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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 1300 24th September 2006

Western dog-that-didn’t-bark-in-the-night response to Thailand coup speaks volumes about the reality of its posturing about “democracy and freedom”, which is used only to foster the warmongering and tyranny that is capitalist rule. But the defeats and quagmires of the “shock and awe” attempts to impose the growing capitalist crisis on the rest of the world are helping create ever greater disquiet in even the conservative middle class. It must get ever deeper as the entire world finally wakes up to the need for revolution to overturn defunct capitalism.

The Thai population, and the entire world with it, has just been given another kick-in-the-teeth lesson about the Goebbels Big Lie joke that constitutes the reality of “freedom and democracy” for the imperialist system, and especially cynically so as it slides deeper into the warmongering chaos of its greatest ever historical crisis.

The completely whitewashed acceptance by the entire “free world” of the military coup there, and its casual and insouciant cynicism, reflects the rapid degeneration of the imperialist order towards Third World War, the only “solution” it knows for the tearing economical and political antagonisms now threatening to rip its centuries long domination and world control into shreds.

It neither cares about the glaring hypocrisy on show nor has the competence and capability as a ruling order to do anything about it as the crisis intensifies.

The great fraud of “democracy” has been its best tool for controlling the masses for two centuries and more but it is being torn up as the ruling class is increasingly forced into exposing the dictatorship which has always been the underlying reality of its rule, in order to dragoon its populations into the conflicts to come, and to suppress the inevitable rising tide of discontent and social disorder that its chaotic breakdown and slump chaos will inevitably generate (and already is generating throughout the Third World).

Five days after the Thai junta had moved to depose Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, backed almost immediately by the reactionary monarchy, the news had virtually disappeared from the mainstream western press apart from neutral stories buried deep on the foreign news pages in a few more “serious” papers.

Western government comments have been equally anodyne; as one smugly complacent BBC radio news report said “there will be some token murmurings by the Foreign Office about the importance of democracy for a few days and then they will be talking to the generals again.” He almost said “Foreign office chaps”.

The USA made a few quiet gestures a day late, also saturated with the urine stink of hypocrisy, about the importance of “the democratic way”.

The chance to speak out loudly at the international forum of the UN which just happened to be underway at the time (the reason the Thai prime minister was away from his country) was passed over by the major western powers who are usually so keen to strut and posture and demand “interventions” and “actions” when they are lining someone up for blitzing who has been fingered as “the Evil empire” and “undemocratic”.

Business is business and the sweat shops of Thailand have long been a major source of superprofits for the western corporations with their semi-slavery, youth exploitation and dirt-poor conditions. But if the world’s masses didn’t get the point there of what a lying fraud such bland pronouncement are, George Bush has just made it even more sharply clear with a special flying visit into Pakistan to bolster and reinforce another monstrous military coup regime, the continuing brutal, reactionary and torturing dictatorship of General Musharraf. There was joshing and jokes a plenty.

And with what aim? To keep it “onside” for the “war against terror, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda” which are “threatening our way of life, our freedom and...democracy”.

And they say Americans don’t have sense of irony. What a stinking fascist joke!!

Which is more than the regime in Thailand will be for the ordinary poor people. Despite endless western stories glibly presenting the coup as rather like a “fun day out”, TV interviews to prove “all is quiet and normal” and the army “popular with the people”, and with nice yellow ribbons tied around the military’s gun barrels by a “grateful population” – (thousands of ribbons appearing out of the blue, and echoing the carefully organised, western-funded and secretly CIA pre-planned pro-capitalist Nazi backed ‘democracy movements’ in “Orange” Ukraine against the Bonapartist remnants of the former workers states, similar orchestrated rightwing stunts against Serbia’s revisionist nationalist regime and plotted continuously for Byelorussia and its halfway-house confused refusal to dismantle every aspect of the old workers state apparatus and allow easy western profit pickings, and now new provocations and underlying threats of violence appearing again in the “white” themed Nazi demonstrations against Hungary’s pale and inadequate “socialists”) – despite all that, it carries with it all the threat and thuggery of the repeated coups which have been regularly imposed previously in the country (and many other in the imperialist orbit), when protesters and students were strung by the dozens from the lamposts in Bangkok and opposition forcibly suppressed.

Stories of the supposed corruption of the Thai prime minister were bandied around to somehow “justify” this reactionary conspiracy, but a few isolated western press accounts have hinted at a more likely explanation:

Lek Tongdee says he has pulled more weeds from his bean and chilli plots in the two days since the Thai military seized power in a bloodless coup than in the previous four weeks. “I’m sad, angry and frustrated but I can’t do anything about it so I’m taking it out on these weeds,” the barefoot tenant farmer told the Guardian while shaking a fistful of scraggy plants.

“Thaksin [Shinawatra] was a good prime minister. He worked hard to improve the welfare of the little people like me. I voted for him without anyone paying me any money to do so and look what has happened. The army is in control.”

Opinions like Mr Lek’s are commonplace not just in Sampratuan, a village in Nakhom Pathon province, about 30 miles west of Bangkok, but across most of Thailand’s rural heartland.

Here, Mr Thaksin’s populist policies of the past five years, such as 66p health care, a debt moratorium for poor farmers and a crackdown on the rampant drug culture, were loved.

The credible accusations against him of abuse of power, violations of human rights and corruption that prompted the urban elites to take to the streets in their tens of thousands earlier this year are brushed aside as twisted propaganda.

“It’s the mass media’s fault,” said a motorcycle taxi driver, Rungroj Autapao. “They turned people against the prime minister. But he was working hard for us. He started many projects and gave lots of support to the poor.”

The government has made mistakes in the past six months, but Mr Thaksin should not be blamed, said a traditional medicine seller, Kilagon Pitomklong. “The problem was the ministers,” he said. “They were not doing what the prime minister wanted them to do.”

People are realistic about Mr Thaksin’s chances of making a political comeback. “He’ll probably have to wait at least a year or two,” said Limlee, a drink seller. “Who knows what will happen in that time.”

At the provincial office of Mr Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai [Thais Love Thais] party, the sombre mood reflected this. Jirawat, one of the few officials there, said: “Most people were attracted to Thai Rak Thai because of Mr Thaksin. Without Mr Thaksin we’re not going to attract people to stand as candidates or vote for us. We will do well in the next election to win 100 seats.” In the 2005 election, the party won 375 of the 500 parliamentary seats.

The fake-”left” has been almost as quiet, despite being willing to take up and parrot ad nauseam every lying pro-democracy stunt and provocation organised by the CIA and other western intelligence from the Solidarnosc “trade union” counter-revolutionary movement (now exposed as ultra-reactionary fascism as personified by the Tweedledee and Tweedledum Kaczynski twins running Poland - both Solidarnosc founder members) to the current “rogue state” of Myanmar (on the list of western war targets) where the western trained petty bourgeois “democracy” movement is continuously kept on its counter-revolutionary toes by the western intelligence agencies and “diplomats”:

Burma’s state-run media on Friday accused Britain’s newly appointed ambassador of holding “secret meetings” with the political opposition, in violation of diplomatic ethics.

The New Light of Myanmar reported that Mark Canning on Monday met with “unlawful organisations and political agents” - specifically members of detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy...

A British embassy spokesperson denied the meetings were secret or breached protocol.

That would be “state media” as opposed to the media run, owned, dominated and completely controlled by the capitalist bourgeois establishment in the west, of course, like every other media outlet, educational establishment, cultural institution, publishing house and so forth under capitalism.

The Foreign Office, which denied nothing here, obviously has as strong a sense of irony as the Americans, especially with Myanmar sitting right next to Thailand and sharing a border.

The fascist joke in this goes far deeper than a few embarrassed mandarins or even the return to deeper poverty and hopelessness for the ordinary Thais and the neo-colonialist exploitation, by the big imperialist powers and their corporations, companies and investments, that has been their lot for the entire post-war imperialist epoch – including the slump collapse of the mid-1990s when the bigger imperialist countries forced an earlier and partial economic world capitalist collapse onto the south-east Asians via currency breakdown and turmoil.

Myanmar, like Sudan, Iran, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Venezuela and others, is being demonised and lined up for the same treatment as Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon where tens of thousand of civilians have been blitzed, tortured, massacred and thrown into degenerating chaos and civil breakdown for the purposes of imperialism’s “shock and awe” intimidation to force the world to keep American imperialist ruling class and its sidekicks in the state of ultra-luxury and sweet power to which it has become accustomed after a century of world tyranny and exploitation.

Despite the extraordinary transformation of the world’s most super-rich country and its greatest capital exporter into the world’s biggest debtor nation, reflecting the greatest ever accumulation of the contradiction in the profit system that must eventually explode in a devastating slump collapse of over-production (see economic quotes) the bourgeoisie is saying that it is going to tough it out, imposing by brute force on the planet what it can no longer manage with the intimidation of capital itself.

The reality of imperialism has always been one of non-stop coups, wars, bribery and manipulation to install “our thugs” and “our bullying stooges and gangsters” to keep the lid on things and suppress as viciously as need be, any rebellion or resistance to the grotesque inequality and plundering that is imperialist “trading and investment”.

But the world is now in a new phase way beyond even the 400 or so barbarities (one million “suspected” and actual communists slaughtered in cold blood in Indonesia in 1965 e.g. on British and CIA information, mass death squad mayhem throughout South America, bloody coups and tyranny in Africa (and ghastly poverty imposed)) and even full scale wars (Vietnam, North Korea, Greece, Malaysia, Argentina) of the post-war years by which US imperialist domination has been imposed and extended.

This is now the epoch of the Pentagon “endless war” and the “clash of civilisations”, the ludicrous nonsenses of propaganda under which imperialism is now winding the world up for total war destruction just as it did in the Great War (laughably called the War to end all Wars by pacifists and do-gooders of all shades) and in the 1930s slump collapse.

The Pope’s medieval hatred-inducing pronouncements of late are no accident but part of the deliberate campaign by imperialism and all its components to target suitable victims both internally and across the world.

Capitalism needs war and the destruction that comes with it to blot out “surplus” capital and restore the rate of profit, its own God.

But it has run into devastating problems. The inevitable resistance that its system is creating long term as its non-stop globalising expansionism brings the entire world into its orbit, training and transforming the billions that it forces into working for it one way or another, and the acceleration given to that deep hatred by the growing crisis of the entire capitalist economic system, which will break with all the greater world mass devastation and slump the longer the system stretches its contradictions to the limit with ever greater mountains of credit and paper dollars.

For all the ridicule of the fake-”lefts” at supposed “catastrophism” the EPSR continues its solidly based Marxist analysis that imperialism is a system of permanent crisis and ready to tip over the edge. The underlying hollowness of the ever expanding US deficit “solution” endlessly sends up little warning bubbles in the capitalist press:

A week of coups, scandal and political instability took their toll of the world’s emerging markets yesterday as fears of a looming US-led economic slowdown triggered a bout of selling by jittery investors.

Bonds, shares and currencies in the smaller, developing economies of eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America suffered from the flight out of risky but high yielding assets and into safer havens. With markets already tense following this week’s coup in Thailand and the admission by Hungary’s socialist government that it had lied about the health of the economy to win power, investors were dealt a fresh double blow by Thursday’s weak economic news in the US and the collapse of Poland’s coalition government.

Analysts said the sell-off had been prompted by the business index published by the Philadelphia federal reserve. This detected the first fall in factory output from the mid-Atlantic states in three years and raised concerns that the deterioration in the US housing market was spreading to manufacturing.

The gloom was compounded by a warning from one of America’s leading housebuilders that trading conditions were tough and unlikely to improve over the coming months. The Federal Reserve pegged interest rates at 5.25% this week, but an early reduction to boost the economy is thought unlikely amid anxiety over inflation.

After months of turning a blind eye to potential problems in emerging markets, investors yesterday cited current account deficits in Turkey and South Africa, the allegations of smear tactics by President Lula in the pending election in Brazil, a possible debt default in Ecuador and the ousting of the prime minister in Thailand as the reason for the new mood of caution.

The rising tide of Third World hostility - “political instability” as the Stock Exchanges like to call it, is not going away.

Exactly the opposite. Imperialism’s turn to more and more overt warmongering fascism to try and stop it with brutal “shock and awe” ruthlessness from Falluja to has simply recruited ten of thousands more into the ranks of “terrorists and insurgents” multiplying the slow rolling defeats that have pushed the most powerful and well-armed military power on all history onto its heels:

Imperialism’s interventions are in growing trouble from the endless quagmire of Iraq to Afghanistan:

British troops in Afghanistan are exhausted and desperately short of helicopters, and there is no sign that the casualty rate will fall, according to accounts yesterday from officers on the frontline.

The reports, including a leaked email describing the RAF as “utterly, utterly useless”, put the government under fresh pressure over whether it adequately prepared British troops for operations in the hostile south of the country.

The most graphic accounts came in emails from Major James Loden of 3 Para, who described British forces as desperately short of reinforcements and helicopters, and berated the RAF for being “utterly, utterly useless”. Maj Loden, who was awarded the Bronze Star medal in 2004 by the US military for his services in Afghanistan in support of its Operation Enduring Freedom, lambasted the pilot of a Harrier fighter bomber for firing phosphorus bombs closer to British troops on the ground than the enemy.

They came less than 24 hours after it emerged that another army officer had described the scale of casualties suffered by British troops in southern Afghanistan as “very significant and showing no signs of reducing”. The officer, Major Jon Swift, a company commander in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, added that “the current strategy was following political rather than military imperatives”.

He was referring to pressure from local Afghan leaders on British commanders to send troops to forward bases in the north of Helmand province, where the Taliban was taking control. Most of the 17 British soldiers who have been killed by enemy fire in southern Afghanistan since 5,000 began to deploy there in June were shot in that region. A shortage of helicopters and problems with supply lines have also led to troops running short of food and fresh water.

In a defiant “victory” speech in a bombed-out suburb of Beirut, the Hizbullah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said yesterday his organisation had recovered from its month-long war with Israel and now possessed more than 20,000 rockets.

“Within days, and [despite] emerging from a ferocious war, [Hizbullah] has recovered all its organisational and military capabilities ... it is stronger than it was before July 12,” he told a cheering crowd of several hundred thousand people.

Under intense security amid fears of an assassination attempt, Mr Nasrallah was making his first public appearance since the war started more than 10 weeks ago.

Israel has been particularly anxious to prevent Hizbullah re-arming. According to various estimates the organisation had fewer than 20,000 rockets before and fired about 4,000 during the conflict.

Although Mr Nasrallah’s latest claim is impossible to verify, he has a reputation for not bluffing. Flanked by bodyguards and with only his head visible above a protective screen labelled Victory Festival 2006, he said his guerrillas would never surrender their weapons. “No army in the world will be able to make us drop the weapons from our hands.”

But he said Hizbullah would consider disarming once the Lebanese government was strong enough to protect the country. “When we build a strong and just state that is capable of protecting the nation and the citizens, we will easily find an honourable solution to the resistance issue and its weapons,” he said.

The defeats inflicted on imperialism are raising massive doubts about the world in even the most conservative and solidly anti-communist intellectuals throughout American and Britain.

Society is beginning to understand that democracy and freedom are nothing but a joke, and that the endless expansion of Guantanamo and other concentration camps, the insane “war on terror” and its feudal “clash of civilisations” insanities, are the only future being offered by the increasingly open reaction of bourgeois dictatorship.

There is no solution by “voting” and by shouting ineffectual slogans like “stop the war.”

Imperialism’s very essence is warmongering and it is preparing for the biggest ever to try and avoid its long overdue exit from mankind’s development.

Only revolution is a solution.

Build Leninism.

Don Hoskins.



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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

Imperialism’s hatred and contempt for democracy

Endless western and bourgeois subversion is escalating against the tide of anti-imperialism in South America, to ferment violence, instability and conflict, to create conditions for counter-revolutionary overthrow. It underlines the glaring need for revolutionary understanding and the need for proletarian dictatorship to guard against it – the only way to get peace and freedom


Four months before the presidential elections, Nicaragua is a study in political pessimism. A ship adrift. Sin a pilot. Sin a rudder. Sin anything. Queen of S/n. In Spanish the word for sin is sin. In Nicaragua, national politics and Washington’s sinful interference have turned the word into an accursed, normal way of life.

One day sin water. Another day sin electricity. Weeks sin public transportation. Months sin hospitals and years sin education programs. Every day more than one million children kill time sin attending school. Many more sin eating. Thousands die sin medical attention. Nicaragua is heading toward chaos sin political leaders, sin religious leaders. Sin any compassion whatsoever. Trapped for centuries by the brutal interventionism of Washington and the avarice of the national oligarchy, the Central American nation of extraordinary natural resources and hardworking people has barely survived. The majority of the population seemed destined to jump from one economic precipice to another, often sin hope, until the triumph of the Sandinista revolution in July 1979.

It is a tribute to Nicaraguan tenacity that the nation remained afloat up until then. That it survives now sin a president is a miracle. For the last 12 years three liberal and conservative presidents have alternated power with White House approval. Violeta Chamorro Barrios, Arnoldo Aleman and Enrique Bolanos Geyer “dis-ruled” sin rhyme or reason. They dedicated themselves exclusively to denigrating the Sandinistas whose struggle and triumph against the criminal dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza brought democracy to Nicaragua, paving the way for three useless individuals successively occupying the presidency.

Restoring the Somoza dynasty style of government, the three incompetent rulers, intimately linked to Washington, dismantled the achievements of the Sandinista government and sunk the economy while, at the same time, audaciously blaming the colossal failure on the fsln. Chamorro was elected, sin political experience, handpicked by Washington. Considering her the least offensive among a pleiad of satraps, the White House anointed her presidential candidate. Washington consolidated the opposition and organized and financed her campaign, denying a win for the Sandinista Party. Chamorro immediately returned the ‘favor’ to the White House by pardoning the United States a $17-billion debt granted to Nicaragua by the International Court of Justice for damages caused to that nation by the Contra war and Washington.

Aleman followed Chamorro. At the end of his mandate Aleman was sentenced to 20 years in prison for corruption, fraud, and money laundering. However—and here is another detail of the Nicaraguan sin— despite having stolen more than $100 million of public funds, Aleman is free. Under house arrest in his luxurious “El Chile” mansion likewise stolen from the nation that he left bankrupt. His freedom is the result of crooked pacts and the generosity of Bolanos, Aleman’s vice president throughout the privileged offender’s presidential crimes. Bolanos, backed by the White House, came to occupy the presidency after winning the last elections.

That trio governed sin any concern for the people’s misery. They received, sin fail, the servile support of the General Assembly, a shoddy bunch of idlers affiliated to former governors who spent months sin holding session, sin emitting laws and, sin the slightest scruples, awarded themselves large dollar salaries while 70% of the population were suffering from hunger, sickness and unemployment.

This time around, more than one dozen parties are competing for the presidency. Sin a platform, sin any idea of how to combat poverty, sin a conscience, sin any higher ambition than to remain forever in power. In the last 12 years, a whole series of ambassadors and “special delegations” from the White House, beginning with former Secretary of State Colin Powell, have traveled to Managua with the objective of preventing the fsln from retaking the presidency.

Last week it was the turn of Tom Shannon, undersecretary of state for Latin America. He met with Bolanos and with Eduardo Montealegre, candidate of the Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance party and favored by Washington to occupy the presidency after the November elections.

According to Montealegre, “we are going to talk to him (Shannon) about democracy, Latin America, and how the United States can benefit from the county’s growth, and thus, as in the 80s, a line was drawn to prevent the spread of communism, today we are going to draw the line in Nicaragua so that the interventionism and expansionism of (Venezuelan President Hugo) Chavez does not reach Central America.”

Preeti Shah, the U.S. spokesperson in Managua, stated: “We are funding efforts to promote voter consensus and to ensure that all Nicaraguan citizens who wish to vote can exercise their constitutional right.”

Just like that. Sin mincing words, sin the slightest shame, sin the most elemental sense of decency, they are blatantly manifesting U.S. interventionism and the candidate’s servile submission to the godfathers of the gringo mafia.

Shannon’s visit highlights Washington’s concern to ensure that another leftist government doesn’t reach power in Latin America. In Nicaragua the message has not gone unnoticed. The fight against imperialism and against the oppressor oligarchies has always required war sin mercy. ..

Pastor Valle-Garay is Senior Scholar at York University •


sometimes numbers are deceiving. The National Electoral Council of Venezuela has confirmed that 23 candidates are registered for the December 3 presidential elections, when really even the most naive of observers knows that it is the Bolivarian Revolution and Washington who will be facing each other a contest in which the reelection of President Hugo Chavez is guaranteed by the majority support of his people and his record on works of social justice.

For the time being, as if to warm up its engines, the empire is backing 20 candidates ranging from the right-wing Manuel Rosales, governor of Zulia and signatory to the fascist decree that tried to legitimize the ephemeral coup d’etat of April 11, 2002 to a clown, known as Count Guacharo who has already stated that he will pull out if he does qualify in the polls.

All surveys indicate that Chavez will get more than 50% of the vote, while Rosales does not reach 18%, not to mention the others who are squabbling over figures that do not top 1% in most cases.

As the Venezuelan leader himself likes to say in baseball slang “the game’s in the bag.”

The specter of the opposition, which is nothing but a poor imitation of the traditional political forces in that Andean nation and representatives, as well, of an oligarchy that has seen its privileges lost along the road to the recovery of sovereignty and many social programs, has nothing to offer the people, who are victims of the alternation of power between the AD and Copei parties and of a pe-trocracy that shamelessly gobbled up the enormous earnings generated by the energy sector.

What future can that opposition offer Venezuelans?

But the empire can not afford the luxury of not putting up a fight against an alternative model to neoliberalism such as that consolidated by the Bolivarian Revolution, because it needs the natural wealth of Venezuela, its aquifers, and cannot allow its example to expand throughout the continent.

Sufficient reason to design a strategy that ranges from a supposed participation in the elections only to withdrawal at the last minute thus making them invalid, to the already revealed plot known as Plan Alcatraz, the objective of which is to subvert internal order, spark civil disobedience, generate violence and utilize Colombian paramilitaries in order to justify an intervention in the country causing the process to collapse.

Just a few days ago, the AP agency released a 1,600-page document listing “donations” to the Venezuelan counterrevolution, only the names of many of the recipients were blacked out. The money, amounting to nearly $3 million, came from the National Foundation for Democracy, an institution financed by the U.S. Congress to “support” democracy in Venezuela, when in reality the money is for conspiring against the current government. Since 2002, usaid has spent $26 million in programs against the Andean country and more recently it has been confirmed that it funded the escape from a Caracas prison of four notorious counterrevolutionaries whose whereabouts are unknown, but who are probably hiding out in Miami, the headquarters of terrorism for this hemisphere.

It is worth noting that the U.S. State Department has just opened an intelligence office to monitor Cuba and Venezuela in an international scenario characterized by the aggressiveness of the Republican administration of George W. Bush.


For five centuries, old and new colonists have silenced and subjugated indigenous peoples, who have consistently been described as barbarians, irrational, lazy, incapable of assuming any another responsibility than that of obeying. Obeying and keeping quiet have been the only concessions that the empires of all times have granted our peoples.

Today, as a new emancipating wave is gaining ground in the “new world,” the descendents of those enslavers consider their ancestors’ whip insufficient. Amputation would be the only solution for such “disobedience,” such irreverence before the master, such desire to assume the historic responsibility of directing the destinies of their peoples and to regain the natural resources that the fertile and generous Latin American soil has reserved for their benefit and that others are stealing.

That is the intention of the Bolivian opposition, made evident by an unrestrained act of violence in the heart of the Constituent Assembly in order to impede, one way or another, the approval of regulations that would have swept away the inertia with which that sabotaging minority intends to block the drafting of the new Constitution, a task that began August 6.

Assembly members from the Social Democrat Party (podemos) of former presidents Jorge Quiroga and Hugo Banzer—defeated at the polls in the last presidential elections — together with those from the euphemistically self-named Nationalist Revolutionary Movement (mnr) of the thieving and genocidal ex-president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, and followers of the rich businessman Samuel Doria Medina, leader of National Unity, were responsible for a violent attempt to assault the presidency and prevent the reading of the text of the proposed regulation whose approval would unblock those works.

The incident caused Roman Loayza, president of the government majority group, to fall from the stage into an orchestra pit three meters below, causing him brain injuries that left him in a coma.

The proposed regulation, the product of a working commission made up of various forces within the Assembly, would subject Assembly members to approving each debated article by a half-plus-one vote, while at the same time determining that the final draft of the Constitution must be approved by a two-thirds majority.

Nothing unacceptable, but the opposition idea is to create a climate of tension and destabilization in order to abort the Assembly each time it proposes drafting a text reestablishing Bolivia as a country where no one is excluded and the people’s right of ownership over the nation’s natural resources is ratified.

The events of August 31 resulted in a premeditated stampede by opposition members (less than 30% of the total) with the unhealthy objective of blocking the Assembly’s work. This act was accompanied by another rightist conspiracy led by the so-called Sucre Civic Committee, identified with posemos, to exacerbate its demands on the Evo Morales government in a climate of civil disobedience and aggression aimed at the Movement Toward Socialism (mas) assembly members.

This is further compounded by the alignment with the political right of the neoliberal and separatist sectors of Tarija and Santa Cruz, which are threatening to break away from Bolivia if the national project that the country’s new Constitution aspires to make sacred advances.

Since he rose to power, with a victory at the polls that swept away the traditional parties responsible for the ills that have converted Bolivia into one of the most backward countries on the continent, the indigenous presidency of Evo Morales has been harassed by forces from the United States sheltering Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, by transnational interests that have plundered the country for decades, and by a national oligarchy that refuses to share its privileges with the people. It is like a sea of lava stealthily creeping over the land.

Over the centuries they have failed to see the Aymara, Quechua, Guaranie peoples, those who are the real owners of Bolivian land and who, for all this time, have been preparing for this moment.

Evo called on them on September 1, by declaring an indigenous emergency in defense of the Constituent Assembly, the nationalization of hydrocarbons, and the social justice project.


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

Venezuelan world trade deals

Venezuela reached new energy and oil production agreements after an official tour by President Hugo Chavez through China, Indonesia, Syria and Angola.

In the latter, the second-biggest oil-producing nation in Sub-Saharan Africa, Chavez signed an agreement covering information exchange on oil policy, legal structures and regulations and the organization and operations of that industry’s institutions. It also covers the exploitation, production, storage, transport, refining and distribution of oil and gas between Angola and Venezuela.

Chavez arrived in Angola after visiting Syria, where he had negotiated 13 economic agreements, including for the construction of a refinery with a processing capacity of 200,000 barrels of crude. Venezuela is willing to cooperate with Syria in areas such as agriculture, industry, trade, tourism and higher education.

Previously, during his visit to Malaysia, he opened the doors of his country to Asian companies to invest in several branches of the economy and diversify Venezuela’s industrial sector, which is heavily dependent on oil.

In addition to the energy sector, Chavez invited Malaysians to participate in projects for infrastructure, tourism and agriculture.

With respect to oil and natural gas, Malaysia’s state-owned companies will be able to establish joint enterprises in Venezuela, Prensa Latina reported. As support for this cooperation, Chavez proposed creating a binational fund of several billion dollars that would have nothing to do with the International Monetary Fund.

“The goal of this invitation is to promote options for refining and petrochemicals to strengthen the energy industry for both countries,” he said.

In China, Hugo Chavez and his counterpart, Hu Jintao, approved the establishment of very important economic agreements between the two countries. Venezuela promised to increase its oil supply to China, while the Chinese plan to invest about $2 billion for the creation of a petrochemical complex on the Paraguana Peninsula and the exploitation of reserves in the Orinoco Oil Belt.

According to press reports, the Chinese plan to spend $10 million to build a 1,000-kilometer railway line; 20,000 homes; a computer factory; a cell phone factory, and telecommunications infrastructure.

Cooperation between the two countries also will include agricultural development - given that Venezuela aspires to food self-sufficiency - and the creation of the first Venezuelan satellite with Chinese technology, to be sent into orbit in a period of two years from that Asian country’s territory.

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles).
Two views from the Irish republican movement of the Ken Loach film on the Irish civil war and the brutal suppression by British imperialism of the nationalist movement and its overwhelmingly democratic majority for independence which led to the modern revolutionary armed struggle which finally has forced the snail’s pace withdrawal – even from the North

Black & Tans were “no angels” — major concession by Loach critics!

Before it went on release, ‘critics’ who had not seen it. denounced Ken Loach’s The Wind that Shakes the Barley. The London Times critic compared it to Nazi propaganda - ironic considering the role of ex-Black & Tans in reactionary and fascist politics in Britain In the Daily Mail Ruth Dudley Edwards asked: “Why does Ken Loach loath his country so much?” - a question better addressed by Ruth to a mirror. Ruth also, in the manner of death penalty advocates discussing ‘humane’ methods of killing, informed us that the British Empire was “the most humane”......ever, so there.

Facts, however, speak louder than words and the facts state clearly that Britain fought a brutal war of counter insurgency in Ireland. The Black & Tans and Auxiliaries were a byword for murder, torture and mayhem, including officially sanctioned reprisal attacks on civilians and property.

As these are matters of history, and perhaps sensing that Irish people are not as knowledgeable about it as they once were, ex-republican, ex-socialist, ex-Cork ‘patriot’, and now Sunday Independent columnist Eoghan Harris wrote: “By and large, the Black and Tans were no angels”.

Supporters of the infamous force were perhaps disappointed that Harris may not be counted an unwavering fan. But he did his best to rescue the force’s reputation from the verdict of history and from Ken Loach’s depiction.

Harris was commenting on the film for the second week in succession, but on this latter occasion took the precaution of having seen it, a novel approach.

Harris found, “The failure to allow a major British character a complex moral response to the war in Ireland is a major artistic and political flaw of this film.” Possibly a Tan shedding a regretful tear or two, as he yanked out finger nails, burned houses, beat civilians and took pot shots at the populace, might have satisfied.

In fact the Tans did far worse than as depicted by Loach, who toned down their violence in the film. However, listeners to rte’s Live Line last week will have heard from relatives how the Tans engaged in gruesome and brutal mutilation.

So much for the effects of revisionist history teaching in our schools and colleges. And so much for The Irish Times, which recently carried the following observation: “It seems grossly unfair to exclusively blame the British for the terrible violence that ensued in Ireland” after 1918. There was a “need to challenge the Black and Tan stereotype” solemnised the author. And the same goes for the Nazis and the Gestapo respectively, presumably, who suffer from similar ‘stereotypical’ depiction.

However, back to Eoghan. The absence of such complex depiction was “bad history.... There were many decent British soldiers on duty - my grandfather Pat Harris was arrested by one such young officer - and there were even decent Black and Tans, as my Roscommon relatives remembered. [Scriptwriter Paul] Laverty should have stood up to Loach and demanded the right to include at least one conflicted British character.”

Possibly a character portraying William Joyce would have sufficed. The future member of Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists, and later infamous as ‘Lord Haw Haw’ in Nazi Germany, was a Black & Tan informer in Galway. He was pretty much ‘conflicted’ all right and might have fit the bill..

However, there were conflicting messages on The Wind that Shakes in the same Sunday Independent that carried the Harris critique.

Antonia Leslie interviewed actor Liam Cunningham, who played a former member of the socialist Irish Citizen Army. He said: “... for anyone to question the historical accuracy in the film - they need a good kicking!”

Cunningham went on:”I mean, you should see some of the stuff that they left out.

There was an order from a Major Grant who was in charge of Macroom at the time .... it said that every man they saw standing with his hands in his pockets had to be shot. That was the level of oppression at the time. I mean, they burnt Cork, for God’s sake.”

Eoghan Harris might concede that shooting men for having their hands in their pockets was excessive, irrespective of its effect in encouraging proper deportment.

The gentle black and tan

Come all you staunch revisionists
And listen to my song,
It’s short and it’s unusual
And it won’t detain you long.
It’s all about a soldier
Who has carried history’s can,
Who dodged Tom Barry and Dan Breen
The gentle Black and Tan.

Twas the curse of unemployment
That drove him to our shore.
His jacket black and trousers tan
Like a badge of shame he wore.
“Subdue the rebel Irish
And shoot them when you can!”
“May God forgive me if I do,”
Prayed the gentle Black and Tan.

The burning of Cork city
Was indeed a mighty blaze.
The jewellers’ shops were gutted
Not before the spoils were shared.
Gold and silver ornaments,
Rings and watches for each man,
“But I only struck the matches,”
Said the gentle Black and Tan.

Croke Park and Bloody Sunday
Was our hero’s greatest test.
The spectators on the terraces
Nigh impossible to miss.
With salt tears his eyes were blinded
And down his cheeks they ran,
So he only shot Mick Hogan
The gentle Black and Tan.

So take heed you blinkered Nationalists
Fair warning take from me.
If you want to live in safety
And keep this land at sea.
Take heed of our three heroes
Murphy, Edwards and Yer Man,
Who will sing the fame and clear the name
Of the gentle Black and Tan.

By Breandan 0 Haithir


The wind that shakes the barley directed by Ken Loach

Ken Loach’s new contribution to ‘Irish’ cinema received the highest accolade for a film, the Palme d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival last Sunday. It was justly deserved.

In The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Loach tackles the Tan War and the Civil War warts and all, no holds barred. The brutality, the viciousness of those wars is there for all to see, for all to take sides. In a faithful portrayal of life in rural Cork during those momentous years, Loach manages to get across the heartache, the pain, the comradeship, the betrayals, the loyalty, the sacrifices that ordinary men and women made for the cause of Irish freedom, then and obviously since.

This is about the mothers, sisters, brothers, friends and comrades, the ordinary men and women who lived with the consequences of their decision to challenge the might of the British Empire in the “hope this Ireland we are fighting for is worth it”, and how they dreamed that it wasn’t just a fight for a green flag replacing the Butcher’s Apron.

The stark brutality of the British war machine in Ireland is vividly captured - the torture, gratuitous violence and vindictiveness of previously demobbed English soldiers who had survived the Somme but who had been brutalised by the experience, let down by their government on their return from the front, and many who were just plain depraved.

The cast, through their great performances, brought to life many of the aspects of the revolution of that period that are forgotten in most other retellings of the era, which almost exclusively concentrate on the military aspect of the war.

The Dail Courts, the courageous stance of rail workers refusing to transport British soldiers or their munitions across the country, the land seizures and conflicts, the role of the ascendancy landlords, the confusing world of the informer, the intensity of the reprisals are all part of the patchwork of this powerful film.

It is a film that some will not like. Fine Gael Senator and anti-republican mouthpiece Brian Hayes watched the special showing at the same time as myself. He was not impressed. It didn’t show the politics of the time, he said later. Obviously he watched a different film to me. His discomfort with the film and its accurate portrayal of war and revolution in Ireland in the 1920s should be endorsement enough for republicans to go see it when it hits the cinemas here.

This is a film, not a documentary, but it will cause a welcome, honest debate on what happened in that era will explain a lot about today’s society North and South.

The film explains quite well how the money, the Church and the reactionaries lined up together with the support of the British to defeat the Republic in 1922.

For republicans, nationalists, unionists, West Brits, students of Irish history, those interested in conflict, those interested in a good, action-packed movie this is a must see film. It highlights how ordinary men were shaped into soldiers by extraordinary circumstances, how republicans enjoyed the electoral and tacit support of the community. The storyline weaves the history of the time around the lives of young men and women in a County Cork village and how the events of the time moulded them, in particular two brothers who end up at opposing ends of guns during the Civil War.

It movingly portrays the sadness and hurt of war and it doesn’t shy away from showing the cruel deeds which war necessitated on the republican side. It is an honest and impressive piece of work from a director who is regarded as controversial because he depicts events from a different angle- that of the underdog.

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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


Revolutionary Cuban example for UN World Population Day

Over 115 million children in the world who do not attend elementary school because one does not exist where they live or because they have to work to help support their families. This results in 153 million youth (two-thirds of whom are female) aged 15 to 24 being illiterate and, consequently, having poorly paid jobs — if at all.

According to data gathered by the UN Population Fund (unpfa), half of the world’s population — that now stands at 6.5 billion— are under the age of 25. Of these 87% live in developing countries.

Six thousand young people are infected with hiv every day, the majority of whom are female. At the same time, pregnancy and childbearing are the principal causes of death among young women aged 15 to 19.

Poverty, lack of employment, high illiteracy rates and abandonment lead four million youth to attempt suicide each year.

It is estimated that 238 million adolescents and youth are living in abject poverty or on the verge of it. The number of street children is on the rise: between 100 and 250 million. Each day, 5,000 children become refugees due to war, famine and other ethnic, national, or economic conflicts.

Cuba has eliminated the conditions negatively affecting youth in other countries such as illiteracy, unemployment, lack of health services and education. Efforts are underway to reduce adolescent pregnancy, to broaden youth sex education and to promote measures aimed at diminishing the incidence of hiv/aids.

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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


Another Frankenstein monster rears its head

For the first time during the last five years, reservists in the Marine Corps have been called up to mandatory active service.

This emblematic U.S. armed force has to strengthen the ranks of the 138,000 soldiers currently deployed in Iraq. This measure explains better than any treaty that the occupation is not going as well as supposed.

Army recruitment staff are finding it difficult to sign up troops. It is not now enough to offer university courses and other incentives to naive young people. Entry requirements for the military are being relaxed and there have been complaints at the recruitment of ex-convicts or individuals who are psychologically unqualified.

None of this is unusual. Since the very start of the invasion, there has been one mercenary for every 10 soldiers involved. Investigations by The New York Times and the International Peace Operations organization state that around 25,000 people in Iraq are involved in “security work.” Higher figures produced by ngos also attest to the fact.

In the main, the troops are from the United States and Britain, but there are also South Africans, Filipinos and individuals from Latin America.

The recent breach of contracts on the part of several Hispanics brought to light the fact that employers are searching for soldiers of fortune in the New World because they are cheaper than their Anglo-Saxon counterparts.

They may well be retired military staff who worked for Pinochet in Chile or recruits from Plan Colombia; in other words men trained by the United States who have decided to earn more money this way.

A UN working group has been closely studying the subject due to an association with human rights abuses in places where these individuals are deployed. Investigating the motives behind their decision to abandon such fruitful contracts, it was revealed that they had not been paid the agreed amount, had been mistreated and were subjected to arrogant behavior on the part of their officers. Referring to the issue as a whole, specialists indicate that this practice violates several international regulations.

Peter Singer is a member of the Brookings Institution in Washington. He is considered an authority on the subject and confirms that to date there are no international laws controlling this industry; that is a vacuum that has to be filled. This is in the context of various questions concerning those private companies that are taking charge of actions that would be classed as “punishable” if engaged in by official troops of the defending army or its attackers. Claude Voillat, from the Red Cross in the Middle East, also confirms that many of these private contractors lack the necessary training to confront situations involving civilians on the street. This would explain crimes being committed that are subsequently attributed to paramilitaries, national security forces or any other of the armed groupings that exist in Iraq.

This is another dilemma that Washington is attempting to prevent from leaking out. Although they have managed to create squads of Iraqi police and military personnel, neither individual ministers nor the government as a whole have been able to exercise complete control over these or other bodies. Poor management and ethical problems stemming from violent activities carried out by the United States over the last five years have allowed groups with diverse religious and/or political leanings to proliferate.

Contract workers (the euphemistic name used to conceal the real nature of these contemporary legionnaires) are not subject to rules of any kind...except those of the U.S. State Department. This can be clearly seen in Decree 27 by the coalition’s Provisional Authority, signed by Paul Bremer, proconsul in Iraq in September 2003, in which a Security Provisions Service is to be established using private companies “(...) an organization of trained, armed and uniformed groups...” destined for the administrative apparatus and to protect key points such as oil pipelines and electricity networks, borders and ports, and who are authorized to detain suspects, carry out searches and wield power.

These consortiums possess a great deal of information, capital, material resources and freedom of movement that transform them into powerful actors who could influence the course of events in any particular place and in the political tack decided by the greatest military power on the planet.

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