Category: Latin America
Mercenaries in Yemen: the US Connection

http://www.globalresearch.ca/mercenaries-in-yemen-the-us-connection/5494661

Latin American mercenaries are leaving the ranks of the national armies of their countries to fight in the deserts of Yemen, wearing the uniform of the United Arab Emirates. They have been contracted by private US companies and in some cases directly by the government of the Arab country, which, thanks to vast oil reserves, has the second largest economy of the region.

An article in the New York Times revealed that 450 Latin American soldiers, among them Colombians, Panamanians, Salvadorans and Chileans, have been deployed to Yemen. The mercenaries receive training in the United Arab Emirates before deployment, in part from U.S. trainers.

The presence of Latin American mercenaries in the Middle East is not new. Colombian news media have interviewed mercenaries returning from the Middle East for years. They tell of being recruited by transnational companies with promises of salaries far beyond what they’d receive at home. However, the conflict in Yemen seems to be the first time that Latin American mercenaries have been sent into combat.

Colombia contributes the largest number. According to the New York Times, the UAE military recruits Colombians because of their experience fighting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the jungles and mountains of their country. But there is another reason.

Since the beginning of Plan Colombia, between 2000 and 2015 the U.S. spent almost $7 billion to train, advise and equip Colombia’s security forces. In the last few years, the U.S. government has carried out a strategy to prepare the Colombians for an emerging industry: the “export of security.”

And apparently, one way to export security is to become a U.S.-trained mercenary for Washington’s wars in other parts of the world.

Colombian troops, drilled in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency techniques, instead of exporting security are exporting the United States’ geopolitical agenda of permanent war. They end up doing the dirty work of their ally to the north, who, as a consequence, avoids exposing its forces to harm or facing accusations of interventionism.

According to analyst William Hartung, the United States government has trained a total of 30,000 soldiers from the four countries that make up the Latin American mercenary force in Yemen. A recent investigative report from El Salvador cites a Ministry of Defense source affirming that there are about 100 Salvadorans operating in Yemen. While the Colombians claim to have contracts directly with the Emirati military, in El Salvador the source states that contracting goes through a national company subcontracted by Northrup Grumman.

Northrup Grumman has a history in the Middle East mercenary business. Forbes reports that it absorbed an obscure company called Vinnelli that holds a $819 million-dollar contract to provide personnel for the Saudi National Guard, dating back to 1975.

The same Salvadoran source affirms that there are also Mexicans in Yemen. Mexico was not included in the New York Times report, but has a close relationship with the United States security complex through the war on drugs.

It cannot be known for sure if the hundreds of Latin American mercenaries were trained in the United States or by the U.S. military in their own countries. The U.S. government does not reveal the names of the soldiers or police that it has trained. Nor is there a public registry of mercenaries. Although the practice is legal in certain contexts, it forms part of the underground world of war, in which shadow powers dictate the conditions in which we live–and often die.

What is certain is that contracting Latin American mercenaries follows the logic of the new style of war designed by the Pentagon. This strategy reduces risks to U.S. troops, increases civilian deaths and feeds war profits. Drones–unmanned airplanes–kill thousands of civilians without risking a single life on the part of the aggressors. They’re shielded from the blood of their victims and the horror of their screams.

While technology makes long-distance war possible, another aspect of proxy war is to get others to fight your battles. A sad reflection of patriarchal violence and economic inequality, the recruitment of foreign mercenaries is central to modern-day warfare.

In the case of Yemen, the populations of the countries that are involved in the conflict or feel threatened by it, such as the United Arab Emirates, have no desire to go to war. In recent months the UAE has suffered increasing casualities on the ground while the U.S. and Saudi members of the coalition keep to the skies.

And the United States has strong interests in the region, but does not want to pay the political price of seeing its soldiers return home in body bags. The solution? Hire mercenaries from impoverished Latin American countries.

Recruiting young men from Latin American countries feeds the U.S. war industry. American companies like Blackwater, which has changed its name but remains Erik Prince’s empire of death, and Northrup Grumman, headquartered in Virginia, squeeze more out of their juicy government contracts by reducing soldiers’ pay. According to Colombian reports, their mercenaries receive less than half what European or U.S. soldiers get. Despite the gouging, they still make on average five times more than what they would earn in their home countries.

The third and often ignored element of the new remote-control war is weapons sales. U.S. arms sales are booming, bringing millions of dollars to the U.S. defense industry–a powerful lobby in Congress. US strategists recognize that arms sales effectively advance the geopolitical agenda by changing the balance of power in strategic conflicts.

The Obama administration has promoted bombings by the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and developed a very close relationship with the UAE, which shares its zeal for eliminating the Islamic State. The administration has now decided to sell another $1.3 billion dollars worth of weapons to these countries to replenish supplies. While military aid to allies (and in not a small number of cases, to both sides of armed conflicts) has always been a tool of hegemony, arms sales are now explicitly a central strategy.


The Pentagon and its promoters in Congress openly talk about the advantages of killing from a distance. Critics cite the many lethal attacks on civilians, including large numbers of women and children that are characteristic of this type of war. The UN calculates that the war in Yemen has already led to the deaths of 2,500 civilians, among them women and children; almost 500 were killed by U.S. drone strikes.

Now how many will die at the hands of Latin American mercenaries?

And how many young men–Colombians, Mexicans, Salvadorans–will take their last breath in a desert half a world away, fighting a war that isn’t theirs?

Laura Carlsen is the director of the Americas Program in Mexico City and advisor to Just Associates (JASS) .

Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of imperialism

https://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/nkrumah/neo-colonialism/ch01.htm

Kwame Nkrumah 1965

The mechanisms of neo-colonialism

IN order to halt foreign interference in the affairs of developing countries it is necessary to study, understand, expose and actively combat neo-colonialism in whatever guise it may appear. For the methods of neo-colonialists are subtle and varied. They operate not only in the economic field, but also in the political, religious, ideological and cultural spheres.

Faced with the militant peoples of the ex-colonial territories in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America, imperialism simply switches tactics. Without a qualm it dispenses with its flags, and even with certain of its more hated expatriate officials. This means, so it claims, that it is ‘giving’ independence to its former subjects, to be followed by ‘aid’ for their development. Under cover of such phrases, however, it devises innumerable ways to accomplish objectives formerly achieved by naked colonialism. It is this sum total of these modern attempts to perpetuate colonialism while at the same time talking about ‘freedom’, which has come to be known as neo-colonialism.

Foremost among the neo-colonialists is the United States, which has long exercised its power in Latin America. Fumblingly at first she turned towards Europe, and then with more certainty after world war two when most countries of that continent were indebted to her. Since then, with methodical thoroughness and touching attention to detail, the Pentagon set about consolidating its ascendancy, evidence of which can be seen all around the world.

Who really rules in such places as Great Britain, West Germany, Japan, Spain, Portugal or Italy? If General de Gaulle is ‘defecting’ from U.S. monopoly control, what interpretation can be placed on his ‘experiments’ in the Sahara desert, his paratroopers in Gabon, or his trips to Cambodia and Latin America?

Lurking behind such questions are the extended tentacles of the Wall Street octopus. And its suction cups and muscular strength are provided by a phenomenon dubbed ‘The Invisible Government’, arising from Wall Street’s connection with the Pentagon and various intelligence services. I quote:

‘The Invisible Government … is a loose amorphous grouping of individuals and agencies drawn from many parts of the visible government. It is not limited to the Central Intelligence Agency, although the CIA is at its heart. Nor is it confined to the nine other agencies which comprise what is known as the intelligence community: the National Security Council, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, Army Intelligence, Navy Intelligence and Research, the Atomic Energy Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

‘The Invisible Government includes also many other units and agencies, as well as individuals, that appear outwardly to be a normal part of the conventional government. It even encompasses business firms and institutions that are seemingly private.

‘To an extent that is only beginning to be perceived, this shadow government is shaping the lives of 190,000,000 Americans. An informed citizen might come to suspect that the foreign policy of the United States often works publicly in one direction and secretly through the Invisible Government in just the opposite direction.

‘This Invisible Government is a relatively new institution. It came into being as a result of two related factors: the rise of the United States after World War II to a position of pre-eminent world power, and the challenge to that power by Soviet Communism…

‘By 1964 the intelligence network had grown into a massive hidden apparatus, secretly employing about 200,000 persons and spending billions of dollars a year. [The Invisible Government, David Wise and Thomas B. Ross, Random House, New York, 1964.]

Here, from the very citadel of neo-colonialism, is a description of the apparatus which now directs all other Western intelligence set-ups either by persuasion or by force. Results were achieved in Algeria during the April 1961 plot of anti-de Gaulle generals; as also in Guatemala, Iraq, Iran, Suez and the famous U-2 spy intrusion of Soviet air space which wrecked the approaching Summit, then in West Germany and again in East Germany in the riots of 1953, in Hungary’s abortive crisis of 1959, Poland’s of September 1956, and in Korea, Burma, Formosa, Laos, Cambodia and South Vietnam; they are evident in the trouble in Congo (Leopoldville) which began with Lumumba’s murder, and continues till now; in events in Cuba, Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, and in other places too numerous to catalogue completely.

And with what aim have these innumerable incidents occurred? The general objective has been mentioned: to achieve colonialism in fact while preaching independence.

On the economic front, a strong factor favouring Western monopolies and acting against the developing world is inter-national capital’s control of the world market, as well as of the prices of commodities bought and sold there. From 1951 to 1961, without taking oil into consideration, the general level of prices for primary products fell by 33.l per cent, while prices of manufactured goods rose 3.5 per cent (within which, machinery and equipment prices rose 31.3 per cent). In that same decade this caused a loss to the Asian, African and Latin American countries, using 1951 prices as a basis, of some $41,400 million. In the same period, while the volume of exports from these countries rose, their earnings in foreign exchange from such exports decreased.

Another technique of neo-colonialism is the use of high rates of interest. Figures from the World Bank for 1962 showed that seventy-one Asian, African and Latin American countries owed foreign debts of some $27,000 million, on which they paid in interest and service charges some $5,000 million. Since then, such foreign debts have been estimated as more than £30,000 million in these areas. In 1961, the interest rates on almost three-quarters of the loans offered by the major imperialist powers amounted to more than five per cent, in some cases up to seven or eight per cent, while the call-in periods of such loans have been burdensomely short.

While capital worth $30,000 million was exported to some fifty-six developing countries between 1956 and 1962, ‘it is estimated that interest and profit alone extracted on this sum from the debtor countries amounted to more than £15,000 million. This method of penetration by economic aid recently soared into prominence when a number of countries began rejecting it. Ceylon, Indonesia and Cambodia are among those who turned it down. Such ‘aid’ is estimated on the annual average to have amounted to $2,600 million between 1951 and 1955; $4,007 million between 1956 and 1959, and $6,000 million between 1960 and 1962. But the average sums taken out of the aided countries by such donors in a sample year, 1961, are estimated to amount to $5,000 million in profits, $1,000 million in interest, and $5,800 million from non-equivalent exchange, or a total of $11,800 million extracted against $6,000 million put in. Thus, ‘aid’ turns out to be another means of exploitation, a modern method of capital export under a more cosmetic name.

Still another neo-colonialist trap on the economic front has come to be known as ‘multilateral aid’ through international organisations: the International Monetary Fund, the Inter-national Bank for Reconstruction and Development (known as the World Bank), the International Finance Corporation and the International Development Association are examples, all, significantly, having U.S. capital as their major backing. These agencies have the habit of forcing would-be borrowers to submit to various offensive conditions, such as supplying information about their economies, submitting their policy and plans to review by the World Bank and accepting agency supervision of their use of loans. As for the alleged development, between 1960 and mid-1963 the International Development Association promised a total of $500 million to applicants, out of which only $70 million were actually received.

In more recent years, as pointed out by Monitor in The Times, 1 July 1965, there has been a substantial increase in communist technical and economic aid activities in developing countries. During 1964 the total amount of assistance offered was approximately £600 million. This was almost a third of the total communist aid given during the previous decade. The Middle East received about 40 per cent of the total, Asia 36 per cent, Africa 22 per cent and Latin America the rest.

Increased Chinese activity was responsible to some extent for the larger amount of aid offered in 1964, though China contributed only a quarter of the total aid committed; the Soviet Union provided a half, and the East European countries a quarter.

Although aid from socialist countries still falls far short of that offered from the west, it is often more impressive, since it is swift and flexible, and interest rates on communist loans are only about two per cent compared with five to six per cent charged on loans from western countries.

Nor is the whole story of ‘aid’ contained in figures, for there are conditions which hedge it around: the conclusion of commerce and navigation treaties; agreements for economic co-operation; the right to meddle in internal finances, including currency and foreign exchange, to lower trade barriers in favour of the donor country’s goods and capital; to protect the interests of private investments; determination of how the funds are to be used; forcing the recipient to set up counterpart funds; to supply raw materials to the donor; and use of such funds a majority of it, in fact to buy goods from the donor nation. These conditions apply to industry, commerce, agriculture, shipping and insurance, apart from others which are political and military.

So-called ‘invisible trade’ furnishes the Western monopolies with yet another means of economic penetration. Over 90 per cent of world ocean shipping is controlled by me imperialist countries. They control shipping rates and, between 1951 and 1961, they increased them some five times in a total rise of about 60 per cent, the upward trend continuing. Thus, net annual freight expenses incurred by Asia, Africa and Latin America amount to no less than an estimated $1,600 million. This is over and above all other profits and interest payments. As for insurance payments, in 1961 alone these amounted to an unfavourable balance in Asia, Africa and Latin America of some additional $370 million.

Having waded through all this, however, we have begun to understand only the basic methods of neo-colonialism. The full extent of its inventiveness is far from exhausted.

In the labour field, for example, imperialism operates through labour arms like the Social Democratic parties of Europe led by the British Labour Party, and through such instruments as the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), now apparently being superseded by the New York Africa-American Labour Centre (AALC) under AFL-CIO chief George Meany and the well-known CIA man in labour’s top echelons, Irving Brown.

In 1945, out of the euphoria of anti-fascist victory, the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) had been formed, including all world labour except the U.S. American Federation of Labor (AFL). By 1949, however, led by the British Trade Union Congress (TUC), a number of pro-imperialist labour bodies in the West broke away from the WFTU over the issue of anti-colonialist liberation, and set up the ICFTU.

For ten years it continued under British TUC leadership. Its record in Africa, Asia and Latin America could gratify only the big international monopolies which were extracting super-profits from those areas.

In 1959, at Brussels, the United States AFL-CIO union centre fought for and won control of the ICFTU Executive Board. From then on a flood of typewriters, mimeograph machines, cars, supplies, buildings, salaries and, so it is still averred, outright bribes for labour leaders in various parts of the developing world rapidly linked ICFTU in the minds of the rank and file with the CIA. To such an extent did its prestige suffer under these American bosses that, in 1964, the AFL-CIO brains felt it necessary to establish a fresh outfit. They set up the AALC in New York right across the river from the United Nations.

‘As a steadfast champion of national independence, democracy and social justice’, unblushingly stated the April 1965 Bulletin put out by this Centre, ‘the AFL-CIO will strengthen its efforts to assist the advancement of the economic conditions of the African peoples. Toward this end, steps have been taken to expand assistance to the African free trade unions by organising the African-American Labour Centre. Such assistance will help African labour play a vital role in the economic and democratic upbuilding of their countries.’

The March issue of this Bulletin, however, gave the game away: ‘In mobilising capital resources for investment in Workers Education, Vocational Training, Co-operatives, Health Clinics and Housing, the Centre will work with both private and public institutions. It will also encourage labour-management co-operation to expand American capital investment in the African nations.’ The italics are mine. Could anything be plainer?

Following a pattern previously set by the ICFTU, it has already started classes: one for drivers and mechanics in Nigeria, one in tailoring in Kenya. Labour scholarships are being offered to Africans who want to study trade unionism in of all places-Austria, ostensibly by the Austrian unions. Elsewhere, labour, organised into political parties of which the British Labour Party is a leading and typical example, has shown a similar aptitude for encouraging ‘Labour-management co-operation to expand . . . capital investment in African nations.’

But as the struggle sharpens, even these measures of neo-colonialism are proving too mild. So Africa, Asia and Latin America have begun to experience a round of coups d’etat or would-be coups, together with a series of political assassinations which have destroyed in their political primes some of the newly emerging nations best leaders. To ensure success in these endeavours, the imperialists have made widespread and wily use of ideological and cultural weapons in the form of intrigues, manoeuvres and slander campaigns.

Some of these methods used by neo-colonialists to slip past our guard must now be examined. The first is retention by the departing colonialists of various kinds of privileges which infringe on our sovereignty: that of setting up military bases or stationing troops in former colonies and the supplying of ‘advisers’ of one sort or another. Sometimes a number of ‘rights’ are demanded: land concessions, prospecting rights for minerals and/or oil; the ‘right’ to collect customs, to carry out administration, to issue paper money; to be exempt from customs duties and/or taxes for expatriate enterprises; and, above all, the ‘right’ to provide ‘aid’. Also demanded and granted are privileges in the cultural field; that Western information services be exclusive; and that those from socialist countries be excluded.

Even the cinema stories of fabulous Hollywood are loaded. One has only to listen to the cheers of an African audience as Hollywood’s heroes slaughter red Indians or Asiatics to understand the effectiveness of this weapon. For, in the developing continents, where the colonialist heritage has left a vast majority still illiterate, even the smallest child gets the message contained in the blood and thunder stories emanating from California. And along with murder and the Wild West goes an incessant barrage of anti-socialist propaganda, in which the trade union man, the revolutionary, or the man of dark skin is generally cast as the villain, while the policeman, the gum-shoe, the Federal agent — in a word, the CIA — type spy is ever the hero. Here, truly, is the ideological under-belly of those political murders which so often use local people as their instruments.

While Hollywood takes care of fiction, the enormous monopoly press, together with the outflow of slick, clever, expensive magazines, attends to what it chooses to call ‘news. Within separate countries, one or two news agencies control the news handouts, so that a deadly uniformity is achieved, regardless of the number of separate newspapers or magazines; while internationally, the financial preponderance of the United States is felt more and more through its foreign correspondents and offices abroad, as well as through its influence over inter-national capitalist journalism. Under this guise, a flood of anti-liberation propaganda emanates from the capital cities of the West, directed against China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Algeria, Ghana and all countries which hack out their own independent path to freedom. Prejudice is rife. For example, wherever there is armed struggle against the forces of reaction, the nationalists are referred to as rebels, terrorists, or frequently ‘communist terrorists’!

Perhaps one of the most insidious methods of the neo-colonialists is evangelism. Following the liberation movement there has been a veritable riptide of religious sects, the overwhelming majority of them American. Typical of these are Jehovah’s Witnesses who recently created trouble in certain developing countries by busily teaching their citizens not to salute the new national flags. ‘Religion’ was too thin to smother the outcry that arose against this activity, and a temporary lull followed. But the number of evangelists continues to grow.

Yet even evangelism and the cinema are only two twigs on a much bigger tree. Dating from the end of 1961, the U.S. has actively developed a huge ideological plan for invading the so-called Third World, utilising all its facilities from press and radio to Peace Corps.

During 1962 and 1963 a number of international conferences to this end were held in several places, such as Nicosia in Cyprus, San Jose in Costa Rica, and Lagos in Nigeria. Participants included the CIA, the U.S. Information Agency (USIA), the Pentagon, the International Development Agency, the Peace Corps and others. Programmes were drawn up which included the systematic use of U.S. citizens abroad in virtual intelligence activities and propaganda work. Methods of recruiting political agents and of forcing ‘alliances’ with the U.S.A. were worked out. At the centre of its programmes lay the demand for an absolute U.S. monopoly in the field of propaganda, as well as for counteracting any independent efforts by developing states in the realm of information.

The United States sought, and still seeks, with considerable success, to co-ordinate on the basis of its own strategy the propaganda activities of all Western countries. In October 1961, a conference of NATO countries was held in Rome to discuss problems of psychological warfare. It appealed for the organisation of combined ideological operations in Afro-Asian countries by all participants.

In May and June 1962 a seminar was convened by the U.S. in Vienna on ideological warfare. It adopted a secret decision to engage in a propaganda offensive against the developing countries along lines laid down by the U.S.A. It was agreed that NATO propaganda agencies would, in practice if not in the public eye, keep in close contact with U.S. Embassies in their respective countries.

Among instruments of such Western psychological warfare are numbered the intelligence agencies of Western countries headed by those of the United States ‘Invisible Government’. But most significant among them all are Moral Re-Armament QARA), the Peace Corps and the United States Information Agency (USIA).

Moral Re-Armament is an organisation founded in 1938 by the American, Frank Buchman. In the last days before the second world war, it advocated the appeasement of Hitler, often extolling Himmler, the Gestapo chief. In Africa, MRA incursions began at the end of World War II. Against the big anti-colonial upsurge that followed victory in 1945, MRA spent millions advocating collaboration between the forces oppressing the African peoples and those same peoples. It is not without significance that Moise Tshombe and Joseph Kasavubu of Congo (Leopoldville) are both MRA supporters. George Seldes, in his book One Thousand Americans, characterised MRA as a fascist organisation ‘subsidised by . . . Fascists, and with a long record of collaboration with Fascists the world over. . . .’ This description is supported by the active participation in MRA of people like General Carpentier, former commander of NATO land forces, and General Ho Ying-chin, one of Chiang Kai-shek’s top generals. To cap this, several newspapers, some of them in the Western ;vorld, have claimed that MRA is actually subsidised by the CIA.

When MRA’s influence began to fail, some new instrument to cover the ideological arena was desired. It came in the establishment of the American Peace Corps in 1961 by President John Kennedy, with Sargent Shriver, Jr., his brother-in-law, in charge. Shriver, a millionaire who made his pile in land speculation in Chicago, was also known as the friend, confidant and co-worker of the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, Allen Dulles. These two had worked together in both the Office of Strategic Services, U.S. war-time intelligence agency, and in the CIA.

Shriver’s record makes a mockery of President Kennedy’s alleged instruction to Shriver to ‘keep the CIA out of the Peace Corps’. So does the fact that, although the Peace Corps is advertised as a voluntary organisation, all its members are carefully screened by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Since its creation in 1961, members of the Peace Corps have been exposed and expelled from many African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries for acts of subversion or prejudice. Indonesia, Tanzania, the Philippines, and even pro-West countries like Turkey and Iran, have complained of its activities.

However, perhaps the chief executor of U.S. psychological warfare is the United States Information Agency (USIA). Even for the wealthiest nation on earth, the U.S. lavishes an unusual amount of men, materials and money on this vehicle for its neo-colonial aims.

The USIA is staffed by some 12,000 persons to the tune of more than $130 million a year. It has more than seventy editorial staffs working on publications abroad. Of its network comprising 110 radio stations, 60 are outside the U.S. Programmes are broadcast for Africa by American stations in Morocco, Eritrea, Liberia, Crete, and Barcelona, Spain, as well as from off-shore stations on American ships. In Africa alone, the USIA transmits about thirty territorial and national radio programmes whose content glorifies the U.S. while attempting to discredit countries with an independent foreign policy.

The USIA boasts more than 120 branches in about 100 countries, 50 of which are in Africa alone. It has 250 centres in foreign countries, each of which is usually associated with a library. It employs about 200 cinemas and 8,000 projectors which draw upon its nearly 300 film libraries.

This agency is directed by a central body which operates in the name of the U.S. President, planning and coordinating its activities in close touch with the Pentagon, CIA and other Cold War agencies, including even armed forces intelligence centres.

In developing countries, the USIA actively tries to prevent expansion of national media of information so as itself to capture the market-place of ideas. It spends huge sums for publication and distribution of about sixty newspapers and magazines in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The American government backs the USIA through direct pressures on developing nations. To ensure its agency a complete monopoly in propaganda, for instance, many agreements for economic co-operation offered by the U.S. include a demand that Americans be granted preferential rights to disseminate information. At the same time, in trying to close the new nations to other sources of information, it employs other pressures. For instance, after agreeing to set up USIA information centres in their countries, both Togo and Congo (Leopoldville) originally hoped to follow a non-aligned path and permit Russian information centres as a balance. But Washington threatened to stop all aid, thereby forcing these two countries to renounce their plan.

Unbiased studies of the USIA by such authorities as Dr R. Holt of Princeton University, Retired Colonel R. Van de Velde, former intelligence agents Murril Dayer, Wilson Dizard and others, have all called attention to the close ties between this agency and U.S. Intelligence. For example, Deputy Director Donald M. Wilson was a political intelligence agent in the U.S. Army. Assistant Director for Europe, Joseph Philips, was a successful espionage agent in several Eastern European countries.

Some USIA duties further expose its nature as a top intelligence arm of the U.S. imperialists. In the first place, it is expected to analyse the situation in each country, making recommendations to its Embassy, thereby to its Government, about changes that can tip the local balance in U.S. favour. Secondly, it organises networks of monitors for radio broadcasts and telephone conversations, while recruiting informers from government offices. It also hires people to distribute U.S. propaganda. Thirdly, it collects secret information with special reference to defence and economy, as a means of eliminating its international military and economic competitors. Fourthly, it buys its way into local publications to influence their policies, of which Latin America furnishes numerous examples. It has been active in bribing public figures, for example in Kenya and Tunisia. Finally, it finances, directs and often supplies with arms all anti-neutralist forces in the developing countries, witness Tshombe in Congo (Leopoldville) and Pak Hung Ji in South Korea. In a word, with virtually unlimited finances, there seems no bounds to its inventiveness in subversion.

One of the most recent developments in neo-colonialist strategy is the suggested establishment of a Businessmen Corps which will, like the Peace Corps, act in developing countries. In an article on ‘U.S. Intelligence and the Monopolies’ in International Affairs (Moscow, January 1965), V. Chernyavsky writes: ‘There can hardly be any doubt that this Corps is a new U.S. intelligence organisation created on the initiative of the American monopolies to use Big Business for espionage. It is by no means unusual for U.S. Intelligence to set up its own business firms which are merely thinly disguised espionage centres. For example, according to Chernyavsky, the C.I.A. has set up a firm in Taiwan known as Western Enterprises Inc. Under this cover it sends spies and saboteurs to South China. The New Asia Trading Company, a CIA firm in India, has also helped to camouflage U.S. intelligence agents operating in South-east Asia.

Such is the catalogue of neo-colonialism’s activities and methods in our time. Upon reading it, the faint-hearted might come to feel that they must give up in despair before such an array of apparent power and seemingly inexhaustible resources.

Fortunately, however, history furnishes innumerable proofs of one of its own major laws; that the budding future is always stronger than the withering past. This has been amply demonstrated during every major revolution throughout history.

The American Revolution of 1776 struggled through to victory over a tangle of inefficiency, mismanagement, corruption, outright subversion and counter-revolution the like of which has been repeated to some degree in every subsequent revolution to date.

The Russian Revolution during the period of Intervention, 1917 to 1922, appeared to be dying on its feet. The Chinese Revolution at one time was forced to pull out of its existing bases, lock stock and barrel, and make the unprecedented Long March; yet it triumphed. Imperialist white mercenaries who dropped so confidently out of the skies on Stanleyville after a plane trip from Ascension Island thought that their job would be ‘duck soup’. Yet, till now, the nationalist forces of Congo (Leopoldville) continue to fight their way forward. They do not talk of if they will win, but only of when.

Asia provides a further example of the strength of a people’s will to determine their own future. In South Vietnam ‘special warfare’ is being fought to hold back the tide of revolutionary change. ‘Special warfare’ is a concept of General Maxwell Taylor and a military extension of the creed of John Foster Dulles: let Asians fight Asians. Briefly, the technique is for the foreign power to supply the money, aircraft, military equipment of all kinds, and the strategic and tactical command from a General Staff down to officer ‘advisers’, while the troops of the puppet government bear the brunt of the fighting. Yet in spite of bombing raids and the immense build-up of foreign strength in the area, the people of both North and South Vietnam are proving to be unconquerable.

In other parts of Asia, in Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, and now the Philippines, Thailand and Burma, the peoples of ex-colonial countries have stood firm and are winning battles against the allegedly superior imperialist enemy. In Latin America, despite ‘final’ punitive expeditions, the growing armed insurrections in Colombia, Venezuala and other countries continue to consolidate gains.

In Africa, we in Ghana have withstood all efforts by imperialism and its agents; Tanzania has nipped subversive plots in the bud, as have Brazzaville, Uganda and Kenya. The struggle rages back and forth. The surging popular forces may still be hampered by colonialist legacies, but nonetheless they advance inexorably.

All these examples prove beyond doubt that neo-colonialism is not a sign of imperialism’s strength but rather of its last hideous gasp. It testifies to its inability to rule any longer by old methods. Independence is a luxury it can no longer afford to permit its subject peoples, so that even what it claims to have ‘given’ it now seeks to take away.

This means that neo-colonialism can and will be defeated. How can this be done?

Thus far, all the methods of neo-colonialists have pointed in one direction, the ancient, accepted one of all minority ruling classes throughout history — divide and rule.

Quite obviously, therefore, unity is the first requisite for destroying neo-colonialism. Primary and basic is the need for an all-union government on the much divided continent of Africa. Along with that, a strengthening of the Afro-Asian Solidarity Organisation and the spirit of Bandung is already under way. To it, we must seek the adherence on an increasingly formal basis of our Latin American brothers.

Furthermore, all these liberatory forces have, on all major issues and at every possible instance, the support of the growing socialist sector of the world.

Finally, we must encourage and utilise to the full those still all too few yet growing instances of support for liberation and anti-colonialism inside the imperialist world itself.

To carry out such a political programme, we must all back it with national plans designed to strengthen ourselves as independent nations. An external condition for such independent development is neutrality or political non-alignment. This has been expressed in two conferences of Non-Aligned Nations during the recent past, the last of which, in Cairo in 1964, clearly and inevitably showed itself at one with the rising forcesof liberation and human dignity.

And the preconditions for all this, to which lip service is often paid but activity seldom directed, is to develop ideological clarity among the anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist, pro-liberation masses of our continents. They, and they alone, make, maintain or break revolutions.

With the utmost speed, neo-colonialism must be analysed in clear and simple terms for the full mass understanding by the surging organisations of the African peoples. The All-African Trade Union Federation (AATUF) has already made a start in this direction, while the Pan-African Youth Movement, the women, journalists, farmers and others are not far behind. Bolstered with ideological clarity, these organisations, closely linked with the ruling parties where liberatory forces are in power, will prove that neo-colonialism is the symptom of imperialism’s weakness and that it is defeatable. For, when all is said and done, it is the so-called little man, the bent-backed, exploited, malnourished, blood-covered fighter for independence who decides. And he invariably decides for freedom.

Communist Party of Mexico- The class character of interstate unions in America

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Communist Party of Mexico- The class character of interstate unions in America

Class character of interstate unions in America.
By Pável Blanco Cabrera & Angel Chávez Mancilla*.
Source: International Communist Review, Issue 6, 2015.
A class approach that puts aside populist criteria is necessary, and this is done on a scientific basis, using the Marxist method of analysing reality, considering the degree of development of capitalism, the process of concentration and centralization in the imperialist phase, emphasizing what is general, without neglecting the peculiarities, and avoiding to place the part above the all. Marxist doctrine establishes the mutual connection between the phenomena of nature and society rather than analyse them in isolation. As V.S. Molodtsov noted “to deny the interdependence of phenomena goes against the possibility of knowledge as a single whole, as opposed to metaphysics Marxism-Leninism developed a truly scientific method of knowledge and transformation of reality. This method requires, first of all, considering all the phenomena of nature and society in mutual connection and interdependence“[1].
These features of Marxist-Leninist analysis are not always followed and dogmatic approaches remain, for example, with regard to the study of imperialism. For example, the relationships of economic dependences are considered fixed, immovable. In addition it neglects an essential quality of imperialism, that Lenin clarified, that it is monopoly capitalism, beating away free competition[2]; five traits are expressed in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, and they only cling to one, dodging other traits of critical importance. This leads to distortions in the analysis of contemporary interstate unions and the anti-imperialist struggle itself, strictly limiting it to the conception of weak countries versus foreign powers, or economic subordination relations, without considering that capital is developing and there are constant changes, and interdependence phenomena.
Since the beginning of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Canada, USA , Mexico) in 1994, interstate unions are being promoted in America, bilateral, multilateral and even those of continental character, with economic, trade, customs, immigration, regional integration, police and military collaboration.
Latin America is not an exclusive “backyard ” of US monopolies, though its economic and political interests are still dominant, there is an increasingly growing presence of capitals from the European Union, China, and even the coordinated presence of monopolies of South America, and monopolies of each the countries involved, which are benefitted and who will occupy key places in the economic areas in which they participate.
Approaches on the class character of these interstate unions are plagued by confusion, because perceptions are mechanically supported by previous elaborations, dogmatically, as corresponding to a different time of development of capitalism rather that in its imperialist stage, and even to historical analogies such as colonial domination. This leads to ambiguity in strategic development by several communist and workers’ parties, and to the marsh in the class struggle, tasks and allies are mistaken, and promoting class collaboration, ideological misrepresentation, postponing the historic goal that was already mapped out in 1848 in the program for the communists which Marx and Engels wrote.
A first issue, is the way the Leninist theory of imperialism is assumed. Reductively it is focused as a relation of domination, and not the highest and final stage of capitalism, as monopoly capitalism. Imperialism is thus identified with “Yankee imperialism”, as a new colonial power, and maintains that the first task of the Communists is to fight for national independence, a task in which a spectrum of cross-class alliances is designed and the bourgeoisie is divided between “national” and “pro-imperialist”; by anti-imperialist sectors they mean anti-American, not necessarily antimonopoly because that would be involving many “national” monopolies, with which opposition platforms are forged against “foreign” monopolies. It is clear to the Communists, that regardless of nationality, whether they hold a higher or lower place, any monopoly is an essential component of the international imperialist system.
The main conclusion of this misperception is that Latin American countries are dependent, neo-colonies of American imperialism, and this conclusion is signed by a significant number of communist and labour parties of the region, and shared by reformist, opportunistic, and even political expressions of the bourgeoisie, not only at national scale but regional and seeking a continental character, plus it is no coincidence that these formations[3] have correspondence with projects or mechanisms of some interstate unions, claiming its alternative nature to the American imperialist centre.
It is assumed that the dominant role of the US is static, without considering the inter-imperialist contradictions and intense battle between sharks to occupy the top of the pyramid. True, today in America the monopolies from US are dominant, but they are not as much as 50, 25 or even 10 years ago, because every time they are losing ground to competitors on the rise of other nationalities. Leninist law of uneven development is checked.
When influencing the strategy and tactics, the opportunist character that contains class struggle manifests itself for it sections capital, considering that the national capital must be protected from abroad and leads to loss of class independence of the workers, placing them at the tail of the bourgeoisie.
Let us take the case of NAFTA, against which the Communists have been fighting since 1994, and even before, when it was a project proposed by the government of George Bush. Overall popular class forces, including us[4], subscribed that Mexico being a dependent country the free trade area meant that Mexico went from being a semi colony into a process of direct annexation by the United States. The struggle perspective stood with the flag of national independence and sovereignty and conceived a broad front with part of the bourgeoisie of the country. If you see the resolutions, declarations issued by PCM then you will find that we had more concern for the future of the industrial manufacturing, textiles, agriculture, small industry, bourgeois facing foreseeable ruin, and you will notice very little reference to the situation of Mexican, Canadian, American and migrant working class. More than two decades later the assessment that history provides allows us to confirm that this approach was wrong, because not only the American monopolies made huge profits, but also Canadian and Mexican monopolies, which strengthened and absorbed the weaker ones in the USA, in the field of telephony, America Movil, and in the mining branch, Industrial Minera Mexico, both dominant Mexican monopolies that plunder, export capital to and exploit workers of the in the US and in Latin America, and have a multifaceted character as they have expanded their investments from telephony to the press, and in general communication services, food, pharmaceuticals, etc. In the case of Industrial Minera Mexico it absorbed several monopolies in the mining and metal-mechanical branch in the US, Peru and Chile. Other instructive examples are the monopoly of the Mexican Bimbo, the food industry, which already dominates the sector in Spain and ventures into China; Construction monopoly ICA, in competition with Brazilian Odebrecht dispute monopoly control of the sector in building roads, bridges and infrastructure; a sobering example is the state monopoly Pemex also locks in that direction, it expanded its line of control in ports and shipyards in Spain. They are not exceptions, you could list other, and check that regardless of nationality monopolies increased their profits, advanced concentrating and centralizing in their field and expanding to others, likewise workers, regardless of nationality, are exploited, impoverished, and are affected by the measures taken by the interstate unions – in this case the NAFTA, to affect their labour rights, reducing them to ashes, devaluing the work and sharpening the capital / labour contradiction, in addition to other measures such as privatization and cutting public sectors of education, health, etc. But not only in the case of NAFTA, Plan Puebla-Panama, bilateral treaties, tried and failed in the FTAA, but also in agreements with the EU, and even in the “alternative” called as MERCOSUR, UNASUR and ALBA, where monopolies of these countries have consolidated as dominant in important branches of agriculture, construction, energy, and also concatenated with blocks, which in the inter dispute with the US, as the case of the BRICS, consider them strategic partners climbing the imperialist pyramid.
Is it correct to speak of Mexico as a dependent and semicolonial country when it ranks 11th in the gross world product? When monopolies are consolidated after a long process of concentration and centralization? According to our findings, set out in the program adopted by the V Congress of the PCM, Mexico is a country of average development in which capitalist relations are fully consolidated, intermediate in the imperialist pyramid, with interdependent relationships that ensure the development of monopolies.
As the Communist Party of Greece states: “History has shown that monopoly as a result of the concentration of capital, as a fundamental law of the present stage of capitalism is a general trend worldwide and can coexist with forms of pre-capitalist economy and property.[5]” That is, in Mexico there are characteristics of economic backwardness, though it is not dominant, as is usually intense and growing capitalist development; there are relationships of dependence and interdependence, stronger with the US economy, and growing with the European Union. We reiterate, there are very strong, dominant Mexican monopolies.
We are convinced of the fight against interstate unions, because these are unfavourable to the people and the working class, and that it has to start from a rigorous class analysis, otherwise, if wrong analyses and perceptions prevail, a wrong strategy will lead to the delay of antimonopoly, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist objectives.
Among the ideological components of non-class analysis we find the following:
a) Placing the fundamental contradiction as dependence / independence and erroneously displacing the essence of the era which is capital / labour antagonism.
b) Overideologizing the independence and anti-colonialist struggle of the nineteenth century, looking to extract out poetry of the past, and not from the future[6]. The action and the program of Hidalgo, Bolivar, Juarez, San Martin, Sucre, etc., corresponding to a particular time, two centuries ago, when the rising bourgeoisie found in favour of their class interests the need to form their States freeing them from the colonial domination of the Spanish crown, moving immediately to establish domination of the bourgeois class over the exploited and oppressed. Recognizing the revolutionary-democratic struggles and characterizing these as progressive in its time, is downright insufficient wanting to find in the programs of old the flags that workers must now take up to achieve their emancipation. Concepts such as “Monroeism vs bolivarianism” for example, contribute to conceal that at the time the antagonist is socialism vs. capitalism, and the same applies to projects of “Gran Colombia”, etc, etc, today raised by political forces that do not fight against monopolies, but on behalf of those of their respective nationalities.
c) By placing independence as the immediate objective and broad cross-class alliances as the political subject to obtain it, intermediate stages are set, and although those who advocate them may adhere to the socialist-communist goal, they only do so formally for siding with any specific section of the bourgeoisie contributes to the prolongation of capitalist society.
d) Categories such as neoliberalism, globalization, multipolarity, which provide space to the improvement and “humanization” of capitalism, managing it differently, hiding the class conflict in international relations and leading the working class and peoples to take sides in the inter dispute by a block opposite to the US, a more “friendly” one.
e) When considering imperialism as a metropolis, the class struggle in each country is left aside, for the sake of “national unity”, to focus on the struggle against foreign domination.
Another important issue is the following. There is a consensus among the opportunist forces that interstate agreements promoted by the US imperialist centre must be fought in favour of national sections of the bourgeoisie. However when these intergovernmental agreements are with other imperialist centres the position changes, they are presented as the passage of a unipolar to a multipolar world, wording which hides the need to fight for a new world, where other social relationships exist, where workers’ power imposes new conditions favourable to the peoples in open dispute against imperialism. The same is true when the State Union is e.g. MERCOSUR, UNASUR and ALBA-TCP. The equation is simple, the sum of capitalist economies results in an inter-block and cannot result in a popular alliance opposed to monopolies. Where is the alternative there? Let us go to the case of ALBA-TCP that arouses expectations; the presence of Cuba, qualitatively, the economic weight, due to the difficulties it had as a result of the imperialist blockade, has no decisive economic weight relative to the other participating countries that are qualitatively capitalist countries. The ALBA-TCP also recommends capital investment in Latin America itself; true, the Bolivarian political processes of Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, arouses expectation on the course they can take; but until today, in the Venezuelan case, after 16 years, the bottom line is that the capitalist structure remains intact and monopolies still dominate. Just as wrong is “socialism of the XXI century” (market socialism, bourgeois state, multi-class party, defence of private property and profits of monopolies), as thinking that these processes have a nature distinct of the capitalist one.
ALBA actually functions as a supranational structure just as the EU, and has established an economic base in capitalist relations of production that leads them to undertake joint economic projects as the development of monopoly enterprises with state investment from member countries of ALBA, and private investment to a lesser extent, as are the so called grand-national projects and grand-national companies that have raised venture in mining and metallurgy of aluminum, iron and steel. The boost they propose to give the cement industry with the construction of a cement plant with portland type production capacity of 1,000,000 tons / year, in the departments of Oruro and Potosi with the participation of Cuba and Venezuela is also significant, as it makes clear that the expropriation of CEMEX[7] in Venezuela responds to capitalist economic interests such as the creation of a cement monopoly.[8]
Although the ALBA declares that “The concept of grand-national companies emerged in opposition to transnational companies, therefore, its economic dynamics will be directed to favour the production of goods and services to satisfy human needs” and believes that opposes the logic of capital accumulation, the reality is that economic cooperation does not change the basis of the economic system, so the Grannacional projects are actually a way to develop the industrialization of the countries participating in the ALBA which will lead to the development and strengthening of monopolies, consolidating the ALBA as an imperialist bloc.[9]
Let us recall that Lenin in Imperialism, Highest Stage of Capitalism, warned that “the monopolies have never pursued as an end, nor have resulted, in providing benefits to consumers or, at least, make available to the state a part of employer benefits, rather they have served for the State to bailout private industry, which has come almost to bankruptcy”, in this case the states of the ALBA alliance are seeking to encourage monopolies.
Another example that interstate alliances are of inter-imperialist nature is that for example the special ALBA 2014 Communiqué on states affected by transnational interests does not pronounce against the power of monopolies in general but against those most closely linked to US capital, promoting indirectly with the Southern Observatory on Investment and Transnationals that monopolies that exploit workers in the region respond to the interests of the ALBA, i.e. the exploitation of the working class of the ALBA countries enrich the grand-national companies.[10]
The economic alliance takes ALBA to close military links to defend their economic interests, as NATO is the armed wing of the member countries of the EU, which is why it counts with a defence and sovereignty committee composed of the defence ministers of the member countries seeking “popular joint comprehensive defence strategy and to establish a school of dignity and sovereignty of the armed forces” behind the popular sovereignty and integral defence is the defence of monopoly interests.
Appreciated in their economic characteristics, interstate agreements in the Americas, without exception, have a capitalist class nature and cannot be presented as alternatives to the working class and peoples.
In the fight against them, i.e. in the struggle against the international imperialist system Communists must always specify the antimonopoly and anti-capitalist content and take into account that the struggle is national in form and international for its content. That is, to put a current example, part of the anti-imperialist struggle for the Mexican proletariat is fighting the monopoly Industrial Minera Mexico that now exploits the Peruvian and American proletariat through the Southern Cooper Company. Of very little use it is to break with NAFTA if it is to benefit the monopolies of national origin. Fighting interstate agreements, in our conception and strategic analysis, is linked to the struggle for socialism and workers’ and people’s power, i.e. with a clear anti-monopoly and anti-capitalist vision.
The overthrow of capitalism, of monopoly power is the basic condition to break the plundering of peoples and the exploitation of the proletariat, to forge relations of equality among peoples and ensuring development with socialism-communism will bring welfare of the working class and popular sectors.
NOTES:
[1] V.S. Molodotsov; Marxist dialectics and the mutual connection and interdependence of nature and society phenomena, in Dialectic Materialism; Science Academy of the USSR, under the editing of  V. P. Tchertkov, V. S. Molodtsov, D.M. Trochin, K.V. Moroz, F.I. Kalochin, etc; Moscow 1954.
[2] Let us remember that the features that Lenin assigns to imperialism are the follwing: “(1) the concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life; (2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation on the basis of this “finance capital”, of a financial oligarchy; (3) the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance; (4) the formation of international monopoly capitalist associations which share the world among themselves, and (5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed.”
Lenin, Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism, LCW Volume 22
[3] For example the Conference of Organizations and Political Parties of Latin America (COPPAL), the forum of Sao Paulo, which has strong ties with the Left European Party, and that to a great extent are functional for the collaboration of Latin American capitals with European, fundamentally between the MERCOSUR-EU agreements. Organizations that in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s of the XX century, led armed struggles in Central America and that have evolved towards social-democracy, and not as a degeneration, rather a logical result of its class origin and its program, are also inscribed in this analysis. It is in general the position denominated as left, concept that the PCM does not use for it does not express with clarity the class position and it does cloud ideologically, for it misleads, as for left today is also understood liberal formations, socialdemocrats and even capitalist options of neokeynesian management.
[4] The Communist Party of Mexico kept from 1994 and until the year 1999 a platform of struggle against NAFTA baseed on the misleading position that it was an anticolonial struggle for independence to break chains of imperialist domination, from 1999 the focus of struggle acquired a class character, and the rupture with monopolies that exploited the working class not only of Mexico, but also of USA and Canada. It was however until the IV Congress in the year 2010, when the position of rupture with NAFTA and any inter-state agreement was linked with the struggle for socialism-communism and for workers and people’s power.
[5] The Leninist approach of KKE on imperialism and the imperialist pyramid. Written Contribution of KKE to the 9th International Conference “Lenin and the contemporary world”
[6] As Marx well emphasized in the 18th Brumaire of Louise Bonaparte
[7] Mexican monopoly expropriated by the bolivarian government of Venezuela, ¿Do we the working class communist have to choose between the monopoly of the mexican bourgeoisie, or the monopoly of southamerican monopoly? For none, for our duty is to propose the socialization of the means of production and change.
[10] Approved communiqué of the XIV Political Council of ALBA, New York, September 26, 2014.
 
* Pável Blanco Cabrera is the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Mexico and Angel Chávez Mancilla is Responsible for the Ideology Commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Mexico, Director of El Machete.
The veins are still open

From A Verdade, Brazil, December/January 2017

The veins are still open

The drama of mining in Latin America

José Levino

“The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalised the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. (Karl Marx, Capital, Volume I)

So, great Karl Marx, these acts continue to mark the existence and reproduction of capitalism. If in its wake, despite all these massacres, this meant progress for humanity compared to the slavery and feudalism that preceded it, today it is a barrier to true progress, happiness and the well-being of mankind. If it is not succeeded by socialism, it will bring the human race back to barbarism, as his friend and partner in theory and practice, his comrade-in-arms, Friedrich Engels, predicted.

Potosi in Bolivia is an example. In the 16th and 17th century it supplied Europe with more than half the silver that enriched the bourgeoisie. The rest still allowed the invaders to maintain a city of 200,000 inhabitants, the majority of whom enslaved, rivaling the metropolises. When the ore was exhausted, they abandoned the place, where they left eight million dead indigenous people. “Only the ghosts of the dead wealth were alive” (Eduardo Galeano).

In the 20th century, Potosi is once again exploited, now for tin, with the same poverty and misery, now without the previous ostentation, since everything goes to various industries, including food containers, a small part of which goes into the food and becomes a source of disease. It is also one of the components of toothpaste. The miners are victims of silicosis, with an average life-span of 45 years.

Resistance

There are 211 conflicts in Latin America among the indigenous communities, peasants, multinational and national states and companies due to mining. This is the number recorded by the Mining Conflict Observatory in Latin America. In fact, the number is greater, because the Observatory itself says it needs more information from Brazil, Paraguay and Venezuela.

Accused by the companies and governments of hampering national development, the communities are not deceived by this talk and are resisting; they are quite right. For the people, the number and poor quality of the jobs that the extraction of ores generates does not compensate for the consequences, which are many and serious.

The water is contaminated with arsenic, which causes cancer, and with heavy metals such as mercury and lead, which cause neurological and respiratory problems among others. Social diseases are serious. Communities of two thousand people are suddenly occupied by 10,000 miners, upsetting social life with the introduction of drugs, prostitution, robbery and various kinds of delinquency. When they leave, the problems remain.

The type of work is semi-slavery. Labor legislation is not respected. Besides the lack of health and danger, the working hours are exhausting: 13, 14 or 16 hours. There is also a system of 14-days mining, 14 off. They ignore the conventions of the International Labor Organization and the UN declarations on workers’ and citizens’ rights.

Tragedies such as Mariana (Minas Gerais) in Brazil and Veladero in Argentina, both took place in 2015 (in November and October, respectively), which left irreparable damage to people and nature, are not accidents. They are the result of the irresponsibility of the bourgeoisie and its governments towards life, since according to capitalist (il)logic, what matters is “possessing” and not “being.”

Since Colonization

It is not surprising that the bourgeois governments encourage and support this kind of activity, for this is their very function: to serve the ruling classes. What is surprising is that similar attitudes are being adopted by Bolivarian regimes that advocate national liberation and the building of 21st century socialism.

In fact, besides their rhetoric, there was no break with the model of dependency and association of the export of agricultural products, because there was insufficient accumulation of forces for this. Self-criticism and recreation of paths is commendable and part of the process of transforming society. Now, surrendering to that model in the name of development and not allowing the government to be retaken by the traditional elites, is unacceptable.

The most striking case is that of Ecuador, where the government of Rafael Correa, breaking with the Constitution of the Citizen’s Revolution and its Program – National Plan of the Well-Being (PNBV), signed an agreement with China to auction off three of its eight million acres of Amazon jungle to Chinese companies for the extraction of ore. Its justification is economic development and preservation of social programs threatened by a lack of resources. In fact, Ecuador has accumulated a debt of $7 billion with China, amounting to 10% of GDP.

The areas auctioned off by the Ecuadorian government struck directly the territories of the indigenous people, who have carried out various forms of condemnation and mobilization and were subjected to a great deal of repression and tactics of cooptation by the smaller organizations, seeking the isolation of the National Confederation of Indigenous Organizations (CONAIE). The repression now extends to the student movement, as reported in the latest issue of A Verdade.

Maduro’s government in Venezuela, dependent on oil, is being punished by the economic boycott of the local bourgeoisie together with US imperialism, with the people facing hunger and shortages, reducing their support for the Bolivarian regime.

The Productive Economic and Social Model of Bolivia, chaired by an indigenous leader, Evo Morales, has succeeded in reducing poverty and producing economic growth. Now, however, it is under threat precisely because its success is based on the export of gas and ore, whose prices are falling, due to the imperialist strategy of domination, which the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has joined.

To try to overcome their crises, which are continuous rather than cyclical as in the period when Marx wrote Capital, the bourgeois class, through the central (imperialist) states, is not willing to allow governments to remain in office that offer the least resistance to its voracity (see the recent overthrow of President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil) and the permanent harassment of Maduro’s government.

Is there a way out?

In the capitalist model there is no way out except the deepening of exploitation, the destruction of nature and living beings. Therefore, as Engels said, mankind has only two alternatives: socialism or barbarism. The problem is how to get to socialism. The one that has an objective interest in this change, even if he is not aware of it, is the proletariat – the class of those dispossessed of the means of production, who depend only on their labor power to live.

In order to build socialism, this class must become conscious, organized, mobilized, and must create its own autonomous, independent power. And real power exists only if it brings together the economic, political, and ideological aspects, built from the bottom up. It is no use taking over the government of the States, either by peaceful or armed means, by promoting the transformation of the state apparatus, without enabling the rank-and-file to build the new model without being intimidated or deceived by the pressure or siren songs of the media.

Without a revolutionary leadership based on Marxist theory and an understanding of our reality and the historical experiences of each Latin American country, the masses will not build people’s power. Without the conscious and organized masses there will be no revolutionary leadership; No matter how firm and decisive a group of revolutionaries may be, it will never have the power to build socialism if it is disconnected from the masses.

Without this combination of vanguard and masses, like a locomotive and the cars of a train forming a unity, there will be no socialism in the 21st century or any other century. The lessons of history are set, but many cannot or will not learn from them.

Jose Levino is a historian

Research sources:

“The Open Veins of Latin America”, Eduardo Galeano, Paz e Terra Publishers

Le Monde Diplomatique Brazil

‘Fidel Castro Was the Most Prominent Hispanic Statesman of the 20th Century’
| November 26, 2016 | 8:28 pm | Fidel Castro, Latin America | No comments
04:46 27.11.2016(updated 04:47 27.11.2016)
Long-standing Cuban leader Fidel Castro was the most prominent statesman in Latin America in the 20th century and he passed away in very challenging times, Ernesto Samper, the Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and a former president of Colombia, told Sputnik on Saturday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Fidel Castro, one of the world’s longest-serving leaders, died late Friday at the age of 90. His death was announced by his brother and the incumbent Cuban president, Raul Castro. “[Castro] was the most prominent statesman in Latin America in the 20th century… People do not choose the time to die. But he passed away in the most difficult moment, when the region is facing a great uncertainty connected with the election of Donald Trump,” Samper said. According to Samper, the world will forever remember Fidel Castro as “a supporter of social equality, transparency and ideological coherence.” Samper added that there were currently “dark clouds” over relations between the United States and other states in the region due to possible consequences of new US government’s decisions regarding migrations issues and restoration of the diplomatic relations with Cuba. “It is our turn now to follow some of his [Castro’s] ideas in order to know how to overcome this uncertainty,” Samper added. Fidel Castro was born in 1926 in the Cuban village of Biran. He became Cuban prime minister in February 1959 and the country’s president in 1976. In 2008, he announced his resignation as head of state. He remained the first secretary of the Cuban Communist Party until April 19, 2011, when he officially announced his resignation from the post.

Read more: https://sputniknews.com/latam/201611271047882691-castro-ost-prominent-hispanic-statesman-20-century/

Unite against Trump’s ultra-right racists!

Statement on the U.S. election, Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada, Nov. 10, 2016

Source: CP Canada website

The election of Donald Trump marks an extremely dangerous shift, that threatens peace, democracy and sovereignty abroad, and labour, civil, social, and equality rights in the U.S. As the de facto leader of a fascist movement, Trump has been compared to Silvio Berlusconi, the fascist leader of the Italian People of Freedom Party. The Republicans now control both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the executive branch, with power to make crucial appointments to the Supreme Court. We are witnessing the rise of a far right political movement similar to several European countries with all of the violent racism, sexism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia, and transphobia that goes with it. Marine Le Pen of France’s far-right National Front was the first foreign party leader to congratulate Trump on election night.

Most Republican electors cast a vote for Trump, despite earlier repudiations by many prominent party leaders. At the end of the campaign, most of them rallied for Trump and for the Republican candidates for Congress and Senate. Other factors included a relatively low turnout, racist voter suppression tactics, the electoral college system which helped Trump win despite a lower share of the popular vote, and the wide prevalence of misogynist and sexist views in the United States.

But Trump’s victory also resulted from the inability of Hillary Clinton’s campaign to hold together the broad coalition of forces that led to Barack Obama’s election in 2008 and re-election in 2012, including Black and Hispanic voters, women, labour, and youth. In this campaign, the turnout by Black Americans was significantly lower. A similar albeit narrower coalition had coalesced around Bernie Sanders, a self-styled “democratic socialist.” After Sanders’ candidacy for the Democratic nomination was defeated, many of his supporters opted to stay home even though the Democratic platform included some of his policies. Others voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, or other third party candidates, rather than support Clinton, who was widely recognized as a war-monger and a representative of the banks, finance capital, and the 1%. The Democratic Party establishment, which hand-picked Clinton for the nomination, turned their backs on the US working class which faces worsening social conditions, collapsing wages and living standards, and mass permanent unemployment.

In the process, the Clinton campaign helped Trump build up his image as an outsider, beholden to no-one, though he was in fact heavily financed and supported by the Breitbart group and alt.right movements, the Tea Party, the religious right, the KKK, the military, police, and secret service, and by reactionary corporate interests who undoubtedly helped to finance the campaign behind the scenes. Trump has never been the lone cowboy he claims to be, either financially or politically. He is the front man for the ultra-right corporate and fascist forces in the US today.

The ongoing capitalist crisis since 2008, combined with systematic de-industrialization, plant closures and job losses resulting from global capitalist trade deals such as NAFTA and the upcoming TPP, has created a tipping point. Unwilling to continue with the status quo, working people have become increasingly angry and bitter, demanding change.

The field was wide open for the demagogic ultra-right to offer their alternative: attacks on immigrants, racialized communities, Muslims, women, and unidentified elites, including trade unions and equality seeking groups and legislation blamed for the crisis in the country. “Make America Great Again” was Trump’s broad stroke promise to improve the lives of unemployed and unorganized sections of the white (male) working class and ruined small business people, and to wreak revenge on those held responsible for their situation.

Trump’s promises to create jobs and raise living standards are fantasies for the public. His agenda is to lower corporate taxes, eliminate regulation of corporations and banks, slash education and healthcare, privatize public assets and services, scrap civil, labour, equality and democratic rights, expel immigrants, repeal “Obamacare”, appoint judges who will attack reproductive rights, and rip up the Paris Accords and other efforts to tackle climate change. He will be in charge of the US nuclear weapons codes, and he proposes to double military spending. There will be no breathing space under Trump, who will continue the imperialist policies of previous presidents, including new wars in the Middle East and Central Asia, continued aggression in Africa, regime change in Latin America, and the NATO drive to encircle Russia and China.

Living next door to the tiger, Canada will not be immune. US investment and control runs right through the Canadian economy, our energy and resource extraction policies are very similar, our environmental policies are almost as bad, and Canadian foreign policy and support for NATO is in lock-step. Where there are differences, the US always prevails. This will include any amendments to NAFTA or the TPP, or the Keystone Excel Pipeline and other pipeline deals.

Facing this onslaught, working people in Canada and the US, and especially the trade unions, must organize to defend hard-won rights and standards, and to mobilize broad-based unity and mass independent political action in the streets to stop Trump and the ultra-right in their tracks. Unity of the Canadian labour and people’s movements with our counterparts in the US will strengthen this fight in both countries. The Communist Party of Canada stands in solidarity with those who voted against and fought to defeat Trump, and with the Black Lives Matters movement, the Standing Rock water protectors, and all other post-election struggles against the ultra-right, in the US, Canada and globally. To succeed, this fight must include a program and policies for the real, fundamental, and progressive change that working people are so desperately looking for. In the meantime, unity, unity and more unity is what we need in this struggle. The people united, will never be defeated!

Massive rally against Obama’s visit in Athens – People say a thunderous “NO” to US-NATO imperialist murderers

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Massive rally against Obama’s visit in Athens – People say a thunderous “NO” to US-NATO imperialist murderers

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2016/11/massive-rally-against-obamas-visit-in.html

Under the slogans “Neither land nor water to the murderers of the people”, “Get NATO out of the Aegean” and “The imperialists re-divide the world, they draw the borders with the blood of the peoples” thousands of people, workers, young men and women, participated in a massive rally in central Athens against the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama. The protesters condemn Obama’s visit and the Greek government’s participation in the Euroatlantic imperialist plans. 

It must be noted that the labour-peoples movement defied the provocative and authoritarian decision by the SYRIZA government to ban demonstrations in the Greek capital during Obama’s stay in Athens.

The General Secretary of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Dimitris Koutsoumbas participated in the demonstration and made the following statement to reporters:

“We deliver a militant ‘welcome’ to the president of the USA; of an imperialist state which, among other things, especially during the last years with the capitalist economic crisis, leads the “crows” of IMF which bleed the Greek people. A state which causes military coup d’ etats, which causes interventions, imperialist wars, from Ukraine to Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, Northern Africa, Asia, Latin America. A state which murders civilians in these countries, which creates the large wave of refugee flows, which afflict and uproot thousands, millions of people from their homes, thus afflicting these people, the Greek people, the Aegean islands.

Against this provocation, as well as for the past of the United States and the present, the KKE, the class labour union movement, the Greek people as a whole and the pro-peace powers contend a thunderous NO against the USA, NATO, the “alliances of wolves” and their wars. We denounce the government of the- supposed- “first time Left” of SYRIZA-ANEL which tried, with all possible ways, to impose cemetery silence today in Athens. We respond in a militant way, we are here, at the front line, we demonstrate, exactly because we don’t surrender, we don’t compromise, we give neither land nor water to the murderers of the people”.

PHOTOS FROM THE DEMONSTRATION (Source: 902.gr).