Kick Out Zwarte Piet

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is portrayed by many to be this liberal kingdom in northern Europe. A nation tolerant towards gay people and open about sex and drugs. There is a dark side however to these facts. A growing nationalist sentiment among white Dutch is growing, to preserve an icon of black facing called: Black Pete. This fictional character is part of the Saint Nicolas festival for children. On 5 December every year, Saint Nicolas visits the lower countries. Since 1850, he is supported by black helpers called pete’s. Black Pete is portrayed like all blacks used to be in those days of slavery and colonialism. His skin is coal black, he has black curly hair, big red lips and golden earrings. Originally his behavior was clumsy and stupid, another direct hint towards a typical black face character. Although many black Dutch consider it racism, the fast majority of white Dutch refuse to see it this way!

There has been discussion about Black Pete for a long time. But for most Dutch the resistance to the black face character began in 2011. In that year two black Dutch students choose to demonstrate, during the annual arrival of Saint Nicolas. They were met with police brutality as their shirts read: BLACK PETE IS RACISM. The white police did not like that message and the two students were arrested and violently removed. This started a movement against Dutch black face. However most white Dutch refuse to see Black Pete as a symbol of racism. For them he is ”only” a helper and not at all racist. This denial of black facing comes from the fact that most Dutch do not know how harmful black face is towards those who have a black skin color!

The refusal to see Black Pete as racist by a majority of white Dutch is already bad, but what is worse is the tolerance of actual racism and hatred. Those who dare to stand up against Black Pete must face not only rejection, but also deep hostility and even threats to their lives. In 2017, a group of far-right whites blocked a high way to prevent activists from the group: Kick Out Zwarte Piet (KOZP) from demonstrating. The far-right mob was supported by many whites and all were able to pay their legal fee’s because of massive donations. The fact that many white Dutch supported a mob who blocked a motor high way, shows how far they are willing to go to protect an ancient relic from the 1850’s!

Here we see Comedy Central on Black Pete. The white Dutch man who has painted himself black, cannot give any good reasons why Black Pete is coal black, has black curly hair, big red lips and (traditionally) golden earrings. What white Dutch people also seem to forget is the original clumsy and stupid behavior of the character. 20 years ago, many who played Black Pete loved to act clumsy in front of children to make them laugh. This however is very offensive as black people were portrayed as clumsy and stupid compared to white people in the 19th century. The clumsy behavior has been sidelined, but it is not fully removed as the Comedy Central video shows!

2/3 of the Netherlands want Black Pete to remain, mostly out of ignorance as most white Dutch do not know the racism that is (and remains) part of their ”liberal” nation. However change is already happening. This year the official Saint Nicolas festival in Apeldoorn did not include fully painted black faces. Instead the white actors used a few brushes of black paint instead of a full black face. Although many white adults did not liked these new Pete’s, the children did not care. This proofs that it is the adult white population who want to keep the character, not their children. They say that because it is a festival for children, things should not change. Wrong, for kids it does not matter if Saint Nicolas has Black Pete’s or not. For them it is all about presents, chocolate letters and sweets. The removal of the racist character would mean a festival for all children. This is what Kick Out Zwarte Piet is trying to do!

 

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CCP just lost an election

The Chinese Capitalist (”Communist” in name only) Party has just lost an election. Although all elections in the Prison Republic of China are won by the CCP, in Hong-Kong the allies of the Beijing central government have been completely obliterated. Political parties that belong to the pro-democracy camp have won almost all local council seats in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. A clear signal that the working class rejects the brutal intervention of Beijing in the affairs of the city state. Although pro-capitalist democrats won the election, the right-wing nationalists and capitalist parties who are loyal to the CCP, have been reduced to minor players for now in local HK politics!

Hong-Kong and Macau are the only regions in the Prison Republic of China (PRC) with a limited form of democracy. We do say limited because the power of the local councils is weak and the central government has the ability to remove democratic elected officials from office. This the pro-Beijing government did with six pro-democracy representatives, who did not swear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region as part of the PRC. Pro-CCP political parties like the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions used their majority in the Legislative Council to remove the six representatives!

The Democratic Alliance (DA) for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong is the biggest ally of the Chinese Capitalist Party. This right-wing social-conservative party promotes Chinese nationalism and therefore stands on equal grounds with the ruling party in Beijing. Another ally of the billionaire dominated CCP is the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (BPA), which is the voice for Hong-Kong capitalists and businesses. The Liberal Party (LP) functions as a second vehicle for neoliberal minded entrepreneurs. Last is the former Maoist: Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (FTU). Founded in 1948, this trade union used to be revolutionary anti-capitalist, until the mother-party in Beijing embraced state-capitalism under Deng Xiaoping. In Hong-Kong the FTU then evolved into a nationalist mouthpiece of the CCP!

Carrie Lam’s government and its support parties made a big mistake with early elections. They hoped that the capitalist media had brainwashed enough Hong-Kong workers with mistrust and rejection of the mass demonstrations. In the end the pro-Beijing Legislative Council had no choice. Cancelling the elections would have given the pro-democracy camp more sympathy, now the results proof that a clear majority of the HK population stands in opposition to Carrie Lam and the pro-CCP: DA, BPA, LP and FTU. All is not lost for the supporters of Great Leader: Xi Jinping. Many pro-democracy political parties are susceptible to pressure from the regime and the capitalists. The biggest winner of the election is the Democratic Party (DP), a party with a history of backroom deals with representatives of Beijing!

Meanwhile it is clear that the top richest Chinese live in the city state. 40 Chinese billionaires have a netwealth of 300 billion U.S dollars. Just think that the combined GDP of the city state is 362 billion dollars. If the working class of HK would take the wealth away from these 40 individuals, it would have the means to improve the lives of 7,4 million people. Most financial wealth belongs to a very tiny 1%, they are the true rulers of Hong-Kong and have a lot of political influence. Parties like the DA, BPA, LP maybe pro-Beijing, but they also on the payroll of the 1%. This 1% also promotes the pro-democracy camp as long as the pan-democrats support capitalism over socialism. Therefore we know that the Democratic Party and Civic Party will not offer a genuine alternative!

Although it is great to see how the supporters of the CCP are decimated, we must not forget that the masses need a political voice of their own. A mass workers party on a socialist program remains needed. The League of Social Democrats has been marginalized by sectarian in fights and People’s Power also remains a small marginal force. The left-wing of Hong-Kong cannot trust the pro-capitalist democratic parties and doing so will only result in alienation in the future. Socialist Action in HK is fighting for a socialist alternative to the Chinese ”Communist” Party and their allies. Despite the wall of lies from anticommunist activists, China is not socialist and sure not communist. These anticommunists are flying the banners of American and British imperialism, which will only strengthen the nationalist propaganda, spread by Beijing to discredit the movement for democracy!

Hong Kong’s stunning election tsunami is an opportunity to reboot the mass struggle, which is badly in need of a change of direction in order to win. The struggle has to be based on the working class as the most effective social force to paralyse and overthrow an authoritarian regime. Building democratic committees – in workplaces, schools and local communities – to organise the movement more solidly and effectively is also a top priority.

Socialist Action – Committee for a Workers International (Majority) in Hong-Kong

 

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The Bolivian coup

On 11 November 2019, Evo Morales was force out of office by a military coup. This organized by elements inside the Bolivian Armed Forces loyal to the capitalist establishment. After Morales made his ”resignation” speech, the violent right-wing started a campaign of intimation and violence against elected representatives of MAS, the Movement towards Socialism. One MAS mayor was painted red and thrown out of her office by a mob of far-right youth. These mobs are made up of young Bolivians belonging to the white establishment. Unlike native Bolivians they are very anti-leftist and hate-Morales, because he removed their privileges!

The supporters of Evo Morales have not accepted the coup and the self-appointed Interim-President. Indigenous farmers are saying that Jeanine Áñez has 48 hours to step down. If she does not comply then the farmers will block all roads in Bolivia. Áñez and her thugs may control the capital and administration centers, but the indigenous population control the rural country. 20% of Bolivia is made up of natives, 68% is a mixture between whites and natives named the Mestizo. The whites make up 5% of the population, yet they are the richest group who own most means of production. Until 2006, the small white minority was the ruling political class!

Morales and his ”Movement towards Socialism” (MAS) never moved away from capitalism. This is key factor in why the right-wing was able to overthrown him. In 13 years, the MAS government did improve the lives of ordinary workers. But the capitalist system was not abolished. Morales even started to make deals with the establishment after 2014. This alienated many indigenous workers who decided not to vote on their icon for the 2019 presidential elections. Former president Carlos Mesa used the failures of the Morales government to win support among the working class. In 2018, Mesa founded the Civic Community, a coalition between two traitorous social-democratic parties who betrayed their socialist agenda years ago!

Carlos Mesa is a member of the ”Revolutionary Left Front” (FRI). Although the name suggests a revolutionary socialist group, the party is in fact ”social-democratic” (neoliberal third-way).  The FRI started revolutionary in 1978, but soon degenerated into a pro-capitalist group after the collapse of stalinism. The so called ”Revolutionary Left Front” remained marginal until Carlos Mesa used them as his base of operation against MAS and Evo Morales. Under the banner of the ”Revolutionary Left Front”, Mesa hoped to win the vote of alienated MAS voters. The tactic worked and Carlos Mesa won 36.51% against 47.08% of Evo Morales. Although he did not win, the right-wing called the elections unfair and started to plan a coup. On 11 November, Morales was forced out of office with Jeanine Áñez replacing him!

In exile, Evo Morales has said that he did not step down so voluntary as it seemed on 11 November. The coup plotters warned him that there was a price of 50.000 U.S dollars on his head. Meanwhile the right-wing started violent demonstrations and attacked MAS officials, forcing many out of offices. In a small town they pained a MAS mayor red and dragged her out on the streets into the arms of a far-right mob. She was turned over to the (traitorous) Bolivian police after hours of psychological intimidation. This is probably how most elected officials of MAS resigned, under fear of terror from the right-wing!

It is ironic to see how the police is now using brutal force to keep the population in line. Under Morales, many believed that the police would act as defenders of democracy. Revolutionary socialists always rejected this idea, because the Bolivian police remained deeply reactionary. We must also not forget that Bolivia until 2006 was ruled by a conservative white minority. These people had been in power since the establishment of the republic in 1825. Evo Morales and MAS changed the Republic of Bolivia into the Plurinational State of Bolivia, with help from indigenous and working class Bolivians. Just ten years ago a new constitution was accepted after a public referendum. It turned the nation into a secular democracy and a mixed market economy!

Now all gains made between 2009 and 2019 are a risk. Jeanine Áñez is part of the conservative opposition who rejected the 2009 constitution. She is a Christian fundamentalist who believes that Bolivia should be a Catholic state (as it was under the previous constitutions). She is in no way legitimate, yet the army and police accepted her. The Bolivian senate also did, despite the rejection of MAS who boycotted the sessions. Meanwhile police brutality is getting out of hand. At east 20 people are already death, murdered by the very officers Evo Morales and MAS trusted right until 11 November.  By using force against MAS supporters, the police has proven that it is a reactionary institute that must be dissolved!

This is why revolutionary socialists call upon leftists not to think that the army and police are on their side. Military officials have their own agenda, this is why the Bolsheviks disbanded the old Imperial Army after the soviets took power in November 1917. Had Lenin trusted the officers and generals of the old czarist army like the Provisional Government did between February and November, he would not have lived to see 1918. A bourgeois army/police is a breeding ground for racism and conservatism. Recently it was reported that far-right Germans are allowed into the army to spread their hate speech. U.S Army troops have shown the Waffen SS symbol and in Ukraine far-right units are part of the regular army!

The biggest mistake of the ”Movement towards Socialism” (MAS) was their trust in a capitalist state and a capitalist economy. Although the name MAS means movement towards socialism, Evo Morales and his supporters have not moved Bolivia towards genuine socialism in 13 years. The same we say about Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, who also did not move towards a socialist society after taking power in 1999. Chavez supported Morales in 2006, yet both leaders failed to end the injustice of the capitalist system. After 2014, Morales made more deals with the establishment against the interests of workers and natives. It aliened him and MAS from their indigenous electorate!

If leftists leaders refuse to end capitalism then it will cost them. On 11 September 1973, Salvador Allende was betrayed by his military. Army soldiers under Augusto Pinochet overthrew the reformist government and installed the first neoliberal dictatorship of Latin America. Pinochet was praised by the right-wing for his austerity politics, which made the Chilean capitalist class very rich. His legacy is still visible as Chile is one of the most unequal societies in all of Latin America. Still the capitalist media praises Chile for its ”business friendly climate”. Revolutionary socialists therefore warm any leftist government: reformism is not the way towards socialism!

The situation on 19 November 2019 is tense. Indigenous Bolivians have cut off major roads into the cities. To take full control over the country Jeanine Áñez will have to use the Bolivian army. Far-right groups are already destroying the symbols of 13 years MAS rule. The native Wiphala flag has been thorn down in major cities. Soldiers loyal to Áñez also removed the Wiphala from their uniforms. This indicates that many soldiers are reactionary and very much against the native population of Bolivia. Under these conditions there can be no democratic election. This is because all ministers and important bureaucrats have been appointed by Jeanine Áñez, including army and police chiefs!

Workers who remain loyal to the democratic elected MAS government will have no choice but to fight back. Local militias must be set up and ready to fight police and army units. At the present movement the Bolivian Armed Forces make up 55.500 men, 31,500 are soldiers of the Bolivian Army. If a workers and peasants militia can be formed with enough fighters, it can overthrow the army/police. For this to work, the native population must link up with the working class of the country. Natives alone cannot defeat Jeanine Áñez. Trusting MAS leaders is also something that should be done only critical. Because some might be willing to compromise and work with the regime of Áñez. These MAS leaders cannot be trusted in any way!

Democracy in Bolivia is death and the Áñez regime will make sure that any election will favor the conservative establishment. The forceful removal of Evo Morales and the murder of 20 people since 11 November, proof that the army/police is reactionary and an enemy of the Bolivian working class. A resistance army of workers and peasants is needed to overthrow Jeanine Áñez and her capitalist masters. The Catholic Church has proven to be supportive of the regime as are the European Union and the United States of America. No surprise here since the EU and USA have vital interests in the wealth of Bolivia!

Revolutionary socialists call for the overthrow of the coup regime. We have zero trust in any elections organized by Jeanine Áñez. Workers and peasants need to unite in a people’s army to fight the traitorous Bolivian Armed Forces. There can be no compromise and no surrender!

No to Jeanine Áñez

Jeanine Áñez (an unknown right-wing senator in Bolivia) has taken power in the Plurinational State of Bolivia. This happened after the army and police forced president: Evo Morales, out of office and into exile. With him the whole ”Movement towards Socialism” (MAS) government left office. All MAS officials choose (or were forced) to abandon their posts, leaving the country in a state of shock. This is exactly what the right-wing in Bolivia hoped for!

Although MAS officials are the democratic elected majority, the anti-socialist opposition has decided to take power. Jeanine Áñez proclaimed herself President of Bolivia, with the backing of the conservative capitalist establishment. We say NO to the coup that she supported and we call upon workers and peasants to stand against Jeanine Áñez and the traitorous military/police officials who betrayed Evo Morales!

102 years after the October Revolution

102 years ago, the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet (Council) started the uprising against the Provisional Government of Russia. In only a few hours the cabinet of Alexander Kerensky had fallen. Red Guards took control over the ministries as the Congress of Soviets elected Vladimir Lenin to lead the first revolutionary socialist government. However the enemies of the revolution did not wait. Tsarists, liberals, conservatives and anti-revolutionary ”socialists” (social-democrats) armed themselves to overthrow the soviets. British imperialism already ordered 40.000 into Russia to help the White Armies. Japan also invaded and would occupy parts of the far-east until 1923!

The Lenin government abolished the old Imperial Army. Most commanders and generals knew that under Soviet rule they would lose all privileges. They decided to form the White Armies, to destroy ”Jewish-Bolshevism”. One famous anticommunist admiral was Alexander Kolchak. He declared himself Supreme Ruler of Russia in November 1918. It seemed that with material and soldiers from the western allies, the anticommunists could win. White Armies under Kolchak controlled 2/3 of the former Russian Empire in the winter of 1918/1919. However his army had major weaknesses. Kolchak refused to work with other counterrevolutionary forces and his Provisional All-Russian Government was plagued with internal conflicts!

By January 1920, the tide was turning in favor of the Workers and Peasants Red Army. Internal division and the withdraw of western soldiers left the White Armies weakened. Admiral Kolchak was captured in February and executed. With his death the anticommunists lost a central leader figure. By late 1920 the anticommunist forces were on the run, defeated by the superior might of the Red Army. In the far-east the counterrevolutionaries were aided by the Empire of Japan. With their support they launched an offensive against the local soviets. As the bulk of the Red Army was fighting far away, the anticommunists won terrain in 1921. In December the far-eastern White Armies cut off the soviets of the north-east. By the summer of 1922, the Siberian north-east was under White control!

As Japan realized their puppets could not win in the long run, they decided to leave Russia. Local soviets of the Far-Eastern Republic took political power from the departing Japanese administration. This meant that the anticommunists in the north-east were cut off. Lenin proclaimed the USSR in December 1922, however the north-east remained under anticommunist control. It was not until April 1923 that Red Army units finally liberated the Siberian north-east . On 16 June of that year, the last anticommunist pockets surrendered to the Soviet-Union.  By now over 1,500,000 supporters of the revolution had died. Most from wounds and deceases following combat. Only 240.000 Red soldiers died from actual fighting, the fast majority died from wounds and diseases. Both the Red Army and White Armies lacked proper medical support!

The October Revolution was a victory for the working class. At the end of the brutal civil war however the workers and peasants would lose all political power to a new caste of rulers, communist party bureaucrats. The early supporters of the Stalinist bureaucracy used to work under the czar. Lenin needed their help in administrating the early Soviet state. After 1922, these bureaucrats were allowed to join the Russian Communist Party. Many became supporters of Stalin’s center group and with their support, he was able to defeat the Left Opposition in 1927 and then moved to expel the pro-capitalist Right group around Nicolai Bukharin. In 1929, Stalin began with massive collectivization, the birth of the Soviet bureaucratic top-down economy!

In 2017, the capitalist media tried to vilify the events of 1917. They called Lenin a ”dictator” and the revolution a ”coup”. Many workers who lack a understanding of the October Revolution will support this dogmatic version of history. The Stalinist USSR had portrayed the revolution as dogma. Between 1930 and 1956, Joseph Stalin was made equal to Lenin, although he was no big player in the actual event. Trotsky was erased from Soviet history books. Most Russians never knew he and Lenin organized the revolution. Few if none in the Soviet-Union understood the historic work of Trotsky as leader of the Petrograd Soviet and founder of the Red Army. Lenin and the Bolsheviks changed the world in 1917, this is what the capitalists back then feared about all!

Many revolutions have started in the modern world. But what they all lack is a revolutionary party that is willing to brake with capitalism. From the Arab uprisings to the revolts in Asia. People power is challenging dictators supported by capitalist powers. However with no political force willing to lead the working class, most uprisings end with zero changes. This we have seen in the middle east after 2011. Egypt is ruled by a second Mubarak, Libya is a hell hole and Syria remains for 2/3 under control of Bashar Assad, who is supported by Russia and Iran. Revolutionary socialists say that uprisings and revolutions can defeat the power-structures of the bourgeoisie, if they are led by a mass workers party on a socialist program that brakes with the markets and their cronies!

 

“Chile despertó”!

The masses in Latin America are rising up against right-wing leaders and their austerity politics. In the Republic of Chile, thousands of young people from secondary schools organised massive protests in response to a increase in subway-metro fee’s. Although the amount looks rather low (increase of 5 euro-cents), for many Chilean workers this is just another burden imposed on them by capitalist governments. We must also not forget that the majority of Chilean workers earn around 500 euros a month, so any increase in taxes or prices hits them hard. Chile is were neoliberalism was born on 11 September 1973. Dictator Augusto Pinochet enforced the first neoliberal economy and was praised by capitalist leaders for this. After the fall of his military regime, the social democrats of Chile choose to continue Pinochet’s economic politics! 

The political landscape in the Republic of Chile in Latin America is divided in two camps. One is called the right camp by the capitalist media and the other the left camp. Chile Vamos is the main capitalist coalition of right-wing parties. Its leader is the Independent Democratic Union. In the so called ”leftist” camp, you have the Socialist Party of Chile, Communist Party of Chile and the Christian Democratic Party. They named themselves the ”New Majority” (2013-2018) although they have lost the majority of voters a long time ago due to the fact that under president Michelle Bachelet, the Chilean social-democratic government remained committed to neoliberalism!

Michelle Bachelet is a typical right-wing social democrat who came to power in 2010. She promised change, but in the end changed nothing for the majority of workers. The Chilean government remained ideological linked to the neoliberal model, that was created by dictator Augusto Pinochet. Bachelet’s ”New Majority” coalition fell apart after the right-wing returned to power in 2017. This was followed by a increase in attacks on workers and their living standards. The current protests are not organized by the ”official left-wing”. This is because the youth has enough of poverty and empty promises to implement genuine changes!

The ”Pinochet Constitution” of Chile (11 September 1980) was never replaced by a actual democratic one. This is because the ”official left-wing” accepted this military imposed document as the founding law of the country. Both the Socialist Party of Chile (PS) and Communist Party of Chile (PCC) never called for a socialist constitution. Instead they opted to work with the power-structures that Pinochet created to keep capitalism strong in Chile. All essential services, including water, transport, education, healthcare and pensions were privatized and no ”socialist” government re-nationalized them after the end of the military dictatorship!

We can understand why the social democrats of the PS betrayed their socialist ideology. All social democratic parties did that after 1990. But the fact that the PCC remains in coalitions with those class traitors is unacceptable. It shows how far the communist party (PCC) moved from the revolutionary path. Meanwhile the fact remains that Chile is a very unequal society. Just 1% of the population controls a third of the country’s income. Yet the nation is praised by capitalists for its low corporate taxes and ”good government”. If that would be true then why are so many workers struggling each month? Why is the youth now in open revolt? Capitalism is failing the 99% in Chile!

A leftist third force has been build in the last years called the Broad Front. However it remains to be seen how revolutionary these ”third force leftists” actually are. Because socialism is not mentioned in their program, only a vague line that says ”Move away from neoliberal economic policies and towards a new model of development” could indicate a desire to build socialism. For revolutionary socialists the Broad Front remains vague and indeed very broad. What Chilean workers and youth now need are not vague words but revolutionary inspiration. A party that stands for a socialist revolution could rally millions. The low voter turn-out at the elections (50%) proof that there is little enthusiasm for the existing political parties!

The right-wing took drastic measures to impose martial law. They reintroduced laws to limit democratic rights, which are a clear reminder of the Pinochet era (1973-1990). The army is now allowed to arrest anybody who protests, they are even allowed to open fire. 18 have been murdered while 2500 are jailed. Although the curfew has been lifted and the subway-metro fee increase halted, the youth and workers should trust nothing that comes out of the capitalist media. The privately owned ”news” has a very anti-worker attitude and often defends the ruling class. This we see in all capitalist nations, no massive media outlet will call for socialism and the rule of the proletariat. Why not? Because that would result in the owners losing ”their property”!

What is needed now in Chile? A Revolutionary Constituent Assembly of working class people. This will be the basis to rebuild Chile with an anti-capitalist and socialist government. The Pinochet constitution has to go, together with the whole political and economic ruling class. All privatized services must be re-nationalized and put under self-management of workers. The general strike must continue and spread to all parts of the country. Revolutionary councils should be set up in schools and neighborhoods so that the movement can structure itself democratically. There can be not trust in official trade union leaders or even the ”official left-wing” around the PS and PCC. Because these ”socialists” and ”communists” are not what the Chilean working class need!

 

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Neoliberalism was born in Chile, it must die here first!

Russia sells Rojava to Turkey

The Russians have proven to be enemies of the people of Syria. Not only are they allied with the Arab Ba’ath Party of Bashar Assad, they also now agree with Recep Erdogan and his ”save zone”. In this zone the Turkish dictator wants to put refugees loyal to his ”Syrian Interim Government”. Putin and Erdogan have made a deal about who is allowed to patrol this new ”save zone”, which is 30 kilometers inside Syria. The zone would cover the whole north of what is now the Autonomous Administration of North-East Syria (AA-NES). For the Kurds that would be a disaster, living under a pro-Turkish regime. In Afrin, the henchmen of Erdogan already carried out a system of ethnic cleansing. But Russia and the Ba’ath regime do not care. They have only one thing in mind, to secure Syria for Russian and Ba’athist interests! 

The invasion of northern Syria by Turkish imperialism resulted the capture of 68 settlements, including Ras al-Ayn, Tell Abyad, Suluk and Mabrouka. The Arab henchmen from the so called ”National Army of Syria” (Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army – TBFSA) already plundered the Afrin canton in 2018. Now their forces have invaded the northern cantons and already imposed laws that limit women rights (forcing them to cover themselves up). Because many fighters of the TBFSA are jihadists, who’s far-right ideology is very close to that of Islamic State. After the collapse of the caliphate in 2017, its was possible for these jihadists to flee into Turkey. Erdogan rearmed them with new uniforms and returned them to Syria!

Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad have a lot in common with Recep Erdogan. The trio are right-wing nationalist and reject the secular democratic values of the AA-NES. Women’s rights, gay rights, secularism, direct democracy and workers self management are nightmares to these conservative dictators. Although the Assad regime uses women it never gave them any real freedoms. Under the Ba’ath Party dictatorship before 2011, most women were forced to obey to male chauvinism ruling Syria. The Ba’ath Party allowed tribal conservatism to rule in backward parts of the country, while claiming officially to support gender equality!

Feminist ideals of the Rojava Revolution ended the absolute ruler of men over women. Most ethnic Kurds fully support the equality of sexes, Arab elders are more reserved. They were raised with a male chauvinist ideology and used to the idea that men rule over women. Conservative elements are not fully removed and there is resistance among those who do not like the idea, that in all councils of Rojava the chairpersons must be both male and female. This is a thing that Erdogan and his ”National Army of Syria” wish to destroy. As proven in Afrin, the henchmen of the Turkish dictator are deeply chauvinistic and reject women as equals to men!

Ras al-Ayn, Tell Abyad, Suluk and Mabrouka have been lost to the Turkish invaders. Those who did not flee must now live under the occupation regime in the same way the people of Afrin have to. It is reported that Ankara will send pro-Turkish refugees into the occupied areas to act as propaganda for the Turkish media. Also these civilians will work in the pro-Turkish administration and thereby betraying the democratic elected representatives of the AA-NES. Revolutionary socialists already rejected the invasion as a imperialist plan by Recep Erdogan to destroy the Kurdish people and their revolutionary hopes of building a alternative to sectarianism, nationalism and religious extremism!

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) must have zero trust in Russia. Moscow has never been an ally of ordinary workers. Putin has only one mission to keep the the Syrian Arab Republic (Ba’ath regime) in power. This is because Bashar Assad is pro-Moscow and with Russia already under western sanctions, it needs all international allies. The withdrawn of American troops from northern Syria came as a shock to the Kurds, who feel betrayed and abandoned. This is however no surprise, NATO is not a force for democracy or freedom. Trump abandoned the Kurds because he and Erdogan are of the same kind. Chauvinistic males with a Caesar mentality complex!

What is needed is mass mobilization of all who live in the Autonomous Administration of North-East Syria. The SDF should try to arm at least 500.000 people to fight the Turkish imperialists and the TBFSA. Working with the Syrian Arab Army of Assad seems logical when you are under siege, but let us not forget that the goal of Putin and Assad is the same as Erdogan: To destroy the Rojava Revolution and all progressive gains since 2012. Seven years the people of north-east Syria have been living under a system that is unique in the middle east. Rojava is a beacon of hope and light in the darkness of sectarianism enforced by Putin, Assad and Erdogan Therefore mass mobilization of all men and women is needed!

For Ankara, the 30 km ”save zone” in northern Syria would also cut the Syrian Kurds off from those who fight for Kurdish freedom in south-east Turkey. Before 1984, nobody spoke of Kurds as a people of their own. Ankara demanded that they spoke Turkish, think Turkish and behaved Turkish. This right-wing nationalism enforced by the state is because of Kamâl Atatürk. The founding father of modern Turkey wanted all people to be Turks, he opposed minority rights. Atatürk brought many progressive changes to the collapsed and backward Ottoman Empire. But his nationalism is also why the Turkish state remains intolerant!

The fight against the occupiers must be linked to the socialist transformation of society. Kurdish forces cannot win this battle alone. They need to link up with Arabs, Assyrians and Turkmen who are suffering under the barbarity of capitalism. Millions have enough of the ruling class of capitalists, state-bureaucrats and elitist families. A socialist society can guarantee the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of all the oppressed people who have suffered so much. If the move is not made towards socialism then there is a good possibility that a counterrevolution by Trump, Erdogan, Putin and Assad might win. A victory for the Assad regime would see a return to absolute Ba’ath rule. A victory for Erdogan would lead to ethnic cleansing and another refugee crisis!

The Kurdish people cannot trust any of the ruling classes. They can only rely on their own forces, along with all other oppressed workers and poor of the region and internationally. Revolutionary socialists therefore warn the Syrian Democratic Forces not to make any deal with either Putin or Trump. The west and the east are not their allies in the struggle for a society not build on the capitalist system.

We say:

  • Down with the Turkish war of aggression against Rojava!

  • Down with the imperialists, who are all complicit in this atrocity!

  • Long live international working-class solidarity!

  • Turn the defense against the imperialist attack into a revolutionary war of liberation!

  • For an independent socialist Kurdistan as part of a Socialist Federation of the Middle East!

 

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Turkish imperialists captured 68 settlements in northern Syria.

Ecuador: Down with Lenin Moreno!

The Republic of Ecuador is in turmoil. Angered by the cuts to fuel subsidies, the poor and working class rose up against the government of Lenin Moreno. This is the same president who expelled Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London and who turned out to be a neoliberal class traitor. Because Moreno and his political party are not right-wing officially, they used to be leftist and supportive of leaders like Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales. But Lenin Moreno is not like the revolutionary icon of Soviet-Russia. Unlike Vladimir Lenin, Lenin Moreno surrendered to the IMF, who demanded austerity and neoliberal politics for a big loan. President Moreno and his Proud and Sovereign Homeland Movement agreed and sold out the poor and working class!

The Proud and Sovereign Homeland Movement (PAIS Alliance) was founded in 2006 by Rafael Correa. This leftist populist was inspired by other Latin-American leaders like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia and even Lula Da Silva in Brazil. The PAIS Alliance became the largest party in Ecuador after the 2011 general election. Although president Correa would reduce absolute poverty and created many social security programs, he did not challenged the Ecuadorian capitalist class. Also like Chavez and his successor Maduro, Correa focused on massive government spending while keeping the capitalist system alive. The ruling class did not like the social programs and did whatever it could to elude taxes!

Ecuador has oil. Not as much as Venezuela, but still over 46% of all economic export is based on the selling of crude oil. Because of the massive quantities of oil, the fuel prices have been kept very low. This is why also the poor were able to drive and travel. The IMF does not agree with subsidies for working class people.  Their neoliberal ideology promoted the market over people, so when the government of Lenin Moreno asked for a four billion dollar loan, the IMF wanted austerity and cuts to subsidies. As a right-wing leader of the PAIS Alliance, Moreno supported the idea of cutting the fuel subsidies. He would not have felt the results of this decision, because the president and all of his ministers live off salaries that are way above that of ordinary workers in Ecuador!

The ruling class supported the cuts, they have opposed the massive government spending since 2006. Revolutionary socialists are not opposed to programs that end poverty and help the poor and working class. But we always said that inequality can never be ended under the capitalist system. Rafael Correa, Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales build their movements on leftist populist state-capitalism, that grew authoritarian when it’s limit came in sight. Chavez died in 2013 and Correa left office in 2017. His successor (Moreno) only won the election by playing the leftist cards while hiding his traitorous agenda. However the poor and workers would not accept the dictates of world capitalism and their cowardly president!

In May 2019, the supposed ”leftist” government of Ecuador and the IMF made a deal. They would receive a massive loan worth billions of U.S dollars. In return the government would cut spending and open up the oil sector to foreign ”investors”. The program is named: ”Prosperity Program” by president Moreno and his IMF supporters inside the now pro-capitalist PAIS Alliance. We know that working class Ecuadorians will not become prosperous with austerity and cuts to social welfare. This we have seen in Europe, were social-safety programs have been cut in the name of ”balancing the budget” for 40 years now. Inequality is now far higher in this continent compared to the 1970’s. Leftist populism ended absolute poverty in many Latin American nations. But the inability of its leaders to brake with capitalism led to a counterrevolution by the ruling class!

President Lenin Moreno is the face of that counterrevolution in Ecuador. This is why we call for his removal. In October, the poor and workers rose up in a massive nation wide strike that paralyzed the country. The government soon lost control and the whole cabinet (including president Moreno) fled the capital as demonstrations took control. If the movement was organized by a revolutionary workers party with a clear socialist program, then Moreno would be out of Ecuador. However the demonstrations are led by indigenous leaders, who are not socialist and have already come to an agreement with the government, after Moreno choose not to cut the fuel subsidies. Another handicap is that the indigenous movement is standing not side by side with the trade unions. This needs to be fixed as only unity can overthrow the government and the ruling class!

On 11 October 2019, a massive crowed of workers, peasants and students walked towards the building of the National Assembly in the capital. The building was empty as government officials had all fled the scene. Among those who marched came the idea of occupying the building and installing a revolutionary people’s assembly. Police units that guarded the assembly seemed to stand down. This was welcomed by many who hoped for a peaceful occupation. However the armed officers choose violence and attacked the unprepared and unarmed crowed. This proofs that any police force is always on the side of the capitalist state, against the working class. This brutality was enforced to keep the weakened bourgeoisie from crumbling!

The uprising of workers, peasants and students has achieved a first victory, a partial one at the cost of eight dead, 1,340 wounded and 1,192 detained. The cuts to fuel subsidies are out of the austerity plan. But the poor and workers must not trust anything that comes out the mouths of Moreno and the PAIS Alliance. The former leftists have betrayed not only the socialist ideology, but also the trust of millions who voted for them. Therefore it is vital that a true workers party on a socialist program is build. The sad reality is that the counterrevolution in Ecuador is led by people who once said they oppose IMF imposed neoliberalism on Latin-America. Even if the PAIS Alliance removes Moreno as their leader, their reputation is forever linked to this massive betrayal!

As the revolutionary masses are not led by a workers party, they came to trust indigenous leaders. These people are however weakened by propaganda from the ruling class and the government, who claimed that ”FARC terrorists” and ”Maduro supporters” control the movement. Capitalist newspapers and television stations were told by their owners to broadcast lies about who is leading the uprising. The media of the ruling class in Ecuador claims that ex-president Rafael Correa is behind it all. Indigenous leaders kept silent and do not openly attacked these lies. Also the street protests have now been cut after Moreno agreed on keeping the subsidies on fuel. This gives the government the chance of starting a witch hunt against all political forces who supported the masses this October!

Protests are now terminated by the indigenous leaders, but this does not mean that Moreno and the PAIS Alliance can enforce their austerity. Workers, peasants and students need to overthrow the corrupt capitalist system and install a genuine socialist democracy. The lack of a workers party and democratic leadership among the indigenous leaders is why there has not been a true socialist revolution. Because if there was a revolutionary leadership then representatives from barricades, neighborhoods, factories and communities would have made up the revolutionary people’s assembly. It would have been the base for a new Ecuador, one not under the rule of elitist politicians, who only bow their heads to capitalist donors!

The Republic of Ecuador remains in turmoil. It expelled Julian Assange and showed to the capitalist world that its leaders have abandoned the leftist populist ideology. Revolutionary socialists fully support the movement against austerity and the call to remove president Moreno and his IMF supporters. Servio Moreno would have turned in his grave to see the son he named after Lenin, betraying the socialist ideas he supported. Lenin Moreno maybe named ”Lenin”, but that does not make him equal to the revolutionary who overthrew the capitalist system in Russia. President Moreno is a cowardly class-traitor, who will forever be remembered as the man who sold his nation to the International Monetary Fund and world capitalism!

 

 

USA abandons Rojava to Turkish aggression

The USA has decided to leave Syria. This would normally be a good thing, because American imperialism has never done anything good when it invaded other nations. However the problem in North Eastern Syria (AA-NES) is Turkey. The Sultanate of Erdogan (officially known as the Republic of Turkey) does not like the fact that the Kurds of Syria united the north and east under their Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, known previously as the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. Dictator Erdogan already invaded the most western part of AA-NES in 2018. Turkish imperialists used Arab rebels to attack and occupy the Afrin canton. Now the road is clear for the imperialists and their puppets to invaded AA-NES and to destroy the only democratic light in the darkness of the Syrian civil war!

The north eastern part of Syria is known as Western Kurdistan, Rojavayê Kurdistanê. In 2012 the Kurdish: Democratic Union Party used the chaos of the Syrian Civil War to take power away from the Arab-nationalist Ba’ath Party. The Syrian Ba’ath rules the country in a dictatorial way since 1963. In 1971 it became a personal dictatorship, ruled by Hafez Assad. This Assad selected his youngest son: Bashar to follow his footsteps. With the death of Hafez in 2000, the younger Bashar became the supreme leader of the Ba’ath Party and dictator of Syria. Like his father, Bashar ruled in a Arab-nationalist way. The Kurdish minority was forced to be Arabic. The central government in Damascus made sure that great Arab chauvinism was enforced with great brutality!

The Democratic Union Party (PYD) is the Syrian wing of the Kurdistan Communities Union. This Kurdish union is founded on the political believes of Abdullah Öcalan, the founder of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Until 2012, the PYD was a banned party. Forced to operate in the shadows as the Ba’ath ruled with iron fist. However with the start of the civil war in 2011, the Arab-nationalist Ba’ath Party lost control over NES (North Eastern Syria). The Kurdish PYD could have build a Republic of Western Kurdistan. Instead it choose not to enforce nationalism, instead a system of direct democracy was build with Arabs being treated as equals to the Kurds!

In January 2014, the parts of NES that had liberated itself from the dictatorial Ba’ath Party formed a autonomous federation free from Damascus. In 2016, the name of NES was Democratic Federation of Rojava – Northern Syria. Soon the name Rojava became informal and was dropped as the official name became: Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS). By December 2018, it was renamed again into: Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AA-NES). Informally the parts of Syria that were liberated by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are still called Rojava. In these liberated areas the Swiss canton model is applied!

Western imperialism aided the Kurdish led SDF in the fight against Islamic State. NATO member Turkey however has different plans. Many Islamic State fighters crossed the border and were mixed with anti-Assad rebels to form the so called: National Army of Syria. A reactionary militia used by Ankara as their shock-troopers. By 2019 it is now clear that all none-Islamist rebels have allied themselves to the Sultanate of Erdogan (Turkey) in order to be supplied. The Syrian Interim Government is housed in Turkey and recognized by the western world as the legitimate Syrian government. This is why NATO did nothing when Turkey invaded the Afrin canton. Using a militia made up of ex-Islamic State thugs and other anti-Assad fighters, they conquered Afrin City and drove out its Kurdish population!

NATO remains silent about the crimes committed in Afrin by the Turkish occupiers. Although they fly the banner of the Syrian Interim Government, the fighters are under control of elite Turkish forces. There are seven Turkish army bases build in the Afrin canton after its occupation in 2018. Ankara always wanted to go further east, towards the other democratic cantons. Their goal is to eradicate the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AA-NES). You can ask: why would Turkey want to destroy a beacon of democracy and secularism in the darkness of the Syrian civil war? Because AA-NES is build around the ideas of Abdullah Öcalan, who has become an icon of Kurdish resistance to Turkish nationalism!

Turkish nationalists hate the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) for the fact that it started to fight back in 1984. Because the PKK is a national liberation movement, the government of Turkey calls it: ”terrorist”. To please the Turkish imperialists, the European Union and the USA also call the PKK ”terrorist”, despite the fact that Ankara is responsible for far more terror and deaths compared to the terror carried out by the PKK. Many Turkish nationalists often claim that the Kurdish resistance is responsible for 40.000 deaths since 1984. What these nationalists fail to mention is that Turkey started the war by oppressing ethnic Kurds and anti-nationalist Turks. The 1980 military coup and the fact that all legal Kurdish political parties have been banned, proofs that Ankara is the villain here, not the Kurdistan Workers Party!

Since 1923, the Turkish state has enforced their culture and language on the Kurdish people. This also happened in Syria (under the Ba’ath), Iran (under the Shah and Ayatollahs) and Iraq (under Saddam Hussein). After the first Golf War in 1991, the Kurds in northern Iraq were able to build an autonomous region free from the Iraqi Arab Ba’ath regime led by Saddam Hussein. The invasion of Iraq by the USA in March 2003, made sure that Iraqi Kurdistan could remain autonomous. There is however a big ideological difference between Syrian Kurdistan and Iraqi Kurdistan. The Syrian Kurds are progressive direct-democratic, while Iraqi Kurds are forced into a conservative family dictatorship led by Nechirvan Barzani, son of Masoud Barzani!

American imperialism supports the Barzani regime and the Erdogan regime. It is foolish of the Syrian Kurds to think that Washington DC under Donald Trump cares about them. Trump is a imperialist leader much like Erdogan. For the Americans, the Rojava Revolution means a potential danger to the interests of their military capitalists. Ankara is buying U.S weapons and is a ”strong partner” of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. This is why the Americans will never stop the Sultanate. Democracy and human rights mean nothing to the western powers. America and Europa are capitalist and Turkey remains a vital trading partner for American and European companies. This is why it is stupid to believe that western nations will stop Erdogan!

The only reason why Afrin was lost in 2018 was because of the Turkish Army. Win-out their tanks and elite forces, the ragtag militia made up of ex-Islamic State rebels mixed with Free Syrian Army soldiers would not have been able to conquer the canton. The defeat of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Afrin was due to Turkish fire power and the fact that the YPG is only lightly armed. If the Sultanate of Erdogan moves to capture more cantons then the people of AA-NES are up for very dark days. The situation in Afrin have shown us this. Erdogan will use ethnic cleansing to force the Kurds in submission. Therefore it is vital that the workers of the world reject the aggression of Ankara and stand with the people of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. Erdogan and his thugs must be stopped. But we cannot rely on western governments for this to happen!

Mass demonstrations in support of AA-NES are vital to put massive pressure on western leaders to oppose the imperialist plans of Ankara. NATO has proven once again that it does not care about human rights nor democracy. Turkey is a nationalist dictatorship that has proven to be an enemy of all progressives. Many mayors who belong to the anti-nationalist: People’s Democratic Party (HDP) have been forcefully removed from their offices by the Turkish police in league with the far-right. The legal justification is always the same: Kurdish politicians are called pro-PKK and then jailed for many years. Anybody who (as a Kurd) stands up for democratic rights is called a ”sympathizer of terrorism”. This is why Turkish democracy is death, it has never been healthy anyway!

The Rojava Revolution showed that it is possible to build a democratic society, free from ethnic sectarianism and religious extremism. It was thanks to the Syrian Democratic Forces that Islamic State was finally defeated on the ground. However if Ankara is allowed to reuse many IS-dissenters in their puppet: National Army of Syria, then the terror of IS will be back. Revolutionary socialists are critical supporters of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. We are critical because the administration does make mistakes and despite calling their system ”not a state”, there are many elements of a typical bourgeois system that are active. Also it remains unclear if socialism is the actual ideology of the cantons!

In 2015, revolutionary socialists wondered what the course of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) would be. Democratic autonomy under capitalism or a socialist system? Our questions back then are still valid and should be asked by any anti-capitalist who fully supports the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. The ideology of Abdullah Öcalan prevented the construction of a Kurdish nationalist regime. It liberated women from the iron grip of male chauvinism. But is it socialist or just progressive under the capitalist system? Revolutionary Socialist Media will remain a critical supporter and we call upon AA-NES leaders to reject western imperialism and build a socialist north eastern Syria. America and Europe are not their allies, but imperialist forces who support their own interests above anything!

 

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The emblem of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria

U.S troops to defend Saudi oil

The United States of America is sending troops to defends its capitalist interests, meaning Saudi oil. Donald Trump ordered his army into Saudi-Arabia, to defend the oil there. Nothing is said about the massive human rights abuses carried out by the totalitarian monarchy. Nothing is said about the fact that the Saudi’s are waging a war of aggression in Yemen with U.S made weaponry. Now American soldiers will defend the criminal Saudi regime and its brutal oppressive nature. Only 13% of Americans support the U.S president, while 82% openly reject sending troops. Trump however does not care. He is a capitalist himself and Saudi-Arabia is a ally of western imperialism. American workers need to reject Trump and those hypocrites who hate one Islamic theocracy (Iran) and love the other one (Saudi-Arabia)!