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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 1328 4th March 2008

Open declaration of genocidal “holocaust” intent against suffering Gazans further confirms the Nazi logic of the Jewish-Zionist occupation of Palestine – and imperialism behind it. But the powerful and determined struggle of this persecuted people is both confirmation of, and inspiration for the giant tide of rebellion which imperialism is creating everywhere by its depravity and which will grow constantly against imperialism’s centuries of exploitation. Devastating slump will tip over into Leninist revolution

Crude threats by Zionist-Jewry to impose a “holocaust” on the people of the Gaza strip underline once again not just the sick and vicious genocidal reality of the “Israeli state” but that of the entire tyrannising imperialist conspiracy which lies behind it.

Western discomfort at the renewed “punishment” being stepped up yet again on the Gaza Palestinians reflects exactly the paralysed difficulties of the entire world ruling class, now facing its greatest ever crisis failure in history.

On the one hand the insane logic of its onrushing slump disaster and collapse is pushing the entire system back towards the destruction and devastation which has been the endpoint of its two previous great catastrophes in World War One and World War Two.

On the other it is terrified of the giant revolutionary outbursts unleashed by these enormous war upheavals, which gave workers and colonial subjects everywhere powerful lessons in the terminally destructive reality of capitalist slump.

The shocking destruction of towns, cities and millions of human lives led to massive rebellion which eventually coalesced in the founding of the world’s first great communist state in the Soviet Union 1917, and a tide of communist, national-independence and anti-colonialist defeats for imperial dominance post-2nd WW, still reverberating to this day in Cuba, China, Vietnam, and Korea, and in a host of ongoing struggles and movements.

As with the Nazism of the 1930s, crisis desperation and defeat is now driving imperialism, and its most repulsive brutal manifestations like Zionism, back into ever more extreme barbarity and tyranny abroad and police state repression at home, a classic picture of rising warmongering dictatorial intimidation imposed by the ruling class as its starts to lose its direction and grip.

The “Shoah” fascist threat is in microcosm exactly what the imperialist system is lining up for the entire planet – an escalation of “shock and awe” blitzkrieging on a scale one hundred times the first attempts against Iraq and Afghanistan.

Both of these have run into disaster and chaos for imperialism, stimulating such huge resistance and endless rolling quagmires of defeat that they have had exactly the opposite effect to that intended.

Far from cowing the world revolt against the centuries old exploitation and domination of imperialism, they have multiplied it twentyfold, stirring a hornets nest of rebellion and hatred which has spread far and wide through the Third World.

The “shock and awe” hammer blows which were supposed to serve notice on the whole world of dominant American imperialism’s ruthless readiness to impose its will on the whole planet, in order to escape the consequences of its system’s onrushing crisis collapse, have been a disastrous failure.

Neither the spontaneous revolutionary upheavals which are breaking out everywhere – throughout the Middle East, into Somalia, and Kenya, and Nigeria, into Nepal and the Philippines and Indonesia, and into most of South and Central America, – nor the growing threat of trade war and potential war challenges ultimately from big capitalist rivals, have been quelled and intimidated.

For the imperialist order the only solution must be to have another go – and this time with enough devastating destructive impact that it will shatter completely the growing world rebellion, in the calculations of the imperialists  anyway.

Plans are long advanced for just such an onslaught on a suitably demonised target, like Iran for example, with a 3-day 1200 target bombing plan already being reported by the capitalist press last autumn and the latest accounts suggesting that 10,000 targets would be bombed in a 8 hour period, slaughtering 100,000s and leaving the country entirely wrecked. Nuclear attack is not ruled out either.

Such possibilities are neither exaggerated nor even unlikely.

All that is in question is the choice of target and the timing.

All Marxism, the only scientific and coherent way to understand human historical development, and do something about the plunge of capitalism into deadly slump catastrophe, shows that there can be no other choice for the monopoly capitalist system.

The great historical question is in the confidence of the ruling class to carry it through.

The ruling class is facing dire defeats and bogged down failures on a widening scale and with historically unprecedented damaging effects, just at the moment when its entire economic and political system is heading for the greatest black-hole disaster in all world history, a Great Depression and inflationary explosion rolled into one giant catastrophe far beyond the last great 1930s world slump disaster.

It must either bludgeon the world into acquiescence to continue the finger-bone exploitation of the billions for the pleasure, power and delight of the tiny minority ruling class, or go under as the long accumulating contradictions of the profit system break through into inter-imperialist conflict.

War is coming.

When this bursts into full turmoil of world war between the great capitalist rivals for shrinking markets, it will open the way for a mighty historical dam burst of class hostility, potentially sweeping away the old capitalist order and with it the entire 6000 year period of class rule in the development of civilisation and reason.

Revolution in other words, the only way to stop the degeneracy and disintegration of the now completely outmoded production-for-profit era, and establish the rule of the great mass of ordinary people, the dictatorship of the proletariat, to protect, undisrupted, the building of socialism, and peaceful progress and development to an eventually classless, self-disciplined and ultimately stateless society.

That will only reach a successful conclusion when there is a consciously built and uncompromising revolutionary understanding and leadership.

But even while the battle for such Leninist perspective has a way to go yet, not least because of the dire misleadership of revisionism, which has not only failed to develop the correct revolutionary instincts of the world’s masses but heads them off in the wrong direction chasing rainbows of “protest marches”, “democratic” change and “peaceful coexistence”, – the capitalist order is already facing huge problems staying in charge.

After two world shattering world wars already imposed in the twentieth century, and the steady transformation of the whole of humankind into more sophisticated knowing people than ever before in history, by the rise of capitalism itself, the story that yet more bloody violence, and worldwide blitzing destruction, is on the cards does not sit easily anywhere at all.

Throughout the Third World ten of millions are already in a ferment of hatred and hostility of the imperialist order.

The barbarities being inflicted yet again on one of the most persecuted sections of the world’s masses can only intensify this hatred and the resistance across the planet.

No wonder the fascist bluster by the Israeli deputy defence minister has been rapidly covered up by the complicit Western press and TV – fresh from their crawl-arsing for the West’s warmongering agenda around Prince Harry’s gung-ho Afghanistan imperial killing adventures (running reams of gushing government hagiography to try and clean up the Nazi-uniform party-going indolent degeneracy of the Royal Family) – with a pretence that there are “other ways” to interpret the words used.

But the killing attacks on the desperate hell hole of the Gaza strip and its benighted 1.3 million civilians and poverty stricken people will be the same genocidal horror story whether the word “Shoah” means “holocaust” or “disaster”, just as decades of murderous imprisonment, apartheid contempt, arbitrary arrest and callous brutality has been, and as the last two years of complete strangling siege on the legally elected Hamas regime has pushed even further.

Some press reports at least report the monstrosity of foul blitzing and shooting dozens of civilians, including deliberate blasting of small kids playing sport:

Israel’s military killed at least 60 Palestinians yesterday - almost half of them civilians, including four children - in its most violent assault on the Gaza Strip since last June.

The latest deaths bring the number of Palestinians killed since a rocket fired from inside Gaza killed a 44-year-old Israeli in the town of Sderot last week to 80. Two Israeli soldiers also died in the fighting. Late last night, the office of the Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, was attacked by an Israeli aircraft, which hit the building with three missiles. Although no casualties were reported, witnesses said the building was destroyed.

The latest bloodshed comes as an Observer investigation revealed how Israel is again deliberately obstructing the transfer of urgent medical cases for treatment outside Gaza, in the latest extension of its policy of collective punishment of Palestinians.

The death toll climbed through yesterday as Israeli troops targeted Palestinian militants who fired rockets and mortar shells into Israel. The operation follows last week’s warning by Israel’s deputy defence minister, Matan Vilnai, that a ‘holocaust’ would be unleashed on Gaza if rocket fire was not halted.

One resident described heavy fighting around the Jabaliya camp and horrific conditions for civilians, as Israeli forces moved in. The incursion appeared to be a prelude to a possible Israeli invasion,

The excuse that this onslaught is to “prevent attacks” by the Palestinians, is the foulest Goebbels Lie inversion imaginable, claiming “self-defence” for Zionism because the Palestinians have the temerity to resist the permanent oppression imposed on them.

A six-foot playground bully could as well plead he is “defending” himself against some junior victim’s feeble attempts to ward off yet another beating up, or more appositely still, the German and other European Nazi’s could insist (as they did!)  that they were “defending themselves” when they bludgeoned down any spirited Jews who attacked them in order to resist being hauled away to the camps before and during the Second World War.

The cause of all resistance lies in the 1947-8 illegal seizure of the Palestine land, creating a Frankenstein monster “state” that can only ever be a permanent source of hostility hatred and instability until either it is ended – replaced by a Palestine offering justice to all its people (which might include space for the most die-hard religious jews to continue living in some small parts - if it decides so) – or the total genocide of the majority of the Palestinian people and suppression of the Arab nation around them.

Persecution, torture and blitzkrieging “punishment” of the 8 million Palestinians is the result, non-stop since the original reactionary Stern gang and other terrorist Zionists massacred, for the benefit of monopoly capitalism.

It is the focal point and a key centre of the whole post-war imperialist order, hugely strengthening its wealth and power and thereby its domination of the working class everywhere on the planet.

But even the universal unquestioning political support and the billions of dollars and western arms poured year after year into Tel Aviv by US imperialism particularly (and disastrously, even by Moscow in the early period), including the early and completely illegal secret transfer of deadly nuclear warhead and missile technology, have been unable to bolster up this “Israel”.

Far from it – the lurid escalation of fascist blitzkrieg now threatened is a sign of the massive weakness of the Zionists and the imperialist system which they are completely intertwined with.

As capitalism’s steadily unfolding economic problems have worsened year by year, so the totally financially dependent Zionist regime becomes weaker and less capable of maintaining the Rottweiler grip on the region that serves imperialism so well.

It is been utterly unable to push down the dogged and determined resistance of the Palestinians in one of the most heroic and steadily developing struggles in all the post-war anti-colonial period and the growth all around of anti-Zionist and anti-imperialist resistance.

Two shattering defeats in Lebanon in the 1980s and again two years ago by the hugely well organised and heroic Hizbullah fighters, and the now non-stop Intifida Palestinian resistance of the militancy of Hamas and Islamic Jihad have taken their toll on the arrogance and confidence of the Zionists.

In its turn it is the focal point and a key centre of all world struggle, giving new momentum to the revolutionary spirit of the billions of proletarians around the world.

The religious ideology of current Gazan Hamas leadership is perhaps not something that Marxism would subscribe to. At best it hamstrings the vital philosophical fight for objective scientific understanding of the balance of class forces and at worst has some reactionary and culturally backward elements.

Currently it may even create unnecessary difficulties for urgent unification of the Palestinian people by blocking away some of the less conscious of the secular elements in the population.

But all that is completely secondary when it comes to the conflict against imperialism and pales into insignificance against the fact that it is revolutionary in spirit and approach.

That in turn is feeding the revolutionary grasp and battle of tens of millions more around the world.

Marxism could have no hesitation in wanting such militancy to inflict the greatest defeats possible on the Zionist monstrosity and its imperialist backers, the fundamental mechanism which will eventually drive the degenerate and oppressive imperialist system from the face of the planet.

The argument for a better philosophical understanding and scientific leadership can and must go on but the Marxist understanding alongside those willing to fight is always “march separately but strike together”.

That is the principal which has been totally betrayed by the entire spectrum of the fake -“lefts”, who line up with imperialism against the Hamas and other militant movements by “condemning” them and their fighting methods as “terrorist”, and invoking the shallowest single-issue reactionary nonsenses of feminism and homosexual campaigning to stab them in the back, thereby writing off nascent world revolutionary struggle.

For all its cultural rough edges, religious prejudices and crude and even sometimes horrifying – though always astonishingly brave – fighting methods, this is the reality of the world struggle of hundreds of millions of oppressed people which will only grow and profoundly mature as the imperialist crisis deepens in to far more destruction than anything seen yet.

To condemn it or even attack it as “reactionary” as some of the more nuttily anti-communist Trotskyists do, is not just unMarxist cowardice, opportunistically shying away from recognition and identification for workers’ consciousness of a major world class war phenomenon and revolt – which is the fundamental job of Marxism – but is the dirtiest betrayal of both these struggles and the entire working class of the planet which can only be thrown into further confusion and splits by such pestilential petty bourgeois slime.

Only one criticism of Hamas or other leaderships in the worldwide insurgency is possible – that there is a much better way of understanding the world, and the causes of all its problems (which is monopoly capitalism and its class rule) and therefore a much better way of guiding and inspiring the masses to overturn it.

The militancy and willingness to struggle and give all to the fight – including such ultimate sacrifice as suicide bombing its Islamism has inspired – is producing already producing major political exposures such as demonstrating even more deeply for the entire world the big lie of bourgeois “democracy” – with Hamas’ table-turning use of the bourgeoisie’s own electoral platform to win an overwhelming (and internationally certified as respectable and unmanipulated) victory, evoking not just the monstrous crude hypocrisy of unified Western rejection but its Nazi style implementation in a now two year long strangulation siege of Gaza which has enormously jacked-up the suffering and torment of an already persecuted people.

They have not capitulated.

Such determination has also cut right through the decades of Stalinist influenced Arafatite class compromising chasing after never-to-be-given “negotiated justice” and “fair settlement”, which has hampered the struggle for decades by heading it away from revolutionary fight.

Its totally correct and so far rock hard refusal to concede any recognition to the imperialists’ artificially declared “Israeli state” is the key issue which has drawn the burning hatred of imperialism because it pinpoints exactly the central fact that even the best “two state” solution is complete historical theft giving back only a humiliating tiny percentage of the  original land of the Palestinians in even the most fanciful and unrealistically generous agreement (though all of them are pipe-dreams anyway).

Nothing like such a fantasy would ever realistically be on offer and even the dirty slops of a tiny fraction of the worst remaining water-starved land in Palestine which have been dangled contemptuously as a “self-governing” bait, would be under the permanent oversight and dictatorial control of the Zionists, as they relentlessly push on with their fanatical settlements, eventually precipitating yet more land grab and persecution.

There is no stability in the modern world for this barbaric historical throwback colonisation which will endlessly be driven to finish the genocidal dirty work in order for its seizure to survive, if the Palestinians refuse to simply walk away and die themselves.

There is only a revolutionary solution to Palestine, just as there is only a revolutionary solution to the entire world crisis.

But it will be made a lot easier when this brain-festering historical rot of revisionist Stalinism is finally tackled head-on.

The legacy of this revisionist nonsense in the form of Arafatite compromise has also been pushed right into the open by the Gaza militancy – its “don’t-rock-the-boat” or “provoke the imperialists” collaborationism stretched to its inevitable end-point in the foul 30 silver pieces betrayal of the Mahmoud Abbas Palestinian Authority, taking US money and arms to maintain its “authority” by suppressing the Hamas militancy – based on the supposed “democratic wish” of a tiny minority of the Palestinians (for what bourgeois electoral results are worth anyway) giving further proof of capitalism’s cynical disregard for any “democracy” which does not line up with its dictatorial wishes on the key issues.

(And the bourgeois papers and TV have the cheek to constantly refer to Hamas as “seizing power” because it asserted its well-supported majority vote authority last year in Gaza after 12 months of non-stop sabotage and undermining of the decision taken by all the Palestinians!).

For a few token reformist bribes from the US and Zionism (brokered appropriately enough with the help of Blairism, the slick shallow end of the most sophisticated reformist trickery on the planet in the British Labour Party – New and Clause 4 shades) Abbas has let the imperialists split Palestine in two and is ready to sell out everything for an even tinier scrap of permanently divided and Zionist criss-crossed land than anyone else.

This last monstrosity has been denounced finally even by the Museum Stalinists of the Lalkar group, or rather by the sly “new” Lalkar version Mark 2, the CPGB-ML and its Proletarian paper which Lalkar created in order to avoid any awkward questions about its eight year support for the conservative trade unionist reactionariness of Scargillism and misnamed Socialist Labour Party (still waiting in the wings to tap imperialist corrupted worker conservatism when the last-ditch New Labour pro-imperialist racket finally collapses altogether in a heap of putrid rot) long after the anti-communist nature of the centrist “breakaway” had long become clear .

Correctly enough they declare that

the whole basis of Zionism is lost with expansionism towards a ‘Greater Israel, but this brings only crisis since Zionism will never be able to crush the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.

But far from taking the chance to learn lessons about the futility of the revisionist perspectives which led to the Abbas outcome via its pointless un-revolutionary pursuit of the two-state option and its always impossible “solution”, (supported variously across the board by all the fake-“lefts” at one point or another) the Lalkar/Proletarian-ites blame only Zionist intransigence.

‘What Olmert did not say is that Israel has already made sure the two-state solution is dead and buried’

it complains, implying that if only Israel had been “more reasonable” something might yet have been achieved, a point reinforced by declaring that

‘it is becoming increasingly impossible to continue the farce of negotiations because of political military and economic attacks.’

“Increasingly” impossible!?!

But it always was impossible to negotiate a permanent solution, because of the very nature of the “Israeli state” founded in 1948, as discussed above.

But this is the part that the Lalkar/CPGB-MLites will not include because it would mean difficult questions about the entire Stalin line which recognised Israel at the time, which could unravel into questioning the entire philosophical retreat from revolutionary perspectives of Moscow revisionism which became glaringly clear in Stalin’s post-war writings, as analysed in depth by the EPSR (e.g. issues 1190-1196 and many others) .

All the brave words in the latest Proletarian (Feb/Mar) about:

‘the duty of all anti-imperialists to support the Palestinian resistance, like the movement in Iraq and Afghanistan...let(ting) no progressive person remain silent’

are so much hot air if they not given with a revolutionary context calling for the defeat and overturn of the Zionist-Jewish state as the only full solution there can be to this foul mess, and the full understanding of the world wide imperialist crisis into which it is intertwined.

Over-the-top uncritical support for these assorted resistance movements is the other side of the coin of this theoretical evasion, just braggadocio to distract attention from an honest grappling with the real questions. As spelt out above, a Marxist understanding is for defeat of the main enemy but constant polemic with all movements meanwhile, for Leninist grasp, pointing to and challenging their philosophical weaknesses.

The Lalkar/Proletarian perspective, in reality, is little more than any reformist pacifist demand as made clear by the title of its article. “End the siege of Gaza” it says, a demand as ineffectual as any peace march slogan for “troops out” and “end war now”.

The limits to all this posturing pretence, are even clearer in past issues of Proletarian:

For any negotiations to succeed (!!) they must be on the basis of the minimum programme of the Palestinian  people: full Israeli withdrawal to pre-1967 borders and the right of return of Palestinian refugees

said the Dec/Jan issue. “Israel” continues to exist therefore and the imperialist UN position that only the 1967 war occupied land is “illegal”, is accepted. What a fudge!

How does this reformist/revisionist opportunism continue to survive?

It is now glaringly clear to larger and larger sections of even the most conservative (small c) petty bourgeois elements that imperialism is plunging into a total disaster; facing economic meltdown and chaos on a scale which, they are dimly beginning to grasp, could be titanic.

The EPSR’s consistent warnings to the working class of the slump disasters ahead (built firmly on the basic understanding of Marx, Engels and Lenin – see economics box) and the return to inter-imperialist warmongering and domestic repressive dictatorship, so long mocked as “old hat” Marxism or “exaggerated hysteria” by the entire fake-“left”, are being increasingly confirmed by unravelling credit crunch.

Some of the bourgeois press are now using the language of “Great Depression” and “catastrophic failure” which has drawn, and is still drawing such complacent smug petty bourgeois contempt from this opportunist swamp of posturing misleadership for the working class:

It is a sign of how serious the current situation is that those who argue that there is a risk of a 1930s-style slump are no longer treated as stark, staring mad. Indeed, the argument in the US is not over whether there is going to be a recession, but how long and deep the recession will be.

Nouriel Roubini, professor of economics at Columbia University in New York, is one of those sceptical about the idea that the US will suffer only a short, shallow downturn. For one thing, America is enduring the biggest housing market bust in its history, and prices are likely to carry on falling sharply. Then there is the credit crunch, which is far more severe than in the early 1990s or early 2000s, both as a result of being the inevitable legacy of not one but two previous bubbles but also the consequence of financial innovation that straddled the line between recklessness and criminality.

Far from easing, the credit crunch may be getting worse. In the UK, the past week has seen lenders withdraw certain products from the market, meaning that the sort of 125% mortgages favoured by the pre-crash Northern Rock are a thing of the past. Given that 125% home loans were the only way first-time buyers could afford to get on the housing ladder, this is not exactly bullish news for house prices.

It is a similar story in America. Paul Ashworth, chief US analyst for Capital Economics, notes: “The credit crunch is entering a dangerous new phase with even previously creditworthy borrowers now affected.

“Despite a 125 basis point reduction in the Fed funds rate over the past month, borrowing costs for financially healthy firms and households have actually risen by as much as 50 basis points.”

Monetary policy, in other words, has lost its traction. Keynes talked about exceptional circumstances when cutting interest rates was like pushing on a piece of string. This may well be one of them, since the third big difference between now and the downturns of the early 90s and the early part of this decade is that consumers are far more indebted. Falling house prices, credit that is harder to come by and more expensive, years of living on the never-never - all in all, it’s a potentially explosive cocktail.

Roubini says that the Fed is, belatedly, alive to the danger. “To understand the Fed actions one has to realise that there is now a rising probability of a ‘catastrophic’ financial and economic outcome, i.e., a vicious circle where a deep recession makes the financial losses more severe and where, in turn, large and growing financial losses and a financial meltdown make the recession even more severe. The Fed is seriously worried about this vicious circle and about the risks of a systemic financial meltdown.

“That is the reason the Fed had thrown all caution to the wind - after a year in which it was behind the curve and under-playing the economic and financial risks - and has taken a very aggressive approach to risk management; this is a much more aggressive approach than the Greenspan one in spite of the initial views that the Bernanke-led Fed would be more cautious than Greenspan’s in reacting to economic and financial vulnerabilities.”

Bernanke clearly feels that the clock has turned back 78 years to the early months of 1930. He is slashing interest rates because he fears that the Great Depression is just around the corner.

Yet having got just about every judgment wrong over the past five years - and that’s being generous - there is a risk that the Fed has got it wrong again.

Consider. Until the early 1970s, the linchpin of the global economy was the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates. Gold was fixed at $35 an ounce and other currencies were pegged against the greenback.

Rising US inflationary pressure in the late 1960s led to the break-up of the Bretton Woods system, and that was followed by a plunging dollar, leading to sharply higher import prices. To make matters worse, oil producers raised the price of crude, with the result that inflation went through the roof.

What we are now seeing is the break-up of Bretton Woods mark 2. The linchpin of this looser and less comprehensive system was the fixed exchange rate between the dollar and the Chinese yuan. By keeping its currency low, Beijing flooded the world with cheap goods and kept US inflation muted. That pushed down interest rates, but led to a massive US trade deficit with China and pushed up asset prices.

Politicians in Washington demanded that Beijing allow its currency to rise. And over the past two and a half years this is what the Chinese have done, in small and gradual steps. It’s not really surprising that they have done so, since the flipside of lower inflationary pressure in the west has been a build-up of inflationary  pressure in China.

As a result, the writing is on the wall for Bretton Woods 2. Bernanke has sent out the signal that he cares far more about boosting growth than he does about fighting inflation, which is why the dollar has fallen and gold has gone up. So a return to soup kitchens and dustbowl economics should not be ruled out.

And a return to the fascist warmongering of the 1930s with it – only worse.

But this is entirely missed by the blinkered opportunist anti-communist academicism of the Trotskyists, and the dull-witted “peaceful roadism” of the revisionists.

Some of these lefts are desperately pedalling to catch up with the real world, beginning to run articles about supposed Marxist economics and talking of “harsh recession”, like the Trotskyist Workers Power for example.

But their explanation is utterly limited to a dry and academic perspective that “there is every possibility of a harsh recession”.

To excuse their blinkered failure to see (or through rank opportunism, to want to see, and therefore have to deal with) any of the crisis which has been unrolling for decades (fed by the printing of dollars non-stop since the post-2nd World War period which has poisoned the economic wells everywhere), these ivory tower poseurs high-handedly declare “a permanent economic crisis” to be a “contradiction in terms” thereby proving only that they understand nothing of contradiction.

Of course the breaking of capitalist economic crisis now into major slump depression is a specific historical event – but only within a much larger crisis of the entire capitalist epoch, which is in a state of permanent instability, teetering always on the edge of economic blockage and failure, as Marx demonstrated in the second volume of Capital.

The build up of molecular transformations in society and economics which eventually become intolerable and explode in revolutionary change is itself a process of multiple smaller crises, each always with the potential to break into the spiralling collapse which may now be unfolding.

But even if this is not yet the point of total failure Marxist leadership is about pointing to the unravelling complexity of all this crisis to constantly build the revolutionary perspective without which events can only be seen episodically and narrowly by the working class – and usually wrongly, or only partially, therefore.

Even the now unfolding crisis which the Workers Power deigns to see at last, has actually been underway for at least 20 years in its latest phase, emerging in partial form in various parts of the world from South American national bankruptcies to the south-east Asian currency collapses and the Japanese slump of the last 15 years.

It has shattered the whole world in the last seven years as it has emerged into brutal US warmongering. The intertwining facets of economic and military crisis, dialectically interlocked, are captured better by the bourgeois liberal economist Joseph Stiglitz even, than the supposed “Marxists” of WP:

Stiglitz and Bilmes dug deeper, and what they have discovered, after months of chasing often deliberately obscured accounts, is that in fact Bush’s Iraqi adventure will cost America - just America - a conservatively estimated $3 trillion. The rest of the world, including Britain, will probably account for about the same amount again...

Next month America will have been in Iraq for five years - longer than it spent in either world war. Daily military operations (not counting, for example, future care of wounded) have already cost more than 12 years in Vietnam, and twice as much as the Korean war. America is spending $16bn a month on running costs alone (i.e. on top of the regular expenses of the Department of Defence) in Iraq and Afghanistan; that is the entire annual budget of the UN. Large amounts of cash go missing - the well-publicised $8.8bn Development Fund for Iraq under the Coalition Provisional Authority, for example; and the less-publicised millions that fall between the cracks at the Department of Defence, which has failed every official audit of the past 10 years. The defence department’s finances, based on an accounting system inaccurate for anything larger than a grocery store, are so inadequate, in fact, that often it is impossible to know exactly how much is being spent, or on what....

This is on top of misleading information: in January 2007 the administration estimated that the much-vaunted surge would cost $5.6bn. But this was only for combat troops, for four months - they didn’t mention the 15,000-28,000 support troops who would also have to be paid for. Neither do official numbers count the cost of death payments, or caring for the wounded - even though the current ratio of wounded to dead, seven to one, is the highest in US history. Again, the Department of Defence is being secretive and misleading: official casualty records list only those wounded in combat. There is, note Stiglitz and Bilmes in their book, “a separate, hard-to-find tally of troops wounded during ‘non-combat’ operations” - helicopter crashes, training accidents, anyone who succumbs to disease (two-thirds of medical evacuees are victims of disease); those who aren’t airlifted, i.e. are treated on the battlefield, simply aren’t included. Stiglitz and Bilmes found this partial list accidentally; veterans’ organisations had to use the Freedom of Information Act in order to get full figures (at which point the ratio of injuries to fatalities rises to 15 to one). The Department of Veterans Affairs, responsible for caring for these wounded, was operating, for the first few years of the war, on prewar budgets, and is ruinously overstretched; it is still clearing a backlog of claims from the Vietnam war. Many veterans have been forced to look for private care; even when the government pays for treatment and benefits, the burden of proof for eligibility is on the soldier, not on the government. The figure of $3 trillion includes what it will cost to pay death benefits, and to care for some of the worst-injured soldiers that army surgeons have ever seen, for the next 50 years.

By way of context, Stiglitz and Bilmes list what even one of these trillions could have paid for: 8 million housing units, or 15 million public school teachers, or healthcare for 530 million children for a year, or  scholarships to university for 43 million students. Three trillion could have fixed America’s social security problem for half a century.

...a contractor working as a security guard gets about $400,000 a year, for example, as opposed to a soldier, who might get about $40,000. That there is a discrepancy we might have guessed - but not its sheer scale, or the fact that, because it is so hard to get insurance for working in Iraq, the government pays the premiums; or the fact that, if these contractors are injured or killed, the government pays both death and injury benefits on top.

Then there was the discovery that sign-up bonuses come with conditions: a soldier injured in the first month, for example, has to pay it back. Or the fact that “the troops, for understandable reasons, are made responsible for their equipment. You lose your helmet, you have to pay. If you get blown up and you lose your helmet, they still bill you.” One soldier was sued for $12,000 even though he had suffered massive brain damage. Some families have had to buy their children body armour, saving the government costs in the short term; those too poor to afford it sustain injuries that the government then has to pay for. Then there’s the fact that it was not until 2006, when Robert Gates replaced Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defence, that the DOD agreed to replace Humvees with mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) armoured vehicles, which are much more able to repel roadside bombs; until that time, IEDs killed 1,500 Americans. “This kind of penny-wise, pound-poor behaviour was just unbelievable.”

...Then, of course, there is the administration’s insistence on “sole-source bidding” - awarding vast, multi-year contracts to Halliburton, for example, instead of putting them out to tender. “An academic might say, ‘How can you be a free market, yet demand single-source contracting?’” asks Stiglitz now, mildly - but this is not the way the current administration operates. We know quite a lot now about contractors’ excesses, but it is their economic effect that Stiglitz and Bilmes are interested in, and this seems often to have been malign. Free market ideals had, of course, to apply to Iraq, if not to Halliburton (which received at least $19.3bn in single-source contracts), so Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, abolished many tariffs on imports, and capped corporate and income tax. Predictably, this led to general asset-stripping, and exposed Iraqi firms to free competition - meaning that many closed down, putting yet more people out of work.

...that Bush put through tax cuts while going to war. In Stiglitz and Bilmes’s reading, this was downright underhand. Raising taxes, and resorting to the rhetoric of shared sacrifice used in the world wars, for example, would have made Americans more aware of exactly what the war was costing them, and would have provoked opposition sooner. The solution was to borrow the money, at interest of couple of hundred billion dollars a year, which, by 2017, will add up to another trillion dollars or so.

...the price of oil has climbed from $25 a barrel to $100 in the past five years - great for oil companies, and oil-producing countries, who, along with the contractors, are the only beneficiaries of this war, but not for anyone else. After calculations based on futures markets, Stiglitz and Bilmes conclude that a significant proportion of this rise is directly due to the disruptions and instabilities caused by Iraq. This price rise alone has cost the US, which imports about 5bn barrels a year, an extra $25bn per year; projecting to 2015 brings that number to an extra $1.6 trillion on oil alone (against which the recent $125bn stimulus package is simply, as Stiglitz puts it, “a drop in the bucket”).

Higher oil prices have a direct effect on family, city and state budgets; they also led to a drop in GDP for the US. When interest rates finally rose in response, hundreds of thousands of home owners found that they were unable to keep up payments, triggering the toxic tsunami of defaulted mortgages that has put the US on the brink of recession and brought down Northern Rock

any idea that war is good for the economy, Stiglitz and Bilmes argue, is a myth. A persuasive myth, of course, and in specific cases, such as world war two, one that has seemed to be true - but in 1939, America and Europe were in a depression; there was all sorts of possible supply in the market, but people didn’t have the cash to buy anything. Making armaments meant jobs, more people with more disposable income, and so on - but peacetime western economies these days operate near full employment. As Stiglitz and Bilmes put it, “Money spent on armaments is money poured down the drain”; far better to invest in education, infrastructure, research, health, and reap the rewards in the long term. But any idea that war can be divorced from the economy is also naive.

The trillions the rest of the world has shouldered include, of course, the smashed Iraqi economy, the tens of thousands of Iraqi dead, the price, to neighbouring countries, of absorbing thousands of refugees, the coalition dead and wounded (before the war Gordon Brown set aside £1bn; as of late 2007, direct operating costs in Iraq and Afghanistan were £7bn and rising). But the rising price of oil has also meant, according to Stiglitz and Bilmes, that the cost to oil-importing industrial countries in Europe and the Far East is now about $1.1 trillion. And to developing countries it has been devastating: they note a study by the International Energy Agency that looked at a sample of 13 African countries and found that rising oil prices have “had the effect of lowering the average income by 3% - more than offsetting all of the increase in foreign aid that they had received in recent years, and setting the stage for another crisis in these countries”.

...the borrowed trillions have to come from somewhere. Because “the saving rate [in America] is zero,” says  Stiglitz, “that means that you have to finance [the war] by borrowing abroad. So China is financing America’s war.” The US is now operating at such a deficit, in fact, that it doesn’t have the money to bail out its own banks. “When Merrill Lynch and Citibank had a problem, it was sovereign funds from abroad that bailed them out. And we had to give up a lot of shares of our ownership. So the largest shareowners in Citibank now are in the Middle East. It should be called the MidEast bank, not the Citibank.” This creates a precedent of dependence, “and whether we become dependent on Middle East oil money, or Chinese reserves - it’s that dependency that people ought to worry about. That is a big change. The amount of borrowing in the last eight years, on top of the borrowing that began with Reagan - that has all changed the US’s economic position in the world.”

...”The way that shapes the debate,” says Stiglitz, “is that Americans have to say, ‘Even if we stay for another two years, just two years, and we’re spending $12bn a month up front in Iraq, and it’s costing us another 50% in healthcare, disability, bringing it up to $18bn a month in Iraq, and you look at that in another 24 months, we’re talking about half a trillion dollars more for two years - forgetting about the economic cost, the ancillary costs, the social costs - just looking at the budgetary cost - not including the interest - you have to say, is this the way we want to spend a half a trillion dollars? Will it make America stronger? Will it make the Middle East safer? Is this the way we want to spend it?”

...Far better, he suggests, to leave rapidly and in a dignified manner, and to spend some of it on helping Iraqis reconstruct their own country - and the rest on investing in and strengthening the American economy, so that it can retain its independence, and have the wherewithal, at least, to play a responsible role in the world.

Such pious hopes are just liberal day-dreaming of course.

The answer to the question he asks of ”is this the way we want to spend it” is actually “yes”.

All the logic of imperialist overproduction crisis is driving capitalism into war just as before, in 1914 and 1939.

The imperialist agenda can only plunge further into disaster, slowed up for the time being by the disastrous defeats it has run into, in Iraq with its enormous debilitating costs, and in Afghanistan too increasingly, but constantly driven by the desperate, unrolling, drawn-out crisis of the profit system into further chaos and warmongering mayhem.

Revolutionary upheaval is unrolling too, not just unrecognised but “condemned” by the posey pseudo-”lefts” who fail completely in the prime duty of Marxism and Leninist leadership, to give the working class the clearest understanding of the entire balance of class forces on the planet, and instead feed the capitalist propaganda machine against the world revolt with some of its most putrid propaganda.

Spontaneous rebellion will grow increasingly as the slump collapse painfully re-educates the entire world working class in the realities of capitalist “democracy and freedom” and the promised post-war and post-Soviet uplands of increasing prosperity and “end of history” harmony turn increasing rancid and rotten.

For the moment the great disillusionment of Stalinist retreat from revolutionary perspectives – and the insane end point in Gorbachevite liquidation of the vast achievements of the 70-year Soviet state (intellectually, socially and culturally beyond anything capitalism ever could manage in its richest heartlands) leaves a distrust in what was thought to be “communism”.

The vacuum has been filled temporarily by various local religious and historical cultural ideologies; but these lie only on the surface and the driving force is the worldwide transformation of humanity by capitalism into billions of capable and ever more discontented proletarians.

But better leadership will be more and more insistently required by the huge contradictions of emerging struggle.

The great battle is to develop Marxism and Leninist science, for the billions and with the billions, drawing in more and more of the most capable to build the conscious revolutionary communist party leadership that was let go by mankind’s first great attempts to climb out of the barbarism of class society.

Build Leninism.

Don Hoskins

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

Cuba:Infant mortality, 5.3 in 2007

FOR the second consecutive year, Cuba has achieved an infant mortality rate of 5.3 per 1,000 live births; the lowest in the history of our country and, together with Canada, the country has attained a lower figure than those registered by other countries in the Americas.

As experts acknowledge, the true measure of a nation’s progress is the quality of care provided for its children, their health and protection, material safety, their education and socialization. The infant mortality rate is an indicator that measures those advances.

Worldwide, the global rate stands at 52 and in Latin America, 26. The rate for Western Africa is 108, according to statistics gathered for  The State of the World’s Children published by unicef.

Collectively, the industrialized nations have an infant mortality rate of 5.00 However, the United States registers 6.00, double that of the countries with the lowest mortality rate (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Japan), which register just three deaths per 1,000 live births. As an example of inequality, the non-Hispanic Black population of the United States has a rate that is considerably higher than any other ethnic or racial group; around 13. In Cuba, these differences are not expressed.

According to some of the preliminary information on mortality presented by officials from the Maternal and Infant Attention Program (pami) and the Statistics Department at the Ministry for Public Health, six provinces have rates below the national average: Holguin and City of Havana (5.0), Las Tunas and Matanzas (4.4), Camaguey (4.2), and Sancti Spiritus (4.1).

Likewise, some 21 municipalities throughout the country ended the year with an infant mortality rate of zero. Those are: Candelaria, Minas de Matahambre, Melena del Sur, Nueva Paz, Bauta, Pedro Betancourt, Unión de Reyes, Ciénaga de Zapata, Calimente, Cifuentes, Yaguajay, Taguasco, Florencia, Na-jasa, Manatf, Colombia, Antilla, Cauto Cristo, Salvador, Imías and Manuel Tames.

During last year, there were 112,425 births; 1,102 more than the previous year. Of the total, 592 infants died primarily because of perinatal conditions, congenital anomalies and infections.

Although there are generalized investigations throughout our country to pick up congenital malformations using techniques such as ultrasound and alphafetoprotein testing, it is not possible to detect signs in every case. International references state that these diagnostic tests are 80% accurate.

Infant mortality rates in pre-revolutionary Cuba stood at 60 per 1,000 live births. In 1962, and caused solely by the diarrhea that resulted from the deplorable sanitary conditions inherited by the Revolution, some 3,000 infants under 12 months died and at that time, the infant mortality rate stood at 42 per 1,000 live births.

A brief glance at the attention provided to mothers and their children worldwide over the last five years demonstrates the irrevocable political will of the revolutionary government, come rain or shine (read: the economic war and criminal blockade of the U.S.), to offer the maximum protection for the health of the population, and especially to mothers and children.

Throughout the world today, more than half a million women - one every minute! – still die during pregnancy, childbirth or shortly after, representing 400 women for every 100,000 live births. Some 190 of those women are from Latin America, whereas the level in our country is 21 (18 maternal deaths less than the 2006 figure), as a result of hemorrhages, embolism of amniotic fluid (when it passes into the blood stream) and coagulation disorders.

The low maternal-infant mortality rates have been sustained as a result of the immense educational development initiated through the Literacy Campaign; the establishment of a system of accessible healthcare, free of charge to the whole population without exception; the mass immunization campaigns, together with other advances that have set the bases for the recognized achievements in healthcare under the Revolution.

Together with that is the development of family planning programs based on the reproductive right of women to freely choose the number of children that they wish to have, and meticulous medical attention that currently ensures that every pregnant woman receives an average of 17 medical consultations, and 99.99% of births take place in maternity units, with the exception of a few which come as a “surprise” on the way to hospital. After women have been “picked up” during the first weeks of the pregnancy, the first consultation is aimed at carrying out eight different laboratory tests including serology (for syphilis) and hiv (aids).

Pregnant women at risk of giving birth prematurely receive a “lung-maturing” medication between 28 and 34 weeks to prevent hyaline membrane disease which leads to respiratory disease in newborn babies. Depending on their situation, mothers can be admitted to a maternity home where they are offered nutritional support and a wide-ranging healthcare education program. Even women of childbearing age with a risk of anemia are given an iron and folic acid supplement (Mufer), and also a vitamin supplement (Prenatal) for the whole of their pregnancy.

Diabetics are also provided with specialist attention in endocrinology with systematic examinations in order to register blood-sugar levels so that they reach their birth date with compensated diabetes.

All pregnant women without exception receive diagnostic investigations for congenital malformations (ultrasounds during the first semester and between 20 and 22 weeks, and also for alphafetoprotein) and women aged over 37 years receive amniocentesis, essentially to test for Down’s syndrome. During the first consultations, women are also evaluated by a specialist with a Masters in Genetic Assessment.

Attention to infants begins from the moment of birth when blood samples are taken from the umbilical cord and the heel in order to determine the possible existence of endocrine-metabolic diseases related to enzyme deficiency, or because of adrenal gland insufficiency - known as phenylketonuria, congenital hypothyroidism, galactosemia, West syndrome and congenital adrenal hyperplasia, disorders that are diagnosed in time to be successfully treated.

In a programmed manner, healthy babies are seen in post-natal consultations 12 times during the first year. They are also examined by a geneticist. During this period, they are immunized against 12 preventable diseases: tuberculosis, hepatitis B, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, meningococcus B and C, mumps, rubella, measles, polio, illnesses caused by haemophilus influenzae, and the vaccine against typhoid fever when they begin elementary school, increasing their protection to guard against 13 illnesses.

...Since 2006, the Maternal and Infant Attention Program has received a significantly more equipment for health care, and particularly for intensive therapy, neonatal and pediatric services.

MEDICAL equipment for cardiology and clinical neuro-physiology services, some in the final phase of testing before production is begun, are among the products developed by...the Cuban Neuro-science Center (cnc) and the Central Institute for Digital Research icid), both part of the West Havana Scientific Complex.

The devices and equipment produced have been installed within the network of Cuba’s national health system hospitals, where they contribute to improving the population’s quality of life, and are sold in a number of countries where they are sought for their excellence and competitive pricing.

Fernando Arrojas, general director of the icid, says 5,647 items created by the Institute have been placed in hospitals and polyclinics across the country, 1,948 are in the hands of Cuban internationalist health professionals overseas and that more than 10,000 have been sold during the last five years. Currently the Institute has contracts to produce more than 4,000 items which will be used within the national health network and for export.

The icid has developed a line of devices for cardiology services, prominent among which are the portable electrocardiogram, cardiocid bb, to monitor and analyze heart rhythms, and the excorde, a system for the study of the electrocardiogram patterns of patients engaged in daily activities over a 24 hour period. Improved versions, are in the final testing prior to production. The cardiodef 2, a modern defibrillator-monitor used in resuscitation, and the hipermax, an ambulatory monitor that allows for the medication and recording of a  patient’s blood pressure and heartbeat over the course of 24 hours, are also among the products created.


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles).
Counter-revolutionary plot confirms fraud of Western “democracy” and the vital need to build a dictatorship of the proletariat to implement socialism. But woolly minded revisionism ties workers’ understanding to referendums despite repeated drowning in blood of “democratic change” in Chile, Guatemala, El Salvador etc

Anti-Bolivian conspiracy from Miami

BY NIDIA DIAZ — Special for Granma International

December 2007 — the Bolivian oligarchic entente has just had an emergency meeting in Miami, obviously under the auspices of the Bush regime and the cia, attended by the visible heads of the counterrevolution in that Andean country: the governors of the departments of Santa Cruz, Beni, Cochabamba and Tarija.

Also present was Manual Rocha, former ambassador to La Paz, and none other than ex-president Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada (!) – the same man convicted on corruption charges by his country’s courts—and his former ministers Carlos Sánchez Berzain – also convicted of crimes against the people – and Jaime Aparicio.

This type of encounter, without any doubt, has contributed to clarifying many things and to expose the real intentions of the counterrevolutionary movement in Bolivia that is being fomented by the U.S. government.

The Miami “summit” has revealed to Bolivians, Latin Americans and the entire world the undisguised intentions of those who, desperately seeking the privileges that they have already lost or which are about to disappear, are capable even of provoking the disintegration of the country that is the depository of the glorious traditions of Bolivar and Sucre. To date, neither the tin barons, the rich proprietors of the eastern Media Luna – Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando and Tarija – nor the U.S. embassy in La Paz, have been able to deliver a blow to the revolutionary process led by President Evo Morales, despite many attempts. And despite a ferocious campaign by the enemies of the process who have no reservations about using violence, November has witnessed two events that corroborate the capacity and determination of the people and the Movement Toward Socialism (mas) government to advance their aspirations and dreams: the passing by the Constituent Assembly of the draft of the new Constitution, and the Dignity Pension, via which more than half a million Bolivians over 60 years old will receive an income for life from January 1, 2008.

At a time like the present, it should be noted that both former and neo-colonialists spent five centuries silencing and subjecting the indigenous peoples, described during that whole period by the media, as an instrument of the powerful, as barbaric, non-rational, idle, incapable of taking any other responsibility than that of obeying. To obey and stay silent were the only concessions that the empires of all eras have granted our peoples.

That is why anger is corroding them, and they are advocating violence and murder to maintain their privileges. It is a confrontation that while difficult and not exempt from risks, cannot be put off: that between the decayed structures of a sinking model and a popular and national project seeking to pay the historic social debt to a people who have shed so much blood and to take them to a safe port.

The delaying and obstructionist maneuvers of the Eastern Media Luna oligarchy to make the Constituent Assembly fail or, worse still, not allow it to function are no secret. The issue of where the constitutional capital should be located was nothing more than a ruse to delay the discussion and passing of the constitutional text.

Strikes and the use of force by paramilitary racist groups against the population of Pando, Tarija, Santa Cruz, Beni, Cochabamba and Chuquisaca forced Assembly members – after 12 months, and just days before the expiry of the date envisaged for passing the new articles of the Constitution – to move to a military enclave under the ironclad protection of the people. There, defying the right-wing mob, they left the document ready for popular consultation.

Almost in parallel, Congress passed Law 3791 (Bono Digna) giving a universal, lifetime income to people over 60, the undisputed protagonists of the Bolivians’ long struggle against military dictatorships, neoliberalism, and for social inclusion.

The measure is also the result of the Bolivian state control over the country’s natural resources, which passed into the power of the people to the benefit of social programs in one of the first actions of the mas government, against the US predictions.

In conjunction with US imperialism, the opposition in Bolivia, backed up by its own repressive, bloody and dictatorial force, is thus set on perpetrating acts of violence against the Constituent Assembly in order to prevent, by whatever means, voting on the redrafted constitution in a popular referendum.

Similar actions are planned against the Dignity Pension, whose funding is to come from direct taxes on hydrocarbons, money that, before the revolutionary process, was swelling the coffers of the national oligarchy and the transnationals.

At the same time, they have attributed that radical position to changes to Article Six of the law convening the Constituent Assembly, which empowers its president to organize Congress debates in any of the country’s departments, without depriving Sucre of being its official headquarters.

In the midst of such a bestial onslaught from the right-wing oligarchy, aided and abetted by the U.S. embassy, President Evo Morales, with wisdom and patience, has sent a written invitation to the prefects of the country’s nine departments: La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Tarija, Oruro, Pando, Beni, Chuquisaca and Potosí, for talks at the Quemado Palace. Key aspects of this process are the nationalization of hydrocarbons, a real and profound agrarian reform, and a policy of social justice, together with the defense of regional integration on the basis of solidarity and on an equal footing with Bolivia’s Latin American neighbors.

Elements incited by the racist and oligarchic forces that have held on to power for centuries in Bolivia, now flailing about in the attempt not to perish in this historic moment, are trying to impose violence and chaos. Meanwhile, President Evo Morales is continuing to make every effort to meet the most difficult of all challenges: to successfully take forward, by peaceful means only, the process of social,  economic and democratic transformations that the Bolivian people have tried to reach for centuries.

Everything indicates that the next few weeks will be decisive in the run-up to the results of this battle, to which the dispossessed of Bolivia are once again giving their all. •

January 2008—... it is clear that representatives of the old order, entrenched in the so-called eastern Media Luna, have taken it upon themselves to obstruct the advance of changes.

This affirmation has been evident since the Movement Toward Socialism (mas) administration assumed government power in the country, but particularly in the last few weeks when the opposition governors, perhaps not wanting to risk a recall referendum, took themselves to the Quemado Presidential Palace with the thinly veiled objective of imposing their agenda on talks convened by President Evo Morales.

After beginning amidst great expectations throughout the country, the negotiations have turned into a kind of political Ferris wheel difficult for the government to accept, having at this point made certain concessions in the hope of ending the crisis between the ruling party and the opposition.

These include discussion and a search for consensus in areas such as the redistribution of the Direct Tax on Hydrocarbons (idh), the new constitution, the question of autonomous territories and self-governing statutes - issues which, like that of the location of the national capital some months ago, have been the source of confrontation between the oligarchy and its political and media representatives and the revolutionary process.

The opposition claims that the use of idh income for social programs will mean cuts in funds made available to the country’s departments and will do anything to avoid having to defray the cost of pensions for all Bolivians over the age of 60.

The goal is to disrupt the implementation of this most important and necessary social measure that would benefit one of the most needy sectors of Bolivian society.

The other, no less important issue, is that of the autonomous territories, which carries within it a dangerous Trojan horse, given that the rich and racist opposition proposes that once this status is obtained, the country’s departments which seek it, in places such as Santa Cruz, Pando, Tarija and Benin, would be granted the right to distribute land, control natural resources and monopolize political power.

In other words, they are pursuing secession and the dismembering of the country in order to satisfy their interests and those of the transnational companies they serve, looking to hand Bolivia over to the empire on a silver platter.

The talks have been suspended, given the intransigence of the opposition, despite multiple efforts on the part of President Morales and his government team in search of points of agreement that could serve to loosen the counter-revolution’s Gordian knot.

Nevertheless, according to the vice president, the government is still willing to modify its positions as long as the country’s territorial integrity and, in particular, the social program currently being implemented, are not compromised. If the new proposals being drawn up by an executive technical team are not accepted, the calling of a national recall referendum will be required, so that it is the people who choose between the national program and those proposed locally or regionally.

In the meantime, a new element has been introduced, sure to heat up the Bolivian political scene, the election of Santa Cruz Senator Oscar Ortiz from the opposition political party Social Democratic Power (podemos), as Senate president.

According to some analysts, this implies that the nomination of Ortiz, considered a hard-liner within his party, as president of this body will strengthen demands for autonomy and the attitude of resistance to the central government of the Civic Committee in Santa Cruz and the so-called “Media Luna amplificada” (Beni, Pando, Tarija, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba).

Presidential spokesman Alex Contreras said, “We know that it (the Senate) is controlled by the opposition but we believe that a process has to take place, not in the context of the national government, or of the Senate, but of the Bolivian people.”

There is no doubt that the obstructionist machinations of the right wing against the revolutionary process led by President Evo Morales have indeed affected the pace of the changes undertaken to re-found the country, but they have not prevented the mas government from putting within the people’s hands a social program worth defending, within two years of having come to power.


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