The monopolies that dominate the North American economy do not recognize the sovereignty of Canada or Mexico. The sovereignty of the U.S. is assured from its sheer military power as the dominant imperialist state in the world. The absence of sovereign recognition is aided in practical terms by the free trade agreements and subsequent lack of any political will of the Canadian and Mexican governments to defend sovereign control over their economies.
The monopolies view North America as an integrated whole. They choose, control and put in power in governments their political representatives. Disagreements emerge similar to those that arise in any arrangement within a family, business or organization. The dominant force within the arrangement soon asserts its authority and the disagreement is resolved.
Mergers and acquisitions amongst the monopolies occur regularly as they search for ways to defend and enlarge their empires and consolidate their control. Companies of similar size usually merge while smaller companies are usually acquired by larger ones.
The mass media and experts generally accept a merger or acquisition as positive, for only good can come from an increase in size and power in the hyper competitive global economy of the U.S.-led imperialist system of states. Besides, the synergies involved are mostly positive, we are told, as working together usually results in the sum being greater than the parts. Larger and ever larger concentrations of companies into global monopolies has been the trajectory of capitalism since its beginning and how could that not be considered good unless one has a different outlook and envisions another direction altogether.
The concentration of economic control is reflected in politics with a concentration in political control. First, local control is lost. Then, regional, national and even legislative control is lost to executive power and soon sovereign control over decision-making is lost to the global monopolies. The free trade agreements put a nail in the coffin of sovereign control, which had already occurred on a broad scale. Control over most decisions is left to the monopolies, which decide what is best for their particular empire while more or less coordinating their actions with other empires in a spirit of both collusion and contention. Is that not what they are doing in Davos at the World Economic Forum of the ruling oligarchy where political leaders, such as Trudeau, come to kneel at the feet of the billionaire autocrats?
U.S. Steel acquired Stelco in 2007. The acquisition was not a merger, as the size difference was too great, and besides, U.S. Steel is situated in the heart of the imperialist beast and Stelco on the periphery. When an acquisition occurs, duplications are identified that can be eliminated. They call this synergy. What was before a competing company is now integrated as part of the empire. For the greater good the unnecessary bits can be chopped off and discarded making the whole stronger.
Control now rests with the dominant power, in this case U.S. Steel, so the centre of the empire makes the decisions, and the power, control and competition of the acquired company is no longer an issue. Control and decision-making now rests in the centre of power of the enlarged empire, and if discarding duplication requires collateral damage of means of production, workers and retirees so be it, as that all serves the greater good of the one, the strengthening of the empire. All for one is the motto of the empire. The bits and pieces must serve the whole, the duty of the concentrated whole is to itself, the one, not to the all. The all must serve the one, while the duty of the one is to itself, to strengthen the one at all costs, for the one has become the greater good.
The political regime reflects the all for one with slogans such as "too big to fail," and practically by diverting public funds to sustain the one, the whole, the empires, all for the greater good of the one.
Political forms are developed to serve the one and ensure that those who pine and yearn for lost control and sovereignty are thrown a bone such as the Investment Canada Act, which serves to paper over the loss of control and sovereignty in the free trade agreements. The swallowing of the all into the one is declared a "net benefit," just as the synergies of mergers and acquisitions provide a net benefit for all in becoming the one for the greater good.
The business laws that sorted out differences and problems amongst companies and individuals over private property must also be changed, and if not changed at least superseded so that the old covenant of all for one and one for all to serve the greater good is changed to the empire's covenant of all for one. The Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) gradually asserts its authority as the power of the one over the all, of the all for one, the monopoly right, the greater good of the all within the one, the empire.
What appears to be absurd and irrational according to the old covenant is not so within the CCAA. The one, the empire argues that its equity is really a debt to itself. This is not irrational and absurd within the paradigm of monopoly right and control and all for one. The CCAA serves the greater good of the one, the empire. The CCAA is the all for one in commercial law, the new covenant of monopoly right and control overruling the old covenant of one for all and all for one.
From economic control flows political and judicial control. The loss of control and sovereignty at the local, regional and national level is palpable and real. How to change the situation is a question of boldly facing the issue of control and not fudging the issue. Democratic renewal and people's empowerment are the path to control. Organized resistance to monopoly right, to the control of the one, the empire is the method. The way forward is organized conscious resistance to the economic, political and judicial control of the one, of the empire and the fraud of the empire's greater good within its all for one.
The concrete conditions of monopoly right and control show in its wrecking, collateral damage and endless predatory wars that the greater good is not found in the one, but in the all, the one for all. The old and new covenants of the ruling oligarchy no longer serve society and its socialized economy. A new direction for the economy and country can be found in the battle for the greater good of the all, in the principled stand of the new, the one for all.
The one, the empire must be opposed and control wrested from its hands and its political representatives and a new public authority established consistent with the times. The all must seize control through democratic renewal and empowerment. One for all!
The Stelco mills are needed for the greater good, the all, the economy and social fabric of the community and the public interest. U.S. Steel's wrecking to serve its empire must be stopped! Stand as one in defence of the rights of all! Keep Stelco producing! Keep Hamilton producing! Keep Canada producing! All out to make the January 30 Day of Action a success!
Inquiry into Gustafsen Lake --
Wolverine (right) during land defence at Gustafsen Lake, 1995.
In this stance we hold up Wolverine's Call for a National Inquiry into the Ts'Peten/Gustafsen Lake Standoff.
In this stance, we bear witness to the tribal adoption of James Pitawanakwat another Ts'Peten/Gustafsen Lake Defender, living in political exile in the so called United States of America. In this stance, we call James Pitawanakwat home to Secwepemculecw, free and clear.
We have gathered in ceremony today to walk together and stand together as one to uphold our responsibilities, obligations, duties and loyalties to each other and to all of our relatives; our Lands, our Waters and our Future Generations. The blood and bones of all of our ancestors are in the earth we walk on. The same blood that flows through one, flows through us all. We have joined each of our home fires into one fire so that we may continue to assert our Tribal Law, our inherent jurisdiction on our Territories, with the unified strength and purpose, power and pride of all of our Tribes. When one Tribe calls out, all Tribes answer. When one Tribe stands, all Tribes rise.
It must be known, the dire and unjust situation Indigenous Tribes have been subjected to at the hands of colonial governments. The Allied Tribes today continue to put their bodies and Freedom on the line to defend our Territories against the continued genocide and war on our Earth and our Children. We have never and we will never consent to that which destroys us, our Territories and the hope for our Future Generations.
We honour all of those in attendance here today who made the long journey to represent their Tribes, together we honour our ancestors and responsibilities to our Land.
The Allied Tribes in name and action with all Land Defenders on our Territories taking the same stance to uphold our Tribal Law and facing the same genocidal regime and violent force that attempted to murder the Ts'Peten/Gustafsen Lake Defenders, we are united and moving forward together for liberation of our People, Lands, and Water and the future generations.
Secwepemc'ulecw Grassroots/Say No to the NSTQ Treaty
Ancestral Pride ~ Xhopakelxhit, Gwaiina ~ Snuneymuxw/Ahousaht ~ Coast Salish, Nuu Chah Nulth
Laax Uula (Lelu Island), Gitwilgyoots Tribe, Tsimshian Nation
Anishinabe - giga aki ikwe - my ing gun dodem
Anishinabek - Kai Kai Kons, Mang Dootem
Neyhiyaw - Kihiw Mihkwan Iskwew - Wapistan iskinisiyan
Senk;lip - kwu squilxw tribe
Misko kinew, mahikan dootem, anishnabe inowak
The Unist'ot'en and Likhts'amisyu of the Wet'suwet'en
St'atlimc Nation - Hostin - Lil'wat
Dene Zena - Northern Trappers Alliance - Dene Suline
Secwepemc'ulecw Grassroots/Say No to the NSTQ Treaty
Tl'ab ne: T tset n (Tahltan)
Voice for the Voiceless Camp
(January 18, 2016)
(Photos: Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe Camp
facebook page, Warrior publications)
At its Board of Directors meeting on January 20, the
Commission (NCC) rescinded its decision to use the land in front of the
Supreme Court of Canada to erect the anti-communist monument proposed
the Harper government. In line with the announcement by new Liberal
Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly on December 17, 2015, the NCC
said that the
Garden of Provinces, across the street from the National Archives, will
considered for approval as the site for this project at its spring
The Board also passed a motion to rescind the decision taken under pressure from the Harper government at its previous meeting in June 2015 to decontaminate the land in front of the Supreme Court.
The decontamination work was proposed to present the people with a fait accompli that the anti-communist monument would be built no matter what anyone said. During the spring and summer of 2015, as opposition to the monument grew, the Harper government in its desperation even appointed five new members to the NCC Board of Directors days prior to the June meeting to ensure that all opposition would be suppressed. All the community and religious groups, veterans, unions and others, who attended the June meeting in large numbers, voiced their strong opposition to the extremist concept of this project and the dictatorial methods used to impose this backward agenda.
The day following the June 2015 meeting, various people from the architectural and heritage communities banded together to file a federal lawsuit against the proposed memorial. The suit asked that the NCC's decision to decontaminate the proposed site of the memorial be quashed and that the NCC be temporarily prevented from breaking ground at the site. The hearing of the suit was scheduled for April 2016 but lawyers for the group were prepared to file emergency injunctions to stop the NCC from breaking any ground.
Many community and religious groups and union organizations also held meetings to prepare to take action to oppose any attempts by the NCC to begin work on the land. All the activity in opposition to the anti-communist monument during the summer culminated in a mass demonstration on September 17, 2015. More than a thousand people gathered on the grounds of the Supreme Court to oppose the monument and to "commemorate the victims of Harperism." The demonstration marched to Parliament Hill carrying banners and posters depicting all the sectors of society under attack by the Harper government.
Once the elections were called the NCC postponed further meetings on the monument and announced that it would not implement the motion on the decontamination work.
Since winning the election, the new Liberal government has picked up where the Harper government left off, continuing to impose irrationality and extremism in support of private interests and against the will of many Canadians. Minister of Heritage Joly made it clear that one of her priorities is the anti-communist monument and on December 17, 2015, she announced that "after consultation with stakeholders," the government is proposing to move the site to the Garden of Provinces and will provide financing of $1.5 million, which is to be matched by $1.5 million from the private group Tribute to Liberty. According to the Minister, the government will also cover the design costs and proposes to have a national consultation on the design.
Joly declared that this would eliminate the "divisiveness and controversy" which has surrounded the project from the start. These claims ring more than hollow because the Trudeau government has not said a single word that would explain why it is supporting private interests and their extremist views, which are being imposed on Canadians. While claiming to be transparent and open to consultation, it is clear that Minister Joly is ignoring the widespread opposition to the reactionary conceptions and falsifications of history at the heart of this anti-communist monument.
By limiting the consultation to design and architecture the Trudeau Liberals are showing that their "open" methods are just an arrogant abuse of power to impose their will. Minister Joly has never explained who she actually consulted and why those Canadians who have actively put forward their views in opposition to this project are being ignored. It is clear that this so-called consultation process is as fraudulent as the anti-communist monument itself.
Almost a year ago, TML Weekly pointed out the danger posed by the memorial project: "[...] the government has run rough-shod over established Canadian institutions to give pride of place to a monument which imposes a private extremist view of the world and makes this official policy. All of this is done in a manner that offends the many sectors of society which do not share its world view or interpretation of history. This is not governance. It is extremism. No society can survive on the basis of being taken over by extremist views and practices. This is a matter of profound concern."
No to Fraud in
No to the Anti-Communist Monument!
Ramifications of Anti-Terror Measures in France
On January 22, French President François Hollande issued a communiqué announcing the extension of the state of emergency that has been in place since the November 13, 2015 attacks in Paris. The bill will be discussed by the Cabinet on February 3, the communiqué said.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, speaking from the World Economic Forum in Davos, justified this course of action as follows: "We are at war, a genuine global war against terrorism [...] This war requires all means [at the disposal] of our democracy to protect the French people. So this is indeed a state of emergency."
Equally extreme were the views given by leader of the Socialist Party in the National Assembly Bruno Le Roux, who explained why the state of emergency should be extended and made the new normal: "Honestly, the state of emergency has changed absolutely nothing for the French." Exactly which French is Le Roux talking about? Isn't the state of emergency aimed at those regarded as "foreign" by the state, whose rights are to be permanently violated with impunity? Are we to believe that everything can be put back the way it was because, as Prime Minister Valls told the Cabinet when tabling the amendment on December 23, 2015, "If some people are wrongly targeted -- based on wrong or inaccurate information -- they will be compensated."
In the same statement from the presidency, Hollande announced that on January 27 Prime Minister Valls will present the draft of the constitutional amendment to a hearing of the Law Commission. It will be debated for three days beginning February 5 and then the Senate will examine the bill coming out of the National Assembly beginning March 16.
On January 12, the French government tabled its report on the ongoing state of emergency with the National Assembly's Law Commission. An initial report was filed December 15, 2015.
The government adopted a law on November 16, 2015 that extended by 90 days the state of emergency declared after the November 13 attacks in Paris. Article 4-1 of that law, the only amendment to the law accepted by the government, mandated the presentation of the January 12 report. The article is said to be a mechanism for monitoring and control that will guarantee that the rule of law is upheld during the state of emergency when civil powers are transferred to the military and police powers.
The report shows that 3,021 searches and 381 house arrests took place throughout France from November 14, 2015 to January 7, 2016. Five hundred weapons were seized of which 400 were from collectors, including 200 from one individual. The report also says that 25 terrorism-related offences were recorded and four preliminary investigations have commenced.
The Interior Ministry's overview of the judicial follow-through of the state of emergency measures shows 37 cases of non-compliance. These pertain to breaches of house arrests and bans on demonstrations, offenses that would not have taken place in the absence of the state of emergency.
A second overview of the 2,721 administrative searches conducted by security forces during the same period counts 542 violations and resulted in 201 prosecutions for arms trafficking, drug trafficking, persons who lacked documentation and non-compliance with health regulations. Of these, 71 cases resulted in a sentence.
The report does not reveal the countless cases of police brutality and destruction of property that accompany these searches, or the job losses resulting from house arrests, or the bullying and dismissal of Muslim workers.
What the media characterize as a "lack of results" is not due to the so-called inefficiency of law enforcement, but because the raids are also part of a plan to achieve "significantly lower-priority objectives" of the state of emergency, according to remarks by President of the Law Commission Jean-Jacques Urvoas on January 13.
These lower-priority goals include regaining control over the suburban areas that the French State considers have become practically lawless. Thus the majority of these searches and house arrests took place in the suburbs of the Ile-de-France, the greater Paris region, Lille in the north and around Lyon, Grenoble, Toulouse and Marseille in the south. These are the same cities and suburbs covered by the 2005 state of emergency during the riots caused by state racism, police violence and social exclusion that affect national minority youth in France.
The Interior Ministry claims the police offensive is necessary because of the "porosity" between jihadist radicalization, terrorism and the underground economy in the suburbs. The fraudulent basis for this justification is the spurious notion that it is the youth and workers who are responsible for terrorism. The ruling elite, their security agencies and media never consider that terrorism, including State terrorism, is the theory and practice of the elites in power and of imperialism, not that of the people.
A January 1 Interior Ministry press release gives another indication of the violence of the current state of emergency. The statement, which takes stock of police operations to fight urban violence on the evening of December 31, says that the festivities and gatherings on New Year's Eve "were marked by a sharp decline in urban violence and a strong increase in the activity of the security forces deployed," and that "622 people were arrested compared to 308 last year, an increase of 101 per cent. Of these, 368 were placed in custody compared to 251 one year ago, an increase of 46.6 per cent. These results confirm the efficiency of the work of the security forces."
This report and the effectiveness of the repression by law and order forces are brandished by Prime Minister Manuel Valls as proof that the state of emergency works and thus justify "setting it in stone in the constitution."
Obama's State of the Union
President Obama in his last State of the Union speech delivered on January 12, said the "most important thing" he wanted to address was the need to "work together" to "fix our politics."
"The future -- opportunity and security for our families; a rising standard of living and a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids -- all that is within our reach. But it will only happen if we work together [...] It will only happen if we fix our politics," Obama said. Addressing the serious problem the ruling class faces to maintain the legitimacy of its rule, Obama lamented that "democracy breaks down when the average person feels their voice doesn't matter; that the system is rigged in favor of the rich or the powerful or some narrow interest. Too many Americans feel that way right now."
Obama is making the comments in the context of the significant changes that have occurred in governance which he himself has consolidated. This includes the concentration of power in the executive and executive actions with no regard for the rule of law, including completely illegal drone warfare, torture, broad spying, indefinite detention, militarization of the police and their increasing racist killings, and the discrediting of elected governance as dysfunctional and a block to "opportunity and security."
U.S. rulers have always prided themselves on their ability to maintain a system that is rigged in favor of the rich, by providing the opportunity for a "fair shot," as Obama put it. Now, the barbarity of the system -- with its war economy that can no longer provide even the semblance of opportunity, with social conditions deteriorating, with a political set up so blatantly favoring the billionaires that it welcomes the candidacy of Donald Trump -- Obama laments that "too many Americans" have serious doubts about U.S.-style democracy.
The many new jobs Obama mentions provide poverty-level wages. The number does not come close to providing the right to a livelihood for the millions of young people striving to enter the workforce or the millions contending with long-term unemployment, largely from the destruction of manufacturing. While the official unemployment rate may be down, this is mainly because the labor participation rate, which includes these two factors, is down -- not because the economy is meeting the needs of the people. A new direction is needed for that, something Obama and the rulers refuse to address.
Further, the social conditions of increasing poverty and inequality are enforced using racist mass incarceration and continued police killings and impunity and the detention and deportation of men, women, children and refugees. Under Obama's watch, two million immigrants, mainly workers guilty of no crime, have been deported. This is one of the indications which reveal that the government of laws no longer prevails.
Obama represents the U.S. state whose mission it is to ensure the rigged system keeps the rich in power. When we speak of the U.S. state, we speak of governance and police powers, including military might. Both exist as a single unitary power keeping the rich in power and the people out. This is clearly evident abroad where Obama talks of the 10,000 bombings against civilians in Syria and Iraq. His administration has used drones more than any other. Obama reiterated that laws such as those protecting sovereignty have no role to play and the U.S. will act as judge, jury and executioner. "When you come after Americans, we go after you. It may take time, but we have long memories, and our reach has no limit...America will always act, alone if necessary," Obama said in his State of the Union.
Increasingly what we see now both at home and abroad is all that is left of the public authority: its police powers exercised by the executive as well as all branches of the armed forces, police forces and covert agencies. It is propped up by private for profit and non-profit agencies and charities, so-called think tanks, academics and disseminators of disinformation calling themselves news agencies and media organizations. Obama's concern that too many Americans have no trust in government and that politics need "fixing" shows a sinister agenda to further cover up that U.S.-style democracy lies in tatters because the government of laws that is required to legitimize rule no longer exists. It is beyond repair and must be re-established on a new basis which empowers the people, not the rich, but this is precisely what the ruling class Obama represents will not permit.
Police powers do not legitimize rule. These police powers, as evident in police killings at home and drone warfare abroad, are outside the government of laws. Police powers are used to decide who to punish and on what basis to do so. They have a main role in maintaining the state, which is done by ensuring compliance. When police powers are all that is left, the legitimacy of the rule is rightly questioned, as is occurring in the many demonstrations and other actions against police brutality and attacks on the rights of immigrants, refugees, teachers and many others.
Obama represents that section of the ruling class that believes it can use elections to legitimize government even if it is not a government of laws. It is necessary to change our political process "in not just who gets elected but how they get elected," Obama said in his State of the Union. Such change will only occur "when the American people demand it," he said. His list of potential changes include that Congressional districts need to be drawn differently and the worn-out mantra to "reduce the influence of money in our politics."
His "remedies" not only reveal a total lack of imagination since they repeat the same-old same-old, but they in fact reveal the reforms which the ruling class are pushing to put in place -- a political process that eliminates any role for political parties in favour of private armies of "citizen-style soldiers." Far from enfranchising the U.S. citizen, it will further destroy any remnants of political cohesion by putting in place a system without the need for political organizations of the people. Individual candidates with their machinery, like Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, are already running for the presidency, where the police powers reside.
The changes Obama proposes are not likely to be enacted by Congress or the courts so he addresses this as well. "If our existing approach to campaign finance can't pass muster in the courts, we need to work together to find a real solution. We've got to make voting easier, not harder, and modernize it now," he said.
He made it clear once again that he intends to carry on this campaign after he leaves office. As he has in recent speeches, he repeated, "I can promise that a year from now, when I no longer hold this office, I'll be right there with you as a citizen."
The precedent for what Obama is promoting is what he himself put in place when he ran for the presidency on both occasions. He put in place a complex machinery in every state which continues to exist, in part in the form of his group "Organizing for Action." This is the machinery he plans to put in motion to change the electoral process so that citizens are led directly by an authority that is beyond the civil power. The people will play no role whatsoever in taking decisions which set the course of events, but be given the impression that they have a direct link to "the leader" through Twitter and social media while they are organized to take direct action on "the leader's" agenda.
Obama's State of the Union addressed the greatest need of the U.S. ruling class -- to provide the appearance of legitimacy which remains vital to quell the revolt brewing against it. Obama's speech is to establish the basis for criminalizing the drive of the people for a democracy that favors them. By emphasizing that democracy can be maintained not with the kind of rhetoric used by Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and others of like kind, but by appealing to people to "stay active in our public life," his speech is intended to reflect the "goodness and decency and optimism" of Americans. He added, "Public life withers when only the most extreme voices get attention," and that democracy "requires basic bonds of trust between its citizens." This is also a role Bernie Sanders is playing with a following which stands for precisely this.
Obama specifically targets those among the rulers who are dividing the people as their solution to the same problem of maintaining their rule in the absence of legitimacy: "As frustration grows, there will be voices urging us to fall back into tribes, to scapegoat fellow citizens who don't look like us, or pray like us, or vote like we do, or share the same background," he said. The reference to tribalism is to establish his way as the progressive way. It seeks to cover up the deadly competition for power which is going on between vying factions of the ruling class which have risen to a civil war scenario as federal and state authorities compete for power, using their own police forces, National Guards and paid mercenaries.
The role of the president is both to preserve the Union and block the people from power. Obama is cautioning that "as frustration grows" both among the contending factions and among the people, answers lie not in the openly racist police-state rule by a CEO and unleashing more divisions, but rather by maintaining a "public life," and fostering the chauvinism of the rulers of the "common creed" of U.S.-style democracy as the best and only option. As he put it, we are to "See ourselves not first and foremost as black or white or Asian or Latino, not as gay or straight, immigrant or native born, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans first, bound by a common creed."
This is an effort to open space for changing the existing electoral process in a manner that further eliminates politics and political parties, and legitimizes individuals running for the presidency, as well as a "public life" centered on supporting the presidency. In the absence of functioning institutions which comprise a government of laws which are supposed to uphold the common good, not just the well-being of the monopolies, and keep the police powers in check, this is what Obama is offering.
Voice of Revolution is a publication of the U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization.
Among the issues President Obama addressed in his State of the Union speech on January 12 was "How do we keep America safe and lead the world without becoming its policeman?" As is common with U.S. presidents, it was a rhetorical question used to present the U.S. as world gendarme to which people must succumb, or else!
"The United States is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It's not even close. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined," he said.
These eight are Russia, China, Japan, Britain, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia and India.
"When you come after Americans, we go after you. It may take time, but we have long memories, and our reach has no limit."
He raised this in the context of targeting ISIL and al Qaeda, but given the 10,000 recent bombings against Syria and Iraq that he also mentions, and the invasion of Afghanistan in the name of stopping al Qaeda, it is clearly meant for the world to take note: There is no limit to U.S. aggression and crimes. This reality is further underlined by the Obama doctrine of drone warfare and use of Special Forces, both of which inflict the crimes of collective punishment and targeting of civilians and their infrastructure.
Obama emphasized the need to pursue this doctrine so as to avoid a "quagmire, spilling American blood and treasure," which he said is the lesson of Viet Nam and Iraq. Like all U.S. rulers Obama has yet to learn the main lesson of Viet Nam, Iraq and elsewhere -- a people united in a just cause for their liberation and freedom from occupation, will prevail. It is this reality that haunts the U.S. and adds to its vengeful aggression against the peoples.
To further emphasize the U.S. role as world gendarme, Obama said that the U.S. will use "every element of our national power," which includes nuclear weapons. "America will always act, alone if necessary," he threatened.
The U.S. will also continue to try and drag countries of the world into its crimes. "We will mobilize the world to work with us and make sure other countries pull their weight," he said.
In other words, the lesson of Viet Nam and Iraq is that it is the "blood and treasure" of other peoples that are to be spilled, not that of the U.S. This then is also a threat to allies, that the U.S. will "make sure" they do more to secure the U.S. empire worldwide.
Had Obama been serious about the U.S. not being the world's policeman, a clear cut position consistent with the anti-war stand of the majority in the U.S. and worldwide would be to Bring All U.S. Troops Home Now! This would contribute to security by removing the U.S. as the main source of insecurity and terrorism worldwide. The huge Pentagon budget could meet the needs of the peoples at home and abroad. It would also assist the environment, not only in terms of eliminating the massive destruction of the peoples and their infrastructure by U.S. aggression, but also because the Pentagon is the single largest polluter worldwide.
Alongside his threats, Obama went out of his way to lament the role the Russians and Chinese are playing in contesting U.S. hegemony. "When it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead -- they call us," he said. In fact, while governments such as those of Israel and south Korea continue to call on the U.S., the U.S. interests are having trouble in the Middle East and the peoples of the world continue to rely on their own efforts and reject U.S. military might. Demonstrations demanding the removal of U.S. military bases in Japan, the Philippines and Korea, and African, Latin American and Caribbean countries provide ample examples of this.
When it comes to Latin America, Obama had to acknowledge that the peoples look not to the U.S. but to Cuba. "Fifty years of isolating Cuba had failed to promote democracy, setting us back in Latin America," he said.
Translated, it means the U.S. is isolated, Cuba is respected, and in order to influence Latin America, the U.S. had to end its failed policy. The peoples of the Americas and the world have long demanded an end to the criminal U.S. blockade against Cuba and opposed U.S. interference. This is reflected in repeated UN resolutions to end the blockade, with the most recent vote being 191-2. The U.S. and Israel were the only no votes.
In affirming U.S. readiness to use force without limit, Obama said, "No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that's the path to ruin."
"In today's world, we're threatened less by evil empires and more by failing states," he said making it clear the U.S. will continue its aggressive regime change course.
Obama expressed the main agenda of the U.S. imperialists today to make sure the U.S. continues to be world police despite its failures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and all the other countries where it has committed heinous crimes and aggression.
"The international system we built after World War II is
to keep pace," Obama said, "It's up to us to remake that system. And
means we have to set priorities."
If his presidency is any guide, "remake" means that the clandestine use of police powers to undermine and subjugate governments will become more and more overt.
Here he is also referring to the imperialist system of states, led by the U.S., that established NATO, imposed occupations of Korea and Japan, and backed military dictators worldwide. The end of the Cold War was supposed to mean the victory of this system of states, a "peace dividend" and prosperity. Yet twenty-five years later, the U.S. has unleashed widespread anarchy, chaos and increased violence. Indicating this will persist, Obama admitted, "Instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world -- in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in parts of Central America, Africa and Asia."
"Priority number one is protecting the American people and going after terrorist networks," he said.
The striving of the peoples, following the victory over fascism in World War II, and today, is to defeat the racist, anti-people Might makes Right dictate of big military powers. Then and now providing guarantees for rights which belong to all human beings must come first, including the right of the peoples to determine their own affairs without foreign interference.
This striving is what determines the forward march of history. Obama's lament over the U.S. failure to get the entire world to agree to submit to the U.S. dictate and his threat of more violence to come will not resolve the problems the U.S. is encountering at home or abroad. It may work to reassure the U.S. arms providers and warmongers but that is all.
U.S. Refuses to Permit Political Solution in Syria
On December 18, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2254 (2015), endorsing "a road map for a peace process in Syria." It set out an early-January timetable for UN-facilitated talks between the Syrian government and opposition members, as well as the "outlines" of a nation-wide ceasefire to begin as soon as the parties concerned "have taken initial steps towards a political transition." The resolution called for the formation of a "credible, inclusive and non-sectarian" government within six months and UN-supervised "free and fair elections" within 18 months.
The UN-facilitated talks were scheduled to begin January 25 in Geneva but it was announced on January 21 that they have been postponed, reportedly over disagreements about the agenda and which groups will be included in the "opposition" delegation in the talks, with a major point of contention being which groups constitute legitimate political opposition and which are terrorists.
Meanwhile on January 20, five days before the Geneva Peace Talks were to begin, the U.S. and France co-hosted a meeting in Paris of Defence Ministers from Australia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK. According to U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, the meeting "offered a chance to align coalition partner views on capabilities needed to prosecute the military and non-military campaigns." However, this can be seen as yet another attempt to sabotage a political solution to the conflict in Syria by trying to establish a coalition against Russia to put the initiative in the hands of the U.S. imperialists to achieve their aim of removing the Assad government. It is a desperate plan indeed in which Canada is also participating even though it was not invited to the meeting.
In this vein, the Paris meeting was a venue for Carter to lay out the U.S. plan to accelerate the war against ISIS, by focusing on "training, advising and assisting" their allies in Syria and Iraq, stepping up black ops by U.S. special forces and having other "partners" contribute to this new campaign "based on their capabilities."
Carter had spoken earlier about the "counter-ISIL campaign plan" on January 13 in remarks to the 101st Airborne Division as it was preparing for a deployment to Syria. In those remarks, he indicated that the soldiers will work with "local forces" -- Iraqi troops and the military forces of Iraqi Kurdistan known as the Peshmerga -- to take back what he described as "Islamic State strongholds" in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria.
"The Iraqi and Peshmerga forces you will train, advise and assist have proven their determination, their resiliency, and increasingly, their capability. But they need you to continue building on that success, preparing them for the fight today and the long hard fight for their future. They need your skill. They need your experience. Often, they will need your patience," he said.
Carter said the plan is aimed at rooting out "the ISIL parent tumour" in the two cities. He said this requires focusing on enabling "local, motivated forces and an international coalition with a clear campaign plan, with American leadership, and with all of our awesome capabilities -- ranging from air strikes, special forces, cyber tools, intelligence, equipment, mobility and logistics, to training, advice and assistance from those on the ground -- including you."
As part of this new campaign, despite a lack of authorization from the U.S. Congress for combat in Syria, the U.S. has ordered its "special operations forces" into Syria, Carter said. He explained that the special forces' role is "to mobilize Syrian forces on the ground." Ever ready to present U.S. schemes as a success story, Carter said the special forces have already established contact with "new forces that share our goals, new lines of communication to local, motivated and capable fighters, and new targets for airstrikes and strikes of all kinds."
All of this counters the attempt to resolve the conflict
in Syria politically.
Russia, the U.S. and UN officials recently met to strike
a deal over
be accepted to sit at the negotiating table for the opposition, but
this failed to sort out the contradictions.
In December, Saudi Arabia convoked various groups to attend a conference in Riyadh where they established a 33-member "Supreme Council" of the opposition. On January 21, this council announced that it had named a 17-member delegation to the Geneva negotiations and that its chief negotiator would be Mohammad Alloush, a leader of the group Jaysh al Islam (Army of Islam). Asaad al-Zoabi, a former Syrian Army colonel who now leads a U.S.-backed armed group in southern Syria, is to serve as head of the delegation, while George Sabra, President of the Syrian National Council which is based in Istanbul, Turkey, will be his deputy. (Sabra came to Canada in August 2013 to drum up support for the Council and to lobby the Canadian government to step up its efforts to criticize the Syrian government and provide humanitarian aid. At that time he met with Foreign Minister John Baird and also stated that a political solution to the conflict was not possible.)
Besides Jaysh al-Islam, the U.S. is also pushing to
al-Islam. Russia has said that Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-sham are
organizations and propagandists for a military solution to the crisis
not be part of what is called the opposition. Russian Deputy Foreign
Gennady Gatilov, following a recent meeting with representatives of the
and U.S., said that the opposition delegation must only consist of
that call for a political settlement, in keeping with Resolution
stipulation that an inclusive delegation of the Syrian opposition be
made up of
"all of the influential forces committed to a political settlement" to
the crisis. Russia is also said to be calling for the inclusion of
other forces in Syria, such as the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).
Another opposition group, the National Coordinating
Democratic Change, was also quick to denounce the participation of
and al-Zoabi saying it was "not acceptable for the head of the
the chief negotiator to be affiliated with the armed opposition."
Saleh Muslim, co-chair of the PYD
has also said that Jaysh al-Islam, has the "same mentality" as al Qaeda
and ISIL and that this is unacceptable.
Meanwhile, the coordinator of the so-called Supreme Council, former Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab, said the council's delegation must be the only representative of the opposition at the talks, adding, "We will not go to negotiations if a third party or person is added." Reports indicate that the Supreme Council does not want the PYD in particular involved, based on the fact that the PYD does not agree with the Supreme Council's consensus that any transition must include the removal of President Assad. They accuse the PYD of fighting alongside the government, which the PYD says is false and that in fact they are defending themselves against groups that one day were affiliated to radical Islamists and the next day were calling themselves moderates.
The Syrian government has also established its
delegation to the talks, to
be led by its ambassador to the UN Bashar Jaafari and Deputy Foreign
Minister Faisal Mekdad.
On January 23, Bloomberg News reported that Russia and
the U.S. are nevertheless close to reaching a compromise over which
parties can participate in the talks for the Syrian opposition. Citing
confidential diplomatic sources it said Russia will not block the
inclusion of Jaysh Al Islam in return for a separate delegation being
invited with the opposition figures it has proposed. A spokesperson for
UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said a press briefing
will be held on Monday, January 25 to provide more details.
The director of the Cuban Foreign Ministry's U.S. Division, Josefina Vidal, stated on January 12 that relations between Havana and Washington must make progress in 2016, despite this being an election year in the U.S. Vidal is also the head of the Cuban negotiating team in the talks with the U.S.
"I continue working with a good deal of motivation and optimism, but some realism is starting to seep in, because there is an election process ahead in the United States; we don't know what is going to happen," said Vidal in an interview with the Cuban News Agency (ACN).
There is a year left to work with the Obama administration and on Cuba's side, there is a will to continue making progress and we see possibilities to do so, Vidal noted. However, she added, politically speaking, it will be a shorter year that ends in the summer due to the election campaign.
"There are variables out of our control, but we will continue with the conviction that Cuba and the United States have no other destiny than respectful coexistence, because life has proved that confrontation does not benefit anyone," she noted.
Vidal answered cautiously regarding the possibility of going back to the situation prior to December 17, 2014, when Cuban President Raúl Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama announced their decision to start talks to re-establish relations and normalize bilateral ties.
"Interestingly, I have read academics and intellectuals, even members of the U.S. Congress, who say categorically that the process is irreversible. I would not be so absolute. There are aspects that are not," she stressed.
Vidal pointed out that she cannot imagine a new president, whoever he/she will be, saying that he/she will break off relations with Cuba and close the embassy.
However, she pointed out that in some areas, ties might take a step back, like cooperation in different fields, or that some instruments established through executive decisions might be negated or never fulfill their aim because of not being utilized.
Therefore, "as long as Obama takes moves quickly in the economic-commercial field, he will be assuring -- although not completely -- irreversibility, because in the U.S., business is one of the essences of the functioning of the system," she noted.
Asked about civilized coexistence with the United States, Vidal answered: "Army General Raúl Castro coined the phrase: civilized coexistence on the basis of respect for differences." She noted that this has been an ongoing task and that Cuba has never had civilized relations with the U.S. on its terms: with respect and as equals.
"That is why I always say, we are building a new type of relation on a road that has not been travelled before, which offers opportunities to work together on matters that affect us equally, but at the same time has challenges, because we are coming out of a period of really tough confrontation," Vidal emphasized.
Nonetheless, she stated that within those conflicting ties, there has been cooperation. As an example, she mentioned the bilateral cooperation after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti or the fight against Ebola in West Africa in 2014.
She pointed out that since diplomatic relations were re-established in mid-2015, there has been movement toward coordination of the instruments needed to design formal frameworks of cooperation.
In that regard, she said that in the environmental field, Cuba and the U.S. have already adopted a joint general declaration that has to be fine-tuned. The same thing happened regarding the fight against drugs, where several drafts have been exchanged towards reaching an agreement.
Vidal informed that early this year, high-level meetings to work out cooperation between the Cuban Ministry of Public Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources are planned.
However, she said, this initiative is contradicted by the U.S. Cuban Medical Professionals' Program (CMPP). This program was launched by the George W. Bush administration in 2006 to encourage Cuban medical professionals working or studying abroad to "defect" to the U.S. Vidal stated that this point of contention is well-known to the U.S. "We repeat it to them constantly. It not only contradicts that specific aspect of cooperation, but the entire bilateral climate that the U.S. government is allegedly interested in boosting with Cuba," she pointed out.
President Obama could change that program, as well as the dry foot-wet foot policy, because these are not laws, Vidal noted, and it would only require issuing the necessary communiqués to do so. The dry foot-wet foot policy applies only to Cubans and encourages them to "defect" to the U.S. by granting permanent resident status to those who arrive on U.S. territory without being apprehended in the waters between the two countries.
Vidal added that such programs and policies continue to encourage illegal and irregular emigration, while most people who are trying to reach the U.S. have left Cuba legally.
Another obstacle is the Cuban Adjustment Act, Vidal pointed out. The 1996 law provides for a special procedure under which Cuban citizens and their accompanying family members are given permanent residency when they arrive in the U.S. A big problem would be solved if it is nullified, she said. In doing so, the U.S. could standardize its migration policy, eliminate an incentive to illegal emigration and deal a blow to human trafficking, Vidal noted.
Asked about the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba by the U.S. for more than half a century, Vidal remarked that the steps taken by Obama since December 17, 2014 have come at minimal political cost to him.
Obama has space to manoeuvre and he needs to take other steps, Vidal said, as the scope of the measures taken so far is limited. The U.S. has not even overcome the obstacles that block the implementation of those measures already in force, she added.
Vidal stressed that any measure to dismantle the blockade will benefit Cuba, and that is why such great emphasis is placed on its removal -- it is an obstacle to all of Cuba's plans for development.
Regarding the areas in which bilateral relations might progress this year, Vidal noted that follow-up is required to finalize the agreement on regular direct flights. Another issue is the start of postal flights. Cuba also wants to sign an agreement this year to formalize cooperation to fight drug trafficking.
As well, Cuba "will continue the talks on compensation, a complex issue that will take time, due to everything that has to be resolved, because there is not a recipe. When we look at other countries' experiences, they have been solved differently, depending on the particularities in each case," Vidal concluded. The U.S. is seeking compensation on the order of $7-8 billion for losses it says were incurred during the nationalization of property and enterprises following the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959. For its part, Cuba has claimed major financial damage from the U.S. blockade, presently estimated at $121 billion.
(Prensa Latina. Edited for grammar and style by TML. Photos: TML, MINREX)
Anniversary of the Death of the Great Revolutionary V.I. Lenin
V.I. Lenin was a revolutionary and the greatest Marxist theoretician of the twentieth century. On January 21, 1924, he died as a result of an opportunist assassin's bullet, lodged in his neck six years earlier. The Great Lenin was only 53 years old when he died, during the very early stages of socialist revolution and construction in Soviet Russia. Amongst his greatest feats were to create the revolutionary party of the proletariat as distinct from the parliamentary parties adhered to by the Second International; establish the proletarian state of the workers and peasants in Russia, as well as lay down the analysis and the ideological and organizational lines for the development of the revolution and socialism in the conditions of imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism and proletarian revolution.
Detail from painting "Lenin's funeral."
(I. Brodsky, 1925)
From the beginning, Lenin set his work along the theoretical conclusions of Marxism. In this respect, he had a complete outlook of scientific socialism, based on the firm belief that the only road to open the path for the progress of society is the road of the emancipation of the working class through the proletarian revolution. This belief of Lenin, far from being invalidated by the developments in the last decade of the 20th century and since then, has been fully validated.
His first ideological consideration was the defence of the Marxist trend -- that is, the trend based on the conclusions of Marxism. He presupposed that the unity of the movement hinged on the defence of this trend, which means on the development of Marxist thought and its elaboration from the conditions of his time. Besides other things, he defended the need for the elaboration of a plan for the building of the movement and condemned the spontaneist idea of "tactics as a process." The conclusions he drew from his work at the beginning of the 20th century have profound validity to the present day.
One of the ideas which has profound significance for the present is his conclusion that the task of emancipating the working class belongs to the workers themselves.
Another idea which has great validity and profound significance is his conclusion that without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement. This very idea of developing Marxist thought and elaborating it, in close connection with the revolutionary movement, has remained the line of demarcation between all schools of opportunism and revolutionary Marxists. For opportunists, revolutionary politics means detaching politics from their revolutionary essence, emasculating and transforming revolutionary theory into a series of dogmas while transforming politics into an adjunct of the bourgeois rule. On the other hand, for revolutionary Marxists, revolutionary theory develops in the course of revolutionary practice. It is an integral part of carrying out both economic and political forms of class struggle. The defence of this very idea of Lenin's is a form of class struggle which they wage.
Recognizing the objective condition where capitalism had developed to its last stage, its parasitic and moribund stage, Lenin drew the conclusion that there is no other stage of capitalism and that it is ripe for its revolutionary overthrow and for the building of socialism. Such an idea based on the conclusion of Lenin has great significance. There is ongoing pressure to abandon this idea and replace it with the idea that capitalism has many stages ahead of it and that it is capable of overcoming its own contradictions.
The collapse of the Soviet Union and the regimes in
eastern Europe with all their capitalist reforms showed that capitalism
has no other stage of development. Countries which embarked on the
construction of capitalism under the pretext of a "free market economy
securing prosperity" are mired in anarchy and economic chaos and their
reflection in politics just like the advanced capitalist countries that
did not form part of the socialist world.
Lenin's conclusion that imperialism is the eve of the proletarian revolution remains valid today. This idea is another point of ideological struggle, and its defence and elaboration are the order of the day. It is one thing to describe the progression of imperialist decay; it is another to develop the proletarian front and provide an alternative so that the New can overcome the resistance of the Old and prevail.
Having an acute sense that his period was one of imperialism and proletarian revolution, Lenin drew the conclusion that a new kind of Party is needed in order to address the new problem of proletarian revolution. His organizational principle of democratic centralism has profound relevance today. One of the causes for the collapse of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) was the emasculation of this idea, under the heavy weight of the bureaucracy established around the Political Bureau and the reduction of the role of the membership in the life of the Party to the most perfunctory level coupled with the refusal to do theoretical work. The mass of Communist Party members had become apolitical, unable to exercise control of their own decisions and the decisions of the state. This necessarily takes place when the relation between the citizens and the polity is destroyed in favour of executive rule. Then democratic centralism is reduced to an idea devoid of the democratic principle and to a series of organizational hierarchies. The defence of the principle of democratic centralism is one of the most important tasks in laying the foundation for the mass communist party.
Today, the world is witnessing a new clash between the Old and the New of world proportions. This requires a profound elaboration of Marxist-Leninist theory, as was done by Marx and Engels in their time and by Lenin and Stalin in theirs.
Lenin, early in his revolutionary work in 1908, devoted time to defending dialectical and historical materialism, the world view, method and outlook for the study of the relations between persons and persons, and persons and nature, the fundamental problem which theory and philosophy present for solution. Through his work, Lenin revealed how various opportunists under the cover of science posed as Marxists to attack the theory of dialectical and historical materialism.
Lenin's work has profound value in carrying out similar work at the present time, in order to defend the theory of dialectical and historical materialism which is under attack from many quarters. The attack on this theory is blurring the high road of civilization, its definition and its content, and there is pressure to divert it into a dead-end.
Lenin's conclusions about the state and revolution, the role of the working class and its organizations, the role of the peasantry and other social strata, the role of the Bolshevik Party to lead in a step-wise manner, the stages in the revolution and their completion and the building of the unity of all toiling masses around the working class, the waging of the class struggle, with the international proletariat playing its role as the strategic reserve of revolution, and the study of the objective conditions and strategy and tactics, taken together constitute a whole; a body of ideas which must be defended and elaborated. This body of ideas must be developed from the present conditions with a unique and fresh quality, which means that they must be based on modern definitions. These ideas have a profound meaning as they were brought into being in this epoch, the character of which is still the same. For this reason, these ideas have great relevance so long as they are not reduced to dogma.
Just as Lenin defended the Marxist trend, today defending the Marxist-Leninist trend is indispensable for the building of the revolutionary movement, and this defence has to be carried out in close connection with the movement. This defence of the Marxist-Leninist trend creates Contemporary Marxist-Leninist Thought, the revolutionary theory guiding the revolutionary movement. This work cannot be reduced to repeating quotes from the works of Lenin or anyone else. The content of the defence of the Marxist-Leninist trend must be consistent with the demand of the times. One of the most important elements is to make sure the mass communist party is built to lead the opposition against the dangers which lie ahead.
In fact, Lenin's work began with taking up the tasks required to build the Party. This work cannot be reproduced in the same form and with the same content, as some tried to do in the past, but its essence has to be understood and applied. The essence is that without a revolutionary party there can be no revolution and the building of such a party has to be consistent with the conditions. There are not a few who accused Lenin of abandoning Marxism because he built the Party according to the conditions of his time. In the same fashion, if someone were to abandon the great task of building the mass communist party today for fear of being accused of abandoning Leninism, it would show a lack of conviction.
The life and work of V.I. Lenin are a great asset to the
emancipation. It is crucial to make use of this asset in the best
and to the greatest advantage of the working class and people of the
lot of changes have taken place since the time of Lenin. These changes
are of a calibre that if their profound significance is not
appreciated in detail and in time, the asset of Lenin will be frittered
away, as happened in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
Just as in his day Lenin found in the national liberation movement a great reserve of the proletarian revolution, so too today, all movements of the peoples for improvements in their conditions, especially for the democratization of life, must be vigorously supported.
Furthermore, how to put this asset at the disposal of the revolutionary cause necessarily involves an appreciation of its essence, that it is by grasping the crucial link in the chain of how things stand that it is possible to get hold of the entire chain and bring about a revolution. In the sphere of preparing the subjective conditions for revolution, capturing the need to provide modern definitions is that link which is directly connected with the revolutionary work under the condition of the retreat of revolution. It is that link which enables the working class to carry out a contest to win the people to its side. The working class cannot prepare itself for final victory if it either does not carry out this contest or does not win key battles with the bourgeoisie during this period.
The cause of V.I. Lenin for the victory of revolution and socialism is as urgent today as it was at the beginning of the 20th century. As long as the struggle to create a new society exists, the name and work of V.I. Lenin will have a place of honour.
(Hardial Bains Resource Centre)
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