Category Archives: Afghanistan

Declaration of the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations

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With African hospitality, together with the workers and people of Tunisia, we Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organisations of the ICMLPO have taken up the debate on the international situation, the policies of imperialism, reaction and the employers; the development of the struggle of the workers and peoples; as well as the problems and perspectives of the struggle of our parties.

We confirm the existence of a deep crisis of the capitalist-imperialist system, which is developing in an unequal manner in different countries, affecting particularly, in a negative way, the working class, youth and peoples.

In spite of the neoliberal measures to ‘get out of the crisis,’ pushed by the monopolies and the ruling classes, that are trying to make us think that in this way we will definitively overcome it, reality is stubborn, the effects of the crisis continue.

U.S. imperialism is intensifying its wars of aggression, maintaining its imperialist troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are continuing their ferocious attack against the Libyan people, the threats against Iran and other peoples in order to take control of their wealth and occupy strategic positions. They openly support the military occupation by the Zionists in Palestine. The imperialists of the European Union, despite their own specific interests, fundamentally act as allies of the United States in their confrontation with Russia and China.

The attempts of U.S. imperialism and the European Union to control Syria threaten to lead to a direct military aggression in the name of NATO. Such a situation could fan the flames of a regional war, which could even lead to a new general conflagration.

We Marxist-Leninists decisively reject the imperialist intervention, we uphold the defence of the principles of self-determination of the peoples. The problems of Syria must be resolved by the workers and peoples of that country.

As all the contradictions sharpen, inevitably the interests of the imperialist powers clash, some to preserve their zones of influence, others that look for their place in a new redivision of the world; the Western imperialist powers try to maintain their rule unharmed and their areas of control, while on the other hand the emerging imperialist powers try a to occupy a place of greater leadership and territorial control in the world. This confrontation among the imperialist countries progressively leads to clashes, sometimes diplomatic ones, other times violent ones, but they always take the form of aggression and plunder of the dependent countries and greater exploitation of the working class.

China is becoming the greatest exporter of capital to the dependent countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America in search of raw materials and the extension of its markets, as well as an aggressive competitor in the market and investments in the U.S. itself and in the imperialist countries of Europe. Russia is strengthening its economy, its capacity and energy resources, as well as its military power, playing an aggressive role in the new redivision of the world. The positions of Russia and China in the Security Council opposing the military intervention in Syria have nothing to do with the national sovereignty and the rights of the Syrian people; they correspond to their own interests in contending for hegemony with the Western imperialist countries.

The working class and people show themselves in mobilisations, work stoppages and the general strike, mainly in Spain, Greece and Portugal among others, in defence of their rights and in opposition to the measures of capital that seek to place the weight of the crisis on their backs.

In North Africa and the Middle East the revolts of the peoples against tyranny, in defence of freedom and democracy, are continuing. The revolutionary processes opened up by the workers and peoples in Egypt and particularly in Tunisia continue to raise the perspective of a change from the regime of oppression and for their definitive liberation.

In Latin America the struggle of the peoples and the workers in opposition to the looting by the international mining monopolies and in defence of national sovereignty and the environment and nature are mobilising hundreds of thousands of people.

The fights of the workers, youth and peoples against the effects of the crisis, condemning capitalist imperialist rule, take place at different levels, in all the countries and regions. These struggles affirm the confidence of the working class on the path of struggle, they clarify the nature of capital and reaction, they unmask the positions of social democracy and opportunism, and, at the same time they show their limitations and weaknesses to stop the offensive of imperialism and reaction, of the employers and the governments at their service. It is up to us proletarian revolutionaries to give an ideological, political and organisational response. We take up our responsibility to involve ourselves in the organisation and fight of the working class, youth and peoples, to find the communist initiative and courage to lead those mobilisations consistently and above all, to show them the certain course of the revolution and socialism.

The strengthening of our parties, the affirmation of their links with the masses, the task of placing our programme in the street, within the reach of the fighting masses, putting ourselves at the head of the struggles, promoting and strengthening the Popular Front are the general orientations that arise from this Conference. The contribution of each party has been enriching and shows that Marxism-Leninism is being strengthened in the world, all of which places an extraordinary responsibility in our hands, to which we will know how to respond decisively.

The sharpening of the general crisis of capitalism, the imperialist aggression and the danger of a new general war, the accelerated development of the productive forces created by the scientific technical revolution, the development of the struggles of the workers, youth and peoples, raise new challenges for our parties and organisations; we must find in the course of the class combats new forms of organisation and struggle.

The liberation of the workers and peoples must be the work of the workers and peoples themselves and the unwavering responsibility of our parties and organizations.

YES it is possible to change this world

Marxism-Leninism is our guide

ICMLPO

Communist Party of Benin 
Revolutionary Communist Party – Brazil
Communist Party of the Workers of Denmark
Communist Party of Labour of the Dominican Republic
Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador
Communist Party of the Workers of France
Organisation for the Construction of the Communist Party of Germany
Communist Platform of Italy
Revolutionary Communist Party of the Ivory Coast
Communist Party of Mexico (Marxist-Leninist)
Annahji Dimocrati (Democratic Road of Morocco)
Organization Revolution of Norway
Communist Party of Spain (Marxist-Leninist)
Party of the Workers of Tunisia
Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey
Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Venezuela
Revolutionary Communist Party of Volta

From En Marcha
Central Organ of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador
#1601, November 23 to 29, 2012

Anasintaxi on the Restoration of Capitalism in the Soviet Union (Part 4): The capitalist economy of the Soviet Union in the Khrushchev-Brezhnev period in prolonged stagnation and deep crisis

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The capitalist economy of the Soviet Union in the Khrushchev-Brezhnev period in prolonged stagnation and deep crisis

The restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union did not only bring about the emergence of all the characteristic features of capitalism in the country’s economy but it paved the way for a prolonged economic stagnation, especially during the Brezhnev period, and led the whole society to an unprecedented bourgeois degeneration and in a deep and all-sided crisis that included all the known scourges of the old decadent, rotten and superseded bourgeois society.

During this period, not only was there a long-term, general economic stagnation but also a decrease of the national income, a drop in the industrial production and productivity. These were facts that even the then Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin had already admitted as early as 1965. In his speech during the Plenum of CC of CPSU (September 1965), he pointed out: “it must be concluded that during the last years there has been a certain decrease in the national Income and the industrial Production…The increase rate of productivity in industry, an additional important index measuring the efficiency of the social production, has been in decline over the last years”(Α.Ν.Kossygin: Die Verbesserung der Leitung der Industrie, die Vervollkommenung der Planung und die Verstaerkung der wirtschaftlichen Stimulierung der Industrieproduktion. In: «Die Presse der Sowjetunion», 1965, Nr.113, S.6).

A note from the Tirana Radio Station, under the title “The soviet economy in the whirlpool of crisis”, mentions about this: “Over the last years, the soviet economy is going through a severe crisis. The decrease in the growth rate of the production and labor productivity in many branches of the economy, the long-term phenomenon of incomplete utilization of the productive capacities, the failures in the capital investments, the tendency of technical progress to slow down, the militarization of the economy, the inflation, etc are facts that clearly demonstrate that the economy situation is constantly deteriorating. All this shows the disastrous consequences on the country’s economy stemming from the counter-revolutionary policy implemented by the dominant revisionist clique. A general feature of the soviet economy is the irregularity in the fulfillment of plans. In many Republics the general industrial plan of the previous year and the first semester of 1975 has not been fulfilled” (“Tirana Radio Station”, 5/11/1975).

To show the catastrophic results of the capitalist restoration and the difference with the period of socialism-communism in the Soviet Union, the author of the Marxist editorial compares parts of the two periods: “to get a more clear picture of the catastrophic consequences of capitalist restoration in the soviet economy, we present a comparison with the period during which there was still socialist economy: the annual growth rate of the industrial production in the years 1966-1970 was 33% lower than in the years 1946-1955, in fact it was 58% lower in 1974” (“Tirana Radio Station”, 5/11/1975).

The international economic crisis, that started at the end of 1973, affected also the economy of the Soviet Union for which the author mentions: “the decrease in production, an important characteristic of the current economic and financial crisis, into which the whole capitalist-revisionist world has plunged, has seriously impinged on many branches of the soviet industry and especially the branch of machine-building, the chemical industry, the manufacturing industry, the light industry and the production of goods of wider consumption”(“Tirana Radio Station”, 5/11/1975).

Militarization of economy. The restoration of capitalism did not transform Soviet Union only into a capitalist country but, also, into an imperialist super-power which competed the other imperialist super-power of that period, the United States of America, for spheres of influence, having made all sorts of interventions in different countries that included the military occupation of Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan. The reactionary, anti-communist and anti-stalinist socialdemocratic leadership of Khrushchev-Brezhnev very soon oriented the development of the capitalist economy of the Soviet Union towards militarization. The militarization of the economy was, and still is, one of the main and fundamental features of economy of the all imperialist countries. A note from the Tirana Radio Station, in 1976, rightly points out: “the militarization is determined by the nature of the soviet social-imperialism which collaborates and competes with the US imperialism for global domination”. And: “in order to implement their hegemonic and expansionist policy, the soviet social-imperialists employ the most incredible methods but, mainly, rely on the power of arms. This led to a full and mass militarization of the Soviet Union. The soviet economy is oriented towards war. According to data published from scientific organizations of various countries, the military spending of the soviet social-imperialists is about 100 billion rubles that constitutes 44% of total spending in the state budget in the current year. More then 60% of all enterprises in the Soviet Union work, today, directly or indirectly for the war” (“Tirana Radio Station”, 20/10/1976).

In relation to the arms trade: “The soviet social-imperialists expanded the arms trade outside their borders. Along with the US imperialists, they have become the greatest arms dealers. Since 1955, when the Soviet Union emerged in the arms market, it has sold to other countries arms worth of some dozens of billion dollars. Only in 1974, it sold arms worth of 5,5 billion dollars and surpassed even USA in selling war aircrafts securing huge profits from trading with such lethal tools. This is because such a plane can bring as much profit as the retail of 1000 private cars. According to some data from various news agencies, until the middle of the previous year, the Soviet Union sold more than 14,500 tanks, more than 8,000 surface-to-air missiles and more than 1,900 Ming-21 aircrafts. All these arms were sold to satellite countries and to some developing countries bringing extremely large profits. In this way, the Soviet Union tries to transfer part of the load of the militarization and the arms race to the back of less powerful countries and other peoples. At the same time, the Soviet Union is supplying arms to many reactionary governments…Moreover, it must be mentioned that the soviet social-imperialists have become the main suppliers of the most important strategic raw materials such as oil, natural gas, enriched uranium, titanium and various others of the imperialist and militarist circles of West Germany, USA, Japan etc (“Tirana Radio Station”, 20/10/1976).

Wages – degree of exploitation of the proletariat – class differentiation. After the overthrow of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, the victory of the Khrushchevian revisionist counter-revolution, the loss of the political power and the control of the means of production, transformed the working class of the Soviet Union to proletariat, which is forced to sell its labor power in order to survive.

The exploitation of the proletariat through the extraction of surplus value, primarily, in the sphere of production and, secondarily, in the sphere of distribution and through the income redistribution at the level taxes and inflation, is secured, besides the capitalist production relations, by the bourgeois “all people’s” state: “the exploitation and the oppression of workers in the Soviet Union is organized and managed by the state. This is expressed, most and foremost, in the rights of enterprise and kolkhoz directors, in the management and selling of means of production as well as in the corresponding jobs. According to soviet revisionist press acknowledgments, in 5 large cities of the Soviet Union and in two industrial centers of the Republic of Lithuania, there are agencies that sell and buy job vacancies. The revisionist directors decide themselves about the amount of salaries and premiums, the hirings and firings or measures against the workers etc. In Kharkov, an enterprise manager launched 233 discipline measures against 125 workers and imposed money sentences to 350 workers. In 292 soviet enterprises, 70,000 workers were fired because they could not withstand the oppression” (“Tirana Radio Station”, 13/1/1976).

In the Soviet Union, “the degree of exploitation of workers in material production increased by 23% during the 1960-1971 period” (“Tirana Radio Station”, 18/8/1976).

During the Khrushchev-Brezhnev period, the differences between the workers-farmers salaries and those of the new bourgeoisie members were huge: “the capitalist exploitation and oppression of the working class and the wider masses by the new soviet bourgeoisie that is in power is expressed in the income distribution that shows a sharp contrast between working people and the capitalist enterprise directors. While the average wage for a worker reaches 70 rubles and for a farmer reaches 35 rubles, the wage of an enterprise director is about 15 times larges without taking into account other kinds of income they receive in the form of bonuses, privileges and other extras. The director of an enterprise that makes electric lamps in Moscow receives 1,000 rubles as a month salary whereas the wage of a worker is between 60 and 80 rubles… The enterprise directors have the right to determine, according to their wishes, the workers’ wages. Using various pretexts, they push wages downwards or they do not give workers any bonus at all. According to statistics, the 82% of the money sums given to the first 704 enterprises that adopted the new “Schtekino system” of labor rate increase, that is, they introduced the cruel oppression of workers, was shared by the directors, engineers and the technicians and only 12% of these sums was utilized as a “material motive” for the workers. It is, thus, self-evident that the high salaries and the large bonuses of the directors of the soviet capitalist enterprises come from the surplus value created by the workers” (“Tirana Radio Station”, 13/1/1976). “Depending on the position they occupy in the bureaucratic soviet revisionist state and party system, the party cadres, the higher clerks, the technocrats, the enterprise directors and others are getting 10-fold to 25-fold of the average worker’s wage. This is also true for the kolkhozes where the wage differences are about 1:30”(“Tirana Radio Station”, 4/2/1976).

“The new bourgeoisie members have secured high salaries, which are 10-fold to 15-fold larger than the wages of workers and farmers. Hence, the salary of an enterprise director is 1,000 rubles, the salaries of professors, doctors of science and others are as high as 2,000 to 3,000 rubles; all of them lead a luxurious life with cars, villas etc” (“Tirana Radio Station”, 13/2/1976).

While, the living standards of the proletariat and the wider masses were constantly deteriorating not only due to the increased degree of exploitation and the raising prices and taxes, but also due to the under-fulfillment of the plans, the decline in production and the continuous, of unprecedented scale, shortages wide consumption goods (meat, butter, pasta, vegetables, potatoes etc), the new bourgeoisie lived in provoking luxury: “although the necessary commodities for the people are in want, the new bourgeoisie invests large sums for the construction of super deluxe hotels in the Black Sea coast for the rich coming from inside and outside of the country, for the construction of factories that produce Pepsi-Cola and luxury items, super luxury limos and yachts. The production plans for these goods and for the contruction of similar works are always fulfilled on time” (“Tirana Radio Station”, 13/2/1976).

During the Khrushchev-Brezhnev, there was an evident a quick class differentiation in the bourgeois society of the Soviet Union:“the soviet capitalist economy that has been established on the basis of capitalist economic laws and operates according to them, serves as the ground of a continuous class differentiation. The course of class differentiation in the Soviet Union proceeds quickly. On one side, there are all the elements that constitute the new soviet bourgeoisie like the higher cadres of the revisionist party and state, the bureaucratic-military caste, the technocrats and others who receive high salaries and large premiums, and lead a degenerate and luxurious life and on the other side there are the working masses of the town and the countryside. Millions of soviet people, mainly in the countryside, live under the poverty line. In the Soviet Union there are 25,000,000 people that enjoy high living standards, 68,000,000 who live under the poverty line determined by the soviet revisionists themselves. A whole system of taxes introduced by the new soviet bourgeoisie in power, burdens the soviet working people from whom it extracts 11% of their income” (“Tirana Radio Station”, 13/1/1976).

In the 1980’s, the prolonged stagnation of the economy, the obsolete equipment of the capitalist enterprises, the large growth of the black market, the false “fulfillment” of the production plans in industry and agriculture, the systematic legal and illegal appropriation, theft, of the state property, the severe financial bleeding caused by the imperialist war in Afghanistan, etc deepened the all-sided crisis that the capitalist-imperialist Soviet Union was going through and led its capitalist economy to total collapse and bankruptcy.

This catastrophic, dead-end made the new anti-communist group of the bourgeois CPSU headed by the traitor Gorbachev, the “favorite child” of the anti-stalinst, social-democatic Brezhnevite clique, to embark on new capitalist reforms collectively known as “Perestroika” which was not “revolution within the revolution” as claimed by the Krushchevian social-democrats but counter-revolution within the revisionist counter-revolution. The implementation of these new reforms ushered, at the economic level, the transition from the state-monopoly capitalism to the classic capitalism of individual property of the Western capitalist countries and, at the political level, the transition from the bourgeois one-party to the bourgeois many-party system of the Western capitalist countries.

Thus, the Soviet Union, instead of entering “communism” in the 1980’s as promised by the consciously lying anti-communist clique of Khrushchev-Brezhnev – that was demolishing at the same time socialism – experienced, as expected by the revolutionary Marxists, i.e. the Leninists-Stalinists, the total collapse of the restored capitalism, that the same social-democatic leading group had established and demagogically presented, in order to mislead the working class and the peoples, as “real socialism” and reached, its demise as a state at the end of the same decade.

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‘New race for colonies begins in Africa’

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Western ‘neo-colonial’ powers – particularly France – have started to reach back to West Africa, masking their colonial ambitions as ‘humanitarian intervention to protect human rights,’ Ken Stone from Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War stated to RT.

Earlier this week, France sent its special forces to Cameroon in search of seven French tourists who were kidnapped in the north of the country on Tuesday. Paris accused the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram of being behind the abduction. On Thursday, the kidnapped tourists were reportedly found alive in an abandoned house in Nigeria.

France – whose presence in Africa used to be rather strong – still has several military bases and hundreds of troops on the continent. In the past several years, Paris’ has intensified its activity in former colonies.

First, there was its mission in the Ivory Coast. And in January this year, France launched a military operation in Mali to help the local government fight Islamist rebels. Finally, this week its troops entered northern Cameroon. 

RT asked Ken Stone from Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War if French involvement in West Africa has become a trend.

Ken Stone: Yes, I’m afraid so. And the trend is called ‘neo-colonialism.’ It’s a part of the old colonial powers reaching back to Africa for its resources where they used to operate a century ago.

France was the colonial power in West Africa and during its many decades there it literally enslaved the people of West Africa to work in their mines, in their factories and on their plantations.  In fact, slavery wasn’t even abolished in Mali until 1905.

After WWII, the colonial powers of Africa were kicked out by national liberation movements which were somehow supported by the former Soviet Union.

However, after the Soviet Union collapsed and the US war on terror began, the former neo-colonial powers were once again flexing their muscles. And they were starting to reach back to Yugoslavia, and to Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now into West Africa.

If the main product of Mali, for example, were mushrooms, there would be no French troops there or in Niger. But the main export is uranium. And that’s very important to the French. And that’s why the French are there, that’s why NATO is there, that’s why – unfortunately – Canada is there as well.

I think the main point is this is unfortunately a trend. Like the 19th century race for colonies, we have we have the 21st century race for colonies beginning. That’s a tragic fact.

RT: With militants being active in Algeria, Mali, Nigeria, and Cameroon – what is really happening in West Africa?

KS: It’s a complicated situation. Many of the national boundaries that were drawn by the colonial powers have no parrying at all on the location of the indigenous nations of Africa. So, people are divided on different sides of boundaries. Most people don’t even recognize many of the boundaries in the Saharan region and the sub-Saharan region.

There’s a further problem. The West has introduced Al-Qaeda-type terrorists into Africa where they want them, where they didn’t exist in any significance before. So that has created a can of worms.

The main point though is that the Western powers – the European neo-colonial powers, the US and NATO – have no right to act as the police of the world.

In the 19th century race for colonies, they said that they had the white man’s burden to carry on their shoulders to civilize the people of Africa. In the 21st century they call it the “humanitarian intervention to protect the human’s rights.” Those are both frauds and the Western countries really have absolutely no say in what goes on in West Africa. They should have no say.

RT:  What are the chances the special-forces deployment in Cameroon could escalate into a full-scale operation, like in Mali?

KS: It could. But it’s not likely. Ever since their colonial rule ended, the French’s had a policy of ‘force de frappe’ – which is striking force, an expeditionary force, a special force – where they go in and they deal with a certain immediate problem and they leave. They do not have the stomach to maintain an occupation for a long period of time.

The problem for neo-colonial powers like France is that the so-called ‘rebels’ or Jihadists or whoever it may be, merely have to melt into the bush wait and out the expeditionary force. And when the expeditionary force leaves they come right back in. And the problem is that there is no permanent fix to this.

Source

UN report exposes torture of Afghan detainees

An Afghan special forces soldier (AFP Photo / Daud Yardos)

An Afghan special forces soldier (AFP Photo / Daud Yardos)

A new UN report has exposed cases of vicious torture of Afghan detainees, including beatings, hanging by the wrists and electric shocks. Many were handed over to authorities by foreign troops, despite numerous concerns about their previous treatment.

A United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) report released on Sunday underlined the abuse of ‘conflict-related detainees’ across 89 detention facilities in 30 provinces from October 2011 to October 2012, many of whom have been relocated to multiple Afghan detention camps by foreign governments.

Extensive interviews revealed that 326 – more than half – of the 635 detainees consulted had experienced ‘ill-treatment and torture’. The interviews also revealed that torture was still a systemic problem in the prisons, and that incidents of torture in Afghan National Police facilities have actually increased over the past year.

Those who suffered at the hands of authorities revealed their shocking firsthand experiences to interviewers, with 105 of the cases involving those classified as children under international law.

One detainee from Farah, western Afghanistan, reported to the UN that he was laid on the ground, as two individuals sat on his feet and head. The third took a pipe, and started beating him with it, saying “you are with Taliban and this is what you deserve.”

A 16-year-old boy gave a harrowing account to UNAMA, saying that “if I did not confess that I am a Taliban member, then the last resort would be pulling down my trousers and pushing a bottle into my anus… He asked the other interrogator to bring the bottle and then pull my trousers down…I realized that I could not do anything else except to accept what the interrogators wanted me to admit.”

Another spoke to interviewers of how he was handcuffed behind his back: “…fabric was very tightly around and under my arms and [they] suspended me from a mulberry tree. They did this for long periods of time until I would lose consciousness. This happened every night for six days or so… Around three times a foreign delegation, composed of American military, I think, came to check the Hawza, but each time they came I was hidden.”

There were further accounts of detainees being hung from the ceiling by their wrists, beaten with objects such as wooden sticks, cables and rifle butts, being shocked with electricity until they passed out, their genitals being twisted and beaten, and death threats.

Many of the accused detainees who end up in Afghan custody are captured by US and allied troops. Overall, 79 out of the 635 captives surveyed had been captured initially by international military forces or foreign government intelligence agencies, occasionally working alongside the Afghan forces. Of these, 25 had been subjected to torture.

In October 2011, NATO temporarily halted the transfer of prisoners to the facilities amid reports that detainees had been beaten with rubber hoses and hung from hooks. However, this was a temporary measure, and NATO transfers resumed in February 2012 to 12 of the 16 detention centers at which routine abuse was reported.

UNAMA Director of Human Rights Georgette Gagnon criticized the lack of investigation into the matter, saying that there were “no prosecutions for those responsible.”

Of the 635 prisoners interviewed, 552 had been convicted of offenses related to the Afghan war; 19 of those convicted had no knowledge of the specific crime for which they had been detained.

The treatment of prisoners in Afghanistan has been an ongoing source of concern. In 2002, intense controversy erupted over abuse at the US-run Parwan Detention Facility (DFIP) following the deaths of two prisoners at the hands of American soldiers. However, a footnote in the report stated that UNAMA did not visit the DFIP or the Afghan National Detention Facility at Parwan, so these facilities were not included in UNAMA’s sample and detention observations. The reasoning behind this exclusion was not given.

UN investigators were also informed of the alleged existence of numerous unofficial detention sites, hidden facilities which were not accounted for by international observers. Although these allegations were denied by Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the UNAMA report described the accounts as “credible.” Additionally, the UNAMA received credible reports of the suspected disappearance of 81 individuals taken into Afghan National Police custody from September 2011 to October 2012.

The Afghan government’s internal monitoring committee called the allegations of torture “untrue and thus disproved.” The UNAMA conceded that some interviewees may have falsified accounts, and said it exercised discretion in its report.

Source

Former Drone Operator turned Whistleblower: “I saw men, women and children die”

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by Ezra Van Auken

American drones have been a problem around the world since their inception in the early 2000s; in the past year or so, the advocacy against drones has increased immensely. This could be partly due to the acceleration of drone strikes that have occurred in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya – along with Afghanistan. Within the drone world has come about a whistleblower to the operations.

Former United States drone operator, 27-year-old Brandon Bryant from Montana worked for nearly a decade flying predator drones. A turn for the worst made Bryant decide that the predator drone job wasn’t the best job for him after conducting and witnessing the killing of a child in Afghanistan. “I saw men, women and children die during that time,” Bryant explained to Spiegel Online. The former drone pilot went on to say, “I never thought I would kill that many people. In fact, I thought I couldn’t kill anyone at all.”

Replaying his experience, Bryant noted that after killing his first two men by drone strike, he then “cried on his way home” from work. The 27-year-old commented about how he felt lost from sanity, “I felt disconnected from humanity for almost a week.” Shockingly, Bryant detailed the accounts of a time he mistakenly, but by orders, killed a young boy in Afghanistan.

Before the hellfire missile hit the target and the mud-roofed house was destroyed, a boy walked around the corner. Bryant recalled asking, “Did we just kill a kid?” In response, his operational partner said, “Yeah, I guess that was a kid.” As the Guardian reported, “One day he collapsed at work, doubling over and spitting blood. The doctor ordered him to stay home, and not to return to work until he could sleep more than four hours a night for two weeks in a row.”

If more honorable and moral individuals who have been in the drone business were to come out about what is going on, I’m positive we would hear more of the same stories.

Without much transparency from the Obama administration regarding drones, it is likely that these practices will not change anytime soon. For instance, Obama’s counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan is looking forward to an expansion of overseas drone use. Brennan explained earlier this year, “There are aspects of the Yemen program that I think are a true model of what I think the U.S. counterterrorism community should be doing.”

Members in Washington including Rep. from Texas, Ron Paul and Rep. Dennis Kucinich have been heavy advocates for reforming the drone programs and learning more about what the drones are doing overseas.

Image Reference

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/12/17/report-regulatory-mess-may-hold-up-domestic-drone-revolution

Source

France in Mali: The longue durée of imperial blowback

The present intervention in Mali, however necessary and well-intentioned it is, may produce its own blowback [Reuters]

The present intervention in Mali, however necessary and well-intentioned it is, may produce its own blowback [Reuters]

The current crisis in Mali is a product of French colonialism, and their intervention will sadly create more blowback.

The dispatching of French soldiers to beat back rapidly advancing Salafi militants in northern Mali represents the convergence of multiple circles of blowback from two centuries of French policies in Africa. Some date back to the beginning of the 19th century, others to policies put in place during the last few years. Together, they spell potential disaster for France and the United States (the two primary external Western actors in Mali today), and even more so for Mali and the surrounding countries.

Only two outcomes, together, can prevent the nightmare scenario of a huge failed state in the heart of Africa spreading violence across the continent. First, the French-led assault on the north must manage to force most of the Salafi fighters out of the populated areas presently under their control and install a viable African-led security force that can hold the population centres for several years. If that weren’t difficult enough, French and international diplomats must create space for the establishment of a much more representative and less corrupt Malian government, one which can and will negotiate an equitable resolution to the decades long conflict with the Touareg peoples of the North, whose latest attempt violently to carve out a quasi-independent zone in the north early last year helped create the political and security vacuum so expertly, if ruthlessly, exploited by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghrib (AQIM) and its allied radical groups.

The first and largest circle of blowback returns to French colonial policy in North and West Africa, which was responsible for the creation of most of the states that are involved in the present conflict. France began deliberately to colonise large swaths of West Africa at the start of the 19th century, gaining control of what today is Mauritania and Senegal by 1815, followed by the invasion of Algeria in 1830, Tunisia in 1881, French Guinea, the Ivory Coast, and the French Sudan (which would become Mali) – in the 1890s, Niger in 1903-4 and Morocco in 1912.

Carved from colonialism

It is impossible to know how the map of Africa would have evolved without European colonialism to shape it. What is sure, however, is that the European “scramble for Africa” that dominated the 19th century – and in which local rulers played a willing part whenever it served their interests – ensured that European powers would create the territorial foundation for modern nation-states whose borders bore little correspondence to the ethnic and religious geography of the continent. Mali in particular was composed of several distinct ethnic, linguistic and what today are considered “racial” groups. Its brief and ill-fated union with Senegal at the time of independence in 1960 highlights the artificial foundation of the region’s states and their borders.

The lack of consideration for local ethnic, religious and cultural dynamics and the colonial imperative to arrogate as much territory under one rule as possible created a situation in which states with areas over twice the size of France and population groups which had little historical or cultural reason to live under one sovereignty and had few natural resources of comparative advantages to support themselves, were nevertheless forced to do just that; first, under foreign rule, whose main goal – whatever the “civilising mission” proclaimed by Paris – was to extract as much wealth and resources as possible and enforce control by whatever means necessary, then under postcolonial indigenous governments whose policies towards their people often differed little on the ground from their colonial predecessors.

Indeed, even those countries which secured independence peacefully were structurally deformed by foreign rule and the establishment of states with borders that did not naturally correspond to the political and cultural ecologies of the regions in which they were created. As epitomised by the plight of the Mali’s Touareg communities (who are spread across the Sahel much like Kurds are spread across the countries of the Fertile Crescent), most states in West, North and Central Africa wound up including significant populations who were different from, and thus disadvantaged by, the group who assumed power. At the same time, post-independence governments were riven by corruption and narrow loyalties, with leaders who were most often unwilling to pursue or incapable of pursuing a truly national, democratic vision of development.

In such a situation, religion, which might have played a positive role in shaping morally grounded public spheres and economies, became marginalised from governance, while slowly taking hold in a toxic form among many of the region’s most marginalised peoples.

Supporting the wrong team

If France’s colonial history created the structures in which the present crisis inevitably has unfolded, a more recent set of policies constitutes the second circle of blowback; namely, France’s unreserved support for the Algerian government in its repression of the democratic transition that began in 1988 and was crushed in 1992. As is well known, rather than allow the Islamic Salvation Front – a Muslim Brotherhood-inspired group not that different in its roots and outlook than its Egyptian or Tunisian mainstream Islamist counterparts – to take power after its clear electoral victory in the first round of the 1991-92 parliamentary elections, the Algerian military cancelled the next round and began a crackdown that quickly exploded into a civil war between the military government and radical Islamist groups.

Faced with the choice of allowing a new, Islamist political actor take the reigns of power, France, joined by the US, chose to support the Algerian military, with whom it had retained close relations. In allying with an authoritarian, brutal and corrupt government the French, and the West more broadly, became party to a vicious conflict that saw the emergence of a dangerous terrorist group, the GIA (Armed Islamic Group), quite possibly controlled at least in part by the military itself, and the subsequent bloody decade-long civil war that cost the lives of well over 100,000 civilians.

The GIA in turn was the kernel out of which another group, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, and then al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghbrib, emerged. These groups focused their attention on North Africa for much of the last decade, but gradually moved more deeply into the Sahelian regions linking Algeria to Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Morocco.

Had France and the West not given unreserved support to the Algerian military, it is highly unlikely that these groups would have been created, never mind grown to their present position (a similar argument could of course be made about the main branch of al-Qaeda, which is so many ways was a direct product of unceasing US support for some of the most corrupt and brutal regimes in the world, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan).

As in so many other cases, France and its Western allies chose stability over democracy. In so doing it inevitably, if ironically, set the stage for the present chaos in which its troops are being forced to fight.

Supporting the wrong team… again

The third and most recent circle of blowback stems from France’s longstanding support for Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Specifically, French President Nicolas Sarkozy offered strong support for Ben Ali at the start of the crisis, specifically including, as foreign affairs minister Michèle Alliot-Marie described it, “the savoir-faire, recognised throughout the world of [French] security forces in order to settle security situations of this type”. The French president’s words embarrassed his government once the protests picked up steam to the point of creating a “crisis of credibility” that necessitated Sarkozy’s “admission of mistakes” in supporting Ben Ali against the revolutionaries.

So strong was Sarkozy’s embarrassment that when the Libyan crisis erupted, France took the lead in pressing for Western military intervention to force Gaddafi from power in order to absolve itself of its Tunisian sins. Yet it was precisely the launching of NATO’s air war and military support for the Libyan rebels that led to the exodus of well-trained fighters and significant weapons stocks from Libya into Niger, Mali and other parts of the Sahel in the wake of the crumbling of Gaddafi’s state. The chaos and spread of weapons generated by the Libya war put crucial numbers of men and arms into play in northern Mali at a particularly dangerous moment in the country’s history, when long oppressed Touaregs, who’d been recipients of Gaddafi’s largesse in the past (and some of whom in fact fought for Gaddafi), were once again primed to rebel against the central government.

This situation became even more ripe for chaos with the unexpected and apparently unintended military coup against the country’s soon to be retired president, Amadou Toumani Touré, in March, 2012, which created an even bigger power vacuum throughout the country.

The blowback’s blowback

Here we see decades, and indeed centuries, of French and broader European and American policies coming together to produce maximum chaos. This in turn was strengthened by the blowback from longstanding local conflicts, from the hostility of Mali’s military leadership to the extremely poor rank and file conscripts (which prompted the protests that sent the President to flight in March, 2012) to the inability of the broader Touareg rebel movement to set aside its tradition of violent resistance and embrace a younger generation of activists, who were advocating a revolutionary movement that was much closer to the soon to erupt Arab Spring than to the violent insurrection for which Touaregs had long been known. Almost a year later, the army has lost control over the majority of the country, while Touaregs have been largely sidelined from the revolt they started by Salafi groups aligned with al-Qaeda.

What is most interesting in this regard is that the present blowback had significant advance warning and should in fact have been anticipated by French and Western policymakers in the planning of the Libyan war. North Africa experts, such as Sciences Po political scientist Jean-Pierre Filiu, were pointing out already in 2010 that al-Qaeda in the Maghrib and other salafi fighting groups were moving away from their focus on Algeria and towards developing a strategic presence, and even “new theatre” in the Sahel, with the ultimate aim of destabilising those countries.

These jihadis “now represent a serious security threat in northern parts of Mali and Niger”, Filiu explained, because of numerous kidnappings, smuggling and other illicit activities the recruitment of a “new generation” of fighters from the many poor communities of the region. This reality of clearly increased operations by radical Islamist groups in northern Mali, coupled with the increase in Touareg agitation and Gaddafi’s well-known use of various nomadic groups as mercenaries, should have raised loud alarms among French and Western policymakers in the lead up to the decision to enter for Libyan civil war.

Indeed, on the US side, the American Ambassador to Mali warned already in 2004 that Mali is a “remote, tribal and barely governed swath of Africa… a potential new staging ground for religious extremism and terrorism similar to Afghanistan under the Taliban… If Mali goes, the rest goes”. This warning was made just as the US military was deepening its military presence across the continent, culminating in the creation of AFRICOM in 2008.

Given the clear attention being paid to the Sahel in the last decade by French and US policymakers, we can only assume that either they were utterly incompetent in failing to understand the inevitable results of Western military intervention in Libya, or saw that as a win-win situation, providing a new theatre in a strategically rising area of the world in which US, French and Western militaries could become increasingly engaged (and in so doing, keep rivals such as China further at bay).

Either way, just as previous African interventions generated the blowback that helped create the present Malian crisis, the present intervention in Mali, however necessary, well-intentioned and even wished for by the majority of Malians (to the extent the wishes of Malians can even be determined that clearly), will no doubt produce its own blowback, which will claim the lives of many more Africans, French, American and other Western citizens.

Source

On the deaths in Stalin’s USSR

joseph-stalin-1949

In the West, when Stalin’s name is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is the “millions of deaths” under his “ruthless regime”. For decades, fascist and capitalist propagandists alike perpetuated this vision of Stalin as a monster, employing the best World War 2 and Cold War propagandists to slander Stalin’s role as a statesman. What is the truth behind this claims? I hope to shed some light on the matter.

As has been now resolved, the varying numbers of deaths under the Stalin administration are a product of propaganda, and have hence been wildly exaggerated. The evidence found in Russian archives, opened up by the capitalist roader Yeltsin, put the total number of death sentences from 1923 to 1953, the post-Lenin Soviet Union, between 775,866 and 786,098a. To this we must add up the 40,000 who may have been executed without trial and unofficiallyb. If we add up the numbers, what we get achieve is 800,000 executions in a period of 36 years, less than the lives claimed by the dictatorship of the CIA-backed anti-communist Suharto in Indonesia in a time span of 2 years. This is not to say the deaths are to be condoned, but it raises an important question: if less lives have been claimed by the Soviet Union under Stalin than Suharto’s Indonesia, why is Stalin demonized to that extent when Suharto is rarely even known among pro-capitalists?

We shall answer this question in a future post about cultural hegemony, let’s now continue with our examination of Soviet deaths. Because the figure of 800,000 executions includes those persons sentenced to death but had, for instance, their sentences reduceda, this too may be an overestimation. In fact, in a research by Vinton, evidence has been provided indicating that the number of executions was significantly below the number of civilian prisoners sentenced to death in the USSR, with only 7,305 executions in a sample of 11,000 prisoners authorized to be executed in 1940 (or around 60%)c. In addition, 681,692 of the 780,000 or so death sentences were issued during the Great Purge (1937-1938 period)a.

Initially, the NKVD, under Yezhov’s orders, set a cap of 186,500 imprisonments and 72,950 death penalties for a 1937 special operation to combat the threat of foreign and internal subversion. The operation was decided upon after the discovery of Bonapartist plots against the government, led by Tukhacevsky, whose links with opportunist factions within the Party caused total panic. The NKVD’s orders had to be carried out by troikas, 3-men tribunalsa. As the troikas passed sentences before the accused had even been arrested, local authorities requested increases in their own quotas, and there was an official request in 1938 for a doubling of the amount of prisoner transport that had been initially requisitioned to carry out the original campaign quotas of the tribunalsd.

However, even if there had been twice as many actual executions as originally planned, which I would doubt, the number would still be less than 150,000. Many, in fact, may have had their death sentence refused or revoked by authorities before arrest or execution could take place, especially since Stalin, Molotov and Beria later realized that excesses had been committed in the 1937-38 period (the Great Purge), had a number of convictions overturned, and had many of the responsible local leaders punishede. Soviet records indicate only about 300,000 actual arrests for anti-Soviet activities or political crimes during this 1937-1938 interval. With a ratio of 1 execution for every 3 arrests as originally specified by the NKVD, that would imply about 100,000 executions. Since some of the people sentenced to death may have already been in confinement, and since there is some evidence of a 50,000 increase in the total number of deaths in labor camps over the 1937-38 interval that was probably caused by such executions, the total number executed by the troika campaign would probably be around 150,000a. There were also 30,514 death sentences passed by military courts and 4,387 by regular courts during the 1937-38 period, but, even if all these death sentences were carried out, the total number remains under 200,000. Such a low number seems especially likely given the fact that aggregate death rates from all causes throughout the Soviet Union were actually lower in 1937-38 than in prior yearsf, possibly a result of universal health care, vaccination and an improvement in living standards.

Assuming the remaining 100,000 or so death sentences passed in the other years of Stalin’s administration (1923-1936 and 1939-53) resulted in a 60% execution rate, as per the Vinton sample, the total number executed by the Soviet Union during the period would be about 250,000. Even with the thousands executed between 1917 and 1921, it is plausible that the number of unarmed civilians killed between 1917-1953 amounted to considerably less than a quarter million given that thousands of these victims may have been Soviet soldiers, given that many may have been armed bandits and guerrillas, and given that at least 14,000 of the actual executions were of foreign prisoners of warc.

A USA former attache to the Soviet Union, George Kennan, has stated that the number executed was really only in the tens of thousandsg, and so it is very likely that the true number of people killed by the Soviet Union over its entire history (including the thousands killed in Afghanistan) is too small for the country to make it even in the top ten in mass murders (unlike the United States of America, but that’s for another day). There were no doubt many innocent victims during the 1937-38 Stalin purge, but it should also be mentioned that there is substantial evidence from the Soviet archives of Soviet citizens advocating treasonable offenses such as the violent overthrow of the Soviet government or foreign invasion of the Soviet Unioni. In addition, the Soviet Union felt itself so threatened by subversion and imminent military invasions by Japan and Germany (which occurred in full force in 1938 and 1941, respectively) that it perceived a need to undertake a nationwide campaign to eliminate potential internal enemies. Moreover, these external threats were further fueled by the fact that the Russian nobility and czarists (over a million of whom had emigrated after the communist revolution in 1917) had given financial aid to the German Nazis in the 1930s for the purpose of using them (once they had successfully taken power in Germany) to help them overthrow the Soviet governmentj. Forged documents and misinformation spread by Nazi Germany to incriminate innocent and patriotic Soviets also contributed to Soviet paranoiak. It must also be remembered that Soviet fear of foreign-sponsored subversion in the 1930s existed within the context of guerrilla warfare fought against the Soviet Union by some of the same groups of people who had fought with the foreign invaders against the Soviet Union in the 1918-22 Foreign Interventionist Civil War. While the 1937-38 purges were very repressive and tragic by almost any measure, they may have helped prevent the fascists from inciting a successful rebellion or coup in the Soviet Union. Such a threat was a very real one given that the German Nazis did succeed in using political intrigues, threats, economic pressure, and offers of territorial gains to bring other Eastern European countries into their orbit, including Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary, as well as Yugoslavia for a short period of timeh, given that the Soviet Union had been subjected to a brutal 1918-22 civil war which was launched by rebels who were supported by over a million foreign invading troops from over a dozen capitalist countries, given that there was a large amount of sabotage committed by Soviet citizens in the 1930s, and given that there were a significant number of Soviet dissidents who were in favor of overthrowing the Soviet government even if it required an invasion by Germany or some other foreign poweri. In addition, many people may have worked independently to sabotage the Soviet Union in the hope that they would thereby contribute to a foreign overthrow of the Soviet Union, especially since Nazi Germany did make extensive efforts to incite uprisings, cause subversive actions, and create ethnic conflicts in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Despite the Soviet Union’s success in defeating the subsequent invasions by fascist Japan (in 1938) and Germany (1941-44), the danger posed by the Nazi spies and saboteurs in Eastern Europe is illustrated by the fact that the CIA considered them so effective that it adopted virtually the entire Nazi network into its own system of terrorism in Eastern Europe after World War IIl.

Evidence from the Soviet archives indicates that the officials responsible for the political repression of the 1930s sincerely felt the victims were guilty of some crime such as sabotage, spying, or treason, and many of the executions of the Great Purge were reported in the local Soviet press at the time. Even when there was proven to be no direct connection between the accused and the fascist foreign powers, there was often a strong belief that the suspects were foreign sympathizers who were working on their own (without formal direction) to contribute to the overthrow of the Soviet Union. It should also be noted that much of the 1937-38 repression, often called the Great Purge, was actually directed against the widespread banditry and criminal activity (such as theft, smuggling, misuse of public office for personal gain, and swindles) that was occurring in the Soviet Union at the timem. In addition to the executions, there were also many imprisoned, and hundreds of thousands of people were expelled from the Communist Party during the Great Purge for being incompetent, corrupt, and/or excessively bureaucratic, with such targeting of inept or dishonest Soviet bureaucrats being fairly popular among the average Soviet citizensi. Like the myths of millions of executions, the fairy tales that Stalin had tens of millions of people arrested and permanently thrown into prison or labor camps to die in the 1930-53 interval are untrue. In particular, the Soviet archives indicate that the number of people in Soviet prisons, gulags, and labor camps in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s averaged about 2 million, of whom 20-40% were released each yeara. This average, which includes desperate World War II years, is similar to the number imprisoned in the USA in the 1990s and is only slightly higher as a percentage of the population. It should also be noted that the annual death rate for the Soviet interned population was about 4%, which incorporates the effect of prisoner executionsa. Excluding the desperate World War II years, the death rate in the Soviet prisons, gulags, and labor camps was only 2.5%a, which is below that of the average citizen in Russia under the tsar in peacetime in 1913f. This finding is not very surprising, given that about 1/3 of the confined people were not even required to workn, and given that the maximum work week was 84 hours in even the harshest Soviet labor camps during the most desperate wartime yearso. The latter maximum (and unusual) work week actually compares favorably to the 100-hour work weeks that existed even for “free” 6-year old children during peacetime in the Gilded era and industrial revolutionp(shoutout to libertarians), although it may seem high compared to the 7-hour day worked by the typical Soviet citizen under Stalini.

In addition, it should also be mentioned that most of the arrests under Stalin were motivated by an attempt to stamp out crimes such as banditry, theft, misuse of public office for personal gain, smuggling, and swindles, with less than 10% of the arrests during Stalin’s rule being for political reasons or secret police mattersa. The Soviet archives reveal a great deal more political dissent permitted in Stalin’s Soviet Union (including a widespread amount of criticism of individual government policies and local leaders) than is normally perceived in the Westi. Given that the regular police, the political or secret police, prison guards, some national guard troops, and fire fighters (who were in the same ministry as the police) comprised scarcely 0.2% of the Soviet population under Staline, severe repression would have been impossible even if the Soviet Union had wanted to exercise it. In comparison, the USA today has many times more police as a percentage of the population (about 1%), not to mention prison guards, national guard troops, and fire fighters included in the numbers used to compute the far smaller 0.2% ratio for the Soviet Union. In any event, it is possible that the communist countries of Eastern Europe would have become politically less repressive and more democratic (especially over time), if there hadn’t been overt and covert efforts by capitalist powers to overthrow their governments, including subversion conducted in the USSR as late as the 1980s that the USA government admitted to in the 1990s. These efforts at violent subversion were initially carried out mostly by the British (before World War II) and then later more so by the USA through the CIA, which did succeed violently overthrowing a very democratic communist government in Chile in 1973. If the communists had truly been as evil and dictatorial as they are portrayed to be in the capitalist press, the peaceful revolution of 1989 in Eastern Europe (with virtually no related deaths except in Romania) could never have occurred.

Sources:

a: Getty, Ritterspom, and Zemskov, “Victims of the Soviet Penal System in the Pre-War Years: A First Approach on the Basis of Archival Evidence”

http://sovietinfo.tripod.com/GTY-Penal_System.pdf

b: Hellmut Andics, “Rule of Terror”

c: Louisa Vinton, “The Katyn Documents: Politics and History.”

d: Amy Knight, “Beria, Stalin’s First Lieutenant”

http://www.ucis.pitt.edu/nceeer/1993-804-08-Knight.pdf

e: Robert Thurston, “Life and Terror in Stalin s Russia”

f: Stephen Wheatcroft, “More Light on the Scale of Repression and Excess Mortality in the Soviet Union in the 1930s”

http://ebooks.cambridge.org/chapter.jsf?bid=CBO9780511626012&cid=CBO9780511626012A025

g: J. W. Smith, “Economic Democracy: The Political Struggle of the 21st Century”

http://www.abebooks.co.uk/9780765604682/Economic-Democracy-Political-Struggle-21st-076560468X/plp

h: Marshall Miller, “Bulgaria during the Second World War”

i: Sarah Davies, “Popular Opinion in Stalin’s Russia”

http://books.google.com/books/about/Popular_Opinion_in_Stalin_s_Russia.html?id=yTGgOwH_mwgC&redir_esc=y

j: Leslie Feinberg, “The Class Character of German Fascism”

<a href=”http://www.workers.org/ww/1999/fascism0304.php

k: Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky “KGB: The Inside Story”

l: Von Schnitzler, “Der Rote Kana”

m: John Arch Getty, “Origins of the Great Purges”

http://books.google.com/books/about/Origins_of_the_Great_Purges.html?id=R5zx54LB-A4C&redir_esc=y

n: Edwin Bacon, “The Gulag at War: Stalin’s Forced Labour System in the Light of the Archives”

o: R. J. Rummel, “Lethal Politics”

p: Marx and Engels, “Das Kapital”

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/index.htm

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1885-c2/index.htm

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/index.htm

q: Numbers taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_the_Soviet_Union, which in turn cites Andreev et al, “Naselenie Sovetskogo Soiuza, 1922-1991″

Source

Communist Party of the Workers of France: No to French military intervention in Mali, No to the “sacred union” to support the war!

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Position of January 12

The French government has decided to send French troops to Mali.

After the Ivory Coast and Libya, now it is Mali. This is a decision that involves France in a war in a former French colony.

This option was the only one that has been used since northern Mali has been in the hands of armed Islamist groups.

Since the beginning, [French President] Francois Holland asked the UN to give the green light to an international military intervention, in which the French General Staff and diplomacy would organize the concrete arrangements.

Men like Ouattara, put in place in the Ivory Coast by military intervention in which France played the lead role, Compaore, the head of Burkina Faso, who has continued to serve the interests of French imperialism in the region, regardless of the government in Paris, or Yayi Boni, an autocrat in Benin, serve as an “African” screen for this military intervention. Who can believe that ECOWAS would be able to set up a military force independent of the French army? On the contrary, it is clear today that the whole of the French military deployed in Africa has been mobilized for this intervention.

The justification for this French military intervention is the fight against armed Islamist groups who control part of the territory of Mali. They threaten the integrity of Mali and carry out a reign of terror in the areas they control. But their presence and the ease with which they are deployed reflect the existence of profound social, economic and political problems that the ruling regimes in Mali have not resolved, when they are not aggravated by their management of the country. This means that a military solution, let alone a foreign military intervention, will not resolve any of these problems, quite the contrary.

The Malian forces have denounced this situation and have from the beginning rejected a foreign military intervention; they stated that the question of the territorial integrity of Mali should be the responsibility of the Malian army. They were not listened to.

The military operation is complicated and can take time to mobilize the greatest resources. The victims are mainly Malian civilians caught in the crossfire.

The reinforcement of the “Vigipirate” plan is part of the strategy of tension and conditioning to convince the people of our country that they may be the target of attacks, whose perpetrators are linked directly or indirectly to Islamist groups acting in Mali. It is part of the government’s desire to create a climate of national unity, while it is carrying out an aggressive policy of austerity that strikes the masses.

Behind this intervention is the control of an area rich in strategic raw materials, particularly uranium that [the French company] Areva is exploiting in neighboring Niger and is also found in the subsoil of Mali.

For all these reasons, and because the war in the Ivory Coast, Afghanistan and Libya have amply shown that their justification by the fight against terrorism and the defense of democracy is a big lie, we express our total disagreement with the military intervention of France in Mali.

We reaffirm the need to put an end to the policy known as the “French-Africa,” a policy of economic domination and political and military intervention.

We affirm that it is up to the people of Mali, its democratic and patriotic forces, to find ways for a political solution to the crisis in their country.

Paris, January 12, 2013
Communist Party of the Workers of France

Source

International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations: Resolution on the Situation in Syria

handsoffsyria

The plenary of the ICMLPO, held for the first time in Africa, reaffirms its support for the right of the Syrian people to live under a democratic regime: a regime that guarantees freedom, equality, social justice and dignity, as well as assures the unity and total independence of the country, including the recovery of the Golan Heights occupied by Zionism since 1967.

The ICMLPO:

1. Denounces the dangerous development of events in Syria. The popular movement of protest has been transformed into a destructive civil war. The bloodthirsty repression is striking the people, and since the beginning, the Assad regime has rejected any democratic reform that would satisfy the aspirations of the Syrian people. This situation is the consequence of the foreign reactionary, imperialist and Zionist intervention, through Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which masked by the so-called “Free Syrian Army” and under the pretext of “saving the Syria people”

2. We reaffirm that this war has nothing to do with the interests of the Syrian people and their aspirations. On the contrary, it serves the reactionary forces of the country, the region and internationally. Syria is at the moment the place of confrontation between, on the one side the U.S., France and Israel and Arab and Turkish reaction that are trying to subject Syria to Western rule and make it break its ties with Iran and Hezbollah. On the other side, Russia and China are supporting the regime to preserve their strategic interests in Syria and the region, after having lost their influence in Libya.

3. We reject all intervention by NATO in Syria under any pretext, given the dangers that this represents for the Syrian people, the peoples of the region and world peace in general. The Conference calls on the Turkish people to oppose Turkey’s intervention in Syria. It sends a call to the workers and peoples of the Western countries, in the first place of the United States, Great Britain and France, whose leaders are threatening military intervention in Syria, to pressure their governments to stop them from carrying out their criminal strategy that caused disasters in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, etc. in the past

4. It is up to the Syrian people, in all cases, to determine their own future. The ICMLPO calls on the Syrian patriotic and democratic forces to unite to save their country from the claws of the Assad regime and the armed gangs and to prevent the foreign powers from mortgaging their future and making use of a part of their minorities to undermine their unity. The ICMLPO calls on those forces to strive to build a new, democratic, secular, independent and united Syria in which the different religions and nationalities live together in freedom and equality.

5. Calls on the patriotic, democratic and progressive forces of the region to urgently mobilize and to undertake the necessary measures of solidarity to support the patriotic and democratic forces of Syria, forces that must act to end the slaughters perpetrated against the Syrian people, to stop the destruction of the country and prevent the foreign intervention, to facilitate dialogue among its inhabitants to achieve their aspirations and break with the tyranny and foreign domination.

Organisation pour la construction d’un parti communiste ouvrier d’Allemagne

Parti Communiste des Ouvriers du Danemark – APK

Parti Communiste d’Espagne (marxiste – léniniste) – PCE(ml)

Plateforme Communiste d’Italie

Parti Communiste des Ouvriers de France – PCOF

Organisation Marxiste Léniniste Révolution de Norvège – Revolusjon !

Parti Communiste Révolutionnaire de Turquie – TDKP

Parti des Travailleurs de Tunisie – PT

Parti Communiste Révolutionnaire de Côte d’Ivoire – PCRCI

Source

Marxism & Bourgeois Nationalism

As always, a re-posting of articles does not necessarily imply an absolute endorsement of the entirety of its content. However, this well-written article does make a good point about the duality of the bourgeois class, particularly in the Third World and oppressed countries.

– Espresso Stalinist.

Tripoli is burning. Thousands of black Libyans and African immigrants are rounded up by the NATO-backed rebels and thrown into prisons. Supporters of the ousted nationalist government wait with baited breath for the inevitable and bloody purge by the new rebel government. Libyan oil gushes out of Benghazi into the pipelines of Western energy companies. And militia groups, deputized by Interpol and the now-victorious National Transitional Council (NTC) government, hunt for Colonel Muammar Qaddafi and his family across the Libyan desert.

Now that NATO has won this asymmetrical imperialist war, at least in the short term, no one can reasonably say that the Libyan people are better off with the rebel government in power. For all of the flaws of Qaddafi’s government – and other nationalist governments like his – the Libyan people enjoyed the highest standard of living on the African continent, rising from the lowest standard of living in the world as of 1951. (1) The national and tribal governments had an amicable working relationship that allowed for decentralized planning and local decision-making. Moreover, Libya’s natural resources were controlled by a national government at-odds with Western energy corporations, and the wealth they generated was publicly owned and shared. (1) In other words, the Libyan nation exercised its inherent right to self-determination.

Qaddafi’s government wasn’t socialist; it was nationalist. The relations of production in Libya were capitalist in nature, but to deny that Qaddafi’s government was more progressive and objectively anti-imperialist ignores the brutal material reality that millions of Libyans are facing because of the NTC government.

As the West begins to re-calibrate its war machine and set its crosshairs on President Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria, Marxist-Leninists need to understand their relationship with nationalist bourgeois states, like Qaddafi’s Libya. History has objectively proven those “leftists” who were cheerleaders for the fall of Qaddafi’s government in Libya or Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq wrong.

At the same time, every bourgeois state operates fundamentally in the interest of some sector of the capitalist ruling class, whether national or international, and in time the proletariat will replace that old machinery with socialism through revolution.

I posit these theses:

Because of their relation to imperialism after the fall of the socialist bloc, the objective historical position of nationalist states in the Third World is progressive.

Marxist-Leninists must uphold the right of nations to self-determination, which in the present is principally characterized by freedom from imperialist subjugation.

Where it arises, Marxist-Leninists must support genuine revolutionary proletarian struggles for socialism against bourgeois nationalist governments.

Josef Stalin, author of Marxism & the National Question

What is nationalism?

To understand when and why Marxist-Leninists should support nationalism, it’s important to examine the material conditions from which nationalism arises.

As a starting point, it’s important to distinguish a nation from other units of social or geographical organization, like a tribe or country. Historically speaking, national identity is a relatively recent development in class society. In his seminal 1913 work, Marxism and the National Question, Josef Stalin outlines the characteristics of a nation as “a historically evolved, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture.” (2)

Two important characteristics to note about Stalin’s definition. First, while territory and geography is a defining feature of a nation, it is not its sole determining characteristic, meaning that within the existential boundaries of a country–itself a recent social development–many nations may exist. Second, while a common economic life is also a defining characteristic, nations are not formed on the basis of class unity. In other words, there is no proletarian nation or bourgeois nation, but rather these two classes are both part and parcel of their respective nations.

In its inception, nationalism arises as an ideology of the bourgeoisie. From Marxism and the National Question:

The chief problem for the young bourgeoisie is the problem of the market. Its aim is to sell its goods and to emerge victorious from competition with the bourgeoisie of another nationality. Hence its desire to secure its “own,” its “home” market. The market is the first school in which the bourgeoisie learns its nationalism. (2)

Though all classes in a given nation are capable of embracing nationalism, Stalin argues that its historical basis lies in the bourgeoisie and its need for capital accumulation as a class. While other classes can appropriate and have transformed this concept, the demand for national self-determination begins as a bourgeois demand for exclusive access and control of its own national markets and resources.

European and American nationalism, for instance, arose from the break-up of feudal empires and the fledgling bourgeoisie’s struggle to establish itself as a class via primitive accumulation. American merchants, traders, shopkeepers, and speculators, denied full access to the readily available land and resources in North America by British mercantilism, led revolution of 1776 on the basis of American national unity. Though the American revolution of 1776 was waged in the interests of the fledgling bourgeoisie, the working masses rallied to the banner of American nationalism and led a successful struggle against British colonialism. Stalin notes that the “strength of the national movement is determined by the degree to which the wide strata of the nation, the proletariat and peasantry, participate in it.” (2)

Though the role of American nationalism in 1776 was historically progressive, the triumph of the American national movement was fueled by and resulted in the further subjugation of the African masses kidnapped and violently lashed into slave labor, along with the indigenous tribes ruthlessly slaughtered in the expansion of the American empire. Dialectically, American nationalism’s progressive features became the basis for the rise of the most oppressive imperialist power in the history of the world.

Without the subjugation of the African masses as a slave labor force, the Western bourgeoisie could never have established itself as an independent ruling class. Indeed, the same American nationalism that united the colonists against British mercantilism would unite the country in waging genocidal wars for land against indigenous people and Mexicans. After the series of successful European bourgeois revolutions, all ideologically fueled through nationalism, colonialism in Africa, Asia, South America, and the Pacific Islands became central to acquiring the cheap labor and resources necessary to generating extreme national wealth.

Because of the cheap labor and resources acquired through ruthless expansion, American capitalism transformed into imperialism, in which developed countries use force and comparative advantages in trade to violently extract resources and exploit the labor force of other colonies. Central to maintaining the colonial apparatus was the denial of equal rights and the cultivation of racist myths about colonized people, which materially manifested itself in slave labor, apartheid, and denial of access to the liberal democratic institutions established by the colonial bourgeoisie in imperialist countries.

Inevitably, the placement of capital in colonial countries allowed some small fraction of the colonized population to gain access to limited amounts of their own capital, albeit usually dependent on the colonial power. In other words, this small class of propertied yet colonized people constituted a bourgeoisie. Of this bourgeoisie, Stalin writes:

The bourgeoisie of the oppressed nation, repressed on every hand, is naturally stirred into movement. It appeals to its “native folk” and begins to shout about the “fatherland,” claiming that its own cause is the cause of the nation as a whole. It recruits itself an army from among its “countrymen” in the interests of… the “fatherland.” Nor do the “folk” always remain unresponsive to its appeals, they rally around its banner: the repression from above affects them too and provokes their discontent. (2)

The bourgeoisie of oppressed nations has the same basic features as the American and European bourgeoisie, in that both classes sought greater access to their own markets, resources, and labor. However, the conditions around the oppressed national bourgeoisie are qualitatively different than those around the Western bourgeoisie; they cannot seize control of their own national resources because of the fetters of colonialism.

Unquestionably the type of colonial oppression faced by the oppressed national bourgeoisie was different than that felt by the colonized proletariat and peasantry, who faced more brutal repression from the state and worse terms of labor. However, these colonized classes all had something to gain by overthrowing colonial and imperialist rule and achieving self-determination for their nation.

Nationalism becomes vital to the colonized bourgeoisie because it unites themselves and the colonized laboring masses in the struggle for national liberation. At the point where the laboring masses embrace nationalism, “the national movement begins.” (2)

National liberation struggles are not exclusively led by the nationalist bourgeoisie, and historically the bourgeoisie in colonial or semi-colonial nations is often too weak or too connected to the colonizing nation to exert itself independently as a class. Numerous examples of successful revolutionary proletarian national liberation movements exist, including the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). These successful communist movements, like the MPLA, also made use of nationalism to unite the country around the central task of expelling the colonizers. In essence, although nationalism is originally a bourgeois ideology, other revolutionary classes can appropriate it during the national liberation struggle phase.

Saddam Hussein, with an AK-47

Bourgeois nationalist states in the Third World

Because the nationalist bourgeoisie finds itself opposed to imperialism in the Third World, they can function as a tactical ally for the proletariat and peasantry in these same oppressed nations. Marxist-Leninists should never accept this alliance as permanent, however, and must carefully evaluate the place of the national bourgeoisie in relation to imperialism and the vast laboring masses.

Iraq provides one of the most potent examples of the fickle and unreliable nature of the nationalist bourgeoisie. The Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, for instance, was primarily bourgeois in its orientation and leadership, but it also attracted a mass following in the wake of the Iraq’s independence from British colonialism in 1958. (3)

Ba’ath was not committed to socialist revolution in Iraq, but they did preside over an aggressive nationalization program in 1972, which seized oil refineries from British and American companies and allowed them to diversify Iraq’s economy. Though these nationalizations were motivated by the access considerations of the national bourgeoisie, they also allowed the Ba’ath state to redirect revenues into public works projects that lifted nearly half the country out of poverty. In a 2006 profile piece on Saddam, PBS News writes of Ba’ath’s accomplishments:

As vice chairman, he oversaw the nationalization of the oil industry and advocated a national infrastructure campaign that built roads, schools and hospitals. The once illiterate Saddam, ordered a mandatory literacy program. Those who did not participate risked three years in jail, but hundreds of thousands learned to read. Iraq, at this time, created one of the best public-health systems in the Middle East — a feat that earned Saddam an award from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (4)

True to form, Saddam and Ba’ath rose to power in direct response to British colonialism. Acting in the interests of the Iraqi national bourgeoisie, they ‘took back’ the resources monopolized by the West’s colonial subjugation and used the revenues to rapidly construct a modern Iraq, which required an educated populace, secular government, a functional road system, and social infrastructure like hospitals. One can question the sincerity of Ba’ath’s actions towards the masses, but one cannot dispute the profoundly positive effect these nationalist policies had on the lives of ordinary Iraqis.

However, the social accomplishments of bourgeois nationalist regimes should never obscure their reactionary character. With both Ba’ath and the Communist Party of Iraq (ICP) vying for supremacy after the 1958 revolution, hostile confrontations between the parties continued until 1963, when Ba’ath launched a coup d’etat against Prime Minister Abdul Karim Qasim. (5) During the coup, communists organized massive militant resistance to Ba’ath, and over the course of the three days in Baghdad, “5,000 Iraqi citizens were apparently killed, including 80 Ba’th Party activists and 340 Iraqi communist activists.” (6)

Following the consolidation of Ba’ath rule in Iraq, the ICP experienced two separate waves of repression: one in 1963 following the coup and the subsequent unrest, and the other in 1977, led by Saddam. (5) Historian Bob Feldman writes in a February 2006 piece on Iraq that “By March 1963, an estimated 10,000 Communist Party of Iraq members had been arrested by the Ba’th regime and many imprisoned Iraqi leftist activists were not treated gently.” (6) Quoting Said Aburish’s book, “A Brutal Friendship: The West and the Arab Elite”, Feldman continues:

The number of people eliminated remains confused and estimates range from 700 to 30,000. Putting various statements by Iraqi exiles together, in all likelihood the figure was nearer five thousand…. There were many ordinary people who were eliminated because they continued to resist after the coup became an accomplished fact, but there were also senior army officers, lawyers, professors, teachers, doctors and others. (6)

The CPI was correct to resist the 1963 Ba’ath coup and oppose the consolidation of a bourgeois nationalist regime. Iraq’s independence in 1958 had shifted their primary adversary from British colonialism to the Iraqi bourgeoisie, seeing as no colonial entity to struggle against still existed. Saddam’s case reminds Marxist-Leninists that it’s strategic to enter into a popular front with bourgeois nationalists against imperialism, but after the national liberation struggle is complete, they constitute a vicious and dangerous foe.

Palestinian women wave PFLP flags

Nationalist governments support revolutionary people’s struggles in the Third World.

Failure to conform to imperialist foreign policy is the most common wedge issue between bourgeois nationalists and the West. Often driven by pan-national ideological unity, bourgeois nationalist countries objectively support revolutionary people’s struggles and national liberation movements abroad, placing them at odds with imperialism.

Finding common ground with the Shi’a-led Iraqi resistance to US occupation, Iran has provided weapons to Iraqi insurgents, as well as training for assembling their own weapons. (7) While many allegations about Iranian aid to the Iraqi resistance are exaggerated by Western capitalist media to ratchet up tensions, journalist Michael Perry describes Iran’s rationale in a February 2007 article:

But let’s go even further and say, for the sake of argument, that the Iraqi insurgents are receiving officially authorized aid from the Iranian state. It is true that having a neighboring nation in chaos does not generally benefit any country, but the Iranians have been under the gun from the U.S. for a very long time –decades in fact. The recent threats and provocations from the Bush administration make it clear that Iran is an imminent target. I’m quite sure the Iranians realize that the quagmire in Iraq is the primary impediment to an American invasion of Iran. Troubles for U.S. forces in Iraq may buy the Iranians more time. Could the Iranians be so blind to their own self-interests? (8)

At odds with Saddam’s secular Sunni government for decades, the Iranian bourgeoisie would relish the opportunity to have an oil-rich Shi’a-dominated Iraq to its west. More pressing, however, is the collective national fear of having another US-client state in the region. There’s a reason that Tehran, and not Qatar, the UAE, or Saudi Arabia, is actively subverting US occupation by materially supporting the Iraqi resistance. That reason, of course, is because the Iran’s ruling nationalist bourgeoisie has a material class interest in anti-imperialism.

The best evidence for the progressive quality of the Iranian nationalist bourgeoisie, embodied in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is the attempted color revolution in 2009 by the US-backed Mir-Hossein Mousavi. This so-called ‘Green revolution’ was financially supported by both the West and the wealthy neo-liberal bourgeoisie, represented by multi-millionaire former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. (9) In the 2005 Presidential elections, Ahmadinejad defeated Rafsanjani largely on the basis of the latter’s gaudy neo-liberal orientation. A 2005 article in GreenLeft by Doug Lorimer highlights the divergent class interests represented by Ahmadinejad and Rafsanjani. While both accept the fundamental tenents of the Iranian capitalist state:

In the same TV interview [Ahmadinejad] claimed the country’s vast oil wealth was controlled by one powerful family — a reference to Rafsanjani, who is alleged to have enriched himself through his son’s management of the country’s nationalised oil industry. The Rafsanjanis also have investments worth US1 billion in pistachio farming, real estate, automobile manufacture and a private airline.

“The whole Iranian economy is set up to benefit the privileged few”, Ray Takeyh, a professor and director of studies at the US National Defense University’s Near East and South Asia Center in Washington, told the Bloomberg news agency last December. “Rafsanjani is the most adept, the most notorious and the most privileged.” (10)

Rafsanjani, and his running dog Mousavi, hoped to rise to power via a US-supported color revolution and open Iran to Western markets; in other words, they represent the comprador Iranian bourgeoisie. Despite the best efforts of the imperialist powers to oust Ahmadinejad–who by every objective measure legitimately won the 2009 election–the Iranian people resisted these attacks on their national sovereignty. (11) Even as he nears the end of his two terms as President, Ahmadinejad remains popular with the Iranian masses because of his consistent anti-imperialism on the world stage, along with the social programs he has championed at home despite Western sanctions.

Pivoting to another nationalist state, Syria has consistently functioned as the most progressive of the multitude of Middle Eastern countries by substantially supporting the major national liberation movements in the region. Trinity University professor of history David Lesch writes in his fantastic book, The New Lion of Damascus: Bashar al-Asad and Modern Syria that:

Syria does not deny claims of support for Hizbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, viewing that such operations constitute legitimate resistance and not terrorism; indeed, Damascus often views Israeli activities vis-a-vis the Palestinians and its actions in Lebanon as terrorism. (12)

Since the Syrian Ba’ath party took power in 1963, the state has always supported the Palestinian and Lebanese liberation struggles and sought to keep Israeli imperialism in-check. (13) Sharing the common trait of secularism, Syria allows the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the largest Marxist-Leninist revolutionary movement in Palestine, to operate comfortably out of Damascus and materially supports their struggle with supplies and resources. (14) Because of the Syrian bourgeoisie’s desire for regional secular pan-Arab unity–rooted in the Alawi faith of President Bashar al-Assad and others–and the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights, Assad’s government is objectively anti-imperialist.

Similarly, Saddam’s Ba’ath state in Iraq financially supported and championed the cause of Palestinian national liberation, which was played up by the West in the months leading up to the 2003 invasion. On March 13, 2003–just six days before the invasion–the BBC reported, “Saddam Hussein has paid out thousands of dollars to families of Palestinians killed in fighting with Israel. Relatives of at least one suicide attacker as well as other militants and civilians gathered in a hall in Gaza City to receive cheques.” (15) Later, the same article estimates that the Iraqi government had paid out nearly $35 million to Palestinian families since 2000.

In hindsight, the timing and purpose of this BBC article is obvious, but that Saddam’s support for ‘terrorist groups’ was one of the reasons for the 2003 invasion demonstrates the extreme degree to which his support for the Palestinians offended and scared the West. Startlingly few people remember that Israel invaded Syrian airspace and bombed a peaceful nuclear power plant in September 2007 for many of the same reasons. When a bourgeois state in the Third World becomes nationalist in its orientation, as opposed to comprador bourgeois states, it demands a response from the West.

Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia

Never confuse your primary and secondary contradictions!

Although a multitude of contradictions exist in class societies, at any given time, one of these contradictions is principal in comparison to the others. If a person goes for a walk, decides s/he wants a cigarette, and then gets bitten by a rattlesnake, the order of the day is to call a doctor and receive medical attention immediately for the venom. As much as that person might have wanted–or even needed–a cigarette, only a great fool would tell this person that s/he should prioritize smoking over seeking medical attention.

Primary and secondary contradictions seem like common sense, but a multitude of so-called ‘leftists’ and revolutionaries confuse them when analyzing imperialism. Ultimately, the approach that Marxist-Leninists ought to take to bourgeois nationalist governments is tied up in correctly identifying and acting on primary and secondary contradictions.

Though largely ignored in Marxist-Leninist writings, the experience of the Ethiopian revolution offers valuable insight as to how communists ought to struggle against bourgeois nationalist governments. Having played an instrumental role in repelling the Italian fascist occupation of Ethiopia, Emperor Haile Selassie I began as an archetype bourgeois nationalist. He encouraged pan-African unity, promoted decolonization, and began an aggressive process of modernizing Ethiopia.

That said, Selassie’s government became firmly aligned with the West after World War II and opened the country up to an influx of foreign capital. Presiding over and encouraging severely unequal land distribution, Selassie’s government was also responsible for a series of famines and foot shortages, the worst of which claimed an estimated 40,000 to 80,000 victims. (16) Ahmed Khan of the Communist Workers and Peasants Party in Pakistan writes this of Selassie’s government:

During the monarchical period, life expectancy was a mere 38 years and 90% of the people were illiterate. Only a tiny handful of feudal landowners and royal sycophants controlled the entire wealth of the country.

Severe drought and famine engulfed Ethiopia which led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of peasants, and led to widespread hunger and food crises in the urban areas. (16)

Even bourgeois sources regard these famines as the product of Selassie’s destructive policies. A 1997 report by Human Rights Watch called “Rebellion and Famine in the North under Haile Selassie” indicted the nationalist government for its culpability in this famine, saying:

The Wollo famine was popularly blamed on drought, a backward and impoverishedsocial system, and the cover-up attempted by the imperial government. These factors were all-important — though it must be remembered that specific actions by the government, especiallyafter the Ras Gugsa and Weyane revolts, were instrumental in creating the absence of development. (17)

By 1974, Selassie’s bourgeois government lost all legitimacy in the eyes of the masses. Because of the widespread crises brought on by Selassie’s selective industrial development and close trade relations with the West, Ethiopian workers and peasants began to mobilize against the government. Khan writes, “The inability of the monarchy to deal with the crisis and the propensity of the feudalists to bleed the peasantry dry led to increasing hatred for the monarchy on part of the oppressed peasants, workers and a section of the emergent urban middle class.” (16)

Although no Marxist-Leninist vanguard party existed in Ethiopia at this time, a communist council of military officers known as the Derg organized alongside labor leaders in the urban centers and peasant communities in the countryside to produce the Ethiopian revolution of 1974. (18)

The revolutionary experience of the Ethiopian people in overthrowing Selassie’s government and establishing the People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia–firmly committed to socialist construction–has tremendous lessons for Marxist-Leninists about their relation to bourgeois nationalists. Objectively, Selassie’s government was essential to the anti-imperialist and anti-fascist struggle waged against fascist Italy in 1935. The Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) went so far as to launch a “Hands off Ethiopia” campaign in the same year, which included substantial demonstrations supporting Ethiopia’s right to self-determination (19).

However, classes do not exist in a vacuum. While one class may play a historically progressive role at one time, a change in the material conditions–like increased trade relations with the West following World War II–may render that same class reactionary. For as important as nationalism was to Ethiopia repelling fascist Italy in 1941, the same nationalist government’s reactionary policies reached a boiling point in 1974, resulting in a popular socialist revolution.

The lesson from Ethiopia is clear: Marxist-Leninists in nationalist states must organize with a keen awareness of primary and secondary contradictions. For a moment, let’s assume that an organization like the Derg existed in Ethiopia circa-1935. Said organization would commit a grave error in throwing in with the fascists in hopes of toppling an admittedly reactionary monarchy. First, the organization would undeniably alienate the Ethiopian masses, who despite their poverty and poor military training, flocked to defend their homeland, the only African state never colonized by the West, from fascist occupation. (20) Second, although Selassie’s bourgeois government was at-odds with the interests of Ethiopian workers and peasants, that contradiction receded into the background the moment that fascist Italy began poison gassing entire villages of Ethiopians.

When Mussolini’s forces invaded Ethiopia in 1935, there was only one organized military force capable of mounting a resistance: Selassie’s nationalist government. Unsuccessful at first, Ethiopian patriots of all classes, albeit predominantly workers and peasants, struggled onward to victory and liberation in 1941. That this liberation struggle took place across class lines on a nationalist basis is no small detail. It’s paramount that Marxist-Leninists, in light of Iraq, Libya, and increasing aggression towards Syria, comfortably identify anti-imperialism as the primary contradiction facing the international proletarian revolution today.

Proletarian internationalism is superior in every way to bourgeois nationalism, but so long as neo-colonialism and imperialism exist, communists must unite all who can be united in the anti-imperialist struggle. Simultaneously, though, communists must remember the other side of the dialectic: When bourgeois nationalists become complicit partners in Western imperialism and alienate themselves from the masses, communists must never hesitate to overthrow that state with extreme prejudice and on its ruins erect revolutionary socialism.

The irrelevance and obscurity of the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP) following the toppling of Saddam’s Ba’ath regime demonstrates the devastating effects of incorrectly identifying primary and secondary contradictions.

Saddam was by no means a consistent anti-imperialist throughout his reign. Though Ba’athist Iraq established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and China, it still retained casual relations with the West; relations that were strengthened following Saddam’s condemnation of Soviet intervention in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, as well as the Iranian Revolution in 1979. (21) Between the overthrow of the US-backed Shah, the establishment of a militant Islamic republic, and the Iranian hostage crisis, Iraq began to work closely with the West to curb Tehran’s influence in the Middle East. Though the Reagan Administration would notoriously fund the Iranians also, the US comfortably placed their initial bets behind Saddam in the devastating Iran-Iraq war of 1983-1988.

Even though the imperialists used Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war to sow chaos in the Middle East, the Ba’ath state remained largely at odds with Western interests because of its nationalist orientation. Refusing to privatize its oil industry and allow Western capital to fully penetrate its national markets, the West increasingly saw Saddam as a danger to imperialist interests in the Middle East. Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait over territorial disputes, the subsequent Gulf War, and Saddam’s unabashed support for the Palestinian liberation struggle cemented Iraq’s status as a pariah state in the eyes of the West by the early 1990s.

In an effort to eliminate an unfriendly pro-Palestinian government perched atop massive oil reserves, the US and UK fabricated the now-infamous falsehood that Saddam’s government had weapons of mass destruction. While communists around the world uniformly condemned the imperialist invasion of Iraq, “the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP) welcomed Saddam Hussein’s removal and is happy that the ousted president is to be put on trial.” (22) Exhausted and furious from decades of repression by Ba’ath, the ICP’s position is understandable on a purely visceral and emotional level. However, Marxist-Leninists must remain level-headed during periods of crisis and correctly identify primary and secondary contradictions; a task at which the ICP uniformally failed.

In the coming years, the ICP would come to participate in the puppet state erected by the West–most recently in the liberalizing ‘Political Reconciliation’ movement–and integrate themselves into this comprador government imposed from without. (23) Despite comprising the strongest opposition to the Ba’ath government during the 1960s, the ICP has descended into relative obscurity, having lost any credibility with the masses for their blunder. Instead, Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army and other religious sects comprised the mass base of resistance after Saddam was captured, though their bourgeois and petty-bourgeois class character has led them to also participate in Maliki’s bogus government.

One would think that the international ‘left’ would have learned about correctly handling primary and secondary contradictions after witnessing the failure of the ICP to lead a mass revolutionary resistance to imperialist occupation. Instead, the same ‘leftists’ who witnessed the invasion of Iraq cheerled a racist, imperialist-backed ‘rebel movement’ in Libya, and many made the full leap into supporting NATO’s invasion to oust Qaddafi.

When a nation achieves self-determination, the secondary contradiction between the proletariat and the national bourgeoisie will ascend to the forefront as the new primary contradiction. Before that time, however, the primary contradiction facing the masses in oppressed nations is between imperialism and national liberation. In bourgeois nationalist states, this contradiction can and must draw in all who can be united to strike a blow against imperialism.

Countries want independence.

Nations want liberation.

People want revolution.

—-

(1) Gerald A. Perreira, “Libya Getting it Right: A Revolutionary Pan-African Perspective,” March 4, 2011, Dissent Voice, http://bit.ly/mQT4iz

(2) Josef Stalin, Marxism & the National Question, March-May 1913, http://bit.ly/cwOCSQ

(3) Said K. Aburish, “How Saddam Hussein Came to Power,” 2002, From Saddam Hussein: The Politics of Revenge, Published in The Saddam Hussein Reader, pg. 41-42

(4) Jessica Moore, “Saddam Hussein’s Rise to Power,” 2003, PBS News, http://to.pbs.org/65tro

(5) Turi Munthe (Editor), The Saddam Hussein Reader, 2002, pg. xv-xviii

(6) Bob Feldman, “A People’s History of Iraq: 1950 to November 1963,” February 2, 2006, Toward Freedom, http://bit.ly/qwCar2

(7) CNN, “Iraqi insurgents being trained in Iran, US says,” April 11, 2007, http://bit.ly/nHra0S

(8) Michael Perry, “So what if Iran is Interfering in Iraq?,” February 21, 2007, AntiWar.com, http://bit.ly/ogwqxd

(9) Paul Craig Roberts, “Are the Iranian Protests Another US Orchestrated ‘Color Revolution’?,” June 20-21, 2009, CounterPunch, http://bit.ly/pmXj7w

(10) Doug Lorimer, “IRAN: A vote against neoliberalism,” July 6, 2005, Green Left, http://bit.ly/nYcOll

(11) Terror Free America, New America Foundation, “Ahmadinejad Front Runner in Upcoming Elections,” June 12, 2009, http://bit.ly/k8x0w

(12) David W. Lesch, The New Lion of Damascus: Bashar al-Asad and Modern Syria, 2005, pg. 102

(13) Reuters, “Syrian President Vows to Keep Supporting Hezbollah, Hamas,” August 2, 2007, http://bit.ly/qex219

(14) Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, “PFLP condemns attack on Syria,” November 3, 2008, Fight Back! News, http://bit.ly/qWDlmo

(15) BBC News, “Palestinians get Saddam funds,” March 13, 2008, http://bbc.in/9BWsXr

(16) Ahmed Khan, “Defend Comrade Mengistu! On the struggle of our Ethiopian brothers,” November 19, 2008, Red Diary, http://bit.ly/jbYhks

(17) Human Rights Watch, “3. Rebellion and Famine in the North Under Haile Selassie,” 1997, http://bit.ly/pzy53w

(18) Christopher Clapham, Transformation and Continuity in Revolutionary Ethiopia, 1988, Cambridge University Press.

(19) Robin D.G. Kelley, Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression, 1990, pg. 123.

(20) A.J. Barker, The Rape of Ethiopia, 1936, 1971.

(21) Said K. Aburish, “How Saddam Hussein Came to Power,” 2002, From Saddam Hussein: The Politics of Revenge, Published in The Saddam Hussein Reader, pg. 44

(22) Shaheen Chughtai, “Iraqi communists celebrate change,” June 1, 2004, http://aje.me/qp5rVW

(23) Talal Alrubaie, “The Iraqi Communist Party and Hegel’s Owl of Minerva,” February 2, 2010, http://bit.ly/rqF6fr

Source

Video: Afghanistan, Prelude to Soviet Invasion

Expose Ryan Towne for the Racist Fascist That She Is

As some of you may know there is a young woman out there claiming to be a Marxist-Leninist of the Pro-Enver Hoxha tendency with a bombastic and abrasive attitude towards anything in contrast to her views. This young woman goes by the name of “Ryan Towne” and some of you may well be FB friends with her.

She has been expelled from Revleft and numerous FB Communist groups for racist and Islamophobic remarks. Ryan Towne is a pro-Rhodesian settlerist, Zionist Israel apologist psuedo-leftist, it is totally arrogant of her to claim her own individual ultra-leftist/reactionary views on Hezbollah, Israel, Zimbabwe etc. deserve more merit than the millions of Communists who spent years forging the lines we have today. If the collective has spent the time and effort to create a plan to solve a problem, it should be followed out and judged on its results. One should never have the arrogance to assume that their opinion is greater than that of the collective decision making of the people. This is a total objectivist/fascist position to assume one individual knows better than the decisions making power of all people affected by the decision. It assumes that the individuals actions have no effect on anyone else.

Ryan has also come out defending Nazism, “ethnic socialism” etc. on her blog, it was soon taken down after been exposed on the forum Revleft:

Many people talk of how communism is a “noble concept” but that it can’t work. We are told how people have suffered under communism – the intellectuals and artists who were allegedly targeted and killed in Mao’s cultural revolution for example, the tens of millions of Ukrainians murdered by Stalin, the aggressive expansionism, gulags, the ridiculous notions of lysenkoism and the idea of making everyone work for equal and very low wages, the extent of state control over every one’s lives. But communism, despite all this, is still a “noble concept” and that is because there is a nugget of pure gold at the centre of this ideology -and that is socialism – an ideal of treating people fairly.

Many of the positive things about communism as it has been practiced and realised in actuality are not known to the general public. For example, that a policy of full employment was accompanied by free housing. The poorest people in Russia had a happier and more secure existence under soviet rule than they do today when they can find themselves homeless, counting themselves lucky to work unreasonable hours for little pay for capitalists, and in a society where there is a lot of corruption, crime and sleaze, and the mafia is strong. If communism “did not work” it is nevertheless true that what it was replaced with is little better, and in a number of ways worse.

Communism does work as practiced today in various nations around the world. these now are all non-white nations, non-western nations. Because they reject the western capitalist way of life they are demonised. But the people living in these countries do benefit from communism – and the communism is special there in that it is no longer internationalist and has taken on a nationalist flavour. Even Soviet Russia had to resort to rousing feelings of nationalistic pride in ww2. So these communist regimes are nationalistic and also socialistic, and yet they are undoubtedly fascist as well in that the state requires that the people obey its laws and serve the state’s existence.

The communism practiced in various countries now is different in each one. To some extent capitalism has been allowed, including allowing western capitalists to relocate factories to China, for example, and exploit the Chinese people. not good. but the variant of communism they have in china still has benefits to the Chinese people in that it controls criminal activities far more effectively than would otherwise be the case and takes a strong stance against such things as drug dealing, prostitution and pornography.

These communist countries have to be heavily ruled by a totalitarian state (and are thus basically fascist ) because the people living in them lack the altruism that would be necessary for the state to ease off and allow a natural socialistic consensus to emerge. China is a vast and over populated nation, but there is a fairly high level of homogeneity, especially in localised areas. true socialism could work if the separate areas would work as autonomous regions.

National socialism as practiced in Germany in the 3rd Reich worked like a charm because there was a high level of homogeneity, a strong sense of nationhood, and simply because the northern European/Germanic temperament is ideally suited to socialist society. Even today’s anti-Nazi documentaries with emotive titles about “the rise of evil” and so on admit that national socialist Germany was a paradise – as long as you were not one of those being hauled away to a concentration camp.

National socialism is like communism with all the failings removed. It is strange indeed that it is thought of in any way as being the opposite of communism but that mistake can be explained by the fact that Germany fought a war against soviet Russia, and the soviets needed to give the impression that national socialism was nothing like their own variant of socialism. it was the soviets who first decided to label the Nazis as “fascists” in order to avoid the use of the term “socialism” to describe their enemy. Although Hitler allied with Mussolini and the Italian fascist regime, national socialist thinkers in the third Reich have always made it clear that national socialism is a rejection of fascism. National socialism is about putting the folk before the state while fascism is the opposite. Fascism in no way implies any kind of racial loyalty and in fact would only exploit racial or patriotic loyalty as far as it benefited the state to do so – always at times of war. At present the west is ruled by a fascism in which the ruling capitalists exploit the people and seek to prevent true socialism by bringing in millions of immigrants of various races, especially third worlders. This provides them with cheap labour, causes racial conflict to replace the class conflict that capitalists fear, and prevents the folk of a nation from maintaining their territory and identity.

Yes true communism, true socialism, depends upon human nature being altruistic, and looking around us at the world it seems that such a society would be impossible. But it is not. Altruism has been scientifically proven to be a genetic trait that is lost unless it is practiced very discriminating. Animals have evolved to be altruistic – but only towards others who are closely related to them. William Hamilton’s equation demonstrates the mathematical formula for this kin selection. Altruism and socialism are almost homonyms. Socialism requires altruism and this is why, when you bear in mind the facts regarding the necessity of close relation, the most potential for a socialist society exists amongst people who are of one ethnicity and one nation. The biggest mistake of communists is to forget this rule. there cannot be a global village that is socialist – in which every ethnicity and creed cooperates in a spirit of harmony and love. We can imagine such a world perhaps, but the reality is that it can never happen and that attempts to make this happen not only fail but in fact ruin the only real chance of socialism, which is ethnic based.

Those who favour capitalism like to point to the failings of communism and say that human nature is egoistic and selfish and that people never really work for the common good. Since the most successful capitalists and politicians today are clinically psychopaths, it is not possible for these people to empathise with altruistic urges anyway. These people could never feel loyalty to blood, only to their own bank accounts. It is horrific that such people have so much power over all our lives.

Capitalists suggest that people live only for shallow material reward and they have no conscience about exploiting workers. Proudhon’s famous phrase “property is theft” is most accurate when referring to the ill-gotten gains of capitalists. Capitalists point to the Darwinist fact that animals are genetically programmed to desire to prosper, reproduce and expand. They ignore the fact that this is achieved as a group – and thus socialistic – even if the animal is not gregarious. Success in nature is about spreading ones genes and these genes succeeding within a gene pool. The capitalists abuse and twist Darwinism and that is how the abomination which is called “social Darwinism” came into the language. To capitalists, “survival of the fittest”, is about selfish exploitation by an individual and about the individual getting as good a material existence for himself, even without having any offspring at all in many cases, as possible. When we have these people in our midst it is only bad for our gene pool and the anti-nature world view that capitalists spread is killing us and raping the planet. It is a big factor behind the plummeting birth rate in the west.

The capitalists have not only twisted Darwinism but they have twisted socialism too. Many associate socialism now with a policy of supporting the least deserving and most useless people in our society. Many associate socialism with being pro immigrant – when as i have explained immigration wrecks the basis of socialism and merely strengthens the position of capitalists. Not only those who dislike socialism have these misconceptions, but the multi-racialists who claim to be socialist or communist also have these ideas. Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin – none have ever advocated that third worlders should immigrate to the west and mix with whites. Trotsky made clear that he advocated black nationalism/separatism in the united states, even while the ku klux Klan at the time did not, preferring the capitalist/masonic stance that blacks be kept as slaves. (thankfully today’s KKK does appreciate the principle of ethno nationalism and has an ironically similar view to that of Trotsky in this regard).

Socialism is about contributing to society, while capitalism is about taking out of society – it is about making a private profit. when capitalists point to ways they feel they do contribute to society, from the “trickle down effect” to donations they make to third worlders, or creating jobs or adding to the economy, it is all cynical spiel with no grounds to justify it as being positive. All of these things result in pollution, unsustainable use of natural resources and surging populations in parts of the world where it is most harmful.

Capitalists have been behind all wars, including the last two world wars and the present “war on terror”. Selling arms is very lucrative, as is rebuilding destroyed infrastructure and of course war would have had to be declared on a national socialist state that had promised to hang bankers and capitalists and was printing its own currency.

Communism in the soviet states had a strange relationship with the western capitalists and that is why they did not see it as the same threat that national socialist Germany posed. as the Russian anarchist Mikhyl Bakunin pointed out :”i am sure that, on the one hand, the Rothschild’s appreciate the merits of Marx, and that on the other hand, Marx feels an instinctive inclination and a great respect for the Rothschild’s. this may seem strange. what could there be in common between communism and high finance? ho ho! the communism of Marx seeks a strong state centralization, and where this exists there must inevitably exist a state central bank, and where this exists, there the parasitic Jewish nation, which speculates upon the labor of the people, will always find the means for its existence…”

When it comes to a debate over which is the better, communism or capitalism, the argument always fails to realise the true biological basis for socialism and how it really could work to bring a utopia, if only the capitalist exploiters of the labour of the people would be stopped, and ethnic cohesion taken as the foundation for harmony and cooperation.

EXPEL THIS FASCIST DOG FROM YOUR FACEBOOK PAGES!

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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).

Statement of The Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan) about the USA’s Plans on the Middle East

Stop the War!
No Sanctions, No Bombs Against Iran!

March 17, 2007

The US has, directly after its occupation of Iraq, been building up several military bases close to the Iranian border.

The US has made repeated demands on the Iranian government to accommodate to US policies concerning the “new American order”.

Replacement of the regimes in Iraq, North Korea and Iran is, and has been, part of the Bush doctrine. Right now, as the US has failed in Iraq, its war-mongering against Iran is on the increase. The US has now dispatched two aircraft carriers to the Gulf of Persia and placed 50 warships just off the Iranian coast. The US accuses Iran of possessing nuclear arms or of aiming at producing them. This is the hysterical US propaganda against Iran, in spite of the fact that all inspectors have declared that Iran has got no nuclear arms; those statements, however, doesn’t suffice for G.W. Bush.

According to what the US dictates, independent nations have no right to develop peaceful nuclear power for civil use. The US dictate does not concern Israel, which is a nuclear power in the Middle East. Nor does it apply to Pakistan, or India, et al. What is being said,is that the Tehran regime must obey the US on the Palestine/Israel conflict; must not oppose US policies in the Persian Gulf on matters concerning oil; must accommodate entirely to the IMF and the World Bank, etc. In short, Iran must unconditionally align itself with the US in the rivalry of the latter with the EU, Japan, and China. Can this be realized without any military intervention? Yes, that alternative might be possible. The capitalist clergy regime in Tehran has the character of selling out to the US for the sake of power. All factions within the Tehran regime have shown marked tendencies of compromise with the US. Examples of this are that the Islamic regime, during bombardments of Iraq and Afghanistan, has been collaborating with “the alliance Britain-US” and, according to its own statement, “the US wouldn’t succeed in Iraq and Afghanistan without help from Iran”.

Iran was one of the first states to recognize the stooge regime in Baghdad. The Tehran regime has from the very beginning been acting against the resistance movement in Iraq, and has been close to the US line, while yet being accused of responsibility for the US failure in Iraq.

An invasion of Iran is, given the situation of huge US problems in Iraq and internationally, unlikely to occur. Nevertheless, the war-mongering is dangerously similar to the war-mongering that preceded the invasion of Iraq. If it is not possible, in the end, to change the Iranian regime in favour of US desires, it might finally lead to a military action against Iran. The US doesn’t care about the form or medieval character of the Iranian regime. History has shown that the US may collaborate with any kind of Satan to realize its aims and goals. Decisive to the Bush administration is that Iran chooses a pro-US line like Kuwait, Bahrain, Turkey, Qatar et al. The possible intrusion of US imperialism into Iran is of the same nature as its intrusion into Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and other countries, and must be condemned. The US has its imperialist political, economical and strategic interests, and no thinking person should believe that US meddling into Iranian affairs has anything to do with democracy, freedom or justice. That is nothing but sheer imperialist propaganda. The people of Iran can, by its own might, overthrow the reactionary theocratic regime and build a free and democratic society without the “aid” of imperialism. Iranians are never going to forget the 1953 event, when Prime Minister Mosadegh was overthrown by a joint US-British action following his nationalization of the oil industry. The Shah was reinstated, oppression and terror became everyday features, and the democracy movement was drowned in blood. One should not be blinded by the terror regime in Iran to forget about the colonial and barbaric aims of US imperialism.

US Out of Iraq Immediately and Unconditionally!
No Sanctions, No Bombs Against Iran!

The Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan)

Source

Handwritten letter from President Saddam Hussein to the American people

7 July 2006.

Saddam Hussein

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Mercy-giving.

“And among the Believers are men who are true to that which they pledged to God. Some of them have fulfilled their pledge by death and some of them still are waiting and they have not altered in the least. That God may reward the true men for their truth and punish the hypocrites if He will, or relent towards them, for God is forgiving, merciful. And God repulsed the infidels for their wrath. They gained no good. God averted their attack from the Believers. God is strong, mighty.” [Qur’an 33:23-25].

To the American people:

Peace upon those who believe in peace and desire it, and the mercy of God and His blessings.

I address you in this letter from the place of my confinement, as my attempt on the basis of my moral, human, and constitutional responsibility so that no one among you might say that no one came to us with a message of peace after the war began, refuting the arguments for it and desiring peace for you and for our upright, loyal, heroic people. And as I say this, I do no know whether my brothers and comrades who are leading the Resistance outside the prison have come to you with a letter before or not. That is because the “democracy” of your leaders has prevented me since my arrest and until now from getting newspapers and magazines or hearing radio and television and has isolated me from the world and has isolated the world from me so that I might not hear or see anything from outside my place of confinement.

Is this the true face of democracy and human rights that they advocate outside America!? Or have your rulers lied about it? This includes the killing of people in prisons and jails, some of them by means of the pistols of the American investigators. Or has all of this along with other details that would turn an attentive person’s hair white been concealed from you by your officials such that you do not know the truth!?

Anyway, I address you with this letter of mine in the hope that it will reach you and that you will hear it or read it. And on the basis of my responsibility to bring the facts before people, whatever their color or nationality, for that is our duty to them, just as they have a duty to us not to accept evil.

I address you today as my attorney the eminent lawyer and Professor Ramsey Clark has asked that I write this letter of mine to you. Professor Ramsey has presented an excellent example of a humanitarian in his person and in his colleague Professor Curtis Dobler, both of whom left a positive personal impression on me. On this occasion I wish to salute their courage as they have volunteered for the task although they know the dangers that surround them in carrying out their duty, in particular after criminals have killed four of the defense attorneys.

People of America, it still seems to me that the officials in your government are still lying to you and are not giving you true explanations of the reasons that led them to embark on their aggression against Iraq. In what they have said about the reasons they have deceived, from the starting point, not only the international community, and in particular the European Community but also the peoples of America themselves, knowing beforehand that the facts were contrary to what they were declaring. Untrue is what they said, after their lies were exposed, about having been deceived by their intelligence agencies and by the stooges that they brought along to serve as their puppets in Iraq, just as old imperialism and the old empires of the 19th and 20th centuries used to do. What we are saying is based on many facts, the major ones being as follows:

1. The inspection teams – that came to Iraq in the name of the United Nations and carried out searches even of some private houses as well as government departments, presidential palaces and government documents – those teams knew that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction because most of the leading members in those teams were Americans and British and in addition they had spies and volunteers of other nationalities. Those teams searched Iraq piece by piece from one end to the other and never found any information contrary to what they and others were told by Iraqi government representatives. The inspections lasted for more than seven years. And in addition to the teams that traveled by car and on foot, they used spy planes, helicopters, and satellites in space. The American and English officials thought that this was their historic chance to strike Iraq and destroy its legitimate aspirations and the lofty cultural and scientific achievements made in the course of 35 years, making use of the information gathered by their spies in the inspection teams and making use of the so-called war on terror after the 11 September incident that struck America. They shuffled the cards to bring up the goals that they had already decided upon earlier, and these were not the goals that they publicly announced at the starting line.

It was their assessment that the unjust embargo had not destroyed Iraq’s will nor halted its legitimate aspirations to develop economically, culturally, scientifically, and as a civilization in the conditions of a new independence. They believed that Iraq had come close at that time to breaking the economic embargo as the result of the cooperation of those who cooperated with Iraq on the basis of mutual benefit and fraternal national feelings as far as the Arabs were concerned. The officials in your country thought that this was their chance to impose their will on the world by means of their control of the Middle East’s oil and its production and marketing in new ways and for new goals – those about which we spoke in and before the year 2003 – in addition to attaining one of their Zionist goals and winning support in the election. Iran and its lackeys played a dirty role in making aggression appear attractive and in facilitating its implementation.

2. The American officials did not withdraw from Iraq after they became hard pressed, but declared that the facts were contrary to what they had claimed before the invasion that took place in March and April of the year 2003. If they had been truthful when they claimed that they had been deceived as a result of the information they had been given and which they used as the cover for their invasion, and which they declared at the time was sufficient justification for the invasion – declaring at the time that it involved things that they said affected the security of the United States – then they would have withdrawn from Iraq after discovering that that information had been false. They would have apologized to the heroic Iraqi people, to the American people and to the people of the world for what they had done.

None of the Americans asked their government before the war how Iraq, a country that had still not emerged from backwardness, could threaten the security of a country like America across the Atlantic. And for that matter why would Iraq want to threaten America, which at that time had not violated the territory of Iraq. If the American officials wanted to promote the claim that Iraq’s threat was precisely involved in the opposing stances taken by Iraq and America over the Zionist occupation of the land of Palestine and other Arab land, it could be said that Iraq is not the only state that takes an opposing stance to that of America in regards to the issue, whether that be Arab states or other states in the world. Furthermore, who has authorized America to make the countries of the world tailor their policies to America’s measurements, and if they don’t oblige, then war should be waged against them? How can one understand America’s call for democracy if it does not permit a difference of opinion even in issues of a regional character, to say nothing of international ones?

Another lie was the claim of American officials that Iraq had links to what they called terrorism, although British Prime Minister Blair declared that Iraq does not have any ties to so-called terrorism and had no internationally prohibited weapons, forcing Bush to declare the same thing. Despite that, none of the important American personalities asked President Bush on what sort of rational analysis or what sort of realistic information this claim rested. Do you know, esteemed ladies and gentlemen, why they didn’t ask? Because some of your prominent personalities are directed in what they do by hidden forces that distorted the image you received of Iraq’s positions. They had been laying the groundwork for years to facilitate aggression from the start. Therefore no one asked the American officials, for example, why no Iraqi took part in the events of 11 September!? And if the participation of individuals in the attack on American targets isn’t to be taken as proof of the involvement of any country in those events, then how do you accuse a state like Iraq, the features of whose political system are known, of so-called relations with terror? How can you consider this charge to be one of only two on the basis of which aggression was launched against the people of Iraq, destroying their property and achievements and bringing their lives under daily and direct threat?

Do you know, esteemed ladies and gentlemen, that I asked one of the American officials who talked with me perhaps two weeks after my arrest, just what was it that you based those false charges on? He said that as far as the weapons of mass destruction were concerned, “we didn’t have anything to confirm what you were saying.” And as for the links to terrorism, he said, because you, Saddam Hussein, did not send a letter of condolence to President Bush after the incident [of 11 September].

I smiled bitterly and told him: as regards your claim that you didn’t have confirmation of our statements, it seems that your officials lie and imagine that officials in countries around the world do not tell the truth, or that many of those who have relations with you in fact do not tell you the truth, neither when they oppose your policies nor when they agree with them. This is a dangerous matter, not only for the countries of the world but because they then pose a danger for America as well, if nobody in the world will tell America: ‘this is a mistake’ and ‘this is unacceptable’! And at that time when American planes were striking targets in Iraq and destroying public and private property, killing Iraqi citizens including women and children for no reason and imposing on Iraq their unjust embargo, prohibiting Iraq from importing even pencils for children to use in primary schools, what exactly is it that should obligate Saddam Hussein to send a telegram of condolences to the president of the state whose officials have committed all those crimes, unless it be out of hypocrisy and weakness? But because I am neither a hypocrite nor a weakling I didn’t send Bush a telegram of condolence. But I did agree on the telegram sent containing condolences in the name of the government of Iraq and sent by Comrade Tariq Aziz, the Deputy Prime Minister, to our friend Ramsey Clark and through him to the stricken families.

Are the great states so deluded as to imagine that whoever does not send a letter of condolence deserves that war should be waged against him, his country, and his people!? Here you see how the American officials used even your own blood to promote their reckless, aggressive policy. Is this the kind of morality that people should have? Or men? Or officials? There is nothing graver than for disasters to ravage people who have been stricken by delusions, committed wrongs, and wantonly despised the roles of others. The worst disease of the American officials who involved the Americans in war against Iraq is this.

3. After I was arrested they made vain attempts to use intimidation and threats against me. One of their generals conveyed that intimidation and host threats and tried to bargain with me, promising to let me live if I agreed to read in my own voice and sign a prepared announcement that was shown to me. That stupid announcement called on the people of Iraq and the courageous Resistance to lay down arms. They said that if I refused, my fate would be that I would be shot just like Mussolini, as my interlocutor put it. But, as you know me and would expect of me, I disdainfully refused, not even touching that dirty document with my hand and sullying myself with it. I told them if I were given the chance to address my people, I would call them to more resistance.

Seven days later, to reinforce themselves, they sent a group to talk with me. They said they were from an American University and that they wanted to engage me in a broad discussion. I agreed and I confirmed to them that Iraq didn’t have any of the things the American officials claimed and I advised them [the US] to leave Iraq quickly and apologize to the people, warning them that they were going to get what they now are facing and what they are now embroiled in – in fact, the fate I expect for them is worse than what they are facing now – and they will never have an adequate chance to pull their arms and equipment out of Iraq if the two halves of Iraq engulf them, and they will engulf them, God willing, because our people are deeply rooted and conscious. They know that our liberation can be clean and complete only with their unity, and that tolerance must be the basis for the orientations of our people within their ranks, and that wounds must be bound up, not ripped open.

I say, I told them all that at that time but they didn’t change their methods; they didn’t replace the keys of falsehood, and they are still knocking on the doors of wrong, failing to try the door of legitimacy, even though they now know. In this connection, attached to this letter are some verses from a long ode; a selection of 56 verses. [Not translated here.]

4. It is neither reasonable nor convincing that a country like America to which the doors of the intelligence agencies in the east and most of the countries of the west have been opened did not know the truth and could not know the truth. Although I am convinced and believe that many countries in the world have an interest in war or wars, she [the United States] does not have an interest in war even though she might believe she does. The contrary, in fact, is the case.

America is a big country on the other side of the Atlantic. It has developed a unique unparalleled power such that I think some people there imagine that it is on its way to attaining the crown of the world all for itself as a world empire. Have they not learned a lesson from their war in Viet Nam? The west used to promote the idea that world Communism and the Soviet bloc threatened their interests and also the security of the entire west. But despite that promotion, this was nothing but a flimsy cover. Nevertheless, America used it and wrapped itself in it until the heroic Vietnamese people expelled them by force.

As to their invasion of Iraq, it came in a situation that made the first step easy from the standpoint of the reaction of the international community because of the international balance of forces. But it came in a situation that might make it more costly that its war in Viet Nam. That is because when America was expelled from Viet Nam it did not lose its standing, or we might say it only lost a small part of its standing. But when it is expelled and routed from Iraq, which has no great power to support it directly, it will lose the fundamental basis of its standing.

In fact it has now already lost the foundation for that standing and its reputation has begun to decay. It is no longer able to wield the big stick that it formerly threatened to use. It used to accomplish more by threatening to use force than by really using force. I will go further and say that after its war in Iraq, that stick no longer frightens many people and America has come to need the silence of the smallest and simplest countries and tries to please them in order to get them to stay quiet about America’s crimes and reckless, deviant policies.

Before, many of the world’s countries used to court the United States and most countries in the world, all except a few, used to fear her threats or parried them with defensive arguments. But now Mao Zedong of fond memory is laughing in his grave because his prediction has been fulfilled and America is a paper tiger. This is by the will of the Living Eternal God, and by His agents on earth, the heroic Mujahideen in glorious, virtuous, militant, jihadist Iraq. So God bless the heroic people of Iraq and God bless the jihad and the mujahideen.

Esteemed ladies and gentlemen of the peoples of America, the time has come to an end in which greatest and best-equipped armies could scatter the organized formations of the opposing army and thereby bring a war to a close. Now you see our courageous army, our heroic people, and our Mujahideen replacing the system of organized formations with a new kind of warfare. And when the Americans on the ground become targets in the vicinity of the guns of the revolutionaries, who attack them as deadly human bombs with nothing more than their bodies filled with faith in God, American superiority is worn down over time. In fact in the near future that superiority will become a burden whose equipment will be difficult to withdraw. So, will America trust the voice of rationality and logic that calls for the preservation of what still remains, or will Satan the deceiver and the hate-filled supporters of Zionism keep pushing the Americans until the waves swallow them and they sink to the depths of the raging sea?

Who, after all, appointed the American government to be the world policeman, to form the world in the mold that it likes, giving national orders to the countries of the world?

Saddam Hussein, ladies and gentlemen, is an honorable patriot and an honest man. He is a statesman resolute in implementing the law, just, but benevolent. He loves his people and his nation. He is straightforward, doesn’t double-cross or deceive. He speaks the truth even against himself. Do tyrants like Bush like such characteristics? If he were a person like De Gaulle or even like Reagan, perhaps he would understand them, or at least would not abhor them. But I must say to you that your country will discover more, esteemed ladies and gentlemen. It has lost his reputation and his standing. Indeed the American who used to travel around the world respected and safe and welcomed wherever he went, is now no longer able to step outside America without a mine detector. And the State Department issues warnings for you constantly about what world regions are dangerous to American lives

It was American officials and their polices themselves that have created an atmosphere of anti-American hatred in the world by means of their arrogant behavior, their haughty aggressive attitude, their lack of respect for international law and the security of the world – including the security of my Arab Nation through their support for the Zionist entity in Palestine – and other world and human issues.

Today you are in a bad predicament with the world and nobody can rescue you but yourselves. If you reform, you will open for the world and for yourselves a new opportunity. But if you are heedless, that is your decision. What you need is free and fair competition and peace in order to have security.

The years that followed the 18th century had long gone when they came as invaders to the Middle East to bring back memories of things that awaken and arouse. The Middle East, and the Arab homeland in particular, was the cradle of prophets and messengers from God. Is the cradle of the prophets, where the prophets are buried in their tombs, also the home of devils and their mirror images – the malicious invaders?

We have believed, and our faith was suited to us,
Then came the Zionists with a devil for a guide.
They stormed in on us as invaders, unjust.
The did not stop their advance nor sit still,
Their diabolical patron has prepared their dilemma.
But as for us, we have the Merciful God as Patron.

People of America, despite the crimes your government inflicted on our people, our Arab Nation and humanity, the people of Iraq – and I mean by that the Iraqis, not those with split loyalties who prefer to serve foreigners rather than their own people – I say the free people of Iraq even in their present circumstances are not thinking about their destiny alone but about the destiny of others wherever it’s possible to create a solution that treats a painful problem.

On this basis I said to some Americans when I was in my prison, why don’t you come to an agreement with the Resistance to designate a country with a charter and power to which the Resistance can hand over those American soldiers whom they capture, rather than executing them as currently is said to be taking place. In fact the extent to which the Resistance is responsible for this is unknown, but people who are equitable know that America has not abided by international law in any of its activities in Iraq, including the Geneva Conventions regarding prisoners and detainees. The Resistance has no secure place in Iraq where prisoners can be kept. So whether the Resistance is at all responsible, or whether the responsibility lies with some other parties that have no connection to the Resistance, the justification for it is that there is no secure place for prisoners to be kept.

Therefore in order to fulfill humanitarian needs and to eliminate the justification [for killing prisoners] I make this proposal to you and to the national Resistance and to anyone concerned, and I make this with the best of intentions. If you accept it and respect the Geneva Conventions then the argument of those who kill rather than detain prisoners will have vanished. But if your government does not accept it, then it will bear the responsibility for refusing and for whatever befalls our people and the heroic Resistance as a result of your government’s violation of international law. This will be particularly true if the number of American prisoners increases in the future, and we think that it will increase. Or is it that your government can’t see anything until it feels it?

Esteemed ladies and gentlemen, the time has come for your government to look at all people as equals before international law regardless of the size of the countries to which they belong. Whoever violates international law in his policies and the behavior of his army, he alone must bear the consequences for that policy. And if his policies are not in accordance with the letter of international law, he has no right to call others to protect his rights in accordance with that law.

Esteemed ladies and gentlemen, whoever missed his or her chance to take action to try to prevent the war still has a chance to act to end it and bring back peace and freedom to Iraq in accordance with the choice of its people without foreign interference by anyone whoever that may be.

People of America, I address you not from weakness nor as a supplicant. I, my people, my brothers, comrades, and my nation – we address you on the basis of our moral and human responsibility. I tell you that officials whom you know, and first among them your President, lied to you and deceived you and tricked you using the media that portrayed Iraq to you as incorrigible, and Saddam Hussein as a hateful dictator, and that his people hate him and that his people are just waiting for their chance to get at him. Some of them just wallowed in lying falsehood to the point that they openly declared that the Iraqis would meet the invading armies with roses and celebration.

I know that lots of people don’t do a lot of analysis; they don’t have the time or the ability or the desire to do careful assessments when presented with falsified news so as to uncover the truth. The American peoples had no chance to inquire, for example: why, if the people of Iraq hate Saddam Hussein, how he managed to defeat the Iran of Khomeini after eight years in the aggressive war that Iran sought to impose on us under the slogan of exporting the revolution beginning with Iraq? People of America, the victory over Khomeini’s Iran was not due to the short length of the war, but came only after eight years of grinding warfare in which tens of thousands fell and hundreds of thousands on the Iranian side.

Then if Saddam Hussein were a dictator, why did he establish a parliament with elections for the first time in the year 1980 during wartime, when there had been no parliament in Iraq since 1958? If he and his government were dictators, how could he visit schools, universities, towns, and villages and spend the night with the people wherever the sun went down? How could he travel around and lead at the battle front at night and during the day even in the trenches in the front lines on the battlefield among the Muslim soldiers!?

Yes, esteemed ladies and gentlemen, your government deceived you, and you, or rather most of you, had no chance to inquire of themselves or of others in order to discover the truth because the Zionists in the lobby who advocated the war together with some of the centers of power were deceiving you and tricking you, hiding from your eyes the real truth, exchanging the facts for falsified and slanted information. Last but not least in this regard, if Saddam Hussein were a dictator hated and despised by his people, how is it that his people endured him and why was he chosen President by referendum?

People of America, the misfortunes that have afflicted you and afflicted our Arab Nation and within it our heroic Iraqi people – including the breakdown of America’s standing and reputation – were only caused by the reckless behavior of your government and by pressure from Zionism and power centers that influenced the government to commit those crimes and scandalous actions for specific ends that have nothing to do with the interest of the American peoples. The massacres and blood that now flows in the streets and countryside of Iraq in torrents – the responsibility for that falls on America before all others. You know, or rather you have now come to learn, that neither the stooges whom the American forces brought in on board their aircraft or as shamefaced presents aboard their tanks, nor Iran, which pushed and still pushes forward those who support it and whom they support, would be able to cause the bloodshed, or the destruction of the honor, and property of our people and our state had not America undertaken the aggression and invasion and issued the orders. It is still issuing orders in the Green Zone. Therefore America bears the burden of all those crimes and outrages. So, will you put an end to what is going on by using the methods of direct truth without evasion and digression? Or will you invite the machine of death to continue to eat away at the flesh of Iraqis and the flesh of Americans without doing anything to resolve this?

It is your historical responsibility, esteemed ladies and gentlemen. If you reform, you could save what remains of the standing and reputation of America and its legitimate interests. If you do nothing, you will be keeping silent over something evil. “God grant us patient perseverance and let us die as Muslims.” [Qur’an, 7:126]

People of America, the wars that your government promotes in the world – one of them being the war in Iraq – with input from certain centers of power – which you know better than we – are not in the interests of the American people. You know better than many how you paid in blood so that you might liberate yourselves from British colonialism and after that how the United States of America was unified and what rivers of blood were shed in order for that to come about. So, esteemed ladies and gentlemen, how do you accept this interference that abases America before it abases Iraq? How can you accept not only the invasion but becoming mired in the internal affairs of Iraq? You know that Iraq is a land of prophets, messengers, and righteous figures. You know that Baghdad is the fourth holiest city in the Arab homeland – after Mecca, al-Madinah, and Jerusalem – in the sight of all of the Islamic world and all of our Arab Nation. How can one imagine that Iraq could reconcile itself to colonial rule, even if it comes, this time, under another name and with other slogans? Save your country, esteemed ladies and gentlemen, and leave Iraq.

Peace.

God is greatest. God is greatest.

[signed]

Saddam Hussein,
President of the Republic of Iraq and Commander in Chief of the Mujahid Armed Forces.

7 July 2006.

[Appended to the letter was a selection of poetry by Saddam Hussein dealing with the homeland, invasion and the struggle for liberation]