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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 1304 11th December 2006

Blair’s “intolerance” is racism and scapegoating to wind up the nazi atmosphere for further warmongering. Dollar slide tells the real story of incipient slump disaster which underlies the drive to world war which capitalism must continue despite its defeats and setbacks in Middle East. Leninism is crucial to overturn this destructive degeneracy.

The stand-up line “if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s intolerance” used to be an ironic joke until Blair turned it round last week – now it sums up the racist, fascist- tending credo of a ruling class with no way left to hang onto power but the crudest scapegoating of “otherness”, and the blame and punish ethos of the worst smug middle class moralising.

Its threatening and sinister insistence on supporting “our values” and “our way of life” are aimed at far more than religious or cultural differences; they hit at all opposition which does not get into line or dares to speak out, in the same way that Nazism created a climate of fear and conformity in the 1930s. With it goes the increased stripping away of supposed “human rights” and “legal” niceties.

In other words it is part of New Labour’s closet Mosleyism, stepping up the fascist path New Labour has followed since it first came to power using its petty bourgeois sanctimonious “blame and punish” ASBO ethos against the working class, the dispossessed and the poor, and condemning all victims of capitalism as “responsible” for their own failures and inadequacy, while blaming “outsiders” for the turmoil and disasters which capitalism is creating by its own crisis.

The ruling class is desperate to drag the population into a frenzy of small-mindedness and chauvinism, to destroy all concepts of community and socialism and to turn it instead to further warmongering despite the catastrophic defeats its first forays have run into in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It knows no other way to get out of disastrous oncoming slump collapse and trade war hostility that is reaching boiling point throughout the monopoly capitalist world. Just as in two past world crisis outbreaks, there is too much capital and production chasing too few opportunities to make profit anymore. Only destruction on a massive scale, and the elimination of rival capitalist powers, will serve. Every lie and twisted piece of propaganda in the book will be used to try and get there.

What “values” is Blair supporting?

The principles of lying, knowingly and deliberately, in order to take a country into a war which will kill 650,000 civilians (after persecuting the same country for a decade with the same lies and killing half a million children with sanctions)?; of daily revealed torture, abuse, rapes, and beating in Iraq and Afghanistan?; of hounding to death those who broke ranks to point out the lies?; of changing the story when the first “justification” proved utterly false?; of the equally lying nature of the second “reason”, that it is to “save” the people of Iraq from a tyrant that was created and sustained by western intelligence and fed with western arms, poison gas etc., until he turned “rogue” under the growing pressure of Third World anti-imperialism and had to be swatted down?: of building up a huge force of uncontrolled mercenaries and uncontrolled private armies; of corruption and carpeting-bagging plunder of laughably named “reconstruction money” paid by taxes on workers which goes nowhere but into the pockets of the big monopoly corporations?; of re-creating the thriving drug industry of Afghanistan and funding its warlord culture?; of the horrifying civil war mess in both?

Is it the “calm reasonableness” of whipping-up “terrorism” fears with endless stunt police raids and non-stop “security” scares (without evidence) – when any amount of terrorism could never constitute a “total threat” to the rich, powerful and heavily armed western society as all-out war might, and when whatever “terrorism” there is, has come about only because of the warmongering and exploitation of the Third World by the west in the first place?

Is it the “democratic” principles of ignoring the opinions and uncertainties of millions opposed to this renewed warmongering; of re-arming with Trident when the (always fanciful) “communist threat” is long gone?; or the “freedom” of draconian state security endlessly ratcheted up to strip away all basic human rights, allowing interrogation without lawyers, imprisonment and detention without trial, the euphemistic “rendition” of detainees to a network of secret prison camps around the world in the dead of night? Is it the “freedom” of proxy torturing by compliant stooge thugs in various client countries and the public acceptance of such means?

Is it the “freedom” of the real 1984 conditions in Britain and America of now ubiquitous and non-stop police state surveillance, identity checks, data collection, eavesdropping, swipe-carding, monitoring, and state-encouraged weasel informing on every tiny aspect of life from Tube and rail fares to TV licences and car boot beer sales?

Is it the “democratic principles” of aiding and abetting the monstrous Jewish-Zionist fascist occupation in the Middle East which has seen the non-stop genocidal persecution, imprisonment, torture and exploitation of four million Palestinians and the dispersal of millions more, to help suppress the entire Arab world? Is it, not only, ignoring the legal election of the militant Hamas, but actively conniving in its strangulation by the monstrous siege torture and slow massacre of the Gaza strip and the West Bank populations and blocking all UN moves against it?

Is it the simultaneous monstrously hypocritical show of pious UN “concern” for the supposed “genocide” in Darfur, where western-backed “rebel” groups have constantly disrupted all negotiations to bring chaos under control, with a secret western agenda to make life as difficult as possible for growing Chinese trading influence, and to keep Sudan as another potential “axis of evil” target warmed up for future attack?

The “values” and “way of life” of monopoly capitalism have always been petty bourgeois self-seeking turning of the blind eye while the reality of piratical plundering tyranny was imposed on colony after colony throughout the planet, holding the great masses of the Third World in oppressive wage slavery and poverty (as just exposed yet again in Bangladesh, for the British supermarkets) to feed the sweet luxurious life of the tiny minority (with a few crumbs to the middle class).

Democracy was ever a lying fraud – and even then only for a minority of rich nations – used to keep the population pliant with the aid of illusions in change fed by the conniving and class-collaborating of trade union and Labour leaders and the fake-”left” which supported them (through idiocy, and/or anti-communist hostility).

But the capitalist system’s 800 year long domination is hitting the buffers.

Rebellion is sweeping from South America to Africa to the Middle East. It will ultimately develop scientific conscious leadership to end capitalism and create true socialist community values.

Build Leninism. DH

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Snail’s pace progress towards Irish peace settlement may finally be inching towards completion as sulky Orange colonialism grudgingly accepts “no surrender” supremacy can no longer be sustained by British imperialism

The four squads of UDA men sent out to try and stop Michael Stone’s maverick bombing and assassination attempt on Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness tell the significant story now about “Northern Ireland”, not his last ditch “no surrender” beserker armed onslaught on Stormont and the nominations meeting to restore power sharing.

He was on his own.

No one else wanted to turn back the clock and re-start the old war despite all the years of bluster and stentorian shouting and bullying by the “loyalist” colonialists, the killings and beatings and collective thuggery against the republican community, and the backup they have had for their intimidation and strutting racist violence from the reactionary wing of the imperialist establishment, and in the security, military and police circles.

The failure of Stone’s theatrical and farcical (though still potentially dangerous) isolated attack underlines all the more the grudging acceptance by Orange colonialism that its days of supremacism and lording it over the Irish population are gone forever, along with the dominant role of British imperialism which lay behind it.

As one republican commentator immediately noted (see Socialist Review pages), the event had parallels with the last ditch flurry of the Terre Blanche apartheid AWB in South Africa, being an equally tragic and doomed attempt to deny defeat and historical transformation.

And for all the still festering sourness of the diehards, there was - finally - the mumbled acceptance by the not-any-more-quite-so Big Man Ian Paisley in the Stormont meeting, of nomination for first minister in the renewed government. Even if it was slightly fudged and he had to be pushed for confirmation afterwards, the historic transformation of Ireland continues with another tiny movement forwards.

After years of Blairite prevarication and its failure to grab the historical nettle, always instead giving way to colonialist sulking intransigence, seemingly endless reneging objections to negotiations and the Good Friday Agreement, and endless police and media stunts pulled against the republican movement to create further excuse, progress continues towards a peace settlement and the cross border cooperation arrangements with Dublin at a variety of levels.

Ultimately it will mean the restoration of the complete nation of Ireland.

With it goes the further lifting of another obstacle from the eventual total defeat of the British ruling class by its own working class which as Marx pointed out, can never free itself while it is part of the imposed domination of another people.

As the EPSR’s scientific Marxist method has long analysed, in the teeth of Trotskyist and other fake-”left” defeatism, a snail’s pace withdrawal of British imperialism from the last artificially created “Northern Ireland” remnant of its 800 years of colonial rampaging and dominance over Ireland was decided long ago in the highest sections of the establishment, and has made what the republicans now call “inch-by-inch” progress ever since, painfully frustrating as it is.

The British ruling class in the post-war period finally accepted that the expense and difficulty of maintaining a guard on the “back door” of empire was pointless and futile in an age when British imperialism was in full scale retreat across the planet from nationalist anti-colonialism (Suez being a notable turning point), no longer had either an empire to speak of or the resources that came with it, and even more no longer had the political and prestige clout of the leading world policeman role, long since passed to American imperialism.

The drain and expense of maintaining huge shipbuilding and aircraft industry, military bases and resources in Ulster became increasingly pointless and, eventually, intolerable as the centuries old national liberation struggle in Ireland re-gathered momentum in the North. British imperialism had other fish to fry.

As EPSR 1259 said, it was pointless to go on for these reasons and more:


“...MOSTLY because the “TERRORISTS” (i.e. armed resistance, prepared to fight for their country, - and in particular to die for it) WOULD NOT BE BEATEN, despite every fascist “shoot-to-kill”, death squad barbarism that the British Empire had perfected (including concentration camps; hostage-taking for judicial slaughter; amateur Orange-NAZI murder squads;) and systematic domestic terrorisation of Republican families.

The...petty-bourgeois nationalists of Sinn Féin...had DEFEATED British Imperialism when everyone else was still only talking “continued British-Imperialist intransigence” and “continued permanent domination of Ireland”

...the hunger strikes to death in the early 1970s, - exactly the opposite of being a “FAILURE” and a “TRIUMPH” for Thatcher’s and Orange intransigence, - had in fact become the symbol for the whole world of British-Imperialism’s final DEFEAT and TOTAL POLITICAL FAILURE in Ireland.

In part deliberately, and in part by historical shallowness, the progress towards a final settlement of Ireland has been drawn out to near breaking point again and again.

British imperialism long ago perfected the obfuscation of history to cover over its own defeat and most of all to deny the role of armed revolutionary struggle in achieving victories against it, prevaricating, playing up pomp and circumstance and turning appearances on their head by grandly negotiating to “grant independence” when it has been forced from colony after colony throughout Africa, India, south-east Asia and elsewhere by dogged and painful struggles.

One of the big tricks is to pretend that the victory such movements achieve in finally being able to use peaceful mass political means to continue their struggle, represents a repudiation of the necessary armed revolutionary struggle they have made, rather than precisely the fruits such struggles have produced by pushing back and throwing off previous tyranny.

Spinning things out and dragging their feet has always been the imperialist way and no more so in Ireland, both in the original nineteenth century struggles and now, despite the recognition at the heart of British imperialism that there is no point in continuing.

But now even the most diehard elements have come to the table - Paisley even talking to a “spawn of the devil” Papist archbishop this summer!!

It could have happened much quicker as Unionist David Trimble could not resist pointing out to the DUPers on Question Time recently, scoring points to cover over his own intransigence and sabotaging. And even then London and Dublin could have taken the initiative to cut through the old deadwood as EPSR 1156 analysed four years ago:

The ludicrous political shallowness of New Labour has repeatedly permitted these colonial minded stunts to disrupt the GFA in reaction’s never-ending efforts to re-fight the already lost battles and insist that “terrorists” should never have been caved in to in the first place, and least of all should they be allowed into government.

But the stunts have not worked before, and they will not work this time over the longer term. To stop Sinn Féin remaining a force in government and becoming an ever-growing influence throughout Ireland, taking it steadily on its way to reunification, a new colonial war would have to be launched by Britain.

In today’s hysterical international warmongering climate produced by Western monopoly imperialism’s insoluble economic crisis and imminent collapse, such a total change of direction by the British Establishment over Ireland, effectively recolonising the place, could not be ruled as utterly impossible (as the EPSR has also always explained).

But it is hardly likely. It would not be the smartest way to play warmongering stooge for US imperialist blitzkrieg and recolonisation tyranny throughout the Middle East and beyond (see previous discussion), with the colossal manpower and achievement difficulties that will present, - and at the same time have half the British armed force tied up again fighting an unwinnable colonial war against national-liberation struggle in Ireland.

Interestingly, the stupidity of this threatened return-to-war destruction of the GFA by banning Sinn Féin (as all shades of official political Unionism now demand) is being openly challenge at last, and in the capitalist press, by other bourgeois voices from the British colonial ‘Northern Ireland’ tradition, who are loudly telling Trimble & Co not to be so stupid, including professors from Queens and Ulster Universities, plus even a Unionist Assemblyman (in that order, below), plus other capitalist press voices from normally viciously anti-SF and anti-revolutionary quarters.

If Blair were not such a ridiculous political lightweight, he could turn to the same ‘Northern Ireland’ community (these voices represent) and invite alternative representatives to prolong GFA and inter-Irish dimensions (alongside Sinn Féin and the SDLP), and that way put a stop to these endless fascist police coup-like moves to bring down the GFA or provoke Sinn Féin and the national liberation movement into bringing it down.

Sinn Féin has staunchly remained unprovoked despite four more years of frustrations, blockage and provocatory stunts by the reactionary unionists and their police and security connections – like the continual stream of unsubstantiated and unproven allegations of criminality, bank robbery and so forth pouring out - and the continuing fears, of its constituency, of persecution, abuse, racism and sectarian attack, which still make lives a misery for many in the Six Counties.

It has patiently sacrificed concession after concession to keep the momentum going and try and bring communities together to take advantage of a permanent end to the killings and hatred of the past decades, while giving nothing away of the political momentum and success it has justifiably achieved as a result of its determined struggles over four decades, becoming not just the biggest republican party in the north but making equally huge gains in the south.

Sinn Féin’s clear patience and maturity is clearly headed to become the biggest party on the entire island of Ireland, creating a de facto practical cross-border political unity of the country even before formal reunification is reached – which will inevitably eventually be achieved – and threatening all the old corrupt or class collaborating petty bourgeois and bourgeois political shenanigans on both sides of the border.

Not for nothing have the Dublin parliamentary parties suddenly rediscovered their “Irish heritage” and started eagerly celebrating the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Uprising after trying to bury it away for years while they got on with back-scratching and pocket-lining for the bourgeoisie.

But it is just this very clear success for the nationalist struggle which most disturbs the diehards.

As another issue of the EPSR pointed out, the contradictions go deep in this oldest of colonies:

Far from it being another pretence of “British reasonableness” in completing the “smooth handover” of nearly the last territory of its formerly vast colonial empire, the steady retreat from Ireland is ripping the British Security Establishment apart.

It is its coincidence with the terminal crisis of the world imperialist system itself; and of the whole privileged domination role that Britain, France, and the USA, etc, have hitherto enjoyed in international economic and political control, that is the problem.

The most reactionary part of bourgeois ideology can no longer see just a continuation of the ‘winds of change’ decolonisation process (whereby monopoly-capitalism continued to rule in the same old way but merely shoved over a bit to accommodate a compromise settlement with the more amenable local nationalist leaders).

Sections of the British Establishment are becoming convinced by the general crisis of the capitalist system, and also perhaps by the closeness-to-home of the British ruling class’s defeat in Ireland, that their whole privileged bourgeois world is about to come crashing down about them.

Hence one reason for the ore than usually spun out prevarication and uncertainty, and the endless sabotaging attempts by harder line elements to prevent a settlement going through.

And hence the reason for yet another obstacle still to be sorted out, the failure of the British state to implement a re-structuring of the outrageously one-sided police and security apparatus as agreed in the Good Friday Agreement and hardly changed by its cosmetic renaming from the RUC to the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland). Nothing close to even the Patten (Tory) led recommendations of several years ago has been made to a state force which has been exposed by endless revelations of collusion and collaboration with the Unionist death squads.

It was no accident that the six PSNI men at Stormont stood by during Stone’s attempted attack, leaving the building’s security men to challenge and hold him (see subsequent Socialist Review pieces).

In its patient strength the Sinn Féin has even offered compromise on this question – despite deep disquiet in the republican community which has suffered so much damage over four decades from the surveillance, harassment, intimidation and bullying sustained by the British and colonialist state forces.

But it will not be able, nor want to “sell out” on any such fundamental question as the defeatist and addle-brained Trots have poisonously alleged for nearly a decade (with their insane and defeatist “hot spot” notions that imperialism now has the world under control, dealing one at a time with trouble spots).

Just the opposite. Unless the return to colonial war discussed above is considered an option, imperialism has no choice but to come to a proper arrangement with the nationalist movement which would see the old sectarian bias and bigotry of the police and security forces dismantled and the endless British security presence removed. However “snail’s pace” the process is spun out the republicans are showing ever greater confidence that time is on their side. And it is.

In fact the disastrous defeats facing the British sidekick role in backing bogged down US imperialism in the ever worsening Iraqi and Afghanistan catastrophes, underline that the crisis has deepened hugely for imperialism and its interests, so that even the highest military and establishment figures have been breaking ranks to demand a consolidation of forces in one place at a time. Trying to concentrate on Afghanistan by pulling out of Iraq hardly suggests spare capacity to rebuild the British colonial war-occupation in Ireland.

The game is looking more and more to be up in Ireland however protracted the last few moves may prove to be.

All the better to build the revolutionary struggle to end capitalism completely on the planet; the real solution to mankind’s problems everywhere.

Don Hoskins

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

POLICING: All of the outstanding issues can be resolved – Gerry Adams

I want to welcome Ian Paisley’s commitment to take up the post of First Minister and to share power with Sinn Féin once outstanding issues are resolved, and if the electorate so decide. I do not underestimate the challenge this is for Sinn Féin and for many republicans and nationalists. Nor do I underestimate the challenge a power-sharing arrangement presents for Mr Paisley and the dup.

However, I am confident that all of the outstanding issues can be resolved, including that of policing. Sinn Féin is for policing and a fair and effective legal and judicial system which is transparent and accountable. That requires a different policing experience to the one we have known.

Republicans and nationalists are against criminality. Those who target the young and the elderly, those who deal in drugs and rob and assault our senior citizens, as well as the rapists and racists, have to face justice.

In all of the countless negotiations we have had on this issue in recent years Sinn Féin’s strategic goal has been to achieve a civic policing system which is accountable to citizens and representative of the community as a whole.

A number of key matters remain to be resolved. Central to these are the exercise of power and accountability over policing and justice. It is unreasonable to expect politicians or citizens to take responsibility for policing and justice and yet have no real authority over these matters.

Local politicians would not agree to run the health service without authority over it. Local politicians would expect to be able to question or challenge the Health Minister about decisions being taken by the health department.

Policing and justice are vital, fundamental issues of concern for every citizen. The Assembly and Executive should have the same rights in respect of these matters as for health and education and environment and so on. It makes sense. I believe we can find agreement on this.

What is needed is a definitive timeframe, a date, for the transfer of power and the departmental model into which power will be transferred. This isn’t rocket science. It is about parties taking straightforward and practical decisions.

Some dup politicians have said this matter cannot be resolved for several political lifetimes. That is unsustainable. Arguments about trust and confidence are in my opinion fundamentally bogus. None of our political parties trust each other. That is universal. It is not unique. It is the nature of politics. In our situation this distrust is heightened by decades of injustice, division, discrimination and the last 30 years of conflict.

Very few nationalists or republicans trust the agencies of the Northern state. This is particularly so, and with good reason the case with policing agencies, whether the old ruc, the B-Specials and other local militia, or the psni.

Significant progress has been made in making the psni more accountable but because of the sectarian and repressive history of policing in the Six Counties the psni will have to do a lot to earn the confidence of most nationalists.

Some, in this post conflict period, may think this is unfair. But the fact is that there was partisan policing which engaged in harassment, torture, assassination, shoot-to-kill, plastic bullet murders and maimings and collusion with death squads. That is why the Good Friday Agreement required ‘a new beginning to policing’ as an essential element of the peace process.

That is why policing is such an emotive issue. And because many ruc officers died or were injured in the conflict it is understandable that this emotion affects unionists as well as nationalists.

That is why there is a need for interlocking processes and measures to compensate for the lack of trust and confidence. And the truth is there is not a single political player who does not know this. So, crucially we need local accountability and control of, our policing and justice structures. We need to take control of policing and justice away from London.

The British government also needs to deal with a number of matters which remain under its control; principle among these is the role of mi5. There is no role for mi5 in civic policing. The psni cannot serve two masters. Neither can there ever again be a force within a force.

So, there is a job of work to be done on these issues. Can they be resolved? Yes. And let there be no doubt that even if and when these matters are resolved, there will still be a lot of work to be done by everyone to win nationalist and republican confidence in the psni. Indeed some republicans may argue that the British connection and the partition of Ireland prohibits sup port for any policing agency in the North. But Sinn Féin believes that none of these problems are insurmountable. We are up to the challenge of resolving these matters.

Let me be very clear about this. I am committed to calling a meeting of the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle immediately when these issues are resolved. This Ard Chomhairle meeting will be for the purpose of convening a special Ard Fheis within the timeframe set out at St. Andrews.

However, let me be equally clear that I will not go to the Ard Chomhairle to seek a special Ard Fheis unless I have the basis to do so.

In order to expedite these matters Sinn Féin will intensify our contact with the British government. We are prepared to meet with the psni Chief Constable Hugh Orde on issues which fall within his remit and we will sit down with the dup and other parties at any time to agree other issues.

I am determined to make clear to the widest cross section of national public opinion and especially unionist people that I am determined to see all these issues dealt with as quickly as possible and, as I have said, within the time-frame set out at St. Andrews. If the two governments and the other parties are of the same mind then there is no reason why this cannot happen.

Making the peace process work is exhausting and frustrating. It is far from a perfect process and republicans are not naive. I have repeatedly said that progress is very much inch by inch.

I would appeal to nationalists and republicans to stay focussed, united and patient through this difficult period.

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

Policing issue of key strategic importance

If it wasn’t so potentially serious, Michael Stone’s assault on Stormont was almost laughable. A man getting stuck in a revolving door at the entrance of the building waving a gun about and being swatted by two security guards. In Stone’s case, his motivation was probably self publicity. No doubt his ‘art’ will be selling an extra hundred pounds an item following his latest political theatre.

As with these events, it is what the event signifies that we need to analyse. Stone in some sense reflects a section of Irish society which has lost contact with what’s happening and which rails against that reality, filling back on the only thing they know how.

The thing that came to my mind when I saw Stone was the killing of three awb White supremacists by Black police in a Shootout in South Africa in 1994. It was a seminal event which seemed to symbolise the final breakdown of the putative fascist reaction that was building up to the ‘threat’ of power-sharing. Weeks before, the AWB drove a vehicle into the building where the anc were negotiating with the South African Government.

We must have the confidence to step into policing based on our understanding that this is a journey, that where we were in 1998 is not where we are today and that the tide of history is with us.

Militant loyalism seems to be where the AWB was then. They are marginalised and outraged by what they view as a potential ‘sell-out’ by those who they have trusted for so long. The resort to violence or the threat of violence is to be expected.

It is of interest that the loyalists of 1998, including Stone, supported the Good Friday Agreement — yet, now, many seem to be unsure of whether they should support it. I think that this is reflective of their mistake at that stage of looking at the deal in an idealised way -seeing it as a permanent deal. They did not understand the Agreement as a process of change. This is not unusual and stems from their ideology.

Republicans and socialists know that all history is a process. Events are never final. There is always movement. Socialists believe that the fundamentals of how the economy changes end up determining both social and political outcomes. Those republicans who opposed the Good Friday Agreement failed to understand history as a process and only saw the deal as the final ‘sellout’ only to have to reuse that same terminology repeatedly over the course of more years of struggle.

So what does it have to tell us as republicans as we consider the choices that face us. The first is to be certain that this process will continue, as Leo Green said at a recent meeting, until we get a united Ireland. Negotiations are a site of struggle. The second is to notice that so long as republicans seek change we must approach issues politically not ideologically. Our goal must be to continually make more people share our opinions and to get active on them. Our ideology is only given force by our political strength and the political strength of all those who share our objectives on any particular issue.

The third thought we should note is the importance of the Black policemen of Bophuthatswana who shot those AWB fascists – the straw that cracked the back of white supremacism. It reflects the importance of state power and institutions – even when they are not fully democratised. Just recall that Bophuthatswana was a self-governing tribal area which the Apartheid government had created to keep some tribes from supporting the anc. When the event occurred in 1994, South Africa was still not democratic. Negotiations were ongoing on the form of the transition with the National Party trying to stall things as much as they could.

If we are serious about undermining the constitutional basis of partition – which is the continued support of a section of Irish society for it – then our involvement in policing must be seen as potentially of key strategic importance in that struggle. Just as the likes of Ivan Foster or Michael Stone feel unable to stomach Sinn Féin in government, imagine their revulsion and alienation from ‘their’ state when the police are under the direction of Sinn Féin members on policing boards. With potentially worse to come when policing and justice powers are devolved.

Certainly, we need to be absolutely resolute in our opposition to anything which might maintain an unaccountable ‘force within a force’ just as we must be resolute in opposing anything that might curtail the freedom of our ministers within a Six County Executive. This means mi5 must have no role in civic policing.

However, if we achieve that perhaps seemingly unlikely goal, we must not shirk from seeing the revolutionary potential of civic policing as a way to reclaim state institutions from the hands of the securocrats and the Brits themselves. We must have the confidence to step into policing based on our understanding that this is a journey, that where we were in 1998 is not where we are today and that the tide of history is with us.

What this means is discussion on the hard questions around policing. So few of us have a full grasp of where this crucial question sits at the moment. Which of us can say just how many of Patten’s recommendations have been implemented and what else do we want in detail? These details should be on the tip of our tongues.

It’s not just about discussing though. What’s needed, certainly in the Six Counties, as identified in Declan Kearney’s powerful article of two weeks ago, is that we get active on these demands. If we want the mi5 to have no role in policing, then we should be out demanding that or at least making the case for it in every meeting we have with those from business, the media, etc. We could write letters to local papers letting people know what is holding up this aspect of the negotiations.

Nobody could oppose the idea that political policing is a bad thing. Few would welcome a ‘force within a force’. Indeed, if we widened discussion of these issues many who today are critical of our course might actually recognise the full significance and importance of what Gerry Kelly and others are negotiating with the British and the other parties.

In short then, we need to popularise the negotiations on the basis of simple demands which can be taken outside ourselves. Furthermore, we need to initiate a process whereby republicans reach out and listen to wider society in the north -and perhaps elsewhere – with a grassroots consultation on issues. It would possibly be much more worthwhile than a canvass as it would be a great way to inform people of the work and the progress that we’re making. The media is filling them with negative images of all politicians and we need to counter it. Also, a grassroots consultation which goes beyond our activist base would enable activists themselves to fully grasp the depth of the popular demand to keep moving forward. It would give us a sense of the popularity of a process this movement initiated and has long come to be identified with in the popular mind.

Domhnall Ó Cobhthaigh is with Sinn Féin’s All- Ireland Department

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

Economic war unleashed against Cuba by the USA qualifies as an act of genocide

Speech by Felipe Pérez Roque, foreign minister of the Republic of Cuba: “The necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.” November 8, 2006, New York

Madame President: Ladies and gentlemen of the Assembly:

For the 15th consecutive time, Cuba is presenting to the General Assembly a resolution titled, “The necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.” We do so in defense of the rights of the Cuban people, but also in defense of the rights of the people of the United States and the rights of the peoples that you all represent in this Assembly.

The economic war unleashed by the United States against Cuba, the longest and cruelest ever known, qualifies as an act of genocide and constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations. During these 48 years, the U.S. blockade has caused economic damages to Cuba in excess of $86 billion. Seven out of every 10 Cubans have since birth suffered and resisted the effects of the blockade, which attempts to break us through hunger and disease.

The blockade prevents Cuba from trading with the United States and receiving tourism from that country. It prohibits Cuba from utilizing the dollar in its external transactions and receiving credits or carrying out operations with U.S. banks or their affiliates in other countries.

The blockade does not allow the World Bank or the Inter-American Development Bank to grant Cuba even a modest credit.

But more serious than all of that is the fact that the U.S. blockade imposes its criminal regulations on Cuba’s relations with the rest of the countries that comprise this General Assembly.

We have seen, ladies and gentleman, how the representative of the United States government has repeated again here the same fallacious arguments and the same lies that he has uttered in this Assembly in previous years.

He lies when he says that the embargo is a bilateral issue.

He lies when he says that Cuba can trade and purchase in other countries what it is prevented from buying in the United States.

He lies when he says that the United States does not persecute the ships of other countries that try to go to Cuba.

He tells this Assembly, moreover, that Cuba is utilizing the blockade as a pretext.

I repeat to the distinguished delegate what I already told him last year: if the United States government believes that Cuba is using the issue as a pretext, why doesn’t it take away that pretext by lifting the blockade? Why doesn’t it eliminate the blockade against Cuba if, in its opinion, Cuba is using it as a pretext to justify its supposed failure?

The blockade prohibits companies in your countries from trading with Cuba, ladies and gentleman, not just U.S. companies, but companies from the countries that you represent in this Assembly and that are subsidiaries of U.S. companies. And ships with flags from your countries, ladies and gentlemen, cannot enter U.S. ports if they have previously transported goods to or from Cuba. That is the Torricelli Law, signed by President Bush Senior in 1992.

The U.S. blockade also prohibits companies in the rest of the world — those in your countries, ladies and gentlemen — from exporting to the United States products that contain Cuban raw materials, and prevents those companies from exporting to Cuba products or equipment that contain more than 10% of U.S. components. That is the truth.

The blockade, ladies and gentlemen, persecutes business owners from other countries, not just from the United States, but those of other countries, your compatriots, who are trying to invest in Cuba. They are threatened with being prohibited, them and their families, from entering the United States, and even with being taken to court in the United States. That is the Helms-Burton Law of 1996. I am not going to insist on giving, examples that prove what I have said. The secretary general has presented a broad report, with contributions from 96 countries and 20 international agencies and organizations, which unequivocally demonstrates the suffering and shortages that the blockade imposes on the life and development of the Cuban people.

It does seem important to us, ladies and gentlemen, to inform the General Assembly about the plan to re-conquer Cuba approved by President Bush in May 2004 and updated in July 2006, In it, he clearly admits what the U.S. government would do in our country if at some point it was able to put Cuba under its control.

According to the president of the United States, the most important thing would be to return all of the properties in Cuba to their former owners. That would include, for example, snatching away their land from hundreds of thousands of farmers who are the owners of their land in Cuba, individually or via cooperatives, to re-establish the concentration of land ownership in a few hands. It would also imply throwing out of their houses millions of Cuban homeowners, to return those buildings or that land to their former claimants.

President Bush described this as an accelerated process, under the total control of the United States, and for it he would create a so-called Commission for the Restitution of Property Rights.

Another structure would also be created: the Permanent Committee of the U.S. Government for the Economic Reconstruction of Cuba, which would direct the process of imposing in Cuba an extremely harsh program of neoliberal belt-tightening, which would include the brutal privatization of health and education services and the elimination of social security and assistance. Retirements and pensions would be abolished, and retirees would be offered jobs in construction work, in a so-called Cuban Retirees Corps.

President Bush admits that “it won’t be easy” to implement this plan in Cuba. That is why he is charging the State Department with creating, “as an immediate priority,” a repressive apparatus, that we imagine will be trained in the brutal techniques of suffocation that Vice President Cheney does not consider to be torture, to strangle the unlimited resistance of the Cuban people. It is even acknowledged that the list of Cubans who will be persecuted, tortured and massacred “will be a long one.”

They have even thought up a Central Adoption Service for Children, to give away to families in the United States and other countries the children whose parents would die fighting or as victims of repression.

This entire cynical and brutal program to re-colonize a country, after destroying and invading it, would be directed by an individual who has already been appointed, and whose ridiculous post – which reminds one of Paul Bremer – is that of “Coordinator for Transition in Cuba.” This Caleb McCarry is a gentleman whose only notable experience is his close friendship with the Cuban-born terrorists who are still planning and carrying out from Miami, with total impunity, new plans for assassination and sabotage against Cuba. They are the same groups that are asking President Bush to free the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, the mastermind behind the explosion of a Cuban passenger plane, while they subject to cruel and prolonged imprisonment in the United States, since 1998, five courageous Cuban anti-terrorist fighters.

Two years after its proclamation, ladies and gentlemen, a large part of this plan has been carried out.

Thus, new and greater restrictions were imposed on family visits to Cuba by Cubans resident in the United States.

People from the United States who traveled to Cuba were viciously persecuted. In the last two years, more than 800 people accused of traveling to our country have been fined.

Additional restrictions were placed on remittances to Cuba. Academic, cultural, scientific and sports exchanges were practically eliminated.

Since 2004, 85 companies have been sanctioned for supposedly violating the blockade against Cuba.

Ferocious persecution has intensified against financial transactions and our country’s trade. There are visible results of the demented tracking on a global scale by the so-called Cuban Asset Targeting Group of anything it perceives as payments to or from Cuba.

Along with intensifying the blockade, in May 2004 President Bush approved another $59 million to pay for his scant and pathetic mercenaries in Cuba, with the goal of inventing a nonexistent internal opposition, and to pay companies for propaganda and for illegal, anti-Cuba radio and television broadcasts.

But it was all in vain. President Bush realized he was running out of time, and could not keep his promise to the Cuban extremist groups in Florida. His problems at home and abroad are growing and growing, and socialist Cuba continued and continues to exist, upright and unbending.

So, on July 10, 2006, President Bush added new measures to his plan.

A significant particularity of this new, 93-page monstrous creation is that it contains a secret appendix, with actions against Cuba that are not being made public, and they explain that that is “for its effective implementation” and “for national security reasons.” Could they be new plans of assassination against Cuban leaders, more terrorist acts or a military aggression? From this podium, we demand today, before the United Nations General Assembly, that President George W. Bush publicly release the contents of that document, which he has not had the courage to reveal to date.

The plan includes, of course, the allocation of more money. This time, it is $80 million in two years, and no less than $20 million per year until the overthrow of the Cuban Revolution. That is, forever.

Anti-Cuba radio and television broadcasts are also increased, in open violation of the norms of the International Telecommunications Union.

In addition, renewed efforts are being made to create a so-called “coalition” of countries to support so-called “regime change” in Cuba.

In Bush’s plan, one thing that particularly stands out is the extraterritorial application of the economic war against Cuba.

Thus, new mechanisms are established to improve the machinery that implements the regulations of the blockade, and new sanctions are adopted. One that stands out, for its novelty, is bringing violators to trial.

The authorization is announced, by virtue of Title III of the Helms-Burton Law, to bring lawsuits in U.S. courts against foreign investors in Cuba, particularly those from countries that support the continuation of the Cuban Revolution.

A more rigorous implantation of Title IV is also established, refusing entry to the United States for those who invest in Cuba and their families, but down particularly directing the persecution against those who invest in oil exploration and extraction; tourism; nickel; rum and tobacco.

As a tool for persecuting Cuban nickel sales to other markets – not the U.S. market, but persecuting Cuban sales to companies located in countries that you all represent here in this Assembly –, the so-called inter-agency Cuban Nickel Targeting Task Force was created.

The siege against exchange between U.S. and Cuban churches is also being improved, and it is prohibited to send humanitarian donations to Cuban religious organizations.

But there is a new measure of the blockade approved by President Bush that deserves its own comment. In the document, it is established that the United States will refuse all exports related to medical equipment that can be used in programs of healthcare for foreign patients.

That is to say, the United States government, which has always done the unspeakable to cause the failure of Cuba’s international medical cooperation, is now acknowledging that its persecution can go to the extent of trying to block Cuba from internationally acquiring the necessary equipment.

I repeat: the blockade has now come to the point of prohibiting exchange between churches in the United States and Cuban churches; to prohibiting churches in the United States from sending to humanitarian donations to friendly churches in Cuba – wheelchairs, medications or products for humanitarian use. President Bush’s blockade against Cuba is even leading him to declare war on U.S. and Cuban churches; it is even attempting to blockade the mandate of God. And in the second place, it is attempting to prevent Cuba from buying medical equipment for international medical cooperation programs.

Some history about this subject is essential:

- Since 1962, the year that Cuban doctors provided aid abroad for the first time, in Algeria, almost 132,000 Cuban doctors, nurses and health technicians have lent their services in 102 countries.

- Currently, 31,000 Cuban health internationalists are lending their services in 69 countries. Twenty thousand of them are doctors. I repeat: in 69 countries today, 31,000 Cuban health internationalists are working in many of the countries that some of you are representing here.

- Ladies and gentlemen: a medical continent specializing in catastrophes and emergency situations was founded on September 19, 2005, precisely in the midst of the battering caused by the combined effects of Hurricane Katrina and the irresponsibility and insensitivity of their government on two million poor and Black people in the southern United States. The contingent has 10,000 duly trained and equipped members, and is named after a young man from the United States, Henry Reeve, who fell gloriously in 1873 in the fields of Cuba, with the rank of general of our Liberation Army. At that time, more than 1,500 Cuban doctors were ready to go to the most affected areas and save who knows how many lives, which were lost due to President Bush’s refusal to receive them.

- A total of 2,564 members of that contingent worked for eight months in Pakistan after the earthquake there. They set up 32 hospitals that were later donated to that sister people. They attended to 1.8 million patients and saved 2,086 lives. Subsequently, another 135 Cuban doctors brought help to Indonesia and set up two hospitals, also donated; they attended to 91,000 patients and carried out 1,900 surgical operations.

- Cuban doctors had previously worked after natural disasters in Peru in 1970; Venezuela in 1999; Sri Lanka and Indonesia in 2004, and in Guatemala in 2005, to cite a few examples.

If President Bush were to be successful in his cynical plan, Cuba would be prevented from providing to other peoples – those than many of you represent here, ladies and gentlemen – their modest and generous efforts in a field in which nobody can deny our development and experience.

- Since 2004, Cuba has carried out Operation Miracle, by virtue of which almost 400,000 patients from 28 countries – without including about 100,000 Cubans – have received operations free of charge and have recovered their sight.

While our country cannot pay all of the pertinent, costs, it is Cuban doctors, technicians, technology and equipment that has created the ability to provide surgery for one million Latin Americans and Caribbeans annually.

If the U.S. offensive manages to paralyze this effort, an equivalent number of people who are victim to more than 20 ophthalmological diseases would lose their sight. The U.S. government knows it, but does not let that stop it from its macabre project to strangle Cuba. This is only to refer to those who receive care for their sight, and not the hundreds of millions of people who benefit from the comprehensive health programs of the Cuban internationalist doctors.

Cuba not only provides health services; it is currently training more than 46,000 young medical students from 82 Third World nations in Cuba or in their own countries:

But Cuba will not surrender nor will it falter in driving forward on these humanistic plans, symbols of the fact that a world of peace, justice and cooperation is possible. Cuba’s commitment to the rights of every dispossessed human being on the planet is stronger than the hate of the executioners.

Millions of Cubans right now are watching to see what decision you will make. We ask you today to respect Cuba’s right, which is also respect for the rights of the peoples that you all represent. We ask you to vote in favor of the resolution, “The necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.”

We do so with our heads held high, optimistic and sure, with the hope of repeating the verses of the poet of our generation, because in Cuba, ladies and gentlemen.

Nobody is going to die, All of life is our talisman, is our mantle.

Nobody is going to dies, least of all now, when the song of the homeland is our song.

And if they impose a war on us, there are not enough U.S. soldiers to cover the casualties that they would suffer in face of a country that has resisted and has prepared for its defense for more than 45 years.

This completes the speech that I brought prepared to present our resolution. However, an unprecedented event in this Assembly obliges me to make some additional remarks. For the first time since, in 1992, the Assembly began to consider the issue of the blockade against Cuba, the United States government is trying to sabotage – via an amendment – this vote. After several weeks of bringing brutal pressures to bear, the United States realized that it could not turn back the overwhelming support that this resolution attracts. It then tried to get a large number of delegations to abstain, and failed. Then, it threatened and blackmailed them to withdraw, and failed again.

And finally, it decided to boycott this vote, distract attention from the main issue, which is its blockade against Cuba, a flagrant violation of international law, and decreed that the Australian delegation would present an amendment drafted by Washington.

Here I have, ladies and gentlemen, the talking points distributed by the United Sates since Monday the 6th, asking for support for an amendment that Australia did not make its own until yesterday, the 7th, in the afternoon. It is interesting that the U.S. delegation, in this paper asks for support for an amendment that Australia had not yet even decided to present. The United States tried to get a European Union country to present it and was not able to; it looked for support from other countries, and failed again. Finally, a very high-level phone call from Washington to the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs determined that Australia would lend itself as a straw man for the U.S. amendment.

Ladies and gentlemen, is this amendment really an expression of a genuine concern for Australia? No. It is only proof of its abject submission to the government of the United States.

But, in addition, Australia does not have the moral authority to try to refer to the human rights situation in Cuba.

The Australian government is an accomplice of U.S. imperialism. It is a kind of “junior imperialist,” always at the ready in the Pacific to follow, its mentors in Washington. It not only collaborated with them and sent troops together with the U.S. Army to the war in Vietnam, in which four million Vietnamese people lost their lives, but also enthusiastically participated, by sending more than 2,000 troops, in the invasion of Iraq, a pre-emptive and totally illegal war. There are still 1,300 Australian soldiers in Iraq despite the fact that just 22% of the Australian population supports that particular venture.

The Australian government, which subjects the Aboriginal population of its country to a veritable regime of apartheid, does not have the moral authority to criticize Cuba. The Australian government, which supports the U.S. torture center in Guantánamo, and backed summary trials before military courts of prisoners who are ill-treated and tortured there, including Australian prisoners, does not have the moral authority to criticize Cuba.

And less still, the United States. We have all seen the horrendous images of the prison at Abu Ghraib, the horrifying images of Guantánamo. We know that they have organized and still maintain clandestine prisons and secret flights on which they transfer prisoners who have been drugged and shackled. We have seen the footage of the horror of Hurricane Katrina, when human beings were condemned to die just because they were black and poor. After everything that we already know, this Assembly cannot be deceived or manipulated.

For this reason, on behalf of Cuba, we ask you, honorable delegates, first to vote in favor of the No Action Motion we will present to counter Australia’s proposed amendment and then, to vote in favor of Resolution L.10 presented by Cuba.

At this Assembly, the U.S. delegate invoked in his speech the sacred name of José Martí, the hero of Cuban independence. He tarnishes this glorious name for the Cuban people. Martí stated that the independence war in Cuba was also being waged to stop the increasing force of the United States over the Antilles. It offends our delegation that the name of José Martí be mentioned as a means of justifying the blockade.

But I will remind the Assembly, and particularly the U.S. delegation, that José Martí also said that “trenches of ideas are worth more than trenches of stone,” and it is those trenches of ideas that have made the noble, generous and heroic people that I represent here, invincible. Thank you very much. (Applause). •

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