Month: July, 2017
Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases
| July 31, 2017 | 9:02 pm | US Peace Council | No comments
Dear Members and Friends of U.S. Peace Council,
We are pleased to announce that the USPC and a number of prominent peace, justice and environmental organizations in the U.S. have jointly formed the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases. We have agreed on a Unity Statement for the Coalition and would like to invite you and your organization to join us.
You can read and sign on to our Unity Statement on the Coalition’s website at:
http://NoForeignBases.org.
Please distribute this announcement widely and ask all your colleagues and friends to join the Coalition.
Thank you and looking forward to working closely with you on this very important matter.Executive Board of the U.S. Peace Council July 29, 2017
The CIA Was Involved In the Coup Against Venezuela’s Chavez
| July 31, 2017 | 8:57 pm | Hugo Chavez, political struggle, Venezuela | No comments

Editor’s note: Here is some of the historical background to the current situation in Venezuela:

https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/800

The CIA Was Involved In the Coup Against Venezuela’s Chavez

By Eva Golinger – VenezuelaFOIA.info, November 22nd 2004

On April 12, 2002, White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer stated:

Let me share with you the administration’s thoughts about what’s taking place in Venezuela. It remains a somewhat fluid situation. But yesterday’s events in Venezuela resulted in a change in the government and the assumption of a transitional authority until new elections can be held.

The details still are unclear. We know that the action encouraged by the Chavez government provoked this crisis. According to the best information available, the Chavez government suppressed peaceful demonstrations. Government supporters, on orders from the Chavez government, fired on unarmed, peaceful protestors, resulting in 10 killed and 100 wounded. The Venezuelan military and the police refused to fire on the peaceful demonstrators and refused to support the government’s role in such human rights violations. The government also tried to prevent independent news media from reporting on these events.

The results of these events are now that President Chavez has resigned the presidency. Before resigning, he dismissed the vice president and the cabinet, and a transitional civilian government has been installed. This government has promised early elections.

The United States will continue to monitor events. That is what took place, and the Venezuelan people expressed their right to peaceful protest. It was a very large protest that turned out. And the protest was met with violence.”[i]

On that same day, U.S. Department of State spokesperson Philip T. Reeker, claimed:

In recent days, we expressed our hopes that all parties in Venezuela, but especially the Chavez administration, would act with restraint and show full respect for the peaceful expression of political opinion. We are saddened at the loss of life. We wish to express our solidarity with the Venezuelan people and look forward to working with all democratic forces in Venezuela to ensure the full exercise of democratic rights. The Venezuelan military commendably refused to fire on peaceful demonstrators, and the media valiantly kept the Venezuelan public informed.

Yesterday’s events in Venezuela resulted in a transitional government until new elections can be held. Though details are still unclear, undemocratic actions committed or encouraged by the Chavez administration provoked yesterday’s crisis in Venezuela. According to the best information available, at this time: Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans gathered peacefully to seek redress of their grievances. The Chavez Government attempted to suppress peaceful demonstrations. Chavez supporters, on orders, fired on unarmed, peaceful protestors, resulting in more than 100 wounded or killed. Venezuelan military and police refused orders to fire on peaceful demonstrators and refused to support the government’s role in such human rights violations. The government prevented five independent television stations from reporting on events. The results of these provocations are: Chavez resigned the presidency. Before resigning, he dismissed the Vice President and the Cabinet. A transition civilian government has promised early elections.

We have every expectation that this situation will be resolved peacefully and democratically by the Venezuelan people in accord with the principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. The essential elements of democracy, which have been weakened in recent months, must be restored fully. We will be consulting with our hemispheric partners, within the framework of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, to assist Venezuela.”[ii]

Why re-cite these statements here? These statements from the highest levels of the U.S. Government show the prepared version of the events that took place during the April 11-12 coup d’etat against Venezuelan President Chávez. Moreover, these revealing statements now prove, in light of documents recently obtained from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), that this prepared version of events was knowingly false and made with the intention of deceiving the international community in order to justify a violent overthrow of a democratic government.

The White House and the State Department both claimed that the Chávez government had provoked violence and actions that resulted in the President’s alleged resignation. They also asserted that the Chávez government had fired on unarmed, peaceful protesters and that the Venezuelan military and police had refused orders to “support the government’s role in human rights violations”. The U.S. Government referred to the protests and actions of that day as though they were spontaneous, unplanned events.  The U.S. Government has also continued to deny to this day any involvement whatsoever in the April 2002 coup d’etat.

However, there is a vast amount of evidence that has surfaced since the coup demonstrating that the events on April 11, 2002 were entirely premeditated by a sector of the opposition intent on overthrowing the Chávez government. Furthermore, my own investigations have provided a plethora of evidence proving the U.S. involvement in the coup on various levels. Most revealing on the Venezuelan front was a news program on Saturday morning, April 12, 2002, “24 Horas” with host Napoleon Bravo. On that program, Bravo interviewed Vice-Admiral Carlos Molina Tamayo, a professed coup leader, and Victor Manuel Garcia, Director of the polling company CIFRA who claimed to have represented the “civil society” during the coup. Both Molina Tamayo and Garcia gave a jaw-dropping, detailed account of the events leading up to the coup and those key Venezuelans involved, including crediting the private televisions stations for their complicity and aide. Their testimony, along with Chacao municipal mayor Leopoldo Lopez of the Primero Justicia political party and Napoleon Bravo’s own admissions of complicity in the coup, provided plenty of proof that the overthrow of Chávez was a premeditated event.

Later, an extraordinary and award-winning documentary by filmmaker Angel Palacios, “Puente Llaguno: Claves de un Masacre”, revealed how the Venezuelan private media had manipulated and distorted the events that unfolded on April 11, 2002 in the opposition march, which resulted in widespread violence and death. The documentary also provided sufficient proof that snipers unrelated to the Chávez government had provoked the violence in the opposition march that justified the forced removal of Chávez from office. Furthermore, the documentary succeeded in proving that a well-planned military-civilian coup d’etat had taken place that day and that those involved were connected to the highest levels of the U.S. government.

But the evidence of actual U.S. involvement in the coup itself remained scarce up until recently. On www.venezuelafoia.info, I have posted hundreds of documents that evidence the intricate financing scheme the U.S. government has been carrying out in Venezuela since 2001, that includes financing well over twenty million dollars to opposition sectors. The funding of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a quasi-governmental entity in the U.S. financed entirely by Congress and established by congressional legislation in 1983, has provided more than three million dollars since late 2001 to opposition groups, many of which were key participants in the April 2002 coup. And in June 2002, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), set up an Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) in the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, allegedly for the purposing of helping Venezuela to resolve its political crisis. The OTI in Caracas has counted on more than fifteen million dollars in funding from Congress since June 2002 and has recently requested five million more for 2005, despite the fact that it was only supposed to be a two-year endeavor. All evidence obtained to date shows that the OTI has primarily funded opposition groups and projects in Venezuela, particularly those that were focused on the August 15, 2004 recall referendum against President Chávez.

I have written other articles explaining the intervention model applied through NED and USAID in Venezuela. This method of intervention is very sophisticated and complex, as it penetrates civil society and social organizations in a very subtle way and is often either undetectable or flimsily justified by the concept of “promoting democracy”, which is what the NED claims to do around the world, despite evidence to the contrary. The mere fact in Venezuela that the NED has financed exclusively anti-Chávez groups and those very same organizations that were involved in the April 2002 coup shows that “democracy” is far from the NED’s intention.

But the CIA intervention in Venezuela is of the crudest, simplest kind. Top secret documents recently obtained and posted on www.venezuelafoia.info show that in the weeks prior to the April 2002 coup against President Chávez, the CIA had full knowledge of the events to occur and, in fact, even had the detailed plans in their possession. An April 6, 2002 top secret intelligence brief headlining “Venezuela: Conditions Ripening for Coup Attempt”, states, “Dissident military factions, including some disgruntled senior officers and a group of radical junior officers, are stepping up efforts to organize a coup against President Chávez, possible as early as this month, [CENSORED]. The level of detail in the reported plans – [CENSORED] targets Chávez and 10 other senior officers for arrest…” The document further states, “To provoke military action, the plotters may try to exploit unrest stemming from opposition demonstrations slated for later this month…”[iii]

So the CIA knew that a coup attempt would take place soon after April 6, 2002, and moreover, they knew the plan would include Chávez’s arrest and an exploitation of violence in the opposition march. In other words, they knew the plans before the coup occurred and surely they knew the actors involved, many of whose names are probably in the censored parts of the top-secret documents. One could assume that if the CIA had the detailed plans in their possession in the weeks prior to the coup it was because they were associating and conspiring with the coup plotters. So, when Ari Fleischer and Philip Reeker made those statements on April 12, 2002 on behalf of the U.S. Government, they did so with full knowledge that a coup had taken place, Chávez had been arrested and the violence in the opposition march, which they attributed to Chávez, had actually been a premeditated part of the coup plot. The top secret documents that prove this information show they were sent to the U.S. Statement Department and the National Security Agency, which means frankly, the White House knew what was happening all along.

Furthermore, the CIA documents make no mention of any attempts to have Chávez forcibly resign from office. The CIA warnings indicated as early as March 5, 2002 (which is the date of the earliest document provided) that a coup was on the rise and even hinted that prospects for a successful coup were limited. The CIA rightfully felt the opposition was too disperse and divided to successfully overthrow Chávez. But the concept that Chávez had “resigned” as the White House and State Department “confirmed” on April 12, 2002 was merely a set-up, a false claim made with the intention of deceiving the U.S. public and the international community. Remember that the U.S. stood practically alone in the world in its endorsement of the coup-implemented Carmona Government, which it later weakly condemned but only after the coup came tumbling down and the U.S. realized it needed to save face quickly.

A top secret CIA document from April 14, 2002 shows concern that Latin American governments will view U.S. foreign policy as “hypocritical” because of its sole endorsement of the Carmona coup government. The CIA also seems surprised that the region of Latin America so quickly rejected the coup in Venezuela and that the Carmona government “stunningly collapsed”, which demonstrates a possible out-of-date view of the hemisphere and a failure in intelligence gathering and analysis. In fact, the CIA never imagined the coup would buckle because of support for Chávez – their analysis all along showed possible failure due to lack of opposition unity and hasty actions. This is a very important point, because it demonstrates that although the CIA was involved in the coup plotting and the collaborations with dissident military factions and opposition leaders, it was fairly detached from the reality of Venezuelan society.

The CIA’s intelligence failures in Venezuela were apparently repeated during the oil industry strike later in 2002 and the guarimba destabilization attempt, an old-school CIA tactic applied in Chile and Nicaragua. Both of these harsh actions injured the Venezuelan economy and affected the government’s international image, but failed in their goal to oust President Chávez. The NED’s and USAID’s tens of millions of dollars in financing to build and maintain the opposition movement and finance the recall referendum campaign against President Chávez also failed to achieve their mission. In fact, all of these bungled attempts by the U.S. government and its marionette opposition movement have served to strengthen Chávez’s support within Venezuela and paint him as a strong and solid international leader.

Now that some of the top-secret documents have surfaced that show the CIA’s complicity and involvement in the April 2002 coup, it leaves one to wonder what is next on the agenda. In September 2001, shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, President Bush unconditionally authorized former CIA Director George Tenet’s “Worldwide Attack Matrix”, which targets leaders and prominent figures in 80 countries around the world for assassination. The authorization of the Worldwide Attack Matrix provided the CIA with a virtual carte blanche to conduct political assassinations abroad, justified under the “war against terrorism”. The “Attack Matrix”, a top secret CIA document, authorizes an array of covert CIA anti-terror actions that range from “routine propaganda to lethal covert action in preparation for military attacks”.[iv] The plans give the CIA the broadest and most lethal authority in history. Some analysts have indicated that Venezuela is possibly included in the plans.

The recent assassination of Venezuelan Prosecutor Danilo Anderson, conducted in a style reminiscent of CIA operations, could be setting the stage for future political murders. History shows that when the CIA fails to remove a target via non-lethal means, more desperate measures are taken. Despite the fact that the Venezuelan government and its supporters appear to have foiled the CIA numerous times already over the past few years, vigilance, intelligence and increased security measures should become a priority.

[i] http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/04/20020412-1.html

[ii] http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2002/9316.htm

[iii] http://www.venezuelafoia.info/CIA/ SEIB_04-06-02-pre-Coup-conditions_ripen/CIA-04-06-02.htm

[iv] http://www.i2osig.org/cia.html

When is the World Going to Impose Sanctions on America?
| July 31, 2017 | 7:13 pm | Analysis, Cuba, DPRK, Fidel Castro, Imperialism, Iran, Russia | No comments

US flag

When is the World Going to Impose Sanctions on America?

CC0 / Pixabay

Opinion

Get short URL
John Wight
2857951053
https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201707271055924535-sanctions-us-justice/

Only when we are living in a world in which sanctions are imposed ‘on’ the United States rather than ‘by’ the United States will we know justice reigns.

The decision taken by the US Congress to “punish Russia” for alleged meddling in the US elections with the maintenance of existing sanctions has been followed by a bill to weaken the ability of President Trump to “weaken sanctions on Russia,” thus presenting a direct challenge to the President’s authority. The bill was passed in the House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority and at time of writing awaits a hearing in the Senate, which along with the House makes up the US Congress. The legislation also includes new sanctions against not only Russia but also Iran and North Korea, thus maintaining the pattern of waging economic war against states which refuse to accept that Washington’s writ should run wherever it decides whenever it decides.

Economic sanctions are not the benign instrument that some might assume. On the contrary, they are tantamount to an act of war, a means by which economic might is wielded as club to bludgeon ‘recalcitrant’ nations and states into submission. And though sanctions may not evoke the same sense of potency of cruise missiles, they kill just the same. The experience of the Iraqi people leaves no doubt of it.

Between 1990 and 2003 sanctions on Iraq, imposed by the UN, are estimated to have been directly responsible for the deaths of 2 million people, half a million of them children according to Unicef. Multilateral sanctions were imposed on the country in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. Under UN Security Council Resolution 661 it was mandated that UN-member states should prevent all imports originating in Iraq and Iraqi-occupied Kuwait, business activity between nationals of member states and Iraq, and should undertake an embargo of funds or “economic resources” to Iraq or Iraqi-occupied Kuwait, except for medical or humanitarian purposes.

As journalist John Pilger wrote in a March 2000 article:

“Under economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council almost 10 years ago, Iraq is denied equipment and expertise to clean up its contaminated battlefields, as Kuwait was cleaned up. At the same time, the Sanctions Committee in New York, dominated by the Americans and British, has blocked or delayed a range of vital equipment, chemotherapy drugs and even painkillers. ‘For us doctors,’ said Dr Al-Ali, ‘it is like torture. We see children die from the kind of cancers from which, given the right treatment, there is a good recovery rate.’ Three children died while I was there.”

The sanctions imposed on Iraq were so draconian and sustained that two UN Humanitarian Coordinators in Iraq, Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, resigned in protest. Yet even with the evidence of the role of the sanctions in killing half a million Iraqi children, Washington remained unrepentant. The by now infamous words of former UN Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 1996, when in response to a question during an interview about the infanticide that was taking place as a result of the sanctions she said “the price is worth it,” exposed the barbarity that lies behind the mask of Western civilization.

The fact the sanctions were only lifted from Iraq after the devastating war unleashed on the country by the US and its UK ally in 2003 had killed countless more children tells its own story.

Cuba has suffered under the iron heel of US economic sanctions and embargo longer than any other country on the planet. A raft of economic sanctions were originally imposed on the island in 1960 by the Eisenhower administration after the Cuban revolution of the previous year succeeded in toppling the US-supported dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, after which US corporations and businesses that had been operating without restraint in Cuba were expropriated and nationalized.

Miniature flags representing Cuba and the United States are displayed on the dash of an American classic car in Havana, Cuba.
© AP Photo/ Franklin Reyes, File
Miniature flags representing Cuba and the United States are displayed on the dash of an American classic car in Havana, Cuba.

Relations between Havana and Washington turned even more sour two years later when Fidel Castro defied Washington in forging close ties with the Soviet Union. In response, the Kennedy administration imposed complete economic sanctions, which have remained more or less in place over succeeding decades.

As French journalist Salim Lamrani pointed out in a 2016 interview on the history of US sanctions against Cuba:

“The sanctions are anachronistic because they date back to the Cold War. They are cruel because they affect the most vulnerable categories of the Cuban people, not the leaders. Finally, they are ineffective to the extent that the initial goal of overthrowing the Cuban Revolution has clearly failed.”

Most cogently, Lamrani makes the point that “Rather than isolating Cuba internationally, these sanctions have instead isolated the United States.”

The sanctions imposed by the US and its European allies/vassals on Russia, meanwhile, have been justified as a response to ‘Russian aggression’ in eastern Ukraine, along with reunification of of Crimea with Russia in 2014. As I have written previously, this is a false and tendentious rendering of what has occurred in Ukraine and why.

But regardless of the whys and wherefores, the idea that the largest country in Europe with the second most powerful military in the world, whose economy is stable and built on solid foundations, could ever be brought to its knees by economic sanctions is so preposterous it is laughable.

However the mendacity and arrogance behind Washington’s history of imposing economic sanctions against other states is certainly no laughing matter, not when we consider the ineffable human suffering they have caused and continue to cause.

Moreover, a history of subverting, destabilizing, and destroying one country after another is all the evidence needed to label the US a country so drunk with power and a corresponding sense of exceptionalism that the rest of the world would be more than justified in uniting to impose sanctions on it. In fact, given the brutal history of US imperialism the world needs to as a matter of necessity.

As Fidel Castro said, “The United States tyrannizes and pillages the globalized world with its political, economic, technological, and military might.”

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

‘Shameful for US to call Venezuelan elections a sham’
| July 31, 2017 | 7:06 pm | Analysis, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela | No comments

‘Shameful for US to call Venezuelan elections a sham’

‘Shameful for US to call Venezuelan elections a sham’
Demonstrators run as clashes broke out with security forces while the Constituent Assembly election was being carried out in Caracas, Venezuela, July 30, 2017 © Ueslei Marcelino / Reuters

The US has its election irregularities and sticks its nose into the Venezuelan election as it sees South America as its backyard. Destabilizing the Maduro regime is a primary interest, says Gerald Horne, professor of history at the University of Houston.
About ten people were killed in a weekend of rioting in Venezuela as opposition activists flooded the streets protesting against the election of a new assembly.
People were voting Sunday on a constituent assembly which will be tasked with rewriting the constitution. However, the opposition boycotted the vote, defied a ban on public protests and denounced the election as a power grab by President Maduro.
RT: President Maduro says this election, and the new Constituent Assembly, are vital to restoring stability. Do you think that’s likely to happen judging by what we’ve seen so far?
Gerald Horne: It is possible. But you have to keep in mind that there is a third player besides the Maduro regime and the opposition, I am speaking of Washington. It is no secret that Washington is very upset with the Maduro regime. Just today, US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley denounced this vote. Washington has promised that it will slap sanctions on Venezuela as a result of the vote. Washington is very upset with Venezuela’s relationship with Cuba, in the first place, but also upset with its relationship with Moscow and Beijing. You should also know that this election and the crisis in Venezuela should be seen in a wider context.
It is no secret that over the last decade Washington had been upset with a turn to the left in South America. But now you see that last year the president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff was impeached and removed from office. Her predecessor Lula Da Silva who was expected to run for the presidency of Brazil next year was just convicted. And in Argentina, the Peronist leader, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is now under investigation after serving a term in Buenos Aires. Fortunately, Evo Morales in Bolivia is still in power. But Washington sees South America as its backyard. And it sees as a primary interest destabilizing the Caracas-based regime of Mr. Maduro.
RT: The opposition defied a ban on protests ahead of this election. Are they simply making matters worse and is there any chance of them backing down and accepting the result?
GH: It is difficult to see them back down in the short term because as they see it, they have the wind in their sails. They are receiving significant external support not least from Washington but also from allies in Brazil where there has been a sharp turn to the right of late. I would not foresee stopping its protests any time soon.
RT: The US ambassador to the UN has said this election would push Venezuela towards dictatorship. Is that a fair accusation?
GH: That is quite rich coming from a US representative. As it is well-known elections in the US were studded with irregularities; voters oppression, particularly in the black community, it’s par for the course. And it takes a bit of gall and chutzpah for Nikki Haley to stick her nose into Venezuelan elections and charge that they’re sham when she should be attending to the shambolic elections that regularly take place in the US.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Africa: Visa Openness on the Agenda?
| July 31, 2017 | 7:00 pm | Africa | No comments

Africa: Visa Openness on the Agenda?

AfricaFocus Bulletin July 31, 2017 (170731) (Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor’s Note

“For now, however, crossing borders remains a painful experience for most Africans. … On average, Africans need a visa to travel to 54% of the continent’s countries; it’s easier for Americans to travel around Africa than it is for Africans themselves. So far, the AU has issued its single African passport only to heads of state and senior AU officials.” – The Economist

The African Union’s “Agenda 2063” laid out the far-reaching goal of free movement of persons in a continent “with seamless borders,” and set the more immediate target of 2018 for “the abolishment of visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries.”

Even the more limited goal is far from being achieved by next year. But the second of a new series of reports from the African Development Bank and the African Union measuring progress on the goal is now out, and finding that there is some initial progress in easing national restrictions, with Ghana and Senegal taking the lead in opening up their borders to visitors from more African countries. And momentum is growing for other countries to recognize the economic advantages of such policy changes, and extend the range of more open policies now being pursued within regional organizations in West Africa and East Africa.

A new High Level Panel on Migration in Africa (HLPM) began work with its inaugural meeting in June, a protocol for free movement of persons is to be drafted for approval next year by the African Union, and civil society organizations in West Africa have launched a campaign (http://tinyurl.com/yatj3seo). A new website (http://www.visaopenness.org) presents the reports with country scores allowing African citizens to check the ranking of countries, and details for each country.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts from the Visa Openness Report, including a graph of ratings of visa openness by country.

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on migration and related issues, visit http://www.africafocus.org/migrexp.php

++++++++++++++++++++++end editor’s note+++++++++++++++++

Visa-free travel in Africa remains far off

14 June 2017

http://www.visaopenness.org – Direct URL: http://tinyurl.com/yb5eukjs

Note: This article first appeared in the Economist

By 2063, according to the African Union’s (AU) rather long-range prediction, Africa will be “a continent of seamless borders”. People, capital, goods and services will flow freely from South Africa to Tunisia and from Senegal to Somalia. Europe’s frontier-free Schengen area may be creaking under the strain of migration and terror, but another will arise, this one encompassing a continent of more than 1.2bn people. Last year, with that goal in mind, the AU boldly introduced a single African passport. The first recipients were two of the continent’s most powerful strongmen: Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, and Chad’s president, Idriss Déby.

For now, however, crossing borders remains a painful experience for most Africans. The World Bank estimates that intra-African trade is more expensive, all things considered, than trade in any other region. According to Anabel Gonzalez, senior director of a World Bank group on trade and competitiveness, one African supermarket chain reports that it spends $20,000 every week to get import permits for meat, milk and other goods in one country alone; every day one of its lorries is held up at a border costs it $500. On average, Africans need a visa to travel to 54% of the continent’s countries; it’s easier for Americans to travel around Africa than it is for Africans themselves. So far, the AU has issued its single African passport only to heads of state and senior AU officials.

But in the past year things have improved a little, according to a new report from the African Development Bank. Africans now need visas to travel to slightly fewer countries than they did in 2015, and 13 African countries now offer electronic visas, up from 9 the previous year. Ghana made the most progress: in 2016 the government announced that it would provide visas on arrival for citizens of every AU member state, while offering entirely visa-free travel to 17 African countries, including the 14 other members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The Seychelles is still the only country on the continent to offer visa-free access to all Africans. (An archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean, it is a haven for well-heeled tourists but hard to get to if you are poor.)

Elsewhere, progress has been patchy. Less than a quarter of African countries provide “liberal access”—meaning visa-free travel or at least visas on arrival—to all African citizens, and most of the continent’s richest countries tend to be more restrictive. War-torn central Africa remains the most closed region; east and west Africa have opened up the most.

Africa Visa Openness Report 2017

African Development Bank

[Excerpts only: full report available at https://www.visaopenness.org/]

“We are trying to drive a continental visa policy reform programme for all of Africa. We want to remove many of the challenges and procedures facing many people when they travel. We want to make sure there is reciprocity on visa issuance across countries and we want to promote talent mobility all across Africa.” – Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank Group

African Union’s Agenda 2063

Aspiration 2 – An Integrated Continent, Politically United Based on the Ideals of Pan Africanism and the Vision of Africa’s Renaissance

  1. We aspire that by 2063, Africa will: * Be a United Africa * Have world class, integrative infrastructure that criss-crosses the continent; * Have dynamic and mutually beneficial links with her Diaspora; and * Be a continent with seamless borders, and management of cross border resources through dialogue.
  2. Africa shall be a continent where the free movement of people, capital, goods and services will result in significant increases in trade and investments amongst African countries rising to unprecedented levels, and strengthen Africa’s place in global trade.

A Call to Action

  1. We hereby adopt Agenda 2063, as a collective vision and roadmap for the next fifty years and therefore commit to speed-up actions to:
  2. Introduce an African Passport, issued by Member states, capitalising on the global migration towards e-passports, and with the abolishment of visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries by 2018.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Foreword, African Union Commission

By the end of 2016, Africa had advanced moderately towards greater freedom of movement for its people. The goal of an integrated Africa as envisaged in Agenda 2063 is slowly getting into sharper focus. The collective African Union decision for Member States to grant a 30-day visa-on-arrival to all African passport holders is being implemented by leading reformers such as Ghana, who this year have joined Rwanda, Mauritius and Seychelles to implement this system. Meanwhile, other African countries have also announced their intention to do so.

Their experience follows in the footsteps of some Regional Economic Communities who have already established a system for free movement of people across their borders, such as ECOWAS and EAC. Countries who have demonstrated such leadership need to be acknowledged. Findings of this second Africa Visa Openness Index highlight the positive momentum for promoting African travel across the Continent.

The process of facilitating visa issuance has improved tangibly since 2015. Besides, the majority of African countries have either opened up further or stayed the same during that period. The top 20 most visa-open countries have higher scores compared to the previous year, and only very few countries remain which do not yet grant visas on arrival.

In July 2016, another milestone was realized with the successful launch of the African Union Passport. This was issued to Heads of State and Government as well as high-level representatives. We are proud to report the tremendous interest in the initiative from governments, businesses and Africans across the Continent. The African Union has future plans to support Member States in rolling out the African Union passport to all citizens, granting them visa-free access to explore the Continent for business, pleasure, leisure and tourism.

Challenges to freedom of movement across Africa undoubtedly still exist. Policy makers, business leaders, civil society and engaged citizens need to highlight where gaps still exist to enable appropriate reforms to be undertaken. African governments are revising their immigration regulations with a view to facilitate movement across the Continent in line with the relevant decision of the Assembly of Heads of State, so as to afford greater opportunities within Africa for our youth and to strengthen the culture of a united, integrated Africa, at peace with itself and with the world.

Thomas Kwesi Quartey Deputy Chairperson, African Union Commission

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Visa openness in Africa in 2016

Important progress was made on visa openness in 2016, with African countries on average becoming more open to each other. During the year, milestones for greater freedom of movement across the continent included the launch of the African passport in July, and greater reciprocity within Regional Economic Communities, promoting regional integration. The findings from the first edition of the Africa Visa Openness Index, launched in March 2016, energized the debate, highlighting the continent’s top performing countries and the priority visa openness solutions that countries could adopt as policy reforms. Over the year, four countries moved up into the top 20 most open countries in the Index, and over a third of countries put in place efforts to offer more liberal visa policies. At the same time, more countries announced specific measures to improve their visa regimes going forward.

+++++++++++++++++

2016 Findings: Countries moving up

Ghana

While a number of countries still have a distance to travel to make greater progress on visa openness, countries from across West Africa, North Africa and Southern Africa moved up the Index rankings in 2016. In the top 20 most visa-open countries in Africa in 2016, there are four new countries.

“With effect from July this year, we will be allowing citizens of AU Member States to enter our country and obtain visas on arrival with the option to stay for up to thirty days and experience what our country has to offer. This measure, with time, should stimulate air travel, trade, investment and tourism.” President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana, State of the Nation address, 25 February 2016

Continent-wide, Ghana has made the most progress in 2016 in opening up its borders for other African travellers, moving into sixth place in the Index, up sixteen places from 2015. The country offers 96% liberal access to all Africans. This is the case either through offering visa-free access to almost a third of all countries (including for the other 14 ECOWAS member states) or visas on arrival to almost two thirds of countries in Africa (from less than 10% in 2015).

Ghana’s policy decision follows a resolution adopted in early 2016 at the AU’s Executive Council on issuing visas on arrival for member states, with the possibility of a 30-day stay. This ties in with Ghana’s pledge to support the continent’s wider integration efforts and Agenda 2063, including through forging stronger links with its Francophone neighbours.

Economic drivers play an important part in Ghana’s new open visa policy in encouraging African visitors to the country, particularly in promoting the country’s travel, tourism, trade and investment sectors. Total travel and tourism contributed 7.8% to Ghana’s GDP in 2015 and is forecast to rise by 2.4% in 2016, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.

Ghana’s visa policy: African Union citizens are to be issued with visas on arrival, valid for 30 days, at Kotoka International Airport, with other ports of entry to follow. Visitors must have return air ticket/evidence of onward travel, evidence of sufficient funds, and proof of accommodation.

Senegal

Senegal has moved into the top 20 most visa open countries in Africa, up 9 places from 2015 by offering visa-free access to 42 African countries alongside other ECOWAS member states. The country offers 78% liberal access to all Africans, more than double the figure from 2015. In order to match the ranking of Seychelles – the most visa-open country in the Index – Senegal would need to offer visa-free access to 12 more African countries.

Senegal’s visa policy decision to promote freedom of movement for Africans builds on the country’s efforts since 2015 to re-energize the tourism sector. This has included a set of measures to cut payments for visas to the country, and to lower prices by reducing informal taxes on air tickets by 50%, particularly passenger fees, insurance tax and stamp duty. In line with these initiatives, total travel and tourism contributed 12.4% to GDP in 2015 and was forecast to rise by 4.4% in 2016, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A Forward Look

Africans were able to travel more freely across the continent in 2016, as visa openness levels improved from 2015. The priority is to continue this positive trend and deliver on the AU’s decision for countries to issue visas on arrival for all Africans in line with Agenda 2063.

“This Index is going to expand the discussion about regional integration. It is time to check what leaders and governments are doing in terms of human mobility. You can see how much integration we need to make progress, taking into account the opportunities offered by a growing market that is going to grow to 2 billion by 2050.” – Carlos Lopez, Former Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

At the same time, African countries can make progress by facilitating visa procedures, cutting the time, documents and costs involved, as well as by making air travel cheaper and more accessible. Countries can also take advantage of technology developments and put in place electronic systems, which also promote regional security and cooperation. And, in a period of slow economic growth due to falling commodity prices, alongside a decline in international tourist arrivals in Africa, more open visa policies can help to re-energize the tourism industry, promote more African tourists and build the AU’s vision of Brand Africa.

Migration could break or make the future of the continent, according to a recent study by SEF, which includes a call to action for governments, business and civil society to promote freer movement of people that integrates economies and builds strong cultural and social ties. Going forward, greater visa openness in Africa can help to tackle global migration challenges, such as the Mediterranean crisis, while building a people-centered African integration that offers new travel, trade, leisure, study and job opportunities for all Africans.

High level panel on migration launched with Liberia’s Sirleaf as chair

Economic Commission on Africa

http://www.uneca.org – Direct URL: http://tinyurl.com/y6w54lrx

Monrovia, Liberia, 6 June 2017 (ECA) – “Just last week, some forty young men and women died of thirst in the Sahara Desert, while trying to reach Europe. More than a thousand have perished in the Mediterranean Sea since the beginning of this year.” Those were the words of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in her remarks during the launch of a High Level Panel on Migration (HLPM) in Africa, which took place on Tuesday in Monrovia.

Ms. Sirleaf noted that in many places in Europe today, “a mixture of migrants from diverse backgrounds have been living in the streets, under conditions that can best be described as inhumane.”

Established in April 2016 by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) under the direction of the joint African Union(AU) and ECA Conference of Ministers in Addis Ababa, HLPM is made up of 14 members with Ms. Sirleaf as chair. The panel aims to push migration issues to the top of policy agenda by engaging major stakeholders and partners.

Speaking during the launch, ECA’s Acting Executive Secretary, Abdalla Hamdok, stated that Africa is still missing out on the many benefits of migration because of tight border policies. He deplored the fact that Africans need visas to travel to 55% of other African countries.

“Travel in Africa by Africans is curtailed by stringent visa requirements, excessive border controls and immigration restrictions”, said Hamdok, adding that the phenomenon “increases the costs and risks of migration and often comes into conflict between individual motivation to migrate and state restrictions on mobility.”

Mr. Hamdok also stated that although international media outlets tend to present images of large numbers of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea into Europe as being mostly from Africa, intra-Africa migration still dominates migration flows on the continent.

“Data shows that less than three per cent of Africa’s population have migrated internationally and less than 12 per cent of the total migrant stock in Europe are from Africa.”

This view was also highlighted by Ms. Maureen Achieng, Representative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to the AU, ECA and IGAD.

“Migration from Africa towards other regions is taking place in a much lower level than one might think,” said Ms. Achieng. “There are an estimated 7.5 million West African migrants in West Africa compared to 1.2 million in North America and Europe combined.”

The issue of excessive border controls was also deplored by Ms. Alma Negash, founder of Africa Diaspora Network and member of the HPLM. Ms. Negash cited Uganda’s acceptance of migrants as good example of what African countries should be doing.

“I salute the exemplary conduct of Uganda on migration. In the past few years, Uganda alone took 800 thousand South Sudanese migrations and refugees. Africa needs to accept and take care of its children.”

For his part, Knut Vollebaek – an HLPM member and former minister of foreign affairs of the kingdom of Norway – said the government of Norway “is very pleased” with the HLPM initiative. Mr. Vollebaek expressed hopes about the panel’s ability to achieve its goals.

“It is my hope that we the panelists under the wise leadership of President Sirleaf will mobilize political will among governments in Africa and abroad, regional and international organizations, civil society, business and other stakeholders in support of adopting the necessary policies to facilitate the orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people.”

Mr. Vollebaek added that, “I hope our work can champion the new development paradigm enshrined in agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063 for Africa.”

Over the next few months, the HLPM will consult with relevant constituencies at national, regional and global levels to come up with recommendations on how to build and sustain broad political consensus on an implementable international migration development agenda, taking into account the particular challenges of countries in conflict and post-conflict situations. The report will be submitted to the African Union Heads of State summit in July 2018.

If this issue was forwarded to you by email, and you want to receive AfricaFocus Bulletin regularly, sign up here.

AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter.

AfricaFocus Bulletin can be reached at africafocus@igc.org. Please write to this address to suggest material for inclusion. For more information about reposted material, please contact directly the original source mentioned. For a full archive and other resources, see http://www.africafocus.org

Bernie Sanders will ‘absolutely’ be releasing single-payer legislation

Bernie Sanders will ‘absolutely’ be releasing single-payer legislation

Bernie Sanders will ‘absolutely’ be releasing single-payer legislation

July 30, 2017

Aidan Quigley
Posted with permission from Newsweek

Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders said Sunday he would “absolutely” introduce a single-payer healthcare bill following failed Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare.

“Absolutely, of course we are,” Sanders told CNN’s Jake Tapper Sunday. “We’re just tweaking the final points of the bill and we’re figuring out how we can mount a national campaign to bring people together.”

“We are the only major country on earth, the only one, not to guarantee healthcare to all people,” he said. “The result is 28 million people who are uninsured, millions of people who are paying deductibles and copayments that are far too high.”

The GOP’s push to repeal Obamacare was stymied in the Senate when three health care proposals were voted down. The Senate had voted to proceed to debate on a 50-50 vote with a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence, but were only able to secure 49 votes on the “skinny” repeal bill, the closest to being passed.

“And if the Republicans had gotten their way, there would have been another 30 or 32 million people thrown off health insurance,” he said. “That is crazy. What we should do is move in the direction of every other major country and guarantee health care as a right, not a privilege.”

A single-payer healthcare system has been picking up support among Democrats in recent years, with a single-payer bill in the House receiving 115 co-sponsors, almost double the amount similar efforts had last session.

In a political move, Republican Senator Steve Daines had tried to force Senate Democrats to vote for-or-against single payer last week during the most recent round of health care votes. But Democrats rejected the efforts, with none voting for it and most voting “present.” Four Democrats voted no: North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, Indiana’s Joe Donnelly and Montana’s Jon Tester. Liberal-leaning Maine Independent Angus King also voted no.

“I suspect that what Sen. Daines is doing is nothing more than an old political trick, trying to embarrass Democrats,” Sanders said before the vote. “I suspect it’s just a political game.”

Sanders previously introduced a single-payer, Medicare-for-all bill in 2013, that didn’t attract a single co-sponsor. But more Senate Democrats have spoken positively about single payer this year, with New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, California Senator Kamala Harris and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren all saying they support single-payer.

TRUTH AND LIES ABOUT SOCIALISM – The phony dilemma: “Democracy” or Totalitarianism”?
| July 29, 2017 | 9:56 pm | Analysis, class struggle | No comments

Sunday, July 30, 2017

TRUTH AND LIES ABOUT SOCIALISM – The phony dilemma: “Democracy” or Totalitarianism”?

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/07/truth-and-lies-about-socialism-phony.html
TRUTH AND LIES ABOUT SOCIALISM: 
ON THE SOCIALIST POWER.
Central Council of the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE).
Published by Synchroni Epochi, 2013.
PART I: THE PHONY DILEMMA: “DEMOCRACY” OR TOTALITARIANISM”?
INTRODUCTION.
A great part of anti-communist, anti-socialist propaganda focuses on the issue of the so called lack of “freedom and democracy” during the construction of the new society, of socialism-communism. The main focus of that attack is the revolutionary workers’ power, the state of the working class, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the role of the Communist Party. The capitalists cannot abide it; they tremble before the idea that the working class will emerge as the dominant class, and that they will be thrown into the dustbin of history.
When someone reads the word “dictatorship” they imagine many things, as it is usually equated with harsh regimes, the authoritarian imposition of the will of a minority over a majority. However, if we examine the issue more carefully we will realize that the term dictatorship expresses the power of one class over the others. When we refer to the dictatorship of the bourgeois class and respectively to the dictatorship of the proletariat, we talk about the class that has the power. In other words, the meaning of dictatorship is not synonymous with the form of governance of military imposition of the exploiting classes (the slave owners, the feudalists, now the capitalists) over the poor working class- popular masses.
Dictatorship is also the power of one class even when it guarantees formal political equality between the members of different classes. Just as it occurs today in bourgeois parliamentary democracy, which is none other than the dictatorship of the bourgeois class, as we have everywhere the domination of the capital, which is concealed and hidden behind formal equality, formal equal political rights, even though there is a whole legal “arsenal” and the mechanisms of the bourgeois state are ready to put aside any right if bourgeois’ power is threatened.
In reality, the bourgeois classes’ power to impose its will, to form its own institutions and mechanisms that serve its interests, originates from its economic power, the capitalist ownership of the means of production. The whole superstructure, the institutions and the mechanisms exist to defend and assist the reproduction of its domination.
Therefore, with the term “dictatorship of the proletariat”, Marxism scientifically refers to the political domination of the working class. The conquest of political power by the working class is also a precondition for its economic domination, for the overthrow of capitalist relations and the socialization of the means of production. The liberation of the working class from the dictatorship of the capital, from the yoke of the monopolies and its emergence as a dominant class also liberates the rest of the working people.
What is the state? 
The state in capitalism.
The state did not always exist. The state is a product of unresolved class contradictions that are present in society. The state appears during the evolution of history in places when the class contradictions objectively could not be compromised. And vice-versa, the very existence of the state demonstrates that class contradictions cannot be resolved.
The birth of the Athenian State.
(Click on the picture to read).
In the primitive communal societies there was no need for a state, because classes did not exist. The state was born along with the class society thousands of years ago. This happened when the surplus product was created thanks to the development of the productive forces, meaning one part of the produced product (from working the land, livestock, etc.) which was not used for the satisfaction of immediate needs of the community. The appearance of the surplus product led, over the course of time to its private appropriation, and furthermore led to the formation of private ownership over the means of production, in other words, class contradictions were born. The complete development of these contradictions created the exploitative distinction of society between the slaves and the slave-owners. The first state, in history, formed was the state of the slave-owners in order to impose their power on the slave class. Thereafter, during the evolution of the society the exploitative relations change according to the evolution of productive forces. The distinction between slaves and slave-owners was replaced by the serfs and the feudalists and today by the workers and the capitalists. In each corresponding period, the state evolved and strengthened to serve the specific exploitative relations.
The state consists of many institutions for the systematic implementation of compulsion against the exploited. It creates permanent, specific mechanisms and it organizes the violence of the dominant class, (army, police etc.). Also, several functions existing (administrative, defensive for the protection of the community etc.) before the appearance of state in the context of the primitive community become detached and are exercised by special institutions.
These transitions during the evolution of humanity were hard but necessary, since the relations of production must correspond to the development of the productive forces that has been achieved at a specific time. However, today, the productive forces –that mark huge progress and development– suffocate in the context of exploitative relations. The abolition of the exploitation of man by man, a great social leap, will contribute to a situation where the productive forces will correspond to the relations of production. The creation of these social relations, along with the institutions that emerged with them, was necessary in the evolution of history, and to that extent today their abolition is equally necessary for the further evolution of the society. Therefore, speaking of the state, we must always have in mind that the main issue is the issue of power of one class over the other.
The working class and the bourgeois state.
The working class, as a direct producer that does not have, however, ownership over the means of production, as the exploited class in capitalism, is placed in various ways under the coercion of the bourgeois class and its state. The bourgeois state, as a mechanism for the domination of the capitalists over the workers, is a mechanism of oppression, repression and manipulation against the workers.
Nevertheless, the bourgeois class does only not organize the brutal repression and the exclusive practice of violence by the state mechanisms (which is, however, a basic function of the state), but it also exercises multifaceted oppression. It organizes state judicial institutions in order to implement the law, which has as its core the defence of private ownership. It creates laws, constitutions; it establishes courts of justice and institutions to enforce this law, which in fact is “unjust” for the working class.
In modern capitalist societies, the state also organizes the state educational system, it builds schools and universities, i.e. it organizes the “consent” of the exploited working class and organizes the health and welfare system, guaranteeing the conditions for the reproduction of the working class. Namely, it guarantees a basic level of education, a basic satisfaction of health etc., as well as the reproduction of dominant ideology and politics in order to obscure class exploitation. Moreover, the bourgeois state intervenes in the economy by passing measures facilitating the reproduction of capital on an extensive scale.
The duty of the proletariat is to overthrow the bourgeois state as a precondition for the construction of the new society. The bourgeois state cannot change its class nature and cannot be used in favour of the working class and the poor popular strata. The working class must take advantage of any gains- democratic rights acquired as a result of the class struggle- but not by restricting its aims to the improvement and the democratization of the bourgeois state, but in the direction of organizing the struggle in order to overthrow bourgeois power. The bourgeois state is a state of the capitalists in order to secure their interests. In its place the working class must build its own state, the dictatorship of the proletariat. And the overthrow of the bourgeois state is not possible without violence, without the proletarian, socialist revolution.
The “withering away” of the state in developed communism.
 
The communist socioeconomic formation expresses the new leap in the evolution of human society, on the basis of the development of the means of production. Labour in capitalist production acquires an increasingly social character. There no longer exists the need for a class – owner of the means of production, i.e. the class of capitalists, who do not contribute anything to production; they are parasites. At one time, the division of society into classes was a necessary step in human evolution. Today, thanks to the development of the productive forces, this division of society has become an obstacle. The disappearance of classes is inevitable, as inevitable as was their creation during the past.
The socialization of the means of production and central planning as the new social relations eliminate, over a course of hard struggle and contradictions, the root cause of the existence of the class inequalities.
As during mankind’s past primitive societies managed to live without a state, therefore, the new, fully developed communist society will no longer need a state, i.e. it will no longer need a mechanism of coercion, of enforcement. However, this is not due to incomplete development, but on the contrary is due to the enormous development of the productive forces, labour productivity and the new social relations. Nevertheless, the state as a state cannot be “abolished” all at once, because it is not possible to eliminate at once the root of class inequalities. Through the social revolution, the bourgeois state is abolished and is replaced by the state of the working class. Bourgeois power, disorganized in conditions of the revolutionary situation by the decisive action of the organized workers and their allies, is crushed, destroyed, smashed. From the first moment of its formation, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the socialist state is a “semi-state”, according to Engels; it is not a “state per se”. This occurs because its mission is not the continuation of class exploitation, but the abolishment of any source of class exploitation. It is a state that is expected to abolish itself, to wither away, because it is no longer needed.
The state is withering away over the course of development, during the passage from the lower to the higher phase of the communist society. The economic base for the complete withering away of the state has to do with a high development of communism that eradicates the contradictions between intellectual and manual labour, the submission to the division of labour and transforms labour not only into means of subsistence, but also into a prime necessity of life, i.e. when the sources of the appearance of social inequality disappear.
Advanced communism as a classless society is a society without a state. The state will be able to wither away completely only when people have become so accustomed to observing the basic rules of living and their work is so productive that they are working according to their abilities and the distribution of products is carried out according to their needs.
The state in socialism.
Socialism, as the first, the immature phase of communism, is a society in which initially classes and class contradictions still exist, while afterwards some class contradictions and differences, potential class differences, are still maintained, i.e. differences including the potential of historical regression. Firstly, there are the remnants of the defeated bourgeois class, which will fight until the end in order to take back the power that they lost. In addition, several contradictions or differences remain such as these between the people of the city and the countryside, between manual and intellectual labour, which have their origin in the entire history of exploitative societies. Moreover, there are contradictions originating from the possibility that some sectors of production are not socialized directly, at once. These are differences resulting from the division of labour. The historical experience of the USSR showed that sections of agricultural production etc. maintained commodity relations. Commodity relations are a source of class inequalities. In addition, the conscience corresponding to the new, communist relations, e. the communist conscience, the Assembly of Petrograd’s soviet, 1918. “Proletarian democracy, of which Soviet government is one of the forms, has brought a development and expansion of democracy unprecedented in the world, for the vast majority of the population, for the exploited and working people. (…)Proletarian democracy is a million times more democratic than any bourgeois democracy; Soviet power is a million times more democratic than the most democratic bourgeois republic.” (V.I. Lenin, The Proletarian Revolution And the Renegade Kautsky, Sinchroni Epochi, p. 31-33) https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/prrk/ communist attitude towards labour, is not shaped in a cohesive and “automatic” way among all the sections of working class and the people. Namely, there are still elements of the past that struggle against the new society that has been born. Historical experience has highlighted that this kind of struggle continues for a very long time.
Assembly of Petrograd’s soviet, 1918. “Proletarian democracy, of which Soviet government is one of the forms, has brought a development and expansion of democracy unprecedented in the world, for the vast majority of the population, for the exploited and working people. (…)Proletarian democracy is a million times more democratic than any bourgeois democracy; Soviet power is a million times more democratic than the most democratic bourgeois republic.” (V.I. Lenin, The Proletarian Revolution And the Renegade Kautsky, Sinchroni Epochi, p. 31-33) https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/prrk/
Thus in socialism, the working class is constituted as the dominant class by its state, the dictatorship of the proletariat. The working class opposes the dictatorship of the bourgeois class (regardless of the form that it takes, e.g. parliamentary system, fascism, military dictatorship etc.) with its own dictatorship, the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is the democracy of workers who are dominant since they overthrew the power of the bourgeois class; they took the means of production in their hands and are leading the construction of the new society expressing also the interests of the other exploited strata by liberating them.
Consequently, the dictatorship of the proletariat constitutes a means of continuing the class struggle with other means and forms under the conditions of the socialist construction.
The necessity of the dictatorship of the proletariat, of the socialist state arises from the basic revolutionary duty of the workers’ power, namely the formation of the new communist relations. A difficult task, since the passage to communism is not just a passage from one society to another; it is not a replacement of one exploitative class by another, but the definitive and complete abolition of any form of private and group ownership over the means and results of production, of every exploitative class and every social inequality. This necessity also arises from the continuation of the class struggle internationally, since the simultaneous passage socialism at global level, in every country at the same time, is impossible.
Only the vanguard social force, the working class, which is the vehicle of communist relations, can accomplish this task with the leading role of its Party, the Communist Party.
 
The phony dilemma: “Democracy” or “Totalitarianism”.
“On the opposite side of “democracy” lies “totalitarianism”. In this (socioeconomic) system only one, the ruler, possesses absolute power and has the ability to control the society. Dictatorship is one of the forms of totalitarianism, which constitutes an authoritarian system of governance based on violence. The characteristics of totalitarianism are the following: imposition of a particular ideology, the one – party system, existence of an organized plan of intimidation of the citizens, absolute control of the army, absolute control of mass media, an economy controlled and planned, by the state” 
 
( “Sociology” Coursebook, 3rd grade of High School).
 
“Democracy” for whom? 
For many centuries, beginning from ancient times until the present day, the concept of democracy has been the centre of numerous discussions and written texts. Democracy has existed as an ideal, as a political demand and slogan for millions of militants, as well as a deceptive ideological construct, a fraud.
The bourgeois and opportunist theoreticians and propagandists do not understand political history as a result of interchanges of socioeconomic formations, as scientific communism does (because they would be forced to admit the inevitable overthrow of capitalism), but as a succession of regimes. Based on that they distinguish regimes (democracy, oligarchy, monarchy, etc.) concealing class relations, the class essence of socioeconomic formations and their respective state.
In general, they identify democracy with bourgeois parliamentary democracy. They claim that within the framework of the bourgeois state ‘’all of us are equal citizens, we have the right to vote and to be elected, we have universal voting rights and trade union rights, etc guaranteed by the Constitution”. The political system, the administration mechanisms, the Constitution, therefore, are presented as “classless’’. But, behind the term “citizens’’, the class division that exists in capitalism and the division between the exploiters and the exploited are being concealed.
Lenin noted that when someone hears the words democracy and freedom he should ask: “democracy and freedom for which class?”
Since the dawn of capitalism, when the bourgeois class was still a revolutionary force, it became clear that the slogan “equality, freedom, brotherhood” of the bourgeois French Revolution -that overthrew feudalism– had a content that was expressing the interests of the domination of the bourgeois class. For example, just two years after the victory of the French Revolution, measures were taken in order to dissolve all trade unions and to ban strikes. These were the so-called Le Chapelier laws (after the French bourgeois judicial and politician Isaac Rene Guy Le Chapelier), which were in effect from June 14, 1791 until 1864, i.e. they were applied for 73 years.
Bourgeois democracy is democracy within the framework of capitalism. It is a form of expression of the dictatorship of the bourgeois class. Of course, bourgeois democracy was progressive compared to feudal autocracy, which was overthrown by the former. But bourgeois democracy defends capitalist exploitation. The democratic rights and freedoms, existing in most of the bourgeois Constitutions, reflect the victory of the bourgeois class against feudalism, they weren’t generously granted by the bourgeois class to the working class but only after a tough class struggle and only when the bourgeois class acquired the ability to assimilate wider workers’ and people’s masses due to these concessions.
(Click on the picture to read).
During the era of bourgeois revolutions, the bourgeois class consisted of a large mass of small and big owners of the means of production. In order to overthrow feudalism, they attracted to the political struggle large popular masses of farmers and proletarians, the ancestors of the contemporary working class. On this basis, the democratic and political freedoms were established on the terrain of capitalism. The bourgeois class didn’t hesitate to restrict or ban these freedoms when it considered it necessary for the stabilisation of the capitalist system. In conditions of contemporary capitalism, the imperialist stage of its development, where the bourgeois class has the place once held by feudalism, the rise of reactionary influences, the restriction of rights and freedoms and the manipulation of people’s protest, is the general tendency.
In our country we have certain examples proving that the bourgeois class takes action as soon as it becomes aware that its profitability and power can be negatively affected. For example, there were certain moments during the 20th century when the bourgeois class suppressed strikes, even though the strikes were for economic demands only, without disputing bourgeois power and these strikes resulted in harsh conflicts between the working class and the mechanisms of bourgeois state, with many dead militant workers as a result.
Although, even those who claim that “the above mentioned events happened years ago, now democracy is consolidated and things have changed” conceal the fact that the bourgeois class imposes itself using its own power over the popular masses with multifaceted mechanisms that combine manipulation and repression. Let’s remember the tremendous persecution of the monumental students’ demonstrations struggling against the so-called Arsenis – law (High school educational reform 1998), or even the repression against struggles in the following years. At that time the government applied the despicable Legislative Act (implemented by the subsequent governments) which considered that student protests were a “statutory offense” and brought district attorneys to schools in order to terrorize the school students. Hundreds of school students across Greece were tried on charges such as “disruption of domestic peace”, “occupation of public areas”, etc.
The bourgeois government tried more than 10,000 farmers across the country on the charge of ‘’obstruction of transportation’’, during the period of the monumental agricultural protests. Do not forget the dozens of strikes and workers’ protests declared illegal by civil courts. Based on the data of the First Instance Court of Athens relating to the period 1999-2008, 215 out of the 248 employers’ appeals against strikes were accepted. In other words 9 out of 10 strikes were deemed illegal .The bourgeois governments attacked large demonstrations of seafarers, having the bourgeois courts and their court rulings as their weapon and at the same time using brutal repression in order to impose “civil mobilization” of the workers and use savage means of repression. Recently, the bourgeois government declared the magnificent strike of the steelworkers in Aspropyrgos  illegal and deployed riot police at the factory in order to break the strike. Additionally, the state utilizes against the organized class-oriented movement and the Communist Party, a complex of mechanisms of provocation, thugs, various agencies – operating in cooperation with the ‘’official’’ repressive forces – in order to strike against the struggles. Provocation was always a powerful weapon in the hands of the bourgeois class against the working class and its Party.
“Greek steelworks”, Aspropyrgos, July 2012. The Constitution and the laws of bourgeois state exist only to ensure the capitalist ownership over the means of production. The attitude of bourgeois state against the heroic struggle of the steelworkers was characteristic. Complete support for the capitalist Manesis, court rulings and persecution, brutal repression against the strike.
The bourgeois parliament, the multi – party system and the bourgeois elections are the ‘zenith of the Democracy’’.
We face the argument that capitalism has a multi – party system, many different parties that can express their views and can participate in elections, that even the enemies of capitalism, even the Communist Parties, have the potential to exist and act. On the other hand they say that in socialism there is no parliament and multiparty system, so there is ‘’totalitarianism’’.
First, the bourgeoisie conceals a fact that applies first of all to themselves, namely that the classes form political parties with the aim of serving their interests. This also applies to their own parties, which serve the interests of the bourgeois class. However, the bourgeois class is expressed by more than one party. These parties are formed on the basis of historical, ideological differences that concern the management of capitalism, express intra-bourgeois contradictions. The differences between bourgeois parties guarantee the alternation in the formation of bourgeois governments; reproduce the support of the workers’- people’s strata through the universal right to vote. This is the essence of the multi-party system. Namely, these are parties that don’t express something different taking into consideration their class essence, because they agree on the perpetuation of capitalist exploitation over the working class and any differences concern the different “formulas” for the workers’ exploitation.

The myth of ‘’Totalitarianism’’. 

The identification of the former socialist societies and socialism in general with so called totalitarianism is one of the new-old ideological constructs re-emerging in the political analysis of the bourgeois mass media, public interventions of governmental cadres and cadres of bourgeois political parties, but also in the curricula of higher education institutions. Most often, the concept of totalitarianism, the totalitarian phenomenon, totalitarian ideologies (…) is mentioned in newspaper articles and magazines artfully and uncritically. They never give a definition of this phenomenon, and it is presented as something well-known and obvious. (…) Substantial emphasis is given to the identification of fascism, especially Nazism, with existing socialism and respectively fascist with communist ideology. (…) The concept of totalitarianism first appeared in the “Times» in 1929 and described as totalitarian a type of state that is “cohesive», with a oneparty system either communist or fascist, generally it appears as a reaction against the state of parliamentary democracy. The equation of these two incompatible phenomena, namely the fascist and socialist, state and society, aims to impose the political forms of the state as the main criterion and characteristic based on which we can compare different types of society without any further analysis (on the contrary, it aims to obscure) over the content of state power and its relations with the structure of society, i.e. the social classes and the struggle waging between them. Bourgeois ideology defends the capitalist system and generally chooses to face the world in that way, presents the world as the embodiment and struggle of some ideas and ideals, the most important of which is (bourgeois) “democracy».  

The theoreticians that “confront totalitarianism” perceive man and “human nature” as something static and metaphysical, they cannot see the possibility of the change of social relations and they perceive it as destruction of humanity and abolition of freedom. Socialism does not aim to turn people into “servants of the State” and spineless beings, as these theoreticians claim. This duty belongs to the daily tasks of the capitalist system (either fascist or “liberal”), which we are experiencing today intensively. Socialism aims to construct a new civilization, a new type of social relations (that means a “new human’’, not to uproot all human qualities, as these theoreticians claim!), which will release the creative capabilities of people in order to be able handle collectively and to develop further the tremendous forces and potential accumulated in the current stage of mankind’s development. 

Kommounistiki Epitheorisi, issue 2/2000 “”Totalitarianism”, the return of Cold War mythology».

The differences developed during the previous years are significant, not only among the Greek bourgeois parties, but at a European and international level, in relation to the variations of crisis management. There are different tendencies and intra-bourgeois contradictions, however what all of them have as common ground is the attempt to exit the capitalist crisis at the expense of the working class and the popular strata, and these are not differences in favour of the people’s interests. The working class has nothing to expect from such ‘’polyphony’’, besides it has important acquired experience. Basically, for decades two parties were alternating in government, the bourgeois social-democratic party and the bourgeois liberal party, however now we have a period of rotation between alliance governments. Now of the ‘’centre-right’’, tomorrow of the ‘’centreleft’’, without excluding other forms. History has shown that when the rule of bourgeoisie is questioned then the differences between bourgeois parties “disappear” and united as a fist they struggle for their class. In our country for example during the period of the armed class confrontation, in 1946-1949, all the bourgeois parties were united to face the Communist Party and the Democratic Army of Greece. It is significant the example of the so-called ‘’seven-headed’’ government formed in 1947, named as such because of the participation of all the political leaders from the whole range of the bourgeois political system (C. Tsaldaris, G.Papandreou, S.Venizelos, P.Canellopoulos, N.Zervas, etc). Also, more recently, under the present conditions of the economic capitalist crisis, New Democracy and PASOK (old social democratic party) put aside their differences and formed anti-popular governments under the Prime Minister L.Papademos and A.Samaras later: The former with the support of ‘’extreme-right’’ party LAOS, the later with the support of the ‘’centre-left’’ party DIMAR.
The bourgeois parliament and elections express the ‘’popular will’’ determined by the influence of employers’ intimidation, threat of unemployment, mechanisms that buy the workers’ consciousness off, anticommunism, fear before the revolutionary perspective, bourgeois ideology fostered through education and so many other factors that form attitude of assimilation and submission to the system among the larger part of popular strata and their families. Only when the above factors are secured firmly, then the bourgeois class allows the realization of universal right to vote that operates as an assimilation tool. Besides, the universal right to vote presented as the “cornerstone” of bourgeois democracy, was neither established at once, nor was truly universal. During the period of bourgeois revolutions the right to vote initially was connected to class criteria, such as the possession of land, property, wealth, etc. It didn’t concern everyone. The same happened with the right to vote of women, of black people, etc. In our country the right to vote for women was established in 1952 by the bourgeois laws [while they had voted for the first time in the areas freed by the National Liberation Front (EAM) – Greek People’s Liberation Army (ELAS) in 1944]. In Switzerland, presented as a particularly democratic country, women gained the right to vote in 1971! In the US, the right to vote for black people was acquired in 1965.
As long as the working class and the popular strata believe that through the elections they will serve their own interests, they will remain chained of the bourgeois class, their political emancipation will be blocked. Of course the Communist Parties are “obliged” to work in parliaments in order to uncover exactly their bourgeois exploitative character. But only when the working masses believe in their power, in their ability that they have to get organized and rule themselves, only when they overcome their parliamentary illusions, they will be able to enforce radical changes for their profit. In parliament, decisions that in reality are taken elsewhere, outside of it, that are based on the economic domination of the bourgeois, are simply validated. The bourgeois state has at its disposal institutions and mechanisms of enforcing the domination of the bourgeois class (judges, police officers, army etc.) that their class orientation is not affected from the correlations in parliament.
Besides, historically it has been proved that within the bourgeois parliament, there cannot be formed political correlation that will express the general interests of the working class and popular strata. Even in the theoretical occasion that something like that happens, the bourgeois class will not stay with crossed arms). History has shown examples that even reformist majorities got violently overthrown (e.g. Allende in Chile).
Some present the argument that, like in capitalism, that the lawful action of the Communist Parties is permitted, in socialism the action of the parties that express capitalists or other defenders of “open market” should be permitted.
This comparison cannot be, because the historical role of the working class in relation to the bourgeois’ role, concerning the social progress, is different. With the consolidation of capitalism and the domination of the bourgeois, this class ceases to be pioneer and emerging. It becomes reactionary, it survives only because it exploits the working class. It has a parasitic role in social production because it does not produce anything, but because it owns the means of production, it usurps the wealth that the workers produce.
The pioneer social force is the working class because it is the conveyor of the new productive relations, the communist ones. It is the class that produces the biggest part of social wealth, that in capitalism it does not own any means of production and that in its struggle for its own domination, it has nothing to lose, but its chains. In Socialism it’s not just one party in power, but the working class organized as the dominating class, led by its party.
Sunday 3rd of December 1944. When the bourgeois power is in danger the bourgeois class does not hesitate to drown the people in blood. “The struggle of KKE during the decade 1940-1949, with the armed fight of EAM-ELAS on December of 1944 and DSE (1946-1949), constitutes the biggest offer of our Party to the working class and the poor popular strata, as well as its biggest contribution to the action of the international communist movement during the 20th century”. (From the introduction of the History Essay of KKE, Volume 2, 1946-1968).
The bourgeois “forget” that when bourgeois class took power it did not leave the feudal lords-aristocrats that it overthrew, safe and sound. Not only did it not permit them to form parties, but it also sent them the guillotine.
The defense of the open, public action of the Communist Parties in capitalism by the working class and the people, is in essence the defense of the political expression of the pioneer social force. In contrary, the defense of the existence of capitalist parties in Socialism, in a society where exploitation is abolished, and as a result the class that represents it, can only be realized as a setback and an obstacle of social development. As in capitalism today, not only is it not permitted but it would seem unheard of for parties that support the totalitarian (slavery) or the partial (serfdom) ownership of people by other people, to exist, i.e. the previous productive relations, in socialism it will be unheard of for parties that support and propagandize the exploitation of people by other people, the exploitive relations, to exist. This is how the comparison should be.
The position of the bourgeois democracy against the Communist Parties.
 
The working class is expressed by its own party, the Communist Party, that its own formation is a result of the maturing of the working class. The CP struggles for the working class to gain conscience of its historical mission, which is to abolish all kinds of exploitation and oppression and to lead the way into a classless society.
It is a lie that the bourgeois class generally lets the Communist Parties to act undisturbed. It knows that they fight to overthrow it and when its domination is in danger, it takes harder measures against the Communist Parties. The history of the global communist movement and of the KKE in Greece is full of persecutions against communists. Lawful, public action of the Communist Party is a conquest of the working class. In our country the democratic government of El.Venizelos in 1929 declared communism as a statutory offense and criminalized the communist ideology. KKE remained illegal for 27 years (1947-1974), the 20 of which were not during fascist or dictatorship governments, but during “bourgeois democratic” governments, years that were accompanied by terrorism, tortures, exiles, executions.

Bourgeois state against KKE.

Since its primary years of existence, KKE faced persecutions, class hatred of the bourgeois state. State violence does not only show its superiority in the correlation of forces, it mainly shows the fear of the bourgeois against the working class, the people. The bourgeois legislative grid against the workers movement is dated before the founding of KKE, when the socialist ideas started being appealing. It is constantly strengthened after the founding of the party in 1918.The law on the constitution of Committees on Public Security in each Region” ” of the government of Al. Papanastasiou in 1924,that the dictatorship of Pangalos in 1926 modified and used, the concentration camp of communist soldiers in Kalpaki, the “Idionym” of Venizelos in order to “Protect for now, but mainly for the future the social regime“, the forbiddance of the circulation of “Rizospastis” are characteristic examples. Thousands of communists convicted, martyred in prisons and exile of bourgeois government parliamentary or of dictatorship. KKE during the king’s and Metaxas dictatorship of the 4th of August 1936 took a big blow. State security could constitute the squealer “Temporary Leadership ” in the role of the leading body of the party that issued a “Rizospastis”with a content directed thereby. KKE was deprived of the important service of hundreds of cadres that the government of Metaxas gave to the Germans, even its general secretary of the Central Council Nikos Zahariadis. 

After the liberation of Greece in 1944, the bourgeois forces resorted to murderous violence, they chose the bloodshed of the struggling people that were united around KKE, EAM and ELAS. During the armed struggle of KKE in 1946-1949, the state repression was shielded even more with the “3rd decree” in June 1946 and the voting of O.L.. 509/1947. The armed struggle highlighted the ethical greatness, the heroism, the contribution and sacrifice of thousands of communists, popular fighters. After the civil war, new heroic pages were written at the jails and exiles, the Military Courts, the firing squads, cladestinity and political refuge. New persecutions and sacrifices for thousands of communists at the purgatories of the soldier dictatorship in 1967-1974, at the dungeons of EAT-ESA, at the places of exile. But even after the junta, in times of democracy and legality, KKE faced employer violence and terrorism by the bourgeois democracy. A martyr of this struggle, Sotiria Vasilakopoulou, member of KNE, was murdered at the gates of the ETMA factory at 28/7/1980. KKE follows that road today, the one of class struggle, with consequences such as layoffs, persecutions and trials of communists and other fighters. Against the violence of the bourgeois class today the answer is: “We never did and we never will sign a declaration of repentance to the national and international bourgeois class”.

Let us not forget though that the defenders of parliamentarism and multiparty system, that until recently hypocritically presented EU as the apogee of democracy, hide that in a number of countries of the EU, Communist Parties and Youths, the communist symbols are forbidden by law. In Czech Republic, the Communist Youth was until recently illegal because, as the bourgeois court judged: “At its program it expresses the necessity to replace the private ownership at the means of production with social ownership” and that is a “crime” for capitalists! In Poland and elsewhere the use of communist symbols is forbidden, in Germany there is a law that forbids hiring communists to work for the bourgeois state, at the Baltics they forbid Communist Parties and praise the Nazi SS. EU has made its formal ideology the historically inaccurate and provocative identification of fascism and communism, the anti-communism.
But even in the occasion that the Communist Parties are legal, bourgeois class puts a lot of obstacles to the spread and promotion of their ideas and of course under no circumstances are they allowed to implement them. It is clear that for the bourgeois political system, the bourgeois state, the Communist Parties are their “Number One” opponent. For example, how many times has the KKE been attacked for its slogans, that compact political ideas, as “law is the right of the workers” but also its actions to defend the popular interests (strikes, organization of disobedience and indiscipline against the bourgeois poltcy etc) are at the verge of legality and ask from KKE to take oaths of submission to the bourgeois state? Besides, these are not just a matter of declarations for the bourgeoisie. How many times have we seen efforts to legally restrict and supress communist action (e.g. dismissal of members of KKE and KNE and pioneer fighters because they were ay the frontline of strikes. persecutions against members of KNE because they lead students’ mobilizations, persecutions of communists and other fighters for various mobilizations.
Besides the above, let us not forget that in the conditions of bourgeois democracy, the massive projection of the positions of the communists is objectively limited by socioeconomic conditions, as large-type complexes, electronic and printed media, publishers, internet etc. are under the control of the monopolies and the bourgeois state. Whatever means the KKE has (“Rizospastis”, “90.2”, etc.) to project its positions, the struggle of the labor movement are struck from every side from the bourgeois in order to be silenced (politically, economically, judicially with lawsuits etc.).
The screams that are occasionally heard on “KKE’s immunity” that it “moves on the limits of legality” and the like, prove that the constant aim of the bourgeois class is to achieve a crushing blow on the party of the working class by putting obstacles in on its relatively legal action, without leaving out the aim to integrate it on the bourgeois political system.
 
Even the formal rights stop for the workers in the workplaces.
The right of the working class to organize, although it is formally established, practically is blocked, while it is also limited institutionally.
For the bourgeois, even this formal democracy has no power in the workplace, inside the factory gate and company. The worker within the framework of parliamentarianism is “free” to vote for any party they want, to have any opinion they wish, formally they have the right to strike, but as soon as they stands up for themselves in the workplace, the employer is ready to crush them. There are maybe laws that allow the existence and action of trade unions and workers’ organizations, but these are only tolerable to the extent that they are manipulated and part of the network of assimilation of the working masses. In addition, there are laws that ensure labor rights, however, they are not actually applied or they are easily utilized to limit working rights to something “realistic” or “achievable” that is always determined by capitalist profitability. However, the moment that the working class fights for the contemporary workingpeoples’ needs that come into conflict with capitalist profitability, they are confronted by the multipronged attack of the employers and the bourgeois state. Besides, when the class struggle sharpens, when the workers’ struggles acquire tendencies to come into conflict with bourgeois domination, even minimal labor rights are abolished at once.
At the same time, the bourgeoisie also uses other methods in order to undermine the labor movement and to ensure the desired “class peace” in the workplaces. It forms a whole bribed stratum of workers, the labor aristocracy, representatives of which are promoted to the leadership of the labor movement. When needed, the bourgeoisie can also accomplish it by trampling upon the formal, legally protected correlation of forces in the trade union movement (e.g. deposing the elected leaderships etc.). In that way, the workers’ organizations are converted from defenders of the workers’ interests to defenders of the interests of the bourgeoisie, they become enemies of the workers, traitors inside the working class.
The parliamentary group of the Nazi party in the German Parliament in 1930. The bourgeois pretend to “forget” that fascism arose from the bourgeois parliament. Hitler was elected to the Parliament, with the support and tolerance of the bourgeois political world. He was supported financially and politically not only by the German bourgeoisie, but also by American monopolies and British interests that sought profitable transactions and support from Germany against the USSR.

Regimes that suppress bourgeois democracy- the other side of bourgeois power. 
However, bourgeois parliamentary democracy may not be in all the phases the “appropriate” form of management of bourgeois power. In times of difficulties, crises, fissures in the bourgeois system, there are many historical examples, as well as contemporary, when the bourgeoisie puts aside its “angelic face” and chooses to exercise its power through non-parliamentary regimes. Military dictatorships, fascism are all in the service of the capital and are just different forms of management. The changes and the differences in the mode of governance do not change neither the class nature of the economic relations or the class essence of the state. Namely, regimes presented as “anti-democratic” or as “democratic” serve the same class, the same system, that of the capitalist exploitative relations. For example, behind the “anti-parliamentary” rhetoric of the Nazi and fascist parties basically lies the need to confront more decisively the workers’ and people’s movement, to ensure order and stability in order to safeguard capitalist domination and the profitability of the monopolies.
These regimes suspend a wide range the formerly established freedoms and rights, which for the workers are rights won through blood, the product of hard class struggles. For the working class and its Party it means a wave of repression, a possible passage to illegality, imprisonments and persecutions, murders of militants, prohibition and restriction of workers’ demands and trade-union action etc. Their class nature cannot be obscured by the fact that within the framework of intra-bourgeois conflicts there is a restriction of rights for sections of the bourgeoisie, e.g. for political opponents, rival bourgeois parties etc. Intra-bourgeois conflicts can be savage when the contradictions of the bourgeois are very sharp. In Greece, and even within the framework of parliamentary governance, there have been times when the intra-bourgeois conflicts were so intense that there was bloodshed. For example, the conflict between the pro-venizelist and the anti-venizelist, in the 1910’s, or the “Trial of the Six” (1922), when the liberal group sent 6 prominent officials of the Popular Party, former prime ministers and ministers, to the firing squad in order to put the blame on them for the defeat in the Asia Minor in 1922. Global history is full of examples of anti-people regimes that were characterized by “emergency” measures to enforce order. Those kinds of regimes are usually temporary, and most of the times the transition to bourgeois parliamentary democracy is smooth and without serious consequences for a large number of their officials, which also proves the continuity of bourgeois power regardless of the form of governance. Those kinds of regimes have even been supported by other capitalist “democratic” states around the world. The example of the USA is characteristic. The country that is presented as the “land of the free”, a state-zenith of democracy, has in its record hundreds of antidemocratic actions, imperialist interventions, imposition and support of dictatorships, attempts to overthrow governments etc., actions that served its interests. This is the democracy of the capitalists.
However, even if the bourgeois liberties existed and were “fully” functioning, they would still be historically outdated. A chasm is separating them from worker’s democracy, the liberties and the rights under the conditions of the abolition of exploitation of man by man.