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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 1314 22nd May 2007

Ditching Blair solves nothing for the British ruling class, worst placed of all major imperialists to handle oncoming crisis conflict and trade war. Their only strategy is to try and ride the coat-tails of US imperialist warmongering, helping pump out the sea of disinformation and lies about “rogue states” ready for the next escalation which is inevitable despite ever deeper setbacks and defeat so far in Iraq and Afghanistan. Being “sure” of Brown’s warmongering compliance means further tearing up democracy illusions. Imperialism needs war to solve its crisis - only revolution will stop its degeneracy.

The carefully programmed sleight-of-hand to avoid any Labour leadership contest and quickly install Gordon Brown in office, only underlines the disastrous bankruptcy of the British capitalist system and further exposes its fraudulent “democratic” processes.

The New Labourites’ sleazy opportunism hopes the sly changeover (justified by rumoured promises more than ten years ago) will somehow help it ride out the foul mess of Tony Blair’s warmongering stoogery for American neocon fascist reaction, without too much uncomfortable discussion about their own roles, especially in sticking to the Labour gravy train all through the foul Iraq and Afghanistan blitzings.

A quick supplementary “deputy” contest will paper over the cracks they hope, with a pretence of a debate where it does not really matter, to hide the railroading of the key position and keep the lid on the public ferment and disquiet which the capitalist crisis and warmongering is increasingly creating, keeping it to a minimum by letting off a (very) little “left” steam.

The fake-”left” half-hearted challenges from John McDonnell’s out-of-time, pointless and ineffectual “old Labour” anti-Blairism, (opportunistically backed by most of the Trots and revisionists to help give it credence) and subsequent renewed pleas from radical “lefty” Dave Nellist for yet another “real Labour” party founding, are equally pathetic – ghost pale echoes of the century-long role played by pseudo-leftie firebrands in keeping the reformist game propped up with promises that “real working class” policies will get their chance “just as soon as we gather enough support”.

None of these onion layers of tired “leftism” – which only ever have offered class collaboration, futile pacifism and pleading for pennies, in effect propping up the capitalist state – are remotely capable of going anywhere, least of all for the working class.

The pathetic ineffectuality of the challenges for “real socialist values” the Labour parliamentarians offered (entirely to be carried out by parliament - some joke!), and the careerist splitting between Michael Meacher and McDonnell, suggest they were not even much interested in going very far either.

They can go nowhere because they are all completely tied to the existing bourgeois order. None of them dare raise the real issues that now confront the working class world wide; that the imperialist system faces desperately accelerating crisis and is in the rapid downward slide to World War Three, tearing up “freedom and democracy” on the way (even while shouting all the more loudly about it).

To point to these now glaring truths, instantly raises the only possible perspective for all mankind, namely the revolutionary overturn of capitalism led by Marxist-Leninist scientific leadership.

That means building revolutionary understanding and grasp into all struggles now, to develop the crucial understanding needed for leadership.

If the ruling class 150 years ago could shake at “the spectre of communism haunting Europe” as Karl Marx wrote in the still outstandingly relevant Communist Manifesto, the more so they fear it now – and the more they want to keep the lid on any talk (amply aided by the fake-”lefts”) which might lead there.

Every capitalist ruling class on the planet senses the huge scope of the oncoming eruption of the capitalist crisis, greater than that leading into the horrors of World War 1 and the even larger scale human cataclysm of slump and world war destruction, massacre and blitzing in the 1930s and 1940s.

The disaster will be all the greater because more of the world is now drawn into the imperialist orbit than ever in history, because the technology of destruction is so much more devastating and because the dénoument has been put off for so long since the last great crisis eruption of WW2, stretching the intractable contradictions of the profit dependent system to unbearable limits (see economics quotes page 6).

The British ruling class will be one of the hardest pressed of all. After ten years of Blairite cynicism, they have an utterly distorted economy, its real production of agriculture and industry almost wiped out by monopoly pressure, consuming purely on the never-never of massive ever-growing public and private debt and dependent for income almost entirely on the fickle flows of insanely inflated international capital and credit through the City. That could stop dead tomorrow on a speculator’s whim, or inevitable sudden lemming panic over the worthlessness of the paper credit mountains which are all that keeps the capitalist order upright any more.

So too could the “commissions” which its illusory “knowledge economy” (based on what?) can squeeze out of the rest of the world (while the Emperor’s tailors can keep the bullshit going).

When the slump, and vicious inter-imperialist trade war battles for survival in shrinking markets, break in full force they have virtually nothing of their own resources to fall back on. Even the “knowledge work” so lauded by petty bourgeois intellectuals like Will Hutton, is mainly “outsourced” to India and China.

The panic is palpable and paralysing.

Riding the US warmongers’ coat-tails is the best salvation (and the only salvation) most of the bourgeoise can think of, desperately hopeful that in the coming slaughter and destruction they might somehow hang on to some of their privileges and power in its shadow.

Faced with the swamping of the world with ever accumulating capital which cannot all make a profit and buried in unrepayable paper dollar debt, the US Empire has already decided that the only way to maintain its worldwide dominance and exploitation is by brute force, using the pumped-up excuse of a “war on terror” and “clash of civilisations” to justify Nazi levels of “shock and awe”.

The demented theory is to get in first before inevitable inter-imperialist conflict breaks again, to inform the world of its ruthlessness and willingness to smash down any challenges to the prime position it established in the post-Second World War imperialist sort-out, and simultaneously smash down rising Third World rebellious.

The Blairites made it very clear that they will stick with that US Nazi neocon agenda all the way, whatever big lies have to be told to keep it going now against Iran, Sudan, Burma, Syria, or whichever of various other demonised “threats” is considered most convenient and suitable to crank up the war atmosphere and fool the greatest number. Big lie “spin” was the stock-in-trade for the Blairite Labour revival anyway.

New Labourism, itself a last-ditch deception to defend the parliamentary racket, was already rotten and long past its sell by date for its illusory spin and slick advertising hype, exposed well and truly as a stinking swindle and trickery, using empty celebrity glitz and “hesitant sincerity” cynicism to cover over yet more empty promises to the working class while the remains of the British economy have been handed out to every sleazy operator on the planet.

The trick of a bit more petty tinkering and re-arrangement of the deckchairs in “education”, “law and order” the health service” etc to pretend big changes are being made, while the entire economy is being mortgaged to the fat cats and carpet-baggers of international capital, was worked through years ago.

But things have gone very badly for neocon plans. Once the Iraq war had descended into a foul quagmire, the defeats and humiliation for the west became a material force driving more of the truth into the open as the stench became too much for some of the opportunists and recriminations grew.

Blairism was revealed to be even more of a public disgrace, a neo-Mosleyite monstrosity of Goebbels lies and open toadying to the most reactionary forces on the planet from Bush to Berlusconi, to the disgust of all decent workers and layers of the petty bourgeois.

But apart from the sub-Blairite posturing of the Cameron Tories, there is nothing else the ruling class feels it can trust to push through its interests.

It has taken the establishment three years or more to grasp the nettle and let go the disastrous running sore Blairism has become, fearful that even the arch reactionary Brown (who after all has been the main instrument for covering over the desperate hollowness of the British economy with hidden borrowing, stealth taxes and other sly tricks while lying through his teeth to the working class about the supposed “successes”) should fail to keep the lid on things because of his pretence of being “different” and “less in the pocket” of the US.

Blair’s greatest skill was to cover over with gushing “sincerity” the complete pointlessness of parliament which controls nothing about the system anyway, and help strip away the paraphernalia of “legal rights” etc which is part of the great bourgeois “democracy” trick played on ordinary people to cover over the total dictatorship of the bourgeois class and its capital.

All significant events are driven only by the needs of big capital and the inhuman logic of the cutthroat struggle for profit, mediated by the behind the scenes constant manipulation of the ruling class to ensure their continued domination and capacity to exploit labour.

A materialist grasp of world developments, understanding the class conflicts and economic forces at work in driving history is the only real guide for the working class and the mass political action it needs to take power, impose its own rule (dictatorship of the majority, the proletariat) and build planned socialism on a world scale.

All other “steps forwards” (NHS, pensions) are at best transient and taken back in crisis, made at the expense of other workers in the world, and very often just a sham anyway. Useful gains are only those which give the working class more room to manoeuvre to develop its struggle.

A party of revolutionary theory is what is needed.

The 57 variety Trot and revisionist “lefts” bury a few token words about “revolution” away on their back pages but they still hang around the old racket offering more “pressure” to “force left change” by “forcing the unions to back McDonnell” as the Weekly Worker was recently urging for example.

But socialism, and an end to the brutal unfairness of the capitalist system, is never coming that way, however apposite any criticisms may be from at any particular moment by McDonnell’s, George Galloways or others.

Worse than that, the illusions fed out about a past golden age of socialism in parliament – like “left” Dave Nellist’s invocation of the appalling Attlee government once again to cover over the New Labour “lefts” failure – are misleading nonsense, a stinking fraud on the working class worse than the tricky spin games and PR cynicism of Blair and Cameron etc, simply continuing to tie them back into bankrupt parliamentary game (though as the election results show, that is getting harder and harder to do).

Attlee pushed through unwanted conscription post-war and then poured troops into Korea, Greece, Malaysia, Burma and Kenya to suppress the huge wave of communist and anti-imperialism triggered by the appalling fascist horrors that the 1930s slump and world war had revealed about all capitalism (Nazi and “non-Nazi”).

Insurgency and workers organisation was drowned in bloody jungle massacres and torture on a scale to equal anything seen now in the Middle East. “Old” Labour” helped rebuild the post-war strength and status of the capitalist west through NATO etc, leading directly to modern Blairism and the tide of torture and blitzing barbarity it has helped sweep across the Middle East, and increasingly further afield, with much more to come.

What monstrous “hero” worship!

Worse than that, the lying game of pretending that somehow “life goes on really” and that struggle is all about getting “what improvements we can now”, or that the world’s events are purely episodic moves by the nastier side of the bourgeoisie to “secure more oil” or “expand the bosses’ grip on the world”, or alternatively good efforts by heroic struggles in one place or another over there, to be lauded but never connected to anything else going on in the world, is fatally disarming for the working class.

First of all it is allowing the proletariat to sleepwalk into the appalling oncoming slump crisis and the growing fascist degeneracy of “shock and awe” destruction that the west sees as its way out to suppress rising rebellion and simultaneously prepare for the world shattering “sorting out” required between the major competitors of the monopoly capitalist orbit.

But it also heads it away from the profound grasp of class struggle and revolutionary confrontation which is the essence of all change – stripping away the understanding of what forces are what on the planet, and who is on what side.

There is a movement in history of the developing contradictions of the profit system driving it towards inter-imperialist conflict to the death, just as three times before in European and World War.

Deeper than that, the end point is being reached of the whole centuries long capitalist and class system itself, collapsing into a chaos and destruction which is out of anyone’s control and must be ended by ending class domination and the tyranny of private profiteering.

The “lefts” only ever touch these fundamentals in the most tedious long-winded academic manner, devoid of any connection to the real world, because they have no real connection with the working class and the downtrodden proletarian masses of the planet.

They evade any mention of the accelerating crisis which urgently needs understanding, much deeper analysis, and explanation, to guide the world’s masses in the struggles they are being driven into.

More than that, they don’t want these struggles to erupt, because their petty bourgeois souls are deep down rabidly anti-communist and anti-rebellion as the universal chorus of “condemnation” for “terrorists” has made clear ever since September 2001 (sadly echoed by the soft-headed peaceful road delusions and mis-analyses of the revisionists, including tragically such heroic revolutionary bulwarks as Castro’s Cuba, still condemning all “terrorism” even as it correctly points to the monstrous terrorism sponsored by the CIA – see Socialist Review).

Condemning the ever growing wave of insurgency as “terrorism” simply plays into the hands of imperialism’s “war on terror” lying propaganda for imposing its own blitzings and real terror.

It fails as well to give the working class any understanding about what movements are erupting and more importantly why.

Because the world under capitalist tyranny grows ever more intolerable, and the increasingly sophisticated world working class can see and feel how intolerable it is the answer.

Insurgency, “terrorism” and upheaval is happening and will not be stopped by sanctimonious petty bourgeois Westerners declaring it to be “more reactionary” than imperialism itself.

Ending the exploitation and oppression of the imperialist domination of the planet is what will stop it.

It is this growing resistance – however crude and sometimes self-defeating its anarchic and unscientific ideologies may be - which is the real story on the planet.

It forms a swelling tide of incipient revolutionary upheaval throughout the Third World against the monstrous and tyrannical exploitation of the imperialist profit system.

Anarchic, individualistic and religious self-sacrifice bombings and attacks, and even organised onslaughts will not solve the exploited world’s problems ultimately and will sometimes be alienating and counter-productive.

But every defeat inflicted on the monopoly capitalist system is a victory for progress, including all the setbacks and disasters its rampaging has run into in the Middle East.

There is no contradiction in calling for defeat for imperialism without uncritically supporting every spontaneous or partial movement which may be inflicting the damage.

It is almost as confusing and pointless to unquestioningly support them, as the Lalkarites and “Proletarian” Stalinist revisionists do the Iraqi insurgency for example, with their “victory to the resistance” slogans, as it is to line up with the imperialist monsters.

What workers everywhere need is revolutionary scientific clarity, challenging the confusions and partial militancy of religion and left demagoguery where necessary, while recognising that the only enemy is imperialist capitalism itself, the source of all the mayhem on the planet (including the hatred and hostility against it, which is created by its own rampaging tyranny and inhuman oppression.

The world needs Marxist clarity.

Humanity will get there, taught, above all, by reality itself and the endless monstrous blitzings, like the genocidal barbarity imposed by the Lebanese rightwing this week in Tripoli on Palestinians women and children once again, using the fascist excuse of a “war on terror”.

But the imperialist slaughter will keep on until the system is stopped. There is nowhere else for the capitalist system to go other than voluntarily handover its wealth and privilege. It has never happened in history.

If the US Empire is currently hesitant in its direct Nazi blitzing agenda for the moment it is only because it has been so taken aback by the massive resistance it has met already in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan and Lebanon - and increasingly bubbling in Pakistan, Somalia, South America, Iran, the streets of Paris, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, assorted Indian states, Indonesia, Colombia and potentially ready to erupt in another 100 countries throughout the downtrodden and impoverished Third World.

Things go from bad to worse in the Middle East:

The move comes amid rising concern in Washington that President George Bush’s controversial Baghdad security surge, led by the US commander, General David Petraeus, is not working and that Iran is winning the clandestine battle for control of Iraq.

“Petraeus is brilliant. But he is the captain of a sinking ship,” said a former senior administration official who questioned whether Iraq’s divided political leadership could prevent a descent into chaos. “Iraq’s government is a mobile phone number that doesn’t answer. Iraq probably can’t be fixed.”

Although sectarian killings have fallen in Baghdad since the surge began in February, the level of violence across the country remains broadly unchanged. But the White House is fiercely resisting calls from Democrats and some Republicans to scrap the operation and set a timetable for a troop withdrawal.

The former official, who is familiar with administration thinking, predicted Mr Bush would instead ask Congress to agree a six-month extension of the surge after Gen Petraeus presented his “progress report” in early September.

While insisting that no decision had yet been taken on an extension, the Pentagon announced last week that 35,000 soldiers from 10 army brigades had been told they could expect to be deployed to Iraq by the end of the year. That would enable the US to maintain heightened troop levels of about 160,000 soldiers through to next spring.

According to an analysis published by Hearst Newspapers yesterday, the number of combat troops could almost double - to 98,000 - by the end of the year if arriving and departing combat brigades overlap. By the same calculation, the overall total including support troops could top 200,000 - an increase the report said amounted to a “second surge”.

Mr Bush will sweeten the pill by pursuing a series of steps intended to “hand off” many current US responsibilities to the international community, the former official said. The president would try simultaneously to placate congressional and public opinion by indicating willingness to talk about a future troop “drawdown”.

It has never happened in history that a ruling class simply gives up.

It is not going to happen now.

Monstrous demonisation and lies continue to prepare fresh victims, as more and more commentators and petty bourgeois commentators are noting even:

Although the US administration’s current priority is Iraq, it has not given up on Iran. Silently, stealthily, unseen by cameras, the war on Iran has begun. Many sources confirm that the US has increased its aid to armed movements among the ethnic minorities that make up about 40% of Iran’s population. ABC News reported in April that the US had secretly assisted the Baluchi group Jund al-Islam (Soldiers of Islam), responsible for a recent attack that killed 20 Revolutionary Guards. According to an American Foundation report, US commandos have operated inside Iran since 2004.

President Bush categorised Iran as part of the “axis of evil” in 2002; the following year he said the US “would not tolerate” an Iranian nuclear weapon. It is worth recalling the context in which these statements were made. Tehran had actively helped the US to overthrow the Taliban. At a meeting in Geneva on May 2 2003 between Javad Zaraf, the Iranian ambassador, and Zalmay Khalilzad, Bush’s special envoy to Afghanistan, the Tehran government submitted a proposal for general negotiations on weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and security, and economic cooperation. The Islamic Republic said it was ready to support the Arab peace initiative tabled in 2002 and help to transform Hizbullah into a political party. And in December 2003, Iran became one of the few countries to sign the additional protocol to the non-proliferation treaty, which strengthens the International Atomic Energy Agency’s supervisory powers.

However, the US swept all these overtures aside since its only objective is to overthrow the mullahs. To create the conditions for military intervention, it constantly brandishes “the nuclear threat”. In 1995 the director of the US arms control and disarmament agency said Iran could have the bomb by 2003; Clinton’s defence secretary William Perry predicted 2000, a forecast repeated by Israel’s Shimon Peres. Yet last month the IAEA considered that it would be four to six years before Tehran had the capability to produce the bomb.

What is the truth? Since the 1960s, Iran has sought to develop nuclear power in preparation for the post-oil era. Technological developments have made it easier to pass from civil to military applications. Have Tehran’s leaders decided to do so? There is no evidence that they have. Is there a risk that they may? Yes, for obvious reasons.

During the Iran-Iraq war, Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against Iran, but there was no outcry in the US, whose troops are now deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two neighbouring countries, Pakistan and Israel, have nuclear weapons. No Iranian leader could fail to be aware of this situation.

So how is Tehran to be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons, a move that would start a new arms race in an unstable region and deal a fatal blow to the non-proliferation treaty? Contrary to common assumptions, the main obstacle is not Tehran’s determination to enrich uranium. Iran has a right to do so under the non-proliferation treaty but has always said it was prepared to impose voluntary restrictions on that right and to agree to increased IAEA inspections.

The Islamic Republic’s fundamental concern lies elsewhere. Witness the agreement signed in 2004 with France, Britain and Germany, in which Iran agreed to suspend enrichment on the understanding that a long-term agreement would “provide firm commitments on security issues”. Washington refused to give any such commitments and Iran resumed its programme.

The EU chose to follow Washington’s lead. The proposals of the five members of the UN security council and Germany in June 2006 contained no guarantee of non-intervention in Iranian affairs. In response, Tehran suggested “that the western parties who want to participate in the negotiation team announce on behalf of their own and other European countries, to set aside the policy of intimidation, pressure and sanctions”.

Without such a commitment escalation is inevitable.

...Despite the disaster in Iraq, there is no indication that Bush has given up the idea of attacking Iran. The insistence at the weekend by Gordon Brown that there would be no attack on Iran seems unwarranted optimism rather than objective assessment. The idea of an assault against Iran is after all part of the Bushite vision of a “third world war” against “Islamic fascism”, an ideological war that can end only in complete victory.

The demonisation of Iran, aggravated by the attitude of its president, is part of this strategy and may well culminate in yet another military venture.

Alain Gresh is a specialist on the Middle East for Le Monde Diplomatique

The notion that Iran is a “nuclear threat” or would “trigger an arms race” is a sick joke by imperialism, especially in the light of the long standing nuclear arming of the surrounding imperialist stooges, most obviously the mad-dog Zionist fascists, as is the West’s arrogant assumption of its ‘right’ to control who has what weapons for their defence anyway.

But the “truth” the piece doesn’t quite reach is that imperialism simply needs victims – picking on those it can mobilise the most petty bourgeois indignation about through its endless streams of spy agency brainwashing “intelligence”, planted revelations and the constant anti-communist distortions and “analyses” of the poisonous the petty bourgeois saturated “free press”.

Occasionally the odd observation makes it into the more serious papers (to maintain the illusion of “balance”) such as this item pointing to the hypocrisy of the stampede of posturing Hollywood “righteousness” being whipped up against Sudan, recruiting every reactionary celebratory jerk in the book to push for war and more monstrous blitzing:

In a remote corner of Africa, millions of civilians have been slaughtered in a conflict fuelled by an almost genocidal ferocity that has no end in sight. Victims have been targeted because of their ethnicity and entire ethnic groups destroyed - but the outside world has turned its back, doing little to save people from the wrath of the various government and rebel militias. You could be forgiven for thinking that this is a depiction of the Sudanese province of Darfur, racked by four years of bitter fighting. But it describes the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has received a fraction of the media attention.

The UN estimates that 3 million to 4 million Congolese have been killed, compared with the estimated 200,000 civilian deaths in Darfur. A peace deal agreed in December 2002 has never been adhered to, and atrocities have been particularly well documented in the province of Kivu - carried out by paramilitary organisations with strong governmental links. In the last month alone, thousands of civilians have been killed in heavy fighting between rebel and government forces vying for control of an area north of Goma, and the UN reckons that another 50,000 have been made refugees.

How curious, then, that so much more attention has been focused on Darfur than Congo. There are no pressure groups of any note that draw attention to the Congolese situation. In the media there is barely a word. The politicians are silent. Yet if ever there were a case for the outside world to intervene on humanitarian grounds alone - “liberal interventionism” - then surely this is it.

The key difference between the two situations lies in the racial and ethnic composition of the perceived victims and perpetrators. In Congo, black Africans are killing other black Africans in a way that is difficult for outsiders to identify with. The turmoil there can in that sense be regarded as a narrowly African affair.

In Darfur the fighting is portrayed as a war between black Africans, rightly or wrongly regarded as the victims, and “Arabs”, widely regarded as the perpetrators of the killings. In practice these neat racial categories are highly indistinct, but it is through such a prism that the conflict is generally viewed.

It is not hard to imagine why some in the west have found this perception so alluring, for there are numerous people who want to portray “the Arabs” in these terms. In the United States and elsewhere those who have spearheaded the case for foreign intervention in Darfur are largely the people who regard the Arabs as the root cause of the Israel-Palestine dispute. From this viewpoint, the events in Darfur form just one part of a much wider picture of Arab malice and cruelty.

Nor is it any coincidence that the moral frenzy about intervention in Sudan has coincided with the growing military debacle in Iraq - for as allied casualties in Iraq have mounted, so has indignation about the situation in Darfur. It is always easier for a losing side to demonise an enemy than to blame itself for a glaring military defeat, and the Darfur situation therefore offers some people a certain sense of catharsis.

Humanitarian concern among policymakers in Washington is ultimately self-interested. The United States is willing to impose new sanctions on the Sudan government if the latter refuses to accept a United Nations peacekeeping force, but it is no coincidence that Sudan, unlike Congo, has oil - lots of it - and strong links with China, a country the US regards as a strategic rival in the struggle for Africa’s natural resources.

Nor has the bloodshed in Congo ever struck the same powerful chord as recent events in Somalia, where a new round of bitter fighting has recently erupted. At the end of last year the US backed an Ethiopian invasion of Somalia to topple an Islamic regime that the White House perceived as a possible sponsor of anti-American “terrorists”.

The contrasting perceptions of events in Congo and Sudan are ultimately both cause and effect of particular prejudices. Those who argue for liberal intervention, to impose “rights, freedom and democracy”, ultimately speak only of their own interests. To view their role in such altruistic terms always leaves them open to well-founded accusations of double standards that damage the international standing of the intervening power and play into the hands of its enemies.

Roger Howard is the author of What’s Wrong with Liberal Interventionism

The real reasons for the differences in propaganda are much murkier than simple racism of course, though the anti-Arab issue comes into the picture, as part of the demented propaganda of a “clash of civilisations” to feed the US Pentagon’s “endless war” strategy.

It has much more to do with the endless coups and conspiracies of imperialism and what it thinks are the best means to secure its own interests.

In a country like Nigeria, dominated by the western imperialist oil companies and run for decades by a series of corrupt pro-western stooge regimes installed either by military coup or bent elections, overt bribery and fixing of elections amid massive violence goes virtually unremarked:

Millions of Nigerians vote today in a presidential election that has already been severely compromised by accusations of vote rigging, the detention of opposition activists and violence.

Opposition parties yesterday added to the waning confidence of voters by alleging that troops had seized a lorry load of ballot papers completed in favour of the ruling party. The electoral commission denied the accusation.

The outgoing president, Olusegun Obasanjo, in a nationwide address, conceded there were flaws in the campaign and the conduct of the election for state governors and legislatures a week ago. There was blatant ballot rigging, and about 50 people were killed in violence. The ballots in two states had to be annulled.

International observers, including those from the EU, have said that today’s vote looks as if it might be similarly flawed and will therefore lack credibility.

Mr Obasanjo described the concerns as “exaggerated”. “There have been allegations of malpractices, of multiple voting, ballot-box snatching, coalition manipulation, intimidation, threats and use of violence. All these must be roundly condemned, no matter who engaged in them,” he said.

“I appeal to our local and international observers to understand some of our limitations as a complex developing nation and not to exaggerate the negative and thereby throw out the baby with the bath water.”

The two main opposition candidates, the former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari and the vice-president, Atiku Abubakar, have called last week’s election the worst in Nigeria’s history and “worse than a robbery”. They called for today’s election to be postponed but decided against a boycott.

The ruling People’s Democratic party candidate, Umaru Yar’Adua, is the favourite to win. The opposition says that is because the party has mobilised the police, the state-run media and other public resources for its campaign and to rig the vote.,


Turnout also appeared low for a presidential election, which the opposition interpreted as evidence of a government strategy to prevent opposition supporters from voting. The head of the EU monitors, Max van den Berg, said: “For now the assessment is outspokenly negative ... I’m very concerned.”

The president of the Nigerian senate, Ken Nnamani, said the flawed election would spawn bitterness and joined the call for a fresh vote. “There will be a legacy of hatred. People will hate the new administration and they will have a crisis of legitimacy,” he told Reuters. “These people have no shame. We are not encouraging other African countries who look up to us for an example. We have abdicated that role.”

It is the first time since Nigeria’s independence in 1960 that one civilian president has handed over power to another. For much of its history, Nigeria has endured rule by military leaders who plundered much of its oil wealth in cooperation with many civilian politicians.

Once the immediate news has died down there is not another word and least of all the endless whipped up stunts and stories of “estimated thousands killed” and “unsubstantiated reports” and “diplomats suggest” allegations of “rape camps” or homeless millions, or child labour horrors etc etc etc., pumped out to fill ream after ream of front page newsprint against the likes of Burma, Serbia, Zimbabwe, Sudan and others.

But imperialism has already made plenty of intervention into the Congo via its stooge proxies to the north in Uganda and Rwanda. Despite the difficulty of getting accurate information it is clear that imperialist pressure is responsible for much of the bloodshed and mayhem fermenting civil war chaos against the Kabila regime, to allow the West in to plunder the rich mineral and agricultural resources of the country.

Kabila has some form as an anti-imperialist force initially, backed by Angola and Britain’s favourite demonisation victim Zimbabwe, and winning popular support.

The sabotage continues:

Heavy gun and mortar fire shook the capital, Kinshasa, for a second day, the first bout of fighting in the city since an October run-off vote won by the president, Joseph Kabila, against the former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba.

The fighting started when forces loyal to Mr Bemba, now a businessman, defied a government order to disarm under a plan to cut his security detail to just 12 police officers.

Residents reported incidents of looting across the city by soldiers from both sides as well as gangs of street children.

Congo’s state prosecutor has issued an arrest warrant for high treason for Mr Bemba, blaming him for killings and rape.

“This is a rebellion ... He has committed high treason,” Antoine Ghonda, a roving ambassador attached to Mr Kabila’s presidency, told Reuters.

Bodies lay in the street and several columns of smoke rose from fires across the city including one near Mr Bemba’s residence in the city’s plush Gombe district, the scene of the worst fighting.

In Brussels, the EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, urged Mr Bemba to disarm but called on Mr Kabila to treat opponents fairly.

“I think in a country after elections the tendency is - slowly sometimes but as rapidly as possible - to have one armed forces,” Mr Solana said.

“On the part of Kabila he has to understand that he has to give time, and has to behave properly with leaders of the opposition.”

Mr Bemba, who has taken refuge in South Africa’s embassy, also appealed for an end to the fighting.

“The city needs calm and the people need calm,” Mr Bemba told Radio France International. “I hope the other side has also understood the need to stop the fighting.”

The UN, which has 17,000 troops in Congo in its largest peacekeeping operation, said government forces were gaining ground on Mr Bemba’s fighters, some of whom fought in his Ugandan-backed rebel movement during the devastating 1998-2003 war.

Nearly 4 million people died in the conflict, mainly through hunger and disease.

“Bemba’s fighters are running out of ammunition and their morale is low,” said a UN military spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Didier Rancher.

“We have a lot of dead bodies, mostly military, but also civilians but no precise numbers.”

He told Belgian radio that some of Mr Bemba’s men were starting to surrender at UN bases in the city.

The October vote - the first free presidential election since independence - was intended to legitimise Mr Kabila’s hold on power, six years after he inherited the presidency following the assassination of his father, Laurent Kabila. The election, it was hoped, would end a decade of foreign invasion and civil war. But Mr Bemba’s Union for the Nation coalition of about 50 opposition parties disputed the result, saying it had won more than half the votes and accused Mr Kabila of manipulating the result.

Dozens were killed in fighting between Mr Bemba’s forces and Mr Kabila’s guard before the October election.

Zimbabwe’s aid to Kabila is part of the reason for the twisted hatred of British imperialism against it, as well as the smarting resentment of its fascist Smith supporting colonials, forced to hand back their stolen farmland to the native population by land reforms.

Imperialism is smarting too that Zimbabwe foiled one of its routine coup conspiracies and interventions – to put a pro-Western stooge into place in Equatorial Guinea, another monstrous story quickly buried away.

The latest inversion of reality sees Mugabe astonishingly blamed for the fate of the lead plotter Simon Mann, with the petty bourgeois press accounts virtually hailing the gun-running, mercenary as a hero and cranking up the tears and sympathy for the gangsters and their reactionary backers:

The lawyer representing former SAS officer Simon Mann has said his client would have been safely back home in the UK by now if Zimbabwe’s politicians had not blatantly and directly ‘interfered’ in the legal process over the past few days.

However, he said that the Old Etonian, an alleged mercenary who has been held in the notorious Chikurubi maximum security jail in the capital Harare for the past three years, is now enjoying slightly better prison conditions since a magistrate ruled last week he should be extradited to Equatorial Guinea to face trial. He is charged with being a ringleader of a failed coup attempt there in 2004.

His sentence in Zimbabwe - for buying weapons from state-run arms firm without a proper licence - expired on Friday, but he has been refused bail.

Immediately after last Wednesday’s ruling, Mann was taken from his cell, told to change his khaki prison garb and was within hours of being put on a plane to the Equatorial Guinea capital Malabo where the prison - Black Beach - is infamous for regularly starving and torturing inmates.

Lawyer Jonathan Samkange told The Observer he was able to lodge an appeal against the extradition in time but had no idea when it might be heard.

‘We have a strong case. Mr Mann is extremely sick. We fear he will not get a fair trial in Equatorial Guinea, and to remove him is unlawful. Even Mugabe does not want to be breaking the law in the full glare of international publicity. ..

the former British army officer, who made a fortune from a private security company he set up to guard oil fields in Angola during its civil war, was convicted of firearms and security offences. His friend Sir Mark Thatcher later pleaded guilty in a South African court to providing finance for the plotters.

Together with a group of 60 alleged mercenaries, he was arrested in March 2004 when their private plane landed at Harare airport.

They denied plotting to topple the government of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, a small west African country led by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman could not confirm the development today but said: “We are looking into those reports and we are in contact with the Zimbabwean authorities.”

The former prime minister Baroness Thatcher’s son, Mark, became embroiled in the coup controversy when he was arrested in South Africa and accused of being involved.

He later pleaded guilty in a South African court to unwittingly funding the purchase of an aircraft that was allegedly to be used by the mercenaries, but denied any involvement in the plot. He was given a four-year suspended sentence and fined £265,000, after entering into a plea-bargain deal.

In February, eight men accused in South Africa of plotting the coup had the charges against them dismissed. A magistrate threw the case out after a number of state witnesses claimed the attempted coup had been sanctioned by the South African, British and American governments.

In an attempt to rebut allegations of government approval, the director-general of the South African secret service, Hilton Dennis, who was called as a state witness, admitted that he knew of the plot but did not sanction it.

Explaining why he allowed the men to fly out of South Africa, he said: “There are many ways to kill a cat. We chose this route and succeeded in preventing the coup.”

Jack Straw, the former British foreign secretary, has also admitted knowing about the plot two months beforehand, but he made no effort to warn President Obiang.

“Unwittingly” buying a helicopter!!!!!!

It was the smart work and wits of Zimbabwe and South African intelligence which caught this monstrous coup plot red handed and stopped the certain slaughter and mayhem it would have caused.

But this did not suit imperialism, up to its elbows in this monstrous illegal conspiracy as Jack Straw admitted.

The lies are equally twisted about the fascist degeneracy which now rules in the former eastern Europe from Hungary to Poland to the Baltic states (courtesy of the fake-”left” and its support for endless CIA reactionary stunt ‘popular’ movements from the bogus Solidarnosc ‘trade union’ to the assorted “velvet” and “colour” revolutions still continuing).

The monstrous provocation by Estonia against Russia and particularly the remnants of its Soviet tradition still deeply embedded in the working class, by removing the 2WW statue of the Red Army’s anti-fascist heroism has supported by every government throughout the west of Europe and the USA, with lardings of lies in the bourgeois press about “Soviet oppression” and “deportations”.

But the reality is that the nationalism of east Europe was dominated throughout the 1930s by disgusting little Nazi-echoing dictatorships from Admiral Horthy in Hungary, Pilsudski in Poland and in all three Baltic states, with a foul historical record of outdoing the German SS for brutality and depravity, in their rush to collaborate with Hitler’s invasion forces.

And the fascists are pushing the provocations again:

ESTONIAN MPs are trying to have men who fought for the SS in the Second World War officially re-classed as freedom fighters. When German forces marched into Estonia and its neighbouring Baltic states, Lithuania and Latvia, in 1941, many treated them as liberators as the countries had been occupied by the Soviets a year before and tens of thousands of people massacred by the Red Army.

Thousands later joined the German army and ended up in SS units. After Estonia’s absorption into the Soviet Union, they were branded traitors. Now Estonia’s right-wing Fatherland Union and Respublika parties want to see the former SS members recognised as heroes.

One MP, Trivimi Velliste, said: “Thousands fought for the Estonian republic then. The least we can do is recognise their struggle for liberation.”

In March 16, Latvians commemorate the Latvian Legion - a Waffen-SS unit formed by the Nazis in 1943. Some in the Baltic state view its soldiers as patriotic heroes, but others see them as criminals.

The Legion was formed in 1943 and served as a combat unit on the Eastern Front. During its two-year existence, over 100,000 Latvians fought in its ranks in Russia, Latvia and Germany.

Many of them were conscripts, a fact acknowledged by the Nuremberg tribunal and the US government, which ruled that the Legion as a whole could not be viewed as an ideologically-based unit.

But within the Legion, a significant number of soldiers were draughted from earlier, volunteer formations. Many of these had been directly involved in massacres across the Eastern Front.

many observers both in Latvia and abroad view any attempt to honour the Legion as a whitewashing of SS crimes.

‘It’s hardly likely that anyone today would dare to say that there are only conscripts among the bouquet-carrying old men,’ journalist Viktor Matiushenok wrote in Russian-language paper Chas.

‘The Latvian-SS Legion should not be glorified nor should its members be considered Latvian heroes. If anything, many of them were criminals who, prior to joining the Legion, committed the crimes of the Holocaust,’ added Dr. Ephraim Zuroff, director of the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center.

But the debate over the Legion’s historical role is no longer confined to the historical arena. In the past few years, Latvian far-right groups have regularly demonstrated on March 16 to promote their view of Latvia as a mono-ethnic state.

It is imperialism itself which is fascist in its essence driving all this foulness to the surface, and led by the biggest fascist force of all in US imperialism .But it is also producing its own gravediggers as Marx said, educated by the crisis and needing only Leninism to finish the revolutionary job.

Don Hoskins

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles).
Posada in Miami:

Green light to terror

BY JEAN-GUY ALLARD Granma International staff writer

BY releasing international terrorist Luis Posada Carriles without preventing him from meeting with the Miami terrorist capos who financed his crimes and the thugs who always accompanied him, the George W. Bush administration has allowed the coordination of a dangerous group of criminal elements who consider themselves authorized to act with impunity.

In an emotive -account of Posada’s homecoming after a trip in a private jet from Texas - a privilege granted at the direction of the highest spheres of the Justice Department - El Nuevo Herald comments how “peacefully and at a remove from the barrage of the press... the anti-Castro activist” is already comfortably installed in his residence.

The daily quotes the “veteran activist Ernestino Abreu,” who “plans to visit Posada in the next few days.”

In its scandalous indulgence of terrorism, the daily refrains from mentioning that Ernestino Abreu, a notorious terrorist, is the father of Ernesto Abreu, the phony owner of the shrimper Santrina that transported Posada to the United States in 2005.

Ernesto Abreu is such a faithful accomplice in Posada’s terrorist conspiracies that he visited him on a number of occasions when the latter was in prison in Panama for an assassination attempt on the president of Cuba, subsequently represented Santiago Alvarez in all the legal procedures and accompanied the old killer in his furtive release from there aboard a private jet for Honduras, where he helped him to go to ground.

Ernesto Abreu, president of the Cuban patriotic Junta, linked to the Alpha 66 terrorist group, refused to testify before a Grand Jury investigating Posada’s illegal entry into the United States and was imprisoned for contempt.

Mafia jubiliation

Under the headline “Jubilation in exile,” the Diario de las Américas, one of the papers most closely linked to the Miami mafiosi, attempts to illustrate the theme by quoting from an interview given to the Spanish EFE news agency by Armando Pérez Roura, “general director of the Cuban Unity organization, an umbrella organization for some 20 exile groups.”

The newspaper and the agency do not mention that Pérez-Roura has for years been one of the most furious preachers of the use of terrorism against Cuba and that the organizations grouped together under the banner of Cuban Unity are all aligned in favor of terrorism.

Pérez Roura told efe that the release of the most dangerous terrorist on the continent is a victory for “the Cuban exile movement and for the justice that we have asked should be done with a patriot like him.”

Cuban Unity belongs to the Cuban Patriotic Forum (fpc) that has constantly called for support of the terrorist. Moreover, the fpc brings together the Council for Cuban Freedom headed by Luis Zúñiga and Roberto Martín Pérez; Brigade 2506 of Félix Rodríguez Mendigutía; the Cuban Political Prisoners Council of Reinaldo Aquit; and Orlando Bosch’s People’s Protagonist Party.

All of these groups and mini-groups without exception are strongly connected to anti-Cuban terrorism.

Many of the individuals belonging to them have known links with the White House, as is the case with Zúniga, or with Caleb McCarry’s Bush Plan campaigns in Europe, in which Aquit is taking part.

The Diario de las Américas then moved on to Osier Gonzalez, Alpha 66 spokesman, who similarly affirms his satisfaction at “our comrade being back with us in Miami.”

It fails to mention that Alpha 66, created by the cia in 1962, is the terrorist organization with the largest record of attacks of all the hard-line groups in Miami, where it has an office, like its rival Commandos f-4, headed by Rodolfo Frómeta.

In an absurd way, on passing extremely heavy sentences on the Cuban five who managed to penetrate Miami terrorist groups, Judge Joan Lenard imposed additional special conditions on them for their supervised release when they have served them. She expressly prevented them from visiting places in Miami frequented by terrorists, an implicit reference the existence in Miami of a terrorism that is tolerated.

Imperial justice omitted to impose such requirements on Posada.

By not being recognized as a terrorist by the Bush administration, Posada is not risking much in his upcoming trial for having lied to the immigration services, a sentence that he has already served.

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

The specter of Viet Nam is still present

PERHAPS during these days, former president George Bush Sr. is regretting his hasty statement in 1991 after the first war on Iraq, when he affirmed that “the specter of Viet Nam has been buried forever,” which prompted Howard Zinn, one of the most lucid and provocative historians in the United States today to ask, in his turn, “is the Viet Nam syndrome really gone from the national consciousness?”

It had all begun, as always, with a lie. It was necessary to deceive international opinion, and above all, the U.S. people. Enter the hackneyed excuse: “Viet Nam is a threat to the security of the United States.”

The Lyndon Johnson government used the old farce of an attack on its ships as they made a routine patrol of the Gulf of Tonkin and, of course, Congress granted him the power to go to war. Later, it was shown that the false claim was made on the basis of ambition for the oil, rubber and tin of South East Asia.

Thus, in 1961 the U.S. government signed a treaty of friendship and cooperation with South Viet Nam, and in December the first U.S. troops arrived in Saigon. According to some sources, within 12 months they totaled 11,200 soldiers, but by 1969, they numbered 543,000.

As always, the White House and Pentagon imagined that it would be a walk in the park. According to their smug mentality, the Vietnamese were a “backward” civilization, an “inferior race,” and, moreover, had primitive weapons and a country divided in two, and would no doubt fall in a brief period of time. In 1966, aerial bombings began north of the 17th parallel. However, it was the exact opposite.

By mid-1966, the armed forces and militias of the South East Asian nation had shot down airplane No. 1,000.

That is when the massive bombardment of the North began. The cruelest methods, were used in the South, but neither the B-52, F-103 and F-104 super-bombers nor the napalm nor any other weapon was sufficient to stop the determination of the Vietnamese people to reunify their country. The Vietnamese, contemptuously referred to as the “Viet Cong,” won the war.

The final offensive began in March 1975. After eight years of military intervention, the U.S. soldiers departed from the Da Nang Air Base, the same point via which they had arrived.

The stampede occurred on April 30, 1975, when the tanks rolled into Saigon. That day, the one-star flag was hoisted in the city that now bears the name of the historic leader Ho Chi Minh.

It is hard to forget that photo, snapped right when a U.S. soldier, his face twisted in terror, hung from the leg of a helicopter, like a drowning man trying desperately to grab onto the last lifeboat.

The Viet Nam War justly lives still in the consciousness of the U.S. people, not just because they lost 58,000 soldiers there and — according to the Pentagon — 303,654 were injured or maimed, or because the adventure cost them $50 billion. Rather, it is also because of the degradation of the moral values of those who took part, the atrocities committed by their troops, and because of the two million-plus Vietnamese were killed, the three million injured, and the hundreds of thousands of orphaned children.

And above all, because the government of the most powerful country in the world found it impossible to justify before its own people the reasons that caused it to send its armies, ships and planes to invade and bomb that small nation, or why - as was captured in that now-famous photograph -a young Vietnamese girl was running naked, as the air intensified the napalm burns on her body. •

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

The US government is trying to buy Posada’s silence over his crimes in the service of the CIA

CUBA condemns the shameful decision to release terrorist Luis Posada Carriles and points to the United States government as the only one responsible for this cruel and despicable action, which seeks to buy the terrorist’s silence regarding his crimes in the service of the cia, particularly during the time when Bush Sr. was that agency’s general director.

With this decision, the U.S. government has ignored the clamor that has arisen throughout the world, including in the United States, against the impunity and political manipulation involved in this action.

This decision is an insult to the people of Cuba and other nations who lost 73 of their sons and daughters in the abominable 1976 attack that brought down a Cubana de Aviación civilian airliner off the coast of Barbados.

This decision is an insult to the people of the United States themselves, and a categorical refutation of the so-called “war on terrorism” declared by the government of President George W. Bush.

The U.S. government had only to certify Luis Posada Carriles as a terrorist to prevent his release and, in line with Section 412 of the U.S. Patriot Act, to acknowledge that his release would “threaten the national security of the United States or the safety of the community or any person.”

The U.S. government could also have implemented the regulations enabling Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain a foreigner who is not admissible to U.S. territory and subject to deportation.

For that, it would have sufficed for U.S. authorities to have determined that Posada Carriles is a threat to the community, or that releasing him would involve a flight risk on his part.

Why did the U.S. government allow the terrorist to enter U.S. territory with impunity, despite the warnings sounded by President Fidel Castro?

Why did the U.S. government protect him during the months he remained illegally in its territory?

Why, having all the elements to do otherwise, did it limit itself this past January 11 to charging him with lesser crimes, essentially immigration-related, and not with what he actually is: a murderer?

Why is he being released, when Judge Kathleen Cardone herself, in her April 6 ruling ordering the release of the terrorist, admitted that he was accused of “...having been involved in, or associated with, some of the most infamous events” of the 20th century? Some of the events include “the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Iran-Contra affair, the 1976 bombing of Cubana Flight 455, the tourist bombings of 1997 in Havana, and even — according to some conspiracy theorists — the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.”

Why is the U.S. Homeland Security Department’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency not using the mechanisms it has at its disposal for maintaining the terrorist in prison, with the irrefutable argument, already used by the U.S. Attorney General’s office on a date as recent as this past March 19, that if he were released, there is a risk that he could flee?

Why has the U.S. government ignored the extradition application submitted, in line with all relevant requirements, by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela?

How is it possible that today, the most notorious terrorist who has ever existed in this hemisphere is being released while five Cuban men remain in cruel imprisonment for the sole crime of fighting terrorism?

For Cuba, the answer is clear. The terrorist’s release has been organized by the White House as compensation so that Posada Carriles will not divulge what he knows, so that he won’t talk about the countless secrets he holds in relation to his long career as an agent of the U.S. special services, in which he acted as part of Operation Condor, and in the dirty war against Cuba, Nicaragua and other nations in the world.

The full responsibility for the terrorist’s release and the consequences deriving from it, fall directly on the United States government, and most particularly on the president of that country.

Even now, after his release, the U.S. government has all the information and legal mechanisms to re-arrest him. All that is lacking is the political will to seriously combat terrorism, and to recall that, according to President Bush, “if you harbor a terrorist, if you support a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, you will be as guilty as the terrorists.” Havana, April 19, 2007 •

Vigil outside the U.S. Interests Section

PROTESTS against Posada’s release are increasing both in Cuba and in other countries.

Almost immediately after hearing the news, relatives of the victims of the sabotage of the Cuban passenger plane off the coast of Barbados in 1976, which cost 73 lives, began a vigil on the Flag Memorial facing the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, demanding that Luis Posada Carriles should be tried as a terrorist.

Relatives on the vigil were accompanied by family members of the five Cubans imprisoned in the United States for combating terrorism, and by Giustino di Celmo, the father of an Italian tourist who died in a bomb attack on a Havana hotel. Students from the University and other educational institutions joined the protest. Island-wide condemnations are being organized via anti-imperialist tribunals and protests over the hypocrisy of U.S. justice for releasing the worst terrorist in the Western Hemisphere while continuing to incarcerate five Cubans who were fighting to protect the country.

Various social and mass organizations like the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, the Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution, the Federation of Cuban Women, the Central Organization of Cuban Trade Unions at branch level, and university and intermediate students’ organizations have ratified their condemnation of Posada’s release.

As on previous occasions, intellectuals from all over the world have signed a document demanding the trial in a criminal court of Posada. They include Nobel Literature Prize winners Harold Pinter, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and Nadine Gordimer.

The declaration began with 150 signatories and, by the close of this edition, more than 3,500 public figures have added their names.


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