Category Archives: Europe

RT Interviews President Lukashenko – ‘I have no resources to be a dictator’

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The following interview below was originally published by Russia Today

March 18, 2013

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko

His reputation precedes him: The long-time Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko has been often referred to in the Western media as ‘Europe’s last dictator’. But he insists he doesn’t have the means to be one as RT sits down with the President.

“In order to be a dictator and dictate one’s will one has to have the resources: economic, social, military, population, and so on. But we have none. And I am being objective about it,” Belarusian president told RT’s Sofiko Shevardnadze.

The 58-year-old former head of a state-owned farm told RT he has no intention to hand over power to any of his sons. “I swore I would never delegate the reins of power to any of my relatives, loved ones or children. It’s out of the question,” Belarusian leader emphasized.  “Who wins a fair election will have the power. Like I did when I won the race as a candidate from the opposition,” he added.

The Belarus leadership has repeatedly been the target of fierce criticism from the EU over its crackdown on the opposition and lack of respect for democracy and human rights. Up to 250 Belarusian officials, including President Aleksandr Lukashenko, and 32 companies are currently subject to travel bans and asset freezes within the EU.more

For more on this as well as Lukashenko’s view on relations with Russia and international community, his presidency and successors, and the overwhelming economic crisis and Belarus’ fate read the full interview below.

Read the rest of this entry

Against Left Opportunism: Syria & Anti-Imperialism

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The following article below was originally published by the Return to the Source news blog: 

By Vince Sherman
December 10, 2012

The time has come for the left in the United States to make a choice.

Either it can continue to play into the hands of Western imperialism through its bizarre, undying support for the Syrian rebellion, or it can break decisively from opportunism and consistently uphold Syria’s right to self-determination by supporting President Bashar al-Assad.

NATO’s ruthless assault on Libya proved that all of the Western polemics in the world could not conjure a workers revolution into existence that opposed both Colonel Muammar Qaddafi and NATO. It proved that the call to support the rebellion while also condemning Western aggression was worse than taking no position at all. Liberals and opportunists in the US spent more time criticizing Qaddafi than they did organizing actual resistance to the horrific actions of their own government in Libya, and ultimately they supported the Obama administration’s so-called “humanitarian intervention,” if not in words than certainly in deeds.

With President Barack Obama winning a second term handily over Mitt Romney, the administration no longer has the disincentive towards war with Syria and Iran that it did a little over a month ago. Xinhua and RT challenge the narrative put forward by the Western media about the progress of the Syrian rebellion, arguing that they are essentially locked in a stalemate on the ground coupled with a worsening international situation. CNN, on the other hand, runs stories titled “Syria endgame in sight: ‘We welcome this fight’” that claim a rebel victory is within reach.

Washington tipped its hand last week in revealing the purpose of the propaganda war: Accusing a supposedly desperate Assad of planning to use chemical weapons. Imminent victory for the rebellion is an important component of the pro-war narrative because it gives Assad, by all accounts a rational world leader, a motive for planning a patently irrational action. While the US is in a less advantageous position internationally to launch an assault on Syria than they were ten years ago with Iraq, the possibility of invasion has never been greater.

This is the larger context of the US left’s positions, and it’s shocking how little hue and cry there is over imminent war with Syria. Takis Fotopoulos, the famed Greek left-libertarian political philosopher behind the “inclusive democracy” concept, perfectly describes the phenomenon of leftist support, explicit or tacit, for the criminal attacks on countries like Libya and Syria. In the Winter/Spring 2011 issue of The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, he wrote of the “degenerate left” in the United States. We will quote him at some length:

The world mass media controlled by the transnational and Zionist elites, crucially assisted this time by the “alternative” world media (from Aljazeera — which has become the unofficial channel of the “revolutionaries” and the transnational elite — to the Iranian Press TV), have played a very important role in creating the illusion of a monolithic “world against the tyrant”, which was not created during all the previous criminal wars of the transnational elite (see Section 4).

This has had very important implications as regards the stand of the Left (statist, libertarian, Green, etc.), who have mostly sided with the “revolutionaries”, if not with the criminal campaign itself! Furthermore, it has not just been the reformist Left who have sided with the new criminal campaign, as they have done in the past. This time, a very significant part of the anti-systemic Left have also indirectly been in favour of this war, through their support for the so-called “revolutionaries” in Libya. This has created (or perhaps revealed) a new kind of degenerate “Left” who, instead of demystifying the systemic propaganda, as used to be their traditional role, have directly or indirectly been supporting it, justifying the conclusion I derived ten years ago about the end of the traditional antisystemic movements. (1)

We are eager to read Fotopoulos’ new book, Redesigning the Middle East: The Arab “Revolutions”, Counter-Revolution in Iran and Regime Change, which promises to explore this concept further.

The point is, by not putting forth a consistent, unified, principled anti-imperialist position on the Libyan or Syrian question, the left aids and abets Western imperialism. One cannot call the US left’s willingness to hitch its wagon onto any protest movement, regardless of its composition or political context, anything but the most degenerate form of opportunism. Just as in Libya, the Syrian rebellion today has generally worked with the West and its puppet states towards the overthrow of a nationalist, anti-imperialist government since the beginning. Thanks to news services like RT, even Western leftists have had access to this information from day-one, and yet they cannot be bothered to sacrifice some vague notion of “principle” and support Assad and Syrian self-determination. As we will see, this opportunism has run the gamut from outright support to more insidious forms.

Like Libya, Syria Reveals Opportunism in the US Left

A cruise-missile leftist blog called The North Star raised the ire of a number of leftist groups in the US when they posted an article entitled “Lybia and Syria: When Anti-Imperialism Goes Wrong.” The piece took left-opportunism to a new level by openly calling on leftists to support the demand by the Syrian opposition for Western imperialist intervention. In subsequent pieces, the author, Pham Binh, heavily criticized the Cliffite-Trotskyite International Socialist Organization (ISO) for “quietly [abandoning] its support for the Libyan revolution once the going got tough and NATO’s F-16s got going.” (2) For Binh, the ISO’s clumsy and ham-handed justification for supporting the Libyan rebels but not the NATO intervention of 2011 was “the anti-imperialism of fools,” but not because they supported the invasion. Rather, Binh criticizes the ISO for not actively supporting the NATO airstrikes to bring down Colonel Muammar Qaddafi’s government, claiming that leftists should support the ‘Arab spring’ – itself a completely empty term employed by the West to blur the line between popular uprisings, like those in Egypt and Tunisia, and the imperialist-instigated plots against Libya and Syria – “no matter what side the U.S. government eventually decides to back.” (2)

This bizarre episode of explicit opportunist support for imperialism provoked many strong responses from other left groups around the world. Directly responding to both The North Star and the ISO’s own left-opportunist view of the Syrian question, Mazda Majidi of the Party for Socialism & Liberation (PSL) wrote a fantastic piece for Liberation News entitled “When justifying imperialist intervention “goes wrong” Cruise-missile socialists.

At Return to the Source, we see no reason to reinvent the wheel, and we unite with the criticisms of Binh’s piece levied by Majidi and the PSL. We encourage any and all Marxist-Leninists interested in this debate to read the aforementioned article.

Unlike Libya, however, the question of the Syrian ‘rebellion’ is still at the forefront of the struggle against imperialism. anti-imperialists must resolutely struggle against the possibility of a Western military invasion of Syrian and rigorously combat the left-opportunist elements – like the ISO and The North Star – which seek to give cover to an invasion.

In terms of honesty, logic, and consistency, The North Star gets high marks. Polemic-trading between The North Star and the ISO should not blur the fact that both of these groups view the so-called ‘Syrian rebellion’ in the same way: a genuine popular people’s movement against the so-called “Assad dictatorship.” This is crucial to understanding the common tie between the ISO and The North Star, which is left-opportunism and social imperialism. Majidi notes this in the PSL’s response, saying that ”[they] accept all the same premises: that the Libyan government had no significant base of support and that the revolt was a popular “revolution” with an “understandable” desire for foreign help.” (4)

However, The North Star accepts the logical conclusion of its support for the so-called ‘Syrian rebellion’, while the ISO fallaciously tries to have their cake and eat it too. In perhaps the most bizarre piece put forward by the ISO, author Paul D’Amato presents its position “to support the revolutions in Libya and Syria against dictatorial regimes, while at the same time opposing intervention by the U.S. and its imperialist allies.” He follows up these mutually contradictory positions by saying that “some of us who haven’t lost our heads,” (!) presumably the ISO, “still consider imperialism to be the greatest enemy of both the revolutions of the Arab Spring and national self-determination in the Middle East.” (5)

D’Amato’s seems uncomfortable for the duration of the article as he attempts to distinguish the stance of the ISO from The North Star. The reason for D’Amato’s discomfort is that Binh’s piece on The North Star is just a more honest and logical presentation of the ISO’s own horrendous position: tactical support for imperialism.

It becomes evident in D’Amato’s piece, along with two follow-up pieces further articulating the ISO’s left-opportunist position, that the ISO supports an imaginary ‘rebellion’ in Syria. Lee Sustar of the ISO blatantly denies facts now acknowledged by the Western media in his August 16, 2012 screed entitled “What is the future of the Syrian revolution?”  We quote Sustar at some length to give the reader a sense of scale for the ISO’s delusion:

SocialistWorker.org has been among publications on the left that have supported the Syrian revolution while criticizing leading elements of the Syrian National Council (SNC) for their attempts to make alliances with imperialism. Key members of the SNC have called for stepped-up intervention by Western powers, such as military action to establish safe havens for refugees on Syrian territory or the imposition of a no-fly zone to neutralize Assad’s air power.

But for Rees and some others on the left, that’s enough to write off not only the SNC and the Free Syrian Army (FSA), but also the Local Coordinating Councils (LCCs) that have organized heroic mass resistance for more than a year and half despite the most savage repression–mass arrests, torture, artillery attacks on civilian areas, massacres and, now, aerial bombardment.

Is it really the case that one of the most inspiring, self-organized revolutionary movements in recent decades has degenerated into a pliable tool of the West? Are we looking at a repeat of Libya, where NATO air strikes played the decisive role in turning the tide in the civil war? Are ultra-sectarian Islamist forces–backed by the Saudis and Qataris–becoming a dominant force?

The answer is no. While imperialist forces are angling to install a post-Assad leadership to their liking–a preferably a military strongman, as Reuters reported–the revolutionary movement has continued to develop in response to the struggle in Syria itself.

Moreover, there are well-documented divisions within the SNC and the FSA–and criticisms of both from grassroots Syrian revolutionary forces on the ground in the LCCs. And does it make any sense to equate an SNC leader who calls for a no-fly zone and meets with State Department officials with a farmer who distributes AK-47s smuggled in from Turkey in order to defend a village from Syrian army tanks?

Notice how Sustar actually avoids answering the serious indictments of the so-called ‘Syrian rebellion’ that he himself brings up via rhetorical questions. All he can muster is some flaccid claim that “the revolutionary movement has continued to develop in response to the struggle in Syria itself,” (?) and that “there are well-documented divisions within the SNC and the [Free Syrian Army].” (6)

Of course there are divisions in the ‘rebellion’! There were the same divisions in Libya between the comparador bourgeois elite and the Islamist elements connected to al-Qaeda. This isn’t the point, though. The point is that both of these interests, which have comfortably coalesced in Syria as they did in Libya, are the unquestionable leading forces for the ‘rebellion’. US officials, who are now openly collaborating with al-Qaeda to bring down the Syrian government, now admit that the radical Islamist network “has advanced beyond isolated pockets of activity in Syria and now is building a network of well-organized cells.” (7) With several hundred militants operating in Syria, the Associated Press writes that US officials “fear the terrorists could be on the verge of establishing an Iraq-like foothold that would be hard to defeat if rebels oust President Bashar Assad,” a peculiar concern for the US to hold if the ISO’s ‘local coordinating committees’ were in the driver’s seat separate from al-Qaeda and Islamists. (8) In trying to downplay their numbers, Sustar neglects the stark reality that Islamists “are using their experience in coordinating small units of fighters in Afghanistan to win new followers,” allowing them to take control of many so-called ‘independent’ groups of ‘rebels’ that the ISO claims to support. (9)

Even the US government acknowledges divisions in the rebellion. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks in late October that withdrew support for the Syrian National Council (SNC1) reflects Washington’s growing alarm at the presence of al-Qaeda militants on the ground, who have little to no loyalty to the Syrian exile elite. Independent scholar Stephen Gowans explains this phenomenon in a November 2, 2012 article:

Uprisings aimed at overthrowing governments are often divided between militants who do the heavy lifting on the ground and politicians who lead the fight in the political sphere. Outside powers scheme to anoint an acceptable politician as a leader-in-waiting to step into the void if and when the current government is toppled. The leader must be both acceptable to his or her foreign backers and to the militants on the ground. (8)

Gowans goes on to explain that the strong presence of exiled Muslim Brotherhood members – consistent opponents of Assad’s secular Ba’athist government in Syria – prevented the SNC1 from gaining the loyalty of the rebels on the ground. Indeed, the Obama administration and the faux-socialist Hollande government in France have gone back to the drawing board in supporting the rise of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC2), which hopes to garner the loyalty of the various sectarian elements in the Syrian rebellion.

Rest assured, though, Washington’s hesitance to commit to the SNC1 has nothing to do with minimizing a “revolutionary alternative” or the ‘local coordinating committees’ within the Syrian rebellion, as the ISO might claim. Gowans further explains that the impetus to the new SNC2′s formation “is to marginalize the influence of the Jihadists, many though not all of whom have spilled into Syria from other countries, bent on overturning a secular regime led by a president whose Alawi faith they revile as heretical. If the Jihadists can be sidelined, Washington may be able to funnel arms to “acceptable” militant groups, without fear of their being used later against US targets.” (8) Secular, “anti-imperialist” rebel groups are not a substantial factor in Washington’s calculus for intervention, despite what the ISO would have its members believe, because the truly anti-imperialist groups in Syria, like the two communist parties, critically support the Assad government.

Appalling as it may be, The North Star’s position is simply a more honest rendering of the same opportunist position taken by the ISO. It approaches the Syrian question not from a perspective of dialectical materialism, but from a perspective of craven idealism. The opportunists in the US left cannot view the Syrian rebellion in any terms other than a metaphysical struggle against tyranny. They buy wholesale the reports of retaliatory violence by the Syrian security forces in order to characterize Assad as a tyrant, and in doing so, they confound the central contradiction facing the Syrian people: the contradiction between imperialism and national liberation.

Ironically, Leon Trotsky – the ideological godfather of the ISO – may have put it best in a 1938 interview, when he said, “Truly, one must have an empty head to reduce world antagonisms and military conflicts to the struggle between fascism and democracy. Under all masks one must know how to distinguish exploiters, slave-owners, and robbers!” (9) It’s a testament to the absurdity of the US left’s opportunism that we now say, in this particular moment, D’Amato and Sustar could learn a lot from reading Trotsky!

Perhaps the most confounding question of all for the ISO is this: Where is their coverage of the ‘Libyan revolution’ now? Now that the rebels that were supposedly independent of the West have ascended to power, what happened to the ISO’s enthusiasm and the phrase-mongering about ‘democratic rights’? An ever-defiant ISO published an attempt at summating the lessons of the ‘Libyan revolution’ shortly after the fall of Tripoli. ISO leader Alan Maass, in an article titled, “Who really won in Libya?” writes, “Qaddafi deserved to be overthrown. But the circumstances of his downfall are an advance for imperialism–which means a setback for the struggle to extend democracy and freedom.” (10)

One almost expects to hear a Homer Simpson-esque “Doh!” at the end of the article, as if to say, what a shame that the US compromised the integrity of another revolution! The ISO did nothing but apologize for the crimes of the Libyan rebels – shamefully downplaying and apologizing for the lynching of black African migrants – and ignore the long-standing evidence that the rebellion was instigated and supported by Western imperialist countries from the beginning. And then they act surprised when NATO attacks Libya at the request of those same rebels for whom they pledged support.

If the ISO had published a thoughtful, reflective piece that asked honest, hard questions about the flaws with their line in Libya, they might have earned a little credibility. Instead, they applied their tautological ideology to Syria and doubled-down on their support for the foreign-backed rebellion, whose ties to the West are even more documented than those of the Libyan rebels.

The ISO may be the most peculiar of all the US left sects, but their position was echoed by countless liberal publications and thinkers, including The Nation, ZNet, and the academic Immanuel Wallerstein. Sadly, these groups and individuals have learned nothing from the Libyan experience and continue to support the Syrian rebellion, even in the face of renewed US aggression.

Opportunism in the Western Left

Although opportunism has led many groups in the US left down the path of social imperialism – socialist in word, imperialism in deed – this perverse trend extends far beyond to the US to many of the so-called “left” groups in Western Europe.

SYRIZA, the Greek coalition of ostensibly leftist groups, has enjoyed the support of many on the US left vis-a-vis the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). The so-called “Coalition of the Radical Left” exposed its opportunism to the people of Greece in its continued acceptance of the Eurozone, despite its verbal commitment to opposing austerity. However, SYRIZA has quietly worked with the other conservative parties in Greece to support the Syrian rebels and argue for Greek intervention into the conflict. On September 12, 2012, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras “expressed his concerns about the developments in Syria and the need for Greece to “intervene” in order  for the EU to enhance assistance so Greece can host refugees fleeing the violence in the country.” (11) During the duration of NATO’s attack on Libya, SYRIZA leaders made nary a statement whatsoever and made only a vague reference to the criminal assault in a statement to the Coalition Against NATO/G8 rally on May 20, 2012.

We contrast SYRIZA’s opportunism with the plethora of statements by the KKE against Greek involvement in aggression towards Syria and Iran. (12) KKE consistently upholds proletarian internationalism and is strongly critical of any attempts by its own government to intervene in Syria. SYRIZA, instead, has broken their opportunistic silence during the assault on Libya and crossed the threshold into the territory of social imperialism, calling openly for Greek intervention in Syria.

SYRIZA is but one example of the increasingly prevalent role that so-called “left” parties and movements are playing in supporting imperialism. Much ado was made of France electing a ‘socialist’ President, François Hollande, earlier this year. Playing into the historical trend of social democracy towards supporting imperialism – the major schism in the Second International that Lenin fought against – Hollande has doubled-down on the increasingly hawkish policies of former President Nicholas Sarkozy and supported the Syrian rebels at every juncture. To date, France’s so-called ‘socialist’ government has supported the reactionary terrorist rebellion more prolifically than the United States!

France now delivers money and arms to proxies along the Turkish border that are subsequently funneled to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which has primarily directed the terrorist activity of the rebellion in Syria. (13) The Guardian reports that Hollande’s support has even ”reached Islamist groups who were desperately short of ammunition and who had increasingly turned for help towards al-Qaida aligned jihadist groups in and around Aleppo.” (13) Going further than the United States, Hollande recognized the SNC1 as the legitimate government of Syria and has called for the Syrian opposition to begin forming a “provisional government.” (14)

Of course, every Marxist-Leninist should expect social-democrats like Hollande and SYRIZA to function as part of the capitalist system. However, the vanguard role that a nominally ‘socialist’ government is playing in spearheading imperialist aggression towards Syria is particularly striking in this period. Hollande and SYRIZA are opportunists, but the similarities in their positions on Syria with elements of the left in the US are incredibly disturbing.

Lenin, Syria, and the Struggle Against Opportunism

As Social-Democratic parties across Europe got behind their own bourgeois governments in lockstep during the First World War, Lenin was one of the harshest critics of what he termed “social chauvanism,” which was the placing of national interests above proletarian internationalism through the use of socialist phrases. Indeed, the distinguishing feature of the Bolsheviks was their consistent opposition to the First World War and the imperialist crimes of their own government.

Reading Lenin’s attacks on social chauvanism in 2012 will draw obvious analogies to SYRIZA, Hollande, and opportunist elements of the US left in the mind of astute readers. We will quote from his 1915 essay, Social Chauvanist Policy Behind a Cover of International Phrases at some length:

To influence the workers, the bourgeois must assume the guise of socialists, Social-Democrats, internationalists, and the like, for otherwise they can exert no influence. The Rabocheye Utro group disguise themselves; they apply plenty of paint and powder, prettify themselves, cast sheep eyes all around, and go the limit! They are ready to sign the Zimmerwald Manifesto a hundred times (a slap in the face for those Zimmerwaldists who signed the Manifesto without combating its timidity or making reservations!) or any other resolution on the imperialist nature of the war, or take any oath of allegiance to “internationalism” and “revolutionism” (“liberation of the country” in the censored press being the equivalent of “revolution” in the underground press), if only—if only they are not prevented from calling upon the workers to participate in the war industries committees, i.e., in practice to participate in the reactionary war of plunder (“a war of defence”).

Only this is action; all the rest is words. Only this is reality; all the rest is phrases. Only this is needed by the police, by the tsarist monarchy, Khvostov and the bourgeoisie. The clever bourgeois in countries that are cleverer are more tolerant of internationalist and socialist phrases if only participation in defence is assured, as is evidenced by comment in the French reactionary press regarding the London Conference of the socialists of the “Triple Entente”. With the socialist gentry, one of these papers said, it’s a kind of tic douloureux, a species of nervous malady which forces people involuntarily to repeat the same gesture, the same muscular movement, the same word. It is for that reason, the paper said, that “our own” socialists cannot speak about anything without repeating the words, “We are internationalists; we stand for social revolution”. This is not dangerous, the bourgeois paper concludes, only a “tic”; what is important to “us” is their stand for the defence of the country.

That is how the clever French and British bourgeois reason. If participation in a war of plunder is defended with phrases about democracy, socialism, etc., is this not to   the advantage of rapacious governments, the imperialist bourgeoisie? Is it not to the master’s advantage to keep a lackey who swears to all and sundry that his master loves them, and has dedicated his life to their welfare? (15)

The particulars have changed, but the general opportunist trend that Lenin observed in Social Democratic parties has re-emerged in 2012. Groups like the ISO and intellectuals like Wallerstein assert that their support for the Libyan or Syrian rebels is a part of some greater move towards ‘democracy’ or ‘revolution’. Central to the ISO’s argument for supporting the Libyan rebels, even after the NATO intervention, was constantly repeating the phrase, “Arab Spring,” and waxing on about how the rebellion in Libya was part of a larger revolutionary movement sweeping away “dictators” in the Arab world.

Reality collided with their idealist phrase-mongering, and the ISO tacitly supported the criminal assault on Libya by ruthlessly demonizing Qaddafi, first and foremost. Today, as opportunist groups on the US left call for the toppling of Assad – whether they take the next logical step and call for outright intervention, like The North Star, or veil it, like the ISO – we are witnessing a similar trend.

Just as Lenin and the Bolsheviks combated social chauvanism through ideological struggle, so too much genuine revolutionaries in the US and Western Europe combat the opportunist elements that functionally support US imperialism. There can be no more mixed messages; no more social democrats playing the role of imperialist cheerleaders. The anti-war left in the US must firmly embrace anti-imperialism and begin building resistance to war with Syria that includes upholding Syria’s right to self-determination.

Victory to Assad and the Syrian people!

Hands Off Syria!

For Return to the Source’s essay on supporting nationalist governments, like that of Assad, please refer back to Marxism & Bourgeois Nationalism.

——

(1) Takis Fotopoulos, The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, Winter/Spring 2011, “The pseudo-revolution in Libya and the Degenerate “Left”,” http://www.inclusivedemocracy.org/journal/vol7/vol7_no1_takis_Libya_part1_pseudo_revolution.html

(2) Pham Binh, The North Star, July 18, 2012 “The Anti-Imperialism of Fools and the Syrian Spring,” http://bit.ly/OZaabI

(3) Reuters, Published on The Guardian (UK), August 20, 2012, “Barack Obama warns Syria over use of chemical or biological weapons,” http://bit.ly/Qj7N3s

(4) Mazda Majidi, Liberation News, July 17, 2012, “When justifying imperialism ‘goes wrong’: Cruise Missile Socialism,” http://bit.ly/LwSIPl

(5) Paul D’Amato, SocialistWorker, July 16, 2012, “Siding with the greatest purveyor of violence,” http://bit.ly/NY0VLe

(6) Lee Sustar, SocialistWorker, August 16, 2012, “What is the future of the Syrian revolution?” http://bit.ly/PmC19d

(7) Associated Press, August 11, 2012, “US officials: Al-Qaeda spreading in Syria,” http://bit.ly/NZqtqW

(8) Stephen Gowans, what’s left, November 2, 2012, “Will Damascus Survive Washington’s Latest Attempt to Impose a Puppet Government on Syria?” http://bit.ly/U5FnSz

(9) Leon Trotsky, “Anti-Imperialist Struggle is Key to Liberation,” September 1938, http://bit.ly/UpGian

(10) Alan Maass, Socialist Worker, “Who Really Won in Libya?” August 23, 2011, http://bit.ly/qJbLQG

(11) Al Yunaniya, September 12, 2012, “SYRIZA leader says Greece should host refugees from Syria,” http://bit.ly/Z2TqcY

(12) Communist Party of Greece, May 31, 2012, “NATO and EU are Preparing for Bloodshed,” http://bit.ly/K3QgM0

(13) Martin Chulov, The Guardian, December 7, 2012, “France funding Syrian rebels in new push to oust Assad,” http://bit.ly/VoCLdr

(14) Julian Borger, The Guardian, August 27, 2012, “François Hollande calls on Syrian rebels to form provisional government,” http://bit.ly/SJyvXW

(15) VI Lenin, December 1915, Social Chauvanist Policy Behind a Cover of International Phrases, http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1915/dec/21.htm

“Libyan” “freedom fighters”

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By Lizzie Phelan
August 10, 2012

Double parenthesis needed because these are actually white European or US mercenary training forces, like those also reported to be on the ground in Syria.

Source

Communist Party of Greece: Solutions outside the framework of people’s power serve capital

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The following statement below was originally published by the Communist Party of Greece

June 12, 2012

Elisseos Vagenas – Member of the CC and Responsible of the International Section of the CC of KKE
Interview with the Turkish newspaper “Evrensel”

1. The results of the elections demonstrate that the two-party system has finished. What developments led to this and what do the political balances show us today?

Answer: The result demonstrates that they are seeking to make an effort to give the two-party system a face-lift. They placed old blackmailing dilemmas before the workers in a new “package”. The bourgeois class, in order to maintain its power seeks to get rid of or give secondary roles to the most worn-out parties and political figures. It is preparing a restructuring of the political scene, due to the political damage the basic bourgeois parties have suffered, the social-democratic PASOK and the conservative ND. There is an attempt to form a centre-right pole around ND and a centre-left pole around the social-democratic SYRIZA. The attempt to reduce the electoral strength of the KKE is a part of this plan.

2. What did the KKE argue for and propose in the elections? What was its general line and what does it say today?

Answer: The KKE, in the May 6th elections, promoted in a comprehensive way its political proposal which highlights the need for working class-people’s power and economy, with disengagement from the EU and unilateral cancellation of the debt, with the socialization of the concentrated means of production, the people’s producer cooperatives, nationwide planning for the full utilization of the production potential of the country, with working class and people’s control which will operate from the bottom up.

3. The parties of power lost many votes. The indignation was expressed through parties that did not take a frontal stance against the Troika, EU, IMF, while the KKE every day is in the midst of the struggle, at the side of the workers, unemployed, self-employed, farmers etc. Why did the KKE not receive a corresponding result?

Answer: The KKE had a small increase in this election. Specifically it received 536,072 votes or 8.5%, that is to say +18,823 votes or +1%. The KKE elected 26 MPs (of the 300 in Parliament), 5 more than it had previously. In working class neighbourhoods the KKE received almost double its average percentage. Indeed in one of the 56 electoral regions (Samos-Ikaria) the KKE came first with 24.7%. It should be noted that 8.5% is party’s the highest percentage in parliamentary elections of the last 27 years, since 1985.

The KKE has no parliamentary illusions in the sense that it does not expect to gradually increase its vote until one day it will have a majority in parliament and form a “communist” government. We are struggling for socialism-communism and if this could occur via bourgeois elections then the bourgeois class would have abolished elections.

From this standpoint it is incorrect to compare the electoral results of the KKE with those of a social-democratic formation, such as SYRIZA.

We should remember that 2,5 years ago PASOK, the other social-democratic party, received 44% while this time it received just 13%. This decline, which took place in conditions of political fluidity boosted SYRIZA, its closest ideological relation.

4. The KKE argues that without people’s power and socialization of the means of production, a government which is in favour of the workers cannot be formed. Today, when the conditions for this direction do not exist, i.e. for people’s power, what does the KKE propose? What demands does it promote in today’s situation?

Answer: From the moment when our country remains tied to the imperialist unions, NATO and the EU, and the power belongs to the capitalists, there can be no pro-people government. The position of the KKE is for the organization of the struggle of the workers, the poor farmers, the lower-middle popular strata against the anti-people measures which will be taken by the government (whether centre-right or centre-left). We believe that through this struggle forces will be liberated from bourgeois ideology and a social alliance will be formed that will pose the question of power.

5. What is the minimum programme of the KKE, which answers the demands and struggles of the workers?

The KKE insists and is firmly oriented to the necessity and timeliness of socialism. It considers that the material preconditions for the creation of the socialist-communist society exist. In addition, having studied the historical experience of the Greek and international communist movement, the KKE has arrived at the conclusion that the views concerning an “intermediate stage” between capitalism and socialism were mistaken. In our opinion, this assessment has not been vindicated anywhere!

Power will be either a bourgeois power or workers’ –people’s power; there cannot be any power which has an intermediate character. On this basis, the KKE does not fight today for any intermediate stage and therefore it has no minimum programme. Of course this does not mean that it has only a strategy and no tactics. The tactics of the KKE promote the need to rally the working people around goals of struggle, both for the defense of the workers’, people’s and democratic rights as well as for the satisfaction of the contemporary needs of the people. We have well-elaborated positions and goals of struggle for all the problems of the people, however, we openly declare that under the conditions of capitalism any achievements that the working people may gain will be temporary without the acquisition of the workers’-people’s power.

6. How will the popular discontent and indignation be organized by the party?

Answer: The communists are in the vanguard of the struggle regarding every problem the people face. We seek to rally the workers and the poor popular strata on the path of struggle through the trade unions, the All-workers Militant Front (PAME) which is the class-oriented pole in the trade unions, as well as through other forms of organization, like the People’s Committees in the neighbourhoods.

7. What are the dilemmas which they are placing before the people and what does the party say about this?

Answer: The bourgeois class and its parties pose false dilemmas before the elections in order to trap popular forces and to prevent them from approaching the KKE. But we cannot explain this in an analytical way due to the lack of space. We can briefly mention one of these dilemmas: “euro or drachma?” We consider this to be a false dilemma. To begin with, whether Greece stays in the euro or not depends on the development of the capitalist crisis in the country and in Europe. In addition, the question of the currency alone without the overthrow of the power of the bourgeois class, without the socialization of the basic means of production, the central planning of the economy and workers’ control, cannot guarantee a better life for the workers.

8. What is the political line of the party regarding alliances?

Answer: The KKE has an alliance police which has a social basis. It believes in an alliance of the working class, the popular strata in the city and the countryside that will come into conflict with the monopolies and imperialism. This alliance is being formed today through the respective people’s rallies with the perspective of calling into question the power of the monopolies.

9. Why has the KKE rejected the invitation of SYRIZA for a left government? What is the class character of SYNASPISMOS and what classes does it represent?

Answer: We believe that a “left government” is incapable of solving the people’s problems and on the contrary it will worsen them. Of course this cannot be understood by all the working people and other strata such as the small businessmen who are being destroyed by the crisis. SYRIZA has been chosen by a part of the bourgeoisie which sees it as the basic force in a government that will do the “dirty work” of the capitalist crisis, that will manage a possible bankruptcy.

10. What do you predict for after the 17th of June?

Answer: Any government in the conditions of the capitalist crisis, in the framework of the capitalist system, with the country trapped in the EU and NATO, will take anti-people measures.

The KKE is a party for all seasons and it has proved that in its 93-year history. Nevertheless it is important to thwart the plans for its weakening in the June elections so that it can to play a leading role in the workers’ and people’s counterattack with as much strength as possible.

KKE: SYRIZA gave its official “letters of credentials” to the USA and the EU

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The following statement below was originally published by the Communist Party of Greece

June 7, 2012

On Wednesday the 6th of June, the President of SYRIZA, A. Tsipras met with ambassadors and diplomats from the member-states of the G20. The newspaper “Rizospastis”, organ of the CC of the KKE, on the 7/6/2012, made the following comment on this:

“Mr Tsipras handed over his “letter of credentials”, at a really ceremonial event, to an official of the US embassy and diplomats from the planet’s 19 strongest capitalist countries! The meeting of SYRIZA’s President with the ambassadors of the G20 countries gave us a reminder of the recent past, specifically it reminds us of the former Prime Minister Giorgos Papandreou, who has vanished without trace in recent weeks… The same slogans regarding “a new multi-facetted peaceful foreign policy”, the same references to “international initiatives for the democratization of the system of international relations” and the need to “upgrade the role of the UN.”

And at the same time, no mention of NATO. The lips are sealed! NATO which recently met in Chicago and took new dangerous decisions for the expansion of its activity, for the repression of every force. of every people that seeks to take control of its own future. Mr Tsipras’ silence concerning the continuing intervention against Syria was astounding. No mention, as if plans for a military intervention in the region are not being drawn up. As if the use of US base at Suda is not part of the plans regarding this intervention, and the use more generally of the ports, the airspace, and the sea of our country. The President of SYRIZA said nothing as to how the “left” government, which he promises to form, would react in such a situation!

Why? It is obvious! When it does not pose the issue of the country’s departure from the imperialist plans, from the imperialist organization of NATO, in the name of “alliance obligations”, the country will be dragged into this new bloody imperialist war, under a “left” government. But Mr Tsipras did not omit to mention that he would play a leading role in a “nuclear-free Middle East”, pointing to Iran’s nuclear programme, which is in any case the pretext which will be used by the USA and Israel to justify a possible military attack against Iran, a new war. Not a word about the nuclear weapons Israel already possesses!

SYRIZA’s President made a point of once again declaring his loyalty to the imperialist EU, and the need for Turkey’s assimilation into it, something which the Turkish communist and labour movement are opposed to! Finally, he considered it appropriate in front of the foreign ambassadors to unhesitatingly spew his poison against the socialism humanity knew in the USSR and other countries in the 20th century, and which, despite its weaknesses, was for over 50 years an irreplaceable support for the peace and security of the peoples and a thorn in the side of the imperialists.

Communist Party of Greece: NATO and the EU are preparing for bloodshed

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The following statement below was originally published by the Communist Party of Greece

June 1, 2012

The Press Office of the CC of the KKE stressed the following in its statement regarding the declarations of F. Hollande concerning Syria:

“The declarations of the newly elected President of France, Francois Hollande, which are now openly oriented to the possibility of military intervention in Syria, are very revealing regarding the new massacre of the peoples being prepared by the EU and NATO in our region.

His references to International Law and the UN are being used as “cover” to impose “the law of the strongest” in the “jungle” of contradictions amongst the imperialist powers and the monopoly groups over the control of the energy resources, their transport routes, and the market shares.

All those, including SYRIZA, who said that with the election of Hollande a new wind was blowing in the EU and sowed illusions that the EU will become “pro-people” have been exposed and must answer for this to the people. Life itself has demonstrated that the imperialist organizations, like NATO and the EU, cannot be “humanized”. They were, are and will be for as long as they exist, instruments for the exploitation of the peoples, like capitalism they have war in their DNA.

The KKE denounces the new imperialist plans against the people of Syria and stresses that only the people of Syria have the right to determine the future of their country without foreign recommendations and interventions.

We demand that all military cooperation with Israel should now come to an end. That the US base at Suda should close and more generally that none of Greece’s territory, ports and airspace should be made available for an imperialist intervention against Syria and Iran, which will lead the people of Greece and the other peoples of the region along dangerous paths.”

Reform and revolution in Greece

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What can be learned from the post-election crisis in Greece?

By Walter Smolarek
May 17, 2012

Protesters demand Greece leave the eurozone.

The traditional political establishment in Greece buckled under the weight of crippling austerity and a mass people’s movement when the country went to the polls May 6. Now that the voting is over, and attempts to form a government have failed, another election must be held, scheduled for June 17, raising new questions about the way forward for the Greek working class. The crisis deepens as panicking Greeks withdraw their savings from banks on the brink of collapse.

Since the fall of the U.S.-backed military dictatorship that ruled Greece from 1967-1974, two parties, PASOK and New Democracy, have dominated the political scene. However, both parties had their worst showing ever, and combined were only able to muster 32 percent of the vote, down from 77 percent in 2009. Instead, support grew for parties of both the left and the far right. With parliament deadlocked, unable to form a new governing coalition, a new election is pending and there is a distinct possibility of a protracted political crisis and a sharp polarization that provides an opportunity for the working class to decisively assert itself.

Background to the elections

Since the worldwide capitalist economic crisis began in 2007-2008, several countries in the eurozone, which all operate with the common euro currency, have experienced severe debt crises. These national economies are more intimately linked than ever before—which was supposed to be the benefit of the eurozone—so the problems of one immediately threatens the rest.

Germany, the strongest capitalist economy of the eurozone, along with the imperialist U.S., have been working hard to force economic restructuring on the most indebted countries, offering bailouts in exchange for severe cuts to social welfare programs and other austerity measures. They have worked through three main entities: the U.S.-dominated International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank, collectively referred to as the “Troika.” Over the last two years, the Troika has arranged for around €240 billion ($305 billion) in bailout funds for Greece to service its massive debt. In exchange, the Greek ruling class forced through devastating cuts that have led to repeated strikes and militant popular mobilizations.

The Troika has worked hand in hand with the Greek ruling class, which, while claiming to “understand” the opposition of the people, claims that austerity is a difficult but necessary step toward economic revival. The other option, they claim, is complete collapse. It is a story poor and working people across the world are familiar with, including in the United States.

Narrowly winning first place in the elections was New Democracy, a center-right party that was part of the existing government led by Lucas Papademos. An unelected banker, Papademos was appointed to lead the government through its unpopular debt deal. New Democracy campaigned on a platform of supporting the extreme austerity measures imposed by the Troika, and promised only to try to renegotiate some of the more painful terms of the debt deal.

The other pro-austerity party, the misnamed Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), came in third for the first time in the party’s history. PASOK is led by Evangelos Venizelos, the finance minister under the two previous governments. Venizelos was one of the main architects of the austerity “memorandum” and offered only a pitiful pledge that he would ask the country’s creditors to give them three years, rather than two, to reach absurdly unrealistic economic benchmarks.

Gains on the left

The biggest surprise of the election was the second-place finish of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), with 16.8 percent of the vote. SYRIZA is a collection of small communist tendencies and a larger reformist party that split from the Communist Party of Greece after the fall of the Soviet Union. SYRIZA is led by Alexis Tsipras, a former Communist Youth leader who has received significant international press attention. SYRIZA calls for canceling the bailout deal but keeping Greece inside the eurozone and European Union. This, it says, can be achieved through negotiations with the Troika and through nationalization of the Greek banking sector.

Although there are revolutionary forces within SYRIZA, the dominant line at present is fundamentally social democratic. The “peaceful revolution” they have declared mutes the questions of socialism and working-class power, and raises hopes in a radically reformed capitalism. For example, Tsipras stated in a letter to high-ranking European Union officials, “We must urgently protect the economic and social stability of our country. … It is our duty to re-examine the whole framework of the existing strategy, given that it not only threatens social cohesion and stability in Greece but is a source of instability for the European Union.” While SYRIZA’s leadership wants to reverse austerity, its appeal to “social cohesion and stability” means “stability” under a reformed capitalism.

The second most popular party on the left was the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), which registered a modest increase of 1 percent from their previous election result, ending up with 8.5 percent. This was below the 10-12 percent that most opinion polls predicted. The KKE put forward a revolutionary platform calling for the socialization of the means of production under a “working class-people’s power” government. Of the left groups in parliament, the Communist Party is the only one to call for Greece to leave the European Union, a bloc of the major imperialist and peripheral capitalist states of Europe.

The KKE has played a major role in the massive fight-back movement waged by the Greek working class and especially in its advocacy for general strikes. It intervenes through mass organizations like the All-Workers Militant Front (PAME) in the labor movement, the Greek Women’s Federation and the Students Struggle Front, among others.

The lowest scoring of the three left parties was Democratic Left, a split to the right from SYRIZA formed in 2010. It only received 6.1 percent of the vote, but its leader Fotis Kouvelis is often ranked as the most popular politician in Greece by opinion polls. Democratic Left rejects the memorandum, but makes sure to balance its criticism of austerity with pledges of absolute loyalty to the eurozone. Read the rest of this entry

Anger when it is led along militant pathways always yields something better: A strong KKE

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The following statement below was originally published by the Communist Party of Greece

May 14, 2012

The fraudulent process of the exploratory mandates for the formation of a government lasted one week. A process in which a series of misleading and intimidating dilemmas were regurgitated, such as “right-left”, “memorandum-anti-memorandum”, “euro-drachma”, “austerity-development”. On Sunday 13/5 after the conclusion of the process of the exploratory mandates of the first three parties for the formation of a government, the President of the Republic started the process of meeting the political leaders. After her meeting with the President of the Republic, the GS of the CC of the KKE, Aleka Papariga made the following statement:

“Whatever government emerges before or after the elections – and in our opinion we are heading for elections- will not abolish the memorandum or the loan agreement and even more so it will not eradicate the consequences of these things. A wind is blowing in Europe, as I said to the President of the Republic but for the time being this wind is without any substance. Whatever amendments will be made will have nothing to with improving the lives of the people.

We will table in the next parliament a draft law which will pose in a very specific way the abolition and overthrow of the loan agreement and memorandum, and the parties will have to take a position. After all, a decision of the Parliament, a majority, if it exists, would be much more important than some letters which have been sent or which are being asked for. And however they want to present them, these letters are dubious. They can be interpreted in many ways. But a decision, a law passed in the Greek parliament, would be something very specific.

We are focussing our attention on the justified anger and indignation of the people so that it is not transformed into disillusionment, through the false hopes and illusions. The disillusionment will certainly lead the people into compromise, retreat and defeat. Anger when it is led along militant pathways always yields something better.

Finally we consider that the situation today, which cannot be radically changed immediately (but of course this will change in the future)as the people can not have their own government, a government which would abolish the memorandum, the loan agreement, the consequences of these things, a government which would solve their problems, presents an opportunity for the people in today’s situation. This opportunity is to strengthen the KKE, to meet together in the struggles, so that we can repel measures, and struggle to improve the situation. Tomorrow at the rally, we will say a lot more in regards to this.”

Will you refuse, Ms Papariga, to participate in the government after the next elections, if one of the parties with sufficient seats proposed it?

“We have answered this question many times. But since you have given me the opportunity I will say this: The exploratory mandates in our opinion showed us something, despite the theatre, and the irresponsibility in relation to the Greek people. One party tabled five points, another nine, and another placed two lines in the sand, another party four. Listen: When a government is formed whether for one year or four, it must deal with everything. The Papademos government had to deal with emergency issues. For example, we have a NATO summit. In the name of forming a “coalition government”, these things cannot be concealed. The parties, especially those that seek to form a government, cannot pose 5, 6 , 7 issues as a minimum programme. What is a minimum programme? When you govern you have to deal with all the issues, the maximum. An example: They say nothing regarding the NATO summit. One of them talks exclusively about the name of FYROM. But the NATO summit will deal with the military operations of this dirty, imperialist alliance. Can I really look at the NATO summit by only focussing on the issue of FYROM.

They are duping the Greek people because they are posing selected issues-issues chosen to make the people feel happy and hopeful. If we made a proposal for governmental participation and cooperation we would pose all the issues. Of course when you formulate a proposal for cooperation, you can make mutual concessions, but you place all the issues on the table-the issues you know that you will face in the first, second, third and fourth year of government.

The way the exploratory mandates were utilised was nothing other than a show designed to dupe the people. And I would like to remind you that we said that we would not take the exploratory mandate if we were the third party, we made that clear. Of course we would have gone to receive it, and then we would have immediately handed it back to the President of the Republic. Why? When you participate in the process of the exploratory mandates, you have to formulate a proposal, everyone would have said no to us and then we would have said that “you are all to blame because you did not agree with us.”

And the Greek people must understand that this is a mockery and travesty.”

Are you referring to Mr Tsipras?

To all of them.

Greece and France: Masses reject austerity

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By G. Dunkel
May 12, 2012

KKE protestors atop the famous Athens Acropolis

While the elections in Greece and France had a common thread — rejecting austerity — their impacts will be different.

France is the world’s fifth largest economy, with a productive, skilled and highly paid working class. France is a major imperialist power, with colonies in the Caribbean and neocolonies in Africa. It’s had an election among the two remaining candidates for president, a powerful post which some Marxist analysts describe as a “disguised monarchy.”

François Hollande, even though he belongs to a party that calls itself “socialist,” by his training and education in elite finishing schools and his career as a provincial politician with deep ties to Paris, he is a member of the French capitalist establishment in good standing. His economic prescription for France is higher taxes, particularly on the rich, a mild jobs program and a balanced budget by 2017, the end of his term.

Parties to the left of the Socialists called for voting for Hollande as a means of rejecting the incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy’s record of targeting unions, workers and all democratic rights.

Pierre Laurent, secretary general of the French Communist Party, said, “In the concrete conditions of the second round [of the presidential election], the only way to pursue the fight for the Left Front is to assure the most crushing defeat of Nicolas Sarkozy. His program, as we see from his daily declarations of war against unions and our standard of living is far worse than what he has actually accomplished.” (L’Humanité, April 27.)

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the candidate of the Parti du Gauche (Left Party) in the first round, issued a similar statement May 3 in L’Humanité.

The way one French leftist put her voting intentions: “I am going to hold my nose when I vote for Hollande,” who ended up with just under 52 percent of the vote to Sarkozy’s 48 percent.

Parliamentary elections in mid-June will reveal more about changes in popular attitudes. The actual impact on policy is much like an electoral victory of a Democrat over a Republican would be here in the U.S.: different domestic programs, but both serve big capital.

Greek voters rebuff European banks

Greece is in a full-fledged depression, rivaling the Great Depression of the U.S. in the 1930s. By World Bank figures, its economy has been contracting since 2008 — nearly 7 percent in 2011 and about the same in 2010. Unemployment is at 21 percent and youth unemployment is over 50 percent. According to its agreement with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, the Greek government is scheduled to make another $15 billion in budget cuts next month.

The two parties that alternated running the government since the 1970s — New Democracy, a center right party, and Pasok, a party that calls itself “socialist” — had jointly signed on to the agreements to make such drastic cuts in return for a $250 billion bailout. Their support imploded. New Democracy went from 33 percent of the vote in 2009 to less than 19 percent on Sunday; Pasok went from 44 percent of the vote to 13 percent. They do not have enough seats in parliament to form a government without partners, which they will be trying to find in the next few days.

According to the Guardian (May 7), the reaction of the IMF and other bailout providers was silence.

Support for Syriza, a left social democratic party that supports Greece remaining in the European Union, jumped to 17 percent; the Greek Communist Party (KKE), got 8.5 percent of the vote, increasing from 7 percent in 2009. A fascist party and some smaller left parties also improved their results. Seven parties will be represented in the new parliament.

Aleka Papariga, the general secretary of the Greek Communist Party, which calls for Greece leaving the EU and abandoning the euro, addressed the political situation at a huge rally the KKE held in Athens on May 3. She explained why her party would not ally with Syriza and try to form a government

“It is obvious that a coalition with other borrowed votes has one precondition: that the KKE cancel positions based on the solid experience of the past and the bleak capitalist present. In this way we will become very useful to the system, so that the people’s movement can be curtailed and so that this government will have its hands free to compromise with and submit to Brussels, Washington, and above all to carry out the well known U-turns in Greece. …

“We are not going to play this game because we do not want to kill the hopes of the people.” She added that “the conflict with the EU is the only way as is the conflict with the monopolies in Greece.”

The situation in Greece, both political and economic, is very fluid. The anger and desperation of its people are deep and the crisis of capitalism is rapidly ripening.

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Argentina gets international support after oil company expropriation

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April 17, 2012

Montevideo, Apr 17 (Prensa Latina) The Government of Argentina and President Cristina Fernandez have got expressions of international support in the past few hours in the wake of her decision to take a controlling interest in the oil company YPF, a subsidiary of the Spanish firm Repsol.

After the decision was made public, President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez welcomed and backed the initiative of his Argentine counterpart to take a 51 percent stake of YPF.

The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry issued a communiqué in which Chavez “welcomes and backs Fernandez decision” which caused a huge stir and strong criticism in Spain and in the European community.

Chavez rejected the threats made “from Europe against the Republic of Argentina” and urged governments in the continent to back Buenos Aires in “the exercise of its sovereign rights.”

The Argentine president announced on Monday a bill -under discussion as of today in the Argentinian Senate- seeking to expropriate YPF, arguing that the lack of investment by it, is prompting the country to import fuel.

The government of Caracas offered Argentina the operational and legal capacities of state-run PDEVESA “to strengthen the public oil sector and consolidate its energy sovereignty.”

In Bolivia, President Evo Morales backed his counterpart’s decision and said it is “Argentina and Spain’s business” that it represents no problem for Bolivia.

He asked for applause to President Fernandez actions and recalled that the nationalization of hydrocarbons decreed by his country in 2006 contributed to a higher growth in Bolivia’s economy.

Meanwhile, Mining and Energy Minister of Brazil, Edison Lobao, said on Tuesday before the Senate that “every country has its own sovereignty and the right to make its own decisions.”

He ruled out any concern regarding the Argentinian government decision and defended the sovereign right of that government to decide on its hydrocarbon policy.

Lobao ruled out that any fundamental problem may arise in relation to Argentina and its likely conduct about the Brazilian firm Petrobras in that country, where it has 79 gas stations.

Petrobras is the third oil producing firm in Argentina, with six percent, after Repsol-YPF with 41 percent and Panamerican Energy, with 17 percent.

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