Engraving of Lenin busy studying

Economic & 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 1564 10th October 2019

Ruling class dirty dealing on Brexit, tearing up parliamentary “niceties”, and vicious world wide repression deliver new lessons in the fraud of “bourgeois democracy”. But the fake-“left” clings to “voting” pretences even as the capitalist system heads ever closer to the greatest collapse in all history, and international belligerence and hostility reaches fever pitch. Boris bluster and manipulation, and Trumpite off-the-wall aggressive isolationism are both modernised forms of fascist degeneration to which the only answer is revolutionary class war, not “left pressure”. Brexit battles are a giant trap, a diversion feeding chauvinism and hatred (on both sides) that capitalism needs for all out warmongering. Rebellion from Haiti and Colombia, to Iraq and Indonesia, is shaking capitalism signalling readiness of the world masses to challenge the stinking tyranny of imperialist exploitation. Their brutal repression exposes the lying pretences of the Hong Kong “revolt”, a counter-revolution but Chinese revisionism still hesitates to impose firm workers state authority. It (and the world) lack Leninist grasp of crisis and class war

The vicious Brexit chaos tearing the British ruling class apart in ever more bitter recriminations and the demented madness of the US Donald Trump presidency would be giving rich lessons to the working class in the twisted and fraudulent reality of the venal bourgeois “democracy” racket and the grossly unequal exploitation system it covers up, if fake-“left” confusion and opportunism did not so muddy the water.

The lying hypocrisy and hoodwinking of the supposed Western “rule of law”, “human rights” and the principles of “peaceful democratic advances” is falling apart as the trade war desperation of the ruling class deepens in the teeth of its world slump collapse and the rising worldwide rebellion it is triggering.

The White House regime is now off-the-wall in its deranged “America First” viciousness and isolationism, going far beyond parody in chauvinism-inflaming proposals such as a “Dr Evil”-style alligator-filled moat for the 3000 km Mexican border to “stop migrants” and the (not so) hidden state bullying of other countries for dirt and scandal to scupper domestic rivals.

Rabid fantasies about restoring British Empire “greatness” in virtual war against “European enemies”, guided by an unelected boggle-eyed Svengali “expert manipulator” controlling a Tory Cabinet of the most rabid reactionaries and mountebanks (appointed in turn by an unelected prime minister), are not so very different.

All these disparate eruptions, are symptoms of a system in terminal collapse and paralysis, with a ruling class losing all touch with the real world in same way as Hitler in the Berlin bunker, or the Rasputin dominated Tsarist court during the First World War.

Mad as they are and an expression of ruling class weakness, uncertainty and fear of oncoming and increasing imminent economic collapse – (as in 2008, but times one hundred), – these are still deadly dangerous developments setting a tone of demented chauvinism for the inter-imperialist aggression to come.

But instead of drawing the crucial lessons for the working class of the need to overthrow this system, now plunging towards a third world war (in some aspects, like the Middle East, already well underway) the entire 50-shades-of-“red” fake-“left” retreats ever more into class collaboration, encouraging the vilest of chauvinism and nationalism being whipped up, either by “backing Brexit” or by going along with anti-Brexit plans for a “national government”.

Their capitulation to the lying “democracy” fraud is just as exposed by the latest stunning upsurges of rebellion and revolt sweeping across the world, from Haiti, Colombia, Ecuador and Puerto Rico plus the Philippines and Indonesia, to Iraq, Egypt and Yemen, all being brutally suppressed and drowned in bloodshed with barely a murmur (if reported at all) from the international ruling class and its media servants.

The obvious contrast there is with the murderous counter-revolutionary violence, disruption and fanatical anti-communist hatred in Hong Kong stirred among the pampered youth of the student elite, poisoned by Western consumerist ideology and deliberately inflamed with topsy-turvy Goebbels lies pumped out by the CIA/MI6/Mossad fed news-agencies against the Chinese workers state declaiming about alleged “unprovoked police violence” and wild one-sided exaggerations of minor or non-existent injury (while ignoring, or even celebrating, the criminal damage and murderous vigilantism of the “protestors”).

On the one hand multiple countries of continuing grotesque exploitation and Third World repression are held down with brute violence killing hundreds – as they have been for centuries of utterly barbaric colonialist rule but stepped up again now as world rebelliousness increases – with the silence of the West, and in fact its collusion through arms sales, military and political advice, and economic aid; on the other the efforts to build a fairer and more equal society are disrupted and sabotaged with reactionary and fascist intent (waving British and American flags, and burning the Chinese red flag, and attempting out and out lynching attacks on police officials and even anyone “suspected” of pro-Chinese sympathy.)

On the one hand, casual slaughter, torture and repression by Western stooge dictators; on the other hand efforts at a reasonable and reasoned response to out-and-out hatred for which the main criticism can be only that the revisionist soft-brainedness of the Chinese workers state leadership has been too restrained, too reliant on “reasoned compromise” and not firm enough in countering the pure class-war anti-working class hatred which has long departed rationality and only feeds on such “weakness”.

The broadest and deepest perspective of breakdown into total chaos, the revolutionary impasse now blocking all world developments, is what needs to be grasped to begin to understand these developments, the greatest contradiction yet in human history and development.

Only a gigantic leap, necessarily carried through by the struggle of the mass of humanity taking advantage of the disintegration to consciously seize the means of production and reorganising the world on a new socialist basis can overcome its agonising paralysis, as Marxism says.

Just as in 1914 and 1939, all-out war is exactly where the capitalist system is going once again, the only possible end point within existing society to its slump-imposing contradictions.

Capitalism’s only hope for restoring profitability is by wiping out the gigantic “surpluses” of accumulated capital and production capacity endemic to this system (see Marx Capital etc) which, while vitally needed by the desperately poor of the world, cannot make a profit as required by the historically outmoded and anarchic “free-market principles” of the capitalist system and therefore have to be destroyed (by its own ‘logic’).

Haywire instability has been festering for decades in partial and regional collapses and meltdowns but reached full force in the 2008 global credit collapse, the crisis Catastrophe long warned of by Marxist science (against middle class cynicism, workerist hostility to theory and wishful thinking complacency).

It has not gone away.

Despite ruling class lies and pretences about an “upturn”, the crisis continues to deepen, with world affairs propped up only by manic dollar printing (credit creation), stepped-up exploitation and savage class war austerity (plus some stimulus help from China’s planned economy, still guided by revisionist illusions that “keeping things stable” is a possible path forwards).

But the interregnum cannot last as currencies and Stock exchange turmoil indicate, along with collapsing retail markets, industrial shutdowns and constant warnings of renewed meltdown from the major bourgeois agencies including most recently the IMF and the United Nations.

It is only the temporary quiet in the hurricane’s eye.

The ruling class knows full well its QE fed “recovery” is a hollow joke, serving only the grotesque greed of the ultra-rich (and middle class hangers-on around the “City” finance sector etc, “servicing” and “laundering” their usually ill-gotten money), while the great majority is driven into debt and often outright poverty on the nothing wages and social cutbacks that are the reality of “full employment” etc.

And it knows far worse failures (even total collapse of the dollar trading system) are due any moment, this time magnified by all the extra inflationary credit (fake-value (?)) pumped in for 12 years.

Then the full savagery of already cutthroat and vicious trade war must be unleashed, as Trump’s belligerence has already signalled, (and Johnson’s echoes) all the way to murderous inter-imperialist war for which 18 years of brute suppression of Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Syria etc, have been warming up the world, re-acclimatising the masses to daily bombing, flattened cities, torture and massacre.

The full eruption will go far beyond the already unprecedented horrors of 20-plus million dead in the Flanders mud and Gallipoli trenches, or the three times as many (minimum estimate) in World War Two – if capitalism is not stopped.

Hence the gross Trumpite presidency and its Mini-Me British tailgunners, both trampling across all the “norms of democracy” tearing them up in front of everyone with deliberate provocative contempt and populist hate-rousing, even while using the delusions and pretences of plebiscite “popular democracy” to do it, just as was done by Hitler/Mussolini nazism, and just as fascistically*.

(*And whatever academic quibbling there might be about “definitions” or “sticking to the proper meaning of words”, or “we are not there yet”, this is exactly the right description.

Fascism is not some “other” form of rule that can be stopped on the streets within capitalism, but a process of capitalism itself stripping away democratic niceties under the pressure of crisis and collapse by exactly the same class rule that prevails in “normal times” (despite the nervousness of the more “liberal” wing), revealing what has always been underneath anyway, the brute class war reality of bourgeois rule in oppression, censorship and violent suppression.

Such bourgeois dictatorship is hidden away in the “boom times” behind a pretence of “voting and having a say” because it is a much cleverer way to stay on top, fooling the people, all the time, rather than showing them the reality (though most of the Third World gets to see its brutal tyranny anyway) which would rapidly educate them in the truth and therefore resistance.

But the ruling class has no choice but to give up this more comfortable life – matters have gone well beyond the anyway increasingly despised fraud of bourgeois parliament and presidency because the crisis is now so deep and urgent that only increasingly crude class rule can hold the line to stampede the world into war, suppressing pesky revolts and resistance (as even nice middle class eco-warriors will soon experience) with censorship and police crackdowns.)

The need for a revolutionary end to the anarchic madness of the monopoly capitalist “free market” has never been more glaring – and the potential readiness of a disgusted and frustrated world population for just that class-war struggle has never been riper and more widespread (see cuttings below).

But the working class and proletarian mass everywhere is held back by the continued treachery, opportunism and cowardice of the fake-“left” of all shades and its total retreat from, or dissembling evasion of, revolutionary perspectives.

Delusions in “left pressure” and “democratic paths within capitalism” remain one of the great hamstringing problems, ruthlessly exploited by imperialism to maintain its vicious system of hire-and-fire exploitation.

Such disarming and deadly nonsense has always been the main feature of grotesque class collaborating confusion and opportunism in the “Labour movement” heading the working class away from the class war that alone can establish socialism (when real democracy, the daily participation in rule for the great majority, can flourish, and by flourishing steadily disappear altogether, because communist society will no longer need any kind of control at all, other than the self-discipline of universal individual and communal rationality).

And this reformism has been left unchallenged by the “peaceful road” democracy delusions which filled the vacuum left by the errors and complacency of revisionist “communism”, beginning in the post-Lenin Soviet Union with Stalinism’s disastrous retreats from world revolutionary perspectives even as the Soviet Union was heroically being built (see eg EPSR Book 21 Unanswered Polemics) and only magnified by supposed Trotskyist “opposition” which far from getting to the philosophical nub of this weakness, simply has made the problem worse with its capitulation to anti-communist brainwashing against supposed “totalitarianism” (meaning firm workers state authority).

The entire Brexit diversion illustrates all this to a “t”.

Driving the world towards fascist nationalism is the real purpose and cause of the Brexit provocations, like Trump’s stridency, stirring up the scapegoating hatred, irrationality and chauvinism the system needs to get back into the barbarity of worldwide destruction.

The idiot failings of the fake-“left” refusing to grasp the nettle of revolutionary leadership, do nothing to stop this slide.

Instead the “left” keeps the working class trapped within these fraudulent ruling class arguments,taking sides on the Brexit diversion, when the only path forwards is class war against all of them as the EPSR has explained in detail (last issue and many previously).

They help hoodwink sections of the working class by heading its totally understandable dismay and disgust with the collapsing austerity ridden capitalist system into the backward chauvinism and Little Englander narrowness still infecting large sections of the philistine middle class (especially in the “shire- counties”), and running deep into the working class itself, a hangover of the corrupting “glory” and wealth of the British Empire, as described previously (eg EPSR 1016 13-10-99) when the anti-EU Tory wing started to gain ascendancy under William Hague:

But the century-long relationship was between Labour and a basically pro-imperialist working class. That thoroughly-empire-corrupted working class had the bourgeois Labour Party it wanted, - counter-revolutionary, class-collaborative, pro-Western-privilege, anti-communist.

Slowly, the collapse of British Empire and the collapse of the relatively easy privileged international position of Britain, its working class, and its living standards (relative to the rest of the world) started to give workers in Britain less and less stake in the ‘triumphs’ of its ruling-Establishment system – under either of the ‘alternative’ parliamentary-majority governing parties.

So far, this steady divorce of the working people from the deceitful and exploitative posturing of either ‘democratic government’ party has most obviously expressed itself in nothing more specific than a cynical contempt for all ruling regimes and an increasing reluctance to go out and positively vote for any of them.

But its influence is still there and even more deadly. Listen to this “Great British” barminess, from the one-time hero of the working class Arthur Scargill, 1984 miners strike leader and then president of the Socialist Labour Party, reflecting just how bureaucratic trade unionism, class-collaboration and rejection of theory can addle minds, and lose touch with any class understanding at all:

But in the case of the UK, a decision to ignore Article 50 (1) and trigger Article 50 (2) has led to the UK immersing itself in a swamp of negotiations with the unelected EU commission, which has every reason to block the democratic decision of the British people.

At the same time, over these past three years we’ve been subjected to unprecedented levels of hysterical propaganda aimed at sabotaging the referendum result and keeping the UK in the EU.

We can see just one example of this in Scotland, where the SNP is obsessed with Scottish independence in order that it can give its independence away – to the European Union.....

The free movement of capital has seen the destruction of key industries such as our automotive industry and heavy and light engineering whilst all our key utilities: electricity, water and gas are owned privately by foreign companies (not to mention the sell-off of our railways!). Our coal and steel industries have been and are being eliminated – yet Britain is importing at enormous cost both steel AND coal, produced elsewhere through subsidies – or by slave (including child) labour. Global capitalism shifts its business around to wherever it can best exploit the labour of workers.

Customs Union

This so-called EU “freedom” imposes a tariff or import control on the UK in the event that the UK negotiates a good trade deal with any country outside the EU!

The Single Market

The “Single Market” is in many ways a myth and the UK is a victim of that myth – the truth is that UK trade with the EU results in an annual deficit of £85 billion, whilst our trade with the rest of the world results in a £40 billion surplus.

Availability of Food and Medicine

This is a lie which must be exposed. Why are we importing potatoes from Israel? We can produce enough potatoes to feed a quarter of Europe! Why are we importing tomatoes from Spain and the Netherlands? We can produce all we need of the world’s best tomatoes AND turnips, sprouts, beans, peas, lettuce – and all the meat and fish. Why are we told there will be a shortage of medicines? It was UK scientists who discovered penicillin, specialist antibiotics, and hundreds of other vital drugs which are now being produced not in the UK but abroad by the pharmaceutical companies which are creating shortages? Why is the UK allowing this?

Our industries”????

We can produce”??? --- “the best tomatoes” (tell that to the Greeks or the Italians!)

This ludicrous national hubris, at a level of cod-historical philistinism that would make a GCSE student blush, (and verging on outright “national socialist” irrationality, known historically as Nazism) is left unchallenged by a great slew of the fake-“left” from the CPB, the SWP and the NCP, to the Lalkar/Proletarian Stalinists, and their current parliamentary celebrity icon, George Galloway (standing in for Scargill since their wooden revisionist play-acting pretence of “Marxism” was expelled from his Socialist Labour Party - see Polemics book op cit).

Either they have welcomed this ignorant garbage outright, with speaking invitations and supportive articles, or where they have past “issues” with Scargill’s SLP, have essentially backed it up with their own versions of backward chauvinism, such as the CPGB-ML Proletarian’s “popular” red-white-and-blue (!!!) leafleting aimed, like Scargill, at “British workers” (presumably the rest of the world working class can go hang) or worse still demanding full Brexit because the “British people” voted for it, in which even basic class analysis disappears.

And it is their very delusions in “democracy”, swallowing all the garbage about the “will of the people (?) being ignored” (the big lie constantly reiterated by the most reactionary wing of the Tory ruling class) which is being used as a cover, by the ruling class itself, to trample all over...democracy (for what it is worth, which is very little at all for the working class).

Far from “challenging the establishment” they help slip through its dirty dealing contempt and trickery, outright lies, manipulation and willingness to trample over Parliament and its legislation, to ignore the legal system and the supposed overriding decisions of the Supreme Court, renege on international treaties like the 1998 Irish Good Friday Agreement and to revert to hidden class dictatorship measures such as the secret Privy Council and its “orders”, the “royal prerogative” and other feudal residues.

When has capitalism ever “listened to the people” (a misnomer anyway, ignoring class difference, the very foundation of Marxist and even pre-Marxist socialist understanding).

Even on its own hoodwinking terms the hyped-up “democracy” reasons for leaving Europe are tangled in internal contradiction to begin with – most notably the supposed fundamental principle of “regaining sovereignty”.

How is that achieved by tearing up and overriding the alleged “sovereign power” of Parliament and the Supreme Court?

By the allegedly superior “democratic” significance of a plebiscite? If democracy is extolled why is one version chosen over another?

In fact such “popular votes” are, notoriously, even more subject to manipulation and skulduggery than the already twisted and lying racket of Parliament itself - which is why Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler made such extensive use of them as they rose to power (“democratically”).

And how is it supposed the daily, constantly fluctuating and ever changing real world supposed to be responded to anyway - with daily votes? Hourly?

To ask the question is to show up its absurdity.

As always it is the class with all the power and money, which would, and which does, take all decisions of any significance, and always in the interests of capitalist exploitation.

The specific referendum on Brexit itself is tied up in its own internal contradictions too, most obviously over the Irish border issue, where its crude mechanism tank-tracks right across not one but two (!!) previous referendum votes, those which ratified the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Are they not “the will of the people” (and far more so at minimum 75% votes in favour)?

And of course it illegally breaks the supposed sanctity of international treaty obligations by restoring a border in Ireland in direct contravention of the GFA.

Capitulation to the sullen sulking of the Orange colonists, insanely trying to turn back the clock on the humiliating defeat their “no surrender” intransigence and fascist domineering suffered at the hand of the 30 year long IRA/Sinn Fein national-liberation struggle, is beyond irrational.

Their arrogant declarations that “Northern Ireland” will “always be part of the United Kingdom”, echoed by the extreme imperialist wing of the Tory establishment (most of the Brexiters, and saturating institutions like the state controlled BBC and other parts of the media), are the dirtiest of reneging on the painfully achieved agreement, which allowed British imperialist domination to slowly pull back from Ireland while saving face and avoiding any obvious admission of their retreat.

It was always implicitly part of the deal that the snails-pace pullout would continue, as it has done in practice, dissolving the border and seeing a steady integration of the economic and social fabric across the whole island (see EPSR book 8 on Ireland and numerous past issues since).

Turning that upside down, in order to install a border, would require reestablishment of the tyrannical colonialist domination if it were to succeed, with a dialectical cascade of increasing force necessary to stop the inevitable re-emergence of the Irish nationalist struggle, as numerous bourgeois figures involved in the long drawn out GFA negotiations, from John Major to the Blairites, have repeatedly warned.

The pretence that the Brexiters do not want a border is ridiculous, – there is no other way to divide Britain from Europe, or vice versa.

So it would mean escalating British force all the way up to military occupation once more, (and undoubtedly all the murderous secret deathsquad skulduggery of the security services, police and the military Force Research Unit etc), and would fly in the face of the “international community” and most particularly the huge American Irish diaspora which gave increasing support to the Irish struggle throughout the 20th century, and which has repeatedly made clear that it will block all attempts at trade relations with the US by the British, if it were to be attempted.

And such an attempted imposition, requiring a huge part of British military and security resources, since further run down, has already lost, fought to a military stalemate and a political defeat.

It is a total fantasy, capitulating to the double-dealing Orange-fascist throwbacks trying to take advantage of their chance leverage over Westminster, caused ironically by the very weakness of the British ruling class, to put history into reverse gear.

It is an historical impossibility.

It is no coincidence that virtually all the “lefts” have always sneered at the triumph of the heroic Irish national-liberation struggle, either declaring the GFA to be a hollow victory if not a complete sellout, supposedly imposed by an all powerful imperialist order (as in the notoriously defeatist “hotspot” theory of the CPGB Weekly Workerites -see eg EPSR 850-870, 953), or damning it with faint praise as Scargill himself did, declaring that he would have settled for “nothing less” than the complete and immediate unification of Ireland.

None of them assessed it as a giant blow against imperialism, and one illustrating precisely the importance of revolutionary struggle (including those “lefts” who now uncritically “celebrate” the victory but without mentioning the nationalist limitations of its Sinn Féin leadership, which at best falls a long way short of a perspective for ending capitalism - making no effort at all to take up and develop Marxist science - and sometimes verges over into the same errors and mistakes as other groups, such as condemning the 9/11 blow against American imperialism for example, or the Madrid bombings (EPSR No1224 16-03-04) – just as they endlessly accept invitations to “celebrate” with the Chinese or North Koreans etc, without challenging their revisionist limits.)

On Brexit itself, as the EPSR has explained (see last issue and many previous) the working class is not being hammered because of a “European bosses club” from which withdrawal will improve matters.

It IS being hammered by a bosses club of course but the much wider “club” of the entire capitalist world system, any part of which will impose just as much savagery, if not more, on workers in a Britain outside Europe as on one inside it.

The hopeless Remainers’ pretence that things would be better inside Europe is no counter to this backward chauvinism however, also failing to put the world shattering crisis at the centre of things.

It is petty bourgeois complacency, tailending the big finance and corporate monopolies and ignoring the agony of the working class and its fears of job losses and service cuts, inevitably blamed on the mass economic migrancy used by capitalism to undercut wages and disrupt class organisation and leading to scapegoating backwardness when no anti-capitalist perspective is given.

These Remainers hope for a few crumbs to continue falling from the finance industry table, the main “earner” for British imperialism, making its parasitic living by creaming off a “percentage” from the world currency and credit flows through the fortuitously situated City (including much laundering of dirty money from oligarchs, drug lords, fascist stooges and gangsters).

This better off middle-class layer, along with some layers of the working class within the municipal and health sectors who have avoided some of the worst austerity (though by no means all of them) continue to foster illusions in Parliament, backed by many of the supposed “left” groups now submerged into the Labour Party ostensibly “fighting for left policies” but in practice helping the treacherous Corbynites.

Like most Lexiters they prop up the reformist “left” surge behind Corbyn just as it is burning out, its capitulations and compromises glaringly exposed after four years of hopeless ineffectuality, failing remotely to explain the crisis and grovellingly proving their “loyalty” before every dirty trick pulled by the bourgeoisie and its media hysteria, including most disgustingly the poisonous CIA/Zionist campaign of upside down accusations of “racism” and “left anti-semitism”, a new McCarthyism which should have been thrown back in the face of the ruling class (see EPSR past issues No1534, 1552 and EPSR book Vol 20 on Occupied Palestine and nazi-Zionism) and the reactionary, Zionist “Israel”-supporting, Jewish freemasonry.

The mostly Trot or crypto-Trot Remainer “lefts”, calling for “Europe wide struggle” for advances in workers conditions are as divorced from Marxism as the Lexiters, living in a dream world of never-to-be-achieved “coordinated revolution” (strictly within the “democracy” rules of course) while pouring cold water on every actual anti-imperialist upheaval in the world with their doom-laden assertions that “you can never build socialism in one country” (proved wrong by Lenin’s battles, 70 years of giant achievements by the USSR, Cuba, Vietnam and indeed China despite revisionist leadership flaws).

This ultra-defeatism, – distorting the much deeper correct understanding that establishing communism (“full socialism” to use an unscientific shorthand) will not be possible until the revolution has overthrown capitalist domination everywhere in the world, – is used to destroy the morale of actual spontaneous struggles, which inevitably arise in particular places, but which nevertheless constitute gigantic blows against imperialism

It is founded in their bilious hatred of the actual workers states from the early Soviet Union onwards and is pure petty bourgeois idealism and academicism.

It conveniently leaves them free to avoid any of the really difficult issues from the actual upheavals in the world, including most obviously the whole slew of confused and messy eruptions of jihadism and terrorism, and Islamic street revolts, which have been a large part of the anti-imperialist responses in the world since the liquidation of the Soviet Union particularly.

They all still retreat behind hopeless and disarming notions of some “proper” way to struggle, because they are desperate to avoid being fingered by capitalism as “supporting violence” or “terrorist” revolt, and because deep down their own petty bourgeois souls they fear even more the strength and authority of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the only way in which the bourgeoisie can be overcome and its private ownership of production be ended so that a new socialist world can be built.

They then capitulate to the outrageous provocations of imperialism - from the “war on terror” excuses for the blitzkrieging which capitalist collapse is driving, to the “colour revolution” provocations stirred up by the CIA and other agencies from Ukraine to Hong Kong.

It is part of the weakness of the revisionist side of fake-“leftism” too that it equally “condemns terrorism” and fails to see many these eruptions as the opening stages of world revolution, (despite massive confusion and imperialist manipulation of some of its elements, here and there such as in Afghanistan and partly in the Syrian war, which then becomes an excuse for the “lefts” to write-off all such upheaval and conveniently line itself up with petty bourgeois public opinion driven into a fearful frenzy by Western propaganda and fake-terror operations, such as those inspiring the latest Chris Morris satirical film The Day Shall Come).

But this retreat is now exposed too by the enormous and stunning wave of upheavals across the planet taking them all by surprise.

They are of huge significance, in exposing the grotesque hypocrisy of the deliberate Hong Kong stunts, given daily publicity unlike these, and in showing the fraying edges of the imperialist order.

It is worth putting some of this on record:

Ecuadorian military stand guard at the Puente de la Unidad Nacional (National Unity Bridge) in Guayaquil on October 08, 2019, following days of protests against the sharp rise in fuel prices sparked by authorities’ decision to scrap subsidies.

President Lenin Moreno has moved his administration out of the capital, alleging he is the target of a coup attempt.

He said growing unrest in the capital over his plans to end fuel subsidies has seen the government face security threats and it will therefore operate from the port city of Guayaquil, instead of Quito, the capital.

He’s accused his predecessor and one-time mentor Rafael Correa of stoking the worst unrest in years in the Andean oil producing nation.

In recent days, protests over his decision to bring an end to fuel subsidies have erupted across the country - prompting his accusations today that the former president was trying to overthrow him with help from Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.

For a sixth day thousands of indigenous protesters marched into the capital after Moreno announced the measure to eliminate fuel subsidies, subsequently pushing prices up, in order to reduce the nation’s fiscal deficit.

A national strike is also planned for Wednesday.

But despite, the growing unrest, Moreno so far has the military’s support and isn’t backing down from his decision to cut fuel subsidies, causing hikes in fuel prices. The unrest has spread from transport workers to indigenous demonstrators.

In a defiant national television address on Monday evening, Moreno, who has left the capital Quito, said he would not back down on the fuel price hike in the face of what he called a ‘destabilisation plan’.


With the dismal economic situation making it difficult to provide for his family, he decided enough was enough. The 36-year-old upholsterer in [Egypt’s] Damietta went to join the rallies last month, tearing down a large poster of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi with hundreds of other protesters.

“I don’t care about politics, but I have been struggling to have a decent life for my children since the president came to power,” he told The Independent. “Their [the government’s] economists say everything is improving, but how can that be if my income has almost halved in value?”

A recent report by the government estimated that some 32 million of the country’s 100 million population are under the poverty line. With non-governmental organisations banned from conducting any surveys, the figure could be much higher.

The recent protests were sparked by a series of videos posted by businessman Mohamed Ali, who alleged that public funds had been used to build hotels and palaces for the president and members of the army.

Mr Ali’s call for protests went viral – yet many Egyptians who watched them did not expect anything to happen. However, on 20 September, hundreds of demonstrators across different cities managed to shake al-Sisi’s confidence by chanting against his regime.

Last week, Egyptian security forces blocked access to Cairo’s revolutionary heart – Tahrir Square. The city’s main metro stations were closed and traffic was diverted, while police vans roamed, their sirens echoing through the empty streets. Yet barricading the square did not keep everyone at home – dozens of protesters were dispersed by tear gas in several districts around and just outside the metropolis.

The scenes are a far cry from 2017, when young Egyptians who wanted their voices to be heard were invited to Sisi’s World Youth Forum, with 3,000 delegates from around the world. Egypt ran an advertising campaign for the conference, where the opening scene showed a woman in heels in a European-looking street while an English voice-over said: “If there are streets you can’t cross and clothes you can’t wear, we need to talk.”

Now, just two years later, it is clear that Egypt is anything but a place for youth to be heard.

The president has repeatedly blamed any dissent on political Islam, but secular Egyptians and high-profile socialist figures have all been arrested. According to the Cairo-based Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights, more than 2,800 politicians, journalists, human rights lawyers, and ordinary citizens were detained.


More than 100 children are among thousands of people detained in Egypt in an effort to prevent further protests against the rule of Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi.

At least 3,120 people have been arrested since hundreds of people took to the streets on 20 September, according to the Cairo-based NGO the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms. Amnesty International said at least 111 children were arrested in the crackdown, “some as young as 11, with several detained on their way home from school”.

Many were held by security services after they were stopped at checkpoints, where officials demanded to see their phones in order to check for “political” material. Local rights groups as well as the government’s own National Council for Human Rights condemned the practice as unconstitutional.

Detainees were added to a single charge sheet, accused of aiding a terrorist group, spreading false information, misuse of social media and participation in unauthorised protests. Amnesty International said this included at least 69 minors aged between 11 and 17. Should the case go to trial, it would be the largest criminal prosecution of protesters in Egyptian history.

Hundreds of people gathered in rare protests against Sisi’s leadership on 20 September, outraged by accusations that the country’s ruling military was squandering public funds on palaces and hotels in a country where 32.5% of people live below the poverty line.

The detentions have touched people from almost every area of public life, from ordinary citizens to journalists and lawyers. The veteran activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah was re-arrested by the Egyptian national security agency from a Cairo police station, where he was forced to sleep as part of his parole. His lawyer, Mohamed El Baqir, was detained when he went to represent him.

Abd El-Fattah’s sister, the activist Sanaa Seif, was also briefly arrested on Sunday for refusing to allow security officials in central Cairo to search her phone.

The arrests even ensnared foreign visitors to Egypt, including two British and American university students who had come to Cairo to study Arabic, and were later accused of espionage.

“We were stopped by a plain-clothes officer who asked to see our phones. I unlocked my phone and handed it to him. He went through every single social media app I had,” said Aaron Boehm, a US citizen. The officer found news articles about the protests on Boehm’s phone, and stopped the pair for over an hour while they read his messages. Boehm was arrested while his friend Ralph Shilcock was interrogated at the hostel where the pair were staying, and pressured into leaving the country.

Boehm said he was blindfolded and taken to a detention facility. “From this point, I was blindfolded for a total of around 15 hours,” he said, adding that officers interrogated him, demanding to know his motives for being in the country and working with a small organisation teaching English in impoverished neighbourhoods. “At one point they turned me against a wall and yelled that I was ‘in big fucking trouble’,” he said.

“The officer told me he was an Egyptian intelligence officer and that I was accused of espionage. They gave two justifications. Firstly, that my sharing of news articles constituted sharing intelligence with a foreign state, and secondly that my working at an NGO was demonstrative of my intent to undermine the Egyptian regime.”

Boehm was detained for four days. At one point he was taken to a detention facility he believes held 300 others. During his imprisonment he met other foreign nationals including people from the Netherlands, Turkey, Jordan, Eritrea and Yemen, some of whom were later released. He stated that he saw evidence of torture used against detainees, including sticks with blood on them, and heard the screams of other inmates. When asked how many of those he saw in detention were accused of involvement in the protests, Boehm answered: “Every single one.” He was deported on 1 October.

The cybersecurity firm CheckPoint reported this week it had uncovered evidence of a series of cyberattacks targeting critics of the Egyptian regime, including journalists, academics, layers and activists, as well as two opposition figures swept up in the crackdown. The report traced malware, which allowed attackers to track victims as well as read the contents of their phones, to Egyptian government offices.


Riot police in Indonesia have clashed with protesters as thousands of students resumed demonstrations against a new law they say has crippled the country’s anti-corruption agency.

Authorities blocked streets leading to the parliament building in Jakarta, where 560 members of the house of representatives, whose terms ended on Monday, held their last session.

Clashes between rock-throwing students and riot police broke out on Monday evening when police tried to disperse the protesters, ranging from high school to university students, who attempted to reach parliament after calm had largely returned to the country’s capital over the past four days.

Protesters set fires to tyres and pelted police with rocks, petrol bombs and firecrackers near blocked streets. Riot police responded by firing teargas and water cannons.

Similar clashes also occurred in other Indonesian cities, including in West Java’s Bandung city and in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi province, where a student was badly injured on Friday after being accidentally hit by anti-riot armour.

A protest also turned violent in President Joko Widodo’s hometown of Solo city in Central Java, where an angry mob threw rocks at police, injuring at least four female officers.

The demonstrators are enraged that parliament passed the law reducing the authority of the corruption commission, a key body fighting endemic graft in the country.

Activists say the revision weakens the powers of one of the most credible public institutions in a country where the police and parliament are perceived as being widely corrupt.

They are also demanding the new lawmakers change articles in the proposed criminal code, including one that would criminalise a variety of sexual activities such a premarital sex.

The protests have grown since last week and turned violent in some cities, with the burning of police posts and public facilities such as a toll gate and bus stops.

At least three people, including two students in Kendari city on Sulawesi island, have died and several hundred were injured.

The death of the students sparked a national outcry, prompting Widodo to express his deep condolences and order the national police chief to conduct a thorough investigation.

The protests, which underline Indonesia’s challenge in changing its graft-ridden image, have threatened the credibility of Widodo, who recently was re-elected after campaigning for clean governance.

He faced down riots in May by supporters of the losing candidate, former Gen Prabowo Subianto, but the new protests are not associated with any particular party, and instead are led by students, who historically have been a driving force of political change.

The students are demanding that Widodo issue a government regulation replacing the new law on the corruption commission, known by its Indonesian abbreviation, KPK. The anti-graft commission is frequently under attack by lawmakers who want to reduce its powers.

Separately meanwhile the Indonesian regime has been brutally suppressing the indigenous population of West Papua, also in revolt:

22 August: Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, has said West Papua “has returned to normal” after clashes with police, a claim dismissed by independence protesters who said mass rallies were likely to continue.

There have been protests across the archipelago, including in Jakarta and Bali, as well as in the Papuan towns of Jayapura, Timika, Sarong and Fakfak, where police reportedly used tear gas and fired warning shots to clear crowds after they set fire to a market and destroyed ATMs and shops. Local media reports 45 people were arrested.

Papuan activists told Guardian Australia that despite the president’s claim protests have continued. Internet access has been cut across the region, making it difficult to monitor the unrest.

On Thursday, Widodo pledged action against racial and ethnic discrimination after racist abuse of Papuan students sparked days of violent protests in the country’s easternmost province. Indonesia responded by sending 1,000 additional security personnel to the provinces of Papua and West Papua.

Widodo said at the press conference on Thursday he had ordered the national police chief to “take stern, legal action against acts of racial and ethnic discrimination” and that cutting internet access to Papua and West Papua, was for the “common good”.

In an effort to defuse the increasingly tense situation, Widodo said he would invite public figures from the two provinces to the state palace next week, to discuss “accelerating prosperity” in the region.

The demonstrations in Papua and West Papua were sparked by an incident in the Javanese city of Surabaya on the weekend, where nationalist groups goaded Papuan students with racist taunts, calling them “monkeys”, “pigs” and “dogs”. It followed the arrest of more than 40 Papuan students in a tear-gas filled raid on student accomodation, as part of an investigation into alleged damage of an Indonesian flag during the nation’s Independence Day celebrations. The students were later cleared.

Benny Wenda, the exiled leader of the West Papuan independence movement, has called for Indonesia to “listen to my people’s voice”.

“I’m calling for the Indonesian president to let my people go and give us our freedom,” he told Guardian Australia.

On Thursday demonstrators flew the Morning Star flag in front of Jakarta’s state palace – a highly provocative act which can bring jail penalties of more than a decade.


A new wave of violence has hit the restive Indonesian region of West Papua after hundreds of protesters, mostly high school students, set fire to several buildings in a town on Monday.

At least 23 people died in the regional capital Wamena, some of whom were trapped inside burning buildings.

The protests were reportedly triggered by a teacher’s racist comments - an allegation the police called a “hoax”.

It’s the latest violence in the region, which saw weeks of unrest in August.

The number of killed is expected to rise as the search for victims continues on Tuesday.

Haitian police used tear gas and live ammunition on Friday to disperse increasingly violent protesters in the capital, witnesses said, as anger over the economic and political problems in the country grew.

Haitians are protesting widespread food and fuel shortages, a weakening currency, double-digit inflation and graft accusations lodged against public officials in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

Many are calling for President Jovenel Moise to stand down after what they say is a failure to address the myriad of problems. Four people died in clashes in recent days.

The protests on Friday were among the largest and most violent in months, with witnesses reporting that a special unit of the Haitian National Police was looted and a police vehicle set on fire.

In the wealthier neighborhoods of Delmas and Petion Ville, angry crowds also looted several stores, banks and money transfer offices, ATMs and pharmacies. They also set a building on fire.

In an apparent attempt to calm tensions, Moise on Thursday replaced several security officials after calls from human rights groups to remove people they accused of involvement in a massacre in the poor La Saline neighborhood in the capital.

Moise also canceled his speech at the United Nations General Assembly this week and made a rare address to the nation.

He suggested a unity government in the hope of calming tempers after a ruling-party senator fired a pistol to disperse a crowd, injuring a photojournalist.

Police spokesman Gary Desrosiers said four people were shot to death in demonstrations between Sept. 16 and Sept. 25.


Around 20 people have been killed in an attack on a gold mining site in northern Burkina Faso, security sources said, the latest in a spate of violence blamed on a jihadist insurgency across the region.

The attack on Friday took place in Soum province not far from where alleged jihadists blew up a bridge linking two northern towns in mid-September

“Armed individuals attacked the gold mining site at Dolmane ... leaving around 20 dead, mainly gold miners,” one security source said.

Another security source confirmed the attack, adding that a number of people had been injured, without giving further details.

The west African nation has become part of a four-and-a-half year jihadist insurgency in the Sahel region, which covers the region south of the Sahara from the Atlantic coast across to the horn of Africa.

Many of the attacks have been attributed to groups affiliated with al-Qaida, and others to the so-called Islamic State group.

More than 585 people have been killed since early 2015, according to an AFP toll, in an insurgency affecting Nigeria, Chad, Niger and other nations such as Mali, where nearly 40 people were killed in an attack last week.

A week ago, 17 people, including a soldier, were killed in a weekend of attacks in the north of Burkina Faso. On 29 September, about 20 men on motorcycles attacked the village of Komsilga in Bam province, killing nine people, and burning shops and two car tyres. Later the same day, seven people were killed after armed individuals attacked the village of Deneon in the same province. A third attack in Deou in Soum province saw a soldier killed during an attack on an army unit.

The Burkinabe army, which itself has suffered heavy losses, has been unable to stop the attacks, which were initially concentrated in the north but have since spread to other regions in the east and west.

Attacks on emblems of the state, hit-and-run raids on remote villages and brutal interpretation of Islamic law have forced an estimated 300,000 people to flee their homes to the south.

The attacks have also fuelled intercommunal violence and seen about 2,000 schools closed.

The G5 Sahel, a joint taskforce, was created in 2014 to try to tackle the problem, backed by the region’s former colonial power, France. From July 2017, it pooled troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger in a bid to drive back the jihadist groups.

But a lack of finance, training and equipment limited their effectiveness and their numbers. The force currently numbers 4,000 troops although 5,000 were originally planned.

British troops are due to join a UN peacekeeping mission in Mali next year.

Even just across the Channel, gigantic upheaval continues, which has seen massive police repression, and violence including dozens of injuries to protesters who have lost eyes from police baton round attacks and several who have lost a hand from exploding police gas grenades:

French police fired teargas and made dozens of arrests on Saturday as they dispersed groups of gilets jaunes (yellow vest) protesters attempting to stage unauthorised rallies in central Paris.

The government deployed a massive police presence as it feared supporters would take advantage of authorised protests over climate change and pension reform to cause disruption in the French capital.

Police had made 90 arrests in Paris by around midday local time (1000 GMT) and pushed back around one hundred protesters attempting to gather on the Champs-Élysées shopping avenue, the Paris police prefecture said.

About 7,500 police were mobilised, several districts including the Champs-Élysées were made out-of-bounds for protests, and more than 30 Metro stations closed.

The yellow vest protesters, named after motorists’ high-visibility jackets, were holding a 45th consecutive Saturday of action and seeking to revive participation in demonstrations that have sometimes turned violent.

The movement emerged late last year, triggered by fuel tax rises and swelled into a revolt against President Emmanuel Macron’s style of government.

The government’s planned overhaul of France’s retirement system prompted a massive strike by Metro workers on 13 September, shutting most of the underground transport network.

The authorities have also been taking precautions so protesters do not disrupt an annual heritage event this weekend that gives the public special access to many historic sites.

Some sites such as the Arc de Triomphe monument have been closed while others such as the Élysée presidential palace have required visitors to register in advance.

Only brutal repression and military rule holds down ferment in other countries, none of them attracting the deluge of hypocritical Western “democracy” protest coverage that pours out against the Chinese workers state authority in Hong Kong:

The Thai army has filed sedition charges against six key opposition party leaders who debated possible devolution of some powers to the nation’s violence-hit south.

More than 7,000 people have been killed in 15 years of violence in Thailand’s ‘Deep South’ provinces that border Malaysia.

Militants want greater autonomy for the culturally distinct Malay-Muslim region, annexed by Buddhist-majority Thailand more than 100 years ago.

But the demand is incendiary to Thai nationalists and successive governments have refused to cede ground on any decentralisation of power in rounds of peace talks.

A seminar on Saturday, held in Pattani city and attended by academics and opposition politicians headed by the radical billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, discussed the possibility of amending the army-written Thai constitution.

The army filed the charges after the debate, which also explored ways to end the violence in the south and devolve some powers, was aired online.

“Parts of the debate contained distorted facts which could lead to chaos, public disobedience, or even unrest in the kingdom,” a legal expert for the army, Burin Thongpraphai, told AFP, after the sedition charges were filed.

Sedition carries up to seven years in jail.

Five other leaders from Thailand’s opposition bloc were also among those charged, as well as several academics.

One of those charged, Paradorn Pattanathabut a member of the anti-junta Pheu Thai party, said the move showed the continued choking of “free expression” despite the end of formal junta rule.

Thanathorn’s Future Forward Party stunned observers by emerging from nowhere to take third place in March elections, powered by millions of millennial votes and a radical anti-military agenda.

His party is a leading voice in calls for the constitution to be changed to curb military influence, but has been battered by legal cases.

Thanathorn could also be banned from politics and jailed if found guilty of holding media shares while running for office.

Thailand’s junta returned to power as a civilian government after the March election.

Critics say the constitution scripted election rules that skewed votes towards army-linked parties, while rivals were banned or tied-up in legal cases.


President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs and declaration of martial law in an island territory are being used as a pretext to attack people defending their land and environment in the Philippines, new research shows.

The resource-rich archipelago in south-east Asia is the world’s most murderous country for people who oppose logging, destructive mining and corrupt agribusiness. At least 30 people were killed in the Philippines last year, following 48 in 2017, dislodging Brazil from the top spot for the first time since the independent watchdog Global Witness began monitoring in 2012.

In Palawan, illegal logging is the dark side of the tourism boom as the island province rushes to construct hotels and resorts. At least 12 local environmentalists have been murdered since 2004, including Ruben Arzaga, the head of El Nido village, who was shot in September 2017 by illegal loggers. Global Witness said the threat against defenders in Palawan has escalated with Duterte’s brutal campaign against illegal drugs. Some environmental activists have been named on a list of “narco-politicians” created by Duterte’s administration.

“The president’s brutal ‘war on drugs’ has fostered a culture of impunity and fear, emboldening the politically and economically powerful to use violence and hitmen against those they see as an obstacle or a threat,” the report said.

The report says the same is true for attacks against people opposing the coal industry, illegal mining, and corrupt agribusiness around the country. Many deaths involve armed men on motorcycles, the same modus operandi employed in the war on drugs.

Global Witness said the militarisation of communities due to the declaration of martial law in Mindanao has also increased the danger for local land defenders. Almost half of the murders since Duterte assumed the presidency have taken place in the region.

“The imposition of martial law on the island of Mindanao has empowered an army already known for protecting business projects and attacking those who oppose them,” the report said.

Global Witness said violence had got worse as the government continued to attract more investment into the region. Members of the army and paramilitaries are the suspects in almost three-quarters of the murders.

Duterte declared martial law during the 2017 siege of Marawi City by supporters of Islamic State. He kept extending it despite the end of the crisis, citing the need to eliminate terrorist cells operating in other parts of Mindanao.

Global Witness said martial law was also used for the purposes of the military’s drive against the communist New People’s Army (NPA), which “may be operating in and around some of the rural communities opposed to abusive business projects”.

The research cited the 2017 massacre of eight indigenous activists opposing a coffee plantation on their ancestral land in south Mindanao. The military claimed they were communist rebels killed in a legitimate encounter, but the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) disagreed and held two military commanders liable for the killings.


Authorities in Indian Kashmir have arrested nearly 4,000 people since the scrapping of its special status last month, government data shows, the most clear evidence yet of the scale of one of the disputed region’s biggest crackdowns.

Muslim-majority Kashmir, claimed by both India and Pakistan, has been in turmoil since India stripped its portion of the region of its autonomy and statehood on Aug. 5, leading to clashes between security forces and residents and inflaming tension with Pakistan.

India said the removal of the status that its part of Kashmir has held since independence from Britain in 1947 would help integrate it into the Indian economy, to the benefit of all.

In an attempt to stifle the protests that the reform sparked in Kashmir, India cut internet and mobile services and imposed curfew-like restrictions in many areas.

It has also arrested more than 3,800 people, according to a government report dated Sept. 6 and seen by Reuters, though about 2,600 have since been released.

A spokeswoman for India’s interior ministry did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did Jammu and Kashmir police.

It was not clear on what basis most of the people were being held but an Indian official said some were held under the Public Safety Act, a law in Jammu and Kashmir state that allows for detention for up to two years without charge.

The data for the first time shows the extent of the detentions, as well as indicating who was picked up and where.

More than 200 politicians, including two former chief ministers of the state were arrested, along with more than 100 leaders and activists from an umbrella organization of pro-separatist political groups.

The bulk of those arrested - more than 3,000 - were listed as “stone pelters and other miscreants”. On Sunday, 85 detainees were shifted to a prison in Agra in northern India, a police source said.

Rights group Amnesty International said the crackdown was “distinct and unprecedented” in the recent history of the region and the detentions had contributed to “widespread fear and alienation”.

“The communication blackout, security clampdown and detention of the political leaders in the region has made it worse,” said Aakar Patel, head of Amnesty International India.

India says the detentions are necessary to maintain order and prevent violence, and points to the relatively limited number of casualties compared with previous bouts of unrest.

The government says only one person is confirmed to have died compared with dozens in 2016, when the killing of a militant leader sparked widespread violence.

The data did not include those under informal house arrest, nor people detained in a round-up of separatists that began in February after a bomb attack by a Pakistan-based militant group on Indian troops.

Most devastating of all for imperialist world diktat are; the failure to control Afghanistan, where the US is trying to pull out having failed to establish Western “democratic” control after 18 years of pointless blitzing and killing, but cannot; and renewed eruptions in Iraq:

Donald Trump says he has cancelled secret peace talks on Afghanistan scheduled for Sunday that would have brought him face to face with Taliban leaders at Camp David, the presidential retreat in the hills of Maryland state - with the Islamist militant group warning on Sunday that the snub meant more American lives would be lost.

The US president made the remarkable claim in a series of tweets on Saturday evening declaring he had “called off” the negotiations after the Taliban claimed responsibility for a blast in Kabul that killed 12 people including a US soldier on Thursday.

“What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?” Trump wrote, accusing Taliban leaders of trying to build leverage ahead of Sunday’s talks.

“If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway.”

The revelation of the planned talks and their abrupt cancellation leave a question mark over the future of peace talks intended to bring American involvement in Afghanistan to an end, an early and regularly recited Trump campaign pledge.

The Taliban warned on Sunday that the cancellation meant more American lives would be lost, while the United States promised to keep up military pressure on the militants.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, criticized Trump for calling off the dialogue and said US forces have been pounding Afghanistan with attacks at the same time.

“This will lead to more losses to the US,” he said in a statement. “Its credibility will be affected, its anti-peace stance will be exposed to the world, losses to lives and assets will increase.”

The secret plans by Trump emphasised how much faith the US president puts on personal diplomacy, even with people previous heads of state would have avoided meeting for fear of granting them imprimatur - now apparently including members of a militant group the US government officially classifies as terrorists.

The Taliban had confirmed in a statement that it had been asked in late August by Trump to visit the US.

“While America and Afghan allies have killed hundreds of Afghans, it doesn’t show patience and experience to react to an attack [by the Taliban] prior to signing the deal.”

The militant group vowed to continue its jihad but left open the possibility of resuming negotiations. “If the way if talks is chosen instead of war, we are committed to that until the end,” it said.

Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha, where negotiations have been taking place, said an agreement had been “finalised” a few days ago and that both sides agreed the deal would be announced by the Qatari government.

“Everyone was satisfied,” he wrote on Twitter. “At this time, the disappointing President Trump’s tweets have been unbelievable and certainly damaged his credibility.”

The Illinois congressman Adam Kinzinger, a fellow Republican, wrote on Twitter: “Never should leaders of a terrorist organisation that hasn’t renounced 9/11 and continues in evil be allowed in our great country. NEVER. Full stop.”

American negotiators said they had reached an “agreement in principle” with Taliban leaders over nine rounds of talks in Qatar aimed at facilitating the withdrawal of the roughly 13,000 US troops who remain in Afghanistan nearly 18 years since the military campaign commenced.

The Camp David talks would have been held three days short of the anniversary of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks by al-Qaida militants who were being harboured in Afghanistan by the then ruling Taliban regime, the justification for the US-led invasion of the country a few weeks later.

Most of the terms of the provisional peace agreement are classified but it would include the withdrawal of 5,000 American soldiers from five bases across Afghanistan by early next year. The Taliban would agree to renounce al-Qaida, fight the Islamic State group and stop jihadists from using the south Asian country as a safe haven.

The US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that talks could be reopened with “a significant commitment” from the Taliban.

Bloodletting has continued in the battered country despite the negotiations, including a car bomb blast on Thursday a fortified area near the green zone.

The death of the American soldier was at least the 16th of a US service person in Afghanistan this year. A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter.

More than 1,200 civilians have been killed so far this year in the country, most as a result of airstrikes by US warplanes including 89 children, according to figures by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan that the US government disputes.

The withdrawal agreement has been criticised by Afghanistan’s internationally recognised president, Ashraf Ghani, whose government was excluded from the talks as a condition of the Taliban sitting down at the table.

“The government considers the Taliban’s obstinacy to increase violence against Afghans as the main obstacle to the ongoing peace negotiations,” said a spokesman for Ghani on Sunday.

Activists have also said a US withdrawal would have dire implications for ordinary Afghans, especially women, who might be subject to extreme religious restrictions in a future Taliban-run or dominated national government.

The Iraqi eruptions, equally against attempted US stoogery, are even more telling, not least because they seem to be overcoming some of the divisive sectarian Sunni-Shia hatreds deliberately fostered by American dirty dealing in Iraq after the 2003 blitzkrieg occupation, (when they secretly imported deathsquad techniques from El Salvador to create hatreds, hoping to head off the anti-American resistance which fused previous Saddamite forces and the Sunnis). As the EPSR said last autumn (No1544 25-10-18) when these upheavals first occurred, they demonstrated how the religious infighting must eventually give way to a higher level of understanding focussing on the real enemy, the imperialist order and its stooge representatives such as the Shia government in Baghdad, mired in corruption. As reported then as well, they are also hostile to the Ayatollahocracy in Iran:

The UN has called for an end to the violence in Iraq after five days of anti-government rallies left nearly 100 people dead, mainly protesters.

The demonstrations – which have evolved from initial calls for employment and better services to demanding the fall of the government – carried on into Saturday night in various neighbourhoods of Baghdad and southern Iraq, as authorities struggled to agree on a response.

Security forces broke up a mass rally in the east of Baghdad, where protesters faced volleys of tear gas and live rounds , witnesses said.

“Five days of reported deaths and injuries: this must stop,” said the UN’s top official in Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert.

She described the violence as a “senseless loss of life” and said those behind it must be held accountable.

The violent deadlock presents the conflict-scarred nation with its most serious challenge since the defeat of the Islamic State group two years ago and deepens the political crisis of a country still struggling with the legacy of multiple, unfinished wars since the US invasion in 2003.

“It has been 16 years of corruption and injustice,” said Abbas Najm, a 43-year-old unemployed engineer who was part of a rally on Saturday. “We are not afraid of bullets or the death of martyrs. We will keep going and we won’t back down.”

Authorities accused unidentified snipers of shooting into the crowd and said they were searching residential neighbourhoods for those responsible.

At least 99 people have died and nearly 4,000 have been wounded since protests began in the capital on Tuesday before spreading to the south of the country, according to the Iraqi parliament’s human rights commission.

The mainly young, male protesters have insisted their movement is not linked to any party or religious establishment and have scoffed at recent overtures by politicians.

On Saturday, demonstrators in the southern city of Nasiriyah set fire to the headquarters of six different political parties.

Thousands also descended on government buildings in the southern city of Diwaniyah, where gunfire was unleashed into the air, AFP correspondents there said.

Parliament’s human rights commission said Saturday that most of the deaths occurred in Baghdad, where 250 people were also treated for sniper wounds.

“We demand clarification from the Iraqi government on those wounded in Baghdad by sniper fire, which is ongoing today,” the commission said.

Parliament had been due to meet on Saturday afternoon but could not reach a quorum, after firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s bloc of 54 lawmakers and other factions boycotted the session.

The former militia leader threw his weight behind the demonstrations on Friday with a call for the resignation of the prime minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

Sadr’s movement has the power and organisation to bring large numbers of supporters onto the streets, but at the risk of alienating many of those whose protests in recent days have been based on rejecting all of Iraq’s feuding political factions.

The parliamentary speaker, Mohammed al-Halbusi, had extended a hand to protesters saying “your voice is being heard”.

But one protester said late Friday: “These men don’t represent us. We don’t want parties anymore. We don’t want anyone to speak in our name.”

Even if there is no obvious sign yet that anything like a Marxist revolutionary understanding has developed, the significance of these revolts and their rejection of the more hardline sectarianism in favour of more obviously political demands, cannot be overstated.

But they also further expose the moralising “left” condemnations of “jihadist” struggles, which have essentially helped imperialism by taking a stand against such upheavals as “reactionary” or “run by the CIA” or allegedly against Marxist-Leninist “principles (not so, as previously discussed in the EPSR - eg see issue No 1248).

The reestablishment of Western stoogery following past mass upheavals, like the Sisi dictatorship in Cairo, and this Baghdad Green Zone corrupt bureaucracy in Iraq, with its US embassy approved personnel, has been facilitated by the universal denunciations of terrorist revolt across the spectrum by the “lefts”, from 9/11 onwards.

And while phenomena such as ISIS and its bizarre ideology are not anything that Marxism would support, it is misleading the world completely to declare them to be “fascist” or a new form of reaction – thereby giving credence to the capitalist excuse of a “war on terror” to cover up the bullying blitzkrieging of the planet caused solely by capitalism’s endless pursuit of world domination and exploitation, and its escalation of openly violent belligerence as its grip increasingly fails.

Such struggles are driven by the eruption of anti-imperialist sentiment which will eventually find its way to much deeper understanding, precisely as this Iraqi turmoil is hinting with the nightmare prospect for Washington eventually of fully fledged communist movements emerging.

The Marxist attitude to such “terrorism” is only ever decided by reference to imperialism, the root of all world chaos, barbaric repression and war, and whether or not it is being setback or weakened.

Leninism calls for the defeat of the most reactionary element in any situation, (Tsarist monarchism in 1917 under the reactionary General Kornilov, or US dominated imperialism now) but without implying any support for any forces that are not communists.

Defeat for imperialism and its reactionary allies in the Middle East is even more obvious in Yemen where the corrupt and primitive mafia-feudalism running Saudi Arabia guided and advised by British and American military, has been waging barbaric war on the Houthi uprising which followed in the wake of the Arab Spring, carrying out atrocity after atrocity. But despite endless horrors the resistance is strong and inflicting severe blows:

The overnight attack on Dhamar on 1 September was the deadliest so far this year by the Saudi-led coalition of 20 Arab nations fighting to restore the deposed president, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, according to the Yemen Data Project, a database tracking the war. Even by the standards of a conflict defined by indiscriminate bombing of civilians at markets, weddings and hospitals, the violence was shocking.

At least 100 people died in what eyewitnesses said were seven strikes that pulverised the area. It took five days to remove all the bodies impaled on metalwork ripped from the walls in the blasts.

As a community college campus turned into an informal detention centre, the Dhamar site should have been on the coalition’s no-strike list. It was also an attack that targeted their own: about half of the prisoners were captured Hadi soldiers and half were civilians arrested by the Houthis, said a survivor, Ali Ahmed al-Abasi, 39, from his hospital bed.

Photos of prisoners who died during a coalition airstrike that totally destroyed the Dhamar detention facility are seen on a wall at the Dhamar general hospital on 15 September 2019.

Strikes such as those on Dhamar that could constitute war crimes hit northern Yemen on an alarmingly regular basis. Saada province, the Houthi heartland on Saudi Arabia’s border, is targeted the most. Barely a street in the town of the same name has been left untouched: the post office, central market and countless civilian homes are gone.

Adel is one of dozens of people the Guardian met on a rare 6,000km journey through Yemen’s patchwork of Houthi-, government- and separatist-controlled areas, who described how more than four years of war have changed their lives beyond recognition. Suffering is palpable everywhere. But it is in the rebel-held highlands of Yemen’s north that the world’s worst humanitarian crisis has taken root and the spectres of cholera, hunger and Saudi airstrikes loom.

The scorched earth strategy has not brought Saudi Arabia any closer to winning this war. Its crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, then defence minister, launched Operation Decisive Storm in March 2015 after the Iran-backed Houthis took the capital Sana’a, forcing Hadi to flee to Riyadh.

However, the Houthis – officially known as Ansar Allah - are an experienced decades-old guerrilla movement. With the help of Tehran, they now possess sophisticated drone technology and can launch cross-border rocket attacks deep into Saudi Arabia, targeting assets such as oilfields, military bases and airports.

Footage of heroic Houthi exploits loops endlessly on the rebel al-Masirah television channel, and Houthi battle songs, known as zawamil, are so catchy even loyalist troops like to play them. The lyrics taunt Prince Mohammed with promises of more Houthi gifts sent over the border.

Some now call Yemen Saudi Arabia’s Vietnam. But the truth is, without a steady supply of weapons, vehicles and technical expertise provided by the UK, US and other western nations, the current stalemate would be even worse for Riyadh.

Yemenis are well aware of where the bombs that fall on their heads originate from. Technical information and serial numbers from missile parts that survive explosions can easily be traced to western arms manufacturers.

At the bomb and mine clearance agency in Sana’a, weapons parts recovered from airstrikes glow hot in the sun. Among them are motor parts from four sensors from cluster bombs – explosives illegal under international law because the submunitions inside released on impact cause indiscriminate harm over a large area. The labels say they were made by the US Goodrich Corporation and manufactured in Wolverhampton, UK.


Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for a drone attack on the world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia which is vital to global energy supplies.

The attacks on the processor and a major oilfield, operated by Saudi Aramco, on early Saturday sparked a huge fire, the kingdom’s interior ministry said.

According to Reuters, threes sources claimed the assault had disrupted output and exports, with one source claiming 5 million barrels per day of crude production had been impacted – nearly half the kingdom’s output.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia is shutting down about half of its oil output because of the incident. Authorities have not confirmed whether oil production or exports were affected.

A military spokesman for Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the strikes, saying 10 drones had been deployed in the attack.

The Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes on Yemen’s northern Saada province, a Houthi stronghold, on Saturday, a Reuters witness said. Houthi-run al Masirah TV said the warplanes targeted a military camp.

Yahia Sarie made the announcement on Saturday in a televised address carried by the Houthi movement’s al-Masirah satellite news channel.

Sarie said the rebels had attacked the Abqaiq oil processing facility and the Khurais oil field. He said attacks against the kingdom would get worse if the war in Yemen continued.

“The only option for the Saudi government is to stop attacking us,” he said. A Saudi-led coalition has been at war with the rebels since March 2015.

It was unclear whether there were any injuries in the attacks, or whether they would affect the country’s oil production. They are, however, likely to heighten tensions in the region, where Saudi Arabia and Iran are effectively fighting a proxy war in Yemen, and Tehran is at loggerheads with Washington over the latter’s withdrawal from its nuclear deal with world powers.

Online videos apparently shot in Abqaiq included the sound of gunfire in the background. Smoke rose over the skyline and flames could be seen in the distance at the oil processing facility.

Saudi Aramco describes its Abqaiq facility as the largest crude oil stabilisation plant in the world. It is thought to be able to process up to 7m barrels of crude a day.

Bob McNally, who runs Rapidan Energy Group and served in the US National Security Council during the second Gulf War in 2003, told Reuters: “A successful attack on Abqaiq would be akin to a massive heart attack for the oil market and global economy.”

The rebels have flown drones into the radar arrays of Saudi Arabia’s Patriot missile batteries, according to Conflict Armament Research, disabling them and allowing them to fire ballistic missiles into the kingdom unchallenged.

UN investigators have suggested that the rebels’ new UAV-X drone may have a range of up to 930 miles (1,500km), meaning they would be able to reach Saudi Arabia and the UAE.


Houthi rebels in Yemen say they have killed 500 Saudi soldiers, captured a further 2,000 and seized a convoy of Saudi military vehicles.

The Houthis, showing pictures of upturned Saudi vehicles and immobilised convoys, claimed the attacks had occurred over the past three days in the southern Najran region of Saudi Arabia, which borders Yemen, and would continue with greater intensity.

“Operation Victory from God is the largest military one since the brutal aggression began. The enemy suffered heavy losses … and wide swathes of territory were liberated in only a few days,” said the Houthi spokesman, Mohammed Abdul Salam.

He also claimed hundreds of Saudi soldiers lay dead or injured on the battlefield, and Riyadh had little option but to consider how to withdraw. He said the Houthis would end their attacks if the Saudis took reciprocal measures.

The attacks, if verified, would be a remarkable show of force inside Saudi Arabia and mark another embarrassment for the kingdom, after its US-made Patriot missile defence system failed to protect two Saudi Aramco oil sites from an attack by drones and cruise missiles earlier this month.

On Saturday, the Houthis claimed they had captured three Saudi brigades – a major proportion of the kingdom’s army. The group also says it was responsible for the oil attacks, but this has been disputed by western and European governments.

A Gulf coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, intervened in Yemen in March 2015 on behalf of the internationally recognised government after the Houthis ousted Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi in a coup as they seized the capital, Sana’a.

It was reported over the weekend that Saudi Arabia had agreed to end its bombing campaign in some parts of Yemen in an attempt to kickstart political talks on the country’s future.

Western diplomatic sources have confirmed a limited Saudi offer to restrict its bombing campaign to some regions and exchange prisoners is imminent. The United Arab Emirates pulled some of its troops out of Yemen earlier this year after deciding there was no possibility of an outright military victory.

The most important aspect of this deluge of upheaval around the world is simply its very existence as a symptom of the breakdown of post-war “Pax Americana” and the overall control and prestige of imperialism, disintegrating through its great crisis.

Especially the Houthis are sending the reaction reeling.

It gives the lie to the relentless petty bourgeois gloom mongering that “the left has never been weaker or more on the back foot”.

Speak for yourselves gentlemen is the appropriate reply: yes the fake-“left” is in deep trouble because it has abandoned all revolutionary understanding, and most obviously since the 9/11 capitulation to the meaningless excuses of the “war on terror”, a treachery on a par with the Second International’s siding with its own bourgeoisies at the outbreak of the First World War.

And of course this great wave of revolt is a long way yet from coalescing around, or itself generating, the Marxist-Leninist conscious leadership that is the crucial element in coordinating, inspiring and cohering revolutionary developments to the point where they can turnover the whole imperialist order to establish proletarian dictatorship.

But that only underlines the importance of rebuilding and developing Leninist theory and the party to do it.

It is imperialism which is on the back foot, its lies and fraudulent “democracy” more exposed by the minute despite its endless brainwashing and anti-communist stunts.

The Hong Kong provocations and media hysteria about Chinese “state violence” for example look pretty sick when set against the litany of endless atrocities, massacres and repression detailed above (to which add the continuing non-stop genocidal persecution and suppression of the Palestinian people by the Zionist-Nazi regime occupying their land; or the bombardment and siege of the east Ukraine killing 1000s by the out and out swastika-toting Kiev regime, installed at great expense ($5bn) in subversion and NGO skulduggery by Washington; or the horrifying civil war mess raging in torn-apart Libya; or the death-squad activities in Colombia against hundreds of community leaders and members of the FARC, or the police vigilante child killings in the favelas in Brazil, encouraged by the new fascist Jair Bolsonaro regime.)

Taking any of the bourgeois nonsense which pours out virtually daily to hype up the alleged “repression”, it is clear that the serious violence and atrocities in Hong Kong are all instigated by the “protestors” with a hate-filled anti-communists purpose, and coming close several times to out and out lynching of bystanders or hapless victims declared to be “pro-Chinese”.

Hype about “lost eyes” has died away because the supposed victim did not lose an eye, unlike several dozen gilet-jaunes in France, and a subsequent incident involving a stray projectile hitting an unfortunate journalist was clearly an accident – tragic enough but hardly evidence of “police brutality”.

Ditto the single incident so far, in four months of provocations, of a police shooting, which was clearly a response to a near lynching with the injured protestor one of a group of five armed with iron bars about to attack a fallen policeman on the ground, with obvious lynching intent. It is notable that the demonstrator was not killed, just as it is notable that the infamous “tank man” in the 1989 Tiananmen events (which this Western directed campaign wants to emulate) was not killed or crushed.

The numbers involved in the demonstrations are now extremely small (but massively hyped), often just hundreds or a few thousands of diehard anarchists intent on sabotage and disruption, and filled with racist hatred for the mainland Chinese and communism:

A Hong Kong-born actress was filmed with blood dripping down her chin as she confronted a group of angry protesters. She said she was assaulted while trying to take pictures of them engaging in vandalism.

Leung Wing-ngan, better known by her stage name Celine Ma Tai-lo, was one of the people hurt in Hong Kong on Sunday. The Chinese city went through a third day of protests and violence in a row over its government’s decision to outlaw masks at public gatherings.

Footage of Celine Ma’s confrontation with protesters show her with blood on her face and T-shirt. She was engaged in a loud shouting match with protesters while a man is struggled to keep them apart. At one point, somebody in the crowd tried to hit her with a tennis racket.

The actress, who has a pro-Beijing stance, later said she was beaten while trying to film the protesters as they were vandalizing the property of the Bank of China. The video doesn’t show how the altercation started. Several companies viewed by the protesters as being pro-Beijing were targeted on Sunday throughout Hong Kong.

Protesters in Halloween masks vandalized shops after court refusal to cancel anti-mask ban.

Radical protesters in the city have attacked civilians with whom they disagree politically, including a journalist working for a Chinese media outlet, and a bank worker who shouted “We are all Chinese” in front of them.


A camera has captured the dramatic moment when a man – reportedly an off-duty police officer – was dragged away from his car and firebombed by rioters amid violent clashes in Hong Kong.

Footage shared by Xinhua news agency shows masked mobsters surrounding the man’s car in a Hong Kong street. They then hurl a petrol bomb at the victim, who was wearing a white T-shirt, before he runs away to escape the blaze. He dropped a sidearm on the ground.

Further into the clip, he is seen making a phone call, at which point a second petrol bomb explodes under his legs.

The assault occurred amid anti-Beijing protests that continue to rage in Hong Kong, with violent demonstrators targeting Chinese banks, setting streets ablaze, and vandalizing underground stations.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam accused the violent protesters of creating “a very dark night” for the city.

“Everyone is very worried and concerned, or even scared,” she said in a recorded video statement released on Saturday.

Earlier, the city suspended all underground and train services as the authorities braced for another wave of violence on Saturday on the back of a failed new ban on face masks.


The invocation of a draconian law to quell a four-month unrest in Hong Kong has signalled the start of an authoritarian era that will plunge the city in a worse crisis, analysts and Hong Kongers have said.

The Hong Kong leader, Carrie Lam, announced on Friday that the government had invoked the Emergency Regulations Ordinance to pass a regulation forbidding the use of face masks. The decision bypassed the legislature, which resumes sessions in mid-October.

Lam said the move was designed to stop violence and restore calm, but the government was prepared for immediate protests and a weekend of escalating violence: government employees were sent home early, schools were closed early on Friday and all school activities were cancelled on Saturday. Many shopping malls, banks and businesses were also closed.

Thousands thronged on to the streets after Lam made the announcement on Friday afternoon. After dark, crowds lit fires at two metro stations and vandalised shops and businesses regarded as being pro-China. Police threw teargas and an off-duty officer reportedly fired a live round, hitting a 14-year-old boy in the thigh, after protesters attacked him.

Political analysts said the use of the emergency law signalled the start of authoritarian rule in the semi-autonomous city.

Hong Kong has had civil freedoms under China’s one country, two system policy since 1997. Although many have been eroded over the years, the emergency regulations were expected quickly eradicate many fundamental rights.

“This symbolises very much the beginning of authoritarianism,” said Joseph Cheng, a retired political science professor at the City University of Hong Kong. “The Pandora’s box is opened. This law gives the government widespread power to do anything it likes. There is no more check and balance.

The ludicrous notion that “freedom” consists in being allowed to set shops on fire, block and burn the metro system and mount violent attacks on anyone deemed to be in favour of the government expressed here underlines the ridiculous propaganda poured out by the Western counter-revolutionary agencies using the pretence of neutral commentary etc from unnamed “analysts” or stooge professors (nearly always in comfortable posts far away).

The same with the shallow demands for abstract “freedom” from the pampered youths, which obviously deserve short-shrift; let them chose the “freedom” available in any of the imperialist dominated hell-holes above, Haiti for example, or Yemen, or the “freedom” of life in the hellhole Gaza strip in Palestine bombed virtually daily and terror blitzed every 2-3 years.. Or perhaps they could choose a life in the “free-world’s” European workgangs labouring in slave conditions for a pittance on the farms in Spain or Italy, or even Lincolnshire????. Or in the Bangladesh or Mexican textile sweatshops?? Sri Lankan tea plantations? Etc etc.

Or maybe they would feel more at home with the fascists now dominating most of East Europe?:

...revising the role of Nazi collaborators in World War II, a Latvian minister said veterans, his compatriots who fought in the Waffen-SS, were “heroes” and memories of their sacrifice must be cherished.

“It is our duty to honor these Latvian patriots from all the depths of our souls,” Defense Minister Artis Pabriks told the crowd during a memorial event on Saturday.

He then called the Latvian legionnaires – Nazi collaborators now praised as freedom-fighters for their anti-Soviet alignment – “heroes” and “the pride of the Latvian nation and state.”

“Standing next to our legionnaires’ graves and memorials, we are all overwhelmed with power and confidence that our country has a future, that we are on the right path,” the minister proclaimed.

The legionnaires comprised two grenadier divisions within the Waffen-SS, the elite military wing of the German Nazi party that fought alongside regular troops during the war and became infamous for their mass atrocities. Germans began recruiting and drafting Latvians to fight against the Soviets shortly after invading and occupying Latvia in 1941, which was part of the USSR at the time. The Latvian soldiers were trained and led by German officers. When joining the legion, each soldier pledged personal loyalty to Adolf Hitler.

The small Baltic nation remains among the very few countries that openly celebrate Waffen-SS veterans. Former legionnaires and their supporters stage annual marches in downtown Riga. Their cause is supported by many local right-wing politicians, historians, writers and media figures.

Latvia’s sizeable Russian-speaking and Jewish populations, meanwhile, stage annual protest rallies, pointing out that the glorified Waffen-SS veterans effectively fought on Hitler’s side and committed war crimes.

the war crimes of the German forces, killed tens of thousands of Latvians, mostly Jews and Gypsies during a three-year occupation, which ended thanks to Soviet troops.

There is only one kind of freedom that can be achieved by the world’s labouring and proletarian masses and that is the freedom available once they can get the rotten exploitation tyranny of imperialist capitalism off their backs, achieved only by the class war revolutionary overthrow of capitalism to establish communism.

And that can only be built by the firmest proletarian dictatorship authority suppressing the bourgeoisie and its inevitable and endless counter-revolutionary attempts with utmost fascist savagery, to restore its rule.

The worst aspect of the current Hong Kong upheavals is the prevarication and hesitancy of the Chinese workers state leadership, which has only given this monstrous stunt far more space and opportunity than its obvious reactionary ambitions should have had.

That reflects the disastrous revisionist perspectives which were on show 30 years ago during the Tiananmen provocation (which the West is trying to reignite), taking weeks to deal firmly with the counter-revolutionaries (see eg EPSR 1073).

Firmer measures are slowly being used but the world could do with both a much sharper expression of state authority (which by no means implies “massacres” as still lyingly alleged against China over 1989 despite the West having admitted previously that only a couple of hundred lives were lost, and those made necessary by lynchings of state forces in the deliberately incited violence at the time). But:

To this day, the CPC leadership still do not take Western imperialism’s worldwide counter-revolutionary conspiracy seriously enough, because they continue to lack, or fail to exhibit, the faintest grasp of the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary philosophy for a world socialist revolution as the only final answer to capitalist warmongering and bourgeois-imperialist tyranny on earth (EPSR No 1073).

Exactly so. Build Leninism.

Don Hoskins

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World Socialist Review

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


Descendants of Batista’s henchmen want “compensation” under Helms-Burton Act


When dictator Fulgencio Batista decided to flee Cuba, a large number of his cronies joined the expedition. Some 25 suitcases accompanied him onto the aircraft and he pressed a bulging briefcase to his chest. The briefcase contained dollars and Batista, who trusted no one, feared losing them.

He was well acquainted with his traveling companions, their many outrages and the shady operations they ran.

The money had been given to him by his closest relatives, like Andrés Domingo and Morales del Castillo, Presidential secretary; José López Vilaboy and Manuel Pérez Benitoa, although the latter had been in New York since the end of December, when he took Batista’s children to the city, along with $43m dollars deposited in the dictator’s account, although the story goes he deposited 42 and kept $1m.

Lopez Vilaboy couldn’t get a seat on the planes that took off with the dictator’s pals, obliging him to seek refuge in the Guatemalan embassy in Havana.

These days, with the United States government activating the Helms-Burton Act’s Title III, granting the right to file court claim to those who were not citizens of that country at the time of nationalizations, a figure known as José Ramón López, who says he is the son of Cuban businessman José López Vilaboy, has asserted that, pre-1959, his father’s properties included the Rancho Boyeros airport, Cubana Airlines, the Colina Hotel, and other buildings.

Let us recall how the Cuban Ministry for the Recovery of Misappropriated Assets acted, as the body charged with processing nationalizations and confiscations, among other tasks.

In the case of Mr. José A. López Vilaboy, 27 charges were filed against him and his spouse, for illicit enrichment, along with 15 other persons who served as front men for his businesses.

Fraud and illegal operations

To mask and “legalize” fraudulent financial operations, his clan of henchmen had the support of the firm Pérez Benitoa, Lamar, and Otero, with its battery of lawyers ready to facilitate illegalities. The three partners were related by conjugal ties with the Batista family, and other politicians tied to the dictatorship.

In terms of Cubana Airlines, in his book Las Empresas de Cuba, 1958, Guillermo Jiménez Soler refers to a “passenger and cargo aviation company, valued at 22 million, with 796 workers and offices at 23 and O Streets, Vedado, Havana.” It was based on Cuban capital, both private and state, with the Economic and Social Development Bank (Bandes) as its principal owner. Among prominent shareholders was Fulgencio Batista.

Via murky financial schemes, another portion of the shares were owned by entities controlled by Batista’s henchmen, and others close to the regime, while the Air Federation trade union also held stock.

“The Bandes had become the owner at the end of 1958 by converting into shares, loans granted for the company’s rehabilitation, amounting to 11 million, which, as of 1955, included the participation of (another bank) Banfaic, later replaced as lender and shareholder,” the book says.

More than two thirds of the company’s private capital belonged to Fulgencio Batista through the Rocar real estate corporation, registered as property of Andrés Domingo Morales del Castillo and Manuel Pérez Benitoa.

Batista had been gradually transferring his shares to José López Vilaboy, the second largest shareholder, figurehead and manager of these financial maneuvers.

The private stock was distributed among 200,000 common shares, of which 68,021 were controlled by the Unión Inmobiliaria de Construcciones S.A. with Vilaboy at the head, and the rest were held by another 200 shareholders, including Luis G. Mendoza and Company, Jorge Barroso, Julio B. Forcade, and others. Its vice-presidents were José M. Casanova Soto, José M. Garrigó Artigas, both shareholders, and as secretary Dr. Antonio Pérez Benitoa Fernández, who had been married to Mirtha Batista Godinez, Batista’s daughter from his first marriage.

When the Recovery of Misappropriated Assets Ministry’s team of officials, commercial experts, and auditors finished their work, it came to light that Mr. José López Vilaboy was not an enterprising businessman as he appeared, but a skillful figurehead in the service of President Fulgencio Batista. Thus, on February 3, 1960, the newspaper Revolución published an article with the headline: “Properties of Vilaboy and his front men confiscated.” It was announced that Cubana de Aviación, the Rancho Boyeros airport, the Colina Hotel, and many other businesses would be state property.

The article specified that the Ministry of Recovery of Misappropriated Assets had confiscated all his properties, and, Vilaboy was charged with 27 counts of illicit enrichment under the protection of public power, including cases involving his spouse, Carmen Bagur Peñalver - who also benefitted from illegal enrichment - as well as those of 15 people who appear as figureheads in his operations.

Among the additional assets confiscated from Vilaboy and other frontmen were 51% of the airport restaurant and half of the parking area there; the Mañana newspaper; the airport’s radio station; the Mañana subdivision; a lease for the Mañana tile factory; half of a tourism company in Cienfuegos which owned the valuable Hotel Jagua; and a residence, valued at more than 20,000 pesos, located at 1255 17th Street, in Vedado.

Another Vilaboy property confiscated was the Banco Hispano Cubano, which was placed under the control of the National Bank of Cuba.


Property returned to its rightful owners: the people

The properties illegally acquired by Vilaboy were returned to the service of the people, under the management of the new state’s agencies: Cubana Airlines, the airport and parking lot were handed over to the Ministry of Transportation; the newspaper Mañana was given to the Ministry of Communications; the subdivision and residence in Vedado, to the National Housing Institute; the Colina and Jagua hotels, and the airport restaurant went to the National Tourist Industry Institute (init); the match company to the National Institute of Agrarian Reform (inra); and the tile factory to the Ministry of Public Works.

All loans and mortgages owed 15 persons were cancelled, and it was clarified that the Ministry’s confiscation of the airport restaurant involved the 51% ownership held by Vilaboy, recognizing Elpidio Pizarro as the legitimate owner of the remaining portion.

Likewise, only half of the airport parking lot was confiscated, since two other individuals legally owned the remainder.

As for the Mañana subdivision, only pending monthly payments for homes sold were awarded to the state, without affecting those who had paid off their mortgages, who were given titles, if they had not yet received this document.

Precisely as proven, Vilaboy was involved in multiple businesses, becoming a real gangster. Batista lent him ten and a half million pesos, which would be paid with the money saved by “waived” taxes and, for the airport business, they tricked the former owner, making him believe that he would be moved him to another location by the dictator and his pal.

Thus the company was obliged to sell, for just over one million pesos, and to improve the site, a Bandes loan of more than four million was granted - yet to be repaid.

This is but one of the cases among hundreds processed by the Ministry for the Recovery of Misappropriated Assets, which are now the object of claims by those who, like their predecessors, have never thought of the Cuban people’s interests. •



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