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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 1412 17th September 2012

Reformists and fake-"left" still are failing to spell out that disastrous and CATASTROPHIC meltdown failure of the capitalist system is on a scale and extent never before seen in history. No TUC one day strikes, not even "general strikes", will solve the problems, least of all by a "change of direction to stimulate growth" etc etc. By all means let the working class fight but with the revolutionary perspectives that can arm them for titanic battles to come to end capitalism. The profit making economic system has hit the buffers and cannot "return to growth" – instead devastating class war is being readied to drive all workers into Third World levels of exploitation. Leninist understanding ever more vital

Explosive worldwide turmoil over the "insult to Islam" from the crude religious hate film Innocence of Muslims is another expression of vast difficulties now facing US world domination as the capitalist crisis dives ever deeper.

While the superficial expression of the social eruptions comes in religious terms, the underlying cause is catastrophic failure of production for private profit capitalism.

The world is in ferment because the old class rule order of monopoly capitalism has reached the historic buffers, its entire social economic and political order paralysed and collapsing from its internal contradictions (as predicted by Karl Marx and Lenin - see economics box page 6).

Its degenerate efforts to shock and awe the world into submission, with non-stop warmongering and fascist intimidation (another nine civilian women blitzed in Afghanistan this weekend for example) to force continued acceptance of US Empire rule despite its total bankruptcy only deepen the worldwide hatred of the tyrannical and oppressive rule of capital.

But that turmoil needs more and more the conscious revolutionary understanding of the real causes and full extent of the crisis now driving the world in the greatest and most desperate Slump in history.

For the moment the long history of the fake-"left" has been one of rejection of the Leninist understanding that capitalism is in an epochal spiral of collapse into the greatest disaster ever, which is being driven towards total worldwide war destruction by a degenerate ruling class willing to go to any lengths to hold onto its sweet wealth and power.

The return of Slump deprivation, hunger, poverty and homelessness on a gigantic scale – far beyond even the inhuman deprivations of the 1930s – will rapidly teach lessons worldwide that there is no reform of capitalism possible.

Only its total overthrow by a determined and disciplined working class, consciously aware of Marxist-leninst understanding and ready to impose the dictatorship of the proletariat can change things.

Under the protection of strong workers states world society can be reorganised using the common ownership of the means of production – seized from the degenerate, corrupt and greed-ridden ruling class, – to build rational planned socialism opening opportunities for all and eliminating forever the contradictions that must permanently return the world to Slump collapse and war for as long as capitalism lasts.

The religious ideology carrying much of the current Third World world mass hatred for capitalist oppression can only go so far with its limited scientific grasp and sometimes backward and reactionary notions.

Its ideals of self-sacrifice, brotherhood, and hatred of Western (meaning capitalist) decadence and waste, has filled the philosophical vacuum for the moment left by decades of opportunism and retreat from clear revolutionary perspectives by world "communism".

Seeded by Moscow's revisionist mistakes which began after Lenin's death and declined into ever greater confusion and muddle, and compounded by the multiple versions of Trotskyite "anti-Stalinist opposition" which used the mistakes and errors of the Third International only to foster the foulest petty bourgeois anti-communism under a "revolutionary" cover, the "world communist movement" has declined into class collaborating opportunism and muddle, covering up ever increasing layers of mistakes and errors which take it ever further from the profound revolutionary grasp at the heart of Marxism-Leninism.

But as increasingly the slump bites sharply down on Western world illusions in "democracy" and steady reformist progress through "growing prosperity" and the "peaceful road" of parliamentary progress (which has been supported by all the fake-"left" parties in essence, despite much strutting and declaiming of alleged revolutionary credentials), the need for the greatest ever transformation of human society will start to become clearer and clearer.

The vitally needed revolutionary perspectives of Leninism, which alone can explain, make sense of the turmoil, and lead the class fight to end capitalism, will start to make sense more and more.

As the understanding is continuously fought for in unity and conflict with advanced workers, it will be taken up more and more widely as the struggles against the slump increasingly erupt in the "advanced countries" as well, as already in hard pressed Greece, Spain this weekend once more and other weaker capitalist economies having the Great Catastrophe forced onto their shoulders.

It will eventually become unstoppable, as the ruling class is deeply aware, and especially as the full savagery of the Slump makes clear the famous Marxist dictum that the working class have "nothing to lose but their chains".

The pretence that "gains" have been won through "democracy" has been one of the greatest weapons of the ruling class, feeding confusion and complacency into the workers movement through reformist opportunism for over a century, particularly in the rich imperialist countries with wealth to spare.

But all that has ever been achieved is to win a few crumbs from the table, paid for by the super-profits extracted by the ruthless exploitation of the Third World whose masses have seen little in the way of "improvements" in the Mexican, Asian and Africa sweatshops and plantations.

Even now as the catastrophic nature of the capitalist system has been confirmed once more by the disastrous meltdown of the banking and international credit system, the pernicious illusions continue to be pumped out failing to warn the working class of the real savagery to come.

The half-hearted calls at the Trades Union Congress to "look into" holding a "one-day" general strike "against austerity" reflect the continuing complacency and disconnectedness of the old Labour bureaucracy, including all the "left" firebrands from any understanding of the depth and scale of the crisis facing workers everywhere.

The pretence is that "wrong policies" need to be changed in order to "stimulate growth".

But the capitalist failure is systemic and unalterable, and there is no "growth" possible.

Only by massively increasing the rate of exploitation of the working class can the ruling class hope to hang on at all.

And that is exactly what is being planned as various sections of the ruling class are beginning to float out:

'The talented and hard-working have nothing to fear," says Dominic Raab, Conservative MP for Esher and Walton, with just the faintest hint of menace. ..Wearing jeans, the 38-year-old backbencher is talking – warily – about transforming the British workplace. He thinks current employment law offers "excessive protections" to workers. "People who are coasting – it should be easier to let them go, to give the unemployed a chance. It is a delicate balancing act, but it should be decided in favour of the latter."

Last Friday, a leaked fragment from a book co-written by Raab and four other Conservative MPs, Britannia Unchained: Global Lessons for Growth and Prosperity, due to be published next month, appeared in the London Evening Standard. The passage, red meat for phone-ins and columnists ever since, argued less politely for an improvement in our national work ethic: "The British are among the worst idlers in the world. We work among the lowest hours, we retire early and our productivity is poor. Whereas Indian children aspire to be doctors or businessmen, the British are more interested in football and pop music."

...Britannia Unchained has a brevity, pace and scope that elevates it a little above the usual pre-party-conference polemics. "Britain is at a crossroads which will define our place in the world for generations," begins one of its publisher's sales pitches. "From our economy, to our education system, to social mobility and social justice, we must learn the rules of the 21st century, or we face an inevitable slide into mediocrity."

When I speak to Raab again after the Evening Standard extract, he says it gave "a skewed and inaccurate reflection of what is in the book". Yet over the last year he and his co-authors, all of them members of a new Conservative parliamentary faction called the Free Enterprise Group, have made little secret of the harsh medicine they believe Britain needs to take. Last year, for example, Raab wrote a paper for the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) – since the birth of Thatcherism one of the radical right's fiercest thinktanks – urging that "the definition of fair dismissal should be widened ... to encompass inadequate performance ... [This] would help employers get the best from their staff." The paper also argued for exempting small businesses from paying the minimum wage for under-21s, the already less-than-lavish hourly sum of between £3.68 and £4.98.

Raab has been an MP barely two years. Before winning a huge majority of 18,593 in one of the wealthiest seats in the country, he studied law at Oxford and Cambridge, practised in the City of London, and worked at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. He only joined the Conservative party in 2005, after the worst of its modern slump was over. Yet during our interview, it steadily becomes clearer that his confidence derives from more than this assured personal trajectory. There is also his belief that the radical right's time is coming. "I'm a big Thatcher fan," he says, dropping his guard a little as the interview approaches its end. "The coalition has done a lot of good incremental work, on the deficit and so on. Do I think we need a more decisive shift to build on what the coalition has done? The answer is a definite yes."

It may come as a surprise to those who already consider the coalition a tough government, with its hairshirt rhetoric and seemingly endless spending cuts, but a growing number of Tory backbenchers, business figures, commentators and thinkers feel that the coalition – and by implication, other austerity governments across the west – is not nearly tough enough. Since 2011, as the British economy has slumped, this energetic but largely unnoticed political alliance, somewhere between a lobby group and a proper movement, has begun to show its strength.

Since last autumn there has been the smouldering controversy about the Beecroft Report, a government-commissioned review of employment law by the powerful venture capitalist and Tory donor Adrian Beecroft. His recommendations, even more wide-ranging than Raab's – including the loosening of regulations covering the employment of children – have so far proved too contentious to be adopted by the increasingly fragile coalition. But they have become close to a sacred cause for the administration's proliferating critics in the rightwing press. Sometimes the demands for bolder government are frank: "Come on Dave, be brave," urged the Sunday Times in May. "A bonfire of regulation was promised, but few businesses report any relaxation in red tape." Sometimes the demands are more oblique: last month, a series of Daily Telegraph articles themed as "Britain Unleashed" mixed essays on the virtues of unfettered capitalism with admiring references to other countries – usually Asian – where supposedly more red-blooded free markets operate.

In January, the chief executive of Britain's biggest insurer Prudential, Tidjane Thiam, told the annual gathering of the global elite at Davos that across Europe, "the minimum wage is a machine to destroy jobs." Speaking at the South Bank Centre in London the following week, the far-sighted BBC economics journalist and author Paul Mason interpreted Thiam's remarks as a sign of an emerging "more radical version of neoliberalism, where we're basically, finally, told: 'The race to the bottom, to be like China, is on, and we're all going to do it. So your wages will meet the Chinese somewhere, and so will your social conditions ... abolish minimum wages, abolish social protection." In the audience, which had gathered to hear Mason talk about the leftwing, street-politics response to the economic crisis, not a formidable new rightwing one as well, there were a few seconds of uncomfortable silence.

"The European economic and welfare model – I think it's over," says Mark Littlewood, director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), like the CPS a veteran British free-market thinktank reinvigorated by current possibilities. He favours cutting state spending in Britain by over a third, and leaving citizens with a "basic safety net". Yet he finds the coalition far too cautious. "There has been an incredibly modest reduction in public spending. It's as if the coalition have arrived at the scene of a road accident: they've urgently applied a tourniquet to the bleeding patient, but that's it. There's no rehabilitation programme to make the patient leaner, meaner, fitter." In part, he blames Tory fears about their party becoming "retoxified": "I've argued at the top levels of government, 'Scrap the minimum wage.' But then there's a sharp intake of breath. Anything that looks like a return to the Dickensian workhouse raises hackles. But I don't want people working in sweatshops at 5p an hour. You should sell abolishing the minimum wage in positive terms, as providing young people with a first step on the jobs ladder, as a 'jobs for all' scheme."

Tim Montgomerie, editor of the influential Tory website Conservative Home, says the coalition has placed itself in the worst of both worlds, "talking tough but not acting tough". Also, until late 2008, well into the financial crisis, the Tories supported increases in public spending over deficit reduction; then they abruptly reversed their position. Montgomerie argues that this opportunistic radicalism is not respected by voters, hence the government's poor poll ratings. Like Littlewood and others, he favours a more authentically bold approach, a "rescue plan for the country" involving much deeper spending cuts, a loosening of the planning system and reduced employee protections.

"It's a pretty depressing time for the Conservative party," says Montgomerie, "but the thing that gives me hope is the [parliamentary] class of 2010, and all the groups they've formed. Of those groups, the Free Enterprise Group is the group. They're quite spiky in their opinions, but well respected by the Conservative leadership. They are George Osborne's favourites. He has spoken to them. In some ways, it helps him to have them, so he can say, 'I'm not the [government's rightwing] outrider.'" In June, a cover story on the group in the Tory house magazine the Spectator announced, "Not since the late 1970s has there been a group of Tories thinking so hard, with such freedom, about the future of their country."

Founded in October 2011, the group lists 38 supporting MPs on its website. The membership is youngish, more female and less white than the Conservative parliamentary party as a whole. It includes many of the new MPs currently identified by Tory-watchers as potential party leaders, including Raab, Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel and Elizabeth Truss. The fact that David Cameron leads a coalition rather than a Conservative administration has given the group a rare freedom to criticise government policy and suggest alternatives. Sometimes these are less fearsome than you might expect – Raab likes the French healthcare system; Truss admires the German economy – but often the foreign models cited are Asian, and the underlying message for Britons is relentless: raw capitalism is the only game in town, and you need to start working much harder. "We can all graft," says Raab.

The group do not expect this revolution to happen overnight. Last year, Raab and his co-authors published a predecessor to Britannia Unchained for a smaller publisher, titled After the Coalition: A Conservative Agenda for Britain. "The last 30 years of public debate in Britain has been dominated by leftwing thinking," the introduction rather startlingly declared, as if the transformative 18 years of the Thatcher and Major governments had never happened. On the new radical right, there is sometimes a reluctance to compare the changes envisaged for Britain to Thatcherism: partly, you suspect, because the supposed need for these changes implies that her rightwing project, to a degree, failed; and partly because she was just so divisive. "Raab and the Free Enterprise Group are a million miles away from Norman Tebbit in the way they present their arguments," says Littlewood.

...Montgomerie acknowledges, all the coalition's austerity rhetoric since 2010 means that "Toughness is a harder sell now [for the Tory radicals]. The government has already played the 'tough' card."

Public opinion has turned flintier in recent years on welfare spending. But such a mood swing often occurs at the end of Labour administrations and the beginning of Conservative ones, and often reverses, into distaste at an "uncaring" government, once the British right has been in power for a few years. The popular mandate for the coalition's broader spending cuts, if it ever truly existed, has already crumbled. And on tax and capitalism in general, public opinion is, if anything, moving leftwards, as tax cheats and feckless bankers solidify into popular demons. Littlewood admits, "There isn't yet a readiness from the British public to say, 'We've got to go back to the [rightwing] drawing board.'"

...In the meantime, after half a decade, already, of widespread pay freezes and anxiety, and with Labour under Ed Miliband quietly accepting that they will next hold power in hard times too – "There is a new world out there," the much-tipped young Labour backbencher Stella Creasy recently told this paper, "in the next [government] spending review absolutely everything should be on the table" – the toughening-up of Britain is arguably well underway.

This class-war savagery sees the working class in Europe and the US being driven all the way down to the penury and near-slavery of the Third World, and is the inescapable logic of the Slump, and the collapse in the rate of profit built into capitalist production.

It is already well underway in the soup-kitchen conditions, mass unemployment and homelessness sweeping Greece, Spain and Portugal and increasingly the US:

New figures have been released by the US census bureau revealing a yearly decline in median household income for Americans, growing inequality and more than one in five children under 18 years old living in poverty.

In a survey of data for 2011, the census discovered that real median household income in the US had dipped by 1.5% from its level in 2010 to sit at $50,054 a year. The fall is the second consecutive annual drop and comes in the middle of a bitterly contested election in which America's tepid economic performance has been a central theme.

While President Barack Obama has based his campaign on a claim to have saved America from the brink of financial disaster, Republican challenger Mitt Romney has lambasted the country's lacklustre economic performance, especially continuing high levels of joblessness.

The figures released by the census also show that little dent has been made on America's high levels of poverty, with some 15% of the nation – representing around 46.2 million people – living in poverty in 2011. The figures are worse for the very young, where the poverty rate for those under the age of 18 is 21.9% – or some 16.1 million children. These latter figures are roughly unchanged in 2011 from 2010.

However, income inequality in the US has grown. The Gini Index, which measures income inequality, increased by 1.6% to a score of 0.477 in 2011. Though few other countries have yet produced figures for 2011, that number for the US shows a more unequal economy for America than the 2010 figures for countries like Uruguay, Argentina and Bangladesh. Within the figures there was also an increase in the share of aggregate income for the top 20% of Americans of 1.6% and – within that group – the top 5% saw a jump of 4.9%.

Since 2008 the world economy has been held together only by fantasy money, the totally valueless Quantitative Easing trillions pumped in as an emergency measure to prevent instant world trade and financial disintegration.

But this hugely inflationary pretend money could never solve anything, simply putting off the collapse temporarily and adding to the already intractable and unsolvable contradictions tearing capitalism apart (themselves already compounded by decades of slower dollar printing).

Only by massively driving up the rate of extraction of surplus value can the ruling class keep its system staggering on for a little longer.

But the class war confrontations required for this have terrifying implications for a panicked ruling class as the uncertainties at the end of the press piece express.

Desperate new moves to pump yet more valueless paper credit into the world finance system by both the US Federal Reserve, (now committed to another round of Quantitative Easing each and every month!!!!!) and the European Central Bank's new pledge to buy unlimited amounts of Euro bonds to bail out bankrupt sovereign economies, underline the paralysed fear and bankruptcy of the world capitalist ruling class everywhere.

Even the petty bourgeois commentators are sceptical of its impact:

It's extreme stuff from the Federal Reserve in two ways.

First, instead of throwing a lump sum of a few hundred billon dollars at the Treasury market, the US central bank will buy $40bn of mortgage-backed securities every month.

Second, it won't stop buying until the outlook for employment improves, implying it is prepared to tolerate a sizeable degree of inflation when recovery arrives.

What does it all mean? The Fed is clearly alarmed by the sudden stall in the US jobs market – but we have known that for months. The new ingredients may be shock at the slowdown in China's economy and horror that the eurozone has produced only another sticking-plaster solution to its woes. This may be a case of the Fed getting its retaliation in first.

Markets initially love big props to asset prices, of course. But the second week's reaction is usually the one to watch. Do not be surprised if the focus switches to an assessment of quite how gloomy the short-term outlook for the global economy has become. In other words, this dose of monetary medicine may not turn out to be the one that stirs revival and creates jobs; it may, yet again, just be enough to preserve stability in the face of deep global trade imbalances.

The ruling class is desperate to buy time to prepare for the all-out confrontations it knows it needs to survive.

Its greatest asset continues to be the anti-communist brainwashing insistence that firstly "communism doesn't work" and that capitalism does somehow always get over its difficulties and "return to growth" all sustained and aided by the mistakes and confusions of the fake- "left" spectrum.

It is capitalism that does not work any more and is taking the world to destruction with its non-stop warmongering and racist scapegoating.

It is scientific Marxism that needs to be built, including a massive debate about all past mistakes. Don Hoskins


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Hillsborough football admissions of police guilt and cover-up are a victory for working class doggedness – but change nothing. Determination should turn to revolution which alone can bring justice

Prosecutions of local Yorkshire police, "reforms to the system of accountability" of the police, and state level admissions of culpability and apology for the ghastly Hillsborough football disaster will not stop future disasters and repressive incident of this kind.

Just the opposite. The blaming of individuals and even of the former "excesses" of Thatcherite politics, the police "culture of the time" and even perhaps prosecutions of some of those involved in the gross cover-up of the events exposed by the by the stunning Hillsborough Independent Panel report, are all designed to lull the working class that "something has been done" and "things will be different from now on".

The dogged determination of the working class in Liverpool, with its long history of feisty class struggle, have ensured that the ruling class has had to back off from the foul scapegoating and offensive victim blaming of the early crude under-the-carpet cover-up of the disaster.

And if some of the culpable officials and senior police involved should be prosecuted – to which the words "believe it when you see it" spring to mind – well and good for some limited class justice for the brutally mistreated families and relatives.

But reformism and "improvements", or even the establishment of a "permanent commission for the truth" as left liberal lawyer Mike Mansfield has called, will not only be pure cosmetic changes, if they happen at all, but done only to deliberately obscure the reality that only revolutionary transformation of society will even end the viciousness, callousness, cynicism and repressiveness of the police and other state forces.

The police are part of the capitalist state, there not to maintain "law-and-order" and calm and civilised behaviour, but to control the class struggle and suppress all challenges to the rule of property and ownership by the minority ruling class, and most of all to violently and forcefully put down all rebellion, directly and through the long-term violence of courts and prison.

The understanding of the "state" as a instrument which arises historically to stand outside the basic classes of society and to control the permanent seething class war that would otherwise leave society in a state of constant turmoil and disruption, is one of the great achievements of Marxist-Leninism, particularly as spelled out in the book The State and Revolution by Lenin (drawing heavily on the works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels), written as the upheaval of the great Russian Revolution of 1917 was reaching its peak.

The state is notionally separate and even "above" classes, (and will at times rein in fraudulent and maverick ruling class behaviour) but it is "independent" only superficially, always acting primarily in the interests of the ruling class to contain and suppress rebellion and development of revolutionary upheaval above all.

The details of the deliberate and coordinated cover-up of the Hillsborough disaster by senior elements of the South Yorkshire police, connived in by the political hierarchy all the way to the top, richly confirms this Marxist understanding of the true purpose of the state forces, police, judges, prisons and military alike, as mediators and suppressors of class struggle.

This was spelled out in the days immediately after the disaster by the EPSR's forerunner the International Leninist Workers Party, in an analysis that covered much of the ground now and is worth repeating:

It was no real contest at Hillsborough. The pretence (that law-and-order has something to do with ordinary people's welfare) effortlessly conned the naïve faith of the spectators.

The search for individuals to blame is pointless. It misses the real target by a mile. Individual policemen or ground officials or football bureaucrats are much like anyone else in the twilight of this always viciously exploitative but once dynamic and socially cohesive capitalist system, --- leaderless, paralysed, and looking out for themselves.

The gormlessness so noticeable and widespread in the Sheffield tragedy is inseparable from the contradictions of 'market forces' themselves, and nothing at all to do with the chance effects of personal inadequacies of those involved.

Behind the appearance of individual mistakes lurks the unchangeable reality of relentless commercial pressures, deepening cultural anarchy, and above all the fraud that in a capitalist state, the police force exists to help the public.

Any help to a person hurt by violence, crime, or natural disaster is incidental to the real purpose of the law's armed bodies of men which, from the Gestapo MI5 downwards is to preserve the propertied status quo, the existing bourgeois order.

The police's crowd control is exemplary when it comes to keeping leftwing newspaper sellers or leafletting out of street market places. "Move along or I'll nick you. There's a danger of causing an obstruction", etc, etc. The same with a march or demonstration, or a picket line. Unfailingly the police move in at once, fully confident of "how to disperse the obstruction danger" etc, even when tens of thousands of miners, or whatever have to be pushed around, and even when it is the police's pushing around which is the obstruction itself, totally unnecessary, and forcibly resisted. The law never loses its nerve or drops the initiative. You either stay where you're told to, or go where you're pushed, or you get run off the streets.

At the Hillsborough semi-final game, a real problem of genuine crowd control difficulties was already apparent to many bystander-witnesses more than an hour before the kick-off. The dangers of serious crushing around the turnstiles just before the start of a big match are in any case legendary. The alleged whole point of nearly one thousand police earning overtime pay in Sheffield on Saturday was solely to ensure that 20,000 or so of the more youthful football supporters crowding the terraces behind the goals, particularly the Liverpool fans who had been allotted the Leppings Lane end, could do so in a safe and orderly manner without threat of any obstruction or disturbance to anybody.

But in spite of all the advance predictions of extra large and excited crowds at the prospects of such a semi-final as Liverpool v Forest, and despite early warnings on Saturday that there was a particularly large and lively attendance, — there was effectively no crowd control at all.

And what minimal police intervention there was (to inject some order into the frustrations of the milling masses who couldn't get into the ground quickly enough to watch the start of the match) - was hopelessly out of touch and misguided, opening a floodgate to add to the sea of crushed humanity inside.

It is nonsensical to assume that this was the result of some oversight or inattentiveness by the police. It was the result of the entire philosophy of the police force in the British capitalist state (and under imperialism generally) having no interest whatever in seeing that football crowds get good supervision and a fair deal. The law's concern occasionally stretches to mass football hooliganism (regarding this as good training for dealing with political riots, including perfecting infiltration techniques for penetrating revolutionary cells and Soviets in the future).

But when it is merely a job of marshalling large crowds of orderly spectators to see that they come to no harm or that they can get into the ground in time and see what they've come for in the best way possible, - the philosophy of policing under capitalism couldn't care less.

The police were nominally in charge at Hillsborough on Saturday because 'that is the way it ought to be' and that is how they like to be seen.

But the crassly stupid decisions from the fans' point of view of giving the far less numerous Forest supporters the far larger Kop end to start with; of failing to take any action to regulate the visible huge building up of a crush at the Leppings Lane end; of showing no concern whatever that the 3.00 kick-off was bound to start with thousands still stranded outside the overloaded turnstiles; of taking no interest in the chaotic distribution of spectators at the Leppings Lane end visible to the whole ground, (-of too many too tightly and dangerously packed behind the goal but plenty of room still at either end of that terrace); of giving no leadership whatever in making announcements to the crowd or giving instructions to the Leppings Lane crush even after it was obvious that a major disaster was occurring; etc, etc, etc; ---all these matters show conclusively that police philosophy has no idea even of what ordinary peoples' concerns are, let alone any serious interest in looking after them.

The police is a political force dedicated solely to preventing the overthrow of the capitalist order, - nothing else.

Their cynical detachment from football supporters' cares or needs was emphasised by their farcical attempt to 'justify' some of the insaner and less sensitive decisions such as explaining the police allocation of the smaller Leppings Lane terrace to the far vaster Liverpool supporters club, a prime cause of the tragedy, as making sense "because Leppings Lane is closer to the M62 from Liverpool"!!

After a weeks-long buildup, vast ticket expense, and then an 80-mile journey lasting four hours over packed motorways and minor roads, it is seriously suggested by a senior police officer that an extra turning or two, and an extra hundred yards or two is going to make such a difference to football fans that Liverpool supporters (average attendance 40,000) would prefer to try squeezing into the Leppings Lane end (capacity 10,000)rather than go down to the Kop end (capacity 22,000) which was allocated to the Nottingham fans (average attendance 19,000). The officer either doesn't believe one word of what he himself is saying; or else he is a complete clinical moron.

The explanation about not delaying the start of the game (to give time for all the long-distance fans to get inside the ground) was equally implausible, indicating contempt for the whole concern and the people involved. "It was too late to postpone the kick-off because that could have caused disorder inside". What a monstrous fiction.! Ten minutes later, the game was not only being delayed but totally abandoned,- after it had got under way, the worst possible provocation, - cause surely for a total riot by this police judgement. But it caused not a murmur, despite the stupidity of no public police announcement.(There was only one tannoy notice at all, apparently, - and that was the insane request for the fans to clear the pitch so that the game could re-start!!!)

And if a few hundred spectators had gone for a lunch-time drink before the big match (a very normal thing to do), then that is all the more reason for police crowd control from start to finish - not an excuse for totally abandoning control:............................

.................Commercial values come off no better than the law in this sick farce, and the chauvinistic backwardness associated with some football-supporting in England reflects the primitiveness of the physical conditions of empire-era stadiums as well as the narrow-mindedness of imperialist-corrupted thinking in part of the masses.

It is the football establishment's arrogant class attitude of treating the fans (and not so long back the players too) as cannon fodder which is the heart of the problem,- rather than the associated but incidental matters of ancient poorly-equipped football grounds in rundown badly-sited city centres, etc, or the academic diversion about watching football standing up or sitting down.

Within capitalism generally, changing attitudes based on technological and social upheavals finally can no longer live with the prevailing domineering relations (in production, property, etc) and the paralysis to all development caused by this conflict finally forces resolution of the contradictions by revolution, so that needed progress can be resumed.

Thus it is only incidentally the bad factory conditions, the sub-standard housing, schools, transport, hospitals, recreation facilities, social services, etc, which breed revolt. The final real problem is the intolerability of ruling class attitudes. It is the whole relationship between ruling class and ruled which people ultimately will not put up with any longer, regardless of what economic, political, or social reforms are introduced or, more likely, merely promised.

It is no different in football. It is the entire, stuffy, arrogant, conservative, out-of-date attitude of the Football Association and the Football League which is the growing problem, - not the specific appalling conditions, ignorant treatment, or rotten rip-offs themselves which are intolerable. Glib promises can always be made to remedy individual wrongs. And many more glib promises are bound to be made as a result of yet another 'full and frank inquiry' after the Hillsborough scandal.

But finally it is the fact of yet another ruling class inquiry itself which touches the heart of the difficulties facing soccer (- and British imperialism's crisis generally), — however "full and frank" the inquiry pretends to be this time, and however many cheap promises it makes

And this reflects, and best expresses, the fact that it is simply everything which is now wrong with football in Britain, - and wrong with everything else in this dying and outdated imperialist system.

While wishing to avoid any over-indulgence in futuristic programme-writing, - imposing pet schemes on the social and cultural demands of the proletarian dictatorship epoch internationally which clearly have yet to evolve, - the ultimate seems close to being reached in entertainment-by-proxy, for example, under capitalism. Going to Sheffield to die in the name of all Liverpool for a bunch of mercenary players few of whom have any connection with the city at all and would have even less if it were not for the money they are making, a team selected by a self-perpetuating profiteering hierarchy of very dubious quality and record (certainly true of all 92 league clubs apart from Liverpool, and true of the Liverpool club for most of its 100 years existence apart from its last remarkable two decades), in a hired stadium run by faceless commercial bureaucrats who care not at all for the essence of mass sporting passion and popular participation, — must be close to the last word in contradictory futility.

Under a planned socialist economy, superb community stadiums could flourish everywhere allowing far greater mass sporting participation, including any amount of genuine local patriotism of cheering on genuine local teams of highly motivated true amateurs but trained to the most enlightened levels of skill in the most advantageous circumstances imaginable, etc, - real sport as opposed to the hopeless commerce of the Vest (which the socialist camp leaders have decided it is necessary to imitate with semi-professionalism for national prestige purposes as part of the answer to the West's Cold War.)

And the stadiums and the competitions, and everything associated with sport and recreation could be run enthusiastically to the far greater benefit of everyone by the people themselves, with every community creating its own level of recreational excellence in all sports as locally decided. The barminess of cheering on hired cynical mercenaries in appalling rip-off conditions would be just an obscene memory of the degenerate capitalist past.

At no huge expense, any number of simple designs could allow vast stadiums to be built holding 200,000 totally drunk fans in complete safety, (- especially with the free open-entry stadiums which communism will build.)

To prevent surges in the vastest of crowds of excited spectators, unrushable approach avenues of any size and capacity are easily built of fixed overlap half-barriers which never allow more than 9 or 10 bodies to push in any one direction at any point. The same design would be equally effective inside the turnstile tunnels (if turnstiles are still needed) and on the terraces themselves.

Seats on terraces have a comparable effect, but they greatly reduce capacity and are simply not popular for many sports and many types of spectator. Capitalist sport could build such stadiums now without any difficulty but the bourgeoisie's class mentality will remain paralysed.

And these dimly perceptible possible rudimentary elements of future communist society are maybe not so far distant as is imagined. The depths of British bourgeois paralysis never cease to astonish. The out-of-date muddle of British soccer management is a prize example with conservative bureaucratism constantly causing ever greater frustration to the sporting passions of the nation. The British establishment is not unique in its decadence, but some of the most grotesque contradictions of the rapidly declining imperialist epoch are clearly accumulating in Britain.

The Hillsborough events are a long way from political revolution, but the class conflicts and social passions roused are not to be taken too lightly either. Up the Reds. Adam Carr (ILWP Bulletin 19-04-89 )


From the bourgeois press accounts and the latest inquiry result it emerges even more clearly just how much this central class control feature was an element in the subsequent cover-up of the cynicism and incompetence of the police at Sheffield, with the South Yorkshire police being given all the political help they needed by the ruling class, grateful for their near fascist civil war actions against the miners' strike just a few years before.

Despite endless mockery by right-wing and fake-"left" intellectuals of "conspiracy theorists", picking on the more loopy and convoluted nonsenses about alien visitations or the Illuminati running everything, or the CIA secretly so powerful that they actually run all the rebellions made against them (belittling or the genuine upheavals in the Third World) to try and discredit such understanding, the reality of class rule is one of an endless knowing class conspiracy against the working class.

The Sheffield case is a crudely obvious confirmation, but one which helps underline the often unspoken and unsaid connivance of all elements of the ruling class in pushing forwards their own interests, whether it be in letting the "right people" into various clubs and social organisations, making sure that class interests are served by the education system or ensuring that those in the know are "one of us".

Hillsborough was nothing to do simply with a supposedly particularly vicious period of class rule under Thatcherism but the norm of all class rule, and as much the case when Labourism is running "parliamentary democracy" as the Tories, as for example in the preceding Callaghan government's which was ready to use military and army strikebreaking during the "winter of discontent".

The central police function of class repression is needed now far more than ever, as the greatest Slump disaster and economic disintegration unrolls across the planet, forcing the ruling class to try imposing draconian work speed-ups, austerity, and wage-cuts on a devastating scale, in order to hang on in the cutthroat world markets as they collapse and shrink into all-out trade and currency wars.

Included in this is a massive reduction in health and safety requirements across the board in industry and general society, tearing up decades of reformist improvements and gains in the interest of squeezing additional profit from the working class, in factories as well as in leisure and sports venues.

This is yet another factor, adding to the impossibility of survival for the working class in old way, once the oncoming catastrophic meltdown failure can no longer be held back any further by demented Quantitative Easing money printing.

It can only drive the working class and poor into massive protest and explosive turmoil, just as has been erupting across the planet in a hundred different forms from Islamic revolts, embassy attacks, national rebellions like Egypt, insurgencies, "terrorism" and "piracy" in the Third World and increasingly in the discontent in the heart of even the "richest" countries in strikes, demonstrations, occupations and outbursts of riots and street protest.

Far from reining in the police, the ruling class knows very well what is coming and has been preparing its state forces, surveillance and intelligence systems, "security" services and more, year by year, such as the new intelligence laws now being introduced, causing major disquiet even among petty bourgeois commentators, including even some Tory supporters:

Next weekend, the Liberal Democrats will gather for their conference. Here, in an open letter, John Naughton writes to delegates about the dangers lurking in the Communications Data bill

Dear Delegate: I am not a member of your party (or of any other, for that matter) but I have voted for you in the last three elections. Why? Because I thought that, alone of all the parties, you shared my values. One of the things that keeps me awake at night is the relentless growth of "the National Security state", and in particular the use of computer and network technology to provide comprehensive, fine-grained covert surveillance of entire populations.

So when I read your manifesto commitment saying that you would "Introduce a Freedom Bill. We will regulate CCTV, stop councils from spying on people, stop unfair extradition to the US, defend trial by jury and stop children being fingerprinted at school without their parents' permission" I cheered and gave you my vote. When the Coalition Agreement was signed, I noted with delight your party's intention to implement "a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties and roll back state intrusion". You would "introduce a Freedom Bill"; "further regulate CCTV"; and, most important of all IMHO, "end the storage of internet and email records without good reason". Hooray!

And what do I find now? That the government of which your party is a member is pushing through parliament a bill – the Communications Data bill (CDB) – that comprehensively reneges on all of your libertarian promises and lofty sentiments. And I respectfully ask that you, as a delegate to your party's conference, think hard about how this came about, and what you feel you should do about it.

I don't have space in a short letter to describe the draft bill or analyse its numerous flaws, but in a way I don't have to. You can read the bill for yourself, and then you can peruse the transcripts of the proceedings of the Joint Committee of the Lords and Commons that is currently considering it. (All are online via Hansard.) But the essence of the CDB is this: the growth of the internet and its penetration into our lives means that more and more of our daily communications are conducted online; furthermore, many of these communications are taking place via services like Facebook and Skype that didn't exist 10 years ago; the state and its security organs are perturbed by this because some of these communications will be nefarious; they wish to use computer technology to increase their capacity to monitor what's going on in cyberspace; and because of the astonishing scale of online communications nowadays, they think it's impractical to require them to use the time-honoured methods (like search or wiretapping warrants) by which democracies tried to ensure that state surveillance is justifiable and proportionate.

Instead, they effectively want log-in facilities to all communications services providers and the power to employ "Deep Packet Inspection" technology where they deem it necessary. And they want all this to be authorised just by a police officer or a minister.

The draft bill is riddled with flaws. Look at the commentaries by experts such as Professor Robin Mansell of LSE, or the evidence given to the joint committee by Professors Ross Anderson and Peter Sommer.

Your political masters will tell you that it's all very complicated, which it is. They will also assure that "the devil is in the detail" and if we can get the details right, then all will be well.

Well, actually, in this case the devil isn't in the detail – it's in the principles underpinning the bill. And they aren't complicated at all. If you wanted to put it in everyday terms, the CDB is the equivalent of a proposal that all household waste should be accumulated and kept for at least a year because somewhere in that Himalaya of trash there's bound to be evidence of wrongdoing.

Why am I telling you this? Because unlike the delegates to other party conferences, you have the ability to make party policy. And when the issue of the CDB comes up, ask yourself a simple question: is this what you came into politics to do — to facilitate the mission creep of the National Security State?

Everyone feels a bit muddled returning to work after the summer but the Cabinet Office seems more confused than most. Its statement that "nothing heard in open court could be heard in secret" is at best ill informed, at worse shockingly dishonest.

The justice and security bill (Secret courts 'may hide UK role in torture', 12 September) will result in evidence – currently able to be heard in open court – being heard behind closed doors. Staggeringly, it also removes the court's jurisdiction to hear certain claims for disclosure of evidence altogether. Ministers will get to choose what evidence they would rather submit in private – seen only by a judge and not the person bringing a claim, the press or the public. If the material relates to "national security", judges will have to agree regardless of whether they genuinely think disclosure would be damaging or not.

So, huge swaths of evidence currently and safely put before the courts could be withheld by ministers. As the UN rapporteur on torture has recognised, if passed this bill will easily allow for the suppression of torture evidence and other abuses of power.

The government may assert that "it stands firmly against torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment" but revelations in recent years have undermined this claim. As a result the police are conducting criminal investigations into UK conduct and the government has promised an inquiry to investigate mistreatment of detainees.

Shutting down the legal avenues that triggered these investigations dishonours the government's claim to turn its face against torture.

Shami Chakrabarti

Director, Liberty

Of course there must be prosecutions of the police officers who perverted justice over Hillsborough (Hillsborough: the reckoning, 13 September) but in the weeks ahead much will be said about how things have changed since 1989 and such a cover-up could never happen today. Unfortunately it could and does.

Even today it is not uncommon for criminal cases to collapse either at trial or on appeal when it becomes apparent that the police have failed to make proper disclosure of evidence that may exonerate those accused of crime.

The government cries only crocodile tears so long as it refuses to address the problem of the police failing to disclose all the material they have collected.

And there is no point in David Cameron wringing his hands over the state's behaviour over Hillsborough when his government continues to push through the laughingly misnamed justice and security bill, which will guarantee that justice continues to be denied to those in conflict with the state.

Mark George QC


• Either those responsible for the justice and security bill are seeking to mislead the public, or they have failed to understand the full implications of the legislation.

The government's own reviewer of terrorism legislation has warned that under these plans "the judge's hands are effectively tied" and the secretary of state "pulls the strings". He has also pointed out that "some cases will be tried by a closed material procedure that could have been fairly tried under [the existing system of] public interest immunity".

Current ministers may honour their promises concerning secrecy, but there is nothing in this bill to ensure this. It will create irresistible temptation, by providing a way to conceal embarrassing information and kill off the cases that might reveal it.

Had this bill been in place a decade ago, the public would not have found out about the UK's role in the torture of Binyam Mohamed.

Clare Algar

Executive director, Reprieve


• Allegations of UK complicity in the torture of British resident Shaker Aamer have been the subject of investigation by the Metropolitan police for nearly three years. Meanwhile, he remains in Guantanamo, where he suffers daily abuse. If this bill becomes law, his evidence will never be tested in open court. Will Shaker be denied his freedom, for ever, in case he tells his story? Would the Guardian be allowed to print it?

Joy Hurcombe

Worthing, West Sussex

All these demands for dropping particular pieces of legislation, greater reforms, calls for prosecutions and punishments are missing the point that capitalism will not only not abandon its state forces but will increasingly intensify their use and the domestic and international repression they carry out, all the way to overt fascist dictatorship, if necessary.

The Labourite and "left" calls for "changes" to legislation, dropping of particular measures, etc etc simply continue the illusions of parliamentary "democracy" and the rule of law behind which the ruling class has hidden its actual class dictatorship, the reality of "parliament and reforms".

It only ducks and weaves with "admissions" and "apologies" in order to continue this hoodwinking pretence a bit longer while it prepares for the class war intensification it knows is coming.

Possibly a few officials and mid-level elements will be sacrificed if necessary to head off any deeper developments in working class anger which constantly threaten to head – correctly – towards outright rebellion (and particularly so in Liverpool among others).

But from past form it is clearly a lying fraud that police and other state forces are ever "held accountable" as others have also pointed out:

One thing is clear from Hillsborough and events such as the death of Ian Tomlinson is that the police cannot be trusted when investigating their own conduct. Only with mobile phone cameras and the internet has indisputable damning evidence come to light.

Had such cameras been in use at Hillsborough, I would have taken pictures of the inadequate stewarding at the turnstiles and concourse, the appalling signage, the crush in the tunnel, the flimsy crashbars, the giving up on CPR of those lying on the pitch in front of me. It was clear most of the police were completely out of the depth in dealing with the situation, blocking those trying to escape by climbing the fences, and first aiders.

Recently I was threatened with arrest under the Terrorism Act for taking a picture of a police car that had just crashed into a shop in Liverpool. The taking of photos of such events and publication must be free.

Steve Downing


According to the campaigning charity Inquest, since the Hillsborough disaster there have been 54 people shot dead by the police and 950 people have died in police custody. Over a thousand families who have faced, one by one, the same institutionally sanctioned obfuscation, delay, obstruction and downright lying as the Liverpool fans' families.

Only last month the inquest into the death in 2008 of Sean Rigg revealed that the evidence given to the Independent Police Complaints Commission by a custody sergeant was flatly contradicted by the CCTV record. A revelation wrung from a reluctant police force by an engaged jury after four years of active campaigning by the bereaved family.

The media are still as enthusiastic about endorsing the police's denigration of those who die as they were then. Look at the dissemination of the untruths told by the police about Harry Stanley, Jean Charles de Menezes, Ian Tomlinson, Mark Duggan and others.

And this is all compounded by a supposed supervision that fails to bring the necessary questioning and sceptical viewpoint. Just as at Hillsborough, so in all these cases, the IPCC and the CPS habitually fail the grieving families who have to battle for years to get any sort of truth or justice, accountability or redress. Well past time for reform of this failing system.

Mary Pimm and Nik Wood


The dogged determination of working class families in Liverpool to push and probe away on the Hillsborough disaster is both heroic and an expression of deep class solidity. But it needs to be turned now to building revolutionary understanding to finally end this stinking, repressive and callous class rule, smashing all the instruments of class repression and exploitation and establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat – a workers state – to build socialism. Build Leninism.

Alan Moss


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles).
Latin American counter-revolutionary events confirm that an Leninist insistence on the dictatorship of the proletariat established by revolutionary overturn of capitalism is the only guaranteed way forwards – revisionist illusions (expressed here) in "left" reforms, "voting" in progressive presidents, and parliamentary progress dangerously disarm the working class. "Democratising power" and "popular support" is equally a revisionist fudge which led to the anti-Allende coup in Chile - only "taking power" by revolution will suffice

Paraguay, falsified democracy

Frei Betto

WOULD you buy contraband whiskey or a Louis Vuitton purse from Paraguay? You would definitely have doubts as to their quality. Well, that also goes for the "new democracy" imposed by the coup which overthrew President Fernando Lugo,

For 61 years, the country was governed by the Colorado Party, to which General Stroessner belonged, and of which the current coup President, Federico Franco, is also a member. After 35 years under the Stroessner dictatorship, the Paraguayan people elected Lugo president in April 2008.

I was in Asunción and accompanied him to vote. There was hope that the country, rescued for democracy, would have to reduce social inequality.

The new government became vulnerable by failing to fulfill important campaign promises, such as agrarian reform, and by distancing itself from the social movements. In Paraguay, 20% of the country's rural proprietors own 80% of the land. One has to include the quota of the "brasilguayos", landowners who expelled small farmers from their land to extend their latifundia.

He then failed by approving the anti-terrorist law and the militarization of the north of the country, thus dismantling campesino leaderships and criminalizing the social movements. He was also unable to cleanse the police apparatus, the accursed inheritance of Stroessner.

In a summary trial, the Congress deposed Lugo on June 22, without allowing him full defense rights. This is the so-called "constitutional coup," adopted by the United States in Honduras, and now in Paraguay. The White House is concerned about the progressive number of Latin American countries governed by leaders identified with desires that are popular and uncomfortable in terms of oligarchical interests.

As opposed to Zelaya in Honduras, when Lugo was removed from government, he didn't even think of convening the social movements in order to put up resistance, even though he had the unanimous support of unasur governments.

He is the second Catholic priest to be elected president of a country on the American continent. The first was Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who governed Haiti from 1994 to 1996, and from 2000 to 2004. Both of them disappointed their support base. They were unable to put into practice the discourse of the "option for the poor." Doubtful before the elites, to whom they made significant concessions, they lacked confidence in popular organizations.

Paraguayan bishops supported Lugo's removal from office. This comes as no surprise to anyone who knows the history of the Paraguayan Catholic Church and its complicity with the Stroessner dictatorship, when the country's campesinos were massacred and the political opposition tortured, exiled and assassinated.

The institutional logic of the Catholic Church judges as positive a government which favors it and which does not favor the people. Exactly the opposite of what the gospel teaches, given that in it the right of the poor is the priority criterion for evaluating any exercise of power.

The fall of Zelaya and, Lugo demonstrates that the U.S. policy of intervention continues. It now has a new model: availing itself of legal trickery in order to promote summary trials. Although the last attempt at a coup in Venezuela, in 2002, did not produce the desired result. On the contrary, all of Latin America reacted in defense of legality and democracy.

There is an important lesson for the progressive governments of Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and vacillating ones such as El Salvador and Peru: election is not revolution. Leaders change but not the nature of power or the character of the state. Nor does it suppress the class struggle. Thus one has to ensure governability in the whirlwind of this paradox. How to do so?

There are two ways: through alliances with and concessions to oligarchical forces and through mobilization of the social movements and the implementation of policies which translate into structural changes.

The first option is more seductive for a newly elected leader, although that leaves him or her more vulnerable to "blue fly" and becoming co-opted by the same political and economic forces formerly identified as enemy ones. The second way is narrower and more difficult, but presents the advantage of democratizing power and converting social movements into political subjects.

The democratic spring being experienced in Latin America could soon be transformed into a long winter, in the event of progressive governments and their institutions such as unasur, mercosur and alba not having the conviction that outside of mobilized and organized peoples there is no salvation.


The attempted U.S. siege of Bolivia

Patricio Montesinos

THE exacerbation of internal social disputes, tense relations between the governments of Santiago de Chile and La Paz in the context of their maritime disagreement, and press revelations as to U.S. bases possibly being installed on the Paraguayan border with Bolivia are all evidence of a clear Washington plan to besiege this nation.

Recent events related to Bolivia demonstrate that the U.S. government is plotting the overthrow of President Evo Morales, with the aim of derailing the process of integration underway in Latin America, which is contrary to the empire's hegemonic interests, in the wake of the recent coup d'etat against Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo.

The United States believes that Bolivia could now be the weakest link in the chain currently linking a significant group of countries immersed in revolutionary processes and the defense of the sovereignty and independence, and in which nobody wants a repeat of Washington's former domination in the region.

Death squad murdered journalist in Honduras after coupPolitical analysts are saying that in this new perverse plot, the U.S. government has the backing of the right-wing government in Chile, which has adopted a harder position against its neighbor Bolivia, and the Paraguayan pro-Federico Franco coup organizers financed by the Pentagon and U.S. secret services.

Press reports a few days ago revealed that an ultraright deputy implicated in Lugo's overthrow negotiated the installation of U.S. military bases on the Paraguayan-Bolivian border with the Barack Obama administration.

To date Washington has not reacted in the context of this dangerous news, as is the case when it is engineering destabilizing acts or military aggression anywhere in the world, but it is true that there is no smoke without fire, as the saying goes.

The U.S. conspiracy also includes internal acts of subversion in conjunction with Bolivia's weakened and discredited traditional right, directly implicated in the recent police mutiny in this country, and in the exacerbated indigenous conflicts in Tipnis, utilized to create an image of chaos and weakening of support for President Morales' executive.

Naturally, the conservative national press, plus international media such as the cnn network and Spain's El Pais, part of the Prisa consortium, are part of the Bolivia destabilization operation.

However, in spite of Washington, which scorns the intelligence of the millenary indigenous culture, Bolivian authorities and the people are fully aware of every move made by their adversaries to turn around the process of change underway in the nation, where serenity and an appropriate response at the right time and in the right place are paramount.

The conspiracies against Bolivia, as in Paraguay and Venezuela and Ecuador, to cite certain countries which are constant U.S. targets, will not to able to achieve their objective because Evo has sufficient popular support to deal another defeat to his enemies. •


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

Ecuador grants political asylum to Julian Assange – "We are not a colony"

by Angie Todd

THE Ecuadorian government's honorable decision to grant political asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on August 15 has provoked a major controversy.

Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London two months ago after losing his legal battle in the UK to avoid extradition to Sweden for alleged sexual offenses, and his possible subsequent extradition to the United States, where he would face charges of disclosing military and diplomatic secrets.

Wikileaks' initial disclosures related the grim reality of the U.S. wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. On August 12, the attorney for soldier Bradley Manning, Assange's alleged informant on U.S. military actions in Iraq, exposed the U.S. army's violation of his client's rights. Manning was arrested in Iraq in May 2010, and faces 22 charges of communicating national defense information to an unauthorized source and aiding the enemy, a capital offense. He has spent a large part of his imprisonment in solitary confinement, subjected to degrading treatment, and is currently confined for 23 hours a day in a cell measuring 1.8 x 2.4 meters.

The soldier allegedly provided Wikileaks with classified footage taken from a cockpit gunsight during a U.S. army helicopter attack in Baghdad.

In the first strike, two helicopters fired on approximately 10 men, most of whom were unarmed, including two Reuters war correspondents, Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen. Eight of them died in the attack.

The second airstrike was directed at Chmagh and two other unarmed men as they attempted to help Chmagh into their van. Two children inside the van were wounded, a further three individuals were killed, including Chmagh and the children's father.

Bradley Manning was arraigned in February 2012 and did not enter a plea; his trial is scheduled to begin (shortly).These leaks prompted the attempted blocking of the Wikileaks site by U.S. authorities, but releases continued. Many of them exposed U.S. State Department instructions to its embassy chiefs in a number of Latin American nations working toward regional unity, directed at overt interference in their sovereign affairs and political processes.


Over the last two months, Ecuadorian diplomacy has worked intensively and unsuccessfully to obtain from UK and Swedish authorities guarantees that Assange's return to Sweden would not result in his extradition to the United States to face treason charges.

On August 14, anticipating the decision of Ecuador, UK authorities threatened to invade its London embassy and "duly" fulfill their mission to extradite Assange to Sweden. Clearly, such an act of aggression would violate the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Immunity.

In the wake of Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino's announcement of the decision to grant political asylum to Assange, endorsed by the Ecuadoran Parliament, British Foreign Minister William Hague issued further threats against the integrity of the country's embassy. "The UK does not accept the principle of diplomatic asylum as such, but even for those countries that do recognize it, the option should not be used for escaping regular process of the court." He went on to imply that such "undue" use of the mission could result in the removal of its status.

Patino, emphasizing that Ecuador is not a colony, affirmed that the UK's reaction amounted to a strong threat: "It is basically saying, 'We are going to beat you savagely if you don't behave ... but if you behave, we may not beat you savagely."

Beyond whether or not the Wikileaks founder merits legal punishment, whether or not he was set up by the cia, Assange's persecution is a political one, prompted by his expose of dirty military and diplomatic dealings by the United States.

Speaking from the balcony of the embassy, Assange called on President Barack Obama to end the witch hunt against him and release Bradley Manning.

•Guayquil: - Foreign Ministers of the Union of South American Nations (unasur), affirmed their support for the sovereign government of Rafael Correa in relation to the country's decision to grant diplomatic asylum to Julian Assange, and condemned the UK government threat to the Ecuadoran embassy in London.


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

Secret British government security summit gave troops immunity for killings after truce with IRA broke down

OFFICIAL British Government documents marked 'Secret' from July 1972 uncovered by campaign group Relatives for Justice reveal evidence of the British Government and the British Army's high command effectively giving their soldiers a licence to kill without fear of prosecution in operations aimed at crushing republican resistance.

They also show that the British military and political machine saw the loyalist udasectarian death squads as allies in their war against the ira.

The document (published in the past fortnight by Relatives for Justice) is of a 10 July 1972 strategic government and security meeting at Stormont Castle involving Secretary for State William Whitelaw MP; the North's most senior British Army officer, General Officer Commanding (goc) General Ford; the Deputy Chief Constable of the ruc; Lord Windlesham the British Government's representative in the House of Lords; British MPs; and senior civil servants from the nio and London concerning the aftermath of the breaking down of the British Army's truce with the ira.

The document reveals:

(1) British soldiers would be indemnified from prosecution concerning the British Government's policy to pursue the war against the ira;

(2) Highlights the links and levels of cooperation between the uda and the British Army's most senior officer at a time when uda death squads were engaged in an intensive sectarian murder campaign;

(3) That the British Government would publicly blame the ira for the ending of the truce.

Details in the document show that those at the meeting believed or decided:

• 'If the British Army did not now attack the ira the probability was that the uda would.'

• 'Plans were to be produced urgently for the containment of areas known to harbour bombers and gunmen.'

• 'More troops and materials would be needed for the operations visualised.'

• 'The goc would see uda leaders that afternoon.'

• 'The Secretary of State would return to London immediately to make a statement to the House of Commons in which he would... (ii) put the blame for the ending of the 'truce' fairly and squarely on the Provisionals . . . announce the Government's intention to carry on the war with the ira with the utmost vigour.'

• The [British] Army should not be inhibited in its campaign by the threat of court proceedings and should therefore be suitably indemnified.'

The shooting dead of a Catholic priest and five civilians in west Belfast by the British Army the day before the meeting are also mentioned.

Relatives for Justice Director Mark Thompson said:

"Of the approximate 300 killings by the British Army, there has only been convictions in three cases. All of those convicted were released significantly early and reinstated back to their regiments; some were promoted.

"The discovery of this document indemnifying British soldiers from the threat of court proceedings whilst they took their 'war' to nationalist communities with the 'utmost vigour' is the first official documented evidence of a policy amounting to impunity. It is a clear amnesty being put in place for what would later occur and the inevitable loss of life."

"In 1972, the British Army killed 79 people. Not one soldier was held to account for these killings."

In July 1972, the British Army killed 20 unarmed Catholics, 14 of whom were killed in days following the meeting from which this document emerges. Many more were shot and injured.



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