Month: August, 2012
Death by a thousand cuts…
| August 28, 2012 | 8:29 pm | Action | No comments

By Zoltan Zigedy

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

Many liberal and even radical economists have raised the prospect of a “double-dip recession.” By the phrase “double-dip,” they refer to a repeat of the sharp downturn in growth experienced by most countries in 2008-2009. The possibility of a recurrence, a violent contraction of economic activity, looms over the global economy as it stumbles and falters away from the shock of three years ago.

Since the capitalist economy has yet to expel the profound contradictions that produced the shock, the possibility of another sharp downturn cannot be ruled out.

However, an even worse outcome likely lurks ahead. Indeed, the economic diagnosis is so dire that a dramatic downturn might be welcomed in some circles as a release of the enormous pressures that impinge on the world’s economies. Such a downturn, destroying real and nominal wealth, consolidating productive means, and tragically devastating of living standards, might buy capitalism some breathing room and force policy makers to rethink their road map going forward.

Clearly, economists and politicians learned little or nothing from the 2008-2009 drama. In spite of the much acclaimed “death” of neo-liberalism celebrated in the depths of crisis by liberals like Paul Krugman and Robert Reich, the pre-crisis ideology of market sovereignty, minimal government, and monetary tune-up still reigns supreme. What policy makers have learned is to encourage Central Banks to administer a preemptive monetary transfusion at the first sign of a downturn. While this has yet to stem the bleeding, it has kept the patient from bleeding to death.

Instead of the feared “double dip” recession, we may instead experience something far worse: a grinding slowdown, an intractable stagnation, a kind of economic death from a thousand cuts.

Where the economic watchdogs were caught unawares in 2008, confident that capitalism would continue to show resilience and growth, policy makers are wary today of a similar “Lehman” moment, where markets seize, confidence plunges, and fear grips all economic activity. Thus, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, stands vigilantly at the gate intently looking for any economic interloper, though with no guarantee that he has the weapons to contain it. This vigilance is particularly acute in an election year, when no economic czar wants to be perceived as influencing the election outcome.

Popular mythology, many economists, and far too many Marxists depict economic crisis only as a great shock wave that sends economic life into chaos. Certainly the panic of 1929 implanted that image. But that image is a caricature of the decade of decline and weak, tentative recovery that cycled throughout the Great Depression until interrupted by the buildup for the Second World War.

Today’s crisis mirrors that event in many ways, yet exhibits its own unique features as well. Some of the differences are especially menacing.

Signs of Decline

The economic decline that I identified and forecast in my January post, Summing Up/Taking Stock, continues unabated. The slowdown in the growth of US Gross Domestic Product persisted through the second quarter. Euro-zone growth has actually turned negative, especially and deeply in the Southern European region. The collapsing demand in this critical area has slowed the entire global economy, even the once fast-growing emerging market countries like China, Brazil, India, and Russia. The prospect of global economic growth is dim, stagnation likely, retreat very possible.

The key indicators from the capitalist point-of-view—earnings and productivity—stumbled in the first half of 2012 in the US. The burst of productivity growth that resulted from the harsh discipline imposed by unemployment, wage and benefit contraction, and speedup at the crest of the crisis produced an equally dramatic leap in earnings and the rate of profit. For the capitalist, this signaled “recovery,” though a recover only for the “swells.” Today the momentum from that intensification of exploitation has dissipated—profit and productivity growth is again slowing. The system cannot work for the capitalists without these measures showing healthy growth and hence systemic decline becomes an issue again for the capitalist class.

The European front of the global crisis continues to deteriorate, but at a faster rate. GDP growth is negative through nearly all of the Euro-zone and debt-mongers continue their aggression against bond interest rates, both squeezing sovereign debtors and securing ever higher interest payments from them. The most vulnerable national economies are caught in a vicious scissors’ crisis between escaping debt and restoring growth.

The Peoples’ Republic of China, the world’s second largest economy, has been racked by the global slowdown, dragging its growth prospects downward. Nearly all PRC economic indices are lower than for the same period a year ago. While domestic consumption is up, it is not at the impressive rate of a year ago. Nor is it as balanced as in 2011. Further, bad bank debt is up, private sector profits are down, and credit has slowed.

Other formerly vibrant emerging market economies are also slowing.

Of course the cold economic data mask the human costs of the economic crisis—a literal death by a thousand cuts. Unemployment, job insecurity, wage stagnation or decline, benefit cuts and cost increases, housing foreclosures, family dependencies and a host of other blows are bleeding all those without wealth and power.

Policy Paralysis

Choking any hope of recovery is the poverty of ideas shared by virtually all global policy makers. During the Great Depression, and unlike today, there were three new and radically opposed policy options that emerged as a response to the capitalist crisis (and imperialist war). First was the challenge of socialism. Both the isolation from the capitalist market and the successes of agricultural realignment, industrialization, and planning kept the sole socialist state, the Soviet Union, immune from crisis and enjoying unprecedented twentieth-century growth and development. Most notably in Europe, the appeal of socialism and the attraction of Communist Parties increased dramatically, especially in politically unstable countries like Italy, Germany, and Spain.

In response, rabid nationalism, fanatical anti-Communism, and a corporatist state combined to establish a new form of capitalist rule: fascism. The driving force behind the rise of fascism—its principle purpose—was destruction of the Communist left; it was essentially a counter-revolutionary movement. Fascism’s answer to the economic crisis was militarization, war, a collective tribal mentality, and the dismantling of the parliamentary system. It arose in an historic context, a historically unique moment. Though seldom acknowledged by scholarly accounts, fascism planted deep roots in other countries with significant working class and peasant left-wing movements, countries like Poland, Romania, Finland, and Hungary. Equally neglected by historians is the essential feature of anti-Communism, the feature that generates and animates fascism wherever it reappears.

Many point to the US New Deal as a third way and a less radical response to Communism, a moderate and modest social-democratic program that began as a quasi-corporatist approach (the National Recovery Administration) and morphed into a public sector-driven welfare and public employment project. That it brought relief to millions who would have otherwise suffered needlessly is indisputable. That it did not “solve” the crisis of capitalism is equally indisputable. As with UK Conservative Party governance of that time, the economy stumbled along until war and military spending stamped “paid” to the economic crisis.

Today’s ruling elites, political parties, and media pundits have no new approaches, no new programs to face the increasingly ominous economic challenges. They combine an embarrassing smugness with a near-religious devotion to neo-liberal dogma. Even those advocating a tentative growth model and elements of welfare-state relief are far removed from tackling the severity and the systemic failures of this crisis. From the austere, fanatical market disciplinarians like Paul Ryan and Angela Merkel to their more humane, flexible, and reformist counterparts like Paul Krugman and Francois Hollande, all share a confidence that private ownership and markets are indispensable to economic development and growth. All share the belief that the tools are at hand to steer the global economy back to the course it tracked before 2007; they simply differ on the tools. Even the mythically idealized New Deal vision of the state as the helmsman, directing capitalism-with-a-human-face is beyond the imagination of our contemporary leaders.

Facing a November election in the US, the two parties strive to stoke their respective bases with the predictable rhetorical flourishes. The Democrats hope to convince the electorate that the economy is on the road to recovery or, if voters don’t believe that lie, that it is Republican intransigence that stands in the way of that recovery. The Republicans, on the other hand, want to spin the idea that Democratic Party reckless spending stands in the way of recovery or, if voters don’t believe that lie, that returning to the gold standard will put capitalism back on the rails!

Answering the bell for the left is the usual motley crew that raise the specter of fascism and the banner of the lesser-of-two-evils (they try to have it both ways!). Never mind the lack of a Communist threat to spur fascism; never mind that last season’s lesser evil transforms into this season’s greater evil. As the center shifts inexorably to the right over decades of elections, the institutional left of think tanks, journals, the trade union bureaucracy, and NGOs knows only one answer: vote Democratic!

In France, citizens are living a déjà vu moment: Hollande is Barack Obama with a French accent—promising change and already sowing disappointment. His economic advisers remind the populace of the deficit crisis at every turn, an omen of even more disappointment ahead.
Only in Greece is there a Communist “threat” and only in Greece is there really the threat of fascism embodied in the Golden Dawn movement. Greek Communists—the KKE—present a revolutionary program for Greece’s revival, a program that is advocated by a mass party and is unique to Europe. ABC—the Anything But Communism left—is represented in Greece by SYRIZA, a popular alternative that offers the false option of militant posturing without any revolutionary sacrifice.

The current leadership of Peoples’ China seems determined to dismantle some of the socialist safeguards that protected the country from the sharp downturn of 2008-2009. On one hand, they want to invite greater risk by reducing the state’s semi-monopoly of the banking sector. On the other, they rely heavily upon credit market manipulation rather than careful, balanced planning to stimulate growth. As a result, there is disorder in investment initiatives: unfinished projects, waste, duplication, etc. While there has been a decided shift towards domestic consumption growth, the rate of growth has slowed noticeably since the first of the year. The recent high-profile symbolic blow to the Party’s left leaves many concerns about the PRC’s direction and ability to jump-start the global economy.

In short, the ruling elites throughout the world offer only stale and proven ineffectual policy solutions. They remain locked in the economic thinking that dominated the pre-crisis era. Neither the audacity nor the spirit of experimentation that characterized the Roosevelt administration has yet emerged, a level of response that might at least take the edge off the human cost of economic decline. Even the threat of falling off a “fiscal cliff,” as the Federal Reserve chairman and the independent Congressional Budget Office warn, brings no new ideas or re-thinking.

Some see this as irrational behavior on the part of rulers, but they fail to understand that the last few years have been quite kind to elites: profits rebounded dramatically after 2008-2009. And elites have every reason to believe, despite the current alarm over earnings, that they will continue to patch up their profit-making machinery and move forward thanks to the willingness on the part of the crisis victims to continue sacrificing.

Perhaps they are right, but the masses face a slow death from a thousand cuts; the vast majority will, as they have over the past four years, pay an enormous price to guarantee the health and profitability of monopoly capitalism.

The crisis continues unabated. The only question remaining is who will pay for the destruction in its wake. Ruling elites demand that working people—the masses—pay to restore capitalism to a healthy, profit-turning state. They need no new ideas or new programs to secure that result.

But for the rest of us, we desperately need ideas that will allow us to escape the crisis and the tyranny of monopoly capital. Socialism would answer that call.

Zoltan Zigedy
zoltanzigedy@gmail.com

WFTU statement on South African mine killings
| August 27, 2012 | 8:54 pm | Action | No comments

WORLD FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS

Athens, August 17, 2012

PRESS RELEASE

The World Federation of Trade Unions expresses its deepest condolences to the families of all victims at the outrageous conflict in Lonmin mine in South Africa. We are on the side of the SACP and NUM and we express our solidarity with their efforts to defend the real rights of workers and the freedom of trade union action.

The WFTU condemns the role of employers and the bosses that try to spread discord and hatred among workers. For the WFTU the lives of all workers have the same value no matter what union they belong to.

The WFTU has the fixed firm principle that workers, the working class, poor peasants, indigenous people, the progressive intelligentsia, all together we can build our class unity with final target the abolition of the exploitation of man by man.

THE SECRETARIAT

40, ZAN MOREAS STREET, ATHENS 11745 GREECE

Tel. +302109214417, +302109236700, Fax +30210 9214517

www.wftucentral.org  E-mails: info@wftucentral.org , international@wftucentral.org

Save the CPUSA blogspot
| August 26, 2012 | 4:06 pm | Action | No comments

Check out this new blogspot

http://savethecpusa.blogspot.com/

To Bomb or Not To Bomb
| August 26, 2012 | 9:14 am | Action | No comments

By James F. Harrington

President Obama’s military surge in Afghanistan is costing the American taxpayers billions of dollars each year, not mentioning the cost in human lives and destruction.

This money could be used to house and feed the poor in our country and throughout the world.

It could pay for a national health care program for all Americans.

I personally resent the way that the leadership of the Communist Party USA never condemned Obama on his silence during the Israeli massacre of Gaza which took place right before he was elected president.

I firmly believe that the CPUSA has the duty to checkmate the president on every move that he makes.

The awarding of the Nobel Prize for Peace to president Obama at the exact time that he is increasing troop levels in Afghanistan; sending pilot-less drones each day into Pakistan which kill and maim innocent men, women, and children, is an insult to humanity which is completely ignored by the CPUSA.

The Syrian conflict must be resolved by the Syrian people themselves
| August 23, 2012 | 9:12 pm | Action | No comments

Statement of the Central Executive Committee,
Communist Party of Canada
August 20, 2012

The crisis in Syria continues to deepen with every passing day. Thousands have been killed or injured, including countless civilians caught in the crossfire between armed opposition groups and government forces. Thousands more have been displaced from their towns and villages and forced into internal or foreign exile by the fighting. In this very real sense, the situation has become a human and social tragedy of the first order.

But what is actually taking place in Syria? Who is really provoking the violence and prolonging the agony of the Syrian people?

The Western corporate controlled media would have us believe that the root cause of the conflict is the “tyrannical” government of President Bashar El Assad which clings to power at any price, willing to sacrifice the health and security of its own people. This “big lie” is central to the intensifying propaganda campaign to vilify El Assad in order to conceal the role of reactionary and clerical forces bent on destabilizing and ultimately overthrowing the current government and seizing power for themselves. And if necessary, this demonization campaign will be used as a pretext for imperialist military intervention and occupation to directly impose “regime change”, as was done in Iraq and most recently in Libya.

The global media offensive against Syria is only one aspect of a multi faceted imperialist strategy to crush (and possibly dismember) the Syrian state. The broader objective is to fashion a “New Middle East” of weak and pliant Arab states under the domination of U.S. and European imperialist powers and their local gendarme in the region, the expansionist state of Israel. This would guarantee unfettered access to the petroleum and other natural resources of the region, and extend imperialist geopolitical hegemony into the “underbelly” of Asia, further encircling both the Russian Federation and China.

Undermining the Syrian state is pivotal in achieving this imperialist ambition. Due to its central location in the region, its secular character and socially progressive policy orientation, and its firm solidarity with the just struggle of the Palestinian people and its opposition to the expansionist policies of Zionist Israel, Syria has long been in the cross hairs of U.S. imperialism. For their own reasons, reactionary Arab regimes – especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar – as well as Turkey are also anxious to weaken and crush Syria.

“Regime change” in Damascus and its replacement with a more pliant, pro imperialist regime would compound this catastrophe for the Syrian people. It would also dramatically alter the regional balance of forces, weakening the anti imperialist forces, and serving as a prelude – and launching pad – for NATO/Israeli aggression against neighbouring Iran, the most powerful state in the region.

When anti government protests erupted in Syria last year, U.S. imperialism and its local and regional backers seized the opportunity to launch its “tried and true” destabilization campaign, using popular discontent (and the at times crude methods used by local Syrian officials to quell the protests) as a cover to move into action. Many Syrians were justifiably angry at the impact of neoliberal “reforms” which weakened national production, increased unemployment, and widened social and economic disparities between the mass of working people and national and foreign capitalists, aided by weak, misguided and sometimes corrupt government officials.

But legitimate opposition voices were quickly either co opted or shunted aside by hardcore, heavily foreign financed and armed gangs determined to make Syria ungovernable. Terrorist attacks to spur further government crackdowns, sectarian violence to incite distrust and enmity between the Sunni majority and the Alawite and other minorities, the smuggling of heavy weapons and even mercenaries from abroad, and finally open calls for direct foreign intervention in violation of Syria’s national sovereignty – this has been the orchestrated game plan carried out by the “internal opposition”. The extent of foreign covert intervention already evident in the conflict proves that this is not a “civil war” but rather a highly coordinated imperialist conspiracy against Syria.

The misnamed “Friends of Syria” – the cabal of U.S. and other imperialist powers, the reactionary and despotic Arab regimes, and the counter revolutionary Syrian National Council – have dismissed every attempt of the Assad government to dialogue with the “opposition”, to achieve a ceasefire under the Kofi Annan peace plan, or to introduce constitutional reforms ending the state of emergency and opening the way for more open parliamentary elections. Instead, they have forced through several rounds of anti-Syrian sanctions at the UN Security Council, and have denounced Russia and China for vetoing strident and dangerous resolutions which would have given a green light for foreign imperialist aggression under the sanction of the United Nations, as was done in March 2011 against Libya.

The Harper government has played a particularly despicable role in this sordid affair, beating the drums for sanctions and war on Syria. Unfortunately, the main opposition parties in Canada’s parliament – the Liberals and NDP – have done little better. Indeed, all three parties have thrown in their lot with the imperialist conspiracy against Syria, arguing in favour of “humanitarian interventionism” and the “responsibility to protect” (R2P) as a justification for yet another aggression.

The Communist Party of Canada fundamentally rejects the building war frenzy over Syria and Iran, and warns that such military adventurism could well lead to a dangerous conflagration throughout the Middle East region, and beyond. We call for:

• full respect of Syrian national sovereignty and independence;

• the removal of sanctions; an immediate halt to all covert financial and military support to the Free Syrian Army and other armed groups inside Syria; and

• the renunciation of a military “solution” in favour of a ceasefire by all combatants and a comprehensive national dialogue to restore peace to that troubled country.

For more information, please contact Miguel Figueroa, Leader of the Communist Party of Canada at 416-469-2446 (v) or Figueroa@cpc-pcc.ca .

Julian Assange and safe passage
| August 23, 2012 | 9:03 pm | Action | No comments

By Arthur Shaw

Latin America and the Caribbean have a long history of cases in which a state either gave or withheld safe passage — that is, an opportunity for an individual or group of individuals to leave without peril a country in which the state or another force is intent on punishing the individual(s) in some way for some reason.

Julian Assange wants an opportunity to leave the UK without exposure to peril. He is currently in Ecuador’s embassy. Ecuador has granted him asylum. The UK is considering whether to extradite him to Sweden on charges of sexual misconduct. Some threats have been made to storm the Ecuadoran embassy and nab him in violation of international law. Should he be extradited to Sweden, many people have speculated he could be taken to the U.S. where he could be tried on espionage charges and face execution or some other harsh sentence.

There are two or three cases about safe passage in Latin America and the Caribbean that really stand out.

In August 1978, nineteen Sandinista revolutionaries shook the world when they captured the whole Nicaraguan legislature and promised to return the legislature to the Somoza dictatorship only if Somoza did three things — freed about 15 Sandinistas prisoners of war, paid the Sandinistas $500,000 as ransom for the return of the legislature, and gave all 34 Sandinistas safe passage to Cuba. To get his legislature back, Somoza, the Nicaraguan dictator, paid the ransom and gave safe passage to Cuba. The 1978 capture of the Nicaraguan legislature by the glorious Sandinistas was so dramatic and so overwhelming, it’s hard to compare the heroic and towering capture of legislature with the adventures of Julian Assange.
Fortunately, the second instance is not so overwhelming; thus, our second instance dealing with safe passage may throw some light on the Assange case.

On January 27, 2010, CNN News, one of the most powerful outlets of the bourgeois media, reported:
“Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has left his temporary home at the Brazilian Embassy in the capital, Tegucigalpa, and is en route to the Dominican Republic, local media reported Wednesday. A deal reached last week with Honduran President-elect Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo granted Zelaya safe passage to the island nation, resolving a diplomatic impasse that kept him trapped in Honduras.”

In June 2009, the Honduran military officers dragged Honduran President Manuel Zelaya out of his bed. The president had nothing on but his cotton pajamas. The officers drove the president to the Tegucigalpa airport and literally threw the president on the plane which was bound for Costa Rica. On September 2009, the president returned to Honduras secretly and sought political asylum or diplomatic immunity in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. In January 2010 he left Honduras with a promise of safe passage for exile in the Dominican Republic.

So, it took Zelaya about five months — from September 2009 to January 2010 — to get safe passage out of Honduras.

Assange will be lucky if he can get out of the UK with safe passage in only five months.

ASSANGE AND ZELAYA

There are at least four eerie factual and conceptual similarities between the Zelaya and Assange struggles.

First, safe passage from a diplomatic mission to an airport is an issue in both cases — Zelaya got safe passage to the Dominican Republic and Assange seeks safe passage to Ecuador.

Second, both the Assange and Zelaya cases deal with freedom of expression — Zelaya proposed to conduct a non-binding opinion poll of the Honduran population on the question of constitutional reform and Assange released documents showing the dirty and rotten games played by US imperialists to undermine the sovereignty of other countries

Third, in both cases, the bourgeois and imperialist regime in Washington is the real power behind the scenes that call the shots for its slave states — e.g., President Obama tells the governments of the UK, Sweden, Australia, and Honduras what he wants.

Fourth, in both cases, a public figure [Zelaya and Assange] seeks political asylum or diplomatic immunity in a diplomatic mission — e.g., respectively the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa and Ecuador’s embassy in London.

Now, let’s look at the difference between the Zelaya and Assange cases.

Zelaya was a citizen of Honduras and Assange isn’t a citizen of the UK. This difference however seems to me to be more contingent than necessary.

The central difference between the two cases is that Assange is “rumored” [no formal charges have been filed against him] to have committed a criminal act involving two women in Sweden and Zelaya was accused in a civil lawsuit of engaging in a type of speech that was allegedly prohibited by the Honduran Constitution. In other words, the alleged act relative to Assange was criminal in nature and the act formally alleged against Zelaya was merely unconstitutional.

There is another case which we must talk about, even though the Sandinistas and Zeyala cases are lot more interesting. The third case is called the Asylum Case. The case arose when a Peruvian military leader, Victor Raul Haya de la Torre, took refuge in the Colombian embassy in Lima after leading an unsuccessful coup attempt in early 1948. Elsewhere in the world, this would have resulted in a very long stay for Haya de la Torre. For while all nations [except the UK] respect the inviolability of foreign embassy premises, there is certainly no rule requiring a host State [say, the UK] to allow a political refugee [say, Assange] safe passage out of the embassy, out of the country, and to the asylum state. Nowhere, that is, except Latin America, where there evolved a regional custom of diplomatic asylum.

In other words, Latin America, in the early 1950s, introduced and developed the law of diplomatic asylum and the principle is still largely a regional rule that is unheard of in some other parts of the world. Today, Latin American embassies in Latin America are more like hotels than diplomatic missions. Ecuador is extending the application of the principle of diplomatic asylum to the UK. To understand the difference between “inviolability of foreign embassy premises” and “diplomatic asylum,” we must grasp what safe passage is because the concept of “inviolability of foreign embassy premises” doesn’t at all imply safe passage out of the country.

THE ROLE WHICH EXTRADITION PLAYS

On August 20, 2010, Swedish police began their investigation into reports of a rape and sexual assault allegedly committed by Julian Assange in separate sexual encounters involving two different women.
The crux of the extradition issue is not whether the sex was consensual or coerced, but whether Assange contrived to have sex with the two women without using a condom. For example, Miss A [the court name for one of the two women] told Swedish police that at “some stage” of the sexual encounter between Assange and herself, Assange “did something” that caused the condom to rip. She argues that whatever Assange did to cause the rip in the condom constitutes rape or at least a sexual assault. Assange replies he was unaware of any rip in the condom and Miss A never mentioned a rip during the seven days in August 2010 when he slept with Miss A.

Assange has described all the sexual encounters as consensual and statements by the two women themselves confirm that the encounters at least started as such. The local arrest warrant for Assange was canceled on August 21, 2010 by one of Stockholm’s Chief Prosecutors, Eva Finne, and the investigation was downgraded to only cover lesser allegations. Finné said in a statement to the press: “I don’t think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape.” The local warrant was subsequently re-issued by another Swedish Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny on September 1, 2010 who said the allegations could be classified or construed as rape after all, because of the “rip.” in the condom.

In December 2010, Assange, then in the UK, learned that Swedish authorities had issued a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) to extradite him to Sweden for questioning related to allegations by the two women [that is, Miss A and Miss W] dealing mostly with the absence or presence of condoms during his 7-day relationship with Miss A and his 6-day relationship with Miss W.

Miss W told the Swedish police that she was “asleep” during one instance when she had sex with Assange. Realizing that this allegation left her position untenable, Miss W changed her statement saying she was only “half asleep.” According to Miss W, she asked Assange whether he had sex with her without a condom while she slept. Assange denies that this conversation between him and Miss W ever took place.

Emails to and statements from friends of two the women to the Swedish police later disclosed that both women talked about getting cash from tabloids for publication rights. Further, friends of the two women say the women were jealous of each other and both women felt Assange had dumped one for the other. Both wanted revenge, not for the rip in the condom, but for being dumped and two-timed.

Attorneys for Assange in Sweden say that the Swedish Chief Prosecutor presiding over the case has evidence that shows the two women were part of a plot to entrap or set up Assange. Assange’s attorneys have seen some of the evidence but the Court refuses to allow them to take notes or make copies.

The whole extradition phase of the case is a sham and a scam.

Irrefutable evidence was leaked by WikiLeaks on the existence of a secret US grand jury with a secret US indictment against Assange. Later, a media organization received declassified diplomatic cables that confirm a secret indictment against Assange exists. Shockingly, the documents go on to state that the Australian government has no objection to an extradition of Assange to the United States.

Some crackpot and prominent leaders of US imperialism have publicly advocated that Assange be assassinated — not judicially executed, but assassinated! Again, these are men and women at the top of the imperial hierarchy in the USA.

The chief role that these proposed extraditions to Sweden and the USA play is to distract public attention from the real issues of free speech, whistle-blowing, free press, and freedom of information for the masses which the Assange case poses. Imperialism doesn’t want the masses to see clearly the rotting of democratic rights of individuals and of certain news organizations which are not recognized members of the bourgeois media.

To a big degree, the question of safe passage for Assange from the embassy to the London airport and from the airport to Ecuador has recently supplanted extradition as the propaganda focus of the case. As long as the focus remains on these rips in condoms and falling asleep while having sex, bourgeois states and the bourgeois media are likely to prevail in this struggle. Whether to give or withhold safe passage is a matter that lies within the discretion of the bourgeois regime in the UK. This regime shows some sensitivity to public opinion for otherwise it wouldn’t have apparently backed off of its threat to storm the embassy or it would have itself handed Assange over to US imperialists without wasting time on Swedish stooges. This means the UK regime is taking the rap like a fool for the arrogance of the imperialist regime in Washington, DC. Safe passage offers not only Assange but also the UK a way out of this nasty predicament. This predicament of the UK was supposed to be over in early July or August at the latest. But now that Assange has both political asylum and refuge in the embassy, the predicament can go on and on. No peace and quiet.

ECUADOR

Ecuador may be an underrated player in this controversy. Ecuador told the UK regime to take its threat to raid the embassy and shove it. The UK hasn’t shoved it nor has the UK raided the embassy. The US imperialists were no help, at all, in straightening out the dispute between UK and Ecuador.

The UK does not buy the USA line that the dispute is a bilateral affair between UK and Ecuador; therefore, ALBA, UNASUR, and OAS shouldn’t stick their nose in it. Ecuadorian Pres. Rafael Correa asks how can the dispute be bilateral when the world recognizes Sweden, UK, Ecuador, and USA as participants in the dispute. Since Assange is an Australian journalist and citizen, Australia is also a party in the controversy. Further, “the inviolability of diplomatic missions is principle that affects all countries,” Pres. Correa argues.

Significantly, Correa denies that Assange or Ecuador are blocking the enforcement of Swedish law relative to the investigation of the allegations of the two women [Miss A and Miss W] against Assange. On the contrary, Correa points out that conditions have been created in Ecuador’s Embassy in London for Assange to testify on alleged sex crimes and cooperate in the taking of any physical tests that Swedish authorities may wish to administer. What’s more, Ecuador is willing to make these accommodations for Swedish law enforcement, even though no formal criminal charges have been filed against Assange, even in Sweden.

Operating through proxies, Correa has carefully arranged a showdown between himself and US Pres. Barack Obama at the Friday Aug. 24 meeting of foreign ministers at OAS offices in Washington. Present indications look like Correa will get at least 23 votes of member states and Obama will get, at most, three votes, including the US vote. With the extradition proceedings, US imperialists tried to corner Assange like a rat. But now, US imperialism is the rat in the corner. Look at how Correa put it together. He first got ALBA states to vote his way. So, ALBA members can’t change their vote on Aug. 24. Using the momentum from the ALBA vote, he then got UNASUR to vote his way. So, UNASUR is fixed, too. Now, Correa is going after the OAS, an infamous temple for the glorification of US imperialism.

I’ll bet ya, he’s gonna win.

Correa sees the Assange struggle for safe passage can become a lot bigger than most other struggles. What the struggle for safe passage for this Australian journalist needs is an organizational force with powerful allies. Correa is tough and smart.

THREE LIKELY OUTCOMES AND THE RUNNING DOG

At present, there seems to be three likely outcomes for the situation between Assange and the UK:

(1) Safe passage for Assange from Ecuador’s Embassy to the airport and from the airport to Ecuador.

(2) Continued confinement of Assange to the premises of Ecuador’s Embassy in London.

(3) The extradition of Assange to Sweden under the terms of a deal acceptable to all three of the principal parties — the UK, Assange and Ecuador.

It seems to me that the possible outcome that is mostly likely to become reality is (1), that is, safe passage for Assange.

No. (1) — that is, safe passage — is the most likely outcome because the people of the world who still believe that freedom of expression is something worth fighting for will continue to demand that Assange, a champion of the free press, be set free. Without the will of the democratic masses on his side, No. 1 — that is, safe passage for Assange — will be significantly less likely as an outcome. At this point, we can’t say who will be the chief organizational expressions of the will of democratic masses. It could be an element within WikiLeaks or Ecuadorian revolutionaries or human rights activists or the glorious Australian patriots, etc. Who knows?

I believe the most likely candidate for the organizational role are Australian patriots. The government of Australia is nothing but a slave state of US imperialists. But the mass of the people of Australia are not as submissive to US imperialists as the worthless regime that rules Australia.

The government of Australia is quintessentially the running dog of imperialism. Everywhere US imperialists go, the Australian running dog follows. This running dog is always ready to bite. It will bite its own people or even bite itself, if the imperial master gives the order to bite.

One gets the impression that the bourgeois regime in Australia would be enraged and outraged if the UK gave Assange safe passage.

DEMOCRATIC MASSES EVERYWHERE

Why should the democratic masses everywhere be concerned about Assange?

It seems that the underlying or ultimate issue in the Assange case is whether or not an outfit like WikiLeaks [a mere dot.com news organization] that is not a part of the bourgeois media enjoys constitutional protection from government censorship and government persecution for exposing wrongs and injustices committed by the bourgeois state.

If the answer is yes, then two consequences follow. First, new organizations would have a protected right to freedom of expression and the democratic masses have a corresponding and protected right to freedom of information that is not supplied by the various sectors of the bourgeois media.

If the answer is no, then only the worthless and craven bourgeois media will be more or less unmolested by censorship and persecution by the bourgeois state for the publication of information which the government wants to stay secret.

Again, if the answer is no, certain journalists lose their right to express news that is most deserving of expression and the masses lose their right to be informed.

Without freedom of expression, there is no freedom of information for the people.

The foul and rotten coverage of the Assange story in most of the bourgeois media is appalling to people of conscience. For the most part, this coverage in the capitalist press is slanted and inflammatory against Assange, against the facts and against logic. On the other hand, the situation involving Assange represents a pivotal point at which working people can unite and stand up for their rights to information about how governments are conducting the people’s business.

Morning Star on the situation in Syria
| August 21, 2012 | 8:59 pm | Action | No comments

Here are two articles from the Morning Star on the situation in Syria:

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/122948

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/122853