January 20, 2018 - No. 2

Ushering In the New Year

The Importance of Discussion
on Political Affairs


Marxist-Leninists in Quebec Usher In the New Year
Greetings of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec for the New Year

Vancouver Meeting on Korea
No Good Will Come from Considering the DPRK an Aggressor
- Pauline Easton -
Actions Uphold the People's Demand for
Peaceful Means to Resolve Tensions in Korea

Peace Proposals Advocated by China and Russia
Final Statement of Vancouver Women's Forum on Peace and
Security on the Korean Peninsula

Korean Unification Flag to Lead Delegation at
Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony

First Anniversary of Donald Trump's Administration
Shutdown Shows Need for New Arrangements
- Voice of Revolution -
Trump's Threats to Use Nuclear Weapons
- Voice of Revolution -

Brazilian People Fight Against Constitutional Coup d'État
Lula Has the Right to Be a Candidate for President
In Defence of Lula
- Statement of Workers' Party of Brazil
Senators and Deputies -

An Election Without Lula Is a Fraud
- Manifesto and Petition, Projeto Brasil Nação -

Honduran People's Fight for the Right to Decide
People Courageously Stand as One Against Impunity 

Discussion on Economic Affairs 

Ushering In the New Year

The Importance of Discussion on Political Affairs

The national and international situation is becoming more complicated, dangerous and out of control. This week, January 23-28, the sixth Round of the renegotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) begins in Montreal. The negotiations bring to the fore the problems which arise when decisions by supranational bodies supersede workers' rights. How should the workers deal with this?

Demonstrations have been called in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal to raise some of the concerns about NAFTA. These actions will culminate with a rally in Montreal at noon on Saturday, January 27, organized by the Réseau québécois sur l'intégration continentale, in front of the Bonaventure Hotel (990 La Gauchetière near Bonaventure subway station) where the negotiations are taking place. 

On January 29, the winter session of Parliament will be convened. Its agenda includes Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters, which illustrates how the Trudeau government itself is resorting to police powers in the name of protecting democracy and Canadian values, which are put on par with national security and the national interest.

Reform of electoral laws will also take place against a backdrop of national security hysteria about the need to protect elections from “foreign influence,” while the Communications Security Establishment secret police is already charged with monitoring electoral discourse to this end. This theme will be pushed further to justify changes to the election law that will suppress freedom of speech. Information available thus far indicates that criticism of NATO, its dangerous encirclement of Russia or of Canadian policy in Ukraine will be equated with treason under the hoax that such opinions are the work of foreign agents.

Unacceptable limitations on speech during elections that contradict people's understanding of political discourse amongst members of the polity will only deepen the crisis in which the system of representation is mired. CPC(M-L) will affirm the principle that the right to speech is a human right that must be affirmed in order to empower the people and make sure they cannot be dispensed with at a whim of an arbitrary power.

In this session of Parliament, the Trudeau government is also sure to keep pushing its foreign policy which, in the name of high ideals and women's rights, increasingly embroils Canada in the U.S. imperialist war preparations. This means that the public conscience against Canada's submission to the U.S. imperialist striving for world domination and its war preparations will also find increasingly meaningful expression as the need to avert the dangers which lie ahead becomes ever more evident. This requires debunking the Cold War outlook, which defines the U.S. as the "indispensable nation," making all other nations dispensable, and the conception of the national interest within that framework.

This week is also the first anniversary of the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Even though his main duty as president is to preserve the union and perpetuate the Republic --  i.e., avert civil war -- factions are at war with each other within the United States as to who will control the political power. This makes Trump  ineffective to preserve the union because he champions private  interests which are tearing it apart.

The anniversary of Trump's inauguration is accompanied by a "government shutdown" -- which Trump said was a "present" to him. Voice of Revolution, newspaper of the U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization, explains:

When Trump was elected, it was said that since Republicans controlled the House and Senate and presidency, Trump would have no difficulty imposing his dictate. Instead, the year has been marked by the increasing dysfunction of Congress, including the inability to pass major legislation such as that on immigration and healthcare. The dysfunction stems in part from the fact that the Democrats and Republicans no longer exist as political parties, addressing political interests. Instead the vying factions among the rulers operate as cartels, contending and colluding to protect private interests. They are using violence against the peoples abroad and at home while also threatening open violence against each other. Alliances shift, with various forces included or excluded in the office of the presidency, which is the main prize as it is where power is concentrated.

What stands out is the public good, public interests are not part of the equation. It is partly for this reason that the various headlines read that the public will not be impacted by the shutdown, even though hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be forced to work, or be laid off -- without pay. This includes the various health and safety workers and first responders working over the weekend. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security -- that is, the most vulnerable -- will all be impacted. The effort is to dismiss the public interests and focus attention on the cartels.

Great pressure is being exerted to draw people into a false debate as to whether Republicans or Democrats are to blame, followed by calls to elect one or the other in 2018. Everyone is to ignore the reality that the current system of representative democracy no longer functions. As the past year indicates, with open contention within and between the military, presidency and intelligence agencies, it cannot resolve the conflicts among the rulers, and it cannot provide legitimacy in the eyes of the people. The dysfunctional congress, elimination of political parties and efforts to eliminate politics more generally, the great power concentrated in the presidency with a government of police powers instituted, all indicate that the current set-up can solve no problem. It is finished and new institutions must be brought into being.

The people need to put in place a democracy that empowers them to govern and decide, that puts guaranteeing the rights of all at the center. This is where discussion must go. The upcoming (mid-term) elections are an opportunity not to join in reinforcing the old, dysfunctional system, but instead to raise this necessity for the New and discuss and debate advancing the struggle to bring it about.

This civil war to control the political power of the United States extends into the international domain where marauding cartels also collude and contend for domination. The people need to get involved in analyzing the situation so as to not fall into the trap laid by the warring cartels, to side with this one or that one at any particular time, by giving up their own interests. On this occasion, TML Weekly is carrying two articles published by the U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization on the shutdown and the U.S. stand on Korea.

This week Canadians and the peoples of the world will also witness the spectacle of the Davos World Economic Forum. A TML Weekly Supplement on the economy carries an article which discusses the Forum and its agenda and the profound concern of the people to change the direction of the economy.

All these matters are of profound concern and the people have the right and duty to deliberate and speak about how to turn the situation around in their favour. CPC(M-L) is organizing political affairs discussion across the country to provide forums where people can bring forward their concerns and together workers and people from all walks of life can think things through and exchange experiences and ideas with the aim of drawing warranted conclusions. This will help those who are trying to intervene in a manner that favours the people.

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Marxist-Leninists in Quebec Usher In the New Year

Pierre Chénier, leader of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (PMLQ), presented the Party's greetings for the New Year at a get-together held in Montreal on January 6. He welcomed the workers present from various sectors of the economy -- construction, the post office, transportation, retail, agriculture, education, health care and the public service -- as well as youth and students and people from various communities. He welcomed the Consul General of Cuba in Montreal, Mara Bilbao Díaz and members of the consular staff as well as the representative of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front of El Salvador-Montreal. On the occasion of the 59th anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, Pierre reiterated that Quebeckers stand firmly with the Cuban people and their leadership in the pursuit of its revolution, to which the crowd responded "Viva Cuba!" and applauded.

"Thanks to the Revolution, Cubans have a leadership which is a part of them, not above them, and they work as one mighty force in the recovery work from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. It is a great feat which shows the whole world the miracles that can be performed when the separation of the polity into rulers and ruled is ended and a system is brought into being where the political power resides in the people and the people rule themselves," he said.

Pierre strongly condemned the brutal U.S. blockade and measures taken by the present U.S. administration to strengthen it. "The defiance of this brutality by the Cuban people inspires us to step up our work at their side in the coming year. The PMLQ calls on everyone to lend a hand at the monthly pickets held in front of the U.S. embassy on the 17th of each month. It is an opportunity to condemn the blockade and demand it be ended and that Guantánamo be returned to Cuba," he said.

He reiterated what Comrade Raúl Castro, President of the Republic of Cuba, said in his speech at the National Assembly in December: "The Cuban Revolution has withstood the onslaught of 11 U.S. administrations of different kinds and here we are and will remain, free, sovereign and independent."

Pierre announced that the Party will organize meetings in the CEGEPs and universities on solutions the Cuban people are finding to the problems they face as a result of the blockade to preserve free health care, education and to make sure nobody is left behind.

"Together with Cuba's internationalism, which is humanitarian to the nth degree, so too at home Cuba's social policy is profoundly humanitarian and shows that an alternative exists to the brutal anti-social offensive waged in Quebec," he said. He added that these meetings "will be useful for workers and youth working hard to find solutions to the problems they face here to defend the rights of all. The conditions in Quebec and Cuba are not the same, but we are all human beings capable of sorting out the problems we face in a manner that favours us. We have a lot to learn from one another and experiences to exchange as we build our people to people friendship," Pierre concluded to shouts of Viva Cuba!

With regard to the work for the new year, Pierre said that the Party intends to focus its energies on stepping up the work to mobilize the people to resolve problems in their favour. Within that context, the Party is involving members and supporters in discussion on how the workers can intervene in the general election to be held in Quebec in October. These elections must not be another occasion to authorize others to act in our name, in defence of a political power that is not ours, Pierre said. How to involve the working people in politics so that we ourselves can find solutions to the serious problems facing Quebec is the crux of the matter, Pierre said.

After informing of upcoming meetings of the PMLQ's National Council, Pierre proposed a toast to the success of this work and everyone's endeavours in 2018, to which everyone joined in and applauded warmly. A delicious buffet was accompanied by lively discussion. A slide show reviewed actions carried out by the workers and all sections of the people in 2017. The scope of the struggles and positions taken by the people of Quebec in defence of their rights was greatly appreciated.

At the request of all, the Patriots' song of 1837-1838 La Canadienne was performed, along with the poem Un Canadien pensant. Traditional call-and-response songs followed, to everyone's delight.

The evening was a great success all round -- the Party's intervention on the need to step up the work for the New, the exchanges throughout the evening, the pleasure of being together, the good food, the music. It was a good way to usher in the New Year.

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Greetings of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec
for the New Year

On the occasion of the New Year, the Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (PMLQ) sends its greetings to Quebec workers who are fighting to defend their rights as workers within their collectives and to make the defence of rights the goal for society as a whole.

Our greetings also go out to the Quebec youth engaged in the struggle to defend the rights of all in all their spheres of endeavour. Besides fighting to make sure human beings are at the centre of solutions when it comes to the economy and social and cultural affairs, they also stand second to none when it comes to defending the natural environment. Their spirit is that It Can Be Done! It Must be Done!

This New Year, the PMLQ also salutes the work carried out by the representatives of many communities which make Quebec a dynamic place in which we live and work. We are fighting as one to oppose the state-organized racist attacks and laws which divide the people in the name of high ideals, including ironically in the name of unity. The more discredited the old policies of divide and rule become, the more the people are blamed for xenophobia and narrow nationalism and racist mafia gangs are unleashed against them. The aim is to justify the use of police powers to criminalize sections of the people as well as speech and dissent and to block resistance and the building of the New. In this regard, one aim is to divert the people from acquiring an outlook that identifies solutions to the problems which face them and their society and natural environment.

At this time we also salute the Indigenous peoples whose territories we inhabit. The fight of the peoples to seek justice for murdered and missing women and girls and abuse by the authorities as well as to establish relations on a modern nation-to-nation basis is courageous and deserves the support of all.

At this time a battle is being waged in Quebec against the creation of governments of police powers, which impose unacceptable conditions on the people. Workers, among others, are deprived of what belongs to them by right and, like the youth and minorities, and the Indigenous peoples, they are marginalized and their right to speak is denied, either directly or through disinformation.

The PMLQ is determined to make headway on this front in 2018. Freedom of speech is far more than a civil right which can be limited and taken away. It is a human right, which means people have the right to discuss and inform themselves about their conditions and provide themselves with an argument on how to move forward. To divert attention from the need to find the real problems they and their collectives and society as a whole face and what to do about them, attacks are launched against the workers using laws and the courts, while state-organized racist attacks against minorities are blamed on the people. The policies of divide and rule have the aim of not only dividing the people but also diverting the working class and people from sorting out the problems they and their society face in a manner that favours them.

This is an election year in Quebec and in the Party's opinion it is our duty together to oppose sectarianism and find solutions to the serious problems facing Quebec, Canada and the social and natural environments. The Party will deploy its best efforts to involve the people in politics and to not permit their political movements to be smashed by sectarianism and disinformation. We call on everyone to see what can be done so that elections, expected to be held in October, are not an occasion to merely authorize others to act in our name in defence of a political power which is not ours. In the coming year the workers and youth will be paying first-rate attention to intervening in the elections in a manner which favours them.

Our working class is a contingent of the Canadian and international working class. Our future lies not in the 19th century values of the British empire and 20th century values of U.S. imperialism and their current incarnation, called Canadian or Quebec values. These values stand for divide and rule on the basis of communal considerations, gender, religion and every other aspect of identity. 

Our future lies in uniting on the basis of our fight for rights by virtue of being human. We are one human race! Together we can tackle the challenges posed by the anti-social offensive and the creation of governments of police powers which seek to destroy any united response to any situation.

We must also deal with the war dangers posed by the U.S. imperialists in which Canada is more and more embroiled. Quebeckers are used as special detachments of the Canadian armed forces but they have also always been in the forefront of the anti-war movement. Let us proudly uphold our fighting traditions and use our speech to make sure Quebec cannot be used successfully as a base for war and that our youth are not used as cannon-fodder against their counterparts in other countries.

This year we are also duty-bound to smash the disinforming outlook about what the U.S. imperialists and their allies in countries such as Canada are doing in Venezuela, Honduras, Brazil, and other places. We stand with the movement for the unification of Korea without foreign interference and we demand that the U.S. sign a peace treaty with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and stop its war exercises and threats against the Korean people. We also demand that Canada stop participating with the U.S. and Japan in war exercises that target the DPRK. Nuclear blackmail must be countered by opposing any attempt to use it to threaten those who refuse to come under U.S. control.

We support the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela, under vicious attack in which Canada is taking a leading role, and we stand as one with the peoples of all of Latin America and the Caribbean. We have a particular responsibility and commitment towards the people of Haiti with whom we share weal and woe here in Quebec, and to ending the U.S. imperialist blockade of Cuba.

The National Council of the PMLQ is meeting before the end of January to review and assess the work which the Party and fighting forces in Quebec carried out in the past year and set the Party's work for this year. The General Assembly of Party members will also be held in good time prior to the elections, which are expected in October if the ruling party abides by the intent of the law on fixed election dates. Meanwhile, the organizations of the Party are holding discussions amongst Party members and with the workers and youth to make sure everyone is part of the decision-making process, informed through their active participation and involved in implementing the decisions they themselves take.

We must counter all moves to destroy the human factor/social consciousness by affirming it. This is what imbues the movement with optimism and confidence that things can be turned around in favour of the people.

At this time, the dangers going forward are great. The U.S. imperialists and other great powers have politicized private interests that are marauding around the world to bring everything under their control.

Upholding the sovereignty of the nation state and serving the public interest is not what motivates the cartels, made up of oligopolies, as they seek hegemonic power in a desperate effort to avert their own demise. They wantonly destroy whatever they cannot control.

But theirs is not the only power that exists. Human beings are capable of controlling the products of their own creation and making history in a manner which puts them, not private interests, at centre stage. If you look beyond the anarchy and chaos which prevails, you will see the face of the New, of the human factor/social consciousness striving to break through the darkness and shine. You see it in the struggles of our people and the working class of Canada as a whole to find a solution to the problems that society faces. You see it in the defiance of the Cuban people and their struggle to defend their nation-building project which puts human beings at centre-stage. You see it in the striving of the Venezuelan people, the Honduran people, the Palestinian and Korean people and the peoples all over the world who are trying to create a climate of peace to sort out problems against the violent methods used by the counter-revolutionary forces.  The battles to defend the rights of all show us the face of the New striving to come into being.

As we focus all our energies to mobilize the people to build the New in this country, we call on everyone to step up the tempo of their work by applying the method of educating the educators and mobilizing others to carry out work alongside us, not by exhausting themselves. For this, they must use their speech to provide an argument so that others come forward to author the decisions themselves and join in together to create successes. This is the first step required to oppose the old forms of decision-making and organization whereby people are to elect representatives to act in their name. These old forms are being manipulated today to sanction governments of police powers said to act in our name. It must not pass. We must act in our own name and create the kind of democratic personality which corresponds to the requirements of the times.

We wish everyone success in this endeavour.

Greetings to All in Quebec and Across Canada and the World
Fighting to Build the New!
Let Us Together Make Headway in Our Fight to Defend the Rights of All!

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Vancouver Meeting on Korea

No Good Will Come from Considering
the DPRK an Aggressor

The meeting of the "Vancouver Group," comprised of the states which made war against the Korean people in 1950-53, took place on January 16 in Vancouver. From the point of view of its stated aim -- to find a diplomatic versus military solution to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula -- the Vancouver meeting was as unproductive as expected. It could not have been otherwise given that the participants did not include the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), which is the target of UN sanctions that the meeting sought to strengthen, nor China or Russia, two parties which border the DPRK. The "Vancouver Group" seeks to circumvent the UN Security Council, which is still regarded as the organization entrusted to safeguard world peace, and the UN General Assembly, which is said to represent all the countries of the world.

Canada and the U.S., as co-hosts of the meeting, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Britain spoke at the opening press conference in the most hooligan manner. All in all, the summary produced by the co-hosts after the meeting merely shows how vengeful they are and that the fight of the U.S. to impose their control on the situation is not only genocidal but that it poses ever greater dangers to the cause of world peace.

The hypocrisy of the Liberals' "humanitarian" imperialism was on full display. In her opening remarks Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland declared:

"The states represented at this meeting harbour no hostility to North Korea. On the contrary, we seek neither a regime change nor a collapse."

She then gave the imperialist line of peace through strength to serve what is deemed to be the national interest of countries thousands of miles away without regard to the fact that these countries attacked  Korea in 1950, using weapons of mass destruction at that time. In the case of Japan, which is next door to the Korean Peninsula, this is a country that committed grave crimes against the Korean and Chinese people and other peoples of Asia during World War II whom it has never compensated. On the contrary, it is now claiming the DPRK represents the biggest security threat to Japan "since WWII." This as it praises its criminal actions in WWII while coming forward to repeat them.

Freeland presented the victim as the biggest threat to peace by speaking as if the national and collective interests of the aggressor states are equivalent to peace: "We are working to resolve this crisis and are aiming for what is in our collective best interest: security and stability on the Korean Peninsula and throughout the world."

She then repeated that the very same fraud which led to the commission of grave crimes against Iraq and Libya will sort out the Korean crisis: "We know this to be true: A decision by the North Korean regime to verifiably abandon all of its weapons of mass destruction will contribute to North Korea's security and economic development, leading to a better, brighter, safer, and more prosperous future for the North Korean people. It is now up to North Korea to choose the future it wants for itself."

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson refused to even mention the inter-Korean talks to which Freeland paid lip service. The aim of the meeting, he said, "is to improve the effectiveness of the maximum pressure campaign and combat North Korea's attempts to evade sanctions. The United States looks forward to hearing from all participants on how we can best do that."

He said, "We all must insist on a full enforcement of UN Security Council sanctions, as this is the letter of the law. We especially urge Russia and China in this matter." What this "insistence" will consist of Tillerson did not say. He continued:

"We all must work together to improve maritime interdiction operations. We must put an end to illicit ship-to-ship transfers that undermine UN sanctions. And third, there must be new consequences for the regime whenever new aggression occurs."

The mention of "new aggression" reveals exactly where this exercise is going and Canada's nefarious role. The DPRK has never committed aggression against anyone but the U.S. is continuing the same Cold War narrative that the DPRK is an aggressor that it has carried since the U.S. launched its war of aggression under the UN flag in 1950. Now, in desperation, it is upping the ante by declaring that every defensive measure the DPRK takes to check the provocations of the U.S. military and those of the south Korean armed forces under its command, are "aggression."

Any incident is assailed as "North Korean aggression" and then used to justify continued U.S. presence on the Korean Peninsula as well as provocations to scuttle attempts at dialogue towards re-unification. The Cheonan case in 2010 is but one example of many where the DPRK is accused of aggression, even terrorism, based on lies to prove fairy tales and hide the crimes of its accusers. In March 2010 the south Korean navy corvette the Cheonan that was part of a naval formation participating in joint south Korea-U.S. war exercises sank in the Yellow Sea. Over 40 of the 104 personnel on board perished. The U.S. and south Korea claimed the ship had been hit by a torpedo fired from a north Korean submarine and used this to institute a number of new hostile measures and threaten the DPRK with war. The DPRK said the claim was a fabrication. Subsequent investigations by experts did not substantiate the claims of the U.S. and south Korea.[1]

The Japanese Foreign Minister was particularly vicious. To cover up Japan's criminal past, especially in Korea, and that it is re-embarking on the same road today, he used the method of attempting to sow doubt in the DPRK's intentions. He said: "I am aware that some people argue that now that North Korea is engaging in inter-Korean dialogue, we should reward them by lifting sanctions or by providing some sort of assistance. Frankly, I think this view is just too naive. I believe that North Korea wants to buy some time to continue their nuclear and missile programs. They simply want to get something out of this dialogue. I would, therefore, argue that this recognition should be the starting point of today's discussion."

The last to speak at the meeting was British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson. This is a man who claims to represent the people of Britain. What a fraud! The British people fought hard and without letup against former Prime Minister Tony Blair's warmongering in support of George W. Bush's phony war on terror. He was caught lying and committed outright crimes to support George W. Bush's lie about weapons of mass destruction to attack and destroy Iraq. The anti-war stand of the British people is legendary but Boris Johnson spoke like a mafia hitman:

"Our job collectively now is to send out a very clear message that we want to intensify that pressure, and we need to sharpen the choice for him and for the people of North Korea. They can -- he can continue on a path of provocation and equipping his country with nuclear weapons that will lead to further isolation, further economic pain and hardship for his people, or else he has the opportunity to go down a path that can lead to greater well-being for the people of North Korea and a chance to emulate the astonishing achievements of the republic."

The thrust of the opening remarks made it clear that whatever was to be "discussed" at this meeting will have disastrous consequences for the cause of peace and the peoples of the world must speak out with all their might. The naval blockade and sanctions regime must be opposed and support must be voiced for the inter-Korean peace process and demand that the U.S. sign a permanent Peace Treaty with the DPRK and get out of the Republic of Korea and surrounding seas.

Reports of the Meeting

As for reports about the meeting, it is noteworthy that whatever pledge these countries signed on to as concerns the naval blockade the U.S. declared on the eve of the meeting, was not questioned or even formally "adopted" to make it the "position" of this albeit illegitimate group of countries. In fact, the meeting did not give rise to any joint communique of any kind. The summary of the meeting, presented by the co-hosts, states that "the Ministers acknowledged" various things. These include slanders such as:

"North Korea has long covertly trafficked conventional weapons in order to raise revenues for its own illicit programs and undermine the global non-proliferation regime. As North Korea feels the impact of sanctions, it will become more reliant on state-sponsored criminal activity, including through cyber operations, to help fund its [weapons of mass destruction (WMD)] programs...."

The narcissism of those who attempt to criminalize the DPRK for so-called covert trafficking in weapons and other criminal activity is such that they forget they are speaking about themselves, not the DPRK. The U.S. is the biggest arms trafficker in the world and they engage in buying and selling arms as normal business in today's world. To portray the DPRK as if it were some kind of narco-state belies that it was former U.S. President Ronald Reagan who presided over the Iran Contra scandal, where drugs were sold for weapons to illicitly establish the mujahadeen in Afghanistan and defeat the Soviets; or the evidence that  the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is involved in the Mexican drug cartels to cause chaos in Mexico for nation-wrecking aims.[2]

The summary "noted the ongoing human cost of the frozen conflict on the Korean Peninsula, including on divided families, as well as abductees and their families. Regrettably, North Korea continues to prioritize its WMD and ballistic missile programs at great humanitarian cost."

The co-hosts paid lip-service to the women's peace delegation which came to urge a different path. The summary "noted the critical role women and women's organizations can play in contributing to conflict resolution and enduring peace." (See women's statement posted below.)

Referring to the states gathered as the so-called Vancouver Group, the summary "stressed their collective resolve" to undertake the following concrete actions:

- support progress in the inter-Korean dialogue, in hopes that it leads to sustained easing of tensions;

- maintain readiness to support a political solution, and recognize China's special role and responsibility to contribute to this effort;

- work closely with partners in the region and globally, including China and Russia, to ensure full and effective implementation of existing sanctions on North Korea, particularly through enhanced information sharing and expanded support to the UN Panel of Experts, to combat sanctions evasion;

- further strengthen the international pressure campaign through diplomatic advocacy with states that lack the political will to implement sanctions;

- help to build global capacity to effectively implement sanctions and prevent proliferation financing, including from criminal activities and cyber operations;

- sever financial lifelines for all of North Korea's WMD programs, including through enhanced coordination within the region and internationally;

- counter North Korea's maritime smuggling in accordance with relevant UNSC resolutions, including measures to stop its illegal use of 'ship-to-ship transfers;'

- agree to consider taking steps to impose unilateral sanctions and further diplomatic actions that go beyond those required by UN Security Council resolutions;

- undertake preparatory efforts to outline principles and requirements for a verification mechanism sufficient to guarantee the complete and irreversible dismantlement of all of North Korea's WMD programs and related delivery systems.

The first of these actions, to "support progress in the inter-Korean dialogue," itself shows what is being covered up. Other than Tillerson, who represented the country that wanted the meeting in the first place, each Minister that spoke in the opening press conference feigned support for the talks. However, they want to decide the outcome of this dialogue rather than permit Koreans to determine the outcome themselves. The inter-Korean talks have objectively eased tensions through re-establishing communications and creating enthusiasm for joint efforts at the Olympics, while this Vancouver meeting of aggressors has set a tone for stepped-up threats and blackmail, something which only threatens "sustained easing of tensions."

Ultimately the meeting did not resolve any matters nor establish any legitimacy for whatever it is the U.S. with the aid of Canada, Britain and Japan in particular are preparing to enforce next. Reports and editorials on the meeting all express confusion as to what was achieved as well as concern over the consequences of sanctions or a naval blockade.

U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson, in responding to a question regarding enforcement of sanctions, raised the issue of maritime interdiction as an illustration of the "voluntary" nature of states enforcing the sanctions, qualifying this as the situation at present, but hinting that more coercive measures may be required: "So at this point it's required very little military activity to enforce the sanctions other than we do share -- we have information sharing so that we all understand what are the proper procedures to implement the sanctions and stay fully compliant with international laws, norms, and standards."

Calling sanctions voluntary hides what this means. The U.S. blockade against Cuba with its extraterritorial provisions shows what voluntary means when companies and other entities that may not agree with the U.S. blockade are hit with fines and prohibitions if they deal with Cuba or Cuban entities. It is worth noting here that one of the things meeting participants agreed to was taking steps to impose unilateral sanctions that go beyond those required by UN Security Council resolutions.

The extraterritorial reach of the blockade against Cuba is explained in The Bossuyt Report: The Adverse Consequences of Economic Sanctions, produced for the UN Economic and Social Council in 2000:

"[T]he United States has attempted, through various Acts passed in the past decade, to extraterritorialize its own foreign trade policy. Through a system of secondary sanctions, the United States has tried to force third-party countries into embargoing Cuba as well. This is not only a violation of trade law, but also an attempt to turn a unilateral embargo into a multilateral embargo through coercive measures, the only effect of which will be to deepen further the suffering of the Cuban people and increase the violation of their human rights." [3]

Some note that if the aim was diplomacy and peace, so long as the DPRK, Russia and China are not in attendance, this is unproductive. One need only look at the bellicose and inhumane actions they call for and already are taking against the DPRK and its people, which they refer to as "diplomacy" to see that the meeting had nothing to do with diplomacy, let alone peace.

Neither are the U.S. and Canada talking about peace when they say their aim is "denuclearization." The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is a profound desire of the Korean people, the American people, Canadians, Brits, the Japanese and peoples of the world who want peace. But the more the U.S., Canada, Britain, Japan and supporting actors reveal to the world through their actions that their aim is not peace, the more their talk about "denuclearization" leads people to question what they are talking about. What kind of denuclearization is it that does not include the United States, which is the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons and is armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction on land, sea and air, and uses them to target Korea, China and Russia, amongst others.

Schemes to control the Korean Peninsula so as to control China and Russia which, to boot, greatly endanger the cause of peace, are not what the people consider working for peace.

Not a word was uttered at the meeting about what the Korean people want, which is inter-Korean talks without foreign meddling, peaceful re-unification of their nation and an independent Korea. The countries attending this meeting may believe that the aim of "denuclearization" forgives everything but it does not. The U.S. nuclear power's demand for denuclearization coupled with its branding of DPRK as aggressor does not have to do with ending the use of nuclear weapons but with who has a monopoly on first strike.

News Analysis and Media Reports

News analysis and media reports are proposing all kinds of alternative ways to treat the Korea crisis but most of them are framed by Cold War premises, many falling for the trap laid by the U.S. president who is trying to establish a "tripolar" balance between the U.S., China and Russia.

Suggestions are being made that Canada's role should be to come to terms with China as concerns North Korea to serve its national interest and as an alternative to dependency on the U.S. This too is a path which people need to discuss so as not to fall into the trap of thinking that peace can be safeguarded if only proper alliances are made. In this regard, the reference point most often accepted is the tri-polar division of the world based on playing off the geo-political interests of China against those of the U.S. and Russia versus those of Russia against the U.S. and China or those of China and Russia against those of the United States. This is a dangerous game and is not the road to peace.

A new equilibrium can only be established in international affairs by the peoples of the world affirming their desire for peace in effective ways by standing for what they want, not positioning themselves within what the imperialists and big powers want.


1. "Truth behind Cheonan Incident: U.S. and Lee Myung Bak Group Fabricate Ugliest Conspiratorial Farce in DPRK's History -- Inspection Group, DPRK National Defence Commission," October 2010," TML Daily, November 5, 2010.

2. According to studies conducted by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI),  the U.S. was the world's largest arms supplier during the period 2012 to 2016, accounting for 33 per cent of international arms exports. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Turkey were listed as its biggest buyers. The UAE, which ranks among the top 15 arms spenders in the world according to Business Monitor International (BMI), is an active aggressor in the Saudi-led and U.S.-backed "coalition" waging war against the armed resistance of the Yemeni people. Turkey, a NATO member, has long served as a base for U.S. aggression and illegal activities in the region, including attempts to destabilize Syria by arming terrorist forces to wreak havoc in the country.

In the final days of 2017, Canada announced its own new Defence Cooperation Agreement with the UAE. In December as well, around the same time the U.S. authorized sending new lethal weapons to Ukraine, Canada added Ukraine to the list of countries to which it may sell light weapons. Ukraine is currently engaged in a civil war in which the Canadian government backs the government forces that usurped power through a coup, using Georgian military officers and some Lithuanians as snipers -- to massacre people in Maidan Square, and the fascist paramilitary forces allied to it. Canadian arms manufacturers will now be able to sell their weapons to other countries or paramilitary forces through Ukraine, itself a major arms merchant, which they might not otherwise be able to do because of Canadian export restrictions and public opposition.

3. The Adverse Consequence of Economic Sanctions, Marc Bossuyt, June 21, 2000. To see full report, click here.

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Actions Uphold the People's Demand for
Peaceful Means to Resolve Tensions in Korea

On January 15 and 16, various actions were held in Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal and Seoul, Korea and elsewhere to coincide with the meeting of foreign ministers of the aggressor nations in the Korean War. They reiterated the people's demand for peaceful means to resolve the tensions in Korea, that put the Korean people from north and south at the forefront of this work.

January 15

A candlelight vigil is held in advance of the "Vancouver Group" meeting on Korea.

Women peacemakers and others meet with Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland
at a "civil society roundtable."

January 16

Activists hold an early morning "Witness for Peace" event outside the foreign ministers' meeting to underscore that peaceful means must be used to resolve the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

An anti-war picket is held outside the convention centre later in the day.

Women peacemakers hold an afternoon forum to elaborate their call for
peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Mobilization Against War and Occupation holds a public meeting featuring
Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research.

Information pickets and petition signings are held in Toronto (shown here), Montreal and
Edmonton, to ensure Canadians are informed about events on the Korean Peninsula
and Canada's dangerous role.

Picket at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul opposes the aggressive and hostile policy toward the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

(Photos: TML, MAWO, CPC, ILPS, SPARK, Nobel Women's Initiative, Global Affairs Canada, C. Ahn, L. Bernstein, A. Nader)

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Peace Proposals Advocated by China and Russia

Both China and Russia have made public proposals on how peace can be achieved on the Korean Peninsula. Both countries have a direct interest in making sure peace prevails as U.S. war exercises, and preparations to impose a naval blockade, not to mention the possible outbreak of a new Korean war, are all also aimed at them.

China made public a proposed "double suspension" formula on March 8, 2017. Referring to it as a "suspension-for-suspension" formula, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said this proposal would lead to the de-escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula. He said, "As a first step, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) may suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.-Republic of Korea military exercises." "We may follow the dual-track approach of denuclearising the peninsula on the one hand and establishing a peace mechanism on the other," he said.

Describing the approach as trying to address all parties' concerns in a "synchronized and reciprocal" manner, Wang said, "This suspension-for-suspension can help us break out of the security dilemma and bring the parties back to the negotiating table."

Then on July 4 Russia and China put forward a joint statement with a further proposal.

That plan consists of three stages. In the first stage, a "double freeze" is proposed: the DPRK would renounce carrying out new nuclear tests and missile launches, while the United States and its allies would renounce conducting large-scale exercises in the region.

The second stage would see the establishment of direct dialogue between the United States and the DPRK on the issues of peaceful coexistence and mutual recognition. In that same stage, the inter-Korean dialogue could be resumed.

The third stage would see the launch of multilateral negotiations on complex issues and mechanisms of peace and security in Northeast Asia. At this stage, issues of denuclearization and demilitarization of the Korean peninsula could be discussed.

The proposal was submitted by Russia to the U.S. and the DPRK in September 2017 and not rejected. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgoluv, speaking at a conference on November 27, said the DPRK had respected the code of silence on the proposal for two months, in fact following the roadmap. The Deputy Foreign Minister explained, however, that the decisions taken by the U.S. in October and November regarding unscheduled exercises made it very difficult to use the roadmap for a peace settlement.

Positions on Meeting of the "Vancouver Group"

On the occasion of the Vancouver Meeting Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in Beijing that the absence of China and Russia rendered the Vancouver Meeting without legitimacy and not representative.

"Since this meeting does not have legitimacy or representativeness, China has opposed the meeting from the very beginning," he told reporters during a briefing in Beijing.

"While countries are committed to finding a proper solution for the peaceful settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, some parties hold such a meeting in the name of the so-called United Nations command during the Cold War era," Lu Kang said. "We do not know what the purpose of convening such a meeting is," he added.

Russia's Foreign Ministry released a statement which said:

"Regrettably, we have to state that such events which are conducted hastily and which have a negative effect on functioning of proven multilateral formats, do not contribute to the normalization of the situation around the Korean Peninsula, but, on the contrary, aggravate it."

"The 'decision' of the participants to consider introducing unilateral sanctions and other diplomatic measures seems completely unacceptable and counterproductive," the statement added.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov explained that Russia would be prepared to support direct contacts between the United States and North Korea on the Korean Peninsula's nuclear problem, including those within six-party talks by North Korea, China, South Korea, Russia, the United States and Japan.

"As you may know, Russia and China have a joint initiative for transition from confrontation to a political settlement of the problem that emerged on the Korean Peninsula. For a start we suggest everybody should calm down and freeze any confrontational actions -- in the first place, military activities, be it missile launches, nuclear weapons tests or large-scale exercises, which the United States has held and still holds in the region jointly with the Republic of Korea and Japan," Lavrov said.

"When such a freeze, a moratorium on unfriendly and confrontational steps takes effect, we will actively support direct contacts between the parties most concerned. As far as the nuclear problem is concerned, I am referring to Pyongyang and Washington in the first place, but we will be prepared to accompany their bilateral dialogue within the framework of the six-party process with Russia, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea taking part," he said.

"As I've already mentioned, the United States has come very close to saying bluntly a military solution will be inevitable. Everybody understands the disastrous consequences of such an adventure. In a situation where conditions for starting a dialogue emerged, most often provocative actions, such as ever larger military exercises around North Korea followed only to trigger another spiral of tensions," Lavrov said.

After the Vancouver Meeting issued its "Summary" of the discussions, China reiterated its objections to such a meeting. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang stated at his January 17 press briefing, "We all know that the so-called UN Command, as a product of the Cold War era, has long lost its relevance. As initiators of the meeting, the U.S. and Canada co-hosted the meeting under the banner of the so-called UN Command sending states. That is Cold War mentality pure and simple, and will only drive a wedge among the international community and undermine the concerted efforts to seek proper settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. When major parties to the Korean Peninsula issue are not present, such a meeting will not contribute to properly resolving the issue, as it shall be approached and addressed mainly through the framework of the Six-Party Talks and the UN Security Council. That is why, from the very beginning, the legality and representativeness of this meeting is extensively questioned by the international community."

In a statement on January 17 the Russian Foreign Ministry stated "The results of the January 16 meeting in Vancouver outlined in the statement by its co-chairs -- the United States and Canada -- confirmed our doubts regarding the usefulness of this event.... We regret to state that such events held hastily and adversely affecting the work of tried and tested multilateral formats, do not contribute to the normalization of the situation around the Korean Peninsula, but, on the contrary, exacerbate it."

(Xinhua, TASS)

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Final Statement of Vancouver Women's Forum on Peace and Security on the Korean Peninsula

The Vancouver Summit on Korea missed a critical opportunity for peace. Instead of supporting the reduction of tensions on the Korean Peninsula that began with the inter-Korean dialogue and the Olympics truce, the Foreign Ministers chose to further isolate and threaten North Korea.

We urged Foreign Ministers to prepare the table for dialogue with North Korea. Instead, they chose to obstruct the path for peace being laid by North and South Korea.

The U.S.-led "maximum pressure" approach has utterly failed to halt North Korea's nuclear and missile program. Seventy years of sanctions and isolation of North Korea have only furthered the DPRK's resolve to develop its nuclear arsenal.

A maximum pressure campaign is not diplomacy that will lead to peace. Increased sanctions hurt ordinary people.

U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson's depiction today of commercial airline flights as potential targets of North Korea's missile tests is reminiscent of Colin Powell's UN presentation about Iraq's "so-called" weapons of mass destruction. This provocative effort to demonize North Korea sets up justification for even more extreme measures against the DPRK, such as a naval blockade, which will be viewed by North Koreans as a war-like action.

We are profoundly disappointed by the Foreign Ministers representing countries with a commitment to peaceful diplomacy and feminist foreign policies. At a time of great global instability, we looked to them for leadership for true global peace and security.

We are resolved to build a global campaign to challenge sanctions that we know have cruel and punishing effects on ordinary North Koreans, to strengthen our feminist peace movements to challenge the drive for war, and to work towards the formal resolution of the Korean War.

Our commitment to peace is unshaken.

(January 16, 2018)

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Korean Unification Flag to Lead Delegation at
Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Republic of Korea first compete together under the unification flag at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

On January 20 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) formally accepted the proposal from the Olympic Committees of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) for Korean athletes to march in the opening ceremonies at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang on February 9 under the Korean Unification flag. Athletes from Korea marching in the ceremonies will wear a special uniform with the flag on it. Korea will also have one unified women's hockey team, the first time the two National Olympic Committees have formed a unified sports team.

Under the "Olympic Korean Peninsula Declaration," the International Olympic Committee also granted accreditations to the National Olympic Committee of the DPRK for 22 athletes in three sports and five disciplines. The DPRK will compete in: figure skating, short track speed skating, cross country skiing and alpine skiing. Skiers from north and south will train together.

The IOC also granted accreditation for 24 officials and 21 media representatives from the DPRK. The athletes are expected to travel to the ROK and join the Olympic village no later than February 1.

The Declaration indicated that all parties welcomed joint cultural, sporting and other activities proposed by the DPRK and ROK, which will take place alongside the Olympic games.

The Declaration concluded: "The Olympic spirit is about respect, dialogue and understanding. The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 are hopefully opening the door to a brighter future on the Korean Peninsula, and inviting the world to join in a celebration of hope.

"The Olympic Games show us what the world could look like, if we were all guided by the Olympic spirit of respect and understanding. This is the Olympic message that will go from PyeongChang to the world."

Reports indicate that the DPRK will also send a delegation, including athletes, to the Paralympic Games which follow the Olympics.

The agreement between the DPRK and ROK accords with the aspiration of Koreans for re-unification and is a contribution towards peace.

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First Anniversary of Donald Trump's Administration

Shutdown Shows Need for New Arrangements

The U.S. Senate failed in efforts to provide funds to keep the U.S. government operating. The government shutdown begins at 12:01 am Saturday, January 20. It immediately impacts federal government workers, such as health care and first responders, who are forced to work without pay over the weekend. If it persists, hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be laid off or forced to work without pay. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will all be impacted, as will all the various federal agencies, some worse than others.

Government shutdown is a serious concern among the people, but considered a "present," by President Trump. He, like others -- including New York Senator Schumer, a main player in negotiations, see the shutdown as a bargaining chip, a means to secure particular private interests. Schumer claims he is defending the undocumented youth brought here as children. But he is the one who has pushed for immigration legislation that includes biometric ID for all workers requiring an FBI and Homeland Security background check. It is a means to further control and regiment the workforce, giving some ID and not others, forcing them potentially into slave labour camps. He is striving to position himself as a champion of immigrants in part so he can further such legislation. Careful attention is needed as these various forces do not favour the people.

As well, while all the contending factions claim to be concerned about the public, the readiness of all to use the shutdown indicates that the public interest and public good are expendable. The federal workers, those reliant on federal services, are expendable as the factions contend for their own private interests, be it funding for border wall construction, or biometric IDs, or more weaponry and detention centres. Contention among the various forces is such that Trump has intervened, saying he was both for and against the same proposals. It appears that his main aim was to secure the shutdown, this "present" as he calls it, to further discredit Congress, while positioning himself to have greater leverage. It remains to be seen if that will be the case, as for many across the country, all of government is discredited and dysfunctional -- sharply posing the need for new arrangements, a new set-up that favours the people.

This concern about dysfunction has been underlined by the fact that there have already been three "stopgap" short-term budget measures. Congress has been unable to pass a budget, one of its most important responsibilities, for fiscal year 2018, which began in October 2017. The stopgap measures provide funds for a very limited period of time. This current one, which had passed in the House and provided funding for another month, failed in the Senate. The Senate requires 60 votes to end debate, and these could not be secured.

More time is not the problem. Even if yet another stopgap measure is passed over the weekend, it will not overcome the dysfunction. The dysfunctional government reflects the fact that politics are being eliminated and the two parties of the rich no longer function as political parties but as cartels, like gangsters contending and colluding. Trump is head of a government of police powers, which acts with impunity against the people and without concern for legitimacy. It is a government where rule of law has been eliminated and thus bodies that legislate law, like Congress, are largely eliminated. The budget is one key issue that remains, so having Congress unable to pass a budget further supports the notion that the president alone should rule.

The "blame game" now underway is a means to divert from this reality. It is a means to involve those concerned about the rights of the people abroad and at home in the contention among the cartels. Instead, given that existing institutions no longer function, attention must be given to the development of new institutions that do serve the people and guarantee their rights. A new electoral set-up, a new constitution, new forms of governance are the order of the day.

Voice of Revolution is a publication of the U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization.

(January 19, 2018)

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Trump's Threats to Use Nuclear Weapons

Before Donald Trump became President of the United States, he campaigned against war, yet the first anniversary of his inauguration is marked by the open and repeated threat to use nuclear weapons against Korea, an open-ended military presence in Syria, where the U.S. now has about 2,000 troops, and continued war against Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen. The drone warfare broadly increased by President Obama has been further intensified by President Trump, involving far more bombings in dozens of countries.

The wars being waged are not for political purposes, but rather for destruction of human productive powers. And because they are wars of destruction, the politics of negotiating peace treaties are absent. For the U.S., whatever cannot be controlled is to be destroyed. Indeed, nuclear weapons are solely for that purpose.

It is said that President Trump's threats to use nuclear weapons are different than those of past presidents. In fact this threat and use of nuclear blackmail have been used by U.S. presidents since nuclear weapons were developed. Truman not only used nuclear weapons against Japan but as a means to terrorize the world. When he was asked at a press conference in November 1950, during the U.S. war against Korea, if nuclear weapons would be used, he said all weapons were on the table. This is the phrase repeated by presidents ever since, including George W. Bush, Obama and now Trump.

The Pentagon has repeatedly developed plans to use nuclear weapons, against Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, etc. The main difference now is that Trump is open about these plans. Coupled with this is the fact that in the war games against Korea, it is made public that attacks using nuclear weapons are practised, which means the U.S. can no longer deny these plans.

In the current situation, the U.S. is striving to make Korea the aggressor. While it is the U.S. that has a massive nuclear arsenal, plans to use it and a history of aggression, it is said the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is the problem. The monopoly media consistently leave out their stand and long practice, which is that they do not engage in aggression and will not use nuclear weapons unless attacked. Faced with this, Trump has repeatedly tried to provoke the DPRK into taking action first, so as to justify U.S. aggression. It is a dangerous game of brinkmanship, one widely opposed by Koreans and the peoples of the world.

On the first anniversary of the Trump administration, stepping up opposition to the growing danger of war is one of the main concerns of many. It is the peoples of the U.S. and the world, that are decisive in blocking war and securing the peace. A recent conference to strengthen united efforts, here and abroad, to close all U.S. foreign bases and bring troops home is indicative of the reality that the people of the U.S. stand as one with the peoples of the world against U.S. aggression and wars. The call for a new direction for the country, for an anti-war government and peace economy, is being heard. On the occasion of this one-year anniversary of the Trump administration, many actions are taking place across the country to raise the just demands of the people against war and for rights, abroad and at home.

Voice of Revolution is a publication of the U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization.

(January 19, 2018)

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Brazilian People Fight Against Constitutional Coup d'État

Lula Has the Right to Be a Candidate for President

Rally "In Defence of Democracy and Lula," Rio de Janeiro, January 16, 2018.

In July of last year, Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva, who was President of Brazil from 2003-2010, was sentenced to nine years and six months in prison after being convicted -- without any evidence -- of receiving an apartment from Brazilian construction company OAS in return for helping it win contracts with state oil company Petrobras. Lula immediately filed an appeal which is set to be heard on January 24 by the 4th Federal Regional Appeals Court in Porto Alegre, in the state Rio Grande do Sul.

It is widely accepted that these and other "corruption" charges and investigations to which Lula has been subjected for more than three years are part of an attempted judicial coup by some of the same forces that impeached President Dilma Rousseff in a 2016 parliamentary coup and installed the unelected current president, Michel Temer, in her place. These same coup forces are intent on preventing Lula from running for president in 2018, which he intends to do as the candidate of the Workers' Party (PT). Hence the attempts to get a conviction and make it stick so Lula can be barred from running by the time the election takes place in October.

World Days of Solidarity with Lula

The battle to defeat the attempts of these coup forces to prevent Lula from once again running for president is in high gear as the date of his appeal hearing approaches. Caravans from all over Brazil, as well as international delegations will converge on Porto Alegre from January 22 to 24 to participate in a program of activities organized by the Brazil Popular Front, a coalition of political parties, unions and people's movements. Organizers report that 225 caravans are coming from different states in Brazil with others arriving on their own.

Support rally for Lula, Brasilia,
January 18, 2018.

A communique from the International Relations Department of the PT indicates that there will be public lectures, vigils, debates and interventions of different kinds taking place around Porto Alegre during the Days of Solidarity. There will be a March for Democracy the night before Lula's trial and a vigil at the courthouse starting at 8 am on Tuesday, January 24. Actions and vigils will also be held in front of federal courthouses in all states, with demonstrations taking place internationally as well. Messages of solidarity and in support of Lula's right to be a candidate have been received from political parties and personalities around the world. These continue to be welcomed, along with participation in the PT's social media campaign.[1]

The PT also reports that more than two thousand people's committees have been formed all over Brazil in recent years as part of a broad network to publicize the abuses taking place in the justice system, lawfare, media persecution and politics promoted in recent years against Lula and the Brazilian left.

Defending Lula's right to be a candidate, it says is about ensuring that the coup is not consolidated and so the country can resume the path of social and economic development that was interrupted in 2016. Given that the Brazilian mainstream media is totally partisan, the PT argues, it is fundamental that the truth about the political persecution of President Lula through legal proceedings be divulged abroad to break through the blockade of the Brazilian mainstream media. During Dilma's impeachmenet trial this was fundamental for unraveling the true face of the what was a parliamentary, judicial, and media coup against her, it said.

Residents of Altamira form a Popular Committee in Defence of Democracy and Lula, January 18, 2018. Similar committees are forming across Brazil.


1. On 22 and 24 January, between noon and 2 p.m. (Brasilia time) support messages will be posted with the hashtags: #EleicaoSemLulaEFraude #JusticaPorLula #CadeAProva #JusticeForLula

- Post support videos for Lula:

We ask you to send videos (no more than 30 seconds) that include: name, organization, country, importance of the defence of Lula and democracy for the continent and peoples from all over world and a call to participate and publicize the campaign "Election without Lula is a fraud." These videos should be sent to: sri@pt.org.br

- Take pictures with posters in defence of Lula and democracy in Brazil and post them through your networks. Here you may find some suggestions:

- In defense of democracy and Lula
- In defense of Lula's right to be a candidate
- Pursuing Lula is to attack the rule of law
- Lula's crime: taking 36 million people out of poverty
- Defending Lula is to defend democracy
- Justice for Lula

Please identify yourself when sending your photo: name, organization and country. Enter one or more hashtags: #EleicaoSemLulaEFraude #JusticaPorLula #CadeAProva #JusticeForLula

- Promote acts and activities in front of Brazilian embassies and/or consulates on the subject of justice as a tool for political persecution and Lula's defence. Send a report and photos of these activities to: sri@pt.org.br

Mobilizations will happen through the accounts below. We invite you to follow them:

Twitter: @ptbrasil and @lulapelobrasil
Instagram: @pt13_oficial and @luizinacioluladasilvaoficial
Facebook: @pt.brasil and @Lula

(Photos: CUCA da UNE, Brazil Popular Front)

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In Defence of Lula

President Lula is being subjected to judicial persecution that is unprecedented in Brazilian history. This persecution has a clear goal: to prevent Lula from being elected again to once more deliver the economic, political, and social gains the Brazilian people require to increasingly stand ever more proud and sovereign.

Banner hanging outside the National Directorate of the Workers' Party, January 13, 2018, reads "Elections without Lula are fraud!"

A warning is in order: there is no evidence of any wrongdoing committed by Lula in these lawsuits. And there is no evidence because there was no wrongdoing! In the meantime, evidence of his innocence is ignored and dismissed.

No one has ever been more fully investigated in all these years. No one has ever been so fully exposed and had their lives more thoroughly probed than Lula. Yet they could find nothing. No foreign account, no concealed assets. Nothing more than partisan convictions, unsubstantiated theories, arbitrary hypotheses, and intense political rivalry as the justification and basis of the lawsuits against him.

At a juncture when, in Brazil, conservative politicians are acquitted and rescued and criminals released to spend their millions abroad despite substantive incriminating evidence, convicting Lula, the most popular leader in our history, without a shred of evidence, amounts to dealing a fatal blow to Brazil's justice and democracy.

It is unacceptable that the justice system should proceed with an obviously political action to convict an innocent person with the clear intention of interfering in the electoral sphere to keep Lula from becoming a candidate. With this deliberate conduct, rife with extralegal and biased interests, and driven by countless violations of rights and guarantees enshrined in the legal order of the Democratic Rule of Law, the trials Lula is being submitted to contravene the Brazilian constitutional system and international human rights treaties. By convicting Lula, they convict democracy and attempt to subjugate the will of the people.

So much arbitrariness has been inflicted on Lula throughout these tortuous inquests and trials. It suffices to mention the unlawful and shameful operation that took him into custody in March 2016 or the ridiculed public PowerPoint presentation -- riddled with assumptions, photo montages, and sound bites -- for the evident purpose of embarrassing the former president and submitting him to public humiliation, clearly offending the fundamental principles of the dignity of the human person.

Another extremely serious fact was the leaking by the judge himself of recorded conversations between former President Lula and the then-President Dilma Rousseff, the illegality of which was ultimately acknowledged by the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF), upon whom it is incumbent to safeguard the Constitution. So far, however, the STF's ruling has not led to the punishment or removal of the offending judge, who demonstrates that he lacks the impartiality to try President Lula.

Moreover, among other demonstrations of the persecution Lula is being subjected to is the arbitrary decision of another judge prohibiting, without any plausible reason, the activities of the Lula Institute, without there even being any petition filed thereto by the public attorney's office, just for the sake of public exposure and humiliation. So outrageous was the decision that it was rapidly overturned by a higher court. Still, it reveals the various measures being taken by part of the judiciary against former President Lula for the sole purpose of embarrassing him.

The so-called "criminal law of the enemy," the legal practice of identifying beforehand and fully criminalizing a person, regardless of and even before the existence of any crime being established, was adopted against Lula. In the words of renowned Italian lawyer Luigi Ferrajoli in a public analysis delivered last April 4 in the Parliament in Rome, when it comes to Lula, they act like the "referee who doesn't want to lose the game." Everyone in Brazil knows that the judicial persecution against Lula -- actually a form of "legal warfare" dubbed "lawfare" -- has been part of the political agenda of the Brazilian coup d'état since long before any legal action was started.

It is imperative to understand that the actions against former President Lula are being conducted by prosecutors and judges who have made a clearly ideological and partisan choice, publicly expressed on social media. These prosecutors and judges have allied themselves with the conservative media, dominated by a small oligarchy of powerful families, with the political aim of persecuting and humiliating former President Lula and the Brazilian left as a whole. For this reason, these prosecutors and judges have adopted the criminal tactic of producing selective leaks of the investigations -- a clear affront to Brazilian law -- to disseminate their absurd theories that Lula was the "commander" of a sweeping corruption scheme. This dirty tactic, typical of authoritarian regimes, seeks a public conviction, disregarding due process and the principle of the presumption of innocence.

It is also for this reason that this branch of the Brazilian judiciary adopted the tactic of abusively using pre-trial detention as a form of psychological torture to force those charged into plea bargains in return for testimony against the former president -- an affront to the Constitution, but also to international human rights treaties. It is well known that in Brazil the chances of a person with charges against them being released from detention or getting their sentence reduced increases exponentially if they testify against Lula.

There is, therefore, obvious political selectiveness on the part of the Brazilian judicial system. While politicians with ties to Brazil's traditional oligarchies are protected or released, even in the face of substantive evidence like recordings and suitcases full of illegal cash, Lula is convicted in the absence of any evidence.

The Brazil Popular Front calls on the judiciary to stop the coup against Lula at a rally
in Aracaju, January 16, 2018.


The appellate court that is to review Lula's case, the 4th Region Federal Regional Court (TRF/4ª), has scheduled Lula's trial for January 24, 2018, record speed in Brazilian history. This trial is being held in half the time required to schedule the fastest trials ever held in that Court. It must be noted that Carlos Eduardo Thompson Flores Lenz, presiding justice of the TRF/4ª, stated even before the case arrived at his court, that the ruling handed down by Judge Sérgio Moro sentencing former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to nine-and-a-half years' imprisonment in the Guarujá (SP) triplex case was "technically flawless." So this is about playing cards with a stacked deck, where the political aim is to prevent the candidacy of a great popular leader.


Even the prosecution's petition recognizes there is no substantial evidence against the former president, aside from the deposition of a plea bargainer who was sentenced to two years in prison and who knew he could be released or have his sentence shortened should he accuse Lula. This has become customary in trials involving judges and prosecutors who, as a rule, act in a clearly selective and partisan way and simply on the basis of conjecture, probabilities, and arbitrarily constructed hypotheses. According to Brazilian law, plea bargains are invalid in the absence of substantive evidence.

Yet, given the paradoxical reasoning that prevails in these Kafkaesque trials against popular leaders, absence of evidence becomes proof of guilt.


In the specific case of Lula's conviction, it should also be added that not only was there no evidence of his culpability, there was substantial evidence of his innocence, such as the fact that Lula never enjoyed the use of the apartment that, in the delirious allegation of the indictment he had received as a "bribe," and that the construction company always had ownership of the property. This would be the only case of the metaphysical ownership of a physical asset. Nonetheless, substantive evidence of his innocence was ignored in the purely political trial the former president was subjected to.


Lula represents everything the reactionary and anti-democratic oligarchy hates the most, for his personal struggle is intertwined with the collective struggle of the Brazilian people and of many oppressed peoples in the world.

Lula is a genuine creation of the Brazilian people. He is their face and their heart. Lula is in the son of the bricklayer who became a doctor; in the mother who can afford to feed her children today; in the waters that today irrigate the northeastern semi-arid outback; in the light for those who, in the 21st century, lived in darkness, without electricity. Lula is in MERCOSUR, UNASUR, ECLAC, the BRICS. Lula is in the G-20, in the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Lula is in the solidarity with Africa. Lula's example is in every international program designed to fight hunger and poverty.

Lula is the hope of reconciliation for Brazil. Only direct elections with Lula's participation will be able to overcome the country's extremely serious political, economic, and institutional crisis. Incarcerating Lula means keeping Brazil in an insoluble crisis. It will mean worsening the conflict-ridden state that imprisons the country.

And Lula is also a symbol in a world lacking world leaders truly committed to fighting the gaps between countries on this planet. Lula embodies the dream of equality and hope of a less asymmetrical world, a world oriented to satisfying the needs of the people, not dedicated to the maintenance of the privileges of the few who control globalized finances.

This dream cannot be imprisoned, this hope cannot be incarcerated.

We will react, we will fight back. Now, more than ever before, we will dedicate our strength to acquit Lula. In every sphere and every court, in Brazil and abroad, we will denounce this scandalous injustice, this new coup against Brazilian democracy. We will declare that without Lula, the only leader capable of opposing the destructive agenda of the ongoing coup, the next Brazilian presidential election will be a big fraud. Without Lula, there will be no democracy in Brazil. Without Lula, the hopes of a better world dwindle.

We are certain of victory. We are -- with Lula and the people -- on the right side of History!

(January 9, 2018. Photos: Brazil Popular Front, PT. Slightly edited for grammar and style by TML.)

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An Election Without Lula Is a Fraud

Lula receives support from Brazilian artists and intellectuals, Sao Paulo, January 18, 2018.

An expedited appeal hearing for Lula scheduled to take place January 24 is without any legal basis and purely an act of persecution of the most popular Brazilian leader. It is to try to prevent his candidacy in the 2018 presidential election, especially because the coup against President Dilma Rousseff did not give rise to a stable regime capable of winning popular support.

The strategic plan underway following Dilma's removal has been one of violating workers' rights, threatening public pensions, privatizing Petrobras, Eletrobras and public banks, and abandoning the country's active and proud foreign policy.

Labour reforms and the freeze on public spending did not attract the promised foreign investments to support the campaign for a neo-liberal government in 2018. In the face of their unpopularity, these sectors have so far failed to come up with a viable candidate for president.

Lula's popularity grows in all the polls for the first and second rounds of the next election, suggesting he could even win in the first round. An overwhelming victory by Lula would mean failure for the coup and would enable the opening of a new political cycle.

Hence, anything goes in the plot to prevent Lula's candidature: condemnation in the Porto Alegre court, creation of a semi-parliament and the postponement of the elections. None of these are out of the question. An evil arsenal is being built up by political forces that do not value democracy.

Lula's is an entirely political persecution that will only be defeated politically. This is more than a tactical or electoral problem and victory or defeat in this fight will have strategic and long-term consequences.

Brazil is at a crossroads: social rights and the democratic rule of law will either be restored or they will be defeated, allowing the final implementation of an unregulated capitalist society based on the super-exploitation of workers.

That kind of society requires a state reinforced with instruments [for rule by] exception to suppress the universities, intellectuals, workers, women, youth, the poor, blacks -- ultimately, all the exploited and oppressed who rise up against the new system.

Thus, the issue of the persecution of Lula is not just an issue for the Workers' Party and the left, but for all Brazilian citizens. As never before in our generation of fighters, what is at stake is the future of democracy.

To sign this petition (also available in Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Turkish and German), click here.

(Photo: T. Oshiro. Slightly edited for style and grammar by TML.)

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Honduran People's Fight for the Right to Decide

People Courageously Stand as One
Against Impunity

Protest denounces the U.S. role in the electoral fraud, Tegucigalpa, January 5, 2018.

On January 27, Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández is poised to be sworn in for a second term amidst widespread demands from the people that he vacate the presidential palace. There is plenty of credible evidence to back up their claims that Hernández (often referred to just as JOH) "won" the November 26 presidential election only because the country's electoral authorities tampered with the results to ensure that Salvador Nasralla, candidate of the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship, did not become president.[1]

Tegucigalpa, January 7, 2018

Hondurans took to the streets in cities and towns across the country as well as to social media as soon as they sensed an electoral fraud in the making. They denounced it, with "Fuera JOH!" ("JOH Out!") as their battle cry. In retaliation Hernández decreed a state of emergency, suspending constitutional rights, imposing a dusk-to-dawn curfew, and authorizing the military and police to use force against protesters. The people's forces have been violently attacked with impunity ever since.

Within a month more than 30 people had been killed, many by U.S.-trained military and police forces. On January 16, the Opposition Alliance coordinator, former president Manuel Zelaya, announced on television that 45 people had been killed and many more injured and/or arrested on trumped up charges -- most of them youth -- in the 45 days since the election.

Pedro San Sula, January 6, 2018

But neither state terror, nor the pressure put on the people's forces in other ways -- through attempts to divide them or by the U.S. and Canada's haste to recognize a president Hondurans refuse to accept -- has dampened their spirits. They continue to protest in the streets to demand an end to the negation of the people's will, to the assassinations, violence and the taking of political prisoners by the state. A week-long national strike has been called to begin January 20. There are plans for daily mass actions and blockades in the streets, in front of the National Congress, at the airport in Tegucigalpa and on January 27, surrounding the national stadium where Hernández is to be sworn in. In addition, the Opposition Alliance has called on Hernández and his National Party to participate in an internationally mediated dialogue to seek a way out of the crisis. They say it should include discussion about conducting a forensic analysis of the election results and either a second round between Nasralla and Hernández or a new election altogether. They are also calling for a constituent assembly in order to reconstitute the state and its institutions on the basis of the rule of law instead of arbitrariness and dictatorship.

If no agreement can be reached and Hernández assumes office for a second term -- something not permitted by the constitution but which a compliant Constitutional Court nevertheless allowed -- opposition forces vow to continue resisting and pushing their demands. In an interview on UNE TV January 16 Manuel Zelaya pointed out that according to the country's constitution no one owes obedience to a usurping government and that the people have the right to rebel against a government that has rendered itself illegitimate through usurpation of their sovereignty.

U.S. and Canada Weigh in

On December 17, three weeks after the election and with the blessing of the U.S. ambassador, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced its decision that Hernández had won the election. Even the Organization of American States, known for pushing U.S interests in the region, said it could not vouch for the results owing to the many irregularities and improbabilities, and recommended the holding of a new election.

Canada was among a handful of countries that quickly jumped in to follow the U.S. lead, posting on the Global Affairs Twitter account that it "acknowledged the confirmation of Juan Orlando Hernández as President of Honduras." It did so at virtually the same time as the U.S. State Department released its statement congratulating Hernández. As if Hernández and his government were not the ones responsible for unleashing state terror to silence the people and crush their resistance, in its tweet Canada urged the Honduran government to "protect human rights and ensure those responsible for violations are held responsible."

In Honduras, as it has done since the U.S.-backed coup removed President Manuel Zelaya in 2009, Canada acts to maintain in power a government imposed on the people against their will. In Venezuela where it is actively intervening to try to overthrow a democratically elected government, the aim is the same: negation of the people's will and violation of their sovereign rights. In this regard, Honduras and Venezuela are two fronts of one fight by the peoples to assert their sovereignty and their right to decide their own affairs free from outside interference, whether delivered through force or the "help" of condescending saviours.

TML Weekly calls on Canadians to support the mass actions and other initiatives of the Honduran people to affirm their rights, and to make it clear that the Canadian government is not acting or speaking in their name, but pursuing a self-serving agenda against the interests and human rights of the Honduran people.


1. "Canada Must Stop Trying to Prevent People of Other Countries from Deciding Their Own Destiny," TML Weekly, December 9, 2017.

(Photo: Honduras Solidarity Network)

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