Month: September, 2011
Pipefitters Convention Affirms Support for Single Payer Health Care
| September 29, 2011 | 7:55 pm | Action | No comments

Pipefitters Convention Affirms Support for Single Payer Health Care,
Demands an End to the Wars, and Calls for a March on Washington to Protect
Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid

via unionsforsinglepayerhealthcare.org

Meeting in national convention in August 2011, the 340,000 member United
Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting
Industry, or “UA” as it is commonly known, affirmed its support for
“further efforts to provide Americans with affordable, quality health
care, specifically a true universal health care single-payer system,
Medicare for All.“ At the 2006 Convention the UA endorsed HR 676, the
national single payer bill introduced by Congressman John Conyers.

The health care resolution was presented as supportive of the Affordable
Care Act that was passed and signed by President Obama in March 2010.
Then Delegate John McKnight of Local 170, Vancouver, British Columbia, was
greeted with applause as he rose on the convention floor to speak. (The
quotes are from the official convention proceedings.) Here’s what John
McKnight said about Canada’s single payer system:

“Thank you delegates. It’s very generous of you.

”Anyway, Mr. Chairman, fellow delegates, about three conventions ago my
local union sent in a resolution to the UA Convention at that time calling
for a national health care program similar to Canada.

”Now, let me just tell you something about myself just for the moment, and
it’s nonpolitical, Mr. Chairman. In April this year I received a new
aortic valve for my heart. I was (in the) hospital for five days in New
Westminster. It’s (a) hospital in the lower mainland in Vancouver. And
what did it cost me? The word that was used in the voting yesterday, it
cost me zero.

”But, as a Canadian citizen, it did cost me through the income tax system
of our country. Taxation can be a very good thing, and it gave us health
care. And I’m sitting across from Brother Bary Clark in my local, a
former Business Manager, and he had a quadruple bypass over two years ago.
He was in for five days. What did it cost him? Nothing. The American
population is being ripped off by the corporate system.

(applause)

”The United States of America is the only industrial nation on this planet
that does not have a comprehensive health care system for its people, and
that is a shame on the leadership of the United States of America.

(applause)

”So I’m pleased that even this somewhat weakened structure of Medicare
here in the United States is being supported by the UA, and I think it’s
one that we should all support, but I think it’s one we should realize
it’s not the answer. It must be a comprehensive health care system that
we should strive for here in the United States. And we have a vested
interest in Canada in hoping you get the same results because our system
today is under attack by the Medical Association in Canada and the
insurance entrepreneurs and our conservative government. And that is an
issue for us, so, therefore, it’s an issue for all of us.

”Thank you Mr. Chairman.”

UA General President William P. Hite thanked him and recognized the
delegate on mike 3, Fred Hirsch.

DELEGATE FRED HIRSCH, Local 393, San Jose, CA:

“And what a privilege it is to follow upon such a magnificent delegate as
John McKnight.

(applause.)

”I agree with every word that he just said, and I think we have to be just
a little more specific than this resolution, which I do support. I would
like to amend the resolution so the resolved has the following words, “as
well as support further efforts to provide Americans with affordable,
quality health care, specifically a true universal health care
single-payer, Medicare for all.”

Delegate Brent Bowers of Pipefitters Local 711 in Houston, Texas, spoke of
his good experience with Canadian health care.

The full resolution including the single payer amendment was passed by the
Convention.

The UA convention also called on Congress and the Canadian Parliament to
speed the ending of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to redirect
military spending to promote job creation at home, rebuild infrastructure,
and meet vital human needs.

In addition, the UA Convention called for an all-out, in the streets
mobilization to defend Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Delegate
Fred Hirsch of Local 393 spoke in favor of the resolution:

“Brothers and sisters, I’d just like to state that we didn’t get Social
Security and we didn’t get the whole New Deal, which came down to include
in later days Medicare and Medicaid, out of the flower gardens around the
White House. They came out of the grassroots movements of workers all over
this country.

“The New Deal would not have been a New Deal if it were not for a general
strike that took place in San Francisco, in Seattle, in Minneapolis; if it
wasn’t for thousands of working men and women who marched on the White
House and organized unions as they had never been organized before in the
midst of the Great Depression.

“We stand now to lose those gains that were won by those men and women….

“We cannot win this fight with our lobbyists. We cannot win this fight
with e-mails. We cannot win this fight unless we’re able to move the labor
movement to put our feet in the street.”

The resolution was passed. It is reproduced below.

RESOLUTION Demanding “Hands Off Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid!”

WHEREAS substantial cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security appear
certain to be enacted by Congress by August 2 or soon thereafter in the
absence of massive and militant protest actions; and

WHEREAS President Obama’s Bi-Partisan Commission (Simpson-Bowles)
determined that Draconian cuts were needed in these “entitlements” and now
various schemes are proliferating calling for takeaways of one kind or
another; and

WHEREAS the takeaways contemplated for the 54 million people on Social
Security, 45 million receiving Medicare, and 53 million using Medicaid are
being justified by the claim that the country is broke and we all need to
share in the sacrifice to restore fiscal stability; and

WHEREAS that is a giant hoax because taxing the corporations and the rich,
closing the loopholes, bringing the war dollars home now, and creating
tens of millions of good paying jobs — which would produce gigantic
additional revenue — would ensure all the funding needed to preserve and
expand our rights and gains; and

WHEREAS the big question now is what the labor movement will do to meet
this challenge confronting working people and the great majority. The
choice is clear: either confine labor’s protest against cuts in the social
programs to pronouncements opposing them, coupled with lobbying; or
combine these efforts with an all-out mobilization of the rank-and-file
and our allies to prevent the cuts from being enacted; and

WHEREAS the first option, without more, will not succeed because Democrats
and Republicans alike have made clear their intention to impose the cuts,
and this will not change with just a lobbying campaign. On the other hand,
our labor movement has the power to turn the situation around and to stop
the corporate onslaught in its tracks by demanding “Hands Off Social
Security, Medicare and Medicaid!” and organizing immediately a fightback
campaign on a scope and magnitude that surpasses anything labor has done
in the past several decades; now therefore be it

RESOLVED that the United Association urges the AFL-CIO, Change to Win,
NEA, and other independent unions to issue a statement declaring their
rejection of any and all proposals to cut Social Security, Medicare or
Medicaid; and be it further

RESOLVED that the United Association urges the above-named labor
organizations to organize a campaign to mobilize support for “No Cuts or
Concessions! Tax the Corporations and the Rich!” in the streets — where
it counts the most — and in every corner of the nation; and be it further

RESOLVED that the United Association urges the above-named organizations
to get the wheels rolling on organizing an emergency march on Washington
with the goal of generating such large numbers in the capital as to
preclude enactment of the cuts being planned by the corporations, the
wealthy, and the politicians willing to do their bidding; and be it
finally

RESOLVED that copies of this resolution be sent to all the above-named
organizations.

Distributed by:

All Unions Committee For Single Payer Health Care–HR 676
c/o Nurses Professional Organization (NPO)
1169 Eastern Parkway, Suite 2218
Louisville, KY 40217
(502) 636 1551
Email: nursenpo@aol.com
http://unionsforsinglepayerHR676.org
9/27/11

Dallas Resident Serves on International Human Rights Observer Team in Honduras. Returns with Troubling Report
| September 29, 2011 | 7:45 pm | Action | No comments

September 27, 2011
Via http://www.houstonpeacecouncil.com/dallas-resident-serves-on-international-human-rights-observer-team-in-honduras-returns-with-troubling-report/

Tegucigalpa, Honduras- Local resident Ernest McMillan was one of nine U.S human rights observers returning to the United States this week after an intensive twelve-day investigation of the country’s worsening human rights crisis. Team members had been closely following events in Honduras since the June 28, 2009 coup d’Etat that ousted democratically elected President Mel Zelaya at gunpoint. “In the last two years since the coup, despite the supposed election of current President Pepe Lobo, there has been as many as 200 political assassinations of members and leaders of the growing popular resistance front known as the FNRP- Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular.

“I felt compelled to go; to gain an awareness of the lives experienced by ordinary Hondurans who are struggling for justice, and dignity. Powerful forces oppose them with intense and seemingly relentless cruelties while they simply want to live and to provide for their children.” says McMillan. Several human rights organizations that are part of the U.S Honduras Solidarity Network assembled this emergency observation team to travel directly to the Aguan basin of Honduras where recent killings of campesino leaders and police/military raids of campesino communities have left dozens dead and hundreds as internal refugees. “While we were in the Aguan Region, there were two police/military raids on the same community (Los Rigores- September 16, 19) in which 22 people were temporarily detained, tortured and threatened with death. A 16 yr old was drenched in gasoline by the police and threatened with being burned. All the detainees were released with no charges filed.” reports Vicki Cervantes of Chicago’s human rights group La Voz de los de Abajo.

The US State Department recently lobbied for the re-entry of Honduras into the Organization of American States as part of an agreement facilitated by Colombia President Santos and Venezuela President Hugo Chavez in May of this year known as the Cartagena Accord. The US State Department was quick to recognize the 2009 election of Pepe Lobo while most nations in South America and Europe still do not recognize the current government of Honduras because of the political climate during the 2009 elections and the continued concerns about human rights violations in Honduras. “I am particularly concerned that the US government is perpetuating gross human rights abuses by providing military funds and training to the Honduras security forces. An example of this is the $40 million recently given by the State Department. “responds Dale Sorensen of the California based human rights group Task Force on the Americas. In May of this year 87 US congress members signed a scathing letter addressed to US Secretary Hillary Clinton regarding the continued human rights violations in Honduras asking the state department and US Embassy in Honduras to speak out against violence targeted towards human rights defenders and journalists. “When we asked the new US Ambassador Lisa Kubiske if the embassy had complied with any of the asks of congress, she replied the letter pre-dates her and ‘there is a time to speak out and a time not to’.” quotes Brian Stefan Szittai of the Cleveland based organization Inter-Religious Task Force on Central America.

The Observer Team’s preliminary findings show that the Honduras government is not completing its part of the Cartagena Accord, which includes: 1. Free return of all exiles to Honduras with out fear of prosecution. Four are already exiled again and one is under house arrest. 2. Investigations and prosecutions for political assassinations. There continues to be a 90% impunity rate and increase in politically motivated killings. 3. The allowance for the registration of the FNRP has a political force including the creation of a new political party. In the weeks leading up to the ratification of the FNRP’s new party, the FARP, there were 3 political assassinations of leaders of the FNPR leaving an unsafe environment for the political process to freely move forward. 4. Beginning the process for a new constituent assembly to re-write the constitution. This process has not been able to proceed and many claim was the trigger for the military coup that took place June 28, 2009. “It is clear the current Honduran government has not complied to the Cartagena Accord nor made a concerted effort to complete its commitment. Even more concerning is that there are reports of threats recently made by Honduran police against international human rights groups working in the Aguan Valley.” reports observer team organizer Tanya Cole of the human rights organization Witness for Peace Southwest.

Preliminary recommendations from the September Observer Team’s findings are 1. International Human Rights Organizations increase their attention on Honduras as the electoral process is pursued by the FARP and the land struggle continues in the Aguan Basin of Honduras. 2. That US congress and State Department take concrete and public action to condemn human right violations in Honduras and withhold military/police aid from Honduras while Honduran military and police agents continue to be complicit in forced disappearances, illegal raids, illegal detentions and human rights violations across the country.

CONTACTS:
Ernest McMillan
214.824.2433 (Home/Office)
emackdallas@gmail.com

Vicki Cervantes- Chicago
Phone: (312) 259-5042 (english/spanish)
Email: vickicervantes@yahoo.com

Tanya Cole- Los Angeles
phone: 805-421-9708 (eng/span)
Email: wfpsw@witnessforpeace.org

Houston organized labor fights back
| September 28, 2011 | 10:40 pm | Action | No comments

By James Thompson

Via http://www.houstonpeacecouncil.com/houston-organized-labor-fights-back/

Houston Justice for Janitors Rally 9/28/11

HOUSTON – Although there have been relatively few organized labor rallies in Houston since the election of President Obama as compared with the administration of George W. Bush, this week may mark a change in direction.

As part of the national effort on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 to support the continuation of the postal service, there were numerous actions at various federal offices and Congressional offices around the city. I went to a rally held at the office of U.S. Congressperson John Culberson located just east of Chimney Rock at 10000 Memorial. The afternoon heat was stifling and probably kept many people away. Many postal workers and their supporters from the community were quite visible in front of the prestigious office building making a strong case to preserve the Postal Service and protect the jobs of some 600,000 postal workers. The rally was peaceful, non-violent, but spirited.

There were some police officers present from the Houston Police Department. One of them talked to one of the participants in the rally to find out what it was all about. When he found out the purpose of the rally, he related to us that there were efforts to cut his pension as well. He also told us that former President George Herbert Walker Bush had his office in the same building. He apparently looked out his window and spotted the demonstrators and promptly called HPD. HPD was very professional in their conduct and did not harass the participants in any way.

Today (September 28, 2011), in the sweltering Houston heat, I participated in a rally held in downtown Houston in front of the Houston Club located at 811 Rusk called by SEIU as part of the national Justice for Janitors day. The crowd of about 500 union members and their supporters from the community was also peaceful, non-violent but nevertheless spirited in their demands for a living wage and a fair contract for workers. Representatives from various organizations including the Houston Peace and Justice Center, SEIU, AFL-CIO, Houston Peace Council, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and the Catholic Church were among the rally participants. Notably, City Councilperson Jolanda Jones was present to support the workers and addressed them in Spanish. She has been a vocal and visible proponent of the Justice for Janitors effort for many years.

It has become increasingly obvious to many people that the class war did not pause or halt during the Obama administration. In fact, some might suggest that it has sped up and intensified. The rise of the ultra right wing in the U.S. Congress has effectively thwarted any progressive movement from either the White House or progressive elements in the legislature.

National days of action are a step in the right direction, but mass movements to support the employed as well as the unemployed are needed to make the point that working people will not settle for injustice at the workplace and in the community anymore. What is also needed but not addressed in the rallies is more education for working people to help them understand the fact that the numerous wars of occupation around the world and the subsidization of the wealthy through tax breaks and bail outs are draining our national resources and revenues. This is why public service workers are under assault. If the right wing are unopposed, it could result in the destruction of our vital infrastructure to include such things as the postal service, roads, education, health care, law enforcement and ultimately even the military personnel. The wealthy classes have launched an all out class war against working people and they will do anything necessary to increase their profits. Working people, on the other hand, are the vast majority of people in this country and do not have to take this lying down. It is time to fight back and mean it.

Reflections of Fidel
| September 27, 2011 | 10:01 pm | Action | No comments

I am halting the tasks which have been totally occupying my time recently to dedicate some words to the singular opportunity presented to political science by the 60th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The annual event demands a singular effort on the part of those holding the highest political responsibilities in many countries. For them, it constitutes a difficult test; for the aficionados of this art, more than a few given that it vitally affects everyone, it is hard to resist the temptation to observe the interminable but instructive spectacle.

In the first place, there exists an infinity of thorny issues and conflicts of interest. For a large number of participants, it is necessary to take a position on events which constitute flagrant violations of principles. For example: what position to adopt on the NATO genocide in Libya? Do some persons wish to place on record that under their leadership the government of their country supported the monstrous crime perpetrated by the United States and its NATO allies, whose sophisticated fighter planes, piloted or non-piloted, executed more than 20,000 attack missions on a small Third World state of barely six million inhabitants, alleging the same reasons as those previously used to attack and invade Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan and which are now threatening to do so in Syria or any other country in the world?

Was it not precisely the government of the UN host state which ordered the butchery in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, the mercenary Bay of Pigs attack on Cuba, the invasion of the Dominican Republic, the “dirty war” in Nicaragua, the occupation of Grenada and Panama by the U.S. military forces and the massacre of Panamanians in El Chorillo? Who promoted the military coups and genocide in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, which resulted in tens of thousands of dead and disappeared? I am not talking about things which happened 500 years ago, when the Spaniards initiated genocide in the Americas, or 200 years ago, when the yankees exterminated native Indians in the United States or enslaved Africans, in spite of “all men are created equal,” as stated in the Declaration of Philadelphia. I am talking about acts that have taken place in recent decades and which are taking place today.

These acts must be recalled and reiterated when an event of the importance and prominence of the meeting underway in the United Nations takes place, and where the political integrity and ethics of governments is put to the test.

Many of them represent small and poor countries in need of support and international cooperation, technology, markets and credits, which the developed capitalist powers have manipulated as they please.

Despite the shameless monopoly of the news media and the fascist methods used by the United States and its allies to confuse and deceive world opinion, the resistance of the peoples is growing, and this can be appreciated in the debates taking place in the United Nations.

More than a few Third World leaders, in spite of the obstacles and contradictions indicated, have expressed their ideas with courage. The very voices emanating from the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean no longer contain the servile and embarrassing accent of the OAS, which characterized pronouncements of heads of state in past decades. Two of them have addressed this forum; both of them, Bolivarian President Hugo Chávez, a mix of the races which comprise the people of Venezuela, and Evo Morales, of pure millenary indigenous origin, stated their ideas in the meeting, one in a message and the other directly, in response to the speech of the yankee President.

Telesur broadcast the three speeches. Thanks to the network, in the night of Tuesday the 20th we heard President Chávez’ message, read carefully by Walter Martínez during his “Dossier” program. As head of state of the UN host nation, Obama gave his speech on Wednesday morning and Evo gave his during the early hours of the afternoon of the same day. For the sake of brevity I will take essential paragraphs from each text.

Chávez was unable to attend the United Nations Summit in person, after 12 years of untiring struggle without resting for a single day, which placed his life at risk and affected his health, and who is now fighting selflessly for his full recovery. However, his message could not but approach the most decisive issue of the historical meeting. I transcribe it virtually in full:

“I address these words to the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization […] to confirm, on this day and in this forum, Venezuela’s total support of Palestinian statehood: the right of Palestine to become a free, sovereign and independent country. It is an act of historical justice to a people who have carried within themselves, always, all the pain and suffering of the world.

“The great French philosopher Gilles Deleuze […] states with the tone of truth: ‘The Palestinian cause is above all the compound of injustices which this people has endured and continues to endure.’ And it is also, I dare to add, a constant and unyielding will of resistance which is already written in the heroic memory of the human condition. […] Mahmoud Darwish, the infinite voice of the potential Palestine, speaks to us from the sentiment of the awareness of this love: ‘We do not need the memory/because Mount Carmel is within us/ and the grass of Galilee is on our eyelids/ Don’t say: let us run to my country like the river! / Don’t say it! / Because we are in the flesh of our country/ and she is in us.’

“Against those who fallaciously maintain that what has happened to the Palestinian people is not genocide, Deleuze argues with implacable lucidity, ‘In all cases there is an attempt to act as if the Palestinian people not only should not exist, but have never existed. It is, in other words, the degree zero of genocide: to decree that a people do not exist; to deny them the right to existence.’”

“[…] the resolution of the conflict in the Middle East must of necessity move through doing justice to the Palestinian people; this is the only way of winning the peace.

“It pains and angers us that those who suffered one of the worst genocides in history have become the hangmen of the Palestinian people; it pains and angers us that the inheritance of the Holocaust is the Nakba. And it angers us, bluntly, that Zionism continues to utilize the accusation of anti-semitism against those who oppose its outrages and its crimes. Israel has exploited and is exploiting, blatantly and vilely, the memory of the victims. And it is doing so to act, with total impunity, against Palestine. In passing, it is worth noting that anti-Semitism is a Western, European misfortune, in which Arabs do not participate. Let us not forget, moreover, that it is the Palestinian Semite people who are suffering the ethnic cleansing being practiced by the colonial Israeli state.”

“[…] It is one thing to reject anti-Semitism, and it is a very different thing to passively accept that Zionist barbarity is imposing an apartheid regime upon the Palestinian people. From an ethical point of view, whoever rejects the former, has to condemn the latter.”

“[…] Zionism, as a view of the world, is absolutely racist. In their terrifying cynicism, the words of Golda Meir are irrefutable evidence of that: ‘How are we going to return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to. There is no such thing as Palestinians. It was not, as is thought, that a people called Palestinian existed, that considers itself as Palestinian, and that we arrived, threw them out and took their country from them. They did not exist.’”

“Read and reread the document historically known as the Balfour Declaration of 1917: the British government assumed the legal authority of promising the Jews a national home in Palestine, deliberately ignoring the presence and will of its inhabitants. It should be noted that for centuries, Christians and Muslims lived together in peace in the Holy Land, until Zionism began to claim it as its entire and exclusive property.”

“At the end of World War II, the tragedy of the Palestinian people was exacerbated, consummated by their expulsion from their territory and, at the same time, from history. In 1947, the ominous and illegal United Nations Resolution 181 recommended the partition of Palestine into a Jewish state, an Arab state and a zone under international control (Jerusalem and Bethlehem).

[…] 56% of the territory was granted to Zionism for the constitution of its state. In fact, this resolution was in violation of international law and flagrantly ignored the will of the large Arab majorities: the right to self-determination of the peoples became a dead letter.”

“[…] as opposed to what Israel and the United States would have the world believe via the communication transnationals, what took place and is still taking place in Palestine, let us say it with [Edward] Said, is not a religious conflict: it is a political conflict, of a colonial and imperialist stamp; it is not a millenary but a contemporary conflict; it is not a conflict that was born in the Middle East but in Europe.

“What was and what continues to be the crux of the conflict? The discussion and consideration of Israel’s security, but not in any way that of Palestine. This can be confirmed by recent history: suffice it to recall the latest genocidal episode unleashed by Israel with Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

“The security of Palestine cannot be reduced to the simple recognition of limited self-government and police control in its enclaves of the West Bank of the Jordan Rover and in the Gaza Strip, leaving aside not only the creation of the Palestine state based on pre-1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital, the rights of its nationals and their self-determination as a people, but also compensation and the consequent return to the homeland of 50% of the Palestinian population dispersed throughout the entire world, as established in Resolution 194.

“It is incredible that a country (Israel), which owes its existence to a General Assembly resolution, can be so disdainful of resolutions emanating from the United Nations, denounced Father Miguel D’Escoto, calling for an end to the massacre of the people of Gaza at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009.”

“It is impossible to ignore the crisis of the United Nations. Before this same General Assembly in 2005 we sustained that the United Nations model had been exhausted. The fact that the debate on the Palestinian question has been postponed and that it is being overtly sabotaged, is yet another confirmation of this.

“For a number of days now Washington has been stating that it will veto in the Security Council what will be the majority resolution of the General Assembly: the recognition of Palestine as a full member of the UN. Together with the sister nations which comprise the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), in the statement of recognition of Palestinian statehood, we have already deplored the fact that such a just aspiration could be blockaded in this way. As we know, the empire, in this and in other cases, is trying to impose a double standard on the world stage: it is the yankee double standard which violates international law in Libya, but allows Israel to do what it wants, thus making itself the principal accomplice of Palestinian genocide at the hands of Zionist barbarity. Let us recall some words of Said, which hit the nail on the head: ‘Due to Israeli interests in the United States, the policy of this country in terms of the Middle East is, therefore, Israeli-centric.’”

“I want to end with the voice of Mahmoud Darwish in his memorable poem:

‘On this earth there is something worth living for: on this earth is the lady of the earth, the mother of beginnings/the mother of ends. She was called Palestine. She is still called Palestine. / Lady: I deserve to live, because you are my lady, I deserve to live.’”

“She will continue to be called Palestine: Palestine will live and will win! Long life to free, sovereign and independent Palestine!

“Hugo Chávez Frías.

“President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”

When the meeting began the following morning, his words were already present in the hearts and minds of those assembled there.

The Bolivarian leader has never been an enemy of the Jewish people. A man of particular sensitivity, he profoundly detests the brutal crimes committed by the Nazis against children, women and men, young and old alike in the concentration camps where Gypsies were also victims of atrocious crimes and an extermination attempt, which no one, however, remembers or mentions. Thousands of Russians likewise perished in those camps, as an inferior race within the Nazi racial framework.

When Chávez returned to his country from Cuba, the evening of Thursday, September 22, he spoke indignantly of Barack Obama’s speech at the United Nations. Very rarely have I heard him speak with such vehemence about the leader whom he has treated with the utmost respect, given his history as a victim of racial discrimination in the United States. He never considered Obama capable of behaving as George Bush had and appreciatively preserved the memory of the words they had exchanged when they met in Trinidad and Tobago.

“Yesterday we were listening to an assortment of speeches, the day before yesterday as well, there in the United Nations, precise speeches such as that of President Dilma Rousseff; a speech of great moral value such as that of President Evo Morales; a speech which we could describe as a monument to cynicism, the speech of President Obama which his own face betrayed, his own face was a poem; a man calling for peace, just imagine. Obama calling for peace. With what moral authority? An historic monument to cynicism, the speech of President Obama.

“We were listening to precise speeches, clarifying ones, that of President Lugo, that of the President of Argentina, taking valiant positions before the world.”

When the New York meeting began on the morning of Wednesday, September 21 – after the comments by the President of Brazil opening the discussion and the introduction de rigueur – the President of the United States took the podium and began his speech.

He began, “Over nearly seven decades, even as the United Nations helped avert a third world war, we still live in a world scarred by conflict and plagued by poverty. Even as we proclaim our love for peace and our hatred of war, there are still convulsions in our world that endanger us all.”

It is not clear at what point the UN may have prevented the outbreak of a World War III.

“I took office at a time of two wars for the United States. Moreover, the violent extremists who drew us into war in the first place – Osama bin Laden, and his al Qaeda organization – remained at large. Today, we have set a new direction.

At the end of this year, America’s military operation in Iraq will be over. We will have a normal relationship with a sovereign nation that is a member of the community of nations. That equal partnership will be strengthened by our support for Iraq – for its government and Security Forces; for its people and their aspirations.”

What country is Obama really talking about?

“As we end the war in Iraq, the United States and our coalition partners have begun a transition in Afghanistan. Between now and 2014, an increasingly capable Afghan government and security forces will step forward to take responsibility for the future of their country. As they do, we are drawing down our own forces, while building an enduring partnership with the Afghan people. So let there be no doubt: The tide of war is receding.

“When I took office, roughly 180,000 Americans were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. By the end of this year, that number will be cut in half, and it will continue to decline. This is critical for the sovereignty of Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s also critical to the strength of the United States as we build our nation at home. Ten years ago, there was an open wound and twisted steel, a broken heart in the center of this city. Today, as a new tower is rising at Ground Zero, it symbolizes New York’s renewal, even as al Qaeda is under more pressure than ever before. Its leadership has been degraded. And Osama bin Laden, a man who murdered thousands of people from dozens of countries, will never endanger the peace of the world again.”

Who was Bin Laden’s ally? Who trained him and armed him to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan? It wasn’t the socialists, or revolutionaries from anyplace in the world.

“So, yes, this has been a difficult decade. But today, we stand at a crossroads of history with the chance to move decisively in the direction of peace. To do so, we must return to the wisdom of those who created this institution. The United Nations’ Founding Charter calls upon us, ‘to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security.’”

Who has military bases all over the world? Who is the largest exporter of weapons? Who has thousands of spy satellites? Who invests more than one billion dollars a year in military spending.

“This year has been a time of extraordinary transformation. More nations have stepped forward to maintain international peace and security. And more individuals are claiming their universal right to live in freedom and dignity.”

He then cites the situations in South Sudan and Ivory Coast. He doesn’t say that in the first instance, U.S. transnationals have descended upon the oil reserves of this new country, whose president in this very UN General Assembly said that it was a valuable, but finite, resource which he plans to use rationally and optimally.

Nor did Obama indicate that peace was established in the Ivory Coast with the support of colonialist soldiers from an eminent member of the bellicose NATO alliance which has just dropped thousands of bombs on Libya.

A bit later he mentions Tunisia and takes credit for the popular movement which overthrew the government in that country, which was an ally of imperialism.

Even more astonishingly, Obama fails to acknowledge that the Untied States was responsible for the installation of the tyrannical, corrupt government in Egypt of Hosni Mubarak who, absconding with the principles of Nasser, allied himself with the imperialists, stole billions from his country and tyrannized his valiant people.

“One year ago,” Obama said, “Egypt had known one President for nearly 30 years. But for 18 days, the eyes of the world were glued to Tahrir Square, where Egyptians from all walks of life — men and women, young and old, Muslim and Christian — demanded their universal rights. We saw in those protesters the moral force of non-violence that has lit the world from Delhi to Warsaw, from Selma to South Africa — and we knew that change had come to Egypt and to the Arab world.

“Day after day, in the face of bullets and bombs, the Libyan people refused to give back that freedom. And when they were threatened by the kind of mass atrocity that often went unchallenged in the last century, the United Nations lived up to its charter. The Security Council authorized all necessary measures to prevent a massacre. The Arab League called for this effort; Arab nations joined a NATO-led coalition that halted Qaddafi’s forces in their tracks.

“Yesterday, the leaders of a new Libya took their rightful place beside us, and this week, the United States is reopening our embassy in Tripoli.

“This is how the international community is supposed to work — nations standing together for the sake of peace and security, and individuals claiming their rights.

“All of us have a responsibility to support the new Libya — the new Libyan government as they confront the challenge of turning this moment of promise into a just and lasting peace for all Libyans.

“The Qaddafi regime is over. Gbagbo, Ben Ali, Mubarak are no longer in power. Osama bin Laden is gone, and the idea that change could only come through violence has been buried with him.”

Notice the poetic language with which Obama dispatches the subject of Bin Laden, despite whatever the responsibility this one-time ally might have been, shot in the face before his wife and children, his body thrown into the ocean from an aircraft carrier, ignoring the customs and religious traditions of more than a billion believers, as well as elementary principles recognized by all legal systems. These are not methods which are, or will ever be, conducive to peace

“Something is happening in our world. The way things have been is not the way that they will be. The humiliating grip of corruption and tyranny is being pried open. Dictators are on notice. Technology is putting power into the hands of the people. The youth are delivering a powerful rebuke to dictatorship, and rejecting the lie that some races, some peoples, some religions, some ethnicities do not desire democracy.

“The promise written down on paper – ‘all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’ – is closer at hand. The measure of our success must be whether people can live in sustained freedom, dignity, and security. And the United Nations and its member states must do their part to support those basic aspirations. And we have more work to do.”

He immediately takes up another Islamic country where, as is well known, his intelligence services along with those of Israel, systematically assassinate the most outstanding scientists involved in military technology.

Next he threatens Syria, where U.S. belligerency could lead to a massacre even more frightening than that of Libya.

“As we meet here today, men and women and children are being tortured, detained and murdered by the Syrian regime. Thousands have been killed, many during the holy time of Ramadan. Thousands more have poured across Syria’s borders.
“The Syrian people have shown dignity and courage in their pursuit of justice — protesting peacefully, standing silently in the streets, dying for the same values that this institution is supposed to stand for. And the question for us is clear: Will we stand with the Syrian people, or with their oppressors? The United States has imposed strong sanctions on Syria’s leaders. We supported a transfer of power that is responsive to the Syrian people. And many of our allies have joined in this effort. But for the sake of Syria — and the peace and security of the world — we must speak with one voice. There’s no excuse for inaction. Now is the time for the United Nations Security Council to sanction the Syrian regime, and to stand with the Syrian people.”

Has, by chance, any country been exempted from the belligerent threats of this illustrious defender of international security and peace? Who granted the United States such prerogatives?

“Throughout the region, we will have to respond to the calls for change. In Yemen, men, women and children gather by the thousands in towns and city squares every day with the hope that their determination and spilled blood will prevail over a corrupt system. America supports those aspirations. We must work with Yemen’s neighbors and our partners around the world to seek a path that allows for a peaceful transition of power from President Saleh, and a movement to free and fair elections as soon as possible.

“In Bahrain, steps have been taken toward reform and accountability. We’re pleased with that, but more is required. America is a close friend of Bahrain, and we will continue to call on the government and the main opposition bloc — the Wifaq — to pursue a meaningful dialogue that brings peaceful change that is responsive to the people. We believe the patriotism that binds Bahrainis together must be more powerful than the sectarian forces that would tear them apart. It will be hard, but it is possible.”
He does not mention at all that one of the region’s largest military bases is located there and that U.S. transnationals control and access at will the vast oil and gas reserves of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“We believe that each nation must chart its own course to fulfil the aspirations of its people, and America does not expect to agree with every party or person who expresses themselves politically. But we will always stand up for the universal rights that were embraced by this Assembly. Those rights depend on elections that are free and fair; on governance that is transparent and accountable; respect for the rights of women and minorities; justice that is equal and fair. That is what our people deserve. Those are the elements of peace that can last.

“Moreover, the United States will continue to support those nations that transition to democracy — with greater trade and investment — so that freedom is followed by opportunity. We will pursue a deeper engagement with governments, but also with civil society — students and entrepreneurs, political parties and the press.

“We have banned those who abuse human rights from traveling to our country. And we’ve sanctioned those who trample on human rights abroad. And we will always serve as a voice for those who’ve been silenced.”

After this extended lecture, the eminent Nobel Prize winner delves into the thorny issue of his alliance with Israel which, of course, is not among the privileged owners of advanced systems of nuclear weapons and the means to reach distant targets. He knows perfectly well how arbitrary and unpopular this policy is.

“I know, particularly this week, that for many in this hall, there’s one issue that stands as a test for these principles and a test for American foreign policy, and that is the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. One year ago, I stood at this podium and I called for an independent Palestine. I believed then, and I believe now, that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own. But what I also said is that a genuine peace can only be realized between the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves. One year later, despite extensive efforts by America and others, the parties have not bridged their differences. Faced with this stalemate, I put forward a new basis for negotiations in May of this year. That basis is clear. It’s well known to all of us here. Israelis must know that any agreement provides assurances for their security. Palestinians deserve to know the territorial basis of their state. Now, I know that many are frustrated by the lack of progress. I assure you, so am I. But the question isn’t the goal that we seek – the question is how do we reach that goal.”

He then launches into a long lecture explaining and justifying the inexplicable and unjustifiable.

“Peace is hard work. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations — if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians — not us –- who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and on security, on refugees and Jerusalem. Ultimately, peace depends upon compromise among people who must live together long after our speeches are over, long after our votes have been tallied.
“There’s no question that the Palestinians have seen that vision delayed for too long. It is precisely because we believe so strongly in the aspirations of the Palestinian people that America has invested so much time and so much effort in the building of a Palestinian state, and the negotiations that can deliver a Palestinian state. But understand this as well: America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. Our friendship with Israel is deep and enduring. “The Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland. Israel deserves recognition. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors. And friends of the Palestinians do them no favors by ignoring this truth…

“Each side has legitimate aspirations — and that’s part of what makes peace so hard. And the deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in the other’s shoes; each side can see the world through the other’s eyes. That’s what we should be encouraging. That’s what we should be promoting.”

In the meantime, the Palestinians remain exiled in their own land, their homes are destroyed by monstrous machines and a hateful wall, much higher than the one in Berlin, separates some Palestinians from others. The least Obama could have done was acknowledge that Israel’s own citizens are tired of the squandering of resources invested in the military, denying them peace and access to the basic means of life. Like the Palestinians, they are suffering the consequences of policies imposed by the United States and the most bellicose, reactionary sectors of the Zionist state.

“Even as we confront these challenges of conflict and revolution, we must also recognize – we must also remind ourselves – that peace is not just the absence of war. True peace depends on creating the opportunity that makes life worth living. And to do that, we must confront the common enemies of humanity: nuclear weapons and poverty, ignorance and disease.”

Who understands this gibberish from the President of the United States before the General Assembly?

He immediately thereafter presents an unintelligible philosophy:

“To lift the specter of mass destruction, we must come together to pursue the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. Over the last two years, we’ve begun to walk down that path. Since our Nuclear Security Summit in Washington nearly 50 nations have taken steps to secure nuclear materials from terrorists and smugglers.”

Is there greater terrorism than the aggressive, bellicose policy of a country with an arsenal of nuclear weapons which could destroy human life on the planet several times over?

“America will continue to work for a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons and the production of fissile material needed to make them,” Obama continued promising us, “and so we have begun to move in the right direction.

“And the United States is committed to meeting our obligations. But even as we meet our obligations, we’ve strengthened the treaties and institutions that help stop the spread of these weapons. And to do so, we must continue to hold accountable those nations that flout them. … The Iranian government cannot demonstrate that its program is peaceful.”

He’s back to the upbraiding. This time, Iran is not alone, the Democratic Republic of Korea is included.

“North Korea has yet to take concrete steps towards abandoning its weapons and continues belligerent action against the South. There’s a future of greater opportunity for the people of these nations if their governments meet their international obligations. But if they continue down a path that is outside international law, they must be met with greater pressure and isolation. That is what our commitment to peace and security demands.”

I will continue tomorrow.

Fidel Castro Ruz
September 25, 2011
7:36 p.m.

Translated by Gr

Imperialism Unmasked
| September 7, 2011 | 9:48 pm | Action | No comments

– from Zoltan Zigedy is available at:

http://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/

If international solidarity is to be a cornerstone of building a militant and oppositional left in the US and other developed countries, then we have much work to do. Tragically, much of the left continues to tacitly or enthusiastically view NATO and US intervention in the affairs of far-off, small countries as support for just causes – noble military offensives for democratic change or the promotion of human rights.

Since the demise of the last great counterforce – the Soviet Union – the US and its allies have used their domination of all major sources of information to posture their many aggressions as altruistic efforts to secure stability, peace, democratic change and support for human rights.

Of course there is nothing new in this posture. Since the birth of imperialism, powerful developed countries have striven to shape the world in such a way that it benefits their economic and geo-political interests. They have sought to explain these interventions by offering transparent, but morally seductive, accounts of their motives. From the “civilizing” mission of British imperialism through the rabidly anti-Communist demonology of US administrations, imperialists have sought to mold the world in a way that best advances the narrow interests of their national bourgeoisie, especially its supra-national interests.

What is new is the incredible gullibility of so many to swallow the lame justifications for aggression against weaker, more vulnerable countries. When you slather great power intervention with noble-sounding homage to democracy and human rights, it remains imperialism. When powerful countries use their resources to fashion the world – regardless of their pretended motives – the result never serves either democracy or the interests of the subjected peoples.

I have in mind, of course, Libya.

While the media assiduously portrays the Libyan civil war as a popular rising and part of the so-called “Arab Spring,” they calculatedly avoid the obvious differences. Unlike the mass risings in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and some other Middle Eastern countries, the opposition to the Gaddafi government quickly took the form of an armed uprising. Within a month, a shadowy alternative government and armed resistance was established. In less than another month, US and NATO intervention occurred, sanctioned by a hasty UN resolution ostensibly passed to “protect innocent civilians” with a vigilant umbrella of air power, a “no-fly zone.”

Despite the pretext of the resolution, NATO intervention has been decisive in determining the outcome of the civil war. Air Power, arms, advisers and covert operations have wholly shaped every engagement, as well as terrorizing the Gaddafi loyalists. In addition, Qatar, Jordan, and the Emirates have supplied resources to the anti-Gaddafi cause, which certainly include advisors and might well involve combatants. What may have begun as an expression of political opposition was quickly transformed into a military action fronted by a surrogate regime and its rag-tag military, all serving the interests of the leading NATO countries.

The media portrays the Gaddafi government as Satan incarnate. This characterization is most agreeable to those in the West who trust no one but white guys in business suits. But even many of the left and most liberals fall prey to their own cultural biases by seeing Colonel Gaddafi as alien and unpredictable, without any reference point to the culture or social context from which he sprang. They are much more comfortable with “rebels” in Nike shoes and Western T-shirts.

But the issue is not whether Gaddafi is a good guy or bad guy, as simple minds in the West so often characterize conflicts. I confess that I know far too little about conditions in Libya, its history and its political life. I’m confident that pundits like Juan Cole or Stephen Zunes who have jumped out emphatically in support of NATO’s “humanitarian mission” know little more beyond uncritical internet research, anecdotes and hunches. The real issue is whether or not non-Libyans should have a say or, more urgently, a hand, in determining the fate of this North African country. Surely, those with the most at stake, those living in Tripoli, Benghazi and other cities or villages in Libya are both best equipped and most deserving to decide these matters without the eager “helping hand” of NATO.

This, of course, is the principle of self-determination enshrined in the United Nations charter and declarations of rights, a principle that has been shamefully abused since the post-Soviet domination of the UN by the US and its allies.

Self-determination is also a guiding principle, a core element, in the anti-imperialist posture. Anti-imperialists reject any actions or policies that restrain a people from determining their own course of action. But anti-imperialism is much more. It is also to confront and resist those great powers that overtly or covertly shape the fate of weaker nations for their own economic and political interests. For those living in those great powers – in this case, the US and other NATO countries – it is a special duty to vigorously and militantly support and advocate for the victims. The ideological softness fostered since the disappearance of a principled socialist bloc has sown confusion, luring many to side with imperialism in the several great-power encroachments and wars contrived since that time. The Balkans, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and many other areas have experienced imperialist meddling, even military actions, all under the banner of human rights and democracy.

Blindness to imperial maneuvers produced little outcry when the G-8 countries – the primary imperialist countries – pledged $40 billion in “aid” for the “Arab Spring” countries in late May of this year. While few details were offered, the G-8 leaders stressed economic and social “reforms,” “transparency” and private sector development, all code words for fostering regimes amicable to imperialist penetration.

To Egypt’s credit, it emphatically turned down a US offer to supply the newly liberated people with $165 million to support “democratic and economic development” through the stealth imperialist agency, USAID. Egyptian officials were stunned when Hilary Clinton announced that these funds would come from existing aid programs and were to be administered directly by USAID and without the consent or involvement of Egyptian representatives. Egyptians wisely saw this as US interference in their internal affairs in order to influence the course of its ongoing revolutionary process.

On the Libyan question, skeptics point to the cozy relations Gaddafi has enjoyed with the West since 2003 as counter to the claim that the US and NATO are operating out of imperial hostility. Further, they cite economic ties as erasing any possible self-interestedness – energy resources, for example – that would motivate imperialist aggression.

For sure, recent releases from Wikileaks and other sources demonstrate warm, bilateral relations between US officials and Gaddafi right up to the January events. Even closer ties are now known between Libyan officials and the CIA. But this only demonstrates incredible hypocrisy on the part of the aggressors.

Even more revealing of imperial cynicism is the strange story of the rebels’ military commander, Abdel-Hakim Belhaj. In a recent AP story, Belhaj is identified as a CIA target swept off the streets of Bangkok in 2004 by the CIA, tortured, and rendered to Libya where he was imprisoned by pre-arrangement with Libyan authorities. The fact that Belhaj — labeled a “terrorist” only a few years ago — is now acceptable to the West as the principal military leader of the anti-Gaddafi forces seems to cause no discomfort.

But do the US and its NATO powers have an economic interest in seeing Gaddafi removed from power in Libya?

Contrary to the skeptics, the NATO aggressors have a major and telling interest in seeing Gaddafi removed. In a little noticed article in the back pages of the April 15, 2011 Wall Street Journal, author Guy Chazan lays out the case for the major oil companies in seeking Gaddafi’s departure (For West’s Oil Firms, No Love Lost in Libya). Chazan notes that foreign companies enthusiastically “poured in” to Libya after 2003; he cites a major player: “Libya was very fashionable… [e]veryone saw it as a great opportunity.”

But despite some major early deals, things turned sour. “Under a stringent new system known as EPSA-4, the regime judged companies’ bids on how large a share of future production they would let Libya have. Winners routinely promised more than 90% of their oil output to Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corp., or NOC.”

In addition, Libya kept its “crown jewels”—the onshore oil fields producing most of its oil – in the hands of state-owned companies. In 2007, even long engaged “friendly” companies were made to renegotiate their contracts to conform to EPSA-4. Foreign companies were forced to hire Libyans for jobs, including top managers.

One big loser was Italian oil firm, Eni SpA, which had to pay $1 billion to extend its contract with the Libyan government. Even more painfully, the Libyans reduced Eni’s share of production from 35-50% to a mere 12%. It’s no wonder that the Italian government was the most enthusiastic supporter of the NATO aggression. Nor is it anything more than a bitter irony that Eni CEO Paulo Scaroni pronounced the NATO assault on Gaddafi’s government “a lucky outcome.”

Chazan reports that “A clutch of companies left Libya as their five-year contracts began to expire, among them Chevron Corporation, BG Group PLC, and Australia’s Woodside Petroleum LTD.”

No doubt they are now eager to return with a more favorable regime on the verge of taking power under NATO’s protective arm.

In the last week of August, Eni SpA signed a contract with the “interim” government of Libya to fulfill all of the natural gas and petroleum needs of the Libyan people, a suitable reward for the fulsome efforts of Italian imperialism. No one in the capitalist media saw this naked payoff as shameless.

When the “friends of Libya” conference convened in Paris on September 1, 2011, the 63 countries representing themselves as “friends” spoiled their celebration by feuding over the disposition of the Libyan oil resources. “French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said he thought it would only be reasonable if French companies benefited from preferential access to Libyan contracts, given that Paris, together with the UK, led the foreign military offensive in Libya”, as reported in The Wall Street Journal (Amid Harmony on Libya, a Spat Over Its Oil, 9-2-2011). So now the scramble for Libyan oil begins.

Convincing some that NATO intervention in Libya was an act of imperialist aggression may well be a hopeless task. Many are blind to capitalist motives, just as they are ignorant of historical patterns. Yet, imperialist aggression continues as blatantly and arrogantly as it has for well over a hundred years.

V.I. Lenin, writing in 1900 of the naked aggression against China by the “Great Powers,” presages the imperialism of 2011:
And now the European capitalists have placed their rapacious paws upon China, and almost the first to do so was the Russian Government, which now so loudly proclaims its “disinterestedness.” It “disinterestedly” took Port Arthur away from China and began to build a railway to Manchuria under the protection of Russian troops. One after another, the European governments began feverishly to loot, or, as they put it, to “rent,” Chinese territory, giving good grounds for the talk of the partition of China. If we are to call things by their right names, we must say that the European governments (the Russian Government among the very first) have already started to partition China. However, they have not begun this partitioning openly, but stealthily, like thieves. They began to rob China as ghouls rob corpses, and when the seeming corpse attempted to resist, they flung themselves upon it like savage beasts, burning down whole villages, shooting, bayonetting, and drowning in the Amur River unarmed inhabitants, their wives, and their children. And all these Christian exploits are accompanied by howls against the Chinese barbarians who dared to raise their hands against the civilised Europeans…

How is our government’s senseless policy in China to be explained? Who benefits by it? The benefit goes to a handful of capitalist magnates who carry on trade with China, to a handful of factory owners who manufacture goods for the Asian market, to a handful of contractors who are now piling up huge profits on urgent war orders (factories producing war equipment, supplies for the troops, etc., are now operating at full capacity and are engaging hundreds of new workers). In the interests of this handful of capitalists and bureaucratic scoundrels, our government unhesitatingly sacrifices the interests of the entire people. And in this case, as always, the autocratic tsarist government has proved itself to be a government of irresponsible bureaucrats servilely cringing before the capitalist magnates and nobles. (The Chinese War)

That was the ugly face of imperialism in China, this is the ugly face of imperialism in Libya today.

Fort Worth’s “red scare”
| September 6, 2011 | 8:51 pm | Action | No comments

By Dick J. Reavis

http://www.texasobserver.org/culture/fort-worths-red-scare

ON MONDAY Sept. 4, 1933, for the first time in 10 years, Fort Worth celebrated Labor Day with a grand parade. The event was not marred, as its planners had feared it would be, by the unemployed rabble. Their leader, a Communist, had been jailed—and was dead before the festive procession began. A police band led a group of 2,000 down Main and Houston streets to the Tarrant County courthouse, followed by elected officials, including Texas Attorney General James Allred, soon to be governor.

see above link for the rest of the article

Solidarity with the Libyan people
| September 5, 2011 | 9:50 pm | Action | No comments

Statement by the Communist Party of Ireland

28 August 2011

The Communist Party of Ireland expresses its solidarity with the Libyan people now facing into a future of occupation, dominated and controlled by imperialism—by the United States and Britain, France, and other EU powers.
The imperialist powers acted early to forestall any development of democracy in Libya. They fraudulently obtained the support of the United Nations Security Council for a “no-fly zone,” the terms of which they had no intention of observing. In contempt of international law, and their own laws, they gave military backing to a collection of long-time agents of theirs, defectors from the Gaddafi regime, and Islamic fundamentalists allied to al-Qa‘ida. With the spurious excuse of protecting civilian lives they launched a bombing campaign that cost thousands of lives. Their elite units—SAS, Foreign Legion, and SEALs—were there from the beginning.
As is well known, these powers show complete tolerance when their allies and client states carry out torture, murder, and massacres, and their protestations of concern for human rights are therefore empty rhetoric. The character of Gaddafi or his government had nothing to do with their war aims. Their object was to re-establish control over Libya’s oil wealth and to reinforce their economic dominance in Africa. Their clients in the “interim government” have already promised to co-operate. Its establishment marks an important goal of the EU in relation to its Mediterranean and African strategy.
The supine support given to the recolonisation project by the Irish Government shows once again its complete subservience to imperialism. The Irish media also have been happy to act as tools, repeating war propaganda.
As events have unfolded over the last months, it is clear that the “interim government” has been receiving military as well as political advice and will be mere stooges of the west in the coming years. It was also a signal to the masses in the Arab world in their struggle for democracy and economic and social justice that their demands will be allowed only so long as they do not threaten the interests of imperialism in the region.
The Libyan people now face a massive struggle to defend the gains made over the last four decades, such as free universal health and education and living standards that are the highest in Africa and among the highest in the Arab world. The anti-imperialist role that Libya played over a number of decades, particular in the early years after the Gaddafi revolution, was never forgotten by the western powers, in spite of the friendly relations established in recent years.
The Libyan people now as never before need the solidarity of progressive forces throughout the world as they once again experience occupation and foreign domination.