Theses on Lockdowns and Political Tasks for Socialists

Adopted by the Workers League  29-12-2020

1.After almost a year of lockdowns imposed by the ruling classes of the West, it is becoming more and more clear to many workers that the lies used to justify brutal totalitarian measures will continue throughout 2021. It is no longer credible, if it ever was, that the world is faced with a deadly plague which threatens humanity. This was never about a virus. Rather, “Covid-19” is part of a civil war launched by finance capital against workers and oppressed people.

  1. This attack, which may well have been planned and premeditated, is primarily aimed at lowering the cost of labour power. That is, it is a method used to increase capital returns of the largest private corporations at the expense of working class. This is carried out through massive job cuts and the deliberate shutting down of whole sectors of capitalist economies. While the operators of small and medium sized capital are also dramatically affected or driven out of business, this is another brazen assault on workers employed in these industries.
  1. The vast increase in unemployment is used to frighten and cower workers still employed into playing along with the false coronavirus narrative. Unemployment incorrectly attributed to “Covid-19” takes the focus away from the real culprits – the collusion between big capital and the politicians and governments who serve them. The creation of poverty through the intentional shutdown of whole sections of the for-profit economies is used to prevent the remaining employed workers from demanding decent wages and conditions – which had been under siege for the last 30 years through the “normal” functioning of capitalism in any case.
  1. The unprecedented assault on workers’ jobs, wages and working and living conditions under the guise of a “pandemic” requires the virtual elimination of elementary and basic bourgeois democratic rights. Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of movement as well as written and unwritten constitutional rights have in many cases been ignored or abolished. In some states, entire parliaments and elections were suspended. The right to invite friends and/or family into your own home is now subject to governmental approval. The right to go to a pub/tavern, to a restaurant or to a church is often prohibited or likewise subjected to a dictate. Lockdowns and other restrictions are enforced by the capitalist state – either by the police or military, or both. This is a new and particular form of fascism.
  1. Even if lockdown measures are temporarily lifted or suspended, the imperialist states can re-apply them at any time. Tracking and tracing, and a litany of ever changing and illogical rules are imposed on all apart from the wealthy elite, trashing any semblance of civil liberties. Scientifically groundless social-distancing and facemask rules are enforced and are used as another threat against working people. Workers are also being threatened with a “Covid” vaccine, “Covid” passports and national and state border closures which have no medical or scientific justification whatsoever.
  1. The main political reason for lockdowns, social-distancing, the shut-down of venues, “health” directives, the prevention of physical and social human interaction, the prevention of gatherings of any kind etc., is to prevent working people from resisting the tyrannical onslaught of big capital. The imposition of draconian dictates backed by pseudo-science has removed some political and protest movements which provided some level of systemic challenge from the streets almost entirely, e.g. the Yellow Vest movement in France. In some cases, lockdowns and other “health” restrictions have been found to be illegal and unconstitutional even by judges interpreting bourgeois law. Political parties and workers’ Unions cannot effectively operate if they are prevented from gathering by the capitalist state – arguably one of the express intentions of the ruling elite. The capitalist ruling classes want workers to become accustomed to no longer enjoying the fragments of democratic rights they enjoyed in the 20th
  1. The Union bureaucracy – largely overpaid officials – have betrayed workers on a scale which has no precedent. We do not know of any Union officials who have opposed capitalist politicians or any part of the mainstream media on the irrationality of lockdowns. In fact, Union officials have been the most ardent enforcers of the ideology and physical dictates of the capitalist state. They, above all, are aware that capitalism in crisis today requires extraordinarily repressive measures such as lockdowns – and so they are more than happy to enforce them. Due to this, Union members are split: some Union members follow the ultra-conservative leadership, while others are dissatisfied and/or confused as to why their Union leadership is openly siding with the authorities.
  1. Almost all ostensibly “socialist” parties have carried out a betrayal of workers on Covid which arguably surpasses that of August 4, 1914. At that time, socialist parties the world over – apart from the Bolsheviks – automatically backed “their own” ruling class as it led the charge into the slaughter of World War I. Today, almost all so-called left parties virtually in unison have signed up enthusiastically with “their own” capitalist governments and the entirety of world imperialism, to aid the driving of workers into the dust through brutal lockdowns and mass unemployment. They accept the bourgeois ideology of lockdowns, social-distancing, facemasks and forced vaccines without question, and act as police auxiliaries by doing everything they can to prevent workers from questioning the suppression measures. The “lockdown left” join with the Union officials in openly serving billionaire capital.
  1. The betrayal of workers by the Union officials and the lockdown left is more than matched by the conservative and nationalist political leaderships of the deformed workers’ states. The partially “communist” and “workers” parties which have usurped political power from the proletariat in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV), the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (LPDR) and the Republic of Cuba (RoC) have not hesitated to assist US/EU (European Union) imperialism implement near worldwide lockdowns. They have not apologised for politically aiding the same US/EU led imperialism which seeks to overthrow and destroy them, in a classical example of the betrayal of “peaceful coexistence” and “socialism in one country”. These distorters and vulgarisers of Marxism have not even blinked while assisting the ruling classes of the West implement a savage attack on “their” workers. While they have not fully imposed the same attack on the proletariat domestically, they have played up to a scientific and medical fantasy to deceive and mislead working people within their borders.
  1. With a few exceptions (e.g., Belarus), the governments of the non-imperialist states have also betrayed their own workers by allying directly with US/EU imperialism on the fake coronavirus narrative. The governments of the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran have entertained lockdowns, facemasks and even vaccines in the same way as US/EU imperialism has spun the deception. While operating on a different political basis to the deformed workers’ states, the political leaderships of Russia and Iran have played a role which is just as treacherous as that of the allegedly “Marxist-Leninist” administrations of the five remaining deformed workers’ states.
  1. The attempt by the government of the deformed workers’ states and the non-imperialist states to mollify and appease US/EU imperialism by proclaiming and implementing the same coronavirus lies has increased, not decreased, the extreme danger of imperialist war being launched against them. Imperialism will strike no permanent bargains or permanent deals with any state and will continue to seek to destroy non-imperialist states until and unless it is overthrown by the workers of the world. While there may be some minor disagreements amongst the ruling classes of the US and the EU, they still seek “regime change” in Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Venezuela etc. – and are prepared to risk world war to do so.
  1. The “election” of Joe Biden/Kamala Harris and the Democrats in the US – through monumental fraud – has likewise vastly increased the danger of imperialist war being launched by the Pentagon. This may be a continuation of the regime change war against Syria, or a new regime change war against a smaller non-imperialist state, or it could be a global confrontation with Russia and/or China. Liberal pillars of imperialism such as the key leaders and organisers of the lockdown left, Black Lives Matter, Antifa and the officials of the conservative Union bureaucracy are extremely likely to defend the instigation and prosecution of these wars on behalf of US imperialism, even while claiming to be “progressive” and “left-wing”.
  1. To indulge the ideology of a “pandemic”, or facemasks, or social-distancing, or tracking and tracing, forced vaccines or any Covid restriction, is the ultimate betrayal of the working class. To attempt to ensure that other workers “follow the rules” is to assist billionaire capital maintain its death grip on the world’s workers and oppressed. For alleged socialists to capitulate in any way to the fictitious Covid narrative is an open and irrevocable rupture with the basic tenets of Marxism. No socialist can claim to be left-wing in any sense while doing the bidding of the imperialist ruling classes, their politicians and the corporate media.
  1. Therefore, the position of anti-lockdown versus pro-lockdown is the class line between labour and capital. Moreover, given the dire circumstances of world capitalism, the anti-lockdown movement can be characterised as anti-fascist, while the pro-lockdown position can be characterised as pro-fascist. This remains the case irrespective of the appearance of the anti-lockdown movement largely consisting of the “right-wing” and “conspiracy theorists”, while the irrational pro-lockdown fanatics are predominantly composed of “left-wing” and liberal elements. In reality, pro-lockdown fanatics are not in any way left-wing or progressive. They have simply found themselves in a position of being more right-wing than the “right” due to liberalism politically moving to the right over the last 20 years.
  1. This is why Marxists have the perspective of building the anti-lockdown movement as deeply and as broadly as possible. Despite appearances, the vanguard of the insurgent working class is currently contained within those forces who are prepared to go to great risk to publicly defy the entirety of the ideology and politics of lockdown fascism. This is even despite large sections taking up politically misguided notions such as nationalism, spiritualism, “globalism”, and “anti-socialism/anti-communism”. Despite the prevalence of these and similar ideas, the political direction of the anti-lockdown movement directly and powerfully confronts the political and ideological decay of capitalism as it descends into lockdown fascism.
  1. Hence, the Workers League urges the building of the anti-lockdown movement as a united front. That is, we advise workers to energetically assist and participate in all meetings, demonstrations and mobilisations of the anti-lockdown movement shoulder to shoulder with all those opposed to lockdowns, forced facemasks, forced vaccines, nonsensical restrictions, economic shutdowns, border closures, state surveillance and so on. Within this united front, all political and semi-political organisations and parties should have the right to distribute their material and win others to their viewpoint and perspective. However, by no means should socialists or any other tendency subordinate their politics to any other grouping within the bloc. The united front is built for the achievement of common aims, not the political perspective of component groups or individuals.
  1. At the same time, Marxists within the anti-lockdown movement have the task of seeking out and winning over the most class aware elements to socialism. This is difficult, and must be carried out with tact, given the unfortunate fact that many workers confuse socialism with Stalinism and/or confuse globalism with socialism. The United Nations (UN), the World Economic Forum (WEF), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and so on, are multi-national capitalist institutions, and do not have one iota of pro-working class content. The Stalinist political apparatuses of the deformed workers’ states – principally the PRC – distort socialism beyond recognition even if they partially defend their socialist economies at home. It is vital to impress upon anti-lockdown proponents that socialism does not in any way mean political repression (a la Stalinism), but in fact means the liberation of the working class from tyranny.
  1. No united front is permanent, and socialists should not view the anti-lockdown movement as permanent either. At each stage, Marxists need to assess and evaluate its political direction and political achievements. If, at any moment, the anti-lockdown movement adopts radically anti-working class positions (overt racism, overt anti-Union views, overt anti-China or anti-socialist positions), then socialists should confer and decide on whether to combat the development of such views within the movement, or to leave the movement altogether.
  1. Currently, there are no significant indicators of the anti-lockdown movement developing in an anti-working class direction. Most participants come from varied political backgrounds and are motivated by anti-war and peace issues, civil liberties and democratic rights, freedom of medical choice issues, for the restoration of common law rights, for freedom of movement and so on. However, there is a possibility that the anti-lockdown movement could at a certain stage split into left and right (or more than two) wings under the impact of political developments or through repression from the capitalist state. If this were to occur, again socialists should assess the political reasons for such a split and proceed from there.
  1. For working people, there will be no permanent escape from lockdowns, or “The Great Reset” or “The New Normal” without the overthrow of capitalism in the imperialist centres, combined with proletarian political revolutions in the deformed workers’ states. At the very least, this will require the establishment of democratic workers’ councils. After a year of hammer blows from a declining and thus lawless and dangerous capitalism, there is a dire need for a working class offensive.  A vital task to help provide working class leadership now and for the coming period is the forging of internationally linked Leninist vanguard parties, sworn to uphold Permanent Revolution. To help form a bridge to workers’ councils, the Workers League will continue to propagate three demands:

(i) A six-hour work day
(ii) Public ownership of energy, infrastructure, banks
(iii) A workers’ government.

WORKERS  LEAGUE
www.redfireonline.com
E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

Free Chan Han Choi from Lockdown!

   24-12-2020: Chan Han Choi is undoubtedly a pro-socialist class war political prisoner. The Australian government imprisoned Choi under high security for almost three years in 2017 without charge. Choi is the first person ever to be charged in Australia under the Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act.[1] After nearly three years behind bars and being subjected to cruel restrictions – such as having to speak to his wife in English only and having his conversations with his lawyers listened to by authorities – Choi has been released from prison only to now be engaged in a form of house arrest until his trial takes place. Chan Han Choi originates from South Korea, (Republic of Korea – ROK) but has lived in Sydney and worked as a cleaner for over 30 years. He views the political system in North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – DPRK) as one which protects and acts in the interests of working people – which indeed it largely does.

Unjustifiable sanctions

His only “crime” was to allegedly organise some trade deals which – if they had actually occurred – would have enabled a small measure of relief from the crippling sanctions imposed on the DPRK effectively by US imperialism. During his period of detention, Choi stated his belief that the sanctions administered by the United Nations (UN) on the DPRK are fundamentally unjust and unfair.[2] Workers of the world can only reaffirm this basic truth. The UN, acting as a cat’s paw of the US Empire, imposes sanctions which themselves could be a form of genocide against the people of the DPRK. The sanctions forbid any sailing vessel or aircraft from transferring goods directly or indirectly from another country to the DPRK. An exhaustive list of materials, goods, equipment and technology are simply prohibited from reaching the DPRK. Many basic necessities are listed under “luxury items” or are listed as “dual use” – meaning they COULD be used for the DPRK’s nuclear or ballistic missile weapons programs.[3]

In reality, any electrical goods and equipment could be used for military purposes. Obviously though, they could also be used for straightforward domestic industrial and commercial purposes, and for the basic functioning of the economy. The DPRK – a heavily deformed workers’ state – has the express right to defend itself from invasion from US imperialism. This is a daily and ongoing reality for all Koreans, as a result of the repelling of the US led war on Korea in the early 1950s. The DPRK has seen what has happened to Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya if a state does not possess nuclear weapons and other ballistic missiles: it will be invaded and destroyed by Washington. The DPRK would much prefer not to have to build ANY weapons of mass destruction. Alas, it has no choice but to do so.

All lockdowns must be opposed

Without question, the campaign of solidarity to free Chan Han Choi has been organised and led by the left party Trotskyist Platform (TP)[4]. From the outset, TP have been the drivers behind the important demonstrations which help to break down the fierce anti-socialist hysteria directed against the DPRK, which in turn is a sub-set of the irrational antagonism against China (People’s Republic of China – PRC). At the same time, TP’s campaign in 2020 has a fatal flaw. TP is a card-carrying member of the lockdown left – ostensibly revolutionary left parties which allied with the very imperialist powers they claim to oppose on the fake coronavirus “pandemic”. As we wrote in August, so fervently does TP agree with the Australian government and all bourgeois politicians that the world is beset by a deadly plague of biblical proportions, TP actually make public calls for mandatory temperature testing in workplaces of more than two people, and for public housing residents to be locked down by health workers rather than police![5] Yet Chan Han Choi is himself subjected to a lockdown: prison and now house arrest. Does TP call for the release of Choi from lockdowns, but for all other workers to be locked down – due to Covid?

The lockdown left tries in vain to separate the lockdowns from all other political activity. They would have us believe that the response of the capitalist governments to a virus which is most likely one of the many coronaviruses which circulate every winter[6] is simply a “health” issue. With TP at the forefront, the lockdown left mumble about the job losses, poverty, depression, domestic violence and economic destruction – but echo government lies that this is all caused by a virus. TP would have us believe that the removal of free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of movement and the most elementary civil and democratic rights are necessary to “save lives”. They rally workers against the same politicians who are inflicting cruel punishment on Chan Han Choi – but also want us to strongly back these politicians when they prevent children from going to school or playing with their friends! The lockdowns themselves take lives[7], as that is a part of the civil war that finance capital is waging against the working class. For TP though, lockdowns enforced by cops and/or the military is actually the state trying to save your life![8]  Years of TP’s warnings about the dangers the capitalist state pose to workers have vanished into thin air.

The ideological and political Covid prostration of TP before the very bourgeois forces which not only are detaining Choi but are threatening the DPRK and the world with nuclear war, is illuminating. Workers need a consistent message. They cannot be told, on the one hand, that capitalism is their enemy, but on the other hand, be asked to fully comply with the same capitalist system when it locks them down under house arrest – with the threadbare Covid excuse. If the Prime Ministers and Presidents of the West are allies on Covid – why would they not be allies on other issues?  Why be a socialist? Why join a Union or any left party at all – if, on Covid, all we should do is obey “our own” corporate politicians and the mainstream media?

Workers should strive to support the campaign to free Chan Han Choi. But it is crucial to oppose all lockdowns and ALL aspects of lockdown terror. Chan Han Choi and the working class can only be fully emancipated once EVERY part of bourgeois ideology is defeated – not just fragments of it. Therefore we urge workers to build the anti-lockdown movement as part of an initial struggle for the reclaiming of free speech, freedom of assembly and every other right that workers need in their battles against the rule of the private banks and the stock exchange. The most class aware workers amongst those resisting the draconian dictates of the Covidian state need to be welded into internationally linked Marxist vanguard parties, to help lead the struggle for liberation from lockdowns and other relics of class society.

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

 

[1] https://www.sbs.com.au/language/english/korean-australian-chan-han-choi-appeals-for-fair-trial-as-a-political-prisoner (24-12-2020)

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/06/man-charged-over-alleged-north-korea-missile-deal-ordered-to-stand-trial-in-australia (24-12-2020)

[3] https://www.globalresearch.ca/north-korea-un-double-standards-pertaining-to-sanctions-and-their-devastating-social-impacts/5364484 (24-12-2020)

[4] https://chinarising.puntopress.com/2019/10/31/trotskyist-platform-fighting-to-free-australias-other-assange-political-prisoner-chan-han-choi-join-the-cause-191101/ (24-12-2020)

[5] https://redfireonline.com/2020/08/25/the-labour-lieutenants-of-lockdown-terror/ (24-12-2020)

[6] https://off-guardian.org/2020/12/15/the-covid-19-data-is-a-travesty/ (24-12-2020)

[7] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/seeing-the-invisible/estimating-the-true-magnitude-of-the-pandemic-and-lockdown-deaths-part-1/ (21-12-2020)

[8] https://www.trotskyistplatform.com/corporate-bosses-endanger-workers-lives-during-covid-19-epidemic/ (24-12-2020)

West Papua: Separatists Declare Fake Government

23-12-2020: Perhaps taking their cue from the declaration of a fake coronavirus pandemic[1], some Papuan separatists have recently self-declared a fake “government in exile”. From the leafy green surrounds of Oxford in the United Kingdom – where he has become a citizen – Benny Wenda declared himself the President of the Provisional Government of West Papua[2], under the effective protection of British imperialism. Not amused, immediately following the December 1 announcement from Wenda in the name of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP), the Indonesian government in Jakarta summonsed the British Ambassador with a request for the British Government to clarify its position of the declaration of a “Provisional Government” of West Papua.[3]  In the announcement Mr Wenda stated that the ULMWP now declares the Indonesian state’s presence in West Papua to be illegal, and it rejects and will not comply with any law issued by Jakarta.

“United” separatist movement?

Yet even the Papuan organisations pushing for separation from Indonesia, at whatever cost, are not all behind the ULMWP, nor behind Benny Wenda. Both the TPNPB (West Papua National Liberation Army) and the KNPB (West Papua National Committee) have rejected the declaration of self-government. Sebby Sambon from the TPNPB stated that the declaration was made in a foreign country (which it was – the UK), and that Benny Wenda could not be the President of West Papua because he is a citizen of a foreign country (which he is – the UK).[4] In addition, Benny Wenda’s self-declaration has likewise been rejected by the OPM (Free Papua Movement).[5] The TPNPB and the OPM are armed and militarised separatist organisations, while the KNPB is not.

Despite their apparent lack of arms, the KNPB, like the armed separatist forces, is not shy on issuing threats to any Papuans who work with the Indonesian government, or do not support separatist independence, or simply wish to live in peace alongside non-Papuan Indonesians. Victor Yeimo, the international spokesperson for the KNPB, recently posted a virtual death threat on Facebook aimed at the Chief of Police of Papua, Irjen Pol Paulus Waterpauw. Yeimo blamed the Indonesian military for recent deaths in the Puncak Jaya regency, but the local police chief stated that unidentified armed attackers shot two of the students.[6] Yeimo dismissed this and posted online: “Paul Waterpau…you and we are the same…you and I will die tomorrow. Death is for sure…the blood of the country boy you shed in these days is being accommodated into vengeance and curse for you….”.[7]

Dishonest independence movement

One can only imagine the response of the police of the Western governments of the US, Australia, and the UK if anyone had posted virtual death threats against high-ranking police chiefs on Facebook! They would be extremely lucky not to be arrested and detained immediately. Yet armed or unarmed Papuan separatists not only threaten the lives of police chiefs. They actually use physical violence – up to and including manslaughter – against Papuans who wish to live in peace with other Indonesians, and other Indonesians simply on the basis of their ethnicity. For example, during the riots in Wamena in September 2019, Papuan separatists turned against and began to physically attack other Papuans and Indonesians who attempted to calm them down, seeing that things were beginning to get out of hand. The attempts to placate separatist crowds unfortunately failed, and in the ensuing riot 33 people were killed, including 25 non-Papuans and 8 Papuans. 82 people were injured, including 38 Papuans and 44 non-Papuans. The separatists set ablaze 10 government offices, 351 shops, 15 motorcycles, 100 cars, 27 residential houses and the Mission market.[8] Understandably, many Wamena residents were left traumatised by the separatists’ extreme violence.

Yet, Benny Wenda and Co make the specious claim that their movement is a movement for the liberation of all Melanesians, or all Melanesians resident in West Papua. Commenting on Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Mr Wenda stated that he cannot be trusted, and that Papuans are “better off going back to where we came from. We are demographically, culturally, linguistically, part of Melanesia.”[9] Yet the dishonesty soon becomes apparent, as the example of the Wamena riots illustrate. Papuan separatists are not about uniting all Melanesians, for many of them are not at all prepared to injure or kill other Melanesians who do not support a separate state, nor those who wish to live side by side non-Papuan Indonesians. In effect, all Papuan separatist groups present all West Papuans and Indonesians resident in Papua, with an ultimatum: politically back “independence” or you could face what happened in Wamena: being burned alive or stabbed to death.[10]

The dishonesty of the West Papuan (in reality, the Indonesian provinces of Papua and Papua Barat) independence movement stems from the top. Benny Wenda himself has to re-hash ongoing lies about his background, which he uses to deceive Western liberals, and many left parties. Mr Wenda spins a deceptive narrative that he is an innocent exiled independence leader, who cannot return to his homeland because of his dedication to his political cause. The reality is not so saleable to hand-wringing humantarians in the West. Mr Wenda cannot return to Indonesia because he faces a jail term of 25 years if he does so. Why? He incited a mob to attack a police station and set of shops in Abepura in 2000, which killed one policeman and injured three others. One month after his first trial, he escaped from prison in Jayapura and fled to neighbouring Papua New Guinea, and from there fled to the UK.[11] Due to this history, Mr Wenda very carefully avoids mentioning it, or just blatantly lies, during instances such as being invited by high society to conduct an essentially bogus TED talk.[12]

Left parties bedazzled by “Free West Papua” slogan

One can possibly forgive Jennifer Robinson, who hosted Benny Wenda’s TED talk, for being spellbound by a heist such as the Papuan separatist movement. One the one hand, Jennifer Robinson, as a human rights lawyer, has served the working class by defending Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. On the other hand, Robinson has been beguiled by the tales of Papuan “oppression” allegedly at the hands of the Indonesian government, when she filed an appeal to the United Nations (UN) after the ULMWP’s declaration of a “Provisional Government”.[13] Jennifer Robinson is a lawyer accustomed to high-end clients, and thus her career ultimately demands loyalty to the establishment. However, the same could not be said for a slew of “socialist” parties who make claims to be fighting the capitalist elite, yet cannot see how they are being snared by Papuan separatists who know how to push their buttons.

Virtually all Australian left parties are transfixed by the deceptive slogan of “Free West Papua”. This includes the Socialist Alliance,[14] Socialist Alternative[15], Solidarity[16] and the Communist Party of Australia[17]. Yet Marxists do not support a separatist movement just to jump on a bandwagon. Every separatist movement must be examined carefully and weighed on its merits. For, generally speaking, socialists are in favour of larger states. In terms of economic and political development, and under both capitalism and socialism, a larger state offers economies of scale which small states cannot. Agitating and acting for a smaller separate state needs to have a mighty justification. Firstly, there has to be intractable oppression occurring on a wide scale. But is this the case in West Papua?

Rather than “oppress” West Papuans, the Indonesian government has, on the contrary, made extensive efforts to include West Papuans within the unitary state of Indonesia. Far from committing a “genocide”, the Indonesian government in fact provides free health care to all Papuans – where it is at all possible. In 2014, the Indonesian government launched Jaminan Kesehatan Nasional (JKN) – the largest single payer health care system in the world. It currently provides around 80% of Indonesians with health insurance[18] and aims to cover all Indonesians, including Papuans. Workers in Australia, and certainly in the USA, would more than welcome government provided health care.

Further, education is compulsory and free across all of Indonesia up to Year 9.[19] Secondary and Tertiary education is offered, but it is said to be competitive to enter. Papuans, along with the 300 other different ethnicities that make up Indonesia’s 275 million strong population, face no discriminatory basis for entry. While fees are charged for the higher levels of secondary and Tertiary education, there are no other barriers which prevent Papuan students from accessing any of this. Indeed, many Papuan students studying at Indonesian Universities are often the ones who agitate for West Papuan “independence” – while having their education at least partially subsidised by the Indonesian government. Given this, one can understand Indonesians feeling aggrieved that some West Papuan students then use this education to urge others to protest, or even take up arms, against Indonesia.

What is more, the Indonesian government is well into the process of striving to provide electricity across the 17 000 islands that make up the country – including West Papua. Hundreds of villages across West Papua have never previously had any access to electricity.[20] This means of course that everything closes when the sun goes down. Access to electric power also opens up the possibility of the starting of industrial and commercial activity, leading to economic development. Some of the physical terrain of West Papua is impenetrable jungle, yet the Indonesian government has prioritised the electrification project – spending millions doing so. It can scarcely be denied that the delivery of electric power enables a better standard of living across West Papua.

For independence or against transmigration?

The fine-sounding and exalted aims of “freedom” and “independence” are, in the case of Papuan separatism, part of an elaborate ruse to cover their real motivating factor – bitter opposition to Indonesian transmigration. Transmigration from Java, Sulawesi and other parts of Indonesia into West Papua is significant and causes some issues which can inadvertently disadvantage West Papuans. Yet there is no systemic or intentional attempt to drive out indigenous Papuans, nor eliminate their cultural traditions. At the time when the Indonesian government began “Special Autonomy” for West Papua, the government removed the former name “Irian Jaya”, and established regional parliaments. At that time, the flying of the West Papuan Morning Star flag was not banned. It was only later, when the flying of the flag marked armed separatist militia provocations, i.e., open war, that the Indonesian government took the step of prohibiting the display of the Morning Star flag. What appears to be an example of political repression is in fact a measure which is in place to prevent further violence.

There does appear to be some environmental problems, and problems of involuntary socio-economic marginalisation of Papuans due to the large influx of Indonesian transmigrants over many years. However, such problems can scarcely be addressed, and in fact can only be magnified, if some Papuans embark on a campaign of separatism which uses any and all means to whip up further antagonism towards Indonesia in general. For socialists, such a path is completely at odds with efforts to politicise workers in a progressive direction. Ethnic conflict, combined with hostility to those of your own ethnicity who hold a different perspective, only creates a toxic environment. It can only drive other Papuans and Indonesians further away – into the arms of the Indonesian government. Verbal denunciation, let alone threats of violence, to others who are skeptical of “independence” can only be counterproductive. Left parties internationally who cannot see this danger, and fan the flames of this self-destructive course, are being played like a deck of cards.

For Marxists, the key concern is the political and ideological development of the working class towards socialism. Needless to say, this cannot occur in West Papua if they are effectively being urged to turn against the Indonesian proletariat, which numbers in excess of 200 million workers. Issues with the Indonesian government can only be addressed through a firm alliance with Indonesian workers, and the workers of the Asia-Pacific. This can be done without unnecessarily disrupting the economic development of West Papua, which is currently being carried out by the Widodo administration. Ultimately what is required, however, is socialist development of regions such as West Papua as well as Indonesia, Australia and beyond. This posits the necessity of building Leninist vanguard parties linked internationally in a determined struggle to end all ethnic and national conflict.

WORKERS   LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.globalresearch.ca/coronavirus-epidemic-who-declares-a-global-public-health-crisis-can-we-trust-the-who/5702360 (17-12-2020)

[2] Benny Wenda: Provisional Government of West Papua won’t bow down to Jakarta – United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) (19-12-2020)

[3] Press Release: Benny Wenda ready for talks; British Ambassador summoned in Jakarta; Indonesian police and military threaten action against President Wenda – Office of Benny Wenda (19-12-2020)

[4] Free Papua Movement’s military and urban civil factions reject Benny Wenda’s government-in-exile – National – The Jakarta Post (19-12-2020)

[5] Indonesia – Declaration of new Papuan government in exile will have limited impact – Falanx Assynt (19-12-2020)

[6] Young Papuans killed in attacks in Puncak Jaya | RNZ News (19-12-2020)

[7] Victor Yeimo Minta Kapolda Paulus Waterpauw Hentikan Kejahatan Kemanusiaan – Jurnal Patroli News (19-12-2020)

[8] Update: Riot in Wamena – Chronology of events and consequences of the riot (humanrightspapua.org) (20-12-2020)

[9] Hope On the Horizon For A West Papua Free Of Indonesian Abuses – New Matilda (20-12-2020)

[10] More than 16,000 flee unrest in Indonesia’s Papua region | Indonesia News | Al Jazeera (20-12-2020)

[11] Kapolri Sebut Benny Wenda Dalang Penyerbuan Polsek di Papua (cnnindonesia.com) (20-12-2020)

[12] Chat With Jennifer Robinson & Benny Wenda – TEDxSydney (20-12-2020)

[13] Urgent UN Appeal Filed after serious escalation in threats by Indonesian government against the West Papua movement | Doughty Street Chambers (20-12-2020)

[14] West Papuan provisional government-in-exile formed | Green Left (21-12-2020)

[15] Indonesia escalates repression in West Papua | Red Flag (21-12-2020)

[16] West Papua rises up against Indonesian occupation – Solidarity Online (21-12-2020)

[17] CPA – The Guardian – #1898 (21-12-2020)

[18] Financial Sustainability of Indonesia’s Jaminan Kesehatan Nasional: Performance, Prospects, and Policy Options (healthpolicyplus.com) (21-12-2020)

[19] Education in Indonesia (wes.org) (21-12-2020)

[20] Hundreds of Villages in West Papua Now Have Access to Electricity (westpapuaupdate.com) (21-12-2020)

Stop The Great Reset!

Bitcoin News

16-12-2020: Out of the carnage wrought by “Covid” lockdowns comes the next step in the offensive of finance capital against working people and the oppressed – the “Great Reset”. The Reset can be interpreted in different ways, but the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” and “Transhumanism”, universal surveillance and constant tracking and tracing, which began under Corona lockdowns, are key components. Arguably, one of the key architects is Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum (WEF) a talk shop and front of world capitalism. Schwab’s 2016 book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), and his 2020 work, co-authored with Thierry Malleret, Covid-19: The Great Reset are manuals which do not hide the particular form of fascism which lockdown mania has engendered.[1]

Transhumanism ?

The Covid-19 pandemic of lies has given Western ruling classes a convenient excuse to implement measures that would otherwise have provoked an uproar. Ever-changing rules and restrictions, lockdowns, house arrest, the forbidding of human contact with family and friends – these and other forms of scientifically groundless[2] repression were enforced by the police and armed forces of capitalist states the world over. Unfortunately, they were also mimicked by the authorities in the bureaucratically deformed workers’ states – e.g., the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV). Yet to be implemented as part of the fake pandemic is the spectre of transhumanism, for which Klaus Schwab is the pre-eminent enthusiast.

Transhumanism is the implanting of the human body with various forms of technology, such as microchips, or perhaps even vaccines which can be read with scanners through human skin. In November, Schwab told the Chicago Council of Global Affairs that the 4IR would lead to a “fusion of our physical, digital and biological identity”.[3] This could result in scenarios out of the Minority Report sci-fi film, where law enforcement is used to arrest and detain people before they supposedly commit a crime. It could lead to a situation where people are prevented from crossing national borders following a brain scan that identifies their thought patterns as a security risk. Sounds beyond the realms of reality, but many things previously unimaginable became reality when the imperialist powers used a slightly different strain of a flu as a flimsy excuse for authoritarian terrorism during “Corona”.

Socialists are the last ones to oppose the use of technology to advance society, and in fact are its foremost advocates. However, as long as the working class does not have its hands on the reigns of state power, the capitalist ruling classes will use advances in technology for their advantage, and no one else’s. If technological advances allow capitalist state authorities to track and trace workers, to determine their ideological and political identities in an instant, to block “undesirables” (such as those who refuse what is most likely an extremely dangerous and experimental Covid vaccine) from accessing public transport or travelling overseas, then they will do it. The further the system of production for private profit drags society down, the greater the degree of political repression is required by the ruling elite. While technological improvements can make some aspects of workers’ lives easier, the agents of big capital can also use them for merciless tyranny.

Liberal capital leads the offensive

“Covid-19”, “The New Normal” and now “The Great Reset” are key elements of entirely bourgeois propaganda which shrouds the sustained and vicious assault by the stock markets and the banks on working and oppressed people. The driving of workers into poverty either through direct job cuts or driving down the remaining working conditions where jobs still exist, combined with political and psychological terror, are supposed to be accepted and even embraced as the way things are now. Under the guise of a virus so deadly 99.98% of people survive it, working people endure suppression and humiliation that would make even the Nazis blush. Yet the ruling class cannot rule without hoodwinking the masses into believing that their suffering is good for society. So it is with the Reset.

Thankfully, not all workers are fooled. Many of them are aware that the billionaires have vastly increased their wealth during Corona, exposing the pandemic as fraudulent once again. Billionaire wealth in fact reached a record 10.2 trillion dollars[4] during the 2020 lockdowns, while millions lost their jobs in the first world, and many more lost their livelihoods altogether in the third world. This staggering inequality will continue under the Great Reset, an extension of the nightmare of lockdowns. The Reset must be resolutely opposed by workers internationally, along with the lunacy of Covid restrictions.

The fact that the Covid lockdowns and now the Reset is being championed by woke or liberal capital, such as billionaire Amazon Fuhrer Jeff Bezos, does not at all indicate any trace of a socialist agenda – as some in the anti-lockdown movement mistakenly believe. While it is true that top Union officials, the Democrats/Joe Biden, liberal mainstream parties, Black Lives Matter, Antifa and the so-called left spearheaded the anti-working class Covid lockdowns, this is NOT politically progressive in the slightest. By a quirk of history, the forces of liberalism are now more reactionary than the forces of conservatism. In fact, one could argue that fascism today has abandoned conservatism and has employed liberalism as its vessel of choice.[5]

In addition, workers must not be drawn into the illusion that the Great Reset is “socialist” because it is being led by “globalists”, such as the United Nations. It only appears “globalist” because the capitalist ruling classes work together internationally with their class (such as coordinating lockdown terror) as a matter of course. Alas, it also appears “globalist” due to the betrayal of the governments of the deformed workers’ states (principally the People’s Republic of China) along with the governments of the non-imperialist powers (principally Russia) and the non-imperialist states (principally Iran). These governments (not their workers) have played up to the fear pandemic narrative, in a vain attempt to ingratiate themselves with imperialism itself. The Great Reset, however, is the continuation of the Covid-19 capitalist assault, and can only be countered through international resistance, including the forging of Marxist vanguard parties which fight against lockdowns and for workers’ power.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

 

[1] Klaus Schwab & His Great Fascist Reset – OffGuardian (off-guardian.org) (13-12-2020)

[2] Lockdowns Don’t Work. That’s What The Science Says. | News Talk 550 KFYI (iheart.com) (13-12-2020)

[3] Klaus Schwab: ‘Great Reset’ Will Lead to Transhumanism – Nwo Report (13-12-2020)

[4] We Just Witnessed the Greatest Transfer of Wealth In History Thanks to COVID – The Great Reset is Next (healthimpactnews.com) (14-12-2020)

[5] On liberalism and fascism – organic radicals (wordpress.com) (14-12-2020)

Release Julian Assange from Lockdown!

12-12-2020 – Julian Assange, the founder of the whistleblowing Wikileaks organisation, informed his supporters at the start of this year that he is “slowly dying”.[1] Guilty of nothing but journalism, Julian Assange remains in Belmarsh Prison in the United Kingdom (UK), in a wing reserved for those accused of the worst forms of terrorism. Years of detention inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London had already taken a severe toll, but this has been followed by prolonged solitary confinement for 22 or 23 hours a day. Solitary confinement is psychological torture[2] under any definition of the term, which is an open abuse of the rights of prisoners in supposedly democratic states. Julian Assange is a Walkley journalism award winner, but also the first journalist to be prosecuted as a spy by the US government under its 1917 Espionage Act. It is unfortunately no coincidence that this act was introduced by the US government for the prosecution of socialists and anti-war activists at the time of tremendous influence of socialism in the months prior to the October Revolution in Russia in the same year.[3] For, just over 100 years later, imperialism is once again driving workers towards revolution if only to free themselves from the state repression against which Julian Assange had issued dire warnings.

Intimidation the aim

The severe and prolonged physical and psychological torture being meted out to Julian Assange has the aim of intimidating anyone else who is considering exposing the blatant crimes of Anglo/US imperialism, at home and abroad. Another aim is to remind workers that “democracy” and all its trappings has extremely strict limits in the year 2020 and can even be removed if the super elite sees fit to do so. Some semblance of freedom of the press may have been tolerated by Western ruling classes to an extent during the 20th century – but these rights have only cursory observation today. The further world capitalism declines economically, the more it must increase the amount and the severity of political repression of “their own” working people.

During 2020, Anglo/US imperialism has utilised the cover of a fake pandemic to launch the most severe attack on the working class since the 1930s. We are expected to believe that the very same people who waged cataclysmic war on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria taking the lives of millions in the most brutal manner imaginable – are now primarily concerned with “saving lives”. We are expected to believe that the very same people who have subjected Julian Assange to inhuman torture for at least 10 years because Wikileaks exposed their criminality – are now doing their utmost to protect democratic and human rights. We are expected to believe that the very same people who have savagely defunded public healthcare systems for more than 30 years – are now most keenly concerned to avoid public hospitals being overwhelmed. More than anything else, Julian Assange was sickened by such boundless hypocrisy, and was prepared to risk his life to expose it.

Colossal hypocrisy of the lockdown left

The hypocrisy of finance capital and their governments which enforce its rule through Covid-19 fraud[4] is not only matched, but exceeded, by the hypocrisy of the lockdown left on the issue of the detention, i.e., lockdown, of Julian Assange. The lockdown left refers to “socialist” parties, Union officials and liberal social-democrats who swear blind that they uphold progress, humanitarian values or even socialism and Marxism – but in practice have moved so far to the right that they are today outflanked on the left by the entire spectrum of supporters of US President Donald Trump, QAnon followers, “anti-vaxxers”, and those concerned about the danger of radiation from 5G telecommunications towers. The lockdown left is oblivious to the fact that it has practically merged with the capitalist state as it descends into a tyranny which arguably exceeds that of the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s.

In 2010, the lockdown left mobilised as one to defend Assange, for, at that time, Wikileaks was exposing the crimes of the US Empire in its wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. However, the instant that Wikileaks began to expose the war of regime change on Libya, followed soon after by the war of regime change on Syria – the lockdown left dropped Julian Assange like a hot potato. According to them, exposing the war crimes of Republican President Bush was fine and dandy – but exposing the war crimes of then Democrat President Obama and then Secretary of State Hilary Clinton? Well, that was just too left-wing for them. For eight long years, the lockdown left said and did virtually nothing while Assange was held hostage in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Then, when Assange was expelled from the embassy and faced being extradited to the US to face a virtual death sentence – the lockdown left sheepishly and very cautiously found their voice again. That is to say, only when liberals outflanked them from the left, did the “Marxist” lockdown left change their tune.

Today, the lockdown left calls for the release of Julian Assange from lockdown, but strongly defends government lockdowns against almost the entire population under the ludicrous claim of a “pandemic”. They are not able to see that their own actions in defending lockdowns and facemasks has lent political legitimacy to the capitalist state – which has then used this endorsement to dramatically increase severe political repression against workers, and against Julian Assange above all. This is not just a matter of the political bankruptcy of the lockdown left, and most especially the overpaid Union officials who have basically not lifted a finger to help free Assange. What this also means is that the campaign to free Julian Assange will not succeed unless it opposes all facets of the imperialist offensive today; from the barbarous detention of Assange, to the Covid lockdowns, to forced Covid vaccines, to mass unemployment, to the abolition of the right of assembly, to the abolition of free speech via Big Tech censorship, to imperialist war provocations against Russia, China, Iran and so on. Freedom for Assange and freedom from lockdowns are therefore directly linked with a struggle for collectivised and planned economies, led by a vanguard party committed to working class rule.

WORKERS   LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012     


[1] https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2020/01/julian-assange-says-hes-slowing-dying-in-prison-during-christmas-eve-phone-call-report/ (10-12-2020)

[2] https://www.michaelwest.com.au/torture-of-julian-assange-by-australian-governments-sends-powerful-message-to-whistleblowers/ (10-12-2020)

[3] https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/u-s-congress-passes-espionage-act (10-12-2020)

[4] https://off-guardian.org/2020/11/17/covid19-evidence-of-global-fraud/ (11-12-2020)

Western Sahara: Polisario’s Degeneration Reignites War

Map from Deutsche Welle

   06-12-2020: Fighting recently broke out in Western Sahara after numerous years of relative peace between Morocco and the Polisario Front, the self-claimed leaders of the self-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). Polisario disingenuously claims that Sahrawis were simply engaging in peaceful protest in the Guerguerat buffer zone close to the southern border with Mauritania. Like so much of Polisario’s rhetoric over the past 30 odd years, it is packed with brazen untruths. Polisario and its militias were in fact harassing MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) personnel, committing “acts of banditry”,[1] and blocking the movement of people and goods on the road.[2] The UN has explicitly called on Polisario to cease these violent provocations at the Guerguerat buffer zone in Resolution 2440, passed two years ago.[3]

“Liberation” struggle gone wrong

Some left parties cling to the issue of Western Sahara from decades past, romanticising it into a struggle of an “oppressed” and “occupied” people against some kind of colonial overlord. While there may have been some justification originally for ensuring the rights of Sahrawis were not ignored by being absorbed into Morocco in 1975, these times have long since elapsed. One major reason for the diversion of the Sahrawi cause is the degeneration of the Polisario Front, with a leadership that can now only be described as politically corrupt and ethically bankrupt. This is fast being recognised by its former allies. During the 70s and 80s, the SADR was recognised by the governments of a whole host of former colonial countries, as well as progressive or socialist oriented governments of the time, such as Libya and Cuba. At that time, Polisario had at least a nominal or partial commitment to socialism. Since then, any shred of progressive politics has faded into a dim and distant past, to be replaced by a seeming commitment to Western backed “Islamic” terrorism.

One could argue that Polisario has now become a branch of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM). AQIM has for some time openly recruited amongst Sahrawi youth in the Tindouf refugee camps operated by Polisario in Southwestern Algeria.[4] This is officially denied by the Polisario leadership, yet  other sources indicate Polisario has also been offering safe haven to AQIM, and even organising convoys that supply AQIM with food and weaponry.[5] It seems to be a case where, running out of allies, Polisario has abandoned any sense of principle and latched onto AQIM, or Boko Haram, Al Shabaab and other Western backed proxy forces creating chaos across Africa with the aim of disrupting co-operation between African countries and Russia and China.[6] Mindful of the danger of being seen to be supporting any kind of terrorism, dozens of former allies have formally withdrawn recognition of the SADR. Since 2000, 34 countries have abandoned the SADR, including 9 Carribean nations.[7]

One significant reason why Sahrawi youth take up the offer of joining AQIM is simply to escape detention by Polisario in the Tindouf camps. Reportedly, Polisario only allows one car every 20 days to drive out of the camps. There are also repeated claims of the torture of Sahrawis, not by Moroccan troops, but by Polisario.[8] It’s one thing to carry on an armed struggle for your people against a supposedly colonising power, but it is another thing entirely to harm or torture the very people you are allegedly fighting for. There are also no jobs, virtually no economy, and therefore no future in the Polisario run camps. In addition, Polisario dramatically prevents freedom of movement of Sahrawis – so the temptation to join AQIM to escape is sometimes too much to resist.

Embezzlement, slavery, abuse of women

There is a severe lack of democratic rights for Sahrawis under Polisario enforced detention. One reason for this is the systematic and ongoing embezzlement of humanitarian aid for Sahrawi refugees in the Tindouf camps which flows from Europe. Polisario claims that the numbers of Sahrawi refugees are between 155 000 to 170 000, whereas neutral observers estimate the figures are more likely to be between 70 000 and 90 000. Humanitarian aid for over 150 000 arrives, and the surplus is simply pocketed by Polisario to fund their war against Morocco. As a result, according to the UN, 40% of Sahrawi children in the camps suffer from a lack of iron, while 32% suffer from a lack of nutrition.[9] Further, male adult Sahrawi refugees are often forced by Polisario to serve in their armed forces in return for some portions of the food aid – a clear case of extortion.

There are also persistent claims that slavery is still practiced and overseen by Polisario in the refugee camps they administer. In 2009, a controversial documentary film called Stolen was produced and released by two Australian film makers, Violeta Alaya and Dan Fallshaw. The film displays the evidence they came across to indicate that slavery still takes place in Western Sahara, with the connivance of Polisario. In response, Polisario began an international campaign to discredit the film, even going to the extent of flying one of the female interviewees in the film to Australia to denounce the film’s “misrepresentations”. Five years later, Human Rights Watch released a 94 page report, Off the Radar: Human Rights in the Tindouf Refugee Camps. It found that while slavery in Western Sahara is not widespread, it still persists in Tindouf and other parts of Western Sahara administered by Polisario.[10] Stolen producer Tom Zubrycki claimed that the report had vindicated the film, and was proud that some pressure had been applied to Polisario to commit to end the practice.[11]

The rights of women in the Tindouf camps are the subject of repeated calls on Polisario and the Algerian government to act. Accounts of rape, forced childbirth, detention against their will, forced marriages, deprivation of liberty repeatedly come to the surface. Not only women but Tindouf residents lack the right to employment, the right to food and medicine, and the right to freedom of movement. Women though, appear to largely live in a state of servitude, relegated to forced domestic chores. Even European MEPs (Member of the European Parliament) have openly called on Polisario to cease the diversion of humanitarian aid intended for Tindouf Sahrawis, and to address the “deplorable” situation of women in the camps.[12] Polisario instead turns a deaf ear.

National liberation?

Let us suppose, for argument’s sake, that Polisario was not guilty, or was not involved, in any political or criminal misconduct. Let us imagine (despite a wealth of evidence to the contrary) that Polisario was NOT involved in banditry, slavery, terrorist links to Al Qaeda, suppression of the democratic rights of Sahrawis, arbitrary detention and the abuse and degradation of women. Could workers then extend a measure of political support? Not at all. Why? Because aside from all of these rather major concerns, the politics of Polisario is almost completely barren, and devoid of any kind of progressive ideology. From all appearances, it has but one position: separatist independence. More to the point, it is separatist independence regardless of the consequences. On its own, this is not left-wing, and nor is it anti-imperialist. In fact, it almost always leads to a dependence on imperialism.

Moreover, not all Sahrawis support Polisario. Yet even if Polisario did not have any politics outside of a military struggle for separatist independence (and was not involved in brazen criminality), it could still be possible for Marxists to offer some kind of support IF the case of Western Sahara was a genuine cause of national liberation. That is to say, IF Western Sahara fulfilled the Marxist criteria for nationhood, and IF rule by Morocco resulted in the severe and ongoing suppression of the various types of national rights, and IF absorption into Morocco produced intractable obstacles to common class struggle between Sahrawis and Moroccans – then advocacy by Leninists of self-determination for Sahrawis MAY be applicable. However, in the real world, none of this is even remotely the case.

In the first place, Western Sahara does not fulfill the basic elements required for recognition of a nation according to Marxist criteria. JV Stalin, in a work which was edited line by line by VI Lenin[13], outlined four basic criteria for nationhood, those being 1. A common territory 2. A common language 3. A common economy and 4. A common culture. All four factors must be present before Marxists can recognise a nation, and even then, it is not automatic that socialists demand the exercising of the right to self-determination. Marxists have a negative national program generally, for the simple reason that the advocacy and/or exercise of the right to self-determination, up to an including separatist independence, is subordinate to the overall political development of the working class.

Marxists are not for splitting large states into smaller states for the sake of it. In fact, generally speaking, Marxists advocate larger states and even amalgamation of states into a larger entity because this scenario is more advantageous to working class struggle across nations against capitalism – which uses nationalism for its own interests. One factor which makes working class political struggle easier is a common language. In the case of Western Sahara, we find that Sahrawis speak and write in the same languages as Moroccans (Berber or Arabic), given that they both originated from the same Saharan region. What is more, the local Hassaniya Arabic dialect of the Sahrawis is recognised in Morocco’s constitution.[14] Culturally, Sahrawis and Morrocans share the same religion – Sunni Islam. So, even on linguistic and cultural grounds, it would make little sense to separate from Morocco while speaking the same language, and observing the same religion.

Western Sahara does not have its own economy either. Its economy is administered by the Moroccan government, and thus it is the major source of employment and the only source of social spending and infrastructure development.[15] The Moroccan government has since 1975 spent billions of dollars developing the economy of Morrocan Sahara, and has even provided benefits to Sahrawis living there which are not available to other Morrocans, such as no taxes![16] To say the least, this is hardly indicative of Morrocan “oppression” of Sahrawis. Not surprisingly, large numbers of Sahrawis (who are not trapped in refugee camps), move into Morrocan administered areas to live and find work. While there, they fully take part in the Morrocan national culture and political life – including through voting in local and regional Moroccan elections. Indeed, descendents of Sahrawi tribes are not only eligible to vote in Moroccan elections, but also to stand as candidates.[17]

The fate of ethnic nationalism

Moreover, since 2007, the government of Morroco has offered a high degree of administrative and policy autonomy under its sovereignty.[18] Polisario has consistently rejected the offer of autonomy, and still holds that the final status of Western Sahara should be decided by a referendum. With common territorial, cultural, linguistic and economic characteristics, Polisario is instead insisting on a purely ethnic based nation, or part of a nation. This is not acceptable even in bourgeois terms, let alone in proletarian terms. A state based only on ethnicity is not only a relic of medieval times – it sets up multiple barriers to the development of working-class consciousness and, therefore, progress towards socialism. One significant reason for this is that ethnically based states, or attempts to establish them, very quickly become politically dependent on imperialism, regardless of their intentions. They can then be easily be manipulated by imperialism, using a thousand subterfuges. Imperialism only backs ethnically based separatist movements if it can use it to its own advantage. Such is the case with the attempts to erect a Kurdish ethnic state in Iraq and Syria, or the efforts to launch an ethnically based Papuan state of “West Papua”.

Workers internationally cannot extend political support to the Morrocan government either, but it would be wise for Sahrawis to accept some form of autonomy for Western Sahara in an effort to preserve what remains of Sahrawi culture. The Moroccan government demonstrates no intention to prevent this from existing and even developing. Then, some level of economic development can flow through to all areas of Western Sahara, which would lead to the initiation and growth of a proletariat. This joint Sahrawi/Moroccan proletariat can then extend its hands to the workers of Mali, Mauritania and Algeria with the ultimate aim of laying the foundations of a socialist federation of West Africa. Key to this perspective is the forging of a network of workers’ vanguard parties utilizing the theory of Permanent Revolution to fight for collectivised, integrated and planned regional economies – forever eliminating the historical legacies of colonialism on the African continent.

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com


E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

 

 

[1] Conflict Reignites in the Western Sahara — IR INSIDER (03-12-2020)

[2] Morocco Responds To Polisario Front Provocations In Guergarate Buffer Zone (modernghana.com) (03-12-2020)

[3] Security Council Adopts Resolution 2440 (2018), Authorizing Six-Month Extension for United Nations Mission for Referendum in Western Sahara | United Nations Peacekeeping (03-12-2020)

[4] How Is the Polisario Connected to Al- Qaeda? | Sahara Question (sahara-question.com) (05-12-2020)

[5] S.E. Cupp Explains the Not-So-New Al Qaeda Threat in the Maghreb – TheBlaze (05-12-2020)

[6] https://redfireonline.com/2020/11/15/nigeria-black-lives-matter-aids-us-meddling-in-africa/ (05-12-2020)

[7] Jamaica withdraws recognition for Western Sahara – Middle East Monitor (05-12-2020)

[8] Detained Sahrawis Complain of Torture in Prison in Tindouf Camps (moroccoworldnews.com) (05-12-2020)

[9] Embezzlement of European Humanitarian Aid continues in Tindouf camps in Algeria | News Ghana (05-12-2020)

[10] https://www.ecoi.net/en/document/1104727.html (05-12-2020)

[11] https://www.if.com.au/vindication-for-stolen-filmmakers/ (05-12-2020)

[12] https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2020/09/319345/sahrawi-ngo-decries-enslavement-of-women-in-algerias-tindouf-camps/ (05-12-2020)

[13] https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1913/03.htm (05-12-2020)

[14] The threat of separatism in Africa (the-star.co.ke) (05-12-2020)

[15] https://www.economy.com/western-sahara/indicators (05-12-2020)

[16] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/talkingturkey/ties-that-bind-morocco-genuinely-cares-about-sahrawis-unlike-those-using-sahrawis-as-mere-pawns/ (05-12-2020)

[17] https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2016/10/198454/moroccos-elections-debunk-myth-marginalization-sahrawis/ (05-12-2020)

[18] https://www.mei.edu/publications/how-autonomous-autonomy-western-sahara-dispute-bind (05-12-2020)