Hands Off the DPRK! No to Nuclear Armageddon

DPRKflag

Hands Off the DPRK! No to Nuclear Armageddon

22-09-2017 – The irony may not have been apparent to immediate observers, but in the body allegedly set up to prevent war between nations, days ago US President Donald Trump issued perhaps the greatest ever threat of war against the world. While Trump thundered against Iran and Venezuela, he openly threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea (its real name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – DPRK).[1] While the US Empire has previously used the platform of the United Nations (UN) as a basis for announcing war plans, e.g. Colin Powell’s 2003 speech about “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, this is arguably the first time in UN history that one nation has directly threatened another with elimination. The DPRK has only perhaps a handful of nuclear weapons ready to be deployed, which can only act as a deterrent. On the other side, the US has literally thousands of nuclear missiles, “locked and loaded” to use a Trumpism. Nuclear Armageddon, despite all the advances of modern technology, culture and science, is unfortunately closer than ever. Where do the interests of working people stand?

Socialism vs Capitalism

The current state of war between the US and the DPRK is due to a number of historical factors, tied in with the current geopolitical situation globally. The DPRK was founded in 1948, after a 40 year struggle against Japanese militarist occupation. In 1950 to 1953, the Korean people suffered immeasurably under a barbaric war against them led by the US, but also including the military forces of other countries including Australia. Four million lives were brutally extinguished. One could say this was the first time that the US “totally destroyed North Korea”. However, despite the staggering losses, the Koreans in the north of the peninsula, aided by Chinese volunteers, fought the US to a standstill, leading to an armistice being signed on July 27th, 1953. Despite the DPRK’s efforts, the US never signed a peace agreement, which was supposed to follow according to the armistice agreement.

Since that time, the US and the DPRK have remained technically at war. However, what the Western corporate media never tells is that the DPRK since then has built arguably the most advanced socialist system in the world. Not only does the DPRK’s socialist state provide universal and free health care, education, housing and a lifetime guarantee of employment – it does this while charging its citizens no tax at all.[2] The retirement age for men in the DPRK is 60, and for women it is 55. Eight months of fully paid maternity leave is automatically given to pregnant women. Despite fears of a “rape culture” in the capitalist West, in the DPRK women can walk the streets, or anywhere in the country, at any time of the day or night, in complete safety. Visitors to the DPRK may notice children walking around outside late at night, with some friends, also in complete safety. Crime is almost non-existent, as the state meets virtually every need, free of charge or at heavily subsidised nominal rates.

The comparison with living and working conditions for working people in the US, Europe and Australia could not be more different. The clear advantages for workers of collectively owned industry and commerce, administered through a planned economy, stand out in stark relief. Despite these gains, the political system in the DPRK is distorted, given that the immense threat of being wiped out by the US has remained for more than 60 years. Arguably, this enormous pressure has produced a system where it appears workers are not able to influence or exercise political decisions, and has contributed to a somewhat mythologised acclaim for its historical and current leaders. What drives Western capital into a frenzy, however, is the fact that due to the DPRK’s socialist system, which has produced a warm and friendly society based on solidarity, the DPRK is off limits to exploitation and plunder. In the same way, the giant next door neighbour, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is also barred to Western capital – despite the pro-market measures the PRC uses to develop its economy. Thus the bitter vitriol which the US and Australian rulers spew towards the DPRK and the PRC is ultimately the hatred of capitalism for socialism.

This is why it is in the vital interests of working people to stand with the DPRK and the PRC against the threats of nuclear war. It is not enough just to call for “peace” and “negotiations”, for this lets the system which creates and foments the crisis in the first place, directly off the hook. As Lenin analysed 100 years ago, imperialism is monopoly capitalism which has outgrown the system of national boundaries. Capital expands or it dies, and despite there being endless opportunities for infrastructure development and provision of services to “their own” people, Western capital will only do so if there is what they regard as an adequate return in the form of the rate of profit. For example, there is a dire need for a modern, up to date internet system to all rural and regional areas right across Australia. But due to a lack of customers being able to pay, capital could not be bothered. Hence, we have the decidedly second rate National Broadband Network (NBN), which covers some areas with slow speeds, and other areas not at all.

PRC’s rise and rise

The PRC’s vast economic expansion over the last 30 years has pushed the US ruling class to the brink. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the PRC, from 1978 until now, grew faster than the world’s total economic growth for 30 years.[3] Yet this is only possible because of the PRC’s overwhelmingly state owned and run socialist economy, which is protected by the workers state which emerged out of the 1949 revolution. While the PRC leadership has allowed a large degree of capitalist free enterprise which causes some political dangers, these capitalists have little or no chance of competing with China’s vast State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) which, by law, totally dominate the commanding heights of the economy. Banking, Finance, steel making, infrastructure construction, rail, roads, ports, telecommunications and more are either state owned or majority state owned. This strong collective state underpins planned economic expansion which, according to their Five Year Plans, must meet social goals such as employment and overall development – and not just a rate of return.

Similar to the DPRK, however, working people struggle to exercise political decision making, and the Communist Party of China (CPC) leadership is almost solely concerned with internal matters – rather than the extension of world socialism. Of course, these aspects do not concern the US and European ruling classes.  What concerns, and even spells danger, for them are plans such as the PRC’s vast new infrastructure development plan, the “New Silk Road” as well as initiatives such as the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). These massive economic offerings to underdeveloped, and even some developed countries with ailing capitalist economies, mean that China is assuming world economic and political leadership, regardless of whether or not this is its aim. This is occurring while the profit based economies of the US, Europe and Australia are crumbling into ruin.

Defeat in Syria

While the US Empire’s frenzied threats against the DPRK and the PRC are to a large extent driven by the challenge of socialism, there is the additional factor of the comprehensive defeat suffered by the US with their attempt at regime change in Syria. As we go to press, the Syrian Arab Army has advanced to within 6 kilometres of the last ISIS base in Raqqa,[4] despite the US backed Kurdish “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) abstaining or working with ISIS in an attempt to seize Syrian territory for themselves.[5] Overall, however, the unspeakable US strategy of arming and funding death squads in order to bring down the Syrian government – arguably the dirtiest war in history – has collapsed. Syria, with the assistance of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, have inflicted perhaps the first defeat of the US since the war on Vietnam. The Australian government is also culpable, having dispatched troops and warplanes to back the US marauding throughout Iraq and Syria. This defeat has halted – for now – US plans for the inevitable next stepping stone –  regime change in Iran.

Enraged that anyone would have the temerity to not only question, but take action to repel, the US war machine in its tracks, the US Empire is lashing out in any other direction it can. The DPRK is the next obvious target, as the US preparations for invasion and war are well practiced, and garrisons of US troops are already stationed and primed for war. 30 000 US troops are permanently based in South Korea (officially the “Republic of Korea” – ROK), and 50 000 US troops are permanently based in Japan. The annual war games on the border of the DPRK, including US, ROK and Japanese troops, have been expanded this year. This military “exercises” are nothing less than a dry run for the invasion and overthrow of the DPRK. Yet again, Canberra sends Australian troops to participate alongside the US in this reckless provocation,[6]  one that potentially pushes the world closer to the cliff of nuclear destruction.

War abroad linked to war at home

The sheer insanity of nuclear Armageddon provoked by Washington, with the backing of Canberra, has reduced many to stunned disbelief. This may be understandable, but if working people can draw the links from the war abroad to the war at home, we can begin to comprehend why degenerate politicians are prepared to flick the switch to cause the deaths of tens of millions, and take action to prevent it. The wars being prepared against China (via the DPRK) and Russia (via the Ukraine and Syria) are directly linked to the intractable crisis of the Western economic system of production for profit, which went into severe recession in 2008, and has barely recovered. This depression, known as the “Third Slump” (the first two being the Great Depression of the 1930s and the second being the onset of the recession beginning around the mid-1970s), has accelerated the ongoing assault on working people, many of whom have been barely surviving for the last thirty odd years. Australian workers, similar to workers in the US and Europe, face mass unemployment, unaffordable housing, skyrocketing bills for basic utilities, crumbling infrastructure, the privatisation of public assets and virtually non-existent wage growth. Public transport is unreliable and expensive, and only covers some areas. The privatised banks charge outrageous fees, securing billions of dollars in profit, much of which goes into paying million dollar CEO salaries. Schools and universities are turned into profit gouging racketeers, as academic standards fall further and further. Government funding for vital public services is stripped from service after service.

To top it off, basic bourgeois democratic rights and civil liberties are being shredded day by day. Para-military like fare inspectors threaten public transport users. Email, phone, internet access and other forms of communication are monitored, and, as whistle-blowers such as Edward Snowden revealed, details are routinely handed over to US intelligence agencies. Western governments are aware that masses of people will inevitably rise up against the limitless inequality which capitalism generates, and the unacceptable burdens it places upon working people. One of the key methods they use to head this off is to present us with an “external threat” which is supposedly so “evil” that war – even nuclear war – must be declared. It is a classic case of projection – the system they represent is the only real evil.

Stand with the DPRK and the PRC against war

This is why it is imperative that working people internationally stand with the working people of the DPRK and the PRC against the threatened US led nuclear holocaust. While Koreans currently face annihilation, this horror is but the extension of the same attacks that working people here face at home – the job losses, the abolition of elementary rights, and the daily struggle to survive under capitalist exploitation. To a large extent, the workers of the DPRK do not endure these hardships by virtue of their socialist system. To a lesser extent, the socialist system in the PRC also shields workers there from untrammelled plunder.

Capital’s assault on humanity cannot be upheld by calls for “peace” or “negotiations”. It neither knows nor understands such concepts. It is a monster which will not stop until private capital becomes the property of all working people, for the common good. The workers of the DPRK and the PRC have already achieved this, despite the at times wayward direction of their political leaders. Working people here need the leadership of a workers vanguard party, which can lead the struggle against imperialist war through combining working people’s efforts for a decent life with the working class victories achieved in Asia. Such a revolution necessarily leads to the foundation of a workers republic. HANDS OFF THE DPRK!

WORKERS LEAGUE

PO  Box  66  NUNDAH  QLD   4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

http://www.redfireonline.com

 

[1] http://edition.cnn.com/2017/09/21/politics/kim-jong-un-on-trump-comments/index.html (22-09-17)

[2] http://exploredprk.com/news/dprk-country-free-of-taxes/ (22-09-2017)

[3] http://www.unrisd.org/80256B3C005BD6AB/%28httpAuxPages%29/2893F14F41998392C1257BC600385B21/$file/China%27s%20growth%20miracle%200808.pdf (22-09-17)

[4] https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/breaking-syrian-army-advances-within-6km-isils-last-stronghold-raqqa/ (23-09-17)

[5] https://www.veteranstoday.com/2017/09/17/russian-military-observed-no-fighting-between-isis-and-sdf-north-of-deir-ezzor-in-the-last-days/ (23-09-17)

[6] http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/08/21/australia-joins-south-korea-us-war-games (23-09-17)

Hands Off Myanmar! Western Powers Create and Fuel Chaos in Asia

Myanmar flag

The national flag of Myanmar, which was adopted in 2010.

Hands Off Myanmar! Western Powers Create and Fuel Chaos in Asia

15-09-17 – We were told there were “rebels” in Libya – but they turned out to be Al Qaeda. We were then told there were “rebels” in Syria – but they turned out to be ISIS. If we were now to believe that there are “rebels” in the Rakhine state of Myanmar, we would have very short memories indeed. And, as if on cue, Al Qaeda has now chipped in, declaring that any deaths of Rohingya Muslims will be avenged, and that the government of Myanmar will be punished.[1] The horrific imperialist game of regime change appears to be on again.

If you are thinking that all this is just a little too convenient, you are not alone. No sooner is the US Empire facing a serious defeat in Syria, it turns its attention to other countries and regions, where it has been working away behind the scenes for decades, undermining and white-anting any country perceived to be independent of them, or, worse still, engaging Red China to assist them with their trade and development. Any of the Asian nations that have the temerity to consider China a partner rather than the US, sooner or later will find chaos erupting within their borders, if not an open hybrid “humanitarian” war. The current situation in Myanmar, despite all of its unique history, is yet another case.

Aung San Suu Kyi/NLD a product of Western funding

Unlike in Syria, where the Syrian government was regarded by the US as an opponent going back to the 1950s, the National League for Democracy (NLD) government led by Aung Sung Suu Kyi was a product of US and UK backed NGOs over some decades. The “Land Destroyer” blog site reveals that the US and UK have spent tens of millions of dollars creating the NLD/Suu Kyi led government in Myanmar, filtered through liberal para-state “civil society” organisations. The notoriously misnamed “National Endowment for Democracy” (NED) is in on the act, as is the infamous Open Society Institute (OSI) of colour revolution specialist and billionaire financier George Soros. The US funded broadcaster Voice of America (VOA) beams in disguised pro-Western propaganda three times a day, while the Orwellian named Radio Free Asia (RFA) pumps Myanmar with pro-capitalist missives through a two hour “news service” every day.[2] The “Burma (the previous name of Myanmar) Campaign UK” group openly chastise the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) for a lack of funding and backing for “democracy promotion”.[3] It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious. By “democracy” these apologists for US/British imperialism mean a government which will do the bidding of Washington and London, rather than exerting any shred of independence from them.

As recently as 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honour the US Congress can award.[4] To give you an idea of just how comfortable Aung San Suu Kyi was with the inner sanctum of the US Empire, she welcomed a visit from Hilary “Destroyer of Worlds” Clinton in 2015, at the peak of her powers before later being defeated by Trump in 2016.[5] So if Suu Kyi was the apple of the eye of Uncle Sam as little as a year ago, why is she now targeted by the Empire’s vassal NGOs, and is being asked to hand back her Nobel Peace Prize?

Attempts to disrupt the New Silk Road

In a word, the New Silk Road. The New Silk Road, or One Belt One Road initiative led by the People’s Republic of China, is an infrastructure and economic growth building plan, reported to be seven times larger than the US sponsored Marshall Plan for Europe after the destruction of the Second World War. 1.3 trillion dollars of projects have been announced so far, with more to come. Amongst other things, it seeks to link China’s western provinces to South East Asia, Africa, Central Asia and Europe, reviving the Silk Road trade routes of ancient times[6], but using China’s well renowned modern state owned railway and port projects. Aung San Suu Kyi was one of the 29 world leaders who attended the launch of the mega- project in Beijing in May of this year,[7] signing up Myanmar as a founding member. This appears to have been the final straw for the Wall Street. Already reeling from the rise of China, losing influence amongst South East Asia to socialist China was too much to take. As little as a few months later, a crisis emerges for the Rohingya people of the Rakhine state in Myanmar.

To be sure, the history of tensions between the Muslim people of the coastal Rakhine state in Myanmar and the majority Buddhist population goes back some years before the launch of the New Silk Road. But now outside forces, who bear no relation to the Rohingyas themselves, have an opportunity to sow chaos and disorder, which at the least, can disrupt the greater economic ties between Myanmar and China. At most, it could provide a beachhead for the entry of US troops, or their proxy forces, in yet another “humanitarian war”. This beachhead could then be a part of the real aim of the US “pivot to Asia” – the military encirclement of Red China; which is the 21st century version of “containing and rolling back communism”.

Working people need to be clear. China overturned capitalism via its victorious socialist revolution in 1949. Therefore, the Chinese economy today does not operate primarily on the basis of production for private profit. Its expanding foreign investments do not take place in order to maximise profit, but in order to secure resources for its own economic development. As a quid-pro-quo, China’s non-exploitative development projects in other countries also offer the opportunity for much need economic growth, especially in the Third World. This is because roads, ports, railways etc. – inevitably lead to increased commerce. In fact, some of the First World economies can also benefit from these projects, given that they are in a dire capitalist fuelled recession of their own. Thus, despite ties to the US, the Australian government felt compelled to send a delegation to Beijing for the launch of the New Silk Road. The comparison is stark – socialist China offers Asian, African and European countries opportunities for mutually beneficial development; while the US Empire offers nothing but plunder and war. And if it looks like you are a friendly neighbour to China – as Myanmar is – be prepared for chaos to be unleashed.

Rohingya “Army” appears

The history of the tensions of the Rohingyas and the Buddhists in Myanmar requires a separate study, and certainly does predate China’s New Silk Road mega-projects. Yet it is extremely suspicious when the so-called Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) makes a spectre-like appearance, armed to the hilt, and then begins armed attacks on the Tatmadaw – the armed forces of Myanmar. Suspicions are confirmed when it becomes known that ARSA – formerly known as Harakat al Yaqin (HaY) – is being funnelled cash and weapons from Malaysia, Pakistan and..wait for it…Saudi Arabia. The Rohingya diaspora has led to large Rohingya populations being established in Malaysia and Pakistan, and the ARSA even has a leadership council based in Saudi Arabia.[8] With US state support, Saudi Arabia was one of the strongest backers of the genocidal Wahabist “rebels” in Syria, which at great cost were defeated by the Syrian government with the assistance of Russia. Now in Myanmar, we see the same playbook being rolled out again. Yet, as in Syria, the Saudi armed Rohingyan “rebels” no more represent the Rohingyan people, or Muslims, any more than Al Qaeda and ISIS “represented” Muslims in Syria.

Nor does the “Buddhist Bin Laden”, monk Ashin Wirathu, leader of the ultra-nationalist 969 group in Myanmar represent all Buddhists. The 969 group are said to have been behind a wave of sectarian anti-Muslim riots which have killed scores since 2012.[9] More than this, these “monks” were the most active in organising vigorous protests against the Myanmar government’s move to give hundreds of thousands of stateless Rohingyas citizenship. These protagonists of the “Saffron Revolution” are in fact ultra-violent, bigoted and racist in a way which would rival the Ku Klux Klan in the US.[10] Yet this is part of the support base for Aung San Suu Kyi, and are thus presented to unsuspecting Westerners as liberal pro-democracy activists! Once again, the Western media and Western funded NGOs have covered for the real aims of the US Empire – the installation of a subservient pro-Western government, regardless of who their domestic allies may be. Whether the allies be ultra-violent Buddhist nationalists in Myanmar, Nazis and fascists in Ukraine, ISIS in Syria and the Philippines, or Al Qaeda arming the Rohingyas – the corporate media will portray them as “rebels” or their actions as a “democratic uprising” !

Left parties take the bait

Unfortunately, some Australian left parties appear to have repeated their error-ridden actions from the wars on Libya and Syria, where they backed “rebels” even when it became clear that the “rebels” were in fact genocidal Al Qaeda linked mercenaries. Already the Al Qaeda link to the Rohingya “rebels” has emerged in Myanmar, but this seems to have been overlooked by the Socialist Alliance[11], Socialist Alternative[12], and Solidarity[13].  There are some indications that the Communist Party of Australia, which at best offered only lukewarm opposition to the US led wars on Libya and Syria, have followed suit.[14] Despite their anti-war credos, these organisations are lining up with the decidedly pro-war NGOs in Myanmar, as they did in Libya and Syria. The lessons haven’t been learnt. The whole raison d’etre for these para-state NGOs (Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International) is not to advocate “human  rights” and “democracy”, but the very aims of the US Empire itself. In the case of Myanmar, it is currently about creating chaos in the Rakhine state, fostering armed extremism (yet again), disrupting China’s New Silk Road, bringing Aung San Suu Kyi and the Myanmar government to heel, and extending and consolidating the military encirclement of Red China. Chaos and war on China’s southern flank can only benefit Wall Street, and, combined with the provocations in the South China Sea, the threat of nuclear war against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the backing of anti-socialist jihadists in Xinjiang, the Lamas in Tibet and the never-ending war on Afghanistan, the picture comes into sharp relief.

For an anti-imperialist anti-war movement

Workers desperately need an anti-imperialist anti-war movement, to lead a struggle against the endless machinations and regime change wars being prepared against China and Russia, and any country that even has thoughts of independence from the US Empire. In the case of Myanmar today, while not offering political support to the NLD government or its supporters, working people should defend the right of Myanmar to determine its own affairs without interference from US state and para-state actors, up to and including the right to complete trade and investment opportunities with China. After all, China is a next door neighbour. Without Western meddling, it is likely that the 135 ethnic minorities which make up Myanmar would co-exist, as they did for decades previously. Despite the grim scenarios, we should be confident that the overwhelming majority of working people here and internationally are opposed to a world war, and would be prepared to take action to prevent it. What is currently absent is the leadership of a workers vanguard party. Such a party could lead working people in a struggle to eliminate the source of imperialist war – the decaying capitalist system – by fighting for a workers’ republic, linking with the vast proletariat in Asia to aim for an internationally planned economy. HANDS OFF MYANMAR!

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

[1] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-14/al-qaeda-urges-muslims-globally-to-aid-rohingya-in-myanmar/8946390 (15-09-17)

[2] http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com.au/2017/09/myanmar-gasoline-and-fire-not-good-vs.html (16-09-17)

[3] http://burmacampaign.org.uk/images/uploads/DFIDReview.pdf (16-09-17)

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/sep/20/aung-san-suu-kyi-medal (16-09-17)

[5] http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/icons-bid-for-power-aung-suu-kyi-and-hillary-clinton-are-facing-a-huge-task-10185813.html (16-09-17)

[6] http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/05/16/chinas-one-belt-one-road-plan-explained (16-09-17)

[7] http://www.globalnewlightofmyanmar.com/daw-aung-san-suu-kyi-arrives-in-beijing-to-attend-belt-and-road-forum-for-international-cooperation/ (16-09-17)

[8] http://www.atimes.com/article/foreign-support-gives-rohingya-militants-lethal-edge/ (17-09-17)

[9] http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-ff-myanmar-monk-20150524-story.html (17-09-17)

[10] https://journal-neo.org/2015/03/05/myanmar-meet-aung-san-suu-kyi-s-saffron-mobs/ (17-09-17)

[11] https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/myanmar-all-out-war-rohingya (17-09-17)

 

[12] https://redflag.org.au/node/6014  (17-09-17)

 

[13] https://www.solidarity.net.au/mag/back/2017/99/new-evidence-ethnic-cleansing-rohingya-burma/ (17-09-17)

 

[14] http://www.cpa.org.au/guardian/2017/1793/18-region-briefs.html (17-09-17)

 

Hands Off the Philippines! Australian Troops: Out Now!

HANDS OFF THE PHILIPPINES! AUSTRALIAN TROOPS: OUT NOW!

09-09-2017 – The US led war on Syria is in the throes of defeat, and ISIS is on the verge of being eliminated from the Levant. Australian military forces have played an ignominious role, fighting with and alongside the US Empire, who in turn fight with and alongside ISIS and other proxy forces. The final embers of this dirty war are still smouldering, but that has not prevented the Australian government from once again committing Australian troops to US wars, this time in the Philippines. Once again, we see ISIS being used by the US Empire as a staging post, popping up conveniently when needed, which will once again be used as justification for an invasion force to fight “against”. Working people should not be fooled.

After “offering” to send Australian military forces to the Philippines for some weeks, the Philippines Defence Minister Delfin Lorenzana finally relented yesterday. With US troops already in the Philippines,[1] allegedly “helping” the Philippine Armed Forces battle against Abu Sayyaf and ISIS militants, the “offer” from the Australian government, backed by the US war machine, is one that the Philippines government would be under enormous pressure to “accept”. Australian Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne, after meeting with Mr Lorenzana, referred to “militants” returning from the Middle East, who are “battle-hardened….well-trained [and] very determined”.[2] She should know. In effect, Australian troops in Iraq and Syria were aiding the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and others fund and arm them!

Duterte pivots away from the US

Almost from the moment Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte was elected, it seems he attempted to break the Philippines from its decades old alliance with the US Empire, tilting towards China and Russia in the process. Last October, Duterte visited President Xi Jinping in Beijing. While a guest in the Great Hall of the People, Duterte asserted: “America has lost now…I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to [President Vladimir] Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world – China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way.”[3] Duterte was arguably alarmed at the previous Philippines government being strong-armed by the US into provoking Red China over a series of islands in the South China Sea, along with Taiwan.

The idea of a former US colony openly switching allegiance to China and Russia was too much for Wall Street. Duterte reportedly sought increased trade, commerce and an arms deal with Russia during the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. But the meeting had not even finished when ISIS, from out of nowhere, appeared in Mindinao, in the south of the Philippines. Duterte had to cut short his visit after martial law was declared around the area of Marawi, which was “suddenly” being besieged by armed ISIS terrorists. To say this was a convenience does not even begin to describe the manipulation.

Until that time Duterte had fired off a number of declarations which were exceedingly brave, despite his questionable domestic politics. Duterte had labelled Russian President Putin as his “favourite hero”, and had referred to Barack Obama as a “son of a bitch”. Duterte stated that America since the 1960s had interfered in other states, offering ‘help’ but in return demanding changes such as the legalisation of gay marriage.[4] Despite the nationalist and populist presentation, Duterte’s rhetoric was a distorted attempt to push back against US domination of the Philippines, and US imperialism worldwide. Despite Duterte’s conservative views on issues such as same-sex marriage and drug addiction, working people should not in the process condemn moves to contribute to the isolation the world’s most dangerous juggernaut – US imperialism.

The war on drugs

It can be recognised that drug addiction, especially in a society such as the Philippines with extensive poverty levels, is a problem which ties in health, employment, alienation, despair and other issues. In normal circumstances, leftists favour treating drug addiction as a health issue, not one of crime and punishment. It does appear that since being elected on June 30, 2016, President Duterte has embarked on one of the most unforgiving “drug wars” in recent history. It is claimed that up to 7000 addicts and dealers have lost their lives, often being blown away by police or masked assassins. However, the killing of 17 year old Kian Delos Santos appears to have moved some in the Philippines who may have otherwise supported the “tough on crime” approach.[5]

While those internationally with generally progressive views may recoil in horror at Duterte’s war on drugs, the fact is he was elected with a huge mandate to do just that. Moreover, those internationally now opposing Duterte for the drug war are often a who’s who of the “human rights” and “civil society” industry – which inevitably form the “liberal” wing of the US Empire. For example, both Human Rights Watch[6] and Amnesty International[7] have condemned Duterte’s first year in power. Yet these are the same organisations which for years alibied Al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria as “rebels” for attempting to bring down the Syrian Arab Republic using extreme violence – with the full backing of the governments of the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia. “Human Rights” indeed. While a “war on drugs” is usually a war against predominantly poor people, the left needs to be aware of the larger geopolitical motives that have brought “ISIS” to the Philippines.

Marawi

The leprechaun like appearance of ISIS in the Mindanaoan area of Marawi bears all the hallmarks of a ham-fisted late US attempt at regime change in the Philippines. Despite how most of the Western left views Duterte, he maintains an overwhelming approval rating within the Philippines, which some say is as high as 75%. Duterte appears to be attempting to overcome the dependence his pro-US predecessor locked the Philippines into. Along with moves to conciliate China, and foster more trade with Russia, Duterte also was reportedly forging closer ties to Cuba in order to improve health in the country.[8]  Though opposed by anti-Duterte NGOs and Western governments, Duterte appears to retain popular support even in Mindinao, where the military now appear to be winning against the ISIS proxies. The martial law which has been imposed has apparently not alarmed the local population, who appear to approve of the government’s military campaign against the appalling violence of the ISIS mercenaries. The local Maute and Abu Sayyaf have now morphed into the ISIS incubus, further alienating the locals.

From a distance, it does appear as though Duterte represents one wing of the Philippine ruling class which genuinely desires to be free from US domination, while the other wing is more than content with a role as a US patron. These wings are perhaps replicated within the Philippine Armed Forces. This may explain why the Philippine Army has allowed US troops to intervene in the Marawi situation – or perhaps they had little choice. The Philippine defence minister in turn, may have felt that he had no option but to accept Australian military involvement – knowing that the real pressure for this was emanating from the US war machine.

Another complication when attempting to analyse the overall situation is Duterte’s relations with the New People’s Army (NPA) – the armed wing of the Maoist inspired Communist Party of the Philippines. If the NPA can ally itself with Duterte against the encroaches of the US military, perhaps it is not wise to oppose Duterte from the left. However, this alliance between the NPA and Duterte appears to be not only not ongoing, but on-again, off-again.[9]  In addition, there is some evidence to suggest that Duterte, under immense pressure, has felt forced to abandon a consistent anti-US stance. In early August, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Manilla, seemingly in order to persuade Duterte to allow the US armed forces to fight “against” ISIS. Duterte reportedly acquiesced, following on from a seemingly amicable statement to Tillerson at the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) forum, saying “I am your humble friend in South East Asia.”[10]

US encirclement of China

Regardless of the vacillations of Duterte, and despite the hypocritical and plaintive pleas of Western backed anti-Duterte NGOs, the US/AUST military presence in the Philippines is another disastrous chapter in attempted regime change abominations, flowing on from Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen. The Pentagon, not being able to accept the reality of military defeat of their ISIS Frankenstein in Syria by the air power of Russia, have again lashed out against another sovereign country attempting to assert its independence. The political decline of the US Empire has led to “humanitarian wars” now being outsourced to proxy terrorist forces, which receive weapons and funding by the millions. The Pentagon trains up unhinged fundamentalist “Islamic” extremists, and sends them into Libya, Syria, Chechnya in Russia or Xinjiang in China.[11] One of the aims is to not only continue the military encirclement of Red China, but to disrupt  the mammoth New Silk Road Eurasian infrastructure projects that only a gargantuan socialist economy such as China’s could offer. Wars, conflict and chaos in all the areas targeted for infrastructure and trade development by the New Silk Road clearly benefits the US state at the expense of China, the world’s most powerful workers state. The US cannot tolerate any rival, let alone one based on the Marxist precepts of collective ownership and a planned economy. Canberra itches, as usual, to prove it is even more loyal to the project of hybrid war against China than the US itself.

For an anti-war movement

At the very least, what working people need is a serious anti-war movement, which can contribute to a recalibration of class struggle in this country. Unfortunately, the previous six years have seen a vanishing of anti-war activity, despite many urging its reanimation. Large responsibility lies with the conservative Trade Union bureaucracy, from the national peak bodies down to local Union secretaries. To our knowledge, not one of them have spoken out against the criminal wars for regime change in Libya and Syria, let alone condemn the Australian military’s participation in them. Along with their virtual silence in the face of the decimation of jobs and wages in times of economic recession, their silence in the face of impending world war testifies to the high salaries their careers ensure. Tailing after this pro-capitalist bureaucracy we find some left parties, who also struggle to break from the foreign policy of Australian capital, and thus come behind US imperialist adventures, muttering pleas against “dictators”.

Workers here, and internationally, on the other hand, are irrevocably opposed to imperialist wars, especially ones that could lead to world war. Despite the abject murder of the peace movement by corporate funded NGOs, conservative Union officials and some left parties, there is a mass base of millions of workers and their supporters ready and willing to take action to arrest the drift to war. Politically savvy working people are already aware that the series of never-ending wars is linked to the problem of mass unemployment, unaffordable housing, skyrocketing electricity, gas and water prices, the shredding of pay and working conditions for those still in employment and the ever-worsening danger of climate collapse. While this is occurring, not one cent of taxpayer’s money should be used for Australian military hardware and soldiers marauding their way around the Philippines, under the flimsy pretext of “fighting ISIS”. The bitter experience of the war on Syria demonstrated that ISIS is the horrific creation of the US led imperialist powers themselves, and that unity of the anti-imperialist governments and workers of the world can put them to the sword.

The horror of modern day war is not the result of mad leaders such as US President Trump, or servile Australian politicians. Today, imperialist war is the ultimate result of the impasse of the falling rate of profit for the “captains of industry”, whose capitalist economy continues to spiral downwards with recessionary rates of growth. It follows that imperialist war itself cannot be abolished without the abolition of the private ownership of the means of production, and the collectivisation of industry in the hands of the workers.  Leading this struggle will require an anti-imperialist vanguard party, which can spark the nearly dormant anti-war and Union movements into action. AUSTRALIAN TROOPS: OUT OF THE PHILIPPINES!

WORKERS  LEAGUE

PO Box 66 NUNDAH QLD 4012

E:workersleague@redfireonline.com

http://www.redfireonline.com

[1] http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/905605/armed-us-troops-support-afp-operations-in-marawi (09-09-17)

[2] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-08/australia-sending-troops-to-marawi-in-support-roles/8887384 (09-09-17)

[3] http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/article/2098544/what-now-dutertes-china-pivot-marawi-cements-us-importance-philippines (09-09-17)

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/23/philippine-president-rodrigo-duterte-moscow-meet-favourite-hero-vladimir-putin (09-09-17)

[5] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/22/duterte-faces-nationwide-revolt-drugs-war-killing-schoolboy/ (09-09-17)

[6] https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/28/philippines-dutertes-first-year-human-rights-calamity (09-09-17)

[7] https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/06/philippines-dutertes-bloody-and-lawless-year-in-power/ (09-09-17)

[8] http://www.globalresearch.ca/philippines-western-media-is-distorting-reality-people-and-army-unite-to-battle-isis/5600985 (09-09-17)

[9] http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/07/21/17/with-duterte-cold-on-peace-talks-npa-braces-for-hostilities (10-09-17)

[10] http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-07/us-preparing-airstrikes-against-isis-philippines (10-09-17)

[11] https://journal-neo.org/2017/05/30/the-cia-s-cloddish-isis-attack-on-duterte/ (10-09-17)

Section of Marawi showing an ISIS flag in the street. http://www.bbc.com