International Report Adopted by Central Committee of CPI (ML) Red Star In Its Meeting on 23rd August, 2020
The International Situation has taken various twists which basically bear out our earlier analysis that all the contradictions at the international level are intensifying. The main notable events in the period from our last meeting are the protests in Lebanon, the protests in Belarus and also the approaching US elections. All these show that along with the sharpening economic crisis within these countries and attack on the masses which has worsened the national situation, it also reflects the intensification of inter-imperialist contradictions as the US imperialists facing serious challenges to its world hegemony making frantic moves to prolong it. In Lebanon there was clearly an attempt by the Diab Government to move towards a more clearly marked pro-China stance. On the other hand, the military establishment in Lebanon is clearly under the influence of the USA. It is this contradiction that is intensifying in Lebanon. The one clear progressive trend in this situation within Lebanon is that led by the Lebanese Communist Party which has called for a re-emergence of the forces which took part in the 17th October movement on the basis of an anti-sectarian platform. The protest in Belarus is clearly taking the form of a confrontation between the Western imperialist powers led by the US on the one hand and Russia on the other. (see the ICOR resolution on Lebanon)
The US presidential elections, on the other hand, show a different aspect. As the approval ratings of Trump are falling, states like Florida and Wisconsin which Trump had won in last elections, are today firmly in the Democratic camp as per the opinion polls. The same trend can be seen with Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil. The CNT/MDA survey found that 43.4% of those polled see the government as “bad” or “awful,” up from 31.0% in January. “Good” or “great” evaluations slipped to 32.0% from 34.5% in the previous poll. Bolsonaro’s personal approval rating fell to 39.2% from 47.8% in January, as disapproval rose to 55.4% from 47.0%. These trends coupled with the protests in support of George Floyd and other protest all over the world (including Lebanon and Belarus) show that the people are fed up with the ultra-right-wing governments and may indicate their desire to stop the trend of growing fascism in governments all over the world.
The US brokered agreement signed between Israel and the UAE, with the latter agreeing to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel is another big gain for the Zionist state. Before this bokered by US, the Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994 also had established full diplomatic relation with Israel, violating the former understanding among the Western Asian countries that before full statehood is achieved by Palestine, such diplomatic relations will not be established. The latest success of the Zionist state even when it has threatened further attacks on Palestinian areas is a setback to the progressive forces, and it has intensified the challenges before the Palestinian people further.
However, the same problem as before is still confronting the people. They do not see the left or the revolutionary forces as a viable alternative in any country. The revolutionary left has not been able to put forward radical alternative plans for the people to live and flourish in the present situation – not only the situation of Covid19 pandemic, but the general situation where the economy was on a massive downturn even before it. The revolutionary left has not been able to popularize its ideas of an alternative system – be it in education, in healthcare, in transport or an alternative to the present economy and democratization of the society as a whole. Thus though the people are seeing the present system is failing them, they are unable to see any viable alternative. This situation is fraught with the danger of some other forces like religious fundamentalism or regional chauvinism coming to the fore. This situation also underlines the grave need for the revolutionary left to regroup and unite so as to become capable to put forward a radical alternative.
During the recent times ICOR has tried to become more active. Uniting with ILPS, it has called for building an Anti-Imperialist, Anti- Fascist United Front. ICOR has also called on its constituents for speeding up party building and to raise the level of struggles. It is in line with this, statement was issued on the danger of war (in the context of remembering the 6th and 9th August nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by US) and also on the developments in Lebanon. The Asian coordination committee of ICOR also sponsored a webinar on “Imperialism, Fascism and the Danger of War” in which parties from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Australia took part, via zoom. This was also streamed live on the party’s Facebook page. Our letter of greetings to the Congress of the PPSD (Tunisia) is given below. n
Message of Greetings to Party Congress of PPDS
The General Secretary and all delegates, PPDS, Tunisia
We congratulate you on your party congress to be held soon. We have always considered the PPDS Tunisia to be a close fraternal organization. We hope that this Congress will further that unity and brotherhood.
Today the world is passing through unprecedented times. Though the corona is such a great pandemic, the ruling classes all over the world are converting it into a farce by not giving proper care to the people and, at the same time, using the cover of the pandemic to enforce new laws and policies with which to exploit the working people. The same situation obtains throughout the world and therefore there is need, more than ever before, to have strong international unity of the working class and of all the toiling masses.
Imperialism today, faced with severe economic crisis, is transforming into fascism all over the world. This also clearly outlines the need to build up a strong anti-imperialist anti-fascist unity on an international level. We know that the PPDS has taken its role in such unity seriously through its work in ICOR and through the work of building up an anti-imperialist anti-fascist front. We hope that this Congress will clarify some of the important issues in fighting the attacks of the ruling classes and in building such an united front at the national and international levels.
Wishing you the best for your congress once again.
GS, CPI(ML) Red Star n
ICOR Resolution: Lebanon is Exploding!
Lebanon has been a land of tears and struggles! In October 2019, starting on 17th October a movement built up in Beirut against the government politics. It called for building an independent and democratic Lebanon. It also contains a majority of forces who are opposed to the politics of the USA and Israel which are trying to destabilize Lebanon and use it as a base for containing Islam. Though this movement was dampened due to the onset of the worldwide Covid 19 pandemic, the protests continued into January 2020.
Where Beirut was once known as the “Paris of the East”, since decades it has been become the target of Israeli and other bombings. The explosion of bombs has become the norm in Beirut rather than a novelty.
On 4th August there was a massive explosion in the port of Beirut which left dozens dead and thousands injured and 300 000 homeless. This has also been attributed to Government corruption and apathy by the people. We firmly reject the latter!
There were again massive protests which called for the resignation of the Government and the formation of a democratic government. The protesters took over the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and rechristened it as the “Ministry of Revolution”. On 10th August the Government of Hassan Diab who had taken over in January did resign and has been asked to continue by the President Michel Aoun till a new Government takes over.
The US and China have been blaming each other of fostering one force or the other in their attempt to control this important part of West Asia. Chinese aid to Lebanon is well known and the US is now blaming China for laying a “debt trap” forgetting that the largest debt trap has been laid by the IMF which is controlled by the USA. On the other hand the Israeli bombings of Lebanon with the approval of the USA are too brutal to be forgotten. We call upon the people of Lebanon to resist all attempts by all foreign powers, to take in their justified struggle for bread, freedom and democracy.
For the right of self-determination of the Lebanese people! For a revolutionary change according to the will of the masses!
At this time we support the call of the Lebanese Communist Party (LCP) who have given a call for the movement of October 17th to come together once again. They rightly demand a policy in the interests of the working class and the broad masses of the population and want to build a truly democratic and progressive Lebanon. We call upon all democratic forces in Lebanon to come together and for all sections of workers and other toiling masses to get organized and fight for this goal. The ICOR supports this movement in solidarity and in the spirit of the Middle East Conference of the ICOR and together with revolutionary forces in Lebanon promotes its revolutionization for a democratic and socialist Lebanon.
Strengthen the revolutionary forces in Lebanon and the ICOR!
Workers of all countries, unite!
Workers and oppressed peoples of the world, unite!
Forward with the construction of the ICOR!
we have pleasure to announce it that the 8th Congress of the Nepal Communist Party (Mashal) has been successfully conducted in the end of last week of May and first week of June, 2019. The Congress has adopted six documents: The political report, the organizational report, the amendment resolution on minimum program, the amendment resolution on constitution, the resolution on ethnic, religion and culture, and the supplementary resolution. The Congress has elected a 36 members’ central committee (CC) with Com. Mohan Bikram Singh as General Secretary and 9 alternative members. The CC has also nominated 9 advisors and the congress has elected 200 members’ National Council.
The political report has interpreted and analyzed the present national and International situation extensively. On the international situation it has been asserted that the communist movement is very weak and is in defensive position. But it does not mean that it (communist movement) has collapsed at all and it has no future. In this regard more important aspect is that the world capitalism has become very weak and is becoming more and more weak because of intensifying contradictions and economic crisis, within that, increasing labour movement or dissatisfaction among the exploited nation towards them (imperialist country) and increasing national liberation movement. As a result of those the revolutionary objective condition for the world socialist revolution has become favourable.
But, on the contrary, subjective revolutionary condition is very weak. In such a condition our responsibility should be to prepare the subjective conditions by, on the one side, fighting against all kinds of ideological illusions and deviations prevailing in the world communist movement, and on the other side expanding and consolidating organization of communist parties in different countries. We should contribute maximum to achieve these goals both in national and international level. In the course of fulfilling the tasks we should try maximum to strengthen the ICOR.
The 8th Party Congress has come to the conclusion that both of our neighbouring countries, China and India have become imperialist ones. Formally, China was a socialist country. But after the counter- revolution there, it had turned into capitalist one. Now it has become an imperialist country. In regard to India, we have been interpreting it as an expansionist country for long. But now as, on the one hand, Indian expansionism has, reached higher and naked stage and, on the other hand, monopoly capitalism has developed much, it (India) has become imperialist country. So it has become necessary to struggle against Indian imperialism in more higher and wider way. But while giving emphasis on struggle against Indian expansionism, we should try our best to strengthen friendly relation with people of India and to support the just, progressive or revolutionary movement of there. Because, the people of any country never become imperialist or reactionary. This is the principle of proletarian internationalism and the same is true in context of India and Indian people too.
Although both India and China are imperialist countries, our Party Congress considering upon the distinguished geo-political situation condition of Nepal, has taken decision to adopt two different policies towards both of these countries. In spite of it that China is an imperialist country, it has not adopted expansionist policy towards Nepal. Not only that, presence of China in the North has positive importance for Nepal in context of continual political interference, series of blockades or encroachment to nationality of Nepal by India. The Congress has also decided to oppose or condemn American interference to Venezuela and to express our solidarity of the people of there to defend their sovereignty and freedom.
The Party Congress has also analyzed the political situation of Nepal widely and intensively. Our Party has divided the political forces of Nepal in three parts: a political party representing proletariat class, political organizations representing petty bourgeois and political parties representing feudal, comprador and bureaucratic bourgeois.
According to the analysis made by Party Congress the first is Marxist- Leninist Party, second types of organizations are patriotic, democratic and leftist and friendly forces and third ones reactionary or enemies. The NCP (Mashal) is Marxist Leninist party; CPN (Revolutionary-Maoist), CPN (Biplav), Majdur-Kishan (Workers-Peasants) party, CPN (ML), CPN etc. are patriotic, democratic, leftist and friendly organizations; Nepali Congress (NC) Rastriya Prajatantra Party (National Democratic Party), Madeshbadies etc. are reactionary and enemy organizations.
Our policy towards these parties or organizations is subject to change according to their roles or policies in different circumstances. CPN (CPN) etc. are our friendly organizations. Yet, tactically we would have to struggle against these whereas we have to make unity-in-action or co-ordination with reactionary forces in various conditions. But unity with the friendly forces and struggle against reactionary forces are primary aspects. We also have to make clear it that in spite of it that CPN is a friendly force, it has vacillating, opportunist and compromising character. Similarly, we also have to struggle against organizations led by Com. Mohan Bhaidha (Kiran) or Com. Biplop also because of many political differences we have with them.
The analysis that NCP Mashal is a Party of proletarian class is true from identical point of view only. But organizationally its characters is that of petty bourgeois rather than that of proletarian. Such a weakness on the part of organization has impact upon the outlook of our party cadres and whole character of the Party. It is a serious ideological problem of our Party and it can be or should be solved by an ideological training of the party cadres in a planned and organized way. Our party has reached this conclusion that the basic objective program of today is new democratic revolution (NDR) and the fundamental problems of people would not be solved or a genuine capitalist democratic system also would not be established until or unless that NDR succeeds. So our Party gives main emphasis to make the NDR succeed and to prepare ground for the success of that.
We have firm belief that leadership of proletariat party, long-term people’s war and revolutionary united front are compulsory conditions to achieve that goal. But that is true from strategically point of view only. But that does not become our tactics automatically. To fix the tactics or immediate political line we have to analyze the condition of any particular time. This is correct Marxist-Leninist or dialectical method. When analyzed the concrete situation of the country from this point of view, we do not think that the condition is prepared enough to make NDR as tactical line or to start armed struggle at present. So, peaceful means of struggle will be main form of struggle at present. No doubt, the mass struggle can take different forms at different times, legal or illegal. Similarly, party, as a part of mass struggle, can take the policy of boycott or use of election at different times. However, for the time being our policy is to use it.
The present constitution and republic system are bourgeois nature under semi-colonial and semi-feudal system. So from the strategical point of view the struggle against those are of primary importance. So, it should be our basic task to abolish it and to replace that by new democratic system. But tactically it should be our policy to give emphasis to defend existing constitution and republic. Now domestic retrogressive forces and Indian Imperialism are trying in a planned way to make Nepal a Hindu nation and restore monarchy overthrowing republic and secularism. In such a situation our Party give special emphasis to struggle to defend those, constitution, republic and secularism. But together with it our Party Congress has insisted to continue our struggle against federalism, which is included in the constitutions of Nepal. We are convinced of is that federalism is not in accordance to the national interest of Nepal. It would enhance regional and racial conflict and it would lead country to national disintegration. So, our Party has been fighting against that since it was included in the constitutions.
The Nepali people or both main streams of Nepali political movement, Communist Party or Congress had never raised voice for the federalism in Nepal. It was only under the grand design of Indian imperialism, which we have been interpreting as expansionism before; the Madeshbadies had put forth the slogan of federalism fist of all in Nepal. Later major ruling or opposition parties of Nepal, formal UML, Maoist and Congress under Indian pressure endorsed that (federalism) and it became a part of constitution.
Western imperialist countries also are trying their best to strengthen federalism in Nepal. But unlike Indian imperialism, they prefer to build federalism in Nepal on the basis of racism, whereas main emphasis of India is on regionalism. However, we are happy to note that at the time of the election of the 2nd constituent assembly the racism was almost defeated, although some political elements are event today are trying to give federalism racial shape.
Our Party does not take CPN (CPN) as communist party and so, the government formed under its leadership also cannot be taken as communist one as supposed within the country or worldwide largely. But as mentioned before, the CPN (CPN) represents petty bourgeois. Therefore it is a patriotic democratic and leftist forces and the government also has same character. That is why our Party Congress has decided to extend our support to the government let by CPN(CPN). But in the same time it will be our policy to oppose the vacillating opportunist and compromising tendency of the present government towards feudalism, comprador and bureaucratic bourgeois or Indian imperialism and American Imperialism.
We also have reached to the conclusion that present government has failed to check murder, rape, corruption, administration disorder, price rice etc. and those are spreading more and more in the country. The government has given the slogan of ‘Enriched Nepal and Happy Nepal’. But, the policy, planning or styles of work of the government do not seem to promote that slogan. The government has failed to promote correct policy to develop national industries, to control increasing influence of imperialism, multinational companies and to use correct policy on the citizenship question etc.
The CPN and its government have made commitment to apply socialism-oriented policy in the country. But in practice their policies and program are mostly status quo nature and inclined to capitalism or, to be frank enough, compromising towards comprador bourgeois, imperialism or multinationals companies. Such a policy of theirs would not only hamper greater interests of Nepal, but will shaken the very basis of existing democratic system together with republic. Such a role on the part of them would be ‘honorary’ service to the reactionary forces to lead the country to retrogression.
It will be our policy to struggle against all such policies and style of work of the government in firm and uncompromising way. But when struggling against govt. in this way we should always be careful to keep ourselves aloof from the reactionary forces to dislodged the present government and replace that retrogressive one. At present together with the domestic reactionary forces, Indian imperialism and American imperialism too are trying in direct or disguised way to dislodge present govt led by CPN. Needless to mention, in spite of it that we have many serious differences with the govt, we shall not join hands to fulfil their such a policy which ultimately is directed against the democracy, nationality and national interest of the country.
We also have a clear cut view that CPN is an opportunist and compromising force. But are against putting it in the same rank of Nepali congress or many others reactionary political forces of the country. Besides that it has clear cut positive position on the question of republic or secularism, so in spite of our firm and uncompromising policy of struggle against that we are fully against it to be replaced by retrogressive one. We also hold the view that there is much danger in the nationality sovereignty and integrity of the country. Such a danger is mainly from Indian imperialism although the danger posed by American imperialism and other imperialists countries too cannot be overlooked.
The Congress has pointed out that main contradiction of Nepali people is with domestic feudalism and Indian imperialism. In the same time Nepali people have contradictions with comprador and bureaucratic bourgeois also and those are growing more and more. In international level main contradiction of exploited or suppressed peoples of world is with American imperialism. In such a national and international background it becomes our duty to organize struggle against all these domestic or foreign enemies. Our Party Congress has also taken decision to take initiative or to co-operate with efforts in building united front against imperialism in international level. In national level the Congress has given emphasis to organize or intensify the struggle for the just and progressive demands of workers, peasants and other sections of the people.
However the Congress has also pointed out that it is very difficult to organize peasants struggle in the country as capitalism is developing in the country, or flow of Nepali youth of rural area to abroad in large number. Labour movement also is very weak in Nepal because the number of workers is very small and influence of reactionary and rightist forces upon them. In spite of all difficulties to organize peasants or labour movement, the Congress has given direction to make maximum efforts to organize or strengthen peasants and workers movements in the country.
The inauguration functional of the 8th party congress was chaired by Com. Sahaj, conducted by Com. Agni and was inaugurated by Com. MB Singh. In the inauguration program homage was paid to about one dozen senior comrades who had served for long the party and revolution. In the occasion the fraternal delegates of the MLPD, the CPI (ML) Red Star and the Communist Party of Bangladesh were greeted too. The greeting sent by the chair person of the MLPD Com. Gabi, the general secretary of CPIML-Red Star Com. KN Ramchandran and the greeting of the Communist Party of Bangladesh were read in the function. Together with the fraternal delegates, delegates from legal front of the Party, youth, workers, peasants, women, students ethnic, schedule cast, teacher’s intellectuals, lawyers, Tarai-Madesh Front, culture and immigrant organizations from India Japan, Dubai, Honking and Qatar also gave their greeting to the Congress.
After the inauguration program the closed session started under 7 member’s presidium for six days. During this period besides presenting, discussing and adopting six documents, as mentioned before, topic of self criticism and criticism of central committee as a whole and members of the CC. In the last of the closed session the members of the central committee were elected unanimously.
In the last a concluding session chaired by Com. Akash took place in which fraternal delegates and many other speakers from the house representing various areas or class and mass organizations gave congratulations to the newly elected central committee and wished its success. After a short speech and thanks giving to all by newly elected general secretary Com. MB Singh, the chair person Com. Akash formally declared the end of the 8th party congress of the NCP Mashal.
Germany, one of the world’s biggest consumers of coal, will shut down all 84 of its coal-fired power plants over the next 19 years to meet its international commitments in the fight against climate change, a government commission said Saturday. The announcement marked a significant shift for Europe’s largest country — a nation that had long been a leader on cutting CO2 emissions before turning into a laggard in recent years and badly missing its reduction targets. Coal plants account for 40% of Germany’s electricity, itself a reduction from recent years when coal dominated power production.
“This is an historic accomplishment,” said Ronald Pofalla, chairman of the 28-member government commission, at a news conference in Berlin following a marathon 21-hour negotiating session. The breakthrough ended seven months of wrangling. “It was anything but a sure thing. But we did it,” Pofalla said. “There won’t be any more coal-burning plants in Germany by 2038.” The plan includes some $45 billion in spending to mitigate the pain in coal regions. The commission’s recommendations are expected to be adopted by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government.
“It’s a big moment for climate policy in Germany that could make the country a leader once again in fighting climate change,” said Claudia Kemfert, professor for energy economics at the DIW Berlin, the German Institute for Economic Research. “It’s also an important signal for the world that Germany is again getting serious about climate change: a very big industrial nation that depends so much on coal is switching it off.” The decision to quit coal follows an earlier bold energy policy move by the German government, which decided to shut down all of its nuclear power plants by 2022 in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011.
At the time, that was harshly criticized as reckless by business leaders, who worried that it would raise electricity prices and make their industries less competitive against foreign rivals. They also pointed out the futility of the move because no other major industrial country followed Germany’s nuclear exit. Twelve of the country’s 19 nuclear plants have been shuttered so far.
The plan to eliminate coal-burning plants as well as nuclear means that Germany will be counting on renewable energy to provide 65% to 80% of the country’s power by 2040. Last year, renewables overtook coal as the leading source and now account for 41% of the country’s electricity.
German CO2 emissions fell appreciably in the early 1990s, largely because of the implosion of Communist East Germany and its heavily polluting industry. Still, the country continued to rely on coal-fired plants for a significant share of its electricity. Powerful utilities and labor unions helped keep coal-burning plants operating and previous governments even planned to expand the number of coal plants to compensate for the pending withdrawal from nuclear power. There are still about 20,000 jobs directly dependent on the coal industry and 40,000 indirectly tied to it.
Cheap and abundant, coal is the world’s leading source of energy to produce electricity and will remain so despite Germany’s exit, if world wide struggles are not developed against the use of fossil based energy sources. In India this is a great challenge before the people.
Erik Kirschbaum, Jan 26, 2019, Berlin
John Swinton, former editor-in-chief of The New York Times, said in his retirement speech: There is no such thing, at this stage of the world’s history, as an independent press. There is not one of you who dare write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with.
The business of the journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes. I do understand that you have to eat like all of us and therefore must keep your mouth shut. We can hide the truth with prison sentences, but the truth eventually will come through. n
Emma Wilde Botta looks at US President Donald Trump’s latest effort to “break the regime” in Iran — by renouncing the nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor. Donald Trump’s announcement that the US will withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose economic sanctions will intensify geopolitical conflicts in the region. It threatens to spark a wider war, engulfing the region and possibly the world. On May 8, Trump called the 2015 nuclear deal “defective at its core”. He cited as evidence Iranian intelligence documents released by Israel on April 30. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed these documents conclusively prove that Iran continued pursuing a nuclear weapons program despite the 2015 agreement negotiated with the Obama administration, along with five other governments.
But a report from November by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is tasked with monitoring Iran’s compliance with the deal, said there were no indications Iran had violated the agreement. In fact, Netanyahu’s “evidence” dealt with Iran’s past nuclear efforts. It contained no allegation that Iran is currently producing nuclear weapons or is otherwise in violation of the 2015 agreement…. Based on lies and slanders, US wants to repeat Iraq in Iran. n
More than five million children risk famine in war-torn Yemen as food and fuel prices soar, Save the Children, warning an entire generation may face death and “starvation on an unprecedented scale”. The three-year conflict between Yemen’s Saudi-backed government and Huthi rebels linked to Iran has pushed the already impoverished country to the brink of famine, leaving many unable to afford food and water. The already dire humanitarian situation is being exacerbated by the battle for the lifeline port of Hodeida, which is threatening to disrupt what little aid is trickling into the country. Located on Yemen’s Red Sea coast, the city is controlled by the rebels and blockaded by Saudi Arabia and its allies. n
On January 11, 2013, France intervened in Mali. The operation had to be limited. It had to prevent the jihadist groups from going down to Bamako. 6 years later, “Serval” became “Barkane”. Terrorist groups are still active and their activity has spread throughout Mali and Burkina Faso where attacks and massacres of populations are increasing. It even starts to win Benin and other countries. The capture of two hostages in Benin, their detention in Burkina Faso and the death of the two French soldiers killed during the operation to liberate them are another confirmation. Just two days after the operation of the French Special Forces in northern Burkina Faso, six people were killed in a locality in the same area attacked by a terrorist group that burned the church, shops, restaurant and health centre.
Proof is made, once again, that the French army that is bogged down in the Sahel is not a bulwark against terrorism. On the contrary, it contributes to the aggravation of the situation.
The decomposition of the neo-colonial states, the misery that is spreading and the humiliating foreign occupation that are, more than ever, the breeding ground on which the jihadist groups are recruited.
If it is powerless to circumscribe terrorism, the French military presence is however a direct danger for the democratic and revolutionary movements that are developing in each country, especially in Burkina, but also in Mali where thousands of demonstrators chanted “Get out” by appointing the Head of State Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and foreign armies!
This reality cannot be overshadowed by the “national homage” that Macron decided to give to the two soldiers killed on mission.
Alongside the union, democratic, anti-imperialist and revolutionary forces of these countries, we say:
French army out of the Sahel, out of Africa!
Paris, May 13, 2019, Communist Party of Workers of France
Tens of thousands of students and teachers have protested across Brazil against sharp cuts to education enacted by Jair Bolsonaro’s administration – the first mass protests since the far-right president took office in January. Brazil’s National Student Union called for demonstrations after the education ministry said it was freezing up to 30% of discretionary spending due to the government’s precarious fiscal situation. The rally in Rio de Janeiro turned violent when police fired tear gas and percussion grenades and protestors set a bus on fire. Protestors chanted “education is not a commodity” and “there will be no cuts, there will be fight” and referenced Bolsonaro’s connections to militia groups.
The cuts to the country’s education system sent shock waves through federally funded universities, generally Brazil’s most prestigious and competitive schools. University hospitals, research grants and federally funded high schools are also affected by the cuts, which the Ministry of Education said was a part of meeting a spending cap imposed by Bolsonaro. Students light flares as they protest against a massive cut in the education budget imposed by Jair Bolsonaro. Called to explain the cuts to lawmakers in Congress, Weintraub blamed the situation on the legacy of the previous government, while defending a shift away from spending on universities to favour elementary schools.
The marches marked the first national protests against the administration of Bolsonaro, whose poll numbers are falling as he struggles with a weak economy, rising unemployment, an unruly coalition in Congress and infighting in his cabinet. The protest is the latest development in an increasingly heated battle over Brazilian education. Bolsonaro and many of his supporters have declared war over what they call “indoctrination” by left-leaning teachers in schools by instructing students to record and snitch on their teachers n
Just days after being sworn into Israel’s new parliament following the victory of his far-right bloc in last month’s elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorised a massive aerial assault on Gaza’s defenceless population, targeting at least 150 sites over the weekend.
In addition, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the most powerful military force in the region, used artillery fire to shell 200 sites in the tiny Palestinian enclave, including residential buildings, mosques, shops and media institutions, in a campaign that is set to continue for days. According to Gaza’s health ministry, the victims among the 16 Palestinians killed included a pregnant mother and her 14-month-old baby, as well as at least eight militants. A further 70 Palestinians were wounded in the attacks.
Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)
The outcome of the federal election has come as a shock to many. People with a deeply-felt commitment to the parliamentary process as a vehicle for progressive reforms are grieving. Right-wing and reactionary forces will be emboldened, and not just on the conservative side of politics. The likes of Joel Fitzgibbon and Senator Don Farrell are calling for Labour to “return to the sensible centre” and to “get back in touch with blue-collar workers”. Their meaning is clear, and echoes the advice of the National’s Barnaby Joyce and powerful voices in the capitalist media: drop the “class warfare rhetoric” of wealth redistribution and give the green light to Adana.
The Inadequacies of Bill Shorten
Of course, there was no real class warfare content to the policies advanced by Shorten and the Labour Party. Labour presented an appearance of a “progressive” agenda for social change (invoking Whitlam), but without touching the multinational corporations’ tax evasions and their power. Instead it targeted the small fish – franking, superannuation, etc. which gave ammunition to the ultra- reactionary forces (and most of the ruling class) to divide and divert people’s attention from multinational’s tax evasions.
Shorten’s lack of policy on Adani gave him no credit with either side of that debate. Labour did not offer a viable and realistic program of transition from fossil fuel to sustainable energy, creating jobs, because that would require Labour to start talking about nationalising extractive industries and energy suppliers. Instead, it was a mish mash of a few empty platitudes without any substance that no one believed Labour would do anything about anyway. Workers are not stupid.
Up until the end of the Menzies era, the personality of a Prime Minister or Opposition leader was not the spoon-fed daily diet of the great mass of the people. The Labour machine reacted to Rudd-Gillard-Rudd by adopting a set of rules that make it almost impossible to replace a loser as a leader. Workers could not warm to Shorten’s gormless personality; indeed, Shorten’s gift, out of his own mouth, of a weekly “zinger” to political satirist Shaun Micallef ensured he could never be seen as a credible leader. He was a machine man and people sensed it. Generally, the Coalition actually believe what they say, poisonous as it is. Shorten had to be pushed and pushed to take pro-people policies, and he did it because otherwise unions weren’t going to support him and Labour has so few members it needed us knocking on doors to have any chance to get elected. Shorten only stood for what would get him elected. He actually stands for nothing. Australian people despise pretence. They see through it.
The imported Obama method of targeting seats and now streets and bombarding them has backfired. The right knows how to deal with it. People don’t like teams of evangelical outsiders, whether led by Bob Brown or anyone else, coming into their communities and acting like they own them. Everyday people don’t generally dress in bright red or green or whatever colour T-shirts. We make ourselves obvious as outsiders by these uniforms. We only turn up at election times.
Get Ready for the Attack
Any leash on mining and fracking will be removed. That will be terrible for First Peoples. In the NT, Labour polled well in remote areas - among First Peoples it seems. Jacinta Price polled well on a law and order campaign in regional centres like Alice and Katherine. She has little standing among her own people. On top of the ongoing Intervention with its 12th anniversary next month, her election as an Aboriginal person blaming her own people, would justify more large-scale attacks. At least Warren Snowden now stands against the Intervention, unlike his party.
The departure of 10,000 jobs and the people who did them, with the completion of the gas hub in Darwin, has had a very negative impact on the economy and community there. We know having a job is critical. But fracking is a disaster. Divide and conquer of First Peoples will continue over fracking as Native Title allows them no veto.
Over the next decade, public schools will lose the $14 billion Abbott promised way back in defeating Rudd. That will be deeply felt in schools which are increasingly concentrating disadvantage. The loss of the commitment for 70% of contracts going automatically to TAFE instead of private providers is also a big blow. Anybody on Newstart will be wondering how to face the future.
The Australian Building and Construction Commission remains and may be strengthened. Workers defying the ABCC currently find themselves facing 6 months gaol– or be silenced by fear of it.
There will be more attacks on unions. Their channelling of the Change the Rules campaign into parliament will come back to bite them. The ALP and union leadership had directed and pinned many working people’s hopes to fervently believing that change could simply be brought about by voting in parliamentary elections. They were misled and deceived (manipulated) by ALP and union leadership. Many are devastated and unsure where the campaign can now go. The need to run the campaign as an independent working class movement was not made a mass question. Social democracy cannot build movements that lead away from the promise of high parliamentary office.
What provisions have been made to sustain and support the heroic Longford workers who have now been out on the grass for two years? How many people outside of Victoria (or of Longford, for that matter) even know about this dispute? These workers have been urged to be patient and promised that once the ALP is elected the rules will be changed and everything would be hunky dory.
Fight on Our Ground, Not Theirs
We mention impending attacks not to feed the gloom and despondency that some are feeling. Quite the contrary. We remember the words of murdered American labour activist Joe Hill as he faced his execution by the capitalist state: “Don’t mourn, Organise!”
Real people’s organisation needs to be built upon and developed. Organisation in the workplace and the community is crucial to advancing a working class movement independent of parliamentary careerism. Even if it had attained office this time, a Labour govt. would have essentially administered the system overseen by the Business Council of Australia, the Property Council and other peak bodies of the capitalist class. Their power is enormous. They can subvert and sabotage anything that challenges their fundamental interests. They have all the powers of the state, all the means of manipulating opinion, on their side.
Parliament is their ground. It runs according to their rules. We should fight on our ground, the workplaces and communities, not on theirs.
We are ready for the task. We must take to road of Clarrie O’Shea, recently celebrated at gatherings around the country. Never underestimate the people’s enthusiasm for real struggle! n