War Lord: Donald Trump

Many who voted for Donald Trump were misled into thinking he would not intervene in other nations. That he would not bomb Syria or tries to confront Russia. But this is exactly what Trump has done. His office gave the order to destroy a Syrian air force base, after the Al-Assad regime used chemical weapons against its civilians. Many right-wing war-hawks salute the president for his bold decision. But those who always said that Trump is not like Hillary Clinton (who loves interventions), are now left with the iron fact that their president is just like Obama when it comes to war. Military industrial capitalists and their puppets in the U.S government can be very happy. Because more bombs means more profits from them!

With no approval from congress, the president of the USA attacked a foreign nation. This proofs how much Donald Trump likes to play cowboy. But for the Syrian regime this attack on their air force base is a declaration of war. How would the USA respond if a nation like Mexico would suddenly bomb one major U.S air force base? But American imperialism thinks it cannot be defeated. The arrogance of Trump and the military industrial complex, only proof that the far-right president is just as war-hawkish as the previous presidents. Like Bush and Obama, Trump is a president that will resort to death and destruction to bring massive profits for military capitalist companies!

Trump played the populist during the 2016 presidential election. He was able to beat Hillary Clinton by winning more electoral college votes. However Trump lost the popular vote as Clinton got over three million more voters then he. Many feared the war rhetoric that Hillary showed in March 2003. She also loved the bombings of Libya in 2011 and would have loved an intervention in the Syrian civil war, against dictator Bashar Al-Assad and his Russian allies. Trump seemed to reject this war-hawkish strategy, but now he choose to become just like that. Russia is indeed not happy with this attack on a Syrian air force base. But the sectarian rebels love it, they praise the attack of Trump on their enemy!

Revolutionary socialists have always rejected bombs on Syria. We rejected the 2003 invasion of Iraq, we stood against the bombing of Libya and we reject any intervention in the Syrian civil war. It is true that the Ba’ath regime in Damascus is guilty of massive war crimes. But it is not up to a cowboy like Donald Trump to decide which dictator is bombed and which one is praised. Because the Americans love dictatorships that ally themselves with western imperialism. Like the Arab golf emirates, reactionary absolute monarchies that exploit Indian workers and enslave woman from Indonesia. Another friend of Washington DC is the Islamic State of Saudi-Arabia. This nation brutally enforces Sunni-Islamism also called Wahhabism, the same ideology of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria which the USA fights against!

The attack on Syria is said to be a retaliation after the Syrian government used poison gas against a town. More then 70 people were poisoned to death including many children. Those who defend the attack say that Trump wanted to show Al-Assad that he cannot murder his own people. Yet at the same time, hundreds of innocents have been murdered by American drones since Donald Trump became president. These victims are not shown on television nor are reported in the news. Bush and Obama were also masters of killing innocents. George W. Bush began the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, wars which have killed almost 600.000 people. Since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, over 268,000 people have died including combatants. The total number of civilian deaths in Iraq is close to 180.000!

In the USA, Trump has exposed himself as a president of the rich, the capitalists and the establishment. Despite his populist rhetoric back in 2016, the true line of the president is that of supporting his rich donors and the class he originates from. Trump’s cabinet is made up of rich people, who are deeply conservative and supportive of the 1%. The Trump administration has already sold out privacy on the internet. This means that internet providers are now free to sell user information to anybody. Also the Keystone pipe line is now build, despite protests from native Americans. Working class people who voted for the far-right president will soon realize that this bombastic pseudo-populist abused their anger. Because Trump is not an outsider nor a alternative to the rotten political system. He belongs to those people who control capitalist politicians like Hillary Clinton!

The far-right billionaire is only in power for 4 months, but has already shown to be a danger to working class Americans. Therefore Socialist Alternative calls for massive resistance to Trump and the Republican Party. At the same time we reject this idea that the Democratic Party can be reformed into a social democratic people’s party. Many on the American left (including the Democratic Socialists of America) have this misguided idea that they can reform this liberal conservative party. Democrats have never been leftist, they always supported capitalist positions and imperialist interventions. Let us not forget that Hillary Clinton supported the wars that led to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. Clinton and her Democratic Party saluted George W. Bush and praised dictatorships that allied themselves with the USA!

As Socialist Alternative noted, the new administration is deeply reactionary and also very authoritarian. Donald Trump has purged many top ranking officials, replacing them with loyal puppets of his own. Trump does not like facts so he is quoting far-right media outlets like Breitbart News and Infowars.com, who are famous for spreading ”alternative facts” (misinformation). A big supporter of the current president is Alex Johns, the guy who believes in space aliens and every conspiracy theory on the planet. Johns hated the previous Obama administration and claimed it was ”demonic” and ”evil”. His pseudo-opposition to American imperialism ended when Trump entered the oval office. Now the guy who claimed to stand against the establishment (and space aliens) is defending the billionaire president and his authoritarianism!

Supporters of Hillary Clinton always claimed that Trump and Russian dictator Vladimir Putin were close friends. After losing the 2016 elections, the Democrats started to spread the idea that Russia helped Trump. Also a hack in the Democratic National Committee was blamed on Russian hacks, although Wikileaks clearly indicated that the leak did not originate from Moscow. Somebody in the DNC leaked information to Wikileaks. Still the mouthpiece of the Democratic Party: MSNBC, reported wild stories about ”Russian intervention in American elections”. Even today people like Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann have this delusion that Donald Trump was made president because Vladimir Putin wanted it so!

They are however completely right when they attack Trump on his lies and broken promises. Maddow and Olbermann may have it wrong on this DNC leak, but they are right on the very nature of the Trump administration. An administration that is harmful to America as the recent attack on Syria proofs. Dictator Putin was not happy that Trump attacked his fellow dictator Bashar Al-Assad. To proof that Russia is serious about defending the Ba’ath regime, a cruiser has been send to the Syrian Arab Republic. If this cruiser is told to attack American missiles it could start a conflict between the USA and the Russian Federation. Trump’s cowboy attack is another proof that this president is totally incompetent as he did not even asked for permission to attack a foreign country. No, in the mind of Donald Trump,he hold the absolute power and as a capitalist exploiter, he is used to have absolute power in the Trump Organisation!

On the economy, many regulations that protect workers, nature and minorities are under attack. Trump has already relax environment regulations which prohibit the dump of toxic wastes. Now it has become easier for capitalists to pollute nature, thanks to that billionaire scumbag in the White House. The famous Mexican Wall will be build and paid for by American tax payers, not Mexicans. Also the construction of this new ”Berlin Wall” means that many Americans are forced out of their homes. Trump wants to build his wall over many houses. The costs of building his Great Wall will be around 25 billion U.S dollars. Money that Americans could use on healthcare is instead wasted on building a needless wall between the USA and Mexico!

Four months after The Donald took office, it has become clear that he is a right-wing president. A bombastic cowboy who only serves one class. Revolutionary socialists keep calling for the formation of a workers party. We cannot trust the Democrats as they have proven to be supporters of capitalism, imperialism and the establishment. Workers need representatives who support their struggles and live on a average salary. People like Kshama Sawant from Seattle proof that socialists can get elected. She has defeated twice the candidates of the Democratic Party. If working class Americans had a nation wide party which selects people like Sawant, the power structure of the Democrats and Republicans can be destroyed. Although these two capitalist parties seem powerful and huge, they can be defeated!

Meanwhile the imperialist powers of the world at closing in on each other. It seems we are back to 1900, when the planet was divided between growing empires. Although the old colonialists are long gone, new imperialist regimes emerge who serve their capitalist master at any cost. As of 2017 we have:

  1. The United States of America, which can be seen as the old empire desperately holding on to its status as the ”only superpower”.
  2. The Russian Federation, growing in strength to regain its status as world superpower!
  3. The People’s Republic of China, a country that has embraced nationalism and imperialism to compete with America and Russia!
  4. The European Union, the first imperialist continent and still a powerful economic union that tries to compete with America, Russia and China

Workers have nothing to gain by supporting any of them. American, Russian, Chinese and European workers are just pawns for the leaders of these imperialist states. Trump, Putin, Xi Jinping and the EU leaders are not serving ordinary people. To be a nationalist and support one of them out of hatred for the others is foolish. There are many leftists who in their hatred of western imperialism, praise the regimes in Moscow and Beijing. These anti-imperialists do not understand that Russian and Chinese imperialism is just as brutal and cruel as American/European imperialism. Putin and Xi Jinping control conservative regimes that reject workers rights, woman rights, LGBT+ rights and basic democratic ideas!

Big winners of a potential war between the superpowers will be the arms industry. Capitalist scum who in the USA are getting rich by selling expensive weapons to the U.S government. In Russia and China most military contractors are not privately owned. But in Europe and America, the industry for military hardware is privately owned. Every war which includes the EU and the USA, means that these private arms capitalists get richer. Now that Trump has attacked Syria, many military contractors dream about more attacks and maybe a full intervention of the U.S army in the Syrian civil war. We revolutionary socialists do not oppose factories who make military products. However we want these enterprises to be owned by society and under democratic control of workers!

What would happen if Trump orders more missile strikes? What if they hit Russian personal or Iranian troops helping the Syrian regime? It is no secret that Bashar Al-Assad is supported by Shia-Islamic fundamentalists from Iran. If these Iranians are killed in a American air strike, this could be seen as a declaration of war. Donald Trump’s actions are dangerous and must be condemned by all people. Revolutionary Socialist Media therefore agrees with the demands of the Committee for a Workers International. We say:

  • Stop Trump’s attacks on Syria – Oppose all outside powers’ interference in the region
  • End war and terror in Syria, Iraq and the Middle East
  • No to racism and scapegoating of immigrants and refugees
  • For workers’ unity and socialism

 

War Lord: Donald Trump

MS Sewol back from the grave

April 2014, the South Korean ferry: MS Sewol sinks after a sharp turn which led to heavy list. The ferry was out of balance due to illegal modifications made by her greedy capitalist owners, the Cheonghaejin Marine Company (went bankrupt after the sinking). Because of the corrupt nature of South Korea, the authorities look the other way when the ship was modified to accommodate more passengers and cargo. Although the MS Sewol took a long time to sink, the heavy list made it impossible to lower lifeboats. Out of 476 passengers, only 172 were able to escape. Most died because the crew told them to stay in their cabins. Many of the victims were teenagers, children on a school-trip. Now after lying on the seafloor for almost three years, the wreck of the MS Sewol has been raised to the surface!

The story of this Korean: Titanic is sad and clear proof that unregulated capitalism is a serious danger to human life. South Korea has modern safety laws and officials to enforce them. But political and corporate corruption is high. The Republic of Korea is a flawed democracy and many laws to protect workers and consumers, are often ignored by capitalists and government officials. Owners of big enterprises are able to bypass safety laws in order to increase their drive for profits. We all know stories of shopping malls collapsing because the builders failed to build a strong structure, all in the name of saving costs. People who protest against the danger of putting profits over people’s lives, are often intimidated or sacked. The Cheonghaejin Marine Company cared little for the lives of 476 passengers, when they (illegally) modified the MS Sewol to increase its profitability!

Disaster happened on 16 April 2014. The (out of balance) MS Sewol was traveling to Jeju Island. This was her 242 trip to the island and this time she was commanded by 69-year-old Captain Lee Joon-seok, who had been brought in as a replacement for the regular captain. The ship’s crew was never trained for an emergency, the safety budget from the Cheonghaejin Marine Company was only $2, which they used to buy a paper certificate. Out of 33 crew members, 19 were part-timers and not regular on the ship. On 16 April 2014, captain Lee Joon-seok was not on the bridge. The ferry was commanded by third mate Park Han-kyul and controlled by helmsman Cho Joon-k!

Prior to departure, the MS Sewol was modified to carry more cargo and passengers. This made the ferry out of balance and at risk of capsizing. Still the MS Sewol past safety inspections of the Korean Register of Shipping. This was possible because false documents had been provided. That the Cheonghaejin Marine Company was able to falsify documents shows criminal intent as they knew that they were doing wrong. In total, the MS Sewol was too heavy and in danger of capsizing if a turn was carried out too sharp!

Captain Shin who commanded the ferry on regular routes knew of this problem. But when he tried to warn his capitalist bosses they treated to fire him. On the last journey of the MS Sewol, Shin was replaced by Lee Joon-seok. Shin’s full name was not shown as in South Korea many capitalists work together to attack whistle-blowers. Captain Shin would be out of work in a matter of moments, if his full name would be revealed. Since the capitalist state works in favor of corrupt companies like Cheonghaejin, it is no surprise that Shin wanted to stay partly anonymous!

At 8:46 a.m on 16 April, helmsmen Cho Joon-ki was ordered to change course. He complied by turning the ship. This sharp maneuver however led the unbalanced  ship to turn sharply to port.  By 8:49 the MS Sewol was listing 20% towards the port-side, this caused all cargo and on board materials to fall towards the left-side. Now the ship was doomed, at 8:50 a.m less then five minutes after the unfortunate sharp turn, the MS Sewol was death in the water. The list was now 30% which made walking impossible. Passengers were then told by captain Lee Joon-seok and his bridge officers to stay in their cabins. Meanwhile the MS Sewol was making water as she slowly started to capsize. Two minutes after the engines were stopped, the captain called for help.  The communications between the ship and shore lasted almost 20 minutes. By 9:15 a.m the list reached 50% and there was still no general evacuation order!

Rescue boats and helicopters were speeding towards the doomed ship. The South Korean coast guard made its way to the MS Sewol. When their boats reached her, they found no people in the water. Those who managed to reached the upper decks were standing on the ship’s side, waiting for helicopter rescue. While 172 passengers were making their escape, the rest remained below deck. Korean society demands obedience to those in command. Most teenagers believed in what the captain said, that it was too dangerous to move around. While the MS Sewol was slowing sinking, they stayed and waited for help that never came.  At 9:23 a.m the coast guard told the sinking ferry to equip the passengers with lifebelts. The bridge responded that the intercom had failed and that they were still decided what to do. It would take another seven minutes before Lee Joon-seok gave the order to abandon ship. However with the intercom out of order and most crew members untrained to help others, no attempts were made to save the children trapped in their cabins!

Contact with the MS Sewol was lost around 9:38 a.m. Those who made it outside were jumping overboard, to be picked up by rescue boats. Helicopters were able to save some who got outside on the starboard side. Captain Lee Joon-seok and his officers were saved at 9:48 a.m from the bridge. Because of the sudden list, the captain was unable to get into uniform. He was saved with no pants on. The MS Sewol capsized and to the horror of some rescue boats, they could see people trapped behind the windows. It took two hours and 30 minutes before the whole ship was submerged. We can only imaging the final moments of those 295 people as they drowned to death. South Korea and the whole world was in deep shock!

The sinking of this ferry was a capitalist crime. A crime which can only happen when a government puts the freedom of capitalists before the safety of its people. It was only after the sinking that it was found out, that the modifications to the MS Sewol were made illegally and that documents had been falsified by the Cheonghaejin Marine Company. Yoo Byung-eun was the company’s president and biggest shareholder. After the tragedy he want into hiding and was found death, he had killed himself. Captain Lee Joon-seok and many officers were blamed for the fact that they kept passengers inside the ship. Out of 33 crew members, only three choose to stay behind and help passengers. Park Ji-young, Jeong Hyun-seon and Kim Ki-woong are called hero’s as they remained on the ferry. These three brave crew members died in the sinking while their captain and officers saved themselves. On 11 November 2014, the Gwangju District Court found Captain Lee Jun-seok guilty of negligence and he was sentenced to 36 years imprisonment. Because of his age, he will likely die in prison!

Anger and deep sadness led to a rise in protests against the conservative government. It marked the start of the end for South Korean president Park Geun-hye. The first female leader was soon facing massive protests as a corruption scandal surfaced in 2016. Park was impeached by the National Assembly on 9 December 2016 and the Constitutional Court removed her from the presidency in March of 2017. The MS Sewol disaster was a major blow for Korean conservatives. Yet the corrupt culture of South Korea did not die. Capitalism is still powerful and despite protests and demands for change, nothing has been done fundamentally. The south of Korea remains a flawed democracy, that fails to protect working class people and their families from capitalist greed. Danwon High School in the city of Ansan lost almost all of its students. Only 75 out of 325 survived the sinking. When the school reopened most class rooms were turned into memorial shrines for the victims!

Three years after the sinking, the wreck of the MS Sewol is lifted from its grave. The ship was lying on its side as it was raised. The majority of victims were recovered by navy divers before the wreck was raised, only 10 remain missing. It is hoped their bodies will be found inside the wreck once it reaches shore. The Cheonghaejin Marine Company went out of business in late 2014. Many high ranking bosses were arrested and charged with corruption. The disaster also led to a final tragic death. Among the 172 survivors was the vice principal of Danwon High School. He could not live with the fact that most of his pupils died on 16 April 2014. He had organized the school trip, he organized the teenagers on board the MS Sewol. Suffering from survivors guilt and deep depression, the poor man killed himself two days after the sinking. In his wallet the police found the following note: ”Surviving alone is too painful when 200 lives are unaccounted for … I take full responsibility” His final wish was to be cremated and his ashes to be scattered over the wreck site!

Korean workers need to understand that capitalist politics led to this tragedy. Had the ship not been illegally modified to carry more cargo and passengers, there would not have been an unbalance. Furthermore if regulations were enforced as they should have been, the MS Sewol would have seen allowed to travel. Yet she made over 200 trips while being out of balance. Because government officials and companies were so linked to each other, many regulations are often not enforced. Bureaucrats do not wish to hinder the operations of capitalists in their eternal quest for profits. Capitalist greed killed these 295 people on 16 April 2014. The wreck of the ship is a eternal warning to South Korea. This is the result of greed and profiteering. To end it, workers need to brake with both conservative and liberal politicians. They need to build their own independent party of working class people!

This is not easy as South Korean society is dominated by corrupt big companies who control not only politicians, but also the media and influence many trade unions. The undemocratic: National Security Law, makes it easy for the capitalist government to ban political parties, which they did in the case of the Unified Progressive Party. The Republic of Korea therefore remains a deeply flawed nation and it is up to socialists, trade unionists and genuine leftists to fight for a different Korea. The political right-wing is strong as liberals and conservatives enjoy unlimited support from the ruling class. But workers are the pillar on which they stand. If this pillar decides to walk away, the whole rotten capitalist system will collapse!

 

The wreck of the MS Sewol in March 2017 after it laid under water for three years!

Flawed democracies

The USA, Japan and South Korea, nations the western media loves to call ”democratic and free”. In reality they are not full democracies. On paper their appear fully free, yet in practice there are major flaws as these nations do not meet all criteria to be called full democracies. Out of 167 nations, only 19 are called full democracies by the UK-based Economist Intelligence Unit. It is ironic that many nations who follow the so called ”western model” are not listed as fully democratic. Instead they are indexed as flawed, revolutionary socialists understand why this is the case!

It comes to no surprise to read that Scandinavia and Iceland are at the top of the full democracy index. These nations were the only ones on planet Earth who were modeled on social democracy, the center-leftist ideology. Social democracy puts a great deal on social services to working class people and it was the main ideology of workers parties. Before the 1980’s, social democracy was still a socialist ideology and many social democrats believed in a moderate evolutionary road to a socialist society. In Scandinavia, the labour parties got the support from the proletariat and were able to build strong welfare states. This made Norway, Sweden and Denmark not only fully democratic, but also more equal in wealth distribution!

Canada, Ireland and Switzerland are also high on the full democracies list. The only Latin American nation to reach the full democracy status is Uruguay and Mauritius is the only African nation to be called a full democracy. Britain stands at number 16 and Spain is number 17. The United States of America is not listed as a full democracy, in fact it is a flawed democracy indexed at number 21. In the flawed democracy list are also many nations few would think as flawed. But when you look closely you might not be surprised. France and Italy may have fair and free elections, but like the USA and many other so called ”democratic” nations, they have an underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics and issues in the functioning of governance!

What criteria are used to measure countries? The Economist Intelligence Unit is using the following definition:

Full democracies are nations where civil liberties and basic political freedoms are not only respected, but also reinforced by a political culture conducive to the thriving of democratic principles. These nations have a valid system of governmental checks and balances, independent judiciary whose decisions are enforced, governments which function adequately, and media which is diverse and independent. These nations have only limited problems in democratic functioning

Flawed democracies are nations where elections are fair and free and basic civil liberties are honored but may have issues (e.g. media freedom infringement). Nonetheless, these nations have significant faults in other democratic aspects, including underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics, and issues in the functioning of governance

Hybrid regimes are nations where consequential irregularities exist in elections regularly preventing them from being fair and free. These nations commonly have governments which apply pressure on political opponents, non independent judiciaries, widespread corruption, harassment and pressure placed on the media, anemic rule of law, and more pronounced faults than flawed democracies in the realms of underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics, and issues in the functioning of governance

Authoritarian regimes are nations where political pluralism has vanished or is extremely limited. These nations are often absolute dictatorships, may have some conventional institutions of democracy- but with meager significance, infringements and abuses of civil liberties are commonplace, elections- if they take place- are not fair and free, the media is often state-owned or controlled by groups associated with the ruling regime, the judiciary is not independent, and the presence of omnipresent censorship and suppression of governmental criticism!

The USA and their friends boost about being the ”Free World”, while in reality the ”land of the free and the home of the brave” is not even a full democracy as categorized by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Let us look at the other friends of the United States of America, a flawed democracy!

  1. Japan: FLAWED
  2. South Korea: FLAWED
  3. Italy: FLAWED
  4. Israel: FLAWED
  5. Indonesia: FLAWED
  6. Guatemala: HYBRID
  7. Georgia: HYBRID
  8. Ukraine: HYBRID
  9. Turkey: HYBRID (soon to be AUTHORITARIAN)
  10. Afghanistan: AUTHORITARIAN
  11. United Arab Emirates: AUTHORITARIAN
  12. Saudi Arabia: AUTHORITARIAN
  13. Iraq: AUTHORITARIAN

These 13 nations are very close to Washington DC and have sided with the so called ”FREE WORLD”. American presidents praised the political systems of these nations, especially when they used to be ex-Soviet. Billions of dollars are still given to the governments of Afghanistan, the Arab emirates and Saudi Arabia, deeply authoritarian countries. This money is then used to suppress critics and to keep the local capitalist class in power. In flawed democracies opposition to the ruling class is allowed and permitted, but those with money make sure that their politicians are always given the most media attention. This is why Bernie Sanders was unable to defeat Hillary Clinton, as the whole political system of the USA favored a right-wing Democratic candidate!

China and Russia do not need to be exposed for being AUTHORITARIAN. We all know that the Kremlin and Beijing are dictatorial in nature. Russia under Vladimir Putin has grown into a conservative dictatorship and China has always been conservative. Political conservatism is a huge part of the Communist Party of China. This was also common among other ”people’s republics”. Few Chinese workers believe that their nation is genuine socialist. Only brainwashed nationalists and members of the new rich are positive about the current politics of the state-capitalist regime!

South Korea is a typical flawed democracy. Its first female president has recently been removed for corruption. This is not uncommon as her father used to be the anticommunist dictator of South Korea in the 60’s and 70’s, until he was assassinated by his own secret service. South Korean democracy is deeply flawed, many politicians only serve their own interests. Both liberals and conservatives are on the payroll of big business. The lasted political scandal exposed that high ranking officials were bribed by enterprises like Samsung. This corruption is also possible because the ruling class of South Korea uses the fear of ”communist” North Korea, to stigmatize the political left-wing. Revolutionary leftists have faced arrests, intimidation and jail time, for rejecting the capitalist system. South Korea has a law called the National Security Law, which allows the government to arrest people based on their political ideology. Not so long ago the conservatives used this law to disband a leftist nationalist party, which they called: ”Pro-North Korean”

Guatemala is called the backyard of Washington DC. In this Latin American nation, the Americans intervene since 1960. The CIA supported numerous corrupt regimes, who only cared about themselves. American weapons were used oppress the Mayan peasant population. In response to the dictatorial way of life, many leftist groups rallied together to fight the government and its American allies. The civil war lasted for 36 years in which the anticommunists and their CIA allies, started a brutal crackdown of ethnic Mayan peasants, who make up 85% of Guatemala. Suspected rebels and their sympathizers were brutally tortured and then executed. 150.000 died in what is now called the Guatemalan genocide or Mayan genocide. Few in the western world are aware of this crime. Because the conflict in Guatemala was given almost no media attention!

As capitalism keeps its iron grip on the world, workers and poor need to understand that this system does not serve their interests. What we need is are workers parties on genuine socialist programs to combat both the remnants of stalinism and capitalistic ideologies such as social democracy. The political left-wing is still in a paralyzed state, unable to fight for a alternative to the barbaric capitalist system. Social democratic parties have turned massively to the right and many moderate socialists balance between accepting capitalism and rejecting it. The flawed democracies of the western world are not offering the solutions working class people need. Capitalist democracy is only democracy for the rich. Therefore we need socialist democracy, a democracy from the bottom up under workers management and control!

 

Crushing defeat for Dutch social democrats

The Party of Labour has suffered a humiliated defeated during the 2017 parliamentary elections. Dutch social democrats lost over 30 seats in the Tweede Kamer, the main parliament of the Netherlands. The winners were the greens of GreenLeft, conservatives of the Christian Democratic Appeal and the liberals of Democrats 66. Other winners are the far-right: Party of Freedom and the Forum for Democracy. These two nationalist parties are very anti-immigrant. The Socialist Party (a moderate leftist party) failed to increase its seats again, after stagnating in the 2012 elections. Now the moderate socialists ended up with 14 seats, losing one seat. The right-wing: Party for Freedom and Democracy remains the biggest party although it lost almost seven seats!

Social democracy has suffered a crushing defeat, the PvdA (Party of Labour) lost over 2/3 of its seats. Back in 2012, the social democrats were able to profit from a media race. They portrayed themselves as the only left-wing force against the right-wing conservative liberals of the VVD (Party for Freedom and Democracy). Many leftist Dutch voted on the PvdA and were betrayed when the social democrats entered a right-wing government with the VVD. In five years the working class suffered under the austerity regime of Mark Rutte, who was fully supported by Diederik Samsom of the PvdA. Angered at this final betrayal, the working class base of the social democrats turned its back on them. Now the PvdA is reduced to nine seats in parliament. A huge humiliation for a party that was regarded as a party of power since 1945!

The greens of GreenLeft were able to increase their seats. Jesse Claver is the youngest party-leader and under his command, the green liberals grew in support. Revolutionary socialists however do not celebrate this. Because at local levels, GreenLeft is supportive of austerity and cuts to social services. Although a green party they are not eco-socialists, nor do the wish to replace capitalism. GreenLeft is a center-leftist party on a platform which comes close to social liberalism. Some regard the party as representatives of the higher educated progressives, living in urban centers. It is true that Claver’s party is progressive on many issues, but their desire to be part of the BIG BOYS means that the greens will have to abandon many leftist ideas, in order to participate in a coalition government with parties that support capitalism and austerity!

Democrats 66 are the main social liberal party. Although they call themselves progressive and social liberal, D66 has supported many austerity governments. The Democrats are a mixture between the right-wing VVD (individualists) and the former leftist PvdA (collectivists). In the late 1960’s, D66 was founded and seen as a progressive leftist force until the 1990’s, when it participated in the first austerity government of Wim Kok (PvdA). After the rise of Jan Peter Balkenende of the Christian Democratic Appeal, the democrats joined forces with the conservatives and liberal conservatives. Out of all political parties in the Netherlands, D66 is the most secular and they are not liked by the religious parties like the Christian Union and the Political Reformed Party!

The Party for Freedom (PVV) and the Forum for Democracy are right-wing nationalist parties. Geert Wilders is the supreme leader and only member of the PVV. He rules his nationalist party with iron fist and does not allow a membership based system. Thierry Baudet’s Forum for Democracy can be regarded as a wolf in sheep clothing. On the outside they look like a populist party, calling for more power to the people. But on the inside Thierry Baudet is a white nationalist, who loves the period when Europeans were still in command of the world. He is also very chauvinist and wrote that woman should submit to male dominance. However this is not why he was elected. Many Dutch fear of losing their ”culture”. This fear has been drilled into them by the right-wing media. Now that black activists and anti-racists dare to fight against colonialist remnants like Black Pete, many white Dutch feel under siege. It is similar to the whites of southern USA states in the 1960’s. Back then many whites were afraid to losing their privileges as blacks fought against the Apartheid.

Moderate socialists are united in the Socialist Party or SP. This party is seen as the most leftist of all Dutch political parties. In reality however they are not revolutionary. The SP is a very moderate party, more classic social democratic then actual socialist in nature. They are led by Emile Roemer, who is a nice person but lacks a class consciousness. Revolutionary socialists have tried to work inside the SP, but the party-leadership used old bureaucratic methods to prevent any socialist group from joining. Although article 3 of the SP’s constitution calls for the formation of a socialist society in the Netherlands, the party itself rarely speaks of socialism as a alternative to capitalism. Still the SP is the only party willing to fight neoliberalism and austerity!

 

After years of supporting austerity, the PvdA has been crushed

Presidential dictatorship in the making

President and soon-to-be-dictator: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is almost supreme ruler of Turkey. Back in 2015, he restarted the war with the Kurds and intervened in the Syrian civil war, to fuel nationalism and to crush his internal opponents. Now the final move is made, Turkey is to become a presidential ”democracy” in contrast to the current parliamentary system introduced in 1923. Erdoğan wants to finish his quest and rule unopposed in a dictatorial presidential system. A public referendum is to legitimatize the new system hailed by conservatives and nationalists as ”democratic”!

Turkey is only a democracy in name. Since the rise of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan freedom of speech is more and more limited. With nationalist propaganda against the supposed ”enemies of the Turkish people” the conservative leader is poisoning the minds of many. A big problem is the loyalty of many poor Turks. People from rural Turkey have been the biggest supporters of the soon-to-be-dictator since 2002. They gave Erdoğan his victories in the parliamentary and presidential elections. While rural Turks love him for his conservatism, urban Turks in the cities hate Erdoğan. This is understandable since urban workers are more progressive and reject the growing dictatorial government!

The situation is dangerous as criticism of the president is now more and more impossible. Independent newspapers have been shutdown, left-wing politicians arrested and critics face intimidation by nationalist hooligans. The resuming war with the Kurds has given Erdoğan an excuse to arrest the leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP). This party is supportive of Kurdish minority rights, which is translated by Erdoğan as ”pro-PKK”. Anybody who is not supportive of Turkish nationalism is called ”a supporter of PKK terrorism” by conservatives and far-right nationalists. With the arrest of HDP leaders Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş, the Turkish state has proven that they are not democratic minded. The prosecution claims that the HDP is a front organisation of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is standard procedure when arresting left-wing (anti-nationalist) critics!

In the past, many leftist parties were banned because they supported either Kurdish separatism or Kurdish minority rights. In nationalist Turkey, you are not allowed to call for an independent Kurdistan. Between 2009 and 2015, it seemed that Erdoğan tried to make peace with the PKK. But because of the Syrian civil war and the rise of the PYD in northern Syria, the alarm-bells went off in Ankara. Erdoğan does not like it that Kurdish Syria is controlled by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) a party that is allied to the PKK and its founder. This is why he resumed the brutal crackdown of Kurdish activists. He knew that the PKK would strike back and this they did. Now the soon-to-be-dictator is fueling ethnic nationalism to rally the Turks against the Kurds. Nationalism has always been a problem as many Turks are raised to be deeply nationalistic!

NATO however does not care about the rise of a conservative dictatorship in Turkey. They keep selling guns and weapons to Ankara. This shows that the whole North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a front for American capitalism, with no regard for human rights. NATO weapons allowed the Turks to destroy thousands of Kurdish villages in the 1980’s and 1990’s. European leaders maybe critical of Erdoğan, but their capitalist interests outweighs human rights. Also the Turks are needed against the Islamic State, a terrorist group that grew out of the disaster called: Operation Iraqi Freedom. Also the European Union is afraid that Turkey opens its borders and allows Syrian refugees freely to move into Europe. The refugee crisis is a major problem, yet the EU closes its eyes to people fleeing terror and oppression western imperialism created. Syrians who flee IS terrorism should be welcomed, instead they face racism and rejection by right-wing governments!

Erdoğan is playing on nationalism and the fear of terrorism. These he mixes in a deathly cocktail that is fed to his supporters, who’s backwardness is easy exploited. In rural Turkey, ideas such as democracy, woman rights and freedom of speech are only words used by a secular elite. Many poor Turks have always felt oppressed by those richer and wealthier secularists. They never liked the strict laws on church and state separation. Traditionalism and a conservative mentality are still very dominate outside the major cities. Since 2002, political Islam is making a comeback as the conservative party of Erdoğan is supportive of many Islamic values. The Republicans in America are very similar to the Turkish conservatives. Like the party of Erdoğan, the Republican Party is trying to impose Christian believes on the American people, which is deeply unconstitutional!

Now the big boss of Ankara has picked a fight with the Netherlands. A small country on the western borders of Germany. With over 400.000 Turkish people living in the Netherlands, Erdoğan knows that many of them are politically conservative. Dutch Turks originate as migrant workers in the 1960’s/1970’s. They worked in Dutch factories and were allowed to stay. The owners of the factories searched for workers in rural Turkey and attracted men who were politically and culturally conservative in thinking. This is why after 50 years, many of these rural migrant workers still support Erdoğan. The Dutch government however was not happy that the Turkish government was trying to win over Dutch Turks to vote in favor of the big boss!

The Netherlands has its own election for parliament on 15 March, so the government of Mark Rutte did not liked the idea that Turkish officials were campaigning for a YES vote. A vote which would result in institutionalizing the Erdoğan regime. Turkish minister for foreign affairs: Mevlüt Cavusoglu, wanted to speak in Rotterdam. But the city council rejected his coming. When Cavusoglu said he would arrive no matter what the Dutch think, the mayor banned him from entering the city. Furious at this refusal, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the Netherlands a nation of ”Nazi remnants”. A typical reaction as Erdoğan also called Germany a ”Nazi state”. It proofs how bombastic and arrogant this mafia dictator is!

Revolutionary socialists call on Turkish voters to reject the president and call for the clear NO. This is difficult as the referendum is held in a deeply undemocratic environment. Critics of Erdoğan has been silenced and those who speak out, risk arrest by the police. With the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) more or less paralyzed by the imprisonment of its leaders, the presidential dictatorship is almost complete. Socialist Alternative in Turkey is calling fora clear NO, as does Revolutionary Socialist Media. The failure of the Republican People’s Party to oppose the conservatives, also shows the bankruptcy of Kemalism, the nationalist ideology of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Turkish workers need to rally with Kurdish workers and others in a workers party on a socialist program!

The People’s Democratic Party has the potential of becoming such a party. But for this to become reality, the HDP needs a program that fully brakes with the Turkish capitalist state. Since it is not allowed to reject nor criticize the bourgeois republic of Mustafa Kemal, the HDP cannot expect that the conservatives nor the nationalists (from both the far-right and the kemalists) will ever tolerate them. Even Mustafa Kemal never accepted opposition to his Republican People’s Party. Like Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the founding father of modern day Turkey was a dictator, who oppressed anybody who did not shared his believes!

Türk işçiler, başkanlık diktatörlüğüne hayır deyin!

#HAYIR

Class traitors of Mongolia

Mongolia is a nation that is famous for Genghis Khan, the war-lord who conquered China, Central Asia and large parts of Eastern Europe in the 11th century AD. But the last 90 years of this nation are written not by a great Khan, but by the class traitors of the Mongolian People’s (Revolutionary) Party. Founded as a communist party in 1920, the MPRP embraced the Stalinist ideology around 1927 and led the Mongolian People’s Republic. Although stalinism was dropped in 1990, the party has remained a ruling party of capitalist Mongolia. It abandoned Marxist socialism and now claims to be a social democratic center-leftist party!

The Mongolian revolution started in 1921 against the theocratic: Bogd Khaanate. Revolutionaries with the help from the Workers and Peasant Red Army of Soviet Russia, defeated the anticommunist White Armies in Mongolia. With their defeat came also an end to Chinese domination over the region. The revolutionaries were united in the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP). Although part of the Communist International, they were not implementing revolutionary socialism. In fact the MPP was very divided and power struggles were common. It would take three years before the party ended the theocracy and proclaimed a ”socialist” republic!

In 1924, the Mongolian People’s Republic was established. At the advice of the Communist International, the MPP renamed itself into the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP). From the start it was clear that the new people’s republic, needed support from the USSR in all matters. Soviet leaders officially respected the independence of Mongolia, but the MPRP was under heavy pressure to follow the new Stalinist line. Moscow was however right on one thing: the old revolutionaries who led the 1921 revolution, were not true communists. They lacked Marxist thinking, many were Buddhists and slow to implement revolutionary changes. Unlike Soviet Russia, the revolution did not originate from workers councils. This is why the people’s republic was more or less deformed from the start. Workers were a tiny minority as most Mongolians were peasants in a deeply feudal society!

With Stalin’s rise to power, the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party slowly started to bind to his will. The 1930’s were marked by increasing Stalinist politics, including repressions against Buddhist monks and the closing of ancient monasteries. Peljidiin Genden was the last prime minister who stood against Soviet influence over Mongolia. He was arrested by Soviet NKVD forces stationed in Mongolia. Eventually Genden and many old revolutionaries were called ”enemies of the revolution ” and shot under orders of the Mongolian Stalin: Khorloogiin Choibalsan!

In 1931, this Khorloogiin Choibalsan was made Minister of Livestock and Agriculture. It allowed him to carry out forced collectivization of the economy. Like Russia, Mongolia was a peasant feudal nation, with wealthy farmers and Buddhist monks owning most lands. Under Soviet influence, the Mongolian government wanted a planned economy and they (like Russia) imposed this in a top-down bureaucratic way. Traditional herders were forced off the steppe and into badly managed collective farms, destroying one third of Mongolian livestock. Farmers and peasants had nothing to say in the day to day management. State mangers (who had no idea how to run a farm) were put in charge. Mismanagement was now common, but anybody who criticized this fact was branded a ”enemy of socialism” and arrested. Choibalsan left the Ministry of Livestock and Agriculture in 1935, because he wanted more power!

The great terror against the old revolutionaries started in 1936. Choibalsan was a key player who alongside Gelegdorjiin Demid was made Marshal of the Mongolian People’s Army. Choibalsan also became head of the newly elevated Ministry of Internal Affairs, 26 percent of whose staff were NKVD agents. Stalin wanted to purge the Mongolian state like he did in Soviet Russia. So a wave of terror was unleashed by Choibalsan and his NKVD contacts. It is said that over 20.000 to 30.000 Mongolians were murdered. Many of the victims were shot only because they were either monks or members of the government bureaucracy, that were called ”class enemies”. When the Procurator General spoke out against the mass executions, he too was arrested and then shot!

But the ”Mongolian Stalin” wanted more power and got it in 1939, when he was made prime minister. As puppet of Stalin who had ordered the terror against old revolutionaries, Buddhist clergy, intelligentsia, political dissidents and ethnic Buryats and Kazakhs, Choibalsan was the right man to lead the puppet state. Like his master in the Kremlin, the new boss started to build his own cult of personality. Under his rule the Mongolian writing system was changed to the Cyrillic alphabet and Russian army uniforms were introduced. By the dawn of the 1940’s, the Mongolian People’s Republic was transformed from a feudal Buddhist nation into a classic Stalinist state, with Choibalsan as supreme leader!

To keep himself in power, the ”Mongolian Stalin” needed a loyal group around him. Following the Soviet method, Khorloogiin Choibalsan started to glorify himself as a ”national hero”. His portraits were shown on all public buildings, he was also praised as the ”savior of socialist Mongolia”. In the USSR, Stalin portrayed himself next to Lenin, in Mongolia this was done with Damdin Sükhbaatar, an old revolutionary and founding father of the Mongolian People’s Party back in 1920. Choibalsan took on the role of Stalin and his propaganda portrayed Sükhbaatar as the Lenin of Mongolia. Sükhbaatar did not lived to see the birth of the Mongolian People’s Republic. He died in 1923 and like Lenin, never saw the horrors of stalinism!

The first test for Choibalsan’s regime came during the border war with the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. This nation was created by Imperial Japan in 1934 to create the illusion of a independent northern Chinese state. Mongolia was also a puppet state at the time, since Choibalsan did not dare to act independently of his Kremlin master Stalin. The border war started when Mongolian troops crossed a disputed border. Troops from Manchukuo opened fire and drove the Mongolians out. In response the Soviet Union ordered the 57th Special Corps under the command of Grigori Shtern and Georgy Zhukov, to aid the Mongolian People’s Army. As both armies build up along the border, the Imperial Japanese Army decided to strike first!

Four nations fought over the disputed border from May 1939 until September 1939. In the end it was a failure for Japan and Manchukuo, since they were unable to brake the Red Army. The border war was the first major victory for Georgy Zhukov, who would become legendary during the second world war, when he commanded the Red Army in its drive towards Germany. Choibalsan’s regime supported the USSR during the war by delivering raw materials and financed several army units, like the “Revolutionary Mongolia” Tank Brigade, the “Mongolian Arat” Squadron and half million military trained horses were donated to the Soviet war effort. 300 Mongolian volunteers fought on the side on the Red Army during the 1945 campaign!

After the war in Europe ended, the USSR turned towards Japan and its puppet state. 16.000 soldiers from the Mongolian People’s Army aided 1,5 million Soviet soldiers in attacking the Empire of Manchukuo. Although the Japanese Army had over 700.000 men under arms, it lacked a good communication infrastructure. After only a few days of fighting, the Japanese high command had lost contact with its forward units. Unable to deliver orders, their soldiers were overrun by Soviet forces. In just one week, the Red Army and Mongolian People’s Army had almost completely conquered the Empire of Manchukuo. As defeat was now clear, the Japanese soldiers started to murder civilians at random. Mothers were forced to kill their own children before killing or being killed themselves. 11 days after the start of the invasion, the red banner was raised over Lüshun Port!

Now that the war was over ”Great Leader” Khorloogiin Choibalsan ,wanted international recognition for his nation. Mongolia was seen since 1921 as a part of China called Outer Mongolia. Inner Mongolia is still part of the People’s Republic of China and called the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Unlike modern Mongolia which uses the Cyrillic script, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region is using the old Mongolian alphabet. Stalin made it clear to the world that they had to recognize the Mongolian People’s Republic. The Republic of China under Chiang-Kai-Shek rejected this since they saw Mongolia as part of Nationalist China!

However Chiang-Kai-Shek was defeated in the Chinese civil war and driven to Taiwan. China became a Stalinist state under Mao Zedong, who recognized the Mongolian People’s Republic. Choibalsan hoped that Mao would allow unification of both Outer and Inner Mongolia. But Mao was a nationalist too and wanted to keep what he controlled. Stalin agreed with China which was a huge disappointment for the Mongolian leader. He grew bitter and refused to participate in Stalin’s 70 birthday celebration in Moscow. In 1950, the Tuvan People’s Republic asked to join the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic as a ”autonomous” republic. Stalin agreed on Tuvan and Choibalsan was asked by die-hard stalinists to do the same. Choibalsan reacted furious and refused!

In January 1952, Khorloogiin Choibalsan died of kidney cancer in Moscow. He was 56 years old. Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal became the next prime minister. Like Choibalsan before him, Tsedenbal needed the support from the Kremlin in order to gain legitimacy in the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party. Stalin choose to support Tsedenbal which allowed him to remove all of his critics. Tsedenbal worked with both Stalin and his successor Nikita Khrushchev. It is said that the Mongolian leader asked almost six times to allow his nation to join the USSR. Unlike Khorloogiin Choibalsan who had grew bitter over Soviet politics, Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal was a loyal dog who made sure that he was very close to ”Mother Russia”. Moscow however never allowed Mongolia to become a republic of the Soviet-Union. Both Khrushchev and Brezhnev wanted to keep the Mongolian People’s Republic as a buffer zone, between them and Mao’s China!

During the Sino-Soviet split in the 1960’s, Mongolia choose Moscow over Beijing. This angered Mao Zedong who’s propaganda denounced Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal as a ”social imperialist rat”. At home Tsedenbal elected himself as general secretary of the party. Now he was both prime minister and head of the MPRP. In 1974, he also was named Chairman of the Presidium of the State Great Khural. His rule was of moderate stalinism in comparison with Khorloogiin Choibalsan. There was more cultural freedom and mass killings were a thing of a dark past. It would take however until 1961, before Mongolia was allowed into the United Nations. The Republic of China (on Taiwan) had vetoed all attempts to join in the 1950’s. Moscow was needed to threaten Taipei before they agreed on allowing Mongolia to join the UN!

After ruling for more then 32 years, Tsedenbal became more erratic and authoritarian as he grew older. A new wave of purges happened which alienated many politburo members. Also Moscow was not happy with the outright rejection by Tsedenbal on the Sino-Soviet rapprochement in 1982. With full Soviet support, the politburo moved against its leader. On 24 August 1984, Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal was removed as general secretary. Officially it was because of old age and mental weakness. Next Stalinist boss in line was Jambyn Batmönkh, who ruled for six years before the collapse of the single party system!

The pro-democracy movement grew with the popularity of perestroika and glasnost in the Soviet-Union. By 1989, many students were demanding political changes. Batmönkh was already making plans for the return of capitalism and the MPRP slowly moved away from marxism-leninism (stalinism). But for many the economic reforms were not what they wanted. A capitalist system was not what the students asked for. For them socialism had to be democratic. As the protests grew, some in the politburo wanted to use force to end the civil unrest. But Batmönkh rejected violence. As a calm personality, the last Stalinist leader decided to abandon the monopoly of the party on state power. Free elections were held in July 1990!

Unlike other Stalinist states that were created by the USSR, the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party was not hated by the majority of the people. The party won the first democratic election, while liberals and conservatives were only winning a minority in the new parliament. In theory the MPRP could have build democratic socialism, it had won the trust of a full majority. However socialism as a political and economic ideal was considered ”outdated” and ”failed” by new leaders. Although still named the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party, socialism would never be constructed. Worse, the MPRP moved towards implementing capitalist law and order. Mongolia privatized its economy in the hope of attracting foreign capital!

The collapse of the Soviet-Union in December 1991 led to a economic crisis. Mongolia lost 1/3 of its gross domestic product. The 1990’s were brutal years and many workers suffered as they lost their jobs and pensions. As the nation was no longer a official socialist republic, the Mongolian People’s Republic changed it name in 1992 to just: Mongolia. Again this was done by the same party who had created the people’s republic in 1924. The reformed ”democratic socialists” were dropping all references to revolutionary socialism. Marxist ideas which they had called ”holy” and ”sacred” under Khorloogiin Choibalsan and Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal, were now a thing of the past. Still the years 1992-1996 were harsh for working class Mongolians!

Angered by the way the MPRP had carried out its capitalist transformation, the people voted the ex-Stalinist party out of office in 1996. A liberal capitalist coalition called the Democratic Union Coalition came to power. It was made up by the Mongolian National Liberal Party and the Mongolian Social Democratic Party. The coalition’s main goal was to speed up austerity, which resulted in deep disillusion among working class people. Four years later the coalition had split up and the MPRP was back in power. The voter turnout had dropped from 95% in 1992 to 82,4% in the year 2000, showing that already -13% did not vote!

The drop in turnout would only increase over time. During the last parliamentary elections in June 2016, the voter turnout was 74%. Not a bad score compared to eastern Europe, but it is a drop when you consider that in the 1990’s the turnout was above 90%. The Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party has only been a opposition party for two periods in Mongolian history, during the four years of the Democratic Union Coalition (1996-2000) and between 2012 and 2016. As the party was no longer revolutionary it decided to rename itself back to Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) in 2010. Also they declared to be social democratic and no longer ”democratic socialist”. Some did not liked this change and a split occurred. Around 80.000 members left the MPP and created a new political party under the old name. The current MPRP is led by Nambaryn Enkhbayar, former prime minister between 2000 and 2004!

Both the Mongolian People’s Party and the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party are pro-capitalist and no force for socialism. They are ideological empty, serving charismatic personalities instead of a clear political idea. Still there is little to no trust in the opposition parties created after 1990. Most voters have remained loyal to the party that led the 1921 revolution and created the first independent Mongolian state. This is the only true claim the MPP has left. Like the African National Congress in South Africa, the Mongolian People’s Party can claim to be the party of national liberation. Revolutionary socialist have no illusions and openly reject the MPP as a socialist party. Mongolian workers need to understand that the old-Stalinist party never worked in their interests. What they need is a workers party on a genuine socialist program. Such a party could rally the masses and win elections. Then a socialist Mongolia can be build under democratic management of workers councils. Like all workers of the world, the Mongolian proletariat has nothing to lose!

 

The Lenin of Mongolia: Damdin Sükhbaatar. The flag on the right is the one of the bigger MPP, the one on the right belongs to the smaller MPRP

The Lenin of Mongolia: Damdin Sükhbaatar. The flag on the right (red-white blue) is the one of the Mongolian People’s Party, while the banner on the left (blue-white green) belongs to the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party, which broke from the MPP in 2010!

The long march of the SP

The Dutch SP has undergone a remarkable metamorphosis. After beginning as a maoist splinter, it took its distance from China and maoism in the second half of the seventies. In the late eighties and early nineties, after the implosion on the Eastern Bloc, the party dropped its references to marxism and leninism. Its leader Jan Marijnissen played an important role in creating a new ideology for the party, redefining its socialism as an ethical commitment to human dignity, equality and solidarity. The SP is the only left-wing party in the Netherlands that has succeeded in competing with the social-democratic Labour Party but there is doubt whether it can become a real alternative in the long run?

A document by Alex de Jong

Socialist Alternative Politics in the Netherlands

sp

 

Prosecution of the Rohingya in Mynamar

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Burma). A former pseudo-socialist state, military junta and now a capitalist democracy? Although Aung San Suu Kyi is state chancellor for almost 10 months, her government has done nothing to stop the prosecution of the Rohingya people, by the criminal Tatmadaw (Armed Forces of Myanmar). The victory of Suu Kyi’s party (the NLD) in the 2015 elections ended the rule of the military. But this came at a cost. Because the 2008 constitution gives the Tatmadaw control over important ministries. It allows the militarists who once ruled Myanmar unopposed, to carry out brutal prosecution of the Muslim minority in the Buddhist dominated nation! 

Aung San Suu Kyi is a Noble peace price winner. She has be hailed a champion of human rights by western media outlets. Her struggle against the military junta in Myanmar made her the Nelson Mandela of Asia. In 2008 the corrupt Tatmadaw led by general Than Shwe, decided to fool the world by creating a pseudo-democracy. The nation changed its name from the Union of Myanmar to Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Then they changed the flag and created a political party to serve as the civilian wing of the military. A former general was installed as leader of the Union Solidarity and Development Party. This party won the 2012 elections, which were held in a undemocratic environment. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) refused to participate in the election back then!

However Suu Kyi soon changed her mind and decided to compromise with the criminals, who had imprisoned her. Suu Kyi accepted the 2008 constitution (created by the military) and the fact that important ministries remained under Tatmadaw control. Also more then 25% of all seats in the Myanmar parliament are reserved for military officials, which allows the Tatmadaw to remain a strong political force. Together with the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), the corrupt militarists control 140 seats (out of 440) in the House of Representatives!

The 2008 constitution was created to keep Aung San Suu Kyi away from the presidency. As a woman married to a British citizen, the military made sure that she was not allowed to become head of state. Suu Kyi got around this loop in the law by installing an NLD puppet as president and creating a new government office: the State Chancellery of Myanmar. She could have excluded the right-wing USDP from power, but did not. Members of the civilian wing of the military remain on key function inside the government. The very fact that Suu Kyi is collaborating with people that have caused so much human rights violations, is a spit in the face of all those NLD activists, tortured and murdered at the hands of Tatmadaw soldiers. Revolutionary socialists also point at the prosecution and human rights abuses by the military and police against the Rohingya people, an Islamic minority!

Muslims make up less the 4% of the total population. There are over 1,3 million of them in Myanmar and they belong to the Rohingya people. The Rohingya are a tiny minority in a nation dominated by very large Buddhist majority. Out of 51 million, 68% belong to the ethnic Bamar people and they are Buddhist. Muslims have always been prosecuted and hatred. During the period of the military junta (1988-2011) the Tatmadaw (led by ethnic Bamar officials) loved to terrorize and intimidate the Rohingya. Like the Jews in Nazi Germany, the Rohingya are seen as dirt and stigmatized because they favor Islam and not Buddhism. The prosecution has not stopped with the rise of the NLD as the ruling party of Myanmar!

Why is Aung San Suu Kyi not stopping the prosecution of the Rohingya? Political opportunism is her reason. Because she needs the political support of the ethnic Bamar. Also her hands are bound to the 2008 constitution, which allows the military to control vital sectors of the government. Even if she wanted to stop the violence, rape and murder of Muslims, she has no legal means to do so. Suu Kyi would have to break the law and that is what the military could use as excuse to remove her from power. Therefore it was foolish of Suu Kyi to compromise with the Tatmadaw five years ago. Myanmar cannot be changed by dancing to the tunes of those who abused power for their own greedy needs!

Revolutionary socialists had no illusions in the compromise between NLD and people like general Than Shwe. On 9 November 2015, Revolutionary Socialist Media wrote an article over the supposed ”return of democracy” to Myanmar. Here is a line out of that article:

9 NOVEMBER 2015

The military might have abandoned their junta, but still rule through the Union Solidarity and Development Party and the fact they own 1/4 of all seats in parliament. These generals are nepotistic and greedy, they don’t care about anybody but themselves. Revolutionary socialists call for the arrest of all former members of the ”State Peace and Development Council”. People like Than Shwe must be trialed for corruption, nepotism and the killing of many innocent people. But is Aung San Suu Kyi willing to go that far? Will she brake the power of the feared Tatmadaw, which has oppressed the people for more then 50 years?    

We can now answer that question. Aung San Suu Kyi has not and will not brake the grip of the military on the people of the nation. Her government has limited powers and does not seem to have the will to brake the status quo. This is why RSM calls for the formation of a new workers party. Today in 2017 it is more the ever vital, that workers of all ethnicity’s unite against the forces of capitalism and militarism. Workers and poor cannot trust the National League for Democracy. They cannot trust Aung San Suu Kyi. All those deaths, all those victims are left in the dirt. Abandoned and betrayed by a woman they trusted for more then 30 years. How long will the NLD be able to remain popular with the masses?

Most people do not seem to care about the suffering of the Rohingya. The western world remains silent. A typical reaction since the Rohingya are Muslims. Many Europeans and Americans have little empathy, when it comes to Muslims suffering from prosecution and terror. Far-right populists like Donald Trump, Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen want to ban the Islamic religion and think on the same level as the criminal Tatmadaw. Meanwhile soldiers and police officers have started a major crack down in ethnic Rohingya towns. 1.250 homes in five towns are burned to the ground. 92.000 were forced to flee the soldiers who rape and torture as they destroy town after town. The prosecution is both a result of ethnic hatred and religious intolerance. Many Buddhists in Myanmar show little to no tolerance for minorities. The Rohingya are said to be the least wanted and most prosecuted ethnic group in the world!

Since 2014 it is not allowed to speak of the Rohingya as a people. Instead the government calls the Muslim minority: ”Bengali”, as if they are from Bangladesh. Reality is that many have fled to Bangladesh, but the Rohingya are not ethnically from this country. They come from the Rakhine State in Myanmar. This is denied by the (then USDP led) government which claims that the Muslims are foreign immigrants, who settled in Myanmar after the independence of India in 1948. This is historical revisionism in a attempt to remove 1,3 million people and their culture from the history books!

General Than Shwe is gone. His State Peace and Development Council dissolved. Their UDSP president has been replaced by Htin Kyaw (the NLD puppet) on the presidency. But nobody is punished for the mass murders after 1988. Nobody is trialed and jailed for slave labour, child labour and the rape of so many women. All this for what? The criminals walk free and the army remains politically strong! This is why all ethnic groups in Myanmar need a workers party on a socialist program. Socialism is not what has be tried in the past. The pseudo-socialist regime between 1962 and 1988 was based on xenophobia and racism, not revolutionary socialism. Although the nation called itself: Socialist Republic of the Union of Myanmar, there was nothing socialist about it. Workers were slaves to the ”Revolutionary Council” and the Burma Socialist Program Party!

The Bamar make up 68% of the total population, however they still have to share Myanmar with other ethnic groups. The Shan people make up 9% of the population and the Karen people stand at 7%. Because civilian and military governments favored the Bamar majority and excluded others, many minorities took up arms to fight the intolerant regimes. Ethnic conflicts have plagued Myanmar for almost 50 years. There was hope that the fights would end with Aung San Suu Kyi becoming state leader. But after almost one year in office, she has remained silent about the continuing crimes of the military. Right under her nose, the oppression keeps going. The Nelson Mandela of Asia has turned out to be a silent supporter of Buddhist supremacy over Myanmar!

 

Rohingya Muslims demonstrate against their prosecution in Myanmar.

Rohingya Muslims demonstrate against their prosecution in Myanmar.

Romanians need a workers party

Workers in Romania are protesting for weeks now against their social democratic government. 400.000 people have joined marches against the idea of decriminalising some anti-corruption laws. The social democrats have participated in capitalist governments for many years. Proudly serving the new rich and the bourgeoisie. However their attempt to legitimatize embezzlement up to 40.000 euros, led to massive outrage. PSD leader Liviu Dragnea is already under investigation for corruption, so many see this as an attempt by the political elite to save themselves!

The ruling Social Democratic Party in Romania (PSD) is not a workers party. It was born out of the Democratic National Salvation Front, a fraction led by Ion Iliescu (an ex-Stalinist) that split from the National Salvation Front (NSF). This was the umbrella group that took political after the Romanian Revolution in December 1989. Conflicts about the direction of Romania led to the collapse of the NSF by 1993, out of which new political parties were founded. The current social democrats took their name in 2001 after uniting two center-leftist parties. They won the 2016 election with 45% of the vote. But since 39,44% came to vote (lowest voter turnout since 1989), the PSD only got 18% of the people behind them!

Romania is one the poorest nations in eastern Europe. Its economy is plagued with corruption as both capitalists and government bureaucrats enrich themselves at the expense of workers and poor. The 1990’s were a golden age for corruption. After the collapse of the Stalinist system, state enterprises and social institutions were privatized at a record rate. The market was to rule as supreme master and all were forced to obey the laws of capitalism. Most Romanians were unable to cope with a system build on greed and exploitation. 40 years of stalinism had made them inflexible and vulnerable to capitalist vultures from the west!

The republic joined the European Union in 2007. Many hoped that with EU help, corruption and poverty would end. Now after ten years this is not the case. Although government leaders speak about the union in a very positive way, ordinary workers see no improvements. Revolutionary socialists had warned that the EU is not a force for working class people. Still the media of the capitalists claim that Romania is a ‘’economic tiger’’ and great progress can be expected in the future. Workers however are waiting more then 28 years for the so called ”fruits of capitalism”. This has led to a rise in nostalgia for the days when the state offered people work, homes and meaning. Consider the fact that Ceausescu was a champion of austerity and social cuts in the 1980’s, it is remarkable that his legacy is seen as positive by so many!

There are enough political parties to choose from. However all share one vital idea, the idea that the market is the supreme economic law. Capitalism is supported by all major parties from the Social Democratic Party to the National Liberal Party, Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania, Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, Save Romania Union and the People’s Movement Party. None of these parties mentioned here are truly left-wing. This allows the PSD to portray itself as ”progressive” and ”leftist”. However the Social Democratic Party is a party of the same capitalist corruption. Still the right-wing tries to portray the PSD government as ‘’communist’’, because they know of the huge social stigma on the word: ‘’communist’’. Romanian leftists need to expose the right-wing opposition and call them out on their lies. The PSD is not a socialist party and their government is in fact pro-capitalist and anti-worker!

Although many are angry at their politicians, revolutionary socialists also try to point out that corruption runs deeper than just politics. Capitalism is at the roots of inequality and poverty. In a nation so poor as Romania, government corruption is just one obstacle. Many businesses violet labour laws and play on the weakness of the trade unions to stand up for their workers. The average income is just below 520 euros (550 dollars) a month for a skilled worker. Minimum wage is only 320 euros or 350 dollars a month. 28 years after the downfall of stalinism and the Socialist Republic of Romania, capitalism has only benefited people like Ion Țiriac, Dragoş şi Adrian Pavăl, Ioan Niculae and Zoltan Teszari. These men own together almost 3.715.000.000 dollars in personal wealth!

Socialism is the only alternative, but the deeply anticommunist media knows how to prevent a class conciseness among workers. Leftists who are anti-capitalist face a mountain of lies and distortions spread since the collapse of the Romanian Communist Party. Many right-wing commentators portray the Social Democratic Party as a ‘’red plague’’ a term used by the fascists in the 1930’s against the communist party. Therefore the left in Romania must take a firm position against these liars in the media. A workers party on a socialist program is needed the most. Here we face many stigma’s and misconceptions, since the Romanians have no idea what genuine socialism is about. People are brainwashed with a false picture by their capitalist rulers and the education system, which portrays the Socialist Republic of Romania as a ‘’communist dictatorship with a failed socialist economy’’. Children learn from a young age, that Stalinist Romania was ”socialist” and that socialism does not work!

To the left of the PSD is a small leftist party, which is however based on nationalism and elements of stalinism. The Romanian Socialist Party was created by hardliners inside the Socialist Party of Labour (1990-2003) who rejected the fusion between their party and the Social Democratic Party. At first they founded a party called the Socialist Alliance Party, which tried to become the Romanian Communist Party in 2010. When their name change was rejected by the Bucharest tribunal, the party became the Romanian Socialist Party. Their program is both leftist and nationalist, which stands in line with the Stalinist ideology of Nicolae Ceausescu. The electoral support for these leftist nationalists is very weak. Only 32.000 voted on the Romanian Socialist Party in 2016. Although critical of capitalism, we believe that this leftist nationalist party is not a socialist alternative for workers. Their Romanian nationalism is a poison and the party has shown to be positive about the Stalinist period. This cannot be accepted by revolutionary socialists, therefore the Romanian Socialist Party is not a vehicle for democratic socialism!

Leftist activists need to build on these protests against the corrupt PSD. They need to rally working class Romanians into thinking about a alternative to capitalism. Militants in trade unions should push for the formation of a new mass party of workers and poor against the Social Democratic Party. It is vital that we expose the social democrats as corrupt politicians of capitalism. Workers need to understand that the PSD is not their party. As demonstrated by themselves and their allies around the world, social democracy is by now a fully right-wing ideology. Social democratic parties in both western Europe and eastern Europe support austerity and cuts to social welfare, in the name of ”balancing the budget” which is typical right-wing talk!

A new workers party cannot be build from the top down. It must be build from the bottom up by the most class-conscious workers. This is why revolutionary socialists call on all working class Romanians to go out on the streets and fight for a socialist alternative in politics. Anticommunist stigma’s has kept the left-wing weak, especially the anti-capitalist left. Those few anti-capitalists in Romania are either anarchist radicals or old stalinists still praising Ceausescu. The fact that 60% of all voters decided not to vote in 2016, makes clear that bourgeois democracy failed fully. A new system is needed, both politically and economically. Romanian workers have nothing to lose, they have a world to win!

Proletari din toate țările, uniți-vă!

The smiling faces of the Social Democratic Party. Workers do not smile, because of their corruption!

The smiling faces of the Social Democratic Party. Workers do not smile, because of their corruption!