of both rubber and ivory for each village, for which they were paid a pitifully low fixed price set by his officials on the ground. Each community was told to provide 10 per cent of their number as full-time forced labourers, and another 25 per cent part-time. It was a form of slavery.

Stanley, who supervised all this, became known in Kikongo as Bula Matari (the Breaker of Rocks), a tag the people later transferred to the Congolese state itself. The scheme was a huge success; by 1902, the price of rubber had risen 15 times in eight years, and it constituted 80 per cent of the exports of “The Congo Free State”, as Leopold had dubbed it.

Free is what the people were not. The symbol of Leopold’s rule was the schicotte – a whip of raw sun-dried hippopotamus hide cut into long sharp-edged strips which could quickly remove the skin from a man’s back. The king established a Force Publique to enforce the rubber quotas. Its soldiers were black – many of them cannibals from the fiercest tribes of upper Congo – but they were led by white officers who routinely supervised the burning of non-compliant villages and the torture and rape of those who were struggling to fill quotas.

One local man spelt out what this meant. “Wild beasts – leopards – killed some of us while we were working away in the forest, and others got lost or died from exposure or starvation and we begged the white men to leave us alone, saying we could get no more rubber, but the white men and the soldiers said, ‘Go. You are only beasts yourselves. You are only snyama [meat].’ Many were shot, some had their ears cut off.”

But the routine penalty for failing to bring in enough rubber was the severing of a hand. Soldiers collected them by the basketload, from the living and the dead. A Baptist missionary wrote a letter to The Times about it: “The hands – the hands of men, women and children – were placed in rows before the commissary who counted them to see that the soldiers had not wasted cartridges.” Officers were worried that the men might waste their ammunition on hunting animals for sport, so they required soldiers to submit one hand for every bullet spent. Hands became a grim currency, traded to make up for shortfalls in rubber quotas. “This rubber traffic is steeped in blood,” the letter-writer said.

Other testimony disclosed how Belgian officers ordered their men “to cut off the heads of the men and hang them on the village palisades, also their sexual members, and to hang the women and the children on the palisade in the form of a cross”. This blood-curdling business carried on for more than 12 years before word leaked out. One of the first to blow the whistle was the captain of one of the riverboats that transported the ivory and rubber downstream to port. His name was Joseph Conrad, and eight years later he wrote a book that has shaped the emotional language in which white people discuss Africa.

It was called Heart of Darkness. The atmosphere it conjures is of fetid fever-ridden ports in an Equatorial river basin surrounded by dense tropical rainforest. It is a climate of persistent high temperatures and humidity, as enervating to the soul as to the body. It is a world of madness, greed and violence, centred on a charismatic ivory trader called Kurtz who turns himself into a demigod to the local tribes and gathers vast quantities of ivory. Eventually, he dies – “The horror, the horror,” his last words.

When the book was published in magazine serial form in 1899, it did not just expose what Conrad was to call “the vilest scramble for loot that ever disfigured the history of human conscience”. It also gave backing to the writings of a man whose campaigns on the Congo the public had been reluctant to believe.

ED Morel was a clerk in a Liverpool shipping office who began to wonder why the ships that brought vast loads of rubber from the Congo returned carrying no commercial goods, but only guns and ammunition. He began to investigate the Force Publique and concluded that Leopold’s well-publicised philanthropy was in fact “legalised robbery enforced by violence”. He wrote: “I had stumbled upon a secret society of murderers with a king for a croniman.”

In 1903, the House of Commons debated the Congo atrocities. The British consul in Congo, Roger Casement, was sent to investigate. The year after, he returned with a vivid and detailed eyewitness report, which was made public. His 1904 report, which confirmed Morel’s accusations and suggested that at least three million people had died, had a considerable impact on public opinion.

Even then, Leopold countered with a wicked publicity campaign to discredit the reports. He even created a bogus Commission for the Protection of the Natives to root out the “few isolated instances” of abuse. But he reckoned without another recent invention – the camera. Before long, horrifying photographs such as the one of the man with his daughter’s little hand and foot, were in circulation.

International opinion was outraged. In America, Mark Twain penned a savage piece of sarcasm called King Leopold’s Soliloquy. In Britain, Arthur Conan Doyle was inspired to write the book The Crime of the Congo, which he completed in eight days. Before long, the American President and the British prime minister were pressing the Belgian government to act.

Leopold offered to reform his regime, but few took him seriously. After two years of agonised deliberation, a further report (which confirmed Casement’s) and a general election, the Parliament of Belgium annexed the Congo Free State and took over its administration. It paid Leopold £2m to compensate him for his sacrifices.

Renamed the Belgian Congo (to contrast with the much smaller French Congo, now the Republic of Congo, to the west), the region became a “model colony”. In the decades that followed the transfer of responsibility to the government of Belgium, large amounts of the wealth produced in the Congo were spent there by the alliance of church, commerce and state.

The missionaries built hospitals and clinics to which large numbers of Congolese had access. Doctors and medics achieved great victories against disease, managing to eradicate sleeping sickness. Many villages had medical posts, and bigger cities had well-equipped hospitals. The church ran schools to which 10 per cent of the people were admitted, comparing favourably with the 6 per cent of the population in school in India and the much lower percentages elsewhere in Africa. The colonial authorities built railways, ports and roads. The mining companies built houses for their staff, provided welfare and technical training.

By the Second World War, production and profits had risen to the point where the Congo was Africa’s richest colony. In the 1950s, life expectancy was 55 years (today, it is 51). By 1959, the year before independence, the Belgian Congo was producing 10 per cent of world’s copper, 50 per cent of its cobalt and 70 per cent of industrial diamonds.

What was missing was the development of a Congolese elite to take over the running of the place. The Congolese had no rights to own land, to vote or to travel freely. There were curfews in towns and forced labour in the countryside. There was no higher education, except for those who wanted to become priests. The Congolese were encouraged to become clerks, medical assistants and mechanics, but not doctors, lawyers or engineers.

At independence, out of a population of 60 million, there were just 16 university graduates. Educated Congolese were given the status of Sévolués, but this won them few privileges when what they wanted, wrote Patrice Lumumba, who was to become the first prime minister of what became Democratic Republic of Congo, “was to be Belgians and have the same freedoms and rights as whites”.

It would come eventually, their colonial masters thought, in perhaps another 100 years. When a Belgian academic suggested a 30-year transition plan was needed, he was greeted with derision. But when the change came, on the back of the sudden tide of African nationalism that swept the continent, accompanied by riots, it happened in just 18 months. The Congo was perhaps the least well-prepared of any colony for independence.

It didn’t help that on Independence Day in 1960, King Baudouin arrived to make a speech praising the “genius” of Leopold II, listing the sacrifices that Belgium had made for the Congo and doling out patronising advice. Prime Minister Lumumba responded with an off-the-cuff speech about the “terrible suffering and exploitation” that had been experienced by “we niggers” and promising: “We shall make of the Congo a shining example for the whole of Africa.” It was not to be.

Lumumba was charismatic, with extraordinary powers of oratory, but he was volatile. Within days of the independence ceremonies, rebellions and violence broke out. The province of Katanga declared independence. Belgium moved troops in. So did the United Nations. Feeling betrayed, Lumumba requested Soviet military aid.

The local CIA chief telegrammed back to Washington that the Congo was “a Cuba in the making” and that Lumumba was a “Castro or worse”. President Eisenhower allegedly authorised that Lumumba be assassinated and a CIA hit man came from Paris with poison to be, bizarrely, injected into the prime minister’s toothpaste. (The local CIA man refused to do it.)

The plot thickened with Dag Hammarskjold, the UN Secretary General, dying in a plane crash in uncertain circumstances while trying to negotiate a ceasefire in Katanga. Letters recently uncovered by South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission suggested that South African agents planted a bomb in the aircraft’s wheel-bay. And, not long afterwards, the Marxist guerrilla leader Che Guevara appeared in the Congo with 100 men in a plot to bring about a Cuban-style revolution.

Amid all that, Patrice Lumumba had fallen out with the Congo’s first president, Joseph Kasavubu. As the pair engaged in a power struggle in September 1960, a military coup overthrew Lumumba in favour of the president. The putsch was staged by the 29-year-old army chief of staff, Colonel Joseph-Désiré Mobutu. Five years later, he staged another one, ousting Kasavubu and beginning his own bizarre 32-year rule.

Lumumba was shot in the bush at the command of a Belgian officer. His body was hacked to pieces and dissolved in sulphuric acid, his skull ground to dust and his bones and teeth scattered – some say by a witch doctor from an aircraft along the country’s borders, to make sure he could not come back from the dead.

Things did not get better. Mobutu sent the Russians packing, which greatly pleased the Americans. So did almost everything else he did, for he staunchly followed US foreign policy in all key matters. It was the height of the Cold War and Africa had become a proxy battlefield. Keeping the Soviets out was more important than anything else. As long as Mobutu did that, and supported anti-Communist rebels in neighbouring countries, Washington would turn a blind eye to anything else.

Mobutu made the most of that. He set up a one-party state that tolerated no dissent. In the early years, he consolidated power by publicly executing political rivals. One rebel leader had his eyes gouged out, his genitals ripped off and his limbs amputated one by one before he died.

Later, Mobutu switched to a new tactic – that of buying off political rivals rather than killing them. He did so by elevating theft to a form of government. A new word was coined to describe it – kleptocracy. At first, he had tried simply printing more money to pay the bills for his schemes. He issued new stamps, coins and currency notes with his portrait on.

There were posters and billboards everywhere. His personality cult reached its peak every night when the television news began with an image of him descending through clouds from the heavens. He put the story about that even his walking stick had magic powers.

In the early years, he launched an African Authenticity campaign. He renamed the country Zaire in 1971. He ordered everyone to drop their Christian names for African ones, rebranding himself Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga (“The all-powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, will go from conquest to conquest, leaving fire in his wake”). He outlawed hair-straightening, skin bleaching, the wearing of ties and listening to foreign music. He nationalised foreign-owned firms and handed them to relatives and associates.

When the economy slumped, he printed more money. Hyperinflation followed, and even the central bank bought its hard currency on the black market. But he was a Cold War warrior, so the West bailed him out. The more they gave him, the more he stole. Of the $73m education budget one year, schools got only $8m; he pocketed the rest. So it went with every area of government.

Mobutu’s extravagance was legendary. He had villas, ranches, palaces and yachts throughout Europe. Concorde was constantly hired. He didn’t just have Swiss bank accounts; he bought a Swiss bank. He didn’t just get his wife a Mercedes; he bought a Mercedes assembly plant for her. He stashed away nearly $5bn – almost the equivalent of the country’s foreign debt at the time.

Still, the West smiled and paid up to the man Ronald Reagan called “a voice of good sense and good will”. The US gave him a total of $2bn over 30 years. The CIA trained and armed his bodyguards. When rebels attacked him, France airlifted in 1,500 elite Moroccan paratroopers. When that wasn’t enough, a year later Belgium and France deployed troops (with American logistical support).

All the while, the Congo became Africa’s haven for mercenaries, money launderers and diamond smugglers – while its public infrastructure rotted and child mortality rose. Mobutu became the longest-surviving despot of the Cold War era. It was either “Mobutu or chaos”, the US said. But the hapless people of the Congo got both.

Then it was over. The Berlin Wall fell. The Cold War ended. The IMF experts who had been brought in to reform his finances – and left after a year in despair – pulled the plug on his loans. The US would lend no more. Mobutu declared an end to one-party rule, but it was too late.

What finished him off was the decision to back the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide. After the Hutu genocidaires were chased from Rwanda in 1994, Mobutu gave them shelter in Zaire. More than that; he issued an order forcing Tutsis to leave Zaire on penalty of death. They erupted in rebellion. Rwanda and Uganda joined in, invading eastern Congo in pursuit of the genocidaires. When they met no resistance – the Congolese army being more used to suppressing civilians than fighting – they marched on the capital Kinshasa.

Mobutu – the “all-powerful warrior”, the fifth-richest man in the world, who bled the Congo even more efficiently than King Leopold, and who looted the state into paralysis – escaped on a cargo plane with bullets ripping into the fuselage as it took off. After 20 years of Mobutist dictatorship, in the words of the African historian Basil Davidson: “Zaire remained a state without a nation, a geographical concept without a people.” And Kinshasa la belle had become Kinshasa la poubell – the dustbin.

The new man was Laurent-Désiré Kabila. He presented himself as the heir to the murdered Lumumba. Outsiders hailed him as one of the “new breed” of African leaders. Nelson Mandela paid tribute. The US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, stood next to Kabila early on and said that the Democratic Republic of the Congo (or Democratic Republic of Congo as it was re-re-named) would now emerge as “an engine of regional growth”. Those who knew Kabila thought differently.

His critics sneered that all he had ever run was a brothel in Tanzania. Others recalled the judgement of Che Guevara who had concluded three decades earlier that Kabila was “not the man of the hour”. He was too interested in drinking, bedding women and showing up days late. The lack of co-operation between Kabila and Guevara was what had led to the Cuban-style revolution foundering in the Sixties.

He had not, it seemed, improved with age. Kabila turned out to be another petty tyrant. Secretive and paranoid, he had no political programme and just doled out jobs to family and friends. He made his cousin chief of the armed forces, gave his son a top army job and made his brother-in-law the police chief. Worse, he was as cruel as Mobutu, jailing and torturing opponents, but lacking his skill in playing the ethnic card. He promised elections but never held them.

And he did not learn from Mobutu’s mistakes. Put in power by the Rwandans and Ugandans, he decided to distance himself from them by again supporting the Hutus and allowing them to regroup on Congolese soil. Rwanda had learnt the lessons of the past; it immediately flew 2,000 troops to within striking distance of the capital. Uganda joined in. Kabila was only saved because Angola and Zimbabwe came to his rescue, the former fearing that a power vacuum in the DRC would allow Angolan rebels to flourish, the later trying to play the statesman and grab some mining contracts.

The fighting soon stalemated. But no one was bothered; all involved just used the bases they had established inside the DRC to plunder. The war became self-financing as all sides scrabbled for diamonds, gold and timber.

Suddenly, 70 per cent of the Congo’s coltan – an essential component in making mobile phones – was being exported through Rwanda. And Congo gold turned into a major Ugandan export. Rwanda and Uganda even began to fight each other at one point over control of Kisangani and its diamond fields.

What broke the stalemate was a coup in 2001. The plot failed, but Kabila was assassinated. His son, Joseph Kabila Kabange, became President. The Congo’s warlords were happy, assuming that junior would be a pushover.

But Kabila II had done his military training in China and turned out to be an operator. Within a year, he had successfully negotiated an international peace deal that saw Rwanda withdraw and all the remaining warring parties agree to end the fighting and establish a government of national unity.

Peace has returned to two-thirds of the country – there are factions fighting in the east – and Kabila has delivered the referendum he promised and now, on Sunday, the elections. He is, of course, standing and is, of course, the favourite of the 33 candidates.

The country is still in a dire state. Aid organisations say about 1,200 people die daily due to the effects of the conflict, hunger and disease. The DRC has Aids, low life expectancy and a high rate of child deaths. More than two million Congolese are internal refugees. National output and government revenue slumped – and external debt increased – during the five years of fighting, in which perhaps four million people died.

Even so, this weekend’s elections – the first multiparty elections in 40 years – are the biggest and most costly the UN has organised. Another eastern warlord yesterday agreed to lay down arms. Last month, the world’s largest mining company, BHP Billiton, said it would open an office in Kinshasa once the election is over. Other big mining groups may follow.

The prospects look a little brighter. It may be too soon – in the two-steps-forward, one-step-back world of contemporary Africa – to be optimistic. But, in their terrible story, the people of the Congo hope that, at last, it may be that a corner is being turned.

The horror: from Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’

Paths, paths, everywhere; a stamped-in network of paths spreading over the empty land, through the long grass, through burnt grass, through thickets, down and up chilly ravines, up and down stony hills ablaze with heat; and a solitude, a solitude, nobody, not a hut. The population had cleared out a long time ago. Well, if a lot of mysterious niggers armed with all kinds of fearful weapons suddenly took to travelling on the road between Deal and Gravesend, catching the yokels right and left to carry heavy loads for them, I fancy every farm and cottage thereabouts would get empty very soon. Only here the dwellings were gone, too. Still I passed through several abandoned villages. There’s something pathetically childish in the ruins of grass walls. Day after day, with the stamp and shuffle of 60 pair of bare feet behind me, each pair under a 60lb load. Camp, cook, sleep, strike camp, march. Now and then a carrier dead in harness, at rest in the long grass near the path, with an empty water gourd and his long staff lying by his side. A great silence around and above. Perhaps on some quiet night the tremor of far-off drums, sinking, swelling, a tremor vast, faint; a sound weird, appealing, suggestive and wild – and perhaps with as profound a meaning as the sound of bells in a Christian country. Once a white man in an unbuttoned uniform, camping on the path with an armed escort of lank Zanzibaris, very hospitable and festive – not to say drunk. Was looking after the upkeep of the road, he declared. Can’t say I saw any road or any upkeep, unless the body of a middle-aged negro, with a bullet-hole in the forehead, upon which I absolutely stumbled three miles farther on, may be considered a permanent improvement.

Source

China & Neocolonialism: Let’s Be Clear About the Facts

imperialists-out-of-africa

Yesterday and today I noticed many people passing around an article from China Daily which attempts to defend China’s relations with Africa and defend it against the accusation of neocolonialism. This is my response.

Let’s be clear about one thing: Africa IS dominated by neocolonialism. All of the so-called “leaders” of Africa in fact preside over neocolonial governments ruling territories whose borders are the direct result of European imperialism. They are representatives of the African petty bourgeoisie and their class interests are directly opposed to those of African workers and poor peasants. And yes, I include such people as Robert Mugabe in this description.

These are the governments with whom China is now making deals. For example, China made deals with the so-called “Congo” – a neocolonial entity. They also have had extensive dealings with the neocolonial government of Sudan – this in fact was on the primary motivations behind American, Israeli and other efforts to detach South Sudan, further fracturing the continent.

Outside of Africa China has various deals with the Zionist State of Israel, an outright white power, settler-colonial entity whose existence is entirely at the expense of the colonially dominated Palestinian and Arab peoples. China even provides arms and funding to the Sinhalese government of Sri Lanka, yet another neocolonial entity, that has long attempted to violently put down the aspirations for national liberation of the Tamil people.

And that’s China today. Let’s not even start on “Maoist” China’s support for Mobuto in “Zaire” and Pinochet in Chile. The latter was a betrayal so great that many Maoists in Chile actually chose to take their own lives rather than face facts and join up with the nascent armed resistance lead by the MIR and FPMR.

Yes, certainly Chairman Mao was a great revolutionary, but Mao did not equal China or the Chinese Communist Party. If you are to believe the historical analysis of modern Maoists’ then by 1971-73 Mao had already lost control of China’s foreign policy to the rightists around Deng Xiaoping with the beginning of the collapse of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

Regardless of whether you accept what the modern Maoists have to say or not (and I am by no means sold of their analysis), what this teaches us, or at least should teach us, is that China’s involvement in neocolonialism isn’t even a new phenomena, or even a phenomena of the era marked by the political collapse of the USSR.

In fact, we must be clear that what this all boils down to on the part of leftists outside of China who defend its modern policies is a line that is objectively anti-African (and anti-other colonized peoples) in its orientation and practice. It covers over the lack of self-determination for Africans and other colonized peoples.

So to echo comrade Jesse Alexander Nevel of the African People’s Solidarity Committee and Uhuru Solidarity Movement, how the fuck can anyone defend this?

However, all of this about China being said it must also be added that while we must be clear about the role of China and all foreign powers in Africa at this juncture, we must never lose sight of the fact that the #1 enemy of Africans and other colonized peoples is US imperialism. The destruction of imperialism’s domination over Africa can only be achieved by the complete liberation and unification of Africa and Africans worldwide under an all African socialist government (which is exactly what the African Socialist International is struggling towards).

When African workers and peasants control their own resources and economies then the stage will be set for the possibility of mutual cooperation between sovereign nations. The key thing for the African Revolution is that the African working class is the only social force capable of leading Africa out of the colonially imposed poverty and oppression — not the US, not Europe, not China, not India, etc, but AFRICANS.

Source

Video: CIA & Angolan Revolution

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.

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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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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Liberal Holocaust: Imperialism and the Democratic Party

This is a good article from a website that is now down. I disagree with several parts, particularly the labeling of North Korea as a “Stalinist dictatorship,” referring to the Soviet Union as an “empire,” saying that Titoite Yugoslavia was a “Leninist revolution” and denying the genocidal actions of the Milošević government. Regardless, this article makes a very important point about the Democratic Party, and exposes their true imperialist warmongering nature.

 — Espresso Stalinist 

Many people involved in US anti-war movement(s) have this naive belief that Democrats are not imperialists, that US imperialist policies, such as those pursued by the Bush administration, are just a recent deviation or limited to Republican administrations. In fact, the Democratic Party has a long and bloody history of imperialism. Democrats are imperialists and mass murderers. Nor is this limited to the more conservative democrats; left-liberals have done the same. Liberal governments have slaughtered millions.

Starting shortly before the end of World War Two, Democrats began recruiting many Nazi war criminals and using them to help expand the American Empire. Hitler’s intelligence chief in East Europe Reinhard Gehlen was used by the US, after the war, to build an intelligence network against the Soviets in East Europe. They also dropped supplies to remnants of Hitler’s armies operating in Eastern Europe, to harass the Soviet bloc. Other Nazi war criminals employed by the US included Klaus Barbie, Otto von Bolschwing and Otto Skorzeny. Some of these Nazis later made their way to Latin America, where they advised and assisted US-backed dictatorships in the area.

Harry Truman kicked up anti-communist hysteria, which lead to McCarthyism (which occurred during his administration) and helped start the Cold War. He supported numerous dictatorships, including Saudi Arabia. US involvement in Vietnam started under Truman with the US providing support for the French invaders and the CIA carrying out covert actions. In 1950 his administration issued the ultra-hawkish NSC 68. The subversion of Italian democracy was done by his administration – fearing electoral victory in 1948 by the Italian Communist party, the CIA funded various leftover Mussolinite Brownshirt thugs and other former Nazi collaborators, successfully manipulating the results to ensure pro-US candidates won. A secret paramilitary army was formed to overthrow the government just in case the Communists managed to win anyway.

In the years after World War Two a rebellion against the British puppet government in Greece broke out. This client state was largely staffed by former Nazi collaborators who the British had put back in power. The UK was unable to defeat the left-wing insurgency (which had previously fought an insurgency against the Nazi occupation during World War Two) and asked the US for help. In 1947 Truman invaded Greece and proceeded to crush the revolutionaries, keeping the former Nazi collaborators in power. Truman attempted to justify this by portraying the guerillas as mere pawns of Moscow and therefore a form of covert aggression, but he had no real proof of this. The claim is also based on a double standard: when the USSR (allegedly) covertly supports revolutionaries in another country it constitutes “aggression” and is wrong, but when the US (or UK) send actual military forces to another country in order to prop up unpopular dictatorships this is somehow perfectly just.

At the end of World War Two Japan withdrew its forces from Korea, resulting in a brief period of self-rule. A provisional government was set up in Seoul, but it had little power. Across Korea, workers took over their factories and peasants took over their land. Self-managed collectives were organized. This did not last long, as the US and USSR quickly partitioned the country into a North and a South, under the occupation of each power. In the south Truman installed a brutal military dictatorship, run mainly by former Japanese collaborators, complete with death squads, torture chambers and suppression of all opposition. The United States and its client state suppressed an insurgency, leveled whole villages and massacred thousands of innocent Koreans. The Soviets followed a similar policy in the north, where a Stalinist dictatorship was imposed. Forces from each empire repeatedly clashed until war broke out in 1950. Truman & his propagandists tried to portray the war as an attempt to defend South Korea from Soviet/Northern aggression, but the very existence of South & North Korea was the result of aggression by the US & USSR. The Korean War was an inter-imperialist war between rival empires fighting for territory, rather like a turf war between rival mafia dons, in which lots of ordinary people (who had no real stake in the war) were sent to die for their elite.

These policies of mass murder continued in both the subsequent Eisenhower administration and the next democratic administration, Kennedy. Like every other president since World War Two (and many prior to that) he supported numerous puppet dictatorships that slaughtered thousands – Mobutu, the Shah, etc. Kennedy backed a coup against the democratically elected government in the Dominican Republic because it was too independent. And lets not forget the Bay of Pigs and the many terrorist campaigns against Cuba.

Kennedy also escalated US involvement in Vietnam. During Eisenhower’s term the Vietnamese defeated US-backed French invaders and the war with France was brought to an end. The country was partitioned in two, with the Vietnamese nationalists/Communists taking over the north and the French puppet government temporarily ruling the south. Elections were to be held to reunite the two, but the US intervened to prevent this (because the Communists would have won free elections) and put in power a right-wing dictatorship headed by Ngo Dinh Diem which relied on a reign of terror in order to stay in power. In the late ’50s popular rebellions erupted against this dictatorship. By the time Kennedy came to power the survival of Diem’s dictatorship was increasingly precarious and so Kennedy escalated the situation from state terror to outright aggression. The US military, mainly the air force, was sent to crush the resistance. This failed to defeat the resistance, so Johnson fabricated a bogus attack on US destroyers by North Vietnamese forces and used this as an excuse to escalate the war, launching a full-fledged ground invasion of the south and began bombing the north. US forces set up concentration camps (called “strategic hamlets”) and committed numerous atrocities during the war. Even John Kerry testified:

“Several months ago in Detroit we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged, and many very highly decorated, veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia. These were not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command. … They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do. They told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country. … We rationalized destroying villages in order to save them. … We learned the meaning of free fire zones, shooting anything that moves, and we watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of orientals. … We fought using weapons against those people which I do not believe this country would dream of using were we fighting in the European theater.”

Kerry has since claimed that Vietnam was an exception to the norm, but the evidence presented in this article shows otherwise. This testimony is corroborated by numerous other primary sources, including many Vietnam veterans. Colin Powell admitted these atrocities occurred and defended them, writing in his memoirs (My American Journey):

“If a helo [helicopter] spotted a peasant in black pajamas who looked remotely suspicious, a possible MAM [military-aged male], the pilot would circle and fire in front of him. If he moved, his movement was judged evidence of hostile intent, and the next burst was not in front, but at him. Brutal? Maybe so. But an able battalion commander with whom I had served at Gelnhausen, Lt. Col. Walter Pritchard, was killed by enemy sniper fire while observing MAMs from a helicopter. And Pritchard was only one of many. The kill-or-be-killed nature of combat tends to dull fine perceptions of right and wrong.”

In addition, Powell defends the torching of civilians’ huts in his memoirs. There are also many Vietnam veterans who strongly deny that the United States committed any kind of atrocities or wrongdoing in Vietnam at all, but they are not the first murderers to strongly deny murdering anyone. These are the kinds of atrocities the Democrat’s foreign policy leads to.

Democrats (and Republicans) tried to portray the war as a result of Chinese (or even Soviet) aggression that had to be stopped or else it would cause a “domino effect” leading to “Communist” conquest of the globe. This is shear fantasy.

Vietnam became independent in 1945 and for a brief period of time the whole country was united under the rule of Ho Chi Min and his fellow nationalists and Marxists. Then France invaded, with US support, leading to the creation of “South Vietnam,” which was a foreign puppet from day one. Attacks on it by Vietnamese were no more “aggression” than attacks on the Vichy government by the French resistance. Communists in China didn’t come to power until 1948, whereas Vietnam declared independence in 1945, so portraying the war as “Chinese aggression” is particularly absurd. Eventually, China did provide weapons, money and advisors to Vietnam (as did the USSR), but merely giving supplies to people fighting for independence hardly constitutes “aggression.” If China giving some weapons and supplies to a Vietnamese movement with substantial popular support constitutes “aggression” then what are we to make of the US, which went well beyond sending weapons and sent over 100,000 troops to keep in power a deeply unpopular puppet government? By this kind of logic, the American war for independence constituted French aggression because France gave the rebels support, just as China & Russia gave the Vietnamese support, except France went even further and sent warships to fight the British and help the US win the war. The Vietnam War was a brutal colonial war, started mainly by democrats, against a people struggling for national liberation.

Even if we ignore Vietnam, Johnson was still a murderous warmonger. In 1965 Johnson launched a secret war on Laos, which would eventually drop more bombs on it then were dropped during World War Two, in order to defeat the leftist Pathet Lao. When a popular rebellion erupted against the US-backed dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, LBJ invaded and defeated it, keeping a US puppet government in power. In Brazil LBJ supported and encouraged a fascist coup against the mildly reformist Goulart administration. Johnson also backed a right-wing coup in Indonesia. The previous ruler, Sukarno, committed the crime of trying to stay neutral in the cold war and desiring to build a strong Indonesia independent of foreign powers. So he was removed and general Suharto seized power. The US helped Suharto liquidate dissent and gave him lists of “subversives” to kill. Between 500,000 and a million people were massacred by Suharto in the period following the coup, with the covert help of the Johnson administration. When the Greek ambassador objected to the President’s plan for a resolving a dispute over Cyprus LBJ told him:

“Fuck your Parliament and your Constitution. America is an elephant. Cyprus is a flea. If these two fleas continue itching the elephant, they may just get whacked by the elephant’s trunk, whacked good. … We pay a lot of good American dollars to the Greeks, Mr. Ambassador. If your Prime Minister gives me talk about Democracy, Parliament and Constitutions, he, his Parliament and his Constitution may not last very long.”

In 1965 the Greek king, aided by the CIA, removed Prime Minister George Papandreou (who’s foreign policy was too independent for Washington) from power. In 1967 the Greek government was forced to finally hold elections again, but when it looked like George Papandreou was going to win again a military coup prevented him from coming to power. George Papadopoulos, leader of the coup and head of the new military dictatorship, had been on the CIA payroll for 15 years and was a Nazi collaborator during World War Two.

Carter, the so-called “human rights” president, was also an imperialist warmonger. He continued US support for brutal tyrants in Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, etc. Carter supported Pol Pot’s forces after they were thrown out of power due to a war with Vietnam. Under Ford Indonesia invaded East Timor and proceeded to slaughter 200,000 people. Although this invasion occurred under Ford, the worst atrocities happened under Carter’s reign. As atrocities increased, he increased the flow of weapons to the Indonesian government, insuring they wouldn’t run out and could continue massacring Timorese. Carter also backed the massacre in Kwangju by the South Korean military dictatorship. Many of the things which liberals like to blame Reagan for were actually started under Carter. Deregulation began under Carter, as did US support for the Contras in Nicaragua. Six months before the Soviets invaded he also initiated US support for the Islamic fundamentalist terrorists/”freedom fighters” in Afghanistan which would later include Bin Laden.

Bill Clinton was a mass murderer and war criminal, too. He backed numerous dictatorships, continued the proxy war against Marxist guerillas in Columbia and bombed more countries than any other peacetime president, including Iraq, Yugoslavia, Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan.

Clinton laid siege to Iraq with sanctions, “no fly zones” and bombings, killing 1.5 to 3 million people. UN-approved sanctions on Iraq were originally imposed at the start of the Gulf War in response to the invasion of Kuwait, but continued after the end of the war at US (and UK) insistence. The United States used sanctions as a weapon against Iraq. One military intelligence document titled Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities noted:

“Iraq depends on importing-specialized equipment-and some chemicals to purify its water supply … With no domestic sources of both water treatment replacement parts and some essential chemicals, Iraq will continue attempts to circumvent United Nations sanctions to import these vital commodities. … Failing to secure supplies will result in a shortage of pure drinking water for much of the population. This could lead to increased incidences, if not epidemics, of disease and to certain pure-water-dependent industries becoming incapacitated, including petrochemicals, fertilizers, petroleum refining, electronics, pharmaceuticals, food processing, textiles, concrete construction, and thermal power plants. Iraq’s overall water treatment capability will suffer a slow decline, rather than a precipitous halt … Unless water treatment supplies are exempted from the UN sanctions for humanitarian reasons, no adequate solution exists for Iraq’s water purification dilemma, since no suitable alternatives … sufficiently meet Iraqi needs. … Unless the water is purified with chlorine epidemics of such diseases as Cholera, Hepatitis, and Typhoid could occur … Iraq could try convincing the United Nations or individual countries to exempt water treatment supplies from sanctions for humanitarian reasons. It probably also is attempting to purchase supplies by using some sympathetic countries as fronts. If such attempts fail, Iraqi alternatives are not adequate for their national requirements. … Some affluent Iraqis could obtain their own minimally adequate supply of good quality water from northern Iraqi sources. If boiled, the water could be safely consumed. Poorer Iraqis and industries requiring large quantities of pure water would not be able to meet their needs. … Alternatives are not adequate for their national requirements.”

This and other documents show that the United States intentionally used sanctions to destroy Iraq’s water supply with full knowledge of the consequences. In addition to water problems, the sanctions also interfered with the importation of basic necessities like food and medicine. The UN itself, the organization that implemented the sanctions (due to US/UK insistence), reported that they resulted in mass death. UNICEF found that on average 5,000 children died every month as a result of sanctions. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported in 1995 that 567,000 children in Iraq had died as a result of the sanctions. Those sanctions continued until the invasion in 2003, killing even more. This began under the first Bush administration, but most of it occurred under Clinton’s administration.

In 1996, faced with mounting humanitarian concerns that threatened to end the sanctions, an “oil for food” program was implemented. Officially, this was supposed to allow Iraq to import a limited amount of food and supplies in exchange for limited amounts of oil but in practice it did little to alleviate the suffering of Iraqis caused by the sanctions. Everything imported by Iraq had to be approved by a UN sanctions committee that, due to US/UK influence, frequently stopped or delayed importation of needed supplies. All money Iraq made from the sale of oil was kept by the UN in an escrow account with the bank of Paris and was not at the discretion of the Iraqi government. Some of this was used to pay for administrative costs related to the sanctions and about a third were used to pay reparations to Kuwait, the remainder was inadequate for Iraq’s needs. In 1998 Dennis Halliday, the first head of the UN’s “oil for food” program resigned because the sanctions continued to result in a humanitarian catastrophe. In 2000 Hans Von Sponeck, the new head of the “oil for food” program, resigned for the same reason. On the May 12, 1996 edition of “60 minutes” journalist Lesly Stahl asked Madeleine Albright, Clinton’s secretary of state,

“We have heard that a half million children have died [from sanctions on Iraq]. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” Albright’s response was, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.”

Clinton attacked and dismembered Yugoslavia, using a “divide and conquer” strategy to install US/NATO puppet governments ruling over its corpse. During and after World War Two Yugoslavia underwent its own Leninist revolution, independent of Soviet tanks, and eventually evolved a market socialist economy based on a limited form of worker self-management. Most of the economy was run by enterprises that were officially worker owned, with elected managers, and sold their products on the market. Yugoslavia was a federation of different nationalities in southeastern Europe, with six different republics united under a federal government.

As the Soviet empire declined and fell western financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank began pressuring Yugoslavia to implement neoliberal capitalist reforms such as privatization, austerity measures and so on.

Yugoslavia implemented these on a limited basis. These programs lead to a declining economy that opened the door for opportunistic politicians to whip up nationalism for their own benefit, scapegoating other nationalities for economic problems. They also stressed relations between the federal government and the republics because money that would have gone to the republics instead went to servicing Yugoslavia’s debt. The United States and Western Europe took advantage of this to encourage the breakup of Yugoslavia into NATO protectorates.

In 1990 separatists won elections in Slovenia, Bosnia and Croatia. The new Croatian government began to persecute the Serb minority living in Croatia, even bringing back the flag and other symbols from when it had been a World War Two Axis puppet government (run by a fascist organization called the Ustase) that attempted to exterminate the Serbs (who were regarded as “subhuman”). Croatian President Franjo Trudjman refused to condemn the Ustase and claimed, “the establishment of Hitler’s new European order can be justified by the need to be rid of the Jews.” Croatia and Slovenia declared independence in 1991. West Europe and then the US recognized Slovenia and Croatia as independent states despite warnings from the UN that this would encourage Bosnia to declare independence and bring about a civil war, which it did.

The Yugoslav federal government fought a small ten-day war with Slovenia, after which Slovenia was allowed to leave Yugoslavia. Croatia and Bosnia fought bloody civil wars with the Yugoslav government. In Bosnia the main forces fighting against the federal government were Croat fascists, supported by Croatia, and Islamic fundamentalists, led by Alija Izetbegovic, who aimed to turn Bosnia into a theocracy similar to Iran or the Taliban. Most of Bosnia’s Serb minority sided with the Yugoslav federal government. The US covertly backed the Islamists and fascists by secretly supplying them with weapons and even flying in Muslim ‘holy warriors’ from Afghanistan so they could join the Jihad. Initially the Islamists and fascists in Bosnia worked together against the Serbs and Yugoslav government. Later they started fighting each other, but US & West European pressure eventually put a stop to that. When the Yugoslav government started winning the war NATO sent in the air force to bomb them and support the separatists. Many atrocities were committed on both sides of the war, but Western governments and media emphasized and exaggerated Yugoslav and Serb atrocities while downplaying or ignoring atrocities committed by the separatists.

In 1995 the war came to an end, in a defeat for Yugoslavia. Under a UN fig leaf, NATO “peacekeeper” troops occupied much of the former Yugoslavia while Bosnia was made into a de-facto NATO colony, occupied by NATO troops and with a “high representative” responsible to foreign powers in charge of the country. Yugoslavia was dramatically shrunk, with only two out of six Republics, Serbia and Montenegro, remaining in the union (Macedonia had been allowed to peacefully leave the union in the early ’90s but at this time was still largely outside the Western sphere of influence).

The next phase of Clinton’s conquest of Yugoslavia began in the late ’90s when the CIA began covertly supporting the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), a terrorist organization that has been linked to Osama Bin Laden. The KLA launched a guerilla war in the Kosovo province of Serbia, advocating independence for Kosovo. In 1999, under the guise of “peace negotiations,” the US/NATO issued an ultimatum demanding Yugoslavia allow NATO troops to occupy the entire country. Yugoslavia obviously refused this unreasonable demand and Clinton used this refusal as an excuse to begin a major bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. After several months of bombing pulverized the country a peace deal was reached allowing NATO “peacekeeper” troops to occupy Kosovo (but not the rest of Yugoslavia), effectively turning the province into a NATO protectorate. A year later a revolt led by US-funded groups and politicians overthrew the Yugoslav government, putting pro-US/NATO leaders in charge. The new government abolished Yugoslavia and became a Western puppet. This conquest was completed shortly after Clinton left office, when KLA forces attacked Macedonia. Macedonia saw the writing on the wall and allowed NATO troops to occupy it. Clinton succeeded in not only ripping Yugoslavia apart, but in achieving US/NATO domination over the Balkans and in forcing an economic system favorable to Western investors on the region. A wave of privatization has swept over the former Yugoslavia, transforming it into a corporate capitalist economy colonized by Western capital.

The standard excuse Clinton used to justify the military interventions in Yugoslavia was that it was supposed to stop “ethnic cleansing”/”genocide” allegedly being perpetrated by the Serbs/Yugoslav government. This is obviously bogus because the US helped instigate the conflicts that lead to the various massacres in the war and also because Clinton largely turned a blind eye towards atrocities committed by separatist forces (like the massacres in Gospic and Krajina). It is also not credible because Clinton ignored other genocides (such as Rwanda) and even funded Turkey’s genocide against the Kurds, which occurred at roughly the same time and resulted in the slaughter of tens of thousands of Kurds.

The death toll of the democrats is quite large:

Greek Civil War: 160,000 (Truman)
Korean War: 3 million (Truman)
Assault on Indochina: 5 million (started under Truman, accelerated under Kennedy & LBJ)
Coup in Indonesia: 1 million (LBJ)
East Timor: 100,000 (Carter)
Kwangju Massacre: 2000 (Carter)
Argentine Dirty War: 30,000 (mostly Carter)
Iraq sanctions: 1.5 million (mostly Clinton)
Turkish Kurdistan: 40,000 (mostly Clinton)

That’s at least 10,8022,000 killed by democrats, 9,292,000 if one only counts the liberal governments (Clinton wasn’t really a liberal). For comparison, the Nazi holocaust killed roughly 6,000,000 Jews. And this is just the tip of the iceberg; these are only the most famous incidents over the last couple of decades. If you add up the total from periods preceding this and the less famous incidents the number get much, much higher. If you add in starvation (a direct result of capitalism) it gets even higher.

Democrats could have stopped the congressional authorization for the Iraq war (via filibustering) but instead lots of them defected to the warmongers’ side. They could have stopped many of the nasty things the Republicans are doing by filibuster but choose not to. Many democrats actively supported the war. Most of those who did oppose it offered little opposition, chickening out when the shooting started and either abstained or voted in favor of the pro-war “support our troops” resolution in March. Even Dennis Kucinich, leader of the “anti-war” opposition in the house, abstained from the vote instead of voting against it. It was only after Bush’s war started going sour that vocal criticism began to come from democrats, which is completely opportunistic. Bush’s lies and fabrications about the Niger Uranium had already been exposed prior to the war, but it wasn’t until after the invasion was completed and the democrats needed an issue to attack Bush with that they started whining about it.

The Democratic Party, the party of slavery, has a long history of mass murder and empire building. They are not an alternative to the American Empire. Especially on foreign policy, there is remarkable consistency between republican and democratic administrations. If the Nuremberg standards were applied every President since World War Two, both democrat and republican, would have to be hung. Both parties have the same basic goals; they just disagree on minor details. It would have been much harder for Bush to conquer Iraq (perhaps politically impossible) if Clinton hadn’t been waging war against it for his entire term. The policies implemented by the US government have more to do with the specific circumstances of the time period then with which particular individual happens to occupy the white house. If a democrat is elected he will inherit this Pax Americana and it is unlikely that he would dismantle it (or even be capable of dismantling it). A vote for the democrats is a vote for imperialism and war (as is a vote for the Republicans).

Enver Hoxha: The Theory and Practice of Revolution

I.

In his brilliant works about imperialism V. I. Lenin arrived at the conclusion that imperialism is a perishing and dying capitalism, the last stadium of capitalism and the eve of the social revolution of the proletariat. In the analysis of the specific characteristics of imperialism he wrote:

“… all this makes the state of development of capitalism which has been reached up to now into the era of the proletarian socialist revolution, … This era has begun” and “Part of this agenda of the present epoch is the multilateral immediate preparation of the proletariat for the conquest of political power in order to effect those economic and political measures which form the core of the socialist revolution.” (Lenin, Collected Works, volume 24, p. 420, German edition)

In defining the present epoch Lenin based himself on class criteria. He emphasised that it is important to consider

which class stands in the centre of this or that epoch and defines its essential content, the main direction of its development, the most important characteristics of the historic situation in the specific epoch, etc.” (Lenin, Collected Works, volume 21, p. 134, German edition)

Defining the fundamental content of the new historic epoch as the epoch of imperialism and proletarian revolutions, Lenin remained consistently loyal to the teachings of Marx about the historic mission of the proletariat as the new social force which will carry out the revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist society of oppression and exploitation and build the new society, the classless communist society.

“The Communist Manifesto” by Marx and Engels and their appeal: “Proletarians of all countries, unite!” was published in order to announce that the basic contradiction of human society was now the basic contradiction between labour and capital and that the proletariat was chosen to solve this contradiction through revolution. By his analysis of imperialism Lenin showed that the contradictions of the capitalist society had sharpened to the utmost and that the world had entered the epoch of the proletarian revolution and the triumph of socialism.

The Great Socialist October Revolution confirmed this brilliant conclusion by Marx and Lenin in practice. Even after Lenin’s death the communist world movement resolutely adhered to his teachings about the present epoch, it adhered to his revolutionary strategy. The triumph of the socialist revolution in several further countries proved that the Leninist thesis of the present epoch as epoch of transition from capitalism to socialism mirrors the basic laws of the development of today’s human society. The downfall of the colonial system, the achievement of political independence by the overwhelming majority of the countries of Asia, Africa and more are a further affirmation of the Leninist theory of the our epoch and the revolution. The fact that the teachings of Marxism-Leninism and the revolution were betrayed in the Soviet Union and a number of former socialist countries does not alter the Leninist thesis on the character of the present epoch in the least, because this is nothing but a turn and twist on the way to the inevitable victory of socialism over capitalism on the global scale.

The Albanian Party of Labour has always consistently upheld these Marxist-Leninist conclusions. Comrade Enver Hoxha said:

“On a daily base the main features of our epoch are sharpened and appear more and more clearly as the epoch of transition from capitalism to socialism, the struggle of two opposed social systems, as the epoch of the proletarian and national liberation revolutions, the downfall of imperialism and the liquidation of the colonial system, as the epoch of the triumph of socialism and communism on a global scale.” (Enver Hoxha, Report to the 5th Party Congress of the PLA)

The Marxist-Leninists always based the definition of the present epoch and the revolutionary strategy on the analysis of the great social contradictions which characterise this epoch. Which contradictions are these?

After the triumph of the socialist revolution in Russia, Lenin and Stalin were speaking about four contradictions:

– the contradiction between the two opposed systems — the socialist and the capitalist system

– the contradiction between capital and labour in the capitalist countries

– the contradiction between the oppressed peoples and nations on the one hand and imperialism on the other hand

– the contradiction between the imperialist powers

Exactly these contradictions build the objective foundation of the development of today’s revolutionary movement, which in their collectivity form the great process of the world revolution in our epoch. The complete current situation world wide proves that since Lenin’s times the contradictions have neither been moderated nor disappeared but on the contrary, haven been further sharpened and have come to the surface like never before. Therefore the knowledge and acknowledgement of these contradictions is the basis for defining a correct revolutionary strategy. The denial of these contradictions, concealing them, ignoring one or another of these contradictions, distorting their true meaning — like the revisionists and the various opportunists do — leads to confusion and disorder within the revolutionary movement and serves as foundation to construct and preach a distorted, pseudo-revolutionary strategy and tactic.

II.

Today there is much talk about the division of the world into the so-called “First”, “Second” and “Third World”, about a “non-aligned” world, about a world of “developing countires”, “of the South and the North” etc. Each advocate of these divisions portrays his “theory” as the most correct strategy which allegedly match the real circumstances and the current international situation. But it is like Comrade Enver Hoxha emphasised at the 7th Party Congress:

“… all of these terms which refer to the different political powers working in the world today conceal — and don’t reveal — the class character of these political powers, the basic contradictions of our epoch, the predominant key problem on the national and international scale today, the grim struggle which is waged between the bourgeois-revisionist world on the one hand and socialism, the world proletariat and its natural allies on the other hand.” (E. Hoxha, Report to the 7th Party Congress of the PLA)

If Marxist-Leninists speak about the world and the different countries and name them, they judge based on the principle of dialectical and historical materialism. They judge above all according to the existing socio-economic order in the different countries, according to the proletarian class criterion.

Exactly from this point of view V. I. Lenin wrote in the year 1921, so when only one socialist country, Soviet Russia, was existing in the world:

“Today (there are) two worlds in the world: the old — capitalism which has come to a dead end and will never back down and the new growing world which is yet very weak but which will become strong and big because it is invincible.”(Lenin, Collected Works, volume 33, p. 132, German edition)

J. V. Stalin also stressed in his famous scripture “Two Camps” already in 1919:

“The world has definitely and irrevocably split into two camps: the camp of imperialism and the camp of socialism… The struggle between these two camps constitutes the hub of present-day affairs, determines the whole substance of the present home and foreign policies of the leaders of the old and the new worlds.” (Stalin, Collected Works, volume 4, p. 205, German edition)

Our Party holds the opinion that we must talk about the socialist world today, too, like Lenin and Stalin did, that the Leninist criterion is always true, like Leninism itself is alive and true. The argument of the theoreticians of the “Three Worlds”, the “non-aligned world” etc., who eliminated the existence of socialism in their schemata by referring to the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union and in some other former socialist countries, to the dissolution of the socialist camp, is completely unfounded. This stands in absolute contrast to the Leninist teachings and the class criterion.

The revisionist betrayal, the return of the Soviet Union and a number of former socialist countries to capitalism, the spreading of modern revisionism widely in the international communist and workers’ movement and the splitting of this movement were a heavy blow to the cause of revolution and socialism. But this by no means implies that socialism was liquidated as a system and that the criterion of the division of the world into two opposing systems must be changed, that the contradiction between capitalism and socialism no longer exists today. Socialism exists and proceeds in the genuine socialist countries which are loyal to Marxism-Leninism, like the Socialist People’s Republic of Albania is. The socialist system which opposes itself to the capitalist system, exists objectively just like the contradiction and the struggle for life and death between it and capitalism exists.

By ignoring socialism as a social system, the so-called “Theory of Three Worlds” ignores the greatest historic victory of the international proletariat, ignores the fundamental contradiction of the time, the contradiction between socialism and capitalism. It is clear that such a theory, which ignores socialism, is anti-Leninist, it leads to the weakening of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the countries where socialism is being built, while calling on the world proletariat not to fight, not to rise in socialist revolution. And this is not surprising: the renunciation of the proletarian class criteria in the evaluation of the situation leads to conclusions which are contrary to the interests of the revolution and the proletariat.

As the great and consistent Marxist he was, Lenin frequently analysed the capitalist world and the balance of power within it in his works. He did this, however, in the service of the revolution, in order to determine the tasks which lay ahead of the proletariat, the tasks of the communist parties, the tasks of the first socialist state the proletarian towards the world revolution and in order to show who were the really allies of the revolution and who were its enemies.

Lenin gives us an excellent example in this regard in his theses and reports at the II Congress of the Communist International in the year 1920:

“Now we have to ‘prove’ by the practice of the revolutionary parties”, emphasises Lenin, “that they have enough consciousness, organisation, contact with the exploited masses, determination and the ability to exploit this crisis for a successful, for a victorious revolution. We came together at this congress of the Communist International mainly in order to prepare such evidence.”(Lenin, Collected Works, volume 31, p. 215, German edition)

The so-called “Theory of the Three World”, however, does not pose a single task for the revolution; on the contrary, it “forgets” to do so. In the schemata of the “Three Worlds” the basic contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie does not exist. What is also striking about this division of the world is the non-class view of what it calls “Third World”, the disregarding of classes and class struggle, the global treatment of countries which this theory counts to this world, the regimes which rule there and the different political powers which exist there. This way the contradiction between the oppressed peoples and the reactionary and pro-imperialist powers in their countries.

It is common knowledge that a fierce struggle of the freedom-loving peoples for freedom, independence and national sovereignty is led against the old and new colonialism in the countries exploited by imperialism, the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. This is a just revolutionary and liberation struggle which enjoys the unreserved support of the Marxist-Leninists, the genuine socialist countries, the world proletariat and all progressive forces.

This struggle is and inevitably has to be directed against multiple enemies:

 – against the imperialist exploiters, first and foremost against the two superpowers as the greatest exploiters and world police, the most dangerous enemies of all peoples of the world

– against the national reactionary bourgeoisie which is connected by thousands of strings with the foreign imperialism, with this or that superpower, with the international monopolies and which is the enemy of freedom and national independence

– against the strong remains of feudalism upon which the foreign imperialists base themselves on and which allies itself with the reactionary bourgeoisie against the people’s revolution

– against the reactionary and fascist regimes, the agents and defenders of the rule of these three enemies

Therefore it is absurd to claim one only had to struggle against external enemies without at the same time fighting and challenging the inner enemies, the allies and accomplices of imperialism, all those factors which hinder this struggle. Until now there was never a liberation struggle, there was never a national-democratic and anti-imperialist revolution which did not have inner enemies, reactionaries and traitors, bought and anti-national elements. One cannot — like the so-called theory of the “Three Worlds” does — equal all strata of the bourgeoisie without any exception, including the comprador bourgeoisie, with anti-imperialist forces, with the foundation and the factors which further the struggle against imperialism.

To follow this theory means to distract the revolutionary movement from the right way, to desert the revolution halfway, to separate it from the proletarian revolutions in the other countries, to the drive the struggle of the peoples and the proletariat of these countries into an anti-Marxist and revisionist way.

Marxism-Leninism teaches that the national question always has to be examined subject to the question of the revolution. From this point of view the Marxist-Leninists support each movement which is actually aimed against imperialism and serves the common cause of the proletarian world revolution.

“We as communists”, emphasises Lenin, “(have to and will) only support the bourgeois liberation movements in the colonial countries when these movements are really revolutionary, when their representatives do not prevent us from educating and organising the peasantry and the broad masses of the exploited in the revolutionary spirit. But if these conditions are not given then the communists in these countries have to fight the reformist bourgeoisie to which the heroes of the Second International belong. (Lenin, Collected Works, volume 31, p. 230, German edition)

The preachers of the thesis of the “Third World” label even more as liberation movement, as the “main force in the struggle against imperialism”, even the horse-trade of the King of Saudi-Arabia or of the Shah of Iran with the petroleum monopolies of the USA, their weapon transactions in the amount of billions and billions of dollars with the Pentagon. According to this logic the oil sheiks, who let the money from their oil flow into Wall Street and the banks of the USA, are fighters against imperialism and advocates of the people’s struggle against the imperialist rule. So this means that the US-imperialists, who sell their weapons to the reactionary and oppressive regimes of these sheiks, give these weapons the “patriotic” forces who struggle to drive the imperialists away from the “golden sands” of Arabia and Persia.

The facts prove that today, too, the anti-imperialist and democratic liberating revolution can only be consistent and brought to an end if it is lead by the proletariat with its party at the spearhead in alliance with the broad masses and the peasantry and the other anti-imperialist and patriotic forces.

Already in 1905 Lenin demonstrated in his book “Two Tactics” in detail that under the conditions of imperialism the characteristic of the bourgeois-democratic revolution consist in the fact that the force which is most interested in furthering the revolution is not the bourgeoisie, which is inconsistent and tends to ally itself with the feudal reactionary forces against the revolutionary impetus of the masses, but the proletariat which views the bourgeois-democratic revolution as an interim stage of the transition to the socialist revolution. The same applies for the current national liberation movements. J. V. Stalin emphasised that after the October Revolution

“The era of liberating revolutions in the colonies, the era of the awakening of the proletariat in those countries, the era of its hegemony, has begun.” (Stalin, Collected Works, volume 10, p. 212, German edition)

These Leninist teachings achieve a special value and a special meaning under the current given conditions. Today the two tendencies which Lenin pointed out have deepened and operate with great force in the world:

– one the one hand the tendency of the capitalist monopolies which break the national borders and internationalise the economic and political life

– on the other hand the tendency of the different countries to the intensify the struggle for national independence

This way, in regard to the first tendency, the connections of the national bourgeoisie with the foreign imperialist capital are not only maintained in many countries liberated from the yoke of colonialism but further increased and extended by a multitude of neo-colonialist forms like the multinational companies, the different economic and financial integrations, etc., etc. This bourgeoisie, which holds the key position in the economic and political life of the country and grows steadily, is a pro-imperialist power and an enemy of the revolutionary and liberation movement. With regard to the other tendency, namely the increase of the national independence towards imperialism in the former colonial countries, it is above all connected to the growth of the proletariat in these countries. This means that more favourable conditions arise for the extensive and consistent realisation of the anti-imperialist and democratic revolution, for its leadership by the the proletariat and thus its transition to a higher phase, to the struggle for socialism.

The Marxist-Leninists do not confuse the burning efforts and wishes of the peoples and the proletariat of the countries of the so-called “Third World” for liberation, revolution and socialism with the aims and the policies of the comprador and oppressive bourgeoisie of these countries. They know that there are sound progressive currents in the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, within the peoples, who will further their revolutionary struggle determined until victory. But speaking about the so-called “Third World” as main force against imperialism and as main force of the revolution – like the followers of the theory of the “Three Worlds” do without making any difference between the genuine anti-imperialist and revolutionary forces and the ruling pro-imperialist, reactionary and fascist forces in a number of developing countries — means to openly abandon the teachings of Marxism-Leninism and to preach typical opportunistic views which cause confusion and disorder among the revolutionary forces. Basically the peoples of these countries, according to the “Theory of the Three Worlds”, are not allowed to fight, let’s say, the bloodthirsty fascist dictatorships of Geisel in Brazil and Pinochet in Chile, Suharto in Indonesia, the Shah of Iran and the King of Jordania, etc., because they all belong to the “revolutionary driving force, which turns the wheel of world history”. On the contrary, according to this theory the peoples and revolutionaries had to ally with the reactionary forces and regimes in the “Third World” and support them, in other words, abandon the revolution.

US-imperialism, the other capitalist states and Soviet social-imperialism have bound the ruling classes of the countries of the so-called “Third World” to themselves with thousands of strings. Of course these classes, which are dependant on the foreign monopolies and want to prolong their reign over the broad mass of their people, try to create the impression that they have formed a democratic block of independent states with the aim to put pressure upon US-imperialism and the Soviet social-imperialists and thus allegedly prevent interference in the interior affairs of their states.

Lenin pointed out towards the communist parties the necessity “to constantly expose and denounce every fraud the imperialist powers systematically commit by allegedly creating politically independent states, which are in fact dependent on them economical, financially and in questions of military to the broadest mass of working people of all countries, but especially of the backward countries.” (Lenin, Collected Works, volume 31, p. 138, German edition) . The Party of Labour of Albania loyally adheres to these immortal teachings of Lenin. “In the evaluation of the policies of the different governments and states” Comrade Enver Hoxha emphasised at the 7th Party Congress of the PLA, “the Marxists also base themselves on the standpoint of class, on the attitude which these governments and these countries display towards imperialism and socialism, towards their own people and the reaction.

Based on these teachings the revolutionary movement and the proletariat build their strategy and tactic, find their true allies in the struggle against imperialism, the bourgeoisie and the reaction and unite with them. The term “Third World”, “non-aligned world” or “developing countries” create the illusion among the broad masses who fight for national and social liberation that a hideout was discovered which protects us from the threat of the superpowers. They conceal the reactionary state of most of these countries which are in this or that way politically, ideologically or economical identical, bound to the superpowers as well as to their former colonial metropolises and are dependant on both.” (E. Hoxha, Report to the 7th Party Congress of the PLA)

The modern theories about the so-called “Third World”, the so-called “non-aligned world”, etc. aim at damming the revolution and defending capitalism which is not to be hindered while exercising its hegemony but is to practice a few more acceptable forms of ruling the peoples. The so-called “Third World” and the “non-aligned world” are as like as two peas in a pot, irrespective of their different names; they let themselves be guided by the same policy and ideology, one group entwines itself with the other so that it is difficult to spot which countries belong to the “Third World” and what differs them from the “non-aligned” and which states belong to the “non-aligned” and what differs them from the states of the “Third World”. There are efforts to create yet another group, namely of the so-called “developing countries”, where the countries of the “Third World” as well as the “non-aligned” are lumped together. The authors of this theory conceal the class contradictions as well, preach the given status quo in order not to hurt imperialism, social-imperialism and the other imperialist powers by any means, provided they hand out alms for the construction of the economy of the “developing countries”. According to them the superpowers have to make some “sacrifices”, to cough up something for the hungry so that they can somehow manage to live and don’t get rebellious. That way, they claim, a compromise will be found, a “new international order” will be created in which everyone, rich or poor, exploiter or exploited will live “without war”, “without armament”, “in harmony”, “in class peace”, in coexistence á la Khrushchev. Exactly because these three “inventions” have the same content and the same aims we can notice that there is full harmony among the “leaderships” [English in the original text] of the “non-aligned countries”, the “Third World” and the “World of the developing countries”. Together they deceive the masses, the proletariat and the peoples by their theories and sermons in order to lead them away from revolutionary struggle.

The theory of the “Three Worlds” does not only disregard the contradiction between the two opposite social systems — socialism and capitalism — as well as the great contradiction between wage labour and capital but also does not analyse the other great contradiction, namely the contradiction between the oppressed peoples and world imperialism which they reduce solely to the contradiction to the two superpowers, indeed even mainly to one of them. This “theory” totally ignores the contradiction between the oppressed peoples and nations on the one hand and the other imperialist powers. And not only this, the followers of the theory of the “Three Worlds” call for an alliance of the “Third World” with these imperialist countries and with US-imperialism against Soviet social-imperialism.

One of the arguments which is given in order to justify the division of the world into three worlds consists of the claim that today the imperialist camp, which existed after World War II and in which American imperialism ruled, has allegedly collapsed and as a result of the uneven development of the different imperialisms ceased to exist. The supporters of this theory claim that today one could no more speak of a single imperialist world, because first of all the Western imperialist powers allegedly rose against the American ruler and secondly an always increasing fierce rivalry between the two imperialist superpowers, USA and Soviet Union, exists.

Since the stage of imperialism the inter-imperialist contradictions exist as a result of the uneven development of the different capitalist countries, they exist, deepen continuously and depending on the circumstances and conditions inter-imperialist alliances, blocks and groups form and dissolve again — this is the ABC of Marxism-Leninism. Lenin proved in detail that this typical characteristic of imperialism, which gives testimony of imperialism as the last stage of capitalism, approaching decay more and more every day, is an objective law. But does this mean that the imperialist world as social system has ceased to exist as result of these contradictions and is divided into several worlds, that the socio-economic nature of this or that imperialism has changed? By no means. The current factors do not give evidence about a collapse of the imperialist world but about one single imperialist world system which is characterised by the existence of the two great imperialist blocks today: one the one hand the Western imperialist block with US-imperialism at its head with its inter-imperialist instruments like organisms as NATO, EEC, etc., and on the other hand the block of the East under the leadership of Soviet social-imperialism with the Warsaw Pact and Comecon as its instruments of expansionist, hegemonic and war policies.

In the schema of the “Three World” imperialist, capitalist and revisionist countries belong to the so-called “Second World”, countries which do not feature significant differences in regard to the social order of the two superpowers and are also not different to various countries classified as belonging to the “Third World”. Indeed, the countries of this “world” show certain contradictions to both superpowers but these are contradictions of inter-imperialist character like the contradictions between the two superpowers are, too. In the first instance they are contradictions between such imperialisms like the West German, Japanese, British, French, Canadian, etc. and one or the other superpower as well as between themselves in regard to markets, spheres of influence, regions for capital export and the exploitation of the wealth of others.

Of course these contradictions weaken the imperialist world system and are in the interest of the struggle of the proletariat and the peoples. But it is anti-Marxist to equal the contradictions between the different imperialist powers and both superpowers with the struggle of the working masses and the peoples against imperialism and for its destruction.

It can happen by no means that the countries of the so-called “Second World”, in other words, the ruling monopolist bourgeoisie there, become allies of the oppressed peoples and nations in the struggle against the two superpowers and world imperialism. History after World War II shows clearly that these countries supported and still support the aggressive policies and actions of US-imperialism like in Korea and in Vietnam, in the Middle East and in Africa, etc. They are ardent defenders of neo-colonialism and the old order of inequality in international economic relations. The allies of Soviet social-imperialism in the “Second World” participated together with it in the occupation of Czechoslovakia and are eager advocates of its expansionist policy in the different regions of the earth. The countries of the so-called “Second World” are the economic and military main support of the aggressive and expansionist alliances of the two superpowers.

The supporters of the theory of the three worlds claim that it gives great possibilities for exploitation of inter-imperialist contradictions. The contradictions in the rows of the enemy have to be exploited, but in which way and to what aim? Generally they always have to be exploited for the sake of the revolution, the sake of the peoples and their freedom, for the sake of socialism. Generally the exploitation of the contradictions between the enemies have to lead to the growth and the intensification of the revolutionary and liberation movement and not to its weakening and its downturn, they have to lead to an always more and more active mobilisation of the revolutionary powers in the struggle against the enemies, especially against their main enemies without letting even a single illusion about their character emerge among the peoples.

To make the inter-imperialist contradictions absolute, to underestimate the basic contradiction, namely the contradiction between the revolution and the counter-revolution, to make only the exploitation of contradictions within the camp of the enemy the centre of the strategy while forgetting the most important point — the strengthening of the revolutionary spirit and the development of the revolutionary movement of the working class and the peoples -, to leave the preparation for the revolution aside, all this is in absolute contrasts to the teachings of Marxism-Leninism. It is anti-Marxist to preach unity with the allegedly weaker imperialism for the struggle against the stronger one under the pretext of exploiting contradictions, to side with the national bourgeoisie in order to resist the bourgeoisie of another country. Lenin stressed that the tactic of the exploiting of contradictions between the enemies should be used to raise and not to reduce the general level of proletarian class consciousness, the revolutionary spirit, the confidence of the masses in struggle and victory.

The Party of Labour of Albania has consistently adhered to these immortal teachings and always consistently adheres to them.

“In these moments of the great crisis of imperialism and modern revisionism”, Comrade Enver Hoxha said, “we have to exploit the great contradiction between the enemies correctly for our sake, for the sake of the socialist states and the peoples rising for the revolution, have to unmask the enemies constantly and must not be content with the so-called concessions and cooperations the imperialists and revisionists make perforce until they have left the danger behind them to take revenge afterwards. Therefore we have to keep the iron steadily in the fire and forge it constantly.” (E. Hoxha, Report to the 7th Party Congress of the PLA)

By portraying the so-called “Second World”, to which most capitalist and neo-colonialist countries belong and which presents the main pillar of the two superpowers, as ally of the “Third World” in the alleged struggle against US-imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism the anti-revolutionary and pseudo-imperialist character of the theory of the “Three Worlds” becomes evident.

It is an anti-revolutionary “theory” because class truce is preached to the European, Japanese, Canadian and other proletariat which has to struggle against the ruling monopoly of the bourgeoisie and exploitative order in the countries of the “Second World”, and also the collaboration with the bourgeoisie, meaning an abandonment of the revolution because allegedly this is in the interests of the defence of national independence and of the struggle especially against Soviet social-imperialism.

Furthermore it is a pseudo-anti-imperialist theory because it justifies and supports the neo-colonialist and exploitative policies of the imperialist powers of the “Second World” and calls upon the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America not to resist this policy, allegedly for the sake of the struggle against the superpowers. This way, the anti-imperialist struggle of the peoples of the so-called “Third World” as well as of the so-called “Second World” is actually weakened and sabotaged.

III.

A revolutionary strategy is one which puts central emphasis on the revolution.

“The strategy and tactics of Leninism”, Stalin wrote, “constitute the science of leading the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat.” (Stalin, Foundations of Leninism)

The Leninist strategy sees the proletarian world revolution as one single process, consisting of several great revolutionary currents of our epoch where the international proletariat is centred.

This revolutionary process takes place continuously in countries which are treading the way of genuine socialism as irreconcilable and fierce struggle between the two ways — the socialist and the capitalist way — for the achievement of the complete and final victory of the first over the second, in order to avert the danger of retrogression by counter-revolutionary violence and imperialist aggression or by the bourgeois-revisionist peaceful degeneration once and for all. The revolutionaries and peoples of the whole world follow the this struggle with lively interest and view it as a vital issue for the sake of the revolution and of socialism on a global scale. They give the socialist countries their whole support and backing against every assault of imperialism at these countries because in the socialist countries they see a strong basis and a mighty centre of the revolution, they see the practical realisation of the ideals for which they fight themselves. Lenin’s ideas about the necessity and primary importance of help and support from the part of the international proletariat for the country in which the socialist revolution was victorious are immortal. However, this requires at all times that it is a truly socialist country which applies the revolutionary teachings of Marxism-Leninism with utmost strictness and which consistently holds on to proletarian internationalism. In the case that it transforms into a capitalist country and only keep a fake “socialist” mask it must not be supported.

The revolutionaries and peoples know that the success and the struggle of the socialist countries hit and weaken imperialism, the bourgeoisie and the international reaction, that they are an immediate help and aid for the revolutionary liberation struggle of the working class and the peoples.

Lenin and Stalin always saw it as a revolutionary duty of the proletariat of a socialist country not only to make every possible effort to develop socialism in their own country but to wholeheartedly support the revolutionary liberation movement in other countries.

“Lenin”, J. V. Stalin wrote, “never regarded the Republic of Soviets as an end in itself. He always looked on it as an essential link for strengthening the revolutionary movement in the countries of the West and the East, an essential link for facilitating the victory of the working people of the whole world over capitalism. Lenin knew that this was the only right conception, both from the international standpoint and from the standpoint of preserving the Republic of Soviets itself.” (Stalin, On the Death of Lenin)

Exactly because of this a genuine socialist country cannot integrate itself into such groupings as the so-called “Third World” or the so-called “non-aligned countries” where all class boundaries are blurred and which solely serve the goal of diverting the peoples from the path of struggle against imperialism and from the revolution.

True and reliable allies of the socialist countries can only be the revolutionary, freedom-loving and progressive forces, the revolutionary movement of the working class and the anti-imperialist movement of oppressed peoples and nations. To preach the division into “Three Worlds”, to ignore the fundamental contradictions of our epoch, to call for an alliance of the proletariat with the monopoly bourgeoisie and of the oppressed peoples with the imperialist powers of the so-called “Second World” is neither for the betterment of the international proletariat nor of the peoples or the socialist countries, it is anti-Leninist. J. V. Stalin stressed:

“I cannot imagine that there will ever be a case when the interests of our Soviet Republic demand deviations to the right from our brother parties… I cannot imagine that the interests of our republic, which is the basis of the revolutionary proletarian movement of the whole world, would ever demand not a maximum of revolutionary verve and political activity of the Western workers but a decrease of this activity, hindering the revolutionary impetus.” (Stalin, Collected Works, volume 8, p. 97, German edition)

In the metropolises of capitalism the process of the proletarian world revolution gets more and more concrete today in the always increasing class struggles of the proletariat and the other working and progressive strata against bourgeois exploitation and oppression, against the attempts of the bourgeoisie to shift the burden of the current crisis of the capitalist world system on to the shoulders of the working class, against the revival of fascism in this or that form, etc. Among the working class, with the proletariat at its head, the conviction becomes accepted and will become more accepted each day that the only way out off the crises and other evils of capitalism, the bourgeois exploitation, the fascist violence and the imperialist wars is the socialist revolution and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Live and the facts prove that neither the bourgeoisie nor their declared or disguised lackeys, from the social democrats to the modern revisionists, are able to hold up the surging wave of the revolutionary struggle of the masses.

“The present struggle of the world proletariat”, Comrade Enver Hoxha stressed at the 7th Party Congress of the PLA, “proves again the basic thesis of Marxism-Leninism that working class and its revolutionary struggle in the bourgeois and revisionist world can suppressed neither by violence nor by demagogy.”

The objective conditions for the revolution in the developed capitalist nations become more positive with every day. Today in these countries the proletarian revolution is a problem whose solution has to be faced. The Marxist-Leninist parties, which have taken up the banner of the revolution that the revisionists have betrayed and dropped, have rightfully readied themselves for the task and started seriously on the work of preparing the proletariat and its allies for the future revolutionary battles aimed at the downfall of bourgeois order. This revolutionary struggle which attacks the capitalist and imperialist world order in its strongholds has the full support of the true socialist countries as well as the revolutionary and peace-loving peoples on the whole world and must necessarily have them. Today, however, the modern revisionists, the advocates of the theory of the “Three Worlds” and the theoreticians of “non-alignment”, are making an effort by keeping silent about the revolution and its preparations and by upholding the status quo of the capitalist social order.

By trying to divert the attention of the proletariat from the revolution, the authors of the theory of the “Three Worlds” preach that nowadays the question of the defence of national independence opposing the danger of aggression from the part of the superpowers, especially from Soviet social-imperialism which they consider to be as arch-enemy, has taken precedence. The question of defining who — at a given time — is considered to be the arch-enemy on an international scale is of great importance for the revolutionary movement. Our party which takes into consideration the course of events and class analysis of the current situation, underlines that US-imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism, both them superpowers, are today “the biggest and the main enemies of the peoples” and as such “present the same kind of danger” (E. Hoxha, Report to the 7th Party Congress of the PLA).

Soviet social-imperialism is a brutal, aggressive and expansionist imperialism which practices an exceedingly colonialist and neo-colonialist policy which is based on the power of capital and weapons. This new imperialism is struggling as a rival of US-imperialism in order to conquer strategic positions and to extend its clutches to all regions and continents. It excels as a fire extinguisher of the revolution and oppressor of the liberation struggle of the peoples. This does not mean in the least that the other enemy of the peoples of the whole world, namely US-imperialism, is less dangerous, although the supporters of the theory of the “Three Worlds” say so. By disfiguring the truth and betraying the peoples they claim that American imperialism is no longer a warmonger, that it is allegedly weakened, that it is in decline and that it has turned into a frightened mouse — or in other words that US-imperialism is gradually becoming more peaceful. This goes so far that they justify even the American military presence in different countries like Germany, Belgium, Italy or Japan and label it as a factor of military defence. Such views are extremely dangerous to the freedom of the peoples and for the fates of the revolution. Such theses fuel illusions about the aggressive, hegemonistic and expansionist nature of US-imperialism as well as Soviet imperialism.

The proletariat and the proletarian revolution face the task of overthrowing each single imperialism and especially both imperialist superpowers. Because of its nature each imperialism is always a furious enemy of the proletarian revolution and therefore the classification of imperialisms in more or less dangerous kinds is false from the strategic viewpoint of world revolution. Practice has confirmed that both superpowers are to the same degree and at the same level the arch-enemy of socialism, the liberty and independence of the nations, it is the main force for the defence of the oppressive and exploitative systems, the immediate danger which threatens to pitch humanity into a third world war. The denial of the great truth, the underestimation of the danger of one or another superpower, or worse, the appeal to ally with one superpower against the other bears disastrous consequences and great dangers for the future of the revolution and the freedom of the peoples.

Of course it happens and can happen that one or another country is oppressed and threatened by one of the superpowers directly but this never ever means that the other superpower poses no danger for just this country and even less that the other superpower has become an enemy of this country. The principle “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” cannot be applied if it is a matter of the two imperialist superpowers: the USA and the Soviet Union. These two superpowers are fighting with all means against the revolution and against socialism, they undertake all possible efforts to sabotage the revolution and socialism and suffocate both in blood. The two superpowers are fighting in order to expand their rule and exploitation to different peoples and countries. Experience shows that they attack brutally first in the one region and next in another in order to reach for the peoples with their bloodstained claws and that they furiously form up for attack so that they can oust each other. As soon as the people of one country succeeds at shaking off the rule of the one superpower, the other immediately approaches. The Middle East and Africa fully confirm this.

The other great current of the world revolution in our epoch is the national liberation struggle of the peoples which is directed against imperialism, neo-colonialism and the colonial remains. The Marxist-Leninists and the world proletariat are solidly united with the national liberation struggles of the oppressed peoples and lend it all their support because they consider these struggles to be a very important and irreplaceable factor in the development of the revolutionary world process. The Party of Labour of Albania was and always is on the side of the peoples who struggle for freedom and national independence:

“We are in favour of the unity of the world proletariat and all upright anti-imperialist and progressive forces which thwart the aggressive plans of the imperialist and social-imperialist warmongers.”

The Party of Labour of Albania and the Albanian people who consistently adhere to this line… will… also in the future not spare any effort and will fight together with the other anti-imperialist and anti-social-imperialist peoples, together with all Marxist-Leninist parties, all revolutionaries and the world proletariat, with all progressive humans for the failure of the plans and manoeuvres of the enemies and for the triumph of the case of freedom and safety of the peoples.

Our country will always be on the side of all the peoples whose freedom and independence are threatened and whose rights are injured.” (E. Hoxha, Report to the 7th Party Congress of the PLA)

 Comrade Enver Hoxha expressed this unshakable conviction in the name of the party and the Albanian state in the speech at the people’s assembly for the enactment of our new constitution:

“Most peoples of the earth”, he explained, “are making great efforts and they insistently resist the colonial laws and the neo-colonial reign, the old and new rules, practices, conventions and one-sided treaties which have been put up by the bourgeoisie in order to keep up the exploitation of the peoples, the detested differences and discriminations in the international relations… the progressive peoples and the democratic states which cannot accept this state and struggle to achieve national sovereignty over their resources, which struggle to strengthen the political and economic independence and to achieve equality in the international relations have the full solidarity and support of the Albanian people and the Albanian state.”

Since the time of Lenin, the Marxist-Leninists have always considered the national liberation struggle of the peoples and nations oppressed by imperialism as a strong ally and great reserve of the world revolution of the proletariat.

In the countries which have achieved political independence completely or partially, the revolution is in different stages of development and it does not face the same tasks. Among them are countries which are directly facing the proletarian revolution while in many others the tasks of the anti-imperialist, national-democratic Revolution are in order. But the revolution is in any case an ally and a reserve of the proletarian world revolution as long as it is also directed against the international bourgeoisie and imperialism.

But does this means that such country has to stop at the national-democratic phase and that the revolutionaries must not speak about the socialist revolution, must not prepare it out of fear of skipping stages and leaving them out and because somebody might call them “Blanquists”?! Lenin already spoke about the necessity of the transformation of the bourgeois-democratic revolution into the socialist revolution at a time when the bourgeois-democratic revolution was still only budding in these countries. Marx and Engels, while criticising Blanquism, have called neither the revolution in 1848 nor the Paris Commune premature. Marxism-Leninism in no way mistakes the petty bourgeois impatience which leads to skipping stages with the necessity to perpetuate the revolution consistently.

Lenin stresses that the revolution in the dependent and colonial countries has to be promoted. Since the time of Lenin great changes have taken place in these countries which haven been foreseen by him in a brilliant way and in which the Leninist thesis of the revolutionary world process finds its answer. The realisation of the proletarian revolution is an universal law and the main trend of our epoch. Both must and will necessarily permeate all countries without exception, among them Indonesia and Chile, Brazil and Zaire, etc., regardless of the question by which stages the proletarian revolution will be accomplished. Disregarding this aim, preaching the preservation of the status quo and theorising about the “necessity not to skip any stages”, forgetting the fight against Suharto and Pinochet, Geisel and Mobutu means being neither for the national liberation struggle nor for the national-democratic revolution.

The proletarian revolution must and will permeate Europe, too. Whoever forgets this perspective, whoever doesn’t prepare for this aim but preaches instead that the revolution has shifted to Africa or Asia and that the European proletariat has to ally itself with its “reasonable and well-meaning” bourgeoisie under the pretext of defending national independence, is someone who takes an anti-Leninist stance and who is not in favour of the defence of the mother country and for the nation’s freedom. Whoever “forgets” that both the Warsaw Treaty and the NATO have to be fought, and that both the Comecon and the EEC have to be rejected, is someone who allies himself with them and becomes their slave.

In the “Manifesto of the Communist Party” Marx and Engels wrote: “A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre.”

This statement by Marx and Engels is topical today, too. Both the temporary defeat which the revolution suffered because of the revisionist betrayal and the economic potential and the military oppressive power which imperialism and social-imperialism use to oppose the revolutionary movement and the ideas of communism have not been able and will never be able either to change the course of history and thus to bring the great power of Marxism-Leninism to its knees.

Marxism-Leninism is the revolutionary ideology which has penetrated deeply into the consciousness of the proletariat and which has an ever increasing influence on the broad masses of the peoples seeking liberation. The influence of this theory is so strong that even the bourgeois ideologists have always been forced to reckon with it, and they have never ceased trying to find ways and means to disfigure Marxism-Leninism and to undermine the revolution.

The current anti-Leninist theories of the “Three Worlds”, the “non-alignment”, etc., also aim at undermining the revolution, to fight back the struggle against imperialism, especially the American one, to divide the Marxist-Leninist movement and the unity of the proletariat propagated by Marx and Lenin, to create a number of groups of anti-Marxist elements so that fight against the true Marxist-Leninist parties which are loyally stick to Marxism-Leninism and to the revolution.

All efforts to analyse the situation in an allegedly new manner which is different from that of Lenin and Stalin and to change the revolutionary strategy which has always been upheld by the Marxist-Leninist movement lead astray, making one take the anti-Marxist path and turning one’s back on the struggle against imperialism and revisionism. The loyalty towards Marxism-Leninism, towards the revolutionary strategy of the Marxist-Leninist communist movement, and the fight against all opportunist deviations which the modern revisionists of different colour propagate as well as the revolutionary mobilisation of the working class and the peoples against the bourgeoisie and imperialism as well as the serious preparation for the revolution are the only true way, indeed the only way towards victory.

Source

Congo: One hundred years of colonialism, dictatorship and war (1908-2008)

January 2, 2009

by Kambale Musavuli and Maurice Carney

2008 marked the 100-year anniversary of the removal of the Congo from King Leopold II of Belgium as his own personal property. Global outrage at the King’s brutal rule resulted in his losing the Congo treasure trove on Nov. 15, 1908.

Leopold II accumulated spectacular wealth for himself and the Belgian state during his 23-year dominion (1885-1908) over the Congo. During this period, an estimated 10 million Congolese lost their lives while Leopold systematically looted the Congo of its rubber and ivory riches. Congo was then handed over to Belgium, which ruled as a colonial power from 1908 to 1960.

Congo finally got its independence on June 30, 1960, when Patrice Emery Lumumba, its first democratically elected prime minister took office. Unfortunately, the Western powers, primarily the United States and Belgium, could not allow a fiercely independent African to consolidate his power over such a geo-strategic prize as the Congo. Lumumba was removed from power in a Western-backed coup within weeks and assassinated on Jan. 17, 1961.

Belgium apologized for its role in Lumumba’s assassination in 2002, yet the U.S. still downplays its role in murdering this great young leader. The U.S. replaced Lumumba with the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and backed him until he was overthrown in 1997.

The overthrow of Mobutu unleashed an ongoing resource war that has caused deep strife and unbearable suffering for the Congolese people, particularly the women and the children. It is estimated that nearly 6 million Congolese have been killed since the 1996 invasion by Rwanda and Uganda with support from the United States and other Western nations.

A century later, Congo is at another crossroads. In spite of the advances in technology and the shrinking of the world, it is curious that there is such silence around the suffering of the Congolese people due to the exploitation of powerful corporate and foreign forces beyond its people’s immediate control. Unlike the early 1900s, remarkably, today there are few if any voices the likes of Mark Twain, who wrote “King Leopold’s Soliloquy,” Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness” (often misread as Congo or Africa being dark, but he was referring to the dark hearts of the exploiters of the Congo), and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame, who wrote “Crime in the Congo.”

The Congo Reform movement that drew from the work of African Americans such as William Sheppard and George Washington Williams and led by European figures such as Robert Casement and E.D. Morel gave birth to the modern international human rights movement.

One hundred years later we are again calling on the global community to be at the side of the Congolese. This time, there is one fundamental difference: The Congolese are agents in this narrative and the call this time is not for a handover to a colonial power or neo-colonial institutions but rather to the people of the Congo.

The clarion call is for combating the forces – local elites and rebels, foreign governments, foreign corporations and multi-lateral institutions – that have the Congolese people in a death trap. The charity prism of the humanitarian industry is not the answer. It only perpetuates dependency and dis-empowerment.

Should Congo be truly liberated, the Darfurizaton (emptying of agency from the afflicted people) of the global movement in support of the Congo must be avoided at all costs. Congolese must be agents rather than objects in the pursuit of the control of their land and their lives.

The sovereignty of the people and control and ownership of the riches of their land is the fundamental human right for which we must advocate. It is a call not only for the Congo but the entire African continent.

Become a part of the global movement to “Break the Silence” as the Congolese pursue true sovereignty and liberty.

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Forty years of African Liberation Day! Time to build the Party to complete the struggle

Published Dec 2, 2011

When the first African Liberation Day (ALD) demonstration was held in 1972, the U.S. front of the African liberation movement was reeling from deathblows being delivered by the U.S. government in a counteroffensive that had littered the international landscape with the bodies of murdered black freedom fighters around the world.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of others were rounded up at gunpoint and herded into concentration camp jails and prisons in the U.S.

This was the U.S. response to the changing world that was reducing the list of hosts that U.S. and European parasitic capitalism relied on for its existence.

Since the bloody carnage of the second imperialist world war between the U.S. and European powers to re-divide the world, the struggles of the peoples beaten down by imperial white power had escalated to an alarming degree.

The independence of India, which occurred in 1947, was followed by the success of the Chinese revolution in 1949.

Peoples of all countries were demanding freedom from white power.

And although the 1950s saw the temporary success of imperialism in overturning progressive governments in Iran and Guatemala, and defeating the revolutionary resistance movement of the Kenyan Land and Freedom Army, the Mau Mau resistance in Kenya and the successful 1959 Cuban revolution set off a chain of events in South America, Africa and elsewhere that presaged a bleak future for imperialism.

The struggle of African people in the U.S. had seen the ebbs and flows being experienced by freedom movements worldwide.

The second imperialist world war gave impetus to mass movements that were first characterized as democratic or civil rights struggles, eventually shedding their pacifist and reformist skins to raise the true anti-colonial demand for power, Black Power!

It was bloody.

Mobutu Sese Seko and other neo-colonial leaders were installed by the West to undermine proletarian revolution and African liberation

Patrice Lumumba was overthrown and murdered in the Congo in 1961, and Kwame Nkrumah was deposed in Ghana by U.S. imperialism in 1966. In the U.S. Malcolm X was murdered by U.S. agents in 1965.

Martin Luther King Jr. and Fred Hampton both were assassinated in 1968, and in Bolivia, Che Guevara was murdered by CIA-led mercenaries in 1967.

Nevertheless, the 1960s held out the promise of a liberated future for African people worldwide.

Algeria won its independence in 1962 and in Ethiopia, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), a distorted, diversionary response to Kwame Nkrumah’s call for a united continental African state was created in 1963.

It was on May 25, at the founding of the OAU, that it was resolved to make that date African Liberation Day.

Despite that historic declaration, however, liberation struggles of African people remained unresolved in Africa and elsewhere.

At the time of the OAU founding, the struggle within the U.S. was shaking the ideological and political fabric of the country to its core.

Liberation movements were blazing in Rhodesia, southwest Africa, Guinea Bissau, South Africa, Mozambique and Angola. These struggles continued to illuminate our possibilities, even after we had suffered some of our most serious setbacks.

On May 27, 1972, the first ALD mobilizations took to the streets as a direct response to the call of the liberation struggles being waged on the continent of Africa.

It was while organizing for this momentous event that the African People’s Socialist Party was founded, through unification of three mainly Florida-based organizations that came together to participate in the May 27 ALD mobilization.

African People’s Socialist Party Chairman, Omali Yeshitela, was a founding and participating member of the ALD’s coordinating committee, which organized the initial ALD mobilization.

African Liberation Day 2012 occurs on the 40th anniversary of the first ALD mobilization.

It is also the 40th anniversary of the founding of the African People’s Socialist Party.
These are two of the reasons for its historic significance; however, there are other reasons.

Our movement for the liberation and unification of Africa and African people has suffered many setbacks since the heady days of the founding of the OAU and the presumed victories of the 1960s.

The first 1972 ALD mobilization obscured the defeat that had been dealt to the organized African resistance in the U.S. and some other places.

The imperialists succeeded in installing neocolonial puppets in power throughout the world to preside over the looting that keeps a parasitic imperialist world system alive at the expense of the resources, dignity and sovereignty of Africans and others.

Even today the U.S. and NATO, almost the entire organized white world, are wreaking bloody havoc to install a neocolonial government in Libya in North Africa.

But the tables have surely turned, and the future of our people looks brighter than ever, as a desperate imperialism fights for its very life.

White power is on the ropes and nothing it can do will save it.

Not even the ploy of attempting to hide its face behind the black mask of an African president in the U.S., headquarters of worldwide imperialist white power.

Today, a haggard, gun-wielding imperialism staggers through its shrinking domain, weakened by its loss of extorted colonial sustenance and increasingly isolated in a world being changed by the growth of free and rebellious peoples who are declaring that the days of colonial slavery are over.

Today, because of its growing losses, the imperialist world economy is severely broken.

Imperialist “economists,” blinded by characteristic arrogance and unable to admit imperial white reliance–that is to say, dependence–on the resources of the oppressed, cannot correctly diagnose the problem as the resistance of the people.

The imperialists are facing a crisis, the likes of which they have never experienced.

The assumption that this is a typical cyclical capitalist crisis that can be resolved by shifting the burden of the crisis onto the backs of the colonial peoples is a form of whistling in the graveyard.

Precisely, the struggles of the colonial peoples are responsible for the crisis and, hence, the inability of the imperialists to turn to this solution of the past.

And while it is possible the U.S. and its allies will succeed in replacing the current government of Libya with pliant, neocolonial quislings, the crisis of neocolonialism is a part of the overall crisis of imperialism.

Indeed, the existence of Barack Hussein Obama in the U.S. White House is the greatest evidence of the general unreliability of neocolonialism around the world that the U.S. would have to deploy an imperial neocolonialism.

Today, facing the 40th anniversary of the first African Liberation Day mobilization, we do so under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party, which has accumulated 40 years of experience and achieved the ideological clarity, political maturity and organizational breadth to lead us to victory, to the liberation and unification of Africa and African people worldwide.

Victory is Imminent!
Forward to ALD!
One Africa! One Nation!

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African alibi: What we learn from Anglo-Saxon fear of Lumumba, President

AFRICAN FOCUS By Tafataona Mahoso
Sunday, March 07, 2010 – sundaymail.co.zw

Despite the nominal co-optation and ascendancy of an African-American, Barrack Obama, to the presidency of the leading Anglo-Saxon power on earth, the intensity of Anglo-Saxon fear of an African revolution in 2010 is at the same level if not worse than it was in 1961 during the Congo crisis.

This is the context in which renewals of illegal US and EU sanctions against Zimbabwe must be viewed.

One indicator of that fear is the frantic search for African masks and alibis to cover up the white man even so many centuries after the slave holocaust. For instance, Anglo-Saxon crimes against the Congo (DRC) in 1960 and Zimbabwe in 2010 are comparable:

— Both have for a long time been considered too rich to be left alone; and Zimbabwe can use the Congo experience in 1960 to defend itself better in 2010.

— Both have been subjected to multiple, well-documented Anglo-Saxon crimes which require and deserve massive reparations as well as prosecutions of the living criminals for war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is these well-documented crimes together with the natural riches of the two countries which make the Anglo-Saxon powers scared and yet unable to let go. For DRC some of the crimes are as follows:

Between the end of the Berlin Conference (1884-1885) and 1908, the people of the Congo were subjected to a holocaust and to modern slavery where they were forced to produce certain quotas of rubber on pain of having their fingers, toes and arms chopped off if they failed to meet those quotas.

During the Hitler wars, Belgium was over-run by the Nazis and the Belgian state wiped out. Belgians established a government in exile in London which subsisted on looted Congolese natural resources and minerals. Re-establishment of the Belgian state after 1945 was made possible through Congolese resources. Between 1960 and 1998, the people of the Congo were subjected to successive stooge regimes sponsored by the same Western powers and intelligence agencies which destroyed the first Congolese government and revolution and murdered Congo’s popular and first prime minister Patrice Lumumba on January 17 1961. Between 1998 and 2003 the same Western powers interfered in the internal affairs of the DRC by opposing Sadc’s intervention against their proxies and Zimbabwe was particularly singled out for punishment for leading the Sadc intervention and stopping genocide against the Congolese people. In the Zimbabwe case, British settlers and companies dispossessed the people of their land and minerals for a hundred years; and when the people reclaimed that land between 1992 and 2002 they were put under illegal Anglo-Saxon sanctions which Europe and the US renewed in February and March 2010 respectively. For the people of Zimbabwe to be able to reclaim their land between 1992 and 2002, they had to wage a protracted guerilla war from 1965 to 1980 in which Europe, the US and white South Africa supported the white Rhodesian settler side.

"Homeland" under South African apartheid

 In 1973 the Convention for the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid made it clear that the punishable crimes of apartheid were committed not only in South Africa but throughout the Southern African region and against most of the indigenous people and nations of the region by white Rhodesia, white South Africa and their Anglo-Saxon supporters who provided arms, mercenaries, trade and finance to all the white settler regimes and to their puppet regimes in the then Zaire (DRC) and to Jonas Savimbi’s Unita in Angola.

 Therefore in both Zimbabwe and Congo (DRC), because of the historical realities of racism, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of mass dispossession and looting — the Anglo-Saxon powers have always been eager to use African masks and alibis. Before Jonas Savimbi of Angola, the biggest mask for white racist interests and the biggest provider of alibis for Anglo-Saxon imperialism was Moise Tshombe, the puppet African prime minister of the white corporate breakaway province of Katanga. With the agreement of all the key Western powers, the Belgians arranged a system where Tshombe himself and all the ministers of his puppet government were controlled and run by white Belgian private secretaries. The police and military structures were also managed by white officers in the same way. The Western powers figured that all the crimes and atrocities required to destroy Lumumba’s government and reverse the small gains of the Congo National Movement (MNC) could be blamed on Tshombe and his stooge ministers, or on the African population itself, while maintaining the image of the white powers and their looting corporations as civilised, humane and well-meaning.

Coming to Zimbabwe, on Tuesday March 2 2010, the media reported that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had finally stated bluntly that all illegal Anglo-Saxon sanctions against Zimbabwe must be lifted. This was followed by passage of a double motion in the House of Assembly praising the Prime Minister for his decision to call the illegal sanctions by their real name and asking him and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara to proceed to lobby the Anglo-Saxon powers for the complete removal of the same sanctions. These events mark a new stage in the struggle to unite the people against the illegal and racist sanctions in order to strip the Anglo-Saxon powers of the criminal mask and alibi which they have enjoyed through the MDC formations for the last 10 years. This is the moment to unite all people for Zimbabwe.

Mr Tsvangirai and MDC-T had reached a new stage indeed:

— First, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa was going to the UK to deliver two messages: that South Africa under the ANC government will never play for imperialism in Zimbabwe the same role which South Africa under apartheid played for imperialism in Rhodesia; and that it makes no sense for the Anglo-Saxon powers to retain illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe in the hope that sanctions will motivate the liberation movement in the inclusive Government to implement the so-called GPA to its fullest, since the GPA document itself requires the very same illegal sanctions to be condemned and defeated or lifted before the GPA can be considered complete. How can the same evil sanctions condemned in the GPA be considered an incentive to encourage completion of the GPA?

— Second, the demonstration against sanctions by the Zanu-PF Youth League which was followed by the music gala celebrating President Mugabe’s 86th birthday in Bulawayo on February 26 2010 helped spread the anti-sanctions campaign from the realm of political commentary and party politics to the realm of popular Pan-African culture. Having Jamaican reggae musician Sizzla Kalonji as the focus of the gala and having him condemn the sanctions on behalf of both Rastafarians and Pan-Africanists was indeed the stroke of genius which crowned all the communiqués of Sadc, AU, ACP and NAM, which had condemned the same sanctions in the last seven years!

Linked to Bob Marley’s performance of “Zimbabwe” and “Africa Unite” on April 18 1980, Kalonji’s performance against white racist sanctions in Bulawayo truly globalised the struggle to defend Zimbabwe’s sovereign independence and economic empowerment.

Popularising the defence of Zimbabwe’s sovereign independence and economic empowerment at the same level as Bob Marley’s 1980 visit increased pressure for the Anglo-Saxon powers to look for cover or for an alibi. Mr Tsvangirai, too, had to take cover because on January 19 2010, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary David Miliband sought to reinforce imperialism’s criminal mask by claiming a false alibi. He claimed that the sanctions were not hurting ordinary Zimbabweans because they had no impact on the economy. That was the alibi. But Miliband went further to say that the same illegal and racist sanctions, which supposedly did not hurt anyone, would, however, be lifted only when Tsvangirai’s MDC-T (who originally begged for them to be imposed) came out and asked the same sanctions to be lifted. The Standard, through its UK-based writer Alex Magaisa, correctly sensed danger for Mr Tsvangirai in David Miliband’s alibi and mask. In fact, he felt that Miliband should not have revealed that for the last 10 years the Anglo-Saxon powers had been using the MDC formations to create an alibi for their intrusive and illegal intervention in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe. Magaisa felt that the MDC-T as a British mask in Zimbabwe would no longer be able to perform its function once Miliband pointed to it and identified it as a British-EU mask. Magaisa’s Standard article was entitled “A case of the embarrassing uncle”.

Magaisa is worth quoting at length to demonstrate the importance of the present moment for patriots in Zimbabwe.

“It doesn’t matter that Sekuru Rameki’s (David Miliband’s) speeches may contain a grain of truth. Often he says it as it is. The trouble (for whom?) is that he knows neither the location nor the time to make his utterances . . . I was reminded of the likes of Sekuru Rameki last week when the furore broke over the statements made by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband in relation to the contentions issue of sanctions in Zimbabwe.”

It is obvious that Magaisa has painted a picture of the relationship between MDC-T and the white racist Anglo-Saxon powers which is meant to flatter MDC-T and dismiss Miliband as a drunken uncle. Yet it is significant that even Magaisa recognises or imagines that a family relationship does exist. Where in 2000 Mr Tsvangirai called the Rhodies “cousins” of the MDC formations, Magaisa says the Anglo-Saxons, represented by Miliband, are the same family as MDC-T, Miliband is the uncle of MDC-T who mis-spoke! History shows otherwise. The issue involved is more serious than a slip of the tongue. First it shows that the sanctions are illegal and racist. Therefore the people of Zimbabwe have the right to be compensated for the economic terror and damage caused. Tsvangirai cannot end by calling only for all the sanctions to go. Why must the sanctions be lifted immediately? Because they are evil and destructive. Why were they imposed in the first place? Well, to restore white Rhodesian property in land and minerals which the British stole from the African majority in 1890 and gave to their Rhodie children. So, how has the African nation been injured? Well, it has been doubly injured because it lost the use of its land and minerals for 100 years and then got 10 years of illegal and racist sanctions for reclaiming and redeeming that same stolen land!

Such serious crimes have always required alibis. When the slave holocaust against Africa came under moral attack, the Anglo-Saxon powers said they were not responsible because some African chiefs sold their people to white slave-catchers. What that was meant to hide was the fact that whites waged wars to capture African slaves.

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