Still Struggling, Still Protesting, Fifty Years after the Sharpeville Massacre
by Jennifer Dohrn
It is amazing that I am now at last again on South African soil, since my previous trip here was in December. I am at home in my soul in a way that is unique for my travels. I am breathing in the salty air from the Indian Ocean, feeling the hot rays of the sun greet me from my porch every morning, admiring the lushness of the flowers and bushes, and most of all, reconnecting with the many amazing people with whom I have come to share lives over these past years. My heart is full.
I arrived in East London on Tuesday late morning after the New York-Johannesburg-East London journey of 18 hours. I am here with two colleagues from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health who work with me on the nurse capacity initiative (INCI) that began April 2009. We are here to support a large workshop for nursing educators in Eastern Cape on HIV knowledge, clinical skills, and health systems strengthening. The workshop is entitled “A Hands-on Workshop in HIV Care and Health Systems Strengthening through Nurse Mentorship.” We are expecting eighty nursing tutors from 14 campuses. During the workshop we will officially launch the INCI’s Center of Excellence which is a center for communications and exchange amongst INCI countries. I have been running trips to the airport since yesterday, picking up the delegation from Swaziland (who somehow got separated and arrived on 3 different flights!). Everyone is taking the high road and in the best of spirits as it is such a great opportunity to have us all here together.
The timing of the workshop has increased in auspiciousness because on April 1 the new guidelines for HIV care and treatment will go into effect in South Africa. Nurses will now be authorized to initiate and manage antiretroviral treatment for adults and children; people who are HIV+ will be allowed to begin these lifesaving medications earlier in the progression of HIV disease and with safer regimens. Counseling for HIV testing has been changed from VCT (voluntary counseling and testing) to CT (counseling and testing), because it will now be policy that everyone who goes to a health care facility will be encouraged to test. These changes have been long fought for, and come at the price of nearly half a million avoidable deaths due to delays or unavailability of medications over the past eight years. Now comes the time for stepping up the skills of nurses, for stocking enough medications, for reorganizing the health care team to maximize community involvement with the hoped-for result of reduction of stigma. This is an historic time in South Africa in its struggle with HIV/AIDS and needs full recognition, particularly dramatic within the context of the years of the politics of denialism, the consequences of which now make their impact on every segment of life here.
I think we need to acknowledge the victories, especially those that were hard fought, those for which many sacrificed. That is even more so given the continuing disparities between the rich and poor, the increasing gaps between white and black South Africans — economically, educationally, socially — with the small exception of those in power who have amassed wealth. Headlines in the papers report the expanding business empire of the Zuma family. Townships are up in flames protesting the failure of service deliveries. Corruption at the highest levels does not seem to be abating. I arrived on the marking of the 50th anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre. On March 21, 1960, 20,000 residents of this township marched on the police station to protest the apartheid pass laws. The police opened fire, killing 69 people and wounding 178. One half century later only 3 roads have been tarred since 1994; two schools were recently closed down. No sports facilities exist. The site where the Constitution of 1996 was signed, the George Thabe Stadium, is in disrepair. Unemployment continues to rise. Recently Sharpeville residents protested against the failure of service delivery and clashed with police. Though the anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre is now a national holiday called Human Rights Day, a resident of Sharpeville stated: “We are still struggling, we are still protesting and we are still burning tires. . . . At some state, hell is going to break loose and we do not know when” (Mail and Guardian, March 19-25, 2010).
Yet a luta continua. The nurses I meet and work with band together, support each other, have hope. Now we can roll up our sleeves and really get to work, with the authority that we can make a difference.
Jennifer Dohrn, DNP, is Assistant Professor of Nursing at Columbis University.
Libya, on the agenda for some time now due to the people’s rebellion against the Gaddafi regime, has now become the target of heavy attacks lead by the USA, France and the United Kingdom with the support of the United Nations. These attacks are explained by the imperialist forces on the pretext of liberating the people of Libya from Gaddafi’s “atrocities”. What these “justifications” really amount to, has been previously witnessed during the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The first news coming from Libya, exposed to heavy bombardment and intense missile attacks, are that in addition to the military targets, the people are also suffering as a result of these attacks.
For some time, the peoples of Middle East and North Africa are struggling against reactionary dictators. In Tunisia and Egypt, the people’s struggle has resulted in the overthrowing of the dictators but in Libya, Gaddafi has set about attacks in order to suppress the people’s revolt. Just as the tyrannical policies implemented by Gaddafi against his people are not in any way acceptable neither are the imperialist attacks against Libya. The imperialist countries and the UN, that has become a tool of these forces, have not, until today, carried democracy to any country from the ‘outside’ and the situation in Libya will be no different.
It is, at the same time, shameful that the Turkish government has given green light to and has supported this imperialist attack.
The US, attacking Afghanistan in 2001 with very similar excuses, continues its occupation of this country. It is also a well known fact that “democracy” is still far away from both Afghanistan and Iraq, occupied by the US in the same way, after all the deaths and destruction experienced in those lands. Even these examples from our recent history are indication enough that the imperialist attack towards and occupation of Libya will not be bringing any democracy to this country.
The people of Libya should determine their own destiny and the imperialist attack must be stopped immediately.
It has been exactly five years since the Party met for its sixth Congress and adopted the guidelines for the economic and social development of the country for this period. The major tasks it undertook then have been successfully fulfilled. Today our Party comes together for its seventh Congress, prepared and determined to take on new, more difficult tasks in order to always victoriously advance the cause of socialism and communism in Albania.
The people and the Party come to this Congress full of vitality and dynamism, proud of the progress achieved and with an unshakable confidence in the future. Life has confirmed once again that the Marxist-Leninist course of the Party is entirely right, that the way on which it leads our people is the safe way of building socialism, the way to further strengthen the freedom and independence of the fatherland.
Our internal situation is good and unshakable in all fields and all sectors of the front. The Marxist-Leninist party line, the great achievements, the continuation of class struggle in the right way have strengthened the moral-political unity of the people and their unbreakable ties with the Party and created a lively revolutionary atmosphere.
Under the leadership of the Party the working class, the peasants and the people’s intelligentsia have successfully met the basic tasks set by the 6th Congress for the development of economy and culture in general. In the previous five-year plan the productive forces have developed in each sector, the material and technical basis of socialism has been strengthened and the socialist relations of production have been further improved.
Practice has shown that the program of the Party to build a complex heavy and light industry and to expand it with new lines of modern production was fully realised. Today we notice with satisfaction that the rapid industrialisation, the goal set by the party to transform Albania from an agricultural-industrial country into an industrial-agricultural country is coming closer. By the golden hands, the persistent will and talent of the workers the large metallurgical combine of Elbasan came into existence and began to cast the first steel in the history of Albania. The oil refinery in Ballsh will soon begin to operate and the oil of our rich soil will be transformed into products which are very much needed for the economy of the country. The hydropower plant at the river Drin close to Fierza will soon be completed like many other plants. With the new plants and factories, which have already commenced operations or will soon do so, also another major objective of the party will be successfully implemented in practice: to use, process and exploit our domestic resources as efficiently as possible.
We are all witness to the thorough change which our agriculture is currently undergoing. Answering the call of the Party the peasants of the collectives and workers of state farms this year for the first time met the demand of the country for bread wheat with flaming patriotism, tireless work and unwavering confidence in their powers. Due to the special care of the Party the mechanisation of agriculture and a rapid increase in the production of all vegetable and animal products were guaranteed. Following the directive of the 6th Congress agricultural cooperatives of a higher type were formed, the organisation and management of the agricultural economies were perfected. The measures taken by the Party have led to a further reduction of the differences between town and country. In our plains and on our mountains a huge remodelling work is under way in order to make them more fruitful and our country richer, more beautiful and stronger.
Cuban President Raul Castro has said top political positions should be limited to two five-year terms, and promised “systematic rejuvenation” of the government. President Castro was speaking at the start of the first congress of Cuba’s ruling Communist Party in 14 years.
He said the party leadership was in need of renewal and should subject itself to severe self-criticism.
The proposal is unprecedented under Cuban communism.
Mr Castro, 79, made clear the limits would apply to himself. He took over from his brother Fidel in 2008 and between them they have ruled Cuba for 52 years. He acknowledged that “the confidence of the majority of Cubans had been tested, with regard to the party and the revolution”.
Cubans, he said, would have to overcome a “mentality of inertia” and said the only thing that could threaten the revolution was “our inability to rectify errors”.
His brother and former leader Fidel Castro, now 84, missed the day’s events. He said he regretted his absence but felt proud of the congress and the military parade that preceded it.
In his speech, Raul Castro said the limit of two consecutive five-year terms would apply to “the current president of the Council of State and his ministers” – a reference to himself.
Much of what he said concerned his plans to reduce the role of the state in the economy and encourage private enterprise.
It would take at least five years to update Cuba’s economic model, Mr Castro said.
Free education and healthcare would still be guaranteed, but mass subsidies of basic goods would be removed and social spending would be “rationalised”.
Mr Castro said 200,000 people had already registered as self-employed since changes were announced last October, doubling the number of Cubans working for themselves. But he insisted the socialist character of Cuba would be “irreversible” and accumulation of property would not be allowed.
The Communist Party Congress was preceded by a one of the largest military parades Cuba has seen in years, marking the 50th anniversary of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion by US-backed exile groups.
Troops and armoured vehicles paraded through Havana’s Revolution Square, followed by hundreds of thousands of civilians waving flags and chanting slogans. The parade and congress also celebrate 50 years since Fidel Castro proclaimed that his was a socialist revolution. In 1961, Cuban exile groups armed and trained by the American CIA came ashore at the Bay of Pigs, 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Havana, in an attempt to overthrow him.
But after 72 hours of combat the invasion was defeated, in what Cuba celebrates as the “first great defeat for US imperialism in Latin America”.
Raul Castro, who is a general, donned military fatigues for the parade.
Fidel Castro ‘pride’
There was no sign of Raul Castro’s brother, the revolutionary leader and former President Fidel Castro, who is now 84 years old. But remarks attributed to him appeared later on the Cubadebate website, in which he spoke of a “feeling of pride” at the day’s events. “It’s worth to have lived to see that show today and it’s worth always to remember those who gave their life to make it possible,” he was quoted as saying.
He said he could not have coped with the heat for more than an hour, but regretted being unable to attend. “Believe me, I felt myself ashamed when I saw some of you looking for me,” he said.
“I thought you would understand I can no longer do any more what I’ve done many times.”
The four-day party congress is expected to see 1,000 delegates back all or part of a package of nearly 300 reforms.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa was booed Thursday night at Central University of Ecuador by a group of supporters of student leader Marcelo Rivera, who remains in prison on charges of terrorism.
The president went to school to report on the referendum, but the entrance and exit was rejecting some of those present, who also threw paper balls. For his part, the president responded to the whistling by blowing kisses with his hands while being protected by bodyguards.
The Ejercito Popular de Liberacion (EPL), or Popular Liberation Army, was founded on December the 17th, 1967, as the armed wing of the Communist Party of Colombia Marxist-Leninist (PCC-ML), a Maoist and then Hoxhaist split from the pro-Soviet Communist Party of Colombia founded in July, 1965. The Popular Liberation Army is considered the third largest guerrilla group in size after the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) and National Liberation Army (ELN). Little information is available about the struggle of the PCC-ML and the EPL. The author has compiled this information about the party’s struggles and history of brave resistance to imperialism, neo-colonialism and the fascist Colombian government.
Colombia is a bourgeois pro-imperialist state where the rights of the people are trampled, and they are thus forced to take up arms. The Communist Party of Colombia (Marxist-Leninist) was formed as a revolutionary party and has provided the political leadership of the EPL since it was constituted. The EPL is a guerrilla army based on the people and operating in rural Colombia.
In the 1970s the organization developed support from the working class and peasantry among banana plantations and peasant colonos. It was originally loyal to Maoism but became pro-Albania Hoxhaist in the 1970s. The EPL based its actions on guerrilla warfare, education of the peasant class and the creation of an army for the masses. It started its military activity on the borders between Cordoba and Antioquia, a traditional refuge area for guerrillas during La Violencia.
The EPL’s leaders included Francisco Caraballo, Jaime Fajardo, Bernardo Ferreira Grandet, Amanda Ramírez and Rafael Vergara Navarro. Their standard weapons included rifles, shotguns, revolvers machetes and occasionally explosives. At their peak, before a series of military defeats by the Colombian army and paramilitary groups, they also had influence in the regions of Alto Sinu and San Jorge, extending into regions of Bajo Cauca and Urabá.
At its zenith, the EPL boasted about several thousand fighters, most of whom were peasants and intellectuals. In the decades-long conflict that followed, EPL would sacrifice the lives of over three thousand of its members, these casualties including the deaths of great leaders like Carlos Pizarro, Luis Carlos Galan, Oscar William Calvo, Ernesto Rojas, Bernardo Jaramillo, Jaime Pardo, José Antequera and many others in the struggle for Marxism-Leninism, socialism, the class struggle and the Colombian proletariat.
A former government minister, Rafael Prado, was assassinated by the EPL in September 1978. AUC paramilitaries attacked the EPL’s social and political bases after the government sent forces to counter the guerrillas. There was fighting against the EPL’s most powerful fronts, and in the locations of the fighting there were recorded massacres of peasants, supporters and some of the commanders.
In one typical raid, Colombian forces captured $5 billion pesos, 60 real estate deeds, 389 securities such as bills of exchange, checks, life insurance, leases, exchanges, purchases and ledgers the organization as well as confidential reports. In another, five microwave ovens, a compressor, an electric saw, a drill, a polisher, a riveter, three electricity generators, metallic tubes, containers and 800 gallons of ethanol.
After an intense decades-long armed conflict with the widely-deployed EPL guerrillas, paramilitaries, law enforcement and other sectors began the overflow of a “dirty war” into the countryside, accusing the EPL, ELN and FARC-EP of terrorism. What analysts called the “crisis in the crisis” occurred in the late 80’s and there were true expressions of civil war and lawlessness.
The EPL’s cadres universally met with harsh repression and were usually killed rather than arrested. One example was EPL leader Jesus Chiquito Becerra, alias “Leytor,” who had eight warrants for crimes of terrorism, rebellion and extortion, and also had four outstanding prison sentences: two of 35 years for kidnapping and extortion and two of 29 and 27 years for various other offenses. In 1975 Pedro León Arboleda was killed and a number of other important leaders were arrested. Still, by 1978 there was be a revival of the guerrillas in the northwest (Antioquia and Cordoba).
The party began to make a break with Maoism during the Sino-Albanian split in the 1970s, and by the 11th Congress of the Communist Party of Colombia (Marxist-Leninist) in 1980, the party has completely abandoned Maoism, saying that it over-emphasized the role of the peasantry and underestimated the role of the proletariat in political work.
Their conclusions read: “The Maoist concept of protracted people’s war, on the centralization of work in the countryside to encircle the cities, involved taking in practice the field as the work setting and not the areas of greatest industrial development.” Instead, they decided to emphasize the idea of “[forming] an army of professional fighters to coexist in large agribusiness and even in large urban industrial centers.” The party had a tradition from the early 1970s of being in the cities.
The EPL chose to participate in the 1984 peace talks and cease-fire along with FARC-EP and ELN on August 23, 1984, but it refused to sign a peace agreement. As in the case of FARC, this was cleverly used to expand into new regions and increase the number of combatants and of fronts.
In the second half of 1985, after the seizing of the Palace of Justice by fellow guerrilla group M-19 and the breaking of the cease-fire with the murder of its negotiator, Oscar William Calvo, and of its leader, Ernesto Rojas, the organization ignored the cease-fire and EPL military action resumed.
The EPL was frequently attacked by the Colombian armed forces and right-wing paramilitary groups, the former affecting their military structure and their social and political bases. From 1988 the battle in Córdoba and Urabá intensified against the most powerful and fronts of the EPL.
President Alvaro Uribe gave the order to annihilate the EPL, and the regions where they were active were kept on edge for years afterward. The group has managed to establish support networks that have allowed them to resist any military movement. Hence, they have been kept alive despite the ongoing military operations against them.
In late 1990, the EPL began to negotiate their demobilization, as it was severely beaten by Colombian military forces and paramilitary groups. In 1991-1994, a large section of the EPL, 2,556 fighters, abandoned armed struggle, some of whom formed the now-defunct group “Esperanza Paz y Libertad,” whose members were later executed as deserters.
The section under Francisco Caraballo opposed the demobilization of the EPL in 1991 and continues to support the section of the EPL still fighting. The EPL kidnapped former Algerian minister Durán Quintero during the peace talks in Tlaxcala. During the captivity, Duran suffered a heart attack and died. After publication of the death of the former minister, the episode led to the breakdown of peace talks.
The peace process with the EPL reflected in the reduction of violence in some of the areas under their control. The total reduction of revolutionary violence, however, was not attained by the government thanks to the efforts modern EPL commander Francisco Caraballo.
The EPL guerrillas, according to official data, became a kind of “Robin Hood” structure of the region. It continued to remain relevant to the practice of its commanders: that is, sharing with the farmers the money and land obtained by the group in their liberated areas. The EPL also worked to participate in local unions and worker’s rights groups.
This situation put the Colombian military at a disadvantage, as the EPL, through this method, was fed intelligence by the locals and had advanced knowledge of any troop movement.
As of 1995 the EPL consisted of thirteen different fronts, each named after a leader, commander or martyr. These included Aldemar Londoño Front, Virgilio Enrique Rodriguez Front, Oscar William Calvo Front, Pedro León Arboleda Front, Hernando Vasquez Pedro Rendón Front, Elkin González Vásquez Front, Bernardo Franco Front.
The EPL continues operating under the command of leader Francisco Caraballo. Its military activity is concentrated in Antioquia, Caldas, North Santander and Guajira and is in coordination with the FARC-EP and ELN groups.
A sample of the union between the FARC and EPL occurred in the attack in Hacarí (Norte de Santander) on a military patrol on 20 April in 2006. It killed six soldiers and 10 officers of the Department of Administrative Security, DAS. This was led by EPL leader Víctor Ramón Navarro, alias “Megateo.”
Repression against the surviving branches of the EPL continues to this day. On Jan. 25, 2010, police in the eastern Colombian city of Cucuta arrested Jesus Villalba Torres, alias “Carmelo,” suspected of being head of the Libardo Mora Toro front of the Popular Liberation Army and of being responsible for the killing of sixteen policemen who died when guerrillas blew up their truck. “Carmelo” was charged with rebellion, the production and trafficking of cocaine, kidnapping, extortion and homicide.
Francisco Caraballo is First Secretary of the Communist Party of Colombia (Marxist-Leninist) and commander of the People’s Army of Liberation. He has been re-elected leader of the Party and is also spokesperson for the EPL. In 1994 he was caught on a farm in the municipality of Cajicá with his wife and son by the Thirteenth Brigade of the National Army of Colombia. Caraballo was sentenced to 38 years in prison for rebellion, kidnapping and terrorism. He was also sentenced to 29 years for kidnapping Turbay Beatriz Elena and army major Yepes Luis Demetrio in 1992 and 1994. He was imprisoned in the high security jail at Itagui outside Medellin.
Due to pressure from an international campaign, on April 2008, Caraballo was freed from prison on parole after serving 14 years of his sentence. He was sent to the “Peace House” in Medellín with two former leaders of the ELN. Despite this, he is still the leader of the PCC-ML and the EPL, which remains hidden in the cities and countryside of Colombia.
The EPL’s tenacity and the intransigence of its remaining leaders makes it a force that cannot be easily dismissed.
The Colombian Revolution, which is led by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), National Liberation Army (ELN) and Communist Party of Colombia/ML (PCC-ML & EPL), progressed through combining with general strike actions of urban toilers and the working class in recent years. Revolutionary struggle, despite the fascist attacks of USA and Colombian reaction and the massacres of death squads, did not only maintain its existence but also increased its mass support.
These forces prevented the USA from conducting “Plan Colombia,” which consists of crushing the revolution directly with its military forces through occupying Colombia. After September 11th, while US bandits increase the threat of “Plan Colombia”, the Colombian Revolution grows, challenging USA and its servants.
PROLETARIANS OF ALL COUNTRIES UNITE! LONG LIVE FRANCISCO CARABALLO! LONG LIVE THE GLORIOUS EPL!
From Albania Today, this is a long but fascinating and revealing article about revisionist China’s support of reactionary regimes in light of the “Three Worlds Theory.”
The Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and Premier of the State Council of China, Hua Kuo feng has just ended his long trip which took him to Rumania and Yugoslavia. Formally, this trip was publicized as one of a general character, in return for the official visits of the Rumanian and Yugoslav leaders to China last year. But judging from what Hua Kuo feng proclaimed from public tribunes in Bucharest and Belgrade and from the stress the Chinese press has been laying recently on some aspects of the Chinese foreign policy, it follows that this clamorous tour was undertaken in pursuit of sinister aims. Hua Kuo feng came to Rumania and Yugoslavia neither to see the high mountains and beautiful plains of the Balkans, nor urged by any special interest in the ancient history of the peoples of this peninsula, nor to acquaint himself with the aspirations and hopes they cherish for the future.
He came to the Balkans in pursuit of the same aims as Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Nixon and others before him. They were profuse in high-sounding pledges about their “friendship” with, and love for, the peoples of the Balkans, and abounded in “assurances” for the freedom, independence, prosperity of the countries of this region. But life has shown, and continues to show, that US imperialism, as well as Soviet imperialism, has sought and is seeking by all manner of means to subjugate the Balkan countries and put them under its hegemony, to turn them into springboards of aggression against other countries, enslave the peoples of this peninsula and hitch them to its war chariot.
The Chinese leadership now pursues the same aims. Hua Kuo-feng, too, came to the Balkans not to bring the “spirit of sincere friendship”, as he proclaimed at meetings, but to use someone’s professions of friendship against the other peoples of the Balkans and Europe.
Certainly, exchanges of delegations are a common practice in the relations between various countries and we have no objection to it. But we are against the sinister aims behind this exchange of delegations which are to the detriment of world peace and the peoples who want to live free, independent and sovereign, and are fighting for it.
The Balkan talks of the Chinese leaders took place at a time when China has been unfurling the banner of rapprochement and cooperation with US imperialism, the big international bourgeoisie, fascist cliques and the most reactionary groupings in the world, far and wide.
They were held at a time when the Chinese leadership is supporting NATO and the Common Market in Europe, the multinationals and United Europe, in order to preserve capitalist oppression and the US hegemony there.
They were conducted at a time when in Africa, Asia and Latin America it stands by fascist military juntas, by all those who oppress and exploit the peoples. The political and ideological affinity of the Chinese leaders to such regimes is revealed also by Hua Kuo feng’s visit to Iran.
He meets the Shah of Persia and has cordial talks with him at a time when the revolutionaries and working people have risen against the Shah, and clashes are taking place in the streets of Iranian cities. In this situation, by going to Tehran Hua Kuo feng wants to give proof of his support for the medieval regime of the Shah. His visit is a grave offence not only to the Iranian people, out also to the entire democratic and progressive public opinion, which has vehemently been condemning the brutal acts of the regime of the Shah against the population which has risen in revolt.
The Chinese leadership dispatched a top level delegation to Bucharest and Belgrade after having cut off all aid and credits to socialist Albania in a perfidious, brutal, arrogant and unilateral manner for the sole reason that Albania rejected and opposed China’s anti Marxist, counterrevolutionary sad pro-imperialist line. Thus, this visit to the Balkans is an act of provocation against Albania and is friendship with the peoples of Yugoslavia and Rumania.
Hua Kuo feng came to the Balkans at a time when the Chinese leadership, proceeding from its expansionist and hegemonic aims, has instigated he bloody conflict between Cambodia and Vietnam, two neighbouring fraternal countries.Therefore, no matter how much the Chinese propaganda will publicize Hua Kuo feng’s visit to the Balkans, the peoples cannot fail to see that there are no two different Chinese policies on, imperialist towards Vietnam and one socialist towards Rumania, one hostile and chauvinistic towards Albania and one friendly and sincere toward Yugoslavia, one a policy of interference in Asia and Africa and one a policy of peace in Europe.
The Ivory Coast has just held its presidential election, the most expensive elections in the world and on Thursday December 2 2010 the CEI (independent Election Commission) declared Laurent GBAGBO defeated. The next day, the Constitutional Council, charged by the existing Constitution to proclaim the final results, invalidated the CEI because the CEI published the provisional results more than 72 hours afterwards. The Council, after annulling the votes in 7 departments, particularly in the north and center, proclaimed GBAGBO the winner. The UNOCI [UN mission in the Ivory Coast] and following it the Western powers rejected the results of the Constitutional Council and said they recognize only the results of the CEI with OUATTARA as the one legally elected according to the law of “certification” of elections in the Ivory Coast conferred on it by the Ouagadougou accords. Each protagonist clings to the results that proclaim him the winner. As a result: one country, two Presidents with the danger of a new civil war.
All the people of Benin are interested in these elections and their outcome as there is the matter of electing the President of Benin. The people of Benin are passionate about these elections and have applauded the (almost) defeat of GBAGBO, because for them GBAGBO is tyrant over the people just as his counterpart, Boni YAYI of Benin, is a tyrant and the defeat of the first foreshadows the defeat of the second. The people know that, just like GBAGBO, YAYI is clinging tooth and nail to power and they are eager for such an end to YAYI. This is good and just, except that the two cases are different.
In the Ivory Coast, the French Government and the other Western powers have made their choice of OUATTARA during and after the civil war and support him; in Benin, Boni YAYI is up to now the choice of French imperialism supported by the European Commission and the UN Development Program. In the Ivory Coast, the CEI has the right to give the provisional results. In Benin, the CENA [Autonomous National Electoral Commission], the counterpart of the CEI, does not. Here the CENA’s role is only to collect and compile the results that it transmits to the Constitutional Court, which publishes the provisional results and has the right to nullify votes, receive protests and proclaim the final results. Here, the Constitutional Court is in the hands Robert DOSSOU and Theodore HOLO, agents of French imperialism and supporters of Boni YAYI.
A former President of Benin, KEREKOU, who knows well what he was talking about, said that the President of Benin is not chosen in Benin but in Paris. And this is true in the current African context where elections are carried out by corruption, buying of votes, fraud, intimidation and lies. It is always people supported politically, in the media, financially and sometimes militarily by the dominant imperialism (French in the case of Benin and Ivory Coast) who win or are declared the winner (in the case of Togo, Burkina-Faso and Gabon). And as it is well established in Benin under the Renewal and elsewhere in Africa, in the elections, it is not always the one who has the most votes at the ballot box who is declared the winner by the institutions charged with proclaiming the results; these institutions are used or ignored or put in competition with each other in order to ensure that the preferred candidate wins.
In the case of the Ivory Coast in 2010, the French had made their choice before the election and that was OUATTARA; they have done and are doing everything for him to win and to enter the Presidential Palace to serve their interests. The “international community” has been mobilized for this purpose and it has even invented a new concept: the certification of the result by the UNOCI which places itself above national agencies, as if the Ivory Coast were a protectorate. This interference in the Ivory Coast by foreign powers is certainly inadmissible for every patriot and democrat; this tramples underfoot its sovereignty, interference up to threats of armed interventions.
As to GBAGBO, behind his speech and nationalist airs, he has ended up by giving everything away to the French and other multinationals and no longer has anything to offer. His brutal, tyrannical and corrupt manners eventually wore out numbers of his original followers and made him a worn out and less credible agent for the French; he cannot contain the rebellion created by the French themselves and OUATTARA, and this requires that the latter take the reins to extinguish the flames of war that they themselves lit and to stabilize the country. GBAGBO has been dropped and must leave.
GBAGBO must go but Alassane OUATTARA is an open agent of international financial capital and, as such, is dangerous both for the people of the Ivory Coast and for Africa. He will be no better for the Ivory Coast as is YAYI for Benin.
After ten years of a social-political crisis that has led to the pauperization of the popular masses, and five years of equivocation, the presidential election in the Ivory Coast has finally been held. According to official figures, participation has been heavy (83% in the first round and about 81% in the second). The results made public by the Independent Electoral Commission and confirmed by the UN delegation in the Ivory Coast gave 54.1% of the votes to Alassane Ouattara and 45.9% to Laurent Gbabgo. However, the Constitutional Council has unjustly declared the elections in 7 regions void and declared Gbabgo the winner. According to our observations, Alassane Ouattara had the support of the voters. The arguments given for the “presidential majority” supporting Laurent Gbabgo and rejecting the results do not hold weight. The Constitutional Council has not been a judge in the elections, but a supporter of Gbabgo. We will soon speak about the disagreements of the protagonists with regard to the results.
The electoral struggle for the presidency has ended with the logically declared victory of Alassane Ouattara. But the rejection of the results of the ballots by Laurent Gbabgo has led to two presidents of the republic being “invested” and two governments. The threat of confrontations up to the unleashing of a civil war is real.
The Revolutionary Communist Party of the Ivory Coast (PCRCI) is convinced that a civil war would be disastrous since it would only aggravate the situation of the popular masses and of the whole country, and strengthen imperialist domination. It is of the greatest importance that everything be done so that the popular will is accepted by all the protagonists. For our part the PCRCI will make every effort to avoid a reactionary civil war that is on the horizon. All actions that attempt to divide the people of the Ivory Coast, to incite them to tribal and racial hatred and xenophobia must be fought and rejected.
At this time the most important and most urgent thing is to do everything to make everyone understand the need to respect the will of the majority shown in the ballot of last November 28 and thus avoid a reactionary civil war.
Therefore, the PCRCI calls on the peoples of the Ivory Coast to say No to fraud, No to reactionary civil war and adventure. We call on the peoples to form committees of struggle against fraud and against the incitation to reactionary civil war. Let us take the road to a better future, that of developing the revolution, which will reconcile Ivoirians with each other.
The Revolutionary Communist Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PCRCI) is a revolutionary party in the Ivory Coast. It participates in the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations and claims the line of Enver Hoxha and the Party of Labour of Albania. As such, it is non-revisionist and fights for a proletarian revolution. Since 1990 it has been led by Achy Ekissi. Its militants have kidnapped, tortured and killed over the past ten years by the national-cahuvenist “Young Patriot” militia organized by Gbagbo.The PCRCI called for a boycott of the elections between Gbagbo and Ouattara.
The Revolutionary Communist Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PCRCI) expressed yesterday his support for the protests triggered by the opposition. He urged it to increase pressure on power.
On the occasion of the press conference he hosted at party headquarters located in Williamsville, its General Secretary, Achy Ekissi, argued that Côte d’Ivoire will emerge from the crisis through popular movements. “The only conclusion that can ensure the well-being of the masses, leading to democratic elections and sovereignty, is the revolution, the triumph of people’s power,” argued Achy.
The Communists have denounced the dissolution of the electoral commission and the government. Seeing Laurent Gbagbo will retrieve the process to organize the fraud. According to Achy, Article 48 on which the ruling of the President of the Republic had been “misused.” He added: “The government uses past articles, ancestors of the infamous Article 48. It is reprehensible and cannot justify the current undemocratic decisions of Laurent Gbagbo.” Therefore, the application PCRCI “the repeal of the undemocratic constitution in force and adopting a new constitution.”
No to Imperialist Intervention! Solidarity with the People of Libya!
NATO has launched its attack against Libya, just hours after the UN General Council adopted a resolution authorizing the adoption of “all necessary measures” to impose an air exclusion zone in the country. Thus begins the imperialist military intervention intended to prevent a revolutionary way to popular revolt.
The cynical argument has been, on this occasion, the defense of civilians. However, as at the time happened in Iraq, the imperialist powers turn their backs on their ally, not to support the progressive sectors, but to provide the pro-imperialist Libya bourgeoisie, which until yesterday supported Gaddafi crackdown on the popular revolt. Imperialism intends to intervene, not for democracy, but what NATO aircraft are enforcing by bombing is the maintenance of the status quo, continuing the charade, with other puppets.
The riots that are shaking up the foundations of the Arab world are the result of contradictions that have been incubating for years. Ben Ali in Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, do not represent the national and democratic interests of their people, they are reactionary warlords who have ruled with an iron hand their country, defending the interests of imperialism and enriching themselves and their families by brutal exploitation of the masses.
In the case of Qaddafi, he has moved from progressive positions in the past to positions subservient to imperialism and privatization policies that have affected more and more the Libyan people, while the regime has been imposing a policy of intolerance.
The generalization of the revolt seriously threatens the strategic interests of the imperialist powers, with the danger of the processes end up taking the leap toward a revolutionary change, by all means try to influence them, reinforcing the role of sectors local pro-imperialist bourgeoisie. In fact, it appears that imperialism is expected to intervene, the sectors are truly interested in giving a national revolt, democratic and anti-imperialist, will wear facing the brutal military offensive of Gaddafi.
Of the fifteen members of the UN Council, ten voted for the resolution that has covered this criminal aggression, and five abstained. These five members are Russia, China, Brazil, India and Germany. Given the power of veto of permanent members, the abstention of Russia and China has made possible the resolution, making them complicit in this assault.
The PCT requires the cessation of the aggression against the Libyan people and says no to imperialist intervention. We also call on all progressive organizations and people to organize demonstrations of solidarity with the Arab peoples in struggle.
Against imperialism, VIVA INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY!
ITALY: On May 6, strike in defense of our interests, to pay the parasites and expel the reactionary government of Berlusconi. On one front of struggle.Piattaforma Communist
The crisis is not over, the ‘recovery’ slows down, increase the garbage contracts, unemployment, especially youth. Wages fall and prices rise. Social epidemic of overproduction. The cause is not “speculative excess”, but the contradictions of capitalism, an already obsolete system.
To increase their profits, employers intensify exploitation and relocation. Their governments are preparing new plans for “austerity” and continue bringing down the losses on workers, while helping the financial oligarchy. They continue to impose neoliberal policies of privatization, liquidation rights and social gains.
On the political front, the crisis is reflected in the reactionary transformation of the state to weaken the resistance of workers and break their unity through racism, separate agreements, federalism. Democratic freedoms are being gradually liquidated. It revives the fascist right and undertaken, shamelessly, proxy wars for oil. The ruling classes are becoming more aggressive, both inside and outside the country.
In our country the situation is aggravated because of the reactionary gang of criminals who pass laws cheating, looting public funds, is the dominance of a caste of corrupt, the babble of the parliamentary opposition to the inclusion in the EU monopolies and the subordination to the U.S. and the Vatican, all of which hit hard the interests of workers.
In this situation, it is essential to achieve maximum unity in action of the working class to extend and intensify the struggle against the capitalist offensive, political reaction and the cause of wars. On May 6, we extend the strike as much as possible. Call for participation for the unemployed, students, immigrants, women in planning, the areas hit by the anti-people policy. Try to secure the support of all unions and the USW, who refuse to pay for the crisis, debt and war spending. Grassroots development proletarian mobilization: For a strike is a useless ritual, if then back to the table with the collaborators reported. We need a real general strike unit, with economic and political objectives, and lead the country into a strong working and popular mobilization, to hit the industry, to sweep the Berlusconi government and its accomplices.
We demand urgent measures for workers and the unemployed: block the layoffs, CIG 100% respect for national agreements, increased salaries and related costs, credits to the unemployed, precarious support, not tax the wages and pensions, highly progressive taxes on profits, interest, rents and property, withdrawal of foreign troops, not a penny to the Vatican. To pay the capitalists, the rich, the parasites! We must be aware that the period of “social pact”, the electoral and parliamentary illusions are over. We have before us a period of harsh conflicts between social classes.
With the development of the proletarian movement and the construction of a broad popular front, we can open a view to breaking this dying system. The alternative is a worker government and other exploited workers to break the dominance of the bourgeoisie, imperialist alliances as a member of EU and NATO, to move to a new and higher social production system that meets the material and cultural demands of the working people and respects the environment.
To conquer our future is essential to rebuild the Communist Party based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism.
Workers and young revolutionaries, take contacts, organize!
Feb. 2011, SANTIAGO, Dominican Republic.- The Communist Party of Labour-PCT-call to its membership and the people to take to the streets to protest the high prices of goods and services to you and raise.
Yesterday, the PCT spoke to participate in the march of the park Las Palmas de Los Mina, convened by the Coalition MIUCA-Action for Change.
Manuel Salazar, secretary general of the PCT, urged his membership to the streets to protest the high prices on goods and services, and to demand a general wage increase.
He said it is a necessity to take the streets because no popular pressure the government will not take action on behalf of the majority.
Salazar believes that the movement in the streets should be the main thrust of the left and grassroots groups to demand the people’s demands. “For this government understands that there are people starving.”
He argued that one must take the streets on a civic, forceful and systematic, and make all public places accessible to protest against the economic measures the government has taken against the people.
“In each municipality of the country should develop street demonstrations every Friday, to generate a large mass movement that forced the government to respond to demands.” said the leftist leader.
Manuel Salazar, said that from now on every Friday a day of protest will happen at some point in the country in an organized and peaceful until the government and its officials understand that the bus will not go forward, but goes into reverse.
Democratic Way rejects the official formula for reforming the Constitution and calls the strengthening and consolidation of mobilization and continue the struggle for a democratic regime.
After analyzing the official formula announced by the king in his speech on Thursday March 9, 2011 to amend the Constitution of the country, Democratic Way resolved:
With this initiative, the aim is to reproduce the same form of taxation which were adopted in the past for the development or reform of other previous constitutions. The king decides unilaterally on the reforms and choose at will to the authority in charge of writing, continuing with the line drawn by the same regime since the first Constitution of 1962.
In terms of content, we do not perceive any change or break with the past, so that it remains committed to the continuation of an authoritarian regime and proprietorship where the king is still the commander of the faithful and the central figure who holds the broad powers granted by Article 19 of the present Constitution, and violating the principle of responsibility requires control of one ruler in power.
This measure does not respond at all to the demands of the movement of the struggle for democracy and social justice that was established on February 20 and reduces the constitutional issue to a mere superficial reforms while maintaining unchanged the nature of the current political regime, when the essence of the democratic movement requires a comprehensive and radical reform of the Constitution, beginning with the dissolution of Parliament, Councils, Government and remove all symbols of the mafia majzaní responsible for political and economic crimes. Therefore, with this supposed constitutional regime it aims to tame the claims of this movement, confined to the background where they will surely end up languishing under these false expectations and divided to facilitate its enforcement.
Democratic change we seek is a radical structural change and to be given at all levels, and that at least includes the following key provisions:
The election of a Constituent Assembly for drafting a democratic constitution will reincarnate the Moroccan people as the sovereign authority and source of all powers, which breaks with the current authoritarian regime and one-person, to establish the equality between men and women and recognize the Amazigh language and culture on a par with the other official languages.
Dismantling and disbanding of all repressive apparatus responsible for political crimes and prosecution of perpetrators.
The processing of all those responsible for economic crimes related to corruption, plunder and looting of the country’s wealth and the confiscation of all assets and properties.
The dissolution of the government together with all institutions “elected” for lack of democratic legitimacy and popular.
The holding of free and democratic elections on equal opportunities for all actors and forces the removal of the control exercised by the Ministry of Interior on them.
The establishment of economic and social policy which corresponds to the Moroccan people’s basic needs by ensuring full employment, free access to social services and finally ending the rentier economy.
The protection of public media and the reaction against the single thought, guaranteeing its independence, diversity and contribution to the dissemination of the principles of dialogue, freedom and democracy.
The development of national culture and all its components as part of the heritage and cultural legacy of humanity.
We call on all citizens who yearn for freedom, dignity and democracy and all the militant forces of our country to safeguard the unity of this movement, ensuring continuity and fight any move that seeks to abort.
We reaffirm our active commitment to all initiatives and mobilizations that are taking place in our country to achieve all these claims.