British delegation promotes strong anti-imperialist line on "Europe Day" at Quito festival

Comrades from Red Youth and RCG, who make up the socialist contingent on the British delegation to Quito, distribute tonnes of literature and speak to hundreds of revolutionaries from across the world.

British communists in Quito
British communists in Quito

Hundreds of progressive youth came to speak with the British delegation all through “Europe day” at this years WFDY Festival. Comrades from the RCG distributed copies of their newspaper Fight Racism, Fight Imperialism and conducted interviews with foreign delegations, and also kindly assisted Red Youth with translation from Spanish.

Delegate Tatjana from the Socialist Party of Latvia
Delegate Tatjana from the Socialist Party of Latvia

Many copies of Lalkar and Proletarian were sold and given away to comrades new and old. Friends from the Syrian Baath Party were delighted to catch up with CPGB-ML central committee members Ranjeet Brar and Paul Cannon and to meet Dan and Angela for the first time. Our support for the brave resistance of the Syrian people to the bloody war waged by imperialism has strengthened our friendship with both the Baath Party and the Syrian Communist Party (Bagdash) who also met privately with our delegation.

As the degenerates and warmongers, trotskyites and revisionists, conspire to keep brave peace-loving people like Mother Agnes from the anti-war platform, it is increasingly clear that only the Marxist-Leninists can provide clear anti-war political leadership. Only communists clearly come out in defence of the weak against the attacks of the strong; the trotskyists always end up assisting their imperialist puppet masters, and the spineless revisionists long ago abandoned the struggle in favour of the easy life.

Even the Ecuadorean police seem to be on our side!
Even the Ecuadorean police seem to be on our side!

The most cursory glance at the contemporary international situation shows that imperialism’s inherent tendency to wage wars of aggression has not in any way disappeared. If anything it has become enhanced, notably after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the socialist countries of central and eastern Europe, since when we have seen numerous wars of colonial reconquest, such as those against Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and, most recently, Libya and Syria.

Moreover, faced with what is emerging as the gravest economic crisis in the history of capitalism, the pace and intensity of imperialism’s inexorable drive to war is increasing yet further. The imperialist powers are presently at war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. They are also waging unofficial and proxy wars in Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen and other countries. They are abetting and bankrolling the Israeli zionists’ war against the Palestinian people.

Marxism Leninism is not a dogma but a guide to action. Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, the great revolutionary teachers, laid out with complete clarity the attitude of the revolutionary proletariat to the struggle against imperialism and towards the national movements of the oppressed. With imperialism convulsed with crisis and hurtling towards new and ever more dangerous wars of aggression, the work of reuniting and reinvigorating the entire international communist movement on this principled and revolutionary basis is one which will brook no further delay.

It is in this spirit that many many comrades and friends purchased copies of not only our newspapers, but also our books, notably Harpal Brar and Ella Rule’s latest book  Imperialism and the worst-ever crisis of overproduction.  Red Youth’s slogan “Each one, teach one!” has never been more relevant. 

Long live proletarian internationalism!

Comrade Paulus Mbangu from SWAPO buys HB's latest book on imperialism
Comrade Paulus Mbangu from SWAPO buys HB’s latest book on imperialism
Puerto Rican communists from the Federacion Universitaria Pro Independencia take copies for their library
Puerto Rican communists from the Federacion Universitaria Pro Independencia take copies for their library
Delegates from across Latin America socialising with comrades from around the world
Delegates from across Latin America socialising with comrades from around the world
Italian Marxist Leninists poster
Italian Marxist Leninist poster: NATO Hands off Syria! No to Imperialism!

F.I.S.T. delegation tears up stars and stripes in show of opposition to US imperialism

Eventful day for Red Youth in Quito

Red Youth and FIST with the remnants of the flag after the days events
Red Youth and FIST with the remnants of the flag after the days events

Red Youth was proud to meet up with our comrades from the US organisation Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST) during and after the opening ceremony in Quito. To huge applause from the crowd (and to the absolute horror of the US Trotskyite class traitors in Pathfinder) our comrades in FIST ceremoniously tore up the stars and stripes.

Speaking to Red Youth the FIST delegates explained that it was an act of solidarity with all those around the world standing up to US imperialism, including the workers and oppressed back home in the United States. Just like the butchers apron, the stars and stripes of the USA is a hated symbol of colonialism, flying in many occupied cities and countries around the world. After a long day at the festival our delegations spent the evening relaxing together and discussing contemporary political issues over a glass of pop.

Syrian delegation
Syrian delegation

The delegates from the Syrian Baath Party also received enthusiastic cheers as their delegation arrived carrying with them large Syrian national flags and portraits of President Assad. Other highlights for our delegation on this opening day included listening to and getting a wave from Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. Here’s a new video and a few more photo’s:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbgJ57lgVUI

Red Youth with Syrians delegation
Red Youth with Syrians delegation
Delegations from across the America's including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela and Colombia are in attendence
Delegations from across the America’s including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela and Colombia are in attendance
Comrades from the RKU
Comrades from the RKU
Delegates from the Workers Party of Korea
Delegates from the Workers Party of Korea
Communist Party of Cuba arrive
Communist Party of Cuba arrive

CPGB-ML attend Brazilian Communist Party Congress

The Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) was honoured to attend the 13th Congress of the Partido Comunista do Brasil. The visit follows on from the good relations that have been established between the CPGB-ML and PCdoB since the time of the 12th party congress in 2009 when Harpal Brar attended on behalf of the central committee. Our party had many productive discussions on this latest visit, with the cadres of the PCdoB as well as other marxist leninists from around the world, we were able to share experiences in the fight against revisionism and imperialism and discuss the way forward to socialism. The PCdoB continues to show great maturity and wisdom in difficult circumstances as it charts its course towards socialism in alliance with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s Workers Party (PT).

Red Youth, for its part is looking forward to strengthening these good relations in Ecuador when we plan to meet with with youth of the PCdoB. Comrades who wish to know more about our delegation to the PCdoB Congress should look out for a fuller report in the party press.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff addresses the Congress
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff addresses the Congress

Film show this Sunday in London: The Road to Life

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‘The Road to Life’
1931 Soviet feature film, directed by Nikolai Ekk, with English subtitles.
Sunday, 17 November, 2 – 5 pm
Marchmont Centre, 62 Marchmont Street, London WC1N 1AB

Followed by discussion

A vivid and humorous portrayal of one aspect of what the building of socialism meant to the peoples of the USSR.
Based on the book of the same title, written by the Soviet educationist Anton Makarenko, the film gives a fictional account of Makarenko working with the children under his care, who had been orphaned by the Russian Civil War and the resulting famine. It shows the transformation of the street children from their involvement with petty crime to their achievements in socialist construction.

Video – Great October Socialist Revolution

Thursday 7th November 2013 marked the 96th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, and this little introductory video is just to give you a flavour of the celebration that was held by the CPGB-ML at a packed meeting in Saklatvala hall, Southall on Saturday 9th November 2013.

Great speeches from the representatives of Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea, as well a Katt Cremer from the Party and Angela and Dan from Red Youth.

This video explains why we celebrate, what we are trying to achieve and why we have every reason to be optimistic about the future.

 

Communists celebrate Bolshevik Revolution

Comrades from the Communist Party and Red Youth were joined by representatives from the embassies of Venezuela,  Cuba and DPR Korea to celebrate the anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. Our close friends from the Chinese state news agency Xinhua were also present to celebrate this joyous occasion.

October Revolution Celebrations Southall LDN 2013

In a packed Saklatvala Hall a spirited meeting heard speakers from the central committee of the CPGB-ML, the embassies of Cuba, Venezuela and Korea, Harsev Bains from the I.W.A (G.B) and two leading members of Red Youth.

Our international guests recalled the heroic struggles for national liberation, independence and socialism which were and continue to be waged as a result of the glorious October Revolution. In the speeches of comrade Dan and Angela, Red Youth speakers declared:

“We still talk about the October Revolution today because all the lessons it teaches us are still relevant, perhaps moreso now than ever before both in our country and internationally.

In the UK over a fifth of young people are unemployed, with a similar rate across Europe. In countries such as Spain and Greece the rates today reach 56% and 61% respectively. Everyone knows why we’re facing this current capitalist crisis – the irresponsibility of bankers, the greed of the corporate elite, and the complicity of these governments in the destructive imperial capitalist machine. And yet every measure directed to stave off complete financial collapse has been directed at the working classes; cuts to health, cuts to transport, taxes on spare bedrooms, measures that will only affect the very poorest. Many families are now relying on food banks, or having to make the choice whether to go to bed hungry or cold as fuel prices relentlessly increase.

This is not to mention the already existing disparity between the working classes and the elite. Whereas the 7% of pupils that can afford to attend independent schools make up 39% of the students at top universities the poorest 33% of students only make up 6%, no wonder when parliament is filled with millionaires….

The revolution and the changes that followed inspired similar events in China, Cuba, Vietnam, Korea, and many other countries. No longer in the Soviet Union and these other socialist countries was a full education the preserve of the wealthy, health care wasn’t just for those that could afford it, access to employment, housing, and food wasn’t based on whether or not you had the connections or luck to secure a job in tough economic times. And these revolutions were necessarily not just economic – they were social too, doing away with any notion of privilege related to gender or race. Every single metric relating to quality of life improved.

So we will celebrate the October Revolution every year, and we will share the lessons it has taught us and the rest of the working class, that we have a duty to form a vanguard party and to educate the working classes, to teach people that there is an alternative to slaving away for the bourgeoisie in return for cuts to public services, mass unemployment, homelessness, and starvation. Hence the motto of Red Youth: Each One, Teach One!

More photo’s of the event will appear here shortly.

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.

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)

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

Django Unchained

Django

Quentin Tarantino misses the point.

Django Unchained is a beguiling film. ‘Beguiling’ may seem an odd adjective for a Tarantino blood-fest, but despite that director’s well-known penchant for violence being well to the fore in this tale of the pre-civil-war southern states of America, the film does charm the viewer. This is chiefly because of the engaging story, which grips from the opening shots, the clever, witty and often laugh-out-loud funny script and, above all, the stand-out performance of the supporting lead, German actor Christoph Waltz.

Only lately come to US films and international stardom (and until now mainly playing villains), Waltz plays a German immigrant doctor travelling as an itinerant dentist (we are never sure of his true qualifications, if any) but in reality operating as a bounty hunter, duly authorised, we are given to understand, by the US courts to capture wanted criminals “dead or alive”.

This being a Tarantino film, the Doctor (thus we will call him, as he is called this by all in the film) never bothers even to try to catch them alive. A corpse, duly produced and identified, is sufficient to claim the bounty, and no doubt less bother to transport to show the authorities than a living prisoner, and each ‘capture’ provides an opportunity for a display of crack shooting.

The Doctor character is handsome and erudite; a funny, charming and convincing con-man (as all con-men have to be, or they would never succeed). He fools everyone until the moment after the killing, when he produces the wanted poster/warrant from his inside coat pocket.

Slavery is the backdrop against which the story of the film plays out. The film is hyped by some critics as a serious exposé of the brutal reality of the slave system in the USA, which existed, and was the basis for much of the wealth of that country, from the late 17th century until the second half of the 19th century. Is that assessment of the film justified? We would have to say that no, it is not.

The film starts with a pair of travelling slave merchants, who are moving Django and a half-dozen other slaves along a remote woodland track in rural Texas. The Doctor, in his character of itinerant dentist in a horse-drawn closed wagon complete with a large model of a molar bouncing on a spring on the wagon’s roof, hoves into view.

It appears he has been looking for these particular slavers with the object of buying Django from them. He parries the slavers’ curious enquiries and concludes the deal after he has questioned Django to confirm that he knows and could identify three brothers who were the overseers at the last plantation he worked on before being sold away by the owner.

Once the purchase is completed and verified by a signed bill of sale, at the Doctor’s insistence, an altercation arises which is resolved, Tarantino-style, by the Doctor shooting and wounding one slaver and killing the other, tossing the remaining slaves the keys to their shackles and a rifle and giving them the choice of taking the injured and helpless surviving slaver back to the nearest town (in the hope that they might get their freedom as a reward), or shooting him and escaping to “a more enlightened part of this country” where they might be free.

The opening scene sets the tone for the rest of the film: comedy, irony, wit, with the doctor usually getting the better of everyone he meets through his quicker wits and greater intelligence, but with every dispute being settled summarily with casual, lethal violence.

Django, played by Jamie Foxx, is needed by the Doctor because the three overseer brothers are wanted ‘dead or alive’ and are the objects of his latest bounty hunt; the Doctor does not know what they look like, but Django does. The pair find the overseer brothers working under different names at a new slave plantation.

Django turns out to be a naturally accurate marksman with pistol and rifle. Having been given his freedom as his reward for his contribution to the success of the hunt, he agrees to the Doctor’s proposal that they work together as a team as bounty hunters in the mountains of the far West for the duration of the winter, with Django taking a third of the rewards earned. The Doctor trains him and Django practises until he is a perfect shot. They spend a ‘profitable’ winter together.

The story then changes gear and becomes almost a different film. Django has told the Doctor that he and his wife were sold separately (by express order of their owner) after they had tried to run away from the plantation together. He wants to find and free his wife so they can run away together again.

The Doctor has promised to help Django after the winter, although that means going back to Mississippi, where they were sold at slave auction, in order to discover his wife’s buyer and present whereabouts. This is a mission and a place that will be very dangerous for Django as an African American (‘Nigger’ in contemporary parlance), even one now a free man and with papers to prove his new status.

There is a stand-out performance by Leonardo di Caprio as the new owner of Django’s wife, ‘Monsieur’ Candie, owner of one of Mississippi’s largest plantations, ‘Candieland’, and scion of an old, rich slave-owning family. ‘Monsieur’ Candie (his title of preference) owns a string of slaves kept specifically to fight, bare-knuckled, to the death if required, the slaves of other plantation owners in a ‘sport’ called ‘Mandingo fighting’. It is through this pastime that our heroes make contact with him.

The Doctor is shown to view with distaste the violence of a bout he witnesses with ‘Monsieur’ Candie, and also the result of the latter’s subsequent command to an overseer that the dogs be let loose to kill a Mandingo fighter slave of his caught while running away in order to avoid having to fight further bouts. Django reminds the Doctor that months before he had told Django to shoot a wanted criminal “in cold blood in front of his own son” from a safe and hidden vantage point, afterwards giving the poster to Django as a keepsake (“You never forget your first bounty”).

The twists and turns of the plot thereafter we will not reveal. It is enough to say that there is an explosion of violence and killing before Django can ride off into the sunset together with his companion.

Why do we say that this film is not a serious exposé of slavery? Because essentially it just presents the same, dominant (if not sole) message of modern American cinema in another setting: which is that any wrong can be righted by individual, vigilante-type violence.

There is no reference, even in passing, to the economic basis of slavery as a system, or of the economic basis for its eventual abolition; it just seems to be the result of wicked, callous and ‘unenlightened’ men, with the way out therefore being through ‘enlightened’ men or individual gunfights.

The organised ‘Freedom Railroad’ is not mentioned even when the context invites it, as when the doctor suggests the slaves escape from Texas (an awful long way without help from the ‘more enlightened’ parts of the country he referred to as their possible destination), or when Django recounts the story of his and his wife’s failed attempt to run away.

Django refers to his lost love as his ‘wife’ throughout, though slaves in fact had no right to marry; they might be made or allowed to breed, or used (often) by their owners for sex, but if they formed relationships of their own choice these could be and often were broken at will by their owners, as the slaves were regarded as livestock, like cattle, not fully human.

Django and his wife are shown as rare exceptions to the rule of cowed and obedient slaves. He gives no clue to the feelings of his fellow slaves, even though the brutality of the system is shown.

The ‘solution’ to slavery is totally misrepresented in Django Unchained, and not by accident. The truth, however, is that slavery became uneconomic partly because of the development of technology (which meant brute strength was no longer the prime requirement for cultivation on the plantation), and partly because of the increasing cost and difficulty of controlling the slaves and putting down their repeated uprisings.

Slavery was (and still is) a class question – in its modern manifestations, it is a feature of imperialist exploitation, which was and will be defeated only by collective action by the oppressed people themselves, who in the current conditions of imperialism can only succeed if led by the revolutionary proletariat.

Slavery in Tibet was only ended when the region was liberated following the success of the Chinese revolution and the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Bonded labour in India (slavery by another name) and outright slavery in a number of African countries have not been affected by the ‘independence’ of those countries from direct colonial rule, since their local leaders still govern on behalf of the imperialists.

So long as surplus value can be extracted from another’s labour, there will be every form of exploitation, including slavery, even in the heartlands of imperialism.

See and enjoy the film, but do not be beguiled into buying into its ‘solution’.

Support Palestine … Join the axis of resistance!

Leaflet issued by CPGB-ML, 26 January 2013
www.cpgb-ml.org/index.php?secName=leaflets&subName=display&leafletId=94

Imperialism in the Middle East

In order to make sense of what goes on in the Middle East, we need to understand that today’s world is dominated by a handful of superrich countries, which have become wealthy by looting resources and exploiting people all over the world.

Britain, the first country to develop capitalism was also the first to grab a modern empire.

In the 19th century, Arabia was dismissed as being a barren wasteland, but in the early 20th century, vast oil deposits were discovered under the desert — just around the time that oil was becoming the fuel of choice for many modern machines (including warships!) and industries.

Suddenly, the rush to secure plentiful and cheap supplies of ‘black gold’ became a key strategic imperative for all imperialists, leading to a cut-throat competition for control of the region.

Zionism and Palestine

Seeing their chance, the early zionists asked Britain’s rulers to let them set up a jewish state in Palestine in exchange for helping to keep the region under British domination.

With Arab nationalism on the rise, the imperialists accepted the offer, looking forward to the creation of a “loyal jewish Ulster in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism”.

And, although British masters were later pushed aside by American ones, a ‘loyal jewish Ulster’ is exactly what Israel has remained to this day.

The zionist stooges who destroy Palestinian homes, drop bombs on Palestinian schools, plough up Palestinian crops and poison Palestinian water are bribed by US and British governments and corporations to do imperialism’s dirty work.

In return for helping corporations like BP and Texaco to carry on looting the oil and dominating the people of the whole Middle East, the zionists are given military support and hardware, financial aid, diplomatic immunity, and a campaign of lies and disinformation in the imperialist-controlled media.

Israel was established in an orgy of ethnic cleansing, and has been illegally occupying further Palestinian lands and displacing and wiping out Palestinian families ever since.

War crimes are a daily event in this, the most militarised state in the world. In fact, rather than viewing Israel as a state with a huge military, it is more helpful to realise that Israel is in fact a massive army base that also happens to have some schools. Israeli children are brought up to be Nazi-like stormtroopers, ther heads filled with supremacist hatred of all Arab peoples.

The imperialists made one serious miscalculation, though. It was assumed that in the face of Israel’s might, Palestinians would accept underclass status or leave, but the days when colonialists could evict a people from their land and get away with it were over.

In a century of socialist revolution and national liberation, the racist dismissal of local peoples as ‘uncivilised barbarians’ or merely ‘irrelevant’ was no longer possible.

Instead of politely disappearing, the Palestinians stood their ground — refusing to submit no matter how barbarous their oppressors became. Instead of passively joining the long list of imperialist victims, the Palestinians became a beacon of resistance and an inspiration to oppressed people globally.

Gradually, the wellspring of sympathy that Israel shamelessly exploited following the Nazis’ mass extermination of jews in WW2 has run dry. As every agreement and concession on the part of Palestinians is greeted with fresh Israeli crimes, it has become clear to all that it is the zionists, and not the Palestinians, who stand in the way of peace.

So brazen has its war machine become that, today, Israel is the number one creator of anti-jewish feeling in the world.

Solidarity and resistance

So what has all this got to do with workers in Britain?

We need to recognise that the same ruling class that is waging war on our living standards (trying to force us to pay the price of the economic crisis of capitalism) gains much of its power from looting the world. Since oil is such a vital resource, the British state is still one of Israel’s main backers.

If Israel was defeated, British and US imperialism’s ability to grab the region’s oil would be fatally undermined — and with that wealth would go some of the ruling class’s ability to keep us in our ‘place’.

So it’s in our interest to support the Palestinians against imperialism and zionism. But if we want to give effective solidarity to their struggle, we need to learn from past experience.

A consumer boycott is certainly causing embarrassment to Israel, but no such boycott has ever brought down a state that had such powerful military, financial and diplomatic backers as Israel does.

British workers can actually do a lot more, if we are prepared to use our collective power over the country’s economy. The ruling class might give orders, but it is we who are expected to carry them out. If we all refuse, there is not that much they can do.

Neither the capitalists themselves, nor their careerist spivs in Whitehall are about to send their own kids to work in arms factories, to drive trains, to crew cargo ships, to enlist as cannon fodder, or even to print and broadcast their pro-Israel propaganda.

A striking example of such solidarity in action is the case of the Jolly George, a ship that was supposed to be taking arms and soldiers to Russia in 1918, when the new socialist republic was facing attack by 14 capitalist powers. Dockers in east London refused to load the ship, undermining the war effort and setting an infectious example to workers elsewhere.

In 1920, pushed by the ‘Hands off Russia’ campaign, the TUC threatened a general strike if Britain persisted in its criminal warmongering. Lloyd George’s government had to pull out and the war of intervention collapsed.

The ruling class emerged weaker and the working class stronger from this confrontation.

Today, we are part of the same battle against British imperialism on whose front line the Palestinians have been fighting so heroically for 65 years.

Today, they are joined by the Syrian and Iranian anti-imperialist governments and the Lebanese resistance movement Hizbollah — all forces that have refused to reach any accommodation with Israel; have refused to accept the imperialists’ right to dictate how they should live; and have refused to allow imperialist corporations to loot their resources at will.

Recognising their common struggle, Syria and Iran have consistently supported each other, and given money, arms, refugee asylum and diplomatic support to both the Palestinian struggle and the Lebanese resistance movement. A defeat for any of these forces would give a massive boost to imperialism and its zionist stooges and would be a major set-back for the cause of freedom in the Middle East — and especially to the cause of the Palestinian people.

British workers need to join this axis of resistance and give full support to all parts of it, taking their place in the unifying and indivisible struggle against imperialism.

See also:
Victory to the intifada! Join the axis of resistance! (Leaflet, November 2012)
Defend Syria and Iran … Join the axis of resistance! (Leaflet, November 2012)
Hail the victory of the Palestinian hunger strikers! (Proletarian, June 2012)
No justice for the Gaza protestors (Proletarian, August 2010)
Gaza’s people at risk of genetic mutation (Proletarian, February 2011)
Long live the martyrs of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla! (Proletarian,June 2010)
Anti-imperialism and the PSC executive (joti2gaza, January 2012)
Zionists in Birmingham come out to defend racist Israeli state (Red Youth, November 2012)
Hackney Council censor resident from speaking against corporation complicit in war crimes in Palestine (joti2gaza, November 2012)

Watch this:
VIDEO: Jack Shapiro on the Gaza massacre (YouTube, January 2009)
VIDEO: Report from the Viva Palestina 3 convoy (YouTube, January 2010)
VIDEO: Emergency resolution on Palestine (YouTube, June 2010)
VIDEO: Water in Gaza (YouTube, June 2012)
VIDEO: Defend Syria (YouTube, October 2012)
VIDEO: US on the road to WW3 (YouTube, October 2012)
VIDEO: Lifeline to Gaza: The Return (joti2gaza, September 2010)

Latest edition of Pyongyang Times now available to download

Pyongyang Times

Red Youth enjoys excellent relations with our comrades organised in the Kim il Sung Socialist Youth League, in the same way that the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) enjoys warm relations with the Korean Workers Party. As part of our ongoing solidarity work, we’ll keep trying to publish The Pyongyang Times and Korean Today, here online at redyouth.org.

Download the latest edition of the Pyongyang Times here Issue number 03 PT

Why not also read, Korea Today, here’s February’s edition Korea Today

What are North Korean’s really like? Watch one here: