Hands Off Syria, Victory to Assad: An exchange between the CPGB-ML and Media Lens.

The correspondence below was written by a CPGB-ML member in response to an article that appeared on MediaLens.org titled ‘Structural inclinations – the leaning tower of propaganda: chemical weapons attacks in Ghouta, Syria’ on 9 October.

We publish this not as an attack on Media Lens, whose work we value and respect, but as an exposure of the debilitating ideological castration that separates peace-loving people in the imperialist countries from adopting a class position on questions of war and peace; from turning imperialist war into a war on imperialism, from taking a resolute stand with the oppressed against the oppressors and unifying the workers in the imperialist countries with their brothers and sisters who resist in the oppressed countries.

1) Dear Media Lens

I was horrified to see the extent to which the imperialist bias that you make it your business to expose in corporate journalism has infected your own view of events in Syria.

In your recent article on the chemical weapons propaganda, you felt constrained to emphasise twice — at the beginning and at the end of your article — that President Assad of Syria is a ‘war criminal’. And, just like the journalists you excoriate, you offered not a shred of evidence for this assertion.

Near the beginning of your article you wrote, by way of an apology for criticising the corporate media’s ‘house lefties’:

The point is not that Aaronovitch, Hasan and Monbiot are wrong – the Assad dictatorship has committed many horrific war crimes, and may have again in Ghouta.

And at the end, having yourself referred to just some of the evidence that, when put together, makes it quite clear that the Syrian government did NOT carry out the recent chemical weapons attack in Ghouta, you undermined your whole article with the following statement:

Again, none of this means that the Syrian government, and indeed Assad himself, was not to blame for the August 21 attacks.

For any right-thinking person not infected with colonial prejudice, it is perfectly clear to see that President Assad is a popular, unifying leader in a country that has faced escalating hostility from imperialism for decades.

He heads a government that has been freely elected and which comprises members of many parties — a national-unity coalition, in fact. Syria’s government is far more democratic and representative than our own. Did you know that 50 percent of the seats in the Syrian parliament are reserved for workers? Since you so casually refer to it as a ‘dictatorship’ — as if that was established fact — I can only assume that you did not.

President Assad’s only ‘crime’ is to be the leader of a nation that has refused to ‘know its place’. He unites people from all backgrounds and presides over a much-valued secular state in a region where sectarian hatred has been deliberately fostered (and armed) by outsiders for generations.

Anti-imperialist, independent Syria has stood up to US and British corporate and military interests and to zionism. It has given real, physical support to Palestinian and Iraqi resistance and refugees — at great cost to itself. It has spent its resources on providing free education and health care, on keeping food prices low, and on limiting the activities of the very bloodsucking international corporations you also claim to oppose. It has refused to allow its people to become yet more disposable sweatshop-fodder for the world’s financial elite.

For decades, Syria has stood side by side with Iran and the Lebanese resistance to form a counterweight against Israeli (and therefore imperialist) dominance of the Middle East. It has supported countries all over the world — through both trade and diplomacy — that are trying to carve an independent furrow and lift their people out of the superexploited poverty that western imperialists have consigned them to.

So why should it be that you, who claim to want peace and harmony in the world, and an end to the domination of the imperialist corporations, have such a knee-jerk, hostile reaction to a leader and a government who are actually putting your supposed programme into action by standing up to the forces of imperialism? Why are you so quick to come down against David and agree with Goliath?

The only answers I can come up with are laziness and prejudice. You must have relied on vested interests for information in order to so casually refer to ‘dictator Assad’. And you would seem also to have accepted the right of the free-market fundamentalists who control our media to judge and label their opponents.

But any schoolboy critic of the system can tell you that words like ‘dictator’ and ‘undemocratic’ when used by our corporate media are simply code for ‘uppity native getting in the way of our profit-taking’. Can it be that, despite all your years of opposing the propaganda machine, this simple truth has so far eluded you?

Be that as it may, since you have set yourselves up as an independent voice that purports to expose the bias of the corporate media, it behoves you to find out the truth about the people that the West is demonising. And even if you can’t be bothered to to that, it ought to be a very minimum requirement that you not make categoric statements like ‘the Assad dictatorship has committed many horrific war crimes’ without backing them up.

I can assure you, if you think you have evidence, there are plenty of people out there who can help you see through it. Like so much of today’s propaganda, it will turn out to be paper thin.

Over the years, I have subsidised your work (when able), read your books and bought them for friends, followed your alerts and forwarded/shared them around. I have considered the work you do to be extremely useful to progressive humanity. You have written many things I disagreed with, but I considered you to be thoroughly critical in your thinking and aware that the narrative passed down to us by officially-sanctioned history books and the corporate media is written by vested interests and aimed at keeping us quiescent in the face of Britain’s hideous imperial crimes.

Which only makes your refusal to recognise the lies being told about President Assad and the Syrian government more baffling and disappointing.

I very much hope you will publish a full retraction of statements that — whether you mean them to or not — are reinforcing the lies of the corporate war propaganda machine, and therefore supporting what you yourselves have identified as a criminal war effort.

Sincerely yours
JB

2) Hi

Thanks for your email and support in the past.

Assad is certainly not head of the kind of system we would consider democratic. We’re not alone in that view. Noam Chomsky has commented:

‘First of all, Israel was not opposed to Assad. He has been more or less the kind of dictator they wanted.’

In 2011, Amnesty reported:

‘The authorities remained intolerant of dissent. Those who criticized the government, including human rights defenders, faced arrest and imprisonment after unfair trials, and bans from travelling abroad. Some were prisoners of conscience. Human rights NGOs and opposition political parties were denied legal authorization. State forces and the police continued to commit torture and other ill-treatment with impunity, and there were at least eight suspicious deaths in custody.’

You write:

“But any schoolboy critic of the system can tell you that words like ‘dictator’ and ‘undemocratic’ when used by our corporate media are simply code for ‘uppity native getting in the way of our profit-taking’.”

That’s often true but the corporate media doesn’t have a monopoly on the use, or intended meaning behind the use, of particular words. We can use the same words without intending anything of the sort. We have often quoted Ralph Nader on the US political system:

‘We have a two-party dictatorship in this country. Let’s face it. And it is a dictatorship in thraldom to these giant corporations who control every department agency in the federal government.’

In quoting Nader, we didn’t intend to suggest that the US was an uppity native getting in the way of profit-taking.

You write:

“For any right-thinking person not infected with colonial prejudice, it is perfectly clear to see that President Assad is a popular, unifying leader in a country that has faced escalating hostility from imperialism for decades.”

We didn’t say Assad wasn’t popular or unifying. We’ve often pointed out that Syria has faced escalating attacks from external forces of the kind you’re describing. We wrote that the Assad dictatorship ‘has committed many horrific war crimes’. That’s really undeniable. For example, Robert Fisk has cited Syrian army officers who made it very clear that they had not been taking prisoners. The Syrian air force has clearly been bombing civilian areas, also a war crime, and so on. As in any war, the government and head of government are responsible for all crimes of this kind.

Best wishes
DE Media Lens

3) Dear Media Lens

From your reply it’s clear that you are relying on supporters of the system for your information.

‘Human rights NGOs’ are usually backed by the same corporations who control the rest of our media. They are the missionaries of our time, clearing the way for imperial crimes by preaching to the oppressed and spreading slanders about them while pretending to be ‘independent’ of the imperial machine.

They present themselves as ‘neutral arbiters’, but a hefty proportion of what they put out is outright lies, while the rest is distorted through the mirror of western corporate interests.

And who appointed these western ‘NGOs’ as arbiters of rights anyway? Isn’t the first right of people everywhere to be allowed to live in peace? To just live??? Amnesty International led the war propaganda effort for the destruction of Libya with total lies. Its leaders loudly and shamelessly laid the groundwork for a genocide against black Libyans and the almost total destruction of 40 years of civilisational advance — then quietly retracted their lies when the war was over. MSF have been doing the same in Syria by spreading unfounded lies about the use of chemical weapons based on nothing but the say-so of Nato’s death squads.

Robert Fisk and Noam Chomsky are similar ‘left-wing’ imperialists of the type that you are usually quite good at spotting. They are ‘safe’ critics because they never question the really big lies on which the whole ideological edifice of this rotten system rests. If they weren’t such tame critics, you probably would never have have heard of them! I know you have a thing for Chomsky, but I would not rely on him for information for a second. In the case of Syria, he reinforces the western narrative by describing the terror gangs there as a legitimate liberation struggle that has been forced to arm itself. So yes actually, it is perfectly deniable that President Assad is the author of ‘horrific war crimes’ — not only Assad and Syria deny it, but so do most of progressive and oppressed humanity.

There is no civil war in Syria. The US, British and French imperialists are fighting a PROXY WAR. Civilians caught up in terrorist campaigns universally report on how many foreign accents and even languages there are amongst the fighters — who have mostly been drafted in from abroad. These mercenaries are not patriots. They have been trained by their masters to be utterly brutal (ie, killing and kicking out huge numbers of civilians from their homes, kidnapping young children and using chemical weapons on them in order to take photos and blame the deaths on the Syrian government). They recognise no rules of engagement. No crime is too barbaric for them. They are true servants of the Nato nazis.

Syria is fighting for its life as an independent and proud nation against the most powerful forces this planet has ever seen. Are you really saying that you (or Robert Fisk, come to that) are in a position to judge their tactics? One brutal battle where some bloody nasty terrorists got killed does not make the leader of a government into a war criminal. Especially when that government is trying to defend its people’s fundamental right to life by standing up against a criminal onslaught. They are trying not to become the next Afghanistan, the next Palestine, the next Congo, the next Iraq or the next Libya. They are trying to prevent the next middle-eastern genocide.

Do you think the Syrian government would remain popular if it was seen to be bombing its own civilians? Does that actually make sense if you stop to think about it? Why are the Syrian army greeted everywhere as liberators if that’s how they conduct warfare?

There has been a difficulty with ‘democratic freedoms’ in Syria. Where is there not? In Syria’s case, these limitations were a direct result of imperialist and zionist warfare, not the random whim of some mythical ‘evil tyrant’. Countries that stand up to imperialism are forced to take defensive measures. They are under constant attack on all fronts all the time – economically, militarily, via the media and through sabotage and infiltration. In order to allow people to keep going to school, to keep living in their subsidised housing, eating their subsidised food and using their free hospitals, the government had to protect the system that provided those from collapse at the hands of outside agents.

Think Britain during WW2. The country was in a state of emergency. People were asked to be vigilant against alien activity. Democracy was curtailed. Were there good reasons for it? Did the people understand it? Would you therefore characterise Churchill’s government as a brutally oppressive regime of war criminals? [In fact, it’s a bad comparison, as Churchill really was a war criminal and a nasty racist piece of work, but you take my point, I hope.]

Syria has been in a state of emergency, a state of war, since Israel occupied the Golan Heights. It has been constantly infiltrated by spies and saboteurs and, of course, some Syrians are in the pay of these forces. Do you honestly believe that a country under such attack should not take any steps to defend itself? Would you like to see imperialism being given free reign to control every corner of the planet? How do you expect countries to defend themselves if not by ‘oppressing’ those who want to hand the country over to the forces of free-market fundamentalism?

But it is not the job of peace-lovers and anti-imperialists to condemn the victim for trying to stop a crime. We should be pointing our fingers at the criminals and exposing their dastardly activities, not helping them to justify their vicious attacks.

The imperialists are angry only because the measures such states take to protect themselves are to a certain extent effective against their attempts to effect regime change from within, by subversion and manipulation. ‘We should be able to control your political and economic life’ is what calls by the imperialists for ‘open government and democracy’ really amount to. They are total doublespeak. Is it really so hard to see that?

Are you aware that the genuine ‘popular protests’ that the West homed in on and infiltrated as an excuse to trigger its proxy war were against market reforms that had been forced through by the IMF? Did you know that a structural adjustment programme had opened up parts of the economy to corporate investors and led to higher prices and unemployment? That the demonstrations were essentially a result of Syria having made concessions to the great economic pressure that has been brought to bear for decades by the imperialists?

Did you know that the real protestors considered President Assad to be on their side in their call for greater democracy (a lightening of the state of emergency) and for a return to a more nationalised economy and better opportunities for young people? Did you know that the mass of people backed a new constitution two years ago and back the government today? If you knew these facts you would not be so quick to believe the stupid lies about Assad ‘clamping down’ on protestors, ‘firing on his own people’, etc etc.

It is documented that terrorist snipers and armed men attacked police at faked ‘protests’ in order to portray the government as ‘brutal’ and justify their impending war — a war that has been in the planning for at least a decade.

Governments get demonised by the West precisely when they do manage to stand up for themselves and protect their people. While imperialism exists in the world, people will have to find ways to deal with that reality. They didn’t create the situation. They didn’t ask to be in the firing line. I’m sure they would like nothing better than to be left the hell alone to develop their economy and their culture in peace.

But that’s not what happens is it?

Why are we in the imperialist countries allowed to identify with the nobly vanquished victim and loudly wish that the world was not so unjust, but not to give any real support to those who are trying not to be the next victims of this barbaric system? Should we not be pulling out all the stops to help those on the front line who are actually doing something to change the balance of forces in favour of the oppressed?

And if Assad is popular, unifying and freely elected, where the hell do you get off calling him a ‘dictator’?

It’s time to dig a little deeper and decide which side you are really on. There are no neutral arbiters in this world.

Sincerely yours
JB

DEFEAT THE MURDEROUS IMPERIALIST PREDATORY WAR AGAINST THE SYRIAN PEOPLE!

Victory to Syria
DEFEAT THE MURDEROUS IMPERIALIST PREDATORY
WAR AGAINST THE SYRIAN PEOPLE !

Having failed miserably in its attempts to overthrow the Syrian government through its jihadist terrorist mercenaries, imperialism is in the final stages of its preparations for a direct military onslaught against the people of Syria and their lawful and popular government. By a concerted campaign, orchestrated by its political and ideological representatives, duly assisted by its gigantic propaganda machine – a veritable host of TV and radio stations and thousands of newspapers – which spews out non-stop lies about its intended victim, imperialism has built up an unstoppable momentum for yet another unlawful, unjust, bloody and predatory war. In the next few days, the Syrian people will find themselves to be the recipients of ‘democracy’, ‘freedom’, ‘human rights’ and ‘rule of law’ delivered by cruise missiles and other deadly weapons, which are bound to cause tremendous loss of life and material damage.

The pretext for this barbarous war is the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government against its own people – a charge that cannot withstand the slightest scrutiny. Why would the Syrian government use chemical weapons when its forces are inflicting decisive defeats on the bloodthirsty brutes unleashed by imperialism, just when a UN team is in the country investigating the use of these weapons, and that too in an area where the Syrian army is present in large numbers. Even the right-wing Zionist website WND expressed the view that the chemical attack was the work of the Syrian opposition forces.

All the evidence points in the direction of imperialism staging a provocation, through the use by its proxies of sarin and other nerve gases, so as to provide imperialism with an excuse for going to war against Syria with the hope of saving the skin of its surrogates who are on the verge of a complete rout.

Faced with this murderous war, the proletariat needs to know the unvarnished truth and not be palmed off with plausible lies. The proletariat needs to know:

• that the war presently being waged by imperialism and its stooges against the Syrian people did not simply and
spontaneously erupt in March 2011, but has actually been in preparation for at least a decade.

• that this war has nothing to do with humanitarianism, rule of law or democracy, which are merely catchwords that
imperialism uses to hide its real aims … it is a war for domination, for booty, plunder and brigandage;

• that in an effort to subvert the revolutionary movements of the people of the Middle East and the Maghreb, the
combined imperialist powers of Nato first targeted Libya and overthrew its government, murdering its undisputed
leader, Muammer Gaddafi, and are now intent on repeating their ‘humanitarian’ blitzkrieg against Syria;

• that Syria has become the target of imperialist subversion and aggression for pursuing independent economic
and foreign policies, for opposing the war in Libya, for its support for the Iraqi resistance, for its support for the
cause of the liberation of Palestine from zionist occupation, and for its alliance with Iran and the Lebanese resistance
movement, Hizbollah; in short, for its position in the axis of resistance that today stands in opposition to the
Zionist-imperialist axis of evil;

• that in the end this war is directed against China and Russia – the two countries which stand in the way of imperialist
domination of the world.

The proletariat must therefore condemn imperialism and its stooges in the most resolute terms and give its wholeheartedsupport to the Syrian people and their leadership, who are bravely defending the independence, sovereignty, honour and dignity of their country against imperialist brigandage.Those who claim to be socialist must take to the working masses the message of non-cooperation with imperialism’s predatory and criminal wars by refusing to play any part in moving materials, making munitions, pointing guns or
broadcasting imperialism’s warmongering propaganda lies.

From the very beginning of the counter-revolutionary rebellion in Syria, inspired, funded and aided by imperialism, we in the CPGB-ML have consistently called for the defeat of imperialism and the victory of the Syrian people led by President Assad, for we are firmly convinced that: “The revolutionary movement in the advanced countries would actually
be a sheer fraud if, in their struggle against capital, the workers of Europe and America were not closely and completely united with hundreds upon hundreds of millions of ‘colonial’ slaves who are oppressed by capital” (Lenin, The Second Congress of the Communist International, 1920).

We make a last-ditch appeal to our opponents in the working-class and ‘anti-war’ movement, especially the leadership of the Stop the War Coalition, who have hitherto deployed one excuse after another, one dishonest pretext following another, to undermine the anti-imperialist Syrian government, just as they did in the case of Libya, to join us in our
correct stance, if they do not want their hands to be dripping with the blood of the Syrian people, just as will be the hands of the imperialists. Failure to do so, whatever their intentions, objectively puts them in the camp of imperialism.

No cooperation with imperialism’s wars!
Victory to the Syrian people led by the Ba’ath Party and its progressive allies!
Death to imperialism and its Zionist and Arab stooges!

29 August 2013
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) www.cpgb-ml.org 01924 218 737 info@cpgb-ml.org

Up Yours!

RT report: Protest against media bias in war for public opinion over Syria

The following is taken from the article on Russia Today concerning protests aimed at exposing media bias against Syria in the war for public opinion.

syrian electronic army

The New York Times’ website has been disabled for the second time in under a month, with the newspaper attributing the outage to a “malicious external attack” widely thought to have come from hackers affiliated with the Syrian Electronic Army.

“Many users are having difficulty accessing the New York Times online,” the paper wrote on its Facebook page. “We are working to fix the problem. Our initial assessment is the outage is most likely the result of a malicious external attack. In the meantime we are continuing to publish key news reports.”

Multiple screenshots online reveal that when a user attempts to visit www.nytimes.com, the only message that appears is “Hacked by the SEA.” The hacker collective regularly infiltrates media organizations it perceives to be aligned against the Assad government.

The Times has continued publishing news articles on http://news.nytco.com since the main site began experiencing outages at approximately 3:00 pm EST.

This was the NYT homepage for a few minutes earlier pic.twitter.com/p8zJA96Nmn
— Megan Hess (@mhess4) August 27, 2013
The SEA also claimed in a series of tweets that it hijacked the domain for Twitter, redirected the social media traffic to its own server and rendering the site unstable.

Twitter spokesperson Jim Prosser confirmed to journalist Matthew Keys that site technicians are “looking into claims” from the SEA.

Hi @Twitter, look at your domain, its owned by #SEA 🙂 http://t.co/ZMfpo1t3oG pic.twitter.com/ck7brWtUhK
— SyrianElectronicArmy (@Official_SEA16) August 27, 2013

The SEA, a shadowy group of hackers sympathetic to the Syria’s President Bashar Assad, has launched cyber-attacks on a number of media outlets in recent months including the associated Press’ Twitter feed, which falsely reported that US President Barack Obama was injured in an attack on the White House.

The Times’ page was last unavailable on August 14, although the several-hour outage was later blamed on “a failure during regular maintenance.”

“While it may seem a little bit like they’re doing it for lulz because it is kind of random, it is ideologically motivated in the sense that these are all supporters of the Assad regime,” Eva Galperin, a global public policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told The Verge. “And they’re looking to get a message out about what they feel is bias in the media against Assad.”

This string of attacks comes as US leaders have publicly discussed the possibility of launching an attack against the Assad government, which they say used deployed chemical weapons on the Syrian people as the nation’s civil war passed the two-year point. US Secretary of State John Kerry has called Syria’s use of chemical weapons “undeniable” and “a moral obscenity” as government sources said a cruise missile strike was imminent.

Reports of more decisive victories for the courageous Syrian Army

Taken from the report on Russia Today The report also includes this video which carries an interesting report from inside Syria and some bizaare and increasingly senile comments from Tariq Ali.

http://on.rt.com/zks8ho

Intense fighting is reported from the strategic Syrian town of Qusair, as rebels and government forces fight to control the area. Opposition activists say 30 members of Hezbollah were killed, while the government claims to have captured the area.

Earlier Monday, Syrian state news agency SANA reported that the army had “restored security and stability to most Qusair neighborhoods” and was “chasing the remnants of the terrorists in the northern district.” The agency quoted a military source as saying that army units dismantled a number of explosive devices, planted by terrorists in al-Souk area in the middle of the city.

The source added that army units are continuing hunting the remnants of terrorists in some hideouts in the northern and southern areas of the city.

The Syrian army managed to make a full circle around the city, fighting the opposition fighters. The main achievement is to stop the line of supply chain between Lebanon and Syria,” local journalist Abdallah Mawazini told RT.

They started from the western side of the city, in the rural areas. They control this zone with some fighters from Lebanon. Some extremist groups were preparing to go into Syria to fight with the rebels, they were going to go make a bigger front in order to fight and expand the fighting line between the government and the opposition,” he said.

But opposition activists denied that Qusair had been captured, saying that they had pushed back most of the attacking forces to their original positions, destroying at least four Syrian army tanks and five light Hezbollah vehicles.
Troops backed by Hezbollah “made incursions into Qusair, but they are now basically back to where they started at the security compounds in east Qusair and at a…roadblock to the south,”local activist Tareq Murei told Reuters.
Murei said that six people were killed by Hezbollah’s multiple rocket launches on Monday.

The Free Syrian Army meanwhile said that Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah should be held“personally responsible” for the situation because he was allegedly meeting with all the fighters heading to Qusair. “We are today calling Nasrallah a killer of the Syrian people,” FSA spokesperson Louay Almokdad told Al Arabiya English. “We are certain these are fighters of Hassan Nasrallah. They are no longer Hezbollah, they are fighters of Hassan Nasrallah and Ali Khamanei.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 48 rebels had been killed, as well as four civilians. The Observatory’s director, Rahim Abdurahman, put Hezbollah casualties at 23 dead and 70 wounded. Lebanese security sources said at least 12 Hezbollah fighters had been killed.

Qusair, which is about 18 miles (29km) southwest of Homs, is seen as a key city for both sides. It helps link the Syrian capital of Damascus with government strongholds on the Mediterranean coast and is a passageway for rebel supplies and fighters from Lebanon.

According to UN figures, more than 80,000 people have been killed since the uprising against Bashar Assad began in March 2011.

‘No options off the table’

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a Monday statement that “no options are off the table” if the Syrian government refuses to negotiate the country’s future at the upcoming Geneva conference.
The comment came just four days after he accused the Assad regime of being “determined to conceal the truth” about what was happening, due to its refusal to allow a UN team to investigate reports that chemical weapons had been used by the Syrian army.

But while Hague points the finger at the Assad government, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has urged the Syrian opposition to take part in the peace conference, without setting any preconditions. The conference is being organized by the US and Russia, as a way to seek a resolution to the conflict.

Our colleagues, including Americans, together with who we put forward this initiative [to hold the conference], took the obligation to work closely with the opposition in order to make it change its approach to the immediate start of the negotiations and stop conditioning it with unrealistic things,” Lavrov said in a statement.

Lavrov also stressed that Iran must be among nations invited to the conference.

Istanbul and Madrid are expected to host meetings of various Syrian opposition groups this week, he said.

Meet the cpgb-ml at three London events this weekend

Come along and meet up with the various cpgb-ml / red youth contingents over the weekend at these events in London.RY_logo_white_250

Save the NHS – London Demonstration
18 May 2013 (12noon)
Jubilee Gardens (near the London Eye), London SE1
Demonstration called by a wide variety of campaign groups opposing the cuts and planned closures of services across the captial.
Come and join the CPGB-ML contingent on the demonstration.

More info: http://www.savelondonnhs.org.uk/

Picket of the US Embassy
18 May 2013 (2.00pm – 4.00pm)
US Embassy, 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 2LQ
Support the Syrian people, headed by President Assad!
Oppose imperialist interference!

Stalin Society: Film showing – Chapaev
19 May 2013 (2.00 – 5.00pm)
Kings Cross Neighbourhood Centre, 51 Argyle Street , London WC1H 8EF
The film is based on the book with the same title by Dmitri Furmanov, a Bolshevik commissar who fought together with Chapayev during the civil war in Turkestan. It is a striking example of how people were transformed in the Soviet Union. It details, with tenderness and humour, the life of Chapayev – from a bandit with an disorganised band of followers into a responsible leader within a disciplined Red Army force.
Made in 1934 this film became one of the most popular of Soviet films. In Russian with English subtitles.
ALL WELCOME

More info: http://www.stalinsociety.org.uk

Reply to our Red Youth Christmas letter

In December a 14 year old cadre of Red Youth took on his school’s Amnesty International group. We published his excellent letter online: A christmas letter to Amnesty International. In response we received a number of questions from others who were interested in the role of Amnesty International in their school. Our comrade has replied to a number of these questions, and we reproduce the excellent reply below [with names removed] in the hope that this will contribute to the debate around what constitutes our attitude to Amnesty International and at the same time explain our Marxist Leninist position on a number of familiar questions.

Dear XXXX XXXX,

Thank you for showing an interest in the CPGB-ML. I understand they have forwarded a letter of mine which I wrote to the Amnesty International club in my own School. Incidentally and importantly, I am still waiting for a reply from them.

I would like to answer, as a fellow school student, the questions you raised with the CPGB-ML. However, beforehand let me stress that the points which you have made are very important and insightful and give rise to the key and broader considerations at hand.

Your first question:

“The CPGB-ML has taken the stance of supporting ‘anti imperialist’
states such as the Republic of Zimbabwe, the Democratic People’s
Republic of Korea and the People’s Republic of China all of which have
according to many Western states and most human rights groups have
appalling records on human rights and other political freedoms. Does
the CPGB-ML feel these human rights abuses are falsified claims by the
West, claims that are put out of context or justifiable evils?”

Obviously, we believe these countries have significant human rights achievements and the western narrative is intentionally designed to mislead. In making this claim, there is no denial that miscarriages of justice do occur, as in any society with a class system. As Karl Marx explained it is class conflict which determines the social and political structures which prevail in society. In which case, only with the abolition of classes will it be possible to have a society without exploitation, inequality and injustices, the kind of ‘perfect’ society you allude to in your question.

However, it was Lenin who showed that in the current epoch capitalism has now swallowed up the globe and that the powerful imperialist states had divided the world into areas of domination and influence in order to exploit the resources and people of the weaker countries. This world system on the one hand is the main obstacle to development and economic progress for the oppressed nations of the world whose resources and people are exploited by the hegemonic nations whilst on the other hand it is the cause of war as they fight each other over the division of the world and violently repress the attempts by the poorer ones to break out from this system. The consequences including the obscene inequality witnessed in the distribution of the world’s economic output and quality of life, as well as the suffering caused by modern wars are the greatest denials of human rights. It is in this context that we judge the role of countries like the former Soviet Union, the former peoples democracies of Eastern Europe, Zimbabwe, Cuba, China, Vietnam, the DPRK, Syria, Iran and previously Libya etc. These are countries that have broken the chain of Imperialism, providing the bulk of humanity with the prospect of a decent life, once the preserve only of the fortunate classes in the more powerful richer nations.

As you have not raised any particular examples in your question, it is difficult to address any particular abuse of human rights you might have in mind. However, what one can say about the listed societies is the needs of the ordinary working people determine the way the society is governed. This can be contrasted with capitalist countries where the primary concern is the right to private property, private profit, the capitalists to exploit the workers and most importantly, for big powerful countries to be able to oppress and plunder the rest of the world including launching unprovoked wars of aggression against smaller countries with much less sophisticated military means to defend themselves.

Further, as the capitalist elite in these more powerful and richer countries survives by exploiting most of humanity, countries which refuse to submit are a big problem for them. It should come as no surprise therefore that the mass media which is controlled by the capitalists should demonise the alternative to their domination. Below is a link to a video which is presented by an ex CIA Economic Hit man who explains very clearly and simply the stages in how the US intelligence forces plot to change or control an independently governed nation.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nq-ZmatOlvs]

Additionally, the worst human rights abuses are within western countries and those that they control. The list of injustices is endless as my letter to Amnesty International indicates. However, western countries would have you believe that human rights abuse only happen elsewhere. Are not some of the worst breaches of human rights mass unemployment, denial of a free comprehensive and higher education, the denial of affordable and adequate healthcare and security in old age or when sick or disabled, the denial of equal opportunities for women, national/ethnic minorities, the denial of personal security and protection from police brutality? However, it is in capitalist countries that we witness such human rights abuse as the capitalists seek to place the increasing burden of the economic crisis of the capitalist system on the backs of the workers. The mind boggles when we hear the representatives of the capitalist class explain that the capitalist system can no longer afford these rights for the people, but continue to increase the assets of the ruling rich minority whilst wasting the potential contribution of millions of abled bodied workers who instead remain idle and jobless.

I think it’s also worth noting that the countries you refer to have to remain very vigilant in defending their independence, dignity and freedom from oppression from the big and powerful capitalist countries. Is this freedom not precious to them and should they not come down heavily on those who would jeopardise this, including those individuals that would sell out their country’s independence for their own personal gain?

Taking your second question:

“The CPGB-ML are famous amongst the left wing and trade union
movement for their attitude and relationship with the beliefs of
Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung and other Anti revisionist leaders. These
men, like the previously mentioned nations, have claims of human
rights abuses with their name. Does the CPGB-ML believe that the
claimed deaths that happened under Stalin’s reign, such as Holodomor,
are propaganda from the USA etc?”

Of course during WW2 Stalin was a hero not only to the people of the Soviet Union but to the workers throughout the world as the leader in the struggle of humanity to crush fascism. After the war much of the Nazi propaganda was taken up by Imperialism which of course was seriously weakened by the victory of the Red army. The vile and deceitful falsifications of history and the massive campaigns to deceive the workers in the imperialist countries is not only to be expected but is proof of the authenticity of the socialist and people centred nature of the Soviet Union. For why else was Imperialism forced to take a social democratic turn to stave off revolution in the imperialist heartland? Revolution had brought the workers to power in the socialist countries and at any cost this had to be prevented in the imperialist countries even if it meant making massive concessions at the time, of course with every intention of reversal as soon as the situation allowed or necessitated. So Stalin is demonised because he was a genuine leader of the workers who lead his nation into building a powerful socialist country very successfully and against all the odds. Such was its strength and success, it took over thirty years to dismantle.

The Holodomore myth is simply an extension of the Nazi policy of Lebensraum, whereby large parts of the western Soviet union were to be claimed by the Nazis. The German people were to be fed a barrage of lies about the region so that they should be seen as the rightful owners whose current residents would be only too grateful for the Nazi control. Of course in the very first days of the invasion as the entries in the diaries of senior German officers makes clear the reality could hardly have been more different. 90% of German combat fatalities in WW2 occurred fighting Russia. The Russian defeat of the Nazis is recognised as the greatest military achievement in history (MacArthur). This is the clearest evidence I can provide you with in rebutting the disgraceful slanders against the Soviet union and its leaders taken up by imperialism after the war in order to launch the Cold War.

Of course much has been written about the collectivisation of agriculture in the Soviet Union but if the claims of mass starvation leading to the deaths of millions are true then why is it that the photographs used to prove its existence are frauds and all are from the famine that happened during the war of intervention after 1918 when the new workers state was attacked by 11 imperialist powers? A famous book was written about this scandal by Douglas Tottle in 1987 called Fraud, Famine and Fascism: The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard, which explains in great detail how this lie started and what actually happened in the Ukraine at the time but is ignored by western media. It should also be made very clear that collectivisation was very popular amongst most of the people who pursued it very robustly but was vigorously resisted by those that had most to lose. The Kulaks resisted violently and selfishly often destroying rather than sharing. However, the policy proved a great success and there has never been famine in the Soviet Union since though this was a frequent occurrence before the 1917 revolution. It also enabled the country to industrialise rapidly as the extra grain could be sold to earn vital capital. Without the policy the country would never have been strong enough to defeat the Nazis and so comprehensively and in so doing save humanity from the awful scourge of fascism.

Taking your third question:

“The CPGB-ML has taken an admittedly unpopular stance on the Arab
Spring revolutions in Syria and Libya. Why did CPGB-ML side with the
forces of Colonel Gaddafi and Bashar Al-Assad against the
revolutionaries? Does the CPGB-ML feel it is better to have a flawed,
non Marxist, anti imperialist state rather than a pro Western
democracy with links to the USA?”

Because Libya was and Syria is not led by puppets of western imperialism, it is to be expected that their systems would be demonised in preparation for military targeting. It’s noteworthy that Libya in 2010 received various UN accolades for its human rights record, namely for educational, gender, ethnic minority and health policies as well as for achievements for social provision and its magnificent infrastructural projects, such as the Sahara aquifers. These human rights achievements were heavily targeted during the destruction of Libya. Ironically, Libya’s prison population was only 12,500 when the country was attacked (which ranks very average as a percentage of the population compared with other countries-unlike the USA which has the highest).

Under foreign pressure, various terrorist prisoners were released who then in cahoots with various western intelligence organisations began a violent campaign in eastern Libya, centred in the city of Benghazi, publically attacking, lynching and beheading public officials and officers, particularly dark skinned ones. Using propaganda techniques reminiscent of the style of Joseph Goebels, the notorious NAZI propagandist, the western mass media then depicted the resulting attempts by the Libyan government in restoring order, albeit very successfully, as a ‘ruthless crack-down on peaceful protesters”. Indeed, how could Al Qaida linked terrorists, including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, be in any way considered progressive or revolutionary? These throwbacks are fighting not to liberate their people from slavery, but to try and bring back the slave owners grip to the liberated zones.

Under the camouflage of the Arab spring, where genuine public protests in countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and the gulf monarchies are aimed at removing western puppet governments, the UN caved into western pressure authorising a no fly zone resolution over Libya. NATO countries then cynically exploited this far in access of the spirit of its wording so allowing thousands of NATO proxies and mercenaries in the region to descend on Libya under the protection of a massive NATO carpet bombing campaign in order to remove the legitimate government of the country, resulting in the deaths of up to a hundred thousand Libyans including its leaders and their families. Colonel Gaddafi, labelled as a ‘ruthless dictator’ at the time, was lynched and raped in full view of the world’s public as a warning to all those others who should dare to stand up to the NATO powers. As a consequence, abuse of human rights in Libya now is systemic as tens of thousands of innocent civilians languish in the prisons of terrorist gangs, for no other reason than the colour of their skin or their former public service. Such is the level of instability and lacking of rule of law, that even the US ambassador and staff were murdered in full public view.

Indeed, the war was many years in the making, being a pre-planned, organised mission of western imperialism. At a democratic election gathering in 2002, 4 star US Genera, Wesley Clark, described the contents of an extremely classified document which stated that the United States and its allies would use the 9/11 Terror attacks as a pretext for attacking a list of countries which currently were not controlled by US imperialism including both Libya and Syria, as well as Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Lebanon and Iran. (see this link)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw]

Following the complete disregard for international law in the utter destruction of a sovereign country and the removing of its legitimate government as in the case with Libya, both Russia and China at the UN security council have remained firm in upholding the rule of law so averting a similar catastrophe in Syria.

Therefore, the CPGB-ML, far from being unpopular in its stand on the Arab Spring revolutions, is in good company with those that wish to uphold the rule of law, opposing the highest of all crimes, an unprovoked war of aggression (Nuremburg). We are very proud to have consistently upheld this position throughout the developments in the Middle-East, probably the only organisation on the so called left to have done so. With regards to Gaddafi and Assad not being Marxists, as already explained, the class position is determined by the correct stand against imperialism. The first task of the revolution is the removing of imperialism from the country enabling it to adopt policies to promote the welfare of its citizens at home and pursue an independent foreign policy abroad. Is it not our internationalist duty to support the leaders of such countries whether they are Marxist or not in achieving these goals? I therefore strongly urge you to examine these achievements in relation to these countries which of course have had no air time whatsoever in the western mass media but are well known to the citizens of these countries. It is no surprise that the first country for Mandela to visit after his release from prison was Libya to thank Gaddafi for his support for the liberation struggle in South Africa. Nor should it be a surprise that it was and still is Syria that provides sanctuary to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians seeking refuge from Zionist eviction and for some 2 million plus Iraqi refugees who were displaced during the genocidal war of aggression against Iraq.

Taking your Fourth Question:

“What is the CPGB-ML’s position on Amnesty International and other
human rights organisations?”

I will try to briefly summarise the party’s line on Amnesty International, but I would recommend reading my letter which was written to the Amnesty International group at my own school.

Amnesty is, and always will be, a tool of the imperialist nations which, I have said before, commit the worst human rights abuses. Instead, it masquerades purposely as a human rights protector and deliberately points its longest finger at the nations which actually try to improve human rights, such as China, Cuba, the DPRK , Libya and Syria. Syria, the nation which is in the firing line of imperialism, is at the forefront of Amnesty’s ‘mission’ to improve “human rights”. Is this a coincidence? Of course not.

“We have the names of over 29,000 people killed since the crackdown on peaceful protests first began in Syria, in March 2011. But we believe the total figure is far higher, and the UN has claimed it is as high as 60,000.” quote Amnesty International (Stop the killing: Take action now!) This one paragraph released on Amnesty’s website sums the organisation up as a bias, lying and pro-war organisation.

So, our position on Amnesty International is very clear. It was set up purely to hoodwink the masses of western countries into believing that the wars perpetrated by western imperialism are carried out to promote human rights and fight humanitarian abuses but it is in fact the opposite which is the truth. Amnesty was introduced by CIA officials and ex US politicians as a key propaganda weapon.

I would be very interested in any responses that you might have to this letter and suggest that we maintain our discourse and continue with our debate.

In comradeship
AC
Red Youth

Stop the War Coalition, Ten years on – what have we achieved?

Red Youth

Stopping the war means stopping the imperial war machine: Join the Axis of Resistance!

Another February, another Stop the War ‘coalition’ conference.

British imperialist politicians, industrialists, mineral extraction conglomerates, weapons manufacturers and city financiers are no doubt quaking in their (custom-made John Lobb) shoes, all a-quiver in anticipation to see what militant challenges to their holocaust industry will emanate from this great anti-war gathering.

Except that a year after curtailing debate, unconstitutionally ‘disaffiliating’ anti-imperialists and ensuring Labour party control, unhindered by electoral consultation with the membership, StW ‘leaders’ have taken the step of scrapping the AGM format altogether, and substituting instead a ‘conference’ of an altogether less threatening type: there will be no motions, no debate, no ‘democracy in action’, no ‘grass-roots participation’. This year, “ten years on”, the platform will deliver their sterile lectures uninterrupted by activists’ disquieting notions of actually resisting imperialism. A kind of Marxism 13 for the Counterfire group.

“Ten years of banging on and on – in increasing obscurity, with ever fewer people paying attention, while the British imperialist war machine grinds inexorably on.” Would be more accurate.

What obstacles will ‘leaders’ like John Rees, Jeremy Corbyn, Tony Benn, Lindsay German – not to forget crowd-pulling Trotskyite linguistic guru Noam Chomsky – throw before the City of London’s ‘god-given’ right to exploit, rape pillage and plunder the globe?

There can be no doubt that this conference will be used as a platform for cosy reminiscences on the ‘great success’ of our ‘million-man march’ through London, on that wintery Saturday afternoon of 15 February 2003. Indeed, all our party comrades were there – although our party was not yet born. It is inspiring to be with the masses, no doubt. We could almost sense our strength, the slumbering power of the working masses. But what was the programme? Where the real disciplined unity? How were we to implement our goal? Were we simply a pressure group, begging the imperialist armies and their Labour party quartermasters to show mercy?

For even as we were marching, the Labour government – content that the official anti-war movement was in safe hands – was laying invasion plans, and was quick to talk down the significance of 4 percent of the British population marching through the capital. We failed to strike while the iron was hot! One month later, the troops were on Iraqi soil. For those who have taken the trouble to count, studies show that the real death toll stands at 4 million in Iraq alone, with 6 million displaced internally and externally. What kind of sorry ‘success’ story is that? And what is the conclusion that the average worker drew? That marching was useless, that the movement was over – that it had failed. On balance, their analysis is better than StW’s.

Renting a crowd?

Let’s not deceive ourselves. It was not the SWP or CPB, and certainly not the Labour party, who turned British workers onto the streets, but a section of British and European capitalists (manufacturing capital, as opposed to the oil and armaments giants) who were less desperate, more risk-averse, and opposed the Anglo-American militarist agenda and impending catastrophe in Iraq and the Middle East. It was the Daily Mail, that enlightened bastion of radical ideas, which advertised the march and called in its editorials for Britons to participate. The day before the march, it was the Daily Mirror that led with the article “A war won’t save Britain from terror” and ran its printing press all night to make placards for the demo!

What’s the point?

Since that initial high, with StW fortuitously finding itself at the head of this groundswell of real and popular anger (polls quoted 93 percent opposed to the Iraq war – while 98 percent of ‘balanced’ BBC propaganda was pro-war), where have we led British workers? How has our relationship matured?

It has been one long downward spiral. The StW office has collected money for distribution to a crop of Trotskyite and revisionist careerist staffers, and the ‘leadership’ thus generated issued call after call to “March, protest, act!” But to what purpose, and with what effect? Resolutions passed at national congress calling for active non-cooperation have been quietly shelved, and the most banal, unimaginative and ineffectual ‘action’ has been StW’s mantra. If the tactics were aimed at losing the support of the masses, they have been pitch perfect!

The grand old 2nd Viscount Stansgate marched us up to the top of the hill, handed us over to his successor, the honourable MP for Islington North, who pinned a Labour party purple campaign ribbon to our breast and marched us firmly down again. All aided and abetted by their adulating left-sectarian groupies, who go to the length of publishing articles – apparently without shame – about their ‘special relationship’ and admiration for Labour party ‘elder statesman’ Benn: “He’s got to this age and he’s still at demonstrations with a flask and cheese sandwich.” Amazing! Would that he were not.

The mountain brought fourth a mouse! The very same party that waged genocidal imperialist war, the Labour party of ‘Bomber Bliar’, leads the anti-war movement, and has delivered it safely into the enemy’s hands. What a farce! When the Nazi party ran trade unions in Germany, did this also demonstrate Hitler’s special relationship with the working class?

Yet few seem able to comprehend that the emperor is wearing no clothes: that the Labour party is a true-blue, union-jack-waving, immigration-scaremongering, gun-boat-toting, cruise-missile-dropping party of imperialism – and that support for and membership of such a party is totally incompatible either with serving the working class, or with stopping any imperialist war.

Where now?

After seven years of crisis, capitalism remains caught between the Scylla and Charybdis of its own making; between the abundant cheap goods it can produce by reducing wages, and its inability to sell this produce to the unemployed and impoverished masses; between the worker as object of his exploitation, and the worker as the consumer of his produce.

This worldwide crisis, more profound than the Wall Street crash of the 1930s, has been decades in the making, and is ruining the lives of unprecedented millions, who find their abilities, talents, and creative labour-power squandered; consigned to the scrap-heap of unemployment. A million British children go hungry each day, over a million youth and probably in excess of 8 million people of working age are unemployed.

The capitalist ‘solution’? Enormous hand-outs to (too-big-to-be) failing capitalists (no prizes for guessing who’s idea that was!), bankrupting the national treasuries, increasing taxes (for workers, while reducing tax on the mega-rich ‘economic motors’!) and reducing ‘unwarranted’ expenditure on health and education: sensible policies, for a happier Britain!

Currently the ConDem fad is more austerity on the one hand, and militarisation on the other; but let us note that decades of (Labour and Tory) Keynesianism have also failed. There is no solution under capitalism, but that will not stop them from attempting to dig their way out by increasing reliance on export of capital, backed by military adventurism to cement super-exploitation of cheap ‘third-world’ labour and looting other peoples’ resources. Britain and the US are becoming, if you can imagine it, ever more parasitic.

That is why the last ten years have seen such a relentless drive toward regional and world war. Our ‘masters’ are drowning the world in blood in order to avert the final demise of their system of production for (their) profit at our expense.

The fact is that the super rich-capitalists are totally out of their depth, and totally out of control. Our domestic woes and British imperialism’s bloody rampages abroad are two sides of the same coin; both are symptoms of the impending downfall of a senile ruling class. But they must be pushed over the precipice. Should our hand tremble? Is that not our job? Is that not the mission of our movement?

‘Unity’ with imperialism: the quaker test

Well, if by ‘movement’ we mean StW, then the answer is actually ‘No’. John Rees (SW/Counterfire Trotskyist) has at previous conferences assured the floor during debate (debate look you!) that he personally embraces these aims (of course!), but that, in order to remain ‘broad’ and quaker-friendly, he opposed StW calling for the victory of anti-imperialist forces.

Much easier (don’t you see?) to implicitly allow the victory of US and British imperialism – in the name of unity – while bemoaning the fate of their victims, calling for a better deal for our boys, fewer atrocities, etc. As for ‘bringing the troops home’, our imperialist masters plan on doing so anyway – once their missions of subjection are complete, compliant regimes are installed, stable occupations enforced and their reign of terror assured. It’s a military necessity to free up troops for the next intervention!

Rees’s infamous ‘quaker test’ is every bit as insidiously and divisively pro-imperialist as Norman Tebbit’s ‘cricket test’ is obviously and offensively so. If Rees wishes to support British imperialism, let him have the courage to say so openly, and remove his pernicious influence from the anti-war movement. No such honesty is forthcoming. Instead, it is more of the same: denunciation of the forces of resistance (they’re not socialists, they have poor ‘human rights’ records, they’re not democratic, are dictatorial …), pacifist platitudes, and simultaneous lionisation of Labour party social-imperialist saboteurs.

Libya

And it is just this opportunist leadership of StW that led to its shameful support of Nato’s bombing of Libya. A little retrospective wailing and gnashing of teeth over the 50,000 deaths and wholesale destruction of Libya’s hard-won independence and freedom will not wipe out the stain of collaboration. For at the crucial moment, Stop the War organised demonstrations in support of Nato’s war, and against the Libyan people’s resistance – on the shabby pretext of ‘opposing Gaddafi’. We shall not forgive or forget this shameful fraud and betrayal, which was the beginning of the end for StW. Libya’s enlightened society and modern industrial infrastructure yielded exemplary living standards – the highest in Africa, before the head-banging CIA and MI6-backed jihadists were forcibly installed.

Syria

No sooner had Libya fallen under Nato’s jackboot, than the same fundamentalist CIA army were transferred to their new task of causing murderous and brutal chaos in Syria – in order to generate the pretext for another intervention, removing the next obstacle on the road to total US/British hegemony over the oil and labour of the Middle East. One step closer to recolonising Iran (how we thirst for Persian oil!)

And, right on cue, in waded StW, with Rees and company’s heartfelt denunciations of ‘brutal dictator’ Assad and strident support for this ‘popular revolution’! Once more, there is not a hair’s breadth between the imperialists’ pro-war propaganda and that of the allegedly anti-war Trotskyites. Rees didn’t seem to notice that Nato’s aggression is a criminal, barbaric assault on an independent and sovereign nation. His only worry was that open Nato bombing (as opposed to the covert, proxy war via local proxies) would be “a threat to the continued progressive nature of the uprising”.
So no need to oppose the aim of Nato’s terrorists’ atrocities – forcing terrified captives to act as human bombs, massacring unarmed civilians while filming it all for the greater glory of YouTube, etc – because we all want Assad out, right? In fact, Rees and co would much rather forget all about Nato’s current war, and concentrate on denouncing the prospect of a future war with Iran – ignoring the fact that the war against Syria is an essential preliminary to that campaign!

History repeats itself – the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce! Lenin was a thousand times right when he said that “the fight against imperialism is a sham and humbug unless it is inseparably bound up with the fight against opportunism”.

If we are ever to be crowned by success, we must jettison this bunch of charlatans who parade as ‘friends of the people’ while binding our movement to the war chariot of imperialism.

Stop the wars! Fight imperialism! Join the axis of resistance!

Communists demonstrate in Turkey against Syrian intervention

As thousands demonstrate regularly across Turkey, follow the stories on the youtube site of the TKP and the daily newspaper Sol.

Scene from the port of Iskenderun where patriot missiles are being brought into the country
Scene from the port of Iskenderun where patriot missiles are being brought into the country

The TKP (Communist Party of Turkey) has organised a series of militant demonstrations opposing the arrival of patriot missiles and the escalation of Turkey’s aggressive stance towards Syria these last few weeks. The photograph above shows workers at the port of Iskenderun where patriot missiles were arriving over the weekend. The first video which we post below is from one of the first major demonstrations which was reported by Iran’s PressTv and the subsequent video’s are of TKP activists rallying in Istanbul and other places.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2u1yJeuT75U]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pqkJMkjmCc&list=UU9yfXpk0SgTLXbSfRiaC4Nw&index=2]

After Syria comes Iran

In 2007, retired US general Wesley Clarke revealed details of a secret Pentagon ‘Redirection strategy’ document, which proposed using 9/11 to justify launching unprovoked wars (the highest international crime) on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Iran and Lebanon – all countries seen as obstacles to US world domination and obstacles to the raking in of maximum profits by British and US corporations.

It is clear that if the Syrian government is toppled, the attacks against Iran will be escalated into a full war – and the inevitable endgame if the juggernaut is not stopped will be a catastrophic conflagration against Russia and China. Meanwhile, those who tell us to support the Syrian ‘opposition’ are blocking our ability to effectively mobilise and sabotage the war effort, which means objectively (whether or not they mean to) they are weakening not only Syria’s chances of survival but also Iran’s.

For imperialism, Syria is a stepping stone, a gateway to Iran. And so the best defence for Iran will naturally be a victory for the Syrian government. Which means the most urgent question for the British anti-war movement today is the defence of Syria.

Iran’s envoy, Saeed Jalili, says that Iran and Syria are part of an unbreakable “axis of resistance”. We workers in Britain need to join this ‘axis of resistance’ by refusing to cooperate with the criminal war against Syria. We must refuse to fight; refuse to make or transport arms and supplies; refuse to create or broadcast war propaganda that demonises Syria’s leaders and justifies the war. And we must give full support to the Syrian and Iranian governments in defending their people against imperialism.

A Christmas letter to Amnesty International

Amnesty International

A 14 year old cadre of Red Youth has written and posted the following letter to his school who have instituted an Amnesty International club for the students. Our comrade, in a short and precise letter exposes the sheer hypocrisy of AI and delivers a challenge to his school, peers and the local AI Club to justify their peddling of imperialist propaganda. The letter is reproduced exactly as it was composed save the name of the school and comrade:

“Dear TGS Amnesty International Club,

I am writing this letter in sheer disgust at the ignorance of xxxx Schools Amnesty International club portrays. Presentations were carried out throughout the school promoting the club and issuing out awareness material to other students. Students were intimidated into signing cards and letters expressing their support for the supposed ‘political prisoners’ locked up in certain nations across the world. The information given to the students about the prisoners was extremely limited and bias. However, my argument is for the millions of oppressed people across the world suffering at the behest of the rich and powerful nations on whose behalf A. I. operates and from where it is based. Why focus on a few individuals and then ignore all the crimes committed by these powerful states? I will be expressing points which will hopefully be answered by the group.

I have no doubt that Amnesty International contains a great number of well-meaning supporters, people with genuine compassion. It is from this standpoint that I express my outrage at the continual stream of lies, hypocrisy and war propaganda that emanates from publications and spokespersons of Amnesty International, hood-winking its members, volunteers and the general public alike into supporting acts of genocide, ethnic cleansing and regime change throughout the world.

We all remember the horrendous war on Libya which resulted in thousands of innocent civilians being killed, beautiful infrastructure being smashed (including the Sahara Aquifers) and blown up and a secular and progressive regime being expunged. And let’s not forget how we all witnessed the rape and lynching by mercenaries and foreign terrorists of the much loved Leader of that country, Colonel Gaddafi, on our computers, mobiles and television screens like some kind of sadistic game that would be familiar to see on horror films like Saw and Hostel. And which ‘Human Rights’ organization really pushed for regime change in that country? Of course, Amnesty International.

Now, several months on, cases are emerging of Libyan cities and towns such as Tawergha, Bani Waled and Sirte being persecuted and violently terrorised due to the fact that the majority of people living there were black. In one town, Tawergha, some 40,000 plus black people were force to flee in one day as they were butchered and terrorised by the rebel militias and gangs provided with NATO air cover. On the 25th February this year, a man was reported on the BBC news saying:

“We had 70-80 people from Chad working for our company. They were cut dead with pruning shears and axes, attackers saying: ‘You are providing troops for Gaddafi.’ The Sudanese were also massacred. We saw it for ourselves.”

This is just one of the hundreds of cases being released clearly showing, with great and detailed evidence, that the rebels, supported by Amnesty International, NATO, etc, were human rights abusers on a massive scale. Surely that can’t be right? A Human Rights defender siding with NATO, a Military Alliance which has killed, massacred and terrorised millions in its time, to help bring about regime change for a handful of racist thugs. So exposed was the stance of Amnesty on the Libyan massacre that its spokesperson retracted her earlier statements about Gadaffi using foreign mercenaries to fight for him. However this confession of course was never broadcasted by the mass media which is in the service of this same NATO war machine. But the lies spouted at the time about the Libyan army were enough to provide the cover and false legitimacy for the NATO saturation bombing which brought the war lords and racist terrorist gangs to power and massacred thousands of Libyan troops and civilians. You might argue that this is just one lonely example which can’t prove anything but try telling millions of Libyans that. Moving on.

Now, the organisation has moved onto Syria, another target of the West. What a coincidence. Amnesty International is constantly promoting the rebels there (which have very close links to Al-Qaida and other Islamic extremist groups) to topple another progressive, developing and secular state. Their excuse, very much like the excuse they used in Libya, is that the President, Basher Al Assad, is a ‘dictator murdering his own people’. Is Assad just meant to let a group of local and foreign terrorists, funded and armed by real dictators in the region, namely Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain, to come and attack his people? And if Assad was such an evil tyrant with no desire but wealth and exploitation of his people, why would over 15 million Syrians, over 90% of the electorate, vote for his new reform plans earlier this year? The Bathe party in Syria heads a broad coalition of all the very many ethnic groups and confessions of the nation, defending them all against an array of extremist Sunni terrorist gangs seeking succour from rich and powerful foreign nations.

Many human rights abuses are being carried out slyly right here under our noses in Britain and other Western ‘democratic’ countries.
Many Muslim immigrants and asylum seekers, escaping from the very war zones created by western military interventions, are inhumanely harassed and molested as soon as they pass through the border crossings, on spurious claims of suspicion of terrorism or other crimes even though most are women and young children. They are made to live in very harsh conditions, including internment camps, insufficient for raising a family. They are given ill-paid jobs which require long hours of work for a minimum wage. They often resort to crime to survive, which lands them in jail.

Can it be just that 50% of the USA’s prison population is black, and that Native Americans have never been compensated for the massive genocide perpetrated against them? Can it be just that the US, the richest nation in the World, has a bigger prison population than any other country, both proportionately and absolutely? The American penal system incarcerated over 5 million of its citizens during the 1930’s and over 2.5 million today. Why were there no cards for these victims? Why were there no cards for today’s tens of millions of the descendents of tens of millions of African slaves who form the vast majority of the impoverished in the USA and to this day have no rights to medicare and many of whom end up languishing in the Jails of the USA?

Police brutality and oppression is a regular experience for black people in the US, as well as national minorities throughout Europe. Earlier last week, on December 13th, Chicago police killed 38 year old Phillip Coleman, who was, according to family members and neighbours, having a nervous breakdown and behaving erratically. Police subdued him with a taser when he was arrested and again after he arrived at Roseland Hospital. He died later on that day in Roseland. Phillip Coleman’s sister, Jacqueline, told the Sun-Times,

“Phillip was not treated justly, he was treated like an insect!”

This is just one example of the cruel acts the American state perpetrates on its own citizens, whilst claiming to be a father figure of democracy and freedom.

I recall that one of the cards which was given to us to sign, was for a prisoner in China called Chen Guangcheng, who was locked up for being too ‘outspoken’ in his beliefs. It is now reported that he has fled to the USA with his family. Say no more. However, my point is that even after all the evidence lying on the table, proving how the West, namely the USA and its puppets or lap dogs including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel, etc commit the most atrocious crimes against humanity and act like ‘police of the world’, Amnesty International still points its longest finger at the People’s Republic of China for being an abuser of human rights. But as I already explained, it is the USA that has the largest prison population in the world, both absolutely and as a percentage of its population. Where’s the card for Bradley Manning? Wheres the card for Mumia Abu Jamal? Where’s the card for Julian Assange? Where are all the cards for the inmates of Guantanamo Bay? Where all the cards for the thousands of black people being imprisoned in America and being lynched in Libya as we speak by these supposed ‘Freedom Fighters’?

China is one of the two nations to veto a war on Syria at the UN Security council. It can see how regime change there will lead to a catastrophe even greater than the one in Libya. And for this reason and others it is attacked extensively by the West, using any means necessary, including Human Rights organisations like Amnesty International to pick out mole hills there and to make them into mountains.

At the Nuremburg Trials after World War 2, it was made very clear that the highest crime of all was an unprovoked war waged by one country against another. For good reason you might say. There can be no greater denial of human rights than War itself: millions are terrorised, displaced, killed violently or by secondary causes, wrongfully imprisoned, denied the means of sustenance and any security. Yet it is Western countries that have been the main instigators and protagonists of these wars yet all the claimed justifications for them from holding WMD’s to humanitarian intervention, stopping massacres, fighting terrorism, supporting democracy, removing dictators, protecting women, fighting drugs etc etc etc etc have all been exposed to progressive humanity as massive lies: Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, Libya, Syria, the Congo are the most well known and deadly. Where are the cards for the millions of the victims of these wars, the millions who have been denied the most basic human rights of all? To Life? To Peace? To Security? To a Home? To Food? To the very basic needs for sustaining life? Surely, if Amnesty International was a real fighter for human rights these matters would be at the top of the agenda and determine the cards we would be signing? Instead, so as to prepare the unsuspecting public for the next criminal war, it selectively chooses only the countries to be targeted, demonising their systems so that the public at worse will turn their heads the other way after the start of the military aggression. It is no surprise therefore that the “human rights” victims highlighted by A. I. are those working under the auspices of Western powers, selling out their countries’ independence to them. However, in the West we have no qualms about locking up and throwing away the key in those cases of betrayal to foreign countries.

As a student who researches extensively on world events trying to see society’s big picture, I cannot help but be infuriated at how openly supporters of Amnesty International operate within the school community, spreading bias propaganda and promoting ill-minded teachings, without being adequately challenged. They ignore the fact that A.I. promotes a cruel system, providing it with the legitimacy required for its criminal wars, global economic inequality and for the exploitation of 99% of world’s people. Surely the largest denial of human rights is that over 2 billion people (1/3 of the world’s population) have to survive on less than $2 a day? As a consequence the World health Organisation has stated that over 5 million children below the age of 5 die every year from malnutrition alone. Where are the cards for these lost souls?

I really do hope you can come back on the points I have raised.

Yours Sincerely,

AC (Year 9)”

Syrian government to use chemical weapons? B*llocks!

assad

Anyone with a fleeting interest in foreign affairs could be forgiven this week for experiencing déjà vu as the United States, without a trace of evidence, accused the Syrian government of preparing to use chemical weapons on its people. In rhetoric that echoed the false claims of Iraqi WMDs last decade, western leaders intensified their plans for military intervention by claiming Damascus has started “potential chemical weapon preparation”.

Barack Obama, speaking on 4 December, warned that “if you [Assad] make the tragic mistake of using these weapons there will be consequences and you will be held accountable”. The US President continued, without a hint of irony, that “we simply cannot allow the 21st century to be darkened by the worst weapons of the 20th century”. (‘Syria crisis: Obama warns Assad over chemical weapons’, BBC News, 4 November 2012). The United States, of course, has used chemical weapons on the civilian population of Iraq and continually turns a blind eye to the Israeli use of white phosphorus in Gaza.

On the same day, Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen approved the deployment of Patriot anti-missile batteries along the Syrian border in Turkey. These are, it is claimed, to shoot down Syrian missiles and/or warplanes which may be carrying chemical weapons.

Yet, whilst the majority of western media outlets have repeated these unsubstantiated claims, as they so faithfully did against Iraq in 2003, a Pentagon official has confirmed that “there is no evidence yet that the Syrian military has actually begun the process of mixing precursor chemicals to produce deadly Sarin nerve gas”. (‘No evidence Syria mixing chemical agents’, Pentagon official says, NBC News, 4 November 2012). Instead, we’re being asked to trust the intelligence agencies of US imperialism, who claim to have detected increased movement around ‘suspected weapons sites’.

It is the duty of communists, and all progressives, to ignore sensationalism and objectively analyse facts, history and class forces at play. The Syrian government has been able to withstand almost 22 months of foreign-backed insurgency – funded directly by US, British and French imperialists and indirectly by their proxies in Israel, Turkey and the Gulf monarchies. Indeed, the Syrian army has captured and identified a number of foreign nationals, originating from Saudi Arabia, Libya and even Britain, fighting in the country.

The government of Bashar al-Assad has survived not because of its possession of chemical weapons, nor out of fear as western commentators, and even socialists, foolishly assert, but because it retains the overwhelming support of the Syrian people: a population that has successfully resisted US imperialism and zionism for generations. If the imperialists attempt to manipulate events so that the FSA release chemical or biological weapons it will merely be a repeat of the strenuous efforts made whilst sending mortars into Turkey to embroil the entire region in a wider conflict, interfere with the internal situation in Syria and find a pretext for open imperialist interference.

The Syrian Arab Republic, contrary to its hysterical depiction, is a secular popular force in the region that has retained the progressive values of Arab nationalism and has, along with Iran and Hizbollah, been central to Palestinian resistance. It is for these reasons that Syria is being targeted by imperialism and its proxies – just as were Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya – and not, as we are asked to believe, because the US, British or French imperialists care a jot about civilian lives.

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