Category Archives: Palestine

ICMLPO (Unity & Struggle): Final Declaration of the 18th International Seminar, Problems of the Revolution in Latin America: The Current International Situation and the Tasks of the Revolutionaries

In the midst of joy and enthusiasm, the 18th International Seminar, Problems of the Revolution in Latin America, was closed. The event was held with the participation of 28 organizations from 15 countries; it is estimated that about 1500 people attended the seminar during its 5 days. The fruit of the hard work of the last week is attested to below:

With an air of apparent tranquillity and optimism, the economic analysts of the international bourgeoisie announced to the world that the economic crisis that broke out in 2008 had come to an end and a period of capitalist recovery loomed. Indeed, demonstrations of a small economic recovery can be seen in some countries, such as the United States and Germany, but at the same time, other economies are suffering new setbacks. During these years, the centre of the crisis has been moving from one region to another; its economic effects are still present around the world accompanied by the intensification of political and social conflicts.

The world is the scene of acute social-political confrontation between the peoples and the ruling classes, between dependent countries and imperialist states, and among imperialist powers themselves which are fiercely contesting control of areas of influence, markets, natural resources of the dependent countries, etc. This explains the political-military conflicts that are taking place in various parts of the world, such as Ukraine, Syria or the Middle East.

In this agitated world, the workers, youth and peoples in general are making their way with their struggles, seeking to affirm the historic leading role that they deserve.

The onslaught of capital to place the burden of the crisis on the backs of the workers has clashed with the combative response of the peoples in Europe. From the other side of the ocean, the Latin American peoples have watched with joy and optimism the general strikes, street demonstrations, the combative days of struggle that have spread throughout Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy, Germany, etc. that is, in almost the whole old continent. In this practice of mass struggle the revolutionary organizations are redoubling their efforts to provide the right direction to these fights, contending with right-wing and opportunist forces that see in such circumstances the opportunity to provide political solutions to the crisis without affecting the framework of the bourgeois institutions.

Faced with the savage mechanisms and levels of capitalist exploitation in Asia and Africa, the response of workers is to strike. Thousands, tens of thousands of workers, miners and agricultural workers are stopping work in companies that are mostly subsidiaries of imperialist transnationals.

The American continent, which at one point in history committed itself to taking up arms to defeat colonial domination, is also the scene of popular protests, of acute political confrontations and inter-imperialist disputes.

The course of the so-called progressive governments is showing serious problems. The public and social work that they were able to develop in previous years due to the unusual income from the sale of raw materials on the international market, now has difficulties in continuing: the economic problems are causing havoc. In their search for resources they have opted for doing what the bourgeoisie in power has traditionally done, prostrating themselves before international financial capital and putting their hands in the pockets of the workers.

Chinese, Russian, Canadians and U.S. capital are flowing into this region to engage in mining, oil, energy projects, etc., or through loans that, in one case or another, maintain an existing state of economic dependence. Several of these “progressive” governments, in the name of a supposed anti-U.S. attitude, are actually carrying forward a renegotiation of dependency on China in particular.

In many aspects of economic and political practice there is no major difference between the “progressive” governments and the openly right- wing ones. Both apply policies and laws to restrict or even eliminate the rights of the workers and peoples – with different labels but identical purposes; “anti-terrorists” laws are passed that seek to prevent popular protest through its criminalization; they coincide in promoting extractive and agro-energy projects that plunder our wealth and cause disastrous and irreversible consequences to nature.

Of course, there are more examples of the application of anti-people and anti-national policies; therefore the discontent and struggle of the workers, youth and peoples are growing… and repression as well. In the Americas, as in other parts of the world, the increasingly reactionary nature of the state is a fact that, however, strikes the struggle of the people in the most varied forms.

Faced with this reality, and bearing in mind that the reason for existence of the revolutionary forces is to organize the leading role of the masses in the revolution, we the participants in this International Seminar commit our struggle to defend the immediate and strategic interests of the workers and peoples, and to defend national sovereignty under the sign of class independence.

We reaffirm the principle of the unity of the workers and people as the fundamental basis to defeat their common enemy, anti-imperialist unity to carry through our struggle successfully.

We work for the revolutionary ideas to open the way and take root in the consciousness of the peoples; therefore it is essential to confront and defeat the ruling classes and imperialism in the ideological field. It is not enough to fight the openly reactionary and right-wing positions; it is fundamental to unmask the pseudo-leftist and opportunist theses and positions that operate in the popular movement to make it work for pro-capitalist projects in the name of supposed revolutions of the 21st century.

We take as our own the struggles of the workers and peoples that are developing in whatever part of the world, therefore we are in solidarity with them all. In particular, we raise our voices and our fists with indignation against the genocide being carried out by the Zionist state of Israel with Yankee support against the Palestinian people: our solidarity with the heroic struggle of the Palestinian people to regain their territory and their right to self-determination. Our voices of support go out to the Venezuelan people fighting to defend the democratic gains made in recent years, and our condemnation of the interventionist and destabilizing action of U.S. imperialism and the bourgeoisie of that country. We stand with the people of Ukraine who are victims of the ambitions of domestic corrupt and reactionary groups and of conflicts between foreign powers.

We demand freedom for the people’s fighters, for the political prisoners and political prisoners of war and for all victims of repression prosecuted for their beliefs in different parts of the world.

These views, the result of an open and respectful debate in the context of the 18th International Seminar, Problems of the Revolution in Latin America, held in Quito, we present to the peoples of Latin America and of the world.

Our objective is the social and national revolution, the liberation of all mankind from the yoke of capital: that purpose we direct our best efforts.

Quito, August 1, 2014

Revolutionary Communist Party of Argentina
Revolutionary Marxist-Leninist Party of Argentina
Coordinator of Neighbourhood Unity – Teresa Rodriguez Movement, Argentina
Revolutionary Communist Party of Brazil
Olga Benario Women’s Movement – Brazil
Class Struggle Movement – Brazil
Democratic Constituent Movement – Colombia
Communist Party of Colombia (Marxist-Leninist)
Maoist Communist Party of Colombia
Communist Party of Labour – Dominican Republic
Dominican Association of Teachers
Revolutionary Popular Front – Mexico
Communist Party of Mexico (Marxist-Leninist)
Peruvian Communist Party Marxist-Leninist
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Caribbean and Latin American Coordinator of Puerto Rico
Bolshevik Communist Party (Russia)
Communist Party of Spain (Marxist-Leninist)
Workers’ Party of Turkey
Bolshevik Communist Party (Ukraine)
Party of Communists of the United States
February 28th Revolutionary Organization – Uruguay
Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador
Popular Front – Ecuador
Democratic Popular Movement – Ecuador
Revolutionary Youth of Ecuador
Ecuadorian Confederation of Women for Change
Revolutionary Front of the University Left – Ecuador

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ICMLPO (Unity & Struggle): Statement of the 15th Meeting of the Marxist-Leninist Parties of Latin America

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Together with the workers and peoples of the world, we are outraged and condemn the genocide of the Israeli government and army against the Palestinian People!

Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the Declaration of Quito, which proclaimed the birth of the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations, we the Marxist-Leninist communist parties of Latin America, together with the fraternal participation of the Marxist- Leninist comrades of Turkey and Spain, met to review the individual and collective work that we carried out in the last year; it is an occasion in which we also analyzed the situation in our respective countries and that of Latin America and the world in general.

During the presentations and discussions, we established that our parties have been active to different degrees and with weaknesses in development in different aspects; they have been making strenuous efforts to link up with the working class and the popular sectors, in order to promote their political positions, advance their struggles and win their consciousness; and, with a view to increasing their ranks and advancing towards becoming political forces that affect the national political life, always with the perspective of the seizure of political power.

We live in the midst of a complex situation that requires a deeper and continuous attention on our part. Although Latin America still remains an area that is the fundamental domain of United States imperialism, other imperialist powers, the European Union among them, and now China and Russia in an unusual way, through the BRICS, are embarking on the search for an important share of the natural resources and market in the area. This makes Latin America into an important area of inter-imperialist contention, which has and in the future will have some political implications that we will have to know how to deal with very intelligently.

Another element that adds complexity to the situation in Latin America is the fact that, besides the puppet governments that continue to be tied to the worn-out neo-liberal prescriptions, in several countries the politics of the system are expressed through proposals of governments that define themselves as progressive and even leftist, while still keeping a good part of our peoples under their influence.

We note that in most countries there is a growing tendency to curtail democratic rights and civil liberties; to criminalize protests and carry out judicial prosecution of revolutionary militants and trade union and popular activists in general with charges up to terrorism and rebellion against the state. This is only because they might be organizing activities for demands in favour of the popular masses or of opposition to government policies. Facts that show this trend in our continent can be seen clearly in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Paraguay, Ecuador and in most countries of Central America.

This negative trend places before us the urgent necessity to raise the struggle in defence of democratic rights and the achievement of human rights, at the same time as we strengthen international solidarity among our parties and peoples.

The overall situation demands of our parties a theoretical and propaganda work that is much broader than we have so far developed, which has been limited.

Among the many other phenomena that are presented to us is the BRICS project and its policies, stated recently with special emphasis by the governments of the countries that make it up. This could create a lot of confusion among our peoples, leading them to believe that China and Russia, and the government of Brazil, are led by leftist positions, when in fact the first two are imperialists, and the third is a bourgeois government allied to imperialism.

We are confronted with the challenge of denouncing the imperialist character, the specific interests and policies of this project, which finds an important ally in the government that call themselves left-wing, by which they deceive the popular masses and therefore discredit the real leftist positions.

Our propaganda has to promote our revolutionary and socialist ideal as the real solution to the problems of our countries, the working class and peoples and to highlight the anti-national and anti-popular character of U.S. imperialism, the European Union and BRICS.

In the presentations and discussions the elements of the policies were emphasized that in one way or another, but with the same content and purpose, are being applied in Latin America, all of which seek to contribute to a phase of expansion of capital. They are:

1. The concessions to the multinationals for the exploration and exploitation of resources, mining, oil and gas, among other things, as part of the effort of finance capital and the multinationals to find new investments, seeking to recover the average rate of profit, as well as to ensure control of sources of raw materials.

This policy of conceding territory for mining exploration and operation hides the terrible affects that they would cause and, in fact, are causing to the environment, the fresh water and the communities and populations that are located there.

2. The promotion of genetically modified crops that in agri-businesses seek a source to expand the profitability of capital and that use the false discourse of fighting hunger. This affects the productive culture of our people that is a fundamental part of their sovereignty, while it harms human health.

3. The promotion of so-called policies for economic growth for the governments in office; this is not for development, but is based on low wages, reduction in the achievements and rights of the workers and popular sectors in general and the destruction of natural resources. The so-called competitiveness on the international level of these growth policies is based on these components; therefore, they stimulate the growth of GDP but, at the same time, they maintain and increase the levels of poverty of the popular majority.

4. Adoption of laws, decrees, regulations and contracts, which under the euphemism of the “rule of law” and “governability,” ensures the possibility of making those concessions; they cover up the investments of the multinationals and capital in general.

5. Neo-developmental policies, which give the State the power to make investments in areas that are not in conflict with private capital and instead pave the way for its circulation; while, in general, they are expenses that have a high component of “public charity” to mitigate the effects of privatization of public works and to disguise the poverty, but essentially they do nothing more than maintain an electoral following.

6. Policies of internal and external debt, almost always by issuing government bonds, which finance capital and businesses buy up, aware of the fact that the countries have natural reserves that serve as guarantors, thereby affecting national sovereignty. Besides this they place more taxes on the peoples and cut social investments in the public budgets that should benefit the people through education, health care and social security, among other things. In general it can be stated that all our countries face big fiscal deficits that cause multiple repercussions.

The implementation of these policies has led to the response of our peoples. In the majority of the countries important popular struggles have developed demanding the cessation of the policies of handing over natural resources to the multinationals, as well as for the achievement of better wages and democratic rights for the majority.

Although those struggles still do not mean that there is an upsurge of the popular movement, they do show a trend that is growing. Something that is very important and that our parties should bear in mind is the fact that various social sectors take part in these, being affected in one way or another by these policies. By their diverse composition, these movements express forms, even though in the beginning stages, of popular fronts that our parties should encourage and propose to lead.

It is a reality that these policies make up expand the social bases for the opposition to the governments and political regimes and institutions that protect and support them. This is the importance of political line and tactics.

In our discussions we have kept in mind that our parties and organizations, grouped in the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations, have been taking up and promoting the need to develop popular front policies that in each country will have a name and composition that the specific realities call for. We concluded that this approach is correct and calls for more work on our part.

This is a challenge to the revolutionaries: to build a powerful broad front of the masses, that strikes the official policy and interests of finance capital and the multinationals, and in this struggle it is proposed as an alternative of power.

This challenge leads us to other challenges without whose solution it is difficult, almost impossible, for us Marxist-Leninist communists to fulfill our role of fighting revolutionary vanguard of the working class and of our peoples; that is, the need to increase our ranks, to become communist parties with deep roots among the masses, capable of leading the political processes taking place up to the seizure of power. If we are not big, strong and influential and, above all, if we do not place our sights on the conquest of power, the social democratic or overtly right-wing currents will take advantage of the circumstances and gain the leadership of the peoples and of power.

Therefore we must always keep in mind the popular masses; know what their aspirations and level of consciousness are; be one with them in thought and action; sum up their aspirations and demands in a platform of struggle; bring them to the struggle, be concerned with raising their level of consciousness; and in the process help them become political leaders. This is a matter of the line of our parties, but once the policy is defined, they must become concrete, they must be converted into actions through the men and women, through the membership; this determines everything. The theoretical and political training and the political readiness of the membership to explain and promote our politics among the masses is a vital issue in order for us to fulfill this orientation by our parties.

Aware of our challenges and commitments, mainly to the working class and working people, we will continue to work with greater determination in fulfilling the orientation of the ICMLPO to contribute to the building of Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations in other countries.

We take up these commitments and challenges conscious of the fact that our realities are complex and difficult for revolutionary political work, but there are also favourable conditions for it.

In that sense, we are striving to gain more clarity on the situation and, above all, to make our membership increasingly aware that we must work more, and that we can grow.

The world today, despite some initial indicators of economic recovery that signal the end of the cyclical crisis that began in 2008, also shows the reality that in many countries the external debt is high and in order to pay it the governments must use much of the public revenue; there are fiscal deficits and high levels of unemployment and underemployment persist, all of which could lead to reversing the trend towards growth.

Beyond this, and as an important element for revolutionary propaganda and agitation, the capitalist system is starkly showing its cruelty and its harmful impact on the lives and conditions of the peoples. There are millions of households without any of its members having a decent job; there are millions of young people without access to education and employment, among other problems.

The stage of getting out of this economic crisis has intensified the dispute among the monopolies and the imperialists in the world. It has unleashed the greed of financial capital in seeking to take advantage of the destruction of productive forces caused by the crisis and to gain possession of the principal strategic centres of energy, raw materials, cheap labour and consumer markets,. This is exacerbating the conflicts and confrontations, the wars of aggression and intervention against the peoples, even creating the dangers of an escalation towards a confrontation between the imperialist powers.

To this logic there correspond, among other things, the war in Ukraine and Syria, the increasing confrontations in the Africa continent, the restructuring of forces in contention in Iraq and the contradictions between China and Vietnam.

The onslaught of the Israeli government and army against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip deserves special mention; it is a genocide carried out with the approval of U.S. imperialism and the complicit silence of the European Union and the UN.

We restate our revolutionary solidarity with the heroic Palestinian people and with all the workers and peoples fighting against the aggression of the imperialist powers and against the oppression of capital.

Revolutionary Communist Party – Brazil
Communist Party of Colombia (M-L)
Communist Party of Labour – Dominican Republic
Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador
Communist Party of Mexico (M-L)
Peruvian Communist Party (M-L)
Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Venezuela
Communist Party of Spain (M-L)
Party of Labour – EMEP – Turkey

Ecuador, July 2014.

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Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan): Long Live May 1st, the Harbinger of the Spring of the Working Class Liberation!

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Long Live May 1st, the Harbinger of the Spring of the Working Class Liberation!

If the workers put a stop to work, the world will go into disarray.

Comrade Workers,

May Day, the day of unity and solidarity of the workers of the world, is coming in a situation in which the US imperialists, with or without agreement of the UN Security Council, are continuing their aggression against smaller nations. The imperialists have created a situation resembling the era of old colonialism. They recognize neither the self-determination nor the independence of the nations, nor do they value the territorial integrity of other countries. The imperialists do not recognize any international treaty that opposes or restricts their interests. They occupy smaller countries, invade their airspace, assassinate their civilians, and do not feel accountable to anyone. The US imperialists want to impose on the world the ratified decisions of the US Congress. The imperialists keep all the official payments and foreign exchanges under their control in order to bully smaller nations. Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Palestine, … are victims of the imperialist criminal policies.

Comrade Workers,

Today’s crisis in Ukraine has root in the expansion of the western imperialist influence in regions dominated by the former super power Soviet Social Imperialism. The western imperialists are trying to siege Russia, to expand NATO, to plunder the vast raw resources of Russia through military and economic pressure, and to encircle China. The Russian imperialists do not easily surrender to this threat and resist against the western free trade regions and World Trade Organization by forming its own block, a union of countries with duty free trade relations. In today’s world, the western imperialism is the most dangerous and offensive imperialism that threatens the world peace. It is the duty of all workers and the people of the world to put a bridle on the international cannibalism which is counter-part of terrorism and fascism.

Comrade Workers,

In Iran, President Rouhani, who took office through the Supreme Leader’s carefully engineered elections, will not and cannot remove any of thousands of pains and sufferings the Iranian masses are going through. In Iran, only the supporters of the regime have all the “democratic rights”. The other forces; nationalists, liberals, social democrats, communists, trade unionists and other activists have no freedom or democratic rights, and furthermore, they lack any security. The regime of the Islamic Republic assassinates, tortures, and imprisons them. Due to the pressure from imperialist powers and due to the dissatisfaction of the Iranian masses because of unemployment, corruption of the authorities, scandals, inflation, etc. the regime of the Islamic Republic has surrendered to the imperialist powers. The regime of the Iran that has more fear from the struggle of the Iranian people for their rights than the imperialists has no choice except to surrender to the imperialist pressures. Any regime that does not rely on the masses to fight against the imperialist sanctions and threats is doomed to defeat. A regime that does not recognize the rights of the masses has no base to fight the foreign imperialist enemies.

The secret negotiations between the USA and Iran have started during Ahmadinejad presidency, since 2011, and have nothing to do with Rouhani taking office. The secret agreements are not only on “atomic crisis” but they are on a package that includes: the foreign policy of Iran in the region and the world, providing the conditions for Iran to join WTO and accepting the domineering conditions of the World Bank, the liberalization of Iranian economy, privatization of Iran’s national resources, elimination of all subsidies and social services, and to create a class of deprived citizens who are even needy of bread so that they work in harsh conditions for the imperialist investments. Rouhani government of “Key and the Plan of Action” provides conditions for this slavery. And this requires the extreme suppression of the working class.

The Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan) strongly condemns the suppression of the Iranian people by regime of the Islamic Republic. We condemn arbitrary detention and imprisonment of the worker-activists and demand the immediate and unconditional freedom for all the activists and political prisoners.

The Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan) supports the struggle of the workers and toilers against privatization and collective layoffs and for the payment of their delayed wages, for increase wages, for the formation of independent syndicates, etc.

Comrade Workers,

The remedy to the problems facing the working class is unity and organization. Only through united struggles against imperialism and capitalism the working class can achieve their just demands. Only through a revolution lead by the party of the working class, only through a socialist revolution, we will be able to eliminate poverty, unemployment, inflation, and exploitation and to build a society in which people live free and hopeful for future.

Hail May 1st. the International Working Class Day !

Greetings to the Militant Working Class of Iran !

Free all the Worker-activists from the Prisons of the Islamic Republic of Iran !

For Toppling the Capitalist Regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran by the Hands of Iran’s Workers and Toilers !

Long Live Proletarian Internationalism !

Long Live Socialism !

The Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan)

April 2014

Platform of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

PFLP-logo

 l. Conventional War Is the War of the Bourgeoisie. Revolutionary War Is People’s War

The Arab bourgeoisie has developed armies which are not prepared to sacrifice their own interests or to risk their privileges. Arab militarism has become an apparatus for oppressing revolutionary socialist movements within the Arab states, while at the same time it claims to be staunchly anti-imperialist. Under the guise of the national question, the bourgeoisie has used its armies to strengthen its bureaucratic power over the masses. and to prevent the workers and peasants from acquiring political power. So far it has demanded the help of the workers and peasants without organising them or without developing a proletarian ideology. The national bourgeoisie usually comes to power through military coups and without any activity on the part of the masses, as soon as it has captured power it reinforces its bureaucratic position. Through widespread application of terror it is able to talk about revolution while at the same time it suppresses all the revolutionary movements and arrests everyone who tries to advocate revolutionary action. The Arab bourgeoisie has used the question of Palestine to divert the Arab masses from realising their own interests and their own domestic problems. The bourgeoisie always concentrated hopes on a victory outside the state”s boundaries, in Palestine, and in this way they were able to preserve their class interests and their bureaucratic positions.

The war of June 1967 disproved the bourgeois theory of conventional war. The best strategy for Israel is to strike rapidly. The enemy is not able to mobilise its armies for a long period of time because this would intensify its economic crisis. It gets complete support from U.S. imperialism and for these reasons it needs quick wars. Therefore for our poor people the best strategy in the long run is a people”s war. Our people must overcome their weaknesses and exploit the weaknesses of the enemy by mobilising the Palestinian and Arab peoples. The weakening of imperialism and Zionism in the Arab world demands revolutionary war as the means to confront them.

2. Guerrilla Struggle as a Form of Pressure for the “Peaceful Solution”

The Palestinian struggle is a part of the whole Arab liberation movement and of the world liberation movement. The Arab bourgeoisie and world imperialism are trying to impose a peaceful solution on this Palestinian problem but this suggestion merely promotes the interests of imperialism and of Zionism, doubt in the efficacy of people”s war as a means of liberation and the preservation of the relations of the Arab bourgeoisie with the imperialist world market. The Arab bourgeoisie is afraid of being isolated from this market and of losing its role as a mediator of world capitalism. That is why the Arab oil producing countries broke off the boycott against the West (instituted during the June war) and for this reason McNamara, as head of the World Bank, was ready to offer credits to them.

When the Arab bourgeoisie strive far a peaceful solution, they are in fact striving for the profit which they can get from their role as mediator between the imperialist market and the internal market. The Arab bourgeoisie are not yet opposed to the activity of the guerrillas, and sometimes they even help them; but this is because the presence of the guerrillas is a means of pressure for a peaceful solution. As long as the guerrillas don”t have a clear class affiliation and a clear political stand they are unable to resist the implication of such a peaceful solution; but the conflict between the guerrillas and those whose strive for a peaceful solution is unavoidable. Therefore the guerrillas must take steps to transform their actions into a people”s war with clear goals.

3. No Revolutionary War Without a Revolutionary Theory

The basic weakness of the guerrilla movement is the absence of a revolutionary ideology, which could illuminate the horizons of the Palestinian fighters and would incarnate the stages of a militant political programme. Without a revolutionary ideology the national struggle will remain imprisoned within its immediate practical and material needs. The Arab bourgeoisie is quite prepared for a limited satisfaction of the needs of the national struggle, as long as it respects the limits that the bourgeoisie sets. A clear illustration of this is the material help that Saudi Arabia offers Fatah while Fatah declares that she will not interfere in the internal affairs of any Arab countries. Since most of the guerrilla movements have no ideological weapons, the Arab bourgeoisie can decide their fate. Therefore, the struggle of the Palestinian people must be supported by the workers and peasants, who will fight against any form of domination by imperialism, Zionism or the Arab bourgeoisie.

4. The War of Liberation Is a Class War Guided by a Revolutionary Ideology

We must not be satisfied with ignoring the problems of our struggle. saying that our struggle is a national one and not a class struggle. The national struggle reflects the class struggle. The national struggle is a struggle for land and those who struggle for it are the peasants who were driven away from their land. The bourgeoisie is always ready to lead such a movement, hoping to gain control of the internal market. If the bourgeoisie succeeds in bringing the national movement under its control, which strengthens its position, it can lead the movement under the guise of a peaceful solution into compromises with imperialism and Zionism. Therefore, the fact that the liberation struggle is mainly a class struggle emphasises the necessity for the workers and peasants to play a leading role in the national liberation movement. if the small bourgeoisie take the leading role, the national revolution will fall as a victim of the class interests of this leadership. It is a great mistake to start by saying that the Zionist challenge demands national unity for this shows that one does not understand the real class structure of Zionism. The struggle against Israel is first of all a class struggle. Therefore the oppressed class is the only class which is able to face a confrontation with Zionism.

5. The Main Field of Our Revolution Struggle is Palestine

The decisive battle must he in Palestine. The armed people”s struggle to Palestine can help itself with the simplest weapons in order to ruin the economies and the war machinery of their Zionist enemy. The moving of the peoples struggles into Palestine depends upon agitating and oranising the masses, more than depending upon border actions in the Jordan valley, although these actions are of importance for the struggle in Palestine.

When guerrilla organisations began their actions in the occupied areas, they were faced with a brutal military repression by the armed forces of Zionism. Because these organisations had no revolutionary ideology and so no programme, they gave in to demands of self-preservation and retreated into eastern Jordan. All their activity turned into border actions. This presence of the guerrilla organisations in Jordan enables the Jordanian bourgeoisie and their secret agents to crush these organisations when they are no longer useful as pressure for a peaceful solution.

6. Revolution in Both Regions of Jordan

We must not neglect the struggle in east Jordan for this land is connected with Palestine more than with the other Arab countries. The problem of the revolution in Palestine is dialectically connected with the problem of the revolution in Jordan. A chain of plots between the Jordanian monarchy, imperialism and Zionism have proved this connection.

The struggle in east Jordan must take the correct path, that of class struggle. The Palestinian struggle must not be used as a means of propping up the Jordanian monarchy. Under the mask of national unity, and the main problem in Jordan is the creation of a Marxist-Leninist party with a clear action programme according to which it can organise the masses and enable them to carry out the national and class struggle. The harmony of the struggle in the two region, must be realised through co-ordinating organs whose tasks will be to guarantee reserves inside Palestine and to mobilise the peasants and soldiers in the border-territories.

This is the only way in which Amman can become an Arab Hanoi:-a base for the revolutionaries fighting inside Palestine.

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Grover Furr: Israeli Rule over Palestinians is Fascist

Apartheid South Africa - Apartheid Israel (1)

Originally published in The Montclarion, student newspaper at Montclair State College (now University), Thursday, May 5, 1988, p. 13.

To the editor:

Professor Edward Aronow’s letter of April 21 on Israeli treatment of Palestinians is so filled with error and distortion that one short response can only begin to correct it.

Israeli rule over Palestinians is essentially fascist. The Israeli army assault on the West Bank town of Beita in the wake of the death of an Israeli teenager can only be described as a pogrom — brutal, murderous assault such as the Tsarist police and the Nazis committed against Jews.

Killing persons armed only with stones or “trying to flee” – – including numerous Palestinian teenagers — collective punishment, beatings, imprisonment without trail for indefinite periods, deportations — this is fascist repression, akin to Nazi terrorism.

The lesson of World War II — especially of the Nazi holocaust — is that fascism cannot be fought with “moderation.” Mass Palestinian protests, including violent protests, must be welcomed, and supported by all those who oppose injustice. Pacifist and “non-violent” protest would be morally irresponsible, since they can never succeed against fascist oppression, but only lead to the unnecessary deaths of many protesters.

Terrorist assassinations, whether by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), or the far more numerous acts of terrorist murder by the Israeli army and settlers, must be condemned. However, Israel is far more guilty in this regard, quantitatively, than the PLO.

About 10 times the number of Palestinians have been murdered by Israel than the number of Israelis murdered by PLO terrorists. Yet Israeli terrorist repression against Palestinians is termed `retaliation” or “assassination” in the US media!

Israeli fascist brutalities follow a long history of working with some of the worst fascists on earth, including South Africa, Iran, Turkey, and Argentina. Israel is a major supplier of arms and military advisors to South Africa. Israeli advisors helped train the Iranian Secret Police under the fascist Shah in torture techniques. Today Israel is the major arms supplier to Khomeini’s Iran!

One need not look far to find the roots of Israeli terrorism and fascism. Take Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Shamir. Before World War II he belonged to a Zionist grouplet that, in 1940, offered to enter the war on the side of Nazi Germany if the Nazis would permit a Zionist state, run along fascist lines, in Palestine. Shamir personally planned the 1948 terrorist murder of Count Folke Bernadotte, the UN Special Mediator for Palestine.

During the war, the major Zionist leaders collaborated with Adolf Eichmann to send half a million Hungarian Jews to their deaths in Nazi extermination camps, in return for the Nazis letter 1500 or so Zionists emigrate to Palestine — a fact long since documented by Zionist writers. Such is the “love” of the Zionist leaders for “their own people”!

The root problem is racism and its twin, nationalism. Israeli law claims that any Jew, anywhere in the world, has a right to full Israeli citizenship, while Arabic-speaking Palestinians have no such right even if they were born and have lived all their lives on the territory now comprising Israel. This is an inherently racist policy. Fascist racism is built into the very existence of the Israeli state.

It is in the interest of Israeli rulers to foment as much hatred between Jews and Palestinians as they can. Israel’s economy depends heavily upon the exploitation of very cheap Palestinian labor, just as South Africa’s does on Black labor.

Israeli Jewish workers are very militant; relative to population;there are more work-days lost to strikes in Israel than in any country in the world. Racism and nationalism are the main things keeping Jewish and non- Jewish workers from allying with one another.

At all costs, Israeli bosses must prevent this, while keeping the super-exploited Palestinian workers nearby and without rights. The parallel with South Africa — or with American treatment of “illegal aliens” and minorities — is unmistakable.

Incidentally, there are not “dozens of Arab states,” as Professor Aranow, following the Israeli government propaganda line, says. There is one major Arab state, Saudi Arabia, and several minor ones on that peninsula. There are many Arabic-speaking states, just as there are many countries besides England where English is spoken. There is no “Palestinian state” in Jordan. Here Professor Aranow simply parrots Israeli disinformation.

Like Israel, the Moslem, Arabic-speaking states are also undemocratic, elite-run dungeons. In light of Israeli terror, however, Professor Aranow’s prattle about the need to “await greater Arab political maturity” is racist nonsense.

Source

Obama to increase aid to Israel: $4 billion per year beginning 2017

U.S. President Barack Obama chats with military personnel while viewing an Iron Dome missile battery on March 20 at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport.

U.S. President Barack Obama chats with military personnel while viewing an Iron Dome missile battery on March 20 at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport.

Written by Justin Raimondo

The President, on his trip to Israel, presented Netanyahu with a new ten-year aid “package” totaling some $40 billion – a $10 billion increase over the last such agreement.

AntiWar.com – Given the kind of society we have become – a country of whining spoiled brats who have been living above our means for years – every special interest group is up in arms over the alleged tragedy known as Sequestration. While these automatic across-the-board spending cuts are portrayed as nothing less than draconian by various lobbyists and their congressional sock puppets, in reality these are not even real cuts as you and I understand them, but merely cuts in projected spending increases. Like the temperature in Hell, the imperative in Washington is that spending must always increase: “austerity” means the tempo has momentarily slackened.

From military contractors to the academic establishment, all the lobbyists are crying bloody murder: we are told air traffic controllers will be taken off duty, and hospitals are warning of cuts to vital services. Some of these cuts will hit hardest those who can afford it least: the very poorest of the poor. In this atmosphere, one would think a foreign lobby would be more discreet about calling for an exemption in the foreign aid category. However, in the case of AIPAC, the biggest pro-Israel lobby in Washington, subtlety is not at the top of their agenda.

At the beginning of this month, AIPAC’s annual conference featured a Capitol Hill blitz, in which thousands of pro-Israel activists descended on Washington to pressure Congress to exempt Israel from the cuts. This was coupled with a demand that Congress vote to designate the Jewish state a “major strategic ally,” a characterization meant to divorce aid to Israel from the general foreign aid budget and put it in a special category of its own. After all, that’s what the “special relationship” is all about – right?

As Tim Carney points out, the corporate bunch affectionately known as the Military-Industrial Complex have a big stake in all this: two-thirds of the $3.1 billion in annual aid to Israel must be spent in the United States. US arms manufacturers reap the profits, and the Israelis get free stuff. Yet Carney is wrong about whose lobbying efforts make the difference in this case: I don’t think Lockheed-Martin could mobilize thousands of people to descend on Capitol Hill the way AIPAC, or Christians United for Israel, can.

According to Israel Hayom, the most widely read Israeli newspaper, Tel Aviv has already been granted special treatment: instead of the expected 8 percent across the board cut all other federal programs will suffer under sequestration, the Israelis were recently assured by the White House that their share will amount to only 5 percent.

Yet these “cuts” have already been circumvented by the President himself, who, on his trip to Israel, presented Netanyahu with a new ten-year aid “package” totaling some $40 billion– a $10 billion increase over the last such agreement. And since our special alliance with Israel is “eternal,” as the President rhapsodized, this amount will presumably increase unto eternity. Or until the American people put a stop to it – whichever comes first.

It isn’t as if Israel is a poor, struggling, Third World country: its GDP puts it in the top forty richest countries on the world. Israeli propagandists are always boasting about how they’ve made the desert bloom: the endless parading of Israel’s technical achievements, particularly in the booming high tech sector, is a major hasbara theme. Yet somehow a minuscule “cut” in aid – in reality, a cut in the rate of increase – is going to bring about the downfall of the Jewish state? The days when the Israeli settler colony depended on outside assistance for its very survival are well over.

At a time when domestic programs are on the chopping block, why should the Israelis expect – nay, demand – an exemption? Why can’t they suffer the sequestration in silence, and be happy it wasn’t worse for them?

Apparently some in the pro-Israel community have been thinking the same heretical thought, because AIPAC’s aggressive “Israel first” strategy reportedly caused a bit of a stir, prompting fears of a backlash from some. As the Forward reports:

“J Street, the dovish pro-Israel group, immediately understood the implications of AIPAC’s rhetorical shift after getting word of the pitch made by AIPAC members on Capitol Hill. Dylan Williams, J Street’s director of government affairs, told the Forward that ‘it seems a little tone deaf. We have a unique public perception issue.’ He added that congressional aides had told him they were ‘surprised that some groups – that people from AIPAC – were asking for this.'”

Seen in the larger context of the administration’s ongoing feud with Tel Aviv – from Netanyahu’s informal endorsement of Mitt Romney to the fight over Chuck Hagel – AIPAC’s chutzpah shouldn’t be at all surprising. In the world of Washington lobbyists, it’s all about power – having it, keeping it, and using it. If you don’t use it, you lose it.

It is vitally necessary for the Israel Lobby to tamp down dangerous talk that they’re losing it, because fear is their greatest weapon. The fear they strike in the hearts of politicians who don’t want to wind up like many of the other legislators who thought they could escape the Lobby’s wrath – and soon learned otherwise. It’s much easier to give in to the Lobby’s demands than go the way of Senators Chuck Percy, William Fulbright, and Roger Jepsen, all three felled by Lobby-coordinated campaigns. Congressmen Paul Findley, Earl F. Hilliard, and Pete McCloskey are among the scalps the Lobby can rightfully claim. And while their smear campaign against Hagel didn’t succeed in stopping his confirmation as Secretary of Defense, it was a useful exercise in that it serves as a warning to others who might be thinking of straying off the reservation: Don’t go there!

J Street issued a statement soon after AIPAC’s assault on Capitol Hill, denouncing any effort to separate out aid to Israel from the requirements of sequestration as appearing to put Israel’s demands “above those of the millions of ordinary Americans who are being hurt, or the vital domestic programs that are taking a hit.” While this may be true, J Street is rather missing the point. To wrest an exemption granted to no others is precisely the demonstrative way in which AIPAC needs to flex its lobbying muscles. Isn’t this what the “special relationship” is all about? As Ayn Rand put it, “Love is exception-making,” and the romantic relationship between the US and Israel, whatever its ups and downs, continues unabated in Washington.

Out in the sticks, however – i.e. outside the Beltway – this exception-making for Israel is not all that popular, as J Street rightly worries. The problem, however, is that the American people have very little to say about it – and don’t know about it, in any case. As long as the political class lives in fear of the Lobby, our annual tribute to Israel will be paid in full – yes, even before we feed our own people. Because that’s what love is all about.

The dirty dozen: Israel’s racist ringleaders

Israelis chant “Sudanese Back To Sudan” during a right-wing demonstration against African refugees in south Tel Aviv, 30 May 2012.

(Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

David Sheen

Does Israel refuse to grant equal rights to Palestinian citizens of the state because it is based on an ideology of racism towards people who are not Jewish? Or does Israel refuse to grant equal rights to Palestinian citizens because, since some of them are opposed to the Jewish sectarian nature of the state, it prioritizes state security over racial equality?

While this debate has raged for decades, new evidence has come to light which would seem to suggest that the former is more true. Because if Jewish Israelis are only antagonistic to Palestinian citizens because they supposedly represent security risks, then why do they also despise sub-Saharan Africans, with whom they have never had any conflict?

Approximately 60,000 people from sub-Saharan African countries have migrated to Israel in recent years, fleeing persecution and requesting asylum. Instead of providing them with aid or permitting them to support themselves, the Israeli government refuses to grant them any rights, forces them into abject poverty, and seeks to deport the lot of them.

Although Israel is a regional superpower, it has the second-highest poverty rate among developed countries. After last year’s Arab uprisings, hundreds of thousands of Israelis took to the streets, demanding a higher standard of living. In response, public officials scapegoated the Africans for Israel’s economic problems and launched a racist campaign to expel them.

If there is to be justice, these leaders must be brought to trial to answer for their crimes. Maybe Israelis will come to their senses, cancel all the laws that discriminate against African asylum-seekers and call for a truth and reconciliation commission. Sadly, that is unlikely to happen in the near future, because the hatred of African asylum-seekers has become so widespread in Israel.

Perhaps the people of Eritrea and Sudan will eventually overthrow their repressive regimes, install democratic governments and charge these Israeli officials in an international court of law.

Until that day comes — if it ever does — it is important to document evidence of the wrongdoing. In fact, this is an easy task. Since these officials are not ashamed of their racism, it is all a matter of public record. Of those most responsible, these are the top twelve, Israel’s dirty dozen, its axis of racism:

12. Chaim Avitan

In July 2007, there was only a smattering of African asylum-seekers in the country. At that time, a group of approximately 20 genocide survivors from Darfur in western Sudan were legally living and working in an orchard belonging to a moshav, a small agricultural settlement, near the city limits of Hadera.

A proposal to Hadera city council to open the city’s absorption center to these migrants was defeated by the mayor Chaim Avitan. Avitan then forged an eviction order and sent a security team in the middle of the night to rough up the Darfuris, destroy their documents, shove them onto buses and kick them out of town (“Complaint filed against Hadera mayor for expelling refugees,” Ynet, 7 August 2007).

Avitan announced that the city was not “the country’s garbage can,” called upon the government not to grant refugee status to anyone who is not Jewish and stressed that “Hadera will not permit a single Sudanese to enter.”

Hadera is twinned with Big Spring, Texas (5 percent African American), Saint Paul, Minnesota (14 percent African American) and Charlotte, North Carolina (35 percent African American).

11. Benjamin Babayof

In July 2010, dozens of rabbis in Tel Aviv issued a religious edict forbidding Jews from renting apartments to African asylum-seekers. The language of the letter included warnings against inter-racial marriages and references to Biblical passages calling for ethnic cleansing of all non-Jewish people from the “land of Israel.”

This initiative was such a hit that before the year was out, hundreds of leading rabbis from throughout Israel (who also draw their salaries from the public coffers) issued a similar edict applying to the entire country.

The brainchild behind the edict, the man who went from rabbi to rabbi collecting signatures, calling the African presence in Israel an “abomination,” was the Tel Aviv city councilor representing the Shas party, Benjamin Babayof (“South Tel Aviv realtors: we won’t rent to ‘infiltrators,” The Jerusalem Post, 4 August 2010).

That same year, travel guide publishers Lonely Planet called Tel Aviv the third best city in the world.

Babayof continued his anti-African crusade in February 2012, calling upon the transportation ministry to run segregated bus lines for Africans, or at the very least to prevent them from riding the regular bus lines during rush hour, because “they smell bad.”

South Tel Aviv residents carrying signs reading “Return them now” during a protest calling on the government to deport African asylum-seekers back to their home countries.

(Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

10. Yaakov Asher

Weeks after the original rabbis’ edict was issued, the holy war against African asylum-seekers expanded from Tel Aviv to its environs.

In August 2010, Rabbi Yaakov Asher, the mayor of Tel Aviv satellite city Bnei Brak, met with the minister of public security and the police regional commander to discuss the expulsion of the African population.

When they explained to Asher that there was no legal basis for physically preventing African asylum-seekers from moving to Bnei Brak, Asher’s spokesperson announced that the municipality would use building code infractions by their landlords as an excuse to run the Africans out of town.

When winter came, the municipality followed through on its promise, informing asylum-seekers that they would have to vacate their apartments immediately. When an African man took his legal rental contract down to the city hall and asked to know on what basis he was being evicted, he was told that it was because he was not Jewish.

Many African asylum-seekers did not even receive the courtesy of an eviction notice before their water and electricity were summarily cut off. Without any way to stay warm, the asylum-seekers were frozen out of their flats and sent into the streets in the middle of the winter (“Eritreans say Bnei Brak waging campaign to run them out,” The Jerusalem Post, 1 December 2010).

While he still serves as Bnei Brak mayor, Asher also holds the number seven spot on the United Torah Judaism party list for upcoming elections to Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. The party has five seats in the current Knesset.

9. Meir Yitzhak Halevy

In 2007, African asylum-seekers began to move to Eilat at the invitation of the local hospitality industry. They found work washing dishes and performing other menial tasks for low wages.

Since hoteliers expressed satisfaction with this new arrangement, and since tourism is the only significant industry in Eilat, many more African asylum-seekers have since moved to town. They now number about 10,000 residents, approximately 12 percent of the population of Eilat.

In January 2011, Meir Yitzhak Halevi, the mayor of Eilat, said that African asylum-seekers were coming to conquer Eilat and announced that the city was at war with them. The municipality paid for anti-African posters to be plastered across the city and for red flags to be hung throughout the town (“Eilat demands gov’t action against migrant workers,” The Jerusalem Post,” 13 January 2011). In April 2012, Halevi said that all the Africans will be gone within two years’ time.

For years, Halevi refused to allow the children of African asylum-seekers to attend local schools, so they languished in a makeshift activity center run by sympathetic volunteers. It was only after the Israeli high court intervened and declared Eilat’s segregation policy illegal that children of asylum-seekers were permitted to enroll in September 2012.

Eilat is twinned with Los Angeles, California (10 percent African American).

8. Amnon Yitzhak

An immensely popular preacher, Amnon Yitzhak travels all across Israel turning secular and traditional Jews on to fundamentalist Judaism. Eilat is considered to be a secular stronghold, but Yitzhak crossed its cultural divide by infusing his religious message with rabid anti-African racism.

In February 2012 he told an Eilat audience that the dark skin of Sudanese people is a punishment from Yahweh, the god of Judaism. He further compared them to monkeys, saying that if a Jewish woman goes out with a Sudanese man, she will end up in Africa, “climbing trees and eating bananas” (Cancer in our body’: On racial incitement, discrimination and hate crimes against African asylum-seekers in Israel,” Hotline for Migrant Workers, January-June 2012 [PDF]).

Over the past few weeks, Yitzhak founded a new political party, Power To Influence, that is now running for the Knesset. It is too early to estimate how many seats he might garner, but whether from within the Knesset or without, he wields tremendous clout.

7. Ben-Dror Yemini

Instead of using a neutral lexicon to describe African asylum-seekers, most of the Israeli media have uncritically adopted the pejorative language that government officials who are hostile to their presence use to describe them.

But the mainstream journalist who has spread the most lies about African asylum-seekers in order to stoke fears and incite hatred of them is the opinion page editor of the popular daily paper Maariv, Ben-Dror Yemini.

Some Western countries grant refugee status to between 80 percent and 90 percent of East African asylum-seekers. But in December 2011, just before the right-wing-dominated Knesset voted to criminalize asylum-seekers, Yemini provided them with the ideological ammunition to do so by printing the vicious lie that none of them are refugees, only work migrants.

An official Knesset report from May 2012 stated that the proportion of asylum-seekers out of the entire population of Israel is low compared to Western countries. But only days later Yemini published a column saying that Israel would soon have the largest proportion of asylum-seekers of any country in the world.

Tzipi Livni, Israel’s former foreign minister, recently offered Yemini a prominent spot on her Movement Party list for the Knesset elections. Whether he accepts her offer or not, the mere fact that he was invited is a testament to his widespread influence.

Michael Ben-Ari rallies the crowd during a protest against African refugees and asylum seekers in Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood, 23 May 2012.

(Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

6. Michael Ben-Ari

Although he lives in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, Michael Ben-Ari opened up a parliamentary office in south Tel Aviv, where more than half the Africans in Israel live, in order to mobilize residents opposed to their presence.

While other politicians draw complaints for only visiting the area and surrounding themselves with bodyguards when they finally arrive, the charismatic Ben-Ari confidently leads the community in anti-African street marches. He has also established an anti-African neighborhood watch posse there, earning the admiration of locals.

Ben-Ari has also called for Israeli soldiers to kill in cold blood any African person approaching the border to request political asylum. Ironically, when I interviewed him in the summer of 2010, he admitted that Israel was responsible for mass slaughter in Africa because it exported killing machines to Africa for profit.

Ben-Ari was refused admission to the United States in February 2012 because he was a member of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s now-defunct Kach organization, considered to be a Jewish terrorist group by the State Department.

In the current Knesset, he belongs to National Union, the only party that was too right-wing for the governing coalition. For the upcoming elections, he started a new party called Strength For Israel that is expected to pass the minimum threshold for Knesset representation. Ben-Ari may be an outlier, but he is pulling the entire political spectrum to the right.

5. Miri Regev

On 23 May 2012, a thousand Jewish Israelis ran rampant throughout Tel Aviv for hours, attacking any dark-skinned person — or property of dark-skinned people — they could find. They set off on their campaign of terror after being whipped into a frenzy by members of Knesset.

One of those parliamentarians whose comments were most incendiary was Miri Regev, a lawmaker with the main government party, Likud. She told the assembled crowd that African asylum-seekers were “a cancer in the body” of the nation.

After news of her racist comments and the pogrom that followed it was published the following day, she took to YouTube to make a public apology — but not to Africans for comparing them to cancer, but rather to Israeli cancer victims, for minimizing their suffering by comparing it to Africans (“Israeli MK: I didn’t mean to shame Holocaust by calling African migrants a ‘cancer,” Haaretz, 27 May 2012).

A professional survey conducted just days after the pogrom confirmed that 52 percent of Jewish Israelis identified with Regev’s contention that Africans are akin to cancer, and 33 percent of Jewish Israelis identified with the vigilante violence perpetrated against them.

Although Likud’s list for the forthcoming election must still be combined with that of its coalition partner Yisrael Beiteinu, Regev has already surged into its upper ranks, moving from number 26 to number 13 on the strength of these and other racist statements.

A section of the new detention camp for asylum seekers under construction in the Naqab/Negev Desert near the Egyptian border, 7 November 2012.

(Oren Ziv ActiveStills)

4. Ron Huldai

The day after the pogrom, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai initiated an anti-African “mayors’ letter,” gathering their pledges of support — just as Babayof, the city councilor, had initiated the anti-African “rabbis’ letter” and collected rabbis’ signatures.

The letter, supported by the mayors of Ashdod, Bnei Brak, Ashkelon, Petach Tikvah and Eilat, called for African asylum-seekers to be either imprisoned or deported (“Day after violent anti-African protest, Likud MK calls to ‘distance infiltrators’ immediately,” Haaretz, 24 May 2012).

If there are approximately 25,000 to 30,000 African asylum-seekers in Tel Aviv, then Huldai’s call to round up and remove African asylum-seekers amounts to ethnic cleansing between 6 percent and 8 percent of the city’s population.

Huldai is surely not the only mayor in the world that has called for the ethnic cleansing of a portion of its residents. But he is probably the only mayor to do so the same year that a corporate-sponsored gay organization crowned his town the “best gay city” in the world.

Tel Aviv is twinned with New York City (25 percent African American).

3. Yossi Edelstein

Edelstein’s official title is director of the interior ministry’s Population Administration’s Foreign Workers’ Enforcement Unit, established in 2009. Simply put, he is directly in charge of the Oz unit, the security agents who are tasked with physically harassing and arresting African asylum-seekers.

One would hope that agents of the state given a monopoly on the use of violence would exercise that power very carefully and with as little prejudice as possible. Sadly, it would seem that Oz agents are not instructed to treat African people with the respect that they deserve, but rather, exactly the opposite.

Even when the African people in question are Jewish, they can be subjected to shocking levels of physical and emotional abuse. In October 2010, the Oz unit brutally beat an entire family of African Americans who had converted to Judaism and were living in the country legally, including a seven-months-pregnant woman, her mother and her one-year-old daughter.

While beating them, the Oz officers yelled, “niggers, we don’t need you here!” (“Interior ministry’s Oz police unit accused of beating US immigrants,” Haaretz, 21 October 2010).

Edelstein made clear his true feelings for African asylum-seekers at a briefing for security officers in July 2012. When asked what to do in the event that an African woman begins to disrobe in protest — a not uncommon form of political protest in Africa — Edelstein suggested that the woman should be engaged sexually. The officers charged with carrying out his orders laughed heartily at his response (hear Edelstein and his audience’s laughter in the video embedded in Israel Channel 10’s report on the briefing).

2. Eli Yishai

The highest-ranking government official to spew the most amount of anti-African invective is without doubt Edelstein’s boss, Eli Yishai. Yishai holds the portfolio of interior minister, an immensely powerful position in Israel. Yishai uses this power to implement the Jewish supremacist ideology of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party that he leads.

This attitude was summarized best by the party’s spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef in October 2010, when he said that the sole reason non-Jewish people exist is to serve Jewish people. Yishai does his level best to ensure that the non-Jewish people who come to Israel — to do the dirty work that Israelis aren’t willing to do — leave the country before they find love and start having kids.

If he wanted to, Yishai could grant work permits to African asylum-seekers, allowing them to be self-sustaining. This would quickly dissolve the homeless African population that is a burden to south Tel Aviv and greatly reduce tensions in those run-down neighborhoods that were economically impoverished to begin with.

But instead of giving work to the non-Jewish Africans already in the country, Yishai prefers to import tens of thousands of Southeast Asians every year, which he expels and exchanges for new ones every few years. This revolving door policy ensures that the non-Jewish population is always vulnerable to abuse. It is also very lucrative for Israeli human resource agencies — a laundered term for glorified slave traders.

Yishai does not mince his words. In June 2012, he lamented that African asylum-seekers didn’t understand that “this country belongs to us, to the white man,” and in August 2012, he said, “until I can deport them I’ll lock them up to make their lives miserable.” That month, he also branded African asylum-seekers a threat as severe as nuclear missiles and fabricated a baseless blood libel against them, accusing them of turning synagogues into toilets (“Israel enacts law allowing authorities to detain illegal migrants for up to 3 years,”Haaretz, 3 June 2012).

Benjamin Netanyahu at the Likud party convention in Tel Aviv, 6 May 2012.

(Yin Dongxun /Xinhua/Zumapress)

1. Benjamin Netanyahu

Ultimately, the person primarily responsible for Israel’s racist war against non-Jewish African asylum-seekers is none other than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Although he has issued tame condemnations of the most egregious examples of anti-African racism, he has also rubber-stamped every draconian measure taken against them.

When hundreds of Israeli rabbis issued a religious edict forbidding Jewish Israelis from renting flats to Africans, Netanyahu criticized the clerics at an insignificant photo-op — a teenage trivia contest — but took no measures against them. Just the opposite: within months, Netanyahu’s government doubled and tripled their salaries.

In December 2011, Netanyahu announced that he would seal Israel’s open border with Egypt — by which Africans cross into Israel — as soon as possible. I contacted his office then to ask if he would balance his efforts to prevent any more African asylum-seekers from reaching Israel with other measures that would improve the lives of those already in the country — like granting them work permits and health benefits, for example.

Netanyahu’s office responded in the negative. He soon followed these words with actions, demonstrating that he does not only want to reduce the amount of Africans entering Israel, but to completely reverse their migration and expel them from the country. Until such time as that is feasible, he has heartily backed all of Yishai’s plans to construct prison camps to hold the African asylum-seekers indefinitely (“Shas’ Deri eyes Arab vote,” Ynet, 6 November 2012).

Netanyahu is likely to win the upcoming national elections and remain prime minister of the country for at least a few more years. There is no hope on the horizon that any political leader capable of forming a majority in the Knesset could see African asylum-seekers as human beings and potential partners — not as existential threats.

David Sheen is an independent writer and filmmaker. Born in Toronto, Canada, Sheen now lives in Jaffa. His website is www.davidsheen.com and he can be followed on Twitter:@davidsheen.

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Going commando: IDF ‘hitman/assassin’ posts disturbing pictures on FB, Instagram

IDF is yet again on the defensive over its troops’ use of social media, after an elite regiment soldier posted pictures of himself half-naked, and smoking drugs on his Instagram, and boasted about killing an Arab on Twitter.

The pro-Palestinian news resource Electronic Intifada mined publicly available images and comments of Osher Maman, a 20 year-old private in the Golani Brigade, who recently moved from the US to Israel on a special military recruitment program.

Maman, who calls himself a “hitman/assassin” in one of his public posts says he joined the elite unit “to beat up terrorists and sh*t”.

In one tweet from January last year, he boasts “Just took an Arab out… Whataa a feeling.”

His Instagram feed features a mock-up of a popular WWII poster that says “Keep Calm and Take Over Gaza” and a map of the territory, which the Israeli Defense Force left in 2005, with the Hebrew inscription “Soon to be a giant theme park.

The soldier has since been reprimanded by his superiors, and all the social media accounts have been taken down.

This is a grave incident, which does not represent the IDF,” said Capt. Eytan Buchman, a military spokesman, who noted that an investigation into the private’s behavior is ongoing.

Maman’s feed also contained pictures, apparently taken by others with access to the armory, of the soldier naked, covering his genitals with the barrel of a gun, and rifles arranged into a Star of David.

Another set shows Maman smoking what appears to be a joint in his hand (an Army offense) and showing off a clump of marijuana in his palm.

The controversy comes only days after another 20 year-old soldier was investigated for posting a picture of what appears to be an Arab boy in the crosshairs of a rifle. The soldier, Mor Ostrovski, said he found the picture on the internet.

The same explanation is unlikely to wash for Maman’s highly-personalized photo collection.

image from instagram by user easybaby310

image from instagram by user easybaby310

PFLP condemns Zionist attack on Syria

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Statement by Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

Commenting on the Zionist aggression on Syria, the official spokesperson of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Comrade Abu Ahmad Fouad of the Political Bureau of the PFLP, made a statement denouncing the brutal aggression on Syria as a heinous crime and a blatant challenge of the principles of international Law and the resolutions of international legitimacy.

Fouad added that this aggression is one episode in a series of state terrorist attacks practiced by the Zionist entity against the Arab nation and the Palestinian people.

Furthermore, he called upon the international community, the Arab League and all Arab countries and civil society institutions to condemn this aggression, and for international institutions to end their double standards and silence on the crimes committed against the Arab nation and the Palestinian people.

Finally, Fouad concluded his statement that the enemy has underestimated the capabilities and commitments of the Arab nation, adding that it engages in daily attacks against the Palestinian Arab people throughout Palestine as well as the Arab people of Lebanon and Syria, and that it is important that the enemy faces an immediate response to its attacks. The crimes of the Zionist enemy should not pass with impunity.

Leila Khaled on Revolution & Life

tumblr_mexnxei3Kd1riff31o3_500

“I have learned that a woman can be a fighter, a freedom fighter, a political activist, and that she can fall in love and be loved. She can be married, have children, be a mother. Revolution must mean life also; every aspect of life.”

Leila Khaled

When Gaza Burns

Smoke and fire from an Israeli bomb rises into the air ove Gaza City

When Gaza Burns

by Charlie Mann

Gaza burns tonight.
It burns alone by the sea,
And it burns in the minds
of the masses,
Tears in their eyes with news of
dead children,
Explosions that reverberate
In the ears of those
Across the globe.
Mothers, daughters, fathers, sons,
Brothers and sisters and uncles and aunts
Feel the loss and pain
of dead relatives.

And tonight,
When Gaza burns,
It burns around the world.

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

imperialists-out-of-africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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(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

30 Years since Sabra and Shatila

The Sabra and Shatila massacre was carried out on September 16, 1982, in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila and lasted for three days at the hands of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the Lebanese Phalange Party and the South Lebanon Army (SLA). The death toll in the massacres is not clearly defined. Estimates range between 3,500 and 5,000 dead, men and children, women and elderly unarmed civilians, the majority of whom were Palestinians, but also including Lebanese.

In that time, the camp was surrounded entirely by the South Lebanon Army and the Israel Defense Forces, which was under the command of Ariel Sharon and Rafael Eitan. The leadership of the occupying forces were under the command of the influential Falangist administrator named Elie Hobeika. The forces entered the camp and began the cold-blooded implementation of the massacre that shook the world without mercy, and away from the media, which later reported they had used knives and other methods in the liquidation of the camp’s residents.