Free Victoria!

victoria lockdown

http://www.betterhr.com.au

30-05-2021: For the fourth time, the Australian state of Victoria has been crushed into an inhuman lockdown by compassionless politicians with the threadbare excuse of an “outbreak” of Covid-19. The restrictions imposed on 7 million people are possibly the harshest measures enforced globally since the start of 2020. Facemasks are mandatory virtually everywhere apart from inside your own home. All public gatherings, indoor or outdoor, are banned. No travel beyond a perimeter of 5 kilometres is permitted. Workers must work from home unless they are “authorised”.  Weddings are banned, and there is a 10-person limit for funerals. No religious or church gatherings are permitted if they are in person. All schools and Universities must move to remote “learning” online.[1] The bewildering list goes on and on. Victorians are expected to check a long list of “Covid exposure sites”, recall if they have visited a shopping centre, bar, restaurant, gym etc., get tested and quarantine for 14 days, or until they test negative.[2]  This nightmare scenario goes way beyond what George Orwell envisioned in his dystopian novel about future totalitarianism, 1984.

New round of job losses

At this stage, the lockdown may be lifted in seven days – but there is no certainty about that. At the very least, many workers will lose at least a week of income, and many may again be stood down or face termination. Under “Stage 4” restrictions, employees who remain employed must carry a work permit with them to attend their workplace, which must be downloaded and printed from a government website. The penalty for not having a “work permit” is up to $19, 826 for individuals and $99,132 for businesses that do not comply. Small Business Australia estimated that the lockdown would cost the state $1 billion in revenue, while the Grattan Institute estimated the losses would be $900 million. It is the working class which pays the heaviest price for lockdowns, as business owners can retain their assets while simply laying off staff. Federal Trade Minister Dan Tehan stated that workers without work can go to Centrelink to apply for emergency payments but was unable to say whether any assistance would be offered.[3]

Professor Patrick McGorry, a former Australian of the Year, said that the Stage 4 lockdowns in Melbourne have caused a 20% increase in calls for help with mental health issues, and that “the suicide risk is very serious”.[4] Previous lockdowns in Victoria had already caused a raft of intense mental health issues, such as eating disorders amongst young people. Lockdowns remove social, work and usual exercise patterns, leaving people feeling suffocated.[5] Stress, anxiety and depression are simply turbocharged, devastating wide sectors of society. Aloof politicians attempt to feign concern, by offering platitudes such as the lockdowns are “regrettable but necessary”.

Pandemic of lies

The claim that lockdowns and associated restrictions are about healthcare is preposterous. Lie after lie from politicians and the corporate media attempt to excuse the inexcusable. Lockdowns obviously cause immense suffering, and it is the working class that cops the brunt. While the existence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is disputed,[6] there can be no doubt that the only “pandemic” is a pandemic of lies. Australia’s mortality rate has hovered around 7 deaths per thousand for the past two decades, including the year 2020.[7] There never was, and is not now, a “pandemic”. What has occurred is a deliberately triggered recession so as to “reset” global capitalism.[8]  Bar none, it is the most savage attack on the working class in history. Paraphrasing Russian revolutionary leader L Trotsky, capitalism can only survive by drastically reducing the living and working conditions of the proletariat. Patently, this cannot be done without severe political repression – hence the lockdowns.

We do not hesitate to label lockdown mania as a particular form of fascism. Fascism becomes inevitable the longer the life of capitalism and imperialism is extended. The list of bourgeois democratic rights which capitalism brought in its train during its heyday is significant. Freedom of speech, the right of assembly, the right to protest, the right to a free press, the right to free expression, the right to a civil trial – all of these and more were won alongside the bourgeois struggle against feudalism. Now the system of private production for private profit is in terminal decline, so all of these rights and much more are junked as if they were so much human refuse. For these rights to return, and for humanity to survive, nothing less than the overturn of the profit system through a workers’ revolution will suffice.

For this, clear working-class political leadership is key. The traditional avenues workers have deferred to – the Trade Union officials and left parties – have so betrayed workers it is difficult to find words of description. All Union officials and almost all left organisations[9] have universally backed, and even enforced, barbaric lockdowns together with the very capitalist state they disingenuously claim to oppose. The staggering perfidy and base treachery of these “left-wing” functionaries is epoch making, for all the wrong reasons. They must be unmasked as capital’s gendarmerie.

Despite this, there is no reason to succumb to despair. The vast majority of working people detest lockdowns, facemasks and unrestricted dictatorial power waged against them. The anti-lockdown movement has been, and still is, the only thing standing between the ruling class and an even worse fate. Therefore, it is crucial that workers join and build the anti-lockdown movement as a matter of urgency. It exists in Melbourne, other states of Australia, in Europe and other parts of the globe. Within this movement, Marxists must argue for a pro-working class orientation, as a “people’s movement” is self-limiting. FREE VICTORIA!  FOR A PERMANENT END TO LOCKDOWNS!

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline

[1] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-05-27/victoria-lockdown-restrictions-on-masks-gatherings-travel-school/100169450 (30-05-2021)

[2] https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/exposure-sites (30-05-2021)

[3] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-05-30/dan-tehan-tells-out-of-work-victorians-to-head-to-centrelink/100176828 (30-05-2021)

[4] https://www.news.com.au/national/mental-health-cases-surge-in-victoria-amid-stage-four-lockdown/video/60aa3d37f79bbd519c24b6f4f6af2a8c (30-05-2021)

[5] https://www.smh.com.au/national/surge-in-eating-disorders-reveals-tragedy-of-lockdown-20201212-p56mwy.html (30-05-2021)

[6] https://yukonfreedom.com/1-2-m-reward-to-anyone-providing-an-isolated-sample-of-the-covid-19-virus/ (30-05-2021)

[7] https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/AUS/australia/death-rate (30-05-2021)

[8] https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-2020-worldwide-corona-crisis-destroying-civil-society-engineered-economic-depression-global-coup-detat-and-the-great-reset/5730652 (30-05-2021)

[9] https://redfireonline.com/2021/03/31/year-one-of-the-lockdown-left/ (30-05-2021)

Palestine: Zionist State Massacre in Gaza

gaza bombing

http://www.yalibnan.com

30-05-2021: The death toll from the latest round of Israeli state bombardment of Gaza stands at 213, including 61 children and 36 women, while 23 Palestinians have been slain in the West Bank.[1] The aftermath of the blitzkrieg by the Zionist Israeli state will be as difficult to deal with for the Palestinians as the unconscionable loss of life. The 11-day assault, which temporarily ended with a ceasefire on May 22, resulted in 800 000 in Gaza lacking access to clean water due to 50% of the water infrastructure being damaged by guided missiles. The United Nations’ (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that nearly 17 000 residential or commercial units were damaged or destroyed by air strikes, with 769 of them rendered uninhabitable. Schools in Gaza were closed, affecting 600 000 children.[2]

The conflict was partially sparked by Israeli police being sent to arrest protestors in the Al Aqsa Mosque, who they claimed were throwing stones. In response, Hamas – the militant Islamist party which rules Gaza – requested the removal of police. When this did not materialise, Hamas began launching rockets on Israeli targets. It is claimed that Hamas launched 3300 rockets towards Israeli cities and towns, which took the lives of 10 people.[3] Another trigger for the conflict were the forced expulsions by Israeli settlers in the East Jerusalem area of Sheikh Jarrah, with the tacit approval of the Israeli authorities. Since 2020, eviction notices have been served to 13 Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood. These evictions are based on a 1970 law which exclusively allows Jewish Israelis to take back land they claim to have lost before the state of Israel was established in 1948.[4] The fact that the Palestinian families have lived there ever since is virtually dismissed.

One sided war

The Israeli state attacks on Palestinians is the worst since the war of 2014, but this time there are additional factors – such as Israeli settler pogroms. In some of the towns of ’48 Palestine, such as Lydd (Lod), armed Israeli settlers have been patrolling the streets with the protection of the police, looking for Palestinians to harass or harm.[5] There were scenes of these mobs shooting at Palestinian homes and vandalising and destroying property, including Mosques. In Bat Yam, Israeli mobs lynched a Palestinian man, who was lucky to escape with his life.[6] In one incident in Haifa, an Arab driver found himself in the midst of a mob chanting “Death to Arabs”. As he tried to flee, he struck one of the rioters. He was later detained by police.[7] Even though Israeli President Netanyahu denounced the Israeli rioters, there appears to be efforts to use the Zionist mobs as auxiliary forces to the military assault.

Regardless of the launching of some crude rockets by Hamas, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is not one of “two sides”, but rather a one-sided war against an essentially defenceless population. The Zionist state of Israel has the backing of the entirety of US imperialism, with the assistance of the European Union (EU) and other Western allies. The US government supplies Israel with $3.8 billion in “aid” each year, and in 2019 all but 0.2% of this money went to the Israeli military.[8] Without this material financial/military backing, the Zionist state of Israel effectively ceases to exist, as it would be overrun the Arab masses. Palestine, on the other hand, has no military to speak of, and does not have its own state. In this unjust and one-sided war, elementary justice is on the Palestinian side, and workers the world over should stand with them against US/EU imperialism.

At the same time, there is much to be desired politically from the Palestinian resistance. Hamas’ mixture of Islam and nationalism offers no political solution, and no way forward. Firing rockets in response to the assault of the Israeli state may win it sympathy amongst suffering Palestinians, but these salvos also give the Israeli state political ammunition for their murderous acts. The conservative Fatah and the Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas cancelled Palestinian elections in late April, probably concerned that Hamas may perform strongly. Hamas labelled the indefinite postponement a “coup”,[9] which is not far from the truth. The bitter rivalry between Hamas and Fatah obscures the fact that both parties ultimately base themselves on Palestinian nationalism, which creates a barrier to Israeli and Palestinian working-class co-operation before a match has been struck.

Covid allies?

In addition, the vast majority of the Palestinian solidarity movement, especially that in the West, is mired in multiple and cascading levels of hypocrisy which beggar belief. One could well ask whether they are in fact as “pro-Palestine” and “anti-Israel” as they claim to be. For example, many of the Palestine solidarity organisations and self-proclaimed left parties who lead “Free Palestine” demonstrations do not question the risible claim that the world is enduring a “pandemic”. The very existence of SARS-CoV-2 is scientifically disputed,[10] let alone “Covid-19”. It is more likely a cover for capitalism devolving into a cruel fascism, throwing millions of workers into unemployment, and driving down living standards alongside the elimination of basic civil rights. Many left parties became known as the “lockdown left”[11] for ably assisting the state crushing innocent and healthy workers via lockdowns, facemasks and experimental vaccines. Their forceful backing of authority they otherwise claim to oppose was stark – but no more so in the case of the Israeli state. The Israeli state was arguably the most aggressive in enforcing lockdowns, as well as attempting to all but mandate the dangerous Covid “vaccine”. They enforced a Covid Green Pass which is so absolute it nearly prevents unvaccinated Israelis from being able to participate in society.[12] So if the Zionist Israeli state is over the top with Covid, according to “progressive” Palestine solidarity activists – why is it not an ally?

Axis of Resistance and Palestine

Pro-Palestine and “left” Covid practitioners ignore this obvious contradiction, which only adds another layer to their stunning sanctimony in opposing the “Axis of Resistance” (Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and others) during the imperialist war on Syria from 2011 onwards. Palestinians themselves and much of its international solidarity movement was split during the dirty war waged by the US Empire for regime change in Syria. Some Palestinians and their backers inexplicably backed the proxy war on Syria, while some Palestinian militia based in the Yarmouk refugee camp actively fought on the side of the Syrian Arab Republic,[13] Iran, Hezbollah and others against the US/EU led assault. The Islamic Republic of Iran covertly supplies Hamas with weapons and funding to resist the offensive of the Zionist Israeli state, for which Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh offered public thanks.[14] Yet many pro-Palestine solidarity organisations and left parties effectively bloc with the US Empire with their dangerous regime change provocations towards Iran.

What is more, the Zionist Israeli state has bombed Syria more than 400 times[15] since 2011, without a peep of protest from almost all of those now raising their voice against the latest Israeli bombing of Gaza. The real agenda of some Palestinian solidarity stands exposed when they vociferously oppose the Israeli state bombing Palestine, but barely lift a finger when the Israeli state bombs Syria. But it goes further. The Israeli state was exposed as providing material support, medical aid and air strike support to ISIS and Al Qaeda affiliated groups waging war against Syria for several years.[16] The Zionist Israeli state was effectively coordinating efforts with the murderous barbarian mercenary terrorists the US Empire falsely claimed to be combatting – yet none of this warranted a sprig of condemnation from most pro-Palestine left parties. Israeli state repression of Palestine is wrong, but Israeli state aid, assistance and material back up for ISIS and Al Qaeda is fine and dandy?

The Lebanese Hezbollah is likewise known for its support for the Palestinian resistance. Recently Hezbollah sent a delegation to meet with Hamas and Islamic Jihad commanders, during which they pledged “complete support” to the Palestinian resistance to the Israeli enemy.[17] Hezbollah inflicted a severe military defeat[18] on the Israeli state in 2006 when it invaded Lebanon with the express aim of wiping out Hezbollah. As decisive as the military victory was, it was also a political defeat for the US government, which backed Israel to the hilt. Despite this, many supposedly pro-Palestine leftists not only ignore Hezbollah’s deeds, but undermine it by backing anti-Hezbollah uprisings in Lebanon.[19] In short, without Hezbollah, Syria and Iran, the Palestinian resistance would not exist. Unfortunately, for many Palestinian solidarity types, acknowledging this would mean breaking with their de-facto overall backing of US imperialist foreign policy – something they are not prepared to do.

The liberal trap of BDS

Even though some Western leftists are sheepish about it, many of them abjectly fail to put forward a Marxist critique of the liberal Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Every element of BDS is an appeal to non-working class elements, and even implore the direct class enemy to “join” the campaign. “Boycott” refers to consumer boycotts of Israeli produced goods and services – which assumes that people can change the functioning of not only corporations, but capitalism itself, by choosing to consume different products. It also assumes that working class people have the time and the disposable income to investigate the source of a product, when many of them only have time for a once-a-week grocery run, let alone a shop for expensive treats.  The middle and upper classes have the luxury of time and spare wads of cash, but most workers generally do not.

“Divestment” refers to pleas direct to corporate vultures themselves to invest their millions anywhere else apart from Israel. It implies that if a corporation divests their financial interests from Israeli businesses, they are therefore no longer “bad” corporations, but very “good” ones. This is petty-bourgeois nonsense. A capitalist corporation operates by exploiting the labour of the working class and the natural environment. Its function is plunder, which is why socialists organise to expropriate corporations, or at least initially the largest ones, for public benefit. BDS “divestment” inherently recognises the right of capitalists to enrich themselves, which is anything but progressive.

“Sanctions” refers to plaintive entreaties aimed towards not only capitalist states, but the very imperialist states which provide the material, political, financial and military aid to the Zionist state itself! Its as if the open and organised imperialist states – the US, the EU, Canada, Australia etc. – can somehow be fraternal allies (!) in the struggle against “Israel”. A better definition of liberalism cannot be found. Such demands reinforce nationalist claptrap (“our government”!) amongst workers when its precise opposite – working class internationalism – is most sorely needed. If “our own” bourgeois class can improve their image by applying sanctions on “Israel”, why bother with class struggle?

Every political tactic used by Marxists must seek to raise the level class consciousness amongst workers, domestically and internationally. BDS does the direct opposite – it marshals the “people” of the world against “Israel”, when the aim should be to co-ordinate joint action by Israeli, Palestinian and international workers against capitalism and against imperialism. As much of a problem as Zionism (the ideology of an exclusively Jewish state for Jewish people) is, it can only be overcome by the removal of capitalism in Israel and Palestine. Zionism is not at all threatened by Palestinian nationalism, even when it is backed by millions of misguided solidarity activists worldwide. This is because the nationalism of a small state automatically leads to the recognition, in turn, to the nationalism of a large state. In fact, it recognises the “right” of even imperialist states to exist.

Neither the nationalism of Hamas, Fatah or BDS offers the smallest possibility of liberating oppressed Palestinians. What is required is a bi-national Arab-Hebrew workers’ state, as part of a socialist federation of the Middle East. Key to this task is the forging of Leninist vanguard parties throughout the region, which seeks to prepare a socialist revolution. As far away as that prospect now appears, the barriers of nationality and religion cannot be overcome without it.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

[1] https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/05/18/Death-toll-in-Israeli-attacks-on-Gaza-rises-to-213-including-61-children (23-05-2021)

[2] https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/05/22/UN-says-50-pct-of-Gaza-water-network-destroyed-in-recent-Israeli-raids (23-05-2021)

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/05/17/world/middleeast/israel-palestine-gaza-conflict-death-toll.html (23-05-2021)

[4] https://www.businessinsider.com/sheikh-jarrah-palestinians-challenge-evictions-and-the-repeat-of-history-2021-5?op=1 (23-05-2021)

[5] https://mondoweiss.net/2021/05/this-isnt-a-civil-war-it-is-settler-colonial-brutality/ (23-05-2021)

[6] https://twitter.com/4noura/status/1392582500359319555 (23-05-2021)

[7] https://www.timesofisrael.com/jewish-arab-violence-rolls-through-cities-like-wildfire-with-police-overwhelmed/ (23-05-2021)

[8] https://usafacts.org/articles/how-much-military-aid-does-the-us-give-to-israel/ (23-05-2021)

[9] https://apnews.com/article/hamas-middle-east-elections-religion-government-and-politics-e88636bc919f8aab455e01fbbd4b4391 (26-05-2021)

[10] https://off-guardian.org/2021/01/31/phantom-virus-in-search-of-sars-cov-2/ (26-05-2021)

[11] https://redfireonline.com/2021/03/31/year-one-of-the-lockdown-left/ (26-05-2021)

[12] https://www.timesofisrael.com/how-israel-plans-to-operate-a-covid-green-pass-and-prevent-forgeries/ (26-05-2021)

[13] https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/who-are-pro-assad-militias-syria (26-05-2021)

[14] https://townhall.com/tipsheet/spencerbrown/2021/05/22/hamas-leader-thanks-iran-for-providing-weapons-n2589853 (26-05-2021)

[15] https://ejmagnier.com/2020/02/27/israel-bombs-syria-how-long-can-this-go-on/ (26-05-2021)

[16] https://21stcenturywire.com/2015/02/19/un-report-reveals-how-israel-is-coordinating-with-isis-militants-inside-syria/ (26-05-2021)

[17] https://en.abna24.com/news/sheikh-naim-qassem-hezbollah-completely-supports-palestinian-resistance (26-05-2021)

[18] https://www.counterpunch.org/2006/10/13/how-hezbollah-defeated-israel-2/ (26-05-2021)

[19] https://redfireonline.com/2020/05/09/lebanon-colour-revolution-redux/ (26-05-2021)

Colombia: National Strike or Deadly Riots?

Duque no president

Image from Al Jazeera (Placard reads “Duque is not my President”)

22-05-2021: The riot is the rhyme of the unheard. So goes the perceptive axiom which describes the fits of repressed anger impoverished masses occasionally release on an unsuspecting body politic. Tired of being ignored and marginalised, grinding poverty and oppression becomes too much to bear, and is expressed in a collective and sometimes violent lashing out at the public and private property of their own surrounds. At least, such was the case for hundreds of years. Today, however, the riot can be unleashed by dark forces attempting to achieve political ends for which they will not or cannot wait. Stir up the youth, overlay it with dollops of progressive, humanitarian and “left-wing” rhetoric, target a conservative political figure – and let them loose. Any violence then carried out by the mobs can then be minimised, explained away or even justified as a pursuit of a noble cause.

“Progressive” rioting

The first expression of the use of violent riots by liberal forces was the #ChileDesperto (Chile Awake) actions throughout Chile in 2019. Then, burning, looting and rioting – which included the loss of life of innocent workers[1] – was covered over by an overtly nationalist upsurge which claimed to be against neoliberalism. As we wrote at the time, any wanton vandalism and criminal violence carried out by protestors – no matter how worthy the claimed cause – will naturally trigger the intervention of the armed forces, especially in Latin America.[2] Indeed, the provocation of the police and security forces appeared to be a part of the plan to discredit a conservative leader, and presumably replace them with a social-democratic one.

Yet the game changing use of “progressive” rioting came with the suspect explosion of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement over the death of African American man George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA, in 2020. Suspect because BLM went on to orchestrate campaigns of burning, looting and rioting throughout the year, which were steered towards a political goal of removing then President Donald Trump by fair means or foul. In fact, BLM led 570 violent riots for three months in 220 locations across the USA,[3] ostensibly against “systemic racism”. Mainstream liberal media outlet CNN was panned for its now infamous subtitle which stated that riots which included buildings set ablaze were “mostly peaceful”.[4] The clincher in the BLM hypocrisy stakes came when its protests and riots were virtually deemed exempt from the Covid-19 nonsense, when 1000 health “experts” signed an open letter claiming that protesting against racism was just as important as combatting the (scientifically disputed) SARS-CoV-2 virus.[5] Many thus made jokes about this coronavirus knowing how not to infect someone who was protesting against racism.

Covid cognitive dissonance

Now, “progressive” rioting comes to Colombia, with a twist. During 2020, the Colombian state imposed some of the harshest Covid lockdowns in the world, in response to a fraudulent and fake “pandemic”.[6] Not surprisingly, the lockdowns caused the already high poverty rate in Colombia to climb even higher, with unemployment doubling during 2020.[7] The police were the public face of enforcing lockdowns and were handed extraordinary powers. Police could enforce stay at home orders, prevent people from leaving home, meeting with others, or travelling.[8] This Covid repression understandably caused fury amongst many already impoverished Colombians, some of whom targeted police with reprisals. However, the latest round of riots and protests which have occurred since April 28 over a proposed tax hike on the working and middle classes,[9] do not appear to question Covid itself. In fact, many of the rioters wear facemasks while looting, setting fire to public transport, and blockading roads. How can one protest lockdown created poverty without protesting the lockdowns themselves – and therefore the plethora of Covid lies?  Behold the logic of liberalism.

The similarity of the form of riot between BLM in the US and the 2021 Colombian disturbances are rather striking. They extend into the taking of more lives than that which occurred in the US in 2020. In one instance in the capital Bogota, a mob tried to burn alive 10 police officers in a small police station.[10] In another reported instance, a police officer was stabbed to death by a mob while he was attempting to stop a riot.[11] In other words, this goes far beyond what could be normally described as protests against police brutality – even by the standards of Colombia, which has been wracked by an armed civil war going back some 60 years. Physical and armed attacks – NOT those of defending barricades or something similar – are hardly a part of a genuine political movement. A genuine political movement would put forward political demands, and try to win public support for them in the process of taking action. In Colombia today, this is virtually absent – so there must be another agenda.

Something else which is bereft of political demands is the open vandalism of public transport by the rioters. It is the case that the TransMilenio bus system in Bogota is not well regarded, given the fact that it charges high prices, is often overcrowded, and does not even serve some areas of the city.[12] However, even if the public transport is largely handed over to the private sector as a cash cow, a pro-working class or socialist response might be to attempt to occupy it and run it for the benefit of those who cannot afford private cars. Instead, today’s rioters have carried out mass vandalism on some 68 TransMilenio bus stations.[13] Further, when a dispute between bus owners and the government over the implementation of a new public transport system developed, the bus owners took their buses out of circulation in protest. Then the replacement transit vehicles, covering the routes, were attacked by the rioters.[14] To say the very least, these “protestors” seriously lack a sense of civic duty.

Road blockades cause food and fuel shortages

Even the UK Guardian, which has a track record of backing unsavoury imperialist campaigns (such as the proxy war on Syria) admits that people in Colombia are justifiably complaining about the road blockades the rioters have erected.[15] Not only have the road blockades cut access to the seaport of Buenaventura, they have caused food and fuel shortages. In some cases, the grocery bill for some poor residents has increased by 80% within a week of the blockades starting. In addition, the road blockades have meant that garbage trucks have not been able to pass – which is leading to the unsanitary situation of piles of rubbish not being collected. The blockades have led to long lines at gas stations, with the army having to move in to prevent the theft of fuel.[16] According to the Colombian government, the vandalism along with the blockades have cost the Colombian economy $1.6 billion and have prevented the transport of 700 000 tonnes of food.[17]  This alone exposes the motivations of the rioters. This is not about a tax hike – something else is going on.

Even some indigenous groups are in on the act. A report from May 10 in Cali has the Indigenous Minga claiming 12 of their group were wounded in a shooting by men in armoured trucks and SUVs guarded by police. Yet the Minga were maintaining a road blockade, which counter-protestors understandably wanted to be torn down.[18] A National Police report of the incident is even more revealing. It states that it received reports of citizens being attacked by a group of indigenous people, who looted apartments and houses in the neighbourhood, “incited terrorism”, and injured people with sharp objects, and so they had to respond.[19] Liberals the world over often sanctify indigenous people – due to their indigenous status alone. Yet while indigenous people may well face institutional discrimination in many ways, they are born and raised in the same overall political context as non-indigenous people. That is, it is generally a class divided capitalist society. Therefore the politics of indigenous people can go in any direction, in response to good, or bad, influences. In this case, it appears the Indigenous Minga have been in the presence of bad company.

So, despite the riots, the burning of buildings, the looting of businesses, the vandalism of public transport, the road blockades which cause food shortages, the attacks on police officers, the threats of intimidation against those who disagree with the disruptions – is there a progressive political message regardless? Hardly. An interview which took place on Democracy Now! should bury that body. Democracy Now!, once part of alternative media, has been tagged “Imperialism Now” for its soulless backing of the war on Syria and hysterical anti-socialism when it comes to the People’s Republic of China. True to form, Democracy Now! gives full backing to the riots in Colombia, and did not even question one of its interviewees when he effectively made an open call for the intervention of US imperialism in Colombia today. Manuel Rozental stated, “..if President Biden and his government are not just rhetoric, they have to show that they are not going to support this….the only…force and power that (Colombia) responds to is the United States….if the US stops this, it will stop fascism. If it doesn’t, they are in complicity with what is happening here.”[20] That is, please save us President Biden !!

The chaos has a common thread

From Chile Desperto in 2019, to BLM in 2020, to Colombia in 2021, the violent rioting has a common thread – George Soros. The world’s number one anti-socialist, the multi-billionaire Soros and his euphemistically named “Open Society Foundation” (OSF) are specialists in global regime change operations which inevitably work hand in hand with the deep states of US/EU imperialism. These chaotic and deadly riots (“protests”) are given a liberal ideological cover of being “against neoliberalism” (Chile) or “against racism” (BLM) or even “against fascism” (Colombia). But in each case these are fake labels. The Chilean “non-profit” Ciudadano Inteligente (intelligent citizen) is funded by OSF, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED – the public relations arm of the CIA in the US) and Oxfam.[21] BLM was handed $33 million by the OSF in 2016[22], and no doubt much more since. And Temblores, the Colombian “human rights” organisation currently disputing the riot death count with the Colombian government, is also funded by OSF, as even CNN itself admits.[23]

It is preposterous to claim that a George Soros funded “NGO” such as Temblores is simply collating statistics on the Colombian riots and demanding accountability from the government. Rather, it is part of the OSF network which is orchestrating and facilitating the violence of the impressionable youths who are being manipulated by forces whose aims are the opposite of “social justice”. The OSF operates an office in the Colombian capital Bogota, and admits to a budget of $55.6 million for Latin America and the Caribbean just for the year 2020.[24] It scarcely matters whether the Colombian President Ivan Duque is pro-US, and is even pro-Covid lockdown, which is not in dispute. Duque is conservative, and Soros wants a liberal in. When Soros does not get what he is after, the regime change riots will follow sooner or later. It is a well-designed trap, which hoodwinks much of the left.

Workers the world over need to grapple with the fact that the NGO industrial complex is not comprised of misguided souls who are trying to do the right thing. The NGO industrial complex, of which OSF is only the most well-known, is literally imperialism which has outsourced its operations. Instead of trying to win an ideological battle for capitalism, the deep states of the US and the EU utilise “philanthro-capitalists” to foment, foster, create and fund “oppositions” in any nation around the world where they see an opportunity for regime change. Just as liberalism has been used as the vehicle for lockdown fascism, liberalism can also be used as the political vehicle for deadly proxy regime change chaos. In the process, this can even make ultra-right political leaders appear as moderates!

There is no doubt that poverty and violence has plagued Colombia for decades. Yet the “Covid” lockdowns of 2020 made this even worse. Workers need to recognise that “Covid” is part of the capitalist attack, and that pro-capitalist NGOs can never be an ally. What is required is a genuine struggle for socialism, led by veritable Marxist vanguard parties, motivated by real working-class internationalism – from Colombia and Venezuela to the Americas, Asia, Africa, Europe and the world.  

 

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

 

[1] https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/401476/chile-protests-five-dead-after-looters-set-fire-to-factory (16-05-2021)

[2] https://redfireonline.com/2019/11/03/chile-nationalism-no-answer-to-austerity/ (16-05-2021)

[3] https://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2020/09/08/new-study-shows-majority-of-blm-protests-turned-violent-n2575801 (16-05-2021)

[4] https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/cnn-ridiculed-for-fiery-but-mostly-peaceful-caption-with-video-of-burning-building-in-kenosha/ar-BB18qhIU (16-05-2021)

[5] https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-monday-edition-1.5603024/over-1-000-health-experts-sign-letter-supporting-anti-black-racism-protests-despite-covid-19-risks-1.5603025 (16-05-2021)

[6] https://www.globalresearch.ca/respiratory-doctor-exposes-fake-virus-pandemic/5710274 (16-05-2021)

[7] https://edition.cnn.com/2021/05/10/americas/colombia-protests-pandemic-police-intl-latam/index.html (16-05-2021)

[8] https://www.crisisgroup.org/latin-america-caribbean/andes/colombia/police-killing-rouses-colombias-lockdown-furies (16-05-2021)

[9] https://abcnews.go.com/International/colombia-years-frustration-trigger-violent-protests-tax-proposal/story?id=77654150 (16-05-2021)

[10] Demands grow as Colombians hold eighth day of mass protests | Protests News | Al Jazeera (16-05-2021)

[11] 42 killed in Colombia protests, human rights agency says (sfgate.com) (16-05-2021)

[12] https://nacla.org/news/2019/12/03/colombia-national-protests-infrastructure-politics-dilan-cruz (16-05-2021)

[13] https://thebogotapost.com/8-days-of-the-colombian-protests-in-numbers/42545/ (16-05-2021)

[14] Latin American Herald Tribune – No End in Sight to Bogota Transit Strike (laht.com) (16-05-2021)

[15] ‘They can’t take it any more’: pandemic and poverty brew violent storm in Colombia | Global development | The Guardian (19-05-2021)

[16] https://elamerican.com/protest-vandalism-cause-shortages-colombia/ (19-05-2021)

[17] https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/reuters/colombia-president-says-security-forces-to-lift-road-blockades/46626948 (19-05-2021)

[18] Colombia: 12 Wounded in Shooting Targeting Indigenous Minga – Kawsachun News (19-05-2021)

[19] BG. Juan Carlos Rodríguez Acosta on Twitter: “Comunicado de Prensa https://t.co/F2XgQGiREj” / Twitter (19-05-2021)

[20] “Nothing to Lose”: Colombians Protest “Fascist Mafia Regime” Amid Deadly Police & Military Crackdown | Democracy Now! (19-05-2021)

[21] https://ciudadaniai.org/funding (22-05-2021)

[22] Open Society Foundations (OSF) – InfluenceWatch (22-05-2021)

[23] In Colombia’s protests, pandemic pressures collide with an existential reckoning for police – CNN (22-05-2021)

[24] Latin America and the Caribbean – Open Society Foundations (22-05-2021)