Mugabe resigned, but regime remains

Dictator Robert Mugabe has resigned, finally. But the regime he build up since 1980 remains. This is why more must be done. Working class people in Zimbabwe now need to demands new elections and vote ZANU-PF out of office. This criminal gang has not only betrayed its socialist ideology back in 1980, it has also been a ruling caste for nepotism, corruption and oppression. ZANU-PF may welcome the removal of the old president, but we know the true power behind the downfall of Mugabe. Emmerson Mnangagwa was the vice president and is now interim-president. His supporters are in control of ZANU-PF, they kicked the Mugabe clan out. Mnangagwa is not a reformer. Under Robert Mugabe he was a brutal bureaucrat, who made sure that internal critics were silenced. Revolutionary socialists call for a workers party to be build. A party that can defeat the pro-capitalist opposition led by the Movement for Democratic Change and the corrupt-nepotist: Zimbabwean African National Union – Patriotic Front!

 

Mnangagwa-Mugabe

Emmerson Mnangagwa, next to a portrait of the man he removed from office.

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Mugabe: The End?

Is it over for Robert Mugabe, the 93 year old dictator of Zimbabwe? Because on 15-11-2017, the army of Zimbabwe took control over the country. They raided the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and declared that Mugabe and his family were ‘’safe’’. This could mean that the army has ended the regime of one of the most hypocritical dictatorial leaders of Africa. Mugabe and his Zimbabwean African National Union – Patriotic Front, came to power in 1980. Back then the party was revolutionary leftist on the Stalinist top down model. When that system failed, Mugabe introduced austerity and social cuts. The worst came after 2000, when the economy fully collapsed after years of mismanagement by corrupt ZANU-PF bureaucrats. The old dictator played on systematic oppression to remain in power. His rhetoric is anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist, but the working class of Zimbabwe is oppressed, exploited and enslaved by people like Robert Mugabe and his elitist family!

The Republic of Zimbabwe is a very poor and unequal nation. Poverty and mass inequality are the result of massive government corruption created by the Zimbabwean African National Union – Patriotic Front, the party of Robert Mugabe. Like the African National Congress in South Africa, ZANU-PF started as a national liberation movement against white minority rule. Mugabe used many elements of Maoism in his struggle. This is why the People’s Republic of China was his biggest supporter. The Soviet-Union did not fully supported ZANU, their ideological ally was another liberation movement called the Zimbabwean African People’s Union (ZAPU). It is an irony that Mugabe’s ZANU was a split from the original ZAPU in 1963!

During the 60’s and 70’s both ZANU and ZAPU fought the regime of Ian Smith, the white leader of Rhodesia. At its peak in 1979, white people made up 8% of the population. They however controlled all means of production, all political offices and were in control of the army. The black majority was not allowed to vote nor to keep high functions in the government. This racist mentality came from classic British white supremacy, because Rhodesia used to be British until 1965. White minority rule lasted only 15 years and in 1979, Ian Smith was forced to step down. During the transitional period, the country was named Rhodesia-Zimbabwe. On 18 April 1980, the Republic of Zimbabwe was born with Robert Mugabe as prime minister. His ZANU won 63% of the votes with ZAPU coming second with 24%!

The two national liberation movements could not work together. Sectarian violence soon started between the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANU) and the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZAPU). Mugabe’s government favored his own army over that of rival ZAPU and with the conflict against Rhodesia over, thousands of guerrilla fighters were just left alone. Mugabe promised them that they would be integrated into the new Zimbabwean National Army. But ZAPU members claimed that ZANU did not treated them as equals. Angered by the slow process, some ex-guerrilla solders started to attack and murder white people, out of frustration and the fact that Mugabe kept most wealth in white hands. The murder of white farmers led to a exodus of ethnic whites from Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe did little to stop the ethnic violence. He used the terror attacks by the former Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army as a excuse to purge his government of ZAPU members!

On 3 January 1983, the Mugabe government started a campaign that would eliminate ZAPU as a political force. In four years the government killed many opposition members mainly from ZAPU. In Zimbabwe this is called Gukurahundi. Responsible for the killings were the soldiers from the Zimbabwean Fifth Brigade, made up of ZANU supporters. At the end of the 1980’s, the Zimbabwean African People’s Union was destroyed. Its remnants agreed on joining with ZANU to form the Zimbabwean African National Union – Patriotic Front. Although Mugabe claimed the ex-ZAPU members would be given equal saying, the new party was in fact just ZANU under a new name!

The politics of the Mugabe government were based on African-socialism. A mixture of social conservatism and Stalinist like bureaucratic top-down management of the economy. Workers were not given any political nor economic control. Although Mugabe created a strong welfare system his governments became famous for wasteful spending. As the 1980’s ended, Zimbabwe was in deep debt. Western capitalists blamed it on socialism and told Mugabe that he must enforce austerity cuts. In 1990 the ruling caste of ZANU-PF agreed that their ”socialist” model failed. Now the government started with austerity and privatizations of state enterprises, many of them sold to top government officials who became the new capitalist class. This led to a series of strikes and demonstrations of workers, who rejected Robert Mugabe as a traitor, which he was. Police brutality was enforced and there were many clashes. By now the political system of Zimbabwe had changed from a parliamentary state to a presidential state. Mugabe became president on 22 December 1987 and introduced a presidential system. Parliament’s powers were reduced and Mugabe took the office of President of the Republic of Zimbabwe!

ZANU-PF needed to keep many ex-members of the former Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army on their side. This is why Mugabe started with massive expropriation of white farmers after the year 2000. These farm-lands were given to many former guerrilla fighters, who lacked any knowledge of farming. It resulted in the fact that the nation was forced to import food, a scandal since Zimbabwe used to be a top producer of grain. Mugabe did not cared that millions were suffering from malnutrition. Zimbabwe is ruled by fear and working class people learned not to speak out against the dicator. Meanwhile the ruling family is enjoying a luxurious life. Grace Mugabe is the (by now former) first lady of the country and an elitist bitch. Robert Mugabe was 40 years old when she was born, which means the two have a huge age gap. Their youngest son loves to spend money and is the face of this elitist family. Chatunga Bellarmine Mugabe is 20 years old and not afraid to tell the world that he is a spoiled brat. His mother; Grace, even used planes from Air Zimbabwe to fly her to Paris and London, for shopping trips!

Meanwhile most workers live in poverty. This poverty is unnecessary, but in the Kingdom of Mugabe only the capitalist class and his own family enjoy luxury and wealth. In 2003 over 63% of the country was living in poverty, a huge increase from 1990 when only 25% was regarded as poor. Zimbabwe did not started as a poor country back in 1980. It is made poor because of ZANU-PF, a party is still using anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist rhetoric to claim legitimacy as a revolutionary force. But no worker in Zimbabwe truly believes that the party is socialist or leftist. Political loyalism is the main reason why many former national liberation parties remain in power. Working class people in Africa are very loyal to parties who liberated them from white supremacy. We see the same thing in South Africa and Namibia. Despite that the national liberation parties betrayed socialism and the working class, the majority of people keep voting for these pro-capitalist formations. Why? Because loyalism is a high regard in Africa!

Revolutionary Socialist Media calls on African workers not to vote for either the ANC in South Africa, SWAPO in Namibia and ZANU-PF in Zimbabwe. These political parties may have started out as socialist and revolutionary, but no socialist countries have been build by them. ANC and SWAPO choose not to introduce socialism and ZANU-PF’s version of socialism has no meaning anymore since the 1990’s. Old Mugabe has lost touch with reality. Like all long living dictators this is common. Absolute power always corrupts and Robert Mugabe is a prime example of this. His anti-imperialist rhetoric is a show as Zimbabwe has already moved towards capitalism. The American dollar and European euro are now the country’s currency after the Zimbabwean dollar collapsed in April 2009!

Working class Zimbabweans need a political force that can overthrown the state-bureaucracy of ZANU-PF. They cannot trust pro-capitalist opposition forces like the splintered: Movement for Democracy Change. In the current undemocratic climate there can be no peaceful resistance. Because the police and army have always been used by ZANU-PF and Mugabe to crush any form of opposition. This is why a revolution in Zimbabwe must be ready to use force and violence. It is foolish to think that the caste that kept Robert Mugabe in power for so long will let go of its privileges. Like the Russian ruling class of 1917, who formed the White Armies to destroy the rule of soviets, Mugabe’s circle will use force to defend its wealth. Workers need to unite in a force like the Bolshevik Party of Lenin, who was able to organize and defend the socialist revolution against counterrevolutionary terror!

What will the military do? The last reports indicate that Grace Mugabe has fled and Robert Mugabe is under house arrest. On television the soldiers claim to respect the 93 year old dictator, a man who has destroyed Zimbabwe. Mugabe is the face of inequality, corruption and oppression. He deserves nothing but our rejected and hatred. Revolutionary socialists do not side with the military, because we known that these generals and their officers all benefited from the old dictator. Police and army were always paid good by the Mugabe family. Those who carried out the coup on 15 November 2017, choose to remove the old man and put forward the exiled vice president as interim president. This 75 year old was purged by Robert Mugabe to make room for his wife, to succeed him as president and supreme leader.

It is ironic that the military choose to support former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa. A man who was loyal to Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF. It seems more likely that Grace Mugabe organized the downfall of Mnangagwa. With support from ZANU-PF’s youth and woman’s wing, she was planning on becoming the next great leader. Old Robert himself is already losing his mental abilities. This is why he made sure that Grace entered the political arena in 2014. In that year she was put on ZANU-PF’s Politburo. Mnangagwa was removed to make room for Grace Mugabe, but it is now clear that the Zimbabwean National Army did not agreed with this. They feared that with the death of Robert Mugabe, his wife would keep the family in power. The generals might have supported the old man, but to pledge loyalty to Grace Mugabe was a bridge to far for this male chauvinist institution!

Marxists from the Workers And Socialist Party in South Africa call for a socialist Zimbabwe to be build.

Here we publish their positions on the events!

– Reject Mugabe! Reject the generals! No to dictatorship – civilian or military. Demand a trial of Mugabe and his cronies.

– The working class and poor must take the future of Zimbabwean society into their own hands. This demands a government of workers and small farmers. To prepare for this build mass democratic action committees of workers, youth, the unemployed, small traders and small farmers in every area to elect a transitional authority to lay the foundation for elections to a future government of workers and small farmers.

– Such a government must have a program to end low-pay, poverty and unemployment. decisions on the movement of goods, the running of services and other key decisions about the running of society Mass democratic committees of the Zimbabwean workers, small farmers and the poor to take; seize the assets of Mugabe, the generals, Zanu-PF and other regime leaders, placing them under the control of the action committees.

– Defend the people! Action committees to organise accountable and democratically controlled self-defence units to protect protests and activists from regime intimidation and violence; build action committees of rank-and-file police officers, soldiers and air personnel. Elect rank-and-file leaders and spokespeople and take no orders from regime-linked officers! Build links with the action committees of the people for a united struggle.

– No trust in the imperialist dominated anti-working class UN, AU or SADC. Build links with the working class across Southern Africa. Outside of Zimbabwe organise action committees in all Zimbabwean diaspora communities building strong links with local communities and working class and youth organisations. United struggle against xenophobia. Fight for migrants rights. Organise migrant workers in the trade union movement.

– Workers and young people to take the lead in building a mass revolutionary party to struggle for a socialist Zimbabwe.

Emmerson Mnangagwa with his former boss: Robert Mugabe.

Black facing must end

The Dutch right-wing is very angry. Because the cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam have ended the black face tradition of Black Pete. This fictional character is part of the Saint Nicolas festival and is portrayed as a clumsy black painted person with black curly hair, bright red lips and golden earrings. The majority of white Dutch don’t understand why Black Pete is racism. They cannot understand why black facing is wrong. It shows the deep ignorance many have in the kingdom. Dutch history portrays their colonialist period as a ”Golden Age” with little attention given to the suffering of the 600.000 black slaves, Dutch ships transported to America. Also there is a wide spread believe that the Netherlands is a ”tolerant” society, free of racism and stigmatization, reality is different. Racism is a problem and many black Dutch have faced rejection as they fight against racial stereotypes like Black Pete.

In 2011, a Dutch man called Quinsy Gario started a small protest against the black faced character called Black Pete, during the arrival of Saint Nicolas. He and his friend were told by police to go away, as the white Dutch felt uneasy with two black guys wearing t-shirts saying: ”Black Pete is Racism”. Gario faced the anger of the majority of the Dutch population. In their world view, Black Pete is part of a ”innocent” children festival. A problem with this excuse is that the festival is designed and executed by adults. Also it does no justice to black children who face racism and rejection based on their skin color. Few to no white Dutch have ever faced racism. But many black or colored Dutch have. We have examples of Turkish and Moroccan Dutch, who are stigmatized as ”Muslim terrorists” and ”criminals”. Even Italian Dutch are called ”Muslims” by ignorant white racists because they have dark hair and a Mediterranean skin color!

In the last six years the movement against black facing is growing. This is why Amsterdam and Rotterdam have now ended the black face tradition. Members of the far-right party: Livable Rotterdam are very angry about this. Like the neo-confederates in America, who love their Confederate battle flag, Livable Rotterdam claims that tradition should not be changed. Two other far-right parties have even called for Black Pete to be protected by the state. Forum for Democracy (FvD) and the Party for Freedom (PVV) belong to the far-right spectrum. While the PVV is based on one personality (Geert Wilders), the FvD is more a classic Dutch nationalist party. With 5000 members and two seats in the Dutch parliament the FvD calls for ethnic nationalism, pseudo-liberal conservatism and white culture to rule supreme!

Still the majority of white Dutch refuse to understand. They hold dogmatically to their own fantasy about a ”innocent children’s festival” under siege by ”angry people”. With angry people they mean black activists who face outright hatred on social media for they stand against Black Pete. It reminds us of those brave Americans who united around Martin Luther King. Back in the 1960’s they too faced racism and rejected by the establishment. Whites in the south of America started to use the Confederate battle flag as a symbol of white supremacy against desegregation. Although the Dutch cannot be called pure racists like those white southerns in the 60’s, they close their eyes to racism. It takes a lot of courage to stand up to Black Pete, even as a white person. Because this character is very loved. To say that it is racist and wrong, means that you can be excluded and isolated. There are many Dutch (both white and black) who don’t dare to speak out!

Why are the Dutch so ignorant? Partly this has to do with their history. Dutch people have never confronted themselves with their colonialist past. Schoolbooks in the Netherlands portray the colonialist period as a ”Golden Age”, when ships of the United Republic of the Seven Provinces made the country rich by trade. They fail to mention that all this wealth was taken by force. Jan Pieterszoon Coen was Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies between 1618 and 1623. In only four years, Coen monopolized the trade under the banner of the capitalist; VOC, the Dutch East India Company in Indonesia. He used brutal force in dealing with those natives who refused to sell their products to him. During the Banda massacre in 1621, VOC forces under Coen’s leadership killed 14.000 peasants and allowed 1.000 to live, to become slaves to their white masters. Jan Pieterszoon Coen himself died young, but was hailed as a ”Great Dutch Man” by the republic and the later Kingdom of the Netherlands. Today the butcher of Banda still has statues and name plates, honoring him in his homeland!

There has never been massive public criticism of Dutch colonialism. The only ones who rejected imperialism were revolutionary leftists. Marxists from the Social-Democratic Party (after 1918: Communist Party Holland) were one of the first who called for a independent Indonesia. Dutch liberals, conservatives and anti-revolutionary socialists were furious. They said that if the Netherlands would lose Indonesia (Dutch Indies) then disaster would follow. A popular saying back then was: ”Indië verloren, rampspoed geboren” meaning: ”Indies lost. disaster born” literally. After 1918, the Communist Party Holland became the leading force of Dutch anti-colonialism in the 20’s and 30’s. Still most Dutch were cultural racist and considered European culture to be superior to Asian cultures. The Dutch did not differ much from British, French and German colonialism, who also shared this racist ideology of white cultural supremacy!

After world war two the Dutch government of Catholics and social democrats faced a republican uprising in Indonesia. To defend Dutch colonialism, Willem Drees ordered the Royal Dutch Army to crush the republicans in Indonesia. Four years and 150.000 deaths later, Indonesia became a free republic. The Dutch choose to forget and this is why black facing has never been questioned. Black Dutch who tried to fight against racism often faced outright hatred and deep rejection from white colleges, friends and the establishment. White Dutch created a fictional bubble of a country that does not exist. In this bubble there is no racism and all people are equal and happy. Reality is different. Dutch capitalists discriminate against none-whites and rejection based on heritage is a fact. Young people with a Islamic background often find out that their name is enough not to be given a job. Black people from Suriname also face discrimination on the labour market!

Each year Saint Nicolas comes, with his army of black faced white people. Opposition is however growing and this makes the establishment uncomfortable. Police brutality has increased since 2011 and racist remarks against black activists are no longer exceptional. On Facebook and Twitter there is a wave of hatred going, against people like Quinsy Gario. He recently said that (white) people start to defend Black Pete automatically as soon as he enters a store with Saint Nicolas and Black Pete products. The Dutch political left remains silent. Moderate socialists from the Socialist Party are too afraid to lose voters, so the SP does not comment on Black Pete. The pseudo-leftist; Party of Labour defends black face, so does the Party for Freedom and Democracy (neoliberals of the VVD). Revolutionary socialists stand in solidarity with all those brave black activists who dare to defy the icon. We stand against black facing and reject the fantasy arguments on why Black Pete is not racism!

 

Russian Revolution 1917-2017

The three books called: ”The History of the Russian Revolution” were written by Leon Trotsky in 1930, just one year after his deportation from the Soviet-Union. In three volumes (1040 pages total) Trotsky tells you the story of ”October” as it happened. While Stalin removed Trotsky from Soviet history books, the capitalists of the world claimed that the events of 1917 led directly to stalinism. Trotsky responded to these lies in his book: ”The Revolution Betrayed” (1936) in which he brilliantly showed how the USSR degenerated into a monster, that only dropped its communist facade on 25 December 1991!

Paradise Papers, again we knew

Again we learn about how the superrich try to evade taxes. The Panama Papers showed what revolutionary socialists said for a long time. Capitalists, monarchs, presidents and superrich use tax heavens to evade taxation. After the disclosure of the Panama Papers, revolutionary socialists knew that nothing would change. The ruling class would not change anything that harms their eternal greed. Now a new disclosure and again we learn about famous rich people and their dirty tricks to evade taxes. This new revelations are called the Paradise Papers!

Catalan independence lasted only a weekend

The Catalan Republic, the hope of millions is death. Betrayed by its leaders and now fully under Spanish control from Madrid. Government workers did not resist the hostile takeover and president Carles Puigdemont is said to have fled towards Belgium. His Catalan European Democratic Party has agreed to participate in the Spanish controlled elections of 21 December. Meanwhile Madrid has taken direct control and can now unleash its revenge, on those who supported the declaration of independence. Millions of Catalan workers who hoped for a free Catalonia ended up betrayed by Madrid and those bourgeois nationalists, who remained passive and allowed their young republic to be taken over!

Revolutionary socialists feared this would happen and we were right. Not only the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT) is to blame, the Republican Left of Catalonia also gave up the fight. It was a member of this party who dissolved the Catalan parliament on the orders of Madrid. The anti-capitalists of the Popular Unity Candidacy were the only ones left who are still willing to fight. But what can they do? The parliament is dissolved, the president has fled and the Spanish imperialists have taken control. It remains to be see how effective Spanish rule will be until 21 December. One thing is sure, this is a major boost for the anti-independence camp. They can portray the whole declaration of 27 October to be a ”foolish play”!

Catalonia lost is autonomy and its independence, because those who declared it were too cowardly to fight the conservative government in Madrid. Elections in late December can result in a anti-independence victory. Because many pro-independence figures and politicians might be in jail or underground. The Spanish state has already started an investigation into the ”illegal” declaration of independence by Carles Puigdemont. In danger are also members of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and those of the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP). Spain can order the dissolution of these parties on the grounds that they stood against the 1978 constitution of the Kingdom of Spain. With the PDeCAT, ERC and CUP banned, the anti-independence camp can easily win the elections. We might see a victory of the Party of the Citizens, a pro-capitalist Spanish-unionist party!

Many pro-independence supporters might experience disillusion and defeatism, now that the Spanish government has taken control of their republic. The unwillingness of Carles Puigdemont to order the Catalan police to defend the republic, proofs why he and his cabinet are not the right politicians for a free Catalonia. Working class Catalonians must build a party of their own. As revolutionary socialists said before, the parties of capitalism have not been able to defend the Catalan Republic. They capitulated as cowards before Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish leader who unleashed police brutality, removed their autonomy, dissolved the Catalan parliament and now has taken direct control. The PDeCAT and ERC may still have this illusion that they can win a majority at the elections in late December. This seems unlikely now that the independence camp has done little to keep Spanish imperialism out!

CUP must build the resistance and fight against the hostile takeover. They must proof to the working class that they are the party that stands for a socialist Catalonia. A Catalan Socialist Republic in opposition to capitalism, the Kingdom of Spain and the European Union. No alliances with PDeCAT and ERC, because the bourgeois nationalists tried and failed. Their Catalan Republic is death and Madrid will not allow it to be rebuild. The only chance of building a independent Catalonia, is to win over a clear majority for independence under socialism. This is the only way Spain can be defeated. It remains to be seen how much freedom CUP is given. As a radical pro-independence party it broke the 1978 monarchist constitution of Spain. The new rulers in Barcelona can order the dissolution of the Popular Unity Candidacy and the confiscation of its assents. All possible under the right-wing regime of Mariano Rajoy!

 

Madrid now controls Catalonia.

For Catalonia, socialism is the only way towards true independence

The new Catalan Republic is deeply divided about independence. This is because many are not sure if their lives will improve as a independent nation. Newspapers of the ruling class and those linked to liberal, conservative and social democratic political parties are very active in creating a very negative picture about a Catalonia free from Spain. Meanwhile the capitalists are already starting a economic boycott and capital flight is in process. Unless the working class takes control away from pro-capitalist figures like Carles Puigdemont, the young republic will be overrun by Spanish imperialism!

Madrid is wasting no time. Article 155 is in force and the Catalan government has been officially dissolved. Catalan president Carles Puigdemont remains very vague as ever and has not shown revolutionary strength. This weakens the pro-independence movement as the opposition to Catalan independence is growing. On 29 October 2017, more then 300.000 marched in Barcelona against the Catalan Republic. These are Catalonians who wish to be part of the Kingdom of Spain. Most of them are working class people, anti-nationalists, liberals, conservatives and social democrats. Revolutionary socialists stand with those who reject Spanish imperialism and the coup carried out by Madrid. This does not mean that we support Puigdemont. We want a Catalonia under control of working class people, not right-wing pro-capitalist nationalists like Puigdemont and his Catalan European Democratic Party!

Monday is the big moment. Then we will see how strong the government workers in Catalonia truly are. Spain has dissolved the government of Carles Puigdemont and appointed Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría as leader of the Catalan region. She is a member of the right-wing: People’s Party (PP), the party that came out of Franco’s fascist supporters mixed with Catholic conservatives and pro-market forces in 1989. The PP is the main party of austerity and the voice of conservatism, catholicism and Spanish nationalism. If government workers of the Catalan Republic are truly loyal to independence they must reject Sáenz de Santamaría and her minions. Meanwhile the anti-independence forces are getting stronger. Fear is what keeps many Catalans from supporting independence. They think that their country is better off inside Spain. These people have zero class consciousness and do not understand, that the act of rebellion against Madrid is part of a revolutionary mood against austerity and capitalism. A capitalist Catalonia is indeed no alternative, therefore only socialism is the way forward!

If the masses do not take power for themselves, then it is possible that the supporters of Puigdemont will capitulate before Sáenz de Santamaría and her master: Mariano Rajoy Brey. The head of the Catalan police has already been fired and the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police) remained passive. This is dangerous as 18.000 officers are the only thing that stand between Spain and political power in Catalonia. If the Mossos d’Esquadra does not intervene to save the Catalan Republic, then Puigdemont and many revolutionary leftists inside the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) face arrest and possible long prison sentences. The anti-independence movement is already calling for the arrests of those who declared Catalonia independent!

Workers need to understand that socialism is the way forward. This vital for the survival of the Catalan Republic. A workers party on a socialist party is needed, now more then ever. If Madrid is able to take power, it will destroy the Catalan Republic. New elections under Spanish control will strengthen the anti-independence movement and they might win. Should this scenario happen then the dreams of millions will be shattered. Trade unionists, socialists and activists will be very disillusioned. The anti-independence propaganda will proclaim that Catalonia does not want to be free from Spain and that the forces of ”reason” have won. This outcome is possible as many Catalonians are not supportive of the Catalan Republic, a result of the inability of the pro-independence camp to provide a clear (socialist) alternative to Madrid. Bourgeois nationalists like Puigdemont wrongly think that their Catalan Republic can join the European Union. This has already been rejected as Brussels stand with the Kingdom of Spain. Many opponents also fear a economic crisis as capitalists move businesses away. This fear is justified and can only be countered with socialist politics in favor of workers!

This is why working class people must take power for themselves. Puigdemont and his supporters are loyal to capitalist law, they wish to build a Catalonia that remains part of the neoliberal economy of Europe. Because of this many have already rejected the Catalan European Democratic Party during the last elections in 2015. Back then the bourgeois Catalan nationalists lost -4,8% of their voters. The anti-independence Party of the Citizenry gained a lot of support after that election. They are now the biggest voice of Spanish nationalism against the Catalan Republic. Although far weaker, the People’s Party of Catalonia and the Socialists Party of Catalonia should not be underestimated. These anti-independence Catalonians are able to rally many. This is why the revolutionary independence movement must be ready to defend their republic. Civic disobedience is one thing, but if Spain is using force then violence is the only way to defend independence!

Although Puigdemont  is calling for none-violence, his unwillingness to defend what he just build can lead to ruin for millions. If the Americans had remained pacifist and did not fought the British imperialists, then there would not have been a USA today. The same can be said about Lenin in 1917. If the Bolsheviks had not organized the Red Army to defend the soviets, then the White Armies and their western allies would have triumphed in the Russian civil war. Catalan workers in the government are now in the spot light. Will they defend the Catalan Republic? Or submit to Sáenz de Santamaría? An un-elected official send by Madrid, to take control over all government institutions. Revolutionary socialists advice to openly reject her and anybody send by Spain. Santamaría is not welcome in Catalonia and must be rejected!

The capitalist media of Europe is not positive about the new republic. Most major newspapers side with Madrid and warn Catalonia, that they risk economic downfall if they do not fall back in line of capitalism. This blackmailing is typical and only shows why only a Catalan Socialist Republic has any chance of staying alive. The Popular Unity Candidacy need to push for a socialist program, which is difficult as they are the only ones who are anti-capitalist. The Catalan sections of Podemos and United Left (Spanish Communist Party) do not support independence and have called for dialog with Madrid. Podemos and United Left fail to understand the revolutionary momentum. Their unwillingness to support a socialist Catalonia proofs the ideological weakness of these leftist populist parties!

Article 155 of the Spanish monarchist constitution was written by Franco’s supporters, to prevent Catalonia from ever becoming a independent nation. These conservatives mixed with fascists, catholics and Spanish nationalists wanted a Spain that remained traditionalist. Therefore a kingdom was created with Juan Carlos as the first king. Franco had appointed this Carlos in 1969 as his successor. With the death of the fascist dictator in 1975, Spain became a constitutional kingdom under Juan Carlos. It would take another two years before the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and Spanish Communist Party (PCE) were legalized. The conservative ruling class did not wanted to give freedom of speech to leftists and pro-republicans. After two years of debates and negotiations, the PSOE and PCE agreed on supporting the 1978 constitution. This was a major betrayal of socialist-republican thinking by both the social democrats (PSOE) and stalinists (PCE)!

Catalonia is now at a crossroad. Anti-independence supporters are growing in numbers. Some out of fear for their future, others because they support the crown and the Kingdom of Spain. Young opponents of the Catalan Republic say that they are anti-nationalist and call for unity. It is however not very anti-nationalist to wave with Spanish flags and declaring your loyalist to a king and country that is actively trying to limit democratic rights. Also the pro-independence camp is not nationalist, despite what the capitalist media is saying. Those who support the Catalan Republic do not see themselves superior to Spain, they reject Madrid because of its forced austerity. Opposition to capitalism and its unequal distribution of wealth is a big part of the struggle for independence. Catalonia is said to be this rich region of Spain. In reality, most wealth is centralized in a tiny minority. This elitist minority is living off the work of millions. Almost 20% of all Catalan workers do not earn enough to enjoy what is called the ”good” things in life. 20% is close to 1,5 million people living in relative poverty in ”rich” Catalonia!

What must be done? Revolutionary Socialist Media argues for the complete nationalization of all banks and financial institutions. These must be brought under state-ownership. Then capital flight must be stopped and any company that wants to move out is to be taken over. Workers play a key part here. They must organize the takeover and build their own management. No state bosses are to replace capitalist bosses. Workers can organize and manage themselves. Bureaucratic state control is not the right way. Self management by working people is. Only if the institutions of capitalism are take-over can the Catalan Republic survive. If not then this young state will do down very fast and might not live to see 2018!

 

Solidarity with Catalonia

Revolutionary socialists stand in solidarity with the people of Catalonia, who struggle against the austerity regime in Madrid. For years the Spanish government has enforced neoliberal politics on the country. Catalan separatists have therefore called for a independent republic to be build. The Kingdom of Spain not only rejects this idea, it is also using police brutality to prevent Catalonia from becoming a independent state. Spain is led by a right-wing conservative government, however not only the conservative party is supportive of undemocratic methods. Social democrats from the Spanish Socialist Workers Party have joined the Spanish nationalist camp and support the conservatives in removing the autonomy of Catalonia! 

The PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers Party) is one of the biggest class traitors in Europe. Together with the British Labour Party, the PSOE betrayed the ideas of socialism in the late 1970’s when it renounced Marx. Its members supported the 1978 Spanish constitution, which turned the former fascist state into a monarchy. This monarchy was build by the supporters of dictator Franco, who needed to keep elements of the old conservative caste intact. PSOE support for the Kingdom of Spain was vital in restoring ”democracy” as they called it. Luckily for the ruling class the social democrats supported their side and did not called for the restoration of the Republic of Spain (1931-1939)!

Spain lacks a true workers party on a socialist program. The United Left coalition around the Spanish Communist Party (PCE) is weak and never got more then 10% of the total vote. This is because the communist party has not put socialism forward as a alternative. Their propaganda is too moderate, calling for a republic build on social justice instead of a Spanish Socialist Workers Republic. Also the PSOE was able to portray itself as a ”democratic socialist” party and the PCE as a ”totalitarian-communist” party. This social democratic propaganda is strengthen by the fact that the PCE remains loyal to Stalinist thinking. The Spanish Communist Party stands in full solidarity with the single party dictatorship in Cuba and is on friendly therms with state-capitalist regimes in Vietnam, China and Laos. The fact that the PCE is friends with dictatorial parties makes the PSOE’s propaganda more believable!

A leftist populist party called Podemos grew as a result of the deep mistrust of Spanish workers towards their rotten political system. Podemos is seen as something new and  it was able to win a lot of votes. However the limits of this leftist populist party lay in its ideology. Is Podemos an anti-capitalist force for socialism? Or just a party that wants to stay inside the current political and economic systems? As of 2017 the once small party has grown into a force of 450.000. It has over 4 x more members then the United Left coalition. One of its role models is the former Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) in Greece. Podemos has looked towards Greece as a model for the future. This is very dangerous as the Greek leftist populists of SYRIZA not only abandoned the struggle against capitalism, they capitulated before the European Union and are now enforcing austerity and cuts to social services. SYRIZA has ceased to be a force for working class people. The same can be said about the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. Also a role model for many inside Podemos. Venezuela is not to be called a positive model as it never moved beyond capitalism!

There are two leftist separatist forces in Catalnia, the Republican Left of Catalonia (moderates) and the Popular Unity Candidacy (revolutionaries). The United and Alternative Left is the Catalan section of the United Left coalition around the PCE. Members of the Catalan United Left section have not yet called for a independent Catalonia, they do however not support the brutal nationalist politics of the conservative government. Social democrats of the Socialist Party of Catalonia think otherwise. They side with their mother-party (PSOE) in calling for the elimination of the current Catalan government. Catalan conservatives who support the Kingdom of Spain are rather weak. The biggest opponents of a independent Catalonia comes from the Party of the Citizenry!

Liberals of Catalonia are not supportive of Catalan independence, so they side with the conservative government in Madrid. The Party of the Citizenry is not only pro-Spain it also is fully supportive of neoliberalism and therefore the European Union. Their support for Brussels and its common capitalist economy is reflected in their motto: “Catalonia is my homeland, Spain is my country and Europe is our future”. Catalonia is however not governed by revolutionary separatists. The bulk of Catalan civic-nationalism comes from moderate separatists. They are led by Carles Puigdemont, the former director of the Catalan News Agency. Puigdemont claims to stand for a independent republic, but has not yet dared to declare independence. Fear of capital flight and economic sabotage might hinder his dream of building a Catalonia free from Madrid. As a supporter of capitalism, Puigdemont knows that the Catalan ruling class does not like independence. They want their link with Spain for business reasons!

Revolutionary socialists support a independent Catalonia, but only if this republic becomes socialist. A capitalist Catalonia is not alternative to a Catalonia inside the Kingdom of Spain. Also we must not forget that a Republic of Catalonia will not automatically become a member of the EU. Spain will use its veto to prevent this. Therefore there is no future under capitalism. Puigdemont is not a socialist and not the right man. Revolutionary socialists call for mass strikes and mobilization of workers. The struggle for national liberation in Catalonia must be linked to the socialist transformation of society. A socialist Catalonia can become a role model for a socialist Spain. As both working classes will learn that it is they who are the masters of their own labour and fruits!

The European Union supports the dictatorial methods of the conservative government in Madrid. We are not surprised, despite all their talks about human rights and freedom, the EU only cares about its capitalist class. The business elite is not happy that the growing separatist mood is turning more and more revolutionary and anti-capitalist. European leaders stand with Madrid which has surprised many inside Catalonia. They had hoped for EU support against police brutality and the undemocratic attacks on their autonomy. Workers need to understand the true nature of the EU. This European Union is not build for common people, not build for ethnic minorities seeking independence from big capitalist states like Spain. The EU is build for the ruling class, to make it stronger and more competitive!

United Left in Spain has remained at the side lines in the Catalan conflict. It does not support the actions of the government, yet it also does not side with the people of Catalonia who call for independence. Alberto Garzón called for negotiations, but how can the Catalan workers negotiate with a government that is destroying their democratic rights? The Spanish government uses the 1978 constitution as a shield and says that no region is allowed to leave the Kingdom of Spain. The current Royal Constitution bans separatism, a fail-save build in by Franco’s fascists. Madrid has the means to arrest any member of the Catalan government (including Carles Puigdemont) and send them to jail for at least 30 years. Liberals, conservatives and social democrats now use article 155 to disband the government of Puigdemont. He is to be replaced by an unelected puppet from Madrid as president of Catalonia!

Two pro-independence politicians have already been arrested by the Spanish police in Catalonia. Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart were jailed for organizing the Catalan working class. The two had spoken out against police brutality and the undemocratic attacks of Madrid against their homeland. For their political views the Spanish state arrested Sánchez and Cuixart. If Carles Puigdemont capitulates before the Kingdom of Spain, he will give its reactionary government a free pass to arrest more supporters of independence. Puigdemont must declare a Catalan republic and be ready to defend it. He already has a police force of 18.000 officers. These can be used to disarm the Spanish National Police. Should Spain send its army then war is unavoidable. Great Britain also tried to destroy the republican revolutionaries in America in the 18th century and failed. If the working class unites for a independent and socialist republic it has the means to win. Spanish workers are not the enemy here. The enemy are those chauvinist nationalists of the People’s Party (conservatives), the Spanish ”Socialist Workers” Party (social democrats) and the Party of the Citizenry (liberals)!

Revolutionary Socialist Media calls for mass action. Strikes and civil disobedient. Madrid should fear the might of the Catalan working class. If they want a war, they can have it. If they destroy democracy, Catalan workers will defend their democracy. Violence is not what we like, but should our rights be taken away then violence is justified. If Spanish police officers are told to keep Catalonia in line, then they are the enemy. Pacifism sounds great, but it will not help you if the enemy is using full force to enslave you. Working class people must push for independence and a socialist system. For this to work we need a political party on a revolutionary program. A party that calls for a socialist Catalonia, free from the dictatorial Spanish government and its neoliberal supporters inside the European Union. A Socialist Republic of Catalonia is possible and can be build. The working class has the power and the will. It only needs to organize and unite!!

Update: On 27 October 2017, the parliament of Catalonia declared itself independent from the Kingdom of Spain. Madrid will now enforce article 155 to remove the Catalan government and install pro-Spanish puppets in Catalonia. This must be prevented, working class people need to defend their republic, with force if needed!!

Socialist Catalonia is the only way for working class people!

Islamic State is losing its capital

Thanks to Arab, Kurdish and Assyrian unity, the terrorist group that calls itself: Islamic State is losing the war. Soldiers from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have almost cleared the city of Raqqa from its grip. Raqqa in Syria is regarded as the capital city of the reactionary group, that follows a far-right Islamic ideology called Wahhabism. Islamic State rose in 2013 as a result of the Iraqi and Syrian civil wars. It defeated the Iraqi army and took control of Mosul and western Iraq. The Syrian city of Raqqa was the prime capital until SDF forces started with the liberation. By 15 October 2017 only a small pocket in the city center remains under IS control!

Western commentators remain rather silent about a important fact. The fact that win-out the ideology of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the SDF would never have been founded. Because the main bulk of the SDF is made up by Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG). This militia was formed in 2004 as the armed wing of the Kurdish: Democratic Union Party, which is the main party of Syrian Kurds. The YPG is build on the same principals as the People’s Defense Forces (HPG) in Turkey, the fighting force of the PKK. This is why the conservative dictatorship of Ergodan is not happy that the YPG is winning in Syria. Ankara is called the Syrian Kurds ”terrorists” and puts them on equal level with Islamic State. Why? Because the Turkish government is ethnic nationalist and does not recognizes the Kurdish people. For the nationalists who rule the Turkish Republic all people must think Turkish, speak Turkish and think Turkish. This is the main reason why the Kurdistan Workers Party took up arms in 1984. Because the Turks systematic oppress any ethnic minority, from Armenians to Kurds!

The Syrian civil war is marked by religious sectarianism. Most rebels who fight the government are Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist. Government forces are led by Shia-Islamic leaders from the Alawite tribe. The Syrian Ba’ath Party is supported by both the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Lebanese: Party of God (Hezbollah). Iran and Hezbollah are Shia-Islamic fundamentalist and support Bashar Assad because his tribe is also Shia-Muslim. The rebels who fight the Ba’ath government are supported by Sunni-Islamic regimes like Saudi-Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. In this mix of fundamentalism and religious intolerance, the western world is unsure who they should support. Revolutionary socialists see only one group that needs support and that is the Syrian Democratic Forces. This secular coalition was created by the YPG to unite both Kurdish, Arabic and Assyrian militias!

Turkey is the main reason why support for the SDF remains minimal. Ankara is part of NATO and a important ally of American imperialism. Washington DC cannot lose Turkish support and therefore turns a blind eye to the crimes Erdogan is committing against his own people. By now Turkey is only a democracy in name. The state has silent almost all critical newspapers and jailed leftist opposition politicians. It is clear that Erdogan is building a conservative dictatorship that is using the Turkish-Kurdish conflict to silence all internal opposition. Some brave man and woman from western countries have not waited and traveled to Syria to join the YPG. They are a strange mixture of leftists, anti-capitalists, anarchists, communists, adventurers and idealists. What they all share however is the desire to fight Islamic State and its terrorists who kill innocents. That foreigners join the YPG is not hailed by Ankara as the Turks consider anybody who fights for the Kurds a ”terrorist”!

The battle for Raqqa started on 4 June 2017. 35.000 SDF forces attacked the capital city of IS which is defended by 4.000 fighters. Although the terrorists are at a disadvantage they are masters of bobby traps and are using the local population as a shield. The city was completely encircled at the end of June, preventing any IS militant from escaping. Then a brutal city battle started which is not over yet. SDF forces have to fight house by house to defeat the Islamic State. 50% of Raqqa has been destroyed and over 1.000 civilians have died. 10.000 were forced to flee the city when the fighting began. It is reported that 1.300 IS militants have been killed and another 1.200 surrendered. The remaining 1.500 defenders are holding up in the city center and are cut off. It remains to be seen how long they will keep up the fight!

Islamic State is known for enslaving women and using them as sex objects. The Yazidi were targeted by the brutality of the reactionary Islamists, because their religion is not pure Sunni-Islam. Yazidi combine aspects of Zoroastrianism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. For this they are hated by IS who decided to kill the men and enslave the females. After the YPG/SDF liberated the Yazidi women they were trained to fight back. The Êzîdxan Women’s Units was founded in 2015 to protect the Yazidi community against attacks from IS. Now this all women militia is fighting alongside the YPG in Raqqa against the terrorists who once enslaved them. Thanks to the leftist ideology of the YPG and their support for female soldiers, women of the Yazidi are now fighters. Ready to destroy Islamic State and its reactionary leaders!

After the liberation of Mosul by Iraqi forces in July 2017, the so called ”Caliphate” has lost all major cities. What remains are a few towns in south east Syria. The Iraqi border town of Al-Qa’im is now the capital of the Islamic State. Al-Qa’im has around 150.000 people and is under IS control since August 2014. The struggle to liberate this last bastion of Islamic fundamentalism will be difficult as many towns lay between SDF force and the Syrian-Iraqi border. Al-Qa’im may have to wait until mid to late 2018 before it can be liberated. It is not the numbers that is preventing a quick victory, it is the lack of weapons and ammunition. SDF forces take most of their armament from death IS militants. Syrian Democratic Forces leaders have often asked for more guns from the west, but Washington DC and Brussels are not willing to fully aid the only group capable of defeating IS. We know why and who is preventing massive western support for the SDF. Turkey is the rotten reason why NATO is not fully helping the armed forces of the Federation of Northern Syria!

Update: 17 October 2017, the capital of Islamic State has fallen. The Syrian Democratic Forces are now in full control of Raqqa. Three years of terror and oppression are over for the people of this city!

Che Guevara, 50 years after his murder

Ernesto Che Guevara was murdered by Bolivian soldiers on 9 October 1967. This year marks the 50th anniversary of his execution. Revolutionaries around the world were inspired by the idealism and courage of this Argentinean doctor, who struggled to free the world from imperialism and capitalism. Although Cuba was freed, Guevara failed in Congo and Bolivia. Western imperialism was happy when the icon of the Cuban revolution was killed in 1967. Although they were able to murder Che the imperialists will never be able to destroy his ideas. Revolutionary Socialist Media honors the man who gave his life for the revolution. Despite his political mistakes Ernesto Che Guevara was a true believer in a socialist world!

Most people on this world know the name Che Guevara. He will forever be remembered as a fighter for the poor and the enemy of injustice. The capitalist class hated him and has exploited his face for commercial gains. Millions of t-shirts have been printed with his picture on them. Posters and flags have been produced, all with that famous photograph of Che at the La Coubre memorial service in 1960. The man behind the icon was relative simple. A doctor of Argentinian origin who had travelled a lot in the 1950’s. With his friend Alberto Granado the young Ernesto made a tour of Latin America by motorcycle. Both friends witnessed the cruel reality that was the capitalist system. Ernesto became convinced that only a revolution could destroy the inequality that he witnessed!

In 1954 Ernesto Guevara was in Guatemala. This Mayan country was about to become a CIA puppet as the military turned on its democratic president. Operation PBSUCCESS was carried out by right-wing military officials and CIA agents. Guevara witnessed the destruction of the Guatemalan democracy and the installation of a corrupt anticommunist government. He wanted to fight the junta with members of the Communist Youth. But the youth league was not well organized and Ernesto was very frustrated by their weak leadership. He returned to his work as a doctor but was targeted by the junta for his revolutionary believes. Guevara fled into the Argentinean embassy and was able to reach Mexico. His experiences in Guatemala made him to see the USA as force for imperialism. A power that hides behind their pseudo-democratic façade to impose the will of its capitalist class on Latin America!

After reaching Mexico Guevara joined a small group of Cuban exiles. Ernsto was introduced to Fidel Castro by Raul Castro, the younger brother. Raul Castro was also a revolutionary communist like Che while Fidel was not yet a supporter of Marxist socialism. Raul used to be a member of the socialist youth organisation of the Popular Socialist Party (PSP) in Cuba. This pro-Moscow party was the official communist party on the island. It supported Fulgencio Batista in the 1940 presidential election. Batista was pro-USA and a supporter of capitalism, still the Popular Socialist Party choose to support him only for his pro-union positions. It shows the complete failure of the Cuban Stalinists to put forward a candidate that stood for a socialist Cuba. The PSP was outlawed in the 1950’s by the very person they used to support!

In 1952 Batista staged a coup with the backing from the Cuban Armed Force. He installed himself as a corrupt capitalist dictator in the service of the ruling class and the USA. A year later the Castro brothers led a raid on the Moncada Barracks. The attack failed and Fidel with his brother Raul were jailed. Prison would improve their reputation. Many Cubans became very sympathetic to the charismatic student-lawyer Fidel, who was very good at speaking in public. In jail he used his time to prepare a speech entitled: ”History Will Absolve Me”. This speech was over four hours long and would be the first of many written by Fidel. After serving 22 months the Castro brothers were released and moved to Mexico. There they plotted a new revolution with supporters from Latin America. It was here that Ernesto Guevara joined the 26th of July Movement!

On the 26th of November 1956, the small guerrilla army led by Fidel Castro arrived in Cuba. Out of 82 fighters only 22 would be able to escape government attacks. Castro regrouped in the Sierra Maestra mountains where he linked up with local anti-Batista fighters who joined him. Ernesto was the doctor of the guerrilla’s but he did more than just healing the sick. Guevara set up factories to make grenades, built ovens to bake bread, taught new recruits about tactics and organized schools to teach. By 1957 it was made public that Fidel Castro was alive and the leader of the Cuban guerrilla’s. People now knew that there was fighting opposition. Capitalists and rich Cubans remained supportive of Batista, who trusted that his army would destroy any opposition. The Cuban Armed Forces had over 37.000 soldiers, but the military was plagued with corruption and mismanagement. Batista had neglected the army and the fighting moral was low because of it. Although they won the Battle of Las Mercedes it was a Pyrrhic victory. Guerilla fighters won a decisive battle at Yaguajay in December 1958, it turned the tide of the conflict!

By now Ernesto Guevara was known by many as Che Guevara. He was in command during the Battle of Santa Clara. At this last battle of the Cuban revolution an army of 3.000 regular Cuban soldiers was defeated by 340 guerrilla’s led by Che. With this total victory the Batista regime collapsed and all soldiers surrendered. Guevara led the final move into Havana where he was greeted as a liberator. On the 1th of January 1959, dictator Batista fled Cuba. He went into exile and taking along a personal fortune of more than 300 million dollars. Supporters of the dictator also fled and took with them a lot of money. It remains unknown how many were killed under Batista between 1952 and 1959. The maximum number is set at 20.000. After the removal of the hated dictator, Fidel Castro allowed Manuel Urrutia Lleó to become President of Cuba. This liberal minded politician was living in the USA and a strong opponent of Batista. The new president would only be in office for a few months. Because Urrutia was a deep anticommunist and not loved by working class Cubans. In July 1959 prime minister Fidel Castro removed Urrutia and replaced him with Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado!

Che was made commander of the La Cabaña prison fortress. Here the revolutionary government had put all high ranking Cubans who were loyal to the previous Batista dictatorship. The anticommunist account of Che is that of a brutal commander. A sadist who loved to murder ”helpless” people. Western propaganda has been very good at demonizing Guevara for his role as commander of the La Cabaña prison fortress. It is ironic how western media outlets fully ignore the fact that many of these executed were brutal people. Most belonged to the cruel: Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities, the secret police of the Batista regime. Historic scholars agree that those executed were probably guilty as accused. However this is not what you will read in stories about Che in capitalist newspapers. They will always return to his role as commander of the La Cabaña prison fortress to prove that Ernesto Guevera was a ”brutal killer” when in fact the Revolutionary Tribunals ordered the executions!

The next job for Guevara was that of economic minister under Fidel Castro’s government. He tried to build a new kind of worker. One that is fully selfless and dedicated to building socialism. Che idealism was so great that he made himself an example and worked long hours. A mistake of him was his believe that all Cubans should work like him. His demands were harsh and it led to high numbers of absenteeism. Like most revolutionary leaders at that time Guevara followed the Stalinist model. A top down system based on bureaucratic enforcement of economic planning. Workers were forced to meet demands set out by the government. Those who did not meet their quota were punished by cuts to their salary. Workers had no political and no economic control, this is why there was low productivity. Che blamed this on the capitalist mentality but it was his own inability to see that you cannot build socialism on a centralized model, with a top-down command. Also at the political front there was no mass workers party!

Fidel Castro had united all of his supporters (including the Popular Socialist Party) into the United Party of the Cuban Socialist Revolution in 1962. Three years later the name was changed to Communist Party of Cuba. Still it would take another ten years before the first party congress was held. In the 60’s political power in Cuba lay with Fidel Castro and his supporters from the 26th of July Movement. Communist party membership remained low and would not rise until the late 1970’s. Osvaldo Dorticós remained president of the state until 1976. In that year the office of president and prime minister was abolished and replaced by a council of state. Fidel Castro took the title of President of the State Council. Also a new constitution was created that made the Communist Party of Cuba the ”highest leading force of Cuban society”. The Stalinist government tried to hide the single party state by banning any political party from promoting candidates for elections. Not even the communist party is allowed to do that. However because the elections are controlled by members of the party critics of the government are always excluded!

Che did not participate in the fighting during the Bay of Pigs invasion. However as head of the Instruction Department of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, Guevara was credited with training 200.000 militia men and woman. In April 1961 the old ineffective Cuban Army was transformed into a well trained organisation. Armed with Soviet T-34 tanks it was able to stand up to the failed attempt of U.S imperialism to remove the revolutionary government. Just like in Guatemala Che understood that the USA was trying to impose its will on Cuba. He wasted no time and trained many soldiers personally. Thanks to his training the troops were ready on 17 April 1961 to defend the island. During the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later Guevara was furious when the Soviets choose to withdraw. He realized that Cuba had become a pawn in the Cold War and started to grow critical of Soviet foreign politics. This is what may have led to arguments with Fidel Castro who could not tolerate criticism of his biggest international supporter!

In 1964 Ernesto Guevara had become the face of the Cuban revolution. He was a revolutionary statesman who gave strong anti-American speeches in the UN. His criticism of the USA was completely right as we know how hypocrite the Americans are. He exposed how imperialism loved to play the cards of democracy and liberty, but is always silent when the cards should apply to their own allies. Criticism of human rights abuses were only directed against ”communist” countries. Crimes of capitalist regimes supported by Washington DC were suppressed and never talked about. Che Guevara understood the hypocrisy of the western world and exposed it. He fully rejected the Apartheid regime in South Africa and how this racist state was kept alive thanks to American and European support. Che rightfully said regarding the oppression of black South Africans:

Those who kill their own children and discriminate daily against them because of the color of their skin; those who let the murderers of blacks remain free, protecting them, and furthermore punishing the black population because they demand their legitimate rights as free men—how can those who do this consider themselves guardians of freedom?

When the Soviet leadership tried to limit confrontations with the western world, Che Guevara became more and more critical of Moscow. In one of his last public speeches he criticized the Soviet-Union for its political line to peaceful co-exist with the United States. By November 1964 he had grown also critical of the Stalinist planning system. Maybe he started to realize his own mistakes in Cuba? We do know that Fidel Castro was not happy with Che’s public criticism of Moscow. After he returned to Cuba he was no longer welcomed at the Havana Airport by crowds. Instead it was always Fidel, Raul and other big guns welcoming him home. It must have been clear to him that the Castro brothers were following the pragmatic line set out by the Kremlin. Ernesto choose to leave Cuba to help other revolutionaries fighting capitalism and imperialism!

In early 1965 Guevara was fighting in Congo against the pro-western regime of Joseph Kasavubu. His ally was Laurent-Désiré Kabila a self-declared Marxist and guerrilla leader. Che was supported by 100 Afro-Cubans who were send by Castro to help him. Although the Africans had great admiration for this ”white” man who treated them equal, Che grew very disillusioned in the African mentality. They lacked discipline and were not die-hard fighters ready to give their lives in combat. Guevara also did not believed that Kabila was a true revolutionary. He was proven to be right as Laurent-Désiré Kabila would abandon Marxism as soon as he became president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1997. Weakened by dysentery and very sick, Che wanted to stay and die in the Congo. But his fellow Cubans were able to convince him to leave the country. He considered his time in Congo a failure as he was not able to organize a proper guerrilla force!

Nobody knew were the face of the Cuban revolution was in 1966. In Cuba it was Fidel Castro who was running the show, but where was Ernesto Che Guevara? It turned out that he had entered Bolivia, to help local guerrilla fighters in their struggle against the anticommunist regime of René Barrientos and Alfredo Ovando Candía. Bolivia was ruled by these co-dictators and supported by the USA. Che Guevara helped to build the National Liberation Army of Bolivia. This guerrilla force was made up of 29 Bolivians, 25 Cubans and one East German born woman called Tamara Bunke. Although it was a small army it was heavily armed and able to carry out attacks. However Che’s group lacked the popular support he had in Cuba. Peasants turned out to be traitors by informing the Bolivian government. On 31 August 1967 Tamara Bunke was killed with a large part of Guevara’s forces. By now it was clear that he was a fugitive, running from the Bolivian Special Forces who were ordered to bring Ernesto Guevara down!

Che’s location was compromised on 7 October, he was surrounded by 1.800 soldiers of the Bolivian Army. Despite a heroic fight the icon of the Cuban revolution was hit and captured. Tied up and put into a local schoolhouse Guevara remained defiant, even spat in the face of Bolivian Rear Admiral Ugarteche shortly before his execution. On 9 October 1967 the two Bolivian dictators ordered the death of Ernesto Che Guevara. The Americans wanted him alive to be interrogated, however the Bolivian wanted the icon of world revolution death. Mario Terán was the young soldier ordered to kill Che. He aimed his American made M1 rifle and shot Guevara nine times, five times in the legs, once in the right shoulder and arm, once in the chest and finally in the throat. The corpse of Ernesto was put up for all to see. He was photographed by journalists to be shown to the world. Only 5 out of 54 guerrilla’s who joined Che in Bolivia were able to return to Cuba. They were welcomed as hero’s by Fidel Castro who praised Ernesto Guevara as a martyr for socialism!

The remains of Guevara were buried in a unmarked grave somewhere in Bolivia. It would take 30 years before his skeleton was recovered. His hands had been cut off and remain missing till this day. On 17 October 1997 Guevara’s remains with those of six of his fellow comrades were laid to rest with military honors, in a specially built mausoleum in the Cuban city of Santa Clara. After the election of Evo Morales as president, Guevara became a icon of progressive Bolivia. Although capitalism is not abolished and socialism is not build by Morales, the poor are given more rights and Che is now regarded as a national hero!

Ernesto Che Guevara failed in his mission to defeat imperialism in Congo and Bolvia. Had he lived today he would be furious at the regime of Raul Castro which has introduced numerous capitalist laws. Slowly the market economy is returning the island. This is something Guevara would have rejected fully. Che however lacked a clear understanding of revolutionary socialism. His flaws lay in his wrongly held view that guerrilla struggle is the best way to destroy imperialism. Also his Stalinist top-down methods in Cuba did not work. You cannot demand that workers follow your line win-out given them any control over work and government. Revolutionary Cuba made huge improvements for ordinary people, but all these gains are now in danger of being destroyed. Capitalism is returning and Cuban workers need to fight back. Che would have rejected the current Communist Party of Cuba. Especially when he would see how workers are exploited by joined venture enterprises between the bureaucratic state and foreign capitalists!

 

The village were Ernesto Guevara was murdered. Now a memorial to him.