भारत चीन विवाद- फायदा किसका?

जब विश्व कोविड 19 से जूझ रहा है, तब मई महीने में लद्दाख के दो इलाके पैंगोंग-त्सो का गलवान घाटी और फिंगर 4 में भारत और चीन की सेनाओं के हज़ार से भी ज्यादा सैनिक आमने सामने आ चुके हैं। 2017 में हुए डोकलाम के बाद यह इन दोनों देशों की सेनाओं के आमने सामने आने की दूसरी घटना है।

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Editorial of Acero Revolucionario (Revolutionary Steel) Organ of Marxist–Leninist Communist Party of Venezuela On the present crisis in Venezuela

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In addition to the capitalist crisis, imperialist aggression, errors of social democracy and weaknesses of the revolutionary movement, a more complex process with deeper consequences is underway in Venezuela: the decomposition of the Bourgeois State. Continue reading

Democratic Republic of Congo: Upcoming elections bring more imperialist interference

This article was first published in Avante, the weekly newspaper of the Portuguese Communist Party, on Nov. 29. Its author was formerly a member of the Secretariat of the PAIGC, the party leading the struggle for the liberation of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde.
Translation by WW Managing Editor John Catalinotto.

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Paid Service or Resistance: NGO and Left politics

This article was written in light of recent development where various communist parties and groups have been openly trying to forge an alliance with Medha Patkar led National Alliance of Peoples’ Movement, which is today India’s largest conglomeration of NGOs.

We hope that this article will generate greater debate amongst the left forces of the country.

–Other Aspect Continue reading

Under-Reported UN Investigation Points to Rebel Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria

By Stephen Gowans

It can’t be said that the media failed to mention it altogether, because The New York Times made passing reference to it on December 12 (Chemical Arms Used Repeatedly in Syria, U.N. Says).Other media outlets did too. They just didn’t give it much coverage.

The ‘it’ was the finding of the UN inspector mission in Syria that chemical weapons were used on two occasions against Syrian soldiers and on one occasion against soldiers and civilians (presumably by insurgents.) Continue reading

BAYER CEO: ‘WE DON’T MAKE MEDICINE FOR POOR INDIANS’

In a crass yet frank admission, Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers said the company’s new cancer drug, Nexavar, is not “for Indians,” but “for western patients who can afford it.” The statement came in the wake in a recent ruling by an Indian court that certain life-saving drugs could be produced and distributed at 97% of the brand-name price.

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On Situation in Swaziland

Introduction

Swaziland — one of the world’s most poor country, ruled by a despot Mswati III, who has amassed disgusting amount wealth while his people wallow in poverty.

In 2012, Swaziland’s economic growth remained one of the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), despite a marked increase in the SACU revenues. Although official estimates put real gross domestic product (GDP) growth at 0.2%, it is estimated that the economy marginally contracted by 0.3%

Below is a statement from Swaziland Solidarity Network on the conditions of the country.

— Editor Other Aspect

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By People in favour of a People’s Democratic Republic on Swaziland

SSN END OF YEAR STATEMENT

21st December, 2013

The Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN] wishes the entire Mass Democratic Movement, and the Swazi nation, a happy festive season, a time to reflect and refresh in preparation for another year of struggle against King Mswati’s brutal dictatorship.

2013

The year 2013 was a disappointing year on the battle front as few recognizable advances were recorded in the struggle against the Monarchical dictatorship. While the two preceding years, 2011 and 2012, yielded mass demonstrations by various organizations within the Mass democratic Movement, this year there were little or none.

This, unfortunately, coincided with the pseudo-elections which the country’s dictatorship uses to hoodwink the nation into thinking that it has a hand in the creation of the country’s government. Despite conducting a peaceful, yet worthless, election the King Mswati regime went on to oversee the systematic reduction of essential social services to the population, while continuing to enrich itself.

POOR ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE

The Swazi economy continues to perform poorly and currently ranks as the slowest growing economy in the Southern African region. This is a result of King Mswati’s lack of economic nous, his greed and rampant corruption within the government.

Swaziland’s desperation to pay its civil servants in 2012 provided the clearest indication that the country is a Banana kingdom. With its head of state reduced to a beggar who flew from Swaziland to Pretoria to beg for a bail-out from another developing state, Swaziland was on the verge of total collapse. While a more responsible government would have used this experience to change its spending habits, for Swaziland this was not the case.

As a result, as soon as the country received a windfall from the South African Customs Union [SACU], the first thing its authorities did was look to buy a new aeroplane to justify its empty billion Emalangeni white elephant airport. There are also plans of building a new billion Emalangeni convention centre and hotel. This unfortunately entails reducing the resources set aside for important social needs which every developing country needs to prioritize on.

This skewed spending pattern unfortunately widens the gap between Swaziland’s richest man, King Mswati, and the rest of the population. This is the desired result, which is meant to keep the nation under royal control by the systematic creation of two classes, one rich royal family and poverty stricken population of “commoners”.

A DICTATORSHIP BY ANY OTHER NAME

Ever since Swaziland’s monarch, Mswati, first understood the words “democracy” and “dictatorship”, very late in his adult life, he has attempted by all means to be associated with the latter, even using dictatorial means ironically.

Creating the smoke-screen of a constituency-based parliament, known in Siswati as Tinkhundla was his father’s gift to him. When this parliament was exposed as nothing more than an empty powerless institution, the king’s spin doctors resorted to word-play, calling the system a “unique democracy”, this also did little to hide the harsh realities of the dictatorship.

The adoption of a new constitution after four decades of royal rule by decree was the second attempt by the new king to present itself as “democratic”. This constitution, as expected, was nothing by an extensively coded decree. This year the king resorted to more word-play when he christened his dictatorship a “Monarchial Democracy”.

It is a phrase that is pushed down the throat of every Swazi who is part of the government as all members of the powerless parliament are expected to acquaint themselves with this old philosophy with a new name tag. It has been further reported that the king has commissioned the publication of a book which explains this system in detail.

Fortunately, all these desperate attempts to window-dress the monarchy have failed to achieve their intended purpose as neither the nation nor international observers are convinced of its democratic credentials. If anything, it exposed the fact that the king is vulnerable to the opinions of the Mass Democratic Movement and spends sleepless nights attempting to conceal his misrule and dictatorship.

THE STRUGGLE MUST CONTINUE

The most important attributes of any struggle are “consistency” and “evolution”. This means that the struggle must continue consistently, evolving to suit the times. In this regard, the Swazi struggle has shown great promise as new and more effective methods of engaging with the masses continue to be undertaken and tried and tested methods of putting pressure on the regime are adopted.

The year 2014 should not resemble the current year which can best be described as a ceasefire. King Mswati must not rest as the democratic forces use every method; in every corner of the country to bring hasten the inevitable demise of the Monarchial dictatorship.

FREEDOM FIGHTERS NEVER DIE, THEY MULTIPLY

While the world celebrated the life of Comrade Nelson Mandela, king Mswati and his followers were busy performing rituals to strengthen their grip on power. Our network finds it appropriate that this dictator was not present at the sending off of Africa’s greatest statesman. Mswati’s presence in such a historic funeral would have spoilt a very serious occasion.

What was unfair and completely absurd is the jealousy he exhibited by banning all memorials in honour of Nelson Mandela. Our network condemns the manner in which the Swaziland United Democratic Front [SUDF] was forced to conduct its prayer service in honour of Mandela in the streets as the Royal Swazi Police barred them from holding the prayer in a Lutheran church in Manzini.

FRUITFUL STRUGGLE

We once again wish our Swazi comrades a year of fruitful struggle. It is not just a cliché, but a well documented fact that a revolution is not an event but a process. Thus every single act, event or even lack of action against the king Mswati dictatorship only brings the nation closer to democracy. The forces of democracy should therefore focus on being through in their work, in as much as we all want the King Mswati dictatorship to end immediately.

Issued by the Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN]

Contact:

Lucky Lukhele- Spokesperson
+72 502 4141

Enver Hoxha :: The Marxist-Leninist Movement and the World Crisis of Capitalism

hoxha

 

The international situation is becoming ever more complicated. In saying this I have in mind that the situation is not tranquil either for capitalism or for the revolutionaries. Capitalism is in a great fever, in crisis.

In my opinion, we Marxist-Leninists, the working class, the revolutionaries and ordinary progressive people in the world must take greater efforts to increase the superiority of the forces of the revolution. Why? Because capitalism, which is experiencing great disturbances at present possesses powerful means and has developed diverse modes of government, action, sabotage and disruption which hinder the advance of the revolution.

I think that our Marxist-Leninist parties and the progressive elements ought to look at this situation realistically and, on the basis of the theory of Marx and Lenin, find such means and forms of struggle that will turn the situation in favour of the revolution. This requires the creation of new Marxist-Leninist parties and the strengthening of the existing ones, of course, adhering firmly to the teachings of Marx and Lenin. They alone are able to make detailed analyses of the situation in the country, the ratio of classes, the strength of the working class, its strong and weak points, as well as the forms and methods which the bourgeoisie employs to subjugate the workers and the people. Such a study will serve each party, in its specific conditions, for struggle, for action, and not for sterile discussions which do not bring the liberation of the working class or the country, but, on the contrary, bring disruption and subjugation.

Let us not forget that while capitalism and the various parties in its service are in deep crisis, they are struggling to find forms, ways and expedients to befuddle and confuse the Marxist-Leninists who stand at the head of the working class, so that they will not manage to make the class conscious of the need to take action and capitalism and its parties will be able to split it while keeping it under their rule. The clear Marxist-Leninist ideas absolutely must be combined with actions; we cannot proceed from the idea that actions should be carried out only when the forces of the party are great, or capable of confronting the military machine of imperialism. But this should not be taken to mean that now the communists must hurl themselves into adventurous actions. Avoiding adventurism should not prevent us communists from acting in a Marxist-Leninist way.

Naturally, our actions must be well calculated. We must foresee the dangers threatening us and the possibilities of victory and always bear in mind that the revolution will have its zigzags. One thing must be clear to all, that the lofty reputation of the communist and the genuine Marxist-Leninist party cannot be earned by tailing behind the situation and remaining at the stage of sterile discussions, without becoming a real example for the working class and the other revolutionaries who want to fight against capital.

In thoughts and in actions, the place of the Marxist-Leninist parties is always in the vanguard. And if thoughts are to be combined with actions, we must not go into battle alone, but at the head of the working class and its allies. In order to go into battle together with them it is necessary to penetrate into the ranks and become one with them. It must be said, however, that in this direction unclear views, hesitation, fear and lack of perspective still exists.

Therefore, the task devolves upon us, Marxist-Leninists, to make good these shortcomings. In order to achieve this we must have a thorough understanding of the situation, know the forms, methods, ways and mechanisms which imperialism and capitalism use today to remain alive. They do not readily down the weapons with which they intimidate and oppress the peoples. Then, apart from weapons, they also use policy, diplomacy and demagogy. We must cope with all these weapons of the enemy without underestimating them, but at the same time, without overestimating them. If we can find the weak points in the strength, thought and actions of the enemy, then we shall more easily find the course we must pursue in our struggle and the most appropriate forms and methods for this struggle.

We have to realize that present-day imperialism and capitalism have adopted new forms of oppression and exploitation which, in essence, do not differ from the forms of the old colonialism. At present the metropolises are applying these forms, which we call neo-colonialist in all those countries which were their colonies in the past, that is, the countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and other countries formerly under their military occupation, in which to this day they continue to exploit the sweat and blood of the peoples.

This military occupation had the structure and superstructure of the monopoly capitalism of the metropolises, had the same method of exploitation that was used against the people of the metropolis, but in a more savage form. The colonies were the prey of capitalism which oppressed the peoples in the most merciless ways, without hindrance.

After the Second World War colonialism assumed new forms. Many countries, with the exception of the few remaining colonies, are called “free”, “souvereign”, “democratic”, or what you will. Naturally, an “independent” capitalist system has been established in those countries, but they are always dependent on the big capitalist countries.

Our Party and the Marxist-Leninists everywhere in the world must make clear to the working class and the people of their own countries that we ought to exploit the existing revolutionary situation to the full, not only by undertaking political and ideological actions, but also by striking blows when the conditions have matured and when the oppression has become intolerable, and as the people themselves say: “Each must defend himself!” We must explain clearly to people so that they understand that neo-colonialism applies the forms of domination, exploitation and oppression which it uses today not only in the countries in which colonialism and the capitalist monopolies reigned previously, that is in the colonies, but also in the metropolises themselves.

In the metropolises, the working class, students and progressive working people have been and are subject to twofold oppression: that of internal capital, on the one hand, and that of foreign monopoly capital, on the other; they live under the terrible pressure of local monopolies and multinational companies. This is the new characteristic of capitalist society and its highest stage, imperialism, which is quite indiscriminate in regard to its oppression of peoples and the extraction of huge profits from their sweat and blood, both within the metropolises and outside them. Capital has become international, without a homeland.

Thus, the group of international monopolist makes no distinction between peoples and states, provided that the profits are great. Thus, the monopolies and the multinational companies recognize neither the freedom, independence, nor the souvereignity of the peoples, which for them are only formal. In this feverish activity they have made common cause with one another in order to share in the profits. But in capitalism the law of the jungle prevails in every direction: the great fish eat the small. This law prevails also in the division of profits.

Our Marxist-Leninist parties and revolutionaries are aware that the people living in the developed capitalist countries are more favoured than those of the former colonial or neo-colonial countries. It is an indisputable fact that the people are exploited more in the neo-colonialist countries where the big joint companies invest their capital. The actions of capital on the workers in the metropolises are somewhat less burdensome than in other countries, but the aim is the same.

Of course, in the various countries of the so-called third world, or non-aligned world, there are very weak points for big and local capital, but there are weak points, also, for the working class and the revolutionary elements, because of their political and ideological backwardness. Therefore, in order to ensure its financial, commercial and military potential, big capital is strengthening the local capitalist cliques in power day by day in order to keep their peoples in subjection, darkness and ignorance and to drown in blood any attempt at uprising by the people or interference by rival foreign capital in those countries.

The time has come when the mentality of the working class in the developed countries, one of the main obstacles of the revolution is the trade-unions which have been transformed into tools of the bourgeoisie to restrain movements of the working class. The owning class and their agents, one of which is the worker aristocracy which is bound to the various parties of social-democracy and modern revisionism, make the law in the unions.

The social democratic parties and the parties of modern revisionism are reformist parties, opposed to the revolution and for the defence of capital, for reforms of the structure and for a corrupted anti-proletarian superstructure, in order to undermine any revolutionary sentiment and action. Just like the parties of social-democracy which were exposed by Marx and Lenin long ago as lackeys of the bourgeoisie and preparers of the terrain for imperialism, the present-day revisionists are precisely those elements who come to the direct aid of ageing social-democracy against socialist society, in order to quell the uprising of the working class and the peoples, the revolution.

Therefore, the trade-unions in the capitalist countries must be considered as tools of the parties of capital and must be fought as such, but without hurting or damaging the unity of the working class. In my opinion the trade-unions in the capitalist countries will play a major role only if their dependence on parties of the bourgeoisie, whether social-democratic or revisionist, is broken and only if the influence of the worker aristocracy in them is totally eradicated. In other words, the unions will be placed in the service of the working class only if true representatives of that class, educated with the Marxist-Leninist ideology, place themselves at the head of them, mobilize them and hurl them into struggle against the state power of capital. Hence, it must be understood that this power, with all its forms, means, laws and constitution, has nothing democratic and revolutionary about it, as those in its service try to make out. They are the same forms and mechanisms of the old capitalist state, but dressed up with new elements which respond and are adopted to new situations.

Naturally, the development of the economy, the technical progress in the capitalist countries have created overproduction, which has caused the present great crisis, which has become a gangrenous wound for capitalism and imperialism. The broad working masses are impoverished and their life is becoming ever more difficult, while the profits of the capitalists are increasing, but the capitalists sense the danger and are striving continually, every day, to create economic, political and military forms and structures which will withstand any possible opposition or revolt on the part of the oppressed.

For the time being, in the developed capitalist countries we see this revolt expressed in demonstrations, but still peaceful and limited to slogans for economic demands. Such manifestations serve capital as an expedient, in order to create among its own parties the impression that allegedly the working class and the working people of all categories have complete freedom to hold strikes and demonstrations, to make complaints and criticisms, etc. However, as I pointed out above, in reality these movements do not have the results that the working class desires and demands, irrespective of the fact that now and again, when such manifestations become widespread, the bourgeoisie is obliged to part with a few extra crumbs to placate the anger and threat of the working people.

Hence, the working class, with its Marxist-Leninist party at the head, must be capable of understanding when the suitable national moment exists to organize and proceed towards the uprising. In this direction it is precisely the Marxist-Leninists who must be the most capable, the most wide-awake, the best organizers in order to become the subjective factor of the leadership of the revolution. In no way should we proceed from the idea that the conditions are not yet ripe for the revolution, or that the revolution cannot break out in the developed capitalist countries, therefore, we have to wait for it to develop in those states or continents in which the oppression, the forms and methods of exploitation are allegedly different from those in the metropolises. The working class and the Marxist-Leninist parties of the metropolises ought to give the peoples of various countries great aid, should assist their revolutionary movements. The greatest support and aid is to make life possible for monopoly capitalism and the foreign capital which collaborates with the local capital for the oppression of the peoples in the colonial and neo-colonial countries.

The situation in many countries of the world today is like that in Albania in the time of the reign of Ahmet Zog who formed a comic opera kingdom, with beys, feudal lords and reactionaries in order to oppress, bleed and exploit the Albanian people to the bone. Zog, of course, was penniless. He made money when sold the assets of the country to foreigners and when he granted them concessions in Albania. The Serbs and Wrangel’s white guard army helped Ahmet Zog to return to Albania. Subsequently he became a lackey of the Italian imperialists who, before their military occupation of Albania, had, in fact, made it a colony of theirs, or a neo-colony, if we can use the current term. Although fascist Italy invested little capital in Albania, it seized all the key positions in the economy and the strategic points of the country and prepared its occupation.

Therefore, the Marxist-Leninist parties in the capitalist countries will have to work and struggle unrelentingly in order to weaken international monopoly capital, the multinational companies which oppress and exploit the peoples, and make life difficult for them so that the people attack wherever the links in the capitalist chain are weakest, that is they must rise in insurrection to seize power and carry out democratic reforms and then to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat, a socialist structure and superstructure.

In various undeveloped capitalist countries today the people are rising in insurrection and revolution. We see this in Iran, Nicaragua, Central America, in the struggle of the Palestinians against the Americans and Israelis, and to a certain extent, we see it in the still disorganized resistance of the Arab countries against the superpowers, which manipulate this resistance in their own interests. We see people’s movements and uprising in Africa, too. But although the peoples in those countries are rising, fighting, and making sacrifices, the elements of the bourgeoisie, united with the big capital, are still doing everything they can through numerous tricks and intrigues to quell the insurrection, or turn it into a movement in their favour, and in that case, such a movement serves merely to eliminate this or that clique from the political scene in order to bring to power another more moderate but likewise capitalist clique which operates in agreement with big monopoly capital. This happens, of course, because of the political unclarity and the lack of organization of the working class. Thus, the anger and hatred of this class, its political-economic suffering and that of the poor peasantry are thus exploited in favour of the bourgeoisie.

Hence, we communists must analyse this situation in general and in particular, so that we understand it and then act. We analyse the situation in order to understand it, so that we know how to act, eventually in order to understand it and allow this difficult situation for the people to continue as before. We must not underestimate, the fear of war which big capital has created. It is a fact that time after time, when the crisis reaches its climax, partial wars, and perhaps even world war, could break out. Only the revolution on the Marxist-Leninist road can prevent, avert, or defeat world war. Otherwise, the major contradictions that exist between the superpowers, between multinational companies may cause it.

Therefore, since we understand this important problem in this way, we must make every effort to defeat the plans and actions which the bourgeoisie and its lackeys are making in preparation for a bloody, general war. This can be an insurrection which is led only by the working class which has the Marxist-Leninist doctrine as its guide.

The renegade of the Spanish Communist Party, Carillo, preaches transition to socialism through reforms. He says we should not charge the army of the bourgeoisie, should not even alter its ideology, but should introduce elements and cadres of the working class into its ranks and make it a defender of its order! And according to Carillo, this order in which the bourgeoisie, the priests, the police, and so on, are in power, will allegedly be socialist (!).

Hence, if we think as this traitor does, then we will not be able to undermine the attack force of the capitalist bourgeoisie. Therefore, we must not think and act as Carillo advocates, but in order to oppose the army of the capitalist bourgeoisie we must organize the people’s revolutionary forces and make them politically conscious of their great role, make clear to them who are those who oppose their actions to attack the state and achieve victory. Such a thing is highly possible.

We saw that the insurgent people in Iran stood up to the heavily armed forces of the Shah and his terrible security force SAVAK. Until that time it was unimaginable that the uprising of the people of Iran would be able to cope with an army equipped with the most sophisticated weapons and trained by the CIA and American officers. But it happened! Therefore, all Carillo’s prattle that we must infiltrate the ranks of the bourgeois army allegedly to convince the officer caste and the defenders of capital in order to bring them to socialism, is unscrupulous deception.

In this direction the bourgeoisie and capitalism are talking savage measures of suppression. One of these measures is the use of terrorism. Terrorism is the preliminary preparation for fascist military coups of the bourgeoisie, which, at moments of exacerbation of the class-struggle, when it sees that it cannot resists the strength and attack of the people goes on the offensive, launches a coup d´état and the fascist military junta takes power. But in order to succeed this has to be prepared, and it is clear that this preparation is being done through the organization of gangs and gangsters, who are armed and operating, to a greater or lesser extent, in every state, disguised under various “communist” and “Marxist” labels like “Brigate Rosse”, etc., precisely to intimidate and confuse the broad working masses and justify the fascist coup d´état. These gangsters operate by attacking banks, killing people, often attacking directors of big enterprises, taking wealthy people hostage and demanding collossal sums for their ransom. They do all this, first of all, to deceive, but also to terrorize the working class and the broad working masses. We notice that in these disturbances the worker aristocracy and all the social-democratic and revisionist parties do not take any active, militant action against terrorism.

Hence, terrorism is the preliminary preparation for fascism to come to power. Through the action of these gangsters, the bourgeoisie threatens the working class and gives it to understand that the existing order which capitalism has established must be protected, otherwise, with the overthrow of this capitalist state (which itself creates the conditions for the terrorists to thrive and is not afraid that they will overthrow it) the workers will loose even those very limited “rights” they have won through struggle and sacrifices, in the economic field, in social security, etc. Thus, we see that in the demonstrations which are held in the capitalist countries, after each terrorist act, the revisionist or social-democratic chiefs and the worker aristocracy, which rules in the trade-unions, cry out against terrorism, while it continues to develop at the rapid rate.

The anti-Marxist theoreticians condemn terrorism in the forms in which it manifests itself today, but they make no distinction between acts of terrorism and the militant actions towards revolution which the working class, led by a Marxist-Leninist party, has to carry out. Being against the revolution, they are against any action, and the state power of the bourgeoisie and its social-democratic and revisionist defenders call any such action, any attempt in this direction, and any military organization of the working class, led by the Marxist-Leninist party, a terrorist act. Indeed, the revisionists vote in favour of strengthening the police and security organs in order to combat terrorism and anarchism. This means allowing the bourgeoisie a free hand to attack any form of organization and struggle of the working class and its vanguard to liberate itself from the yoke of capitalism.

Therefore, we Marxist-Leninists and the working class must understand this question thoroughly and be able to make the distinction, because there is a great difference between Marxist-Leninists and anarchists and the terrorists. On the other hand, however, this question should not be taken to mean that in order to restrain terrorism, the working class with its vanguard and the progressive people should refrain from acting or even from fighting with arms against this state which oppresses them, as well as against all terrorist, anarchist and revisionist forms that support this state power of the bourgeoisie. If we do not understand this situation correctly, if we equate revolutionary action with terrorism and anarchism, then it will be impossible for the revolution, to advance and the working class will remain for ever at the mercy of capital, under the oppression of laws of the bourgeoisie, and, as a consequence, will tone down all its efforts to liberate itself from bondage. Hence, there are certain moments when it is necessary to delve deeper into the meaning which must be distinct from the meaning and judgement which the revisionists and the social-democracy want to give it in the interests of the monopolies and their state.

At present there are difficulties and dangers for the new Marxist-Leninist parties which emerged after the 1960s, and especially for some that were created under the influence of the Chinese cultural revolution. In some of these new “Marxist-Leninist” parties, especially in certain countries of Europe and Latin-America, their emergence on the scene, the organization and uniting of their ranks was done not by sound elements of the working class, but by isolated elements, who had the experience of the weak, anti-Marxist, reformist work of revisionist parties. On top of this, these parties were formed and developed, so to say, in complete legality, and together with others, many elements who posed as Marxist-Leninists but were not such, entered their ranks.

Some leaders of these parties took the problem very lightly, a thing which, naturally, was reflected in their work. They considered the breaking away from the revisionist parties as a very important act. In fact this really was an important act, but the course they were to follow, the forms and methods of organization of their work, especially the political and the organizational line which were adopted and applied, were to have greater importance. As was seen, on certain international problems and theoretical issues they took more or less correct stands, but still, in some aspects, their political line was developed in the same forms as the line of the revisionist parties were unable to make a proper judgement of the situations within their own countries and in the international field. This was so over major events in the international communist movement, for example, over the struggle against Soviet revisionism and, later, in the analyses which should have been made of the development of the situation in China, the factional struggle which was developing there and the Chinese cultural revolution. In many instances it was clear that they lacked Marxist-Leninist depth in their judgements and opinions, but had sufficient arrogance to consider their actions as indisputable.

In fact, right from the formation of some of these parties it was apparent that among their members there were elements who were not properly tempered with the Marxist-Leninist ideas or whose mastery of them was superficial and rather for sentimental reasons. For example, many of them made no effort to gain a thorough understanding of the major role of the party as the vanguard detachment of the working class and of the major difficulties they would encounter in their work and struggle in the conditions of savage, oppressive and exploiting capitalist regime, a regime hostile, first of all, to Marxist-Leninists.

For these reasons, then, in some of the small parties, right from the start frictions appeared and splits occurred, no measures were taken against factionalists, because the leaders and members of the party were not properly acquainted with the Leninist-Stalinist organizational forms of the party in the dangerous and complicated conditions of their countries. Moreover, they did not foresee that reaction would have the activity of the party and its members under permanent surveillance, and would infiltrate dubious elements, their agents or wavering sympathizers into their ranks.

Performing our internationalist duty, wherever we had the possibility and contacts with some of these parties, we, the Party of Labour of Albania, stressed our experience to them and told them that in its whole line, including the problems of its organizational structure, our Party remained loyal to Marxism-Leninism, which it did not consider a dogma or a theoretical ornament, but applied it in practice with the greatest strictness and seriousness in the difficult conditions of our country, that is, in the struggle against the occupiers of the country and the local bourgeoisie which placed itself in their service.

Thus, in the organizational field, some of these new Marxist-Leninist parties which broke away from the revisionist parties, were organized, so to say, in those same legal forms as the revisionist and social-democratic parties, so the entire political and ideological opinion of the country could not fail to exert an influence within their ranks. To this day there are members of these parties who still think they can militate in legal ways as Marxist-Leninists communists without being disturbed by capitalism and its apparatus of oppression. In these circumstances, then, it can hardly be said that there exists that sound nucleus, as strong as it could be in conditions of illegality, which is able to withstand a sudden attack which reaction is sure to make against the party.

The very dangerous consequences of this work and this practice in some of these parties, especially in Europe, became apparent after the exposure of the Communist Party of China and the ideas of Mao Zedong. Splits occurred, anti-Marxist ideas and opinions emerged, which in some cases were embraced even by their leaders. That explains why some of those small, still unconsolidated parties, which began their activity with correct aims on the Marxist-Leninist road and were for revolutionary actions, deviated. This is what happened with the Communist (Marxist-Leninist) Parties of France, Belgium, Holland, the Scandinavian countries and recently with the Communist Party of Italy (Marxist-Leninist), etc.

In short, some of these Marxist-Leninist parties were split because they did not have a proper understanding of their role in the revolution, because they did not organize themselves for a fierce struggle with organized and armed reaction and the revisionist and social-democratic parties, which have long experience and numerous means to combat any opponents who emerge, to fight and undermine their work, as the tools of capital they are.

Proceeding from the experience of our Party and country, as well as from the experience of the genuine communist parties of the past, I think that the Marxist-Leninist parties must not isolate themselves, that is, they must not stand remote from the broad masses of the people, and especially, from the working class. In this question, we Marxist-Leninists reason and judge proceeding from the fact that the working class in the capitalist countries, or at least the overwhelming bulk of it today, is inspired and organized by the parties of social-democracy, the employers and modern revisionism in trade-unions manipulated by them, and that the bourgeois state has set up a broad network of informers and has brought out a large number of laws in order to implant the bourgeois mentality in this working class, to corrupt it ideologically and politically and intimidate it so that it does not undertake actions that are dangerous to the capital. Therefore, if the members of the Marxist-Leninist parties want to advance, to continue on the course for which the parties were set up, they must get into those big groupings of the proletariat, go among the ranks of the democratic progressive elements who are against the capitalist regime, against the constitution of the capitalist country and economic oppression and exploitation, and against the reactionary ideology which is presented in various forms in order to befuddle the minds of the people.

The new Marxist-Leninist parties cannot content themselves merely with the publication of a newspaper or magazine, which, naturally, have very limited circulation. These means of propaganda have their own importance, but frequently they fail to produce the desired effect among the masses, let alone penetrate and organize the work within big groupings of the masses. Both the Marxist-Leninists norms which organize, temper and make the party coherent and militant, and its penetration, organization and struggle inside the unions or other groupings of the working class, are matters of great importance for the revolution. The Marxist-Leninist parties, especially in Europe, must not remain onlookers behind the barricade on which the working class is fighting. In Latin America, many Marxist-Leninist parties newly formed after 1960 militated in illegality and not only operated correctly, in general, for their own development and education with the theory of Marxism-Leninism, but also accompanied this activity with concrete actions, with attacks through strikes and demonstrations setting their militant example. Of course, they also suffered losses during these attacks, but the party cannot be consolidated on the revolutionary road, cannot be the vanguard of the proletariat and the progressive and revolutionary elements without losses and without setting such a militant example.

Of course, legal work must be carried out, but parallel with this work the party must create its clandestine force which will direct the legal work. Precisely this force of the party is the soundest, most resolute part which will understand the situation thoroughly and correctly and will direct the activities. Some new Marxist-Leninist parties did not bear in mind this teaching of Marxism-Leninism. With their fraudulent propaganda, with allegedly leftist slogans, which in reality were reactionary slogans in the service of capital, the parties of the bourgeoisie deceived the working class and the revolutionary elements, because, as we know, in all their activity the revisionist parties aim to achieve alliances with the bourgeoisie and its parties, contenting themselves with a few concessions granted by the bourgeoisie through reforms. These comrades have been satisfied with some successes they achieved through demonstrations in the streets and meetings and speeches in the squares. But that is not enough to teach the working class how to fight and mount the steps of the revolution one by one until the final step, that is, the decisive attack against the apparatus of capitalist oppression.

Thinking that in the countries in which they militate the situations are such as to create the possibility for their legalization, some parties which now are in illegality have been faced with the question: “How should we act?” I think that the legalization of the party is a two-edged sword: it is good if the reason for, the forms and the limitations of this legalization are understood, but it is very harmful if elements of the bourgeoisie, wavering elements, revisionist elements and agents of the reaction penetrate the ranks of the party in legality. In this way the possibility is created for people trained for sabotage to infiltrate from the legal part of the party into the part working in illegality. While for illegality to serve the party actively, its members must not merely engage in propaganda for parliamentary reforms, as the revisionist parties openly linked with reaction do, but must go among the masses, work with them and organize them in a revolutionary way, winning them away from the influence of capital and its parties. Otherwise, the desired success cannot be achieved.

It is true that that section of the party which emerge in legality will have possibilities to go among the broad masses more easily and to organize joint fronts with them against the power of the bourgeoisie, to carry on propaganda and influence them in action. But the party must influence them in actions not in the revisionist and social-democratic way, because in that case the working class will be unable to distinguish between Marxist-Leninists and revisionists and will not be incited to actions more advanced than those which social-democracy and modern revisionism have taught it. In the contrary, the creation of fronts and the expansion of the influence of that section of the party which is legal, closely linked with the other part which is in illegality, must make the revolt of the people greater and in this way the revolutionary situations which are created will be turned to advantage. It is necessary to know how to utilize the contradictions which exist between the internal capital of the country and foreign capital, between the local bourgeoisie and the proletariat. This work will consolidate the existence of the party and its militant line, will disseminate genuine Marxism-Leninism and will expose revisionism.

It is absolutely essential that the exposures of revisionism and its parties, with their forms, methods and policies should be done, although the exposure through newspaper articles and speeches, but should be accompanied with actions so that the proletariat will clearly see the distinction between its Marxist-Leninist party and the revisionist and social-democratic parties, not just because their political and ideological objectives differ, but especially because the party of the proletariat struggles to put its objectives into practice and thus, it will strengthen its ranks with such elements by admitting them as party members. Only through such work can the Marxist-Leninist parties in the capitalist countries be sure that their ranks will be increased with convinced and disciplined people, loyal to Marxism-Leninism, prepared for the revolution through violence and not through reforms.

It is essential that the members of parties that militate in the capitalist countries understand that they are in stern struggle with the bourgeoisie and its repressive apparatus, especially with its parties, including the revisionist parties. Therefore, they must be clear and always bear in mind that this struggle demands efforts and material and moral sacrifices.

If they do not understand their being members of the party and their work and struggle in its ranks in this way, then the party in which they militate can hardly be called a genuine revolutionary party, but is a revolutionary party only in words. Such a party will fall apart at the first difficult moment, indeed it is likely to do so even before such a moment is reached. Even at moments which are allegedly peaceful, but which are not and never can be peaceful, hangs together simply because it presents no moral, political or material threat to anything.

We Marxist-Leninist parties must work to create the means of propaganda and struggle ourselves, without the material aid of anyone, because there is no one who will help is seriously and without destructive political motives.

It is impermissible for us Marxist-Leninists to work with the forms and methods of work of the permanent bureaucrats of revisionist parties who engage in commercial deals instead of revolutionary work. It is our duty to teach the members of the party and the elements of the working class they mobilize around themselves to make small sacrifices, while preparing themselves for greater sacrifices, up to giving their lives on the fronts of struggle against the bourgeoisie which are being waged and will be waged in the future.

In this sense, the objective of the Marxist-Leninist parties which militate in the capitalist countries is to be parties of the barricades, parties of the capture of factories, of clashes with the forces of the order, and not parties which submit to the laws, regulations and formulas that reaction has created. This is logical and lawful, because all the creations of reaction and capital have the objective of the suppression of the revolution and the genuine parties have the duty not to obey them, but to attack them. In saying this I am not advocating operating in adventurous ways. As I stressed above, we must consider where the weak spots are, although, once again, without ideo-politically sound organizational activity they cannot be exploited.

The important moments through which the capitalist world is passing at present, the moments of the great crisis, are objectively very suitable for launching attacks on capital at its weak points. It is up to us Marxist-Leninists to understand these weaknesses thoroughly so that the struggle and the resistance are developed both in the developed capitalist countries and in the backward countries. The responsibility devolves on the Marxist-Leninist parties of the developed countries to prove themselves up to their tasks and set the example for the Marxist-Leninist parties or the revolutionary elements of the backward countries.

At present we can say that the working masses and progressive elements in the economically backward countries, who suffer the oppression of capital, are more in the forefront, more active, more militant than those in the developed capitalist countries and although there are no Marxist-Leninist parties there, they have proved their superiority by carrying out militant activities against the internal oppression and external interference. This shows that the capitalist bourgeoisie in the metropolises has great experience in oppression and exploitation and, apparently, even though there are Marxist-Leninist parties, people have become accustomed to enduring this oppression and to being mislead by the false democracy and freedom advocated by the allegedly democratic parties.

The conclusion emerges that the metropolises continue to oppress the undeveloped, neo-colonial countries and, logically, that the Marxist-Leninist parties in some oppressor countries are not reacting with the revolutionary force required to prevent this oppression. It can be seen that the necessary internationalist solidarity with the progressive peoples of continents which are in revolt against the double yoke of foreign and local capital does not exist in these countries. This is a major problem of capital importance, which must concern all Marxist-Leninists, and in the first place, the Marxist-Leninist parties in the countries ruled by capital.

Our party is aware of these problems, has them on the agenda, makes every effort and has orientated its whole policy, propaganda and agitation, as well as its own actions, towards internationalist aid for the Marxist-Leninist parties and the people’s national liberation struggle. At this stage, the national liberation struggles of the peoples of the undeveloped countries have extraordinary importance, because they weaken the capitalist order, in general and facilitate the development of bourgeois democratic revolutions and their transformation into proletarian revolutions. Hence, it is up to the communist forces wherever they are, to reflect on their actions and activities and be guided by our great revolutionary theory, Marxism-Leninism, to assimilate it thoroughly and accurately and. through the practical actions, to incite and lead the masses in revolution.

We notice with regret that some Marxist-Leninist parties do not understand this question properly, do not operate actively, that is, they do not accompany their propaganda, however weak, with concrete actions, which they can do only if the militant spirit exists in their ranks. Indeed, in some countries there are occasions when we do not see Marxist-Leninist groups or parties which distinguish themselves with their political actions and give fire to the demonstrations, opposition and protests which the working class makes on the urging of social-democracy or modern revisionism- Such actions would really arouse interest among the workers who would see that the actions of Marxist-Leninists come into conflict with the slogans chanted by the revisionists and social-democracy in strikes and demonstrations. Tens of thousands of workers rally in the squares of various cities, and the Marxist-Leninist parties will strengthen and assert themselves if their representatives take the courage to come out with their own microphones, addressing the masses of the people with their line in order to explain to them how they should turn the strikes and demonstrations they hold into political strikes and demonstrations, and not limited themselves to economic strikes or “peaceful” strikes.

The enemy in power is afraid of such political strikes, therefore he calls them ferocious strikes. The question here is not that we should come out with weapons or fire them, but we must stand up to the repressive organs of the order, the police, the carabinieri, the army and, at the same time, expose the evils of capitalism and the revisionist parties among the people gathers in the streets and in squares. This, for example, is a field in which Marxist-Leninists can mobilize the working masses. But there are other fields and forms of work like this, which prepare public opinion for sterner actions against the wretched existing state of affairs, so the people see more clearly the crisis of the regime, the great economic financial crisis, the great energy crisis, all of which, in the final analysis, are loaded on to the backs of the working class.

The working class cannot follow our people, our Marxist-Leninist groups or parties, if it does not see us in action, because in regard to the means od propaganda which the capitalist bourgeoisie and its parties possess, they are far more powerful the ours. Therefore, the masses of the people have to see us the communists and men of action in concrete actions against the imposed order, against the status quo, against the flabby activity which the propaganda of the bourgeoisie creates.

The purpose of the propaganda of the bourgeoisie is to retain its electorate. By saying that voting for this or that party of the bourgeoisie will alter the situation, each bourgeois party tries to arouse vain hopes among the working class and the working masses, hence, it canvasses for votes. The only result of such propaganda is to lull the revolutionary energies of the masses to sleep, whereas we Marxist-Leninists face the task that we must involve the masses in concrete actions.

Wherever the capitalist bourgeoisie operates, it is striving with all its might to cope with the terrible economic crisis which has gripped it, and which, far from diminishing is becoming deeper, by shifting its consequences on to the shoulders of the masses. The energy-crisis, the financial crisis, the mounting prices, inflation, unemployment and terrorism which day by day is assuming alarming proportions, are arousing the distrust of the broad masses of the people towards the regimes ruling them, but at the same time, they frighten the middle strata of the people, obscure their view of the future, of the ways and means to escape from the crisis, that is, from the regime which has given birth to all these evils. Precisely here and in opposition to this situation, the burden falls on us Marxist-Leninists and our parties to fight the opposing current, to find the ways, means and forms to mobilize the masses.

On many capitalist countries the crisis is great, terrorism, which is supported by capital, is assuming major proportions. In order to emerge from the crisis and crush any possibility of insurrection and revolution by the working class and the people, the reactionary forces in these countries are preparing the terrain for an authoritarian state, for the fascist dictatorship. If the working masses, we Marxist-Leninist parties and the progressive peoples fail to understand that the fascist dictatorship comes as a result of the difficult situation which the power of the capital is experiencing and do not fight it, then,, sooner or later fascism will be established, because the crisis will continue, since capitalism will strive to protect its income at the expense of the working masses who will become more and more impoverished. Being unarmed, because they do not understand why such a thing is occurring and do not fight against it and the other actions of the capital, these masses will accept the bondage of a fascist circle, thinking that it will be a way out of the crisis. In fact it is not a way out for the working class and the working people, because fascism represents the most ferocious dictatorship of capital, which will oppress the masses of the peoples even more than it is doing today. It is the last resort of exploiting capital.

In all the capitalist countries, separately or jointly, in the political, military and economic organism in which they have assembled, there exits a situation of terrible crisis, which has brought about consequences in the economy and in all the other sectors of the life of the country and has aroused the sentiments of the internal disintegration of the capitalist state and nationalism. Thus, in the capitalist and revisionist countries we see the development of profound contradictions, not only between states combined in blocs, but also between individual states. Even in the so-called socialist community at present there is a very great crisis, caused by the relations of dependence on the Soviet Union which is in a major economic-financial crisis itself. The other countries, satellites of the Soviet Union, likewise, are suffering the consequences of the world capitalist crisis. Thus, recently we see a great rise of prices of every sort in those countries, a rise which amounts to 50 per cent. This has already stirred the broad masses of the people to silent revolt, and in some cases, as in the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Poland, to open clashes.

The foreign debts of these countries are colossal. They amount to billions of dollars. These states are facing bankruptcy, because they are unable to further develop their economies, or even to pay their existing debts to the Soviet Union and the other capitalist countries. Hence, there is great discontent within this bloc. Wherever ethnic unity does not exist, nationalist groupings have begun to emerge.

I have said on other occasions that modern revisionism created difficult and complicated economic, political, and ideological situations. It disrupts the political unity of the country and incites desperate nationalism. In other words, modern revisionism incites the most reactionary, fascist nationalist elements to create those situations which are in the interest of world capital. Therefore, both in the capitalist countries and in the countries ruled by revisionists, the revolutionary situation, as an objective condition for the triumph of the revolution, has matured. The only thing lacking is the spark to kindle a revolt, organized and led, for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, whether of the capitalist West or the revisionist East.

We find the most concrete example of this situation in Yugoslavia, where the national question has become as acute as it was at the time of the Second World War. The situation has not yet reached the stage where it bursts into flames, but the fire may break out due to the Titoite regime, which, contrary to its propaganda about “unity and fraternity”, is splitting the nations and nationalities more and more in Yugoslavia. The reactionary circles of the most powerful “krals” are operating for division, fragmentation and domination in Yugoslavia. These circles are the offspring of the anti-Marxist, capitalist-revisionist regime, which is arousing feuds, divisions and enmities among the peoples.

Our people have a wise saying: “Poverty breeds discord”, and this poverty is an outcome of capitalist regimes. The peoples in those countries are impoverished, therefore, in order to escape from poverty, the wretched absolutely must be made conscious and understand the situations, must organize themselves and strive to organize the resistance against oppression, to organize that popular striking force which gradually becomes a terrible force against the rotten capitalist regime, where the situation is ripe for revolutionary activity.

Our Marxist-Leninist theory teaches us: Every revolutionary activity must be guided by the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory which the Marxist-Leninist party masters, defends and faithfully applies. The objective of every genuine revolutionary movement must be to establish the hegemony of the working class. This hegemony does not in any way imply that the working class and its Marxist-Leninist party should not link up with all those classes and strata of the population which are very interested in opposing the oppressive capitalist and revisionist order. On the contrary, the hegemony of the working class presupposes alliance with the working peasantry, the progressive intellectuals, etc.

In the ranks of the unemployed in the capitalist-revisionist countries there is a great spiritual force of people revolted because they are short of food. In those countries there is a great force of people revolted because the prospects for a decent life have been closed to them. They cannot find jobs, and made desperate by this situation, they are easily corrupted and misled by the special intensive preparation of the regime to involve them in acts of terrorism. This is the source of the participation of young people in the terrorist “red brigades”. Many of these young people do not see any way out other than through terrorist acts. We Marxist-Leninists must show them that the isolated terrorist acts and gangsterism, in which the capitalist regime has involved them and is trying to involve them ever more deeply, do not bring any improvement of the situation for the people, the youth, or the unemployed, but, on the contrary, bring about the fascist coup of the reactionary bourgeoisie. These groups of youths are nothing but the vanguard detachments of fascism. In the face of these capitalist phenomena, we Marxist-Leninists must not sit idle. We must not permit the masses of the people, to be intimidated by the acts of terrorists, anarchists, on the contrary, we should work so that the people of this or that capitalist country are not afraid of them.

When the Marxists act against terrorism, it is likely that the class enemies will tax them with “taking part in the activity of elements who support the capitalist regime”, but the slanders of enemies must not inhibit the revolutionary activity. The Marxist-Leninists act in two parallel directions: both against the regime in power, against the bourgeois parties, whether social-democratic, socialist or revisionist, and at the same time, also, against terrorism. The revolutionaries cannot wage this struggle, simply by issuing a newspaper, but by carrying out extensive political, ideological propaganda and by acting together with the masses in order to make the truth clear to them and convince them in concrete actions, against the evils of the old society. The enemies must be attacked on all fronts in unity with the masses, otherwise, success cannot be achieved. To do this requires strong organization, courage and many sacrifices from our Marxist-Leninist parties.

At these difficult moments, when capitalism in crisis is seeking to establish its savage dictatorship, sacrifices on the part of Marxist-Leninists, the working class and progressive elements are indispensable, but every revolutionary action requires courage, intelligence and vigorous actions. There must be no retreat in the face of this situation.

The just and heroic struggle of the Palestinian people for the liberation of their territories seized and occupied by Israel is a fine example. Despite the fact that it is not led by Marxist-Leninists we support it. We support it since it is a national liberation, anti-imperialist struggle. In assessing their struggle we must appreciate their bravery in coping with countless difficulties against extremely strong powers, armed to the teeth, such as the American imperialists and the Israeli Zionists. We must also bear in mind the fact that, at the same time, the Palestinians have to fight the reactionary Arab forces, too. They are left without a homeland, but they have the strength of their spirit and the strength of their arms, their courage and honest aims to have their homeland liberated, which keep them alive. They are fighting tooth and nail against the Israeli Zionists, fighting for their existence as a people and for their right to have their own homeland. It is useful for the Marxist-Leninist parties of the capitalist countries to bear in mind this wonderful experience for the organization of their struggle, to draw inspiration from the example of the resistance of this small people who, although displaced and scattered, have been able to rally their energies for a great purpose. They are fighting in the ways which the conditions of bourgeois domination have allowed them for the creation of a Palestinian state in opposition to the great forces of capitalism and imperialism.

Despite some activities of a terrorist character by some groups, an activity which we Marxist-Leninists do not support, the struggle of the Palestinian people, in general, is a liberation struggle and should be assisted.

The tasks which emerge for us Marxist-Leninists in these situations are certainly very great and very difficult, because our enemies are numerous, highly organized and very powerful. These tasks become still greater and more difficult for the Marxist-Leninist parties which militate in the capitalist countries. But profound and correct understanding of Marxism-Leninism, that unerring guide which leads and directs us in every step of our life and ideological line, as well as in the organizational field, the effective co-ordination of illegal with legal activity, the selection of reliable allies and alliances, etc. will make our struggle and the overcoming of difficulties easier and will lead us to victory over the bourgeois-revisionist enemies.

Development at Gunpoint’ duration :: Story of destruction in Orissa

The vegetable garden of Odisha is going to be submerged and more than 50 villages displaced; and the name of the game is ‘Development at Gunpoint’ – meaning ‘peaceful industrialization’ as the chief minister claims!
Thousands of farmers of the Lower Suktel plateau in Balangir are protesting against this upcoming dam for more than a decade now. After many a round of brutal repression and forceful land acquisition, the State has now declared the ‘final war’ against its own people.

On 29 April 2013, more than 2000 people were holding ground in opposition to the dam project. Early in the morning, 10 platoons of police force cracked down on the peaceful protesters. They started beating people mercilessly, without any provocation. They dragged women, clamped their feet with heavy boots, and tried to lynch Amitabh Patra, a filmmaker, who was filming the excesses first hand. The policemen, who appeared to be drunk, behaved like hired goons of some mafia outfit.

The police arrested 16 people, including Amitabh Patra and Lenin Kumar, editor of *Nisan*. Amitabh is still struggling for life with severe head injuries.

मैं नास्तिक क्यों हूँ? :: भगतसिंह

एक नया प्रश्न उठ खड़ा हुआ है। क्या मैं किसी अहंकार के कारण सर्वशक्तिमान, सर्वव्यापी तथा सर्वज्ञानी ईश्वर के अस्तित्व पर विश्वास नहीं करता हूँ? मेरे कुछ दोस्त – शायद ऐसा कहकर मैं उन पर बहुत अधिकार नहीं जमा रहा हूँ – मेरे साथ अपने थोड़े से सम्पर्क में इस निष्कर्ष पर पहुँचने के लिये उत्सुक हैं कि मैं ईश्वर के अस्तित्व को नकार कर कुछ ज़रूरत से ज़्यादा आगे जा रहा हूँ और मेरे घमण्ड ने कुछ हद तक मुझे इस अविश्वास के लिये उकसाया है। मैं ऐसी कोई शेखी नहीं बघारता कि मैं मानवीय कमज़ोरियों से बहुत ऊपर हूँ। मैं एक मनुष्य हूँ, और इससे अधिक कुछ नहीं। कोई भी इससे अधिक होने का दावा नहीं कर सकता। यह कमज़ोरी मेरे अन्दर भी है। अहंकार भी मेरे स्वभाव का अंग है। अपने कामरेडो के बीच मुझे निरंकुश कहा जाता था। यहाँ तक कि मेरे दोस्त श्री बटुकेश्वर कुमार दत्त भी मुझे कभी-कभी ऐसा कहते थे। कई मौकों पर स्वेच्छाचारी कह मेरी निन्दा भी की गयी। कुछ दोस्तों को शिकायत है, और गम्भीर रूप से है कि मैं अनचाहे ही अपने विचार, उन पर थोपता हूँ और अपने प्रस्तावों को मनवा लेता हूँ। यह बात कुछ हद तक सही है। इससे मैं इनकार नहीं करता। इसे अहंकार कहा जा सकता है। जहाँ तक अन्य प्रचलित मतों के मुकाबले हमारे अपने मत का सवाल है। मुझे निश्चय ही अपने मत पर गर्व है। लेकिन यह व्यक्तिगत नहीं है। ऐसा हो सकता है कि यह केवल अपने विश्वास के प्रति न्यायोचित गर्व हो और इसको घमण्ड नहीं कहा जा सकता। घमण्ड तो स्वयं के प्रति अनुचित गर्व की अधिकता है। क्या यह अनुचित गर्व है, जो मुझे नास्तिकता की ओर ले गया? अथवा इस विषय का खूब सावधानी से अध्ययन करने और उस पर खूब विचार करने के बाद मैंने ईश्वर पर अविश्वास किया?

मैं यह समझने में पूरी तरह से असफल रहा हूँ कि अनुचित गर्व या वृथाभिमान किस तरह किसी व्यक्ति के ईश्वर में विश्वास करने के रास्ते में रोड़ा बन सकता है? किसी वास्तव में महान व्यक्ति की महानता को मैं मान्यता न दूँ – यह तभी हो सकता है, जब मुझे भी थोड़ा ऐसा यश प्राप्त हो गया हो जिसके या तो मैं योग्य नहीं हूँ या मेरे अन्दर वे गुण नहीं हैं, जो इसके लिये आवश्यक हैं। यहाँ तक तो समझ में आता है। लेकिन यह कैसे हो सकता है कि एक व्यक्ति, जो ईश्वर में विश्वास रखता हो, सहसा अपने व्यक्तिगत अहंकार के कारण उसमें विश्वास करना बन्द कर दे? दो ही रास्ते सम्भव हैं। या तो मनुष्य अपने को ईश्वर का प्रतिद्वन्द्वी समझने लगे या वह स्वयं को ही ईश्वर मानना शुरू कर दे। इन दोनो ही अवस्थाओं में वह सच्चा नास्तिक नहीं बन सकता। पहली अवस्था में तो वह अपने प्रतिद्वन्द्वी के अस्तित्व को नकारता ही नहीं है। दूसरी अवस्था में भी वह एक ऐसी चेतना के अस्तित्व को मानता है, जो पर्दे के पीछे से प्रकृति की सभी गतिविधियों का संचालन करती है। मैं तो उस सर्वशक्तिमान परम आत्मा के अस्तित्व से ही इनकार करता हूँ। यह अहंकार नहीं है, जिसने मुझे नास्तिकता के सिद्धान्त को ग्रहण करने के लिये प्रेरित किया। मैं न तो एक प्रतिद्वन्द्वी हूँ, न ही एक अवतार और न ही स्वयं परमात्मा। इस अभियोग को अस्वीकार करने के लिये आइए तथ्यों पर गौर करें। मेरे इन दोस्तों के अनुसार, दिल्ली बम केस और लाहौर षडयन्त्र केस के दौरान मुझे जो अनावश्यक यश मिला, शायद उस कारण मैं वृथाभिमानी हो गया हूँ।

मेरा नास्तिकतावाद कोई अभी हाल की उत्पत्ति नहीं है। मैंने तो ईश्वर पर विश्वास करना तब छोड़ दिया था, जब मैं एक अप्रसिद्ध नौजवान था। कम से कम एक कालेज का विद्यार्थी तो ऐसे किसी अनुचित अहंकार को नहीं पाल-पोस सकता, जो उसे नास्तिकता की ओर ले जाये। यद्यपि मैं कुछ अध्यापकों का चहेता था तथा कुछ अन्य को मैं अच्छा नहीं लगता था। पर मैं कभी भी बहुत मेहनती अथवा पढ़ाकू विद्यार्थी नहीं रहा। अहंकार जैसी भावना में फँसने का कोई मौका ही न मिल सका। मैं तो एक बहुत लज्जालु स्वभाव का लड़का था, जिसकी भविष्य के बारे में कुछ निराशावादी प्रकृति थी। मेरे बाबा, जिनके प्रभाव में मैं बड़ा हुआ, एक रूढ़िवादी आर्य समाजी हैं। एक आर्य समाजी और कुछ भी हो, नास्तिक नहीं होता। अपनी प्राथमिक शिक्षा पूरी करने के बाद मैंने डी0 ए0 वी0 स्कूल, लाहौर में प्रवेश लिया और पूरे एक साल उसके छात्रावास में रहा। वहाँ सुबह और शाम की प्रार्थना के अतिरिक्त में घण्टों गायत्री मंत्र जपा करता था। उन दिनों मैं पूरा भक्त था। बाद में मैंने अपने पिता के साथ रहना शुरू किया। जहाँ तक धार्मिक रूढ़िवादिता का प्रश्न है, वह एक उदारवादी व्यक्ति हैं। उन्हीं की शिक्षा से मुझे स्वतन्त्रता के ध्येय के लिये अपने जीवन को समर्पित करने की प्रेरणा मिली। किन्तु वे नास्तिक नहीं हैं। उनका ईश्वर में दृढ़ विश्वास है। वे मुझे प्रतिदिन पूजा-प्रार्थना के लिये प्रोत्साहित करते रहते थे। इस प्रकार से मेरा पालन-पोषण हुआ। असहयोग आन्दोलन के दिनों में राष्ट्रीय कालेज में प्रवेश लिया। यहाँ आकर ही मैंने सारी धार्मिक समस्याओं – यहाँ तक कि ईश्वर के अस्तित्व के बारे में उदारतापूर्वक सोचना, विचारना तथा उसकी आलोचना करना शुरू किया। पर अभी भी मैं पक्का आस्तिक था। उस समय तक मैं अपने लम्बे बाल रखता था। यद्यपि मुझे कभी-भी सिक्ख या अन्य धर्मों की पौराणिकता और सिद्धान्तों में विश्वास न हो सका था। किन्तु मेरी ईश्वर के अस्तित्व में दृढ़ निष्ठा थी। बाद में मैं क्रान्तिकारी पार्टी से जुड़ा। वहाँ जिस पहले नेता से मेरा सम्पर्क हुआ वे तो पक्का विश्वास न होते हुए भी ईश्वर के अस्तित्व को नकारने का साहस ही नहीं कर सकते थे। ईश्वर के बारे में मेरे हठ पूर्वक पूछते रहने पर वे कहते, ‘’जब इच्छा हो, तब पूजा कर लिया करो।’’ यह नास्तिकता है, जिसमें साहस का अभाव है। दूसरे नेता, जिनके मैं सम्पर्क में आया, पक्के श्रद्धालु आदरणीय कामरेड शचीन्द्र नाथ सान्याल आजकल काकोरी षडयन्त्र केस के सिलसिले में आजीवन कारवास भोग रहे हैं। उनकी पुस्तक ‘बन्दी जीवन’ ईश्वर की महिमा का ज़ोर-शोर से गान है। उन्होंने उसमें ईश्वर के ऊपर प्रशंसा के पुष्प रहस्यात्मक वेदान्त के कारण बरसाये हैं। 28 जनवरी, 1925 को पूरे भारत में जो ‘दि रिवोल्यूशनरी’ (क्रान्तिकारी) पर्चा बाँटा गया था, वह उन्हीं के बौद्धिक श्रम का परिणाम है। उसमें सर्वशक्तिमान और उसकी लीला एवं कार्यों की प्रशंसा की गयी है। मेरा ईश्वर के प्रति अविश्वास का भाव क्रान्तिकारी दल में भी प्रस्फुटित नहीं हुआ था। काकोरी के सभी चार शहीदों ने अपने अन्तिम दिन भजन-प्रार्थना में गुजारे थे। राम प्रसाद ‘बिस्मिल’ एक रूढ़िवादी आर्य समाजी थे। समाजवाद तथा साम्यवाद में अपने वृहद अध्ययन के बावजूद राजेन लाहड़ी उपनिषद एवं गीता के श्लोकों के उच्चारण की अपनी अभिलाषा को दबा न सके। मैंने उन सब मे सिर्फ एक ही व्यक्ति को देखा, जो कभी प्रार्थना नहीं करता था और कहता था, ‘’दर्शन शास्त्र मनुष्य की दुर्बलता अथवा ज्ञान के सीमित होने के कारण उत्पन्न होता है। वह भी आजीवन निर्वासन की सजा भोग रहा है। परन्तु उसने भी ईश्वर के अस्तित्व को नकारने की कभी हिम्मत नहीं की।

इस समय तक मैं केवल एक रोमान्टिक आदर्शवादी क्रान्तिकारी था। अब तक हम दूसरों का अनुसरण करते थे। अब अपने कन्धों पर ज़िम्मेदारी उठाने का समय आया था। यह मेरे क्रान्तिकारी जीवन का एक निर्णायक बिन्दु था। ‘अध्ययन’ की पुकार मेरे मन के गलियारों में गूँज रही थी – विरोधियों द्वारा रखे गये तर्कों का सामना करने योग्य बनने के लिये अध्ययन करो। अपने मत के पक्ष में तर्क देने के लिये सक्षम होने के वास्ते पढ़ो। मैंने पढ़ना शुरू कर दिया। इससे मेरे पुराने विचार व विश्वास अद्भुत रूप से परिष्कृत हुए। रोमांस की जगह गम्भीर विचारों ने ली ली। न और अधिक रहस्यवाद, न ही अन्धविश्वास। यथार्थवाद हमारा आधार बना। मुझे विश्वक्रान्ति के अनेक आदर्शों के बारे में पढ़ने का खूब मौका मिला। मैंने अराजकतावादी नेता बाकुनिन को पढ़ा, कुछ साम्यवाद के पिता माक्र्स को, किन्तु अधिक लेनिन, त्रात्स्की, व अन्य लोगों को पढ़ा, जो अपने देश में सफलतापूर्वक क्रान्ति लाये थे। ये सभी नास्तिक थे। बाद में मुझे निरलम्ब स्वामी की पुस्तक ‘सहज ज्ञान’ मिली। इसमें रहस्यवादी नास्तिकता थी। 1926 के अन्त तक मुझे इस बात का विश्वास हो गया कि एक सर्वशक्तिमान परम आत्मा की बात, जिसने ब्रह्माण्ड का सृजन, दिग्दर्शन और संचालन किया, एक कोरी बकवास है। मैंने अपने इस अविश्वास को प्रदर्शित किया। मैंने इस विषय पर अपने दोस्तों से बहस की। मैं एक घोषित नास्तिक हो चुका था।

मई 1927 में मैं लाहौर में गिरफ़्तार हुआ। रेलवे पुलिस हवालात में मुझे एक महीना काटना पड़ा। पुलिस अफ़सरों ने मुझे बताया कि मैं लखनऊ में था, जब वहाँ काकोरी दल का मुकदमा चल रहा था, कि मैंने उन्हें छुड़ाने की किसी योजना पर बात की थी, कि उनकी सहमति पाने के बाद हमने कुछ बम प्राप्त किये थे, कि 1927 में दशहरा के अवसर पर उन बमों में से एक परीक्षण के लिये भीड़ पर फेंका गया, कि यदि मैं क्रान्तिकारी दल की गतिविधियों पर प्रकाश डालने वाला एक वक्तव्य दे दूँ, तो मुझे गिरफ़्तार नहीं किया जायेगा और इसके विपरीत मुझे अदालत में मुखबिर की तरह पेश किये बेगैर रिहा कर दिया जायेगा और इनाम दिया जायेगा। मैं इस प्रस्ताव पर हँसा। यह सब बेकार की बात थी। हम लोगों की भाँति विचार रखने वाले अपनी निर्दोष जनता पर बम नहीं फेंका करते। एक दिन सुबह सी0 आई0 डी0 के वरिष्ठ अधीक्षक श्री न्यूमन ने कहा कि यदि मैंने वैसा वक्तव्य नहीं दिया, तो मुझ पर काकोरी केस से सम्बन्धित विद्रोह छेड़ने के षडयन्त्र तथा दशहरा उपद्रव में क्रूर हत्याओं के लिये मुकदमा चलाने पर बाध्य होंगे और कि उनके पास मुझे सजा दिलाने व फाँसी पर लटकवाने के लिये उचित प्रमाण हैं। उसी दिन से कुछ पुलिस अफ़सरों ने मुझे नियम से दोनो समय ईश्वर की स्तुति करने के लिये फुसलाना शुरू किया। पर अब मैं एक नास्तिक था। मैं स्वयं के लिये यह बात तय करना चाहता था कि क्या शान्ति और आनन्द के दिनों में ही मैं नास्तिक होने का दम्भ भरता हूँ या ऐसे कठिन समय में भी मैं उन सिद्धान्तों पर अडिग रह सकता हूँ। बहुत सोचने के बाद मैंने निश्चय किया कि किसी भी तरह ईश्वर पर विश्वास तथा प्रार्थना मैं नहीं कर सकता। नहीं, मैंने एक क्षण के लिये भी नहीं की। यही असली परीक्षण था और मैं सफल रहा। अब मैं एक पक्का अविश्वासी था और तब से लगातार हूँ। इस परीक्षण पर खरा उतरना आसान काम न था। ‘विश्वास’ कष्टों को हलका कर देता है। यहाँ तक कि उन्हें सुखकर बना सकता है। ईश्वर में मनुष्य को अत्यधिक सान्त्वना देने वाला एक आधार मिल सकता है। उसके बिना मनुष्य को अपने ऊपर निर्भर करना पड़ता है। तूफ़ान और झंझावात के बीच अपने पाँवों पर खड़ा रहना कोई बच्चों का खेल नहीं है। परीक्षा की इन घड़ियों में अहंकार यदि है, तो भाप बन कर उड़ जाता है और मनुष्य अपने विश्वास को ठुकराने का साहस नहीं कर पाता। यदि ऐसा करता है, तो इससे यह निष्कर्ष निकलता है कि उसके पास सिर्फ़ अहंकार नहीं वरन् कोई अन्य शक्ति है। आज बिलकुल वैसी ही स्थिति है। निर्णय का पूरा-पूरा पता है। एक सप्ताह के अन्दर ही यह घोषित हो जायेगा कि मैं अपना जीवन एक ध्येय पर न्योछावर करने जा रहा हूँ। इस विचार के अतिरिक्त और क्या सान्त्वना हो सकती है? ईश्वर में विश्वास रखने वाला हिन्दू पुनर्जन्म पर राजा होने की आशा कर सकता है। एक मुसलमान या ईसाई स्वर्ग में व्याप्त समृद्धि के आनन्द की तथा अपने कष्टों और बलिदान के लिये पुरस्कार की कल्पना कर सकता है। किन्तु मैं क्या आशा करूँ? मैं जानता हूँ कि जिस क्षण रस्सी का फ़न्दा मेरी गर्दन पर लगेगा और मेरे पैरों के नीचे से तख़्ता हटेगा, वह पूर्ण विराम होगा – वह अन्तिम क्षण होगा। मैं या मेरी आत्मा सब वहीं समाप्त हो जायेगी। आगे कुछ न रहेगा। एक छोटी सी जूझती हुई ज़िन्दगी, जिसकी कोई ऐसी गौरवशाली परिणति नहीं है, अपने में स्वयं एक पुरस्कार होगी – यदि मुझमें इस दृष्टि से देखने का साहस हो। बिना किसी स्वार्थ के यहाँ या यहाँ के बाद पुरस्कार की इच्छा के बिना, मैंने अनासक्त भाव से अपने जीवन को स्वतन्त्रता के ध्येय पर समर्पित कर दिया है, क्योंकि मैं और कुछ कर ही नहीं सकता था। जिस दिन हमें इस मनोवृत्ति के बहुत-से पुरुष और महिलाएँ मिल जायेंगे, जो अपने जीवन को मनुष्य की सेवा और पीड़ित मानवता के उद्धार के अतिरिक्त कहीं समर्पित कर ही नहीं सकते, उसी दिन मुक्ति के युग का शुभारम्भ होगा। वे शोषकों, उत्पीड़कों और अत्याचारियों को चुनौती देने के लिये उत्प्रेरित होंगे। इस लिये नहीं कि उन्हें राजा बनना है या कोई अन्य पुरस्कार प्राप्त करना है यहाँ या अगले जन्म में या मृत्योपरान्त स्वर्ग में। उन्हें तो मानवता की गर्दन से दासता का जुआ उतार फेंकने और मुक्ति एवं शान्ति स्थापित करने के लिये इस मार्ग को अपनाना होगा। क्या वे उस रास्ते पर चलेंगे जो उनके अपने लिये ख़तरनाक किन्तु उनकी महान आत्मा के लिये एक मात्र कल्पनीय रास्ता है। क्या इस महान ध्येय के प्रति उनके गर्व को अहंकार कहकर उसका गलत अर्थ लगाया जायेगा? कौन इस प्रकार के घृणित विशेषण बोलने का साहस करेगा? या तो वह मूर्ख है या धूर्त। हमें चाहिए कि उसे क्षमा कर दें, क्योंकि वह उस हृदय में उद्वेलित उच्च विचारों, भावनाओं, आवेगों तथा उनकी गहराई को महसूस नहीं कर सकता। उसका हृदय मांस के एक टुकड़े की तरह मृत है। उसकी आँखों पर अन्य स्वार्थों के प्रेतों की छाया पड़ने से वे कमज़ोर हो गयी हैं। स्वयं पर भरोसा रखने के गुण को सदैव अहंकार की संज्ञा दी जा सकती है। यह दुखपूर्ण और कष्टप्रद है, पर चारा ही क्या है?

आलोचना और स्वतन्त्र विचार एक क्रान्तिकारी के दोनो अनिवार्य गुण हैं। क्योंकि हमारे पूर्वजों ने किसी परम आत्मा के प्रति विश्वास बना लिया था। अतः कोई भी व्यक्ति जो उस विश्वास को सत्यता या उस परम आत्मा के अस्तित्व को ही चुनौती दे, उसको विधर्मी, विश्वासघाती कहा जायेगा। यदि उसके तर्क इतने अकाट्य हैं कि उनका खण्डन वितर्क द्वारा नहीं हो सकता और उसकी आस्था इतनी प्रबल है कि उसे ईश्वर के प्रकोप से होने वाली विपत्तियों का भय दिखा कर दबाया नहीं जा सकता तो उसकी यह कह कर निन्दा की जायेगी कि वह वृथाभिमानी है। यह मेरा अहंकार नहीं था, जो मुझे नास्तिकता की ओर ले गया। मेरे तर्क का तरीका संतोषप्रद सिद्ध होता है या नहीं इसका निर्णय मेरे पाठकों को करना है, मुझे नहीं। मैं जानता हूँ कि ईश्वर पर विश्वास ने आज मेरा जीवन आसान और मेरा बोझ हलका कर दिया होता। उस पर मेरे अविश्वास ने सारे वातावरण को अत्यन्त शुष्क बना दिया है। थोड़ा-सा रहस्यवाद इसे कवित्वमय बना सकता है। किन्तु मेरे भाग्य को किसी उन्माद का सहारा नहीं चाहिए। मैं यथार्थवादी हूँ। मैं अन्तः प्रकृति पर विवेक की सहायता से विजय चाहता हूँ। इस ध्येय में मैं सदैव सफल नहीं हुआ हूँ। प्रयास करना मनुष्य का कर्तव्य है। सफलता तो संयोग तथा वातावरण पर निर्भर है। कोई भी मनुष्य, जिसमें तनिक भी विवेक शक्ति है, वह अपने वातावरण को तार्किक रूप से समझना चाहेगा। जहाँ सीधा प्रमाण नहीं है, वहाँ दर्शन शास्त्र का महत्व है। जब हमारे पूर्वजों ने फुरसत के समय विश्व के रहस्य को, इसके भूत, वर्तमान एवं भविष्य को, इसके क्यों और कहाँ से को समझने का प्रयास किया तो सीधे परिणामों के कठिन अभाव में हर व्यक्ति ने इन प्रश्नों को अपने ढ़ंग से हल किया। यही कारण है कि विभिन्न धार्मिक मतों में हमको इतना अन्तर मिलता है, जो कभी-कभी वैमनस्य तथा झगड़े का रूप ले लेता है। न केवल पूर्व और पश्चिम के दर्शनों में मतभेद है, बल्कि प्रत्येक गोलार्ध के अपने विभिन्न मतों में आपस में अन्तर है। पूर्व के धर्मों में, इस्लाम तथा हिन्दू धर्म में ज़रा भी अनुरूपता नहीं है। भारत में ही बौद्ध तथा जैन धर्म उस ब्राह्मणवाद से बहुत अलग है, जिसमें स्वयं आर्यसमाज व सनातन धर्म जैसे विरोधी मत पाये जाते हैं। पुराने समय का एक स्वतन्त्र विचारक चार्वाक है। उसने ईश्वर को पुराने समय में ही चुनौती दी थी। हर व्यक्ति अपने को सही मानता है। दुर्भाग्य की बात है कि बजाय पुराने विचारकों के अनुभवों तथा विचारों को भविष्य में अज्ञानता के विरुद्ध लड़ाई का आधार बनाने के हम आलसियों की तरह, जो हम सिद्ध हो चुके हैं, उनके कथन में अविचल एवं संशयहीन विश्वास की चीख पुकार करते रहते हैं और इस प्रकार मानवता के विकास को जड़ बनाने के दोषी हैं।

सिर्फ विश्वास और अन्ध विश्वास ख़तरनाक है। यह मस्तिष्क को मूढ़ और मनुष्य को प्रतिक्रियावादी बना देता है। जो मनुष्य अपने को यथार्थवादी होने का दावा करता है, उसे समस्त प्राचीन रूढ़िगत विश्वासों को चुनौती देनी होगी। प्रचलित मतों को तर्क की कसौटी पर कसना होगा। यदि वे तर्क का प्रहार न सह सके, तो टुकड़े-टुकड़े होकर गिर पड़ेगा। तब नये दर्शन की स्थापना के लिये उनको पूरा धराशायी करकेे जगह साफ करना और पुराने विश्वासों की कुछ बातों का प्रयोग करके पुनर्निमाण करना। मैं प्राचीन विश्वासांे के ठोसपन पर प्रश्न करने के सम्बन्ध में आश्वस्त हूँ। मुझे पूरा विश्वास है कि एक चेतन परम आत्मा का, जो प्रकृति की गति का दिग्दर्शन एवं संचालन करता है, कोई अस्तित्व नहीं है। हम प्रकृति में विश्वास करते हैं और समस्त प्रगतिशील आन्दोलन का ध्येय मनुष्य द्वारा अपनी सेवा के लिये प्रकृति पर विजय प्राप्त करना मानते हैं। इसको दिशा देने के पीछे कोई चेतन शक्ति नहीं है। यही हमारा दर्शन है। हम आस्तिकों से कुछ प्रश्न करना चाहते हैं।

यदि आपका विश्वास है कि एक सर्वशक्तिमान, सर्वव्यापक और सर्वज्ञानी ईश्वर है, जिसने विश्व की रचना की, तो कृपा करके मुझे यह बतायें कि उसने यह रचना क्यों की? कष्टों और संतापों से पूर्ण दुनिया – असंख्य दुखों के शाश्वत अनन्त गठबन्धनों से ग्रसित! एक भी व्यक्ति तो पूरी तरह संतृष्ट नही है। कृपया यह न कहें कि यही उसका नियम है। यदि वह किसी नियम से बँधा है तो वह सर्वशक्तिमान नहीं है। वह भी हमारी ही तरह नियमों का दास है। कृपा करके यह भी न कहें कि यह उसका मनोरंजन है। नीरो ने बस एक रोम जलाया था। उसने बहुत थोड़ी संख्या में लोगांें की हत्या की थी। उसने तो बहुत थोड़ा दुख पैदा किया, अपने पूर्ण मनोरंजन के लिये। और उसका इतिहास में क्या स्थान है? उसे इतिहासकार किस नाम से बुलाते हैं? सभी विषैले विशेषण उस पर बरसाये जाते हैं। पन्ने उसकी निन्दा के वाक्यों से काले पुते हैं, भत्र्सना करते हैं – नीरो एक हृदयहीन, निर्दयी, दुष्ट। एक चंगेज खाँ ने अपने आनन्द के लिये कुछ हजार जानें ले लीं और आज हम उसके नाम से घृणा करते हैं। तब किस प्रकार तुम अपने ईश्वर को न्यायोचित ठहराते हो? उस शाश्वत नीरो को, जो हर दिन, हर घण्टे ओर हर मिनट असंख्य दुख देता रहा, और अभी भी दे रहा है। फिर तुम कैसे उसके दुष्कर्मों का पक्ष लेने की सोचते हो, जो चंगेज खाँ से प्रत्येक क्षण अधिक है? क्या यह सब बाद में इन निर्दोष कष्ट सहने वालों को पुरस्कार और गलती करने वालों को दण्ड देने के लिये हो रहा है? ठीक है, ठीक है। तुम कब तक उस व्यक्ति को उचित ठहराते रहोगे, जो हमारे शरीर पर घाव करने का साहस इसलिये करता है कि बाद में मुलायम और आरामदायक मलहम लगायेगा? ग्लैडिएटर संस्था के व्यवस्थापक कहाँ तक उचित करते थे कि एक भूखे ख़ूंख़्वार शेर के सामने मनुष्य को फेंक दो कि, यदि वह उससे जान बचा लेता है, तो उसकी खूब देखभाल की जायेगी? इसलिये मैं पूछता हूँ कि उस चेतन परम आत्मा ने इस विश्व और उसमें मनुष्यों की रचना क्यों की? आनन्द लूटने के लिये? तब उसमें और नीरो में क्या फर्क है?

तुम मुसलमानो और ईसाइयो! तुम तो पूर्वजन्म में विश्वास नहीं करते। तुम तो हिन्दुओं की तरह यह तर्क पेश नहीं कर सकते कि प्रत्यक्षतः निर्दोष व्यक्तियों के कष्ट उनके पूर्वजन्मों के कर्मों का फल है। मैं तुमसे पूछता हूँ कि उस सर्वशक्तिशाली ने शब्द द्वारा विश्व के उत्पत्ति के लिये छः दिन तक क्यों परिश्रम किया? और प्रत्येक दिन वह क्यों कहता है कि सब ठीक है? बुलाओ उसे आज। उसे पिछला इतिहास दिखाओ। उसे आज की परिस्थितियों का अध्ययन करने दो। हम देखेंगे कि क्या वह कहने का साहस करता है कि सब ठीक है। कारावास की काल-कोठरियों से लेकर झोपड़ियों की बस्तियों तक भूख से तड़पते लाखों इन्सानों से लेकर उन शोषित मज़दूरों से लेकर जो पूँजीवादी पिशाच द्वारा खून चूसने की क्रिया को धैर्यपूर्वक निरुत्साह से देख रहे हैं तथा उस मानवशक्ति की बर्बादी देख रहे हैं, जिसे देखकर कोई भी व्यक्ति, जिसे तनिक भी सहज ज्ञान है, भय से सिहर उठेगा, और अधिक उत्पादन को ज़रूरतमन्द लोगों में बाँटने के बजाय समुद्र में फेंक देना बेहतर समझने से लेकर राजाआंे के उन महलों तक जिनकी नींव मानव की हड्डियों पर पड़ी है- उसको यह सब देखने दो और फिर कहे – सब कुछ ठीक है! क्यों और कहाँ से? यही मेरा प्रश्न है। तुम चुप हो। ठीक है, तो मैं आगे चलता हूँ।

और तुम हिन्दुओ, तुम कहते हो कि आज जो कष्ट भोग रहे हैं, ये पूर्वजन्म के पापी हैं और आज के उत्पीड़क पिछले जन्मों में साधु पुरुष थे, अतः वे सत्ता का आनन्द लूट रहे हैं। मुझे यह मानना पड़ता है कि आपके पूर्वज बहुत चालाक व्यक्ति थे। उन्होंने ऐसे सिद्धान्त गढ़े, जिनमें तर्क और अविश्वास के सभी प्रयासों को विफल करने की काफ़ी ताकत है। न्यायशास्त्र के अनुसार दण्ड को अपराधी पर पड़ने वाले असर के आधार पर केवल तीन कारणों से उचित ठहराया जा सकता है। वे हैं – प्रतिकार, भय तथा सुधार। आज सभी प्रगतिशील विचारकों द्वारा प्रतिकार के सिद्धान्त की निन्दा की जाती है। भयभीत करने के सिद्धान्त का भी अन्त वहीं है। सुधार करने का सिद्धान्त ही केवल आवश्यक है और मानवता की प्रगति के लिये अनिवार्य है। इसका ध्येय अपराधी को योग्य और शान्तिप्रिय नागरिक के रूप में समाज को लौटाना है। किन्तु यदि हम मनुष्यों को अपराधी मान भी लें, तो ईश्वर द्वारा उन्हें दिये गये दण्ड की क्या प्रकृति है? तुम कहते हो वह उन्हें गाय, बिल्ली, पेड़, जड़ी-बूटी या जानवर बनाकर पैदा करता है। तुम ऐसे 84 लाख दण्डों को गिनाते हो। मैं पूछता हूँ कि मनुष्य पर इनका सुधारक के रूप में क्या असर है? तुम ऐसे कितने व्यक्तियों से मिले हो, जो यह कहते हैं कि वे किसी पाप के कारण पूर्वजन्म में गधा के रूप में पैदा हुए थे? एक भी नहीं? अपने पुराणों से उदाहरण न दो। मेरे पास तुम्हारी पौराणिक कथाओं के लिए कोई स्थान नहीं है। और फिर क्या तुम्हें पता है कि दुनिया में सबसे बड़ा पाप गरीब होना है। गरीबी एक अभिशाप है। यह एक दण्ड है। मैं पूछता हूँ कि दण्ड प्रक्रिया की कहाँ तक प्रशंसा करें, जो अनिवार्यतः मनुष्य को और अधिक अपराध करने को बाध्य करे? क्या तुम्हारे ईश्वर ने यह नहीं सोचा था या उसको भी ये सारी बातें मानवता द्वारा अकथनीय कष्टों के झेलने की कीमत पर अनुभव से सीखनी थीं? तुम क्या सोचते हो, किसी गरीब या अनपढ़ परिवार, जैसे एक चमार या मेहतर के यहाँ पैदा होने पर इन्सान का क्या भाग्य होगा? चूँकि वह गरीब है, इसलिये पढ़ाई नहीं कर सकता। वह अपने साथियों से तिरस्कृत एवं परित्यक्त रहता है, जो ऊँची जाति में पैदा होने के कारण अपने को ऊँचा समझते हैं। उसका अज्ञान, उसकी गरीबी तथा उससे किया गया व्यवहार उसके हृदय को समाज के प्रति निष्ठुर बना देते हैं। यदि वह कोई पाप करता है तो उसका फल कौन भोेगेगा? ईष्वर, वह स्वयं या समाज के मनीषी? और उन लोगों के दण्ड के बारे में क्या होगा, जिन्हें दम्भी ब्राह्मणों ने जानबूझ कर अज्ञानी बनाये रखा तथा जिनको तुम्हारी ज्ञान की पवित्र पुस्तकों – वेदों के कुछ वाक्य सुन लेने के कारण कान में पिघले सीसे की धारा सहन करने की सजा भुगतनी पड़ती थी? यदि वे कोई अपराध करते हैं, तो उसके लिये कौन ज़िम्मेदार होगा? और उनका प्रहार कौन सहेगा? मेरे प्रिय दोस्तों! ये सिद्धान्त विशेषाधिकार युक्त लोगों के आविष्कार हैं। ये अपनी हथियाई हुई शक्ति, पूँजी तथा उच्चता को इन सिद्धान्तों के आधार पर सही ठहराते हैं। अपटान सिंक्लेयर ने लिखा था कि मनुष्य को बस अमरत्व में विश्वास दिला दो और उसके बाद उसकी सारी सम्पत्ति लूट लो। वह बगैर बड़बड़ाये इस कार्य में तुम्हारी सहायता करेगा। धर्म के उपदेशकों तथा सत्ता के स्वामियों के गठबन्धन से ही जेल, फाँसी, कोड़े और ये सिद्धान्त उपजते हैं।

मैं पूछता हूँ तुम्हारा सर्वशक्तिशाली ईश्वर हर व्यक्ति को क्यों नहीं उस समय रोकता है जब वह कोई पाप या अपराध कर रहा होता है? यह तो वह बहुत आसानी से कर सकता है। उसने क्यों नहीं लड़ाकू राजाओं की लड़ने की उग्रता को समाप्त किया और इस प्रकार विश्वयुद्ध द्वारा मानवता पर पड़ने वाली विपत्तियों से उसे बचाया? उसने अंग्रेजों के मस्तिष्क में भारत को मुक्त कर देने की भावना क्यों नहीं पैदा की? वह क्यों नहीं पूँजीपतियों के हृदय में यह परोपकारी उत्साह भर देता कि वे उत्पादन के साधनों पर अपना व्यक्तिगत सम्पत्ति का अधिकार त्याग दें और इस प्रकार केवल सम्पूर्ण श्रमिक समुदाय, वरन समस्त मानव समाज को पूँजीवादी बेड़ियों से मुक्त करें? आप समाजवाद की व्यावहारिकता पर तर्क करना चाहते हैं। मैं इसे आपके सर्वशक्तिमान पर छोड़ देता हूँ कि वह लागू करे। जहाँ तक सामान्य भलाई की बात है, लोग समाजवाद के गुणों को मानते हैं। वे इसके व्यावहारिक न होने का बहाना लेकर इसका विरोध करते हैं। परमात्मा को आने दो और वह चीज को सही तरीके से कर दे। अंग्रेजों की हुकूमत यहाँ इसलिये नहीं है कि ईश्वर चाहता है बल्कि इसलिये कि उनके पास ताकत है और हममें उनका विरोध करने की हिम्मत नहीं। वे हमको अपने प्रभुत्व में ईश्वर की मदद से नहीं रखे हैं, बल्कि बन्दूकों, राइफलों, बम और गोलियों, पुलिस और सेना के सहारे। यह हमारी उदासीनता है कि वे समाज के विरुद्ध सबसे निन्दनीय अपराध – एक राष्ट्र का दूसरे राष्ट्र द्वारा अत्याचार पूर्ण शोषण – सफलतापूर्वक कर रहे हैं। कहाँ है ईश्वर? क्या वह मनुष्य जाति के इन कष्टों का मज़ा ले रहा है? एक नीरो, एक चंगेज, उसका नाश हो!

क्या तुम मुझसे पूछते हो कि मैं इस विश्व की उत्पत्ति तथा मानव की उत्पत्ति की व्याख्या कैसे करता हूँ? ठीक है, मैं तुम्हें बताता हूँ। चाल्र्स डारविन ने इस विषय पर कुछ प्रकाश डालने की कोशिश की है। उसे पढ़ो। यह एक प्रकृति की घटना है। विभिन्न पदार्थों के, नीहारिका के आकार में, आकस्मिक मिश्रण से पृथ्वी बनी। कब? इतिहास देखो। इसी प्रकार की घटना से जन्तु पैदा हुए और एक लम्बे दौर में मानव। डार्विन की ‘जीव की उत्पत्ति’ पढ़ो। और तदुपरान्त सारा विकास मनुष्य द्वारा प्रकृति के लगातार विरोध और उस पर विजय प्राप्त करने की चेष्टा से हुआ। यह इस घटना की सम्भवतः सबसे सूक्ष्म व्याख्या है।

तुम्हारा दूसरा तर्क यह हो सकता है कि क्यों एक बच्चा अन्धा या लंगड़ा पैदा होता है? क्या यह उसके पूर्वजन्म में किये गये कार्यों का फल नहीं है? जीवविज्ञान वेत्ताओं ने इस समस्या का वैज्ञानिक समाधान निकाल लिया है। अवश्य ही तुम एक और बचकाना प्रश्न पूछ सकते हो। यदि ईश्वर नहीं है, तो लोग उसमें विश्वास क्यों करने लगे? मेरा उत्तर सूक्ष्म तथा स्पष्ट है। जिस प्रकार वे प्रेतों तथा दुष्ट आत्माओं में विश्वास करने लगे। अन्तर केवल इतना है कि ईश्वर में विश्वास विश्वव्यापी है और दर्शन अत्यन्त विकसित। इसकी उत्पत्ति का श्रेय उन शोषकों की प्रतिभा को है, जो परमात्मा के अस्तित्व का उपदेश देकर लोगों को अपने प्रभुत्व में रखना चाहते थे तथा उनसे अपनी विशिष्ट स्थिति का अधिकार एवं अनुमोदन चाहते थे। सभी धर्म, समप्रदाय, पन्थ और ऐसी अन्य संस्थाएँ अन्त में निर्दयी और शोषक संस्थाओं, व्यक्तियों तथा वर्गों की समर्थक हो जाती हैं। राजा के विरुद्ध हर विद्रोह हर धर्म में सदैव ही पाप रहा है।

मनुष्य की सीमाओं को पहचानने पर, उसकी दुर्बलता व दोष को समझने के बाद परीक्षा की घड़ियों में मनुष्य को बहादुरी से सामना करने के लिये उत्साहित करने, सभी ख़तरों को पुरुषत्व के साथ झेलने तथा सम्पन्नता एवं ऐश्वर्य में उसके विस्फोट को बाँधने के लिये ईश्वर के काल्पनिक अस्तित्व की रचना हुई। अपने व्यक्तिगत नियमों तथा अभिभावकीय उदारता से पूर्ण ईश्वर की बढ़ा-चढ़ा कर कल्पना एवं चित्रण किया गया। जब उसकी उग्रता तथा व्यक्तिगत नियमों की चर्चा होती है, तो उसका उपयोग एक भय दिखाने वाले के रूप में किया जाता है। ताकि कोई मनुष्य समाज के लिये ख़तरा न बन जाये। जब उसके अभिभावक गुणों की व्याख्या होती ह,ै तो उसका उपयोग एक पिता, माता, भाई, बहन, दोस्त तथा सहायक की तरह किया जाता है। जब मनुष्य अपने सभी दोस्तों द्वारा विश्वासघात तथा त्याग देने से अत्यन्त क्लेष में हो, तब उसे इस विचार से सान्त्वना मिल सकती हे कि एक सदा सच्चा दोस्त उसकी सहायता करने को है, उसको सहारा देगा तथा वह सर्वशक्तिमान है और कुछ भी कर सकता है। वास्तव में आदिम काल में यह समाज के लिये उपयोगी था। पीड़ा में पड़े मनुष्य के लिये ईश्वर की कल्पना उपयोगी होती है। समाज को इस विश्वास के विरुद्ध लड़ना होगा। मनुष्य जब अपने पैरों पर खड़ा होने का प्रयास करता है तथा यथार्थवादी बन जाता है, तब उसे श्रद्धा को एक ओर फेंक देना चाहिए और उन सभी कष्टों, परेशानियों का पुरुषत्व के साथ सामना करना चाहिए, जिनमें परिस्थितियाँ उसे पटक सकती हैं। यही आज मेरी स्थिति है। यह मेरा अहंकार नहीं है, मेरे दोस्त! यह मेरे सोचने का तरीका है, जिसने मुझे नास्तिक बनाया है। ईश्वर में विश्वास और रोज़-ब-रोज़ की प्रार्थना को मैं मनुष्य के लिये सबसे स्वार्थी और गिरा हुआ काम मानता हूँ। मैंने उन नास्तिकों के बारे में पढ़ा हे, जिन्होंने सभी विपदाओं का बहादुरी से सामना किया। अतः मैं भी एक पुरुष की भाँति फाँसी के फन्दे की अन्तिम घड़ी तक सिर ऊँचा किये खड़ा रहना चाहता हूँ।

हमें देखना है कि मैं कैसे निभा पाता हूँ। मेरे एक दोस्त ने मुझे प्रार्थना करने को कहा। जब मैंने उसे नास्तिक होने की बात बतायी तो उसने कहा, ‘’अपने अन्तिम दिनों में तुम विश्वास करने लगोगे।’’ मैंने कहा, ‘’नहीं, प्यारे दोस्त, ऐसा नहीं होगा। मैं इसे अपने लिये अपमानजनक तथा भ्रष्ट होने की बात समझाता हूँ। स्वार्थी कारणों से मैं प्रार्थना नहीं करूँगा।’’ पाठकों और दोस्तों, क्या यह अहंकार है? अगर है तो मैं स्वीकार करता हूँ।

Looter’s feast : The pillage of the USSR

gorby-regan

In 1987 the external debt of the U.S. rose to $246 billion. On the 19 of October 1987, Wall Street crashed! Only a miracle could save the U.S. in dire straits. And the miracle took place, and the its saviour was Gorbachev.

Gorbachev, by saved the U.S. economy, by ruining that of the USSR.

Would you like to know how?

In January 1987 the restrictions on foreign trade were repealed. These restrictions protected the domestic market of the USSR from collapse. Without them the domestic market of the USSR – with its ridiculously low prices for food and essential consumer goods, in comparison with the foreign markets – could not maintain itself for a single day.

And all of a sudden, companies and individuals were authorised to export overseas foodstuffs, raw materials, electronics equipment, energy, chemical products, just about … everything!

It was as if a powerful hurricane had swept over the vast territory of the USSR. In a moment it sucked outside the country all products of value. Groceries and manufactured objects disappeared from store shelves.

The pillage of the gold reserves

On 21 July 1989 new customs regulations repealed all restrictions on the export of gold and precious stones.

The work of the Soviet customs for the last 70 years was instantly wiped out.

Gold, in quantities up to then unheard of, was thrown onto the internal market, to be bought at an internal price, and then exported overseas.

At the time the newspaper “The Moscow Komsomol” described the jewellery trade thus: “A glittering picture of unrestrained speculation, the sales quota of the State Treasury (Gokhran) for jewellery was allocated over and over … The counters were under assault, the State Treasury was bombed with mail requesting new supplies of gold and precious stones … “.

The newspaper “Izvestia” requested that as a control measure against queues for gold and diamonds: “Be put on the market a formidable quantity of gold such as the State’s gold reserves.”

The newspaper “Soviet culture” called outright for the removal customs barriers for the export of gold.

After some time G. Yavlinsky (responsible for the economy in the government at the time) alarmed the press with a statement about the disappearance of the gold reserves. But it all calmed down rather quickly.

 

It got worse and worse

That same year individuals exported 500,000 colour televisions and 200,000 washing machines. In 1988 just one single family exported: 392 refrigerators, 72 washing machines, 142 air-conditioning machines… The personnel of one of the thousands of foreign organisations exported: 1,400 irons, 174 fans, 3,500 pieces of soap and 242 kg of washing powder, products that were specifically bought by the State – at the insistence of MPS – with foreign currency supposedly for the use of Soviet citizens.

These data appeared inadvertently in the press at the time. In 1989 alone, at just one of the many customs controls points, individuals exported more than 2 million tons of products that were in short supply in the USSR.

The entire production of the Krasnoyarsk cotton combine was exported. At the time a good bed-sheet cost 5 roubles, a double sheet 8 roubles. The exports of cloth tripled, those of cotton nearly quadrupled, while those of linen multiplied by 7.

These are figures about State exports alone. Private exports surpassed those of the government. Moreover, determining the exact figures of exports was impossible. The same newspaper “Izvestia” wrote at the time: “Our State is one of the few in the world that does not compile customs statistics.”

 What is the Balcerowicz miracle about which so many media talk about?

American experts have suggested to Balcerowicz (the organiser and inspirer ideological economic reforms in Poland) to reduce production and normal trade and instead encourage unreservedly small business dealings from hand to hand.

That is to say debase the labouring population and transform it into a “nation of hucksters.” All these downgraded individuals, by the million, flocked into the USSR like grasshoppers and began to export everything they could lay their hands on, from imported furniture to toothpaste, and by the ton.

In the Congress of Deputies there was a terrible scandal and shouting about the lack of toothpaste for the Soviet population. It never occurred to the Representatives of the people to question themselves as to the causes that brought about that glaring penury of toothpaste. They simply decided to buy abroad $60 million worth of toothpaste.

 Who got rich with these $60 million?

In France, from where it was imported, the toothpaste tube cost 15 Francs, while in the USSR it sold for a rouble. Of course, in no time, the toothpaste found once again its way abroad. It was sent to Poland in packs of 500 tubes (the original package of the French factory) and again without any restrictions.

It was transported in car boots, entire train compartments, or containers on decks of boats. Just like ants who only leave the skeleton of the body of a dead lion, the “Balcerowicz piranhas” took everything and left the Soviet people with empty store shelves. There was not an article of consumption, from foodstuffs to household appliances that was not exported.

We were left to wonder about how these goods had disappeared, because industry over the years continued to produce at full capacity.

 “The Leningrad Pravda» 1992

“In the USSR until 1990-1991, we produced 38 meters of cloth per capita. This represented 75% of the world production of linen cloth, 16% of wool and 13% silk. According to official State figures, only 50% of linen products and 42% of wool products were exported.”

But these figures did not take into account exports by private individuals. Because, like locusts, they exported everything they could buy.

The USSR produced 21.4% of the world production of butter (the Soviet population was 4.88% of the world population). Butter production continued to increase, but because of exports, rationing tickets had to be introduced. In the Soviet Union the production of butter per capita was 26% more than that in Great Britain. This being so, there was no butter in Soviet stores but one could buy it in Britain without any problem. Strange, is it not?

Official statistics regarded as consumed in the USSR all the butter and the meat that were sent to storage warehouses that supplied the grocery stores. For the purchase of butter and meat, passports were not required, consequently products purchased in the USSR, yet exported beyond its borders, were considered as contributing to the well-being of the Soviet people. In fact tons of meat and butter, bypassed the retail stores, and went directly to warehouses abroad by sea in containers, by land (road and rail) and by air.

All the while statistics demonstrated that the insatiable Soviet people had devoured it all.

In the late-80s and early 90s, everything had disappeared. Socks and refrigerators, televisions and plates, sheets and washing machines! The flying grasshopper had devoured it all, the sausages and the fish, the semolina and the sugar. Aluminium pots, soup-bowls and spoons were exported as cheap very valuable material that had gone through the stages that require a lot of energy and polluting treatment. The wood boring insects and exporters eroded the once powerful ship that was the Soviet economy and reduced to dust.

In 1991 it collapsed.

Tatiana Yakovleva 6-07-2012

(French translation YB)

http://south-worker.com/?p=556

Thanks to George

The killing of US ambassador to Libya: who is to blame?

Washington sticks to the stupid policy of using Islamic fundamentalists for its own self-serving agenda. The Islamists who stormed the US embassy in Cairo carried Bin Laden portraits.

The founder of the Al Qaeda terrorist network began his murky career in Afghanistan, where he worked as a CIA agent fighting against the country’s legitimate government and Soviet forces deployed there.

America’s image suffered a major blow following the killing of US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens in an attack against the American consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday. Throughout time, killing an ambassador has been regarded as a grave insult to the state he represented and has served as a pretext for many wars.

This time, however, there is no one to go into battle against. Ambassador Stevens was killed by those who came to power with American help not long ago. “I keep asking myself,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, in confusion, “how could this have happened in a country that the US helped to liberate?” Apart from asking questions, Washington is sending warships to Libya and neighboring countries and is hastily moving SEAL forces to protect US consulates in troubled countries.

However, US marines will hardly be able to do anything about what can well be described as an unprecedented anti-American uprising which has swept all countries of the Middle East and North Africa and had spread to India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, countries of Central Europe, and even faraway Australia.

The shallow and poorly made film denigrating prophet Muhammad became but a tiny spark triggering an explosion of a devastating force. It’s clear to any sober-minded individual that the “masterpiece” which was definitely watched by no more than a handful of Internet surfers couldn’t have set off millions of people in countries scattered all over the world.

The current unrest is the result of years-long discontent over the US doggedness in forcing American values on the rest of the world. On top of that, Washington sticks to the stupid policy of using Islamic fundamentalists for its own self-serving agenda. The Islamists who stormed the US embassy in Cairo carried Bin Laden portraits.

The founder of the Al Qaeda terrorist network began his murky career in Afghanistan, where he worked as a CIA agent fighting against the country’s legitimate government and Soviet forces deployed there. Given that the US continued to adhere to this tactic in subsequent years, the current lamenting over the unthankful Libyans in connection with the killing of Ambassador Stevens, who participated in person in the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi and was linked to Islamists, is either hypocrisy, or political short-sightedness.

I once asked 16th World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov how many moves ahead he saw in chess and he answered that depending on the circumstances he calculated two or three, or sometimes six or seven moves ahead. It looks like the unfortunate “grandmasters” from Washington never see more than one move ahead. After invading Iraq and removing Saddam Hussein, the Bush-Cheney team stopped planning any further. As a result, the country has plunged into chaos and has become a terrorism hub and Al Qaeda base, thus being on the brink of falling apart.

Current developments in Europe, which was a US stronghold until now, have thrown Washington into outright confusion. The same is true regarding countries that have seen the Arab Spring, which hopefully, will not grow into an ‘Arab Winter’.

Intrigue-prone Republican candidate Mitt Romney is trying to cash in on the current state of affairs by lashing out at Barack Obama with accusations. Even though the current mess was started by the Bush-Cheney administration, the incumbent leadership will have to sort it out, no matter who comes to power in January next year.

And it will be years before this mess is sorted out eventually.

Image Source Telegraph

 

 

 

The Electoral Victory of Political Islam in Egypt by Samir Amin

Muslim Brotherhood Logo

The electoral victory of the Muslim Brotherhood and of the Salafists in Egypt (January 2012) is hardly surprising.  The decline brought about by the current globalization of capitalism has produced an extraordinary increase in the so-called “informal” activities that provide the livelihoods of more than half of the Egyptian population (statistics give a figure of 60%).

And the Muslim Brotherhood is very well placed to take advantage of this decline and perpetuate its reproduction.  Their simplistic ideology confers legitimacy on a miserable market/bazaar economy that is completely antithetical to the requirements of any development worthy of the name.  The fabulous financial means provided to the Muslim Brotherhood (by the Gulf states) allows them to translate this ideology into efficient action: financial aid to the informal economy, charitable services (medical dispensaries etc.).

In this way the Brotherhood establishes itself at the heart of society and induces its dependency.  It has never been the intention of the Gulf countries to support the development of Arab countries, for example through industrial investment.  They support a form of “lumpen development” — to use the term originally coined by André Gunder Frank — that imprisons the societies concerned in a spiral of pauperization and exclusion, which in turn reinforces the stranglehold of reactionary political Islam on society.

This would not have succeeded so easily if it had not been in perfect accord with the objectives of the Gulf states, Washington, and Israel.  The three close allies share the same concern: to foil the recovery of Egypt.  A strong, upright Egypt would mean the end of the triple hegemony of the Gulf (submission to the discourse of Islamization of society), the United States (a vassalized and pauperized Egypt remains under its direct influence), and Israel (a powerless Egypt does not intervene in Palestine).

The rallying of regimes to neo-liberalism and to submission to Washington was sudden and total in Egypt under Sadat, and more gradual and moderate in Algeria and Syria.  The Muslim Brotherhood — which is part of the power system — should not be considered merely as an “Islamic party,” but first and foremost as an ultra reactionary party that is, moreover, Islamist.  Reactionary not only concerning what are known as “social issues” (the veil, sharia, anti-Coptic discrimination), but also, and to the same degree, reactionary in the fundamental areas of economic and social life: the Brotherhood is against strikes, workers’ demands, independent workers’ unions, the movement of resistance against the expropriation of farmers, etc.

The planned failure of the “Egyptian revolution” would thus guarantee the continuation of the system that has been in place since Sadat, founded on the alliance of the army high command and political Islam.  Admittedly, on the strength of its electoral victory the Brotherhood is now able to demand more power than it has thus far been granted by the military.  However, revising the distribution of the benefits of this alliance in favor of the Brotherhood may prove difficult.

The first round of the presidential election on 24 May was organized in such a way as to achieve the objective pursued by the system in power and by Washington: to reinforce the alliance of the two pillars of the system — the army high command and the Muslim Brotherhood — and settle their disagreement (which of the two will be in the forefront).  The two candidates “acceptable” in this sense were the only ones to receive adequate means to run their campaigns.  Morsi (MB: 24%) and Chafiq (Army: 23%).  The movement’s real candidate — H. Sabbahi – who did not receive the means normally granted to candidates, allegedly only got 21% of the vote (the figure is questionable).

At the end of protracted negotiations it was agreed that Morsi was the “winner” of the second round.  The assembly, like the president, was elected thanks to a massive distribution of parcels (of meat, oil, and sugar) to those who voted for the Islamists.  And yet, the “foreign observers” failed to observe a situation that is openly ridiculed in Egypt.  The assembly’s dissolution was delayed by the army, which wanted to give the Brotherhood time to bring discredit upon itself by refusing to address social issues (employment, salaries, schools, and health!).

The system in place, “presided” over by Morsi, is the best guarantee that lumpen development and the destruction of the institutions of the state, which are the objectives pursued by Washington, will continue.  We will see how the revolutionary movement, which is still firmly committed to the fight for democracy, social progress, and national independence, will carry on after this electoral charade.

 Source

Samir Amin is a Marxist economist.  Translation by Julia Monod (first published by Pambazuka News under a Creative Commons license).

US Military Base in Concon, Chile

Under the mantle of the UN, the Yankee imperialists have established a military training base to train the police forces and police from other countries in the “art” of repressing social protest and struggle for sovereignty that is developing in Chile and Latin America.

It is necessary to make this news widely known, TO DEMAND that the government IMMEDIATELY CLOSE this base; we must mobilize and call upon all the residents of the country to denounce this violation of our national sovereignty, the submission of the government in total complicity with the Concertation and the leadership of the misnamed “Communist Party of Chile”.

Yankees Out of Chile and Latin America!

Down with the government, which is a puppet of Yankee imperialism!

National Communications Commission

Chilean Communist Party (Proletarian Action) PC (AP)

Unsung Heroes by Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn

A high school student recently confronted me: “I read in your book A People’s History of the United States about the massacres of Indians, the long history of racism, the persistence of poverty in the richest country in the world, the senseless wars. How can I keep from being thoroughly alienated and depressed?”

It’s a question I’ve heard many times before. Another question often put to me by students is: Don’t we need our national idols? You are taking down all our national heroes- the Founding Fathers, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, John F. Kennedy.

Granted, it is good to have historical figures we can admire and emulate. But why hold up as models the fifty-five rich white men who drafted the Constitution as a way of establishing a government that would protect the interests of their class-slaveholders, merchants, bondholders, land speculators?

Why not recall the humanitarianism of William Penn, an early colonist who made peace with the Delaware Indians instead of warring on them, as other colonial leaders were doing?

Why not John Woolman, who, in the years before the Revolution, refused to pay taxes to support the British wars, and who spoke out against slavery?

Why not Captain Daniel Shays, veteran of the Revolutionary War, who led a revolt of poor farmers in Western Massachusetts against the oppressive taxes levied by the rich who controlled the Massachusetts legislature?

Why go along with the hero-worship, so universal in our history textbooks, of Andrew Jackson, the slaveowner, the killer of Indians? Jackson was the architect of the Trail of Tears, which resulted in the deaths of 4,000 of 16,000 Cherokees who were kicked off their land in Georgia and sent into exile in Oklahoma.

Why not replace him as national icon with John Ross, a Cherokee chief who resisted the dispossession of his people, and whose wife died on the Trail of Tears? Or the Seminole leader Osceola, imprisoned and finally killed for leading a guerrilla campaign against the removal of the Indians?

And while we’re at it, should not the Lincoln Memorial be joined by a memorial to Frederick Douglass, who better represented the struggle against slavery? It was that crusade of black and white abolitionists, growing into a great national movement, that pushed a reluctant Lincoln into finally issuing a half-hearted Emancipation Proclamation, and persuaded Congress to pass the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments.

Take another Presidential hero, Theodore Roosevelt, who is always near the top of the tiresome lists of Our Greatest Presidents. There he is on Mount Rushmore, as a permanent reminder of our historical amnesia about his racism, his militarism, his love of war.

Why not replace him as hero-granted, removing him from Mount Rushmore will take some doing- with MarkTwain? Roosevelt, remember, had congratulated an American general who in 1906 ordered the massacre of 600 men, women, and children on a Philippine island. As vice president of the Anti-Imperialist League, Twain denounced this and continued to point out the cruelties committed in the Philippine war under the slogan “My country, right or wrong.”

As for Woodrow Wilson, another honored figure in the pantheon of American liberalism, shouldn’t we remind his admirers that he insisted on racial segregation in federal buildings, that he bombarded the Mexican coast, sent an occupation army into Haiti and the Dominican Republic, brought our country into the hell of World War I, and put anti-war protesters in prison?

Should we not bring forward as a national hero Emma Goldman, one of those Wilson sent to prison, or Helen Keller, who fearlessly spoke out against the war?

And enough worship of John F. Kennedy, a Cold Warrior who began the covert war in Indochina, went along with the planned invasion of Cuba, and was slow to act against racial segregation in the South.

Should we not replace the portraits of our Presidents, which too often take up all the space on our classroom walls, with the likenesses of grassroots heroes like Fannie Lou Hamer, the Mississippi sharecropper? Mrs. Hamer was evicted from her farm and tortured in prison after she joined the civil rights movement, but she became an eloquent voice for freedom. Or with Ella Baker, whose wise counsel and support guided the young black people in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the militant edge of the civil rights movement in the Deep South?

In the year 1992, the quincentennial of the arrival of Columbus in this hemisphere, there were meetings all over the country to celebrate him, but also, for the first time, to challenge the customary exaltation of the Great Discoverer. I was at a symposium in New Jersey where I pointed to the terrible crimes against the indigenous people of Hispaniola committed by Columbus and his fellow Spaniards. Afterward, the other man on the platform, who was chairman of the New Jersey Columbus Day celebration, said to me: “You don’t understand- we Italian Americans need our heroes.” Yes, I understood the desire for heroes, I said, but why choose a murderer and kidnapper for such an honor? Why not choose Joe DiMaggio, or Toscanini, or Fiorello LaGuardia, or Sacco and Vanzetti? (The man was not persuaded.)

The same misguided values that have made slaveholders, Indian-killers, and militarists the heroes of our history books still operate today. We have heard Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, repeatedly referred to as a war hero. Yes, we must sympathize with McCain’s ordeal as a war prisoner in Vietnam, where he endured cruelties. But must we call someone a hero who participated in the invasion of a far-off country and dropped bombs on men, women, and children?

I came across only one voice in the mainstream press daring to dissent from the general admiration for McCain-that of the poet, novelist, and Boston Globe columnist James Carroll. Carroll contrasted the heroism of McCain, the warrior, to that of Philip Berrigan, who has gone to prison dozens of times for protesting the war in Vietnam and the dangerous nuclear arsenal maintained by our government. Carroll wrote: “Berrigan, in jail, is the truly free man, while McCain remains imprisoned in an unexamined sense of martial honor.”

Our country is full of heroic people who are not Presidents or military leaders or Wall Street wizards, but who are doing something to keep alive the spirit of resistance to injustice and war.

I think of Kathy Kelly and all those other people from Voices in the Wilderness who, in defiance of federal law, have traveled to Iraq more than a dozen times to bring food and medicine to people suffering under the U.S.-imposed sanctions.

I think also of the thousands of students on more than 100 college campuses across the country who are protesting their universities’ connection with sweatshop-produced apparel.

I think of the four McDonald sisters in Minneapolis, all nuns, who have gone to jail repeatedly for protesting against the Alliant Corporation’s production of land mines.

I think, too, of the thousands of people who have traveled to Fort Benning, Georgia, to demand the closing of the murderous School of the Americas.

I think of the West Coast Longshoremen who participated in an eight-hour work stoppage to protest the death sentence levied against Mumia Abu-Jamal.

And so many more.

We all know individuals-most of them unsung, unrecognized-who have, often in the most modest ways, spoken out or acted on their beliefs for a more egalitarian, more just, peace-loving society.

To ward off alienation and gloom, it is only necessary to remember the unremembered heroes of the past, and to look around us for the unnoticed heroes of the present.

—–

The Progressive magazine, June 2000

Source From the site thirdworldtraveler.com

Stop Corporatization, Stop Criminalization, Save Democracy Save People, Save Resources, Save Civilization, Save Life:

CORPORATE HIMSHA VIRODHI SAMANAWAYA SAMITI, ODISHA

(Coordination Committee Against Corporate Violence in Odisha )

Stop Corporatization, Stop Criminalization, Save Democracy

Save People, Save Resources, Save Civilization, Save Life

Press Note

Bhubaneshwar, February 22 : Ever since the frontiers of the country were nakedly made open to the global economic and market forces for ruthless exploitation of the rich natural resources and for the launching of an unethical, unreasonable and unjust market with growing potential to expand itself to meet the artificially engineered needs of an expanding middle class, the pillars of democracy started crumbling down. History, which keeps us reminding every now and then that India is a land of unique and ugly social inequalities and which do overlap with economic boundaries quite often, was conveniently ignored. The dominance of market over everything else – social, political and economic was designed without giving any thought to the possibility that the gaps only will widen and the bridge may not be a reality in future history. The 1990s not only marked the rise of big capital and corporate raj, it did also witness the beginning of the death of democracy which could not be revived again without hardships and sacrifices. The 10th year of reforms began with bloody tribute to the corporate raj when three tribals Abhilash, Raghunath and Damodar laid down their lives in the altar of Utkal Alumina led by the Birlas while defending their right to life, livelihood and democracy on 16th December, 2000. Continue reading

The Decline of American Empire (Part 2)

In the years of conscious, self-inflicted decline at home, “losses” continued to mount elsewhere.  In the past decade, for the first time in 500 years, South America has taken successful steps to free itself from western domination, another serious loss. The region has moved towards integration, and has begun to address some of the terrible internal problems of societies ruled by mostly Europeanized elites, tiny islands of extreme wealth in a sea of misery.  They have also rid themselves of all U.S. military bases and of IMF controls.  A newly formed organization, CELAC, includes all countries of the hemisphere apart from the U.S. and Canada.  If it actually functions, that would be another step in American decline, in this case in what has always been regarded as “the backyard.”

Even more serious would be the loss of the MENA countries — Middle East/North Africa — which have been regarded by planners since the 1940s as “a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history.” Control of MENA energy reserves would yield “substantial control of the world,” in the words of the influential Roosevelt advisor A.A. Berle.

To be sure, if the projections of a century of U.S. energy independence based on North American energy resources turn out to be realistic, the significance of controlling MENA would decline somewhat, though probably not by much: the main concern has always been control more than access.  However, the likely consequences to the planet’s equilibrium are so ominous that discussion may be largely an academic exercise.

The Arab Spring, another development of historic importance, might portend at least a partial “loss” of MENA.  The US and its allies have tried hard to prevent that outcome — so far, with considerable success.  Their policy towards the popular uprisings has kept closely to the standard guidelines: support the forces most amenable to U.S. influence and control.

Favored dictators are supported as long as they can maintain control (as in the major oil states).  When that is no longer possible, then discard them and try to restore the old regime as fully as possible (as in Tunisia and Egypt).  The general pattern is familiar: Somoza, Marcos, Duvalier, Mobutu, Suharto, and many others.  In one case, Libya, the three traditional imperial powers intervened by force to participate in a rebellion to overthrow a mercurial and unreliable dictator, opening the way, it is expected, to more efficient control over Libya’s rich resources (oil primarily, but also water, of particular interest to French corporations), to a possible base for the U.S. Africa Command (so far restricted to Germany), and to the reversal of growing Chinese penetration.  As far as policy goes, there have been few surprises.

Crucially, it is important to reduce the threat of functioning democracy, in which popular opinion will significantly influence policy.  That again is routine, and quite understandable.  A look at the studies of public opinion undertaken by U.S. polling agencies in the MENA countries easily explains the western fear of authentic democracy, in which public opinion will significantly influence policy.

Israel and the Republican Party

Similar considerations carry over directly to the second major concern addressed in the issue of Foreign Affairs cited in part one of this piece: the Israel-Palestine conflict.   Fear of democracy could hardly be more clearly exhibited than in this case.  In January 2006, an election took place in Palestine, pronounced free and fair by international monitors.  The instant reaction of the U.S. (and of course Israel), with Europe following along politely, was to impose harsh penalties on Palestinians for voting the wrong way.

That is no innovation.  It is quite in accord with the general and unsurprising principle recognized by mainstream scholarship: the U.S. supports democracy if, and only if, the outcomes accord with its strategic and economic objectives, the rueful conclusion of neo-Reaganite Thomas Carothers, the most careful and respected scholarly analyst of “democracy promotion” initiatives.

More broadly, for 35 years the U.S. has led the rejectionist camp on Israel-Palestine, blocking an international consensus calling for a political settlement in terms too well known to require repetition.  The western mantra is that Israel seeks negotiations without preconditions, while the Palestinians refuse.  The opposite is more accurate.  The U.S. and Israel demand strict preconditions, which are, furthermore, designed to ensure that negotiations will lead either to Palestinian capitulation on crucial issues, or nowhere.

The first precondition is that the negotiations must be supervised by Washington, which makes about as much sense as demanding that Iran supervise the negotiation of Sunni-Shia conflicts in Iraq.  Serious negotiations would have to be under the auspices of some neutral party, preferably one that commands some international respect, perhaps Brazil.  The negotiations would seek to resolve the conflicts between the two antagonists: the U.S.-Israel on one side, most of the world on the other.

The second precondition is that Israel must be free to expand its illegal settlements in the West Bank.  Theoretically, the U.S. opposes these actions, but with a very light tap on the wrist, while continuing to provide economic, diplomatic, and military support.  When the U.S. does have some limited objections, it very easily bars the actions, as in the case of the E-1 project linking Greater Jerusalem to the town of Ma’aleh Adumim, virtually bisecting the West Bank, a very high priority for Israeli planners (across the spectrum), but raising some objections in Washington, so that Israel has had to resort to devious measures to chip away at the project.

The pretense of opposition reached the level of farce last February when Obama vetoed a Security Council resolution calling for implementation of official U.S. policy (also adding the uncontroversial observation that the settlements themselves are illegal, quite apart from expansion).  Since that time there has been little talk about ending settlement expansion, which continues, with studied provocation.

Thus, as Israeli and Palestinian representatives prepared to meet in Jordan in January 2011, Israel announced new construction in Pisgat Ze’ev and Har Homa, West Bank areas that it has declared to be within the greatly expanded area of Jerusalem, annexed, settled, and constructed as Israel’s capital, all in violation of direct Security Council orders.  Other moves carry forward the grander design of separating whatever West Bank enclaves will be left to Palestinian administration from the cultural, commercial, political center of Palestinian life in the former Jerusalem.

It is understandable that Palestinian rights should be marginalized in U.S. policy and discourse.  Palestinians have no wealth or power.  They offer virtually nothing to U.S. policy concerns; in fact, they have negative value, as a nuisance that stirs up “the Arab street.”

Israel, in contrast, is a valuable ally.  It is a rich society with a sophisticated, largely militarized high-tech industry.  For decades, it has been a highly valued military and strategic ally, particularly since 1967, when it performed a great service to the U.S. and its Saudi ally by destroying the Nasserite “virus,” establishing the “special relationship” with Washington in the form that has persisted since.  It is also a growing center for U.S. high-tech investment.  In fact, high tech and particularly military industries in the two countries are closely linked.

Apart from such elementary considerations of great power politics as these, there are cultural factors that should not be ignored.  Christian Zionism in Britain and the U.S. long preceded Jewish Zionism, and has been a significant elite phenomenon with clear policy implications (including the Balfour Declaration, which drew from it).  When General Allenby conquered Jerusalem during World War I, he was hailed in the American press as Richard the Lion-Hearted, who had at last won the Crusades and driven the pagans out of the Holy Land.

The next step was for the Chosen People to return to the land promised to them by the Lord.  Articulating a common elite view, President Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes described Jewish colonization of Palestine as an achievement “without comparison in the history of the human race.” Such attitudes find their place easily within the Providentialist doctrines that have been a strong element in popular and elite culture since the country’s origins: the belief that God has a plan for the world and the U.S. is carrying it forward under divine guidance, as articulated by a long list of leading figures.

Moreover, evangelical Christianity is a major popular force in the U.S.  Further toward the extremes, End Times evangelical Christianity also has enormous popular outreach, invigorated by the establishment of Israel in 1948, revitalized even more by the conquest of the rest of Palestine in 1967 — all signs that End Times and the Second Coming are approaching.

These forces have become particularly significant since the Reagan years, as the Republicans have abandoned the pretense of being a political party in the traditional sense, while devoting themselves in virtual lockstep uniformity to servicing a tiny percentage of the super-rich and the corporate sector.  However, the small constituency that is primarily served by the reconstructed party cannot provide votes, so they have to turn elsewhere.

The only choice is to mobilize tendencies that have always been present, though rarely as an organized political force: primarily nativists trembling in fear and hatred, and religious elements that are extremists by international standards but not in the U.S.  One outcome is reverence for alleged Biblical prophecies, hence not only support for Israel and its conquests and expansion, but passionate love for Israel, another core part of the catechism that must be intoned by Republican candidates — with Democrats, again, not too far behind.

These factors aside, it should not be forgotten that the “Anglosphere” — Britain and its offshoots — consists of settler-colonial societies, which rose on the ashes of indigenous populations, suppressed or virtually exterminated.  Past practices must have been basically correct, in the U.S. case even ordained by Divine Providence.  Accordingly there is often an intuitive sympathy for the children of Israel when they follow a similar course.  But primarily, geostrategic and economic interests prevail, and policy is not graven in stone.

The Iranian “Threat” and the Nuclear Issue

Let us turn finally to the third of the leading issues addressed in the establishment journals cited earlier, the “threat of Iran.” Among elites and the political class this is generally taken to be the primary threat to world order — though not among populations.  In Europe, polls show that Israel is regarded as the leading threat to peace.  In the MENA countries, that status is shared with the U.S., to the extent that in Egypt, on the eve of the Tahrir Square uprising, 80% felt that the region would be more secure if Iran had nuclear weapons.  The same polls found that only 10% regard Iran as a threat — unlike the ruling dictators, who have their own concerns.

In the United States, before the massive propaganda campaigns of the past few years, a majority of the population agreed with most of the world that, as a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has a right to carry out uranium enrichment.  And even today, a large majority favors peaceful means for dealing with Iran.  There is even strong opposition to military engagement if Iran and Israel are at war.  Only a quarter regard Iran as an important concern for the U.S. altogether.  But it is not unusual for there to be a gap, often a chasm, dividing public opinion and policy.

Why exactly is Iran regarded as such a colossal threat? The question is rarely discussed, but it is not hard to find a serious answer — though not, as usual, in the fevered pronouncements.  The most authoritative answer is provided by the Pentagon and the intelligence services in their regular reports to Congress on global security.  They report that Iran does not pose a military threat.  Its military spending is very low even by the standards of the region, minuscule of course in comparison with the U.S.

Iran has little capacity to deploy force.  Its strategic doctrines are defensive, designed to deter invasion long enough for diplomacy to set it.  If Iran is developing nuclear weapons capability, they report, that would be part of its deterrence strategy.  No serious analyst believes that the ruling clerics are eager to see their country and possessions vaporized, the immediate consequence of their coming even close to initiating a nuclear war.  And it is hardly necessary to spell out the reasons why any Iranian leadership would be concerned with deterrence, under existing circumstances.

The regime is doubtless a serious threat to much of its own population — and regrettably, is hardly unique on that score.  But the primary threat to the U.S. and Israel is that Iran might deter their free exercise of violence.  A further threat is that the Iranians clearly seek to extend their influence to neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan, and beyond as well.  Those “illegitimate” acts are called “destabilizing” (or worse).  In contrast, forceful imposition of U.S. influence halfway around the world contributes to “stability” and order, in accord with traditional doctrine about who owns the world.

It makes very good sense to try to prevent Iran from joining the nuclear weapons states, including the three that have refused to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty — Israel, India, and Pakistan, all of which have been assisted in developing nuclear weapons by the U.S., and are still being assisted by them.  It is not impossible to approach that goal by peaceful diplomatic means.  One approach, which enjoys overwhelming international support, is to undertake meaningful steps towards establishing a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East, including Iran and Israel (and applying as well to U.S. forces deployed there), better still extending to South Asia.

Support for such efforts is so strong that the Obama administration has been compelled to formally agree, but with reservations: crucially, that Israel’s nuclear program must not be placed under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Association, and that no state (meaning the U.S.) should be required to release information about “Israeli nuclear facilities and activities, including information pertaining to previous nuclear transfers to Israel.” Obama also accepts Israel’s position that any such proposal must be conditional on a comprehensive peace settlement, which the U.S. and Israel can continue to delay indefinitely.

This survey comes nowhere near being exhaustive, needless to say. Among major topics not addressed is the shift of U.S. military policy towards the Asia-Pacific region, with new additions to the huge military base system underway right now, in Jeju Island off South Korea and Northwest Australia, all elements of the policy of “containment of China.” Closely related is the issue of U.S. bases in Okinawa, bitterly opposed by the population for many years, and a continual crisis in U.S.-Tokyo-Okinawa relations.

Revealing how little fundamental assumptions have changed, U.S. strategic analysts describe the result of China’s military programs as a “classic ‘security dilemma,’ whereby military programs and national strategies deemed defensive by their planners are viewed as threatening by the other side,” writes Paul Godwin of the Foreign Policy Research Institute.  The security dilemma arises over control of the seas off China’s coasts.  The U.S. regards its policies of controlling these waters as “defensive,” while China regards them as threatening; correspondingly, China regards its actions in nearby areas as “defensive” while the U.S. regards them as threatening.   No such debate is even imaginable concerning U.S. coastal waters.  This “classic security dilemma” makes sense, again, on the assumption that the U.S. has a right to control most of the world, and that U.S. security requires something approaching absolute global control.

While the principles of imperial domination have undergone little change, the capacity to implement them has markedly declined as power has become more broadly distributed in a diversifying world.  Consequences are many.  It is, however, very important to bear in mind that — unfortunately — none lifts the two dark clouds that hover over all consideration of global order: nuclear war and environmental catastrophe, both literally threatening the decent survival of the species.

Quite the contrary. Both threats are ominous, and increasing.

Noam Chomsky: America’s Decline Is Real — and Increasingly Self-Inflicted

Significant anniversaries are solemnly commemorated — Japan’s attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, for example.  Others are ignored, and we can often learn valuable lessons from them about what is likely to lie ahead.  Right now, in fact.

At the moment, we are failing to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s decision to launch the most destructive and murderous act of aggression of the post-World War II period: the invasion of South Vietnam, later all of Indochina, leaving millions dead and four countries devastated, with casualties still mounting from the long-term effects of drenching South Vietnam with some of the most lethal carcinogens known, undertaken to destroy ground cover and food crops.

The prime target was South Vietnam.  The aggression later spread to the North, then to the remote peasant society of northern Laos, and finally to rural Cambodia, which was bombed at the stunning level of all allied air operations in the Pacific region during World War II, including the two atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  In this, Henry Kissinger’s orders were being carried out — “anything that flies on anything that moves” — a call for genocide that is rare in the historical record.  Little of this is remembered.  Most was scarcely known beyond narrow circles of activists.

When the invasion was launched 50 years ago, concern was so slight that there were few efforts at justification, hardly more than the president’s impassioned plea that “we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence” and if the conspiracy achieves its ends in Laos and Vietnam, “the gates will be opened wide.”

Elsewhere, he warned further that “the complacent, the self-indulgent, the soft societies are about to be swept away with the debris of history [and] only the strong… can possibly survive,” in this case reflecting on the failure of U.S. aggression and terror to crush Cuban independence.

By the time protest began to mount half a dozen years later, the respected Vietnam specialist and military historian Bernard Fall, no dove, forecast that “Vietnam as a cultural and historic entity… is threatened with extinction…[as]…the countryside literally dies under the blows of the largest military machine ever unleashed on an area of this size.” He was again referring to South Vietnam.

When the war ended eight horrendous years later, mainstream opinion was divided between those who described the war as a “noble cause” that could have been won with more dedication, and at the opposite extreme, the critics, to whom it was “a mistake” that proved too costly.  By 1977, President Carter aroused little notice when he explained that we owe Vietnam “no debt” because “the destruction was mutual.”

There are important lessons in all this for today, even apart from another reminder that only the weak and defeated are called to account for their crimes.  One lesson is that to understand what is happening we should attend not only to critical events of the real world, often dismissed from history, but also to what leaders and elite opinion believe, however tinged with fantasy.  Another lesson is that alongside the flights of fancy concocted to terrify and mobilize the public (and perhaps believed by some who are trapped in their own rhetoric), there is also geostrategic planning based on principles that are rational and stable over long periods because they are rooted in stable institutions and their concerns.  That is true in the case of Vietnam as well.  I will return to that, only stressing here that the persistent factors in state action are generally well concealed.

The Iraq war is an instructive case.  It was marketed to a terrified public on the usual grounds of self-defense against an awesome threat to survival: the “single question,” George W. Bush and Tony Blair declared, was whether Saddam Hussein would end his programs of developing weapons of mass destruction.   When the single question received the wrong answer, government rhetoric shifted effortlessly to our “yearning for democracy,” and educated opinion duly followed course; all routine.

Later, as the scale of the U.S. defeat in Iraq was becoming difficult to suppress, the government quietly conceded what had been clear all along.  In 2007-2008, the administration officially announced that a final settlement must grant the U.S. military bases and the right of combat operations, and must privilege U.S. investors in the rich energy system — demands later reluctantly abandoned in the face of Iraqi resistance.  And all well kept from the general population.

Gauging American Decline

With such lessons in mind, it is useful to look at what is highlighted in the major journals of policy and opinion today.  Let us keep to the most prestigious of the establishment journals, Foreign Affairs.  The headline blaring on the cover of the December 2011 issue reads in bold face: “Is America Over?”

The title article calls for “retrenchment” in the “humanitarian missions” abroad that are consuming the country’s wealth, so as to arrest the American decline that is a major theme of international affairs discourse, usually accompanied by the corollary that power is shifting to the East, to China and (maybe) India.

The lead articles are on Israel-Palestine.  The first, by two high Israeli officials, is entitled “The Problem is Palestinian Rejection”: the conflict cannot be resolved because Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state — thereby conforming to standard diplomatic practice: states are recognized, but not privileged sectors within them.  The demand is hardly more than a new device to deter the threat of political settlement that would undermine Israel’s expansionist goals.

The opposing position, defended by an American professoris entitled “The Problem Is the Occupation.” The subtitle reads “How the Occupation is Destroying the Nation.” Which nation?  Israel, of course.  The paired articles appear under the heading “Israel under Siege.”

The January 2012 issue features yet another call to bomb Iran now, before it is too late.  Warning of “the dangers of deterrence,” the author suggests that “skeptics of military action fail to appreciate the true danger that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to U.S. interests in the Middle East and beyond. And their grim forecasts assume that the cure would be worse than the disease — that is, that the consequences of a U.S. assault on Iran would be as bad as or worse than those of Iran achieving its nuclear ambitions. But that is a faulty assumption. The truth is that a military strike intended to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, if managed carefully, could spare the region and the world a very real threat and dramatically improve the long-term national security of the United States.”

Others argue that the costs would be too high, and at the extremes some even point out that an attack would violate international law — as does the stand of the moderates, who regularly deliver threats of violence, in violation of the U.N. Charter.

Let us review these dominant concerns in turn.

American decline is real, though the apocalyptic vision reflects the familiar ruling class perception that anything short of total control amounts to total disaster.  Despite the piteous laments, the U.S. remains the world dominant power by a large margin, and no competitor is in sight, not only in the military dimension, in which of course the U.S. reigns supreme.

China and India have recorded rapid (though highly inegalitarian) growth, but remain very poor countries, with enormous internal problems not faced by the West.  China is the world’s major manufacturing center, but largely as an assembly plant for the advanced industrial powers on its periphery and for western multinationals.  That is likely to change over time.  Manufacturing regularly provides the basis for innovation, often breakthroughs, as is now sometimes happening in China.  One example that has impressed western specialists is China’s takeover of the growing global solar panel market, not on the basis of cheap labor but by coordinated planning and, increasingly, innovation.

But the problems China faces are serious. Some are demographic, reviewed inScience, the leading U.S. science weekly. The study shows that mortality sharply decreased in China during the Maoist years, “mainly a result of economic development and improvements in education and health services, especially the public hygiene movement that resulted in a sharp drop in mortality from infectious diseases.” This progress ended with the initiation of the capitalist reforms 30 years ago, and the death rate has since increased.

Furthermore, China’s recent economic growth has relied substantially on a “demographic bonus,” a very large working-age population. “But the window for harvesting this bonus may close soon,” with a “profound impact on development”:  “Excess cheap labor supply, which is one of the major factors driving China’s economic miracle, will no longer be available.”

Demography is only one of many serious problems ahead.  For India, the problems are far more severe.

Not all prominent voices foresee American decline.  Among international media, there is none more serious and responsible than the London Financial Times.  It recently devoted a full page to the optimistic expectation that new technology for extracting North American fossil fuels might allow the U.S. to become energy independent, hence to retain its global hegemony for a century.  There is no mention of the kind of world the U.S. would rule in this happy event, but not for lack of evidence.

At about the same time, the International Energy Agency reported that, with rapidly increasing carbon emissions from fossil fuel use, the limit of safety will be reached by 2017 if the world continues on its present course. “The door is closing,” the IEA chief economist said, and very soon it “will be closed forever.”

Shortly before the U.S. Department of Energy reported the most recent carbon dioxide emissions figures, which “jumped by the biggest amount on record” to a level higher than the worst-case scenario anticipated by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  That came as no surprise to many scientists, including the MIT program on climate change, which for years has warned that the IPCC predictions are too conservative.

Such critics of the IPCC predictions receive virtually no public attention, unlike the fringe of denialists who are supported by the corporate sector, along with huge propaganda campaigns that have driven Americans off the international spectrum in dismissal of the threats.  Business support also translates directly to political power.  Denialism is part of the catechism that must be intoned by Republican candidates in the farcical election campaign now in progress, and in Congress they are powerful enough to abort even efforts to inquire into the effects of global warming, let alone do anything serious about it.

In brief, American decline can perhaps be stemmed if we abandon hope for decent survival, prospects that are all too real given the balance of forces in the world.

“Losing” China and Vietnam

Putting such unpleasant thoughts aside, a close look at American decline shows that China indeed plays a large role, as it has for 60 years.  The decline that now elicits such concern is not a recent phenomenon.  It traces back to the end of World War II, when the U.S. had half the world’s wealth and incomparable security and global reach.  Planners were naturally well aware of the enormous disparity of power, and intended to keep it that way.

The basic viewpoint was outlined with admirable frankness in a major state paper of 1948 (PPS 23).  The author was one of the architects of the New World Order of the day, the chair of the State Department Policy Planning Staff, the respected statesman and scholar George Kennan, a moderate dove within the planning spectrum.  He observed that the central policy goal was to maintain the “position of disparity” that separated our enormous wealth from the poverty of others.  To achieve that goal, he advised, “We should cease to talk about vague and… unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization,” and must “deal in straight power concepts,” not “hampered by idealistic slogans” about “altruism and world-benefaction.”

Kennan was referring specifically to Asia, but the observations generalize, with exceptions, for participants in the U.S.-run global system.  It was well understood that the “idealistic slogans” were to be displayed prominently when addressing others, including the intellectual classes, who were expected to promulgate them.

The plans that Kennan helped formulate and implement took for granted that the U.S. would control the Western Hemisphere, the Far East, the former British empire (including the incomparable energy resources of the Middle East), and as much of Eurasia as possible, crucially its commercial and industrial centers.  These were not unrealistic objectives, given the distribution of power.  But decline set in at once.

In 1949, China declared independence, an event known in Western discourse as “the loss of China” — in the U.S., with bitter recriminations and conflict over who was responsible for that loss.  The terminology is revealing.  It is only possible to lose something that one owns.  The tacit assumption was that the U.S. owned China, by right, along with most of the rest of the world, much as postwar planners assumed.

The “loss of China” was the first major step in “America’s decline.” It had major policy consequences.  One was the immediate decision to support France’s effort to reconquer its former colony of Indochina, so that it, too, would not be “lost.”

Indochina itself was not a major concern, despite claims about its rich resources by President Eisenhower and others.  Rather, the concern was the “domino theory,” which is often ridiculed when dominoes don’t fall, but remains a leading principle of policy because it is quite rational.  To adopt Henry Kissinger’s version, a region that falls out of control can become a “virus” that will “spread contagion,” inducing others to follow the same path.

In the case of Vietnam, the concern was that the virus of independent development might infect Indonesia, which really does have rich resources.  And that might lead Japan — the “superdomino” as it was called by the prominent Asia historian John Dower — to “accommodate” to an independent Asia as its technological and industrial center in a system that would escape the reach of U.S. power.  That would mean, in effect, that the U.S. had lost the Pacific phase of World War II, fought to prevent Japan’s attempt to establish such a New Order in Asia.

The way to deal with such a problem is clear: destroy the virus and “inoculate” those who might be infected.  In the Vietnam case, the rational choice was to destroy any hope of successful independent development and to impose brutal dictatorships in the surrounding regions.  Those tasks were successfully carried out — though history has its own cunning, and something similar to what was feared has since been developing in East Asia, much to Washington’s dismay.

The most important victory of the Indochina wars was in 1965, when a U.S.-backed military coup in Indonesia led by General Suharto carried out massive crimes that were compared by the CIA to those of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.  The “staggering mass slaughter,” as the New York Times described it, was reported accurately across the mainstream, and with unrestrained euphoria.

It was “a gleam of light in Asia,” as the noted liberal commentator James Reston wrote in the Times.  The coup ended the threat of democracy by demolishing the mass-based political party of the poor, established a dictatorship that went on to compile one of the worst human rights records in the world, and threw the riches of the country open to western investors.  Small wonder that, after many other horrors, including the near-genocidal invasion of East Timor, Suharto was welcomed by the Clinton administration in 1995 as “our kind of guy.”

Years after the great events of 1965, Kennedy-Johnson National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy reflected that it would have been wise to end the Vietnam war at that time, with the “virus” virtually destroyed and the primary domino solidly in place, buttressed by other U.S.-backed dictatorships throughout the region.

Similar procedures have been routinely followed elsewhere.  Kissinger was referring specifically to the threat of socialist democracy in Chile.  That threat was ended on another forgotten date, what Latin Americans call “the first 9/11,” which in violence and bitter effects far exceeded the 9/11 commemorated in the West.  A vicious dictatorship was imposed in Chile, one part of a plague of brutal repression that spread through Latin America, reaching Central America under Reagan.  Viruses have aroused deep concern elsewhere as well, including the Middle East, where the threat of secular nationalism has often concerned British and U.S. planners, inducing them to support radical Islamic fundamentalism to counter it.

The Concentration of Wealth and American Decline

Despite such victories, American decline continued.  By 1970, U.S. share of world wealth had dropped to about 25%, roughly where it remains, still colossal but far below the end of World War II.  By then, the industrial world was “tripolar”: US-based North America, German-based Europe, and East Asia, already the most dynamic industrial region, at the time Japan-based, but by now including the former Japanese colonies Taiwan and South Korea, and more recently China.

At about that time, American decline entered a new phase: conscious self-inflicted decline.  From the 1970s, there has been a significant change in the U.S. economy, as planners, private and state, shifted it toward financialization and the offshoring of production, driven in part by the declining rate of profit in domestic manufacturing.  These decisions initiated a vicious cycle in which wealth became highly concentrated (dramatically so in the top 0.1% of the population), yielding concentration of political power, hence legislation to carry the cycle further: taxation and other fiscal policies, deregulation, changes in the rules of corporate governance allowing huge gains for executives, and so on.

Meanwhile, for the majority, real wages largely stagnated, and people were able to get by only by sharply increased workloads (far beyond Europe), unsustainable debt, and repeated bubbles since the Reagan years, creating paper wealth that inevitably disappeared when they burst (and the perpetrators were bailed out by the taxpayer).  In parallel, the political system has been increasingly shredded as both parties are driven deeper into corporate pockets with the escalating cost of elections, the Republicans to the level of farce, the Democrats (now largely the former “moderate Republicans”) not far behind.

A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, which has been the major source of reputable data on these developments for years, is entitled Failure by Design.  The phrase “by design” is accurate.  Other choices were certainly possible.  And as the study points out, the “failure” is class-based.  There is no failure for the designers.  Far from it.  Rather, the policies are a failure for the large majority, the 99% in the imagery of the Occupy movements — and for the country, which has declined and will continue to do so under these policies.

One factor is the offshoring of manufacturing.  As the solar panel example mentioned earlier illustrates, manufacturing capacity provides the basis and stimulus for innovation leading to higher stages of sophistication in production, design, and invention.  That, too, is being outsourced, not a problem for the “money mandarins” who increasingly design policy, but a serious problem for working people and the middle classes, and a real disaster for the most oppressed, African Americans, who have never escaped the legacy of slavery and its ugly aftermath, and whose meager wealth virtually disappeared after the collapse of the housing bubble in 2008, setting off the most recent financial crisis, the worst so far.

****

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor emeritus in the MIT Department of Linguistics and Philosophy. He is the author of numerous best-selling political works. 

[Note: Part 2 of Noam Chomsky’s discussion of American decline, “The Imperial Way,” .]

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The Criminal, Inhumane, Warmongering, and Illegal Sanctions on Iran

Statement by the Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan):

On Monday January 23, 2012, the foreign ministers of the imperialist European Union countries decided in Brussels to extend the economic sanctions on Iran by putting sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran and by freezing the assets of the Iranian people in Europe. In order to inflict a heavy damage on the economy of Iran, they decided to place an embargo on the export of Iranian oil to Europe.

To impose economic blockades on and to cause hunger in Iran are acts that are internationally illegal and are crimes against humanity. Imperialists want to impose their sinister, plundering, and domineering intentions on Iran and on their “axis of evils” by creating another Iraq and a second Gaza Strip. By punishing Iran, the imperialist countries want to teach a lesson to Non-Allied countries and to those who do not submit to their dictates.

In the past, the imperialists tried to justify their crimes by passing illegal resolutions in the UN Security Council. But they imposed sanctions against Iran today without any UN authorization. The sanctions are plots by a gang of international plunderers against a UN-member state and are against the UN Charter. The US and EU sanctions against Iran lack any legal basis in the international arena. The US imposes on countries of the world the decisions made in the US Congress and pretends that the decisions are made by the international community. The illegal and bullying actions against Iran show the hegemonic and despotic nature of US imperialism.

While the foreign minister of Russia, Sergei Lawrow, stated that the “unilateral actions are useless”, he added that there was no reason to make any decision in addition to collective decision by the UN Security Council. The deputy foreign minister of the racist government of Israel, Danny Ajalon, claimed in a press interview that “These sanctions have reduced the threat of war”. Coming out of the meeting that made warmongering and threatening decisions on Iran, Ms. Catherine Ashton who is in charge of the EU international relations and the foreign minister of Sweden Mr. Carl Bidlt claimed that the basis of their work was to appeal to diplomacy and negotiation!

The imperialist powers clearly lie when they claim that they recognize the legal and indisputable right of Iran to enrich uranium. The fact is that they have monopoly in producing nuclear energy. The recognition of Iran’s right to produce nuclear energy is to break the imperialist monopoly. In a deceptive psychological war, the major powers warn the world about Iran’s nuclear bomb, but they have not disclosed any document to show the existence of this bomb. German foreign minister Guido Weserwelle shamelessly said that “We cannot accept Iran developing nuclear weapons” and that “This is not a security problem for the region only but it will disrupt the world security”. Wow! The non-existent Iranian nuclear bomb disrupts the security of the entire globe but many hundred known or secret warheads in the hands of American, British, French, and Israeli warmongers are nor dangerous for the world security! Apparently, there are good and bad atomic bombs! The arguments given by the representatives of the imperialist powers are fierce, threatening, and sickening.

The history of economic sanctions shows that the ordinary people of the countries on which the sanctions were imposed suffered the most by the sanctions. In Iran, the inflation is rapidly rising, shortage of medicine and medical equipment is already felt, and particularly patients with heart problems are under attack because the companies making the equipments are under the US sanctions and cannot export their products to Iran. This is not a concern for the imperialist powers. It is not important to US President Obama and his Iranian allies if millions of people are slaughtered in the war. Also, the sanctions on Iran give an excuse to the authority of the Islamic Republic to increase the suppression of the anti-imperialist and democratic forces in Iran.

The imperialist powers think that if their sanctions cause widespread hunger in Iran, then the people will rise up and install a Western puppet regime. This is a miscalculation because the history of the Iran shows that Iranian people have always rejected submission to any forces allied to foreign imperialist powers. The Iranian masses have no feeling except disgust and hate towards sellouts, spies, and those who carry out terrorist operations in Iran.

The fact is that the imperialists’ actions against Iran are not for eliminating the Iranian nuclear bomb. Such a bomb does exist. Iran holds a key geo-political position in the Middle East region and is the center of entangled world contradictions. To control Iran is to control an entire strategic region with enormous energy resources that the US has desired to plunder for decades. The Strait of Hormuz is a valve for export of oil to the four corners of the globe. The US imperialists wish to have control over this oil valve. The presence of the US forces in the region is a danger for the world security and is a threat particularly to the security of the Middle East. The propaganda about Iranian atomic bomb, the bomb that does not exist, is justification for aggression on Iran and for domination of the region, and Islamic Republic’s capitulation to imperialists’ demands will not change the imperialists’ nature of following their domineering goals.

The Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan) believes that the economic sanctions on Iran act against the masses and are inhumane. We take the imperialists, particularly the US imperialists, responsible for the suffering and misery these sanctions will cause. The sanctions on Iran are illegal, warmongering, and unjustifiable. Our Party strongly condemns the imperialist sanctions, embargoes, and threats against the Iranian masses. We believe that every progressive, human-loving, and patriotic Iranian must take a stand against the sanctions and against the imperialist-Zionist warmongering threats, and must draw a sharp line to separate enemies from the people.

The regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran is a reactionary and Mafia-style capitalist regime. The regime of Iran has lost all its legitimacy, and the overwhelming majority of the Iranian masses are disgusted by the regime. The task of overthrowing this criminal regime is on the shoulders of the Iranian masses. The regime change by the imperialist invading forces will be for the purpose of colonizing the country and looting the resources of the nation. The imperialist powers have never supported and will never support the freedom-loving and democratic forces anywhere in the world. Their talks about freedom and human rights are nothing but smokescreens for their criminal actions, and Iraq, Libya, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan … are testimonies to this. Hypocrisy is written on their foreheads.

The Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan)

January 23, 2012
WWW.Toufan.org
Toufan@toufan.org

 

Oilpocalypse? Shell’s Arctic Drilling Plans Move Forward

Shell’s plans for drilling in the ecologically sensitive areas in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas are one step closer to becoming reality.

As The Hill reports:

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell is a step closer to drilling in fragile waters off Alaska’s northern coast following an EPA appeals board’s Thursday denial of green group challengesto a pair of air pollution permits.

The agency’s independent Environmental Appeals Board denied review of Clean Air Act permits that EPA granted Shell for its controversial plans to drill in the ecologically fragile Beaufort and Chukchi Seas this summer.

The Houston Chronicle reports:

Shell received conditional federal approval last month to drill six exploratory wells in the Arctic offshore region but still must secure permits for individual wells.

Environmental groups are planning their next steps. The Associated Press reports:

Earthjustice attorney Colin O’Brien, who represented groups that filed one of four air permit appeals, said it an email response to questions that the decision could be appealed in federal court, but that it was too early to speculate about potential next steps.

He said EPA took shortcuts when it issued the permits and failed to fully protect Arctic air quality as required by the Clean Air Act.

“These permits pave the way for Shell to emit thousands of tons of harmful air pollution into the pristine Arctic environment, at levels that may be harmful to nearby communities and the environment for years to come,” he said. “We are disappointed that the Environmental Appeals Board decided against us and allowed EPA’s permit decisions to stand.

In October green groups appealed the EPA’s decision to grant Shell Clean Air Act permits to shell.

“These permits mark the start of full-scale industrial oil exploitation of the extremely sensitive Arctic. Oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean comes with unacceptable risks of spills that could have catastrophic impacts on Arctic wildlife and the communities that rely on the Arctic environment,” said Center for Biological Diversity attorney Vera Pardee. “We witnessed devastating damage from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill; the turbulent, icy, dark and remote conditions of the Arctic would make cleanup there even harder — next to impossible. Drilling in Arctic waters is an extremely bad idea.”

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US Army’s Another Crime Against Humanity

In a shocking act that defies all human morality, a video has been released on internet which shows four US Marines standing over the bodies of several Taliban fighters, at least one of whom is covered in blood and urinating.

According to BBC

 The US has about 20,000 Marines deployed in Afghanistan, based mostly in Kandahar and Helmand provinces. In total, about 90,000 US troops are on the ground in Afghanistan.

 The Taliban said last week that they were working to set up a political office, possibly in Qatar, that would help to facilitate negotiations with the Afghan government and Nato countries.

 The video has not yet been circulated widely in Afghanistan, but there are fears that it could provoke further violence against international forces.

 The official US machinery have been quick to condemn this heinous act. Hillary Clinton said she shared Mr. Panetta’s view that such behaviour was inconsistent with the standards the “that vast, vast majority of our personnel – particularly our marines – hold themselves to”.

The US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta termed the act as “utterly deplorable”, he said that the behaviour of US Marines in a video which appears to show them urinating on the blood-soaked bodies of dead insurgency fighters is “utterly deplorable”

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul termed the behaviour “dishonours the sacrifices and core values of every service member representing the fifty nations of the coalition.”

This is not the first time when the occupying US troops have committed acts of extreme cruelty and war against humanity.

In a report published in Guardian (UK) reported: A US military court has convicted an army squad commander of leading a “kill team” in Afghanistan that murdered unarmed civilians and collected body parts as war trophies.

But the right wing imperialists have already started defending the act, Texas Governor and presidential aspirant Rick Perry said “These kids made a mistake. There’s not any doubt about it. They shouldn’t have done it. It’s bad,”  “But to call it a criminal act, I think, is over the top,”

The question worth raising is that in spite of repeated acts of inhuman behaviour, why is there no call to prosecute the soldiers, commanders and US leaders for perpetuating war against humanity, a clause which the imperialists have been invoking against anyone who have not been pawn in their global loot?

French Government Exposed in Rwanda’s Genocide

By Maryam

Newly evidence documents the role of the French regime in the 1994 Rwanda genocide — and has, once again, put the spotlight on this tragic event and the role of foreign imperialists in it.

In early August 2008, the Rwandan government released a report based on eyewitness accounts that the direct cooperation between the French state and the government of Rwandan Hutus that was in power during the 1994 genocide. This report is consistent with the results of investigations performed by various other organizations, including human rights groups. Continue reading

Coca-Cola Supports Swazi Dictator

report about the relationship between Coca-Cola and King Mswati III of Swaziland has been published in the media across the world during the past 24 hours. It is based on a statement from the Swaziland Democracy Campaign calling for the drinks firm to sever its ties with the last absolute monarch in sub-Saharan Africa. Continue reading

US Ambassador Echoes Cecil Rhodes

By Stephen Gowans

When in 1916 Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin expounded what historian V.G. Kiernan would later call virtually the only serious theory of imperialism, despite its shortcomings (1), Lenin cited Cecil Rhodes as among the “leading British bourgeois politicians (who) fully appreciated the connection between what might be called the purely economic and the political-social roots of modern imperialism.” (2)

Cecil John Rhodes

Rhodes, founder of the diamond company De Beers and of the eponymous Rhodesia, had made the following remarks, which Lenin quoted at length in his Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism.

I was in the East End of London yesterday and attended a meeting of the unemployed. I listened to the wild speeches, which were just a cry for ‘bread,’ ‘bread,’ ‘bread,’ and on my way home I pondered over the scene and I became more than ever convinced of the importance of imperialism … My cherished idea is a solution for the social problem, i.e., in order to save the 40,000,000 inhabitants of the United Kingdom from a bloody civil war, we colonial statesmen must acquire new lands to settle the surplus population, to provide new markets for the goods produced by them in factories and mines. The Empire, as I have always said, is a bread and butter question. If you want to avoid civil war, you must become imperialists. (3)

Skip ahead 95 years. Here’s US ambassador to Libya, Gene A. Cretz:

We know that oil is the jewel in the crown of Libyan natural resources, but even in Qaddafi’s time they were starting from A to Z in terms of building infrastructure and other things. If we can get American companies here on a fairly big scale, which we will try to do everything we can to do that, then this will redound to improve the situation in the United States with respect to our own jobs. (4)

New York Times’ reporter David D. Kirkpatrick noted that “Libya’s provisional government has already said it is eager to welcome Western businesses (and)…would even give its Western backers some ‘priority’ in access to Libyan business.” (5)

A bread and butter question. Also a profit-making one.

What Ahmadinejad really said at the UN

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s address to the 66th UN General Assembly meeting provided the Iranian president with the usual occasion to make the usual points and the Western media the usual occasion to misrepresent them.

Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon wrote that Ahmadinejad “sought to stoke controversy by again questioning the Holocaust,” (6) reminding readers that Ahmadinejad had once called for Israel to be “wiped off the map”, a distortion that will live on in history through its mere retelling. (What the Iranian president really said was that Israel would dissolve as the Soviet Union had.)

I read the transcript of Ahmadinejad’s address, but found no questioning of the Nazi-engineered holocaust.

Here are his remarks on Zionism and the Holocaust.

They view Zionism as a sacred notion and ideology. Any question of its very foundation and history is condemned by them as an unforgivable sin.

Who imposed, through deceits and hypocrisy, the Zionism and over sixty years of war, homelessness, terror and mass murder on the Palestinian people and countries of the region?

If some European countries still use the Holocaust, after six decades, as the excuse to pay fine or ransom to the Zionists, should it not be an obligation upon the slave masters or colonial powers to pay reparations to the affected nations?

By using their imperialistic media network which is under the influence of colonialism they threaten anyone who questions the Holocaust and the September 11 events with sanctions and military action. (7)

It would have been more accurate for Solomon to have written that Ahmadinejad sought to stoke controversy by again questioning the legitimacy of Zionism and the manipulative use of the Nazi-perpetrated holocaust to justify it.

But these themes are unmentionable in the Western corporate media.

It is common practice to capitalize the Nazi-engineered effort to exterminate the Jews as the ‘Holocaust’, as if there had never been any other holocaust—or any at rate, any other worth mentioning. Even the transcript of Ahmadinjad’s address refers to ‘the Holocaust’ rather than ‘a holocaust.’

The Justice Process

Humanities Greatest Enemy US imperialism

It seems that the only argument US president Barack Obama could muster for why Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas shouldn’t seek recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN is that the ‘peace process’ would be derailed.

Let’s lay aside the obvious difficulty of Barak the Bomber caring about peace, and that the ‘peace process’ has been off the rails for some time. His objection missed the point. Recognition of a Palestinian state isn’t a question of the peace process but of the justice process, and hardly a very satisfying one at that. What justice is there in Palestinians settling for one fifth of their country? Which is what, in any practical sense, UN recognition of the Palestinian territories as a state would amount to.

But it’s better than the status quo and a starting point.

For Zionists, the peace process is a little more appealing, but is the opposite of the justice process. It means getting Palestinians to settle for even less than one-fifth of their country, and to acknowledge the theft of it as legitimate.

An aside: Over 30 countries do not recognize Israel, among them Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, Iran and Syria.

Rational Ignoramuses?

Do those who promote what Keynes called the fallacy of thrift (or fallacy of austerity, to give it a contemporary spin) really believe what they preach: that cutting pensions, laying off public servants, raising taxes on the poor, and closing government programs, is the way to avert a deeper economic crisis for the bulk of us?

Do they even care about the bulk of us?

Or is austerity simply a way of bailing out bankers and bondholders by bleeding the rest of us dry?

British prime minister David Cameron, on a trip to Canada to compare notes with fellow deficit-hawk Stephen Harper, the Canadian PM, remarked that “Highly indebted households and governments simply cannot spend their way out of a debt crisis. The more they spend, the more debts will rise and the fundamental problem will grow.” (8)

This was reported with tacit nods of approval in Canada’s corporate press, as if Cameron’s utterings were incontrovertible, rather than the ravings of an economic illiterate (in the view of economists), or the words of a political con artist (in the view of class struggle literates.)

Highly indebted governments simply cannot cut their way out of an economic crisis. The more they cut, the more aggregate demand weakens and the worse it gets. Greece’s continued slide into economic ruin underscores the point. The United States’ inability to drag itself out of the depths of the Great Depression, until arms orders brought the economy back to life, strikes an historical cautionary note.

But recessions are not without benefits for corporate plutocrats. It’s easier to cut wages, salaries and benefits during downturns, and to enjoy bigger profits as a result. Small competitors can be driven out of business. Unions can be weakened. And governments have an excuse to slash social programs that have pushed the balance of power a little too far in labor’s direction. Indeed, all manner of sacrifices can be extracted from most of us if we’re persuaded that debt is the cause of the problem and that belt-tightening is the physic that will cure it.

My bet is that Cameron and his fellow water carriers for moneyed interests are no dummies — but they’re hoping the rest of us are.

Knowing Who Your Friends Are

Here is the widely reviled (by Western governments) Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe, at the 66th session of the UN General Assembly.

After over twenty thousand NATO bombing sorties that targeted Libyan towns, including Tripoli, there is now unbelievable and most disgraceful scramble by some NATO countries for Libyan oil, indicating thereby that the real motive for their aggression against Libya was to control and own its abundant fuel resources. What a shame!

Yesterday, it was Iraq and Bush and Blair were the liars and aggressors as they made unfounded allegations of possessions of weapons of mass destruction. This time it is the NATO countries the liars and aggressors as they make similarly unfounded allegations of destruction of civilian lives by Gaddafi.

We in Africa are also duly concerned about the activities of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which seems to exist only for alleged offenders of the developing world, the majority of them Africans. The leaders of the powerful Western States guilty of international crime, like Bush and Blair, are routinely given the blind eye. Such selective justice has eroded the credibility of the ICC on the African continent.

My country fully supports the right of the gallant people of Palestine to statehood and membership of this U.N. Organisation. The U.N. must become credible by welcoming into its bosom all those whose right to attain sovereign independence and freedom from occupation and colonialism is legitimate. (9)

It’s clear why he’s reviled by imperialists, but also by leftists?

If the Movement for Democratic Change’s Morgan Tsvangirai, favorite of the West, ever becomes president, expect a very different kind of address at future General Assembly meetings.

———————————-

1. V.G. Kiernan, Marxism and Imperialism, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1974.

2. V. I. Lenin, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism, International Publishers, New York. 1939. p 78.

3. Ibid. p 79.

4. David D. Kirkpatrick, “U.S. reopens its embassy in Libya”, The New York Times, September 22, 2011.

5. Ibid.

6. Jay Solomon, “Iran adds Palestine statehood wrinkle”, The Wall Street Journal, September 23, 2011.

7. http://www.president.ir/en/?ArtID=30573

8. Campbell Clark, “Cameron, Harper preach restraint in teeth of global ‘debt crisis’”, The Globe and Mail, September 22, 2011

9. http://nehandaradio.com/2011/09/24/full-text-of-robert-mugabe-speech-at-un-assembly/

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