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Engraving of Lenin busy studying

Economic and Philosophic Science Review

Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is the touchstone on which the real understanding and recognition of Marxism is to be tested. V. I. Lenin

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No 1258 November 23th 2004

Is any kind of 1930s imperialist-fascist war resurgence at all possible??, — given the totally philistine warmongering-aggression mood into which the American Empire has sunk, and to which much of the "intelligent, civilised, Western world " is continuing to turn a blind eye?????

It is not ruled out in the sense that anything can happen to the world at any time.
And there is much imperialist skulduggery afoot which must be weighed up, - and not just from the frightened, perplexed, dumbing-down, and blustering American Empire.

But the inbuilt and insoluble CONTRADICTIONS of the dying imperialist-monopoly system, after 800 years of taking the world forward to previously unimaginable scientific technological and "lifestyle" achievements (!?) but which have brought the arrogant, imperialist warmongering "solutions" to a crashing FAILURE on the three previous historic occasions when this has been tried as a major "rationalisation" lunatic-imposition onslaught on the whole idea of what "civilisation" stands for, — — Franco-Prussian War 1871; World War I (1914); and World War II (1945); these inbuilt CONTRADICTIONS "which bring such insane "solutions" to FAILURE and imperialist DEFEAT, are immeasurably STRONGER and more INFLUENTIAL "today by far than ever previously in history, — almost INVINCIBLE, one might say.

And this is despite the colossal and unprecedented firepower at the imperialist warmongers' disposal, and their chilling fascist willingness to use it almost gleefully and lightheartedly.

"Bring 'em on"; "I took him out"; and "collateral damage" being some of the more notorious, racist-murderous barbarisms which have emerged to cover the sickening NAZI practices, of "collective mass exterminations" routines used to quell the slightest Iraqi signs of resistance to this sick "New Order" for mankind, telling it to accept the permanent humiliation of having had to be dominated and occupied (almost uniquely among modern societies) and told how to behave itself under an imperialist-appointed stooge-US government , — — or be "permanently punished", — the sort of treatment meted out to dogs but not to human communities, especially ones like Iraq whose whole 100-year history of troubles has been due to nothing but constant imperialist intervention in its affairs from the very start, and totally including its monstrously-unhealthy Saddam Hussein 35-year era entirely masterminded and manipulated throughout by the American Empire which created the Saddam monstrosity (and used it for filthily-reactionary anti-Iranian purposes and anti-socialist purposes, but then lost control completely over the entire manipulative process, and had to resort to crude NAZI violence for crippling anti-human "sanctions", and for the "final solution", — both times backed by the shallowly fascist-minded Blair and by "New Labour" total philistinism.)

And the most profound of these INSOLUBLE CONTRADICTIONS regains the American Empire's grotesque and arrogant economic pollution.

Not only cannot the Empire now manage to live the world-domination lifestyle of bullying brutality (to which it is now accustomed) WITHOUT running up ever-bigger and unrepayable trade and balance-of-payments debt to the rest of the world (which is forced to soak up more and more US Government dollar debts in the hope, at least, of eventually getting something back for their hard graft and hard-won exports — — but the American Empire is now making little secret of the fact that Washington does not really give a damn about defrauding the whole planet on the basis that American Empire can do whatever it likes from now on (because the debts are so huge and unrepayable), and has semi-officially announced total "benign neglect", on the basis that if you owe the banks a small amount of money, then it is your problem because you will be endlessly harassed for its return. But if you owe the bank virtually the total amount of its reserves, then it is the bank-lenders' problem because they risk instant bankruptcy in the event of a major default, payments, or trade crisis.

Aggressive America is now spelling out exactly this message. Even the official top American Government "scientists" are now saying it openly:

ALAN GREENSPAN, Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, undercut lingering hopes of staging an operation to support the dollar at a meeting of bankers in Frankfurt yesterday, prompting speculators to drive the dollar down farther against other major currencies. The euro rose to $1.3060, a record, while gold also benefited from the dollar's slide.

Mr Greenspan said that intensive studies suggested that the effect of official intervention on the foreign exchanges tended to be modest and temporary. He argued that the proliferation of financial instruments and derivatives, along with the large quantities of speculative money moved by hedge funds and other traders, made it much harder for intervention to affect the markets.

Mr Greenspan gave further succour to dollar bears when he admitted that it could become harder to persuade foreign investors to make up for North America's $50 billion (£27 billion) a month trade deficit by putting more of their money into dollars.

Greenspan said: "It seems persuasive that, given the size of the US current account deficit, a diminished appetite for adding to dollar balances must occur at some point." He said that international investors might stop acquiring more dollar assets or higher returns, "elevating the cost of financing the US current account and rendering it increasingly less tenable".

Greenspan, Federal Reserve chairman, yesterday gave the dollar a further push lower as he said the huge US current account deficit threatened to scare off foreign investors.

His remarks lent weight to a growing conviction that the American authorities are happy to see the dollar slide, making exports cheaper and imports dearer

"Given the size of the US current account deficit, a diminished appetite for adding to dollar balances must occur at some point," Mr Greenspan told a banking conference in Frankfurt.

"International investors will eventually adjust their accumulation of dollar assets or, alternatively, seek higher dollar returns to offset concentration risk, elevating the cost of financing the US current account deficit and rendering it increasingly less tenable."

The deficit has ballooned to more than 5% of gross domestic product, or $166bn (£90bn) in the second quarter of the year, driven by Americans' appetite for imports and flows of money into US financial assets, particularly bonds.

The dollar has been sliding against other major currencies for a couple of years but its fall has accelerated since the re-election of President Bush this month as markets refocused on the current account and budget deficits. The large tax cuts of Mr Bush's first term have driven the governments budget deficit to record levels.

The US, deficit is mainly being financed by a huge surplus in China, which artificially pegs its currency at a low rate against the dollar to boost its exports. The Chinese authorities use their export earnings to buy dollar assets, but there are reports that they are losing their appetite for US holdings,

The problem for European countries is that the dollar is falling rapidly against the euro because it cannot fall against the Chinese remminbi. European financial officials have been complaining that the dollar's fall is making their expats uncompetitive.

On the crude trade-war and inter-imperialist economic fronts, it is Marxist economic science which has to be heeded, — the only science of economics that has ever existed. This dictates (see EPSR box) that NO monopolist is EVER content to believe that HE (or SHE) cannot become the greatest quality and quantity volume-manufacturer and retailer of (cars /cosmetics /clothing /aircraft /new homes /farm produce /etc, etc) that has ever lived, — taking "new interest" far beyond traditional consumer "fuddy-duddyness" etc.:

John Snow, US Treasury Secretary, spelled out 'benign neglect' to an audience at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House.

Snow called for others to remove 'the obstacles to growth' but tends, as is the fashion, to enumerate 'supply-side' obstacles, involving reform of labour markets and so on, which take years to have an effect.

There is something wrong with a world where all the leading economies are trying to achieve export-led growth. They cannot all succeed unless they start trading with Mars.

Lord Lawson. who played a major role in the Plaza and Louvre agreements, believes 'globalised' capital markets have made successful intervention in the currency markets impossible.

(In l979 Volcker had to leave an International Monetary Fund meeting in Belgrade and fly home to deal with a dollar crisis.) We are not there yet, but there is a crisis looming for the eurozone and possibly for the UK if the dollar goes on down.

And top of these INCURABLE ECONOMIC CONTRADICTIONS of a basical1y thoroughly ROTTEN AND FAILING class-exploitation system (which has ruled the world for 8OO years of Western domination, — the warmongering impositions which have alone kept the system going for centuries) is now running into a world which will no longer put up with it, and simply cannot live on in the old imperialist way any longer:

Mr Saleh said. I want the US here but only if they improve our life, not make it worse."

Behind him, just off the main street, Marines have moved into Fallujah's old youth centre and are repairing it to serve as a reconstruction office. Once the people are allowed back to their homes, it is here theft they will come to seek compensation for destroyed property or slain relatives.

In the distance the occasional cloud of smoke rises from an incoming US artillery shell. This is what US military doctrine terms a three-block war — troops can be fighting a deadly foe in one part of town, patrolling another and rebuilding the safer areas. Colonel Mike Olivier, of the Marines civil affairs team, put the US strategy in more blunt terms.

"This is the way the Americans work: first we blow the f*** out of your house, then we pay you to rebuild it. Look at World War II, look at Najaf," he said, referring to the battle fought by the Marines in August against a rebel Shia militia. "We'll give them money, we'll give them jobs and we'll make capitalists of all of them," he grinned.

This is worse arrogant imperialist bullying than ever in history, it seems more than likely.

Saddam was bribed and bullied by Washington over 35 years to turn his country into an imperialist dictatorship.

But after decades of popular and intellectual suffering, — will the present spontaneous resistance be willing to let this CIA-trained stooge Ayad Allawi repeat the same Iraqi existence all over again??

So it is another imperialist warmonger FAILURE, — to add to its REVOLUTIONARY catastrophes of 1871, 1917, and 1945, — which is historically on the cards.

Of course, there is little Marxist-Communist leadership of the Leninism [kind] to currently lead the way. But Leninism was partly created by history.

It can, and will be, re-created by history. The Third World is now far brighter and more
advanced in some ways than the old First World of Lenin, who had to learn many new ways at the end of his life.

And it is by no means only Third World intellects which are at last beginning to see how the world has been totally transformed from the old disunited imperialist and neo-colonialist ways:

Yet hopeless too must be the holding of Fallujah. Such cities cannot be subjugated by American troops for any period of time. The new Iraq Army, virtually useless in the assault, cannot take their place. They would desert en masse, as 400 reportedly did during the siege. The only Iraqi troops prepared to fight the Sunnis are their sworn enemies, the Kurdish peshmerga irregulars. To leave them garrisoning Fallujah would be madness. As for the repopulation of the city — from which 90 per cent of citizens are said to have fled — this will bring back the guerrillas and put the Americans under renewed attack.

The insurgency has now spread west, north and east, to Ramadi, Mosul and Samarra. Guerrillas supposedly driven from Samarra in a furious battle just two months ago are now back. Aerial bombardment was this week deployed against the small town of Baquba just north of Baghdad, with inevitable civilian casualties. How long before the battle for Baghdad resumes, and its inhabitants again hear the drone of spy planes and the roar of "shock and awe"?

In this part of Iraq there is no Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to call the al-Sadr bandits to order, as in Najaf and Karbala. Fallujah may have been destabilising the Sunni triangle, but the manner of its suppression will not restabilise it. It will merely shift more of the varying geometry of power to the Mujahidin and from the sheikhs and local gangsters grown rich on stealing "reconstruction" money. Iyad Allawi's aides are talking openly about the elections being impossible. This is the opposite of what Fallujah was supposed to achieve.

Whether the Fallujah assault is more counter-productive than the rest of the neocon, strategy for Iraq is moot. Even the most ardent interventionist must find its ineptitude astounding. The Pentagon's handling of the Sunnis seems designed to ensure that they boycott elections and thus speed the break-up of Iraq. The Sunnis were stripped of jobs in the army, police and Civil Service. Their pensions were stopped. Local businesses were wrecked in a tidal wave of imports. When I visited Fallujah a year ago Westerners could walk in the market and talk to the shopkeepers. An election was not inconceivable, though the local police had been curiously denied weapons or armour.

Today Sunni Iraq is a no-go area for Westerners. The main party has said if will abandon the democratic process. The Mujahidin may have been driven out of Failujah, but the place is a ghost town and the cost has been appalling, to the Marines, to the town and to local people. Peace, stability and democracy seem as distant as ever. Forget the invasion. It is the occupation that has failed.

No statement about Iraq is more absurd than that "we must stay to finish the job". What job? A dozen more Fallujahs? The thesis that leaving Iraq would plunge it into anarchy and warlordism defies the facts on the ground. Iraq south of Kurdistan is in a state of anarchy already.

Iraq is a desert in which the Americans and British rule nothing but their forts, like the French Foreign Legion in the Sahara.

Nobody knows what is going to happen in Iraq, certainly nobody in any government.

Before then the Americans will again have to declare a victory in Fallujah and get out. Fallujah and the towns round it will be centres of hatred and violence against the West until the West departs. Insofar as anyone can tell, all but those in the pay of the West want the West to go.
The aftermath is not our concern. What Iraqis do next is their business, because we have failed in trying to make it ours.

WHAT IS THE likely outcome of a confrontation between the US and Iran? I don't mean the la-la-land futurology, still being served up by friends of the Bush Administration over the interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, about how the world will still be a safer place and democracy will spread to areas other Presidents couldn't reach.

I prefer to subscribe to a reality that says that the US and its allies have screwed up twice and that Washington is threatening to do so again. That we sleep-walked into an unfolding disaster in Iraq, despite ample warnings of its tragic course. That says that still lawless Afghanistan — awash with a bumper crop of opium — is a glass more than half-empty. And that says Iran is another accident about to happen.

The screw-up view of history sees US foreign policy backfire again as, seduced by its own ideological certainty that all it does is right, it continues its project to create a series of failed and fragile states running seamlessly from the borders of Pakistan to within spitting distance of the Dead Sea. Osama bin Laden could not have planned it better.

WHICH LEADS to the question, is there any evidence at all that Bush's new foreign policy team is likely to be more adept at dealing with Iran than with the previous two crises it confronted?

Seen from Washington, where all gaps these days seamlessly join up, it means that Iran is a hostile, terror-sponsoring state, meddling in Iraq and on the verge of acquiring weapons with which it could target Tel Aviv.

The European view, which has sought to negotiate a uranium enrichment freeze rather than confront Tehran, is more subtle and factors in the full spectrum of Iran's intentions. Iran, seen from this vantage point, is an infinitely more complex construction, with power structures that are competitive and contradictory - with the greatest competition for a more open society coming from Iran's younger generation.

Iran, too, displays a curious mind set. Through its culture and recent history, it sees itself as a player on the world stage. It pricks America in Iraq because it can, not because it has greater ambitions than to have a friendly state next door. Its endless foot-dragging over nuclear inspections and declarations, seen in this light, is inward looking, defensive and as much about pride as hostile intentions.

Iran's nuclear ambiguity - like Saddam's over his retention of WMD - and its determination to show it has mastered key elements of the physics and engineering to make a bomb, also serves a purpose. In a world where the US has recently invaded two of Iran's neighbours in quick order, there are hawks who believe in the value of a nuclear deterrent, even if that deterrent is as yet incomplete.

Iran, seen from the European viewpoint, feels compellingly real. Seen from Washington it feels like another over-hyped threat.

Which leaves a dangerous paradox. For the risk is that the harder America pushes, the more prickly and dangerous Iran is likely to become. Like Iraq, it has the potential to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In July the Israeli Knesset was presented with an annual intelligence assessment that said Iran (now Iraq has been smashed) is its greatest threat. So we step towards confrontation once again.

It is clear that Bush, unembarrassed by the fact that the intelligence used to justify the case for war against Saddam was cooked up, is playing the same game again.

The claim last week that US intelligence had discovered Iran was close to modifying its missiles to take a nuclear pay load, the Washington Post quickly revealed, had come from a single, unverified 'walk-in source'.

There is a sense of deja vu about all this: that realities once again are being concocted for ideological expediency.

The Palestinian problem is instead primarily one of colonisation and occupation — and the denial of self-determination and refugee rights. Those are the issues, rather than democracy, that the US and its allies have to address.

But that is manifestly not what Bush and Blair have in mind when they call for Palestinian democratic reform. Instead, as elsewhere, they mean the promotion of politicians and institutions which will entrench western-friendly policies: in the Palestinian case, those prepared to crack down on the armed groups, sign up to Israeli terms for a limited bantustan-style statehood and abandon wider Palestinian national aspirations. Hence the effort Britain, the US and Israel have put into cultivating and building up local leaders — such as Muhammad Dahlan, Arafat's former head of security in Gaza — who they hope will play such a role.

Of course, this has nothing to do with democracy or reflecting Palestinian opinion: it is the very opposite. Indeed, when it comes to new elections to the Palestinian legislative council, the only shift is likely to be towards greater radicalism, if the Islamist Hamas movement decides to take part.

What it surely means now is that the chances of a settlement have receded: if Arafat didn't believe he could win Palestinian support for the kind of deal likely to be on offer in the near future, then certainly no other Palestinian leader can.

Yasser Arafat's death brings huge risks for the Palestinians, of which Monday's gun battle in Gaza between factions of his Fatah movement may have been a foretaste. If the relatively weak former prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazin) is, as expected, elected to succeed Arafat as president of the Palestinian authority, there is no serious possibility of him delivering Palestinian support for any meaningful deal. He is likely to be little more than a caretaker figure.

Even if the much more popular and plausible Marwan Barghouti were to stand from prison, he is still a local West Bank leader whose authority elsewhere in the Palestinian world is limited. There can be no lasting settlement of the conflict without the consent of the Palestinian majority in the diaspora and no leader likely to emerge from the current power struggle in the occupied territories can speak for that constituency. In that case, some argue, it may be better to concentrate on maintaining Palestinian unity, postpone serious negotiations, continue legitimate resistance and rebuild political organisation in the Palestinian diaspora for the longer term. Now that could be a real democratic process — but perhaps not what Bush and Blair have in mind.

Which brings the story to the next HUGE CONTRADICTION — the fact that EVERYONE is becoming hostile to this arrogant, Philistine, and FAILED world domination, — and only the American Empire's colossal and unprecedented firepower-superiority is holding back utterly bankrupt ruling classes like the British from saying so(saying so more coherently), — — that, plus the residues of racist-imperialism which can never be divorced from the old and totally-discredited European, imperialist ruling classes (mostly disgustingly compromised with NAZISM and now partly again with the American NAZI Empire), — — briefly reviving, under the sick, sad, pointless pressures of immigration, bogus "asylum-seeking", and racism. (To be examined in subsequent issues).

This CONTRADICTION is that there is only ONE monopoly-imperialist power now left on Earth — the hated AMERICAN EMPIRE.

And it is a disgusting FAILURE for the world now in countless ways.

The latest potential Empire DISASTERS are over the crass American-BRITISH attempt to propaganda (Hitler-Goebbels style) Ukraine into agreeing to become a Western satellite stooge country by falsifying the election result in favour of the anti-Russian candidate; and by for the thousandth time over the years, trying to get a coup d'etat organised in Zimbabwe, where Robert Mugabe continues magnificently to stand firm, and Zimbabwe has been cleared of racism against its stroppy White Rhodesian colonists who won't play for Zimbabwe and have been dropped.

But Sir Mark Thatcher is accused of an ILLEGAL FASCIST COUP to take over oil-rich Equatorial Guinea. Which is the crime?? Resisting a fascist coup, or plotting one???

And the West cannot wait to organise a violent coup on the streets of Ukraine.

This (potentially) hopeless American Empire mess and confusion more crucially fits in (believe it or not) with increasing MILITARY disasters too (China, Korea, and Indo-China/Vietnam being just the first total FAILURES).

But this arrogant, unthinking mindlessness in warfare CAN ONLY GROW.

In actual warmongering itself, apart from the monstrous firepower which could devastate half the planet, — this warmongering-domination attempt is likely to prove even more catastrophic than even imperialism's great attempt to force the world into "discipline" last time of insoluble economic crisis under NAZISM-fascism in the 1930s.

Putin's position in standing up to the American Empire could be clearer. (To be analysed further, subsequently.)

Build Leninism. EPSR


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles).

Concluding the great Lalkar survey of Zimbabwe [see issue 1252 for part one]

German imperialism joins the fray

German imperialism, fearful of the Zimbabwe example spreading to Namibia, a former German colony where white farmers of German descent own vast amounts of land, joined the Zimbabwe hate campaign, through the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FEF) which worked out a strategy, and a detailed plan for the removal of the ZANU(PF) government and President Mugabe. Written by its Director in Zimbabwe, and entitled Zimbabwe - a Conflict Study of a Country Without Direction, the FEF report was presented to the EU's Africa Working Group (AWG) in December 1998, to serve as a basis for recommending action on Zimbabwe.

With great candour, this report singled out Zimbabwe's land reform programme and its support for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as the reasons for hostility towards the Zimbabwean regime. In addition it blamed all the real and imaginary ills of Zimbabwe on its government, especially on Robert Mugabe, adding arrogantly that to put matters right, the ZANU (PF) government and President Mugabe had to go — either voluntarily or be forced out. To that end, the report outlined a programme of engineering economic decline in Zimbabwe to produce hardship and civil disturbances and thus make the country ungovernable. Tellingly, the report stated: "without economic deterioration, there would hardly be any social protest"; "without social protest, there would be no pressure for political change"; and "without political change, the economic issues cannot be effectively addressed".

Cooperation between government and media

The British media, including especially the BBC, so keen on presenting itself as the guardian of gospel truth and objectivity, naturally collaborated with the British government's Zimbabwe hate campaign. Nor could it be otherwise, for the 'free' media are owned by financial magnates, and exist to protect the interests of the kings of finance and robber barons of monopoly capitalism, and not in the furtherance of truth. In close cooperation, the government and the media coordinated a plan tor the removal of the government of Zimbabwe and President Mugabe through a scurrilous campaign of lies, slander and vilification against the Zimbabwean leadership; economic sabotage; inciting civil disturbances and ethnic strife; fomenting a coup d'etat; attempting a split within ZANU(PF); and assisting the founding of a new opposition party.

Richard Dowden, Editor of the Economist, in an article in November 1998, outlined a plan for the removal of the government, suggesting "developments along Indonesian lines", with a worsening economy, growing mass dissatisfaction, a possible five-day strike by trade unions to demand early elections. He added that if "... the government banned the unions and arrested their leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, furious crowds would take to the streets. After bloodshed the government might fall". He went on for good measure: "or there could be a palace coup against Mr Mugabe ... one faction could conceivably decide to seize power".

This same Dowden played a leading role a a meeting, on 24 January 1999, of the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House under the provocative title: Zimbabwe — Time for Mugabe to Go. Having identified the land reform programme and the dispatch of troops by Zimbabwe to the DRC as the cause of the organisers' hostility towards Zimbabwe, the meeting rehearsed the already enumerated scenario for the removal of President Mugabe and his regime.

A seminar with the similar counter-revolutionary aim of overthrowing the Zimbabwean government was held two months later, on 23 March 1999, at the US State Department under the title Zimbabwe at the Crossroads. The plan of action elaborated at this gathering was little different from that described above.

Zimbabwe Democracy Trust and Westminster Foundation for Democracy

A year later, in April 2000, Morgan Tsvangirai visited Britain ostensibly for fund-raising purposes. During this visit, a letter in support of the MDC appeared in The Times — the list of signatories to this letter is a veritable Who's Who of leading counter-revolutionary spokesmen of imperialism, including three former British Foreign Secretaries — Lord Howe, Lord Carrington, Lady Chalker of Wallasey, Malcolm Rifkind, Douglas Hurd (all former ministers under Margaret Thatcher), former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Chester Crocker, and Evelyn de Rothschild from the notorious banking family. Several of these signatories are members of the so-called Zimbabwe Democracy Trust (ZDT), a select group of top British and US politicians and fabulously rich businessmen, some of them with direct economic interests in Zimbabwe. ZDT has advised and funded the MDC extensively. The British government, through the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), which received 95% of its funds from the British government and whose governing body is graced by the representatives of the three major bourgeois parties (Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat), with Tony Blair as its patron, also provided funds to the MDC.

Double standards

The above imperialist-orchestrated campaign has given rise to the application of double standards in judging events in Zimbabwe. If there are food shortages in Zimbabwe, these are attributed to the land reform programme. The truth, however, is that as a result of the severe drought conditions for two consecutive years, there were crop failures in several countries in southern Africa. As a result, many countries — not just Zimbabwe — suffered from food shortages. If the imperialist stooges of the MDC are defeated in the elections, that must be because of rigging. The truth is that no election in Zimbabwe would be regarded by imperialism as free and fair unless ZANU(PF) and President Mugabe lost it. Everywhere in the world, including Britain, authorities require advance notification of any planned demonstrations, for reasons of public order as well as traffic control. In the case of Zimbabwe, such requirements are condemned as attempts to deny the right to free assembly and demonstrate. The requirement for newspapers and journalists to register, while a common practice in practically every country, in the case of Zimbabwe is regarded as an infringement of freedom of the press. And so it goes on.

Thus Zimbabwe, its government, and its president, are subjected to this vile campaign of lies, of vitriol and vituperation, of economic sabotage and sanctions. Through its economic sanctions, on the one hand, imperialism damages the economy of Zimbabwe and, on the other hand, blames Zimbabwe's economic mismanagement for the intended harmful consequences of its own deliberate acts of economic strangulation. The programmes of the Voice of America's Studio 7 radio, and that of the UK-based SW Radio Africa, daily and hourly beam scandalous broadcasts to Zimbabwe calculated to rouse dissent, disaffection and rebellion among the Zimbabwean masses against their government.

All the same, Zimbabwe has managed to survive and come out of this baptism of fire much steeled and much strengthened.

However, to achieve this victory, ZANU (PF), the government of Zimbabwe and President Mugabe, had to have nerves of steel, display great vigilance inside the country and wage a vigorous offensive abroad to keep on board its foreign friends. In the words of comrade Mudenge: "The media war of 'awe, terror and saturation bombing' was unleashed on little Zimbabwe by the bully boys of the West. It is a mark of the maturity of SADC, AU and NAM [Non-aligned Movement] that they have remained solidly behind Zimbabwe in spite of the above onslaught, as well as blandishments and at times naked political and economic pressure. Britain could not successfully spread its hate message beyond the white-race solidarity grouping. The majority in the international community supported Zimbabwe. To survive Zimbabwe had to win the battle for international opinion".

The Role of Social Democracy and Trotskyism

Social democracy, both 'left' and right, and its variant, Trotskyism, have played, not unexpectedly, a most shameful role on the question of Zimbabwe, in particular its land reform programme. With the collapse of the former USSR, 'left' social democracy and Trotskyism, throwing off their radical 'left', even Marxian mask, have degenerated into being cheer-leaders of imperialist aggression and open advocates of neo-liberalism, in which guise present-day imperialism attacks the working class and the national liberation movements.

They have become the new missionaries of "democracy" and fervent supporters of the selective application of the doctrines of "human rights"and "good governance", which are applied by the imperialist countries to gauge the creditworthiness or otherwise of the poor nations through the WB/IMF combine — behind which stand the giant monopoly corporations which are firmly rooted in the centres of imperialism. In the apt words of comrade Mudenge: "Is it not ironic that the values of "democracy" for which the people of southern Africa fought and died, are now being abused and subverted into instruments of their conquest and re-conquest?" (Western Socialists' view of ex-liberation movements, hereafter, WS).

We have already cited the November 1997 letter of Clare Short, the darling of the Troto-revisionist gentry. On the question of Zimbabwe's land reform programme, the most vehement opponents of this programme in the European Parliament are led by Glenys Kinnock, wife of the former Labour leader — not by any Conservative or Liberal Democrat. The British Labour government set itself the task of engineering the downfall of the ZANU(PF) government and that of President Mugabe. During her one-day visit to Zimbabwe in early January 1998, Clare Short behaved haughtily, refusing to meet any Zimbabwean official other than the Finance Minister, Dr Herbert Murerwa, who had been his country's High Commissioner in London. Later in the day she attended a reception at the residence of Jim Drummond, head of the British Department for International Development (DFID) in Harare. As she waddled about the lawn, within earshot of DFID officials, she provocatively remarked that "Mugabe should be overthrown'." These are the four words with which British imperialism, through one of its most loyal flunkey Labour ministers, announced to the world its intention to destabilise Zimbabwe as a prelude to the overthrow of its government and its president.

Manipulation of trade unions

Being unable to exert pressure on the governments led by the leaders of the former liberation movements, and taking their cue from the counter-revolutionary role played by Lech Walecha's Solidarity in Poland, and in view of the baleful influence exercised by the British TUC and its counterparts in other imperialist countries over the trade union movements in former colonies, the advocates of regime change in Zimbabwe and elsewhere resorted to subverting trade unions in these countries by identifying trade union leaders who could be used as tools for replacing independent regimes with those compliant to imperialist demands. Thus, Frederick Chiluba in Zambia, Chakufwa Chihana in Malawi, Ben Ulenga in Namibia, Cyril Ramaphosa in South Africa, and Morgan Tsvangirai in Zimbabwe, were singled out for the role of suitable flunkeys of imperialism, and whose trade union connections and positions could be used in the furtherance of imperialist interests in these countries. The 1991 defeat of the Zambian President Kaunda by Chiluba was a source of great encouragement for social democracy to pursue this path vigorously.

Why should imperialism want to overthrow regimes in southern Africa? The answer lies in the mineral riches of this region, which can justly be called the mineral "Gulf Region" of the African continent. It offers fantastic opportunities for the export of capital and exploitation of cheap local labour. Strong, independent regimes present an obstacle to imperialism's quest for domination of the region and the control and looting of its vast mineral resources. Hence the hankering by imperialism after compliant rulers who could deliver this region, endowed with fabulous wealth, on a platter to the vultures of monopoly capitalism in the latter's never-ceasing quest for the maximum of profit and world domination. The oil rich Angola, Nigeria, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and, particularly, the mineral-rich DRC, likewise are in the unenviable position of being targeted by imperialism.

Social democracy and Trotskyism have gaily joined the imperialist attack on the Zimbabwean regime. Literally a month before the Labour Party was voted into office in May 1997, a Zimbabwe-accredited diplomat during a visit to the Republic of Ireland was informed by a prominent Irish trade unionist that the European trade unions had already singled out the then Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), Morgan Tsvangirai, as their presidential candidate in Zimbabwe against Robert Mugabe.

The Danish Trade Union Council (DTUC), the "cooperating partner" of ZCTU, had already, towards the end of 1996, posted Georg Limke to Harare as it regional representative to ensure the success of this project — it being Limke's mission to transform the Zimbabwe trade union movement into a political party.

Role of SWP

The Socialist Workers' Party (SWP), the largest Trotskyist organisation in Britain, characteristically ignoring the extensive support furnished by imperialism to bring into being the MDC, greeted the latter's formation as a step forward for the working class of Zimbabwe. Instead of seeing through the imperialist manipulation of the trade-union movement in Zimbabwe, as would be obligatory on any socialist organisation worthy of its name, the SWP asserted that as the ZCTU had been involved in setting up the MDC, the latter could represent, and advance, the social and political interests of the working class. The International Socialist Organisation (ISO), SWP's sister party in Zimbabwe, made the boastful, not to say shameful, claim that it had been one of the first civic organisations to "encourage the ZCTU to form a workers' party to remove ZANU (PF)".

In a revealing interview, "which appeared in the September 2000 issue of the SWP journal Socialist Review, Munyaradzi Gwisai, a leading member of the ISO elected to the Zimbabwean parliament on the MDC platform, explained that as from 1997 FEF gave substantial financial support to the National Consultative Association (NCA), a precursor of the MDC, with the aim of exerting its influence and advancing the possibilities for getting rid of the ZANU(PF) government.

Fully laying bare the counter-revolutionary politics of the SWP and the ISO, the interview proved beyond reasonable doubt that the MDC was the creation of imperialism and that the ZCTU was being manipulated so as to prevent the development of a truly radical and independent working-class movement in Zimbabwe. In this interview, calling it "an influential social democratic organisation", Gwisai observed that the FEF "had a strategy for building a viable party by getting people to work together without calling it a political party. ... I think it was felt that there was a danger of radicalization of the working class) ... and this is how Morgan [Tsvangirai] was then brought in as a figurehead leader) of the NCA. ... He lent credibility to the NCA, which was well funded".

It is clear that in the formation of the MDC, imperialism was creating, through the combined efforts of European social democracy and its trade union offshoots, as well as a host of NGOs, a pro-business outfit for the twin purposes of disarming the working class of Zimbabwe and removing the radical nationalist regime of ZANU(PF) and the latter's most steadfast and representative spokesman, to wit, President Robert Mugabe.

Friedrich Ebert Foundation

Founded in 1925 by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) of Germany, "to honour the legacy of Friedrich Ebert, who died in the same year, the aptly-named FEF has continued to propagate and promote the counter-revolutionary work of the notorious betrayer of the working class after whom it is named. During the First World War, Ebert, along with the overwhelming majority of the leadership of the SDP, deserted the working class and went over to German imperialism under the slogan of the "Defence of the Fatherland" — a slogan used by opportunist renegades of several imperialism countries to betray the working class in the service of imperialism. At the end of the war, Ebert became the first President of the Weimar Republic. Along with Phillip Scheidemann and Gustav Noske, in January 1919 he successfully led the social-democratic government's effort to prevent the revolutionary overthrow of German imperialism, freely using guns and bayonets to drown working class demonstrations in Berlin in blood. Several hundred revolutionaries, including Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, were massacred on the orders of Ebert who notoriously said: "I hate revolution!"

Resuscitated in 1947, the FEF has ever since been an important tool with which German imperialism defends its interests on a global scale. Armed with a budget of $90 million a year, a workforce of 700 at its headquarters and an additional 2,000 elsewhere in the world, maintaining offices in 74 countries, it boasts the possession of the largest archive on the working-class movement in Europe, a vast research centre and a publishing house. It trains and tames diplomats, academics and trade unionists favourably inclined towards imperialist interests, German imperialist interests in particular.

During the 1970s, the FEF played a significant role in subverting the revolutionary movements in Spain and Portugal — guiding them along reformist channels through the setting up of reformist social democratic parties. It continues to do its dirty work in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America in furtherance of the interests of imperialism under the pretext of promoting "democracy", "good governance ", "rule of law ", "political freedom", "human rights" and suchlike subterfuges.

This is no way to deny the part played by the mistakes of the Zimbabwean government in the rise of the MDC. The acceptance by the government in the early 1990s of the WB/IMF prescribed SAPs, and the consequent freeze on wages accompanied by price liberalisation, led to the further impoverishment of the poor and restlessness among the people, especially the working class, which imperialism and its agents were able to exploit with great adroitness.

Precisely because the MDC was to be a vehicle for furthering the interests of imperialism, organisations such as the FEF were showering it with financial assistance, advice and all other kinds of support facility. This simple truth has somehow managed to elude Gwisai who naively complained that the alleged working-class character of the MDC was "not captured in the Manifesto", that while being characterised as a movement of "working people", the MDC was permitted " include the bosses".

Contradicting himself at every step, he asserted that the MDC had been "hijacked" by the capitalists, expressing the forlorn hope that through the mobilisation of the mass of workers it could be won over to a socialist programme. He added, as if to annihilate his earlier assertion, that there was "... real disillusionment, and there was a danger of us socialists being swamped". From the above it is clear as daylight that the SWP and its sister organisation in Zimbabwe, the ISO, hitched themselves in Zimbabwe to the chariot of imperialism. In this context, it would not be amiss to quote the following words of Dr. Mudenge, with which this revolutionary nationalist delivers truly stunning blows to what is at least nominally a working-class organisation — the SWP: "Despite its socialist rhetoric, the British Socialist Workers Party has rallied behind pro-imperialist policies and helped trade-union bureaucracy and the MDC to foment opposition against the government of Zimbabwe. While the working class is a viable social force that can advance a programme on which to lake forward a struggle for democratic rights and social equality, to do so it must begin by acting independently of the political representatives of capital. Instead, Zimbabwe's urban working class have been dragooned into a common organization with their oppressors, a tragedy which the majority of the people of Zimbabwe have beheld with utter disbelief, and which the workers themselves are beginning to exhume themselves from " (WS).

Dr Mudenge goes on to observe correctly that the abuse of trade unions by SWP-type fake socialists "... in our region threatens to polarize our communities and plunge us into unprecedented dangers posed by a political divide.

More than that. It is counter-revolutionary to the core. For further advances in Zimbabwe, as indeed throughout southern Africa, the working class needs the closest alliance with the peasantry, without which it cannot lead the latter.

MDC continues on its reactionary course

Meanwhile, the MDC, created by imperialism and supported by 'left' social democracy and Trotskyism alike, continues to do the imperialists' bidding. In January this year (2004), Gibson Sibanda, Vice-President of the MDC, travelled across Europe. While there, he distributed an MDC policy document with the title MDC International Briefs and Consultation-First Quarter, January to March 2004. The preamble to this document makes the following shameful admission: "At the Zimbabwe Consultative Meeting held on November 17, 2003 in the House of Lords in London, a blueprint for the MDC's internal political strategies and external diplomatic outreach activity for the year 2004 was unveiled and discussed" (emphasis added).
One could not wish for a clearer admission as to where the blueprint for the MDC's internal strategy and external activity is made. It is manufactured in that centre of reaction - the British House of Lords, one of the oldest centres of aristocratic privilege, and big money.

He called upon the 'international community', that is, a tiny group of blood-sucking imperialist Draculas, to put pressure on, and punish, the SADC governments in order to force them into line as per the diktat of international monopoly capital.

ZANU(PF) emerges victorious

Thanks to the steady nerve and steadfastness of the ZANU(PF) government, especially those of President Mugabe, the MDC has failed to make a success of the goal set for it by its imperialist masters. The closest it came to success was in the parliamentary elections of June 2000, when it won 57 seats as opposed to the 62 won by ZANU(PF).

The opposition's success during this election, far from cowing the government, only made the latter more determined than ever to settle the land question through the FTP as from 15 July 2000. The rejection of the draft Constitution a few months earlier had had the same effect.

Now that the land question has been irreversibly settled in favour of the Zimbabwean masses, the government's stock has risen higher among the people and it can look forward to a decisive victory in the parliamentary elections next year.

Now that the land has been given to the black masses, as well as black commercial farmers, it would be suicidal for the MDC to promise to return land to the European settlers. So, in an interview with a South African newspaper, MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, stated recently that he would not give land back to Joe Bloggs who left Zimbabwe for Australia. On being asked whether he would return land to Joe Bloggs in Borough Dale (a rich residential area in Harare), he was at his wits' end for an answer. This has made him unreliable for imperialism.

It is to the undying credit of ZANU(PF), in particular to its undisputed leader, President Mugabe, that they have solved this, the most difficult problem of the Zimbabwean people. Theirs is the first non-communist government, since the Great French Revolution of the late 18th Century, to have solved the land question in such a revolutionary way.

We cannot but associate ourselves with the following sentiments, expressed by President Mugabe during an interview with Cuban journalists in Harare on 15 March 2004; "We feel
that our land has now been liberated.

He added ominously: "The people love their soil. No amount of pressure - political, economic or military - would sway them and the government to relent on the land reforms which were now spreading to other countries in the region with similar land ownership disparities between white farmers and the indigenous blacks".

Words like these, which frighten the daylights out of imperialism and its stooges, are a source of inspiration and encouragement for the expropriated black masses throughout southern Africa and beyond. This is what explains the popularity that President Mugabe enjoys throughout southern Africa, notwithstanding, or perhaps because of, his demonisation by imperialism. His government's stance is a constant reminder to the black masses of South Africa, where 12 % of the population holds 80% of the land, that they too can solve the land question in their country through radical measures in the fashion of Zimbabwe.

Robert Mugabe and ZANU(PF) are thorns in the side of imperialism, for they never cease to remind their former colonisers that the original expropriation of the land of the people of Zimbabwe took place, not on the basis of the willing seller/willing buyer principle, so dear to them today, but through greed, fraud, deceit, extortion, trickery, violence and conquest, which in some instances ended in the near total extermination, of the local people. Anglo-American imperialism works itself into a frenzied rage over Zimbabwe, for the simple reason that President Mugabe and his regime, questioning the very legitimacy of the colonial conquest, never cease to assert that what was conquered and stolen by the sword must return to the people of Zimbabwe - by the sword if necessary.

Referring to the corruption prevalent in some sectors of the economy, and the need to fight this cancer vigorously, he went on: "Our economy has been badly bruised by some in our midst given to greed and corrupt practices. The situation that has been obtaining in the financial sector is simply disgusting and has required a very robust response. Equally, the mining sector has shown serious lapses in integrity. For more than five years, our gold was being smuggled out of the country through a well-organised racket of international criminals. We have had incidents involving theft of our platinum and nickel export consignments in South Africa, which clearly smack of organised pillage.

"Millions in foreign currency have been externalised through a variety of fraudulent activities practised by highly placed people we had trusted to manage our economy. Now we are very clear that far from deserving our trust, these fraudulent and thoroughly dishonest people are the real enemies of our country and people, whose place and permanent home is the prison.

"The last four years", said Mr Mugabe, "presented a number of challenges and real trials for our country. Yet they have been years also of breakthroughs arising from our firm and indomitable stand on matters of national sovereignty and economic freedom, the high point being the fulfilment of our liberation war goal of recovering and regaining the ownership and control of our land, and distributing it to our people.

"Expectedly, this far-reaching policy has not endeared us to those countries of the
West, led by Britain and America, forcibly linked to us by the cruel history of colonial occupation and other forms of imperial plunder".

To the great annoyance of imperialism, but to a thunderous applause from the 70,000 people listening to him at the Stadium, and to the applause of progressive humanity the world over, he added: "We will not compromise our principles of freedom and national sovereignty, no matter who gets upset. Zimbabwe is not for the convenience and pleasure of any country, less still of adventurous bloodthirsty and domineering neo-colonialists. Zimbabwe will never be a colony again!"

The Zimbabwe government of President Mugabe has set a brilliant example, which other countries in southern Africa are bound to follow sooner or later. History will record the not inconsiderable contribution made by the government of President Mugabe, and the people of Zimbabwe, to the struggle of the peoples of the world against the legacy of colonialism land against imperialist attempts at intimidation and subjugation of small nations.


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles).

The case of the three Irishmen shone an international spotlight on the situation in Colombia.

Colombia, a country where the lives of those who challenge the state are routinely threatened and often taken.

Pedro is a member of Colombia's renowned Lawyers Collective, a body that has consultative status at the UN. For many years, since his days as a student, he has worked to defend human rights and people persecuted for political reasons. The collective is named after Jose Alvear Restrepo, who, like Pat Finucane in Ireland, was assassinated because of his work. He freely acknowledges that his life is constantly in danger because of his work.


Among those Pedro has defended are the three Irishmen, Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and Jim Monaghan. The juryless trial on charges of training FARC guerrillas, before a single Colombian judge, began on 4 October 2002 and concluded on 1 August 2003 after seven adjournments. Judge Acosta finally delivered his verdict in April, clearing the Irishmen of the main charges.

The verdict is currently under appeal by the Attorney General's office, and the men, since released from prison, remain in hiding in Colombia for their own safety, awaiting the outcome of that process.

Pedro points out that there is no new evidence on which to base the appeal. At one stage, the state's Solicitor General's Office was also appealing the verdict, but it has withdrawn its appeal.
While the three Irishmen remain in a legal limbo in Colombia, Pedro points out the significance of their case for human rights in Colombia, rule by the right-wing President Uribe.

"The three men were detained during a period of huge popular repression. It dovetailed with a massive wave of arrests and detentions. This policy has continued and many Colombian men and women are detained now, in the majority of cases, with no evidence against them. Many won't even go to trial but still can spend long periods in jail. They should be freed.

"This repression is part of the so-called anti-terrorist policy instigated in Colombia even before September 11 2001. The case of the three Irishmen shone an international spotlight on the human rights situation in Colombia. I believe the decision has implications for other similar cases.


"In this case, because of the international focus from human rights groups and others, the judge regained his autonomy and was able to act in law, rather than deliver a political decision. Such decisions favour human rights in Colombia and help the cause of judges who want to be independent from political interference.

"The President and government ministers in this case had violated the independence of the judicial process by proclaiming the men's guilt. Indeed, since this case, the Justice and Interior Minister, Fernando Londono, who declared the men guilty, because of his interference in another case, has been barred from public office for 12 years for interference in the independence of the judiciary.

"It is common in Colombia that the army and the prosecution work together to ensure convictions, including fabricating evidence and bringing forward false witnesses.

"There are a lot of issues here, but without a doubt the work organised by the campaign for the three Irishmen helped surround the trial judge with guarantees that he could make a decision based on law and allowed judges in similar cases to have similar independence."

Pedro went on to highlight the danger posed by the Colombian Government's current 'peace dialogue' with right-wing paramilitaries, who have been responsible for massacres and killings of peasants, leftists, human rights activists and trade unionists over many years.

While the massacres have fallen in frequency, individual killings have increased since this process began.

"The peace process is a farce," says Pedro. "The worst is that the government wants to provide immunity to the paramilitaries for their crimes in exchange for a deal. Human rights activists and victims' groups are strongly opposing this. Also, the US Government has stated that these people are drug traffickers, so this opposition has created problems for Uribe.

"The deal Uribe is trying to strike with the right-wing paramilitaries, with the support of the army, has people saying that Colombia has been 'para-militarised' in an alliance of government, army, paramilitaries and drug traffickers. A former Minister recently said that this was not real peace talks but a dialogue between friends.

"Meanwhile, in the south of the country, the government forces have been carrying out their 'Patriotic Plan' against leftist guerrillas such as FARC. They have not succeeded in destroying the guerrillas but there have been massive human rights violations against the peasant population. The army has caused far too many civilian deaths."


Pedro also discussed the prospect for a viable political opposition to Uribe's government. "There is a movement towards social democracy in Colombia that is very important," he said. "Presidential elections are due in 2006 and Uribe wants to be re-elected. A broad coalition of the left, social democrats and the Liberal party are trying to prevent this.

"This, however, has resulted in a backlash from the right. A lot of members of Congress and Senators are being threatened. A plan to assassinate the Mayor of Bogota, Luis Eduardo "Lucho" Garzon, a leftist former union leader, was uncovered a month ago, known as the 'Dragon Plan'. And in the last two weeks, two bodyguards to the Social Democrat Governor of Valie de Cauca province have been shot dead. So this situation makes it very difficult to organise an effective opposition to Uribe."


Pedro is also working on the case brought by Colombian trade union Sinaltrainal against Coca-Cola, which is currently before a US federal court in Florida. The union has suffered the assassination of eight union leaders, killed by paramilitaries, as well as the disappearance, arbitrary detention, torture, kidnap and sacking of hundreds more of their workers at Coca-Cola bottling plants throughout Colombia. Ninety percent of all union leaders reported killed worldwide die in Colombia.

The union, which organises workers employed by Coke Colombia as well as by the Nestlé Corporation, along with United Steelworkers in the US, is accusing Coke of crimes against humanity for its involvement in the repression of workers by paramilitaries. The campaign has the backing of the Colombian Trades Union Congress, the CUT.

The multinational has claimed that its US headquarters has no involvement in the repression but Pedro is among the legal team making the case that headquarters dictates how the bottling is done, what logos to use, etc. "How can they have no role in security at their plants," he asks, "when they control all other aspects of production?

"This week at the European Social Forum, Sinaltrainal representatives will speak, reiterating their call for a boycott of Coca-Cola products as a means of publicising the case." §


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