LIBYA 360°



Libya, Racism and Anti-imperialism : Discussion with Gerald A. Perreira

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Empire in Crisis Uniting the Struggles to Defeat Racist State Terror, Austerity and Endless War

Claims of economic growth and a decline in imperialist interventions are false and require challenging

Author’s Comment: This paper was presented at the Left Forum held at John Jay College of Criminal Justice which is part of the City University of New York (CUNY). The conference took place May 29-31, 2015.

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Libya 360°

Since 2007-2008, the world capitalist system has remained in grave crisis. This is the reality of the social situation despite the claims made daily by the United States corporate media.

Most periodicals and broadcast networks here in the U.S. suggest that the problems of joblessness, home foreclosures, cut backs on educational and public services (austerity) have largely been corrected. Every month the public is presented with an unemployment rate that does not take into consideration key factors in analyzing the strength of the economy.

Even though it is said that the official rate of joblessness is 5.4 percent, what is not said is that the labor participation rate within the U.S. is the lowest in forty years. This index determines the number of people eligible or desirous of being employed in the formal sector of the labor market but have been systematically excluded.

There are many ways of judging the impact of this figure. It is true that many others work in the informal sectors of the U.S. economy which involves small business transactions, employment that is not reported to the federal government and contract labor that is not necessarily recorded with the Department of Labor.

Nonetheless, the pundits who promote the notion of inevitable advancement under U.S. capitalism heavily rely on faith that the economy will eventually experience growth. Despite the virtual zero rates of growth reported by the government, these statistics are ignored or dismissed as a temporary aberration within the broader framework of expansion.

One of the leading financial analysts wrote recently that “Having come through 2015’s first quarter with virtually no growth, the U.S. economy is generally expected to pick up during the rest of this year. Indeed, as we move into a new quarter and shake off the effects of a significant West Coast dock strike and severe winter weather, forward indicators have pointed toward better growth.” (Franklin Templeton Investments, May 26)

This same report continues saying “The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM’s) purchasing managers’ index for nonmanufacturing rose to 57.8 in April, well above the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction, suggesting that activity in the U.S. services sector—which accounts for the lion’s share of the American economy—has continued to march higher.”

Whether these figures represent an actual “march higher” cannot overshadow that the so-called “service sector” is where wages for workers are the lowest. It is also the sector where job security and potential for promotion and pay increases is the most remote.

Contradictorily, this projection notes that “At the same time, the ISM reading for the manufacturing sector has weakened somewhat, perhaps reflecting the adverse effects of a strong U.S. dollar, which has also cut into exports and the first-quarter corporate earnings of big American multinationals. Meanwhile, global growth has continued to disappoint, U.S. inflation has remained well below the Federal Reserve’s (Fed’s) medium-term target, and US productivity growth has stagnated, leaving the country’s growth potential in question.”

Looking at the situation from the perspective of political activism we have seen an upsurge in demonstrations and other legislative initiatives carried out by service sector workers aimed at raising the minimum wage up to $15 per hour. What these workers are saying who have been organized by the service industry unions is that the current national wage base of between $7-9 per hour is not nearly enough to survive in today’s cities and suburbs.

Poverty is on the increase in the U.S. and the gap between workers, especially those among the oppressed nations, and the ruling class is expanding rapidly. These hard facts are further aggravated and reflected in the crisis surrounding access to a decent standard of life and prospects for sustainability in the immediate future.

The Crises in Housing, Water and Education

In the city of Detroit the massive job losses through the restructuring of the world system after 1975 to the present has been represented by the large-scale capital flight and outright theft of social wealth by the corporations, banks and their agents in government. It is important to recount how this crisis of deindustrialization began in Detroit during the late 1950s when the population began to decline due to both changes within the employment market as well as the deliberate suburbanization of the region through policies facilitated by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

Since the 1950 Census, the city of Detroit has consistently lost population. A large drop occurred during the period of 2000-2010, approximately 25 percent, which was related to the continued job losses, rising utility costs and predatory lending engineered by the banks.

The Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI), founded in 2002, and the Moratorium NOW! Coalition, formed in 2008, has been demanding a long-term halt to all foreclosures, evictions and utility shut-offs. The imposition of such a moratorium could be done through the declaration of a “state of emergency” recognizing the failures of the capitalist market along with the federal government to create jobs and economic opportunities that would guarantee the people’s rights to employment and a minimum income.

Nonetheless, the local, county, state and federal government administrations have failed to take decisive action to protect the fundamental human rights of the majority of people who live in Detroit and throughout the U.S. The much championed recovery and revitalization of Detroit and other cities has not taken place amid weaknesses even cited by the capitalist theorists and analysts themselves.

Two other areas of concern for those who live in Detroit and other cities are the threats to public ownership and access to both water services and quality education. In the case of water, the city of Detroit gained global attention during 2014 when local organizations publicized and demonstrated against the massive water shut-offs that impacted tens of thousands of households.

Moratorium NOW! Coalition organized weekly demonstrations in the financial district downtown in Detroit during last summer. The organization also brought the plight of city residents into the federal bankruptcy hearing which were taking place in July 2014.

The Detroit Water & Sewage Dept. (DWSD) was prompted to impose a series of temporary moratoriums in the shut-offs, although Judge Steven Rhodes who proceeded over the bankruptcy claimed he had no jurisdiction to halt the terminations and impose an indefinite moratorium in the interests of the public. This decision was rendered despite the fact that documentation was presented to the courts that water bills were inaccurate in part due to the fact that untold amounts of water is wasted every months through abandoned industrial, commercial and residential properties where pipes are damaged and water has been running for months and even years.

Rhodes declaration of lack of authority to protect not only water services for working people, the aged, disabled and poor, but also the hard-earned pensions of the City of Detroit retirees who had $6.5 billion stolen in monetary and healthcare benefits through the bankruptcy. At present the water shut-offs have proceeded again representing the failure of corporate-oriented Duggan administration to fix the problem through an indefinite halt and the adoption of a sustainable program of stabilizing the water department.

The corporate solution has been geared toward paying bogus interest-rate swaps which ripped $537 million out of the system during 2012. The holders of these swaps are some of the largest banks in the world including Chase and Bank of America.

In the field of education, the onerous policies of the right-wing legislators backed by the corporations have left the system in Detroit and other districts in ruin. The promotion of charter schools and school authorities absent of any objective evaluations of successes and failures has caused tremendous damage.

Moreover, so-called tax captures from funds slated for educational improvements and public libraries are turned over to private interests through groups such as the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and the Downtown Development Authority which provides no plans to employ the hundreds of thousands of jobless and underemployed in the city. The building of stadia and casino hotels during the late 1990s did not prevent the city from being declared bankrupt by the emergency manager and the millionaire Gov. Rick Snyder in 2013.

The Pentagon Budget and Militarization of Police

MECAWI in its earliest phase raised the slogan: “Money for Our Cities Not for War!” This summed up the crisis of war abroad and the consequent class struggle waged by the rich against the workers, poor and oppressed inside the U.S.

Even under Obama when there is much rhetoric about the “drawing down” of forces in the Middle East and Central Asia, other military adventures are being intensified in Africa as well as in the Arab states. The U.S. military preoccupation with growing Chinese influence in the South Seas and the Pacific threatens another war in Asia.

In both Iraq and Syria, the destruction and dislocation of millions of people is the direct result of both U.S. foreign and domestic policy. Libya, once the most prosperous state in Africa, was destroyed by imperialism with the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and NATO at the helm. Today the refugee crisis of migration in North Africa and the Mediterranean has been described by the Italian prime minister as tantamount to the Atlantic Slave Trade which ended during the 19th century.

This militarization of Africa, the Asia-Pacific and Latin America, is mirrored inside the U.S. The rebellions in Ferguson and Baltimore illustrate clearly that the capitalist state is not only in conflict with the oppressed and working poor but are preparing for an even larger war in the not to distance future. Hence the total disregard of fundamental bourgeois democratic rights to housing, water, education and environmental integrity under the guise of fostering development and urban revitalization.

Ideological Framework and the Building of a Revolutionary Movement

What the current period shows us is that the bi-polar two-party political system is being further exposed for its incapacity to address the conditions of an ever growing poor and disenfranchised population in the U.S. The capitalist parties themselves are even having difficulties in generating candidates that can articulate the rationales for chronic decline and false notions of economic growth.

The subjective factor of revolutionary mass organization is the missing link in the current crises. Uniting these struggles for the redistribution of wealth inside the U.S. and the elimination of the Pentagon war machine requires an organization which seeks to seize state power in the interests of the majority of workers, youth and oppressed nationalities. Consequently, an ideological struggle must be waged against liberalism, social democracy as well as conservatism.

Abayomi Azikiwe has written extensively on African affairs with specific reference to historical studies and political economy. He has done research on the origins and political ideology of the African National Congress, its leaders as well as other national liberation movements and regional organizations  in Southern Africa.

The Darren Wilson Non-indictment: Resistance to Oppression is a Human Right!

Food Forests Could Bring Healthy Organic Food to Everyone for Free

By Andrew Martin

Image 5Food forests or Forest gardening have been around for a long time with many of the native cultures practicing this form of sustainable agriculture. It is a form of low-maintenance plant-based food production which replicates natural ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, running vines and perennial vegetables. Beneficial plants and companion planting is a big part of the food forest system.

Unlike much of the modern industrial agricultural system which relies heavily of inputs such as fossil fuels and artificial herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers, a food forest once established is self-regulating and highly abundant in yield.

Why Food Forests?

  • Forests are home to approximately 50-90% of all the world’s terrestrial (land-living) biodiversity — including the pollinators and wild relatives of many agricultural crops.
  • Tropical forests alone are estimated to contain between 10-50 million species – over 50% of species on the planet.
  • Rainforests cover 2% of the Earth’s surface and 6% of its land mass, yet they are home to over half of the world’s plant and animal species.

It is evident that forests themselves are synonymous with life, biodiversity and fertility. Where life gathers, complex and mutually beneficial relationships are created between organisms; natural harmonious communities form, and life forms multiply and proliferate. If forests are where most of the life on the planet is, then anything less than a forest is most likely less suited to supporting life. Life supports life, yet we have forgotten that we are in fact part of the web of life itself, and depend on other life to sustain ours.


Unfortunately society has been conditioned to clear the land and create unsustainable fields which need high inputs to be maintained. Food forests are abundant and can yield significantly more than the conventional farming and mono cropping that dominates much of the industrial landscape today. As well as being high yielding food forests are high in biodiversity and life. Food forests can be developed and grown in most climate zones and because they involve vertical stacking are great for suburban and urban areas. Check out this clip to see how a couple have transformed a traditional suburban landscape into a highly productive forest garden.

The Layers Of A Food Forest

1. Canopy or Tall Tree Layer
Typically over 30 feet (~9 meters) high. This layer is for larger Forest Gardens. Timber trees, large nut trees and nitrogen-fixing trees are the typical trees in this category. There are a number of larger fruiting trees that can be used here as well depending on the species, varieties and rootstocks used.

2. Sub-Canopy/Large Shrub Layer
Typically 10-30 feet (3-9 meters) high. In most Forest Gardens, or at least those with limited space, these plants often make up the acting Canopy layer. The majority of fruit trees fall into this layer.

3. Shrub Layer
Typically up to 10 feet (3 meters) high. The majority of fruiting bushes fall into this layer. Includes many nut, flowering, medicinal and other beneficial plants as well.

4. Herbaceous Layer
Plants in this layer die back to the ground every winter… if winters are cold enough, that is. They do not produce woody stems as the Shrub layer does. Many cullinary and medicinal herbs are in this layer. A large variety of other beneficial plants fall into this layer.

5. Groundcover/Creeper Layer
There is some overlap with the Herbaceous layer and the Groundcover layer; however plants in this layer are often shade tolerant, grow much closer to the ground, grow densely to fill bare patches of soil, and often can tolerate some foot traffic.

6. Underground Layer
These are root crops. There are an amazing variety of edible roots that most people have never heard of. Many of these plants can be utilized in the Herbaceous Layer, the Vining/Climbing Layer, and the Groundcover/Creeper Layer.

7. Vertical/Climber Layer
These vining and climbing plants span multiple layers depending on how they are trained or what they climb all on their own. They are a great way to add more productivity to a small space, but be warned. Trying to pick grapes that have climbed up a 60 foot Walnut Tree can be interesting to say the least.

8. Aquatic/Wetland Layer
This is my first new layer to the Forest Garden. Some will say that a forest doesn’t grow in the water, so this layer is inappropriate for the Forest Garden. I disagree. Many forests have streams flowing through or ponds in the center. There are a whole host of plants that thrive in wetlands or at the water’s edge. There are many plants that grow only in water. To ignore this large list of plants is to leave out many useful species that provide food, fiber, medicinals, animal feed, wildlife food and habitat, compost, biomass, and maybe most important, water filtration through bioremediation (or phytoremediation). We are intentionally designing Forest Gardens which incorporate water features, and it is time we add the Aquatic/Wetland Layer to the lexicon.

9. Mycelial/Fungal Layer
This is my second new layer to the Forest Garden. Fungal networks live in healthy soils. They will live on, and even within, the roots of plants in the Forest Garden. This underground fungal network transports nutrients and moisture from one area of the forest to another depending on the needs of the plants. It is an amazing system which we are only just beginning to comprehend. As more and more research is being conducted on how mycelium help build and maintain forests, it is shocking that this layer has not yet been added to the list. In addition to the vital work this layer contributes to developing and maintaining the forest, it will even provide mushrooms from time to time that we can utilize for food and medicine. If we are more proactive, we can cultivate this layer intentionally and dramatically increase our harvest.



By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation. This icon for this design principle represents a person ‘becoming’ a tree. In observing nature it is important to take different perspectives to help understand what is going on with the various elements in the system. The proverb “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” reminds us that we place our own values on what we observe, yet in nature, there is no right or wrong, only different.


By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need. This icon for this design principle represents energy being stored in a container for use later on, while the proverb “make hay while the sun shines” reminds us that we have a limited time to catch and store energy.


Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing. The icon of this design principle, a vegetable with a bite out of it, shows us that there is an element of competition in obtaining a yield, whilst the proverb “You can’t work on an empty stomach” reminds us that we must get immediate rewards to sustain us.


We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well. The icon of the whole earth is the largest scale example we have of a self regulating ‘organism’ which is subject to feedback controls. The proverb “the sins of the fathers are visited unto the children of the seventh generation” reminds us that negative feedback is often slow to emerge.


Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behaviour and dependence on non-renewable resources. The horse icon represents both a renewable service and renewable resource. It can be used to pull a cart, plough or log and it can even be eaten – a non consuming use is preferred over a consuming one. The proverb “let nature take it’s course” reminds us that control over nature through excessive resource use and high technology is not only expensive, but can have a negative effect on our environment.


By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste. The icon of the worm represents one of the most effective recyclers of organic materials, consuming plant and animal ‘waste’ into valuable plant food. The proverb “a stitch in time saves nine” reminds us that timely maintenance prevents waste, while “waste not, want not” reminds us that it’s easy to be wasteful in times of abundance, but this waste can be a cause of hardship later.


By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go. Every spider’s web is unique to its situation, yet the general pattern of radial spokes and spiral rings is universal. The proverb “can’t see the forest for the trees” reminds us that the closer we get to something, the more we are distracted from the big picture.


By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between them and they support each other. This icon represents a group of people from a bird’s-eye view, holding hands in a circle together. The space in the centre could represent “the whole being greater than the sum of the parts”. The proverb “many hands make light work” suggests that when we work together the job becomes easier.


Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes.  The snail is both small and slow, it carries its home on its back and can withdraw to defend itself when threatened. The proverb “the bigger they are, the harder they fall” reminds us of the disadvantages of excessive size and growth while “slow and steady wins the race” encourages patience while reflecting on a common truth in nature and society.


Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides. The remarkable adaptation of the spinebill and hummingbird to hover and sip nectar from long, narrow flowers with their spine-like beak symbolises the specialisation of form and function in nature. The proverb “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” reminds us that diversity offers insurance against the variations of our environment.

The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system. The icon of the sun coming over the horizon with a river in the foreground shows us a world composed of edges. The proverb “don’t think you are on the right track just because its a well-beaten path” reminds us that the most popular is not necessarily the best approach.
We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time. The butterfly is a positive symbol of transformative change in nature, from its previous life as a caterpillar. The proverb “vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be” reminds us that understanding change is much more than a linear projection. Permaculture design systems can be used anywhere from rural communities to high density urban environments. The beauty of permaculture is that is about being creative through observing the landscape and adapting and designing around any constraints that may exist. It is about creating a more integrated system that takes into account the natural synergies and  connections between components that produce abundance.

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Anti-Imperialism and the “Left”

Africa and the Struggle Against Imperialism

The Field Negroes’ Agenda: Reclamation, Reparations and Repatriation

Integrity: Remaining Faithful to the Revolutionary Struggle Against Imperialism

Socialist Ideology, Mass Organization and the Intensifying Class Struggle

En mémoire de Thomas Sankara, le Che Guevara africain

Hommage à Thomas Sankara

Cameroon Voice

Thomas Sankara


« Nous préférons la pauvreté dans la liberté à l’opulence dans l’esclavage» (…) «Acceptons de vivre Africains. C’est la seule façon de vivre libres et dignes» (…) « Où est l’impérialisme ? Regardez vos plats quand vous mangez. Ces grains de riz, de maïs et de mil importés, c’est cela l’impérialisme. »


Le concept de développement endogène ou autocentré renvoie au processus de transformation, économique, sociale, culturelle, scientifique et politique, basé sur la mobilisation des ressources et des forces sociales internes et l’utilisation des savoirs et expériences accumulés par le peuple d’un pays. Il permet ainsi aux populations d’être des agents actifs de la transformation de leur société au lieu de rester des spectateurs de politiques inspirées par des modèles importés.

Si le développement endogène vise d’abord à compter sur ses propres forces, pour autant, il ne veut pas dire autarcie.

L’un des théoriciens éminents du développement endogène, le Professeur Joseph Ki-Zerbo, disait:

« Si on se développe, c’est en tirant de soi-même les éléments de son propre développement.» Autrement dit: « On NE développe pas. On SE développe. »

La conception de l’illustre Professeur a sans doute inspiré son jeune et charismatique compatriote. De fait, la Révolution sankariste fut l’une des plus grandes tentatives d’émancipation populaire et démocratique de l’Afrique post-indépendance. C’est pourquoi elle est considérée comme une expérience inédite de profonde transformation économique, sociale, culturelle et politique, comme en témoignent les formidables mobilisations de masse pour amener les populations à prendre en charge leurs propres besoins, avec la construction d’infrastructures (barrages, réservoirs, puits, routes, écoles) grâce au principe de : « compter d’abord sur ses propres forces ».

Pour Sankara, le développement véritablement endogène devait reposer sur un certain nombre de principes, parmi lesquels:

– la nécessité de compter d’abord sur ses propres forces ;
– la participation des masses aux politiques destinées à changer leurs conditions de vie ;
– l’émancipation des femmes et leur implication dans le processus de développement;
– l’utilisation de l’Etat comme instrument de transformation économique et sociale.

Ces principes forment la base des politiques mises en œuvre par Sankara et ses camardes entre 1983 et 1987.

A) Compter d’abord sur ses propres forces

Pour Thomas Sankara, compter sur ses propres forces voulait dire s’appuyer sur le peuple burkinabé pour qu’il pense son propre développement:

«Le plus important, je crois, c’est d’avoir amené le peuple à avoir confiance en lui-même, à comprendre que finalement, il peut s’asseoir et écrire son développement, il peut s’asseoir et écrire son bonheur, il peut dire ce qu’il désire et en même temps, sentir quel est le prix à payer pour ce bonheur»

Le premier Plan Populaire de Développement (PPD) allant d’octobre 1984 à décembre 1985, avait été adopté après un processus participatif et démocratique jusque dans les villages les plus reculés. Le financement de ce Plan était 100% burkinabé. Il faut noter que de 1985 à 1988, donc pendant la présidence de Sankara, le Burkina Faso n’a reçu aucune « aide » étrangère ni des pays occidentaux, France comprise, ni de la Banque mondiale et du Fonds monétaire international (FMI). Il a entièrement compté sur ses propres forces et sur la solidarité de pays amis partageant la même vision et le même idéal.

La mobilisation populaire, surtout avec les Comités de Défense de la Révolution (CDR), et l’esprit de compter sur ses propres forces avaient permis d’accomplir 85% des objectifs du Plan! C’est ainsi qu’en un an, 250 réservoirs furent construits et plus de 3000 puits creusés. Sans compter les autres réalisations dans le domaine de la santé, de l’habitat, de l’éducation, de la production agricole, etc.

B) Refus de copier des « modèles » importés

Thomas SankaraLe concept de développement endogène et le principe de compter d’abord sur ses propres forces sont incompatibles avec l’acceptation de recettes importées. A ce propos Sankara disait :

« Nous rejetons catégoriquement et définitivement toutes sortes de diktats venus de l’étranger » et il dénonçait «les charlatans de toutes sortes qui ont cherché à vendre des modèles de développement qui ont tous échoué ».

Sankara savait bien de quoi il parlait. En fait, depuis les indépendances, les pays africains ont fait l’expérience d’une dizaine de « modèles de développement », mais tous venus de l’extérieur et qui se sont soldés par un échec lamentable, avec des coûts exorbitants pour le continent dans tous les domaines.

A ce propos, le Rapport 2011 de la Commission économique pour l’Afrique (CEA) dit ceci (page 91) :

«La conception de base et le mode de mise en œuvre de tous ces paradigmes viennent de l’extérieur de l’Afrique, même si chaque paradigme a eu de véritables disciples africains. Il est difficile de penser à d’autres grandes régions du monde, ces temps-ci où les influences extérieures sur les questions de la stratégie de base de développement soient aussi répandues»

L’échec de ces modèles confirme le vieux proverbe bambara, repris par le Pr. Ki-Zerbo dans un ouvrage qu’il a édité et publié par le CODESRIA, sous le titre La natte des autres. Selon ce proverbe :

« Dormir sur la natte des autres, c’est comme dormir par terre ».

Ce proverbe exprime une vérité historique, une profonde sagesse, à savoir qu’un modèle de développement imposé de l’extérieur n’a jamais et ne pourra jamais développer un pays, encore moins un continent.

C) Vivre avec ses propres moyens pour vivre libre

Compter sur ses propres forces signifie aussi accepter de vivre selon ses propres moyens en utilisant au mieux les ressources disponibles. C’est le gage de la dignité et de la liberté. Le président Sékou Touré, de la Guinée, n’avait-il pas eu l’audace, voire la témérité, de prononcer, en face du Général de Gaulle en 1958, cette phrase restée célèbre :

« Nous préférons la pauvreté dans la liberté à l’opulence dans l’esclavage».

Thomas Sankara  avait fait sien ce credo du grand tribun guinéen et reformulé d’une manière plus simple et directe la phrase du président Sékou Touré :

«Acceptons de vivre Africains. C’est la seule façon de vivre libres et dignes»

Mais pour « vivre libres et dignes », il faut pouvoir se nourrir soi-même et non dépendre de la mendicité internationale. Car un pays qui ne peut pas se nourrir lui-même risque inévitablement de perdre son indépendance et sa dignité. Sankara avait eu cette interrogation restée célèbre:

« Où est l’impérialisme ? Regardez vos plats quand vous mangez. Ces grains de riz, de maïs et de mil importés, c’est cela l’impérialisme. »

Pour éviter cela, Sankara insistait : « essayons de consommer ce que nous contrôlons nous-mêmes. »

C’est pour atteindre cet objectif qu’il avait mobilisé les paysans burkinabé pour atteindre l’autosuffisance alimentaire qui a permis de renforcer la confiance en soi et la dignité du peuple burkinabé. L’ancien Rapporteur des Nations-Unies pour le droit à l’alimentation, Jean Ziegler, a souligné que ce résultat avait été atteint par une redistribution massive des terres aux paysans combinée à la fourniture d’engrais et au recours à l’irrigation.

L’esprit de Sankara anime aujourd’hui les paysans africains qui se battent pour atteindre la souveraineté alimentaire en transformant les ressources locales et en contrôlant leur propre nourriture contre les OGM que les multinationales occidentales veulent déverser sur nos marchés.

Mais « vivre libre » implique aussi revaloriser les ressources locales pour répondre aux besoins des populations. C’est pourquoi Sankara avait mis un accent particulier sur la nécessité de transformer le coton produit au Burkina pour habiller la population. Le fameux « Faso Dan Fani », le vêtement local, était un exemple de cette transformation du coton pour le marché national. Sankara avait fait un vibrant plaidoyer pour le port du « Faso Dan Fani » au Sommet de l’OUA, plaidoyer salué par des applaudissements nourris des Chefs d’Etat africains.

Vivre libre veut dire encore éviter les pièges et humiliations de la prétendue « aide au développement » qui a plutôt contribué au sous-développement de l’Afrique et à sa grande dépendance. A ce propos, voici ce que disait Sankara :

« Bien sûr, nous encourageons toute aide qui nous aide à éliminer l’aide. Mais de manière générale, les politiques d’aide ont plutôt fini par nous désorganiser, par saper notre sens de responsabilité à l’égard de nos propres affaires sur les plans économique, politique et culturel. Nous avons pris le risque d’emprunter des voies nouvelles afin de réaliser un mieux-être. »

D) Libérer la femme et en faire un acteur central du développement

Un autre trait de génie de Sankara était d’avoir compris que le développement véritable serait impossible sans la libération de tous les groupes opprimés, à commencer les femmes. A cet égard, il disait :

« On ne peut transformer la société en maintenant la domination et la discrimination à l’égard des femmes qui sont plus de la moitié de la société… Notre révolution, durant les trois ans et demi, a œuvré à l’élimination progressives des pratiques dévalorisantes de la femme…Aussi celle-ci doit-elle s’engager davantage à produire et consommer burkinabé, en s’affirmant toujours comme agent économique de premier plan… Ensemble, nous devons toujours veiller à l’accès de la femme au travail. Ce travail émancipateur et libérateur qui garantira à la femme l’indépendance économique, un plus grand rôle social et une connaissance plus juste et plus complète du monde »

En effet, le développement, comme processus de transformation économique, sociale, politique et culturelle, ne peut devenir une réalité sans l’émancipation totale de la femme, la fin de toutes formes de discriminations à son égard et sa participation active dans le processus de transformation. Dans ce domaine encore, Sankara était très en avance par rapport à ses pairs africains et même par rapport à certains dirigeants occidentaux et institutions internationales.

De nos jours, des Nations-Unies aux pays les plus conservateurs, on célèbre bruyamment la « libération » de la femme, souvent plus folklorique que réelle. La lutte pour la libération de la femme est devenue un lieu commun, avec la création de l’ONU-Femmes, les lois sur la parité et d’autres mesures visant à l’émancipation économique, sociale et politique de la femme, autrement dit à son autonomisation.

Ici encore, l’histoire a amplement fait justice à la clairvoyance et à la vision stratégique de Sankara, qui était largement en avance sur son temps!

E) S’identifier avec les aspirations des masses populaires 

Pour Sankara, être révolutionnaire c’est donner la priorité à la satisfaction des besoins essentiels des masses populaires urbaines et rurales. C’est pourquoi il a cherché à se mettre à leur niveau, à épouser totalement leur cause, ce qui a été une des sources de conflits avec les franges de la petite bourgeoisie urbaine qui ne voulaient pas renoncer à leurs « privilèges ». Pour lui :

«On ne fait pas de révolution pour se substituer simplement aux anciens potentats renversés. On ne participe pas à la révolution sous une motivation vindicative ; « ôte-toi de là que je m’y mette ». Ce genre de mobile est étranger à l’idéal révolutionnaire d’août et ceux qui le portent démontrent leurs tares de petits bourgeois situationnistes quand ce n’est pas leur opportunisme de contre-révolutionnaires dangereux »

C’est que contrairement à ces petits bourgeois urbains, Thomas Sankara était en phase avec Amilcar Cabral qui appelait les intellectuels à se « suicider » pour ressusciter comme « travailleurs révolutionnaires » au service de leurs peuples.

Cabral disait : « la petite bourgeoisie révolutionnaire doit être capable de se suicider comme classe pour ressusciter comme travailleurs révolutionnaires complètement identifiés avec les aspirations profondes du peuple auquel ils appartiennent ».

C’est fidèle en cela que Sankara a essayé d’inculquer une autre mentalité à la petite bourgeoisie intellectuelle. Malheureusement, celle-ci était plus prompte à répéter des slogans révolutionnaires qu’à changer de comportement et de mode de vie. En fait, c’est l’un des défis majeurs de tout mouvement de transformation économique et sociale dans les pays africains. En effet, nombre d’intellectuels « révolutionnaires », une fois au pouvoir, tendent à tourner le dos au peuple et presque partout, ils ont engagé la course aux privilèges et à l’argent au détriment de la lutte pour la décolonisation des mentalités et la transformation des structures économiques et sociales héritées de la colonisation.

Une décolonisation au sens de Fanon : « La décolonisation, on le sait, est un processus historique …La décolonisation ne passe jamais inaperçue car elle porte sur l’être, elle modifie fondamentalement l’être, elle transforme des spectateurs écrasés d’inessentialité en acteurs privilégiés, saisis de façon quasi grandiose par le faisceau de l’Histoire…Dans décolonisation, il y a donc exigence d’une remise en question intégrale de la situation coloniale.»

Voilà l’objectif fondamental poursuivi par Thomas Sankara. Mais il s’est heurté à des forces d’inertie, comme la petite bourgeoisie « occidentalisée » qui constitue l’un des obstacles à toute politique de rupture visant à changer la société, les structures héritées de la colonisation. C’est cette force d’inertie qui explique en partie l’échec des partis de gauche en Afrique, notamment dans les pays « francophones ».

C’est cet écueil qui a finalement eu raison du processus révolutionnaire au Burkina Faso et contribué à créer les conditions qui ont abouti à l’assassinat de Thomas Sankara le 15 octobre 1987.

F) L’Etat comme instrument de transformation économique et sociale.

Thomas SankaraSankara était communiste et avait une grande admiration pour les régimes socialistes, notamment Cuba pour laquelle il avait une grande admiration. Il savait que l’Etat était au centre des transformations accomplies dans ces pays.

En dehors de cela, il savait qu’un pays, à peine sorti de la longue et terrible nuit coloniale, ne pouvait se reconstruire sans un Etat actif et engagé. Donc, pour lui, l’Etat devait être au centre du processus de transformation économique, sociale et culturelle. Et c’est sous l’impulsion de l’Etat et de ses démembrements que les masses ont pu être mobilisées pour participer à la mise en œuvre du premier Plan de Populaire de Développement.

Mais quand, après son assassinat, le Burkina Faso s’est agenouillé devant la Banque mondiale et le FMI, l’Etat fut vilipendé et dépouillé de ses fonctions essentielles au profit du secteur privé étranger, avec les conséquences que l’on connaît. Ce recul de l’Etat a entraîné une dégradation des conditions de vie, comme partout dans les autres pays africains.

La faillite des programmes d’ajustement structurel (PAS) et l’effondrement du fondamentalisme de marché ont consacré le retour en force de l’Etat. C’est dans ce contexte que la CEA (2011) et la CNUCED (2007) ont exhorté les pays africains à bâtir des Etats développementistes, pour en faire des agents actifs de leur développement, à l’instar de ce qu’ont fait les « Tigres » et « Dragons » asiatiques ou les BRICS (Brésil, Russie, Inde, Chine et Afrique du Sud).

G) Solidarité contre l’asservissement et le pillage par la dette

A la veille de la fondation de l’Organisation de l’Unité Africaine (OUA) en 1963, devenue Union Africaine (UA) en 2001, Kwame Nkrumah, premier Président du Ghana, leader visionnaire et figure emblématique du panafricanisme révolutionnaire, disait : « L’Afrique doit s’unir ou périr » !

En effet, face à des ennemis puissants et bien organisés qui tiennent à perpétuer leur domination sur l’Afrique pour continuer à piller ses richesses, seules la solidarité et l’union peuvent aider l’Afrique à préserver son indépendance. Panafricaniste convaincu et admirateur du grand dirigeant ghanéen, Thomas Sankara avait fait sienne cette déclaration pleine de vérité et de bon sens du Président Nkrumah. C’est pourquoi, Sankara, son dernier Sommet à Addis Abéba, en juillet 1987, avait apostrophé les leaders africains en leur demandant de former un front uni pour exiger l’annulation de la dette illégitime de l’Afrique, car :

« La dette sous sa forme actuelle est une reconquête savamment organisée de l’Afrique, pour que sa croissance et son développement obéissent à des normes et paliers qui nous sont totalement étrangers. Faisant en sorte que chacun d’entre nous devienne l’esclave financier, c’est-à-dire l’esclave tout court de ceux qui ont eu l’opportunité, la ruse, la fourberie de placer leurs fonds chez nous avec l’obligation de les rembourser. La dette ne peut pas être remboursée parce que d’abord si nous ne payons pas, nos bailleurs de fonds ne mourront pas. Soyons-en sûrs. Si nous payons, c’est nous qui allons mourir. Soyons-en sûrs, également.»

Le Burkina Faso fait partie de plus d’une trentaine d’autres pays africains, appelés « pays moins avancés » (PMA). Selon la CNUCED (2010), dans ces PMA, 6 personnes sur 10 vivent avec l’équivalent de 1,25 dollar par jour et près de 9 personnes sur 10 (88%) vivent avec l’équivalent de 2 dollars par jour ! Cela veut dire que ces pays ont besoin de retenir toutes leurs ressources pour les mettre au service de leur développement. Chaque sou qui sort de ces pays, sous forme de service de la dette ou de rapatriement de bénéfices, serait au détriment du bien-être de leurs populations. C’est pourquoi Sankara avait raison de dire que « si nous payons, c’est nous qui allons mourir ».

Et finalement, l’histoire lui a donné raison avec la décision d’annuler la dette des PMA et d’autres pays, après des campagnes internationales qui ont rendu hommage à Thomas Sankara et au président Fidel Castro pour avoir fait preuve de leadership, de courage et de clairvoyance en dénonçant une dette illégitime transformée en instrument de domination et de pillage des pays du Sud.

Toujours en liaison avec la dette extérieure du continent, Thomas Sankara fut l’un des rares dirigeants africains, sinon le seul, à avoir fustigé et rejeté les politiques d’ajustement de la Banque mondiale et du FMI, qui ont alourdi le fardeau de la dette et appauvri les pays africains. Son gouvernement avait refusé toute forme de collaboration avec ces institutions et rejeté leur « aide ». Il avait élaboré et mis en œuvre son propre programme d’auto-ajustement, qui avait bénéficié du soutien des populations qui comprenaient le bien-fondé des politiques et le sens des sacrifices demandés de tous, dirigeants et citoyens.

H)  La lutte pour la protection de l’environnement

En visionnaire, Sankara avait compris avant beaucoup d’autres, y compris dans le monde dit « développé », l’importance de la protection de l’environnement comme facteur indispensable à la survie même de l’Humanité. Des millions d’arbres avaient été plantés dans le but d’arrêter la désertification. Chaque évènement, baptême, mariage, était une occasion pour planter des arbres. Cela entraîna une mobilisation massive des populations qui ont compris le sens et la portée de telle décision: construire leur pays de leurs propres mains ! Voilà l’idée-force derrière la vision de Thomas Sankara.

C’est qu’il avait bien compris très tôt le coût économique et social que son pays risquait de payer du fait de la dégradation de l’environnement. C’est pourquoi l’un des axes majeurs de sa politique de développement a été la mobilisation des populations pour protéger leur environnement.

Sankara avait fait le lien entre le mode de production et de consommation capitaliste et la dégradation de l’environnement :

«Cette lutte pour l’arbre et la forêt est surtout une lutte anti-impérialiste. Car l’impérialisme est le pyromane de nos forêts et de nos savanes. »

Aujourd’hui, les énormes dégâts causés par le changement climatique, du fait du des émissions de gaz résultant du mode de production et de consommation des pays capitalistes, ont confirmé les prédictions de Sankara. Et son pays et le reste de l’Afrique, qui contribuent le moins à cette dégradation par une faible émission de gaz à effets de serre, risquent pourtant d’en payer le prix fort.

En guise de conclusion

Incontestablement, Thomas Sankara était un visionnaire, un leader charismatique et un révolutionnaire sincère. C’est pourquoi il a laissé une empreinte indélébile sur la conscience collective des peuples africains et son action a eu une profonde résonnance au-delà de l’Afrique.

Il était en avance sur son temps. De nos jours, toutes les problématiques au cœur de son combat sont devenues des sujets au centre des débats au niveau national et international: la libération de la femme, la dette, la souveraineté alimentaire, la solidarité entre pays africains, la solidarité Sud-Sud, la protection de l’environnement, etc.

L’Union africaine et les institutions continentales cherchent à forger un nouveau paradigme de développement pensé et mis en œuvre par les Africains eux-mêmes. Cela était l’axe central du combat de Sankara et de certains de ses illustres devanciers.

Certes, comme toute œuvre humaine, celle de Sankara n’était pas parfaite. Elle est critiquable sur bien des aspects.

Mais ce qui est sûr c’est qu’il a montré la voie vers un Autre Développement possible qui s’appuie sur la mobilisation du peuple et la confiance en soi contre les idées reçues et les modèles importés. Sans aucun doute, c’est une voie semée d’embûches mais la seule qui permette de « vivre libre et digne ».

De même que Sankara avait repris les idées et le combat de ses illustres devanciers, de même d’autres sont en train de reprendre ses idées et son  combat, qui sont plus actuels que jamais car, « on ne peut pas tuer les idées », comme il le disait lors d’un discours à la mémoire de Che Guevara, une semaine avant son assassinat.

Thomas Sankara a physiquement disparu mais ses idées et son exemple vont continuer d’inspirer d’autres Africains pour poursuivre son combat et l’idéal pour lequel il a donné sa vie

En ce sens, Sankara n’est pas mort ! Il vit en chacun et chacune de nous!

Demba Moussa Dembele, Président d’Arcade

Présenté au Samedi de l’économie du 03 Aût 2013 au siège de la fondation Rosa Luxemburg à Dakar
En hommage à Sankara, à l’occasion du 30e anniversaire de la révolution du 04 Août 1983

Liste des personnages cités:

Joseph Ki-Zerbo : historien burkinabé, théoricien du développement endogène. Il fut l’un des principaux auteurs de l’Histoire Générale de l’Afrique, publiée par l’UNESCO quand Amadou Makhtar Mbow en était le Directeur Général. Il est décédé en décembre 2006

Kwame Nkrumah : premier président du Ghana, un des principaux leaders du Panafricaniste et éminent révolutionnaire. Il est l’un des Pères Fondateurs de l’Organisation de l’Unité Africaine (OUA) en 1963. Victime d’un coup d’Etat militaire fomenté par l’impérialisme anglo-américain, il mourra en exil. Mais l’Afrique et le Ghana le reconnaissent comme le leader incontesté de la lutte pour la Libération et l’unité de l’Afrique. Son Mausolée trône fièrement à Accra et sa statue au siège de l’Union africaine à Addis Abéba.

Amilcar Cabral : originaire de la Guinée Bissau, dirigeant du Mouvement pour l’Indépendance de la Guinée et du Cap-Vert contre le colonialisme portugais. Il fut assassiné le 20 janvier 1973 par des agents de l’Etat fasciste portugais. Cabral est l’un des théoriciens révolutionnaires les plus originaux en Afrique et dans le Tiers Monde

Sékou Touré : premier président de la République de Guinée, un des Pères Fondateurs de l’OUA. Décédé en 1984

Frantz Fanon : révolutionnaire et écrivain d’origine  martiniquaise, ancien élève d’Aimé Césaire. Il s’engagea aux côtés du peuple algérien dans sa lutte de libération contre le colonialisme français. Il est l’auteur du célèbre ouvrage les « Damnés de la terre », une des critiques les plus pénétrantes du système colonial. Décédé très jeune (il avait moins de 40 ans) emporté par une leucémie.

Revolutionary Voices Against Imperialism

Real Voices of the 1963 March on Washington

Revisionist history has denied the struggle and programmatic thrust for jobs and freedom

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Libya 360°

MLK Jr., I Have A Dream, 1963, MLK Day
August 28, 1963 marks the 50th anniversary of that fateful day in Washington, D.C. when 300,000 people marched and rallied demanding jobs and freedom. Although in the corporate media this monumental historic event is often referenced, nonetheless, the actual march, the circumstances leading up to it and the organizations and personalities represented at the manifestation, have been largely lost in the public perception of people in the United States.

In typical fashion a brief 10 second clip is taken out of the final speech of the day delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saying “I Have a Dream.” This was of course the greatest speech of that day summing up the mass sentiment of the people.

Other talks, however, addressed the demands of the movement which had grown out of decades of struggle for equality and self-determination of the African American people. Even important and key aspects of Dr. King’s speech require modern re-examination in light of the developments in 1963 as well as what is happening in 2013.

King noted that the U.S. government had given African Americans a bad check that has been sent back marked “insufficient funds.” He also illustrated how then Southern governors utilized “nullification and interposition” to block the enforcement of civil rights and labor laws.

A Historic Legacy of Mass Mobilization

Some 22 years prior to the 1963 march, A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin had planned a “March on Washington” demanding the end of segregation in the war industry which was building up ferociously in early 1941. Randolph, a Socialist organizer, labor tactician and newspaper editor, called for 10,000 to come to Washington on July 1, 1941.

The call for a “March on Washington” in 1941 prompted President Franklin D. Roosevelt to issue Executive Order 8802 which established the Fair Employment Practice Committee (FEPC) on June 25 just six days before the scheduled demonstration. After the executive action by Roosevelt the march was called off.

Although there were other ideas about calling for marches on Washington during the 1940s, none ever materialized. On May 17, 1957, the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom was organized by Randolph and Rustin and supported by the newly-formed Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) headed by Dr. King. At the Lincoln Memorial gathering featured speakers included New York Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) executive secretary Roy Wilkins, Dr. King and gospel recording artist and Civil Rights Movement supporter Mahalia Jackson performed.

This rally was designed to support the Civil Rights Act of 1957 which empowered the Justice Department to pursue cases involving the suppression of the voting rights of African Americans. The event was attended by 25,000 people where Dr. King delivered one his first national speeches, this one entitled “Give Us the Ballot.”

After 1960, the Civil Rights Movement would take on a more mass character when the student sit-ins began in the South and the people of Fayette County, Tennessee tested the 1957 Civil Rights Act and began to register to vote provoking their evictions by white landowners. The student sit-ins and boycotts lead to the formation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Fayette County struggle prompted the first Tent City of the period where African Americans camped out in opposition to their racist evictions.

Nonetheless, the events of the Spring and Summer of 1963 were critical in the introduction by President John F. Kennedy of yet another Civil Rights Bill in June of that year. The initiative was clearly a response to mass actions in Birmingham, Alabama, Cambridge, Maryland, Somerville, Tennessee, Danville, Virginia, Detroit , Michigan and other cities and rural areas across the country.

In Detroit on June 23, hundreds of thousands marched and rallied in the “Great Walk to Freedom” where Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was first recorded and publicized by Motown Records. His Washington, D.C. version of the same address has gained greater exposure over the last five decades, but was not the first of such a talk.

Other key speakers at the March on Washington were John Lewis, Chairman of SNCC, whose speech was considered so militant that he was requested by the lead organizers to revise it. In the original draft it states that “We march today for jobs and freedom, but we have nothing to be proud of, for hundreds and thousands of our brothers are not here. They have no money for their transportation, for they are receiving starvation wages or no wages at all.

“In good conscience, we cannot support wholeheartedly the administration’s civil rights bill, for it is too little and too late. There’s not one thing in the bill that will protect our people from police brutality.”

Lewis also generated controversy when he stressed that “We are now involved in a serious revolution. This nation is still a place of cheap political leaders who build their careers on immoral compromises and ally themselves with open forms of political, economic and social exploitation. What political leader here can stand up and say, ‘My party is the party of principles?’ The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party?”

Bayard Rustin, often recognized as the actual organizer of the March on Washington, read the demands of the gathering. These demands included that effective Civil Rights legislation be passed immediately with no compromises encompassing full voting rights, the withholding of federal funds to any local and state government that refuses to obey federal civil rights laws, the signing of an executive order ending housing discrimination, full employment, an increase in the minimum wages and other issues.

Women, Civil Rights and the March on Washington

Women played a leading role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. It was the arrest of Rosa Parks on December 1, 1955 for violating the segregation laws of Alabama that set off the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Without the organizing work of the Women’s Political Caucus in Montgomery which printed the leaflets and circulated them telling people to refrain from riding the city buses, the boycott would have never been successful. Ella Baker, a long time organizer in the Civil Rights struggle was the first executive director of SCLC and would later encourage the youth to form their organization, SNCC, in order to ensure the militancy of their anti-segregation campaigns.

By 1963, women were playing leading roles in Cambridge, Maryland, Somerville, Tennessee and within the ranks of SNCC. Yet at the actual March on Washington, only one woman spoke to the crowd although others performed such as Mahalia Jackson, Marian Anderson and Joan Baez.

Dr. Dorothy Height of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) in New York was on hand but was not allowed to address the crowd. Mahalia Jackson, who had performed, encouraged King during his prepared speech to veer away after the gospel artist shouted “Tell them about your dream Martin.”

The only woman who spoke during the rally was film star and stage performer Josephine Baker who flew in from her adopted home of France to participate. Baker’s tenure in France largely resulted from the national discrimination facing African American artists in the U.S. during the 1920s and 1930s.

Baker told the crowd that “I have walked into the palaces of kings and queens and into the houses of presidents, and much more. But I could not walk into a hotel in America and get a cup of coffee, and that made me mad. And when I get mad, you know that I open my big mouth. And then look out, ’cause when Josephine opens her mouth, they hear it all over the world. . . .

“I am not a young woman now, friends. My life is behind me. There is not too much fire burning inside me. And before it goes out, I want you to use what is left to light the fire in you.”

After the demonstration Baker wrote to King saying “I was so happy to have been united with all of you on our great historical day. I repeat that you are really a great, great leader and if you need me I will always be at your disposition because we have come a long way but still have a way to go.” She signed the Aug. 31 letter, “Your great admirer and sister in battle.”

The full dimensions of the March on Washington need further exposure to the masses within the U.S. Even today in 2013 there is a need for a march for jobs and freedom.

Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois died on the same day that the March on Washington took place. His death was announced at the rally as well as an acknowledgment of his shift to the left in his latter decades.

Du Bois spanned the political spectrum from Civil Rights and Pan-Africanism to World Communism. All of these currents and their glorious histories have much to inform us about the struggle that we need to wage in the years to come.

File:March on washington Aug 28 1963.jpg

Abayomi Azikiwe
is the editor of Pan-African News Wire , an international electronic press service designed to foster intelligent discussion on the affairs of African people throughout the continent and the world. The press agency was founded in January of 1998 and has published thousands of articles and dispatches in newspapers, magazines, journals, research reports, blogs and websites throughout the world. The PANW represents the only daily international news source on pan-african and global affairs. To contact him, click on this link >> Email

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy and the Labor Movement
How the Government Killed Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Assassination of Martin Luther King and the Suppression of the Anti-War and Peace Perspectives
10th Annual MLK Day Focuses on Labor and Repression
The Revolutionary Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. and the Tools for Freedom
MLK: Stop The Wars. Stop The Crimes Perpetrated By The Wealthy Elite
Martin Luther King Jr.: A Time to Break the Silence
Martin Luther King Jr.: Praised in Words, Defamed by Deeds
Martin Luther King Jr: I Have a Dream
Martin Luther King Jr: I’ve Been to the Mountaintop
Martin Luther King Jr: The Birth of a New Nation
Martin Luther King Jr.: Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech
Martin Luther King Jr: Loving Your Enemies
Martin Luther King Jr: Lincoln Memorial Address

A Critique of the Non-Aligned Movement by Muammar Al Qadhafi




Vol. 18, No. 2, EIGHTH NON-ALIGNED SUMMIT HARARE-1986 (March/April 1987), pp. 40-47

View original

Plan to Realize Bolivar’s Supreme Dream

Ideology, Organization and the Mass Struggle

Lessons from the Moratorium NOW! Coalition, 2008-2013

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Libya 360°

Capitalism inside the United States is in terminal crisis. Since 2007, the banks and corporations have shed millions of jobs, taken trillions of dollars in bailouts from the federal government and the Federal Reserve and seized the homes of millions of people throughout the country.

In the city of Detroit, which was the most industrialized metropolitan area in the country, has been under a process of capitalist restructuring since late 1950s accelerating in successive waves during the mid-1970s, the mid-1980s and of course reached unprecedented levels over the last six years.

This restructuring was designed to address inherent problems within the capitalist mode of production and relations of production. The trade union movement, which in many ways through its leadership, had abdicated to the anti-communism and racism of the Post-World War II period, was not shielded from the attacks that began to occur during the 1980s when hundreds of thousands of industrial jobs were eliminated in the auto industry.

In providing higher salaries and living standards for the white working class during the post-World War II period, the ruling class through the state was attempting to win the allegiance of the white population in order to intensify the repression and exploitation of African American workers but also the proletariat in general. Both internationally and domestically, the peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America were identified as the principal enemy of the capitalist system in the U.S. through their purported susceptibility to national liberation struggles and communism.

Nonetheless, this strategy opened the way ideologically for placing anti-capitalist perspectives on the defensive within the mass media, the education system and the political culture. Yet it was the advent of the mass Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s combined with the rise of the national liberation movements and socialism internationally that created broader avenues for democratic expression within the U.S.

Observing and assessing the changing racial character of the rural and urban working class and the militant upsurges of the post-World War II period, the ruling class, in order to preserve and enhance its rate of profitability, began to relocate its plants into non-unionized areas of the South and outside the U.S. The working class and national movements inside the U.S. were not prepared for this major shift. What has happened over the last three decades is the greater impoverishment of the nationally oppressed and the working class as a whole.

The Struggle for a Moratorium of Foreclosures, Evictions, Utility Shut-offs and Debt-Service

In 2006-7, our mass work in Michigan was informed through direct observation and experience that a major crisis had developed in the housing industry. The housing crisis was an outgrowth of the loss of jobs and income and the role of the banks utilizing those assets ostensibly owned by working people to further their exploitation and impoverishment.

We began our struggle against predatory lending and home seizures through the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI) which was formed in 2002 on the eve of the imperialist invasion and occupation of Iraq. Our principal slogan was “Money for Our Cities, Not for War!” This slogan highlighted the escalating contradiction under capitalism where the living standards of the people, particularly the nationally oppressed, were worsening while expenditures and the costs of imperialist war were escalating.

MECAWI developed a program based upon developments at the height of the Great Depression during the 1930s when a movement of workers, the unemployed and African Americans fought against mass evictions, lay-offs, political repression and racism. We drafted leaflets calling for a moratorium, an immediate halt, to all foreclosures and evictions in the state of Michigan pending the outcome of the economic downturn which had hit the state first and with a vengeance.

This demand struck directly at the property rights under capitalism of the banks and corporations to seize the homes of working people based upon the interest of the ruling class, the real owners of capital. Our first successful project took place in late 2007 when we mounted a community campaign on the northwest side that saved an African American woman activist’s home from seizure by HUD and the banks.

In 2007 and 2008 we took people to the State Capitol in Lansing for the governor’s “state of the state” address to call for the declaration of an economic state of emergency and the imposition of a moratorium on home seizures. This movement grew during 2008, a national election year, when the economic crisis deepened.

In the Spring of 2008, State Senator Hansen Clarke recognizing the work that we were doing, in consultation with MECAWI, drafted a bill which would place a two-year moratorium on home foreclosures. At this point through MECAWI, we formed a new and broader alliance called the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions. Later during 2009 we added utility shut-offs to the focus of Moratorium NOW! Coalition since direct observations and involvement viewed massive utility shut-offs as a form of eviction through illegal lockouts from apartments and homes.

Of course through mass action which included marches at the leading Detroit and Michigan outlets of the largest banks in the country, home defenses, the consistent propaganda offenses against the failure of the state government to address the housing crisis and pointing to the central role of the financial institutions in the burgeoning economic crisis, we were able to influence the political atmosphere locally, statewide and nationally.

By the Fall of 2008, the crisis would reach a boiling point when the Congress was compelled to provide over $700 billion to bailout the banks, insurance companies and the auto industry. Obama’s election and the so-called stimulus package of 2009 could not conceal the worsening situation inside the U.S.

The crisis of capitalism is not only confined to the U.S. it is in fact a worldwide crisis. In Western Europe massive unemployment, deepening poverty and the imposition of austerity illustrates that the crisis is not episodic but chronically systematic. The capitalists, both politically and ideologically, have no ideas beyond the enactment of draconian cuts in employment, social programs, public services, pensions and education combined with state repression.

Since 2011, the housing crisis has further crippled the cities’ capacity to maintain services. The banks are also at the root of the crisis of the cities because some of the same financial instruments that were used to destroy the housing sector and enrich the ruling class were utilized to strangle the urban areas in municipal debt.

In 2012 it was revealed that the municipal bond market was a $3.7 trillion industry. In Detroit and throughout the state of Michigan, municipalities are being placed under emergency management in order to guarantee the payment of fraudulent loans to the banks.

The municipal debt crisis has been best exemplified in Stockton and San Bernardino, California, Jefferson County, Alabama, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Providence, Rhode Islands, Chicago, Illinois and a host of other cities and towns across the U.S. The banks are saying that they should be paid first even if there are no resources left to maintain civil servants, municipal services, public pensions, public transportation and public schools.

Consequently, the Moratorium NOW! Coalition’s focus has expanded to also include the demand for a halt to the payment of debt-service to the banks. In Detroit, the banks are saying that the majority African American city owes in excess of $16 billion to these same financial institutions that wrecked the municipality through capital flight, home foreclosures, evictions and utility shut-offs.

Undoubtedly, the struggle against emergency management, which strips all of the limited authority of municipal governing structures in the efforts to force total subservience to the banks, represents an assault on bourgeois democracy. Nonetheless, this process is clearly designed for the purpose of economic exploitation and political repression. The movement against emergency management is being forced to address the principal role of the financial institutions in the urban crisis.

Bourgeois Democracy and the Character of the Capitalist State

V.I. Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevik Revolution, wrote during the early days of the first socialist transformation of a capitalist state that “The forms of domination of the state may vary: capital manifests its power in one way where one form exists, and in another way where another form exists—but essentially the power is in the hands of capital, whether there are voting qualifications or some other rights or not, or whether the republic is democratic one or not—in fact the more democratic it is the cruder and more cynical is the rule of capitalism. One of the most democratic republics in the world is the United States of America, yet nowhere (and those who were there after 1905 probably know it) is the power of capital, the power of a handful of billionaires over the whole of society, so crude and so openly corrupt as in America. Once capital exists, it dominates the whole of society, and no democratic republic, no franchise can alter the essence of the matter.” (The State, pp. 20-21)

Therefore, our overriding objective is the replacement of the capitalist system with socialism. However, strategic objectives must be reached through tactics which are aimed at the mass mobilization and organization of the workers and the oppressed. The capitalist system must be exposed at its root as being incapable of addressing and solving the problems of the workers and the oppressed.

Once the people realize that the system is not only in diametrical opposition to their class interests but also has no ability to address the central problems they face, we can then move towards revolutionary organization for the removal of the exploitative system and the replacement of capitalism with socialism, where the workers and the oppressed will own and control the means of production.

As revolutionaries we can work in mass coalitions and at the same time maintain our independence politically and organizationally. In Detroit we have done this through the housing struggle and the various campaigns against emergency management.

As Mao Tse-Tung wrote in 1938, “In short, we must not split the united front, but neither should we allow ourselves to be bound hand and foot, and hence the slogan of ‘everything through the united front’ should not be put forward… Our policy is one of independence and initiative within the united front, a policy both of unity and of independence.” (The Question of Independence and Initiative Within the United Front, pp. 4-5)

Abayomi Azikiwe
is the editor of Pan-African News Wire , an international electronic press service designed to foster intelligent discussion on the affairs of African people throughout the continent and the world. The press agency was founded in January of 1998 and has published thousands of articles and dispatches in newspapers, magazines, journals, research reports, blogs and websites throughout the world. The PANW represents the only daily international news source on pan-african and global affairs. To contact him, click on this link >> Email

Zimbabwe: The Revolution Continues

On a Long March: Red Ant Dream

By Bernard D’Mello
watt logo

You are far away from the sterile atmosphere of much of academia with its politically correct but spineless professors.  You are miles away from intellectuals who detest both the Indian state and those who live by the revolutionary ideal.  Just as well to be nowhere near those who run with the hare and hunt with the hounds — say they abhor the status quo but despise those who have embraced the political means necessary to get rid of the existing state of affairs.  You are also insulated from propaganda of the kind that is around every day on the TV news channels.  Their careful placement of the camera keeps the real, wholly different, story from reaching the public.  In sharp contrast, Sanjay Kak’s new film, Red Ant Dream, takes you right to where you’ve been denied access — the political world of “those who live by the revolutionary ideal in India”.

The darkness is illumined by the headlights of heavy vehicles, huge dumper trucks; there’s an industrial complex in the background as two fugitives (our presumption) meet.  The camera moves to the forest where the Maoist guerrillas are on the move in the darkness of night.  With the approach of dawn, they are exercising.  On a well-paved highway, security-force personnel are jogging.  Not too far away, preparations are on for a public meeting; a Hindustani revolutionary song plays in the background.  The All-India Radio (AIR) announces that operations will continue till the Maoists “halt violence and come forward for talks”.

The words of the anti-imperialist, socialist revolutionary, Bhagat Singh (in 1931) appear on screen: “Let us declare that the state of war does exist and shall exist . . . that war shall be incessantly waged.”

The Revolutionary and the Angry Poet

The camera is focussed on an armed squad of Maoist guerrillas on a trail in the forests of the erstwhile Bastar division in southern Chhattisgarh.  Their transistor radio tells them what they very well know — that “the government is more or less prepared for a long-drawn battle with the ultra-leftists”.  The camera then switches its location to Punjab.  There are portraits of Bhagat Singh, just 23 years of age when he was hanged by the British on 23 March 1931, and the Punjabi radical poet, Avtar Singh Pash, 38 when he was assassinated by religious fanatics in 1988, by a strange coincidence, on the very day that Bhagat Singh was killed.

It’s the 23rd of March 2011, the double death anniversary, and people are on the march shouting “Inquilab Zindabad” (Long live the Revolution) and “Death to Imperialism” (Samrajyawad Ka Nash Ho), the very slogans Bhagat Singh and B K Dutt — who while throwing harmless bombs in the central assembly on 8 April 1929 to “make the deaf hear” — first raised.  Revolution has “been a long time coming”, but surely it’s going to be a “long, long time before the dawn” (the lyrics of that Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song, “Long Time Gone”, seem to cross my senses).  Unlike much of the academic discourse that has made its peace with the status quo, the degenerate, unscrupulous and callous system, Kak’s film doesn’t prevaricate — it’s in solidarity with the Revolution.

Pash, “the angry poet for a generation” who was inspired by “the armed uprising that flared briefly in the village of Naxalbari in far away Bengal”, has harsh words for the security-centric ruling classes, for whom the biggest threat is internal.  As he puts it (recited by the Punjabi revolutionary intellectual, Satnam, author of the Penguin tract, Jangalnama):

If the security of the land
calls for a life without conscience
. . .
then the security of the land
is a threat to us.

“The insurrection in Punjab”, inspired by Naxalbari, “was violently snuffed out”, but the revolutionary spirit can never be extinguished.  The camera follows a procession to Pash’s village, Talwandi Salem, in the district of Jalandhar.  At the venue there are revolutionary songs.  Elsewhere, security forces are on the move; the AIR Kolkata correspondent reminds listeners that “the Prime Minster Manmohan Singh has repeatedly pointed out that the country’s greatest threat to internal security has been from the Maoists”.  The camera is again on the Maoist guerrillas on the move.  The film’s narrator tells us how the Dandakaranya forests emerged as “the centre of what is known as the Maoist insurgency”.  As the camera follows the trail of the Maoist guerrillas, the voice of Azad speaks of established violence, the violence of the oppressors and the terror it has unleashed.  In his view, “self-preservation is possible only through [people’s] war”.

No Way Out But To . . .

The guerrillas decide to rest; they are relaxed, smiling and laughing; some of them are telling the interviewer their stories — how their induction began with the coming and going of the Maoist militia, becoming a part of the Bal Sangham (children’s squad), then the Chetna Natya Manch (the cultural front), later the Gram Raksha Dal (village defence militia), and from there, to the pinnacle, with obvious pride, the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) and participation in an ambush.  A young woman guerrilla, speaking of private vigilante and state repression, says: “I’ve seen all this with my own eyes, the rapes and beatings, jungles being combed by the police.  We realized there’s no way out but to fight, to take up a gun, and fight”.

Initially, these young guerrillas, men and women, knowing that they are on camera, seem to be making the adjustment, just like any of us would if we were placed in front of a webcam.  But very soon they seem to feel as if they are in control; that metaphorical wall between the maker of the film and the guerrillas seems to have vanished.  The latter are no longer that conscious of the camera.  Their real personalities begin to appear, and from then on one begins to get a feel of the life they are living, the way they are thinking, for they are now no longer self-conscious before the camera.  This was a very precious moment for me, as if I was in the company of those guerrillas and they were feeling comfortable giving me a glimpse of their real selves.  This is really one of the film’s high points, something very precious.  I was particularly touched by the woman’s narrative, her description of ongoing, almost daily, happenings.

The female comrades are touching, indeed, inspiring.  One can imagine what they do, and no less, alongside their male comrades — their bravery, their tenacity, and the unimaginable hardships they willingly undergo and seek to overcome.  Dandakaranya Red Culture seems to be really something that has taken root in these young women and men, shaping their thinking and their conduct.  They have left their families for a new home — they have become a part of the big revolutionary family where there’s warmth, where there’s mutual help, where there’s a spirit of sharing joy and sorrow.  If you were to ask me, I would say that all of this reflects the spirit of a people fighting for what they believe is right.  Marvellous!

The camera switches to Punjab again.  It’s 22 March 2011 and we are in Khatkar Kalan where separately the Congress Party and the Akali Party are holding rallies to commemorate, indeed, “lay claim to the dead socialist revolutionary”, Bhagat Singh.  The Congress has all along used the public memory of the revolutionary martyrs, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev to gain political ground, yet the fact remains that it unequivocally disowned the political practice of these revolutionaries who are revered for upholding the dignity of the people of India.  Bhagat Singh really hit the nail on the head when he said — and in this, he has proved prophetic — in a communication to young political workers on 2 February 1931, at a time the Congress was contemplating a compromise with the British government:

[W]hat difference does it make to them [workers and peasants] whether Lord Reading is the head of the Indian government or Sir Purshotamdas Thakordas?  What difference for a peasant if Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru replaces Lord Irwin!

The camera quickly leaves the establishment parties’ rallies and comes to a procession and gathering of the Lok Sabhyachar Samiti (People’s Cultural Front) where there are speeches and revolutionary songs.

‘Nature Too Awaits the Revolution!’

We are then taken to the Niyamgiri Hills in Odisha in eastern India in the midst of the Save Niyamgiri Movement against the mining of bauxite over there.  “This Vedanta [the transnational corporation, Vedanta Resources] . . . [is] going to consume this mountain . . . Niyamgiri is under attack”.  There’s a shot of the company’s industrial installation, presumably the alumina plant with a tall chimney from which a white smoke clouds the green hills.  “[W]e’re not going to let go.  There’ll be a fight, a fierce one.  Be sure of that!”  There is an attempt to explain with the help of metaphors: “See, what they’ve [Vedanta has] done is put a pot of water to boil.  [Now] they have to put rice [the alumina] in it to cook.  [But] the rice is with us; they only have the pot.  The precious thing inside the Niyamgiri mountain — if we don’t let them have it, they’ll be in a lot of trouble. . . .”

The camera goes to the Gandhamardan Hills, also in Odisha where the company, then government owned, was forced to withdraw.  The anniversary of that people’s movement brings the adivasis of Niyamgiri to Gandhamardan.  One hears the sweet sounds of a stream as the adivasi leader Lingraj Azad of the Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti (NSS, translated as Save Niyamgiri Committee) pleads: “Learn from history; partake of the present; anticipate the future . . . We have a slogan — If you want to live, be ready to die; at every step be ready to fight.”

The scene shifts to Lakhapadar at the crest of the Niyamgiri Hills.  We are in an adivasi hamlet . . . “that is stubbornly refusing to be displaced.  There’s no guerrilla army over here but war is still being waged”.  A determined, defiant villager, Ladda Sikaka, local leader of the NSS, speaks:

[W]e fought earlier too, with foreigners; we are not afraid of the fight.  If we die our children, our grandchildren will continue the fight.  We’ve survived the ages because Niyamgiri is there, mother-earth is there.  Only if she survives will we survive . . .  This struggle . . . it’s not about our survival, no, it’s about everybody’s survival. . . .

By the side of a road, trees are laden with dust, what with the steady stream of dumper trucks.  It is clear that the authorities and the company have little concern for the preservation of the natural and the socio-cultural environment, no concern for the rights of the people.  We might soon be witness to scarred landscapes, ruined streams, polluted air and deforestation here too — the costs of capitalist progress and development.  India’s new financial aristocracy is callous and rapacious; it’s heavy handed; it insists on operating on its own terms; it wants to make as much profit as possible, grow as rapidly as possible.  Nevertheless, what one is witnessing is not unique — it’s all about capitalism’s unsustainable appropriation of use values from nature and its unsustainable dumping of the resulting “waste” of production and consumption on to nature.  But if we have anything to learn from the morally sensible Ladda Sikaka and his ecological awareness, nature has to be regarded as a subject, like a human being, with rights that have to be respected.  In the words of the Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse: “Nature too awaits the Revolution!”

Bhumkal and the Commune

The camera takes us to Bastar once again.  The celebrations are beginning; witness the song and dance, the drums beating away in rhythm, the blowing of the horn, and drama.  It’s the Bhumkal centenary festivity being organised by the Janatam Sarkar (people’s government) of the Dandakaranya wing of the Communist Party of India (Maoist).  The legacy of Gunda Dhur, the inspirational adivasi hero who had fought against British imperialism (colonialism) as the leader of the Bhumkal Rebellion of 1910, is evoked for inspiration.  This revolt is particularly important for the Gondi Maoists, because the adverse impact of colonial land and forest administration policies on the tribal peasantry of Bastar was its proximate causes.  The zamindars and tribal headmen had then mostly collaborated with the British colonialists for they had gained from the land revenue system that the latter had instituted.  And the transfer of power in 1947 brought almost nothing in terms of recompense for the Gondi peasants.

A poster with a quote from Mao’s Little Red Book reads: “Without a People’s Army the masses will not achieve anything”.  The Maoist insurgency reclaims the history of adivasi revolt against the British and “fashions it into a weapon”.  The birds too seem to be celebrating; they’re chirping as the drums beat away.  Smoke from a chimney of the industrial complex is sucked back into it.

School of Counterinsurgency

It’s time though for the dramatic entry of a counterinsurgency expert.  A trumpet blows.  We are in the Counter-Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College (CTJWC) in Kanker, Chhattisgarh.  As the jungle warriors in the making are being trained, a forceful voice, that of Brigadier B K Ponwar, Ret’d, Director of the CTJWC commands our attention:

[O]ver here in Bastar where almost 10,000-15,000 sq. km of territory across the Indravati River [has been usurped] . . . [where] the Naxalites have been running their own kind of Jan Adalats and . . . other kinds of activity . . . land allotment . . . [they] say “the water, forest, land is ours”. . . .  [U]sage of territory becomes ownership of territory . . . [W]e have to bring order in this disorder . . . the Security Forces [have to lead] the advance because the philosophy of the Naxalites is that “power flows from the barrel of a gun”. . . .  [P]opulation is the centre of gravity.  Whichever side the population tilts [towards], that side wins.

The Brigadier obviously knows Karl von Clausewitz’s On War (1932) well.  Footage of a Maoist video of 23 October 2005 shows the destruction of homes and hearths.  Nothing is spared, not even the traditional musical instrument.  “[T]he Salwa Judum thugs turn their fury on this too”.

The camera is again in the Counter-Terrorism College.  The jungle warriors to be are being trained in the ambush of a Maoist camp.  But footage from a government propaganda video interrupts the “ideal war” being “fought” in the “clinical neatness” of the training camp.  The video is about the Salwa Judum and it is “meant to underline the spontaneity of this counter-revolt against the Maoists”.  But unfortunately for the government, as Mahendra Karma (the founder of the vigilante group, Salwa Judum) addresses his followers, he lets the cat out of the bag when he says:

You are not alone in this movement.  [The] administration is with us, government is with us. . . . [T]he Militia people . . . if they don’t come, then burn their village. . . .  [I]f they don’t come here, then we will have to kill them.

As Karma talks of the administration, there is a shot of K R Pisda, the District Magistrate of Bijapur, sitting there.  R S Dwivedi of the Chhattisgarh Police is also there and he says:

The Naxalites . . . their strength is the people, [but] if the people are not with them, where will the Naxalites be?

Those Devils of Established Violence

The scene shifts once again to the Maoist guerrillas on the move in the forest.  I must admit, though I’m now a senior citizen, when I watch these guerrillas wandering, it gives me the feeling of freedom from a lot of millstones that tie me down and there’s something romantic about that kind of freedom.  Wish I were there with the guerrillas and the swallows!  Meanwhile comrade Azad, member of the Party’s Politburo and its spokesperson, is being interviewed.  He’s talking about Operation Green Hunt (the Indian state’s latest armed assault on the Maoist movement) and the movement’s resistance to it.  And, there’s some footage of a Maoist video of 20 October 2005 that takes you to Mankeli village in Bijapur block.  The popular Maoist leader Koval has been killed and his wife is describing what happened:

[H]e was unarmed and had my son with him.  They grabbed him too.  They beat up my husband very badly.  Then they attacked him with axes and knives, gouged his eyes out, and ripped his chest open . . . they chopped off all his limbs; the head was badly crushed. . . .

We’re back to the guerrillas being interviewed.  When they got wind of what had happened, they began to pursue those devils of established violence that had by then moved on, burning another village along their way.  “We followed them . . . surrounded them . . . 24 cops fell in that incident . . . we left after that, taking our injured comrades with us. . . .”

The camera switches to the Chetna Kala Kendra, Barnala, Punjab where a play on the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre of 1919 is on, but soon goes back to Brigadier Ponwar and his training of dogs (assisting the jungle warriors) to fight the guerrillas.  But before long, thankfully, we’re back with the guerrillas and they’re talking about an ambush they set up in which three policemen surrendered.  “On behalf of the Party we explained to them that you too have come from amongst the poor.  We don’t kill those who surrender. . . .”  Footage of a Maoist video shows a guerrilla interrogating two cops who had surrendered.  “We’ll let you off . . . you’re not our enemy . . . Where were you hit?  I’m a doctor I’ll treat you. . . .”  The guerrillas do not engage in unnecessary and indiscriminate violence; for them, even the cops are not beyond redemption, this, even as they know what the counterinsurgents do when they capture one of them, for instance, the utter cruelty and callousness with which comrade Koval was killed.

‘Just Kill Him, Is That Clear?’

The camera moves back to the Bhagat Singh anniversary at Rampura Phul.  A leader of the Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Punjab is speaking: “This is not the world Bhagat Singh dreamt of . . . that freedom hasn’t arrived. . . .”  Then at the Deshbhakt Yadgar Hall in Jalandhar, Amolak of the Punjab Lok Sabhyachar Samiti blends the past with the present, Bhagat Singh and his comrades, the Ghadari comrades and the Royal Indian Navy mutiny of 1946, with the people’s resistance of today.  Pash’s “We Shall Fight” is recited by Satnam as the guerrillas are on the move, again in the forests of southern Chhattisgarh.  As they reach a village, there are greetings, the shaking of hands, Red Salutes.  In the company of the villagers, they are explaining the intricacies of a particular ambush they had executed.  Next, they are in Ongnar, a village where five residents have been killed.  The camera shifts to Brigadier Ponwar holding forth on “The Naxal Challenge”, with a PowerPoint presentation, and quoting one of the founding leaders of India’s Maoist movement, Charu Mazumdar.  But soon we hear the voice of Azad again, for the last time, taking about the victims of the so-called development process and making demands that “fall within the ambit of the Indian Constitution” but which he knows the Indian rulers will never accept.  So, in his view, armed resistance with the support of the people is the only way out.

The camera moves to a seminar hall in Delhi on 3 August 2010 where a public meeting is demanding a judicial inquiry into the assassination of Cherukuri Rajkumar, alias Azad, 58.   Satnam is speaking: “I knew that when they lay their hands on someone like him, they will not let him go”.  And, there’s Satnam again, this time reading Pash’s poem “The Constitution”:

[D]on’t read it
Its words exude the chill of death
. . . If you read this book now
you’ll become an animal —
a sleeping animal.

“A seditious poet he certainly was, Satnam adds.  What follows is an audio of a “Police Wireless”.  A cop in the field is receiving instructions from his headquarters: “[J]ust be on high alert and if any journalists come by to cover the Naxalites, just get them killed [my emphasis].  Is that clear?”

Guerrillas among the People

We are in the Niyamgiri Hills.  Water from a stream gently flows by.  The drums beat away, there’s dancing, and singing.  But Vedanta’s demand for “a million tonnes of alumina in a year, that’s an appetite that can level a mountain top in a few years”.  Guerrillas are on the move once more.  They are at the village where a memorial to the martyrs of Ongnar is set up.  People are paying their respects with flowers . . . with tears.  A female guerrilla is remembering the martyrs, their good deeds.  Onward to Punjab where Amolak is talking about Pash’s recounting of Bhagat Singh reading Lenin’s State and Revolution in his cell at the time when his hanging was due — “one revolutionary is in dialogue with another”.  Revolutionaries killed in police “encounters” (cold-blooded murders) in Punjab in 1970 are being remembered.  The voice of Gudsa Usendi, the Maoist spokesperson in Dandakaranya, is announcing a major victory of the PLGA over the police forces in Gadchiroli district.  The guerrillas and the people are dancing, celebrating into the night. . .  It’s dark . . . a torchlight is illuminating the pictures of the martyrs.  Elsewhere, Brigadier Ponwar’s jungle warfare training is in progress.  But, not to worry, the guerrillas are among the people.

In Solidarity with the Revolution

There’s no resolution, so to say, at the end of the film.  One can almost recognize the loose ends.  Perhaps the way the film ended, that’s how it should have ended, for frankly, there is not going to be any near-term resolution of the major contradictions that plague Indian society.  If I were to be pinned down into deducing the politics of this film, I would no doubt say that it is in solidarity with the Revolution.  The film, when the camera is in Bastar and in the Niyamgiri Hills, brings to us the culture of vitality over there, a way of life that is rooted in nature and in the struggles of the adivasis who are closest to nature, this culture blending with that of the Maoists who have brought to the adivasis memory and dreams of “far away insurrections and revolutions — Naxalbari, China, Russia, even the Paris Commune of 1871”.  These struggles, as the film makes clear, are about survival and about creating new worlds.  From Bhagat Singh to Azad, it’s truly been a long march without end.  And, it’s going to be “a long, long time before the dawn”.

Red Ant Dream / Maati Ke Laal (2013)
120 minutes; English version, with subtitles
Direction: Sanjay Kak
Photography: Ranjan Palit, Sanjay Kak and Setu
Sound Design: Madhu Apsara
Writers: Sanjay Kak and Tarun Bharatiya
Editing: Tarun Bharatiya

Bernard D’Mello is deputy editor, Economic & Political Weekly.

Noticias Comunicado Oficial de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela en rechazo a las declaraciones del presidente imperial Barack Obama

4.may.2013 / 07:57 pm / Haga un comentario

Foto: Archivo

El Gobierno de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela calificó las palabras del presidente estadounidense como una “declaración falaz, destemplada e injerencista” que no contribuye al diálogo. “Presidente Obama -reza el comunicado- sus declaraciones alientan el surgimiento de un Pinochet en Venezuela”.

A continuación texto íntegro de Cancillería:



“…protesto a usted que no permitiré que se ultraje ni
desprecie el Gobierno y los derechos de Venezuela.
Defendiéndolos contra la España ha desaparecido una
gran parte de nuestra población y el resto que queda
ansía por merecer igual suerte. Lo mismo es para
Venezuela combatir contra España que contra el
mundo entero, si todo el mundo la ofende”

Carta de protesta del Libertador Simón Bolívar al Sr. Irvine,
agente del gobierno Norte Americano. Angostura,
7 de Octubre de 1818.

El Gobierno de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela rechaza con toda la fuerza de nuestra dignidad bolivariana, las declaraciones emitidas por el Presidente de Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, en la Ciudad de México el pasado 3 de mayo de 2013.

Nuevamente el Presidente Obama arremete contra el legítimo gobierno venezolano, electo el pasado 14 de abril mediante un proceso comicial transparente, cuyos resultados fueron avalados por acompañantes electorales de todo el continente y otros países del mundo, incluida la Misión Electoral de la Unión de Naciones Suramericanas (UNASUR) y reconocidos por la totalidad de los gobiernos latinoamericanos y caribeños y gobiernos de otros continentes.

A través de afirmaciones como “el pueblo venezolano merece determinar su propio destino libre de la clase de prácticas que ya se han desterrado en gran parte de América Latina”, el Presidente Obama pareciera desconocer que en estos 14 años de Gobierno Bolivariano, los venezolanos nos hemos dado un sistema electoral, que parte del reconocimiento constitucional de esta importante materia, creando un nuevo poder, el Poder Electoral, cuya rectoría recae en el Consejo Nacional Electoral.

Presidente Obama, infórmese, el Consejo Nacional Electoral ha logrado superar “esas prácticas” nefastas que atentaban contra la voluntad popular, y que Ustedes avalaron para tener gobiernos dóciles a sus mandatos, alcanzando un sistema automatizado del voto en el cual un elector emite un voto mediante una máquina de votación que totaliza al final del proceso electoral y envía los resultados a la sala de totalización, pudiéndose verificar, como efectivamente se hace mediante diversas auditorías, antes, durante y después del proceso comicial, la exactitud de los datos contenidos en las respectivas actas.

Así mismo, afirma Usted, Presidente Obama, “que hay informes que prueban que Venezuela no observa los principios básicos de derechos humanos, democracia, libertad de prensa y libertad de reunión”. Aunque ya no nos sorprenden tales declaraciones infundadas, nos vemos en la obligación de responderle lo que ya el “hemisferio” sabe, que en Venezuela hay un total y absoluto respeto por los derechos humanos de todos y todas desde el mismo momento en que el Comandante Hugo Chávez asumió las riendas del Estado venezolano e impulsó una Carta Magna que posee el más avanzado catálogo de derechos humanos de la región.

Desde entonces se crearon instituciones para el respeto y el mayor acceso a los derechos humanos y se impulsaron políticas públicas novedosas que hoy permiten a todos los que habitan nuestro digno país a tener más y mejores garantías para acceder a los derechos civiles, políticos, económicos, sociales, culturales y a los derechos colectivos de los pueblos. Presidente Obama, el pueblo de Venezuela ejerce ampliamente libertades y derechos que la sociedad estadounidense está aún muy lejos de alcanzar.

Por último, causa indignación en el pueblo venezolano, y especialmente en los familiares de las víctimas fatales del 15 de abril de 2013, que usted afirme de manera falaz que “el hemisferio completo está viendo la violencia, las protestas y los ataques a la oposición”. Ciertamente, y a pesar de la auto censura mediática que las grandes corporaciones de la “información” tienen contra Venezuela, el hemisferio pudo ser testigo de cómo el desconocimiento de los resultados electorales por parte del principal candidato opositor, perdedor, y su llamado al odio y a la violencia en las calles, ocasionaron el asesinato político de nueve compatriotas, líderes bolivarianos, chavistas, comprometidos con la revolución que hoy lidera el Presidente Nicolás Maduro, bajo la doctrina que nos legara el Comandante Eterno de la Revolución Bolivariana, Hugo Chávez. Asedio a centros de salud donde había presencia de médicos y médicas cubanas, como expresión de xenofobia, incendios provocados de edificaciones y bienes públicos, quema de casas de organizaciones políticas democráticas y otros actos vandálicos se suman al expediente de violencia de estos sectores opositores. Para Usted y su gobierno, estos hechos no motivaron ni una mención de preocupación. Así es la moral imperialista, de doble rasero.

Por lo demás, lo que el hemisferio y la humanidad entera observan con horror, es lo que sucede en la prisión ilegal de Guantanamo, donde por más de una década, se practica la tortura y demás tratos crueles y degradantes de la condición humana, constituyéndose en uno de los capítulos más bochornosos de la historia humana. Estupor causa en la gente noble del mundo, la manera como Ud. ha faltado a su palabra, empeñada en 2008 y 2012, de clausurar esa vergüenza para el pueblo norteamericano, que es un gran pueblo.

Presidente Obama, el Gobierno del Presidente Nicolás Maduro, heredero de los ideales del Comandante Chávez, y del Plan de la Patria para el período 2013 – 2019, tiene como objetivo histórico alcanzar la paz del planeta como única manera de salvar a la especie humana. Somos un País de Paz, que trabaja arduamente con todos nuestros hermanos latinoamericanos y caribeños por alcanzar la verdadera unión de nuestros pueblos, para ser libres y soberanos y para consolidarnos como una zona de paz.

Su declaración falaz, destemplada e injerencista, no ayuda a mejorar las relaciones bilaterales entre Estados Unidos y Venezuela, por el contrario, las conducen a un mayor deterioro, que sólo confirma ante el mundo la política de agresión que usted y su gobierno mantiene contra nuestra nación. Presidente Obama, sus declaraciones alientan el surgimiento de un Pinochet en Venezuela. Ud. deberá asumir su responsabilidad ante la historia, nosotros sabremos asumir la nuestra de defender la Paz y la Independencia en la Patria de Bolívar.

Alertamos a todos los gobiernos independientes del mundo, a los pueblos y sus organizaciones políticas y sociales sobre el plan del Gobierno Norteamericano de provocar la llamada “Guerra de Perros” en Venezuela, para justificar la intervención imperialista. Sepan amigos del mundo, que los hijos del Libertador Simón Bolívar y del Comandante Chávez, estamos prestos a defender nuestro derecho a ser libres de cualquier dominación imperial.

Llamamos a todos los amigos y amigas de la causa venezolana, a desplegar la más activa solidaridad con nuestro pueblo. Hoy, como lo dijo Bolívar en 1818, decimos “Por fortuna se ha visto con frecuencia un puñado de hombres libres vencer a imperios poderosos”.

Compatriotas tomemos la honda de David para enfrentar esta nueva agresión de Goliat.

Caracas, Cuna del Libertador Simón Bolívar, 04 de mayo de 2013.

Fuente: Ministerio del Poder Popular para las Relaciones Exteriores

English Translation: Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela’s Official Statement to the US Government

The Historical Significance of Mao Zedong

Courtesy of Tortilla Con Sal

By Henry C.K. Liu (廖子光)

This article appeared in AToL on April 13, 21013

The protracted history of the Chinese socialist revolution started 94 years ago in 1919 on May 4, when 5,000 students from Beijing University and twelve other schools held a political demonstration in front of Tiananmen, the focal point of what is today known as Tiananmen Square. The demonstration sparked what came to be known in history as the May Fourth Movement of 1919-21, an anti-imperialism movement rising out of patriotic reactions to dishonorable foreign relations of the government of China’s then warlord Yuan Shi-kai (袁世凯) that led to unjust treatment of China by Western powers at the Versailles Peace Conference. May Fourth was a political landmark that consolidated the nation’s collective awareness that Western democracy is as imperialistic as the Western monarchy it overthrew. This national collective awareness turned China from Western democracy towards the path of modern socialism through Marxist-Leninist proactive revolution.

Mao Zedong at the time of the May 4th Movement was 26 years old and a librarian assistant in Beijing University where he spent time in the stacks reading about heroic nationalist leaders such as George Washingon, Napoleon and Bismark and became inspired by their world-changing patriotic deeds.

As a son of a small farming family that enjoyed comfortable living on three acres of land in rural Shao-shan in Hunan province, Mao in his youth spent his spare time after working in the field reading Chinese history and literature in the newly-opened public library in nearby Changsha. He was particularly inspired by the legalist policies of Qin Shi Wang (秦始皇; 259 BC – 210 BC) and the theme of Water Margin (水浒传), a 14th century novel of universal brotherhood and one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.

Before going to Beijing, Mao attended First Normal School of Changsha, coming under the influenced of several progressive teachers there, including a professor of ethics named Yang Changji (杨昌济 1871-1920), who urged Mao and other students to read a radical newspaper, New Youth (新青年) founded by Marxist Chen Duxiu (陈独秀1879–1942), Dean of the Faculty of Letters at Beijing University.

In 1918, after graduating from First Normal School of Chansha, Mao moved to Beijing, to join Yang Changji who had been recently appointed professor at Peking University by Cai Yuanpei (蔡元培1868-1940), the progressive president. Yang recommended Mao to be an assistan to university librarian Li Dazhao (李大钊1889–1927), a Marxist intellectual in China who later participated the the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in Shanghai in 1921.

Li wrote a series of articles in New Youth on the October Revolution which had just taken place in Russia, during which the Bolshevik Party under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin (1870–1924) seized state power. Lenin had put forth the theory of imperialism as the final stage of capitalism based on the writings of John Atkinson Hobson (1858-1940), building on the socio-economic-political theory of Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820–1895) in the mid-19th century from observation on turbulent European conditions.

Li’s articles helped create interest in Marxism in the Chinese revolutionary movement, as an alternative to Western-style democracy that had been subscribed by the 1911 bourgeios Revolution led by Sun Yat-sen, but had proved wanting in the behavior of Western democracies at the 1919 Versailles Peace Conference. Marxism was then recognized by Chinese revolutionary intellectuals as a more effective ideology in the struggle against Western imperialism even when many of the concepts of Marxism apply only to Euroepan situations.

The May Fourth Movement marked a turn by anti-imperialist Chinese intellectuals towards revolutionary Marxism. The success of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia was a major factor in forming the views of Li Dazhao on the revolutionary role of the state. Li initiated the Peking Socialist Youth Corps in 1920 and in July 1921 co-founded the Communist Party of China (CPC) with Chen Duxiu, who had been exposed to socialist ideas in Japan, as a political institution with the secular program to seize power of the state to carry out socialist revolution in China. A revolutionary state is the rationale for a one-party government, provided that the ruling party represents the interest of the people. Li was a mentor to Mao Zedong who openly acknowledged having been influenced by Li’s ideas.

The first edition of Stalin’s Problems of Leninism, which appeared in April 1924, seven years after the October Revolution of 1917, asks: “Is it possible to attain the final victory of socialism in one country, without the combined efforts of the proletarians of several advanced countries?” The answer was: “No, it is not. The efforts of one country are enough for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie [in one country]. This is what the history of our revolution tells us. For the final victory of socialism, for the organization of socialist production, the efforts of one country, especially a peasant country like ours, are not enough. For this we must have the efforts of the proletariat of several advanced countries.”

The strategic key words on socialist internationalism are ‘final victory’ which cannot be achieved with just ‘socialism in one country’, and the phrase “the proletariat of several advanced countries”. But ‘final’ implies not immediate but in the future, even the distant future. And international communism was focused not on the whole world, but on “the proletariat of several advance countries” where evolutionary conditions were considered as ripe. It was not focused on the peasantry still living under agricultural feudal societies outside of Europe or the oppressed people of imperialist colonies and semi-colonies.

To both Lenin and Stalin, the path to liberation in the colonies of the Western empires was to strengthen the only socialist country in the world, namely the Soviet Union, and to weaken capitalism at the core, namely industrialized economies, to end its final stage of imperialism. In theory, the liberated industrial workers of the Western advanced economies would in turn help liberate the oppressed peasants in the colonies and semi-colonies in the still not industrialized economies.

Unfortunately, actual events failed to support this theory. There was no worker uprising in the advanced economies. In fact, unionism in the advanced economies sided with management and turned anti-communist. These trends support the truth that liberation cannot be delivered by others and must be won by the victims themselves. Each oppressed group must struggle for self liberation through internal political consciousness.

Both Lenin and Stalin failed to recognize the inherently powerful but latent revolutionary potential of the peasants of the pre-industrial colonies and semi-colonies of the Western Empires, which had to wait until the emergence of Mao Zedong in China to force the world to acknowledge this truth in history. Mao, in placing his faith in the revolutionary potential of the Chinese peasantry, redefined the term “proletariat” to mean those deprived of property, a property-less class, a meaning oringinally understood in Latin in Roman times, away from the European idea of the proletariat as the class of urban industrial workers.

The October Revolution of 1917 was launched on the slogan: “All Power to the Soviets” through which the minority Bolsheviks won political leadership in the Soviets, which were workers councils that constituted the power behind the new socialist state. Bourgeois liberal democracy was not an objective of the October Revolution, but rather a target for elimination in order to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat in the context of socialist revolution through class struggle.

This was because in feudal Russia in 1917, the proletariat as a dominant class was an abstraction yet to be created as a reality by industrialization. The proletariat in its infancy, small in number, could not possibly command a majority under universal suffrage in a feudal agricultural society. Therefore dictatorship of a minority proletariat is the only revolutionary path towards socialism.

In pre-industrial societies, liberal representative democracy is by definition reactionary in the absence of a dominant working class. Lenin considered the revolution in Russia as a fortuitous beginning of an emerging socialist world order that required and justified a dictatorship of the proletariat to sustain revolutionary progress.

Leninists work for the acceleration of socio-economic dialectics by the violent overthrow of capitalism just as capitalism had been the violent slayer of feudalism. Evolutionary Marxists, such as social democrats, believe in scientific dialectic materialism which predicts the inevitability of the replacement of capitalism by socialism as a natural outcome of capitalism’s internal contradiction.

But the evolutionary process requires the emergence of capitalism as a natural outcome of feudalism’s internal contradiction. Marx saw the process of evolution toward socialism as taking place in the most advanced segment of the world, in capitalistic societies of industrialized Western Europe when the ruling bourgeoisie had replaced the aristocracy as a result of the French Revolution. The Russian Revolution showed that geopolitical conditions have opened up opportunities for revolutions in pre-industrialized nations and it is in these pre-industrial societies that radical revolution is needed to bring about instant socialism by short-circuiting the long evolutionary process from feudalism to capitalism to socialism.

In Germany, the most industrialized country in the second half of the 19th century, Social Democrat icons such as Karl Kautsky and Eduard Bernstein, titans of Marxist exegesis, favored gradual, non-violent and parliamentary processes to effectuate inevitable dialectic evolution towards socialism because of the existence in Germany of a large working class. These Marxists subscribed to the doctrine of evolutionary Marxism which renders revolution unnecessary as socialism would arrive naturally from capitalism as an evolutionary process of dialectic materialism.

On the other end of the spectrum were radical revolutionaries such as Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, leaders of the Spartacists, founded in the summer of 1915 when they withdrew from the German Social-Democrat Party (SDP) because of SDP support for Germany’s participation in the First World War. The Spartacists staged an abortive coup to overthrow the young social democratic government in Germany. For communists, revolution is necessary in order to short circuit the long stage of capitalism during which the evolutionary process can be halted by unionism and the introduction of a mixed economy through the injection of socialist dimension in the capitalist system. This is particularly true for pre-industrial feudal societies when a capitalist system with socialist dimension can be employed to ward off any revolutionary pressure.

The call by radical Leninists for worldwide coalition of the browbeaten proletariat majority in the industrial societies in the West, who were still deprived of political power beyond the structural dialectical process, and the agitating proletariat minority in the agricultural societies in whose name radical Leninists had gained state power in Russia, was most threatening to the rulers of the capitalist order in the advanced imperialist countries.

Reaction to this threat gave rise to insidious anti-communism in the imperialist West to prevent the arrival of socialism in the strongholds of industrial capitalism ahead of its evolutionary schedule. In the advanced economies, state-sponsored capitalist propaganda was conditioning workers into an active anti-communist force through industrial unionism and the addictive appeal of individualistic bourgeois freedom to neutralize collective working class solidarity.

Still, all Marxists share the belief that the structural antagonism between a capitalist bourgeoisie class and a proletariat class in advanced economies was a necessary precondition for creating socialism. It required the resolution of the contradiction between the efficient productivity of capitalism and the economic dysfunctionality of the mal-distribution of wealth inherent in capitalism. The good of capitalism is its efficiency in creating wealth; the bad is that the way wealth is created in capitalism requires wealth to go to the wrong places, to those who need it least, namely the rich rather than the poor who need it most. Also, awareness was increasing that capital in the modern financial system comes increasingly from the pension funds of workers in capitalist society with socialist dimensions – the welfare state.

Wealth is Good

Wealth is good; it is the mal-distribution of it that is bad and creates socio-economic conflicts. And if that mal-distribution is carried out through class lines, then class struggle must be part of a socialist revolution.

The internal contradiction of capitalism is that it creates wealth by widening the gap between rich and poor. Wealth disparity is a polluting socio-economic by-product of capitalist wealth creation, like nuclear waste in nuclear energy production.

While capital cannot create wealth without labor, the proletariat in advanced economies, oppressed by a pro-capital legal-political regime, never managed to gain control of ownership of the means of production financed by their own wealth, stored in worker pension funds. Thus oppressed workers remained silently, docile victims of capitalist exploitation by capitalists using workers’ own retirement money as capital.

Apologists for capitalism then create the myth of capital being needed to create employment, ignoring the fact that it is the saved income from employed workers that creates capital. In other words, employment creates capital, not the other way around. Chinese reformers have yet to understand this truism when they accept low wages in order to attract capital for investment.

The global financial crisis that began in 2007 in New York is a live demonstration of the self-destructive potential of finance capitalism when not supported by full employment with rising wages, which then forces needed consumption to be financed by consumer debt which inevitably will become unsustainable.

The current financial crisis of unsustainable debt around the world has ignited populist demand for socio-political changes in all countries. These populist changes will transform the existing socio-economic world order, even though it is too early to predict what shape this new world order will take. Suffice to observe that changes in government toward progressive populism are now taking place in every nation, except perhaps in China where a one-party government led by a communist party which wants to stop being a revoltutionary party to become a ruling party. Many Western-trained Chinese neoliberal economists continue to argue for more free markets that uses market forces to keep wages low.

The agraraian socio-eonomic conditions in czarist Russia and dynastic China, while not congruent to each other, were fundamentally different from the industrial conditions in Europe where the Industrial Revolution had taken place to bring into existence a large working class of factory workers that was supposed to be ripe for the revolutionary class struggle as envisioned by Marx at the start of the 1848 Democratic Revolutions.

Tragically, the socialist movements were crushed and their revolutonary leaders murdered by reactionary forces in both Germany and France. The capitalist democratic regimes that followed inherited and embraced with renewed vigor Western imperialism and its colonies around the world.

Russia and China, both great nations with glorious histories that had fallen socio-economically and technologiaclly backward, were not touched by Industrial Revolution to bring forth a class of industrial workers. The oppressed classes in these two agrarian societies were rural peasants which constitued over 80% of the population.

However, in semi-colonial China, a powerful domestic comprador class had emerged to serve advancing Western imperialism. Compradors in China were Chinese managers or senior local employees that worked for large transnational foreign commercial enterprises active in China. These compradors, becoming rich and powerful serving foreign economic and political interests against China’s national interest, had close symbiotic connection with Western imperialism and its exploitative foreign capital and businesses. This comprador class flourished in Western colonies in China such as Hong Kong and the five Open Port Cities established by unfair terms of the unequaled treaties forced on China by Western imperialist powers after China repeatedly lost the Opium Wars of 1839-42.

Under the current market economy in present-day China, a large new comprador class has re-emerged to again serve foreign corporate interest backed by US global geopolitical strategy to defuse revolutionary pressure while transferring wealth from China to the West in the name of free trade denominated in paper fiat dollars. Even Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have become leading compradors for foreign commercial and financial enterprises in China’s increasingly open markets since the introduction of the “reform and open” policy in 1978. The full implementation of WTO rules will strengthen the comprador role of Chinese state-owned banking institutions.

These SOEs having been tutored by experienced Chinese compradors from Hong Kong which had became a British colony in 1841 and not returned to Chinese sovereignty until 1997. Even after Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty, its compradors have continue to provide traitorous advice to Chinese leaders who did not know better, having been involuntarily isolated from the economic process of the modern world through decades of US anti-communist total embargo. These Hong Kong compradors have profited obscenely from bridging the gap in the different levels of development between China and the advanced Westion nations while locking China by policy into another century of semi-colonial fate.

The two most grevious errors made by China’s “reform and open” policy of 1978 by following poisonous advice of Hong Kong compradors are:

1) China by policy tries to modernize and develop its economy through the exploitation of low-wage labor for export, leading Chinese society to structural faults of low income and wealth disparity as well as uneven locational development. China has now developed not regions where China needs most, but regions where Western markets find most convenient from which to exploit the Chinese economy.
2) China by policy volntarily opens its market to domination by Western capital, and returns its national economy to semi-colonial status while being idiotically pleased with comprador earnings from commission while massive amount of wealth are leaking into foreign pockets.

This kind of bad addvice naturally came from Hong Kong compradors to reflect the limit of their own slave mentality. It was like asking a house slave for advice on liberation by armed uprising. The answer is always: “Don’t even think about it.”

These are the structural reasons why the Chinese economy built on the “reform and open” policy is plighted with inequality and unevenness, not to mention corruption. While “reform and open” can be good policy for all nations in the modern interconnected world, the strategy and implementation of China’s “reform and open” policy needs to be reconsidered to correct its foundation of prenacious new compradorism and to prevent this unsavory practice from siphoning more wealth into foreign pockets in a zero sum game.

Mao Zedong wrote the following words in Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society (March 1926) to combat two deviations then found in the Party:

The exponents of the first deviation, represented by Chen Duxiu, were concerned only with cooperation with the ruling Kuomindang and neglecting the peasants.

This was Right opportunism.

The exponents of the second deviation, represented by Zhang Guotao, were concerned only with China’s [non-existent] industrial labor movement, also neglecting the peasants. This was Left opportunism.

Both were aware that they were lacking in mass support, but neither knew where to seek reinforcements or to generate popular support on a mass scale.

Mao pointed out that the Chinese peasantry was the most oppressed and numerically the largest force of the Chinese proletariat (无产阶级), defined in Chinese political nomenclature as property-less class, not just factory workers, and placed class struggle in the Chinese revolution as one between the peasant proletariat class and the comprador class as local agents of Western imperialism.

Moreover, Mao saw that the national bourgeoisie is actually a vacillating class, while being antagonistic to stronger foreign competition and being quick studies of imperialist modes of operation to in turn oppress a small but growing new working class of factory workers in the home market. Mao predicted that the national bourgeoisie as a class would disintegrate in an upsurge of popular revolution, with its right-wing going over to the side of Western imperialism. This prediction had been borne out a year later by political events surrounding Jiang Jieshi’s counter-revolutionary coup d’état in 1927.

Today, the national bourgeoisie in China contitutes what General Secretary Xi Jinping calls “special interest groups” (特殊利益群体) which present themselves as formidable organized obstacles to true reform. Many of them are modern-day compradors.

Mao asks: “Who are our enemies? Who are our friends? This is a question of the first importance for the revolution.”

It is a question that needs to be asked today by all Chinese patriots.

“The landlord class and the comprador class are our enemies,” Mao answers.

In China today, a new landlord class is emerging as real estate developers and speculator, and a new comprador class is firmly in charge of the Chinese economy to serve the benefit of foreign institutions of neo-liberalism, the new face of Western imperialism around the world.

In the first general study meeting of the Politburo of the 18th Party Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping talked emphatically about “firmly upholding the socialist road (坚持社会主义道路), firmly upholding the people’s democratic dictatorship (坚持人民民主专政), firmly upholding leadership of the Communist Party of China (坚持中国共产党的领导) and firmly upholding Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought (坚持马列主义、毛泽东思想).

Echoing Deng Xiaoping’s famous 1992 Southern Tour (南巡) 20 years ago to reaffirm the policy of “reform and open”, Xi Jinping as new leader, conducted his own new Southern Tour to Shenzhen shortly after assuming office as Party General Secretary to reaffirm the continuation of China’s policy of “reform and open”.

Large in Xi Jinping’s reform policy are new emphases on anti-corruption (反腐) and attack on special interest groups (打击特殊利益群体), adjustment in income disparity and aggressive improvement in the living standard of the people by promoting common prosperity (共同富裕). The compromise of “letting some people get rich first” which the comprador and national bourgeoisie classes have conveniently dropped the word “first” in practice appears to be ending under the new leadership of Xi Jingping.

Mao said that in economically backward and semi-colonial China, the landlord class and the comprador class were appendages of the international bourgeoisie, depending on imperialism for survival, prosperity and growth. These classes represented the most backward and most reactionary relations of production in China and hindered the development of her own productive forces. Their existence is utterly incompatible with the aims of the Chinese revolution, Mao emphasized. He went on to crushed them as enemy classes early after gaining state power.

The big landlord and big comprador classes in particular always sided with imperialism and constituted an extreme counterrevolutionary group. They made counter-revolutionary careers for themselves by opposing the Communist Party and received subsidies from various groups of reactionaries in power, from imperialists and the right-wing of the Kuomindang, Mao added.

Under the “reform and open” policies since 1978, a new landlord class has re-emerged made up of real estate developers and speculators, and a new comprador class has re-emerged in the commercial and financial markets in China. The nation’s best young talents after having been educated in top Chinese universities and foreign graduate schools have mostly been co-opted by Western companies to act as compradors in all sectors in the Chinese economy: industry, commerce, technology, journalism, and even national security analysis. China’s “reform and open” policy has legalized foreign infiltration into every aspect of its economy and society, allow Hong Kong, now officially under Chinese sovereignty, to continue to be an anti-China foreign base and a hot-bed safe haven for corruption on the mainland.

The greatness of Mao Zedong lies in his revolutionary insight that socialist revolution in China must come from liberating the peasants and that the purpose of revolution is to rid China of Western imperialistic oppression to revive China’s historcal greatness as an prosperous, independent great power. Mao understood clearly that such pupose can only be fulfilled with the support of all Chinese people around the world who have not sold out mentally or financially to foreign enemies.

The task of the Chinese Communst Party is to galvanize the power of the masses for a victorious revolution, to unite all who can be united and to crush traitorous special interest gorups, the new compradors. A harmonious society has no room for comprador traitors and other enemies of the people. The revolution cannot be won by catering to the democratic politics of special interest groups acting as agents of a new global imperialism.

Mao understood that the path of reviving China to its historical greatness as a nation lies in creating a harmonious society of equality within China before China can gain equaility among nations of the world. Harmony and inequality are not compatible conditions in any society. Harmony cannot be achieved by appeasing new compradors who are bad elements that create disharmony and inequality by helping foreign interest exploit the Chinese people. A harmonious organism cannot tolerate a growing cancer in its body.

Mao saw Marxism as the most appropriate and effective ideology to implement the national goal of harmonious revival. Mao was the first Chinese revolutionary to advocate an approach which later came to be known as “socialism with Chinese characteristics”. To Mao, Marxist-Leninist ideology must be adjusted to Chinese situations to serve the revitalization of China’s historical greatness, not the other way around. The Chinese characterisitcs Mao had in mind is not the same of Chinese charateristics of the “reform and open” policy since 1978. Mao never entertained the fantasy that letting enemies of the revolution into the Party Central Committee is the path to revolutionary victory. Victory by Surrenderism is merely self-deception. The Party must purge such self-deception from the highest level of its leadership for the Party to continue to derserve the support of the people.

Mao’s post as a librarian assistant in Beijing University in 1918 gave him the opportunity to discovering firsthand newly-translated socialist writings in Chinese, further expanding his understanding and commitment to the revolutionary socialist cause. He read Chinese translation of Thomas Kirkup’s A History of Socialism, Karl Kautsky’s Karl Marx’s Ökonomische Lehren (translated from German) and most importantly, Marx and Engels’ political pamphlet, The Communist Manifesto.

Mao also read widely beyond Marxist works. He read the translated works of Western classical liberalism such as Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations which deals with the necessary role of government to restrict monopolitic international trade, ideas that influenced Alexander Hamilton’s protectionist, nationalist industrial policies, modeled after Colbert’s dirigism in France under Louis XIV to resist British monopolisitc dominance over New World commerce in the United States during its infancy. For the first hundred years in US history of two centuries, the young nation resisted British and French domination to build its own prosperity through protecionism and nationalist industrial policies of support for national industries.

Mao also read Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws, which identifies environmental influence as a material condition of national socio-political culture. He read John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, in which Mill addresses the nature and limits of the power that can be legitimately exercised by society through government over the political rights of individuals, and that individuals need to be restrained by government from doing lasting and serious harm to themselves and to the community by the “no harm” principle. Because no individual can exist in isolation, harm done to oneself or one’s own property or well-being also harm others and the community as a socio-economic organism. The destruction of even one’s own property deprives as well the community of its communal interest in that very property.

Mill also holds the opinion that dictaorship is an acceptable form of government for those societies that are still developing, as long as the dictator serves the best interests of the people, because existing barriers to spontaneous socio-economic progress can only be overcome by strong and effective political leadership. Mill argues aganst the danger of “tyrany of the majority” in democratic systems. Mao’s view on political rights runs parallel to Mill’s view on the necessity of strong leadership for a good cause. All revolutionary governments are dictatorial governments by definition. They turn democratic only after the revolution has been solidly won. On economic development, democracy is a product, not a cause of prosperity, US neoliberal propaganda notwithstanding.

Without Mao’s heroic leadership in the historic Zunyi Meeting (遵义会议 on January 15-17, 1935) in the midst of the most critical low point in Long March when the Chinese revolution faced imminent danger of total military defeat, in which Mao regained military leadership of the guerrilla war against Jiang Jieshi’s regular army in the face of overwhelming odds, and Mao’s military strategy from an established revolutionary base to provide an living example of a working socialist society to produce the resource necessary to carry on the revolution, the Communist Party of China would have been annihilated by vastly superior Guomindang forces as only a matter of time.

The popular slogan: “Without Mao Zedong, there would be no New China” is a historical fact. By extension, without Mao Zedong Thought, there will be no New China. Those who seek the removal of reference to Mao Zedong Thought in Party and State documents should reexamine their own thinking. Even in the US, no self-respecting citizen dares challenge the central place of Jeffersonian ideals in its national psyche.

A leader like Mao Zedong is a fortuitous gift from Heaven to the Chinese nation. Such a leader appears only once in a millennium. For the foreseeable future, Mao Zedong will be a political icon that will hold the Chinese people together and Mao Zedong Thought will live as an indispensable classic on which to rebuild the Chinese nation into a socialist society.

Mao also read Jean-Jacques Rousseau on the political philosophy of basic human nature which influenced the political discourse in the French Revolution. Mao read Charles Darwin on biological evolution and even Herbert Spencer on Social Darvinism of survival of the fittest as a self-renewing evolutionary process in Anarcho-Capitalism.

While often misinterpreted as ultra-conservative, Spencer opposed private ownerhip of land, claiming that each person has an inherent claim to participate in the use of the earth. He was sympathetic to Georgism, a US economic philosophical ideology advocated by Henry George, that people can own what they create, but have no right to own things found in nature, most specifically, land, which belong equally to all. Spencer advocated the organization of voluntary labor unions as a bulwark against “exploitation by bosses”, and favored an economy organized primarily in free worker co-operatives as a replacement for wage-labor in a labor market in which worker have no market power. Such Spencerean progressive ideas have been selectively purged by modern-day capitalist propoaganda.

As China mounts an urbanization program as a dynamo for economic development, Gerogist ideas can serve as a guide to avoid allowing urbanization be captured by special interest groups for private gain at the expense of the community.

There is no record of Mao having read Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish philosopher who advocated benevolent authocratic govenment and showed how a heroic leader can forge a strong state, and help create a new moral culture for a nation. Yet Mao came to the same conclusion on his own about China led by the Chinese Communist Party on behalf of the people.

Mao understood that Confucianism (儒家) had permeated Chinese society perniciously and hindered its advancement in modern times. On another front, capitalist revisionists will attempt to subvert the socialist revolution with the false notion that capitalist exploitation and inequality are the necessary ingredients of private wealth creation. Mao tried to combat both by launching mass movements, culminating in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in 1966.

But even after a decade of enormous social upheaval, tragic personal sufferings, fundamental economic dislocation and unparalleled diplomatic isolation, Confucianism stood its ground in Chinese societal mentality. The Cultural Revolution failed to achieve its spiritual goal and degenerated into factional power struggle, with serious damage to the nation’s physical and socio-economic infrastructure and to the prestige of the Communist Party of China (CPC), not to mention the decline of popular support and near total bankruptcy of revolutionary zeal among even loyal party cadres. The fault is not with the spirit of the Cultural Revolution, but in allowing it to fall into the trap of factional power struggle that lost sight of the revolutionary purpose. The lesson for future cultural revolutions is not that they are no longer needed, but that they should never again be allowed to mutate into a factional power struggle.

Confucianism will have to wait for many more future cultural revolutions before it will be restrained in its negative influence on the Chinese civilization and to have its positive elements revived. A culture that took two millennia to develop cannot be modernized in just one century.

Realistically, nostalgia aside, the feudal system under imperial monarchy cannot be restored in modern China. Once a political institution is overthrown, all the king’s men cannot put it back together again. Nor would that be desirable. Yet the modern political system in China, despite its revolutionary clothing and radical rhetoric, is still fundamentally feudal, both in the manner in which power is distributed and in its administrative structure. This is why more cultural revolutions are necessary and will be necessary to move Chinese civilization forward in the modern world.

Mao Zedong understood this need and that until China succeeds in a thorough cultural revolution, it cannot revive itself to restore its historical greatness,

However, violent revolutions cannot be regular events without destroying the very purpose that justifies them. China needs a continuous non-violent cultural revolution to ensure that its revolutionary path toward national revival through socialism is not reversed. Future cultural revolutions must be insulated from factional power struggle instigated by political opportunists in the name of ideology correctness.

Cultural revolutions do not need destructive factional political violence in the name of ideological vaccination that ends up disrupting the national purpose. Mao Zedong never condoned political violence among the people as he clearly stated in On Pracice (August 1937) and again in On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People (February 27, 1957).

In Chinese Confucianism (儒家) politics, loyalty is traditionally preferred over competence. The ideal is to have both in a minister. Failing that, loyalty without competence is preferred as being less dangerous than competence without loyalty – the stuff of which successful insurrection and revolts are made. Therein lies the seed of systemic corruption in Chinese Confucianism (儒家) politics.

For socialist China, loyalty by definition is to the socialist cause, not personal relations. It is imperative that leaders remain loyal to socialist ideals. Yet loyalty to socialist ideals alone is not enough. It must be augmented by competence and virtuousness.

Confucianism (儒家), by placing blind faith in a causal connection between virtue and power, has remained the main cultural obstacle to modern China’s attempt to evolve from a society governed by men into a society governed by socialist legalism (法家) which should not be confused with the Western bourgeois concept of Rule of Law. The danger of Confucianism (儒家) lies not in its aim to endow the virtuous with power, but in its tendency to label the powerful as virtuous.

In order to change Chinese feudal society toward a communist social order, which is understood by all communists as a necessary goal of human development, Mao Zedong developed out of abstract Leninist concepts specific operational methods that took on special Chinese characteristics necessary for Chinese civilization and historical-cultural conditions, its strengths and also shortcomings. These methods, above all the system of organized mass movements to achieve the advancement of the mass interest, stress the change of socio-political consciousness, i.e., the creation of new men for a new cooperative society, as the basis for changing reality, i.e., the replacement of private ownership of the mode of production by collective ownership. The concept of mass politics, relevant in Chinese political thought from ancient time, is implemented by an elite cadre corps within the party which is the political instrument of the people.

Deng Xiao is right when he said that to get rich is glorious, The fault in his declaration lies in that he should have said that to get everybody rich equally is even more glorious.

The means of production must always belong to the people. This is true also in finance. At the present time, the complex working of modern finance is kept as secret knowledge of the comprador elite in today’s China. Modern finance, being an indispensable wealth creation process in the modern world, should be introduced to the people as a mass line, and not kept as exclusive intellectual property of the elite as it is in the West.

Modern finance is the most important means of production in the modern economic order; it is needed not only in capitalist markets, but also in socialist markets. The distinction between the two types of markets is to whom the created wealth belongs and to whom this created wealth should flow. In a capitalist market, the wealth flows to the privileged elite while in a socialist market, the wealth should flow to the people and distributed equally. In that sense, China is still not a socialist market economy by far.

Mao’s mass line

Mass movement as an instrument of political communication from above to below is unique to Chinese communist organization. This phenomenon, developed by Mao, is of utmost importance in understanding the nature and dynamics of the governance structure of the CPC as the ruling Party.

The theoretical foundation of mass movement as a means of mediation between the leadership and the will of the people pre-supposes that nothing is impossible for the masses, quantitatively understood as a collective unit, if their power is concentrated in and represented by a political party of correct thought and ideology and responsible actions.

This concept comes out of Mao’s romantic yet well-placed faith in the great strength of the masses who are capable of developing the nation in the interest of their own well-being and future destiny. So the “will of the masses” has to be articulated with the help of the Party but by the masses and within the masses, which the CPC calls the “mass line”.

Mao’s mass-line theory requires that the leadership elite be close to the people, that it is continuously informed about the people’s will and that it transforms this will into concrete actions by the masses. “From the masses back to the masses” is more than just a slogan. It means: take the scattered and unorganized ideas of the masses and, through study and intellectual guidance, turn them into focused and systemic programs, then go back to the masses and propagate and explain these ideals until the masses embrace them as their own and give them full support.

Thus mass movements are initiated at the highest level – the Politburo, announced to party cadres at central and regional work conferences, subject to cadre criticism and modification, after which starts the first phase of mass movement. Mass organizations are held to provoke the “people’s will”, through readers’ letters to newspapers and rallies at which these letters are read and debated. In the digital age, expressions on the Internet have augmented the role of the print media. The results are then officially discussed by the staff of leading organs of the State and the Party, after which the systematized “people’s will” is clarified into acts of law or resolutions and policy and programs, and then a mass movement spreads to the whole nation.

The history of Chinese socialist politics is a history of mass movements. Mass movements successfully implemented Land Reform (1950-53); Marriage Reform (1950-52); Collectivization (1953) – the General Line of Socialist Transformation (from national bourgeois democratic revolution to proletarian socialist revolution); and Nationalization (1955 – from private ownership of industrial means of production into state ownership).

The method used against opposition was thought reform through “brainwashing” (without derogatory connotation since given in the anticommunist West), which is a principle of preferring the changing of the political consciousness of political opponents instead of physically liquidating them. The impressive opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics that television audiences saw around the world was a manifestation of Chinese socialist mass movement. It had the legacy of Mao Zedong Thought written all over it.

Before 1949, the Chinese peasant had been deprived of basic health services for over a millennium. One of the Party’s first steps in medical reform called for mass campaigns against endemic infectious diseases. Tens of thousands of health workers were trained with basic hygienic and medical skills and sent out into the countryside to examine peasants and treat patients, and organize sanitation campaigns with mass movement techniques.

Health teams examined 2.8 million peasants in 1958, the first year of the schistosomiasis program. One team examined 1,200 patients in a single day. Some 67 million latrines were built or repaired, and over the next few years, hundreds of thousands of peasants were set to work day and night, drying out swamps and building drainage ditches to get rid of the infectious snail’s habitat. Party workers claimed schistosomiasis cure rates of 85 to 95 percent in some areas, and that the disease had been wiped out in more than half of previously endemic areas along the Yangtze River.

Mao’s Mass Movements Succeeded until 1957

The Hundred Flower Movement of 1957 was launched on February 27 by Mao with his famous four-hour speech, “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions among the People”, before 1,800 leading cadres. In it, Mao distinguished “contradiction between the enemy and ourselves” from “contradiction among the people”, which should not be resolved by dictatorship, i.e., not by force, but by open discussion with criticism and counter-criticism. Up until 1957, the mass-movement policies of Mao achieved spectacular success in both social and economic construction.

Land reform was completed, the struggle for women’s emancipation was progressing well, and collectivization and nationalization were leading the nation towards socialism. Health services were a model of socialist construction in both cities and the countryside. The party’s revolutionary leadership was accepted enthusiastically by society generally and the peasants specifically. By 1958, agricultural production almost doubled from 1949 (108 million tons to 185 million tons), coal production quadrupled to 123 million tons, and steel production grew from 100,000 tons to 5.3 million tons.

The only problem came from bourgeois intellectual rebellion. On May 25, 1957, Mao expressed his anxiety at a session of the Standing Committee of the Politburo, and gave his approval to those who warned against too much reactionary bourgeois liberty. That afternoon, Mao told cadres at a Conference of Communist Youth League that “all words and deeds which deviate from socialism are basically wrong.”

At the opening session of the People’s Congress on June 26, Zhou Enlai initiated the “counter criticism” against the critics. Mao’s call for open criticism was serious and genuine, but the discussion he had conceived as a safety valve reached a degree of intensity he had not anticipated. Mao overestimated the stability of the political climate and underestimated the residual influence of Confucianism (儒家) and that of Western liberalism.

At the Crossroads: Soviet model or independent path

Against this background, the CPC stood at the crossroads of choosing the Soviet model of development or an independent path. Economy development was based on three elements:

• Build up heavy industry before mechanization of agriculture.
• Establish an extensive system of individual incentives by means of which productive forces could be developed from a conviction that the superiority of socialist modes of production would be vindicated by a visible rise in living standards.
• The acceleration of the socialist transformation of society in order to create the precondition required by the CPC for establishing a socialist order.

Two paths were opened to the CPC leadership in 1958:
Consolidation or,
Pushing forward toward permanent revolution

Mao was forced by geopolitical conditions (the abrupt withdrawal of Soviet aid in 1960 and the US Cold War embargo from 1951 to 1973) to overcome the lack of capital and technology through mobilization of China’s vast labor reservoir. The strategy was to connect political campaigns to production campaigns. Under pressure from orthodox Leninists within the party apparatus, with the surprise failure of the “Hundred Flower Movement”, Mao concluded it was impossible to create a socialist consciousness through a gradual improvement of material living conditions; that consciousness and reality had to be changed concurrently and in conjunction through gigantic new efforts at mobilization. There was no real alternative open if new socialist China was to survive.

This conclusion has been proven correct in the past 30 years. As living standard of the people improved, inequality widened and corruption became rampant, generating intense discontent among the masses. In the nation, a blanket of spiritual decay and cynicism permeate all of society with a visible loss of revolutionary and national pride. Such loss of national spirit is harder to restore than environmental corrosion.

All of Mao’s strategies and programs were designed to ensure the survival of the independence of the Chinese nation through confidence building in the people’s faith in socialism. They were necessary decisions of accepting high degree of hardship and sacrifice to refuse surrender to an extremely hostile geopolitical adversary. It was a test of national will of a garrison state to survive, not an egotistic ideological experiment.

Under different geopolitical conditions, Mao would have adopted very different policies. The proof of this is the fact that it was Mao who invited US President Nixon to China as soon as Nixon realized that US national interest would be better served with an opening to China. It was a view that Mao had repeatedly made to the US all through the Cold War but were repeated rejected by the anti-communist fixation of Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy. It was Mao who rehabilitated the purged Deng Xiaoping to run the Chinese economy when China no longer needed to behave like a garrison state with the end of US hostility.

The garrison state mentality (警备状态心态) led to the Anti-Rightist Campaign of 1957-58, followed by “Three Red Banners” in the spring of 1958, initiating simultaneous development of industry and agriculture through the use of both modern and traditional methods of production under the “General Line of Building Socialism” through Self Reliance (自力更生) which had been the only option under US total embargo. The strategy was to be implemented through a labor-intensive development policy by a “Great Leap Forward” and by establishing a comprehensive collectivization with the establishment of “People’s Communes”. The real purpose of the Great Leap Forward program was a defiant collective show of self confidence. That implement errors were made does not detract from its spiritual necessity.

While Mao headed the CPC, leadership was based on mass support; and it is still, the chairmanship of the CPC is analogous to the position of Pope in the Roman Catholic Church, powerful in moral authority but highly circumscribed in operational power. The Great Leap Forward was the product of mass movement, not of a single person. Mao’s leadership extended to the organization of the party and its policy-formulation procedures, not the dictation of particular programs.

Without Mao’s leadership, the Communist Party of China would not have survived the extermination campaign by the well-equipped Nationalist army under Jiang Jieshi. It was Mao who recognized the invincible potential of the Chinese peasant masses as the fountainhead of revolution. It is proper that the fourth-generation leaders of the PRC are again focusing on priority promotion of the welfare of the rural peasants farmers.

In Europe, the failure of the democratic revolutions of 1848 led eventually to World War I, which destroyed all the competing monarchal regimes that had collaborated to successfully suppress the democratic revolutions six decades earlier. The full impact of Mao’s revolutionary spirit is yet to be released on Chinese society. A century from now, Mao’s high-minded principles of mass politics will outshine all his anti-communist and neo-liberal critics.

The People’s Republic of China, established in 1949 under the leadership of the Communist Party of China headed by Mao Zedong, is today a rapidly developing nation of over 1.3 billion people with the world’s highest growth rate. The Chinese economy is on track to be the largest in the world. Yet until China moves expeditiously toward policies that put equality and high wages as a national goal in an independent economy, rather than one controlled by export sector special interest groups who are at the mercy of foreign consumer markets, China’s road toward achieving the highest per capita income for its economy will be agonizingly long. Without a rapid increase in Chinese wages, there will not be a vigorous domestic market to replace China’s excessive dependence on export. The Chinese exporting economy will continue to be the kitchen serving the other economies as dining rooms.

The dissolution of the USSR in 1991 led to a precipitous socio-economic decline for Russia since 1990 as it went through shock treatment to rush headlong into market capitalism as advised by US neo-liberal economists. In contrast, China’s economic reform since 1978 has produced spectacular growth, albeit along with a host of unsustainable socio-economic penalties and problems. This is primarily because China has not yet totally refuted Mao Zedong Thought as Khrushchev did with de-Stalinization.

In comparison with the poor results in Russia, the question inevitably arises on why reform towards a socialist market economy by world’s largest remaining socialist state has produced comparatively positive results. What are the “Chinese characteristics” that Deng Xiaoping had identified that led to the impressive economic growth of the past three decades since 1979?

The answer leads directly to the revolutionary policies launched by Mao Zedong during the three decades between 1949 and 1979 acting as a principle that had provided a potent spiritual platform, without which Deng’s “reform and open” policy would not and could not have succeeded. Still the attempt to deemphasize Mao Zedong Thought has weaken Deng’s “reform and open” policy to allow the nation to be infested with a level of corruption and inequality that even the current and coming leadership are forced to admit as dangerous for the survival of the Party.

Without the strong and broad basis for China’s revolutionary socio-economic development laid in the three decades before 1979, as part of Mao’s strategy of building essential institutional prerequisites based on a revolutionary collective awareness of the power of an organized masses and carried out through mass movement programs such as comprehensive land reforms followed by the formation of agricultural co-operatives and later people’s communes, the reform policies after 1979 could not be implemented successfully.

Despite all the neo-liberal hyperboles about efficient resource allocation through the market mechanism and all the capitalist ideological anathema against egalitarianism, the solid and rational contribution by “Mao Zedong Thought” on China’s national collective consciousness of confidence in the people and self reliance remains the light source in the dark and strenuous path of the historic revival of the four-millennia-old Chinese civilization.

It was Mao who taught a thoroughly discouraged China, despite having been reduced to abject poverty materially, hopeless bankruptcy spiritually and total deprivation of confidence, to not be intimidated by temporary foreign imperialist dominance and to struggle for national revival through self-reliance by placing faith in the invincible power of the Chinese masses.

Yet despite Mao’s indispensable contribution to the Chinese collective consciousness of the dormant prowess of the masses and to the methodology of achieving economic and social development through mass movements that had enabled the economic miracle of new China, his contributions continues to be insufficiently appreciated by many Chinese revisionists and neoliberal social scientists, particularly foreign trained and supported free-market economists, who once again are falling into the heinous propaganda spell of Western cultural imperialism in the name of neo-liberal market fundamentalism.

For example, an important element of innovation in Mao’s revolutionary strategy is the capturing of the full economic advantages of abundant labor in the Chinese economy for nation-wide socialist construction on a scale never attempted in modern history in the context of hostile foreign embargo. Mao aimed to make full use of surplus labor in the Chinese socialist economy by banishing unemployment deemed necessary in Western capitalist doctrine as a required evil for combating inflation.

Unfortunately, Mao’s strategy of full employment has been distorted since 1979 to turn into a policy of bringing into existence a new laboring class of exploited, poorly paid migrant workers from rural regions to overcrowded urban export sectors that depend on foreign capital to finance overblown export enterprises whose task is to ship real wealth created by low-wage Chinese labor to foreign countries in exchange for paper money in the form of fiat US dollars, leaving rural regions underdeveloped for lack of domestic capital despite, or because of, a national trade surplus denominated in fiat dollars that cannot be used domestically in China, a new imperialist monetary US strategy I call dollar hegemony.

Inequality of income and wealth has deterred China from its effort to increase the rate of domestic capital formation without undue restriction on the rate of rise in mass consumption. China today is faced with a serious unemployment and underemployment problem. This most serious underemployment comes in the form of low wages on all levels.

Many great advances, and in some sectors of the Chinese economy continued to outperform the West. The foundation of this progress can be traced to the platform built during the Cultural Revolution period. During the Cultural Revolution, China successfully test-exploded its fully functional, full-scale, three-stage hydrogen bomb (June 17, 1967), launched the Dong Fang Hong satellite (January 30, 1970) and 8 satellites more by 1978, commissioned its first nuclear submarines in 1967 which was completed in 1974, and made various other advances in science and technology. There was also progress in lasers, semiconductors, electronics, and computing technology. Even in theoretical research there was the breakthrough of synthesizing the world’s first biologically active protein, crystalline pig insulin, using the method of X-ray diffraction. This development laid the groundwork for Shanghai becoming the cradle for biotechnology in China.

Jon Sigurdson, cultural attaché in the Swedish Embassy in Beijing (1964-67), expert on rural industrialization in China at Lund University and Director of the East Asia Science & Technology and Culture Programme, at the European Institute of Japanese Studies at the Stockholm School of Economics, pointed out in 1980, this biotech work had been initiated in the late 1950s, during the Great Leap Forward (1958–61). The discovery represented “man’s great effort to unveil the secrets of life and provides powerful new evidence for the materialist-dialectical theory on the origin of life.” The report in Beijing Review accurately described it as the “first crystalline protein” and “the largest biologically active natural organic compound ever to be synthesized” (Peking Review 1967a). In an article published on December 25, 1970, the Peking Review reported another achievement: the trial production of a Shanghai electron microscope capable of 400,000-times magnification. Although the Shanghai Electronics and Optics Research Institute had been working on such microscopes since 1958, this latest, most advanced model was presented as a result of the Cultural Revolution. The Peking Review adds that such a precision instrument is a culmination of science and technology in “radio electronics, electron optics, high electric voltage, high vacuum and precision mechanical engineering” (1970)

The Post-Mao leadership typically tried to paint the Cultural Revolution as an unmitigated catastrophe for China. Sigrid Schmalzer of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst cautions that “there are compelling reasons why we should not entirely abandon the earlier, positive accounts and follow the post-Mao narrative too slavishly.”

The Peking Review reports reveal scientific innovation during the Cultural Revolution as not fully interrupted. Universities shut down and academic research came to a halt, but state-protected science related to defense and national prestige continued. Innovation continued, but it was primarily related to production in an Edison manner of tinkering, rather than broad based theoretical exploration, due to insufficient resources and substandard facilities.

Inquiry into the physics of relativity and the science of genetics took major hits from interruption of funding and ignorant harassment, but the mass line proved to have benefits in areas where millions of field assistants could be mobilized, such as seismology and weather monitoring.

Future decades would witness a gap between science and talent among professionals, due to the “dead weight” of the poorly prepared Cultural Revolution generation; however, the truly talented overcame the loss of time to become productive after the years of turmoil.

On the positive side millions of rural peasants gained access to science and technology for the first time. Despite the general disaster of the Cultural Revolution, it may be argued that, in some ways, Chairman Mao’s science policy did have benefits to scientific innovation and that the mass line emerged better prepared to meet a technological future in the final decades of the twentieth century.

Havard China scholar Roderick MacFarquhar opined: “What Mao accomplished between 1949 and 1956 was in fact the fastest, most extensive, and least damaging socialist revolution carried out in any communist state.”

Mao’s writings on military strategy continue to commnd influence among insurgency leaders and anti-insurgency experts, particularly on guerrilla warfare, at which Mao is popularly regarded as a genius on the level of Sunzi (孙子).

After 30 years of reform, the Chinese economy is visibly infested with glaring inequality in income and wealth, and the means of production have been increasingly privatized under the control of a minority financial elite for its own benefit. The CPC now officially represents all the peoples, including capitalists, rather than the dictatorship of the proletariat. All this is officially accepted in the name of modernization and following global neoliberal trends.

Yet in 1919, the anti-imperialist socialist revolutionary movement in China had been launched to reverse global imperialist trends, not to follow them. At any rate, these global trends of capitalist free market fundamentalism had been halted abruptly since 2007 with the global collapse of finance capitalism, the recovery of which is by no means certain in the foreseeable future. The options available to the world now are whether state capitalism or socialism will end up as the legitimate replacement of finance capitalism.

The revolutionary momentum of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has been put on hold since 1978 as socialist market economy was promoted by the Party leadership as a deliberate policy of ideological compromise, presumably to allow evolutionary dialectics towards socialism to work itself out in due time.

There is a rising danger that even the normal pace of dialectic evolution from capitalism toward socialism has been deliberately slowed down by this compromised policy. Deng’s famous dictum of letting some people get rich first along the path to national prosperity had gradually been changed by quietly dropping the word “first”. China is now a country in which some people can get super rich before others permanently. Forbes Magazine annually publishes a list of China’s richest.

Ironically, the socialist revolution that had been started by the 1911 May Fourth student movement had been torpedoed by a misguided counterrevolutionary interpretation of the student demonstration of 1989, both having taken place at Tiananmen but 78 years apart. Since 1987, under intense international pressure in reaction to the Chinese government’s handling the of Tiananmen incidence, Deng’s “open and reform” policy has been forced by geopolitics to take shift from a NEP-type transitional economic strategy to kick-start modernization, to a permanent policy contaminated with dubious neoliberal dimensions to appease geopolitical pressure from the US whose markets were deemed indispensable for an overgrown Chinese export sector financed mostly by foreign capital and benefited mostly foreign investors, at the expense of Chinese workers who will be condemned to low wages unnecessarily longer.

Yet with the outbreak of the global financial crisis of 2007, ample evidence now exists to show that the economic achievements in China came not from unregulated markets opened to neo-imperialism, but from the fact that Communist Party of China has wisely and fortunately retained essential control of its socialist market economy by limiting the actual opening up of the economy to foreign capital and by slowing the privatization of state-owned enterprises, in contrast to what Russia had done following US shock treatment advice. Most importantly, China has managed to insulate its financial sector from the wild turmoil of global markets since 2007 because it resisted both internal and external pressure to fully open and deregulate its own financial sector and to make its currency free floating and fully convertible.

In the final analysis, Chinese Communist Party leaders would do well if they would follow the advice urged on their predecessors in 1944 by Mao Zedong: Serve the People (为人民服务).

Written for The First Annual Conference on Mao Zedong – January 1, 2013.

Revolutionary Voices Against Imperialism

Abayomi Azikiwe: “Western imperialism plotted against Lumumba.”

A political analyst says there is no doubt that several imperialist countries were involved in the plot against the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo Patrice Lumumba and it was actually an order given that he should be eliminated.

The comments came after a British peer, in explosive revelations, said that London’s spy agency MI6 murdered the first democratically-elected Prime Minister of Congo, once described as “the most important assassination of the 20th century”. Patrice Lumumba was the central figure in the Congolese fight for independence from Belgium in 1960 and was assassinated by gun shots on January 17, 1961.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, to further discuss the issue. What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Tell us about the significance of this, I mean there were much speculations over the years that this was the case but now that this has come to light, how significant is it?

Azikiwe: I think it is very significant. Unfortunately Mrs. Park is no longer with us and these claims that were made by a colleague of hers cannot actually be verified. Of course would be wonderful if the documents from MI6 in relationship to the latter days of Belgian colonialism in Congo and also the early days of the Independence Movement in Congo between 1959 and 1961 could be released for historians and investigative journalists to sift through, to actually expose what the actual role of Britain was in this whole situation.

There is no doubt about it that several imperialist countries were involved in the plot against Patrice Lumumba and the Movement National Congolese Lumumba which was his political party. They were the most revolutionary, Pan-Africanism movement. They had the largest bloc political support within the initial of parliament that was established in 1960 in Congo.

We also know definitely that the Eisenhower administration was heavily involved. There had been high level meetings among intelligence officials in Washington D.C., people in the State Department, people in the Central Intelligence Agency and it was actually an order given. It has been documented in several sources that Lumumba should be eliminated.

Press TV: Let me just interrupt because I am sure there are many viewers that may not know the background of the story. Why is it that you think that Washington and London would have wanted to eliminate him?

Azikiwe: Lumumba was a revolutionary, he was someone who was very charismatic. At the independence ceremony on June 30th of 1960 he actually condemned the role of Belgian colonialism inside his country.

Congo then and even today is one of the wealthiest in terms of mineral resources on the African continent. This was during the height of the Cold War. It was very strong feelings that his government will lean more towards the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union and that was a real fear that the US will lose out as well as the other imperialist countries in this whole rush to win over these newly independent African states.

Press TV: Tell us when we fast forward to the Congo of today, are we looking at a totally different Congo than if he had not, Mr. Lumumba had not been assassinated, do you think it would have taken a different path?

Azikiwe: Most definitely. He had formed alliance with Kwame Nkrumah, with other progressive revolutionary leaders on the African continent at that time and that is why they struck decisively during the early phase of the Independence Movement.

Congo today still has a tremendous amount of internal turmoil that is going on in the eastern region of the country and of course many multi national mining corporations are involved in exploiting the resources there. There are sections of the country that are not even under the control of the national government in Kinshasa.

So yes, it would definitely have been a very different Congo, would have been a very different African continent had Lumumba lived, if he had been able to consolidate his revolutionary movement inside the country. Congo is heart of Africa.


MI6 Murdered Patrice Lumumba
The Goal Patrice Lumumba Sought To Achieve
Why The West Killed Patrice Lumumba
Patrice Lumumba: The Sacrifice Of A True African Leader
May Our People Triumph
Collected Speeches and Writings of Patrice Lumumba
Why Patrice Lumumba, first Prime Minister of the Congo was Assassinated
Patrice Lumumba: A True African Hero Of Pan-Africanism (2 July 1925 – 17 January 1961)
International Terrorism and Imperialism
Muammar Gaddafi Vs AFRICOM And The Recolonization Of Africa
Revolutionary Voices Against Imperialism

Chavez’s Death, Like His Life, Shows the World’s Divisions

Hugo Chávez: Loss, Redemption, Resurrection

‘There is No Turning Back’

We salute a great freedom fighter, Comandante Hugo Chavez Frias

By Gerald A Perreira
Libya 360°

Revolutionaries throughout the Americas and the Caribbean owe a great debt to Hugo Chavez. His selfless struggle for the advancement of the masses of poor and oppressed in Venezuela, and throughout the Americas and the Caribbean, occupied him 24/7. Like so many before him, he was not given a breathing space. The Empire pursued him unrelentingly, in a constant attempt to undermine and destabilize his program for liberation. The US imperialists and their allies never missed an opportunity to demonize this great freedom fighter, and he lived with constant threats to his own life and to the sovereignty of Venezuela. The external pressure, combined with the huge undertaking of transforming a nation of almost 30 million people, meant that he was forced to put his personal life and health on the back burner. The terrible truth is that the vast majority of Venezuelans lacked all the basic necessities of life prior to his presidency, and to rebuild this country, which had been destroyed by more than two decades of neo-liberal policies, was an overwhelming task.

For those who are not familiar with Venezuela’s ethnic mix, the country has a large African population. Before the Bolivarian revolution, the two institutionalized political parties, Democratic Action and COPEI, ensured that Africans remained marginalized – second class citizens in every way. Race is a very powerful dynamic in Venezuela and for that matter throughout the region. There is a racist dimension to the politics of the Castilian elites, who of course, vehemently opposed Chavez’s plan to empower the masses, and in particular Black Venezuelans. After 14 years of Hugo Chavez’s leadership I can assure you that Africans have come in from the cold. This is a new Venezuela and an amazing accomplishment in a country with such a rabid bourgeoisie, who were so used to their own position of white privilege that they could not imagine life any other way. So it was with sheer determination and a lifetime of struggle, that this great champion of the oppressed, Comandante Hugo Chavez, led a revolution that provides us with a working example of what he termed ‘21st century socialism’, where people of all ethnicities have a place under the sun.

Socialism Venezuelan Style

Following the collapse of the Eastern Bloc or what was referred to at the time as ‘actually existing socialism’, the World Mathaba hosted an international gathering in Tripoli. The aim being to examine the implications of this historical moment and the way forward. Revolutionaries from all over the world, including Venezuela attended this gathering. At that time, some of those in Europe and throughout the world, who had promoted Soviet style communism and described themselves as Marxist-Leninist, were disillusioned. They had lost direction, and as a result, some of them abandoned socialism altogether. However, many saw the collapse as something to be expected, since we had witnessed the limitations of Soviet style communism. We had seen firsthand, failed attempts to mechanically replicate Soviet style communism across the Global South. Furthermore, we rejected the idea that ‘socialism’ was primarily a European product and somehow synonymous with European/Soviet expressions of socialism. We understood socialism as a universal principle, pre-dating Marxism, which found expression in all cultures.

During the gathering, Muammar Qaddafi addressed a meeting of revolutionary organizations at his Bab al-Aziziya barracks, where he shared his thoughts. This address was later published in a booklet entitled: Muammar Qaddafi’s Address to Revolutionaries of Latin America. According to Qaddafi, what had collapsed in the Eastern Bloc was not ‘socialism’ as we understood it but a form of ‘bureaucratic collectivism’. He went on to say that, outside of the Jamahiriya, he believed that the struggle for and implementation of the ‘new socialism’, which would truly lead to power, wealth and arms in the hands of the people, would occur in the coming years in South and Central America. That was in 1990, nine years before Chavez’s electoral victory and the path blazing journey he embarked on. It was a journey which laid the foundation for a regional movement of socialist oriented and anti-imperialist governments.

Like the socialism of the Jamahiriya, which was inspired by an Islamic theology of liberation, the socialism Chavez spoke of was grounded in the theology of liberation borne out of the extreme poverty and social deprivation in the barrios of South and Central America. Revolutionary theologians such as Gustavo Gutierrez, Juan Segundo and Jose Miranda proclaimed that the message of Jesus Christ was incompatible with neo-liberal capitalism and was in fact revolutionary and socialistic to its core.

In the words of Chavez, ‘Capitalism is the way of the devil and exploitation. If you really want to look at things through the eyes of Jesus Christ — who I think was the first socialist — only socialism can really create a genuine society.’

This was an idea close to the hearts of the people of Venezuela, but which earned Chavez the wrath of the establishment’s clergy.

Like Qaddafi, Chavez rejected the left/right dichotomy. Both saw it as meaningless and obsolete, since it failed to encapsulate their realities. Chavez himself said he was ‘neither left nor right’ and made it clear that the PSUV – the party of the Bolivarian revolution – was not Marxist-Leninist. He acknowledged the great contribution made to socialist theory and practice by Marx, Lenin, Trotsky and Mao Tse-tung, however, he knew that if socialism was to be successfully implemented in Venezuela, and throughout the Americas/Caribbean, it had to be a socialism rooted in the experiences and traditions of the peoples of the Americas.


Drawing on the example of Jesus Christ and the legacy of Venezuela’s own revolutionary hero, Simon Bolivar, Chavez’s Bolivarian revolution resonated throughout the region, not least of all because it was homegrown. The indigenous character of all the programs and policies meant that they were implemented with tremendous success. Venezuela, under Chavez, became a shining example of a viable alternative to the failed neo-liberal model, which has brought nothing but despair and devastation. The communitarian socialism of Evo Morales of Bolivia is in the same tradition – indigenous and homegrown.

Hugo Chavez’s contributions to the region and the entire Global South are far too many to catalogue here. Perhaps one of the most important was his insistence that if socialism was to be built in the 21st century, it must be the people, the masses, organized at the base level in the ‘communal councils’, actively and consciously shaping their destiny, rather than being dictated to by a so-called revolutionary vanguard. This was the very cornerstone of the Libyan Jamahiriya. Revolutionary committee members were facilitators not a vanguard. Like the Libyan Jamahiriya, Chavez’s bottom up revolution gave the world an example of a rare and genuine transfer of power and wealth to the people. Chavez was a great orator and thinker, but most importantly, a man who walked the talk. Putting the idea of people’s empowerment into practice, in just 14 years, he took Venezuela from a neo-colony – a landscape of poverty stricken barrios – quite literally stretching as far as the eye could see. From a nation where the majority of the population lived in disgraceful conditions alongside a tiny minority of parasitical elites, who enjoyed all of the benefits of Venezuela’s vast oil wealth – to an example of a ‘people’s revolution’ and the real international community salutes you brother.

In the words of one Venezuelan woman, who was weeping in the street upon hearing the news of Chavez’s death: ‘Chavez is alive, we are all Chavez.’

The life and times of Hugo Chavez will continue to inspire all those who fight for a world free of racism and imperialism. Like his hero, Bolivar, Chavez will be forever etched into the world’s collective memory because he changed the world. Be assured that the great sacrifice he made has led to the kind of transformation from which, in his words, ‘there is no turning back’.

Gerald A. Perreira is a founding member of the Guyanese organizations Joint Initiative for Human Advancement and Dignity and Black Consciousness Movement Guyana (BCMG). He lived in Libya for many years, served in the Green March, an international battalion for the defense of the Al Fateh revolution and was an executive member of the World Mathaba based in Tripoli. He is the International Secretary for the newly formed, Afrocentric Pan-African International – ARM (African Revolutionary Movement).

Hugo Chávez Frías: An Unforgettable and Victorious Permanence

A More Independent South America and the Chávez Legacy

By Mark Weisbrot

Axis of Logic Editor’s note: Yesterday and today the people are interviewed on Venezuelan television amidst great throngs filling the streets. Last night an “ordinary woman” amongst Venezuela’s millions of extraordinary women made reference to the Libertador, Simon Bolivar, remembering that he liberated Venezuela from the Spanish so long ago. She then tearfully reminded us that “Chávez recuperó nuestra libertad perdida” – “Chávez recovered our lost liberty.”

In the following article, Mark Weisbrot discusses this and more of President Chávez’ legacy.

– Les Blough in Venezuela

Venezuelans mourn the death of Hugo Chávez outside the hospital in Caracas where he died on Tuesday. (Photo: Reuters)

Bertrand Russell once wrote about the American revolutionary Thomas Paine, “He had faults, like other men; but it was for his virtues that he was hated and successfully calumniated.” 

This was certainly true of Hugo Chávez Frias, who was probably more demonized than any democratically elected president in world history.  But he was repeatedly re-elected by wide margins, and will be mourned not only by Venezuelans but by many Latin Americans who appreciate what he did for the region.

Chávez survived a military coup backed by Washington and oil strikes that crippled the economy but once he got control of the oil industry, his government reduced poverty by half and extreme poverty by 70 percent. Millions of people also got access to health care for the first time, and access to education also increased sharply, with college enrollment doubling and free tuition for many. Eligibility for public pensions tripled.  He kept his campaign promise to share the country’s oil wealth with Venezuela’s majority, and that will be part of his legacy.

So, too will be the second independence of Latin America, and especially South America, which is now more independent of the United States than Europe is.  Of course this would not have happened without Chávez’ close friends and allies: Lula in Brazil, the Kirchners in Argentina, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, and others. But Chávez was the first of the democratically-elected left presidents in the past 15 years, and he played a very important role; look to what these colleagues will say of him and you will find it to be much more important than most of the other obituaries, anti-obituaries, and commentaries. These left governments have also made considerable advances in reducing poverty, increasing employment, and raising overall living standards – and their parties, too have been continually re-elected.

For these other democratic leaders, Chávez is seen as part of this continent-wide revolt at the ballot box that transformed South America and increased opportunities and political participation for previously excluded majorities and minorities.

Continuity in Venezuela is most likely following Chávez’ death, since his political party has more than 7 million members and demonstrated its ability to win elections without him campaigning in the December local elections, where they picked up five state governorships to win 20 of 23 states.  Relations with the United States are unlikely to improve; the State Department and President Obama himself made a number of hostile statements during Chávez’s last months of illness, indicating that no matter what the next government (presumably under Nicolas Maduro) does, there is not much interest on Washington’s part in improving relations.

© 2013 Center for Economic and Policy Research

Mark Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington, D.C. He is also president of Just Foreign Policy

Source: Center for Economic and Policy Research

Also See:
Hugo Chávez Transformed Venezuela
Hugo Chavez: New World Rising
CIA’s Continuous Attempts at Assassination of Anti-Imperialist Leaders, Including Hugo Chávez

African Women in the Struggle for the Liberation of African People

By Vanessa Thompson, Leader of the African Socialist International – Europe

The question of African women and our role in the struggle for national liberation has always been a crucial one. Many contradictions related to this question can be traced back to what is called the feminist agenda.

From time immemorial, African women have taken part in every form of reproducing life and civilization.

Ever since this trajectory was disrupted by the attack on Africa and our people, African women have struggled on the frontlines for our liberation.

Although they are often only mentioned in footnotes of history books, African women such as Harriet Tubman, Queen Nanny of the Maroons and many more fought for the liberation of African people by any means necessary.

As we make up the majority of the African working class population, African women are the ones who bear the brunt of the exploitation and oppression of our people by parasitic capitalism.

Feminist agenda divides African nation, serves imperialism

Although feminists claim that there are various forms of feminism, we understand that placing the struggle for gender equality before the struggle for national liberation is a false objective that supports a colonial logic of divide and conquer.

Under bourgeois feminism we become agents of the oppressor’s system because we place symptoms of this system (violence within the African community) before the root of the contradiction (colonial violence against the African community).

The fact that feminism is a tactic to divide us becomes clearer when we examine how this ideology is used to legitimize imperialist attacks in the form of military interventions.

On a large scale, feminist appeals and the call for “women’s rights“ are embedded in imperialist attacks against colonized peoples.

The attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan and Mali are mainly legitimized by the imperialist system with a “save the colonized women from the colonized men“ logic. This demonstrates how we are used against each other to serve the interests of imperialism.

Global sisterhood?

The idea of a global sisterhood, of women in general, who experience the same sort of oppression and who should therefore unite in the struggle against gender oppression is an idealist assumption. It lacks a materialist analysis of parasitic capitalism.

European women, although experiencing gender oppression, always benefit from the attacks by the parasitic capitalist system on all colonized peoples around the world, including colonized women.

All European women sit on the pedestal of enslavement, genocide and colonialism, no matter if they are from the European bourgeoisie, working class or peasantry.

What European women call patriarchy is bound to Eurocentrism. After all, European women have more power than the majority of colonized men in the world!

Colonized women challenge white feminism

Many struggles by colonized women have exposed that the European feminist agenda only speaks for a minority of women, namely European women.

The forms of violence that are imposed on colonized women have nothing to do with the socio-historical reality and experience of European women.

Black feminism, on the other hand, claims not only to end gender inequality but acknowledges the root oppression of African people and its resulting effects on us.

Black feminists, however, who claim that their struggle is against oppression in all forms, tend to lose sight of these forms of oppression and even position them as intersectional to each other.

As a result of this, black feminism offers no meaningful criticism or analysis of imperialism itself and therefore plays into the hands of the oppressing system.

When approaching the question of the oppression of African women, it is crucial to distinguish two broad forms of violence imposed on African women that are profoundly different, although rooted in the same system.

Horizontal violence and vertical violence

Omali Yeshitela, Chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) and the African Socialist International (ASI), has through the theory of African Internationalism defined two forms of violence imposed on us.

They are rooted in the same parasitic system but have to be distinguished when it comes to the question of struggling against parasitic capitalism and colonialism.

Chairman Omali defines vertical violence as a form of violence perpetrated directly by the colonial state’s coercive institutions: police, schools, courts, prisons, etc.

Horizontal violence is a military tactic used to impose violence on an oppressed group of people by containing them in a constant state of poverty and repression, so that they lash out against each other, thus forwarding the agenda of the oppressor.

It is here that both the European feminist agenda and that of black feminism, lose sight of the essential question of our national oppression, and therefore play into the hands of the colonizers.

Violence against African women coming from the system and the colonial state’s coercive institutions—violence from the police, schools, courts, prisons, the army, economic exploitation via the international division of labor of colonized people all represent forms of vertical violence.

Violence such as sexual or domestic violence and economic exploitation coming from within our own colonized community represent forms of horizontal violence.

Both types of violence result from colonial domination over our lives.

To say that colonial violence against African women is a specific form of violence would be redundant. Even though there are differences in the types of colonial attacks that African men and women experience, this already implies that each form of these attacks is specific in itself.

Highlighting violence as a specific form when it comes to the oppression of African women leads to a contest to see who is oppressed the most. And this draws focus away from the fact that all of these attacks are rooted in a capitalist system, which has manipulated and exploited African people from the very beginning.

Chairman Omali Yeshitela has pointed out that horizontal violence represents a tactic of imperialist power. This is a tactic to keep a colonized community in a constant state of destabilizing poverty—poverty not only in a material sense, but in every sense, including the relationships between each other and even the relationship one has with oneself.

In The Wretched of the Earth, Franz Fanon showed that colonized communities tend to commit violence that should be directed at the oppressor, against their own colonized community.

This tactic keeps colonized people from recognizing how to overcome our oppression through a revolutionary struggle for national liberation. Horizontal violence is established so that the colonized stays “in his place and does not go beyond certain limits.“ (Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 52).

Horizontal violence includes all forms of violence within the colonized community—sexual, economic, physical, domestic violence. Violence between African men is also a form of horizontal violence.

Engaging in horizontal violence makes us complicit with the oppressive system as it plays into the imperialist system’s tactic to divide and rule us.

Besides violence between African men, domestic violence, or violence by African men against African women is also horizontal violence. African women can also engage in acts of collaboration with the colonial state against African men.

Solely concentrating on horizontal violence will never free us and keeps the status quo intact

While it seems necessary to struggle against forms of horizontal violence within our community we can not lose sight of the vertical violence that is imposed on us by the imperialist state. Vertical violence keeps us in a constant state of poverty that enhances forms of horizontal violence.

We are convinced that solely struggling against forms of horizontal violence will never liberate Africa or African people around the world.

African women join the struggle for national liberation

Putting the issue of horizontal violence in the context of colonial violence, the African People’s Socialist Party is convinced that our struggle is not only for social justice within our communities. We must struggle primarily to overturn parasitic capitalism and colonialism.

At the same time we commit ourselves to the relentless struggle for the rights and dignity of African women. We demand the recognition of African women as equal partners and leaders in the struggle for the emancipation and unification of Africa and African people worldwide.

There will be no African liberation without the liberation of African women.

At the same time African women cannot fight a liberation struggle separate from the broader liberation struggle of Africa and African people!

Assata Shakur said, “Sisters. Black people will never be free unless black women participate in every aspect of our struggle, on every level of our struggle.”

Brothers, black people will never be free unless black women are fully accepted as equal partners in the liberation struggle and in building the African nation and beyond!

‘Che dreamed of united Latin America standing strong against the US’

Interview With Che Guevara’s Daughter

Che Guevara  (AFP Photo)
Che Guevara (AFP Photo)

RT: Ms. Guevara, welcome and thank you for joining us. You have said that you have been very close to Fidel Castro. What do you think of the media speculation about his health; some reports claiming he’s dead, some reports claiming he’s alive? What do you think about that?

Aleida Guevara: Fidel is a totally unique man. He doesn’t get offended easily; it has to be something really offensive and usually something about other people for him to get offended. That’s why, for example, right now he is upset over all this media hype around Hugo Chavez’s medical problems. But Fidel never cared what others said about him. He pays no attention to such things, unless it is something really offensive or something about the people. That’s when he will react immediately.

RT: Aleida, your mother stayed silent about her romance with the fabled Comandante Che Guevara for almost 40 years – until recently, when she published a book revealing some of the details. Why did she find it so difficult to tell her story before? Why did she wait so long?

AG: First of all, you should know my mother. She comes from a rural area, and village folk in Cuba – like anywhere else, I suppose – are very sensitive about their romantic experiences. They are very tight-lipped about these things, and she was brought up in that culture. She has always been like that. That said, she was overwhelmingly in love with him. It was an incredibly beautiful love story. And it’s one of the things that make me feel so special – not because I am the daughter of a great man, oh no. I feel special because I am the daughter of a man and a woman who were dearly in love with each other, and I am the product of their love. That’s what makes me special.

Mother’s book tells the story of their relationship, the story of her life through the lens of that love. Just imagine what it was like for my Mother when Father died. He had been her first man. He was her fiancé, her comrade, her friend, her mentor, her lover, the father of her children. He was everything.

And then, just like that, he was gone. Imagine the pain she went through. She had to bring up and support four little children. So she was forced to lock up all those memories somewhere deep down and get on with her life. If she had been open, she wouldn’t have been able to carry on. A long, long time had to pass before she felt strong enough to revisit those memories. When she was getting down to writing the book I would often see her in tears. She cried so much I once told her, “Mom, why don’t you quit that book.” Luckily, she didn’t listen to me and she finished it. And that book is a truly incredible gift for me.

Aleida Guevara (AFP Photo / Adalberto Roque)
Aleida Guevara (AFP Photo / Adalberto Roque)

RT: That is a beautiful story. In the past ten years, there were lots of movies about Ernesto Che Guevara, and lots of biographies written. Which of the works you’ve seen and read give the most-reliable accounts?

AG: So far, there is not a single biography that I would recommend. When I talk to young people, I usually advise them to read what my Father wrote about himself. He had this habit of writing down everything that was happening around him since he was 17. Many of his diaries have made it through to us, you can read it firsthand and make your own conclusions. The only movie I would probably point you to is ‘The Motorcycle Diaries,’ the only worthy production in my opinion. It was made entirely by Latin Americans. It’s a great movie and I highly recommend it.

RT: There are plenty of different views about Che Guevara. Some say he was a hero and a martyr, others say he was a terrorist, a murderer. What do you think about the chapter in his life when had to kill people for the sake of his ideas?

AG: We are talking about war. When you are involved in a guerrilla war, you either live or die. This is the law of guerrilla warfare. But it is not murder. You don’t murder people. Murder is when you attack a defenseless person. But this is not the case when you are engaged in a battle. In a battle, you shoot at them because they shoot at you. You kill them because otherwise they’ll kill you. This is war. On the contrary, it was Che who was murdered. He was captured; he was unarmed and defenseless, and they killed him without trial. That was real murder.

But my father never did anything like that. They never killed their prisoners; they would take care of them, provide medical care; they would even slow down their advance because they had to guard the prisoners and leave them in a safe place.

So people who accuse him of murder simply don’t know the whole story and have no idea of how great these people were – not only Che but everybody who fought together with him, all those people. This war shaped them. The Cuban revolution never involved murder. We were defending ourselves. And we will keep doing this.

RT: There’s also a lot of speculation about Fidel on this matter. Some even say that Che being dead was much more useful to Castro than when he was alive.

AG: This is the stupidest thing you can say. When Che was alive, he was immensely helpful to Fidel in Cuba. Fidel has said this many, many times. He said he was at peace working on other things, because he knew that Che was the minister of industries. The Cuban economy was in good hands, because Fidel fully trusted Che. But the situation changed when Che left. But Che had to move on. From the very start, when Fidel and Che were in Mexico, they made a deal. Che promised Fidel he would stay in Cuba until it is liberated, and then, if he is still alive, he will move on to other countries in Latin America. Fidel agreed to that, and he kept his promise.

Commanders (L to R) Raul Castro, Antonio Nunez Jimenez, Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Juan Almeida and Ramiro Valdes in Havana during the first year of the Cuban revolution, 1959 (AFP Photo / Archivo Bohemia)
Commanders (L to R) Raul Castro, Antonio Nunez Jimenez, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Juan Almeida and Ramiro Valdes in Havana during the first year of the Cuban revolution, 1959 (AFP Photo / Archivo Bohemia)

Once I came to Fidel. We had a very long conversation; we talked for several hours, and eventually I said to him, “Tell me about your disagreements with Dad. Tell me about these arguments people keep talking about.”

So he told me how one time, when they were in Mexico, they knew they would all be arrested, and Fidel told everybody to keep their mouth shut about their political views. And then he asked me, “What do you think your father did?” When he was in prison, he started talking to prison guards about politics. He even talked to them about Stalin! As a result, everybody was released except Che, because police said he was a Communist. Fidel tried talking to him but eventually he realized that Dad could not lie.

He was too honest; he could not lie. And there was nothing Fidel could say; there was nothing to talk about. “How can I argue with such a person?” Fidel said. So, that’s one of the arguments people say they had. But that was not even an argument. And Fidel stayed in Mexico and did not leave until my father was released, even though this jeopardized the entire plan they had for Cuba. And this was the beginning of a unique friendship between Fidel and my father. Dad realized that Fidel was a true general who always felt responsible for each of his soldiers.

That very evening, when I had that conversation with Fidel, I laughed and he asked me what was so funny. I said, “Uncle, – he was always Uncle Fidel to me – I’m laughing at you.” He said, “Why?” I said, “You don’t even notice it but you speak about Dad in the present tense, as if he was still alive.” He gave me a very serious look and said, “No, your dad is really here with us.” And that was the end of our conversation that night.

RT: The whole world knows your father’s face, and people buy merchandise with his picture on it. What do you feel when you see this?

AG: Sometimes I get angry because in many cases people abuse his image. Sometimes I even joke that I will sue them for distorting his face because Dad was a handsome man. Some of his images are just ugly. On the other hand, I always say that those pictures mean nothing if you don’t know what they represent, if you are not familiar with his life and what he did. Sometimes I would ask someone, “Why did you put on this T-shirt with Che?” And they say, “I have an exam coming up, and I’m not sure I’ll pass. So I put the T-shirt on, look at Che and tell myself not to give up, because if he made it, so can I.” Some responses are just marvelous. It means that, despite all the propaganda and nonsense told about him, people are not fooled. They don’t believe those lies. They understand what sort of people those revolutionaries were.

Photograph taken on the early 60's of Commander Raul Castro (R) and Commander Ernesto "Che" Guevara in Havana (AFP Photo))
Photograph taken on the early 60’s of Commander Raul Castro (R) and Commander Ernesto “Che” Guevara in Havana (AFP Photo))

RT: Traveling across Latin America changed Che Guevara’s mindset. It made him a revolutionary. If he were to take a similar trip today, what would he see? Would it strike him as much as back then in the 1950s?

AG: Sadly enough, what made Che seek social justice for all is still alive and has even gained ground since then. The gap between the rich and the poor is only getting bigger, and people in Latin America know this very well. However, in recent years we have observed a new trend, with more leaders caring about people’s needs. Latin American leaders are beginning to understand that, if we join our efforts, nothing will stop us.

My dad would have certainly loved to find out that a Native American like Evo Morales has made it to the presidency. I think Che would’ve tried to support him and offer whatever assistance he could. He would have also endorsed the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. For the first time in history, a president made his people the sole owner of all the oil resources in the country. It is unique in modern history. I think Che would have welcomed it and would have done his best to help Chavez. So many things nowadays would have made him a little happier, but the same things would have made him even more zealous because there is still so much more to do.

RT: How do you think Che would respond to today’s integration across Latin America? Would he support it?

AG: Well, that has long been a dream, and not just for Che. Che would say that unity among all Latin Americans is our only hope of standing strong against our common foe. And he made it clear that Latin America’s worst enemy is the United States.

RT: What about Cuba? If Che were to see the situation and the quality of life in today’s Cuba, would he feel proud about it?

AG: He would realize that there are still many issues that need to be addressed, and many things that need to be improved. But my Father would always stand by the people of Cuba. He had this manner of voicing bare-knuckled criticism, and the people were always willing to listen. So if he were still with us today, he would be working just like everybody else, trying to make things better. I guess he wouldn’t hold back his criticism, either, but he would be committed to finding solutions. He would be very busy.


Also See:

  • Che Guevara Resource: Hasta La Victoria Siempre!
  • The Hidden History of Black Soldiers’ Resistance

    A courageous anti-imperialist tradition

    Breaking the Chains: Revolutionary Black History

    An anti-war GI during the Vietnam War

    Throughout U.S. history, Black people have called out the contradiction of being sent to kill and die in the U.S. military supposedly for “freedom” and “human rights,” while being denied them at home.

    Legendary boxer Muhammed Ali famously explained his refusal to fight in the Vietnam war: “No Viet Cong ever called me n—–.”

    Ali joined in a long tradition of Black anti-war sentiment, which found expression inside the military itself, as Black service members have repeatedly come to identify more with those targeted by U.S. imperialism than the racist politicians ordering them into war.

    A long tradition of resistance

    Gullah slaves fled South Carolina and Georgia to join Seminole communities in Spanish Florida. They fought for freedom in long guerrilla wars against the United States, before being forced along the Trail of Tears into Oklahoma. Seminoles of African descent later escaped Oklahoma Indian Territory in large numbers and went into Mexico. Establishing communities along the border with Texas territory, they were a forward front against U.S. forces after the Mexican American War, frequently fighting off Texas slave traders.

    In 1899, after U.S. forces invaded and occupied the Philippines to capture it as a colony, Black soldier David Fagen defected to Emilio Aguinaldo’s guerrilla army along with several other Black service members. Fagen was so successful in combating the U.S. units that he rose to the rank of captain in the guerrilla army and became known as “General Fagen” among Filipino freedom fighters. His defection became international news, and U.S. commanders made his capture an obsession, putting a bounty on his head of $600. The military executed two other Black defectors to set an example for others.

    In 1953, after the Korean War, Corporal Clarence Adams and two other Black soldiers were part of 21 U.S. troops who chose to live in China instead of participating in a prisoners-of-war swap. Adams in particular cited racism in the United States for his commitment to communist China. He broadcasted for Radio Hanoi during the Vietnam War from China, calling on other Black soldiers to throw down their weapons and go back to fight inequality at home. The Vietnamese liberation fighters frequently sent the same message to U.S. troops on the ground in flyers and billboards.

    The 1944-45 ‘Battle of the Bulge’ was the first fully desegregated battle in U.S. history, which took place only out of necessity to defend against Hitler’s advance. Around 2,000 Black soldiers were enlisted for combat. After the war, however, many Black troops decided to stay in France where segregation did not exist. Other World War II veterans returned and became emboldened proponents of the Civil Rights Movement, including leaders like Medger Evers. A member of the White Citizens Council assassinated Evers in his driveway 18 years later.

    Vietnam war and racism

    The early part of the Vietnam War revealed that the U.S. government and military saw Black troops as cannon fodder. Blacks made up about 12 percent of the total U.S. civilian population but about 22 percent of casualties for the first several years of the conflict. These numbers only began to change when the disproportionate assignment of Black soldiers to firing teams and patrol became a big issue in the Civil Rights Movement, Black power movement and inside the military itself.

    Black service members often led the way in acts of resistance and refusals to serve among soldiers. Because of these actions, coupled with the systemic racism of the U.S. military, the notorious Long Binh Jail, a military prison, was disproportionately Black. Over 700 incarcerated soldiers were crammed in a space made for about 400 people, with some put in shipping containers because of a lack of space.

    In 1968, some white sailors responded to Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination by donning Ku Klux Klan hoods, burning crosses and raising a Confederate flag. Dr. King had come out strongly against the war a year earlier, risking alienation from his powerful Democratic “friends.” In response to these racist incidents, their inhumane conditions, and assaults from white guards, a handful of Black prisoners at Long Binh Jail led an uprising that began on August 29, 1968 and lasted over a week, evolving into a full-blown revolt against the Army. One white prisoner was killed, and dozens were injured before the end of the rebellion, which destroyed the camp.

    At home, Black soldiers played a key role in the dynamic and large GI resistance movement, which joined anti-war marches, refused to fight, confronted the officer corps and revolted in the barracks.

    The National Black Anti-War Anti-Draft Union was formed in 1968, associated with the Black Panther Party and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. At their first national conference they laid out a simple program to fight the draft and Vietnam War that called for, among other things, mass refusal to register with selective service, Black lawyers to defend war resisters, members of local draft boards and Black civil servants to disrupt the selective service process and Black service members to apply for Conscientious Objector status and organize against ROTC. In 1969, 15 members of NBAWADU broke into the Selective Service office and burned draft eligible files.

    During Black History Month, few commemorations will contain these episodes of radical and revolutionary struggle. While fighting at home against the hypocrisy of the U.S. government, generations of Black service members have stood and fought against U.S. imperialism abroad.

    In the present day, March Forward! is dedicated to the struggle against racism inside and outside of the military. It informs service members of their rights to refuse deployment to Afghanistan, and says to them: “We have more in common with the people of Iraq and Afghanistan than we do with the millionaires who tell us we must fight them.”

    This article was published in the ‘Breaking the Chains: Revolutionary Black History’ Edition of Liberation.

    Fidel Castro: “We do not struggle for glory or honors, we struggle for ideas we consider just”

    Fidel Castro

    DEAR compañeros,

    I deeply appreciate the noble gesture of the people electing me as a deputy to Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power.

    The time I take for my comments today will not be long, nor will the period in which I occupy this honorable seat as a deputy be long, and not because of a lack of will, but rather as an imperative of nature.

    I never thought my existence would be so prolonged, or that the enemy would be so inept in its hateful task of eliminating adversaries committed to the struggle.

    In this unequal struggle, our people have demonstrated their amazing capacity to persevere and win. Yes, because every year of resistance between 1959 and 2013 has been a victory which our small country has the right to proclaim!

    We do not struggle for glory or honors; we struggle for ideas we consider just, those to which millions of Cubans have dedicated their youth and their lives, as heirs to a long list of exemplary individuals. One figure expresses everything: the number of Cubans who have completed self-sacrificing internationalist missions is close to 800,000. Considering that at the time of the triumph of the Revolution in 1959 we didn’t have seven million inhabitants, one can appreciate the significance of such efforts.

    However, this does not express it all. In October of 1962, the nation was at the point of becoming a nuclear battlefield. A year and a half before, a mercenary expedition trained and escorted by the United States Navy, came ashore at the Bay of Pigs and was at the point of provoking a bloody war which would have cost the U.S. invaders hundreds of thousands of lives – I say so without exaggeration – and our country, truly incalculable destruction and human losses.

    We had, at the time, around 400,000 weapons and we knew how to use them. In less than 72 hours, the powerful revolutionary counterattack prevented that tragedy, both for Cuba and for the people of the United States.

    We were victims of a “dirty war” for a long time, and 25 years after the October Crisis, internationalist troops defended Angola from the racist South African invaders, equipped in this period with several nuclear weapons based on technology and parts supplied by Israel with U.S. approval. On that occasion, the victory at Cuito Cuanavale and the subsequent resolute and audacious advance of the Cuban-Angolan forces, equipped with aircraft, antiaircraft weapons and adequate organization to liberate territory still occupied by the invaders, convinced South Africa that it had no choice but to abandon its nuclear ambitions and sit down at the negotiating table. The existence of the hateful racist system was ended.

    With the efforts of all, we have undertaken the work of a profound Revolution, which, starting from zero, our people were able to carry out. Others joined the first revolutionary cells. We were united by the desire to struggle and the pain caused by the country’s tragic situation following the brutal coup. While some had hope in a future they saw as still far removed, others of us were already thinking of the need to make a historical leap.

    Between the March 10, 1952 coup and January 1, 1959, only six years and 296 days transpired; for the first time in our homeland, power was totally in the hands of the people.

    The battle then began against political ignorance and the anti-socialist ideas which the empire and bourgeoisie had sown in our country. The class struggle unleashed just a few miles from the empire was the most efficient political school any country has ever had. I’m talking about a school which opened its doors more than 50 years ago. Men and women, from pioneros to much older persons, we have been students within this school.

    Nevertheless, according to what Raúl was telling me a few days ago, the great battle which is imposing itself is the need for an energetic and relentless struggle against the bad habits and errors which many citizens, and even Party members, commit in the most diverse sectors, on a daily basis.

    Humanity has entered a unique stage in its history. The last decades have no relation to the thousands of centuries which preceded them.

    In 2011, the world’s population reached seven billion inhabitants, an alarming figure. In only two centuries, the world’s population has grown seven times over, requiring a basic level of food supplies which science, technology and the planet’s natural resources are far from being able to provide.

    You can do dozens of estimates, talk about Malthus or Noah’s Ark, but it is enough to know what a gram is, and what amount of any food can be produced on one hectare of land, to draw your own conclusions.

    Perhaps the British Prime Minister or President Obama know the answer that could prolong human life a few days more, the multiplication of a few fish and loaves, the magic words to persuade Africans, the inhabitants of India, Latin America and all countries of the Third World, not to have children.

    Two days ago, an international agency recalled that one U.S. multi-millionaire, Dennis Tito, had spent 20 million dollars on his a trip to the International Space Station, where he stayed several days in 2001.

    Now Tito, who appears to be a veritable fanatic about space exploration, was discussing the details of an expedition to Mars. The journey would take 501 days. This, yes, is enjoying surplus value! Meanwhile, the polar caps are rapidly melting, sea levels are rising as a result of global warming, flooding large areas in only a few decades – all that assuming that there are no wars and that the sophisticated weapons being produced at an accelerating rate are never used. Who can understand them?

    I will conclude to fulfill my promise of being brief in my words greeting our National Assembly.

    On the 118th anniversary of the Grito de Baire and the 160th of the birth of our national hero, it pleases me honor the revolutionary, the anti-imperialist, the Bolivarian who planted the first seeds of duty in our youth.

    Thank you very much!

    Venezuela’s Chavez to Africa – South America Summit: We Must Unite

    The letter was read out yesterday by Venezuelan foreign minister Elias Jaua to the sixty-three countries at the III Africa – S
    The letter was read out yesterday by Venezuelan foreign minister Elias Jaua to the sixty-three countries at the III Africa – South America Summit (ASA), which is taking place in Equatorial Guinea. (MINCI)

    Venezuela Analysis

    Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in an open letter has urged countries of the South American and African continents to unite into a “true pole of power”, while railing against recent Western interventions in Africa.

    The letter was read out yesterday by Venezuelan foreign minister Elias Jaua to the sixty-three countries at the III Africa – South America Summit (ASA), which is taking place in Equatorial Guinea.

    In the letter, Chavez called for “an authentic and permanent link of joint work” between Africa and South America to search for strategies of sustainable development that could benefit both continents.

    “It’s in our continents, where enough natural, political and historic resources are found…to save the planet from the chaos it’s been driven towards [by the capitalist system],” he argued.

    The Venezuelan president further urged countries of the two continents “not to miss the opportunity…to unite the capacities of our nations into a true pole of power”.

    He also wrote that while “in no way do we deny our sovereign relations with Western powers, we must remember that they are not the source of the comprehensive and definitive solution to the problems that our countries share”.

    Venezuelan foreign policy during the Chavez presidency has held that greater cooperation between Africa and Latin America is important to the attainment of a “multipolar” world order, to counteract the dominance of the United States and its allies.

    Venezuela has been a key nation promoting the ASA Summit initiative, hosting the II ASA Summit in 2009 and taking on the organisation’s secretariat. The first summit was held in Nigeria in 2006.

    In his letter Chavez urged that the pace of integration between the two continents be picked up, and argued that priorities for cooperation should be energy, education, agriculture, finance and communications.

    He also suggested that Venezuela’s proposals for integration projects be advanced, such as the University of the Peoples of the South, Petrosur, and the Bank of the South. Trade between the two regions has increased from US $7.2 billion in 2002 to $39.4 billion in 2011, Telesur reports.

    Representatives of other South American countries also argued for the need to increase cooperation with Africa. Ecuador’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño said that sometimes it had been difficult for the two regions to reach agreements.

    He said that this was because “we don’t know each other well, we don’t have experience of joint work…there’s so much we can offer each other, and not only in terms of commerce”. The minister argued that the historic lack of cooperation between the two continents was rooted in the legacy of colonialism by European powers.

    Chavez claimed in his letter that modern-day intervention by Western powers had interrupted the path of joint work between Africa and South America set by the ASA summit in 2009.

    Referring to Western interventions in Libya and Mali, among others, Chavez wrote, “It’s not by luck or chance…[that] since the Summit in Margarita (Venezuela) the African continent has been the victim of multiple interventions and attacks by Western powers”.

    The Venezuelan president argued that one of the objectives of these interventions had been to put a brake on the consolidation of African unity, in turn slowing cooperation between Africa and South America.

    As such, Chavez repeated Venezuela’s “total rejection of all interventionist activity by NATO” in Africa and around the world.

    The summit continues, with president of Bolivia Evo Morales and summit host and president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang, making speeches today.

    Health update

    The Venezuelan government released another update on Chavez’s health yesterday as he is recovering from a cancer operation undergone last December.

    The official statement informed that “[Chavez’s] respiratory insufficiency, emerging in the course of the post operatory phase, persists and its tendency has not been favourable, due to which it continues to be treated”.

    “However, medical treatment for the base illness [cancer] continues, without presenting any significant adverse effects up to now,” the statement added.

    Chavez returned to Venezuelan on Monday after spending over two months in Cuba recovering from his operation. He will continue to receive treatment at the Dr. Carlos Arvelo military hospital in Caracas.

    Also See:
    Libya, Latin America, Imperialist Coups and Interventions
    NATO Assault on Libya a Warning to Venezuela

    1963 Mass Struggles Advanced the Cause of Civil Rights

    From Birmingham to Detroit and Washington, D.C., the people set the world stage

    Abayomi Azikiwe
    Libya 360°

    African American History Month Series 2013

    In 1963, despite the tremendous campaigns aimed at breaking down legalized segregation and national oppression for eight years, the demand for federal civil rights legislation remained stalled due to southern segregationist influence, northern indifference and political avoidance by the John F. Kennedy administration. Nonetheless, by the spring of this momentous year, things would begin to rapidly shift in favor of the African American people and their movement allies.

    In 1954, the United States Supreme Court declared that “separate but equal” public schools systems were unconstitutional. However, by 1963, compliance with this ruling was hardly felt among the majority of the African American population most of whom remained in the South.

    Between 1955 and 1962, African Americans were in motion determined to end apartheid in the U.S. A Civil Rights Bill passed in 1957 which empowered the Justice Department to take action against county governments which refused to allow universal suffrage led in part to the outbreak of the movement in Fayette County, Tennessee in 1959-1960.

    The Fayette County Civic and Welfare League was organized by local activists in 1959 under the direction of Viola and John McFerren. In 1960 they set out to register African Americans to vote in the upcoming presidential elections.

    However, the white landowners in this southwest Tennessee County put hundreds of African American tenant farmers off their land for daring to register. The movement established a “Tent City”, the first of its kind during this period which drew national support.

    1960 witnessed the beginning of the student sit-in movement where thousands protested Jim Crow segregation resulting in hundreds of arrests. In April of that year the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was formed becoming the most militant organization within the civil rights movement.

    After the Freedom Rides of 1961, where scores were arrested and beaten, the abolition of segregation in interstate travel was overturned in practice. Nevertheless, key centers of intransigence such as Birmingham, Alabama were fiercely resistant to desegregation.

    Birmingham Sparks Nationwide Resistance

    It was the eruption of the movement in Birmingham in the spring of 1963 that captured the attention of the nation and the world. Both SNCC and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been organizing in the city, one of the most industrialized in the South.

    Several thousand people, mainly children were arrested by the police and jailed. Dr. King, Ralph Abernathy and Fred Shuttlesworth were all arrested and beaten by the racist police.

    The struggle would come to a head on May 5, when thousands of mostly youth marched through the African American community to the downtown area. Police chief Bull Connor ordered fire hoses turned on the people.

    In response to the repression on May 5, the first significant urban rebellion of the 1960s occurred. James Forman, executive secretary of SNCC, described the events that day saying that “The police had cordoned off the intersections leading to downtown and started shooting water on people. Bricks and rocks started flying back at the police and the firemen. “(The Making of Black Revolutionaries, 1972, p. 315)

    Forman went on to point out that “For over forty-five minutes, there was a chase in and out of alleys and streets. Other Black people joined in the fight against the police. The ‘riots’ that day in Birmingham received wide public attention—they were a prelude to Harlem ’64, Watts ’65, Newark and Detroit ’67.”

    Large demonstrations took place throughout the South that spring and summer. In Danville, Virginia, African Americans marched against racism and police brutality meeting violent repression on June 10.

    President Kennedy delivered a speech on civil rights on the evening of June 11 saying at its conclusion that he would introduce federal civil rights legislation. Just a few hours later in Jackson, Mississippi, Medgar Evers, state field secretary of the NAACP, was gunned down in his driveway by white racist Byron De la Beckwith who avoided conviction for this crime for over three decades.

    In response to the assassination of Medgar Evers and other issues, the Detroit Council for Human Rights, headed by Rev. C.L. Franklin, organized the largest march to that date for civil rights on June 23. Hundreds of thousands marched down Woodward Avenue led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with the support of the-then UAW President Walter Reuther.

    King would deliver his first “I Have a Dream” speech at Cobo Hall in the aftermath of the Detroit march. It was the success of this demonstration which fueled the plans for the “March on Washington” that was held on August 28.

    Repression Continues

    Despite this outpouring of mass sentiment in favor of civil rights, the racists would strike back on September 15 when the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, a center of the movement, was bombed by the Ku Klux Klan. Four African American girls, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair were killed.

    It would take until 1977 for the first of the Klansmen associated with the crime to be convicted. Two other Klansmen, Thomas E. Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry, were later convicted in 2001 and 2002 respectively for the bombing and murders.

    Two months after the church bombing, on November 22, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. The murder was reflective of the atmosphere of violence and intolerance in the U.S. at the time.

    On December 1, Malcolm X during the question and answer period after a speech at the Manhattan Center in New York City described the assassination of Kennedy as a case of the “chickens coming home to roost,” meaning that the violence inflicted upon African Americans and other oppressed people throughout the world was now impacting the leaders of the U.S.

    His comments, which received wide press coverage, led to his suspension and subsequent departure from the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X would form the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) the following year and tour the Middle East and Africa.

    These developments in 1963 would result in more militant actions in the following years of the decade. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were not enough to stave off the urban rebellions which occurred in hundreds of cities throughout the country.

    Some five decades later the struggles of 1963 provide lessons on the role of mass mobilization and the need for militant direction against oppression and state repression.

    Abayomi Azikiwe
    is the editor of Pan-African News Wire , an international electronic press service designed to foster intelligent discussion on the affairs of African people throughout the continent and the world. The press agency was founded in January of 1998 and has published thousands of articles and dispatches in newspapers, magazines, journals, research reports, blogs and websites throughout the world. The PANW represents the only daily international news source on pan-african and global affairs. To contact him, click on this link >> Email

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