Monthly Archives: June 2010

Tribute to Comrade Joan Hinton, proletarian internationalist

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Communist Party of the Philippines
June 20, 2010

In behalf of the Filipino people and their revolutionary forces, the leadership and entire membership of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) pay the highest tribute to Comrade Joan Hinton, indefatigable communist, anti-revisionist and proletarian internationalist. The working class and oppressed peoples across the globe feel a deep sense of loss with the passing away of Comrade Joan last June 8. She was 89. We express our heartfelt condolences to her children, family, friends, comrades and all the people she served and loved.

Through the most part of her life, Comrade Joan, with husband Ernest “Sid” Engst and brother William (Bill), served the Chinese people and worked tirelessly with them to advance the revolutionary struggle and build socialism in China. She and her husband worked in various people’s enterprises, including an iron factory, various dairy farms and other agricultural projects where they contributed all their efforts and expertise. She continually integrated with the workers and peasants, helped build the Party, upheld Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and fought revisionism and the restoration of capitalism in China.

Comrade Joan was a pioneering nuclear physicist in the United States in the 1940s. She was one of those chosen by the US government to form an elite team in Los Alamos, New Mexico to secretly work on the Manhattan Project for the development of the first atomic bomb. The dropping of the US atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the mass destruction they caused among innocent Japanese people in 1945 shocked and angered Comrade Joan, prompting her to leave the project.

She was inspired to go to China in March 1948 by her then fiancé Sid who left for China in 1945 and joined the Chinese revolution and the work in the liberated areas under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Chairman Mao Zedong. Sid was an American agriculturist. They got married in 1949 in Yanan, the main base of the people’s revolutionary government when the national democratic revolution in China was about to be completed and the People’s Republic of China was to be innaugurated.

For the next several decades, Comrades Joan and Sid devoted all their efforts to the Chinese revolution and the socialist cause. As they served the Chinese people and revolution, they expressed disdain against the special treatment of “foreign experts” and sought to be treated equally, to have the same living standard as their local counterparts and not be accorded special distinctions based on their specializations. She worked as an equal among workers and peasants as they built socialism from the 1950s to the 1970s, established their communes, developed industries and agriculture, carried out criticism and self-criticism, consolidated the Party, studied Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and launched struggles against revisionism.

She witnessed and experienced setbacks in the struggle for socialism leading to the restoration of capitalism in China as the revisionists seized power within the CPC from 1976 onwards. She criticized the rise of exploitation in China as the revisionist leadership of Deng Xiaoping tore down the socialist system and paved the way for the return of the big bourgeoisie and foreign monopoly capitalists in China. It was due to her fearless and undying devotion to the socialist cause and the proletarian revolution that she persisted in revolutionary work and the struggle for socialism in China despite the many difficulties she, her family and the people she worked with have encountered since revisionism took over and set back the socialist revolution in China.

Comrade Joan, as well as her husband Sid and brother Bill were long-time friends of the Philippine revolution. Their writings chronicling their experiences in building socialism in China from the 1950s to 1976 and the rise of revisionism and restoration of capitalism there from 1977 onwards have been well read by Filipino communists and revolutionaries. Her writings provided the Filipino communists and revolutionaries a clear picture of the Chinese people’s daily struggles and practical lessons in the merging of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist teachings with the concrete experiences on the ground in the context of the Chinese revolution, especially in carrying out of agrarian revolution and advancing the socialist transformation of agriculture. Their incisive analyses and criticisms of revisionism and the restoration of capitalism have further enriched our grasp of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.

She helped develop solidarity between the Filipino and Chinese peoples. She took great interest in the development of the Philippine revolution under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and supported several progressive causes in the Philippines. She visited the Philippines with her brother Bill in 1996 to participate in the People’s Campaign Against Imperialist Gloablization and the People’s Caravan Against the APEC summit. She warmly welcomed Filipino comrades who visited her in China and fostered frienship with Philippine progressive and democratic forces. She particularly developed a special interest and close friendship with the Filipino women comrades.

Comrade Joan was a staunch proletarian internationalist. Her loyalty to the working class and people transcended national boundaries. The significance of her work and writings has contributed greatly to the proletarian ideological counter-offensive throughout the 1990s and the resurgence of revolutionary struggles in the past decade.

She will continue to serve as an inspiration to the oppressed Chinese, Filipino, American and other peoples, and to all victims of imperialist globalization, semicolonial and semifeudal oppression and capitalist restoration. Her memory will forever be etched in the hearts of the world’s proletariat as they continue to carry forward their historic mission to put an end to capitalism, build socialism and achieve communism.

Raise high the red banner of proletarian revolution in memory of Joan Hinton!

Long live the international communist movement!

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Chimps Waging Guerrilla Warfare???

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WASHINGTON, June 21, 2010 (Reuters) — Chimpanzees wage war, mercilessly killing members of neighboring groups to expand their own territory, researchers reported Monday.

While biologists had long suspected that chimp violence could be more than random, the study in Current Biology provides the first clear evidence of this.

“Although some previous observations appear to support that hypothesis, until now, we have lacked clear-cut evidence,” University of Michigan primate behavioral ecologist John Mitani said in a statement.

The researchers spent 10 years watching two groups of chimpanzees living in Ngogo in Uganda’s Kibale National Park. One was unusually large, with about 150 members, and appeared to have a disproportionate number of males.

“During this time, we observed the Ngogo chimpanzees kill or fatally wound 18 individuals from other groups,” the researchers wrote. They saw evidence of three more killings.

They noticed unusual chimpanzee patrols in which the animals moved quickly, silently and in single file, carefully watching for other chimpanzees.

Anthropologist Sylvia Amsler, now at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, was a graduate student working with Mitani when she saw one such patrol launch an attack.

“They had been on patrol outside of their territory for more than two hours when they surprised a small group of females from the community to the northwest,” Amsler said in a statement. “Almost immediately upon making contact, the adult males in the patrol party began attacking the unknown females, two of whom were carrying dependent infants.”

The attackers quickly killed one and struggled with the mother of the second over a period of an hour and a half.

“Though they were never successful in grabbing the infant from its mother, the infant was obviously very badly injured, and we don’t believe it could have survived,” Amsler said.

Soon after the killings, the researchers noticed that the Ngogo chimpanzees expanded their territory considerably — by more than 22 percent.

“When they started to move into this area, it didn’t take much time to realize that they had killed a lot of other chimpanzees there,” Mitani said.

While chimpanzees are the closest living relatives of human beings, Mitani is unsure if the warlike behavior sheds light on human warfare. “Warfare in the human sense occurs for lots of different reasons,” he said. “I’m just not convinced we’re talking about the same thing.”

What the behavior may point to is cooperation.

“The lethal intergroup aggression that we have witnessed is cooperative in nature, insofar as it involves coalitions of males attacking others. In the process, our chimpanzees have acquired more land and resources that are then redistributed to others in the group.”

The area was remote and no people lived around there, so the researchers reject the theory that pressure from humans may have caused unusual behavior among the chimpanzees.

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Are U.S. Warships Gearing Up for a Confrontation With an Iranian Aid Flotilla to Gaza?

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June 20, 2010 | Anchors aweigh. The United States Navy is sending an aircraft carrier and nearly a dozen other warships through the Suez Canal and into the Red Sea, according to the British Arabic Language newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, which reported that the ships carry infantry troops, armored vehicles, and ammunition.

The US Navy's E-2 Hawkeye surveillance plane. A US Navy radar aircraft -- with four crew members on board -- has crashed into the Arabian Sea, the US Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain said in a statement.

The report was taken very seriously in Israel, where two major newspapers gave it headline coverage — perhaps because the U.S. fleet is joined by at least one Israeli ship, according to eyewitnesses who saw it pass through the Canal.

Iran’s Press TV claims that the Defense Department has confirmed the movement of American ships. However, neither the U.S. nor the Israeli governments have made any statement about the fleet’s destination or purpose. So we’re left to speculate.

Can it be just coincidence that this is happening precisely when “two Iranian vessels are due to set sail for Gaza in the coming week,” according to Al Jazeera, sponsored by the Iranian Red Crescent, carrying food, medicine, and clothing? And when Iran is promising more aid flotillas after this first one?

When the Iranian flotilla was first announced, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said: “I don’t think that Iran’s intentions vis-a-vis Gaza are benign.” Since then, the U.S. has remained silent.

Newsweeks.com’s Mark Hosenball says he has talked with U.S. and European officials and found them “surprisingly relaxed” about the Iranian challenge to Israel’s blockade of Gaza. They told him that “Tehran actually seems to have dialed back some of its rhetoric and threats for the moment,” and pointed out that the Navy is the weakest arm of Iran’s military.

But if U.S. officials are so relaxed, why spend a fortune (and it does cost a fortune) to move a whole war fleet including an aircraft carrier into the Red Sea and perhaps further, to the Persian Gulf — where Israeli nuclear submarines are also headed?

Egypt, which controls the Canal, has a central role to play in this drama. Egyptian troops guarded the Canal, which was closed to other traffic, while the U.S. fleet passed through, despite criticism from leaders of Egyptian opposition parties.

It remains unclear how the Egyptians would deal with the Iranian aid ships. Those ships plan to pass through the Canal and then stay close enough to shore to be in Egyptian waters until reaching the area off the Gaza coast, which Israel claims as its territorial waters.

Israel radio has reported that Cairo rejected an Israeli request by for Egypt to block the Iranian ships, claiming that under international law the canal must be free to all ships. However, the Egyptians could delay the Iranians on technicalities for a long time.

Iranian officials have denied a report that their naval forces would escort the ships. “But if and when the Iranian ship reaches the Mediterranean,” as Hosenball says, “no one can be sure what will happen.” However we can be sure that an Iranian ship approaching Gaza would be a major crisis for both the Netanyahu government in Israel and the Obama administration. Very likely, the U.S. administration hopes that its war fleet, accompanied by a token Israeli ship for symbolic value, will head off the need to face that crisis.

In fact, though the threat of violent confrontation is very real, the whole unfolding drama is driven largely by concerns about symbolism. One European official told Hosenball that the Egyptians might well choose to stall the Iranians’ passage in order to reassert Cairo’s influence in the wake of efforts by Turkey and Brazil to broker a nuclear deal with Iran. Then there’s a point of view in Iran that its own government is sending the ships mainly as a way to reassert its influence in the region over a rising Turkey.

The U.S. show of naval force also seems to be freighted with symbolic value. Ever since Teddy Roosevelt sent the Great White Fleet around the world, the U.S. has been using such shows of force to intimidate would-be competitors. The signal to Iran’s leaders will be unmistakable. If the inclusion of an Israeli warship is confirmed, it will deepen the symbolic message.

It will also tell the Netanyahu government that, whatever concessions the U.S. may demand toward Palestine, the U.S. – Israel military alliance is firm when it comes to Iran. For Washington, the underlying message may be: Therefore, Netanyahu, there’s no need to even think about unilateral Israeli action against Iran.

These issues of symbolism, which take politics into the realm of culture and psychology, are generally more important to policymakers than they are to journalists and pundits, who usually stick to “hard-headed” analyses of fact and “realpolitik.” If the mass media in the U.S. pick up the story of the fleet moving into the Red Sea at all, it will no doubt be reported as an understandable strategic move against a power that threatens U.S. interests. And in Israel it will be seen as welcome resistance to the one nation that threatens Israel’s very existence.

Yet why should Americans and Israelis believe such frightening narratives, when Iran has made no tangible aggressive moves against anyone? That key question is rarely explored, or even asked.

So it was a welcome surprise to see the Christian Science Monitor publish an article by its reporter in Tel Aviv, Scott Peterson, titled “Does Israel Suffer From Iranophobia?” It was probably just a coincidence that this piece appeared on the very same day that news of the U.S. war fleet broke — but a most telling coincidence.

Peterson wrote only about the Israeli fear, which is “utterly irrational and exceedingly disproportionate,” according to Israeli scholar Haggai Ram, author of “Iranophobia: The Logic of an Israeli Obsession.” “There is really no critical debate about this” in Israel, Ram added. Anyone who questions the need to fear Iran is “immediately rendered into these bizarre self-defeating, self-hating Jews, and seen as a fifth column.”

This despite the fact that Israel’s hawkish Defense Minister Ehud Barak himself said just two months ago that Iran “does not pose an existential threat to Israel.” Barak did add that a nuclear-armed Iran in the future would pose such a threat.

But according to Peterson’s article, Israeli analysts see the Iranophobia rooted in memories of the past, not forecasts of the future. The prevailing Israeli mindset is that “we have no other choice, they want to destroy us,” according to scholar Reuven Pedatzur. “It’s a cultural issue, based on the Holocaust, that everybody wants to destroy the Jewish people.” This is the narrative that Netanyahu has used so incessantly, and apparently effectively, to hold on to political power.

It’s no secret in Israel. “Israeli analysts often describe how the Jewish state ‘needs’ an outside enemy,” Peterson rightly explained, “to justify continued oppression against the Palestinians and one of the largest per capita defense budgets in the Middle East.”

The idea that Israel is driven by a cultural-political narrative, not by realistic security needs, rarely gets even whispered in the U.S. mass media. Occasional articles like Peterson’s, or Henry Siegman’s New York Times op-ed, suggesting that Israeli fear is pathological, are all too rare. But at least they have appeared.

Where, in the U.S. mass media, will we find equivalent analyses suggesting that U.S. fear of a nuclear-armed Iran is “Iranophobic” and pathological, spawned by symbolic cultural narratives and the “need” for an enemy rather than realistic appraisals of reality? We’ve got too few voices even in the alternative media analyzing America’s pathology about Iran. I’ve seen none at all in the mainstream press.

When the world’s greatest military power (by far) sends an aircraft carrier and nearly a dozen other warships to head off two freighters bringing food, medicine, and clothing to desperate besieged civilians, something is seriously out of whack.

The anti-Iranian policies will continue until enough Americans recognize that it’s pathological. If our mass media help us see that pathology in Israel, perhaps we can begin to see it in ourselves too. Then we can also see how the “special relationship” between the U.S. and Israel is fed significantly by a shared narrative of danger, fear, and victimization.

And we can see how the U.S. Navy flotilla moving to the Red Sea is fundamentally a symbolic drama acting out that shared narrative. The danger is that symbolic dramas all too often end in the shedding of very real blood.

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More strikes erupt in China’s auto industry

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By John Chan
21 June 2010

In the wake of stoppages at three Honda factories, new strikes hit China’s auto industry last week—at two components plants of the world’s largest car company, Toyota, and at two Honda suppliers. The strikes point to the growing determination of sections of Chinese workers to fight for better wages and conditions, creating deep concerns in Beijing and among local and international corporations.

Workers went on strike in Toyota’s two affiliated components plants, in the northern Chinese industrial city of Tianjin, which supply parts for the corporation’s assembly plants in China. By Friday afternoon, Toyota’s largest assembly plant in the country, Tianjin FAW Toyota Motor, which has a production capacity of 420,000 vehicles a year, had to shut down.

Workers at the Tianjin Star Light Rubber and Plastics, which is jointly owned by Toyoda Gosei and Toyota, downed tools last Tuesday to demand higher pay. The 800 workers, who produce steering wheels and rubber and resin parts, ended their strike on Wednesday after the management agreed to review the wage structure.

Factory security guards tried to prevent workers from talking to journalists. Nevertheless, some workers told the South China Morning Post that they were disappointed that the firm had yet to restore wages after pay was cut by 30-50 percent in 2009, due to the global financial crisis. A worker warned that “we might do it [strike] again”, if negotiations failed.

As production resumed at Star Light Rubber and Plastics, workers at Tianjin Toyoda Gosei, which is also partly owned by Toyota, stopped work. Toyoda Gosei had tried to prevent industrial action by agreeing to a 20 percent pay increase last Tuesday. While the factory branch of the state-run All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) rushed to accept the offer, workers rejected it.

The strike began on Thursday with just 40 logistics workers but spread rapidly to the entire workforce of 1,700. A large number of police were deployed to “keep order”. A 24-year-old striking worker from Guangxi told the Wall Street Journal that police had hit his colleagues. The assault only made the strikers more determined. “All the workers were talking about the beating incident this [Friday] morning and everyone is angry,” a worker told the South China Morning Post.

The strikers returned to work on Sunday after the management promised to pay a 200 yuan a month “full-attendance bonus”. However, a worker told the official Xinhua news agency: “I’m not sure the back-to-work thing is temporary or that all of us have already totally accepted (the) offer.”

Toyota wanted to avoid a repetition of last month’s strikes at Honda’s transmission plant that disrupted the company’s four assembly plants in China for two weeks. Toyota operates 10 factories in China and many more joint ventures like those with Toyoda Gosei. Toyota’s sales in China grew 21 percent last year to 700,900 vehicles. The corporation’s shares tumbled in Tokyo over news of the strikes in China.

Meanwhile, Honda was hit by a new stoppage at the Wuhan Auto Parts Alliance last Thursday, involving 240 workers demanding an extra 800 yuan a month in pay and subsidies. The plant is in the city of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. Although a Honda spokesman announced that workers had returned to work on Friday, an employee told the media that no agreement had been reached

On the same day, 500 workers at Nihon Plast, which is 21 percent owned by Honda, also went on strike. The factory in Zhongshan makes steering wheels and airbags for the assembly plants of the Dongfeng-Nissan joint-venture. Although production apparently resumed the next day, negotiations between the workers and management were ongoing.

A strike also erupted on Thursday at two Chongqing Brewery plants to oppose the planned takeover of the state-owned enterprise by the Danish beer giant Carlsberg. Although Carlsberg insisted the stoppage ended on Friday, a Chongqing Beer Group spokesman told the South China Morning Post: “None of the workers returned to work today [Saturday]. I don’t know when they will stop the strike.” More than 500 employees stopped work, fearing Carlsberg would cut jobs, pensions and other benefits.

The tentative character of all the return-to-work agreements was highlighted at the Honda Lock factory in Zhongshan where workers struck for two weeks. Employees returned to work last Tuesday for three days, but threatened to strike again if Honda failed to make a satisfactory offer by Friday. Honda announced an increase of 300 yuan a month—less than half what workers demanded—and the situation at the factory remained tense.

One Honda Lock worker told Bloomberg.com: “It’s much less than what I expected. I was hoping we would get at least 450 yuan more each month. About 80 percent of the workers in there were very unhappy with the increase.” He said that with such high dissatisfaction, workers were probably ready to join in should someone decide to stage another strike.

Honda Lock management has warned workers not to talk to the foreign media, but they have learned to use communication technology. The New York Times reported last week that Honda Lock workers, following the examples of earlier strikes at Honda transmission and exhaust system plants, set up online forums and online bulletin boards to share their grievances and discuss tactics. They also uploaded videos of the strike, including one showing company security guards manhandling workers.

“Wielding cellphones and keyboards, members of China’s emerging labour movement so far seem to be outwitting official censors in an effort to build broad support for what they say is a war against greedy corporations and their local government allies,” the New York Times wrote. While there was no obvious coordination of strikes at Toyota and other plants last week, the Internet clearly has become the means for workers to avoid the official media’s blackout of strikes.

General sympathy for striking workers is widespread, as comments to the British-based Independent underlined. A university teacher told the newspaper: “Chinese workers have been very low-paid for a long time. There are many rich people in China nowadays. They enjoy fabulous houses and get money easily. But there are also many poor people, working hard, earning very little.” A telecom company worker said: “I feel pity for our country’s workers. They are good and hard-working people. To strike means they feel they have no way out.”

The latest strikes only heighten the dilemma confronting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime. They came just days after Premier Wen Jiabao made a highly publicised visit to meet with rural migrants in Beijing in a bid to calm the situation at factories and workplaces. He declared that the government and society at large had to “respect” migrant workers and praised their role in building the Chinese economy. However, the comments have appeared to only embolden workers, who increasingly see the government and the state-run unions as their chief obstacle.

One Honda worker told the South China Morning Post today: “The government wants to keep wages from rising. They fear that if we are too successful other factories will be pressured by workers to offer higher wages… The government always speaks nice words, but they have always worked against our interests. We feel exploited, our goal is to protect our interests and ensure our basic living standards.”

What Beijing fears above all is the coalescence of individual strikes into a political movement of the working class against the government. While Wen was engaging in his public relations exercise last week, the regime was also putting the police on alert to swiftly deal with social unrest. As the army’s massacre of protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989 demonstrated, the CCP will resort to any lengths to suppress any potential challenge to its rule.

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Kyrgyzstan: The national question and imperialism

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Monday, June 21, 2010
By: Mazda Majidi

The reality behind the ethnic conflict

The Central Asian Republic of Kyrgyzstan has been the scene of a bloody conflict since June 10. Estimates of the casualties vary widely, with the country’s interim president estimating up to 2,000 deaths. As many as 275,000 people have fled the conflict areas, hoping to make it to Uzbekistan, a country that closed its borders to the flood of refugees after accepting a first wave. Most of the dead and wounded are people of the Uzbek nationality. The center of the conflict is the southern cities of Osh and Jalalabad.

Uzbek refugees flee into Uzbekistan to escape violence in Kyrgyztan, June 14, 2010.

Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous landlocked country, neighboring Uzbekistan, Tajikstan, Kazakhstan and China. It has a population of 5.3 million, the majority of Kyrgyz nationality, with Uzbeks making up 14 percent of the population, along with Tajiks and others. People of all three nationalities, along with others, are spread throughout the three Central Asian countries of Krygyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikstan.

Covering ethnic conflicts anywhere in the globe, bourgeois media implicitly propagate the idea that people of different nationalities are naturally hostile towards one another and that horrifying cases of mass killing and ethnic cleansing are the inevitable consequences of thousand-year-old conflicts. To the contrary, there is nothing natural or inevitable about ethnic violence. In every single instance, ethnic conflicts can be traced, often directly, to the divide-and-conquer strategies of imperialism, along with their client states and mercenary armies.

The recent history of bloody ethnic or national conflicts in Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia and Iraq are clear examples of conflicts engineered and promoted by imperialism. The case of Kyrgyzstan provides another piece of evidence that, absent imperialist plots coupled with the deprivations of capitalist economies, people of different nationalities can live in perfect harmony.

A brief look at the history of Kyrgyzstan illustrates this point. In the late nineteenth century, tsarist Russia annexed most of what is today Kyrgyzstan through a treaty with China’s Qing Dynasty. Kyrgyzstan was formally incorporated into the Russian Empire in 1876. In 1916, the Kyrgyz people rose in a rebellion against the Russian Empire, but the Tsar savagely crushed the rebellion, by some estimates killing more than half the population. Bourgeois history rarely mentions this genocide because it does not fit well with its fictional image a relatively calm and idyllic Russia under the Tsar that was usurped by the violent communists.

Ever conscious of the potential for unity between various oppressed nationalities against its own oppressive rule and exploitation, tsarist authorities actively promoted clashes between the peoples of Central Asia, the vast majority of whom were Muslims. In his book, “The Peoples of the Soviet Union,” Corliss Lamont quotes a cotton grower describing the relations between the peoples in this region under the Russian Empire: “The past was a stairway of years carpeted with pain. The Uzbeks feared to go along the street of the Arabs; the Tajiks carried sticks when they walked through the Uzbek quarter.”

The Russian Revolution and the national question

The October Revolution of 1917 materially altered the relationship between the Russians and the oppressed nationalities. The revolution transformed tsarist Russia, what used to be called the “prison house of nations,” into a country where equality of the nationalities was actively promoted by the state, with special emphasis given to funding development in areas most oppressed by the tsars.

In September 1920, the Congress of Eastern Peoples was held in Baku, a city that was to become the capital of the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan. This congress called on the workers of imperialist countries to fight against the racism promoted by their own capitalist class and to embrace the peoples of colonized countries as their partners in the struggle for a world-wide workers’ revolution.

That congress, and the orientation of Russian revolutionaries to fight all vestiges of national oppression, inspired the peoples of Central Asia and the rest of the world. It launched the wave of anti-colonial struggles that shook the imperialist world and liberated many formerly colonized countries.

By 1919, Soviet power was first established in Central Asia. In December 1936, the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic was established as a full republic of the Soviet Union. Based on its commitment to address a legacy of national oppression under the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union implemented a program of affirmative action by allocating resources for development.

During a period when the Soviet Union was effectively in a race against time to industrialize before being invaded again by western imperialists, the Russian revolutionaries demonstrated a preference for prioritizing development in Kyrgyzstan and other Central Asian republics, areas that were among the least developed in the entire world.

The revolution brought housing projects, built a network of railways, roads and airports, built schools and implemented a comprehensive literacy campaign that essentially wiped out illiteracy. Also, the revolution provided health care to all the people in an area where trained medical staff were virtually non-existent.

As a result, peoples of different nationalities lived in relative harmony with one another, intermarried and worked together. There were no significant cases of ethnic conflict during the decades that spanned the Soviet era. Ethnic conflicts re-emerged only in 1990, right before the final overthrow of the Soviet Union, when, under the leadership of the Gorbachev grouping, national chauvinistic policies were reintroduced.

Bourgeois history has it that the peoples of the Soviet Union were severely oppressed by Moscow, forced to remain in the union by the Russian communists and waiting for the first opportunity to declare independence, but the reality is the opposite. The peoples of Central Asia had greatly benefitted from the revolutionary process and had no aspirations to form independent states. No wonder that in a March 1991 referendum in Kyrgyzstan on the preservation of the Soviet Union, 88.7 percent voted to retain the Soviet Union.

With the overthrow of the Soviet Union, the United States jumped on the opportunity to gain control of the former Soviet republics, including in Central Asia. The restoration of capitalism turned each Soviet Republic into a small and weak country competing for transnational capital. The privileged few gained wealth, while living standards for the majority took a dive.

The new bourgeois class, competing against neighboring states for Washington’s favor, sought to provide an outlet for mass discontent by turning it against peoples of other nationalities. The Kyrgyz were turned against the Uzbeks, the Uzbeks against the Turkmens, the Turkmens against the Tajik and so forth.

The process of privatization in Kyrgyzstan was carried out by a succession of governments, each more right-wing than its predecessor. In March 2005, the United States sponsored one of its color revolutions in Kyrgyzstan. The Tulip Revolution, the Kyrgyz flavor of the “color revolutions,” led to the presidency of Kurmanbek Bakiyev, Washington’s man.

The accelerated implementation of the neoliberal economic model under Bakiyev’s presidency further worsened the standard of living in Kyrgyzstan. With an average monthly wage of $132, over a third of the population now lives below the poverty line.

Washington’s interest in Kyrgyzstan is more than gaining access to its markets and resources. The Manas Air Base, located near the capital Bishkek, is critical to the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan. The air base became even more important after neighboring Uzbekistan closed down the U.S. military base there. Each month, 50,000 U.S. military personnel transit into and out of Afghanistan through the Manas Air Base.

Early in his presidency, in a publicity stunt to placate mass opposition to the base, Bakiyev threatened to close it down. U.S. rent payments were raised from $20 million to $60 million a year, and the base stayed.

The April rebellion

On April 7, demonstrators gathered around government buildings in Bishkek. The police opened fire and killed approximately 75 people. But the angry demonstrators fought bravely and occupied the government buildings, while the repressive forces broke ranks. The mass actions spread to other parts of the country, and Bakiyev’s regime collapsed. The Tulip Revolution was undone.

But Bakiyev refused to step down and took up the tactic of promoting ethnic conflicts in hopes of returning to power. This is what has led to the murder of 2,000 people. Interim government spokesperson, Farid Niyazov, stated: “It’s known that members of mercenary organizations were paid to organize this … They killed both Kyrgyz and Uzbek, and some of them were dressed in the uniform of the militia.”

The organized nature of the violence was so obvious that even the spokesperson for the U.S. Human Rights Commissioner, Rupert Colville, said: “We have strong indications that this event was not a spontaneous inter-ethnic clash—that it was to some degree orchestrated, targeted and well-planned.”

Kyrgyz officials have stated on record that Maxim Bakiyev, the son of the ousted president, “started financing the riots back in April,” using Kyrgyz mercenaries in uniforms to go on a killing spree in the southern towns of Osh and Jalalabad. Roza Otunbayeva, the head of the interim government, has said that the Bakiyevs have instigated the riots to unseat the interim government and to prevent the referendum scheduled for June 27.

As of this writing, the killing seems to have abated and the plot by Washington’s client, the Bakiyev family, seems to have failed in restoring the Tulip Revolution. The recent tragedy of Kyrgyzstan teaches us yet again that it is only under a planned socialist economy that peoples of different nationalities can live in peace and harmony. Capitalist vultures will constantly promote racism and national conflicts to maintain and safeguard the privileges of the few against the well-being of the many.

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How Propaganda Invents New Words And Phrases

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Monday, 21 June 2010

Following the latest in semantics on the news? Journalism and the Israeli government are in love again. It’s Islamic terror, Turkish terror, Hamas terror, Islamic Jihad terror, Hezbollah terror, activist terror, war on terror, Palestinian terror, Muslim terror, Iranian terror, Syrian terror, anti-Semitic terror…

But I am doing the Israelis an injustice. Their lexicon, and that of the White House – most of the time – and our reporters’ lexicon, is the same. Yes, let’s be fair to the Israelis. Their lexicon goes like this: Terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror.

How many times did I just use the word “terror”? Twenty. But it might as well be 60, or 100, or 1,000, or a million. We are in love with the word, seduced by it, fixated by it, attacked by it, assaulted by it, raped by it, committed to it. It is love and sadism and death in one double syllable, the prime time-theme song, the opening of every television symphony, the headline of every page, a punctuation mark in our journalism, a semicolon, a comma, our most powerful full stop. “Terror, terror, terror, terror”. Each repetition justifies its predecessor.

Most of all, it’s about the terror of power and the power of terror. Power and terror have become interchangeable. We journalists have let this happen. Our language has become not just a debased ally, but a full verbal partner in the language of governments and armies and generals and weapons. Remember the “bunker buster” and the “Scud buster” and the “target-rich environment” in the Gulf War (Part One)? Forget about “weapons of mass destruction”. Too obviously silly. But “WMD” in the Gulf War (Part Two) had a power of its own, a secret code – genetic, perhaps, like DNA – for something that would reap terror, terror, terror, terror, terror. “45 Minutes to Terror”.

Power and the media are not just about cosy relationships between journalists and political leaders, between editors and presidents. They are not just about the parasitic-osmotic relationship between supposedly honourable reporters and the nexus of power that runs between White House and State Department and Pentagon, between Downing Street and the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence, between America and Israel.

In the Western context, power and the media is about words – and the use of words. It is about semantics. It is about the employment of phrases and their origins. And it is about the misuse of history, and about our ignorance of history. More and more today, we journalists have become prisoners of the language of power. Is this because we no longer care about linguistics or semantics? Is this because laptops “correct” our spelling, “trim” our grammar so that our sentences so often turn out to be identical to those of our rulers? Is this why newspaper editorials today often sound like political speeches?

For two decades now, the US and British – and Israeli and Palestinian – leaderships have used the words “peace process” to define the hopeless, inadequate, dishonourable agreement that allowed the US and Israel to dominate whatever slivers of land would be given to an occupied people. I first queried this expression, and its provenance, at the time of Oslo – although how easily we forget that the secret surrenders at Oslo were themselves a conspiracy without any legal basis.

Poor old Oslo, I always think. What did Oslo ever do to deserve this? It was the White House agreement that sealed this preposterous and dubious treaty – in which refugees, borders, Israeli colonies, even timetables – were to be delayed until they could no longer be negotiated.

And how easily we forget the White House lawn – though, yes, we remember the images – upon which it was Clinton who quoted from the Koran, and Arafat who chose to say: “Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mr President.” And what did we call this nonsense afterwards? Yes, it was “a moment of history”! Was it? Was it so?

Do you remember what Arafat called it? “The peace of the brave”. But I don’t remember any of us pointing out that “the peace of the brave” was used by General de Gaulle about the end of the Algerian war. The French lost the war in Algeria. We did not spot this extraordinary irony.

Same again today. We Western journalists – used yet again by our masters – have been reporting our jolly generals in Afghanistan, as saying their war can only be won with a “hearts and minds” campaign. No one asked them the obvious question: Wasn’t this the very same phrase used about Vietnamese civilians in the Vietnam War? And didn’t we – didn’t the West – lose the war in Vietnam? Yet now we Western journalists are using – about Afghanistan – the phrase “hearts and minds” in our reports as if it is a new dictionary definition, rather than a symbol of defeat for the second time in four decades.

Just look at the individual words we have recently co-opted from the US military. When we Westerners find that “our” enemies – al-Qa’ida, for example, or the Taliban – have set off more bombs and staged more attacks than usual, we call it “a spike in violence”.

Ah yes, a “spike”! A “spike” is a word first used in this context, according to my files, by a brigadier general in the Baghdad Green Zone in 2004. Yet now we use that phrase, we extemporise on it, we relay it on the air as our phrase, our journalistic invention. We are using, quite literally, an expression created for us by the Pentagon. A spike, of course, goes sharply up then sharply downwards. A “spike in violence” therefore avoids the ominous use of the words “increase in violence” – for an increase, of course, might not go down again afterwards.

Now again, when US generals refer to a sudden increase in their forces for an assault on Fallujah or central Baghdad or Kandahar – a mass movement of soldiers brought into Muslim countries by the tens of thousands – they call this a “surge”. And a surge, like a tsunami, or any other natural phenomena, can be devastating in its effects. What these “surges” really are – to use the real words of serious journalism – are reinforcements. And reinforcements are sent to conflicts when armies are losing those wars. But our television and newspaper boys and girls are still talking about “surges” without any attribution at all. The Pentagon wins again.

Meanwhile the “peace process” collapsed. Therefore our leaders – or “key players” as we like to call them – tried to make it work again. The process had to be put “back on track”. It was a train, you see. The carriages had come off the line. The Clinton administration first used this phrase, then the Israelis, then the BBC. But there was a problem when the “peace process” had repeatedly been put “back on track” – but still came off the line. So we produced a “road map” – run by a Quartet and led by our old Friend of God, Tony Blair, who – in an obscenity of history – we now refer to as a “peace envoy”. But the “road map” isn’t working. And now, I notice, the old “peace process” is back in our newspapers and on our television screens. And earlier this month, on CNN, one of those boring old fogies whom the TV boys and girls call “experts” told us again that the “peace process” was being put “back on track” because of the opening of “indirect talks” between Israelis and Palestinians. This isn’t just about clichés – this is preposterous journalism. There is no battle between the media and power; through language, we, the media, have become them.

Here’s another piece of media cowardice that makes my 63-year-old teeth grind together after 34 years of eating humus and tahina in the Middle East. We are told, in many analysis features, that what we have to deal with in the Middle East are “competing narratives”. How very cosy. There’s no justice, no injustice, just a couple of people who tell different history stories. “Competing narratives” now regularly pop up in the British press.

The phrase, from the false language of anthropology, deletes the possibility that one group of people – in the Middle East, for example – is occupied, while another is doing the occupying. Again, no justice, no injustice, no oppression or oppressing, just some friendly “competing narratives”, a football match, if you like, a level playing field because the two sides are – are they not? – “in competition”. And two sides have to be given equal time in every story.

So an “occupation” becomes a “dispute”. Thus a “wall” becomes a “fence” or “security barrier”. Thus Israeli acts of colonisation of Arab land, contrary to all international law, become “settlements” or “outposts” or “Jewish neighbourhoods”. It was Colin Powell, in his starring, powerless appearance as Secretary of State to George W Bush, who told US diplomats to refer to occupied Palestinian land as “disputed land” – and that was good enough for most of the US media. There are no “competing narratives”, of course, between the US military and the Taliban. When there are, you’ll know the West has lost.

But I’ll give you an example of how “competing narratives” come undone. In April, I gave a lecture in Toronto to mark the 95th anniversary of the 1915 Armenian genocide, the deliberate mass murder of 1.5 million Armenian Christians by the Ottoman Turkish army and militia. Before my talk, I was interviewed on Canadian Television, CTV, which also owns Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper. And from the start, I could see that the interviewer had a problem. Canada has a large Armenian community. But Toronto also has a large Turkish community. And the Turks, as the Globe and Mail always tell us, “hotly dispute” that this was a genocide.

So the interviewer called the genocide “deadly massacres”. Of course, I spotted her specific problem straight away. She couldn’t call the massacres a “genocide”, because the Turkish community would be outraged. But she sensed that “massacres” on its own – especially with the gruesome studio background photographs of dead Armenians – was not quite up to defining a million and a half murdered human beings. Hence the “deadly massacres”. How odd! If there are “deadly” massacres, are there some massacres which are not “deadly”, from which the victims walk away alive? It was a ludicrous tautology.

Yet the use of the language of power – of its beacon words and its beacon phrases – goes on among us still. How many times have I heard Western reporters talking about “foreign fighters” in Afghanistan? They are referring, of course, to the various Arab groups supposedly helping the Taliban. We heard the same story from Iraq. Saudis, Jordanians, Palestinian, Chechen fighters, of course. The generals called them “foreign fighters”. Immediately, we Western reporters did the same. Calling them “foreign fighters” meant they were an invading force. But not once – ever – have I heard a mainstream Western television station refer to the fact that there are at least 150,000 “foreign fighters” in Afghanistan, and that all of them happen to be wearing American, British and other NATO uniforms. It is “we” who are the real “foreign fighters”.

Similarly, the pernicious phrase “Af-Pak” – as racist as it is politically dishonest – is now used by reporters, although it was originally a creation of the US State Department on the day Richard Holbrooke was appointed special US representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. But the phrase avoids the use of the word “India” – whose influence in Afghanistan and whose presence in Afghanistan, is a vital part of the story. Furthermore, “Af-Pak” – by deleting India – effectively deleted the whole Kashmir crisis from the conflict in south-east Asia. It thus deprived Pakistan of any say in US local policy on Kashmir – after all, Holbrooke was made the “Af-Pak” envoy, specifically forbidden from discussing Kashmir. Thus the phrase “Af-Pak”, which completely avoids the tragedy of Kashmir – too many “competing narratives”, perhaps? – means that when we journalists use the same phrase, “Af-Pak”, which was surely created for us journalists, we are doing the State Department’s work.

Now let’s look at history. Our leaders love history. Most of all, they love the Second World War. In 2003, George W Bush thought he was Churchill. True, Bush had spent the Vietnam War protecting the skies of Texas from the Vietcong. But now, in 2003, he was standing up to the “appeasers” who did not want a war with Saddam who was, of course, “the Hitler of the Tigris”. The appeasers were the British who didn’t want to fight Nazi Germany in 1938. Blair, of course, also tried on Churchill’s waistcoat and jacket for size. No “appeaser” he. America was Britain’s oldest ally, he proclaimed – and both Bush and Blair reminded journalists that the US had stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Britain in her hour of need in 1940.

But none of this was true. Britain’s oldest ally was not the United States. It was Portugal, a neutral fascist state during the Second World War, which flew its national flags at half-mast when Hitler died (even the Irish didn’t do that).

Nor did America fight alongside Britain in her hour of need in 1940, when Hitler threatened invasion and the Luftwaffe blitzed London. No, in 1940 America was enjoying a very profitable period of neutrality, and did not join Britain in the war until Japan attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbour in December 1941. Similarly, back in 1956, Eden called Nasser the “Mussolini of the Nile”. A bad mistake. Nasser was loved by the Arabs, not hated as Mussolini was by the majority of Africans, especially the Arab Libyans. The Mussolini parallel was not challenged or questioned by the British press. And we all know what happened at Suez in 1956. When it comes to history, we journalists let the presidents and prime ministers take us for a ride.

Yet the most dangerous side of our new semantic war, our use of the words of power – though it is not a war, since we have largely surrendered – is that it isolates us from our viewers and readers. They are not stupid. They understand words in many cases – I fear – better than we do. History, too. They know that we are drawing our vocabulary from the language of generals and presidents, from the so-called elites, from the arrogance of the Brookings Institute experts, or those of those of the Rand Corporation. Thus we have become part of this language.

Over the past two weeks, as foreigners – humanitarians or “activist terrorists” – tried to take food and medicines by sea to the hungry Palestinians of Gaza, we journalists should have been reminding our viewers and listeners of a long-ago day when America and Britain went to the aid of a surrounded people, bringing food and fuel – our own servicemen dying as they did so – to help a starving population. That population had been surrounded by a fence erected by a brutal army which wished to starve the people into submission. The army was Russian. The city was Berlin. The wall was to come later. The people had been our enemies only three years earlier. Yet we flew the Berlin airlift to save them. Now look at Gaza today: which Western journalist – since we love historical parallels – has even mentioned 1948 Berlin in the context of Gaza?

Instead, what did we get? “Activists” who turned into “armed activists” the moment they opposed the Israeli army’s boarding parties. How dare these men upset the lexicon? Their punishment was obvious. They became “terrorists”. And the Israeli raids – in which “activists” were killed (another proof of their “terrorism”) – then became “deadly” raids. In this case, “deadly” was more excusable than it had been on CTV – nine dead men of Turkish origin being slightly fewer than a million and a half murdered Armenians in 1915. But it was interesting that the Israelis – who for their own political reasons had hitherto shamefully gone along with the Turkish denial – now suddenly wanted to inform the world of the 1915 Armenian genocide. This provoked an understandable frisson among many of our colleagues. Journalists who have regularly ducked all mention of the 20th century’s first Holocaust – unless they could also refer to the way in which the Turks “hotly dispute” the genocide label (ergo the Toronto Globe and Mail) – could suddenly refer to it. Israel’s new-found historical interest made the subject legitimate, though almost all reports managed to avoid any explanation of what actually happened in 1915.

And what did the Israeli seaborne raid become? It became a “botched” raid. Botched is a lovely word. It began as a German-origin Middle English word, “bocchen”, which meant to “repair badly”. And we more or less kept to that definition until our journalistic lexicon advisors changed its meaning. Schoolchildren “botch” an exam. We could “botch” a piece of sewing, an attempt to repair a piece of material. We could even botch an attempt to persuade our boss to give us a raise. But now we “botch” a military operation. It wasn’t a disaster. It wasn’t a catastrophe. It just killed some Turks.

So, given the bad publicity, the Israelis just “botched” the raid. Weirdly, the last time reporters and governments utilised this particular word followed Israel’s attempt to kill the Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal, in the streets of Amman. In this case, Israel’s professional assassins were caught after trying to poison Meshaal, and King Hussain forced the then Israeli prime minister (a certain B Netanyahu) to provide the antidote (and to let a lot of Hamas “terrorists” out of jail). Meshaal’s life was saved.

But for Israel and its obedient Western journalists this became a “botched attempt” on Meshaal’s life. Not because he wasn’t meant to die, but because Israel failed to kill him. You can thus “botch” an operation by killing Turks – or you can “botch” an operation by not killing a Palestinian.

How do we break with the language of power? It is certainly killing us. That, I suspect, is one reason why readers have turned away from the “mainstream” press to the internet. Not because the net is free, but because readers know they have been lied to and conned; they know that what they watch and what they read in newspapers is an extension of what they hear from the Pentagon or the Israeli government, that our words have become synonymous with the language of a government-approved, careful middle ground, which obscures the truth as surely as it makes us political – and military – allies of all major Western governments.

Many of my colleagues on various Western newspapers would ultimately risk their jobs if they were constantly to challenge the false reality of news journalism, the nexus of media-government power. How many news organisations thought to run footage, at the time of the Gaza disaster, of the airlift to break the blockade of Berlin? Did the BBC?

The hell they did! We prefer “competing narratives”. Politicians didn’t want – I told the Doha meeting on 11 May – the Gaza voyage to reach its destination, “be its end successful, farcical or tragic”. We believe in the “peace process”, the “road map”. Keep the “fence” around the Palestinians. Let the “key players” sort it out. And remember what this is all about: “Terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror.”

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Wilmot James needs help as he is obsessed With Nzimande

Standard

14 June 2010

The SACP has noted the recent statement by the DA spokesperson on Higher Education and Training, Wilmot James. This racist and apologist of monopoly capital has made it his hobby to attack the integrity of the General Secretary of the SACP, Cde Blade Nzimande including his latest manoeuvres to play him against his cabinet colleague, Cde Naledi Pandor. Wilmot James needs help as he has become obsessed with Nzimande and cannot tolerate him for the fact that he is a communist.

Wilmot James uses his platform as a shadow Minister, a position he will hold till he dies as the DA will never rule our country, to launch a sophisticated class offensive against the programme of our government to build a developmental state. In his efforts to protect white privilege, James feels no shame at trying to undermine government’s concerted efforts to speed up transformation in the higher education and training system. The ANC led government and Cde Blade in particular will not be deterred in this journey to transform the South African state in order for it to overcome the systemic racially skewed development imposed on our people.

Wilmot James can scream from the rooftops but one thing we can guarantee is that change in inevitable!! His nostalgia for white supremacy and class exploitation of the majority of our people will be defeated. The landscape of Higher Education in this country will be radically transformed under an ANC led government.

We will construct an activist state that will continue to intervene to improve the lives of our ordinary people, including through the work of the ministerial committee to review the science, technology and innovation landscape and to assess how well it can support development (we are certain Wilmot missed the focus here – support development).

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SACP Mpumalanga statement of the Provincial Council

Standard

8 June 2010

The South African Communist Party met in its provincial council to review its programme since the 7th provincial congress on September 2009, to further consolidate its mandate and ensure that the Party in the province is able to continue to become a vanguard of the working class through programmes and campaigns.

The provincial council was attended by all alliance partners as part of consolidating forces within Mpumalanga province and this shows the importance and the centrality of the alliance within the province. Key issues that the council discussed were highlighted as urgent and very important.

The launching of the red card against corruption was conducted. The council highlighted corruption and tenderpreneurship as the biggest threat towards achieving our strategic objective which is the National Democratic Revolution. The council further noted that corruption and patronage in the province has reached a level in which the society is becoming an accumulation to fight for tenderpreneurs and corrupt individuals. Our movement in the province is being used as a spring board towards achieving the opportunity of influencing tenders, to be used for patronizing comrades within the movement for personal gains. We call upon all the people of Mpumalanga province to join our campaign against corruption and corrupt individuals, as the Party we are committed to fight corruption even within our own ranks.

Alliance

The alliance in our province is facing some challenges according to its effort on transformation and developments. We call upon alliance partners to recommit themselves on continuing to work towards unity and cohesion of our liberation movement as we believe it is still an important vehicle for the total emancicipation for our people. The council further call on the leadership in the province to meet and be able to deal with challenges which are engulfing our province such as low Matric pass rates, the assassination of our comrades in the province, the lack of quality service delivery on local government and lack of political cohesion which is weakening strength of the alliance.

Local Government

The council noted the importance of the forth coming local elections and further noted the challenges facing local government in the province due to lack of quality service delivery. We call upon all alliance leaders to ensure that local government is prioritized as an important service delivery tool of our people. The provincial council called on National and Provincial government to ensure that sufficient material and financial resources are deployed at local government for a successful turn around strategy.

We congratulate comrade Lucky Mbuyane for his election as a deputy secretary in the province. We believe his election will further invigorate the Party due to his commitment to the working class struggle. We also congratulate comrade Lemius Mashile, Flora Maboa-Boltman and comrade Solly Ndlovu for their co-option to the Provincial Executive Committee of the SACP in the province.

We also want to send our heartfelt message of condolences to the Mapaila’s family for having lost a mother on Saturday morning. We lost a mother who has been able to give birth to a revolutionary who is always committed to the struggle of the working class. May her soul rest in peace.

We red card corruption and tenderpreneurs in the province !!!

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SACP statement on the alleged charging of Cde Zwelinzima Vavi

Standard

2 June 2010

The SACP notes media reports suggesting that the ANC NWC took a decision to charge COSATU`s General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. We simply just cannot believe that the ANC can take such a reckless decision which runs counter to the ANC`s own commitment to the alliance it leads.

What we find completely distasteful is the manner in which how some amongst those who attended the NWC systematically leaked the information to the media. This cannot be nothing but a counter-revolutionary action aimed at undermining the unity of the ANC and the alliance.

If true, this reckless decision would have been pushed through only after the NWC meeting was deliberately prolonged way past the meetings scheduled conclusion, and therefore in the absence of a significant number of NWC members.

Such a decision has no grounding in the ANC`s own disciplinary codes, or constitution, still less its traditions.

For some amongst the SACP have warned of the existence of a small, counter-revolutionary tendency, that seek to destabilise the unity of the ANC and of the alliance it leads. It is a tendency that advances sectarian and personal accumulation agendas at any cost.

Since the ANC December 2007 Polokwane Conference the alliance, has in fact, been characterised by a rediscovered unity based on a growing convergence around strategic priorities, policy and programmes of action. This growing unity within our movement has been warmly welcomed by the great majority of ANC members and supporters. However, like the DA and others in the opposition, a clique within the ANC fears principled ANC and alliance unity above all else.

For many years former President Mbeki sought to marginalise COSATU and the SACP. There were even attempts to provoke a walk out and consequence alliance split. The great majority of ANC members rejected these manoeuvres and defeated this agenda.

As the SACP we will continue to defend the unity of the ANC and of the alliance. We call on the great majority of ANC leaders and members who are thoroughly sick of this reckless manoeuvre to close ranks. Let us close ranks. Let us isolate the reckless. Let us remain focused on our shared strategic priorities – job creation, healthcare, education and skills, rural development, and above all on defeating crime and corruption wherever they exist.

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PFLP calls for increased solidarity to confront Netanyahu sham “commission”

Standard

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine called upon all to continue the Arab and international solidarity campaigns, convoys and actions to break the siege on Gaza, saying that Israeli statements indicating “easing” of the blockade of the Strip is an attempt to misinform and deceive the world in light of the exposure of their crimes against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

In a statement released on June 15, 2010, Comrade Hussein Al-Jamal said that these comments by the Israeli occupier are merely attempts to pre-empt the mounting international campaign to lift the siege on Gaza, particularly in light of the criminal attack on the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza, when the Israeli navy killed nine activists attempting to bring civilian humanitarian aid to Gaza in international waters.

The Front reiterated the call for a real international tribunal to prosecute Israeli war criminals for their ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people, as well as their recent assault on the Freedom Flotilla. It denounced the Netanyahu government’s so-called “fact-finding commission” as a transparent attempt to justify murder and piracy on international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, saying that international courts must hold the occupation state accountable.

Furthermore, the Front called for international popular support to continue and escalate including commercial, academic, cultural and investment boycotts of the racist state and all of its institutions, and international isolation of the racist regime, saluting the many accomplishments of the solidarity movement around the world against the criminal occupier and noting that these efforts are an important support to the Palestinian national liberation movement.

Furthermore, on June 12, 2010 the Front expressed its appreciation to Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega for his actions to cut ties with the Zionist state in response to its state terrorism, fascism and racism, following the criminal attack upon the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. The Front’s letter expressed its appreciation for those who support the Palestinian cause – and all of humanity – in the face of U.S hegemony and imperialism and its strategic partner, the Zionist state, saying we need more leaders to stand with us at this time.

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