Nikolai Bukharin on the Use of Individual Terror Against Stalin

From Revolutionary Democracy:

Introduction

The participation of Bukharin and his group in terrorist activity directed against Stalin has been asserted persistently in the Soviet literature. Aside from the official party and state documentation it has been mentioned by L.M. Kaganovich in his conversations with Feliks Chuyev. [1] What is remarkable about Jules Humbert-Droz’s last conversation with Bukharin held in early 1929, in which Bukharin indicates that his opposition group had taken the decision to utilize individual terror against Stalin, is that it emanates from a source which is sympathetic to Bukharin. We are informed by Stephen Cohen in his favourable biography of Bukharin that Jules Humbert-Droz was one of the few Comintern leaders who remained loyal to Bukharin after the Sixth Congress of Comintern in 1928. [2] Another striking feature about the conversation given below is that despite the widespread availability of Humbert-Droz’s memoirs it finds no mention in the voluminous literature on Bukharin which has burgeoned in the west in recent decades. It is a glaring omission in Stephen F. Cohen’s highly acclaimed biography of Bukharin which on other points does refer to the writings of Jules Humbert-Droz.

The significance of the conversation with Bukharin was not lost on the reviewer of the memoirs of Humbert-Droz in the pages of the ‘Times Literary Supplement’ more than thirty years ago:

‘But the report of the conversation in the memoirs contains one passage which… brings up the reader with a start:

Bukharin also told me that they had decided to use individual terror to get rid of Stalin.

Humbert-Droz replied that he was opposed to individual terror (i.e. assassination), of which the Bolsheviks had never approved. He makes no further comment on the point. It has been generally supposed that, when the authorities hurled changes of conspiracy and terror at the opposition, they were victims of an overheated imagination or were inventing excuses to justify their own reprisals. Perhaps the assumption has been unduly naive. Perhaps, if Bukharin did say this, words had not yet been translated into plans. Do serious conspirators talk like this to outsiders? For the present a disconcerting question-mark must be appended to this strange, almost casual revelation.’ [3]

The anonymous reviewer of the ‘Times Literary Supplement’ deserves kudos for alerting observers of Soviet history to Bukharin’s conversation on the question of assassinating Stalin. But it is not necessary to put a ‘disconcerting question-mark’ on this revelation. Jules Humbert-Droz was not an ‘outsider’ but a Bukharin loyalist at the time of this conversation (he later joined the ranks of Swiss Social-Democracy). Moreover, Bukharin’s words do appear to have been ‘translated into plans’. We may refer to one of the conversations of L.M. Kaganovich with the Soviet poet and chronicler Feliks Chuyev which recalls the cross-examination of Bukharin in a Politbureau meeting:

‘Yes, there was his confrontation with Kulikov. He was a Muscovite. At the meeting of the Politbureau members, Kulikov addressed Bukharin: ‘You remember Nikolai Ivanovich, how you took me by the arm and we walked along the Vozdvizhenka, and I said to you: ‘Why are you wasting your time there, when it is time to act…’ Bukharin inquires ‘but where are your people?’ ‘Who would act?’ ‘Well people could be found’. ‘And why don’t you act yourself? Participate in terrorist acts?’

“I never said that’ shouted Bukharin. How do you deny this when you wanted the surnames [familia – ed.] of the persons I had listed – said Kulikov who was a member of the Moscow Committee, Secretary of the Regional Committee, a tanner by trade and very politically aware.

‘Sergo [Ordzhonikidze ed.] asks Bukharin whether he had said this or not.

‘Yes’, answered Bukharin.

‘How could you?!

‘I thought that Sergo was about to hit him.’

Augmenting the statement of Kulikov was that of Slepkov, another Bukharin loyalist who was also cross-examined in the confrontation at the Politbureau meeting :

“Did Bukharin send you to the Northern Caucasus?’ – ‘Yes’. ‘What tasks did he give you?’ – ‘The task was to find out the mood of the Kazakhs, and the residents of the Kuban and the Don whether they were prepared for something or not?’ Once again they asked Bukharin: ‘Did you say this to him?’ He hesitated and said ‘Yes’.

‘Once again Sergo sprang up. ‘Is it really possible that you might have said this?’ – ‘Then I was opposed to all the politicians of the CC, but today – no.’ [4]

It is evident that both those near to Bukharin and those inimical to him – Jules Humbert-Droz and Lazar Kaganovich respectively – concur that he raised the question of the use of individual terror against Stalin.

Vijay Singh

References:

1. Feliks Chuyev, ‘Thus Spake Kaganovich’, ‘Revolutionary Democracy’ Vol. 1, No. 2, September 1995, pp. 32-33.

2. Stephen F. Cohen, ‘Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution’, Oxford University Press, New York, 1980, p. 394.

3. ‘Times Literary Supplement’, 23.6.1971, p. 733.

4. Feliks Chuyev, loc. cit.

Before leaving I went to see Bukharin for one last time not knowing whether I would see him again upon my return. We had a long and frank conversation. He brought me up to date with the contacts made by his group with the Zinoviev-Kamenev fraction in order to coordinate the struggle against the power of Stalin. I did not hide from him that I did not approve of this liaison of the oppositions. ‘The struggle against Stalin is not a political programme. We had combatted with reason the programme of the trotskyites on the essential questions, the danger of the kulaks in Russia, the struggle against the united front with the social-democrats, the Chinese problems, the very short-sighted revolutionary perspective, etc. On the morrow of a common victory against Stalin, the political problems will divide us. This bloc is a bloc without principles which will crumble away before achieving any results.’

Bukharin also told me that they had decided to utilise individual terror in order to rid themselves of Stalin. On this point as well I expressed my reservation: the introduction of individual terror into the political struggles born from the Russian Revolution would strongly risk turning against those who employed it. It had never been a revolutionary weapon. ‘My opinion is that we ought to continue the ideological and political struggle against Stalin. His line will lead in the near future to a catastrophe which will open the eyes of the communists and result in a changing of orientation. Fascism menaces Germany and our party of phrasemongers will be incapable of resisting it. Before the debacle of the Communist Party of Germany and the extension of fascism to Poland and to France, the International must change politics. That moment will then be our hour. It is necessary then to remain disciplined, to apply the sectarian decisions after having fought and opposed the leftist errors and measures, but to continue to struggle on the strictly political terrain’.

Bukharin doubtlessly had understood that I would not liase blindly with his fraction whose sole programme was to make Stalin disappear. This was our last meeting. Manifestly he did not have confidence in the tactic that I proposed.

Courtesy: Jules Humbert-Droz, ‘De Lénin à Staline, Dix Ans Au Service de L’ Internationale Communiste 1921-31’, A la Baconniére, Neuchâtel, 1971, pp. 379-80. Translated from the French by Vijay Singh.

Source

Cuban Exiles Wage War of Terror

by Frank Joyce
AlterNet, August 16, 2006.

Anti-Castro terrorists based in Florida have carried out thousands of attacks against civilians, often with the full knowledge and support of the U.S. government.

It wasn’t Libya, Afghanistan, or any other Arab-based group that first blew up a commercial airplane. Al Qaida had nothing to do with it. That first attack, on Oct. 6, 1976, came when Cuban-American terrorists and mercenaries blew up a Cuban civilian airliner. All 73 on board went down to a fiery and gruesome death, including the teenage members of the Cuban fencing team returning from a competition in Venezuela.

This tacitly U.S.-supported terrorist crime never appears on the “history” list of incidents involving civilian airliners, at least not in the U.S. media. Why? Cognitive dissonance is one explanation. The syllogism goes like this: The United States is a good country. Terrorism is bad. The United States funds and protects terrorists. Uh-oh — we certainly can’t talk about that.

In Barbados, where the bomb was placed on the Cuban airliner, the mercenaries were tried and convicted for the crime and served time. But the planners and instigators of the plot, Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch, got away clean. Posada is today being protected by the U.S. government from an extradition demand by Venezuela, where the crime was planned. (In a delicious irony, the U.S. government’s position is that he can’t be extradited to Venezuela because he would be tortured there.) Over the objections of his own justice department, George H. W. Bush in effect pardoned Orlando Bosch. He is today a free man living in Miami where he gives gloating TV interviews about his role in blowing up the plane.

The Cuban airline bombing was anything but an isolated incident. On Sept. 4, 1997, as on other occasions, U.S.-sponsored terrorists set off bombs in Havana hotels and restaurants. This time, one killed a tourist from Italy, Fabio de Celmo. Over the years death and injury to civilians has come from thousands of other attacks carried out in Cuba and elsewhere by land, air and sea against villagers, fisherman, children, tourists and diplomats by terrorists based in Florida.

The Al Qaida-like network — which includes Alpha 66, Omega 7, Brothers To The Rescue, and Commandos L and others — is as active today as ever. Just last month, Commandos F-4 held a press conference in Miami to announce they had successfully carried out sabotage raids in Cuba in four different provinces. A few weeks earlier police raided the California home of Robert Ferro, a self-proclaimed member of Alpha 66. Police and federal agents seized 35 machine guns, 13 silencers, two short-barreled rifles, a live hand grenade, a rocket launcher tube and 89,000 rounds of ammunition. Santiago Alvarez and Osvaldo Mitat were busted about a year ago with a similar stash in Fort Lauderdale. The defense claimed by all three is that they were acting as members of organizations working with the full knowledge and support of the U.S. government.

These arrests, by the way, do not mean that the U.S. government is aggressively trying to contain these terrorists. The raids are about window-dressing and deniability. They are not about a genuine effort to stop the Cuban exile terrorists. On July 10 of this year the “Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba,” headed by Condoleezza Rice, issued a long-promised report. It sets out U.S. plans to increase and intensify support for those trying to overthrow the government of Cuba. The version posted on the website is 93 pages long; the entire report is 450 pages. Most of it is “classified.” The secrecy is not about protecting aid to dissidents in Cuba — it’s about protecting terrorists in Florida.


Enter the Cuban Five

Someone should make a movie about the Cuban Five — Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerro, Fernando Gonzalez, Gerrardo Hernandez and Ramon Labinino. They are poets, pilots, engineers, artists, college graduates, husbands, sons, brothers, fathers, Cubans, Americans. But that’s not why the movie.

The movie is about why they are in five different maximum security prisons in the United States. Two of them are American citizens by virtue of having been born in the United States. Their parents were refugees from a Cuban dictator: Fulgencio Batista. When Batista was deposed by the Castro-led Cuban revolution, they returned to Cuba to live and raise their children.

The Cuban Five volunteered to come to Florida in the mid-’90s for the purpose of becoming “eyes and ears” into the plans and activities of the Florida-based terrorist groups. The escalation of efforts by groups like Alpha 66 and Commandos L drove the timing of their mission. The terrorists were openly targeting Cuba’s growing tourism industry, which was being expanded to offset the loss of aid to the Cuban economy from the former Soviet Union.
The Five succeeded in infiltrating some of the most dangerous groups, but in September of 1998 they were arrested by the FBI. In a harbinger of post-9/11 civil liberties erosions to come, they were denied bail. They were placed in solitary confinement, separated from each other and their families. Their attorneys were prevented from gaining access to the evidence to be used against them at their trial. They were charged with a raft of crimes, including allegations of “conspiracy.”

None of the accusations alleged any violent acts on their part. The Five’s monitoring activities had nothing to do with threatening the United States in any way. Their mission was to protect Cuba. The only way you could argue otherwise would be to concede that the terrorists were carrying out the official foreign policy of the United States.

In 2001, 33 months after their arrest, their trial began in Miami, Florida. Before and several times during the trial, their court-appointed attorneys requested a change of venue on the grounds that the pro-Cuban defendants could not get a fair trial in Miami. The attorneys proposed Fort Lauderdale, just 25 miles away. Their change of venue motions were repeatedly denied.

The trial lasted six months. It included testimony from Cuban exile terrorists, a high-ranking assistant to the president of the United States, and generals and admirals from the U.S. and Cuba. On numerous occasions there were rowdy demonstrations outside the court room by anti-Castro Cuban exiles. Some of the demonstrations specifically targeted members of the jury. The trial got zero media coverage outside of Miami.

Despite incredible holes and contradictions in the government’s case, the Cuban Five were found guilty on every count that had been brought against them. The jury even convicted the Five on charges the judge instructed them did not meet the burden of proof. Rene Gonzalez was sentenced to 15 years. Antonio Guerro to life imprisonment plus 10 years, Fernando Gonzalez was sentenced to 19 years, Gerrardo Hernandez was given two life sentences plus 80 months, and Ramon Labinino was sentenced to life imprisonment plus 18 years.

The conditions of their incarceration have been cruel, unusual and in violation of many rights and privileges accorded to other prisoners. Of the eight years total each has already been incarcerated, much of their jail time has been in solitary confinement — even though they are model prisoners without a single blemish on their record. Two of the five have never been permitted visits from their wives.

In 2005 the convictions were overturned because a three-judge panel ordered a new trial because Miami was such a demonstrably unfair place to try them. But on Aug. 9, the full Appeals bench overturned that decision. Nine other grounds for reversing the convictions now await decisions by the three-judge panel. It is also possible that lawyers for the Five will appeal the 11th Circuit Court decision on the venue issue to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Why the Cuban Five matter

Ignore what you think about Cuba, pro, con or indifferent. Consider instead what kind of country you think the United States should be in the 21st century.
As a nation, are we truly against terrorism, or is it just a term we use to demonize those whose goals we oppose? Does not the mistreatment of the Five reveal that the underpinnings of the mindset that has brought us to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo runs deeper than the presidency of George Bush?
And as long as the U.S. government supports the terrorists in Florida, by what moral authority does the United States tell Iran and Syria they have no right to support Hezbollah? If Israel has the right to defend itself from terrorist attack, why doesn’t Cuba? Why doesn’t the media ever raise these questions?
Doesn’t the disproportionate influence of the Cuban exile community have an enormous impact on our political destiny? For all the ruckus about whether the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC has too much influence on U.S. foreign policy — viewed in proportion to the size of the Cuban exile population, AIPAC’s clout would be tiny.

Could Florida play the “super-state” role it does in U.S. politics without the part played by the Cuban exiles whose first loyalty is not to the United States? All of the Bushes — George I, George II, Jeb — are up to their eyeballs in these activities. In addition to his terrorist activities against Cuba, Cuban-American Luis Posada Carriles was also a major player in the Iran-Contra affair. As some may recall, that whole operation was run out of George Herbert Walker Bush’s office when he was Ronald Reagan’s vice president. Jeb Bush recently appointed the son of former Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista to the Florida Supreme Court. Janet Reno, then U.S. attorney general, was already contemplating her run for the U.S. Senate from Florida when she sanctioned the trial of the Cuban Five in the first place.

Aren’t we all at risk if the right to a trial away from a lynch mob atmosphere is diluted, if the most basic rule of evidence can be ignored because “the end justifies the means”? What does that kind of reasoning do to the rule of law?
The Cuban Five have already been in jail for eight years. Even if one were to grant that they committed technical violations of U.S. law, such as failure to register as foreign agents — something the defense does not concede — the time they have already served would constitute excessive punishment. Doesn’t our own sense of justice argue that they should be released, or at the very least be given a fair trial?

Author’s note: Up-to-date information on the Five is available at FreeTheFive.org.

Frank Joyce is a journalist and labor communications consultant.

Communist Workers’ Party of Tunisia opposes Libya intervention, calls for completion of revolution

The Communist Workers’ Party of Tunisia on Libya: “The Tunisian revolution has spread to many Arab countries. Egypt’s dictator fell, while authoritarian regimes in Yemen and Bahrain are fiercely repressing popular uprisings, in Bahrain, with the help of Saudi Arabia. Our neighbour, the Libyan people, rose up against their tormentors, but events took a bad turn with the intervention of the United States and its allies, under the pretext of protecting civilians. The US administration has hardly mentioned the killing of civilians in Yemen and Bahrain, as it has also never done regarding Gaza, Lebanon or Iraq and Afghanistan, countries it occupies. And didn’t Sarkozy support the Tunisian dictator until the last moment?

“What drives Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron to intervene is the frantic race to grab a portion of Libyan oil, after the failure of its revolution. We support the Libyan people in their uprising, but we are against any foreign intervention, which not only hurts the revolution in Libya and Tunisia but also hurts all Arab countries. We oppose the use of our territory or our airspace in the aggression against Libya. The US, French and English colonialists have no interest in the triumph of the Arab revolution, given the danger it represents for them.”

By the Communist Workers’ Party of Tunisia/Parti communiste des ouvriers de Tunisie (PCOT) حزب العمّال الشّيوعي التونسي

Translated by John Catalinotto for Tlaxcala

March 23, 2011 — This event [the legalisation of the the Communist Workers’ Party of Tunisia] has important symbolic significance. It is the result, among other things, of the January 14 revolution that deposed Ben Ali, won the right to organise and inaugurated a new era for Tunisia and its people.

The PCOT was established January 3, 1986, the second anniversary of the glorious “bread uprising”, which was a way to show our determination to link our fate to that of the Tunisian people, to defend its interests and legitimate aspirations for a decent life, where freedom, democracy and social justice rule. The PCOT translated these commitments into its political program and its militant practices, under the slogan of “national and popular democratic revolution”, which it continued to defend at the price of enormous sacrifices: Nabil Barakat died in martyrdom, among hundreds of our activists who have been tortured, imprisoned and denied their most basic rights, many of them forced into exile.

Our party stood shoulder to shoulder with our people during this quarter century, making the fall of the dictatorship a primary objective, considering that it constitutes a major obstacle to the emancipation of the people and the rebirth of the nation. The party had full confidence in our people; it fought against the reactionary thinking that underestimated them, accusing them of helplessness and resignation. It has continually worked to raise consciousness and organise clandestine action to the extent that the lack of freedom permitted. It participated in all the people’s struggles and helped unite the opposition to secure victory against the dictatorship.The revolution of January 14 is the culmination of over 20 years of struggle and sacrifices of the Tunisian people, of its sons and daughters making up the different ideological and political opponents to the dictatorship, organised in parties, associations and trade union and human rights organisations or unorganised.This revolution took on various dimensions: It is a political revolution against tyranny and subjugation, a social revolution against exploitation and corruption, a patriotic revolution for dignity. The revolution did not stop inside Tunisia; it has spread to other Arab countries, where people are rising up against corrupt and tyrannical regimes and making them fall one after another.

Revolution not yet complete

The revolution of January 14 is not yet complete because it has not achieved all its objectives, despite the progress it made. Reactionary forces are still lurking and trying to abort the revolution. They are supported in this by the United States and France, which want to reduce the revolution to a mere reform of the old regime, leaving its economic and social foundation intact. The fundamental issue in any revolution is power, and if the sectors of the population that made the revolution do not hold power, we must conclude that it neither complete nor victorious. This is the case in Tunisia where the people rose up but have not yet taken power.

In the first phase of the revolution, the people brought down the dictator. In the second phase for the victory against the dictatorship, the people, through its vigilance and determination, brought down the Ghannouchi government and imposed the demands for a constituent assembly, and dissolution of the RCD [ruling party] and the political police. It also significantly expanded the scope of freedom of expression and organisation.

However, power remains in the hands of reactionary forces, deployed in different units and institutions that continue to preserve their economic interests. These forces are committing crimes against people (assault, looting, riots …). They try to break its unity through fueling regional, tribal and religious differences and sowing fear and terror in order to discourage the people from continuing the revolution and achieving its objectives.

The interim president and transitional government are bent on sabotaging the revolution’s legitimacy and reject any control over their decisions (appointment of delegates, security officials, the judiciary …); this process serves the interests of the enemies of the revolution. They refused to deal with the “National Council to Defend the Revolution”, which they replaced by a “body” whose members they have appointed unilaterally. In the same way, the decision to dissolve the RCD can be rescinded by returning this party under a new form. This is also the case regarding the decision to dissolve the political police, which is surrounded by doubts and raises serious questions about its application.

Revolution stolen?

The masses, particularly in the country’s interior, are beginning to feel that nothing regarding their political and social conditions has changed, and that their revolution is about to be stolen. It is a legitimate feeling with understandable reasons. The old regime is still in place, with its apparatus and its administration. The interim government took no action, although an urgent action is needed to alleviate the burden of unemployment and the high cost of living, stop the deterioration of public services that hit the regions — which have also suffered repression and looting before and during the outbreak of the revolution. This is the case of the mining region, of Skhira of Benguerdane and many other regions.

The Communist Workers’ Party of Tunisia believes that the revolution is not over. The Tunisian people must remain vigilant to avert the dangers threatening it. The continued mobilisation, conservation and revitalisation of the “National Council to Defend the Revolution” and its committees are urgent tasks today.

Today, the people remain the only force capable of exercising control over the interim presidency and the provisional government, which it has the right to monitor and hold accountable.

The election of the “Constituent Assembly” is an important event in the coming period. Workers, toiling strata and all our people can, in conjunction with the PCOT and all democratic and revolutionary forces, make this moment a turning point to impose the will of the people and stop the enemies of the revolution in their tracks.

This cannot be accomplished without an immediate mobilisation to postpone the elections and put space between them and the dates of the examinations, to enable the people and political forces to be well prepared, given the importance of the issues that the Constituent Assembly will determine.

We must also prepare a suitable political arena, through the purging of the administration, the judiciary and the media, by the effective dissolution of the political police and the establishment of an electoral law that resolves the issue of financing the elections to ensure transparency and equality among all participants and ensure that these elections are not tainted by corruption.

The character of the transition period in no way precludes the need for urgent economic and social measures, particularly for the unemployed, or for the regions that are neglected despite their wealth and potential.

The transitional government continues to cling to the budget decided under Ben Ali, which provides a significant portion for the Department of the Interior and for the repayment of debt incurred by the dictatorship. Why should the government not cancel the debt or at least suspend it for a while, as did countries that have experienced the same conditions as Tunisia? Why not devote the full budget to improving the lives of the people? Why not revise this budget to reflect new priorities?

Libya

The Tunisian revolution has spread to many Arab countries. Egypt’s dictator fell, while authoritarian regimes in Yemen and Bahrain are fiercely repressing popular uprisings, in Bahrain, with the help of Saudi Arabia. Our neighbour, the Libyan people, rose up against their tormentors, but events took a bad turn with the intervention of the United States and its allies, under the pretext of protecting civilians. The US administration has hardly mentioned the killing of civilians in Yemen and Bahrain, as it has also never done regarding Gaza, Lebanon or Iraq and Afghanistan, countries it occupies. And didn’t Sarkozy support the Tunisian dictator until the last moment?

What drives Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron to intervene is the frantic race to grab a portion of Libyan oil, after the failure of its revolution. We support the Libyan people in their uprising, but we are against any foreign intervention, which not only hurts the revolution in Libya and Tunisia but also hurts all Arab countries. We oppose the use of our territory or our airspace in the aggression against Libya. The US, French and English colonialists have no interest in the triumph of the Arab revolution, given the danger it represents for them.

 

  • Long live the revolution of the Tunisian people.
  • The revolution should go on until it achieves its objectives.
  • Power to the people.
  • Long live the uprisings of the Arab peoples for freedom and dignity.

The Albanian People Will Stand By the Yugoslav Peoples

How did the Party of Labour of Albania under the leadership of Enver Hoxha look upon its role in the event of an imperialist attack upon Yugoslavia? The following excerpt from a ‘Zeri i Popullit’ Editorial of 1980 and which was broadcast by Radio Tirana on January 19th 1980 reminds us that in such an event Enver Hoxha had argued that the Albanian people would stand by the Yugoslav peoples.

No. 1

The Albanian people, who know the past of the Yugoslavian people well, have the unflinching conviction that they are not intimidated by any threat or blackmail, that if the necessity arises they will know how to fight with courage and bravery against any attack of the enemies no matter where it comes from: the Yugoslav peoples are not the sort who back down in the face of threats. They know how to fight with self-sacrifice to defend their freedom, won with so much bloodshed and sacrifice.

We Albanians have had and still have irreconcilable ideological differences with the Yugoslav leadership. We have always and will continue to criticize the anti-Marxist system of self-administration; we have fought and will fight determinedly against the Yugoslav and modern revisionism, for the defence of the purity of Marxism-Leninism; we have and will continue to interest ourselves in the rights which the Albanians of Kosova, Macedonia, Montenegro, should enjoy on the basis of the Yugoslav constitution.

World opinion knows and is clear on this stand of ours.

The foreign policy of our country in the stand towards our neighbours, continues Zeri i Popullit, has never and will never change. Our republic has made and will make all-round efforts for the normal development of trading, cultural and other relations with them. We have publicly stated that Albania will never permit foreigners to use its territory as a base against Yugoslavia or Greece, that we will support the Yugoslav and Greek peoples in the struggle for national freedom, independence and sovereignty. Hence not only will nothing bad come to them from Albania, but they will be aided. The peoples of the Balkans do not threaten anyone, but neither do they fear threats just as they do not fear aggressive war, which others may launch and which they know how to cope with successfully…

In the face of the threats of the Soviet, American and other imperialist aggressors against Yugoslavia, the Albanian people adhere to what comrade Enver Hoxha said at the Seventh Congress of the Party of Labour of Albania, that in the case of an eventual attack by the Soviet Union or any power against Yugoslavia, the Albanian people will stand by the Yugoslav peoples.

Thus everyone can rest assured that if the question arises of the defence of freedom and independence from imperialist aggressors of no matter what kind, the Albanians and Yugoslavs will once more fight together against the common enemies as they fought in the past.

Historical facts prove this. Our divisions went and fought in Yugoslavia in the same trenches as the Yugoslav partisans, against German fascism and triumphed. We Albanians fight for freedom and justice and like brave fighters Albanians are cool-headed. But when anyone tries to trample them underfoot, then the rifle speaks.

From: ‘Socialist Albania’, journal of the India-Albania Friendship Association, July 1980, No. 14, pp. 3-5.

No. 2

Our policy towards Yugoslavia has not changed and will not change, provided that the Yugoslav government, too, is correct towards us. The declaration of the Party of Labour of Albania, that in case of any eventual aggression against Yugoslavia by the Soviet Union or some other power the Albanian people will stand by the Yugoslav peoples, will always hold good. But the Yugoslav side must respond to this stand of Albania with just and correct actions towards us.

From: Enver Hoxha ‘Report on the Activity of the C.C. of the Party of Labour of Albania’ submitted to the 7th Congress of the Party of Labour of Albania, November 1, 1976,Tirana, 1977, pp. 202-203.

Jonas Savimbi: Our Own Terrorist

By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Published: March 05, 2002

If we want to fathom how countries like Saudi Arabia or Pakistan could possibly support terrorists, we might peek into a mirror.

Jonas Savimbi, the Angolan rebel who was killed 10 days ago, murdered and tortured countless civilians over the years; the Angolan civil war that he sustained may be responsible for more than 500,000 deaths since 1975. But he was our warlord, not the other side’s, and so we were as blind to his brutality as the Saudis and Pakistanis are to the sins of their terrorists.

As we engage in a new struggle today — against terrorism, not Communism — it’s worth grappling with the lessons of our mistakes in Angola, so that we do not repeat them in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq.

It is embarrassing to look back to see how we hailed Mr. Savimbi during the cold war. Jeane Kirkpatrick toasted him as ”one of the few authentic heroes of our time.” President Reagan described him as Angola’s Abraham Lincoln. Oh?

Mr. Savimbi personally beat to death a rival’s wife and children. He also shelled civilians, sowed land mines and then bombed a Red Cross-run factory making artificial legs for victims of mines.

”We have to call him Africa’s classical terrorist,” said Makau Mutua, a professor of law and Africa specialist. ”In the history of the continent, I think he’s unique because of the degree of suffering he caused without showing any remorse.”

We were oblivious to Mr. Savimbi’s faults because we were locked in a cold-war rivalry in which ideology trumped all else. And in any case, the Angolan government was wretched and brutal as well as pink.

Mark Huband, the author of a book about the cold-war legacy in Africa, says about American involvement in countries like Angola, Zaire and Liberia: ”In all cases, the results have been disastrous, creating decades of region-wide conflicts.”

As I see it, there are three key lessons to learn from our mistakes:

Lesson No. 1: Be wary of warlords who parrot back our own lines.

Mr. Savimbi was a chameleon who started off as a pro-Soviet Marxist, became a Maoist to get Chinese support, then proclaimed himself an anti-Communist to get American support in the cold war, and after the collapse of Communism declared himself a supporter of free markets. He was expert at saying what we wanted to hear, but in retrospect it’s clear that he never believed in anything but power.

It’s a useful caution these days, as foreign leaders jostle to whisper sweet nothings about terrorism in our ear. The Philippines has cleverly wangled $100 million from us by exaggerating the links between a gang of kidnappers and Al Qaeda. In the Horn of Africa, every faction insists that its enemies are tied to Al Qaeda and must be destroyed.

Likewise, every commander in Afghanistan these days seems to regard himself as a secular humanist. […]

Lesson No. 2: Support democracy as a whole, not simply elections.

Angola held elections in 1992, and there’s general agreement that they were held hurriedly — before rival armies could be tamed, before democratic institutions could be nurtured, before enough observers could be found — and so they solved nothing and perhaps made problems worse.

As Afghanistan moves ahead, it’s worth remembering that elections are not a panacea. What is needed is not just a plebiscite but a process, ranging from demobilization of combatants to freedom of speech, that creates democracy and stability.

Lesson No. 3: Land mines often last longer than our alliances.

The Bush administration is now conducting a review to determine its policy on antipersonnel mines. The policy makers might visit Angola, where thousands of maimed children will be one of the longest-lasting legacies of our support for Mr. Savimbi.

Now that he is gone, Angola has another chance. And so do we. We should be twisting arms to try to bring about peace in Angola.

And in the new battlegrounds, like Afghanistan and perhaps Iraq, let’s be doubly careful about picking our next Lincoln. [….]

Source

Video

Resolution in support of the PCMLE and the revolutionary forces in Ecuador

[Update Jan. 15, 2011: “The Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador (PCMLE) was born in August, 1964 in rebellion against the revisionist leadership of the Communist Party of Ecuador (PCE) and its endorsement of the then Soviet-line of peaceful transition to socialism, the parliamentary road and peaceful coexistence with imperialism. Over the years the PCMLE, though still an underground organisation, has built mass organizations among students, workers, peasants and the general public and participates in elections at various levels to promote its vision of a new democratic and anti-imperialist revolution in Ecuador.”]

Translated from Spanish

For years the working class, peasants, youth and indigenous peoples of Ecuador have been involved in the fight against imperialism, especially U.S. imperialism, for social progress and for their national emancipation.

It is this fight, they have always been able to count on the militant commitment of the Marxist Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador, of the MPD and of all the social and trade union forces that form the Popular Front.

These forces that are fighting for revolutionary change, against imperialism, for democracy, the revolution and socialism, have been at the forefront of the great popular movements that have developed in Ecuador; they have faced the harshest repression and never hesitated in supporting the policies and, at times even the governments, when these were in accord with the interests and aspirations of the peoples of Ecuador. These forces have called on the working class, the popular masses and the peoples to stand up whenever their interests have been harmed.

It is this policy that these forces have continued with a revolutionary spirit, contributing to the election to the Presidency of the Republic of R. Correa, in the drafting of the present Constitution with a progressive and anti-imperialist character. They have also always fought all the attempts of reaction, supported by imperialism, to corner political power and promote neoliberal policies, as they have always done.

The ink on the Constitution had not yet dried when President Correa and his allies began to impose a policy, by decrees and laws, contrary to its spirit and content.

This immediately developed a process of struggle and resistance, involving different sectors struck by the unpopular measures of the president and his government.

Obviously, the revolutionary forces have not only supported, but have been at the forefront of this resistance and have called on the president to change his policy, to respect his commitments and the Constitution and to meet the legitimate demands of the social sectors hardest hit by the neoliberal measures imposed in an authoritarian manner, with pressure, blackmail and arrogance by the president himself.

The rebellion of the troops of the police and the military on September 30 took place in that context of social confrontation, which is spreading and deepening among the people, the popular sectors, the teachers, youth, indigenous peoples, the trade union movement and the organized forces for the revolution, on the one hand, and the very regime that is making concessions to the oligarchy and imperialism, on the other.

Correa, resorting to provocations, to lies on a large scale, has described this rebellion as an attempted coup.

At no time was this a matter of bringing down the government; instead there was a large scale manipulation, nationally and internationally, by Correa and his allies.

One of the objectives of this maneuver is the criminalization of all social and political protest, especially when it comes from sectors of the revolutionary left.

Today the repression is focused against leaders of popular organizations, student unions, teachers and indigenous people such as Mery Zamora, William Pazmiño, David Tenesaca, Marlon Santi, Galo Mindiola and Luordes Tiban, whom Correa is trying to silence.

But Correa is mistaken if he thinks he can silence the workers’ and popular movement, the indigenous organizations, the social and political forces that have never ceased in their struggle for social progress, democracy and national sovereignty.

The ICMLPO and its parties and organizations present here:

1. Express our solidarity with the PCMLE, the MPD and all the trade union, social and political forces that are struggling for democracy, for social and national emancipation in Ecuador.

2. We strongly condemn the wave of repression unleashed by President Correa and his regime against those very forces that have always been on the side of the people, against reaction and imperialism.

3. We demand the immediate release of the imprisoned popular militants and an end to their harassment, and in particular we demand the freedom of comrade Marcelo Rivera, president of the FEUE [Federation of University Students of Ecuador], sentenced to 3 years in prison on the totally illegal charges of “terrorism”, who has been on a hunger strike in his defense and that of freedom of organization and expression. This is a blatant case of political repression under a completely false charge, and a subjection of judicial power to the control of the executive power, to the arrogance and authoritarianism of President Rafael Correa.

4. We call on the workers and the peoples of our countries, and on an international level, on organizations in defense of democratic freedoms and for solidarity with the struggles of the peoples, especially the peoples of Latin America, to expose and denounce the manipulation and maneuvers of the government of Rafael Correa, and express their solidarity with the forces fighting for social and national emancipation in Ecuador.

5. We commit ourselves to expand the solidarity with the anti-imperialist struggles of the peoples of Latin America.

6. We commit ourselves to develop an informational campaign confronting the disinformation, to clarify the true events that have occurred in Ecuador.

International Conference of Marxist Leninist Parties and Organizations

Hayat TV Will NOT Be Silenced!

From 2008:

On July 17th 2008 the Turkish government shut down the Hayat TV satellite channel run by the Turkish Labour Party. The television station begun last year under the slogan “Life’s all colours”. The official reasoning for the sudden cut is charges of “separatism” and for supplying the pro-kurdish RojTV with images from a Newroz celebration. General Director Çubukçu rebuffs the charges as a political move, and has vowed to resume broadcast through an arduous legal struggle. Çubukçu went on to say “we did not receive any legal warning. We learned about the decision when they cut our broadcasting. But, the letter to the company from which we rent our frequency band was clearly threatening.” Türksat general manager Özkan Dalbay’s letter to Turkovizyon, from which Hayat TV rents its frequency band, states that the demand to cut Hayat TV’s broadcasting came from the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK):

“In order that Turkovizyon’s broadcasting activities are not shut down completely by our company, we request that you cut Hayat TV’s broadcasting immediately and be more sensitive about the channels you will include in your digital platform.”

“This is an indication of the impatience of the Justice and Development Party. However, since we experienced similar experiences in the past, we are still on our job. They cannot shut us up, we will not shut up”, says Çubukçu. Hayat TV broadcasting policy is to be on the side of labor, democracy and class struggle. This is the reasoning for the action taken by the right-wing Turkish government.

Sevda Karaca, who is the producer and narrator of the women’s program “Bread and Rose”, says the action means the voices of the women who are constantly exploited because of their social, sexual and national identities and who resist sexual discrimination in the media.

Karaca’s audience is getting ready to give a press release.
“The opponents of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) should act together”

According Kara, who finds it rather interesting that right after Hayat TV, National Channel was shut down as well, the Justice and Development Party is trying to shut the voices of those who are against it. The progressive forces in Turkey and Kurdistan must unite to meet this force which seeks to serve American imperialism by smothering the class struggle and keeping the Turkish people in bondage!

Support

To demand the cessation of persecution of the Turkish people by AKP please email the following recipients:

RTÜK
Email: rtuk@rtuk.gov.tr

Tel: 0090 312 297 50 00
Fax: 0090 312 266 20 38

İçişleri Bakanlığı
Sayın Beşir ATALAY (İçişleri Bakanı)
besir.atalay@icisleri.gov.tr

Email: basin@icisleri.gov.tr
Tel: 0090 312 425 72 14
Fax: 0090 312 418 17 95

Türksat
Email: info@turksat.com.tr
Tel: 0090 312 615 3000
Fax: 0090 312 499 5115

What Is Hayat TV?

Hayat TV, the pro-people and pro-workers television is, as an alternative to the existing mass media, broadcasting on Turksat 2A Satellite. In addition to Turkey, it can also be viewed all over Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the Caucasus.

Hayat TV is also a different alternative in terms of its organisational formation within the field of television broadcasting where monopolies dominate. Announced to the public with a declaration signed by hundreds of people, among whom were trade unionists, representatives of the mass organisations and many workers and labourers; Hayat TV aims to carry the ignored sections of the society to the screen with its participatory organisational model.

Hayat TV follows an increasingly enhanced broadcasting line with various documentaries, news programmes, street interviews as well as music and entertainment.

Hayat TV, setting out with the principle of “revealing the genuine colours of life”, claims to be a television channel through which life, truth, objective broadcasting and everything non-alien to people will be reflected. It is stated in the organisation manifesto of the channel that; “There are a lot of voices and images but when all of these come together, they do not constitute multi-vocality and they appear to be mono-vocal. We, the millions of workers and labourers, are obliged to watch whatever is presented on the television that we put in the key place of our homes. We are either alienated to ourselves, our problems and culture or identified with a different world which by no means resembles us. Let us be neither alienated nor identified with phenomena outside of ourselves. Let us be ourselves, protect our own existence.”

Hayat TV is a channel in which all sections whose existence has been ignored until now will not only find themselves but also call themselves into being. Hayat TV is the channel of the Kurds, the Laz people, the Arabs, the Circassians, the Armenians and the Surianis as well as of the workers, labourers and the impoverished masses.

Hayat TV had set up its cameras just in the midst of life and catch its visual richness in the rhythm of life flowing. Hayat TV calls itself into being as the channel of women whose lives have been caught between the kitchen and the bedroom, children targeted in advertisements as future “consumers”, the handicapped people, the environmentalists, the defenders of human rights and of course the art and artists.

Hayat TV is the voice of all sections struggling for a more liberated and more democratic world around the world. It conveys all lives and struggles from all corners of the world via broadcast to be viewed in the Middle East, the Caucasians and North Africa besides all Europe.

ICMLPO: No to the Imperialist Intervention in Libya – Solidarity with the People

The reactionary coalition of imperialist forces that is attacking Libya militarily, under the pretext of defending the civilian population and hiding behind a resolution of the UN Security Council, is carrying out one more aggression against the peoples, now of Libya, yesterday of the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan, who were brutally attacked under the same false pretext. The coalition of France, Great Britain and the U.S., with the active complicity of the reactionary governments of Italy, Spain, Denmark… and the passive complicity of Russia and China, since both countries by NOT exercising their right to veto hypocritically gave approval to the aggression, this reactionary coalition has shown by deeds its true nature. Its objective is not the security of the civilian population, but the oil and the strategic position of Libya and to threaten the rebellion and revolutionary struggles of the Arab peoples.

By approving the aggression against Libya, basing itself on the UN resolution, imperialism is once again making clear that it makes no difference whether the UN resolutions are just or not; what matters are their interests, as is shown by the fact that they have always vetoed the numerous resolutions in favor of the peoples of Palestine and the Sahara.

The rebels who are fighting against the reactionary government of Muamar Qaddafi will soon discover that these are not their “protectors,” but they are cruel looters and exploiters, who will replace Qaddafi, if they manage to overthrow him, by another pawn in the service of imperialism. One must remember that the members of the coalition, and other imperialist and capitalist countries, in the past courted Qaddafi, as they also did with their satrap Ben Ali in Tunisia, and the no less reactionary Hosni Mubarak (a member of the Socialist International!) in Egypt, both of whom were overthrown by popular revolts.

The revolts that are shaking the Maghreb and the Next East (Morocco, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, possibly Algeria)… are endangering the strategic interests of the imperialist powers. This is leading to the sharpening of their own contradictions, as with the aggression against Libya, between French imperialism, headed by the arch-reactionary Sarkozy, and German imperialism with the also reactionary Merkel. The deep shocks in this part of the world, carried out by the peoples against authoritarian or dictatorial regimes, and against the great social injustices, are making the positions of the imperialist powers and their allies tremble.

The International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations energetically condemns the brutal aggression against Libya. We support the just struggle of its people against the reaction of the Qaddafi Government, to win democracy, freedom and their own dignity. We also denounced the double standard that the UN applies, and the deceitfulness and hypocrisy of all countries with supposedly democratic governments, in supporting aggression in some cases and remaining silent in others. We call for showing solidarity with the Libyan people and other peoples in struggle by all means.

Coordination Committee of the ICMLPO
March, 2011

Two Things About Harry Potter

For the most part, I stopped reading the Harry Potter series at the sixth book. I should’ve stopped at the fifth. The middle and the last part of the “Half-Blood Prince” was utter garbage (except the chapter where he takes the good luck potion) and the ending was just an excuse to kill off a main character (and a lame death too, amirite?). I started reading “Deathly Hallows” but sadly never finished it. Thankfully, I stopped watching the films at the fourth one, since I knew it could only go downhill. “Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire” tops both lists. I saw the movie version of the “Prisoner of Azkaban” and it was atrociously bad indeed. They even cut out the famous scene where Sirius Black gives a speech to Peter Pettigrew, telling him he should’ve died for a cause rather than betray his friends. That scene is the main reason that “Prisoner” is one of the most consistently high-rated books of the series.

They also managed to make the revelation that Ron’s pet rat was a man in disguise all along dreadfully ho-hum, and I don’t think I was the only person in the theater who was disappointed they both castrated the grit out of Harry’s “Snape’s abnormally large nose” line and made the final revelation a noisy, incoherent scene of chaos rather than the medium-paced, deliberately plot-heavy conversation it originally was.

After that experience, I almost couldn’t bear to go back to see the other movies, but I dragged myself to “Goblet of Fire” because it was also my favorite book. Again, they completely ruined the slow drama of the final scenes in exchange for loud noises and flashes that made it almost incomprehensible, but overall it got my stamp of approval, and upon giving it, I decided barring insanely convenient circumstances where it would be easy to do so (which rarely come, I’ve noticed) I wouldn’t see the other films. I am certainly not going to tolerate Dumbledore not being Richard Harris.

Continue reading “Two Things About Harry Potter”

I Am Anti-Liberal

I am not a Maoist, but one of my favorite pamphlets is written by Mao, entitled “Combat Liberalism.” It defined the very essence of liberalism as a manifestation of opportunism. As a communist, defending liberalism is in no way, shape or form on my agenda. I despise liberalism as the essential face of imperialism. I would go so far as to say I seek a liberal-free world.

Liberalism is what Americans learn in elementary school classes. Its chief tenets include the belief that capitalism is the best system possible, that the USA is a “free country” and that everyone—every person existing, regardless of context or class content—should have the “equal” right to express their opinions without fear of repression. This highlights two excellent examples of liberal drivel already. One is the denial of class analysis in favor of terms like “the people,” and the other is idealism and denial of actually existing conditions in favor of one’s own personal opinions.

Liberalism also discourages confrontation and violence of any sort and demands one not try to “control” the thoughts of others. In this manner liberalism discourages violence of the oppressed and thus prolongs violence of the oppressors. Communists say that “control” is not a crime, particularly in a world filled with starvation, imperialist war and homelessness. In a word such as this, there needs to be much more control than there is, a control of the peace-creating kind. After there is no such massive preventable suffering, then perhaps we can discuss the merits of this “freedom” you speak of.

Expanding on this, liberalism says “everyone has a right to be wrong.” Communists say no, and certainly say no when it comes to questions of life-and-death that may literally affect the entire planet and the future of the human race. There is no place for “opinion” in light of science.

For a liberal, what happened in this country or that country, such as what happened in Chile under Augusto Pinochet or Indonesia under Suharto, needs no explanation whatsoever. It was just pure evil, plain and simple. Yes, evil happened, and figuring out the material causes of why it happened is just being a hopeless ideologue (not to mention insulting all those poor people who died). According to liberals, people like Lenin and Stalin didn’t actually care about the proletariat, it was all just one big ploy for power. They were just pure evil and that’s all there is to it, defying material conditions and any kind of logic.

Marxist-Leninists define “progressive” as that tending to abolish gender, nation and class oppression. This is based on nothing but objective science—it would be difficult to argue that to provide the most livable life for the greatest amount of people would not represent a qualitatively higher stage in the development of humans.

One must always be sure what one is about when one approaches a particular task. Marxists have their priorities straight and urge liberals to give up their postmodernism and subjectivism for science. Repressive measures, even up to violence and the banning of reactionary works, are completely necessary. If liberals want their people to be “free” so badly then they should give up liberalism and become communists, as the sooner we reach a socialist world, the sooner repressive organs like the state will become outdated. The sooner we arrive at a world with little or no preventable deaths from imperialist war, starvation, disease, homelessness etc., the sooner we can begin yapping about equality and freedom for all under the law. Until then, it is pure idealism.

Communists have sometimes united with liberals over fascists, since the existence of liberalism presupposes limits on the repressive powers of the bourgeois dictatorship, whereas fascism places no such limits and resorts to the most blatant reactionary terrorism. We therefore recognize the differences in the particular form of bourgeois governments, while recognizing at the end of the day they all come from the same class origin. Fascism is merely another form of imperialism and capitalism, much the same way liberalism is. It would be easy to take a Comintern/ George Orwell line on this question and end up in the “they are exactly the same thing” camp, which would be suicidal. This unity strategy lead to the Soviet official Dimitrov’s famous “United Front Against Fascism” strategy during World War II. In these dark times, unity can be a positive, but this is not the same as communists turning into liberals ourselves. Now that the rule of the bourgeoisie is threatened internationally, the threat of fascism comes from the continued existence of liberalism. The liberals of today are the fascists of tomorrow.

Disturbing Revelation

As a kid, one of my favorite games was Contra for the original Nintendo NES. As an adult, I now know this game was a propaganda effort to raise support for the reactionary Contras in Nicaragua fighting against the Sandinista government.

  • The ending theme of the original game was titled “Sandinista” (サンディニスタ?).
  • You’re known as a “Contra” and you fight against evil aliens called “Red Falcon.”
  • The two main characters were modeled after reactionary action actors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.
  • They are on a mission from the U.S. imperialists to kill all Red Falcons that are planning “an invasion” of Earth (the U.S.).
  • To make matters worse, in the Japanese version you fight on the fictional Oceania archipelago of “Galuga.”
  • The American NES version takes place in the present (1980’s at the release of the game), in South America. Yes, they were that ballsy.

History

“Contra” literally meant counterrevolutionary for those in Nicaragua. They were fighting against the democratic socialist Sandinistas with help from Ronald Reagan’s cronies. Congress was so horrified by the Contras they even cut off funding in 1985, which led Reagan and the CIA to start covert illegal funding, ergo, the Iran-Contra Affair.

The Contras committed atrocities:

“But despite the efforts of the White House PR machine, the Contras increasingly appeared to be a particularly ruthless and bloodthirsty bunch. Stories of atrocities against civilian noncombatants certainly didn’t help. In the words of human rights group Americas Watch, ‘the Contras systematically engage in violent abuses … so prevalent that these may be said to be their principle means of waging war.’ Another NGO compiled a year’s worth of Contra atrocities, which included murder, rape, torture, maiming children, cutting off arms, cutting out tongues, gouging out eyes, castration, bayoneting pregnant women in the stomach, and amputating genitals.”

Good stuff, eh?

Imagine all the people who donated 53¢ to see people…kill people. For democracy.

President Ronald Reagan explains who is fighting to overthrow the current Nicaraguan regime:

“Thousands who fought with the Sandinistas have taken up arms against them and are now called the Contras. They are freedom fighters.”

President Ronald Reagan attempts to drum up public support for the Contras:

“They are our brothers, these freedom fighters, and we owe them our help. I’ve spoken recently of the freedom fighters of Nicaragua. You know the truth about them. You know who they’re fighting and why. They are the moral equal of our Founding Fathers and the brave men and women of the French Resistance.”

Try saying video games are “class neutral” now, liberals.

Jack Shulman on William Z. Foster

Section 3) MEETING FOSTER AND WORKING AS HIS SECRETARY

INTERVIEWER: So, you’re back in New York. What year are we up to?
JS: Um. Maybe About ….About ’56 or ’57……………..

INTERVIEWER: And when you got back to New York, is that when you met William Z ???
JS: Um, yeah. Subsequently. ….. It wasn’t a year, when this friend of ours in the party, who was related indirectly to Foster, got hold of me for lunch and propositioned me — if I would go to work as Foster’s secretary & driver.

INTERVIEWER: Was he head of the party at this time?
JS: Who?

INTERVIEWER: Foster.
JS: Nominally, yes, but it is questionable how much authority he had in the party. Actually revisionism was very strong. He advised against the party leaders going underground. They didn’t listen to him. The Russians were making deep inroads into the party and winning over one after another to the Khruschev line.

INTERVIEWER: Where were you — were you in the South when the speech was made by Khrushchev attacking Stalin? ………..

JS: ….. That was about the time when I was either in the South or just coming out of the South.

INTERVIEWER: What did you think about that, when you heard those attacks?
JS: Bullshit. I didn’t fall for that at all. First of all I knew he was a revisionist clown.

Continue reading “Jack Shulman on William Z. Foster”

Decline of Empire

According to the “royalist” camp of reactionaries, populated by the likes of Michael Savage, Glenn Beck and Kelsey Grammar, all cultures perish sooner or later due to “moral decay,” which they interpret as collective senility, as opposed to their perfect world of Spartan discipline and imperialist-fascist militarism ala the film “Starship Troopers.”

The more dynamic they are, according to this bogus “crisis theory,” the quicker they go. This is what is happening to the American culture, they say with such glee.

Comparing the life of the ancient Greek, Roman, Spanish, Persian and Carthaginian civilizations to America will certainly produce likenesses, but not in the way they intend. Rather, what we see is indeed the collapse of moral fiber not due to decadence per se, but due to the crumbling of the racist-imperialist and settler ideology that gave rise to those empires (including the American one) in the first place. Since the decline of the ideology, the decline of the empire soon follows.

Empires were always unstable things, even back to the tribal, slavery and feudal days. What we are seeing today is no mere “moral decline” because of the hedonistic joys of imperial plunder we as Americans all enjoy, but more like the natural ideological readjustment to a new set of living and working conditions. The ideological superstructure follows the economic base, and the base has been in up-and-down mode since the Great Depression and especially since Reaganomics. The same thing happened during the beginnings of the fall of Rome and leading up to the French Revolution.

In many ways a crisis in this rotten imperial civilization will be positive—a changing of the tides is necessary after 400 years of violence. It will eliminate a great deal of the absurd belief in bourgeois democracy as the bourgeoisie gets more desperate and terrorist in its methods, and it will wash away illusions of religious and economic obscurantism. Regarding current political and social change, I don’t believe there is anything happening that hasn’t already been predicted since the wide application of industrialization and machinery. Certain causes produce determinate effects, and the current outcome has been inevitable since the mid-19th century.

Once upon a time, Marx and Engels were confident in the victory of socialism—nowadays after the triumph of revisionism and counterrevolution in the USSR and Albania, the movement is hanging by a thread and nothing seems certain except the very collapse of capitalism which was to originally bring socialism to the rise. While the former “straight line” development of socialism has been a setback, the latter formula of crisis remains completely unaffected and charges ever onwards with suicidal temper. The crisis inherent in capitalism is astounding. Since the workers are not paid the full value of their labor and thus cannot buy back the products that they themselves produce, it becomes a giant pyramid scheme.