Flawed vs full democracies

The USA is not a full democracy, Japan is not a full democracy, Israel is not a full democracy and even Belgium and Italy are not fully democratic. These countries do not score as fully democratic on the Democracy Index of the Economist Intelligence Unit, a part of the British: Economist Group. In fact only 20 countries in 2018 are described as full-democracies. The top of the Democracy Index are dominated by the Nordic nations. Norway ranks Nr. 1, Iceland Nr. 2 and Sweden Nr. 3. Meaning these nations are the most (bourgeois) democratic!

Revolutionary socialists know the limits of the Democracy Index of the Economist Intelligence Unit. After all, this index comes from a capitalist company that is promoting market research. Their Democracy Index is limited to democracy within the framework of capitalism (bourgeois democracy). Norway, Sweden and Iceland used to be social democratic nations, meaning that capitalist exploitation was limited by state regulations. However the Nordic states are not immune to the dogma’s of market fundamentalism as deregulation and privatizations also happen in Scandinavia!

The social democratic model was introduced in Scandinavia after 1945. It was able to raise the standards of living and created a welfare state. This model however is under siege as the dogma’s of neoliberalism became the new gods of capitalism after the collapse of stalinism. In the 1990’s, world social democracy abandoned its leftist critic of the market economy and fully embraced the right-wing view that the markets should regulate themselves. They started to support the very ideas social democracy used to oppose: regulation, privatization, lower taxes for the rich!

Scandinavia was more slowly in enforcing these ideas compared to countries like Britain and Germany. Still the social democratic parties of Norway, Sweden and Denmark have alienated themselves from their working class electorate by enforcing the new dogma’s of world capitalism. This led to the rise in far-right populism as foreigners were branded as ”enemies” and ”thieves of white jobs”. In Denmark, the far-right: Danish People’s Party is now the second largest force in the country. Also the ”Sweden Democrats” (a racist party) won 17% of the vote in the Kingdom of Sweden, making them the third biggest party!

Countries like the USA have always been flawed. Why? Because money dominate politics there. In America, over 1 billion dollar are wasted by presidential candidates from both the far-right Republican Party and right-wing Democratic Party. These two political parties of capitalism are masters of wasteful spending, trying to defeat each other only to rule as puppets of Wall Street. Third party candidates are excluded from the American media and are not asked to participate in national debates. They are also not shown in the polls. Most Americans never hear of candidates who are not Republican or Democratic. This is why the USA is a flawed democracy!

You would think that nations like Belgium, Italy, Estonia, Greece, France and even Japan to be fully democratic, they are not. Despite having free elections these countries have: ”Significant faults in other democratic aspects, including underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics and issues in the functioning of governance” as described by the Democracy Index of the Economist Intelligence Unit. Since capitalism does not care about democracy, it is no surprise that the majority of world nations are either flawed or hybrid regimes, that have some aspects of democracies but fail to be called fully democratic!

Hybrid regimes are those who stand between flawed democracies and authoritarian systems. A country like Ukraine is a hybrid with elements of democracy mixed with authoritarianism. In the former Soviet republic, revolutionary socialists are not free to say that they support Karl Marx. Because Ukraine has banned the communist ideology, which makes it a crime to say that you support a class less and state less society. Turkey still has relative free elections, but is moving closer to a authoritarian society each year. With the arrest of many opponents of Turkish nationalism, president/dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is slowly destroying the last elements of the already deeply flawed Turkish democracy!

Authoritarian states are not democratic in the bourgeois way. But capitalism does not care about that and neither does the western world. Both full and flawed (capitalist) democracies work with authoritarian countries and even have friendly relations with them. Saudi-Arabia is the most important ally of western imperialism in the Arab world. We all know the Saudi’s to be a totalitarian monarchy that enforces wahhabism, a dogmatic Islamic doctrine. Venezuela has also moved from being a hybrid regime to a authoritarian one. President Nicolas Maduro’s inability to build socialism turns him more and more into a dictator, to save-guard the remnants of the so called Bolivarian Revolution!

The puppet regimes of the west in Afghanistan and Iraq are also neither democratic nor hybrid. Despite the propaganda told by western media outlets, the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan are not free and they use brutal means to stay in power. American presidents have known this, but they did not care. George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump ignore the fact that ordinary Afghans and Iraqi’s are forced to live under dictatorial regimes fully supported by Washington DC. Western imperialism is also on good therms with the state-capitalist regime in Beijing. Despite calling itself a people’s republic, China is not a republic of people (not even in the bourgeois way)!

Revolutionary socialists do not think that full democracies as portrayed by the Democracy Index of the Economist Intelligence Unit, are the ultimate form of a free society. True democracy cannot be build under a capitalist system because all important decisions are made by those who own the economy. Democratic elected officials are often bribed and then carry out politics that favor the ruling class. This is why Revolutionary Socialist Media supports the idea of getting money out of politics in all countries of the world. This is easier said then done as money controls all aspects of human lives. Those with less money die earlier as they do not have access to proper medical care. In many African nations the life expectancy is not higher then 60 years!

Our alternative to the bourgeois parliamentary democratic model is workers-democracy. We call for democracy not only in politics, but also in the economy. Working class people need to elect their own representatives in businesses. We do not need a Donald Trump or Mark Zuckerberg. Workers self management is possible as examples proof this. Many businesses in Greece who are abandoned by their capitalist owners, came under control of workers. The downside is that many of these broken companies are forced to compete in a market economy that Greece remains. Despite that a so called ”Coalition of the Radical Left” rules the Hellenic Republic, the economy remains capitalist. Another example of workers self management is the Hotel Bauen in Argentina!

However all these self managed companies still have to compete with other capitalist run enterprises. Although the owners may have abandoned the business, they are still entitled to ownership by the laws of the capitalist state. Workers owned businesses can face costly legal battles when their former owners decide to reclaim their ”property”. Competition is portrayed as good for consumers, in fact it is a waste of money and creates a Darwinian system where the strong win and the weak perish. This is why we call for a socialist society with no private ownership of enterprises. All means of production are to be nationalized and put under the management of workers councils!

Socialism does not needs competition, we need democratic planning to satisfy human need. The need of the rich and capitalists will be replaced by the needs of the billions. No longer shall we produce luxury goods only for the wealthy. Socialism will uplift the lives of those who are now marginalized and excluded. This can only work under a democratic socialist system of planning. The Stalinist model has proven to be a failure and a good propaganda weapon for the capitalist media. Our democratic model will be far superior to what the Democracy Index of the Economist Intelligence Unit calls full-democracies!

We want a full democracy under socialism. That can only be build if working class people take power for themselves. No socialist revolution can work unless the majority of workers participate in it. Yes, there will be workers who’s privileged jobs makes them supportive of the capitalists. They will reject the revolution and might even fight it to protect their elite status. But since a huge majority of the worlds population earns less then 30.000 dollars a year, those who support the capitalist class will be a tiny minority. If a genuine socialist democracy is build then the 1% will have no choice but to give up their power freely. Unless they choose violence to stay in power. In such a situation the working class will have no choice but to use force in defense of the democratic majority!

Still, we would not opt for violence. Socialism must be build peacefully with no forced arrests of those who reject it. However should the supporters of capitalism choose terror and murder as they have done in the past, the revolution will not hesitate to use violence in defense of workers rule, we are not pacifists. This is why many Cubans choose to fight with Fidel Castro against the American led invasion of their island. Despite that Castro was following the dictatorial Stalinist ideology, working class Cubans choose to defend the gains of the Cuban Revolution during the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961!

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The 20 countries that are full-democracies according to the Democracy Index of the Economist Intelligence Unit.

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100 years after the murder of Liebknecht and Luxemburg

On 15 January 1919, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were murdered by far-right: Free Corps forces in Berlin. They were leaders of the young: Communist Party of Germany. The far-right Free Corps were used by the anti-revolutionary Social-democratic Party of Germany, to crush the socialist revolution and to safeguard bourgeois rule. Even after 100 years the capitalist SPD still dares to celebrate the day when their forces crushed the German Revolution and killed Luxemburg and Liebknecht!

Rosa Luxemburg was a German-Polish revolutionary. She was born in Russian Poland and her family was German-Jewish of origin. They moved to Warsaw and the young Rosa learned to speak Polish and Russian. Since 1886, Rosa Luxemburg was a member of the Proletarian Party, a party that was banned for organizing a workers strike. In 1889, Rosa fled to Switzerland to avoid jail as the czarist police had arrested many members of the Proletarian Party. There she attended the University of Zurich!

In 1893, Luxemburg became a strong opponent of the nationalist line, which grew in the new Polish Socialist Party. As a revolutionary Marxist, Rosa rejected the idea of Poland becoming independent win-out a socialist revolution in Germany, Austria or Russia first. Vladimir Lenin disagreed with her. He believed that revolutionaries should support those leftist nationalists who struggle against their colonialist oppressors, in Poland that was czarist Russia!

In the late 1890’s, Rosa wanted to move to Germany. However she was not able to get a permanent resistance in the empire of Wilhelm 2. The Germans knew of her revolutionary ideas, her activism was not tolerated by the conservative ruling class of the German Empire. She was able to settle in Berlin after living in Paris a few years. Finally in the heart of Europe, Rosa Luxemburg started her fight against the pro-capitalist leaders in the Social-democratic Party of Germany, back then a workers party with a reformist leadership and a proletarian base!

Luxemburg taught Marxism and economics at schools of the social democratic party. One of her students was a man who would be (politically) responsible for her murder in 1919. Friedrich Ebert studied under Rosa Luxemburg and in 1913 became leader of the SPD. He rejected the revolutionary socialist ideology and called on workers to be nationalist and support the Kaiser’s war plans in 1914. Rosa was furious after the so called ”party of German workers” turned chauvinist and supported the war credits called on by the emperor. She only had one major ally in her opposition to the war, that was the son of the party’s founder: Karl Liebknecht!

Liebknecht is a name linked to the German workers movement. Wilhelm Liebknecht was the man who co founded the Social-democratic Party of Germany in May 1863. Back then the party was called the General German Workers Association. This first German socialist party fused with another one to form the Socialist Workers Party of Germany in 1875. The name Social-democratic Party of Germany was adopted after the end of the anti-socialist laws, when emperor Wilhelm 2 fired the iron chancellor (Bismarck). It was Bismarck who had set up the anti-socialist laws, but with his removal from office the laws were not renewed by the Reichstag (parliament)!

Wilhelm and his son Karl were supporters of Karl Marx. This exiled revolutionary socialist lived in London and his work made the Liebknechts believers in the cause of revolutionary socialism. Marx died in 1883, seven years the SPD won 20% of the votes during the first elections after the end of the anti-socialist laws. On 7 August 1900, Wilhelm Liebknecht died at the age of 74. Over 50.000 people attended his funeral service. Karl Liebknecht set out to carry on the struggle for a socialist revolution in Germany. He was however opposed by a growing number of socialists who wanted to make compromises with the capitalist establishment!

The reformists won an important victory in 1913. With the election of Friedrich Ebert as leader, the pro-establishment wing got control over the Social-democratic Party of Germany. They sided with the bourgeoisie and called for war. Karl Liebknecht was the only elected member of the Reichstag who opposed the war credits and who voted NO. He and Rosa Luxemburg founded the Spartacus League, an anti-war socialist party in opposition to the chauvinist SPD. The German imperial government was not happy that Liebkecht had voted NO on the war credits debate. They arrested him and conscripted Liebknecht into the German Imperial Army, despite his parliamentary immunity!

Rosa Luxemburg was deeply affected by the betrayal of the SPD, after her party choose to support the first world war. She got depressed that reformism had won the struggle inside the SPD. Rosa started thinking about ending her life, but with the support from anti-war activists Luxemburg decided to fight on. With Karl Liebknecht she called on German workers to reject the war, which was illegal in the German Empire. In June 1916 she was arrested and imprisoned for two years. During her captivity Rosa kept on writing against the war. She also criticized aspects of the Russian revolutionary socialists led by Lenin. However on the whole, Rosa Luxemburg supported Lenin’s revolution and the Bolsheviks!

In November 1918 the war was going very badly for the German Empire. Famine killed many innocents and soldiers had enough. Emperor Wilhelm 2 however refused to accept defeat. He wanted another offensive against the allied power. Field-Marshall Paul von Hindenburg understood that the emperor had lost. He was more concerned about the revolutionary mood in Germany. As a conservative militarist, Hindenburg feared a proletarian uprising. Therefore he gave full support to the reformist socialists led by Friedrich Ebert, who took control over the imperial government after Wilhelm fled to the Netherlands!

Paul von Hindenburg was not a democrat, but he knew that the SPD would not support a socialist revolution. He was willing to support their parliamentary model as long as it kept the ruling class of Germany in power. In October 1918 however the imperial government had released both Luxemburg and Liebknecht from prison. The two anti-war socialists started to rally workers against both the SPD and the German Imperial Army. In December 1918, red banners were flying over Berlin. Workers were looking towards the SPD in the hope that would be their party that would build socialism. Few had understood the deep betrayal of social democratic leaders like Ebert!

Friedrich Ebert and his reformists worked with the revolutionary workers and participated in the councils set up after the imperial government imploded. However neither Ebert nor the SPD wanted a workers democracy like Soviet Russia. They wanted the workers councils dissolved as soon as the German Republic was proclaimed. Meanwhile the Spartacus League was renamed into Communist Party of Germany on 1 January 1919. The new party called on workers to rise up and overthrow the government of Ebert. Alarmed by the revolutionary mood, the reformist SPD turned to the Free Corps for help. This Free Corps was formed in December 1918, by anti-revolutionary soldiers and officers in the former German Imperial Army!

SPD minister of defense: Gustav Noske ordered the army and Free Corps into Berlin to crush the revolutionaries. After ten days of bloody fighting the capital was purged. Thousands were shot as soldiers kept on killing anybody in the name of fighting ”Jewish Bolshevism”. Luxemburg and Liebknecht were captured by Free Corps soldiers on 15 January 1919. Waldemar Pabst was the far-right officer who was in charge of their capture. He ordered his thugs to torture that ”Jewish bitch” as Luxemburg was called. Three soldiers tortured Rosa with their rifles, before she was shot in the head. During her interrogation and final hours she never surrendered her revolutionary believes and said:

“Order prevails in Berlin!” You foolish lackeys! Your “order” is built on sand. Tomorrow the revolution will “rise up again, clashing its weapons,” and to your horror it will proclaim with trumpets blazing: I was, I am, I shall be! 

Karl Liebknecht was also tortured and then forced into a car. As the Free Corps ordered him out of the car, they shot Karl in the head. Just before the execution of the two revolutionaries, Waldemar Pabst had called SPD minister Gustav Noske on what to do with them. Noske replied that Pabst knew what to be done. With this final act of betrayal the Social-democratic Party of Germany ceased to be a party for ordinary workers. Never would its leadership call for socialism again as the SPD compromised more and more with the German bourgeoisie, degenerating into the capitalist party it is today!

The bodies of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg were later recovered. They were given a martyr funeral together with other victims of the White Terror. The far-right Free Corps evolved into Hitler’s Storm Detachment (SA). Their violent attacks against workers and leftists would be famous in the 1920’s. On 30 January 1933, the Nazi Party took control over Germany with the support from the bourgeoisie and the army. Adolf Hitler became chancellor and banned all political parties with the exception of his Nazi Party. The tombs of Luxemburg and Liebknecht were violated, their remains destroyed as the Nazi’s destroyed their burial site in 1935!

After the second world war, the Communist Party of Germany was no longer the party of Luxemburg and Liebknecht. Joseph Stalin had killed off any communist who was not loyal to him. During the purges in the Soviet-Union, many exiled German communists ended up dying in the Gulag camps. Those who were allowed to return with the Red Army in 1945, had to have a slave obedience to the Stalinist system. Wilhelm Pieck became president of the German Democratic Republic in 1948. However it was Walter Ulbricht who led the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), the party that was to be the true base of power in East Germany until November 1989!

The Stalinist GDR worshiped Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht as hero’s of their own. Revolutionary socialists have always rejected this claim as Liebknecht and Luxemburg would never have accepted the militarism, dogmatism and totalitarianism of people like Pieck and Ulbricht. Also we must not forget that Stalin had demanded that the German communists recruited conservative (Free Corps!) officers to their cause during the war. Luxemburg would have been furious at Stalin for resorting to old czarist ways as the USSR embraced Russian chauvinism. She also would have hated the National People’s Army of the GDR, which marched in the same grey uniforms of the old imperial army!

Karl Liebknecht may have known Wilhelm Pieck, but he could not have supported what his former comrade had build on Stalin’s orders. Because the GDR was build to look like a parliamentary democratic republic, something Liebknecht opposed. He favored a council-democracy under the international red flag. Pieck and Ulbricht however choose the colors of Ebert’s Weimar Republic for their German Democratic Republic. Although the red banner was always used next to the tricolor, the official flag was black-red-yellow. Symbol of the 1848 Frankfurter bourgeois parliament and SPD government that murdered Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. By 1988, many East German workers started to realized that Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht would not have been loyal comrades of the SED!

The German capitalist media of 2019 portray the two revolutionaries as tragic figures. They use the GDR period as a weapon against the revolutionary socialist ideas of Luxemburg and Liebknecht. Capitalist commentators say that communism is undemocratic and that is what matters. The murder of the early German communist leaders is overshadowed by the crimes of the GDR and the role Karl and Rosa played in its propaganda. Revolutionary Socialist Media however reject what the SED did to their legacy. The two icons of the German revolution are not guilty of the Stalinist crimes and were murdered by far-right thugs under orders of Gustav Noske (SPD). Once hated and rejected by the capitalist class, now called a ”decent” political party, by the capitalist media because the SPD abandoned socialism!

Today the SPD is still around. During the 100 anniversary of the German revolution in 2018, the social democrats had the audacity to claim they were defending ”democracy” in 1918, when the former imperial army and Free Corps attacked those who fought for workers rule. The tragedy is that many still believed that the SPD was a workers party in November 1918. Only a few revolutionaries knew of the massive betrayal of people like Friedrich Ebert and Gustav Noske. Mass media was limited as television was not in use until the mid 1950’s. Radio broadcasting did not start until 1920. Printed media was the only way workers could be informed. In the revolutionary months, few papers were printed that promoted workers rule as all SPD papers stayed loyal to Ebert!

100 years after their murder we honor Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. Despite the fact that their image and ideas were hijacked by the GDR and misused. The capitalist class should fear people like Luxemburg and Lieknecht. Because they can still inspire revolutionaries for the cause of socialism. Social democracy betrayed them in 1919, proofing again why we need genuine socialism and not moderate reforms to a system that is build on exploitation, war and injustice!

 

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The old dinosaur of North Korea

There is one man in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea who should be honored for surviving three dynasties. The old dinosaur of the party and state is called Kim Yong-nam, the President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, a position he has held since 1998. At age 90, this man has served Kim Il Sung (1948-1994), Kim Jong Il (1994-2011) and Kim Jong Un (2011-present). It is very rare for a bureaucrat like him to stay in such a high position of power for so long!

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Kim Yong-nam (far-left) in 1994 with Jimmy Carter and Kim Il Sung

Yong-nam was born in Pyongyang, occupied Korea in February 1928. He is the only member of the North Korean ruling caste who has clear memories of the Japanese occupation. Kim Yong-nam studied in the Soviet-Union in the 1950’s and became chairman of the DPRK’s Committee for Foreign Cultural Affairs. He also led the National Committee for the Protection of Peace. After 1956, Kim was promoted and allowed to work for the politburo of the Workers Party of Korea (WPK), a prestige position in the hierarchy of the Stalinist state!

Five years after his first promotion, Yong-nam became the WPK boss of the South Hamgyong Province. In Stalinist states the function of a local party leader is more important then the actual elected official. Kim Yong-nam served as party leader in South Hamgyong from 1961 until 1970, when Kim Il Sung made him a member of the Central Committee of the WPK. At age 42, Kim Yong-nam had made it to the top of North Korean society. Like many bureaucrats, he is completely loyal to the Great Leaders. His absolute obedience to both Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un may be part of the reason for his long survival in the totalitarian system!

The old dinosaur is not stupid. Yong-nam knows how to navigate the politics of the DPRK and he has kept himself in a prestigious position for the last 21 years. After Kim Il Sung died in 1994, his powers were divided in three. Kim Yong-nam’s position as President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, makes him an equal to prime minister: Pak Pong-ju and supreme leader: Kim Jong Un, according tot the constitution of North Korea. However it is a clear reality that both Kim Yong-nam and Pak Pong-ju are underdogs and obey ”monarch” Kim Jong Un in all matters. With the 2016 amendment to the constitution, the head of state became the chairman of the State Affairs Commission, which is headed by Kim Jong Un!

In 1983, Kim Yong-nam was made Minister of Foreign Affairs under Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il until 1998. In that year, the Kim dynasty made him President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly. Officially this makes him the head of state de jure, after the death of Kim Il Sung in 94. Yong-nam has been the face of the DPRK in foreign affairs, as it was very rare for Kim Jong Il to leave the nation. This meant that the old dinosaur was representing North Korea in many world events. His experience in foreign affairs is likely the reason why the Kim dynasty kept him around. Even at the age of 90, Kim Yong-nam is still walking behind the Great Leader as number two of the regime!

Kim Ki-nam is the younger brother of Kim Yong-nam. At age 89, the ”younger” old dinosaur is the WPK propaganda leader and a creator of the country’s political slogans during the reign of Kim Jong Il (1994-2011). After the second Great Leader died, Ki-nam was given the task of supporting ”crown-prince” Kim Jong Un’s succession drive. He was one of the two civilian leaders who was allowed to carry the coffin of Kim Jong Il in December 2011. Like his older brother, this ”younger” dinosaur of the regime became a key supporter of Kim Jong Un. For his loyalty, the Great Leader made him a member of the State Affairs Commission in 2016, the true base of power in the DPRK!

With the election of Moon Jae-in as President of the Republic of Korea, it was Kim Yong-nam who represented the DPRK at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang South Korea. This was the first time the number two of the Kim dynasty had entered the south. The world media however was not focused on Kim Yong-nam. They looked towards the youngest sister of the Great Leader: Kim Yo-jong. She was the unofficial representative of the DPRK as a member of the North Korean ”royal family”. Still the old dinosaur has enough credit as he attended most affairs on his own. Like his father, Kim Jong Un has rarely left the nation, which is why it is up to the 90 year old to remain the face of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the world!

Those who have met the old dinosaur say that Kim Yong-nam is highly intelligent. It is clear that he knows all dirty secrets of the regime and the massive abuse of human rights. How far his own role in these crimes are is unknown since North Korea is a isolated nation. Yong-nam knows that he owns all of his prestige, power and privileges to the Kim dynasty. They have given it to him and they can remove it as the case of Jang Song-thaek proofs. This uncle of Kim Jong Un was executed in December 2013!

Despite his long life and high position, Kim Yong-nam never had to think for himself. He was always a man who did what his masters demanded of him. A typical Stalinist bureaucrat, who has a slave like obedience. Some say that Yong-nam would believe anything his master said to him, despite the fact that he knows it to be wrong. This kind of people are the real enemies of the working class as they carry out the commands of those in power. People like Kim Yong-nam are what makes dictatorships possible. They are the bureaucrats of the oppressive state, who do the actual work!

 

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The old dinosaur, still standing at age 90 with the Kim dynasty.

Liberals lose in Taiwan

The liberals have been defeated in the local elections in the Republic of China (Taiwan) on 24 November 2018. They lost over 1 million voters to the conservatives of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang – KMT). Worse, they lost a referendum on the issue of gay marriage. A clear majority voted to restricting marriage under Civil Code to one man and woman. This is a clear defeat for Tsai Ing-wen, the first female president of the ROC. She decided to step down as leader of the Democratic Progressive Party!

Revolutionary socialists are not surprised by the defeat of the liberals. Despite their victory in January 2016, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has not fundamentally changed Taiwan for the benefit of working class people. The liberals still control the Legislative Yuan, but have lost local councils to the conservatives of the Kuomintang (KMT). Their inability to bring changes are because of their capitalist ideology. Liberals in Taiwan were born in the 1980’s, during the struggle against the right-wing dictatorship (which was supported by the USA)!

The present day Democratic Progressive Party was founded in 1986, at the end of the military regime imposed by KMT leader Chiang-Kai-Shek. Liberals were prosecuted by the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) and named ”communist spies” as all opponents of dictator Chiang were called. The criminal CIA supported the KMT regime and trained them in maintaining an anticommunist state. After the USA started to recognize the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of China on Taiwan lost its international recognition as ”China”. However the anticommunist dictatorship remained ever after the death of Chiang!

A military regime kept the country dictatorial. The first free elections of 1991 ended the period of absolute conservative rule. However it would take many years before Taiwan would become a free society. Anticommunist dogmatism had brainwashed the working class of the island with a false picture of socialism and communism. By 2010, advancement in democratic thinking allowed for the the formation of socialist organisations like the Taiwan Socialist Alliance. This party became: International Socialist Forward in 2016, they are the Taiwanese section of the Committee for a Workers’ International!

Voter turnout is the reason why the referendum on LGBT rights was lost. Only 34% of all Taiwanese choose on vote, this gave the opponents of gay rights a clear majority. Despite the brave work by socialists from International Socialist Forward, there was little desire to go and vote. The capitalist media loves to portray Taiwan as a social-conservative country, that rejects liberal values. In reality many have refused to vote because of bitter disappointment in the government of Tsai Ing-wen. In late 2015, the conservatives had become deeply unpopular due to their capitalist politics. Many workers hoped for change under a DPP government. Tsai Ing-wen was voted into office and her liberal party defeated the KMT, winning a clear majority!

International Socialist Forward also noted that the conservatives were very active in their rejection of LGBT rights. Their propaganda was the loudest and their supporters everywhere. However the liberals refused to campaign hard enough, they showed weakness as they were defeated during the referendum. This strengthened the nationalist party (KMT) and they already plan to take back the Legislative Yuan at the next elections. Revolutionary socialists always said that Taiwanese workers cannot expect any genuine changes from either the pan-green coalition (liberals) or the pan-blue coalition (conservatives)!

There is another conservative-nationalist party that was happy with the defeat of the Democratic Progressive Party. On the mainland, the Chinese ”Communist” Party (CCP) has not only embraced Chinese nationalism, but also social-conservatism. This has moved the former Maoist party into the camp of the Chinese Nationalist Party. Also the liberals on Taiwan used to be in favor of Taiwanese independence, something the KMT has rejected. For the conservative-nationalist party, Taiwan is a part of China and this is also what the CCP on the mainland supports. Therefore both the CCP and KMT have grown together as a force for Chinese nationalism in opposition to Taiwanese independence!

The struggle for gay rights in Taiwan cannot be fought independently of livelihood issues facing grassroots LGBT people and the whole working class. The Taiwanese capitalist class wants the island to be closer to the Chinese mainland. Right-wing forces, including those inside the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), point out that Taiwan needs China. This is also what the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is saying. If Beijing was not this conservative dictatorship promoting the same values of Chiang-Kai-Shek (state-capitalism, authoritarianism, Chinese nationalism), then the KMT would never advocate closer relations with the mainland. Although the PRC is willing to use force if the country declares itself independent as the Republic of Taiwan, both the pan-green coalition nor the pan-blue coalition are willing to risk an open conflict!

It proofs again that neither liberals nor conservatives offer any genuine alternative for young people, workers and pensioners. In order to balance the budget, the liberals have already cut pensions by 20%, this is why many retired government workers have now turned against the DPP and its former leader. Tsai Ing-wen wanted to reform the pension system because it would ”bankrupt” the nation she said. Former government workers are now hit hard as they will get -20% less monthly income in 2019. The right-wing KMT has already won their support, despite the fact that the conservatives also carried out massive austerity cuts under Ma Ying-jeou (president of Taiwan between 2008-2016). It is sad that people seem to forget that the Chinese Nationalist Party is part of the same rotten capitalist class as the DPP is!

It is very possible that the KMT returns to power in both parliament and the office of president. Despite the populist rhetoric of the conservatives, history has shown that the Chinese Nationalist Party is the party of the rich and the (conservative) establishment. The DPP may support liberal values, but they too support the bourgeoisie and not the working class. A more radical leftist populist party is the New Power Party. A political party born out of the Sunflower Student Movement (2014). It has attracted the support of younger Taiwanese who advocate independence and left radicalism. Still this populist party does not have a socialist ideology nor the will to brake with the liberal establishment. They did win five seats in the 2016 Legislative Yuan election!

On the issue of Taiwanese independence, International Socialist Forward has always put socialism central. Their slogans are: “Strive for national self-determination, abandon fantasy! Don’t rely on the DPP to give up! Rely on workers’ struggle for independence”. Meaning that the workers movement cannot rely on the Democratic Progressive Party to bring fundamental changes. It is up to Taiwanese workers to build a party for their own and fight both coalitions (pan-green and pan-blue) of capitalism. Only then can a Socialist Republic of Taiwan be constructed. This might also show workers on the mainland what socialism genuinely is. It would expose the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese ”Communist” Party as liars, enemies of working class people and anticommunist, de facto!

 

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International Socialist Forward keeps up the fight for LGBT rights in Taiwan.

U.S forces out of Syria

The USA will remove all of its troops from Syria. This is what Donald Trump plans to do. It proofs that U.S imperialism is deeply involved in the civil war. While Russia supports the dictatorial regime of the Syrian Ba’ath Party, the western world supply weapons and special forces to both Islamic rebels and the Syrian Democratic Forces. The removal of American troops is a positive step, but the Kurds have a genuine reason to fear the future. Because U.S forces prevented Turkish imperialism from completely destroying the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS)!

Turkey is an imperialist nation that has taken control over the Syrian opposition. Ankara offered the Syrian Interim Government more than just solidarity. It has armed Arab groups fighting against both Bashar Assad, the Islamic State and the Kurdish led DFNS. In January 2018, the so called ‘’National Army of Syria’’ was used by Ankara to attack and occupy the Afrin Canton. The Arab troops were supported by Turkish tanks and special forces. Although Afrin city was captured, they did not move beyond the canton. This is because U.S forces are stationed in the city of Manbij and are allied to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the army of the DFNS!

It is said that over 2.000 American soldiers are stationed on the ground in Syria. They were send by the Obama administration, to fight both IS and support the SDF. Turkey and Russia have never liked this, because these American troops supported opponents of Moscow and Ankara. The Russians stand with Bashar Assad and the Turks hate the Syrian Kurds for the fact that the DFNS is build on the ideas of Abdullah Öcalan (PKK founder). If those 2.000 Americans are withdrawn, the Turks and their Arab puppets will have a window of opening, to attack the remaining Kurdish regions. Russia would win because Assad might work with the Kurds against Turkey, this will strengthen the Ba’ath regime!

Revolutionary socialists have criticized the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria for its secret talks with the Syrian Arab Republic since 2015. We remind them that it was dictator Assad who used to oppress the Kurds and anybody who stood against his Ba’ath Party. The idea that the DFNS would accept Damascus again is a slap in the face of those who gave their lives for the Rojava Revolution. It also shows the inability of the Democratic Union Party (leading party of Kurds) to build a socialist society. Their democratic confederalism remains vague on key issues like who owns the economy!

Abdullah Öcalan used to be a Stalinist leader. He led the Kurdistan Workers Party with the clear intention of building an independent ”socialist” Kurdistan. After Öcalan was captured by the Turkish secret police in Kenya (with help from the Criminal Intelligence Agency), he moved from dogmatic stalinism to a left-libertarian anti-nationalistic ideology called democratic confederalism. The DFNS has been called a libertarian-socialist society, although elements of tribal, ethno-sectarian, capitalist and patriarchal structures remain. Also the whole economy is not nationalized and put under democratic control of workers councils. Instead private property and entrepreneurship are protected under the principle of “ownership by use”!

The region needs a socialist perspective. Unity of the working people and the poor, a struggle against all reactionary forces, be they Islamist or Baathist, and opposition to imperialism must be the principles of this perspective. Rojava is a ray of sunshine in the “Arab” winter, but it must make the transition to a genuinely democratic council democracy and socialist policies, if it is to survive and show the region a way out

It is reported that only 1/3 of the DFNS economy is owned and run by society. The private ownership of land and means of production is a fact and market mechanism are in place. This makes the DFNS not a true socialist society. Although capitalists are told to work for the interests of all, we know that this is not the mentality of this class. Capitalists only work for themselves and will do whatever it takes to increase their wealth at the expense of workers. Price controls are however in place and local councils do have control over food and medical supplies. On the political front, the DFNS has banned forced marriage, polygamy and underage marriage, which were common in the Syrian Arab Republic before the Rojava Revolution!

Due to the war with Islamic State, the Kurds had to mobilize its people’s. They started with the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party. In 2015, the YPG formed the Syrian Democratic Forces with other ethnic militias such as the Al-Sanadid Forces, the Syriac Military Council, the Raqqa Revolutionaries Brigade, certain factions of the Free Syrian Army and the Army of Revolutionaries. The YPG remains the biggest force in the alliance, they also include the Female Protection Units (YPJ) a fully women combat group!

The 2.000 Americans supported the SDF against Islamic State. However with the liberation of Raqqa and the fall of IS as an organized nation, the American presence in Syria became less idealistic. Officially, Washington DC under Barack Obama denied that U.S troops were fighting on the ground. It was always said that the SDF only got air support. Donald Trump now wants to move out of Syria. That is good, Americans should not be in Syria at all. But the removal of one imperialist power could make the others more aggressive. Because Turkey is willing to destroy the whole DFNS. Dictator Erdogan fears what the Syrian Kurds have build. This is why he created this ”National Army of Syria” to act as his storm-troopers!

Revolutionary socialists call for the full withdraw of all foreign powers. Russia, America, Turkey and others need to leave Syria. Also we call on the DFNS not to trust either U.S imperialism, Russian imperialism or the Ba’ath regime in Damascus. If the Rojava Revolution wants to survive it needs to unite working class people from all ethnicities. Turkey has already started an artillery bombardment on SDF positions, just hours after Donald Trump announced that he would order his troops to leave Syria. The Democratic Federation of Northern Syria is in serious danger as Turkish tanks and special forces have already invaded and occupied the Afrin Canton!

The leaders of the DFNS feel betrayed by Trump, but they should not be surprised. American made weapons are used by Turkey to oppress the people of Afrin. NATO tanks and air planes were used in the 80’s/90’s to destroy Kurdish towns. American imperialism is not the friend of the Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians and even the Turkish working class. Dictator Erdogan is part of NATO and he has recycled Arab rebels to fight on his behave. Some report indicate that Turkey had recruited Islamic fundamentalists (even ex-Islamic State fighters) into their ”National Army of Syria”. After Afrin City fell in January, they looted the city and started to repopulate it with ethnic Arabs, since many Kurds fled eastward to the others cantons of the DFNS!

It is up to the Syrian Democratic Forces to unite all people’s of Syria against Turkish imperialism. If the leadership of the DFNS tries to work out a deal with the Syrian Arab Republic, it will alienate many anti-Assad Syrians who are struggling against the Ba’ath regime since 2011. For 7 years, 9 months and 5 days, they fight against both Islamic fundamentalism, Ba’ath authoritarianism and foreign imperialism. Some have rejoined the Ba’ath regime because the Syrian Interim Government became a puppet of Erdogan, after Islamic fundamentalists took over as the majority of rebel fighters. Fear of Islamism is the central reason why Bashar Assad won back the support of many Syrians!

Only the Kurds were able to build a democratic alternative to Bashar Assad and his Syrian Arab Republic. Revolutionary socialists have been critical supporters of the DFNS, despite our concerns over the ideology of the Democratic Union Party and the cult of personality around Abdullah Öcalan. We welcome the anti-capitalism of many YPG fighters and we support those who want to build socialism. But our socialism is not what the PKK used to support. We call for decentralize planning and democratic rule of workers councils. The DFNS is not a socialist state, it is very similar to the early Soviet-Union of December 1922. Just after the Russian civil war, the new USSR was in fact capitalistic with a market economy set up under Lenin called the New Economic Politics!

Like early Soviet Russia between 1917 and 1922, the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria is still at war and under siege. It will need to use all resources to defeat the remnants of Islamic State and the puppets of Ankara. After the Americans pull out, the Syrian Democratic Forces stand alone against a force supported by Turkish tanks and airplanes. The DFNS lacks modern tanks and has no air-force to protect itself. Its leaders might turn to Russia for help and we know that Putin is a die-hard supporter of Bashar Assad!

What will Russia demand for help? That the DFNS accepts Ba’ath rule? Surrender their cantons? Capitulate? It is very possible that Moscow will allow Ankara to move in and slowly destroy the Rojava Revolution. Manbij is the next major city and Erdogan will not stop there. He will march all the way to Qamishli in the east, to destroy the state build on Abdullah Öcalan’s ideas. The Turkish dictator would then rule the north of Syria through his Arab puppets. This must not be allowed, but the Kurds and their allies cannot expect help from NATO or western imperialism. For America and Europe, Turkey is a ally in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. They don’t care that Ankara is a authoritarian nationalist dictatorship. NATO never cared about that in the past and does not today!

 

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Flag of the USA and the People’s Protection Units.

Yellow hi-viz jacket movement

They have become a symbol of resistance. Yellow hi-viz jackets used by angry workers who demonstrate in France against the high cost of living and growing poverty. The capitalist establishment tries to portray them as ‘’violent’’ and even far-right. Although some are using violence and far-right rhetoric, the fast majority of these yellow hi-viz jacket protesters are fighting against the inequality of capitalism!

This mass revolt from below is not organized by any major political party nor trade union. Worse, the top of the French trade union leadership has denounced the yellow hi-viz jacket protesters as violent scum, ignoring the legitimate grievances of the masses who come together under this symbol. The Egyptian dictatorship under El-Sisi has understood this. They banned the use of yellow hi-viz jackets by none-security forces. It shows how much fear a organized group of people can bring to dictators and capitalists!

Egypt is a disguised military dicatorship. Despite the civilian outlook, it is the military who is in control. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is the second Mubarak, ruling the Arab Republic of Egypt since 2014. He won the recent election due to massive overwhelming obstacles and violations made by the elections committee. True opposition is not allowed in Egypt and the regime fears what is happening in France with the yellow hi-viz jacket movement. This is why Abdel Fattah el-Sisi banned the selling of the hi-viz jackets for all none-security personal!

Revolutionary socialists believe that the only force that can lead a decisive and lasting victory over the capitalist system is the working class with revolutionary leadership. These factors are missing in the yellow hi-viz jacket movement. Despite the calls for strikes and mass action, the French political left-wing is not offering a socialist alternative. Jean-Luc Melenchon calls for revolution, but does not say what that means. Revolution is a big word and can even be used for counterrevolution as we have seen between 1989 and 1991, when the Stalinist monolith in eastern Europe and the USSR was replaced by regimes of austerity!

It is clear that neither the neoliberal ”Socialist” Party (PS) nor the French Communist Party (PCF) can control the yellow hi-viz jacket movement. In 1968 it was the PCF who prevented a revolutionary change in France. Stalinist leaders saved the capitalist system that year, by not moving beyond the famous protests and strikes against the conservative regime of Charles de Gaulle. The PS has already been discredited as a left-wing party for their pro-capitalist administration under François Hollande (2012-2017). Social democracy betrayed the French workers over and over again!

Jean-Luc Melenchon won seven million votes in the last election. However his ”La France Insoumise” is based on left-wing populism and does not offer a clear brake with the capitalist system. In his propaganda, Melenchon calls for a new republic. A social-republic for the people, however with no clear indication if this would be a capitalist state or a socialist one. Does Melenchon want a social democratic republic with a lot of regulation under capitalism? Or a socialist republic with working class people controlling both the state and the economy? We think that social democracy is not the solution for both France and the world!

Spokespeople for the yellow hi-viz jacket movement, like Benjamin Cauchy say that the the people are not satisfied with crumbs, they want the baguette. We go further by saying why not the full bakery? A fundamental system change is needed. President Emmanuel Macron may sacrifice his prime minister, he might even be forced to resign, new elections may be called. But any government which stays in charge of a capitalist economy where the means of production are in the hands of private owners, will return to make the workers and poor pay for their crisis!

There is a very good reason why the right-wing is in control of this world and it is because of the failure of the left-wing to build socialism. Social democracy and stalinism betrayed us, the social democratic and communist parties are no longer mass parties. Right-wing populists are winning the proletarian vote because their anti-establishment rhetoric is more believable. Some leftists like Jean-Luc Melenchon try to counter this rightist populism with leftist populism. Although this may give leftists some popularity, a true alternative is not provided. We revolutionary socialists say that the left-wing will never return to power unless it brakes with the idea that capitalism can be reformed!

Some revolutionary leftists criticize the yellow hi-viz jacket movement for its rightist populism and racism. Many French workers oppose migrant workers because they are led to believe that they come to steal their work. This divide and rule tactic is used by the capitalist media to divide workers, when in reality it is the capitalists who exploit workers. They own the media and broadcast poison propaganda to fuel racism. Again it is the failure of the French and European left-wing to unite all workers against their common enemy. Worse, there are leftists like those from the Dutch: Socialist Party, who openly reject migrant workers, by using the same racist logic as the far-right!

However to would be wrong to denounce the whole movement. Because it is clearly aimed at the inequality and suffering of working class people. Revolutionary socialists are supportive of demands that help workers, while rejecting the anti-migrant rhetoric of some yellow hi-viz jacket supporters. To overthrow the French government, mass mobilization is needed in all sectors of society. Since this is lacking it will not defeat president Macron. What is needed is a government of workers and poor. A socialist government that would nationalize the big banks and top companies, the CAC 40, which form the basis of French capitalism (and where the friends of Macron get their easy wealth from). The famous French line: Equality, Liberty and Fraternity can only be secured on the basis of democratic socialism!

 

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George H.W. Bush was a war-criminal

George H.W Bush, the father of George W. Bush was also a U.S president, who should be called a war-criminal. This Bush ruled the U.S Empire from 1989 until 1993. Under his watch the Stalinist world collapsed as western imperialism proclaimed itself to be the winner of the Cold War. George H.W Bush died on 30 November 2018 at the age of 94, he was the longest living American president as they keep the title, even after their administration is over. While the western media portray him as a moderate Republican and a relative ”good” president, Revolutionary Socialist Media exposes how this man caused the deaths of many innocent Iraq’s. It was George H.W Bush who defended the dictatorial monarchy of Kuwait and restored it after Iraq was defeated. Despite all the victorious propaganda in the 1990’s, the U.S Empire still did not care about actual democracy and freedom! 

Former American president George H.W Bush died on 30 November 2018, he was 94 years old. Some say that you shall not speak ill about the death. Revolutionary Socialist Media agrees with this if the deceased person is not responsible for mass-killing and massive human rights violations. George H.W Bush may have only been president for four years, but he is to blame for death and destruction in countries like Panama and Iraq. The western world under Bush was in a triumphed mood when stalinism started to crack in 1989, the year in which Ronald Reagan was replaced. Stalinist countries all abandoned their Marxist facade and it was Bush who claimed victory as ”Leader of the Free World”!

1991 must have been a great year for the president. All European ”people’s republics” were gone, replaced by capitalist austerity regimes loyal to American imperialism. The Soviet-Union was dissolved on 25 December 1991, which was the start signal for a massive propaganda campaign against the ideas of socialism. Due to the capitulation of the social democratic left and the disintegration of the Stalinist left, most world governments embraced the concept of: The Market is God, competition is King!

As vice president to Ronald Reagan from 1981 until 1989, George H.W Bush tasted power and he wanted it after Reagan’s time was up. He was aware of the undemocratic actions of the Reagan administrations and as vice-president fully supported them. From 1976 until 1977, Bush was also director of the CIA under the administration of Gerald Ford. He knew all the dirty things the agency had done to serve western imperialism. Operation Condor was fully supported by George H.W Bush. This Latin American operation of the CIA was about supporting political repression and state terror, to keep Latin-America under control of Washington DC!

Early in the 1970’s, it was Bush who got a position in China were he worked as a unofficial representative of the U.S government. Back then, he was not allowed to be an ambassador, but Bush played that role anyway. His work in the People’s Republic of China resulted in the fact that president Nixon decided to accept Mao Zedong as leader of China, while dumping Chiang-Kai-Shek who led Taiwan (nationalist China). Because of the popularity of Reagan, George H.W Bush won the 1988 presidential election. His opponent: Michael Dukakis, could not offer a genuine alternative to the popular vice president of Ronald Reagan!

The first war crime of American imperialism under President George H.W Bush was the illegal invasion of Panama in December 1989. This small Central American nation had been a loyal puppet of Washington DC for many years. Manuel Noriega was the CIA’s man in the country and with American support he made himself dictator. Panama was from 1968–1989 controlled by a military junta, which appointed the president who himself had little power. The CIA helped Noriega to become military leader on 12 August 1983. Unlike other absolute rulers, Manuel Noriega stayed in the shadows and allowed his puppet-presidents to be the face of the military dictatorship!

The USA supported him because he was anticommunist and against left-wing groups fighting in Central America against other puppets of Washington DC. Panama was used by the CIA to train the Contras, a right-wing terrorist group who fought against the left-wing government of Nicaragua. Noriega played a key role in supplying these terrorists with U.S dollars and guns. He made a fortune for himself as a drug dealer and arms smuggler. Ronald Reagan did not care about the corrupt leader and his massive abuse of power, nor did his vice president (Mr. Bush) between 1981 and 1988!

With the Cold War coming to an end, the USA suddenly decided that a democratic facade was a better PR image for the Republic of Panama. Manuel Noriega was ordered by George H.W Bush to resign in favor of a civilian leader, who would support the interests of imperialism. Noriega refused to abandon power, he dared to say no right into the face of the people who had given him his personal kingdom in 1983. Bush then turned on his former ally and proclaimed that the USA would ”liberate” Panama from its dictator. A facade since the Americans wanted a government that was loyal to them. Manuel Noriega had turned on the empire and the Empire was about to Strike Back!

On 20 December 1989, 27.000 American soldiers invaded the Republic of Panama. The fighting lasted 1 month, 1 week and 4 days. In the end they captured Noriega and he was trialed in the USA for racketeering, drug smuggling and money laundering. After 17 years the ex-dictator was extradited to France, who sentenced him to another 7 years in prison. Manuel Noriega returned to Panama in 2011, there he was jailed for a final time. In prison he died of a brain tumor in 2017 at the age of 83. 250 soldiers of Panama died during the invasion. 23 U.S soldiers were killed and for what? To remove a dictator the USA had installed in 1983??

500 civilians died due to urban fighting according to the United Nations. Guillermo Endara was selected by George H.W Bush to become the civilian president of Panama. Although Endara opposed the invasion he agreed because Bush said that the alternative would be a long occupation by U.S soldiers. Endara proceeded to carry out the demands of American imperialism. His privatization policy made those with economic power very wealthy and the economy grew for them. But working class people suffered as unemployment rose very sharp. By 1994, over 19% of all workers in Panama did not have work which meant absolute poverty as the country had no social security system to protect the unemployed!

Guillermo Endara’s refusal to help the poor was reinforced by his unwillingness to donate over 125.000 U.S dollars, he had won during a lottery. Bush was happy that Panama was loyal again and he turned to face another old friend of the USA. Saddam Hussein (the dictator of Iraq) had waged a bloody war with Islamic Iran, thanks to massive support from the USA. America gave him several billion dollars in economic aid, the sale of dual-use technology, non-U.S. origin weaponry, military intelligence and special operations training. This however ended when their Iraqi friend turned on another Arab ally of American imperialism: the monarchy of Kuwait!

The State of Kuwait is not a liberal democracy. Despite the parliamentary monarchist constitution of 1961, political parties remain banned in the tiny Arab nation. Like Saudi-Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait is only rich because of oil. This is what Saddam Hussein wanted to control, however the House of Al Sabah had allied themselves with America and they knew they were protected. The USA needs Arab oil and George H.W Bush would not allow anybody to endanger the flow of the black gold to the western world. The Americans had made a deal with Kuwait to keep the oil price super low. This is why the Iraqi’s were forced to keep their oil price low too, otherwise nobody would buy from them!

Saddam Hussein had a huge army to keep up. This army needed money and since Iraq is also depended on the selling of oil, Hussein asked if Kuwait could raise their prices. The kingdom refused as they had promised George H.W Bush to keep the oil prices very low. On 2 August 1990, Iraqi forces invaded the State of Kuwait. The battle lasted only two days, after which Iraq annexed the nation as a province of the Iraqi Republic. Bush could not accept what his friend in Baghdad had done. A huge campaign of misinformation was set up to portray the invaders as barbarians, who murdered babies!

President Bush then rallied 35 countries against Saddam Hussein to ”liberate” Kuwait. Part of this coalition was Syria, who was governed by the same political party as Iraq was. The Arab-Socialist Ba’ath Party used to rule in both nations. However in the 1960’s, the party split into a Iraqi based party and a Syrian based party. 14.500 Syrian soldiers participated in Operation Desert Storm, the code name of the attack. The first Gulf War lasted 6 months, 3 weeks and 5 days. It resulted in the destruction of the Iraqi and Kuwaiti infrastructures. American planes bombed Iraq massively, killing 3,664 civilians. The most famous terror attack was the Amiriyah shelter bombing. 400 were murdered there when the U.S Air Force bombed the shelter, with the full intention to spread fear and terror!

As the army of Hussein fled back towards the Iraqi border, the USA decided to decimate it. On the famous highway of death over 6.000 soldiers were killed in air-raids and 1.600 vehicles got destroyed. As the remains of the Iraqi army fled, the coalition choose not to invade and remove Saddam Hussein from power. Iraq was still needed as buffer zone. George H.W Bush knew that the Shia-Muslims are the majority in Iraq and a democratic government would result in a Shia majority. Saddam Hussein was a Sunni Muslim and his dictatorship favored the Sunni-Muslim minority!

The real crime of Bush was not the death of 3,664 Iraqi civilians nor the 6.000 soldiers killed on the highway of death. It was the economic embargo he installed on Iraq. United Nations Security Council Resolution 661 called for harsh sanctions, these were kept after Kuwait was liberated under the pretense that Iraq was keeping Weapons of Mass Destruction. Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi Ba’ath Party cared nothing for the lives of working class people. Between 1991 and 2003 they lived in absolute luxury while workers were suffering from hyperinflation, widespread poverty and malnutrition!

George H.W Bush claimed it was all the fault of Saddam Hussein. But we know today that Ba’athist Iraq did not have Weapons of Mass Destruction. So the sanctions were totally unjust as they killed those who were not in a position to oppose the dictator. The Iraqi government claimed that 500.000 children died between 1991 and 2003. But today it is estimated that these numbers were manipulated. Still it is fair to say that Bush and Clinton cared not for the suffering in Iraq. It was the son of Bush who would finish what George H.W did not in 1991. After the second Gulf War, Saddam Hussein was removed and a Shia dominated government came to power!

As the first term of George H.W Bush came to an end, he hoped for a second round as president. Despite his victories in Panama and Kuwait, Bush lost the support of many working class America due to massive job loses in the early 90’s. On 3 November 1992, George H.W Bush lost to Bill Clinton of the Democratic Party. A reason for his defeat may have been James Stockdale, who ran as a independent against Bush. This Texas populist won 18,9% of the votes which split the conservatives in two. Stockdale was the first right-wing populist who claimed to stand against the two parties of the establishment. Donald Trump used the same right-wing populism as the Republican candidate in 2016, to defeat Hillary Clinton!

What also played against George H.W Bush were the economic politics of the man he served as vice president in the 80’s. Ronald Reagan gave many tax cuts to the rich and was then forced to raise taxes on workers, to keep the federal state from going bankrupt. Bush failed to protect American jobs as production work was shifted to cheap labour countries such as ”communist” China. Bill Clinton became the next president of the USA and it was not until the year 2001, that the Bush family would return to the White House. Clinton however would not brake with the neoliberal model started by Reagan. Like Bush before him, Bill Clinton trusted in the market to regulate itself, a fatal mistake which lay the seeds for the economic crisis of 2007/2008!

President George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. He outnumbered his father as a major war-criminal, but this not how both men are remembered in the capitalist media. Despite their flaws, they are regarded as ”good people” by western leaders. After George H.W Bush died on 30 November 2018, the capitalist media of many countries called him a ”moderate leader” and a ”good person”. Nothing is said about the lies he spread to gain support for his illegal wars. George H.W Bush was not a good guy, he was a typical imperialist president who is responsible for death and destruction. He was the first Bush, the first who did bad and should be remembered as a lying war-criminal!

 

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The Occupation of the American Mind

Over the past few years, Israel’s ongoing military occupation of Palestinian territory and repeated invasions of the Gaza strip have triggered a fierce backlash against Israeli policies virtually everywhere in the world — except the United States. The Occupation of the American Mind takes an eye-opening look at this critical exception, zeroing in on pro-Israel public relations efforts within the U.S.

The Yemen Civil War

The Saudi Royal Family is still getting their U.S guns to wage a bloody war in Yemen. Donald Trump knows that the crown prince of Saudi-Arabia gave the order to murder Jamal Khashoggi. But the far-right president cares more about that 100 billion dollar trade deal which he singed with Mohammed bin Salman, the true power behind the Saudi throne and government. Salman ordered the execution and now tries to cover his tracks by claiming his agents went rogue. Khashoggi was brutally murdered by Saudi operatives inside their embassy in Turkey. With billions worth of American weapons, the Saudi regime has participated in the Yemen civil war, fighting on the side of the Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Over 60.000 have died as a result of the fighting and more then 80.000 children died due to famine and a lack of food. Yemen’s economy has completely collapsed and with no food coming the people starve to death. All possible because of foreign intervention in Yemen!

The Yemeni Civil War began in 2015, a result of the inability of its ruling class to govern. Yemen was a right-wing dictatorship under Ali Abdullah Saleh. This tyrant was already leader of the Yemeni Arab Republic (North Yemen) from 1978 until 1990. After the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen) fused with the north, Ali Abdullah Saleh remained supreme leader by ignoring the reunification pact he made with the southern Yemeni Socialist Party, who had ruled South Yemen!

Dictator Saleh was a supporter of U.S imperialism. This is why the USA never criticized him. He was welcomed by American presidents and seen as a typical Arab leader, who was friendly to the interests of the USA. By 1995, the Republic of Yemen started with austerity measures as demanded by the IMF. Ten years later the government wanted to abolish the subsidies on gas and oil. However massive protests of ordinary workers made sure that the government did not do that!

Ali Abdullah Saleh managed to stay in power by being reelected each time. These elections were manipulated to favor his political party: the General People’s Congress (GCP). This right-wing party was founded in 1982, to serve as the political vehicle of the president. Their main ideology is Arab-nationalism, which they never enforced as Saleh was far more interested in ruling unopposed in Yemen. The party ruled in a authoritarian way by suppressing anybody who stood against then. Former stalinists of the Yemeni Socialist Party used to rule in the south, but were marginalized in reunited Yemen by the GPC and Saleh!

In the 33 years that he was in power in both the north (since 1978) and the whole nation (since  1990), the dictator enriched himself with billions. Saleh’s net worth was estimated to be between 32 and 64 billion dollars stored in banks across the world, especially in Europe. The president was the richest man in the country, while 23% of the population was living in absolute poverty in 2011. With the collapse of the economy, state and infrastructure, absolute poverty has now increased to 75%!

On 27 January 2011, massive protests started against the dictator and his GPC. By March over 2.000 Yemeni’s were brutally murdered by security forces. As with other Arab doctors, Ali Abdullah Saleh refused to give up on 33 years of absolute power. It was not until April that Saleh understood that if he did not stepped down, a civil war would start between the army and protests. He choose the road of abdication and this prevented the civil war from starting in 2011. Vice president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi assumed the office of president and called for elections!

This Hadi used to serve the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen), until he fled to the north after failed power-struggle in the Stalinist state. In the north he joined the General People’s Congress and became a supporter of Saleh. For his loyalty, the dictator rewarded Hadi with the position of vice president in 1994, which he kept until April 2011. The opposition made the big mistake of trusting this former southern leader. They selected him as their candidate as did the GPC. This meant that the presidential election in February 2012 only had one candidate: Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi!

Newly elected president Hadi wanted massive reforms. Both the USA and Saudi-Arabia favored a decentralized federation of the country. However this would mean that most of the wealth would end up in the richest parts of the country, leaving the poorer ones with little wealth. Also America and Saudi-Arabia had interests of their own as they wanted Yemeni oil. The country’s main export product is crude oil, over 70% of its national income comes directly from the selling of oil!

President Hadi agreed with the decentralize federal plan, but the pro-Iranian Ansar Allah group was very much against it. The Ansar Allah or ”Supporters of God” are a Shia-Islamic organisation that started to operate illegally in the 90’s. They became an armed group in 2004 and grew massively in support among Shia-Muslims, who make up 43% of the total population. Hadi’s reforms failed to materialize. After two years of fruitless talks, Ansar Allah forces took control over the capital Sana, with support from those still loyal to former dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh. The former president had rejected the federal plan and made a pact with Ansar Allah!

The fall of Sana marked the start of the Yemeni Civil War. However unlike the Syrian Civil War, this war is not reported massively in the western media. Why is that? Maybe because Saudi-Arabia is using American/European weapons to wage a genocide. Also due to the blocking of borders, no food and medical supplies can enter the nation. This leaves Yemen with nothing to feed its population. Since 2015, over 80.000 children have died because of a lack of food and medicine. Saudi-Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are responsible for that. They are fighting a proxy war in Yemen, arming the pro-Hadi forces against Ansar Allah!

The General People’s Congress has split over the civil war. Elements loyal to Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi support him, while elements loyal to Ansar Allah support them. In the western media, the Shia-Islamic group is named: Houthi movement, named after Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi. This Shia-Islamist led Ansar Allah until he was killed in 2004. Revolutionary Socialist Media will however use the name ”Ansar Allah” as this remains the official name of the group!

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have send parts of their air forces to fight in Yemen. These western made fighters have bombed targets with no regard for human live. It is reported that many civilians have been killed by bombs from Saudi and UAE planes. Almost 13.000 civilians have died since the civil war began in 2015. A majority of these deaths are because of Saudi/UAE bombings. How cruel these deaths are, they are nothing compared to the 80.000 death children who did not have to die. Dying because of a lack of food and medicine is more then war, it is a genocide!

Saudi-Arabia and the United Arab Emirates know that Yemen is suffering due to their blockade. But they don’t care. The reactionary monarchs care little for human life as their murder of Jamal Khashoggi proofs. This is why the western media stays silent on the Yemeni Civil War. Because western allies are killing children and innocents with western bombs. If the west would know this, they might be outrage and protests. However this is not the case, the Syrian Civil War is given preferential treatment!

Jama’at Ansar al-Shari’a or Partisans of Sharia is a Islamist group in Yemen. They were founded in 2011 and call for a Islamic Emirate to be build. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Yemen Province is also active, but they are a minor force and do not make up the majority of Islamic fighters. This ”honor” is given to the Partisans of Sharia who have around 7.000 armed fighters. As of late 2018, the country that was the Republic of Yemen is now divided in four sections. The north-west is under control of the Supreme Political Council, the political wing of Ansar Allah and the pro-Shia wing of the General People’s Congress!

The area loyal to president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi is also split. Between them lies a part of Yemen that came under the control of the Southern Transitional Council. Formed in May 2017, this council is build around former supporters of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen. Since 2009, the southern movement is fighting to restore the state that was South Yemen. They are separatists who rejected the rule of both Ali Abdullah Saleh and Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. In January 2018, the southern separatists drove forces loyal to Hadi out of the city of Aden. This forced president Hadi to flee to Saudi-Arabia were he is kept under house arrest!

For ex-dictator Saleh, the civil war ended his life. On 28 November 2017, the former leader abandoned his pact with Ansar Allah and a armed struggle broke out in the capital of Sana, between forces loyal to Saleh and those of Ansar Allah. The battle lasted for six days. It is unknown how many died, but we know that a sniper killed Ali Abdullah Saleh on 4 December 2017 as he tried to flee. After the death of their leader, the pro-Saleh troops fled the capital. Ansar Allah captured 700 of them and it is reported they were executed along with civilians loyal the former dictator. With the death of Saleh, his faction has been eliminated from the civil war!

It is ironic that the man who lasted for 33 years died at the hands of a sniper. Had he not broken his pact with the Shia-Muslims, Saleh might still be alive today. However their pact was tactical and there was friction since 2012. Both groups were suspicious of each other and sharing little ideological ground. Saleh was a more secular man, while Ansar Allah is Shia-Islamist and deeply anti-western, anti-secular and antisemitic!

With Ali Abdullah Saleh death and Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi under house arrest in Saudi-Arabia, the battlefield is commanded by new leaders. The Supreme Political Council (Ansar Allah & GPC) selected Abdel-Aziz bin Habtour to be their prime minister. This Habtour is a member of the General People’s Congress and a figure in Yemeni politics since 1995. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar is the vice president and leader of the pro-Hadi government supported by Saudi-Arabia. The Southern Transitional Council selected major-general: Aidarus al-Zoubaidi to be their president. This military man used to support Hadi, until the southern movement split with his government and took control of Aden in early 2018!

The Islamic forces control some coastal towns, but they are a minor player in the civil war. As of late November 2018, Saudi-Arabia is the biggest ally of the Hadi government. With over 100.000 Saudi troops in Yemen, it is clear that crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is playing a big game. His intervention army is supplied by the USA, Great Britain, Canada, Spain, Brazil and Finland. Germany stopped selling arms after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, which is a pure hypocritical move. Berlin did not care that 13.000 Yemeni civilians died because of their guns, but after one journalist is killed they suddenly stop selling arms?

Western imperialism does not care that their bombs and guns are responsible for death and destruction in Yemen. Saudi-Arabia is nothing win-out western money. Their armed forces is made up 100% western planes and western technology. Donald Trump sold over 100 billion dollars worth of weaponry to Saudi-Arabia. He knows that this absolute monarchy is a brutal dictatorship and famous for killing critics such as Jamal Khashoggi. But the far-right American president does not care. Trump is a capitalist, who loves profits above all!

The military industrial complex in the USA is a billion dollar industry, who’s capitalists belong to the 1%. In 2019, the military budget for the U.S Armed Forces will be 716 billion dollars. All this money is spend on planes, guns, ships and tanks meant to wage imperialist wars, not to protect the American people. The USA does not need an army of 1 million soldiers. It already has a population that is armed with guns. Why need a professional army when there are more guns then people in the ”land of the free and the home of the brave”?

Revolutionary socialists denounce all factions in the Yemeni Civil War. Neither the Hadi government nor the Supreme Political Council (Ansar Allah & GPC) can offer any alternative for the millions who suffer from hunger and diseases. Only a mass party on a socialist program can unite all workers no matter their religious background. Ansar Allah and Hadi are enforcing religious sectarianism and try to split people based on religion. The southern separatists play on false nostalgia for a Stalinist state, that was also unstable as fighting was common in the Yemeni Socialist Party!

We say:

  • No to Saudi/UAE intervention in Yemen
  • No to systematic hunger and suffering because of the Saudi blockade
  • No trust in Ansar Allah or any faction of the General People’s Congress
  • Stop the selling of weapons to Saudi-Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
  • All foreign armies out of Yemen
  • All power to democratic elected councils of workers and poor
  • For a socialist Yemen as part of a socialist federation of the middle east

 

Caricature_of_Mohammad_Bin_Salman_07

Dutch racism rules supreme

The facade is gone, the so-called liberal kingdom has exposed itself as unwilling to fight racism and black face. Black activists and white Dutch who reject the black face character of Black Pete now know that their freedom of speech is limited. Far-right hooligans, racist politicians and the majority of white Dutch society have done their best to silence criticism of Black Pete. With racist remarks, intimidation and outright threats, many demonstrations against black face had to be cancelled. The right-wing Telegraaf paper ran a nationalist article by far-right ”journalists” who claim that George Sorros and Jews are behind the activists of Kick Out Zwarte Piet, the black activist group that stands against the racist caricature. It is no surprise that the far-right feels save to spread their poison of racism, antisemitism and hatred of left-wing activism, now that they found white society on their side!

Kick Out Zwarte Piet (KOZP) is founded by Dutch activists who decided to protest peacefully against Black Pete. This character was introduced to the Saint Nicolas festival in 1850 as a black servant. Back then all blacks were servants to white Dutch and Black Pete was portrayed as all black people were, with thick black skin, big red lips, black curly hair and typical African golden earrings. His classic behavior was clumsy and stupid, which was funny for white people. Again this was no coincident, black face comedy was popular and Black Pete was the funny black guy who helped Saint Nicolas, the white Catholic bishop. The Netherlands had some minor protests against black face, but few blacks and ever fewer whites openly dared to stand against the popular icon. It was not until 2011 that the debate started and racism grew massively!

If you are a black Dutch and you stand against Black Pete, you will face racism, hostility and hate. White Dutch who stand with blacks against black face also face hate mails and rejection by Dutch society. Because you are not allowed to stand against Black Pete, just as southern Americans are not allowed to rejected the flag of the Confederate States of America. White Americans in the south use the excuse that their ”rebel-flag” stands for tradition and heritage. White Dutch who defend Black Pete do the same and claim ”tradition” and ”heritage”, as excuse for painting themselves black each year. Because the behavior of Black Pete has changed, the white majority do not see the character as racist. The classic behavior of a clumsy and stupid servant has now been replaced by Pete’s who have normal intelligence. In the past, Black Pete would threaten ”naughty” children with the sack and birching. Since the 1990’s this practice has been removed from the festival and children are not longer told that if they don’t behave, Black Pete will put them in the sack!

What made the debate so poisonous is the hostile reaction from white Dutch towards those black Dutch who want a festival for all children. Because studies have indicated that black face can have a negative impact on black children. Black Pete is played by white people and because of black face history, many black Dutch feel uncomfortable. Calling blacks to be Black Pete’s is not uncommon. The guy who started the first public anti-Pete protest in 2011, only did so because his mother was called; ”the Black Pete of her work”. Children of Suriname or Antillean origin also face this racism at school, when they are bullied as little Black Pete’s. Despite studies and even the UN calling for a Pete that is not based on racism, the vast majority of Dutch dogmatic refuse to change the appearance of ”their” icon. Again, the Dutch do not want to change as they see no racism in Black Pete. The story told to children is that he is only thick black because he comes through the chimney every night. This does not explain why Black Pete has thick red lips, black curly hair and golden earrings, all used in the 19th and 20th century to stereotype black people as inferior to whites!

KOZP does not call for violence, however the far-right does. In November 2017 they blocked a highway to prevent activists from demonstrating during the arrival of Saint Nicolas in Dokkum, Friesland (Northern Netherlands). 34 men and women used their cars to block the highway and prevent the bus from reaching the city. The social democratic (Party of Labour) mayor of Dokkum then banned the protest and gave the far-right their victory. The Dutch court sentenced those 34 people for ”hindering free speech” and gave them community service. In solidarity, white Dutch donated over 200.000 euro’s to pay for the court costs the 34 convicts were forced to pay. For the white establishment they are regarded as hero’s, because these men and women stopped KOZP from ”disrupting” (as they claim) the Saint Nicolas festival in Dokkum. Guilty however is also the social democratic mayor who first allowed protests against Black Pete, but choose to ban it after the incident on the highway. Dokkum experienced a traditional Saint Nicolas festival with black faced people, while those who rejected this caricature were banned from saying so!

In 2018, the far-right used football hooligans and threats of fiscal violence. Again they were successful as KOZP had to call off many demonstrations. Right-wing newspapers again called victory. In those cities that did allow protest against Black Pete, KOZP was told to demonstrate in zones far away from the actual festival. It would be like telling Martin Luther King that he was not allowed to march in any southern city and only in rural zones with nobody to seem him. This is what the local governments and police have done to Kick Out Zwarte Piet. There are many similarities between the civil rights movement of the 1960’s and the protests against Black Pete. The outright hatred and rejection of the white establishment is the same. White Dutch who express solidarity with KOZP are regarded as traitors and face rejection by friends, family and college’s. This is why only a minority dares to stand against black face in the Netherlands. Now that the far-right has the support from the public, they feel save to use violent means to stop any anti-racist march. The black activists are getting zero support from elected officials. Right-wing parties openly hate them and the Dutch left-wing stays silent out of political opportunism and fear of losing voters!

The Netherlands has three left-wing parties officially. Neither of them are revolutionary and none are truly socialist. The Party of Labour (PvdA) used to be the main force of social democracy. However after the 2017 election the PvdA was reduced to a minor party, after enforcing brutal austerity with the (neo)liberals of Mark Rutte between 2012 and 2017. It is the Socialist Party that is now the biggest party on the left, but with only 14 seats out of 150 they are still small. The SP stays silent on the topic of Black Pete, because the moderate socialists know that their electorate is in favor of the character. Revolutionary socialists fully criticize this opportunism of the Socialist Party. Many workers with a none-white background have never voted for the SP, because of the party’s weak anti-racist stand. GreenLeft is the last party that claims to be leftist. Like the PvdA and SP, GreenLeft has embraced the capitalist system and the racism it produces. Still the greens are the only ones who have been willing to debate with black activists, making them a target for outright hatred on social media!

In the Telegraaf newspaper, the antisemitic far-right has published a vulgar article claiming that George Sorros is behind Kick Out Zwarte Piet. Sorros is a liberal billionaire who has funded many project that the far-right hates. In parliament, the chief propagandist for the racist: Party for Freedom (PVV): Martin Bosma, claimed that the PvdA, Sorros and ”losers” stood behind the protests against Black Pete. Another nationalist politician called Thierry Baudet, defended a violent far-right mob as ”civil defense against foreign hordes” (refugees fleeing war and fundamentalism). Wierd Duk, a far-right Telegraaf ”journalist”, then wrote a conspiracy article that linked George Sorros and the PvdA to KOZP. Using the language of the Nazi’s, they see one big conspiracy the far-right calls ”Cultural-Marxism (which is equal to what Hitler called Cultural-Bolshevism). Claiming that Jews wish to destroy western culture is as old as antisemitism. This is why we reject not only the anti-refugee bigotry of people like Bosma, but we also stand against antisemitic lies that Jews control the world wealth. In reality there are Jewish capitalists who exploit Jewish workers. There are Christian capitalists exploiting Christian workers and finally there are Muslim capitalists (like those Saudi killers) who exploit millions of Muslim workers!

The sad reality remains that this pseudo-liberal kingdom is not at all tolerant and free towards those who reject black face. What we have see is racism and hatred towards activists who call for a Saint Nicolas festival for all children. For now the character of Black Pete will remain, because the white majority does not care about racism. In their minds the Kingdom of the Netherlands has overcome discrimination and rejection based on skin color, so white Dutch think. In reality there is racism towards workers with a none-white background. Muslims maybe the group that is most discriminated on the labour market, followed by black Dutch who have their origins in Suriname and the former Netherlands Antilles (dissolved in 2010). Revolutionary socialists call for solidarity with KOZP and all who stand again the injustice spread by the far-right and tolerated by the establishment!

 

naamloos

Far-right football hooligans painted their children black to fight KOZP.