New Zealand Terror Attacks: Circumstances Demand Answers

A police officer stands guard outside the Masjid Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. Image from http://www.dailysabah.com

New Zealand Terror Attacks: Circumstances Demand Answers
Statement of the Workers League

17-03-2019 – The circumstances surrounding the terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday remain murky. The corporate media claim that 50 people were shot dead, in coordinated attacks on mosques at around 1.30 in the afternoon. At the time of writing, the names, ages and occupations of those that perished have not been released. One name that has been released is that of Brenton Tarrant, a 28 year old from Australia, who had apparently written a far-right wing and fascist manifesto. The names of another three people arrested who allegedly took part have also not been released.

There are three possibilities, which we remain open to. Either: 1. This act of right-wing terror took place as it was reported by the corporate media, with no prior knowledge or involvement of the capitalist state and its security arms. 2. This act did not occur as it was reported by the corporate media, but was inflated with a torrent of false information. 3. This act of right-wing terror took place after being staged and contrived by the security agencies of the imperialist states – coordinated across Australia and New Zealand and perhaps with the US, with the gunman a willing or unwilling patsy.

The first scenario we consider unlikely. This attack was apparently planned for two years, and it seems unlikely that the police and internal security services, which have been beefed up in the wake of the “war on terror”, had no prior knowledge or involvement. The second scenario is a possibility because the corporate media is an arm of the state in capitalist societies. The third scenario is also a possibility, due to the significantly adverse geopolitical conditions in which the Anglo/US Empire finds itself.

The US Empire has just suffered a huge defeat after eight years of an atrocious war for regime change on Syria. Arguably, this was the first defeat in war for US imperialism since the liberation of Vietnam in 1975. The governments of the UK, France, Australia, Canada, Israel, Saudi Arabia and others, all took part in an effort to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic using extreme violence. This included the arming, funding and creation of ISIS, and subtle backing for Al Qaeda and numerous death squads – some of whom had been transplanted from Libya, where NATO had destroyed Green Libya in 2011. Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and the Syrian armed forces combined to defeat US imperialism where they ordinarily would have expected a reasonably quick overthrow.

The US Empire has repeatedly attempted to foment regime change in Iran in recent years, but has not been successful. While there are a number of pro-Western Iranians who agitate for the downfall of the Islamic Republic of Iran, they are very far from gaining anywhere near enough backing for “internal” regime change. The US imposes sanctions upon sanctions, but they are unable to break Iran. Iran’s stock of conventional missiles is vast, they have loyal armed forces, and the majority of Iranians are very well aware of what US imperialism is capable of.

The US Empire’s attempts at regime change in Venezuela have proven farcical, and have fallen flat. The outrageous meddling involved in officially recognising Juan Guaido, a member of a small right-wing party, as “interim president” has placed almost half of the United Nations offside. This is despite backing from the governments of Australia and the European Union. The Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela remain loyal to the government of President Maduro, even despite the economic problems plaguing the country.

The US Empire was unable to foment regime change in Sudan, or at least for now. Russia is continuing to rebuild its economy since the devastation of the 1990s, and militarily at least, it has strategic weapons which it uses not only for its own defence, but to occasionally restrain the US Empire. China’s economy is still booming, and its development of science and technology, combined with a huge manufacturing base, is enabling it to, sooner or later, overtake the US. Socialist state led development is the reason for the rise of China, and the fact that the economy is not primarily based on production for private profit. Red China’s  Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a trillion dollar trade and economic development package for Africa and Eurasia, is a stark example of its economic superiority.

Under these circumstances, the US Empire is desperate, and needs to somehow regain the political loyalty of “their own” working people. This could be one reason for its potential involvement in the preparation and staging of the Christchurch terror attacks. This could well include the utilisation of far-right wing and Nazi inspired elements such as that of Brenton Tarrant. If the police and security services were not involved, the fault still lies with the entire operation of the capitalist class system, which is reaching the point of crisis in Australia, the US and Europe. It is out of crisis that far-right, anti-immigrant sentiment is fueled – if not adequately challenged and defeated by the workers’ movement.

This is why a simple broad front of “anti-fascism” and/or “anti-Islamophobia” built in response will not address the causes of the extreme violence of one-off mass shootings or the other end of the spectrum – imperialist war. Many of those who are now expressing their horror and condemnation of the mass murder of Islamic worshippers in Christchurch were actually the most vocal in their backing of the US imperialist war against Syria – where Muslims and Christians and others were slaughtered indiscriminately. This includes the entirety of the establishment politicians now piously condemning the New Zealand attacks. This also includes many Australian left parties, who strongly backed regime change in Syria – and call for the dose to be repeated in Iran. In addition, all of these forces remain hostile to Russia and China and the DPRK (“North Korea”) – with which the US Empire is itching for catastrophic war. A broad front with such elements – even under a banner of “anti-fascism”, will forever remain politically powerless.

To cleanse society of ultra-right wing violence requires nothing less than the overthrow of capitalist imperialism – in Australia, New Zealand, the US, Europe and Japan. A strong workers’ movement must be built, which can rebuild the Union movement through replacing conservative officials with a class struggle leadership. This is linked to the painstaking endeavour of forging a Marxist vanguard party, which can lead all of the workers and the oppressed to the goal of building a collectivised, publically owned and internationally planned economy. This is the only way to eliminate racist terror, fascism, and the grim possibility of global nuclear war.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66   NUNDAH  QLD  4012

Iran: Workers or Separatists?

Flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Iran: Workers or Separatists?

16-02-2019 – When is a workers’ movement not actually a workers’ movement? When is a Union not actually a Union? A good indicator is when such “movements” spring up in a country directly targeted for regime change by the rapacious US Empire – the same one which pulled out all stops to overthrow an allied country using indescribable violence. We of course reference Syria, and its ally Iran. The Syrian Arab Republic remains, and for now has effectively defeated the US masters of war and its allies. This was achieved with the vital assistance of Russia, the Lebanese Hezbollah, and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Furious at having been blocked in what is usually a straight forward case of imperial overthrow, the US state now dramatically ramps up its vast array of tools for regime change in Iran. To say that a US led war on Iran – the gateway between the Middle East and Asia – would be a catastrophe would be an understatement.

“Independent” Unions

The US state department is very well schooled in manipulating well-intentioned but misguided progressive youth and left-leaning workers into serving as foot soldiers for its regime change wars. Assisted by all manner of NGOs, “liberal” corporate media and ostensibly “left” parties, the US Empire effectively reversed the anti-war sentiment that came about through the war on Iraq in 2003. Although “successful” in Libya, they were blocked in Syria – which has only increased their desperation and consequent appetite for regime change in Iran. Of course the US state has been desperate for regime change in Iran since the Iranian people toppled the US backed Shah in 1979, and expelled all US “advisors”. But in 2019, the US state can ill afford to allow liberals to lie idle.

A useful method for the imperialists is to falsely claim to support the struggle of workers and Unions in a country they also label their number one enemy. As if the political operatives of world capitalism are the slightest bit concerned about the welfare of the working class!  Yet they do, and unfortunately they draw in progressive minded folk and some left parties who should know a lot better.

The “independent” Union set up is a classical case. “Independent” Unions in Iran can only be dependent on external backing, in a similar way in which “independent” Unions in China or Vietnam or Cuba are higly likely to be a conduit for US state interference. This is not to deny specific issues for workers that exist for workers in those countries, but the price of the loss of independence from imperialism – the restoration of capitalism in China, Vietnam or Cuba – would set workers back 100 years. Iran, despite operating a capitalist economy, is independent of US, and therefore world, imperialism. Despite Iran’s market economy, there is extensive state direction, and the loss of this would send Iranian workers back to a stage before 1979. This is why workers in Iran and internationally must stridently defend Iran against all facets of US domination.

Falling at the first obligation

Some Australian left parties stumble at the primary obligation of anyone claiming to be a socialist or Marxist – clear opposition to US imperialism. The Socialist Alliance (SA), through its newspaper Green Left Weekly(GLW), recently published an extraordinary attack on the Iranian government, at the precise time when it is enduring enormous hardship as a result of, amongst other things, US sanctions. In a piece dated February 1, Minna Langeberg claims that “although US sanctions have worsened the economic situation, they are not the cause: the cause is a religious fascist regime in a deep crisis of legitimacy.”[1] The mind boggles!!

To label Iran as “fascist”, at the same time as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton are gunning for the overthrow of Iran, clearly marks where the Socialist Alliance stands. Whether they are aware of it or not, SA is unfortunately repeating its notorious role backing US led regime change in Syria. Regime change right now, in Iran, can only benefit the US ruling class. One cannot wish US imperialism out of existence. The only possibility that a political movement for a new government in Iran now could garner support from workers internationally would be one that: 1) Clearly maintained that it opposed the imperialism of the US and their allies in the UK, France etc, with the backing of Israel, and did so to a greater extent than the current Iranian government 2) Clearly stated that it stood for the defence of Iran and Syria and the region against Saudi Arabian and Zionist Israel, to a greater extent than the current Iranian government 3) Clearly stated that is was for the complete liberation of women through working class emancipation. 4) Clearly maintained the equality of all religions and minorities within Iran to a greater extent than the current Iranian government 5) Clearly stated that the economy should be more publicly owned than is currently the case 6) Clearly maintained that it backs the workers throughout Iran, not just in a couple of areas known for anti-government sentiment, and so on.

If such a political movement existed in Iran today, or even one with even some or even one of the above characteristics, leftists internationally would have to seriously assess it. But there are no indications the current “movement” of protests in Iran expresses serious anti-imperialism. This is even despite the fact that it claims it stands for “workers” and “unions” and subjectively opposes the “crony capitalism” of the Iranian government. Sure, there are workers demonstrating against the economic hardships largely caused by US sanctions. Some Iranians certainly blame the government, even while recognising the impact of US sanctions. But in a country whose population has now surpassed 82 million people[2], such demonstrations and rallies have to be closely analysed.

Khuzestan and separatism

GLW’s article by Minna Langeberg hinges on two supposed labour struggles breaking out in Iran. Langeberg writes “..two simultaneous waves of labour protests stand out, both in the southwest province of Khuzestan: the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Company protests, and the National Steel Company protests in Ahvaz, the capital of Khuzestan.”[3] So of all the alleged labour unrest and “Union struggle” in Iran, the two most important all happen in one province in the south of Iran?  Some explanation for this is required here, yet none is offered by GLW.

The south-western province of Khuzestan hosts the majority of Iran’s oil production. It also is home to around 1.5 million Ahwazi Arabs, reportedly making up around 2% of Iran’s population.[4] Generally, Ahwazi Arabs claim that they are marginalized and excluded from Iranian society and government, as a minority in a majority Persian country. Khuzestan’s capital Ahvaz is hard hit by unemployment, but that is unfortunately widespread across Iran. Doubtless there are some grievances that need to be addressed, but whether the Ahwazi Arabs generally favour separatism from Iran is not clear. There are certainly some Ahwazi organisations, including armed ones, which stridently advocate a separation from Iran. One is the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz (ASMLA), which may sound legitimate. However, this group, in seeking separation from Iran, has bombed government buildings and pipelines in the region which have killed civilians.[5]  In other words, regardless of the justness of whatever cause they claim, they are a terrorist organisation with no regard for innocent life.

Another recent example of the absent lack of concern for the butchering of innocents by Ahwaz separatists was the September 22 terrorist attack on a military parade in Ahvaz. The parade was marking the anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq-Iran war, in which then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein apparently believed the Ahwazi Arabs would welcome the entry of the forces of fellow Arabs. They did not, and Iranian forces had to wage a battle to retake the city a couple of years later at a high cost of life.  What occurred at that parade only last year, was that four gunmen disguised as soldiers opened fire and indiscriminately shot dead fleeing soldiers and civilians. At least 24 people died, including a four year old child.[6] Around 70 were injured.

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Denmark, the Netherlands all aid “jihadist separatists”

Two groups claimed responsibility for the attack: ISIS and the Ahwaz National Resistance. It is unlikely that ISIS was behind it – they claim responsibility for many attacks they have nothing to do with. The claim of the Ahwaz National Resistance is much more likely. What kind of “resistance” movement would openly claim responsibility for an attack which clearly extinguished innocent lives? Iran’s Supreme Leader the Ayatollah Ali Khamanei did not mince his words in response: “This cowardly attack was the work of those very individuals who are rescued by the Americans whenever they are in trouble in Iraq and Syria  and who are funded by the Saudis and the (United) Arab Emirates.”[7] It has long been suspected that the Saudi Arabian royal family, along with the UAE government, fund and arm the Ahwaz separatists, as a way of undermining and destablising Iran. In this case, it seems likely it was direct payback for the role Iran has played in Syria, helping to defeat the foreign backed jihadists seeking ultra-violent regime change. Without endorsing the Iranian government per se, working people can only support the actions of the Iranian military in Syria, which contributed to the defeat of the US and its proxy forces.

While the Saudi and Emirati governments fund and arm the ultra-violent terrorist Ahwazi groups, the governments of Denmark and the Netherlands give them safe haven on their soil. In response to the September 22 atrocity, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Qasemi stated that it was not acceptable for European Union countries to refrain from blacklisting known members of terrorist groups as long as they do not commit a crime on European soil. He said the Iranian government had warned Denmark and the Netherlands about the presence of the terrorists and called for their arrest and trial.[8] The hypocrisy is galling. One could only imagine the response if Iran had hosted known terrorists on its soil, whose fellow members then went on a shooting rampage in the US, or a European country. Yet the reverse happens, but the imperialist powers get away scot-free.

Workers must defend Iran, and condemn Western armed terrorism

Unfortunately the Socialist Alliance is joined by the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) in blindly backing the Ahwaz separatists, who skillfully manipulate progressives under the cover of backing “independent” workers’ “Unions”. In an article in the CPA’s The Guardian newspaper dated December 12, 2018, the author attempts to draw a wall between the open US state aim of regime change in Iran, and the workers’ protests in Khuzestan.[9] Yet they are one and the same! How do we know this? One reason is because none other than John Bolton – currently heading up US backed regime change in Venezuela and Iran – has openly advocated backing Iran’s ethnic minorities as a means of destabilising the country.[10]

Not only has John Bolton advocated the stoking of ethnic tensions in Iran as part of regime change efforts, his links to the notorious terrorist group the Mujaheddin E Khalq (MEK) are well known. The MEK fought with the invading Iraqi government during the Iraq-Iran war, and as such are despised as traitors by almost all Iranians. They are exiled because of this, but it has not stopped John Bolton declaring to MEK supporters that he will celebrate with them in Tehran “before 2019”.[11] This is a senior US official, openly preparing not only regime change in Iran, but choosing known ultra-violent terrorists as the new leaders! In addition, MEK cult leader Maryam Rajavi has publicly supported the Ahwazi separatists.[12]

Due to Iran’s necessary building of conventional missiles as defence, not to speak of a united and well-armed military, external US led regime change on Iran is unlikely – though not impossible. Much more likely is internal US led regime change – which utilises all manner of anti-government yahoos, up to and including ultra-violent terrorists and criminal jihadists. Without endorsing the political positions of the Iranian government, workers internationally have a vital interest, at this time, in defending Iran against internal and external regime change. Imperialism must be opposed regardless of its modus operandi.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

 

[1] https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/iranian-workers-protests-confront-regime-crisis (16-02-19)

[2] http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/iran-population/ (16-02-19)

[3] Ibid, 1.

[4] https://bigthink.com/strange-maps/the-phantom-emirate-of-al-ahwaz (17-02-19)

[5] https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/ahwazis-dont-give-anniversary-annexed-arab-province-looms-iran (17-02-19)

[6] https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2018/9/25/iran-says-jihadist-separatists-behind-ahvaz-attack (17-02-19)

[7] Ibid, 6.

[8] https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2018/09/iran-criticises-the-netherlands-for-sheltering-terrorists-after-parade-attack/ (17-02-19)

[9] http://www.cpa.org.au/guardian/2018/1852/06-rally.html (17-02-19)

[10] https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-khuzestan-poverty-separatism-bloody-war-memories/29515269.html (17-02-19)

[11] https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2018/6/8/boltons-mek-ties-make-him-more-lobbyist-than-statesman (17-02-19)

[12] https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/ahwazis-dont-give-anniversary-annexed-arab-province-looms-iran (17-02-19)

USA/AUST: Hands Off Venezuela!

Demonstration outside the White House against the US backed coup in Venezuela. Image from http://www.globalresearch.ca

USA/AUST: HANDS OFF VENEZUELA!
Workers to Power in Latin America
Statement of the Workers League

30-01-2019 – The Workers League condemns US and Australian imperialism for their open attempt at regime change in Venezuela, with their recognition of Juan Guaido’s self-declaration as President. Fresh from three years of accusing the Russian government – without a shred of evidence – of “meddling” in the US Presidential election of 2016, now both conservative and liberal wings of the US and Australian ruling classes brazenly attempt to subvert the 2018 election of President Nicolas Maduro, and install their own puppet, potentially (yet again) threatening the world with catastrophic war.

Most Venezuelans had reportedly never heard of Juan Guaido before he was elected the head of Venezuela’s national assembly. Now the whole world has, which looks on incredulously. Seemingly not even being aware of trying to appear to be rational, Washington and Canberra have been joined by the ruling cabals in London, Paris, Berlin and Madrid, who have repeated in unison that the Venezuelan government has “eight days” to call new elections – during which they will recognise Juan Guaido as interim leader of the country. To say this is an imperialist obliteration of national sovereignty would be stating the obvious. Not even the most outlandish spy novelist could write such fiction, yet this is reality.

The wounded beast of imperialism lashes out

Venezuela is the new target for regime change for Washington, after US imperialism arguably suffered its first defeat since the liberation of Vietnam in 1975 with its atrocious proxy war of regime change against the Syrian Arab Republic. The US was backed in this unspeakably barbaric war which hired the mercenaries of ISIS through the ruling classes of, inter alia, Britain, France, Canada, Australia and their allies in Saudi Arabia and Israel. Opposing this war was the Venezuelan government under both Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro, along with the material assistance of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. Unable to publicly admit being behind ISIS, Washington has, for the moment, realised political and military defeat in Syria – even though they still operate US troops illegally on the ground. Smarting from being blocked primarily by Russia, the US masters of war now pick what they see as an easier target – Venezuela.

The same imperialist forces – utilising the nefarious NATO – also conducted regime change against Libya in 2011. Again the Venezuelan government under Chavez voiced strong opposition. However, on that occasion Russia abstained, and Libya – a nation with the then highest standard of living in Africa – was destroyed. Since that time, no state or government has been able to be restored, and black slavery – a practice ended by the republic led by Colonel Gaddafi – has returned. Many of the same Western funded cutthroats were then transported to Syria to repeat the dose.

The end of  “Socialism of the 21st Century”

Washington sees Venezuela now as an easier target due to the fact that the right-wing now has almost the same amount of support as does the “Bolivarian Revolution” – the process begun by President Hugo Chavez in 1998 and continued by Nicolas Maduro since 2013. How has this situation come about? Workers must be told the truth. For all of its gains for working people and the poor, the Bolivarian process was not socialist, even despite the self-described intentions of its protagonists. The Bolivarian “revolution” was actually an attempt to reform capitalism, primarily using the mechanism of cross-class elections. Time and time again, throughout history, the working class has learnt the lesson that capitalism cannot be voted out of power – it must be overthrown. Yet the PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela) had no intention of studying, let alone abiding by, these crucial lessons previously learnt by workers the world over. The theory of “Socialism of the 21st Century” – where supposedly workers no longer need to construct their own state, but only be elected into power – is now dead in the water. If US imperialism has its way, Venezuela will not only have its false “Socialism of the 21st Century” exterminated, it will return to a stage worse than when the Bolivarian “revolution” began.

Despite this, workers in Venezuela and internationally cannot afford to allow the Venezuelan government to be overthrown by Washington. While many huge steps forward need to be taken by workers in Venezuela, a major defeat could re-energise the US Empire, and even embolden it to trigger the wider war which some elements of its ruling class see as the only hope to counter the rise of Red China, and the independence of Russia. This is why workers internationally should demand that China – as the world’s pre-eminent socialist power – step up to the plate and offer a lead by materially blocking US moves to overthrow Venezuela. This is also why workers internationally should welcome the mooted moves by Russia and Iran to militarily intervene to defend Venezuela from black reaction.

Forward to real socialism

The immediate task, therefore, is not only to defend the sovereignty of Venezuela, as necessary as that is. It is also urgent to lead workers to power in Venezuela, and throughout Latin America. For US imperialism cannot in the least be halted by capitalist republics, no matter how “democratic”. Classes must be arrayed against one another, rather than fruitless attempts to unite the “people”. While workers must not obstruct the Venezuelan military forces where they take measures to ward off the US Empire, at the same time there must be left-wing political opposition built to the PSUV – a party which is conservative, bureaucratic and corrupt even according to its own supporters. Committees for workers’ power in every workplace, school and university need to be established wherever possible. The most class conscious of these elements should forge the Marxist vanguard party needed to win the best elements away from Chavismo and for a real revolution. US/AUST: HANDS OFF VENEZUELA!

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

 

Nazi Backed Coup Govt Drives Ukraine to War – Again

A view of Crimean Bridge across the Kerch Strait closed for the passage of civil vessels after three Ukrainian Navy vessels illegally crossed the Russian border into Russia’s territorial waters. (Alexei PavlishakTASS via Getty Images)

Nazi Backed Coup Govt Drives Ukraine to War – Again

02-12-2018 – In a world which was not upside down, open military provocations against a neighbouring country which threaten catastrophic war near the European landmass would be universally condemned. When the targeted country happens to be Russia, however, any provocation, however hostile, is justified. Defying basic logic, such taunting can even be twisted to be presented as a “Russian attack”.[1] Such is the world of the Western corporate media, official mouthpieces for the behemoth of US imperialism.

What actually occurred was an open and reckless provocation by the Kiev based Ukrainian government against Russia, acting as a cat’s paw for US/EU/NATO imperialism. Three ships were ordered to deliberately enter Russian territorial waters by crossing the Kerch Strait, without the required notification to Russian maritime authorities. How do we know this? Because the Ukrainian sailors have already admitted as such.[2] Not only that, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), have also admitted that it had two agents aboard the Ukrainian naval ships which were detained by Russia for ignoring warnings to cease their dangerous manoeuvres.[3] Throwing away even a semblance of an independent mask, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko then publicly appealed for NATO ships to patrol the Sea of Azov to “provide security”[4].

Martial law?

Continuing the charade, Poroshenko then declared martial law – inside Ukraine – supposedly to deter hostile acts from Russia. As others have pointed out, declaring martial law within Ukraine, for something that happened out at sea, is highly suspicious.[5]  Yet more dubious actions have followed. On November 30, Poroshenko banned Russian males between the ages of 16 and 60 from entering Ukraine. He claimed that this was to prevent Russians forming private armies which, he claimed, act as directed by the Russian Federation.[6] He outrageously claimed that these “armies” aim to finish what started in 2014.

Working people need to be clear. What actually occurred in 2014 in Ukraine was a US/EU/NATO backed fascist coup against an elected government. It was this fascist coup in February 2014 which brought Poroshenko and his cronies into “government”. While the Poroshenko government just barely stops short of being an organised fascist movement, his government relies on support from literal pro-Nazi Ukrainian fascists who are viscerally anti-Russian, anti-socialist and pro-US. In response to this fascist backed coup, Ukrainian areas in the East bravely declared independence in opposition to the Kiev based fascist coup government. They formed the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic. Given their refusal to submit to NATO armed fascism, they deserve the support of workers worldwide.

Once again on Crimea

Ever since 2014, the Western corporate press has repeated a falsehood over and over and over again – that Russia “annexed” Crimea. Such language harks back to pre-World War I rhetoric, and provides an ominous presage to World War III. What occurred was that Crimeans voted by an undisputable majority – over 95%[7] – to secede from Ukraine and to join the Russian Federation. Crimea is overwhelmingly ethnically and linguistically Russian, but even that was only part of the reason why a reunion with Russia was the almost universal choice. Crimeans voted to join Russia because the alternative was to live under the rule of NATO armed fascists.  Barely a word of this essential truth ever appears in the corporate media of the US Empire and its vassal states. No amount of desperate fairy-tale retelling of events by Washington, London, Paris and Canberra can unmake this fact.

For the imperialists, war is the only way out of the economic and political crisis which is almost entirely of their own making. The collapse of “free enterprise” capitalism in the US, Europe, Japan and Australia, and the subsequent vicious attacks on the workers which result, means that the Western elites must have a scapegoat and a target, lest they face open revolt at home. Russia is the easy target, what with a century of anti-Soviet propaganda already hammered into the psyche of a suffering Western working class. Hence, Russophobia makes a dramatic return, and is then ramped up to hysterical levels. As we have mentioned previously, the Russophobia of today contains a combination of racism and anti-communism, even despite the overthrow of socialism in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991-2.

This is why it is in the vital interests of the word’s workers to defend Russia against US imperialism, despite the capitalism restored in Russia since that time. This is why also it was necessary to stand by Russia as it effectively defeated the ISIS mercenary death squads in Syria. In fact, the US led war for regime change in Syria was in part a proxy war against Russia. In the same way, the NATO backing of fascists in Ukraine is in some ways an even larger proxy war against neighbouring Russia. While the foreign policy of the Russian state can sometimes be highly questionable, e.g. maintaining good relations with dubious states such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, at the same time the Russian state is one of the only entities which is currently preventing Wall Street from launching a catastrophic war which could potentially incinerate hundreds of millions of people. In fact, Russia today effectively takes on the responsibility – which it did not ask for – of holding the US/EU/NATO juggernaut in check.

The Russian state today, with its strategic military strength, will need to be a temporary ally in the struggle for socialism of the world’s working people, insofar as it acts to stay the hand of a marauding and dangerous US imperialism. At the same time, pro-socialist workers within Russia need to recruit to their own banner, in the course of linking with other pro-working class forces internationally, in the struggle to prevent the US Empire from launching World War III. Australian left parties especially, need to utterly reject all facets of Russophobia, and act to combat its dissemination amongst working people.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

 

 

[1] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-26/whats-next-after-russia-and-ukraine-tensions-rise/10554870 (27-11-18)

[2] https://thesaker.is/ukrainian-sailors-confirm-that-they-deliberately-entered-russian-waters/ (01-12-18)

[3] http://tass.com/world/1032816 (01-12-18)

[4] https://www.euractiv.com/section/defence-and-security/news/putin-defends-seizure-of-ukrainian-ships-poroshenko-invites-nato-in-azov-sea/ (01-12-18)

[5] http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2018/11/ukraine-provokes-russia-to-what-end.html (01-12-18)

[6] https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/ukraine-bans-russian-men-between-16-and-60-from-entering-country.html (01-12-18)

[7] https://www.rt.com/news/crimea-vote-join-russia-210/ (02-12-18)

APEC 2018: US Threatens New Pacific War

Papua New Guinean indigenous dancers welcome delegates to the APEC summit in Port Moresby. Image from Sputnik International

APEC 2018: US Threatens New Pacific War

24-11-2018 – Asia Pacific Economic Co-Operation (APEC) meetings are usually straight forward affairs, full of feel good rhetoric about “free” trade and co-operation. This year it is a different story, with no traditional joint communique able to be cobbled together amongst the 21 member states.[1] The corporate media offer the vapid analysis that this was due to tensions between the governments of the United States of America (US) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In reality, this year’s APEC summit was one in which the US rulers threatened, yet again, to launch a catastrophic war against Red China.  If triggered, such a war could annihilate millions of innocent human beings. As usual, Washington is backed to the hilt by vassal Canberra politicians, recklessly endangering the entire Asia-Pacific.

Manus Island military base?

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the development of the Lombrum naval base, along with the US military at the APEC summit. The Lombrum naval base is on Manus Island, and has not been used as a US base since World War II. The Manus Island  Papua New Guinea (PNG) governor, Charlie Benjamin, stated that the naval base is only in the interests of the US and Australia, not PNG locals.[2] It is the cruelest of ironies, that the base could be expanded on Manus Island, which the Australian government has made notorious by using it as a location for the inhuman torture of refugees and those seeking a safe place to live. To be both a base for the illegal and unjust detention of innocents, as well as a staging post for the potential launching of US led imperialist war, condemns the systems which allow it. The Australian ruling class has already allowed the US to use Darwin as a rotating training ground for thousands of its marines, but Manus Island would be a beach head significantly closer to their target – mainland China.

The language from PRC President Xi Jinping was conciliatory and offered cautious warnings, whereas the language from US Vice President Mike Pence was almost inflammatory. President Xi defended the trillion dollar One Belt One Road (New Silk Road) infrastructure development project as one which has no hidden political agendas, and which targets no one. Vice President Pence, on the other hand, claimed that the US offers its partners no coercion, no drowning countries in a sea of debt, and no compromises on their independence.[3] The US spokesperson retailed bald faced lies when referring obliquely to China’s mutual assistance projects it undertakes throughout Eurasia and the Asia-Pacific. The fact is that the US, mired in a capitalist economic crisis of its making, is not in a position to offer the development assistance that China’s huge state led economy can. The US rulers know that the longer they sit back, the more they will be overtaken by the PRC. Unable to countenance coming second to anyone, let alone an Asian country which 70 years ago was mired in Third World conditions, Washington’s only chance to prevent being overtaken is to launch a cataclysmic war – regardless of the costs.

Socialism versus capitalism

Mainstream media reports of China and the US refer to “rivalry” and “tensions” between two superpowers, where they sometimes admit that the US is past the peak of its power, whereas China is rising. What they cannot say is that China versus the US today is a case of socialism versus capitalism. Yes, the socialism in China is distorted, imperfect, and sometimes politically misled internally and internationally by the Communist Party of China (CPC). Despite this, China’s rapid advance over the last 30 years clearly demonstrates the superiority of the socialist mode of production, based predominantly on public ownership of the means of production, vis-à-vis the capitalist mode of production based on private ownership of the means of production by a tiny handful of obscenely wealthy elites, as in the West. While world capitalism entered the “Third Slump” in 2008 and has barely recovered, China’s economy powers along, outstripping the West even despite not being able to yet match Western labour productivity overall.

China ended the “century of humiliation” at the hands of the colonial powers in 1949, with the final victory of its socialist revolution. Today, China’s stupendous economic growth is driven by the workers’ state which emerged out of this victory, in which hundreds of millions of workers and peasants overturned feudal and capitalist rule. In the PRC, the banks, transport infrastructure, telecommunications, electricity, shipping, defence industries, space industries, robotics, aircraft and train manufacturing, media, cinema and computer chip manufacturing, amongst other things, are all state owned or majority state owned. And they are all supervised and controlled by the government to ensure they stay within the limits of the five year plan. This has led to stunning breakthroughs by Chinese made technology, with, for example, China leading the way in the production of supercomputers,[4] and being the first country to effect a soft landing on the dark side of the moon.[5]

The capitalist economies of the US, Europe, Japan and Australia, on the other hand, remain mired in effective recession. In Australia, wages in terms of purchasing power have never been lower in history. All governments routinely slash public spending on healthcare, education, public transport, pensions, aged care etc., and funnel it directly to the private sector. This has little effect, the rate of profit continues to fall, and working people suffer the consequences. Poverty and homelessness is skyrocketing in Australia and also the United Kingdom (UK). These governments then try to divert the backlash – onto China!

Working people should not fear China but defend it, in the process of struggling to achieve socialism on these shores. Infrastructure development, decent public transport, banks which provide a low cost service, affordable housing, indeed – a better life – all this and more awaits if workers can prevent Washington and Canberra from launching a calamitous war in the Pacific.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://postcourier.com.pg/happens-undeliverable-apec-2018-png-communique/ (24-11-18)

[2] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-21/manus-governor-slams-australia-over-naval-base-plans/10515910 (24-11-18)

[3] https://mothership.sg/2018/11/chinese-president-xi-jinping-us-vice-president-mike-pence-2018-apec-summit/ (24-11-18)

[4] https://www.datacenterknowledge.com/supercomputers/world-s-10-fastest-supercomputers-pictures (24-11-18)

[5] https://bgr.com/2018/08/16/china-moon-rovers-dark-side-launch-2018/ (24-11-18)

US Empire Rolls the Dice on Venezuela Invasion

Supporters of the Venezuelan government hold pictures of former President Hugo Chavez. Image from http://www.psmag.com

US Empire Rolls the Dice on Venezuela Invasion

27-10-2018 – It’s no secret. The US ruling class, through its various fronts, has attempted to overthrow the Venezuelan government repeatedly since Hugo Chavez swept to electoral power in 1998. There was a coup attempt in 2002, an attempt to shut down the state owned PDVSA oil company in 2003, a separatist plot in the Zulia region in 2008, and violent opposition led rolling street demonstrations in 2014 and 2017.[1] This year on July 8, US President Donald Trump laid the military option on the table. According to Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, Trump had a meeting with the then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and then national security adviser HR McMaster, asking why the US could not “finish off” Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro through a military operation. Apparently Tillerson and McMaster managed to talk Trump out of that option.[2]

US government funding of Venezuelan opposition

Washington, however, continues to carry out everything but an actual military intervention to overthrow the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. While there is a substantial right-wing domestic opposition to the Venezuelan government, it would barely be able to sustain its multiple coup attempts without the financial and political backing of notorious US deep state operatives such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The NED is more or less the public face of the CIA, which poses as an aid organisation, but in fact exists to subvert and/or overthrow any government or country around the world which is perceived to be too independent from Wall Street. In Venezuela, it partners with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), to funnel funding to the opposition which repeatedly refuses to accept the results of elections within Venezuela which they lose. In 2015 alone, the US pumped $4.2 million into Venezuela through the NED and USAID.[3] The US government also funds the Broadcasting Board of Governors, to the tune of some $777.8 million[4]. This money runs the “Voice of America” news service, which for decades has beamed anti-communist propaganda into Cuba, and continues to do so throughout Latin America and Asia.

Yet it is not just faux media organisations which Washington funds and often creates. It is also entire opposition political parties. The NED, via the International Republican Institute (IRI), funds the right-wing coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), in violation of Venezuelan law. The IRI has virtually set up the opposition parties Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular.[5] It is also no coincidence that these right-wing parties are heavily supported and backed by Venezuela’s wealthy and upper classes. For years, the majority of working class and poorer Venezuelans have stood by their “Bolivarian Revolution”.

Economic crisis undermines Chavismo

For around 15 years, the Chavista movement (or “Chavismo”, named after initiating President Hugo Chavez) was unassailable and virtually could not lose an election. The Bolivarian Revolution, with the overwhelming support of the majority of Venezuelans who have little personal wealth, did win substantial gains that leftists the world over could celebrate. For the first time, many people who could not afford to get an education were able to enroll. The minimum wage was increased, by government decree, repeatedly. Free health care centres were set up in poorer neighbourhoods which had rarely seen a doctor. Housing was built for those who could least afford to buy. Venezuela’s substantial oil wealth helped to fund these progressive steps which had never previously been contemplated.[6]

Hugo Chavez and the Chavistas claimed they were for socialism, and that this was the aim of their revolution. Chavista supporters no doubt consciously accept socialism, yet in practice the Bolivarian Revolution was always based on reforming the capitalist system. Chavistas may deny it, but the Bolivarian Revolution did not take the crucial first steps towards socialism – the organisation of the working class in preparation for the seizure of state power. For this, what is indispensable is the forging of a Marxist vanguard party – composed of the most advanced pro-working class fighters. Even Chavista supporters internationally would admit that the party created by Hugo Chavez, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), was not conceived as a Marxist organisation.

The Bolivarian Revolution itself was never a socialist revolution. This is something that genuine Chavista supporters in Venezuela and internationally have to face up to. Socialism begins with the working class creating its own power, overthrowing the rule of capital, and taking control of the major means of production, at least initially. None of this has been attempted in Venezuela – in fact, quite the opposite. Despite some abandoned factories being taken over by the government here and there, the major means of production remain in private hands in Venezuela. The entire banking system remains in the hands of the wealthy elite. Far from organising working class occupations and take-overs of critical public infrastructure, the Chavistas have restricted their political work largely to elections. Because the state remains in the hands of capital, all of the gains made by the Bolivarian Revolution can therefore be taken away by a lost election.

This reality is getting closer day by day. In fact, a US backed military intervention, or even just a classical Wall Street backed “opposition” movement creating enough chaos to topple the government, is on the cards. An actual socialist revolution enables the most advanced workers to destroy the capitalist state, and erect a workers’ state in its place, as the first step towards the transition to socialism. The critical factor is that the working class uses state power to win the majority of the working people, and integrates them into ruling the new society themselves – without and against the corporations and their wealthy backers. The Bolivarian Revolution, on the other hand, attempts to rule in the name of the “people” or “Venezuelans”. In a class divided society, however, uniting antagonistic classes is an impossibility. And so, without working class control of the banks especially, there is no chance of being able to control such things as runaway inflation. This is one reason why the right-wing opposition is able to make a comeback.

Negotiations while migration crisis expands

The PSUV and Maduro constantly enter into negotiations with Venezuelan capitalists and the opposition generally, in a vain attempt to somehow make enough concessions that might lead them to refrain from sabotaging the economy and the state. A genuine socialist leadership of a workers’ state would enter into negotiations with former capitalists who have been deprived of political power – but Maduro and the Chavistas do not lead a workers’ state, and they have no intention of expropriating even some of them. Their negotiations are based on the fantasy that Venezuelan business owners would somehow value all Venezuelans above their material wealth. But the opposition’s open consorting with and through Washington and all of their agents is a clear indication that the Venezuelan “captains of industry” are only loyal to the profits they can squeeze out of Venezuelan workers and the poor.

The Venezuelan rich classes are also part of the reason why there is a migration crisis between Venezuela and Colombia, and elsewhere. The hoarding of goods by businesses that refuse to sell or supply them to poor Venezuelans causes some to pack up their belongings and seek asylum where food and goods, not to speak of work, are available. Hyper-inflation, now barely measurable, pushes prices of basic goods out of reach. Some reports state that as many as 10 to 12%, or around 3.8 million, Venezuelans now live abroad in more than 90 countries.[7] Many of them flee Venezuela on foot, and large numbers of them cross the border into Colombia. Some move further through Ecuador and into Chile.

At the same time, the hypocrisy of the Colombian government blaming Venezuela entirely for this migration crisis stands out in stark relief. 50 years of war in Colombia, with right-wing paramilitaries regularly murdering left-wing guerrillas and perceived supporters has led to millions of Colombians fleeing for their lives. Venezuela has reportedly absorbed about 30% of this migration, with an estimated 5.6 million Colombians living in Venezuela, according to 2015 figures.[8] What is more, these Colombians benefit from the same rights as all Venezuelans, and make use of the government provided health care, education and housing!

Chinese investment assists oil industry

The Venezuelan oil industry, the exports of which make up around 95% of government earnings, is now at its lowest level in 70 years. Crude oil production is currently down to around 1.4 million barres per day (mbpd), which is about half of the average 2.4 mbpd Venezuela usually produces. It had a record high of 3.4 mbpd in 1997, and a record low of 0.594 mbpd in January 2003, during the opposition “oil lockout”.[9] The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is a major recipient of Venezuelan oil, but due to the problems PDVSA is experiencing, it is struggling to send its shipments. In July, the China Development Bank approved a $250 million grant to PDVSA to boost oil production. This is on top of a $5 billion loan already approved, which exists alongside previous $50 billion oil-for-loan arrangements with the Asian economic powerhouse.[10] Workers should be clear – this assistance from the PRC stems from the predominantly socialist state led Chinese economy, of which its state owned oil production forms a part. Without the PRC’s largely collectivised and planned economy, based on public ownership of the major means of production, Red China would not be the world’s leading economic generator today.

While the economic assistance the PRC is able to grant Venezuela acts as a welcome countervailing factor to the threats of regime change emanating from the US Empire, it may not be enough to stave off the relentless sabotage the Venezuelan right wing opposition utilises, in concert with Washington. While the PRC’s assistance to Venezuela is welcome, the politics of the Communist Party of China (CPC) leadership is such that it does so in order to prop up the Venezuelan bourgeois system, rather than “socialism”. If the PRC was led by genuine Marxist internationalists, the assistance would be provided alongside political encouragement to raise the working class to power, in Venezuela and Latin America.

Defend Venezuela against regime change

The working class internationally is crying out for leadership, as capitalism drives human society ever closer to an abyss. There is scarcely any leadership coming from the left in the Western imperialist countries. The leaderships of the countries which broke from capitalism after World War II maintain their initial success in establishing the first steps towards socialism. In the PRC, the largely nationalised and planned economy guided by socialist state led development continues to outstrip the US, Europe, Japan and Australia. Yet the PRC leadership, along with their cohorts in Vietnam, Laos, the DPRK (“North Korea”) and Cuba concentrate their building of socialism within their own borders. Unfortunately, workers do not hear calls from them to join with them in a struggle to finally end global capitalist rule.

Neither, however, do such calls emanate from Chavismo. The movement led by Chavez and now Maduro has won substantial gains for the working class and the poor in Venezuela. Yet every reform made via electoral change, even one which has governmental power, can be taken away by capital as soon as the political conditions allow. The only way to not only protect the free health care, education, housing and other gains won by Chavismo, is to prepare the workers for the overthrow of corporate rule, via the destruction of the old regime based on vast inequality, and the construction of their own state. Unless the working class holds power, socialism only lives in words.

Workers in Venezuela have the task of winning over Chavistas to the perspective of a genuine struggle for the arming of their class and the rule of a workers government. Key to this is the forging of an internationalist Marxist cadre party. Workers internationally have the task of defending Venezuela against the dire threat of open imperialist intervention from the US Empire. There is a need for the military defence of the Venezuelan government against US imperialism, while preparing the political conditions for the supersession of Chavismo with a perspective of united action between the workers of Venezuela, Colombia, Latin America, the US and internationally.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66     NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14094 (27-10-2018)

[2] https://www.iol.co.za/sundayindependent/analysis/us-set-on-regime-change-in-venezuela-15898260 (27-10-2018)

[3] https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/US-Pumped-4.2M-in-2015-to-Destabilize-Venezuelan-Government-20170408-0006.html (27-10-2018)

[4] https://www.bbg.gov/strategy-and-performance/budget-submissions/ (27-10-2018)

[5] https://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/25/the-dirty-hand-of-the-national-endowment-for-democracy-in-venezuela/ (27-10-18)

[6] https://www.telesurtv.net/english/analysis/4-Gains-Maduros-Venezuela-Made-That-Mainstream-Media-Ignores-20170413-0026.html (27-10-2018)

[7] https://www.straitstimes.com/world/americas/how-the-venezuelan-migration-crisis-affects-south-america (27-10-18)

[8] https://www.telesurtv.net/english/analysis/Why-Do-Colombians-Continue-Migrating-to-Venezuela–20150910-0028.html (27-10-18)

[9] https://tradingeconomics.com/venezuela/crude-oil-production (27-10-18)

[10] https://www.dw.com/en/venezuela-secures-oil-sector-funding-from-china/a-44518822 (27-10-18)

Myanmar: Rohingya Manipulated for the West’s Drive to War

Myanmar: Rohingya Manipulated for the West’s Drive to War

05-09-2018 – If genuine anti-war activists have learnt anything over the last few decades, it is to be supremely skeptical the moment the US Empire and its corporate media apparatchiks start to chant in unison on the latest “human rights” violation which urgently needs attention. It usually means that a “humanitarian intervention”, read – regime change war, is on the way. So it was in Libya, so it was in Syria, and so may be in Myanmar. Some of the actors are the same, some are different, but the effect is familiar – the West poses as the defender of civilisation against Third World barbarians. The hypocrisy becomes immediately apparent to anti-imperialists, but deludes many who should know better.

One year on from the alleged genocide of Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine state of Myanmar, there has been a round of demonstrations called by some ex-pat Rohingya community groups throughout Australia, which have been backed by liberal political forces and “NGOs” such as Amnesty International. Some misguided left parties have joined the fray. And this time, these actions have the backing of none other than the Donald Trump administration of the US government !  The US government has seen fit to sanction several Myanmar military commanders for allegations of ethnic cleansing, massacres, sexual assaults and extra-judicial killings.[1] It takes one to know one. The US Empire, with its blood drenched history, is itself an exponent of the crimes of which it accuses others.

What happened in the Rakhine state in August 2017?

A report released several weeks ago in London, titled Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience, claimed that from August 25, 2017, around 24 000 Rohingya were killed, and 18 000 Rohingya women and girls were raped during the forced migration from the Rakhine state into Bangladesh.[2] The report claims, amongst other things, that 43 000 Rohingyas were shot, 36 000 were thrown into fire, and 116 000 were beaten – all at the hands of the Tatmadaw (Myanmar military). The writers of the report were from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, the Philippines and Norway. The absence of anyone from Myanmar immediately raises suspicion. And, given that for the last seven years at least, the West’s war on Syria was replete with incessant claims from the West that the Syrian government was slaughtering its own civilians wholesale, and given that this turned out to be abject lies – we are entitled to smell a rat. Generally, people do not flee from their homes and attempt to enter a neighbouring country without fearing for their lives, and it seems the estimated 700 000 Rohingya who took flight certainly were motivated by fear. But fear of what, and of whom? The West claims, over and over again, that the Rohingya were fleeing from Myanmar’s army. For them, this is a convenient narrative.

In reality, the Rohingya were fleeing from the threatened or actual extreme violence from two sources, neither of which were the armed forces of Myanmar. The first were the ultra-violent and ultra-racist Buddhist “monks”, who were the key protagonists of the “Saffron Revolution” which brought Aung Sung Suu Kyi into government. These “monks” had been whipping up lethal hatred against Rohingya Muslims for years before 2017, which is why there was already Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar. The “monks” are the key support base of Aung Sung Suu Kyi, and of her party, the National League for Democracy – which has in turn been almost wholly funded by the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and billionaire regime change specialist George Soros.[3]  These openly imperialist forces knowingly do this despite the leading figure of the “monks” being Ashin Wirathu, known as the “Burmese Bin Laden”. Reportedly in response to a question over whether he was the Burmese (Burma is the previous name for the country of Myanmar) Bin Laden, Wirathu said he would not deny it.[4] Fuelling ultra-nationalism, Wirathu has incited and led what are effectively racio-religious purges of Rohingya in Myanmar for years. Yet there are no headlines about Buddhist monks driving Rohingya into the seas.

The second force the Rohingya were also fleeing was the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, or ARSA. Why would a so-called liberation army containing the name “Rohingya” actually turn their guns and swords against Rohingya people themselves?  For the same reason that ISIS, with Western governmental funding, gruesomely slaughtered other Muslims (and Christians and other “apostates”) in Syria. That is, ARSA does not represent Rohingya people any more than ISIS represents Muslims. ARSA was originally Harakat Al Yaqin (the “Faith” movement), with many of its fighters having been trained in Pakistan by the notorious Lashkar E-Taiba (LET). Some Rohingya have been jihadists running with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Chechnya and the Middle East, and have now been encouraged to return to Myanmar to continue an insurgency with the aim of an Islamic state.[5] It should be stressed that only some Rohingya join terrorist groups such as ARSA, but the precarious state of the Rohingya given their mistreatment at the hands of ultra-nationalists tends to lead to a situation where young Rohingya men might be persuaded to take up arms in response.

The act which precipitated the armed response from the Tatmadaw was a series of pre-dawn armed attacks by ARSA on 30 police stations, which took the lives of some 13 police officers, and seems to have been also used to gather weapons. These pre-emptive murderous assaults took place just two days after United Nations (UN) special representative Kofi Annan issued his report on the Myanmar government’s actions towards the Rohingya.[6] Firstly, it is just too convenient for the proximity of these two actions for it to have been a coincidence. Secondly, if armed attacks by jihadists on police stations sounds familiar, it is because such attacks also took place in Syria, by Western backed terrorists looking to ignite their gruesome insurgency against the Syrian Arab Republic – which was almost universally rejected by Syrians. Just as the Syrian government had little option to respond to an armed attack by terrorists on its infrastructure, the Tatmadaw likewise had no choice but to militarily respond to a terrorist attack on their state. Thus, the Rohingya who fled were fleeing fighting between the terrorist ARSA and the Tatmadaw, NOT the Tatmadaw only, as Western misled refugee rights activists claim.

Humanitarians enlisted for war drive

During the US led war on Syria, imperialism learnt how to skillfully manipulate human sympathy for refugees for its own ends. This has now been replicated in Myanmar in the case of the Rohingya. Most first world refugee rights activists, although motivated by wholesome concerns, unfortunately end up stumping for the very force which creates refugees in the first place. Imperialism with its vast corporate media apparatus can spin the story to fit their aims, but left-leaning activists should have been aware that something was up when tabloid former 60 minutes reporter Ray Martin pops up out of nowhere to fly the flag. In April, Ray Martin visited Myanmar and returned a shallow report on the work of the Fred Hollows Foundation who were assisting Rohingya with eye operations.[7] Working people of course should not oppose aid offered for any refugees, but the propaganda point was clear – Rohingyas are suffering at the hands of the evil Myanmar government, and “we” (read: Washington and Canberra) need to “help”.

Of course, the “help” the US Empire is itching to offer is that of sending in its own troops into Myanmar, so as to eventually have troops on the border with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). If it is not able to do this, armed proxy terrorist forces such as ARSA will do for the time being. The chaos and insurgency of terrorist groups in Myanmar can also only benefit Washington, who is seeking to disrupt the growing trade and investment ties between Myanmar and Red China. Washington is furious at this, as China becomes more and more an ally to more and more countries in Asia. In the first eight months of the current financial year, trade between Myanmar and China totaled 7.42 billion in US dollars. Myanmar’s rice, peas, sesame seeds, rubber and fishery products were exchanged for machinery, plastic raw materials and electronic devices from China.[8]  Indeed, Myanmar is a part of the billion dollar New Silk Road (One Belt One Road) infrastructure development plan the Chinese government seeks to enact in order to fulfil its demand for more raw materials to fuel its booming socialist economy, AND economically aid surrounding developing countries.

While not minimising the issues the Rohingya face in Myanmar, Western liberals are almost universally unaware of the role of US and British imperialism inside the country over many decades. Their active empathy is then manipulated by the different arms of Western capital, to further ends which will in effect make things worse for the very people they aim to assist. For example, the notorious National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a US State department entity which claims to be a private entity, is funded by corporations that could hardly be described as “progressive”, including Boeing, the Ford Motor Company, McDonalds, Exxon Mobil and Goldman Sachs. The NED has literally created putative “news outlets” in Myanmar such as The Irrawaddy, The New Era Journal and the Democratic Voice of Burma radio.[9] These US state backed outlets operating inside Myanmar strongly oppose many infrastructure projects being built with the assistance of China, even if such projects would contribute to the development of Myanmar and the alleviation of pockets of poverty. They then double as “refugee rights activists” when issues such as the situation in the Rakhine state arise. It is no coincidence that China operates a port in Sittwe in the Rakhine state, as a part of the New Silk Road project linking China, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Myanmar should not be left in a state of underdevelopment just to spite Red China.

Encirclement and lily pads

While not doubting the genuinely humanistic motives of many Western refugee rights activists, their reform oriented politics makes them vulnerable to playing the role of cat’s paw for the aims of the US Empire. For decades, the US state has aimed to land US troops on the border with Red China. Now, with the socialist state led economy of China leaving the West in its wake, imperialism is desperate to “contain and roll back communism” to use a phrase from the first Cold War. This means military encirclement of China, and the constant attempts to establish areas which can be used as a stepping stone, or lily pad, for US forces. In Myanmar, this means using any means at its disposal to create chaos, ethnic conflict and even full scale war. As in Syria, the US and the UK governments will work with and alongside Al Qaeda linked jihadists aiming for a breakaway “Islamic State” – which, if achieved, would be an ideal location for a US military installation. This is what is behind some calls for an “independent”  Rohingyan ethno-state.

Some Australian left parties have fallen hook, line and sinker for the US/UK orchestrated “Save the Rohingya” psy-op. Socialist Alternative whitewash ARSA’s links to Al Qaeda, by claiming that ARSA is little more than a “poorly armed group of Rohingyas seeking to resist displacement from their land”.[10] In reality, ARSA is well funded and armed from amongst the governments of Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Pakistan. ARSA even reportedly has a leadership council based in Saudi Arabia.[11]

The Socialist Alliance appears blind even to the role of ARSA, and last year called on the Australian government (!) to “bring charges of human rights violations against senior Myanmar military officials…..” (!!)[12] The Australian government, fresh from human rights violations in wars such as those on Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, is hardly a temple of virtue on this front. Moreover, as mentioned previously, the Donald Trump administration in the US has done just this, sanctioning some Tatmadaw personnel over allegations of ethnic cleansing. When the Commander in Chief of US imperialism effectively carries out your demands, it should at least be apparent that your politics is off-beam. Meanwhile, both Solidarity[13] and the Communist Party of Australia[14] join with the US state department in condemning Myanmar for allegations of “ethnic cleansing”. One wonders if they are aware of the company they keep.

If it is genuinely the aim to assist the Rohingya’s integration into Myanmar, working people need to demand the withdrawal of US and UK government interference in its internal affairs. Myanmar must have the sovereign right to engage in trade and investment deals with whomever they choose, including Red China and its New Silk Road. While the politics of the leadership of the PRC falls way short of a struggle for international revolution, China must be defended, along with the working class internationally, against the West’s moves to ignite a predatory war. Our lives may just depend on it.

 

WORKERS   LEAGUE

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

Map showing the China-Myanmar oil and gas pipeline, which began operations in early 2017. This mutually beneficial development is what the US rulers lose sleep over. Image from http://www.ramree.com

PO  Box   66    NUNDAH   QLD
http://www.redfireonline.com

[1] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-rohingya-usa/us-imposes-sanctions-on-myanmar-military-over-rohingya-crackdown-idUSKBN1L21KL (05-09-18)

[2] http://www.newagebd.net/article/48675/24000-rohingyas-killed-18000-raped-intl-research (05-09-18)

[3] https://journal-neo.org/2015/05/30/who-s-driving-the-rohingya-into-the-sea/ (05-09-18)

[4] https://eurasiantimes.com/ashin-wirathu/ (05-09-18)

[5] https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/geopolitics/article/2109386/myanmar-has-new-insurgency-worry-about (08-09-18)

[6] https://jamestown.org/program/myanmars-tatmadaw-making-arakan-rohingya-salvation-army/ (08-09-18)

[7] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-24/giving-life-back-to-a-people-who-have-no-hope/9682150 (08-09-18)

[8] http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-01/22/c_136914463.htm (08-09-18)

[9] https://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2014/11/us-struggles-to-keep-asia-in-dark-age.html (09-09-18)

[10] https://redflag.org.au/index.php/node/6041 (09-09-18)

[11] http://www.atimes.com/article/foreign-support-gives-rohingya-militants-lethal-edge/ (09-09-18)

[12] https://socialist-alliance.org/news/stop-killing-rohingya-no-cooperation-genocide (09-09-18)

[13] https://www.solidarity.net.au/mag/back/2017/107/australia-complicit-rohingya-ethnic-cleansing/ (09-09-18)

[14] https://www.cpa.org.au/guardian/2017/1796/11-ethnic-cleansing.html (09-09-18)

 

70 Years of Injustice: Freedom for Palestine!

70 Years of Injustice: Freedom for Palestine!

15-05-2018 – 70 years ago today, the Catastrophe (Al Nakba) rained down upon Palestine. The birth of the Zionist state of Israel was erected on the forcible expulsion of at least 750 000 Palestinians, many forced into exile to escape death squads, typified by the Irgun’s massacre of at 254 people, mainly women and children, in the village of Deir Yassin.[1] It was April 9, 1948, and the annihilation of this village set the scene for what was to come. For the next 70 years, the Zionist Israeli state has continued to regard Palestinians as unpeople, against which can be carried out theft, murder, imprisonment and daily denial of basic humanity. The stealing of the very land on which people live is one of the most devastating acts colonialism can practice – and yet it continues to this day, with the borders of Gaza and the West Bank shrinking further and further. It goes without saying that there cannot be peace in the Middle East until there is justice for Palestine.

The Zionist Israeli state has existed for 70 years as it has the open political, diplomatic and military support of the imperialist powers – specifically that of the United States of America (US). Yet for the last seven years, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been simmering in the shadow of the US led war on neighbouring Syria – both in proxy and open form. This war for regime change involved the Israeli state bombing Syria whenever it felt like it. It also involved direct collusion between Israeli armed forces and those of ISIS and Al Nusra, even to the extent of free medical treatment for these wounded mercenary barbarians.[2] Israel still occupies the Golan Heights area of Syria, and its role in the war for regime change was not hidden, as it lined up with the governments of the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Kingdom (UK), France, Australia and others. Despite this, much of the Palestinian solidarity movement worldwide fell silent, despite their stated opposition to “Israel”. Many pro-Palestine activists even sided with the regime change war on Syria, despite the strengthening of Israeli state forces which would have resulted if the Syrian Arab Republic had have been overthrown by US backed genocidal terrorists.

The apparent anomaly for some Palestinian solidarity activists – loudly opposing the actions of Israel in relation to Palestine, but not in relation to Syria, is periodically revealed. Roger Waters, the famous guitarist from the band Pink Floyd, has long supported the Palestinian cause. In a recent concert, apparently someone wanted to come on stage and make an announcement about Douma, where the Western governments openly lied, claiming a false chemical weapons attack from the Syrian government. Waters did not allow this, and said that the organisation he supports, the White Helmets, are a “fake organisation that is creating propaganda for jihadists and terrorists”.[3] He went on to strongly argue against calling on Western governments to bomb Syria in response. We can only hope that the Palestinian solidarity movement itself would defend Syria, or would at least speak out against the sinister workings of US and British imperialism, such as the “White Helmets” fraud.

Iran and World War III scenario

The Palestinian solidarity movement in Australia is heavily dominated by what became known as the “imperial left” – the “socialist” parties which followed the Liberal

Thousands of Palestinians march along the Gaza-Israel border on 30.03.2018, calling for the ‘Right to Return’. Image from http://www.middleeastmonitor.com

National Party (LNP), the Labor Party (ALP) and the Greens in strenuously backing the US imperialist wars on Libya and Syria, from 2011 onwards. Much of the Western Palestinian solidarity movement appeared oblivious to the fact that the war on Syria very nearly came to a nuclear war between Russia defending Syria, and the US and Israel almost destroying it. Needless to say, a nuclear war over Syria would probably destroy Palestine, the imperial left notwithstanding. Now, this World War III scenario is on the cards again – this time with the US threatening another of the imperial left’s favourite whipping boys – the Islamic Republic of Iran. US President Donald Trump unilaterally “withdrew” (or openly violated) the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) on May 9,[4] and vowed to impose even tougher sanctions on Iran. US plans for regime change in Iran have not abated since 1979, and it is feared that the US will strike before 2019 – the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution.

The Israeli “Defence” Forces, usually routinely used against Palestinians, wasted no time in taking advantage of US President Trump’s tearing up of the JCPOA. Within one hour, Israeli warplanes struck Iranian targets in Syria, south of the capital Damascus, reportedly killing 15, including 8 Iranians. In response, the Iranian forces fired 20 rockets at the Golan Heights, and area of Syria still occupied by Israel. The Western media twisted and distorted these events to make out that Iran was the aggressor, and Israel was “defending itself”.[5] The Western Palestinian solidarity movement has decried these false claims by Israel and the Western imperialist powers for decades – when it is directed against Palestine. Yet when it comes to a clear regime change operation against Syria or Iran – non-imperialist allies of Palestine – not a sound emanates from them.

There is also a gaping vacuum from the Western Palestinian solidarity movement when Palestine receives material and political support from Hezbollah, in neighbouring Lebanon. Hezbollah risked life and limb to defend neighbouring Syria against the atrocious US/Israeli/Saudi led regime change war, sending armed detachments to battle against the head-chopping lunatics attempting to overthrow Syria. In the process, they defended Palestine, along with the Russian and Iranian forces, in the process of defending Syria. No doubt Hezbollah’s actions in defending Syria were a huge factor in the recent parliamentary elections in Lebanon, where Hezbollah doubled the amount of seats it held, with big losses for the pro-US and pro-Saudi Said Hariri governing bloc.[6] The Western Palestinian solidarity movement beseeches us to support Palestine, but itself offers not an ounce of support to its immediate neighbours – Hezbollah, Syria, Iran – who give material aid to Palestine. It is a mess of contradictions.

Again, the Western Palestinian solidarity movement will be tested. Will they oppose yet another US led imperialist war (on Iran), where they failed, or at least abstained, in Syria? The signs so far are not good, as the imperial left’s bitter opposition to Iran in practice means it forswears any of the desperately needed assistance provided to Palestine by the Iranian government. There are even some liberals who defend Iran on the basis of its long standing anti-imperialist stance vis-à-vis the US Empire, who blanch at hailing Israel or the other main US ally in the region – Saudi Arabia. There is an urgent need for working people with a basic anti-imperialist stance to join the Palestinian solidarity movement to counter, and overcome, the predominance of the imperial left. This needs to be a part of an anti-imperialist anti-war movement in general – given the US Empire’s similar threats to Russia and China.

BDS claims false victories

With a few exceptions, there is a cross-over between the imperial left and the liberal BDS movement – which calls for “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” against Israel, which is somehow supposed to free Palestine. As we have mentioned previously, the main problem with the BDS movement is that it attempts to gain the support of the imperialist powers, rather than working to undermine them. The US, British, French and Australian ruling classes know very well why they politically and financially maintain the Israeli state, and they cannot be convinced to do otherwise, no matter how compelling the argument. Falling short of inveigling the imperialist powers themselves into a “Down with Israel” campaign, the BDS movement latches on to any expression of anti-Israel sentiment, as proof of the “success” of BDS.

BDS supporters lauded Oscar winning actress Natalie Portman’s decision not to attend a ceremony in Israel which awards the million dollar Genesis Prize, reportedly over “distressing” recent events in Israel. BDS supporters immediately claimed this decision as a victory for BDS, but Natalie Portman’s own words soon put paid to this contention. Portman, who was born in Jerusalem, but moved to the US at age three, stated on Instagram: “I chose not to attend because I did not want to appear to be endorsing Benjamin Netanyahu, who was to be giving a speech at the ceremony…..Like many Israelis and Jews around the world, I can be critical of the leadership in Israel without wanting to boycott the entire nation”.[7]

This pointedly reveals another of the shortcomings of BDS. The BDS movement in practice boycotts 8.54 million Israelis, rather than the Zionist Israeli state, which is responsible for the terrible oppression of the Palestinians. Israel is only 75% Jewish, and only around 15% of these are Ultra-Orthodox. A much smaller percentage is willing to commit violence against Palestinians and Arabs. Indeed, 20% of Israelis are Arabs themselves.[8] Well over half of the population, perhaps more, are therefore not Zionists. However, it is acknowledged that Zionism – the ideology for a Jewish only state and/or homeland – does have strong influence throughout the country. It would seem axiomatic that to defeat Zionist ideology, one would necessarily have to enlist non-Zionist Israelis – the majority of the country. BDS does not have such a perspective, as it is ultimately an outgrowth of the Palestinian nationalism which has led to the current impasse.

When is nationalism progressive?

Some leftists and Marxist inspired Palestinian solidarity activists attempt to justify their backing of Palestinian nationalism by referring to Lenin’s work on the right of nations to self-determination. It is the case that Lenin and the Bolsheviks sometimes supported the “nationalism” of a small state when it was in conflict with a larger, dominating force. We would argue that the Marxist backing of the nationalism of small states goes only so far, and only under strict limits. It is only the direct content of the nationalism of a small state which is directed against imperialism, that can be supported by the working class internationally. Any step further than this, seeps over into petty-bourgeois nationalism, which then works against the prospects of its liberation. For example, the nationalism which currently defends Syria and Iran, in the immediate political context, is used against the dire encroachments of US led imperialism, with the Zionist state of Israel as an adjunct. The US/Israeli plans for Syria and Iran are clearly catastrophic regime change, and thus the nationalism of Syria and Iran in response directly counters imperialism.

Palestinian nationalism, on the other hand, generally does not work in a clear anti-imperialist direction, despite being its victim. Palestinian nationalism, in the hands of Fatah, Hamas or indeed BDS, continually seeks recognition from capitalist imperialism, instead of rousing workers against it. The nationalist Fatah and the Islamist Hamas do so more consciously, whereas the BDS movement does so less consciously. This is largely due to the fact that Fatah, Hamas and BDS seek to install their own Palestinian capitalist nation-state. The approach is one which effectively says to imperialism: “you have your capitalist state over there, we will have ours over here, and we will peacefully co-exist.”

Of course, there can be no peaceful co-existence with imperialism. One look at Libya, Syria, Russia and China today will demonstrate that the US Empire cannot even allow independence, let alone extended periods of peaceful co-existence. Finance capital must expand or die, and internationally this means unending wars for the re-division of the planet. More to the point, capitalism in Palestine will not be able to solve the dire problems affecting working people. Poverty, inequality, unemployment, underdevelopment, lack of infrastructure – which affects workers in Israel and Palestine – cannot be addressed without the overthrow of the system of production for private profit. Only socialism – the public ownership of the means of production, politically led by workers holding state power, can hope to address these urgent issues.

Anti-capitalist political action pre-supposes the linking of Palestinian and Israeli workers in common struggle. As far away as this perspective appears, common working class struggle against capitalism in the region is the only way to break the seemingly insurmountable antagonism between Palestinians and Israelis. Key to this is the forging of a Marxist vanguard party, which would seek to unite Israeli and Palestinian workers in a struggle for an Arab-Hebrew socialist state, which could be a basis for uniting workers across the Middle East and further abroad. Linking in with the defence of Iran, Syria, Russia and China against faltering but still dangerous Western imperialism, a socialist revolution in Palestine/Israel could be a focal point for desperately needed workers struggle in Europe, Japan, the US and Australia. A world of threatening imperialist war can only be ended when those who labour are in power.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

E:workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.deiryassin.org/mas.html  (08-05-18)

[2] https://www.mintpressnews.com/israel-reconfirms-commitment-to-treating-wounded-syrian-al-nusra-fighters/226714/ (08-05-18)

[3] https://www.jpost.com/International/Roger-Waters-slams-Syria-intervention-attacks-White-Helmets-as-fake-549894 (08-05-18)

[4] https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/live-updates-trump-to-decide-fate-of-iran-nuclear-deal-1.6070574 (09-05-18)

[5] http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/49400.htm (12-05-18)

[6] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-08/hezbollah-stronger-in-lebanon-parliament-after-elections/9737264 (12-05-18)

[7] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-portman/natalie-portman-says-to-skip-israeli-ceremony-due-to-netanyahu-speech-idUSKBN1HS05C (09-05-18)

[8] https://www.indexmundi.com/israel/demographics_profile.html (09-05-18)

No to World Nuclear War! US/UK/FRA: Hands Off Syria!

No to World Nuclear War! US/UK/FRA: Hands Off Syria!

14-04-2018 – There is no longer any pretence, if there ever was. After failing for seven years to bring down the Syrian Arab Republic by arming and funding barbaric mercenaries and letting them loose inside Syria, the governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom and France are now openly using their respective state military forces to attempt to salvage what has been, for them, a lost war. The US President Donald Trump announced air strikes have reportedly already been largely shot down by Syrian Arab Army air defences, though some appear to have hit the capital Damascus.

This comes after weeks of openly provocative, and barely comprehensible, actions by London, Paris and Washington. The alleged poisoning of a former Russian double agent in London was blamed on the Russian government without a shred of proof being put forward, and no confirmation of the current whereabouts of Sergei and Yulia Skripal being offered. Their false case, a blatant and dangerous war provocation, collapsed for lack of evidence.[1] Directly linked, now an even more obviously false flag chemical weapons “attack” in the town of Douma in Syria has been blamed on the Syrian government and their ally Russia. Russian military general staff have stated that these fake attacks have been carried out by the White Helmets, who are notorious for aiding and assisting terrorist groups in Syria.[2] The “White Helmets” are Al Qaeda linked, and, like ISIS and all other terrorist groups operating in Syria, are funded by Western governments, especially the UK. The French government, alongside the US and Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel and others, have acted to support these terrorist forces, in their vain attempts to overthrow Syria, as a stepping stone to wars on Iran, and ultimately Russia.

Reports say that the White Helmets had been pressured by the Western governments for some months to stage yet another false flag chemical weapons attack, in order to enable another turn in the US/Israeli led war on Syria. A sign that the false flag “poisoning” of the Skripals in London was linked to the false flag chemical weapons stunt in Douma, are indications that British Special Forces have been captured in Douma by Syrian and Russian troops – a claim the UK government denies.[3] What credibility the UK government would have after publicly accusing the Russian government of espionage on UK soil without any putative proof, and after refusing repeatedly to display what evidence they had, is anyone’s guess.

Canberra, as always, has played the part of loyal lieutenant to Washington and London, expelling some Russian diplomatic staff, following the lead from other NATO countries. These extremely dangerous games constantly bring the world to the brink of full scale nuclear war. It is less than 12 months since US President Donald Trump almost triggered nuclear war against the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – “North Korea”). This was foiled by heroic resistance yet again from the DPRK, and also desperate moves by Republic of Korea (South Korea) President Moon Jae-In, culminating in a relatively friendly Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Rebuffed there, the imperialist powers revert to another of their war fronts.

Working people of the world must be clear – the threat of nuclear war remains, and the threat is only emanating from imperialism – the ruling classes of the US, UK, France, Germany, Australia and their allies. Standing in the way of Western imperialism unleashing a nuclear war which could terminate human life on planet Earth, are the non-imperialist powers and their allies – Russia, China, Syria, Iran, the DPRK and so on. While workers can and should retain their own political critiques of the governments of the non-imperialist bloc, they must stand with this bloc against NATO-led imperialism in the interests of preserving the chance for future generations to live and prosper. This is scarcely an exaggeration.

Workers internationally, and especially Australia, must also be aware that the prospect of imperialist launched global nuclear war against Russia and China are not only an expression of systemic meltdown, but a direct link to it. The capitalist private profit system tanked in 2008, and has barely recovered. Poverty, unemployment and homelessness are rapidly increasing. There are ongoing funding cuts to education and health care. Aged care has been privatised, along with child care, making both prohibitively expensive. Those who remain in work currently endure the lowest wages, in terms of purchasing power, in Australian history. They are often pushed to the limit of human endurance, through undoable workloads, compromising elementary health and safety.

Working people should also note that not one Australian Union official has spoken out against these war threats, giving the game away as to exactly whose foreign policy they actually serve. Conservative Union officials have been followed by almost every ostensible left party, which in one way or another have fallen in behind the imperialist wars on Libya and Syria. Some have lined up with “their own” ruling class by falling silent in the face of barely concealed threats of war against China and Russia.

There is a crying need for political leadership in these dark and foreboding times. There are handfuls of activists who have been actively opposing the war threats against Syria, Russia, China and the DPRK, but they must be joined by a serious anti-war movement. Yet it must be an anti-imperialist anti-war movement, one which must squarely take aim at the source of the threats of war – Washington, London, Paris, Canberra. It needs to be joined by a workers movement released from the stifling conservatism of its leaders, restraining workers from defending themselves against unscrupulous employers and war-mongering politicians alike. Bound up with this task is the formation of a Marxist vanguard – a workers party which fights for a workers government. Imperialist war against Syria, or anyone else, will be impossibility with workers in power. NO WAR ON SYRIA!

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66   NUNDAH  QLD   4012

 

[1] http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/03/no-patients-have-experienced-symptoms-of-nerve-agent-poisoning-in-salisbury.html (14-04-2018)

[2] http://tass.com/defense/999108 (14-04-2018)

[3] https://www.activistpost.com/2018/04/reports-claim-syria-russia-capture-british-troops-in-douma-uk-govt-denies.html (14-04-2018)

The aftermath of an Israeli air strike on the Mezzeh air base near Damascus in Syria. Image from Press TV

 

Hands Off Russia! No to Nuclear War

Hands Off Russia! No to Nuclear War

18-03-2018 – Lies, lies and more lies. Lies which could ignite a world war. It is a cliché that truth is the first casualty of war, but the lies spewing forth from the governments of the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France and Germany over the circumstances of the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia go beyond the standard lies we come to expect from Western politicians. These lies test the rational discourse necessary to operate a society on a basis which is even half civil. Capitalism has long since ceased to be civil, if it ever was. And now it pushes humanity towards the brink of the unthinkable – a mutually destructive nuclear holocaust. The prime movers towards this unthinkable are none other than the ruling classes of the supposedly “advanced” West. Russia is but the scapegoat.

Gulf of Tonkin like incident

Former UK parliamentarian for the Labour and Respect parties George Galloway has poignantly stated that the response by the Western governments to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English town of Salisbury is eerily reminiscent of the lead-up to the unforgivable US/UK/AUST invasion of Iraq in 2003. Then, partially on the basis of a UK government “dodgy dossier” which claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction which were able to be deployed within 45 minutes, the US and its Western allies carried out an unprovoked invasion, slaughtering up to 1 million innocent Iraqis. He also stated that the blaming of Russia for the poisoning of Skripal will go down in history as one of the great hoaxes, a “Gulf of Tonkin” incident.[1] The Gulf of Tonkin incident occurred in 1964, where the US destroyer USS Maddox exchanged shots with North Vietnamese torpedo boats. Two days later, the US government claimed the Maddox came under fire again. Although most historians now agree this second attack never happened, the pretext was set, and within 12 months 180 000 US troops were on the ground in Vietnam. The war dragged on for years, and slaughtered 3 million Vietnamese and changed 20th century history. This time, the West’s target is not a small country in Asia, but the world’s largest country by landmass – Russia.

As usual, the Australian government has already given an assurance that it will back the provocateurs, as it has done in every real and potential imperialist war for decades. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has stated that “there is no other plausible explanation” that the Russian government ordered the attack, or allowed others to use its chemical agent stockpiles for the attack.[2] Predictably, Bishop stated that the Australian government would back moves by the UK to send weapons inspectors to Russia. That is, in the same manner as in the lead up to the Iraq war in 2003, the West proposes to send chemical weapons inspectors into Russia, when not a shred of evidence to support their wild allegations has been put forward. Arguably 90% of the world’s population strongly opposed the US led war on Iraq in 2003, because they did not believe attempted government justifications for war. Where is world opinion now?

Mother of all distractions

As others have noted, Sergei Skripal was a double agent, and thus had a lot of enemies. He was tried and convicted of handing over the names of 300 Russian agents to foreign powers, and sentenced to 13 years in prison.[3] In 2010, he was able to escape to the UK as part of a spy swap deal. Given the relatively light sentence for treason that Russian courts handed him in 2004, the Russian government seemingly did not recognise him as a major threat. Russia has consistently denied any involvement in the poisoning of Skripal, and has repeatedly asked for samples of the alleged nerve agent used, as provided for in the conventions of the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The British government refused these requests by Russia point blank, while issuing absurd ultimatums to Russia. The discourse from the UK government and its assistant corporate media is childish and pathetic, but there is some basis for their warped behaviour.

The UK, and the imperialist West generally, needed a distraction from the upcoming Russian presidential elections. In these elections, it is almost assured that President Vladimir Putin will win, and win hands down, especially considering his approval rating hovers around the 80% mark. This astronomically high figure can be largely attributed to the fact that Putin and his backers pulled Russia back from the brink of complete social, economic and political catastrophe which followed the capitalist counterrevolution in the Soviet Union in 1991-2. During the 1990s, Russian life expectancy plummeted, leading to Russia’s population shrinking. Economic output more than halved. Alcoholism skyrocketed, as despair set in. From around 1999, Russia with Putin at the helm, started to claw back some of the state owned enterprises which had been privatised during the 90s. Ironically, Putin’s government, despite remaining capitalist, used nationalisation and not privatisation to re-boot the Russian economy. In the process, Putin had to take on and defeat some of Russia’s known oligarchs who had grown rich on the basis of massive and almost unfettered corruption – such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky.[4]

The concept of a Russian leader being overwhelmingly popular, and being endorsed heartily by its citizens, is simply too much for the West to bear. Add to this the fact that the soccer World Cup will in a few months be held in Russia, which will inevitably add at least some prestige to the Russian government on the world stage – and you have a scenario which is tailor made for a Western manufactured “false flag,” of which there have been many over the last several years. Western politicians are arguably universally loathed by working people themselves, due to decades of government funding cuts, austerity, joblessness, homelessness and relentless attacks on living standards. While working people internationally cannot completely endorse the domestic or international politics of the Russian government, working people do have an interest in defending Russia against hysterical attacks from the ruling classes of “their own” countries. In defending itself against the dangerously provocative actions of NATO and Western imperialism, the Russian government takes measures which safeguard the international working class – if only temporarily.

Western defeat in Syria

As the Western governments make lamentable attempts to blame Russia for everything, while presenting no proof, the final stages of the liberation of Syria from the hordes of Western armed ISIS and Al Qaeda mercenaries is taking place. In days past, the Syrian Arab Army announced it had retaken 70% of the areas controlled by terrorist groups in Eastern Ghouta.[5] This follows years of occupation by US/UK armed barbarians holding Syrian civilians hostage, starving them, and shooting at them if they tried to escape. Russia was key to the defeat of the US and the UK in Syria (which was backed by Canberra), which created, funded and trained unhinged cutthroats in an effort to effect regime change. If the West had have succeeded in overthrowing the Syrian Arab Republic, Iran would almost certainly be next on the list, likely followed by Russia itself. In defending itself against this barely concealed aggression, Russia performed a service for humanity which is barely recognised. This is similar to the virtual non-recognition of the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi led fascism in the Second World War.

Russia almost single-handedly destroyed the West’s creation – ISIS. The practice of Wall Street employing a barbarian proxy army, who could carry out regime change while the US, UK, French and Australian governments claimed “plausible deniability” was derailed by Russia, in a masterful act of military and political brokering. Russia checkmated the West by taking on all terrorists active in Syria, and inviting the West to help them do so. The West could not join such a campaign – exposing them as the ultimate sponsors. In response the West attempts to whip up a pathological hatred of Russia, which arguably eclipses standard Russophobia. The government of the West are creating an atmosphere of thinly veiled racism against Russians, and an almost unbound dehumanisation of Russians, not just the Russian government or its leader – although there is plenty of that. The dehumanisation of an entire people is meant to sanitise the most horrific depredations against them – including the destruction of millions of innocents through nuclear war. The worlds’ working people must be alert to what is occurring.

Consistently evidence free narrative

The US Empire, backed by its allies in London, Paris, Berlin and Canberra cannot act using force alone. Heavy and sustained propaganda must be used to fool the working people internationally, lest they take political action to force an end to insane war provocations. On every issue where the West has attempted to point the finger of blame squarely at Russia, at the Russian government, and at Putin himself, there has consistently been a distinct lack of any probative proof.

The Russian government was blamed for shooting down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 – with no proof. The Russian government was blamed for invading and “annexing” Crimea – with no proof. The Russian government was blamed for meddling in the 2016 US Presidential election – with no proof. The Russian government was blamed for invading Ukraine – with no proof. The Russian government was blamed for a state sponsored doping program of its Olympic athletes – with no proof. And on and on it goes. The West and their allies don’t need proof – this is not the way the New McCarthyism works. All that is needed is smear and innuendo, baseless allegations from the “authorities” with no substantial evidence. The relentless repetition of what is essentially slander is rained down upon working people in the West. It is assisted by liberals, bought and paid for academics, principle free journalists, conservative Trade Union bureaucracies and some left parties. Genuine anti-war activists are thus faced with an enormous task.

Russian “imperialism”

Unfortunately, some left parties buy into the plainly absurd theory that Russia today is “imperialist”. Such claims are laughable, but it allows them to tail after NATO and the US into war after war, even while they claim they are anti-war. For one thing, Russia today is halting imperialist wars, rather than prosecuting them. Arguably Russia should have intervened in some way to block NATO’s obliteration of Green Libya. But since then, Russia drew a line in the sand in Syria, and skilfully brought the imperialist war machine to a screeching halt. If Russia actually was imperialist, it would not be tactically blocking the advance of NATO, it would be joining in its abominable wars. It has not done this, and neither did it sponsor even one terrorist sent into Syria, in stark contrast to the governments of the US, UK and France. Ironically, the governments of the US, France and Germany have now joined the UK in holding Russia responsible for an alleged murder plot (of the Skripals) on British soil. This very act rebuffs those left parties claiming Russian “imperialism”, and demonstrates precisely just who the imperialists are.

The debate on Russian “imperialism”, such that there is one, requires a separate study. Suffice to say that Russia – a middle ranking capitalist economy at best – cannot be imperialist even if that was the desire of its rulers. An imperialist economy is one totally dominated by finance or bank capital – which necessitates an expansionary foreign policy – either through economic subordination or through outright war. But the only thing which is expanding in relation to Russia is NATO. NATO’s relentless expansion to the East, taking in countries of the former Soviet bloc, in violation of express affirmations that it would not do so, mean that Russia must take more countermeasures.[6] These countermeasures are then painted as “Russian aggression”. One look at a map of Europe will show NATO countries which now include Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey – all lie on the border with, or in the immediate vicinity of, Russia. Russian encirclement by NATO countries strongly suggest that Russia is a target of the imperialists – rather than being one itself.

As if to further underscore the case, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently announced that US, British and French Special Forces are on the ground in Syria, and their governments no longer deny it.[7] That is, military forces of the West who were not at any stage invited into Syria, as Russia was. Syria remains a flashpoint for a potential reckless mistake which could spark a world war. Working people internationally need to stand foursquare in the defence of Russia should such a conflict break out. At the same time, workers need to understand that the threat of war will remain as long as the real imperialism, led by Washington, exists. All efforts must go not only into ending the threat of war, but of ending the profit system which creates these threats in the first place. HANDS OFF RUSSIA!

WORKERS LEAGUE

Sergei Skripal (behind bars) and his daughter Yulia. http://www.abc.net.au

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

http://www.redfireonline.com

[1] https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201803141062501430-skripal-poisoning-responsibility-mystery-investigation/ (18-03-2018)

[2] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-18/australia-meets-with-russia-over-ex-spy-poisoning/9560102 (18-03-2018)

[3] https://meduza.io/en/feature/2018/03/06/a-hundred-grand-and-hundreds-of-betrayed-agents (18-03-2018)

[4] https://qz.com/161135/how-russias-once-richest-man-hid-his-last-170-million-from-vladimir-putin/ (18-03-2018)

[5] https://sana.sy/en/?p=130716 (18-03-2018)

[6] https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/putin-says-russia-planning-countermeasuresto-nato-expansion/2016/11/21/83f5673c-afe1-11e6-ab37-1b3940a0d30a_story.html?utm_term=.caab842cc6e3 (18-03-2018)

[7] https://www.rt.com/news/421582-lavrov-foreign-special-forces-syria/ (18-03-2018)