Month: October, 2017
Africa/Global: Recent Books Read & Recommended
| October 31, 2017 | 8:19 pm | Africa | No comments

Africa/Global: Recent Books Read & Recommended

AfricaFocus Bulletin October 30, 2017 (171030) (Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor’s Note

As with other publications largely focused on current events, AfricaFocus Bulletin is confronted with an exponentially increasing bombardment of daily news. My approach as the editor is to select a particular topic of interest, sometimes highlighted in the news and sometimes not, and try to put it into context for readers with excerpts from the most relevant sources. But I also find it essential to try to step back and refresh my understanding of the wider context. For that, I find I must turn to books.

The list below, which I decided to share with readers, is all non-fiction, but it is not restricted to books explicitly on “Africa.” As readers are aware, AfricaFocus Bulletin centers Africa, but with the understanding that Africa is an integral part of and fundamentally affected by the wider global context, including developments in rich countries that still dominate the global order and disproportionately reap the rewards of a deeply tilted global political economy. In this critical time for the United States, my reading has also strongly concentrated on books providing context for understanding the situation in this country, where racial, class, and other divisions both parallel and help to mold global inequalities.

So, for your browsing and possible future reading, the lists below include books I have recently read and recommend to others who are interested in the topics (“recent” means in the last two years), as well as books I have noted that I would like to read. There are three categories: “Africa Past and Present,” “Current Global Issues,” and “USA Past and Present.” The comments are very brief, my own in the case of books I have read and taken from publishers’ descriptions in other cases.

I have also included links to Amazon listings, which often give access to a preview of the text and to Kindle editions, although I also encourage you to purchase from your own independent book store or from the publisher directly or suggest to your library to order, when those options are feasible.

The last AfricaFocus Bulletin including a substantial list of recommended books was in April, 2017: “African Feminism Past and Present” (http://www.africafocus.org/docs17/wom1704.php).

This AfricaFocus Bulletin is somewhat of an experiment, and I don’t know how frequently I will post such book lists, either as part of a topical Bulletin or as a separate Bulletin like this one. I do know I definitely won’t be able to read all the books I would like to read! But if you find this of interest, and have additional titles to suggest to me for future inclusion, be sure to send me your feedback and recommendations by email at africafocus@igc.org

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

Africa Past and Present

Recently Read and Recommended

Gilbert Achcar, Morbid Symptoms: Relapse in the Arab Uprising. 2016 Gilbert Achcar, The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising. 2013. Howard W. French, China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building A New Empire in Africa. 2014. Ricardo Soares de Oliveira, Magnificent and Beggar Land: Angola Since the Civil War. 2015.
The first three of these books, on topics often in the news, provide in-depth insights that go far beyond conventional reporting. Achcar’s two books provide an analysis and overview, focusing first on the Arab Uprising and then on subsequent events highlighting the resilience of the old regimes. French provides a first-hand report based on extensive interviews, featuring not the most often discussed geopolitical role of China, but the diverse faces of Chinese migrants around the continent. Angola, rarely covered by Western media, is well served for both specialist and general readers by Soares de Oliveira, whose book is a well-informed and well-written account of Angola in the 21st century.
Nancy Mitchell, Jimmy Carter in Africa: Race and the Cold War. 2016.
Stephanie J. Urdang, Mapping My Way Home: Activism, Nostalgia, and the Downfall of Apartheid South Africa. 2017.
Both books, Mitchell’s an academic study weaving together interviews and archival data and Urdang’s a personal and journalistic memoir based on a lifetime of engagement with African liberation, provide new insights even for those who were participants in or closely followed the events they describe. Mitchell’s primary focus is the Washington policy scene, where she digs deeply into the debates within the Carter administration on how to respond to Africa, given U.S. political realities. Urdang’s memoir ranges from South Africa to New York City to Guinea-Bissau to Mozambique, with reflections both on her personal experience and the complex contradictions of unfinished struggles for liberation.

Hope to Read Sometime

[Unless otherwise attributed, comments are from publishers’ descriptions.]

Ibrahim Abdullah and Ismail Rashid, eds., Understanding West Africa’s Ebola Epidemic: Towards a Political Economy. 2017.

While championing the heroic efforts of local communities and aid workers in halting the spread of the disease, the contributors also reveal deep structural problems in both the countries and humanitarian agencies involved, which hampered the efforts to contain the epidemic.

Kris Berwouts, Congo’s Violent Peace: Conflict and Struggle Since the Great African War. 2017.

“Berwouts is one of the very rare analysts who write what the population in eastern Congo thinks and feels.” – Denis Mukwege, women’s rights activist and gynecologist in eastern Congo

Mustafa Dhada, The Portuguese Massacre of Wiriyamu in Colonial Mozambique, 1964-2013. 2016.

“The murdered inhabitants of Wiriyamu, casualties of brutal Portuguese refusal to relinquish imperial rule, now have the recognition they deserve. Mustafah Dhada’s heroic work of historical reconstruction relocates these lost lives.” – Patrick Manning, University of Pittsburg.

Helen Epstein, Another Fine Mess: America, Uganda, and the War on Terror. 2017.

Epstein chronicles how America’s naïve dealings with African strongmen and singleminded focus on the War on Terror have themselves becomes sources of terror.

Helon Habila, The Chibok Girls: The Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria. 2016.

Nigerian novelist Helon Habila, who grew up in northern Nigeria, returned to Chibok and gained intimate access to the families of the kidnapped to offer a devastating account of this tragedy that stunned the world.

Godfrey Kanyenze et al., eds. Towards Democratic Developmental States in Southern Africa. 2017. Free download.

Kanyenze and his colleagues have assembled a distinguished team of writers to take the temperature of the regional political economy, and chart a path for its future development.

Seth M. Markle, A Motorcycle on Hell Run: Tanzania, Black Power, and the Uncertain Future of Pan-Africanism, 1964-1974. 2017.

A towering achievement in the burgeoning field of Black internationalism.” – Komozi Woodard, Sarah Lawrence College.

Sisonke Msimang, Always Another Country. 2017.

In her much anticipated memoir, Sisonke Msimang writes about her exile childhood in Zambia and Kenya, young adulthood and college years in North America, and returning to South Africa in the euphoric 1990s. She reflects candidly on her discontent and disappointment with present-day South Africa but also on her experiences of family, romance, and motherhood.

Alexis Okeowo, A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women Fighting Extremism in Africa. 2017.

This debut book by one of America’s most acclaimed young journalists illuminates the inner lives of ordinary people doing the extraordinary.

John S. Saul, On Building A Social Movement: The North American Campaign for Southern African Liberation. 2016.

“Saul challenges us to demystify the national liberation movements many of us worshiped in order to see not only their strengths and weaknesses, but in order to understand the forces that have ground many of them to a halt. What an outstanding piece of writing!” –Bill Fletcher, Jr.,

Nick Turse, Tomorrow’s Battlefield: US Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa. 2015.

“A dogged and intrepid journalist who won’t take ‘no comment’ for an answer, Nick Turse has done a fantastic job of exposing the U.S. military’s expansion into Africa and the proliferation of its secret missions on the continent.” – Craig Whitlock, Pentagon correspondent, Washington Post

Hendrik Van Vuuren, Apartheid Guns and Money. 2017.

This meticulously researched book lifts the lid on some of the darkest secrets of apartheid’s economic crimes, weaving together material collected in over two-dozen archives in eight countries with an insight into tens of thousands of pages of newly declassified documents.

Current Global Issues

Recently Read and Recommended

Bill Browder, Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice. 2015.
Justin Gest, The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality. 2016.
Pankaj Mishra, Age of Anger: A History of the Present. 2017.
These three books, in quite different ways, highlight the fact that the Trump election was the result not only of factors unique to the United States, but of global developments. Browder’s first-person account sheds light on the transition of the Soviet Union into a kleptocratic state, and its links to a global financial system facilitating these trends, as well as to the motives behind Russian intervention in that election. Gest provides a detailed comparison of Youngtown, Ohio and East London, UK, based on both interviews and survey data, highlighting both economic decline and the targeting of resentment against both societal elites and racial outsiders. And Mishra offers an intellectual history of resentment by angry men adopting extremist ideologies across the religious and political spectrum, from 18th century Europe to present-day Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia.
Patricia Hill Collins and Sirma Bilge, Intersectionality. 2016.
Zeynep Tufekci, Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest. 2017.
These two books challenge and guide readers to think more deeply about current issues. Collins and Bilge provide a succinct and clear exposition of the concept of “intersectionality” as indispensable for analyzing society “not as shaped by any single axis of social division, be it race or gender or class, but by many axes that work together and influence each other.” Tufekci provides a brilliant account of the complex effects and potential of social media drawing both on personal experience as an activist and keen scholarly insights.
Branko Milanovic, Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization. 2016.
Yanis Varoufakis, And the Weak Suffer What They Must? Europe, Austerity, and the Threat to Global Stability. 2016.
Yes, these books are by economists and include statistics and tables. But they are also well written, address fundamental issues, and are worth extra effort by noneconomist readers. Milanovic is the leading scholar on changes in inequality in the modern world, both “within-nation” and “between-nation.” Varoufakis is the former foreign minister of Greece who tried, but failed, to combat the destructive and myth-based austerity policies imposed by Germany and others on his country.

Hope to Read Sometime

[Unless otherwise attributed, comments are from publishers’ descriptions.]

Andy Clarno, Neoliberal Apartheid: Palestine/Israel and South Africa after 1994. 2017.

After a decade of research in the Johannesburg and Jerusalem regions, Andy Clarno presents here a detailed ethnographic study of the precariousness of the poor in Alexandra township, the dynamics of colonization and enclosure in Bethlehem, the growth of fortress suburbs and private security in Johannesburg, and the regime of security coordination between the Israeli military and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

Jeremy Leggett, The Test: Solar light for all: a defining challenge for humanity. 2017. Free download.

The conundrum of expensive and high-carbon kerosene vastly outselling inexpensive and zero-carbon solar is a defining test of humankind’s instinct for collective survival, Jeremy Leggett argues. If we cannot quickly replace oil-for-lighting with solar lighting, he asks, given all the blindingly obvious economic and social imperatives for so doing, what chance do we have with all the many other global problems we face?

Sasha Polakow-Suransky, Go Back to Where You Came From: The Backlash Against Immigration and the Fate of Western Democracy. 2017.

From Europe to the United States, opportunistic politicians have exploited the economic crisis, terrorist attacks, and an unprecedented influx of refugees to bring hateful and reactionary views from the margins of political discourse into the mainstream. In this deeply reported account, Sasha Polakow-Suransky provides a frontrow seat to the anger, desperation, and dissent that are driving some voters into the arms of the far right and stirring others to resist.

Adam Rutherford, A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes. 2017.

Who are our ancestors? Where did they come from? Geneticists have suddenly become historians, and the hard evidence in our DNA has blown the lid off what we thought we knew. Acclaimed science writer Adam Rutherford explains exactly how genomics is completely rewriting the human story—from 100,000 years ago to the present.

USA Past and Present

Recently Read and Recommended

Carol Anderson, White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide. 2016.
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation. 2016.
Michael Tesler, Post-Racial or Most-Racial?: Race and Politics in the Obama Era. 2016.
These works by three scholars writing for the public as well as other scholars, all written before the Trump election, are complementary. Anderson provides the clearest succinct account I am aware of the history of white backlash to Black advancement, from Reconstruction through Obama. Tesler presents survey data highlighting “modern” (coded) racism as compared to old-fashioned racism through the Obama years. And Taylor highlights the role of “black faces in high places” in the uneven advance of Black liberation from the civil rights movement through the rise of #BlackLivesMatter.
William J. Barber II, The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear. 2016.
Charles E. Cobb, Jr., This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible. 2016.
Superficially, these two books, one on the imperative of a new civil rights movement today and the other on the history of the civil rights movement in the U.S. South, might seem contradictory. But they both have a deeper understanding of U.S. history, looking back to Reconstruction and based on personal experience of engagement on the front lines of struggle, than a simplistic contrast of non-violence and violence. Nonviolent protest and political organizing, whether in the days of Reconstruction, the 20th century, or the 21st century, depend on some force that can defend those engaged in peaceful organizing.
Ari Berman, Give us the ballot : the modern struggle for voting rights in America. 2016.
Greg Palast, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits. 2016.
These two books by journalists, although different in style (Palast is a gonzo journalist in the style of Michael Moore), both provide well-documented accounts on the decades-long and successful Republican campaign to remove voters from the voters’ rolls, which continues to be a fundamental and potentially decisive feature of U.S. elections.
Katherine J. Cramer, The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker. 2016.
Jamie Longazel, Undocumented Fears: Immigration and the Politics of Divide and Conquer in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. 2016.
These two books by scholars are well-researched and well-written case studies, making use of both quantitative data and extensive personal interviews. Each explores in depth the views of a constituency that was critical in the 2016 Trump victory, going beyond stereotypes of “the Trump voter.” Cramer focuses on small-town Wisconsin. Longazel on his home town of Hazleton, Pennsylvania.
Nancy MacLean, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America. 2017.
Jane Mayer, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right. 2016.
These are two fundamental books on the money and the minds behind the rise of the radical right in American politics and culture. Historian MacLean provides an in-depth analysis, based on archival sources, on the wide-ranging influence of “libertarian” economist James McGill Buchanan and the role of the billionaire Koch brothers in boosting his influence both in the academic and public policy arenas. Investigative journalist Mayer includes the Koch family, but also stresses that they are only one of a larger group of right-wing billionaires pushing the view that “liberty” means freedom of wealth from any public responsibilities.
Mark Landler, Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the Twilight Struggle over American Power. 2016.
Laurence H. Shoup, Wall Street’s Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics, 1976-2014. 2015.
These two books on the shaping of U.S. foreign policy into the 21st century take two very different approaches. Landler is a careful but conventional account focused on the inside story of the distinctive policies of President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Shoup provides a much deeper and historically rooted analysis of the the molding of foreign policy consensus on fundamental issues, which lies behind and constricts the debates over specific policy decisions. [Personal note: I was the co-author with Shoup of Imperial Brain Trust (1977), the early predecessor to this comprehensive second volume on the role of the Council of Foreign Relations, which takes the story from 1976 to 2014. Unlike Shoup, I have not followed up with our early research on this topic. I applaud the fact that he persevered and highly recommend this book to anyone trying to understand today’s foreign policy.]

Hope to Read Sometime

[Unless otherwise attributed, comments are from publishers’ descriptions.]

Hillary Rodham Clinton, What Happened. 2017.

“What Happened is not one book, but many. It is a candid and blackly funny account of her mood in the direct aftermath of losing to Donald J. Trump. It is a post-mortem, in which she is both coroner and corpse. It is a feminist manifesto. It is a scoresettling jubilee…. It is worth reading.” – The New York Times

Ta-Nehisi Coates, We Were Eight Years in Power. 2017.

“We were eight years in power” was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time.

E.J. Dionne Jr., Norman J. Ornstein, and Thomas E. Mann, One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported. 2017.

“If someone had hibernated through the 2016 election, woke up early this year and logged onto Twitter or turned on cable news and wondered, what the hell happened?, this would be the book to read” – The New York Times Book Review

Joshua Green, Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency. 2017.

Any study of Trump’s rise to the presidency is unavoidably a study of Bannon. Devil’s Bargain is a tour-de-force telling of the remarkable confluence of circumstances that decided the election.

Nikhil Pal Singh, Race and America’s Long War. 2017.

Singh argues that the United States’ pursuit of war since the September 11 terrorist attacks has reanimated a longer history of imperial statecraft that segregated and eliminated enemies both within and overseas.

Charles Sykes, How The Right Lost Its Mind. 2017.

Once at the center of the American conservative movement, bestselling author and radio host Charles Sykes is a fierce opponent of Donald Trump and the right-wing media that enabled his rise.

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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.

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100th anniversary of Great October Revolution

10/30/2017

100th anniversary of Great October Revolution

Throughout November, celebrations around the world will mark the centenary of the outstanding political event of the 20th century: the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917. By overthrowing the Russian capitalists, landowners and aristocrats, the workers, peasants and soldiers of the Tsarist empire opened the door to a new society in which humanity’s dreams of peace, equality and democracy began to become reality. The storming of the Winter Palace, signaled by the guns of the Aurora cruiser, began the historical epoch of the transition towards a socialist society, based on cooperation and social justice, not the  exploitation and oppression inherent in the profit-driven capitalist system.

The October Revolution was far more than a change in government. It was a fundamental social upheaval, a sharp break with thousands of years of class-divided societies. For the first time, the working class took lasting political power, shattering the myth that only the owners of wealth can rule.

Under the slogan “Peace, Land, Bread” and with the support of the overwhelming majority of the working class and poor peasants, the Bolsheviks (the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, which the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was then called) began the long and complex effort to build a new “system of civilized cooperators,” as the great revolutionary Vladimir Lenin described the essence of socialism.

The new Soviet government immediately issued its famous “decree on peace”, taking Russia out of the imperialist slaughter by the leading capitalist countries for the re-division of wealth and colonial possession they had plundered from the world’s peoples. Land was transferred to millions of impoverished peasants, and industrial, financial and other capitalist companies were nationalized. Workers were guaranteed employment. Education and health care became universal and free. Nations oppressed under the Tsarist heel were guaranteed equality and self-determination, including the right to secession. Patriarchal laws were replaced by the full legal and social emancipation of women.

The imperialist countries, including Canada, sent armies to crush the young Soviet state while the “baby was still in its cradle”, as Winston Churchill said. Surrounded by counter-revolutionary forces and invading imperialist armies, the Soviet government and the Red Army triumphed, with the support of workers around the world acting under the slogan “Hands off Russia!” The heroic example of Soviet Russia inspired working class struggles and insurrections throughout the world, including the Winnipeg General Strike and the formation of the Communist Party of Canada in this country.

The Soviet revolution shook imperialism as never before. Yet it stood on the shoulders of more than one hundred years of working class and national liberation struggles. Millions of workers had supported the First and Second Internationals, whose goal was world peace and socialism, in sharp contrast to the imperialist strivings of the leading capitalist countries.

The Internationals were inspired by the slogan “Workers of all lands, unite!” and by revolutionaries such as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels who declared that the working class was the agent of socialist revolution. The working class movement was steeled by persecutions, and educated by the bloody vengeance of the French and Prussian capitalists in 1871 against the Paris Commune – the world’s first working class state. When opportunist leaders of the Second International backed their own imperialist governments during the First World War, the revolutionary sections of the working class movement, including Lenin and the Bolsheviks, courageously struggled against imperialist war. Nearly fifty years after the Commune, the October Revolution gave a new impetus, content, and energy to the world revolutionary movement.

Great October holds a unique and honoured place in history, as the first socialist revolution to achieve and retain political power, withstanding both internal counter-revolution and foreign intervention. It dramatically changed world politics, breaking the hegemony of imperialism, and establishing a new and fundamentally different approach to relations between peoples, nations and states.

The October Revolution proved that socialism could become more than a utopian ideal. The working class and its allies could move beyond sporadic resistance to challenge the capitalist system as a whole, and achieve social emancipation. The exploited and oppressed, through conscious and united struggle, could shape their own destiny. It was this truth about the Russian Revolution that filled the privileged classes with a fear and hatred of socialism, from the earliest days of the Soviet state.

Despite unremitting imperialist hostility and subversion, the Soviet Union endured for over seven decades, scoring many great achievements, overcoming unemployment, illiteracy, and social deprivation. Socialism in the Soviet Union transformed an economically and culturally “backward” country into one of the world’s leading powers, and made great advances in culture and science.

It was the Soviet Union which led the heroic military struggle to defeat Hitler fascism on the battlefield, creating the conditions for the emergence of other socialist states in Europe. The Soviet Union championed the cause of anti-racism and decolonization, gave crucial material and political support to liberation movements, and provided vital assistance to the former colonies as they won their independence. The changing international balance of forces was a key factor in helping the peoples of China, Korea, Vietnam and Cuba to carry out their own socialist transformations. The USSR’s peace policy also restricted – though it could not entirely suppress – imperialism’s tendency to military aggression.

The gains achieved by workers under socialism inspired the working class in the advanced capitalist countries, compelling the ruling class to concede reforms around labour rights, the 40-hour work week, unemployment insurance, health care, public education, and pensions. The progress toward economic and social equality by women in the USSR was a powerful stimulus to the struggles of women in the capitalist countries for pay and employment equity, and for child care and other social programs which would weaken the patriarchal double burden of capitalist exploitation and unpaid domestic labour.

Ultimately, however, the first workers’ state was overturned and capitalism restored, due to a combination of interrelated internal and external circumstances and contradictions which culminated in the temporary victory of counter-revolution.

The defeat of socialism in the USSR became a powerful ideological weapon in the hands of monopoly capitalism. We categorically reject the bourgeois contention that the causes of the crisis and defeat of the Soviet Union were rooted in the intrinsic nature of socialism. Rather, that historic setback resulted from the extremely difficult conditions under which socialism was built, especially the destructive impact of decades of imperialist pressures and subversion, and from distortions and departures from Marxist-Leninist theory and practice.

Whatever the failures and mistakes which occurred during that first great experiment in building a new, higher form of society, these do not detract from the enduring significance of Great October. Socialism’s historical balance-sheet was overwhelmingly positive, not only for the people of the Soviet Union but indeed for all humanity. The misery and impoverishment which have befallen millions of people in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe since the early 1990s (especially women whose equality gains were rolled back), and the massive profiteering by those who took advantage of the restoration of capitalism, is painful evidence of what happens when counter-revolution succeeds.

Despite its so-called victory, capitalism itself remains in profound systemic crisis. The widening gap between rich and poor, the endless wars and conflicts spawned by imperialism, and the environmental crisis which threatens human civilization, all show that the private profit system, driven by personal and corporate greed, cannot meet the fundamental needs and interests of the people and the global environment.

As capitalism generates war, austerity, and catastrophic climate change, people everywhere are yearning for freedom. Struggles against imperialist globalization have grown sharper, and in many countries, the working class is mounting fierce resistance against the corporate drive for higher profits. The powerful example of Cuba’s socialist revolution continues to inspire workers, youth and oppressed peoples around the world.

Imperialism is responding with growing reaction, militarism and war. In the US, Canada, Europe, India and other regions, far-right, racist and neo-Nazi forces aim to divide and weaken the working class movement, and to roll back the equality gains achieved by trade unions, women, LGBTQ people, and immigrants. But the forces of imperialism and reaction cannot hold back the irresistible power and attraction of socialist ideas, the growth of the international working class, and the striving of the vast majority of humanity for social progress, a sustainable environment, and peace.

Not least, the Great October Socialist Revolution proved the importance of creating the “revolutionary party of a new type” – solidly grounded in the working class, and based on the ideology of Marxism-Leninism and the principles of democratic centralism. At a time when working people increasingly reject both the old-line capitalist parties and social democratic opportunism, it is more critical than ever to strengthen the revolutionary political parties which can win the working class for a genuine socialist alternative.

Nothing can erase the accomplishments of Great October. The Communist Party of Canada will celebrate Great October for its great achievements, for its historic lessons and for the unequaled inspiration it has created for the future of humanity – a socialist future!

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

Winnipeg Sun. Nov 5 12:30pm: Celebrate 100 years of the Russian socialist revolution! [Please forward widely]
| October 31, 2017 | 8:07 pm | Announcements, Communist Party Canada, USSR | No comments

Celebrate with friends and comrades from many lands!

1917-2017 100th Anniversary
of the Russian socialist revolution!

Sunday, November 5
12:30 p.m. Late lunch, Music, Displays, Speakers
Ukrainian Labour Temple 591 Pritchard Ave.

We can hold tickets for you at the door, but we must know you are coming!
RSVP today for tickets! (204) 586-7824 or cpc-mb@changetheworldmb.ca

Celebrate revolutions, past and future!
Tickets $10 unwaged or $30 (tax credit $22.50)
Children under 12 free
Cheques are payable to Communist Party of Canada – Manitoba

Doors at the Labour Temple open at 12:30; the program begins at 1:30. You won’t want to miss this.

– The Celebration Committee

* * * *
The revolution’s impact on Canada was profound, but its influence is deliberately omitted from official histories and the education system.
Russia’s revolution animated the politics of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike and unions across Canada.
The Western Labor Conference (Calgary, March 1919 – the largest gathering of trade unionists west of the Great Lakes up to that time) unanimously placed itself “on record as being in solidarity with the Russian… revolution… (and) declares its full acceptance of the principle of “Proletarian Dictatorship” as being absolute and efficient for the transformation of capitalist private property into communal wealth…”
When the Borden Conservative government ordered troops to board ships and crush Russia’s Soviet republic, the soldiers mutinied in Vancouver.
Prominent big business politicians started to promise far-reaching reforms like those invoked by Russia’s Soviet republic.
Across Canada, all women won the same right as men to vote.
A month after the Winnipeg Strike Mackenzie King promised free medicare at the Liberal convention where he was elected leader.
The revolution inspired the founding of Canada’s Communist Party in 1921, as an illegal party. All previous socialist parties were banned under the War Measures Act in 1918, the Borden government’s response to the revolution.
The title of John Reed’s famous book Ten Days that Shook the World truly captures the political temper of those times.
Today, millions of people are again renewing the ideas of socialism and revolution, notably in the U.S. and Britain.
These ideas are certain to become profound and sharper with mass experience as the struggle against capitalism grows.

“For invited guests and members – Please drink responsibly (required words)”

From Names and Schools to Cars and Weapons: Soviet Legacy in Cuba
| October 31, 2017 | 7:31 pm | Cuba, USSR | 1 Comment

https://sputniknews.com/photo/201710281058616368-cuba-soviet-legacy/

From Names and Schools to Cars and Weapons: Soviet Legacy in Cuba

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  • From Names and Schools to Cars and Weapons: Soviet Legacy in Cuba
  • From Names and Schools to Cars and Weapons: Soviet Legacy in Cuba
  • From Names and Schools to Cars and Weapons: Soviet Legacy in Cuba
  • From Names and Schools to Cars and Weapons: Soviet Legacy in Cuba
  • From Names and Schools to Cars and Weapons: Soviet Legacy in Cuba
  • From Names and Schools to Cars and Weapons: Soviet Legacy in Cuba
  • From Names and Schools to Cars and Weapons: Soviet Legacy in Cuba
  • From Names and Schools to Cars and Weapons: Soviet Legacy in Cuba
  • From Names and Schools to Cars and Weapons: Soviet Legacy in Cuba
  • From Names and Schools to Cars and Weapons: Soviet Legacy in Cuba
  • From Names and Schools to Cars and Weapons: Soviet Legacy in Cuba
  • From Names and Schools to Cars and Weapons: Soviet Legacy in Cuba
© AFP 2017/ Yamil Lage
A bartender cleans a bottle of rum at the retro-Soviet restaurant Nazdarovie, in Havana.

Almost 30 years after the dissolution of the USSR, Cuba is keeping some of the legacy alive – from names and family ties, to buildings, cars, appliances, parks, schools, weapons and many other things.

Cuba and the USSR established diplomatic relations back in 1959. Since then Havana and Moscow kept in regular contact. In 1991 the Soviet Union was dissolved and Cuba remained one of a few countries to remain under communist rule. And now, almost 30 years after the Union’s dissolution, Cuba continues to keep its Soviet legacy…in a very unexpected way. Check Sputnik’s photogallery to learn more.

Actual Solidarity of the KKE to the Communist and Labor Movement of Pakistan

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Actual Solidarity of the KKE to the Communist and Labor Movement of Pakistan

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/10/actual-solidarity-of-kke-to-communist.html
Source: inter.kke.gr.
A delegation of the KKE consisting of Giorgos Marinos, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, and Vasilis Opsimos, member of the Economy Section of the Central Committee, visited Pakistan on October 16-20, invited by the “TAREEK FOUNDATION TRUST” and took part in events in honor of the October Socialist Revolution.
In particular, the KKE delegation took part in an international conference on “the 100 Years of the Russian Revolution: 1917-2017”, held at the Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology in Karachi on October 17th.
There, in a room packed with students and workers, a large number of university professors, historians and writers, they shed light on a variety topics concerning the October Revolution.
In his speech, Giorgos Marinos, member of the P.B. of the C.C of the Communist Party of Greece, gave a warm greeting to the organizer of the event, “TAREEKH FOUNDATION TRUST” and the participants, and he particularly talked about the international importance of the October Socialist Revolution, about its conquests,  the achievements of the Soviet Union and among others he mentioned the following:
“Undeniably a new epoch in history has emerged, the epoch of transition from capitalism to socialism. The October Socialist Revolution demonstrated this. The bourgeoisie has taken the position of the feudalists who were overthrown by the bourgeois revolutions. Today, even in countries with a subordinate position in the imperialist system, the maintenance of some “pre-capitalist vestiges”, as they are sometimes called, does not change the trend for the monopolies to expand and penetrate every sector of the economy. 
Monopoly capitalism permeates the economic relations all over the world and is the complete material preparation for socialism. Consequently, in our times, the character of the revolution cannot be determined on the basis of the criteria of another historical era which has ended. 
The relative backwardness in the development of the productive forces in a country, compared to more advanced capitalist countries, is an objective development and does not negate the fact that, to a certain extent, the material preconditions for the construction of the new socialist society have been created. 
Workers’ power, the socialization of the means of production and central planning, the movement towards the construction of socialism will resolve problems of backwardness. It will accelerate the development of the productive forces, will consolidate and ensure people’s sovereignty and will break the relations of dependence on imperialist centers and unions, forming new conditions in the international relations, with the people’s interest as the sole criterion. 
The discussion about the character of the revolution is of major importance. Its determination on the basis of present-day conditions is a matter of life and death and a precondition for the communist movement to overcome its crisis, to escape from the illusions created by the so-called “transitional stages” and to meet the complex demands of the class struggle. 
The Socialist character of the revolution is determined by the objective necessity of resolving the basic contradiction between capital and labour.”
On Wednesday the 18th of October the KKE delegation, accompanied by members of the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP), visited the city of Hyderabad on the southern part of the country. There they held a substantial discussion with members of the Progressive Writers Association and participated in an activity of the Communist Party of Pakistan to honor the October Socialist Revolution.
Workers and poor farmers of the region massively welcomed the KKE delegation with enthusiasm, highlighting the strong internationalist bonds between the two Communist parties.
In a full theater and in a climate of particular combative spirit, the General Secretary of the CC of the Communist Party of Pakistan, Imdad Qazi, the University professors Mubarak Ali and Saeed Ahmed as well as Giorgos Marinos took the floor. G.Marinos in his speech, among others, mentioned:
We are happy to meet here with our comrades and we address warm militant greetings to the Communist Party of Pakistan, to the militants who are struggling for the rights of the working class, the people of Pakistan, who are experiencing the sharpening problems of the capitalist system of exploitation and the anti-people policies of its governments. 
 
We know the difficult conditions in which our comrades are struggling, we follow the attacks of the forces of reaction, obscurantism that are a product of the rotten system and serve its needs for the repression of the labour-people’s movement. 
 
We say to our comrades: comrades we greatly appreciate your struggle and we assure you that we are at your side and will fulfill our internationalist duty in a firm  and consistent way. 
 
The violence of bourgeois power confirms the analysis of the communists about the dictatorship of the monopolies and underscores that the struggle for democratic, social rights is directly linked with  the struggle for socialism. 
This conclusion also emerges from the experience of the KKE which has faced, over its 100- year history, illegality for many decades, dictatorships, imprisonment and exile, torture and executions, the murders of thousands of communists. 
 
It played the leading role in the resistance of the people against the fascist occupation during World War II; it conducted an armed struggle in the period 1946-1949 against the bourgeois class and the imperialist intervention of Britain and the USA. 
 
The KKE stood upright, strong through many storms, with strong links with the working class and continues to play a leading role in the workers’-people’s struggles in Greece, to actively work for the coordination of the struggle of communists all over the globe. 
 
So that the ideas of Marxism-Leninism prevail and so that opportunism is defeated, for the regroupment of the communist movement on a revolutionary basis and for it to acquire a unified revolutionary strategy, equal to the principles that led to the victory of October. 
 
Our party and dozens of other communist parties were founded  and developed due to the powerful influence of the Great October Socialist Revolution. The existence and strengthening of the Soviet Union, the establishment and activity of the Communist International and the reinforcement of the international struggle of the communist movement assisted the peoples in a number of countries to throw off the yoke of colonialism. 
 
This leap in social development provided and provides the strength to communists to fight against the difficulties and to militantly intervene in the most difficult moments of the class struggle, confronting  capitalist barbarity, the bourgeois state and its multi-faceted  mechanisms. 
 
The October Socialist Revolution has been vindicated historically, it has demonstrated its incredible endurance and is alive, in spite of its opponents, the bourgeoisie and the opportunists, who are the agents  of bourgeois ideology and politics inside the labour movement. 
 
Its shining  messages express the interests of the direct producers of all  wealth, the prospect of the struggle of the working class and oppressed popular strata at an international level. It is  for this reason that they have been a source of inspiration for a century and will continue to guide  our political-ideological struggle, so that the peoples become  liberated from the shackles of exploitation, social injustice, for the socialist-communist future.”
 
On Thursday, October 19th, the KKE delegation took part in an activity at the Doctors Association in Karachi against the imperialist wars and transferred the experience of the Communists’ struggle in Greece.
30.10.2017
Declassified documents expose US role in the 1965-66 massacre of millions of communists in Indonesia

Monday, October 30, 2017

Declassified documents expose US role in the 1965-66 massacre of millions of communists in Indonesia

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/10/declassified-documents-expose-us-role.html
Declassified files have exposed just how much the US knew about and supported the massacre of millions of Indonesians in the 1965 anti-communist purges.
The non-governmental National Security Archive research group published 39 documents on Tuesday, out of thousands of pages of newly declassified files from the US embassy in Jakarta. They cover the period from 1963-66, documenting official knowledge and approval of the army’s death-squad operations to wipe out the three million-strong Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) and its supporters.
Up to three million people were rounded up across the country, executed and dumped in mass graves. The files show that the US provided the Indonesian army with lists of senior communist party officials, equipment and money during the massacres. The purges led to the overthrow of communist-backed nationalist president Sukarno and the 31-year dictatorship of General Suharto.
The documents show US officials had credible evidence that contradicting the army’s claim about a supposed September 30 1965 bid by junior officers was ordered by the PKI — used as justification for the massacres.
A December 21 1965 diplomatic cable from the embassy’s first secretary Mary Vance Trent to Washington noted the “fantastic switch which has occurred over 10 short weeks.” Ms Trent estimated 100,000 had been slaughtered by then. A previously released April 1966 embassy cable said: “We frankly do not know whether the real figure is closer to 100,000 or 1,000,000” — and even the Indonesian government had only a “vague idea.”
A report covering November 1965 by embassy political affairs officer Edward Masters addressed the “problem” of holding and feeding suspected PKI prisoners. “Many provinces appear to be successfully meeting this problem by executing their PKI prisoners, or killing them before they are captured, a task in which Moslem [sic] youth groups are providing assistance,” he wrote.
A month later the US consulate in Indonesia’s capital Medan wrote that imams from the Muhammadiyah Muslim organisation were preaching that all communists should be killed, calling them the “lowest order of infidel, the shedding of whose blood is comparable to killing chicken.”
Britain also supported the massacres, documented by the historian Mark Curtis. Anti-communism appears to be on the rise in Indonesia, with rightwingers trying to shut down a meeting on the massacres just last month.
Source: Morning Star.
Golden Dawn’s fascists have no place in Santorini!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Golden Dawn’s fascists have no place in Santorini!

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/10/golden-dawns-fascists-have-no-place-in.html
Around 20 Golden Dawn’s fascists tried to attack
a foreign student during the “OXI Day” parade.
“The fascist-nazi ideology has no place in our island” underlines the Santorini Party Organisation of the KKE in a statement issued regarding the racist incident of 28th October. 
 
Last Saturday, a group of around 20 Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party members and “sympathizers” violently disrupted the traditional student parade for the “OXI Day” holiday celebration, because the flag-bearer was a foreign student. 
 
Just before the parade was about to start, the fascists of Golden Dawn wearing black t-shirts with “Hellas Ultra” printed on them, started shouting and terrorizing both the students who were getting ready for their parade and their parents. The police attempted to negotiate with them, but the atmosphere was already explosive.
 
The Santorini Party Organisation of the KKE strongly denounces the provocative and unacceptable behaviour of the fascists and calls “all parents, students and workers of the island, independently of race and religion, to condemn the fascist-nazi ideology wherever it appears”
 
The incident in Santorini island was also condemned by the Press Office of the CC of the KKE which issued the following comment:
 
“The cowardly attack of the Golden Dawn’s members to prevent an 11-year old student to hold the Greek flag, as well as their statement that the Greeks didn’t fight fascism and nazism but “the italian army”, shows their real nazist face. They are political descendants of those who were defeated in 1940-45 by the Great Antifascist Victory of the People and will be defeated again by the organised people’s struggle”.