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. 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.
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. 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.
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). 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! 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 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, 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! 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.
23-12-2020: Perhaps taking their cue from the declaration of a fake coronavirus pandemic, 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, 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. 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). In addition, Benny Wenda’s self-declaration has likewise been rejected by the OPM (Free Papua Movement). 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. 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….”.
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. 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.” 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.
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. 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.
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”. 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, Socialist Alternative, Solidarity and the Communist Party of Australia. 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 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. 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. 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.
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.
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 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”. 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 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.
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.
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”. 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 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. 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 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.
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”, and blocking the movement of people and goods on the road. The UN has explicitly called on Polisario to cease these violent provocations at the Guerguerat buffer zone in Resolution 2440, passed two years ago.
“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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.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.
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. Polisario instead turns a deaf ear.
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, 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. 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. 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! 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.
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. 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.
29-11-2020: Little more than 11 months after the US Empire assassinated Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) General Qassem Soleimani, the Islamic Republic of Iran announced one of its top nuclear scientists had been assassinated. The Iranian Ministry of Defense stated that armed terrorists attacked Mohsen Fakhrizadeh and his security protection team, after which he was transported to hospital, but was unable to be saved. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack as yet, but it occurs on the back of rumours that US President Donald Trump would launch a strike on Iran before he leaves office on January 20 (despite a fraudulent poll where a litany of election laws were ignored and statistically impossible outcomes suspiciously delivered a “result” in favour of the Democrats). Adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and military leader Hossein Deghan accused the state of Israel of trying to provoke a full-blown war in the last days in office of their US ally. Hossein Salami, an IRGC Commander posted on Twitter that “..the assassination of nuclear scientists is the most obvious violent confrontation of the imperialist system to prevent us from gaining access to modern science”.
British-Australian operative released in prisoner swap
This cowardly act of war against Iran comes hot on the heels of the release of Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a British/Australian academic who was sentenced to 10 years in jail in Iran for espionage. Ms Moore-Gilbert was released in exchange for three Iranians detained elsewhere. The case of Moore-Gilbert is being used by the Australian government and its compliant corporate media to ramp up even more hostility to Iran, even though it is evident that the Iranian government had ample grounds for their charges of espionage. Ms Moore-Gilbert had worked as a lecturer at Melbourne University, and had attended a conference in Qom in 2018. It was at that time that Moore-Gilbert was detained and later charged and convicted of espionage, and given a 10 year sentence. Moore-Gilbert has always denied the charges, but never has she, nor the corporate media, nor the Australian government, ever explained what she actually did in Iran. If she was innocent of spying, why not tell the whole story?
This refusal to explain should sound loud alarm bells. It is plausible that Moore-Gilbert was not employed or paid by the Australian government to spy on Iran. It is possible that Moore-Gilbert was yet another liberal academic who consciously or unconsciously allies herself with Australian, and therefore British and US imperialism, in their non-stop attempts to force regime change in Iran by any means. In 2019, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi stated that Moore-Gilbert was arrested on a charge of violating Iran’s national security by spying for another country. This other country is the Israeli state, and given the history of the Israeli governments’ relentless war provocations against Iran, it is entirely understandable for the Iranian government to take extreme precautions. The Sydney Morning Herald fatuously claimed that the Iranian government detained Moore-Gilbert after discovering she was in a relationship with an Israeli citizen, and was backed by the US government operated Human Rights Watch and the Australia-Israel Jewish Affairs Council. From this it is not a large leap of logic to conclude that Moore-Gilbert was indeed at least aiding the Zionist Israeli state, and the Islamic Republic of Iran was justified in protecting itself from the possible consequences. Inane whining from the liberal pro-imperialist intelligentsia about how the “regime” (they are not able to deign themselves to refer to it as a government) in Iran is allegedly “oppressive” is always used by Anglo/US/AUST imperialism as political capital for catastrophic regime change war.
Iranian government rolls out “pandemic” pantomime
What the government of the Islamic Republic could be justifiably criticised for is enacting its own scientifically groundless lockdowns and medically absurd facemask mandates, which mirror the actions of the imperialist governments targeting them for destruction. From November 21, the Iranian government moved to close 150 cities on partial or full lockdown, with even a ban on cars entering or exiting. The aping of the actions of the imperialist ruling classes against their own workers is a major error, one perhaps carried out to assuage the relentless war campaign against it from the West. Alas, if anything, this has only encouraged the imperialists to step up their war moves. Imperialism cannot be appeased, no matter how many times non-imperialist governments act in the same way and adopt public policies identical to the governments of the US/NATO/EU Empire. Imperialism cannot tolerate any degree of independence, even one which seeks to replicate some of its own practices.
Despite this, it is in the vital interests of working people the world over to defend the Islamic Republic of Iran against a Western led war of regime change. Iran’s role in militarily assisting the defeat of US imperialism in Syria was heroic, and vital because the Iranian government understood that if Washington/London/Paris was able to overthrow Syria, it would itself be next. Iran does not have nuclear weapons capability, but it must have the sovereign right to develop any energy source it requires – including nuclear generated electricity. The repeated assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists at the hands of the West, combines with medieval siege type sanctions to nearly break the Iranian economy. Workers must demand the lifting of all sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran, along with the immediate cessation of any assassinations and war provocations by the West.
Despite the laudable victories of the IRGC as part of the Shia Resistance bloc (Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Yemeni Houthis), Anglo/US/NATO imperialism ultimately cannot be defeated militarily. It will take an international socialist struggle against COVID-19 lies, “the Great Reset” and its accompanying imperialist wars of conquest. The forging of Marxist vanguard parties based on Permanent Revolution throughout the Middle East and internationally remain key to the first steps towards undermining the destructive power of the international system of private profit for private gain. NO WAR ON IRAN!
22-11-2020: Governments the world over are bending over backwards to either produce or obtain an alleged vaccine which will supposedly inoculate the entire world’s population against Covid-19. After around 8 months of brutal and inhumane lockdowns, mandatory facemask orders and absurd social-distancing edicts, we are being offered the chimera of the end of this madness IF you subject yourself to a vaccine which has been produced at warp speed. Usually, at least 15 years of design, testing and assessment is necessary before a vaccine is ready for human usage, but the Covid vaccine will putatively be ready to roll in six months. Skeptical? You should be.
Has the virus been isolated?
We were already aware that the Covid “pandemic” is a nothing burger, and the use of the term in relation to it a linguistic travesty. Yet now there is some evidence emerging that the SARS-CoV-2 virus may not have been isolated and purified. If this is true, then not only does SARS-CoV-2 not exist as such, it also means there may be no Covid-19 respiratory illness which is allegedly one result of coming into contact with SARS-CoV-2. A stunning report from Spanish medical researchers reiterated that there cannot be a test for a virus without knowing the components of the virus trying to be found. The components for the virus are not known UNLESS it has been isolated and purified. There is no hard evidence that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been isolated and purified – therefore there is no test which can detect it. The RT-PCR “test” which has been used to “detect” SARS-CoV-2 is likely to pick up fragments of numerous microbes. Under some circumstances, anyone can test positive!
This raises enormous issues for the design and production of a vaccine for Covid. If the virus has not been isolated, how exactly will a vaccine work at all? Moreover, is SARS-CoV-2 still circulating? As far back as May this year, the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute was concerned that there was a 50% chance of no Covid vaccine being developed at all. Why? Because even back in May, the virus was already disappearing! This follows the trend of virtually all flu viruses – it spreads by “infecting” many people for 5 to 6 weeks, it reaches a peak, and then falls away rapidly as natural or community immunity is obtained. It is becoming more and more apparent that SARS-CoV-2 may well be simply a part of the combination of cold and flu coronaviruses that come around each winter.
The difficulty with producing a vaccine for Covid also stems from the fact that influenza viruses shift and drift their genomes each year, so immunity from last year’s batch may not confer immunity from this year’s. Like the general flu vaccine which does not give you any guarantee that it will stop you from getting the flu, this means that a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is difficult to develop and probably ineffective in the best case – or completely worthless. This has not stopped Big Pharma from trying – seeing billions of dollar signs. Big Pharma mega firm Johnson & Johnson, however, had to pause its Covid-19 vaccine trials due to an “unexplained” illness in one of the trial participants. Johnson & Johnson of course refused to reveal the details, claiming the need to protect privacy. In the case of the Oxford-AstraZeneca trial, though, they could not hide the fact that one of the Brazilian volunteer trial subjects died during testing. Despite this, without breaking step, Oxford-AstraZeneca continued the trial. Needless to say, rushing the development of vaccines, which necessitates cutting corners by Big Pharma corporations with a track record of deception and outright criminal conduct, is literally playing Russian Roulette with human health.
For democratic rights
The Covid vaccine nightmare may become a reality – and it may be mandatory. The sheer absurdity of forcing people to be injected with a vaccine that is probably useless at its claimed intention should be obvious. Add to this the possibility of injury and death that may result, and the legal indemnity of the Big Pharma producers under any circumstance – and the farce becomes diabolical. Basic democratic rights state that all people should consent to any medical treatment at any time. Unfortunately, basic democratic rights have been the first casualty of the coronavirus fear pandemic, and working people are going to have to fight to win them all over again.
“Covid-19” is in practice a civil war launched by the billionaire class against working and oppressed people. In this sense, a Covid-19 vaccine is neither scientific nor medical, but ideological and political. A Covid vaccine may well be used for surveillance, and evidence of vaccination may be required to travel, to use public transport, or even to gain employment. The ruling class is deliberately fostering and fomenting conflict between the Covid believers and Covid skeptics, between lockdown fanatics and lockdown resisters. The class lines are now crystal clear – for Covid and with imperialism, or against Covid and with the resistance.
Imperialism has employed rabid and willing assistants – some paid, some unpaid. Big Tech, Big Pharma, Union officials, liberals, Black Lives Matter, Antifa, Hollywood, Extinction Rebellion, and left parties who unironically claim to be “socialist” – all now stand on the wrong side of history. Unfortunately, they are joined by the governments of the non-imperialist bloc (Russia, China, Iran, DPRK, Vietnam, Cuba etc.), who have likewise betrayed their own working class by entertaining Covid and even enforcing their own lockdowns. The Covid resistance, on the other hand, stands on the side of hope, progress, and the survival of human civilisation. Forced vaccines, lockdowns, facemasks, social-distancing – to say nothing of the millions of job cuts and the virtual abolition of democratic and civil rights – will not end until this particular form of fascism is overthrown. Real socialists must be a part of the Covid resistance, despite the heterogeneity of political forces involved. The stakes are too high to be concerned about unlikely alliances. NO FORCED VACCINE! FOR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS!
15-11-2020: On October 20, reports emerged of the alleged killing of 12 protestors at two locations in Lagos, (Lekki and Alausa) Nigeria’s most populous city. The protestors were claimed to be part of the #EndSARS movement. “SARS” refers to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a police unit set up in 1992. Ostensibly, this is a movement of Nigerian youth against police brutality. In reality, it is yet another covert attempt at regime change in Africa, which serves the ends of Washington in a struggle for relevance in their period of economic and political decline. Whenever a protest movement rapidly moves from the stated reason for protests (in this case police brutality) to calls for the leader (in this case President Muhammadu Buhari) to step down, you can smell the interference of the US state department from miles away. Even as the Nigerian government responded to the #EndSARS movement by renaming the SARS unit the SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) unit, the protests moved seamlessly into calls for Buhari to step down. #EndSARS became #Buharimustgo, and the fig leaf covering the movement was blown away.
What really happened?
The #EndSARS movement claims that the military opened fire on peaceful protestors at Lekki, but this appears fallacious. Both the Nigerian military and the police emphatically deny shooting at protestors. Nigeria’s army said the shootings were “fake news”, while the Police Minister Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi told the BBC that troops were NOT ordered to open fire on protestors, and that soldiers are denying their involvement. Major Osoba Olaniyi, a spokesperson for the 81st division of the Nigerian Army, insisted that soldiers did NOT shoot at #EndSARS protestors. What occurred was that there was an outbreak of violence amongst #EndSARS protestors, or some elements intent on hijacking the movement. Several police stations were attacked and burnt, some police officers were killed, some suspects in police custody were released and weapons were carried away. In response to the violence and anarchy, the Lagos state government decided to call in the military to restore order after a 24 hour curfew was imposed. Far from the fanciful narrative of the #EndSARS movement, the Lagos state government responded in the same manner as many governments around the world would, if it experienced terroristic violence being waged against it.
We have seen such tactics many times before, in US orchestrated attempts to paint a government targeted for removal as “brutal” or “authoritarian”. Create, fund and even arm an opposition within the country, provoke a reaction from the security forces, claim “oppression” from a “dictator”, garner political backing from liberal establishments the world over, and ramp up the political pressure internationally. It has been attempted, with varying degrees of “success” in Serbia, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Hong Kong, and the list goes on. In Africa, similar attempts have recently been made in Algeria and Sudan. Now it is the turn of Nigeria, but this time, claimed political legitimacy is dispensed by Black Lives Matter (BLM), foot soldiers of big capital who ransacked parts of the US itself in order to dethrone US President Donald Trump, and install Democratic candidate Joe Biden. This appears to have “succeeded” in the US, but the stakes are just as high on the African continent.
BLM imperialist foreign policy
Over and over again, L Trotsky, co-leader of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia, stressed that the politics of a party, organisation or individual cannot ultimately be assessed on the basis of their positions “at home”. To grasp a real sense of their politics, their international positions must be identified and examined. One can shout to the heavens about how strongly one backs social justice at home, but this unravels the moment an organisation sides with “its own” ruling class against its real or imagined international enemies. The fact that BLM has never uttered even one word against any US imperialist war over the last 7 years of its existence speaks volumes. As Tony Cartalucci correctly notes, black lives cannot just matter at home, they must matter everywhere. In fact, Black, Brown and Asian lives must matter everywhere, and US imperialism must be opposed whenever and wherever it imposes its will politically, economically and militarily.
BLM arose around 2013, but they maintained radio silence on the US/NATO war on Libya, which destroyed the entire state and resulted in fratricidal war ever since. What is more, in its place stepped the reappearance of black slavery, where the slave trade under Green Libya had been punishable by death. BLM matter remained unmoved and maintained its silence over the entirety of the US/NATO war of regime change against Syria, and blatant US regime change efforts in Venezuela, amongst others. Yet BLM wasted no time whatsoever in issuing a statement in support of the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria, claiming “pan-Africanist solidarity is central to the global Black Lives Matter movement”. For class aware workers, such opportunism should ring alarm bells.
Almost to a rule, Hollywood and other celebrities also chime in with US imperialist escapades. In this case, rapper Kanye West, footballer Rio Ferdinand, singer Trey Songz, Star Wars actor John Boyega all put their names to the anti-SARS campaign. Beyonce and Rihanna also threw their hats into the ring, alongside – wait for it – Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey !! Fresh from blocking and banning Twitter uses who post about Joe Biden’s corruption, we are expected to believe that Twitter now stands against alleged police violence in Nigeria? Socialists can – perhaps – excuse actors and celebrities who are not particularly politically aware, but not Big Tech which is a key arm of global capitalist censorship of the internet. When BLM and Twitter align as if one, the fix is on – and not just that of the US presidential elections. We are dealing squarely with liberal imperialism.
East versus West in Africa
To entertain the notion that #EndSARS is an innocent movement for the rights of Nigerians is a fantasy. In reality, #EndSARS is part of a hybrid proxy war for Africa waged by Washington against Moscow and Beijing. As the US economy staggers and US “leadership” of the world becomes ever more redundant, more and more African countries are, not without reason, turning to the Russian Federation for security assurances, and to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for economic assistance. Ditto for many other countries in Central and South East Asia, and Latin America. Russia, with its superior military technology, is uniquely placed to offer a deterrent against US imperialist destablisation. The PRC, with its gargantuan and still expanding socialist economy, is uniquely placed to offer economic and developmental aid, especially with regard to the building of much needed roads, railways, ports, and key infrastructure. As both Russia and the PRC are emphatically non-imperialist powers, such aid is proffered with “no strings attached”. For African countries, co-operation with Russia and the PRC is therefore a no-brainer.
In fact, Russia and Nigeria had been co-operating for at least several years, both in an economic and security sense. In 2017, Russia and Nigeria agreed to step up co-operation with developing a nuclear industry, infrastructure projects, and the export of Russian industrial products to Nigeria. They also cemented ties in the struggle against the terrorism of various groups such as Boko Haram, wreaking havoc in the Sahel-Sahara region of Africa. In August 2013, Russia, Nigeria and Niger signed an explicit security pact, with the emphasis on countering the terrorism of Boko Haram. The agreement even goes so far as to enable the training of Nigerian servicemen and women in Russian military establishments. Such agreements are a vital necessity for Nigeria, regardless of what the Pentagon – and Black Lives Matter – may think about them.
PRC investment in Nigeria is no small beer, either. In 2017, PRC Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Nigerian President Buhari to confirm an additional $40 billion investment in Nigeria by PRC firms. In coming years, this figure could reach between $60 and $80 billion. In 2019, Ye Shuijin, the Managing Director of the China Geo-Engineering Company, stated that his company has offices in 30 Nigerian states, and had a workforce which is 95% Nigerian – comprising over 200 000 staff. What is more, in 2018, Nigeria joined the PRC’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI or New Silk Road), alongside scores of other countries. Yet projects not specifically linked to the BRI already built and completed by PRC firms in Nigeria include: the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge railway line, a rail mass transit system in Abuja, a new terminal at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway line, the Port Harcourt International Airport, the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, and the Lekki deep sea port project, amongst others. An impartial observer could not but agree that all of this investment and infrastructure will greatly assist Nigeria’s overall economic development.
NATO powers intervene “against” Boko Haram
The response of the NATO powers is not at all to co-operate alongside other countries assisting Africa, but to use any and all means to disrupt Africa-Russia-PRC ties, up to and including regime change via covert backing of armed mercenaries, a la “the Syrian option”. BLM backed protest movements against spurious claims of police brutality and “bad governance” then provides civilian liberal political cover for the violent terrorism of Boko Haram and others. Like ISIS in Syria, it is completely implausible that a mob of rag-tag terrorists could be waging war across multiple countries in Africa without serious state support. In fact, Boko Haram, Ansar Al-Sharia and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM) all operate in the Sahara-Sahel region. AQIM obtained serious weaponry from the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which in turn was armed through NATO, in its war against Green Libya. Some sources trace Boko Haram funding to the United Kingdom and the Saudi Arabian monarchy, as their violence stretches across Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Mali, and Chad.
This is on top of actual US troops crawling across the African countries, while pointing the finger at Russia and the PRC when questions are raised. US Special Ops commandos currently operate in 22 African countries, a much greater presence than even the Middle East. Libya was the first US/NATO war which was overseen by AFRICOM (US Africa Command), and its role has only grown since then. In 2014, African Renaissance News compiled a report which wondered aloud whether Boko Haram was a covert CIA operation to take control of Nigeria. The previous year, US Major General Carter F. Ham told a House Armed Services Committee hearing that AFRICOM is “concerned” about AQIM in Mali, Boko Haram in Nigeria, and Al Shabaab in Somalia. The pattern is clear – the US/NATO powers covertly aid and assist Takfiri-Salafist terrorist groups across Africa who create chaos, then US/NATO sends in their troops to shadow box with them. The conflict, war, death, and destruction that results then makes it more difficult for Russian and Chinese investment in infrastructure and the hydrocarbons industry to be in any way functional. African countries remain poor and war-ridden, with US imperialism still posing as a saviour.
Anti-racist movements must be anti-imperialist
Even if we ignore the funding for BLM from billionaire financier and colour revolution creator George Soros, BLM can be condemned simply on its pro-imperialist politics. We are speaking here of BLM the organisation, rather than BLM the movement. There may well be many who attend BLM actions who sincerely believe they are struggling for racial justice – but this is an illusion. As long as those who attend BLM actions leave the politics and tactics to the BLM organisation, they are being used for ends the very opposite of what they imagine they are fighting for. BLM’s rioting, looting, and burning across the US this year is merely the small-scale version of the violent terrorism which US imperialism enables and feigns to fight “against” in Africa. The two are inextricably linked in more ways than one. For example, BLM was not only rolled out to politically bolster the coming imperialist wars of Joe Biden and the Democrats abroad. BLM was used to enforce the fraudulent “pandemic” which is being wielded domestically by Western imperialist governments against “their own” working class at home. No group was a stronger believer in the Covid-19 lies than BLM, who were given extraordinary permission to demonstrate despite the savage lockdown orders on everyone else.
A campaign against racism, under any description, must first strongly oppose US/EU/NATO imperialism and its political, economic, and military war on working people across the globe. If it does not reach this first bar, workers are correct to suspect that something is fishy. The liberal bourgeoisie waxes lyrical about how “anti-racist” it is – while underpinning the very capitalist system which causes racism in the first place. BLM is the first among equals in this opportunistic and faux “anti-racism”. Imperialism also knows how to manipulate an anti-police brutality movement for its own ends also, but workers should smell a rat when one is transferred wholesale to an underdeveloped African nation.
Marxists are the last ones to oppose investment, trade and security ties between African nations and the Russian Federation and the PRC. Indeed, such agreements should be defended from disruption from overt interference, e.g. war and US troops on the ground, and also covert interference, e.g. proxy terrorist wars and fake “good governance” campaigns waged internally and externally with the help of the likes of BLM and other Western backed fronts. At the same time, revolutionaries recognise that both Russia and the PRC will only offer development assistance which aids the stabilisation and growth of capitalism in Africa – which will ultimately not solve underlying political problems.
Russia obviously has no drive towards socialism, but neither does the PRC, even though it operates a socialist economy and maintains a bureaucratically deformed workers’ state at home. The Communist Party of China (CPC) rigidly adheres to the anti-Marxist theory of “socialism in one country”, which today means that it seeks to fortify capitalism in all countries outside its borders. While any economic assistance to poverty-stricken countries in Africa is welcome, genuine Leninists would at the same time be, where possible, propagandising for socialism amongst the workers of all countries. That is, while it is the right and the duty of a workers’ state to seek out and secure investment and trade opportunities for its domestic industries, the duty of the political leadership of that state is to reach out politically to the workers of the capitalist state it is seeking to invest in, to gather forces internationally for the victory of world socialism. As can be seen, the CPC is not up to this task. The mission for African and international workers remains the forging of vanguard parties which uphold Permanent Revolution, to finally break the chains of imperialist subjugation through an international struggle for liberation.
Pro and anti Trump demonstrators clash in Berkeley, USA. Image from dailymail.co.uk
25-10-2020: The 2020 US Presidential Elections could well be the catalyst for more political violence, and some say a civil war. On the surface, it appears that both the “left” and the “right” are accusing each other of instigating mayhem. Yet if this year has demonstrated anything, it is that the so-called “left”, via Black Lives Matter (BLM), Antifa and the lockdown left (parties and groups which claim to be socialist while giving full backing to capitalist state enforcement of inhumane “Covid” lockdowns) are overwhelmingly the initiators and the perpetrators of verbal and/or physical violence against those who may have a different opinion to their own. They have been whipped into such a frenzy, that many of them do not now hesitate to use the threat of verbal or physical violence against anyone they perceive has differing political views, let alone opposing views. Unfortunately, it does appear as though BLM/Antifa/lockdown left are being prepped to unleash mass rioting, looting and chaos should US President Donald Trump and the Republicans win the election on November 3.
The “right”, on the other hand, are only becoming increasingly more prepared to defend themselves and their community against the threat or actuality of violence from the “left”. This is only part of a response to riotous BLM/Antifa/lockdown left behaviour such as launching nightly raids on the Oregon Courthouse in Portland, vandalizing (or tearing down) statues of Abraham Lincoln, and even desecrating a statue of Mahatma Gandhi. There is no denying that Lincoln and Gandhi had their political contradictions, but Lincoln helped end slavery in the US, and Gandhi helped India win its independence from colonial British rule. This is lost on BLM/Antifa/lockdown left, whose extreme focus on the need to overcome racism has virtually turned into its opposite.
BLM, (that is, the organisation, rather than the movement), at least in 2020, is a defacto campaigning arm of the US Democrats. This is not only because donations to BLM were exposed as being funneled to the Democrats via “ActBlue”. Their political agenda is transparently pro-Democrat, even if they try to deny it. In fact, BLM has been rolled out not just to campaign against Trump and the Republicans in an election year, but also as shock troops to reinforce the “Covid-19” attack on the working class on behalf of big capital. Antifa and the lockdown left then work as back-up for BLM, providing them with “progressive” cover even as they riot, burn and loot their way across the US. These violent outbursts – which have the aim of electing Joe Biden to the White House – are then interpreted by whole swathes of the working class as the antics of the “left”. It drives some workers right into the hands of Trump and the Republicans, and almost permanently tarnishes the very mention of socialism and/or progressive politics.
BLM/Antifa/lockdown left continue to focus on campaigning against “racism” for two main reasons. Firstly, extreme identity politics (the prioritisation of gender, ethnic background, sexual preference etc., over and above the critical class divide) is one result of the liberalism of the so-called left. To actually be a real left, they would have to abandon identity politics and focus on uniting the working class against the assault from finance capital. In 2020, this assault has taken the form of a pseudo-pandemic. The Covid-19 plot has been used as a cover for the throwing of millions of workers into unemployment and the accompanying extreme levels of political repression. BLM/Antifa/lockdown left, on the other hand, remain true believers that the world supposedly faces a deadly plague of biblical proportions. This leads to the second reason: BLM/Antifa/lockdown left campaign against “racism” in order to cover up their role as police auxiliaries of lockdown terror. That is, by campaigning on an issue previously associated with progressive politics (anti-racism), they obscure their actions in support of the lockdowns, and by extension, their ultimate backing of the capitalism they rhetorically oppose.
The claims of BLM/Antifa/lockdown left that they are carrying out a struggle for racial justice are disingenuous. The civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s was worlds away from their actions today. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, in their day, did not have anything like the corporate backing that BLM enjoy in 2020. The left cannot seriously expect the working class to join a movement which has the financial endorsement of some of the largest capitalist corporations on Earth. Corporations which are a part of this alleged “anti-racist” movement include: Amazon, Gatorade, Microsoft, Airbnb, Unilever, Nabisco, Dropbox and Fitbit. A cause which has such unashamed backing of several billion dollar corporations cannot by definition contain a shred of pro-working class politics. In and of itself, the struggle against racism is legitimate and, in many cases, necessary. However, anti-racism can only contain progressive politics if it is integrated into the struggle of the working class against the rule of the banks and the stock market. A movement which attempts to unite all those who rhetorically oppose racism, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, and just about every bought and paid for politician, is plainly not interested in the liberation of workers and the oppressed.
Regardless of their intentions, BLM/Antifa/lockdown left are being used as cannon fodder to remove President Trump from the White House, by fair means or foul. While Trump and the Republicans are no friends of the working class per se, a Biden/Harris Democratic administration after November 3 could potentially be a far larger setback for working people, and would not even be a win for “Black Lives Matter”. For one thing, Joe Biden is an arch segregationist, and Kamala Harris willingly enforced the sending of African Americans to prison during her 27 year former role as a cop prosecutor. The class structure of the US, which consigns at least 40 million of its people (black and white) to abject poverty, would not be altered in the slightest way. The marginalisation and deportation of migrants from decidedly non-white and under-developed countries – one real source of racism – may even get worse with the Democrats in the White House. It remains the case that the previous Democratic administration of Barack Obama deported more people from the shores of the US than the Donald Trump administration in its first term.
Just who is planning a coup?
While working people should not be absolutely bound to the outcomes of bourgeois elections, socialists cannot currently ask workers to entirely disregard the results. Unless we are approaching a situation of dual power between something like elected workers’ councils and a capitalist parliament, the left will not be able to win workers to their cause if they enact riots when a “conservative” candidate wins office. Unfortunately, some on the left seem to be preparing their members and periphery to do just that. In the US, the Workers World Party (WWP) latched onto a resolution passed by the Rochester Labour Council which called for the AFL-CIO to call a general strike if Donald Trump refuses to leave office. They wield the slogan “If Trump won’t quit, Shut It Down!”. Ominously, there is no mention of calling off such action if Trump and the Republicans actually win the Presidential election itself. Are they planning to strike and shut the country down only if the Democrats lose?
We know that ultra-reactionary Democrat and former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has stated that Joe Biden “should not concede the election under any circumstances”. Is this a not-so-subtle call on the Democrats (and, by extension, BLM/Antifa/lockdown left) to simply ignore the results of the election if they do not win? It is not outlandish to imagine that the Democrats and even “Never Trumper” Republicans are colluding to prevent Trump from continuing the presidency even if he wins convincingly. In fact, there is even a body set up which appears to plan for a “transition” without Trump. The Transition Integrity Project (TIP) is co-founded by a Rosa Brooks, a former Pentagon advisor and the Hilary Clinton state department under the former Obama administration. She was also a previous leading member of the Open Society Foundations (OSF), the body established by controversial billionaire George Soros. Zoe Hudson, a director of TIP, is likewise a former top figure of the OSF.
The OSF has notoriously been heavily involved in orchestrating “colour revolutions” in the former socialist-type states of the former USSR, and others. Examples include the Bulldozer Revolution in Serbia in 2000, the Rose Revolution in Georgia in 2003, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004, and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyrzstan in 2005. The process involves funding and often creating an opposition, rallying people against a “dictator”, and then using international pressure from liberals and imperialist governments to force a leader to step down. Needless to say, the installation of capitalist “liberal democracy” in the former deformed workers states of the USSR and Eastern Europe has in practice been a disaster for working people. It now appears that the OSF, the Democrats and even some Republicans are determined to re-start the colour revolution playbook at home. The OSF itself even admits to recently funneling $220 million to “Building Power in Black Communities”. It is barely conceivable that at least some of this funding will not find its way into BLM. To be sure, there would be many who are drawn into BLM/Antifa/lockdown left actions who do not receive a cent from anyone, and who are misled into believing they are “fighting racism”, or even “fighting capitalism”. However, unless they defy the politics of BLM/OSF, they are being tragically deceived.
Pseudo-Pandemic the critical class issue
Irrespective of the general right-wing politics of Donald Trump, ironically he remains a very partial ally of workers on the main issue – the ruling class attack under the guise of Covid-19. Trump has resisted some of the egregious lockdown measures demanded by big capital, and most enthusiastically carried out by the Democrats when in a position to do so. Even though Trump has gone along with the insane rush to fast track what will almost certainly be an ineffectual Covid-19 vaccine, he has made comments that Biden is going to “lock you down”. And it is Biden, not Trump, who is threatening US workers with a “national mask mandate” if elected to office. It barely needs to be said, at this stage, that facemasks are useless at preventing transmission of respiratory viruses, and are in fact quite dangerous in a psychological and physiological sense. Facemasks, hand sanitiser and social distancing are measures which are meant to obscure the political repression that the ruling class is enforcing on workers. The lockdowns and house arrest of workers are used to prevent resistance to the largest assault – the termination of millions from their employment.
This is why the defeat of the fear pandemic and the reversal of its abolition of basic democratic and civil rights is crucial. The working class will not be able to defend itself against the historically unprecedented attack inflicted on them unless and until all of its logic defying rules and restrictions are junked, from facemasks to the freedom to travel. Currently, the anti-lockdown movement is the only resistance to the onslaught of pandemic lies, and is the only factor preventing Western governments from triggering harsher and longer lockdowns. In some places such as Melbourne, the bravery of the anti-lockdown protestors eventually ended most of the severe restrictions. “Second wave” lockdown measures have been reimposed in Ireland – but even there anti-lockdown protestors continue to mobilise.
Meanwhile, the notion of Trump launching a “fascist coup” to remain in power is little more than liberalism imploring workers to vote for the lesser evil. The problem, though, is that in the 21st century, often the “social-democratic” bourgeois parties are more “evil”, or more right-wing, than the conservatives. The Biden/Harris team certainly fits this bill. While workers’ interests in the US are ultimately not served by the Republicans or the Democrats, workers may find themselves tactically allying with Trump supporters if the Democrats unleash BLM/Antifa/lockdown left riots after an unfavourable election result. This seemingly crazy situation may be yet more proof that liberalism is no longer progressive – if it ever was – and its bankruptcy pushes it towards lashing out with violence.
2020 has revealed itself as the year that capital waged arguably its most concentrated attack on working people in history, via a fake health scare. The good news is that a significant minority of workers have heroically resisted, and have vastly undermined bourgeois ideology by doing so. Marxists need to ensure that the anti-lockdown movement does not stop half-way, but continues on to eliminate the source of the ruling class onslaught – the anarchic and unplanned capitalist economies. The forging of internationally linked vanguard parties based on genuine Leninism is the key task for reversing lockdown terror, and guiding workers to erect states and governments of their own.
The Condamine River is set alight to demonstrate the amount of methane present in the water, the likely result of fracking. Image from http://www.inhabitat.com
23-10-2020: If we were to believe the government, we are about to enter a summer which they variously refer to as “storm season”, “bushfire/flood season” or even “big weather” season – which now comes with its own TV series. Working people are supposed to believe that the droughts, bushfires and floods which devastated swathes of the country last summer is just par for the course for living in Australia. Sometimes the corporate media will mumble something about climate change in connection with these catastrophes, but will generally just sensationalise it – it is quite easy to simply film the aftermath of a cyclone, bushfire or flood and stick a reporter in front of a camera. Yet many demonstrators who took to the streets last summer while parts of Australia burned knew instinctively that these “weather” disasters are just one factor of the ecological collapse wrought not only by carbon emissions, but industrial scale corporate pollution of the seas, coasts, rivers and arable land.
This year, the climate crisis continues in the shadow of lockdown terror – a vicious assault on working people under the guise of a supposed Covid-19 plague. The Australian ruling class used the fake pandemic to establish a “Coronavirus Commission” – a hand-picked body of CEOs allegedly tasked with overseeing “economic recovery”. Not coincidentally, this non-elected CEO “government” immediately set about drawing the outlines of a “recovery” based on the vast expansion of coal-seam gas, using the method of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing. Fracking blows apart rock formations underground while injecting carcinogenic chemicals amongst water supplies to extract oil and/or methane gas, much of which simply leaks into the atmosphere. This is supposedly the government transitioning away from coal and onto “cleaner” gas ! Meanwhile, in the background the Adani coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin – the 10 million tonne per year monster – has been given virtually full approval by state Labor and federal Liberal governments, and its construction is well underway.
While the struggle for a safe climate remains vital, this cannot be separated from the assault of big capital on the wages and living conditions of the working class. In fact, it is one and the same. The capitalist system has been waging a low intensity war against workers – and thus also against the natural environment necessary for human survival – for decades now. This year, the Anglo/US/EU Empire vastly expanded this war by using the cover of a fraudulent health scare to abolish elementary civil and democratic rights, and impose a fascism which in some ways surpassed that of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Workers were subjected to house arrest, the right to protest was effectively abolished, human and social interaction was heavily discouraged and often punishable by police action, children were abused by not allowing them to attend school, and many of the aged perished from induced depression via lockdowns which forbade human contact even with direct family members.
The Covid-19 Trojan Horse
The ruling classes of the West used the cover of a “health emergency” to drive down the cost of labour power using any and all means at their disposal. “Covid-19” was seized on as an opportunity to throw millions of workers out of employment on spurious grounds. Near universal lockdowns were used to shutdown large parts of national economies, and some governments even ordered small and medium sized businesses to close, driving them towards ruin. Unprecedented political repression was required to prevent workers from protesting these soul-destroying attacks, and thus gatherings of virtually any kind were deemed a “health risk” and prevented by security forces. Unfortunately, Union officials enforced the false Covid-19 narrative wholesale, and effectively acted as police auxiliaries – pseudo-state authorities preventing their own members from resisting mass suppression.
What does this have to do with the environment? Unfortunately, almost the entire so-called left and those who make up the climate change movement also imbibed the Covid-19 narrative as good coin. This meant that they were neutered when the government announced the “Coronavirus Commission”. Regardless of the fact that the Coronavirus Commission was used to vastly expand coal seam gas and its attendant fracking, much of the environmental movement could scarcely speak out because it would call into question the reality of the “pandemic”. For, if one believes the politicians’ mantra that a coronavirus will kill “millions” unless we shutdown human civilisation, one can scarcely oppose the politicians setting up a Coronavirus Commission to deal with it. The fact that the government used the Coronavirus Commission to boost gas fracking rather than put in place measures which allegedly protect the health of the community contains very sober lessons in the mechanics of bourgeois rule.
Firstly, to combat the onslaught of finance capital against labour and the natural environment, it is necessary to consistently oppose every single aspect of bourgeois ideology, not just parts of it. One cannot demand the politicians disallow fracking on the one hand, while at the same time wholly agreeing with the very same politicians that it is necessary to surrender basic civil rights due to a “pandemic”. One cannot demand stand down pay for workers sacked with the excuse of Covid-19 on the one hand, while agreeing with employers that Covid-19 is a lethal threat on the other hand. Secondly, helping the government implement ANY of its nefarious campaigns, no matter what the claimed intention, vastly expands the political authority of the capitalist state. The state will then use the political endorsement it has received to mercilessly crush ANY working-class resistance. Witness the “Covid-19” police state lockdown nightmare inflicted on innocent people in Melbourne.
Workers need to fight for demands which light the path to immediate solutions – the collectivisation of the major means of the production and a planned economy. For:
1. A six-hour day
2. Public ownership of energy, infrastructure, banks