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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 1353 16th July 2009

Huge debate triggered by capitalist Afghanistan defeat and unrolling catastrophic economic disaster (due to return shortly worse than ever), must look for a Leninist revolutionary perspective if giant questions raised are to make sense and the world solve slump-World War disaster

Imperialism’s constant bloody and torturing interventions to maintain its world domination and exploitation are looking sicker than ever as its catastrophic crisis relentlessly rolls forwards again to total collapse and failure.

Far from re-asserting its power, as the Bushite “shock and war” programme intended, imperialism is facing greater difficulties than ever in quelling growing worldwide rebellion abroad, increasing dissent and dismay domestically and a working class being driven by slump burdens back towards struggle.

But it is the world scale of capitalism’s disastrous failings which are causing the upwelling and angst and fears.

The quicksand of insurgency and local resistance which has been sucking in more and more of the West’s military intervention in Afghanistan is beginning to create far more than simple stalemate for renewed imperialist colonialist blitzing, and is looking increasingly like doomed defeat.

Two major stunts to disrupt or even overturn “rogue” anti-imperialist or communist states in Iran and China have come a complete cropper where attempted western provocations to stimulate yet more supposed “peoples revolts” (middle-class opportunism cheered on by the reactionary BBC, Voice of America and assorted Trotskyist fake-“lefts”) have been firmly dealt with by the anti-imperialist or workers state forces of Tehran and Beijing.

Only the blatant reactionary coup in Honduras has had some measure of “success” for the moment, though even there imperialism has had to temporarily distance itself and make token gestures of opposition and even aid cuts for the meantime for fear of deepening the widening left-tending Latin American movement into fullscale revolution, overtaking its populist demagogue leaders to build openly communist revolutionary (Leninist) struggles which really would threaten capitalist ownership.

Even that coup has usefully further exposed the confusions, fed by the political-correctness black nationalism of the fake- “left”, in the notion that “Obama” might make a difference as this bourgeois press account made clear:

But some country’s responses have been more reluctant than others, and Washington’s ambivalence has begun to raise suspicions about what the US government is really trying to accomplish in this situation.

The first statement from the White House in response to the coup was weak and non-committal. It did not denounce the coup but rather called upon “all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter”.

This contrasted with statements from other presidents in the hemisphere, such as Lula da Silva of Brazil and Cristina Fernandez of Argentina, who denounced the coup and called for the re-instatement of (president Manuel) Zelaya. The EU issued a similar, less ambiguous and more immediate response.

Later in the day, as the response of other nations became clear, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton issued a stronger statement that condemned the coup – without calling it a coup. But it still didn’t say anything about Zelaya returning to the presidency.

The Organisation of American States, the Rio Group (most of Latin America) and the UN general assembly have all called for the “immediate and unconditional return” of Zelaya.

The strong stances from the south brought statements from anonymous state department officials that were more supportive of Zelaya’s return. And by Monday afternoon President Barack Obama finally said: “We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the president of Honduras.”

But at a press conference later that day, Clinton was asked whether “restoring the constitutional order” in Honduras meant returning Zelaya himself. She would not say yes.

Why such reluctance? One obvious possibility is that Washington does not share these goals.

The coup leaders have no international support, but they could still succeed by running out the clock – Zelaya has less than six months left in his term. Will the Obama administration support sanctions against the coup government in order to prevent this? The neighbouring governments of Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador have already fired a warning shot by announcing a 48-hour cut-off of trade.

By contrast, one reason for Clinton’s reluctance to call the coup a coup is because the US Foreign Assistance Act prohibits funds going to governments where the head of state has been deposed by a military coup.

There is no excuse for this coup. A constitutional crisis came to a head when Zelaya ordered the military to distribute materials for a non-binding referendum to be held last Sunday. It asked citizens to vote on whether they were in favour of including a proposal for a constituent assembly, to redraft the constitution, on the November ballot. The head of the military, General Romeo Vasquez, refused to carry out the president’s orders. The president, as commander-in-chief of the military, then fired Vasquez, whereupon the defence minister resigned. The supreme court subsequently ruled that the president’s firing of Vasquez was illegal, and the majority of the Congress has gone against Zelaya.

This is a military coup carried out for political purposes.

There are other issues where our government has been oddly silent. Reports of political repression, the closing of TV and radio stations, the detention of journalists, detention and physical abuse of diplomats and what the Committee to Protect Journalists has called a “media blackout” have yet to draw a serious rebuke from Washington.

Many press reports have contrasted the Obama administration’s rejection of the Honduran coup with the Bush administration’s initial support for the 2002 military coup that briefly overthrew President Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. But actually there are more similarities than differences.

Within a day, the Bush administration reversed its official position, because the rest of the hemisphere had announced that it would not recognise the coup government. Similarly, in this case, the Obama administration is following the rest of the hemisphere, trying not to be the odd man out but not really sharing their commitment to democracy.

Some months after the Venezuelan coup the state department admitted that it had given financial and other support “to individuals and organisations understood to be actively involved in the brief ouster of the Chávez government.”

In the Honduran coup, the Obama administration claims that it tried to discourage the Honduran military from taking this action. It would be interesting to know what these discussions were like.

The battle between Zelaya and his opponents pits a reform president who is supported by labour unions and social organisations against a mafia-like, drug-ridden, corrupt political elite who is accustomed to choosing not only the supreme court and the Congress, but also the president. It is a recurrent story in Latin America, and the US has almost always sided with the elites.

In this case, Washington has a very close relationship with the Honduran military, which goes back decades. During the 1980s, the US used bases in Honduras to train and arm the Contras, Nicaraguan paramilitaries who became known for their atrocities in their war against the Sandinista government in neighbouring Nicaragua.

The Honduras hypocrisy has been kept well of the front pages unlike the stunted up “democracy” disruptions in China, Zimbabwe, Iran etc etc trying to confuse the enormous debate in intellectual and middle class circles at the very fundamentals of “markets”, “parliament” and “security” being triggered by the world defeat and the simultaneous catastrophic meltdown of the finance, banking, trade and industrial systems of monopoly capitalism (only temporarily held off by printing money like there is no tomorrow (which there is not, for capitalism)).

When even the Pope is issuing “encyclicals” challenging the very basis of the profit system and calling for a radical overhaul, the times are becoming interesting indeed.

Of course the moralising of the Catholic Church, one of the most active reactionary forces on the planet (spending hundreds of millions funding the anti-communist Solidarnosc “trade union” fraud to help push Moscow revisionism into its final capitulation to “market forces” for example) is designed not to clarify the debate but muddy the waters, heading a raw potential revolutionary energy off into yet more reformism and fanciful unworkable “constraints on the system”.

Such establishment interest in fraudulent reformist “change” only ever emerges when the pressure from below is growing dangerous and needs diverting, and is designed only to head it off.

Such too is the sudden interest of the imperialist mouthpiece par excellence, the “state run” BBC, devoting its prestigious Reith lectures to calls for “radical change” as further discussed by the petty bourgeoisie:

“It’s the end of the era of market triumphalism,” declared the American political philosopher Michael Sandel in his recent Reith Lectures. The certainties that have dominated the last quarter of a century – that the market knew best, achieved efficiency and produced wealth – have collapsed. Few would disagree with him, but the clarity of that conclusion is matched by the confusion about what comes next. In his last Reith lecture, on Tuesday, Sandel will call for a remoralisation of politics – that we must correct a generation of abdication to the market of all measures of value. Most political questions are at their core moral or spiritual, Sandel declares, they are about our vision of the common good; bring religion and other value systems back into the public sphere for a civic renewal. His audience will probably wince with horror.

Sandel’s prescriptions will deeply divide – but few would dispute his call for civic renewal. The problem is a near sense of desperation as to how this is to come about, as current prescriptions offered by all political parties are emptied of meaning and credibility....

The sense of the end of an era is even more pressing in the UK than in Sandel’s America because it has coincided with the final discrediting of a form of professionalised, careerist politics. But to general bewilderment, even twin crises of this magnitude are not prompting political engagement; the paradox is that they may generate anger but are not generating action. The possibility of change – of radically reforming the institutions that have so betrayed trust – is slipping between our fingers. Bankers resume banking their bonuses, politicians revert to party rivalries to elect a Speaker unlikely to command the crossbench support necessary for reform. And we are left pondering what it is that brings about change – crises are not enough, outrage is not enough.

There is one school of thought which claims that it’s best to forget Westminster, given its miserable failures to regulate itself or the City. Political parties are charades operating antediluvian parliamentary systems; the best chance of renewal is in the myriad of community organising across the country. It’s become almost de rigueur to genuflect at the potential of the grassroots. The argument runs that this will gather strength and organisational capacity, and eventually feed back a reformed politics to the centre.

...The documentary film-maker Adam Curtis takes another perspective and is using a radical form of experimental theatre to enable people to grasp the argument intellectually, and to feel it emotionally. He argues that we need to interrogate much more closely what he describes as the current “moment of stagnation”, our incapacity to bring about political change. What is paralysing the collective will? ..What continues to fascinate Curtis – as aficionados of his television series such as The Century of the Self and The Trap will recognise – is the dominance of individualism...

“What we have is a cacophony of individual narratives, everyone wants to be the author of their own lives, no one wants to be relegated to a part in a bigger story; everyone wants to give their opinion, no one wants to listen. It’s enchanting, it’s liberating, but ultimately it’s disempowering because you need a collective, not individual, narrative to achieve change,” explains Curtis.

His analysis is that power uses stories which shape our understanding of the world and of who we are, and how we make sense and order experience. Powerful, grand narratives legitimise power, win our allegiance and frame our private understandings of how to measure value and create meaning. They also structure time – they fit the present into a continuum of how the past will become the future. This is what all the grand narratives of communism, socialism, even neoliberalism and fascism offered; as did the grand narratives of religion. Now, all have foundered and fragmented into a mosaic of millions of personal stories. It is a Tower of Babel in which we have lost the capacity to generate the common narratives – of idealism, morality and hope such as Sandel talks about – that might bring about civic renewal and a reinvigorated political purpose.

Curtis argues that we are still enchanted by the possibilities of our personal narratives although they leave us isolated, disconnected, and at their worst, they are simply solipsistic performances desperate for an audience. But we are in a bizarre hiatus because the economic systems that sustained and amplified this model of individualism have collapsed. It was cheap credit and a housing boom that made possible the private pursuit of experience, self-expression and self-gratification as the content of a good life. As this disintegrates and youth unemployment soars, this good life will be a cruel myth.

... But Sandel’s call for remoralisation seems only to expose how bare the cupboard is – what would it look like? What reserves of moral imagination could it draw on for a shared vision, given that the old shared moral narratives such as religious belief and political ideology have so little traction?

A new grand narrative will emerge, Curtis believes, admitting he is an optimist. But perhaps there is another aspect to our predicament. That the new grand narrative has already emerged and it is one of environmental catastrophe. Perhaps this reinforces the sense of political paralysis. That the only grand narrative on offer is so terrifying – of a world rapidly running out of the natural resources required to sustain extravagant lifestyles and burgeoning population – that it disables rather than empowers us to achieve political change. Terrified, we retreat into private stories of transformation – cosmetic surgery, makeovers of home and person – because we see no collective story of transformation we can believe in.

Every other modern narrative – communism, socialism, even those that were destructive, such as neoliberalism and fascism – laid claim to a version of the kingdom of God, a better world that would nurture a better human being. They were all narratives of redemption and salvation. All that we have now is apocalypse, and it is paralysing. How then can we build hope?

Or to put things more vigorously:

It’s all gone wrong. Our belief in everything has been shattered by a series of shock revelations that have shaken our core to its core. You can’t move for toppling institutions. Television, the economy, the police, the House of Commons, and, most recently, the press ... all revealed to be jam-packed with liars and bastards and graspers and bullies and turds.

And we knew. We knew. But we were deep in denial, like a cuckolded partner who knows the sorry truth but tries their best to ignore it. Over the last 18 months the spotlight of truth has swung this way and that, and one institution after another was suddenly exposed as being precisely as rotten as we always thought it was. What’s that? Phone-in TV quizzes might a bit of con? The economic boom is an unsustainable fantasy? Riot police can be a little “handy”? MPs are greedy? The News of the World might have used underhand tactics to get a story? What next? Oxygen is flavourless? Cows stink at water polo? Children are overrated? We knew all this stuff. We just didn’t have the details.

...the spotlight of truth is, for now, pointing at the press.

But this is just one small part of the ongoing, almighty detox of everything. There’s been such an immense purge, such an exhaustive ethical audit, no one’s come out clean. There’s muck round every arse. But if the media’s rotten and the government’s rotten and the police are rotten and the city’s rotten and the church is rotten - if life as we know it really is fundamentally rotten - what the hell is there left to believe in? Alton Towers? Greggs the bakers? The WI?

As the very fabric of life breaks down around us, even language itself seems unreliable. These words don’t make sense. The vowels and consonants you’re hearing in your mind’s ear right now are being generated by mere squiggles on a page or screen. Pointless hieroglyphics. Shapes. You’re staring at shapes and hearing them in your head. When you see the word “trust”, can you even trust that? Why? It’s just shapes!

Right now all our faith has poured out of the old institutions, and there’s nowhere left to put it. We need new institutions to believe in, and fast. Doesn’t matter what they’re made of. Knit them out of string, wool, anything. Quickly, quickly. Before we start worshipping insects.

The critical question not being discussed in this despairing and nihilistic welter of questions, fears and doubts about the basic assumptions of more and more obviously corrupt and fraudulent “parliamentary democracy”, the “need for complete overhaul” of the shattered finance and banking system, or restructuring of the state as ever more shocking revelations emerge about Catholic child abuse scandals, violent murderous policing, war-crime levels of rampaging mistreatment and military bullying across the planet or grotesque nazi-torture routine practices by the “security services” (capitalist secret police) – all cynically lied and denied by Labourite politicians – is the most basic one, namely the need for communism.

The kind of full-scale root-and-branch rebuilding of societal and economic structures being demanded (or postured about) by various pundits, economists and experts as the only way to solve the “mess we have got into” is neither realistic nor achievable for as long as capitalism continues to impose its relentless and ruthless demand for ever greater profits – as it is demonstrating with its rapid in-your-face return to profiteering and greed driven (bailed out) bank “bonuses” even as the world teeters towards disaster.

Exactly what Bunting in the first piece above calls a “narrative”, in the jargon-talk all the petty bourgeois so love, is what is needed – in other words a perspective and precisely the one that she airily dismisses, the scientific revolutionary communist understanding which grasps the unfolding class nature of historical development and the contradictions built in to exploitational society which are bringing it to terrifying World War blitzing destructive breakdown.

Only this can guide and lead the inevitably rising struggle.

All other “theories” are evasions or looking at most only at partial problems, including the destruction of the environment, global warming, waste, world starvation, fatuous shallow consumerist pointlessness of existence, the destruction of world ecology etc etc which are unsolvable until the basic twisted alienation and cynical exploitation of capitalism is overturned for good.

In fact the willingness of the capitalists themselves to look for “solutions” to such questions and pump out films and propaganda like the well-funded Al Gore film, is obvious enough warning they are distractions and cover-ups.

Anything will do to fill the news bulletins and hide and excuse the fundamental cause of all the difficulties facing humanity, capitalism itself, – like the “swine flu” pandemic already being blamed in advance (!) for the “possible economic failure” it might cause, as if there was not the crisis collapse already unravelling and heading inexorably for world war.

In the middle of all this constant diversion, finding and building such a revolutionary perspective has not been helped by the retreats of “communism” itself from revolutionary grasp, or to be precise its revisionist leadership in Stalin’s Moscow first of all and increasingly across the planet. Sorting out how that philosophical degeneration into soft-headed capitulation to “peaceful roads” so thoroughly corrupted and then tragically discredited Marxism is a crucial part of re-building the Leninist understanding that will be central to the working class taking matters into its own hands eventually and ending capitalism for good, to build planned internationally cooperative socialist production under the dictatorship of the majority proletarian class.

Polemics and discussion are constantly evaded by the revisionists including the supposed hard-men of the Museum Stalinist groups, demonstrating thereby their philosophical cowardice and opportunism, part of the problem facing mankind not its solution.

But the giant questions now emerging in this ferment will not go away and the increasing mismatch with the real disasters facing ordinary people and the working class will help expose the falsity and posturing of all the fake-“lefts”.

The debate can only grow driven by defeat for imperialism.

The rolling military disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan are compounding the huge historic tangles of a capitalist system which is increasingly out of time and capable of delivering only slump collapse and war to the whole planet.

The sense of a fullscale disaster as the entire “AfPak” region totters on the edge of disaster is now everywhere, shattering the confidence of a ruling class which is already reeling from the break into the open of the long brewing – (and long-predicted by the lone voice of Leninist Marxism) – catastrophic failure of its economic system, only temporarily staved off by demented dollar printing.

Complete failure already in Iraq, where nothing useful has been achieved except pointless and barbaric chaotic destruction, – even measured by the nonsensical terms of the hyped-up “war on terror” used to replace the rapidly discredited lies of “the world being 45 minutes away from WMD armageddon” which began the war, or the subsequent, hastily dreamed up, “bringing democracy and freedom” to “regime change” the Saddam dictatorship (installed by the West in the first place), – has already brought down the Blair Government and destroyed neocon George W Bush presidency in the overwhelmingly dominant US imperialist power, leaving the “politically correct” Obama Democrats to pick up the pieces and extricate US imperialism as best it can.

Now the ever increasing mess in Afghanistan is more and more being likened to the disastrous defeat of Vietnam where massive imperialist forces were unable to deal with the determination and sacrifice of the barefoot communist struggle.

But despite the seeming weirdness of the local cultural forms of leadership this time, which have none of the revolutionary Marxist clarity (yet) which informed and guided the heroic Vietnamese fight, and are hamstrung with backward and mystic notions, the growing Third World resistance is even more significant than in the 1960s and 1970s.

For all its fears of “domino” communist takeovers, imperialism was then still in the driving seat on a world scale and fighting to make sure the world revolution was made so costly in human destruction that it could maintain the “balance” of force on the planet with the workers states, and head off any notions Moscow (and Beijing etc) might have had of extending revolutionary anti-imperialist struggle too far (which retreatist, non-revolutionary revisionism was all too ready to go along with, fed by its cretinous illusions in parliamentary democracy and/or “permanent peaceful coexistence” “containing” imperialism and finally overcoming it by superior economic, cultural and scientific growth).

But the world has moved on and the capitalist crisis has ripened and rotted to the point of complete collapse, utterly undermining the entire structure of monopoly capitalism domination on the planet, its production stifled with ever accumulating surplus profits which become increasingly impossible to convert into new capital investable at a profit (the fundamental destructive contradiction of capitalism teased open and explained in detail by Karl Marx 150 years ago– see page 6).

The hostility and hatred of the great exploited masses of the planet to further tyrannical poverty exploitation – the sweated foundation of western consumerist prosperity, glitz and “success” – has grown, as inevitably they are educated by capitalism itself which needs them to labour for its ever more complex production but takes all they achieve and produce away as the “right of capital”.

The masses now are not the cowed primitives of former colonialist epochs but increasingly sophisticated and aware of the state of poverty and ignorance they are kept in by imperialist exploitation, and ever more angry and hate-filled at the system which suppresses them.

Combined with its own devastating internal crisis collapse and economic disaster, the root cause of all its problems, the very survival of capitalism is more and more at stake, and most of all the unparalleled wealth and power dominance of the US which has given notice to the planet that it intends to take the fascist aggressive lead (formerly allotted to German Nazi imperialism) to suppress all challenges to its influence and control as the most in all history unfolds.

The cunning of the ruling class and its historical experience long ago understood that the world was heading once again for a mighty showdown between the great monopoly bloc rivals to sort out who was to survive in the welter of trade war and outright blitzkrieg destruction which is the only means capitalist imperialism has ever found to “unblock the drains” of its clogged up system, in an orgy of destruction and chaos, of World War.

Stepping in, first of all, to take over the European imperialist skulduggery which was breaking up former communist Yugoslavia and escalate the warmongering, it has set a path intended to impress its major imperialist rivals (Germany led Europe, Japan, new contenders like Brazil) and the capitalist economic development (though under workers state control) in China, with its ruthlessness, while simultaneously “shock and awe”-ing the world into compliance by ruthless suppression of “rogue states” and “terrorism” as it christens Third World insurgency.

The Afghanistan blitzing and subsequent Iraq war were not mainly “grabs for oil” or “greedy extensions of imperialist plundering and power” but deliberate war destruction cynically initiated to set the world up once more for the blitzkrieging and torture which is the underlying reality of all capitalist rule and most of all in its slump collapse. Strategic mineral grabs are secondary aspects of a deliberate war policy to cover up and distract from the slump collapse disaster which alone is causing the mayhem and chaos increasingly affecting the entire planet.

Obama has continued escalating the AfPak intervention because imperialism continues to need war.

But the mass struggles of the planet are only going to grow in sophistication – joined soon enough by the working class in the most advanced countries facing desperate problems as slumps cuts and unemployment unstoppably escalate.

Renewed union fights to battle against speed-up and pension thefts etc are already breaking out. But while some can hold the line the capitalist crisis is unstoppable and soon will hit the wall again.

The working class will be driven to seek much greater solutions if it is to survive as a fearful ruling class is aware, witness David Cameron’s recent warnings of “riots in the streets”.

That solution can only be revolution guided by a Leninist perspective which needs building now.

Steven Tudy

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

Press release from the International Committee to Free the Five


The U.S. Supreme Court of Justice has announced that it will not review the case of the five Cuban patriots. This decision prevents our five brothers, unjustly incarcerated for more than 10 years for monitoring terrorist organizations based in Miami, from having even the possibility of a fair and impartial trial outside of Miami.

The same justice system that is denying the possibility of reviewing the case of our five brothers, has granted the defense team of international terrorist Luis Posada Carriles a further year of grace to enable it to better prepare the case. It is the same system that has left unpunished dozens of criminal organizations based in Miami. The same system that has failed to investigate one claim brought against those perpetrating attempts on the lives of our peoples.

It is the same system that has ignored the ruling of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, which declared the imprisonment of the Five arbitrary and illegal. With this decision, it is making a mockery not only of their defense lawyers’ appeal, but also the universal demand of the 10 Nobel Prize winners, dozens of jurists, parliamentarians and organizations from all over the world who expressed in 12 “Friends of the Court” documents the need to review a case plagued with violations since the very moment of the Five’s arrest.

It comes as no surprise to us from a system that allowed the legalization of the most atrocious torture and which accepts with impunity the fact that, while five innocents are unjustly imprisoned, criminals like Posada, Bosch, Basulto or Frómeta - among many others - are at liberty in Miami.

This day will remain marked on our calendars as the day of shame of the U.S. judicial system and that of the inaction of the Obama government in the face of terrorist groups that are holding justice to ransom.

It will also be marked as the beginning of the new resistance that from this moment will make itself felt throughout the world until we achieve the freedom of Gerardo, Ramón, René, Antonio and Fernando.

We will no longer wait to hold an International Solidarity Event marking another year of their arrest. It will be expressed in the thousand ways in which we the peoples know how to transform pain and indignation into struggle, on the streets outside U.S. embassies, in the universities, in parliaments, in churches, with our modest resources and modest means, but with all the strength that truth and the right give us Because we are convinced that, as Gerardo said on hearing the news, “while there is one person fighting on the outside, we will continue resisting until justice is done.” This International Solidarity Event to Free the Five begins today and will be extended every day of our lives until they return home free to their homeland.

We call on our friends in the world to more than ever demand of the government of Obama that it end this colossal injustice and order the immediate liberation of the Five. •

Statement from the President’s Office of the National Assembly

THE U.S. Supreme Court today announced, without any further explanation, its decision not to review the case of our Five companeros unjustly incarcerated in that country for fighting anti-Cuban terrorism sponsored by U.S. governments. The judges did what the Obama administration asked them to do.

In spite of the sound arguments put forward by the defense lawyers in response to the evident and multiple legal violations committed during the entire proceedings, and ignoring the universal backing for this petition expressed in an unprecedented total of “Friends of the Court” documents - among them 10 Nobel Prize winners, hundreds of parliamentarians, many international and U.S. jurists’ organizations and eminent political and academic figures, the Supreme Court rejected the case, ignoring the demand of humanity and its obligation to do justice.

Once again the arbitrariness of a corrupt and hypocritical system and its mercilessness toward our five brothers has been exposed.

Our fight to attain their liberation will not diminish for one second.

Now is the time to reinforce our actions, without leaving one sole space to be covered or a single door on which to knock.

We are sure that Gerardo [Hernández], Ramón [Labañino], Antonio [Guerrero], René [González] and Fernando [González] will continue leading this battle as they have done for the last close to 11 years.

Responding to the infamous decision, Gerardo Hernández Nordelo stated: “On the basis of our experience, the Supreme Court decision does not surprise me. I have no confidence at all in the U.S. justice system. It is now totally clear that our case has been a political case from the beginning, because not only did we have all the necessary legal arguments for the Court to review it, we but also had the growing international support reflected in the amicus briefs presented to the Court in our favor. I reiterate what I said 12 months ago, on June 4, 2008, that while there is one person fighting on the outside, we will continue resisting until justice is done.” The struggle must be multiplied to the point of forcing the U.S. government to end this monstrous injustice and restore their freedom to Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando and René.

President’s Office of the National Assembly of People’s Power June 15, 2009 •

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

Posada: trial in February, conspiracy confirmed

The El Paso, Texas Court has agreed to postpone the trial of international terrorist Luis Posada Carriles until February 1, 2010, which confirms all analyses pointing to mafia-style delay tactics and evidences complacency on the part of the judge in this judicial case.

On the pretext of allowing the lawyers of the mastermind of the Barbados crime more time to prepare their case, Judge Kathleen Cardone completely accepted the Mafiosi defense lawyers’ arguments.

Cardone is the judge who absolved the former CIA agent on a first occasion and who subsequently granted his release on bail on April 14.

That last release conditioned his freedom to remaining under house arrest until the trial, with an electronic bracelet around his ankle, and orders not to leave his residence - determined by his accomplices and kept secret - except for visiting his lawyers or his doctor.

Posada has violated this court order several times, including repeated visits to the Miami office of the Alpha 66 terrorist organization, without any intervention whatsoever on the part of federal police or the FBI, always apathetic concerning terrorism against Cuba.

Posada who, in addition to sabotaging a Cuban passenger plane off the Barbados coast, also tortured and killed in Venezuela where he was chief of the death squads in charge of eliminating the opposition for over a decade, is to be prosecuted “on charges of fraud and perjury in relation to the procedures he undertook to gain U.S. citizenship,” AP informed.

Posada Carriles, aged 81, is also accused “of having lied about his participation in the attacks on a series of hotels in Havana in 1997,” the agency specified.

This last charge of perjury is the first brought by the District Attorney’s Office connecting him to acts of terrorism perpetrated during all the years that the international criminal has lived in the United States, a country that he has always served.

Since then, Venezuela has called in vain since for Posada’s extradition. He escaped from that country after facing trial as the mastermind of the 1976 sabotage of a Cubana de Aviación aircraft in which 73 people died.

Six hours of interviews granted to journalist Ann Louise Bardach and published in The New York Times, in which Posada admitted to having planned the attacks on tourist facilities in Havana in 1997, resulting in the death of Italian-Canadian Fabio Di Celmo, will be presented as evidence in the trial, if it ever takes place.

For many observers, the strategy of the federal district attorneys - headed by John W. Van Lonkhuyzen of the Counter-terrorism Section of the U.S. Justice Department (now under the leadership of Eric Holder) - essentially aims to delay proceedings in order to impede Posada’s extradition.

Additional confirmation of that theory was presented when the U.S. Attorney’s Office asked the same court in Texas to impose an order to avoid third parties, beginning with the press, from having access to “sensitive” information that could be presented in the case.

During the passing of the years of his participation in the CIA dirty war in Latin America, Posada has actively participated in or known about endless illegal activities including those related to the trafficking of drugs and arms smuggling.

For many years, he has also been a security advisor for various governments in Central America, a region in which he is repeatedly accused of maintaining a terrorist network with the aim of engaging in criminal acts, including the assassination of leaders of progressive countries on the continent.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has specifically accused Posada of having organized an attack on his person, without U.S. police or judicial authorities taking any kind of action. •

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

Bolivian separatists hiring international mercenaries

by Nidia Diaz

Some might find it incredible for a group of international mercenaries to appear in Bolivia with the express purpose of using terrorism to achieve the secession of Santa Cruz and its subsequent declaration as a new state, thus tearing apart the national unity of that Andean nation.

Those of us who have been closely following events in that sister nation since President Evo Morales took power — in January 2006 after an unprecedented popular victory — perceive that situation as the desperate expression of opposition forces who have been unable to overcome the strength of a national liberation process led by an indigenous individual for the first time in the history of the Americas. This is despite maneuvers of all types to block that process, with the support of the U.S. government via its embassy in La Paz.

The Bolivian leader has advanced from victory to victory on the shoulders of the people. He won his most recent battle surrounded by thousands of followers, after demanding, from the ethical height of a hunger strike, congressional approval of the Electoral Transition Law, the inevitable path to the implementation of the country’s new Constitution, ratified by 62% of the vote in a popular referendum that took place last January. The legislature had 60 days to pass the transition law.

Obstacles, ruses and delays have been the constant weapons used by the enemies of the process to prevent that advance from being made through legal channels. The approval of the new Constitution was a mortal blow to the economic interests of Bolivia’s pro-secession right-wing forces. The so-called 100 Clans of the Media Luna region cannot stand by and watch the spirit and the letter of the new Constitution become reality without the earth trembling beneath them. The same earth to which they are clinging tooth and nail, and to which, by the majority decision of the people, their ownership claims have been limited to a maximum of 5,000 hectares, something they are not willing to accept.

They know that thus far they have had the complicity of the U.S. government, along with material and media support. Maybe the new administration has not sent signals, and they are worried. Their fortunes, illicitly gained in most cases, are nevertheless sufficient to finance more conspiratorial, subversive actions, to the extent of presidential assassination, in order to end the process of change and bury “the Indian,” as they disparagingly refer to him, and whose mere presence in the Quemado Palace defies their colonial and racist attitudes.

Even today, one can read statements by government opponents and certain international political figures who adhere to the hegemonic interests of the continental extreme right, expressing doubts as to the veracity of the Bolivian government’s revelations regarding the actions of a mercenary group whose ringleader, Eduardo Rózsa Flores, was shot dead in a clash with the national police.

How can that be doubted when, on April 21, 2009, Hungarian television broadcast an interview given last September by the now-deceased Rózsa Flores, in which he claimed: “We are prepared to declare the independence of Santa Cruz in a few months and create a new country.”

Son of a Croatian father and Bolivian mother, the ringleader was responsible for recruiting the rest of the mercenaries in Hungary, including Romanian Magyarosi Arpak and Irishman Michael Dwyer. The latter two were killed on April 16 at the Hotel Las Americas along with Rózsa Flores, resisting a police operation. Two other individuals were arrested, and a sixth escaped.

In the above mentioned TV interview, echoed by other European media, Rózsa Flores added: The (Bolivian) organizers will provide the financing and the weapons will be obtained outside the law. I will enter Bolivia from Brazil to organize a militia based on the decision of Santa Cruz. If the government does not permit the autonomy of Santa Cruz, then Santa Cruz is ready to separate from Bolivia.”

The police operation came in the wake of a dynamite explosion at the residence of Bolivian Cardinal Julio Terrazas, as a consequence of which a large haul of weapons and explosives were found in dumps in Santa Cruz, including several cylinders of the deadly C-4.

There are many details to be followed up, and the Bolivian government is involved in investigations to clarify the facts and uncover the real perpetrators, plus those responsible for bringing mercenary terrorist bands into the country with the none-too-hidden purpose of beheading Bolivia’s revolutionary process and bringing it to an end.

Once again, the revelations concerning presidential assassination plots in Bolivia have been confirmed as founded. However, for the pro-separatist, racist and terrorist extreme right, time is running out. General elections are scheduled for December 6 this year and President Evo Morales continues to enjoy an extremely high level of popularity. Aborting those elections is the stale dream of the opposition governors, the so-called civic committees that support them and the continental political ultra-right, which watches ... as a new era approaches. [3rd May 2009 Granma International

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles).
A frontline report from Palestine’s Gaza Strip

White phosphorous bombs - a legacy of suffering

by Yousef Al-Helou in Gaza City

DURING Israel’s three-week long offensive on Gaza launched on 27 December, the Israeli Army used internationally-banned weapons according to foreign military and medical experts. American-made white phosphorus shells were used in populated areas across the Gaza Strip, home to about 1.5 million people.

Dr Nafez Abu Shaban, head of the Burns Unit at Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest medical centre, has treated dozens of patients who suffered severe burns. He is keeping a piece of phosphorus covered under sand in a jar to prevent it from being exposed to oxygen.

“Of course, at the beginning of the war, we thought they were normal burns,” Dr Shaban says, “but then patients came back to the hospital suffering from severe pain, and some patients even died. Patients who suffer from 15 per cent surface burns should not die, so we started to ask why.

“Some of the doctors who came to Gaza to help us seemed to have experienced these burns as a result of the use of white phosphorous bombs.”

More than three months have passed since Israel ended its war but it has left legacies of suffering and sad memories. Life has returned to normality for many people but Sabah Abu Halima, who was burnt from head to toe and lost her husband and four children, is still in pain. She has weekly physiotherapy at Shifa Hospital.

We visited her at her house in the northern Gaza Strip town of Seyafa, about 1km from the Strip’s northern border with Israel.

She showed us around her house which was burned as a result of white phosphorous shell that fell on her family’s 16 members through the roof

“We had a happy home,” she tells us. “I lived in this house in security with my husband and children. I was the happiest person in the world but all of that changed when, on 4 January, the Israeli Army entered our village and fired two phosphorous shells that penetrated our roof and burnt us while we were having our lunch. The fire was like lava. My family were burnt and their bodies turned to crisps.”

The mournful mother, who is still unable to walk or talk properly, said the house was completely engulfed in flames but she found a photo of her youngest daughter, Shahad, who was only 15 months old. I asked her to comment on the writing which was left on the wall of her bedroom that reads: “From the Israeli Defence Force, we are sorry!” She says: “I demand the whole world and international human rights organisations to sue the killers of my family. They killed so many innocent people who tried to rescue us.

“What was the guilt of my children and my baby Shahad? Their sorry will not bring back my family. I’m still physiologically and mentally in pain. I can’t even pick up a cup of tea now. My life will never be die same.” She has tears in her eyes.

Some Israeli soldiers have admitted they killed civilians under the so-called rules of engagement. Acts of vandalism, violating medical ethics, using civilians as human shields and indiscriminate killing was obvious through use of lethal force.

The use of internationally-banned weapons by Israeli forces will leave many with long-term illnesses and it is believed that the area will remain contaminated, putting locals at risk of contracting sickness.

Dr Shaban wants the international community to put pressure on Israel to tell the truth.

“We need to know to know if uranium was used. Were others banned weapons used? We need to know the long-term implications. Will these weapons cause cancer?

“It’s the duty of the international community to investigate this matter. Now we hear many people are still afraid to eat vegetables planted in areas where phosphorous was used because it might be contaminated with radiation.”

The war has changed the lives of many people like Sabah and left a story in every house in besieged Gaza. More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed, most of them civilians, including 313 children. About 5,500 were injured.

Sabah’s tragedy is one of many documented by many international lawyers and fact-finding missions but whether those behind these crimes will be brought to justice remains to be seen.

[9 April 2009 An Phoblacht]

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

Indigenous Peruvians rebel against FTA

THE bullets were fired on them with anger and soon they were shocked at their own warm blood leaving their bodies. Three indigenous Peruvians opposed to the invasion of their territories felt lead fired by the Peruvian National Police’s Special Operations Unit.

The crime of the ethnic Awajún and Wampi, according to the website, was their occupation of the Corral Quemado Bridge in the Amazonian area of Peru, an action taken to defend territories that the government-wishes to hand over to large oil companies. Seven people were also arrested and several are missing.

The cause of the rebellion in the tropical forests is simple. The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed with the United States resulted in the Peruvian authorities approving a series of anti-constitutional decrees that eliminated a number of territorial and environmental protections that gave certain security to indigenous communities.

The pieces of legislation rejected by the indigenous people are the new Forestry and Woodland Fauna Act and the Water Resources Act, because they believe that these militate against their property rights and control over their own natural resources. The consequence will be deforestation, a decrease in biodiversity, and the depredation of nature.

They are also demanding a constitutional reform to reestablish the unalienable and inviolate nature of their territories.

Given that the implementation of the FTA with the United States demands freedom of movement for capital, the different ethnic communities are the ones paying for the consequences of governmental complacency.

The government soon came up against the fact that the real owners of the tropical forests were not prepared to give up more than they had already conceded during more than 500 years of conquest by the Spanish, the oligarchies or the transnational corporations.

On May 9, President Alan García decreed a state of emergency for 60 days in the area of conflict with the resulting outcome of dozens of indigenous Peruvians wounded by police teargas bombs and firearms.

No police officers were hurt. Nobody fired on them, because the Inter-ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (AIDSEP) is promoting peaceful protests.

The plan to implement the FTA with the United States at all costs has exacerbated the situation.

Roger Nájar, president of Congressional Commission on Andean, Amazonian, and African-Peruvian Peoples, the Environment and Ecology, informed La Primera newspaper that the repressive forces also attacked indigenous Asháninkas in the district of Sepahua, Atalaya province (Ucayali Department), leaving 20 members of that community under arrest and 13 injured.

Congressman Nájar also stated that “our commission is to send a delegation to the areas where there has been aggression against the native populations by the Navy and Armed Forces.”

The AIDSEP specifically condemned the Navy river boat that charged fragile indigenous vessels on the Napo River, close to the border with Ecuador.

Given the conflict situation in the Amazon, the Congress plenary session was forced to approve a resolution “recommending the repeal of the group of the legislation infringing the rights of the Amazonian communities.

But it is trying to lay a trap. The Constitutional Commission has been asked to prepare “a report” within 15 days as to the constitutionality of the decrees, something that was already clear.

The original report stated that the Constitutional Commission should rule on the repeal of the legal articles in controversy, so is it that it now saying that it should provide a “rapid evaluation?”

There were warnings from the outset that the decrees “violated” obligations agreed with the International Labor Organization, but the terms of the legislation were fudged so that now they are not in line with those of the ILO.

“Instead of protecting national integrity,” AIDSEP revealed, “the navy protected the transnational,” with an operation that destroyed and sank various boats and canoes tied together in order to prevent access to vessels from the French oil tanker Perenco, which is operating in the area.

Alberto Pizango, president of AIDSEP, has accused Defense Minister Antero Flores Aráoz, in charge of the 5th Navel Zone Unit based in lquitos, the principal city in the Peruvian Amazon, of having ordered the act of violence.

Priests at the Santa Clotilde Mission, capital of the Loretano district of Napo, refuted affirmations of a “pacific army operation” and stated that the breaking of the blockade was undertaken in an irregular fashion, because no federal attorneys, police, or authorities were present.

Even bishops working in the Amazon have declared their solidarity with the claims of the indigenous inhabitants. They affirm that they understand the desperation of the indigenous populations facing the “pretension to utilize, in an inhuman and cruel manner, the possessions of the Amazonian people.”

They added that the indigenous communities do not have, “in their own country, the legal protection necessary to defend their just claims,” which condemns them to being uprooted from their land or to abandon them to search of paid work.

According to the AIDSEP declaration, the indigenous populations are asking for their own integral development on lands that they have occupied and used for generations and that the state has not taken into the consideration the right of these people to be heard, as the constitution stipulates.

Finally, all the voices made themselves heard and the Congress Constitution Commission has repealed the Forestry and Woodland Fauna Act. AIDSEP representatives and the government are holding talks and the turn that events will take if the official authorities insist on handing over the tropical forests to the transnationals remains to be seen. •


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

An American dream sleeping in a tent

by Deisy Francis Mexidor

Granma International

A television show opened up Pandora’s Box. In the richest country in the world, there is poverty. Even extreme poverty. The tent-cities reveal the hidden face of the system and stand as a sad symbol of times of recession and crisis in the United States. The Mexican El Universal newspaper illustrated it like this: “Just a little while ago they were middle-class workers who lived in houses with gardens, but the recession has pushed thousands of U.S. families to the unimaginable: living in tents, storage rooms or cheap road-side motels.

“In Sacramento, capital of the state of California and one of the areas in the country where the real estate crisis has hit with the greatest force, an encampment for the homeless currently houses hundreds of people and is growing at the rate of 50 new residents every day,” the newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, The New York Times stated. “While encampments and street living have always been a part of the landscape in big cities like Los Angeles and New York, these new tent cities have taken root — or grown from smaller enclaves of the homeless as more people lose jobs and housing — in such disparate places as Nashville, Olympia, Wash., and St. Petersburg, Fla.” In the Californian city of Fresno, this phenomenon has increased with the greatest speed in recent times.

For Joel John Roberts, director of Path Partners, an organization that assists the unemployed, the situation is terrible. “Today you see an open field and the next morning you find hundreds of families installed in tents,” he stated

Images as widespread as these have not been seen in the United States since the Great Depression that began in 1929 when the crisis uncovered the poverty of the empire. Today history is repeating itself. The debacle isn’t only falling on Wall Street executives. Eviction, the mortgage crisis, and the exhaustion of their savings are affecting millions of U.S. households. In the current situation, people who have lost everything are doing whatever they can to put, at the very least, a roof over their heads.

The U.S. Congressional Budget Office admitted that 28 million U.S. citizens are on welfare because they do not have anything to eat.

Meanwhile, a study by the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCFH) states that approximately 3.5 million U.S. citizens have experienced situations of poverty at least once a year in a dozen U.S. states, a tendency that, according to its own analysis, will continue for the duration of the economic recession.

A survey done by the National Center on Family Homelessness (NCFH) revealed that around 1.5 million children in the United States (one out of 50) are homeless. Of these, 42% of them are under six years old. “These numbers will increase as the enforcement of home evictions continues to grow,” Ellen Bassuk, NCFH president, said in a press release.

The NCFH has urged the Obama administration to activate a $10-billion financial program to reinforce their social rehabilitation network (building low-income housing); however, the scenario is becoming more dramatic every day. Those who fall into poverty are adding to the already complicated social panorama.

Jennifer Thompson can testify to this. Just a short while ago this 45-year-old woman, married with three children, lived without too many concerns. However, she lost her job in the Californian offices of General Motors and then everything went downhill. She had been working in administration, in the section responsible for authorizing layoffs, when she herself was laid off. She is currently living in a tent.

Renee Hadley, 38, lived in Seattle and, overnight, her pleasant apartment vanished. “There is no running water, electricity or bathrooms in this place and the trains pass close by with a deafening noise,” she said in relation to her sufferings in the tent that she has put up in Sacramento.

In her opinion, state programs only try to put “a Band-Aid on everything” and, distressed, she asks: “Why don’t they give us work or low-income housing? Ninety percent of us out here don’t want to be here, it’s getting really ugly out here,” AFP reported.

The mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson, recently admitted that over the years they have tried to “sweep the homeless under the carpet,” and “now the problem is exceeding us.”

And possibly, the worst is yet to come. Unemployment is not slowing down but growing at an accelerated rate. President Barack Obama’s rescue plans are like hot-water compresses for a serious disease, while the U.S. president is asking for calm and confidence in the midst of widespread desperation.

“Is the American dream dissipating? In the meantime, it is sleeping in a tent.” •

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles).
Western cynical bullying – Obama as much as Bush shows the reality of its “democracy” lies and counter-revolutionary stunts over “concern about fixed elections” such as in Iran

Once again, yanki coercion

by Nidia Díaz – Granma

NICARAGUA has just received a written communication from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announcing the U.S. government’s decision to end its contributions to the so-called Millennium Challenge Account, via which the Central American country was to receive $62 million, now suspended until President Daniel Ortega and his administration accept a review of last November’s municipal election results.

As we may recall, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) won a resounding victory in those elections, taking 105 of 145 mayoralties, including the capital.

The pro-yanki opposition claimed fraud at the time, but the Supreme Court ruled that out, crushing the unfounded hopes of those elements — many of them linked to the former counter-revolutionary forces — for an electoral victory, as they had affirmed to the media in their service, such as the newspaper La Prensa. Some 120 international observers likewise ratified the transparency of the elections and the absence of any anomalies whatsoever, thus settling any questions about that raised by the opposition.

The Sandinistas’ historic enemies were resoundingly defeated and, having recourse to protest, they went to the doors of the U.S. State Department — which directs, organizes and finances them, no matter which administration is occupying the White House — demanding that the Nicaraguan authorities be coerced and pressured. On the other hand, the Nicaraguan government response has been characterized by its firmness and lack of hesitation, both bilaterally and in international organizations, in facing down Washington’s intentions and the maneuvers and crimes of some its closest allies, such as the Israeli Zionists.

It is worth remembering the dignified mandate of Miguel D’Escoto, former Nicaraguan foreign minister, as president of the most recent UN General Assembly session, and the speeches of President Daniel Ortega in various international and Latin American forums, the most recent being in San Pedro Sula, where it was anthological.

Nicaragua is, moreover, a Central American country that is part of the Bolivarian Alternative for Our America (alba) and Petrocaribe, new concepts for integration in solidarity that are being consolidated in the region.

It is highly explicable, then, that the U.S. government is conducting as usual the crudest and most blatant of maneuvers to freeze the $62 million in funds that are supposed to be delivered to Nicaragua via the above mentioned account.

The Millennium Challenge Account, designed by the United States, was contracted by the pro-yanki government of Enrique Bolanos for a total of $175 million, and part of those funds have been used for development projects in western Nicaragua.

By freezing the remaining funds to be delivered, the United States continues to demonstrate its lack of scruples when it comes to interfering in the internal affairs of Latin American and Caribbean countries, holding onto the old, imperialist tradition of intervention that it claims to have renounced, according to its current rhetoric.

“There will be no Millennium Challenge Account (for Nicaragua) if the municipal election results are not reviewed,” the State Department communiqué says.

What is certain is that the warning contradicts what President Barack Obama stated just days earlier in his speech at the University of Cairo in Egypt:

“No system of government can or should be imposed on one nation by any other.... America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election....”

So, who signed the communiqué, Hillary Rice or Condoleezza Clinton? •

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