US Hands Off Venezuela! For a Leap Forward to Socialism!

US Hands Off Venezuela!  For a Leap Forward to Socialism!

26-05-2017 – The images are as disturbing as they are frightening. Right-wing Venezuelans, knowing they have the direct and indirect backing of the US Empire, are literally burning down Venezuela. The most recent egregious example was the setting fire to a Venezuelan government supporter, on the grounds that he was a “Chavista”.[1] Right-wing opponents of the government led by President Nicolas Maduro also recently took a public bus driver hostage, and then set his bus on fire. Hispan TV reported the bus driver as saying “Honestly, if they had known that I support the Revolution….if I had said Homeland, Socialism or Death…. they would have killed me.”[2]

There is extensive evidence of US government funding for these ultra-violent hoodlums, as well as the conservative political parties themselves. In 2015, the US government delivered $4.26 million for Venezuela through the notorious US Agency for International Development (USAID), with most of this going to numerous anti-government organisations.[3] For years, the US government has not even attempted to hide their backing of the Venezuelan opposition to the Bolivarian Revolution. In 2014, the US federal budget allowed $5 million for funding opposition activities in Venezuela as a line item.[4] If there has been anything like this amount pouring in to these groups annually, one can only imagine the cumulative total over the 19 odd years of “Chavismo” (the movement led by former President Hugo Chavez).

The right-wing opposition to the Hugo Chavez led “Bolivarian Revolution” which swept to electoral power in 1998, has often been fragmented. In recent years, however, it has coalesced around the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) – a coalition of around 50 political parties and organisations, whose main point of unity does not extend much beyond anti-Chavismo. Its main leader is Henrique Capriles Radonski – a staunchly conservative anti-socialist, who seemingly does not baulk at either receiving aid from the US state, nor being seen to organise and lead violent anti-government actions, regardless of whether or not there are casualties. Radonski has Jewish ancestry, which may explain the MUD’s links to the Israeli state, which former President Chavez claimed in 2010, was also involved in funding the right-wing opposition.[5]

Gains for workers and the oppressed

Make no mistake, the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela did win impressive gains for the Venezuelan workers and impoverished sectors. For example, Venezuelan Chavismo ensured that illiteracy had been eradicated by 2005. A National Public System was established to provide free access to health care for all Venezuelans. From 1999 to 2010, the number of doctors increased by 400%. The infant mortality rate was reduced by 49%. Since 1999, child malnutrition was reduced by 40%. Since 1998, the minimum wage was increased by over 2000%. GDP per capita increased from $4,100 in 1999 to $10,810 in 2011.[6]  And this is to name but a few. Internationally, bodies such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and Petrocaribe were established for Latin American and Caribbean countries to forge ties for trade and energy supplies not purely on the basis of buy and sell, but on mutual benefit. It also began to lay the groundwork for Latin American and Caribbean countries to break from the suffocating imperialist domination of Wall Street and the US deep state.

Nonetheless, all of these gains and more are imperilled by the political developments in Venezuela of the last few years, which are currently reaching a crisis point. We are entitled to ask how is it that all such gains can be reversed, given that they had the mandate of numerous election victories for 15 years?  Some try to explain the misfortunes of the current Venezuelan government in terms of the falling oil revenues. Venezuela is a major oil exporter and it is the case that the Chavez led Bolivarian government used oil income to fund health, education and other social spending. It is also the case that until mid-2014, a barrel of crude oil would sell for around $110, whereas in 2015 they fell below $50 a barrel and have hovered around that mark since.[7] On its own, however, this doesn’t explain the economic malaise, which is severe. For example, inflation reportedly reached 800% in 2016, while the economy shrunk by 18.6%.[8]

“Socialism of the 21st Century”

President Maduro blames anti-Chavismo capitalists for hoarding, creating artificial scarcity, in order to deliberately create these economic problems, in an effort to bring down the elected government. No doubt, there is a lot of truth to this. Yet this just points to the question of why such capitalists have such free reign to do their worst, to almost entirely bring down the Venezuelan economy with the government seemingly powerless to prevent it. To answer this, we have to examine the political motivation of the Bolivarian Revolution, and its leader’s adherence to what they term “Socialism of the 21st Century”.  Soon after winning governmental power in 1998, and witnessing the immediate hostility of the US government and elements of the Venezuelan ruling class to any sense of redistributing wealth, former President Chavez embarked on what he believed to be “socialism”. Later, he proclaimed to be building “Socialism of the 21st Century”. Analysing this slogan, we can see that the leading Chavistas, and many of their international supporters, wanted to distance themselves from “20th Century Socialism” – by which they mainly referred to the former Soviet Union.

To learn from the mistakes the workers of Russia endured at the hands of the leaders of the Soviet Union is necessary, however the Chavistas pushed themselves away from association with “20th Century Socialism” in the wrong direction. Rather than seeking more means to expand workers’ political decision making ability while maintaining the workers’ state, the Chavistas ended up rejecting the need for a workers state altogether. Put simply, they wanted to change the world without the seizure of state power, and the establishment of a workers republic. They explicitly rejected the key Marxist tenet of aiming for the “dictatorship of the proletariat” as the first step towards the beginning of the implementation of socialism. Consequently, they also dumped the Leninist conception of the need for a workers vanguard party to lead this historic struggle.

This is not simply a debate over which set of rhetoric is best able to build socialism. Whether one refers to it as a workers state, the dictatorship of the proletariat, or workers democracy, the effect is the same. Working people are in need of a state of their own, not to reproduce the rule of a minority over a majority, as in all previous historic states, but to hold down their capitalist adversaries, whose resistance to the rule of the poor will be furious. A workers state, led by a vanguard party or parties, is also necessary to guide workers, born and raised under capitalism, towards the new values of socialist society – cooperation, mutual benefit, solidarity and internationalism. The politically class conscious workers are needed to lead the less class conscious towards these goals. The most politically class conscious elements are usually located within the leading party or parties.

For all of their declarations of socialism, in fact the Chavistas junked the most basic part of socialism. Socialism begins with the overthrow of the capitalist state, and the forging of a workers state which will, in Marx’s words, make “despotic inroads” into the ownership of capital. Capital enables capitalists to profit from the exploitation of the labour of others. At the least, a socialist government would aim to take control of the banks and the major means of production, such as ports, railways, roads, and telecommunications and so on. It would have to mobilise working people for this vital task. In Venezuela, however, the creed of “Socialism of the 21st Century” prevented ANY of these crucial tasks from being attempted. Consequently, the Maduro government is not able to prevent major economic sabotage by some capitalists, the shortage of goods, high unemployment, runaway inflation, and more.

The right-wing is very adept at capitalising on these difficulties, especially given the links of the right-wing opposition to the dark forces of the US deep state. Shortages of consumer goods, electricity blackouts, falling production – the right-wing elements, now led by MUD, can easily point the finger at what they claim is “socialism” and draw a whole swathe of workers and underemployed poor over to the agenda of the far-right. The intense irony of the situation is that it is precisely because the Maduro government is NOT socialist, that the right wing are able to gather thousands to their side – despite thousands still remaining loyal to the “Bolivarian Revolution”.

“Government of the Left”

It is a lesson which has been learnt before, but will now have to be learned all over again. It is the age-old question of reform versus revolution. No matter how radical the wording, it is a fatal illusion to believe that capitalism can be reformed into socialism, or even into a system which doles out a few larger crumbs to the masses. For all of their efforts, many of which can be applauded, in the end the Chavistas are attempting to reform capitalism. The belief that electing a “government of the left”, or someone or some party who is more “left-wing”, to administer the existing capitalist state has come undone repeatedly throughout history, often with tragic consequences. Salvador Allende in Chile in the early 1970s paid for this illusion with his own life, and the people of Chile went on to endure 17 years of US backed military dictatorship. In 2015, the people of Greece elected the SYRIZA party to head the government there, with huge hopes. It took just a few hours for the “left-wing” SYRIZA to form a coalition with the far-right ANEL party. It went on to abandon any pretence of resisting the crushing austerity measures demanded by the bankers of the European Union (EU), and rapidly agreed to measures which were even more harsh than that the previous conservatives dared to impose. The suffering of the working people of Greece is almost indescribable, with employment opportunities, health care, pensions, education and so on being decimated. The suicide rate remains at unprecedented levels. It may be the last time Greek workers will trust a “government of the left”.

The right-wing in Venezuela know exactly what they want, and they are prepared to use mass violence to achieve it. They do not have to topple the capitalist state, as they aim simply to replace the leading personnel of the capitalist state with some of their own, with the financial and political support of Wall Street. They have demonstrated a willingness to set fire to people themselves to get their way.

The left in Venezuela, and internationally, has to once again learn the lesson that it is not possible to vote for socialism. Socialism can only come about through the organisation of the workers into a class, and the organisation of the most class conscious workers into a party which is firm with its allegiance to Marxism. The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) is in no way a vehicle for this task. We have no illusions about how difficult it is to raise millions of workers to the political level needed for the seizure of state power, let alone how to maintain the rule of the poor once achieved. There are no guarantees in class struggle. Yet this task cannot be begun until this is the perspective and outlook of the leading parties and organisations of working people in Venezuela.

US imperialism has specialised in regime change operations in the first years of this century. Afghanistan, Iraq, Honduras, Libya, Syria, Ukraine – all have either been overthrown or violent attempts have been made working with the most reactionary elements on the ground, up to and including fascists. To prevent yet another case, working people in Venezuela, and internationally, need to demand that the US cease all political and financial interference in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe. This struggle against wars of regime change is also a struggle to form a workers party fit to lead the struggle for socialism, and no less in Australia. US HANDS OFF VENEZUELA!

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO  BOX  66   NUNDAH QLD  4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

http://www.redfireonline.com

[1] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-image-idUSKBN18I2HF (26-05-17)

[2] http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/As-Opposition-Burns-Bus-Venezuela-Slams-Violence-Against-Youth-20170514-0009.html (26-05-17)

[3] http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/US-Pumped-4.2M-in-2015-to-Destabilize-Venezuelan-Government-20170408-0006.html (26-05-17)

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/18/venezuela-protests-us-support-regime-change-mistake (26-05-17)

[5] http://empirestrikesblack.com/2013/01/henrique-capriles-radonski-israels-man-in-venezuela/ (26-05-17)

[6] http://www.globalresearch.ca/50-truths-about-hugo-chavez-and-the-bolivarian-revolution/5326268 (26-05-17)

[7] http://www.bbc.com/news/business-29643612 (27-05-17)

[8] http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/20/venezuela-2016-inflation-hits-800-percent-gdp-shrinks-19-percent-document.html (27-05-17)

A man was set alight by violent right-wing Venezuelans, attempting to bring down the government. Image from http://www.thenation.com

Corbyn and Labour: Parliamentary “Socialism” or Class Struggle?

Corbyn and Labour: Parliamentary “Socialism” or Class Struggle?

18-05-2017 – On the face of it, it’s an impressive list. In the United Kingdom, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s platform for the June 8 elections include sweet sounding promises, as far as working people are concerned. Renationalising the railways, a 10 pound minimum wage, abolishing University tuition fees, free school meals, ending “zero hours” contracts, the right to trade union representation and much more. Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has reportedly led to thousands of people joining the Labour Party; it has drawn in young people previously not involved with politics, and has even put a semblance of an anti-war agenda back into “mainstream” politics.

Yet Jeremy Corbyn is far from the “real deal”. He has been a Labour Party MP in the UK for around 30 years. Many have commented that he has spent his life campaigning against what his own party enforces. And there are glaring inconsistencies in a reliable left wing, much less “socialist”, agenda. For example, Corbyn has previously instructed Labour dominated councils in the UK to refrain from passing “no cuts” budgets.[1] That is, despite all his words against “austerity”, Corbyn directs Labour Councils to pass austerity budgets.  Also, for all of his former leadership of the Stop the War Coalition, when it came to the crunch, Corbyn allowed Labour MPs a “conscience” vote on whether or not to bomb Syria! [2]

We will leave it to the socialist parties and workers’ organisations in the UK to determine which is the best path for them, based as we are in Australia. However, we make the general point that continually trying to replace the leadership of the Labour Party with someone more “left” or even more “socialist” has failed time and time again. Tony Blair was replaced with Gordon Brown. Gordon Brown was replaced with Ed Miliband. Ed Miliband was replaced with Jeremy Corbyn. Has the result improved for working people? Overall, things may have even become worse.

Reducing huge political issues to individuals is a huge problem. It becomes not about classes but personalities. For his part, and for all of his activism, and for all of his stated policies, Jeremy Corbyn is committed to the Labour Party, i.e. the system of capitalism and Britain’s role in US led imperialism. This will remain the case no matter how many people join the Labour Party, and no matter how many votes the Labour party receives. The Labour Party strengthens the parliament, and thus strengthens capitalism as a system, despite any “socialist” rhetoric.

In the UK, and here in Australia, what is desperately needed is working class struggle – the ultimate product of which is the replacement of the capitalist system with a socialist one. Yet this struggle for socialism cannot begin until working people break from social-democracy, whether that is in the form of the Labour Party in the UK, or the Labor Party in Oz. This requires most political efforts to be directed towards building a workers’ party completely devoted to the overthrow of the rule of capital.

Of course we can recognise that Jeremy Corbyn is potentially drawing in thousands new people, and thousands of young people, into political action, and into some vague support for “socialism” – in reality, social-democracy. In itself, this can only be welcomed by working people. Yet it is an entirely different thing for the left to then go onto to urge workers to join, vote and campaign for the Labour Party. For one thing, this process does not distinguish oneself from the pro-Tony Blair right wing of the Labour Party. Secondly, this delays the urgent task of attempting to win working people to the only thing which can win lasting gains for them – class struggle, up to and including the seizure of political power by the workers. In fact, it pushes this task off into a day which will never come.

It is a deception of the highest order to claim, as some on the left do, that by urging workers to vote and/or join the Labour/Labor Party, they are working with people to bring them closer to socialist conclusions. On the contrary, joining the Corbyn “movement”, and urging other workers to join and be a part of the Labour Party takes people further away from socialism, no matter how radical their rhetoric. In fact, it is not radical at all. Strengthening the “left” wing of the entire edifice of corporate rule strengthens corporate rule itself. More people in the Labour Party means more people campaigning for the Labour Party. This is hardly going to approach the serious change working people need.

Humanity is running out of time.  The possibility of nuclear war and the inevitability of uncontrollable climate change are bearing down on all of us. The left’s basic answer is that these problems, and many more, can only begin to be addressed with the triumph of socialism. Yet the left needs to emphasise that socialism begins with a successful struggle for state power, that is, the victory over the former ruling class and the founding of a workers’ republic. It will entail the seizure of the major means of production, communication, electricity, banking, finance, transport, at the least. A series of elected workers councils will then administer a nationalised, planned economy, which will aim to eliminate the scourge of unemployment, poverty, homelessness and underdevelopment. Those who used to be first, will be last, and those who were formerly last, will come first. A Labour Party is part of the old world. Only a workers vanguard party has a chance of leading us to the new. Our task is to build it.

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO  BOX   66    NUNDAH  QLD   4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

[1] http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2015/12/jeremy-corbyn-warns-labour-councils-not-set-no-cuts-budgets (13-05-17)

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/nov/30/syria-airstrikes-jeremy-corbyn-gives-labour-mps-free-vote

(14-05-17)

For Palestinian Liberation! Israel/US/AUS: Hands Off the Middle East!

For Palestinian Liberation! Israel/US/AUS: Hands Off the Middle East!

 

15-05-2017 – 69 years. For 69 years, ever since the 15th of May 1948, or Al Nakba (the catastrophe), the Palestinian people have endured expulsion from their land, murder, slaughter, imprisonment, starvation, blockade and more at the hands of the Israeli state. For almost all of those decades, the Israeli state has executed these crimes with the material and political support of the strongest imperialist powers, principally the US state. Today the situation is little different, and is arguably worse. Aside from the routine shootings of Palestinians by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), and even by Zionist settlers, the Palestinian economy lies in tatters, and has barely recovered from the war on Gaza by the Israeli state in 2006. As of last year, only 10.7 % of the 11 000 housing units totally destroyed in the 2006 war have been rebuilt, and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) losses in Gaza since then have been greater than 50%.[1]

The oppression of Palestine is central to the question of the Middle East, and for that matter the world. However, for the last six years, the question of Palestine cannot but be viewed through lens of the US led war for regime change in neighbouring Syria. This imperialist war, unprecedented in history for both its level of barbarity and its accompanying corporate media and Western government lies, has also defined the Palestinian solidarity movement during that time. The Palestinian solidarity movement seems to have been split into three sections: 1. Those who have come behind the US led war on Syria, which unfortunately includes some left parties. 2. Those who oppose the US led war to destroy the Syrian state and 3. Those who defend Palestine against the Israeli state’s crimes, but who are genuinely confused and do not wish to take a side in the Empire’s war on Syria. Unfortunately, those in category 3 have, for the most part, gone along with those in category 1, even if they have their doubts about those fighting to bring down the Syrian government.

Israeli state co-operation with ISIS and Al Qaeda death squads in Syria

Palestinian solidarity activists know better than most how extensive the remorseless inhumanity of the Israeli state is towards the Palestinian people, and play a useful role in making working people aware of this. Yet some of them have not seen fit to make working people aware of the Israeli states’ role in the war for regime change in Syria. If their aim is to condemn the Israeli government, why not make working people aware of Israel’s role in assisting ISIS, Al Qaeda, Al Nusra and other genocidal lunatics, in their efforts to overthrow Syria? Story after story recounts that Israeli hospitals treat injured Al Nusra death squad members, and how Israeli ambulances cross through Palestinian territory, and into Syrian territory to evacuate injured terrorists.[2] Why not expose the ISIS-Israeli state axis?

For that matter, why wouldn’t one report on the fact that Israel has launched missile strikes on Syria on multiple occasions during the war for regime change? The latest one was on 23rd of April this year.[3] Why not outline how the Israeli state has attacked Syrian Army positions, as well as Hezbollah fighters? Because to do so would undermine their claim that they stand in total opposition to the Israeli state, and would highlight their silence in the face of these attacks.

If one would assume that Palestinian solidarity activists would expose the role of Israel in assisting ISIS, we might expect that Australian Palestine solidarity activists would also expose the Australian military for doing the same thing. Yet, when the Australian government admitted that it assisted the US in the bombing of Syria on September 19, 2016[4], there was deathly silence. These strikes clearly assisted ISIS to temporarily move in on Deir Ez-zor. Yet the only protests in Australia came not from the Palestinian solidarity collectives, but the groups around the various Hands Off Syria branches.

BDS: A mistaken tactic based on a mistaken strategy

The silence of the majority of Australian Palestinian solidarity activists with regard to the US led war on Syria was arguably aided by their adoption of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. In the main, Palestinian solidarity activists posit BDS as axiomatic if one wishes to defend Palestine. However, there is much that is mistaken with BDS, for all of its laudable intentions. For one thing, the BDS campaign appeals to the very imperialist powers which have been waging war against the Palestinian people for decades on end. It aims to “pressure” the governments of Australia, the US, UK and others to impose sanctions on Israel for its gross mistreatment of Palestinians. Even if this was possible, this tactic of appealing to the governments which are ultimately responsible for the oppression of the Palestinians arguably prevented them from condemning, in this case, Australian military assistance to ISIS to undermine the Syrian state. For if on the one hand, you are lobbying the Australian government to condemn and impose sanctions on Israel, it would be counter-intuitive to simultaneously demonstrate against the Australian government for bombing Syria on the other hand.

With regard to Palestinian liberation, either the Australian ruling class is your friend, or it is something you help organise workers to oppose. BDS tries to walk both sides of the street. As this is not possible, it tends to side with the most powerful side, despite its intentions. Let us look at the “boycott” part. This refers to a consumer boycott. In almost every other campaign against war and/or national oppression, and much else, the left usually warns that consumer boycotts are ineffective, because working people cannot boycott the capitalist system if they want to survive – they have to organise to overthrow it. Yet we are told that BDS is an exception – Israel is supposedly so unique, that in this case, the left should call for consumer boycotts of Israeli products. Yet, with the Western capitalist economies in a dire state of crisis, working people have even less disposable income than before. The messaging is also skewed. The “victory” in this case, may be, if it comes off, a corporation deciding not to invest in Israeli businesses. Aside from the possible loss of jobs for Palestinians and Israelis in Israel, this corporation may simply decide to buy other shares on the stock market. The corporation becomes something to work with, rather than something to campaign against.

Similarly with “divestment”. Divestment implies all kinds of efforts to convince a corporation, which runs on the basis of private production for private profit, to divest, or invest elsewhere – somewhere other than Israel. The efforts seem to be intended to weaken everything Israeli, so that it will be unable to carry out repression against the Palestinians. Yet “Israel” is not a single unit. It has come about through the terrible suffering of others, but it has become a nation, which survives through the hideous repression of several different peoples within. As a nation it is far from homogenous, with around 20% of the population being Palestinian Arabs, around 25% being non-Jewish[5], along with migrants and refugees from Africa and other countries, as well as a large domestic working class. This working class includes some who oppose Israeli state militarism, as well as those who in 2011 embarked on “Occupy” style social justice protests in Tel Aviv, which protested gross inequality within Israel.[6]

Needless to say, a BDS movement, if “successful”, would target all of these potential allies, rather than reaching out to them. Worse than this, it tends to drive the Israeli working class deeper into the hands of the Zionist state, which in some sense is a natural reaction to an external siege. What is desperately needed is to break the Israeli working class from Zionism, as difficult as that may seem, and link them with the Palestinian working class in order to overthrow capitalism in the region. It is a sobering fact, but Palestinian national rights cannot be solved on the basis of a nationalism which remains entirely within the imperialist framework. The Palestinian solidarity movement must learn that support for Palestinian nationalism, on its own, is not enough to win justice for Palestine.

The BDS movement, backed by some left parties, not only does not challenge the capitalist division of the world into competing nation states, but goes cap in hand towards it. Think of the agencies it appeals to: Boycott – individual consumers going shopping, Divestment – corporations plundering the world, and Sanctions – the governments of the very First World states enforcing world poverty. At no point does it question the very forces pushing the world to the brink of world war and/or climactic destruction – capitalist corporations and the governments that serve them. In fact the BDS founder has emphasised the need to reach out to the “liberal mainstream”.[7] That is, the mainstream which accepts the system as a system, but only attempts to push for changes of policy within it.

Working people can liberate Palestine, and end the threat of war

While we should defend BDS campaigners against any repression from the Zionist state, or any Western state backing Israeli militarism, we need to seek to unleash the power of those the BDS campaign passes by – the working class. We recognise this is easier said than done, but it is only the working people who collectively have the power to liberate Palestine, end war in the Middle East, and stave off the threat of world war. The largest obstacle to mobilising the working people in Australia remains the self-serving Union leaders, which, almost without exception, are tied by a thousand threads not only to the capitalist system, but also the foreign policy of Australian imperialism. The left parties which have come behind the US led war for regime change in Syria, unfortunately are another link in the chain to these careerist bureaucrats. But they can be challenged.

Attempting to campaign for justice for Palestine, in 2017, without mentioning the US led war to destroy Syria, is akin to trying to save a French village in 100 AD without mentioning the Roman Empire. For Australian Palestinian solidarity activists, it is vital to attempt to mobilise opposition to the junior imperialist role Australia plays in these atrocious wars, from Syria, to Iraq, to Afghanistan. If Syria is overthrown by Washington, with the assistance of Canberra, Palestine will stand little chance of surviving. The US clearly seeks to isolate Russia by taking out Syria, making Iran an easier target. Russia is the ultimate target of regime change in Europe, while China is the ultimate target of regime change in Asia. The US seeks not only to dominate Eurasia, but the planet.  As the US is also the principal sponsor of the Zionist Israeli state, targeting only “Israel” is only targeting one of its agents.

Our tasks in relation to the liberation of Palestine should be twofold. Firstly, we need a political shift away from the dead end of ceaselessly supporting Palestinian nationalism. National rights for Palestine, as well as basic living and working conditions for its people, cannot be addressed by fighting for a “free” i.e. capitalist, Palestine. BDS plays into this strategy, despite the good intentions of its adherents. What is required is to link the working classes of Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt and others in a struggle for socialism in the Middle East. This will require the forging of genuinely international workers’ parties. We hold no illusions as to the difficulty of this task, but the nationalist only strategy has produced what we have today, which obviously is not acceptable.

Secondly, and most immediately for those on Australian shores, we need to make all attempts possible to break working people from the foreign policy of Australian imperialism, tied as it is to the wild depredations of the US Empire. Even if your own priority is justice for Palestine, we need to seek to mobilise working people and their Unions in opposition to Australian support for the Western imperial project in the Middle East and Europe by demanding the complete withdrawal of all Australian troops and hardware from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. We also need to demand that the US and Australia cease all military, diplomatic and political co-operation and protection of the Zionist Israeli state, as well as any co-operation or arming of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has been waging an appalling war on the popular resistance forces in Yemen.

Working people need not fear sell-out Union leaders, or the Western governments threatening to unleash even more worldwide carnage. With remarkable heroism, the Palestinian people have been resisting such forces of repression for 69 years. We have an obligation to at least match them. Working people the world over have the power to bring about an end to the system of capitalist-imperialism, before it brings about an end to us. ISRAEL/US/AUS: HANDS OFF THE MIDDLE EAST!

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO  BOX  66   NUNDAH   QLD   4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

http://www.redfireonline.com

[1] http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2016/09/15/income-stagnation-and-worsening-living-standards-continue-for-palestinian-families (09-05-17)

[2] http://theduran.com/how-the-us-israel-al-qaeda-and-isis-work-together-in-the-war-against-syria/ (09-05-17)

[3] http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/04/23/israeli-attack-syrian-military-camp-kills-three (09-05-17)

[4] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-18/australian-jets-involved-in-botched-air-strike-on-syrian-army/7855610 (09-05-17)

[5] http://arabisraeliconflict.info/arab-israel-facts/fact-2-arab-israeli-citizens (09-05-17)

[6] http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/from-the-protest-tents-of-tel-aviv-to-occupying-wall-street-1.389760 (09-05-17)

[7] http://mondoweiss.net/2017/05/servile-barghouti-daughter/ (10-05-17)

Protests in Gaza in solidarity with the hunger strikers imprisoned by the Israeli state. Photo from Reuters via http://www.telesurtv.net

No to Nuclear War! Hands Off the DPRK, China, Syria, Russia!

No to Nuclear War! Hands Off the DPRK, China, Syria, Russia!

04-05-2017 – The world teeters on the edge of a nuclear war. The US Empire, currently with the Trump Administration at the helm, reels off threat after threat of regime change towards the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and towards the Syrian Arab Republic. If Trump was actually crazy enough to attempt either of these, China would be forced to defend itself in the event of a regime change strike on the DPRK, whereas Russia would be forced to defend itself in the event of a regime change war on Syria. China and Russia are nuclear armed states, but their arsenals pale in size before that of the US behemoth. Needless to say, there can scarcely be any winners in a nuclear war.

As usual, Canberra has signed the Australian military up to every one of the current theatres of war the US threatens to unleash. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had the temerity to state that “The North Korean Government should invest in the welfare of its long suffering citizens, rather than weapons of mass destruction”.[1] This level of hypocrisy can only be reached by those defending an unjust system. It is the Australian Government which, for 30 years or more, has been ripping out investment in the welfare of Australian citizens, with casual indifference to the suffering it causes. Decades of funding cuts to education, healthcare, unemployment and disability services, aged care, pensions, public transport, legal aid, and so on ad nauseum, have not slowed down, but have accelerated. The government has slashed public sector employment, and is idly sitting by while thousands upon thousands of jobs are being eliminated as private industry downsizes or closes down.

Meanwhile, the government of the DPRK, on the other hand, has maintained its form of a socialist system which guarantees its citizens employment, healthcare and education at no cost, housing at no cost, while doing away with the need for personal income tax.[2] DPRK citizens have enjoyed completely free heathcare since 1960, and completely free education since 1959. Women in the DPRK can retire on a full pension at age 55, while men can retire on a full pension at age 60.[3] Just who is it that is not investing in the welfare of its citizens?

Moreover, the government of the DPRK has clearly stated, on many occasions, that it will only use the weapons it has if it is attacked first. The 7th Congress of the Korean Workers Party in 2016 confirmed its stance of “no first use” of its nuclear weapons.[4] China has declared its “no first use” policy of its nuclear weapons program in 1964, and has maintained that ever since.[5] No matter how strong the barrage of Western corporate media demonises the DPRK, and for that matter China, it will not change these facts.

Facts mean little to an empire fighting to maintain its declining claim to be world number one, however. The war for regime change against Syria has arguably been accompanied by levels of government and mainstream media lies which have been unprecedented in history. The latest attempt to blame the Syrian government for using chemical weapons was pathetic. The fact that the French foreign minister jumped to conclusions about the alleged incident in Khan Sheikhoun in Syria seems to indicate French government involvement in the incident itself.[6] Regardless of one’s opinions about the Russian government, the fact is that the Russian military campaign to defeat ISIS, at the invitation of the Syrian government, had turned the tide against the US backed mercenaries, and may have already prevented a wider war from breaking out.

Working people should be aware that the threats of nuclear war stem from one side – the system of capitalist-imperialism, headed by the rulers of the United States. It is the US and their allies, which include the governments of Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Israel and others – who threaten to unleash apocalyptic war. The governments of China and Russia, for different reasons, have no interest and no need for such a catastrophic conflict. Temporarily at least, the interests of those governments resisting the US Empire – China, Russia, Iran, the DPRK, Syria etc. – and the interests of the working people of the world are coinciding.

No matter how grim the situation appears, we can be confident that the overwhelming majority of working people strongly oppose a world war, and will be prepared to take action to prevent it. The attempted war for regime change against Syria for the last six years has largely sorted out those who are really opposed to war, and those who make apologies for it. Working people need to demand that their Unions at least assist the building of a serious anti-imperialist anti-war movement. Their leaders, and the leaders of moderate parliamentary and extra-parliamentary groups will have to be pushed aside if they choose their careers over the survival of our children. NO TO  NUCLEAR WAR!     HANDS OFF THE DPRK, CHINA, SYRIA, RUSSIA!

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO BOX 66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

[1] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-22/north-korea-accuses-australia-of-blindly-following-the-us/8464252 (04-05-17)

[2] http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Asia-and-Oceania/Korea-Democratic-People-s-Republic-of-DPRK-TAXATION.html (04-05-17)

[3] http://www.korea-dpr.com/economic.html (04-05-17)

[4] http://apjjf.org/2016/14/Suh.html (04-05-17)

[5] https://cpianalysis.org/2017/04/03/china-and-nuclear-weapons-implications-of-a-no-first-use-doctrine/ (04-05-17)

[6] http://www.syriatimes.sy/index.php/news/local/30361-syria-condemns-frantic-campaign-of-misleading-and-lying-launched-by-french-foreign-minister-on-khan-sheikhoun-crime (04-05-17)

A tomahawk cruise missile, similar to the ones fired at Syria by the US recently. Image from http://www.presstv.ir