Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Bush sneaks through host of laws to undermine Obama

The lame-duck Republican team is rushing through radical measures, from coal waste dumping to power stations in national parks, that will take months to overturn, reports Paul Harris in New York

Paul Harris
The Observer, Sunday 14 December 2008

After spending eight years at the helm of one of the most ideologically driven administrations in American history, George W. Bush is ending his presidency in characteristically aggressive fashion, with a swath of controversial measures designed to reward supporters and enrage opponents.

By the time he vacates the White House, he will have issued a record number of so-called 'midnight regulations' - so called because of the stealthy way they appear on the rule books - to undermine the administration of Barack Obama, many of which could take years to undo.

Dozens of new rules have already been introduced which critics say will diminish worker safety, pollute the environment, promote gun use and curtail abortion rights. Many rules promote the interests of large industries, such as coal mining or energy, which have energetically supported Bush during his two terms as president. More are expected this week.

America's attention is focused on the fate of the beleaguered car industry, still seeking backing in Washington for a multi-billion-dollar bail-out. But behind the scenes, the 'midnight' rules are being rushed through with little fanfare and minimal media attention. None of them would be likely to appeal to the incoming Obama team.

The regulations cover a vast policy area, ranging from healthcare to car safety to civil liberties. Many are focused on the environment and seek to ease regulations that limit pollution or restrict harmful industrial practices, such as dumping strip-mining waste.

The Bush moves have outraged many watchdog groups. 'The regulations we have seen so far have been pretty bad,' said Matt Madia, a regulatory policy analyst at OMB Watch. 'The effects of all this are going to be severe.'

Bush can pass the rules because of a loophole in US law allowing him to put last-minute regulations into the Code of Federal Regulations, rules that have the same force as law. He can carry out many of his political aims without needing to force new laws through Congress. Outgoing presidents often use the loophole in their last weeks in office, but Bush has done this far more than Bill Clinton or his father, George Bush sr. He is on track to issue more 'midnight regulations' than any other previous president.

Many of these are radical and appear to pay off big business allies of the Republican party. One rule will make it easier for coal companies to dump debris from strip mining into valleys and streams. The process is part of an environmentally damaging technique known as 'mountain-top removal mining'. It involves literally removing the top of a mountain to excavate a coal seam and pouring the debris into a valley, which is then filled up with rock. The new rule will make that dumping easier.

Another midnight regulation will allow power companies to build coal-fired power stations nearer to national parks. Yet another regulation will allow coal-fired stations to increase their emissions without installing new anti-pollution equipment.

The Environmental Defence Fund has called the moves a 'fire sale of epic size for coal'. Other environmental groups agree. 'The only motivation for some of these rules is to benefit the business interests that the Bush administration has served,' said Ed Hopkins, a director of environmental quality at the Sierra Club. A case in point would seem to be a rule that opens up millions of acres of land to oil shale extraction, which environmental groups say is highly pollutant.

There is a long list of other new regulations that have gone onto the books. One lengthens the number of hours that truck drivers can drive without rest. Another surrenders government control of rerouting the rail transport of hazardous materials around densely populated areas and gives it to the rail companies.

One more chips away at the protection of endangered species. Gun control is also weakened by allowing loaded and concealed guns to be carried in national parks. Abortion rights are hit by allowing healthcare workers to cite religious or moral grounds for opting out of carrying out certain medical procedures.

A common theme is shifting regulation of industry from government to the industries themselves, essentially promoting self-regulation. One rule transfers assessment of the impact of ocean-fishing away from federal inspectors to advisory groups linked to the fishing industry. Another allows factory farms to self-regulate disposal of pollutant run-off.

The White House denies it is sabotaging the new administration. It says many of the moves have been openly flagged for months. The spate of rules is going to be hard for Obama to quickly overcome. By issuing them early in the 'lame duck' period of office, the Bush administration has mostly dodged 30- or 60-day time limits that would have made undoing them relatively straightforward.

Obama's team will have to go through a more lengthy process of reversing them, as it is forced to open them to a period of public consulting. That means that undoing the damage could take months or even years, especially if corporations go to the courts to prevent changes.

At the same time, the Obama team will have a huge agenda on its plate as it inherits the economic crisis. Nevertheless, anti-midnight regulation groups are lobbying Obama's transition team to make sure Bush's new rules are changed as soon as possible. 'They are aware of this. The transition team has a list of things they want to undo,' said Madia.
Final reckoning

Bush's midnight regulations will:
• Make it easier for coal companies to dump waste from strip-mining into valleys and streams.
• Ease the building of coal-fired power stations nearer to national parks.
• Allow people to carry loaded and concealed weapons in national parks.
• Open up millions of acres to mining for oil shale.
• Allow healthcare workers to opt out of giving treatment for religious or moral reasons, thus weakening abortion rights.
• Hurt road safety by allowing truck drivers to stay at the wheel for 11 consecutive hours.


Greek youths break into state TV center, take over

By NICHOLAS PAPHITIS – 55 minutes ago

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Protesters forced their way into Greece's state NET television news studio Tuesday and interrupted a news broadcast featuring the prime minister so they could urge viewers to join mass anti-government demonstrations.

For more than a minute, about 10 youths blocked a broadcast showing a speech by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. Instead, they displayed banners reading: "Stop watching, get out onto the streets," and "Free everyone who has been arrested." No one was hurt, and no arrests were reported.

NET chairman Christos Panagopoulos claimed the protesters violently forced their way into the studio. "This goes beyond any limit," he said.

It was the latest twist in 11 days of riots and protests after a policeman shot and killed a 15-year-old boy on Dec. 6. The violent protests have evolved from being just aimed at Greek police to being highly critical of Karamanlis' conservative government.

Karamanlis has rejected mounting demands to resign and call new elections.

Earlier Tuesday, masked youths attacked riot police headquarters in Athens and protesters clashed with police in the northern city of Thessaloniki.

Police said 30 youths threw petrol bombs and stones at the riot police building, causing extensive damage to seven cars and a police bus parked outside.

Students blocked streets in Athens and dozens of teenagers gathered outside the capital's main court complex and a maximum security prison — where some threw stones at police.

Protesters have called for riot officers to be pulled off the streets, for police to be disarmed and for the government to revise its economic, social and education policies.

The protests have brought higher education in Greece to a standstill. Lessons have stopped at more than 100 secondary schools that are under occupation by students, according to the Education Ministry. Scores of university buildings across Greece are also occupied.

After the shooting death of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, furious youths smashed and burnt hundreds of shops in Athens' main shopping area, and attacked riot police who responded with massive tear gas.

Dozens of people have been injured in the rioting, while more than 300 people have been arrested. The policeman accused of killing the teenager has been charged with murder and is being held pending trial.

In the northern port of Thessaloniki, riot police fired tear gas Tuesday to disperse 300 youths throwing fruit and stones outside the city's main court complex. The disturbance followed a court decision that found eight police officers guilty of abusing a student following riots two years ago.

The policemen received suspended sentences ranging from three years and three months for grievous bodily harm to 15 months for being an accessory to the abuse.

In a symbolic gesture meant to revive riot-shocked Athens, city authorities will light a large Christmas tree Tuesday on central Syntagma Square — which has been at the center of many of the protests. The tree replaces one burnt during last week's riots.

Overnight, arsonists attacked three Athens banks with petrol bombs, causing extensive damage. There were no injuries or arrests. Every year, small anarchist groups carry out dozens of firebombings in Greece against government property, banks and diplomatic vehicles.


Friday, 21 November 2008

National Intelligence Council report: sun setting on the American century

The report said that global warming will aggravate the scarcity of water, food and energy resources
Tim Reid in Washington

Read the report in full

The next two decades will see a world living with the daily threat of nuclear war, environmental catastrophe and the decline of America as the dominant global power, according to a frighteningly bleak assessment by the US intelligence community.

“The world of the near future will be subject to an increased likelihood of conflict over resources, including food and water, and will be haunted by the persistence of rogue states and terrorist groups with greater access to nuclear weapons,” said the report by the National Intelligence Council, a body of analysts from across the US intelligence community.

The analysts said that the report had been prepared in time for Barack Obama’s entry into the Oval office on January 20, where he will be faced with some of the greatest challenges of any newly elected US president.

“The likelihood that nuclear weapons will be used will increase with expanded access to technology and a widening range of options for limited strikes,” the 121-page assessment said.

The analysts draw attention to an already escalating nuclear arms race in the Middle East and anticipate that a growing number of rogue states will be prepared to share their destructive technology with terror groups. “Over the next 15-20 years reactions to the decisions Iran makes about its nuclear programme could cause a number of regional states to intensify these efforts and consider actively pursuing nuclear weapons,” the report Global Trends 2025 said. “This will add a new and more dangerous dimension to what is likely to be increasing competition for influence within the region,” it said.

The spread of nuclear capabilities will raise questions about the ability of weak states to safeguard them, it added. “If the number of nuclear-capable states increases, so will the number of countries potentially willing to provide nuclear assistance to other countries or to terrorists.”

The report said that global warming will aggravate the scarcity of water, food and energy resources. Citing a British study, it said that climate change could force up to 200 million people to migrate to more temperate zones. “Widening gaps in birth rates and wealth-to-poverty ratios, and the impact of climate change, could further exacerbate tensions,” it said.

“The international system will be almost unrecognisable by 2025, owing to the rise of emerging powers, a globalising economy, a transfer of wealth from West to East, and the growing influence of nonstate actors. Although the United States is likely to remain the single most powerful actor, the United States’ relative strength – even in the military realm – will decline and US leverage will become more strained.”

Global power will be multipolar with the rise of India and China, and the Korean peninsula will be unified in some form. Turning to the current financial situation, the analysts say that the financial crisis on Wall Street is the beginning of a global economic rebalancing.

The US dollar’s role as the major world currency will weaken to the point where it becomes a “first among equals”.

“Strategic rivalries are most likely to revolve around trade, investments and technological innovation, but we cannot rule out a 19th-century-like scenario of arms races, territorial expansion and military rivalries.” The report, based on a global survey of experts and trends, was more pessimistic about America’s global status than previous outlooks prepared every four years. It said that outcomes will depend in part on the actions of political leaders. “The next 20 years of transition to a new system are fraught with risks,” it said.

The analysts also give warning that the kind of organised crime plaguing Russia could eventually take over the government of an Eastern or Central European country, and that countries in Africa and South Asia may find themselves ungoverned, as states wither away under pressure from security threats and diminishing resources..

The US intelligence community expects that terrorism would survive until 2025, but in slightly different form, suggesting that alQaeda’s “terrorist wave” might be breaking up. “AlQaeda’s inability to attract broad-based support might cause it to decay sooner than people think,” it said.

On a positive note it added that an alternative to oil might be in place by 2025.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

BNP Membership list leaked.

Communist allies China, Cuba hold landmark summit

HAVANA (AFP) — China's President Hu Jintao on Wednesday was to wrap up a landmark visit to Cuba where he brought millions of dollars in aid and promises of closer trade ties.

The Chinese leader brought 4.5 tonnes of humanitarian aid for victims of three hurricanes that battered Cuba this year, which was handed over late Monday after Hu's arrival at the Jose Marti International Airport.

Receiving the gift, Cuba's Minister of Foreign Investment and Economic Cooperation Rodrigo Malmierca said Cuba "deeply appreciates the visit of President Hu Jintao, at the exact moment the country is struggling to recover and continue its development."

It was China's third donation to assist Cuba in its recovery from hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Paloma, which caused 10 billion dollars worth of damages in the space of two months. Hurricane aid from the Chinese government and businesses has totalled more than 2.5 million dollars.

China also extended Cuba a 70-million-dollar loan to repair damaged hospitals and another 10 million for social projects, as part of the second tranche of a 350-million-dollar line of credit approved in 2004.

On Tuesday Hu accompanied President Raul Castro on a visit to a school for Chinese students, where the Cuban leader sang a refrain from a Chinese song praising late Communist Party Leader Mao Zedong.

"I learned to be a student like you, young like you and will remain so all my life," Castro told Hu and 300 Chinese students in the town of Tarara, east of Havana.

During his 36-hour visit -- his first to Cuba since 2004 -- Hu planned to oversee the signing of various cooperation deals.

Hu also visited convalescing former president Fidel Castro, 82.

The Chinese leader held a "long conversation" with the former Cuban leader and described finding Castro "very recovered," according to the Chinese official Xinhua news agency. The two appeared in a picture published on the website.

Fidel Castro has met with several foreign leaders in recent months, including Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Hu arrived in Havana late Monday after attending the world economic crisis summit in Washington and making a stopover in Costa Rica, where he launched free-trade talks and a string of cooperation deals.

His Latin America tour also includes an Asia-Pacific summit in Peru. It comes as China expands its diplomacy and investment around the world, eyeing natural resources and developing markets for manufactured goods and even weapons.

Chinese exports to Latin America grew 52 percent in the first nine months of 2008 to 111.5 billion dollars, according to state-run Xinhua news agency.

China was Cuba's second business partner, after Venezuela, in 2007 with 2.7 billion dollars of combined trade, and one of its main creditors.

The two countries have remained close for decades, their Marxist Socialist past a driving force in relations, and they have increased ties since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

China offered key support to former Cuban leader Fidel Castro when Cuba fell into dire economic straits after the former Soviet Union collapse, forging a divide which Russia has recently sought to reduce.

Current deals include Chinese oil prospecting and extraction in Cuba -- onshore and offshore -- and two Cuban eye hospitals in China and a third under construction.

Since Raul Castro officially assumed power in February, taking over from his ailing older brother Fidel, analysts have suggested he is moving toward China's market economy model.

The authorities however still underline support for Cuba's state controlled economy.

Raul Castro recently sought foreign investment for the prospecting and exploitation of gold, silver, zinc and copper deposits.

China already invests in nickel, Cuba's main export, and hydrocarbons on the island, which produces the equivalent of 80,000 barrels of oil and gas per day.

The two countries both have Communist-led governments, but vastly different styles of governments.

China embraced market reforms to become a world economic powerhouse, while Cuba's economy remains under state control.

Hu's visit comes less than two weeks before the arrival of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in another Russian bid to fortify relations with outspoken US adversaries in Latin America on the back of a trip to Venezuela.

Monday, 17 November 2008

China & stimulus

Published Nov 16, 2008 6:47 PM

China has become vulnerable to trends in the worldwide capitalist system since it allowed market mechanisms to coexist alongside state-owned industries. That seemed highly desirable when the world capitalist economies were ballooning up. China sustained double-digit growth year after year. Allowing investment in companies that exported everything from household items to clothing, it became the world’s fourth-largest economy. It also sustained such a favorable balance of trade with the United States that today China has $1.2 trillion in its currency reserves.

Now that the market for China’s exported products is drying up, however, it is experiencing bankruptcies and a big loss of jobs—just like the capitalist countries. China’s economic growth has slowed sharply, dropping from 12.6 percent in the second quarter of 2007 to about 9 percent in the third quarter of this year.

However, China is different, because it went through a great revolution against landlord oppression and imperialist domination that led to mass efforts to build socialism. Even though the retreat toward the market began 30 years ago, the role of the state in the economy is still a major force. And that state, unlike in so much of the world today, has its hands on a lot of cash.

So it’s not surprising that China has come up with a stimulus plan for its economy that is very, very different from those in the United States and Europe. It is not handing over billions to bail out banks and insurance companies.

Instead, under the plan, China will spend $586 billion over the next two years “to finance programs in 10 major areas, such as low-income housing, rural infrastructure, water, electricity, transportation, the environment, technological innovation and rebuilding from several disasters, most notably the May 12 earthquake.” (Xinhua, Nov. 10)

Environmentalists in China see these times as ideal to increase efforts at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Some of the billions will go to develop mass transportation—especially trains and subways.

The American Society of Civil Engineers estimated in March that the U.S. needs to spend $1.6 trillion over the next five years to shore up this country’s crumbling infrastructure, including roadways, bridges, drinking water systems, public parks, railroads and the power grid. The budget debated by Congress this year would cover less than a fifth of that.

If China can build public housing and subways and update its electric grid, why can’t the U.S.? Millions of jobs could be created to partially offset the looming crisis of unemployment. But it will take a militant mass movement to force this banker-ridden political system to change its priorities by even a penny.


Articles copyright 1995-2008 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved. Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011Email: ww@workers.org

Freed Basque terrorist fights extradition in Belfast court

David Sharrock, Ireland Correspondent

A Basque convicted terrorist living in Belfast will today fight an international extradition warrant issued by the Spanish authorities.

Iňaki de Juana Chaos was freed from a Spanish jail in August amid a storm of public protest. He had served 21 years of a 3,000-year sentence for murdering 25 people in eleven attacks by the Basque separatist terror group Eta.

The Spanish authorities are seeking Mr de Juana in connection with a charge of “incitement to terror” because he allegedly read a statement in support of Eta at a rally of supporters upon his release.

Mr De Juana denies that he wrote or read the statement. He fled Spain immediately after his release to escape the highly-charged publicity. He flew to Dublin and lived briefly in the house of James “Mortar” Monaghan, a former director of the Provisional IRA’s “engineering department”.

Monaghan was found guilty by a Colombian court of training the powerful Marxist group Farc – the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – in IRA-style bomb-making skills.

Monaghan and two accomplices fled Colombia while on bail and resurfaced in Ireland. Colombia’s request for their extradition was turned down on the grounds of there being no extradition treaty between the two countries.

Last week Monaghan’s house was searched by Irish police and an improvised explosive device was taken away. Four people were arrested at the house, not including Monaghan.

Mr De Juana gave his address in Dublin while applying through the Spanish embassy for a new passport. The application was denied. Kevin Winters, a lawyer in Belfast for Mr de Juana, said his client was fully co-operating with the authorities, but it is expected that he will argue against extradition in court today.

The lawyer is expected to argue that since his client is co-operating there is no need for the extradition to proceed and that Mr de Juana is prepared to assist the Spanish court from Belfast.
Eta is blamed for killing 823 people in its 40-year campaign of bombings and shootings for a Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwestern France.

The most deadly attack involving de Juana took place in July, 1986, when 12 members of the Civil Guard police force were killed in a bomb blast in Madrid.

Jailed in 1987, he qualified for early release in 2004 but was sentenced to a further three years over threats he was alleged to have made in a Basque newspaper.

He went on hunger strike in protest before doctors intervened to force-feed him after 66 days.
The Spanish government had planned to hold Mr De Juana under house arrest after being released from hospital, but he was returned to prison when Eta ended its ceasefire in June 2007.

His sentence was later reduced on appeal and he was released in August. Thousands of Spaniards protested against his release, claiming that the government had done a secret deal with Eta.

It is understood that the Public Prosecution Service in Belfast is deciding whether the alleged crime for which he is sought in Spain has an equivalent in British law. The international arrest warrant seeks to question him about being a “terrorist apologist”.

The nearest equivalent would be incitement to hatred, but since it carries a maximum sentence of six months it does not fall under the parameters of the warrant. Qualifying offences require a minimum one-year sentence.

Mr De Juana’s solicitors have told the Spanish authorities that he is prepared to answer the charge via video link from Belfast.


Thursday, 13 November 2008

French anarchists linked to New York bombing

French anarchists linked to New York bombing

A French couple arrested in connection with a series of anarchist attacks on the country's rail network have been linked by the FBI to a bomb attack in New York.

French anti-terrorist police are holding 10 alleged members of a violent anarchist movement suspected of sabotaging power cables on high speed TGV train lines.

But it now transpires that the alleged culprits were netted thanks to information from the FBI, which allegedly linked two of them to the home-made bomb attack on an army recruitment centre in New York's Times Square in March.

Julien Coupat, 34, the suspected head of the "anarcho-autonomist" group, and his 25-year old girlfriend, known only as Yldune L, were stopped allegedly trying to enter Canada from the US illegally in January. It was claimed they were carrying anarchist texts in English and photos of an army recruitment centre in New York.

Although they had left the US before the bomb attack, they had allegedly been spotted shortly before at American anarchist meetings in New York.

Tipped off by the FBI, France's domestic intelligence services and anti-terrorist police had been watching them for months in a tiny village in the Corrèze region, central France.

Police also carried out arrests in the northern city of Rouen, the Meuse region in the northeast and in the Paris area.

Tens of thousands of French were hit by severe delays at the weekend when power was cut by metal bars hooked onto overhead electric cables on TGV lines around Paris.

"These individuals are characterised by a total rejection of any democratic expression of political opinion and an extremely violent tone," said Michele Alliot-Marie, the interior minister.


Saturday, 8 November 2008

MI5's watchdog Kim Howells was an art school anarchist... trailed by the Spooks in his revolutionary student days

By Jason Lewis and Peter Day
9th November 2008

As the man who is running the secretive Government committee that oversees MI5, Kim Howells must keep the Spooks' every move under close scrutiny.

How different from 40 years ago when he was a revolutionary student and it was he who was being watched by them.

Back then, as a self-styled anarchist revolutionary, fine art student Kim Howells led a group of students who took over his art college.

But now, as chairman of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, the former Foreign Office Minister's brief is to watch the Security Services do not step out of line.

A new book tells how Howells, an 'agitator with a Welsh accent', led demonstrations and a sit-in at Hornsey College of Art, in North London, at the height of the protests over the Vietnam War.
It claims he was a leading light in the Revolutionary Socialist Student Federation, which was under surveillance by MI5 and Special Branch, and delivered firebrand speeches to fellow students who occupied the college for six weeks in 1968.

The takeover began after Howells and other organisers handed the college authorities a list of grievances including: 'lack of union or sports facilities', 'lack of a common room' and 'poor catering facilities'.

Kim Howells, circled, and fellow students during a sit-in at Hornsey College of Art in 1968
At the height of the protest, an impassioned 21-year-old Howells told his fellow students: 'I say s*** on their art world. I want nothing to do with it.'

He added: 'Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, their thing is a phoney product of a phoney conditioned mind. It exists as a luxury of the bourgeois elite.'

Lisa Tickner's Hornsey 1968 - The Art School Revolution, reveals that when Howells was a revolutionary student, it was he who was watched by MI5

The book, Hornsey 1968 The Art School Revolution, which was published earlier this year, says Howells drew up plans for the sit-in at his flat at 2 Crescent Road, opposite the college, which was owned by a Mrs Kafka, a relative of the writer Franz.

Written by Professor Lisa Tickner, art historian at the Courtauld Institute, the book describes Howells as leader of the sit-in's Student Action Committee with the official role of running the 'Front Office and Stewards'. He also helped arrange the visit of several Left-wing speakers.
Among those who attended was Joan Littlewood, theatre director and wife of folk singer Ewan MacColl.

Recently released MI5 files reveal the couple were banned from the BBC during the Second World War because the Corporation thought they were communist sympathisers and they were under long-term Security Service surveillance.

A report to the college's board of governors at the time complained of intimidation of staff and students, picketing of annexes, the tearing down of the canteen partition, and haranguing by an 'agitator with a Welsh accent (i.e. Kim Howells)' who told fashion and textile staff and students they were 'bloody fools' for selling themselves down the river.

In evidence to a House of Commons education select committee shortly afterwards, the Hornsey principal Harold Shelton complained that the events at Hornsey were an integral part of student unrest.

He said the claim that outside agitators, militants and trade unionists had failed to infiltrate the college was 'a real hoax' and 'a cover for other activities' and produced literature from the Radical Student Alliance and the Revolutionary Socialist Student Federation to illustrate his point.

The RSSF manifesto called for the abolition of exams and grading and equal access to higher education but it was also opposed to imperialism, racism and immigration control.
After the sit-in, Mr Howells was suspended from the college but was later reinstated in November 1969.

However, he failed his diploma because the film he presented as part of his final exams, 'a 20-minute film about politics and riots in Paris, Tokyo and the USA', was not considered fine art.
The Government files on the period are all sealed, including those under the heading 'Socialist Labour League and International Socialists (anarchists and Trotskyists): rival groups; latter group caused disturbance; march to French Embassy in March 1968 in support of French students protesting against General de Gaulle'.

MI5 files on the period are also still classified and unlikely to be available to the public for many years.

But the RSSF which was also behind protests at the London School of Economics, anti-Vietnam War demonstrations outside the American embassy in Grosvenor Square and disturbances in Northern Ireland was being kept under surveillance.

MI5 has recently dropped operations against so-called 'Reds under the bed' but at the time 'enemy within' surveillance, monitoring the activities of hundreds of radicals feared to be plotting the overthrow of the Government, was high priority.

Also closed are files on Mr Howells's later role as an official of the National Union of Mineworkers during the Miners' Strike of 1984-5.

A taxi driver was killed by two striking miners and Mr Howells has since confessed to going to the NUM offices and destroying information associated with co-ordinating the strike for fear of a police raid.

Last night Mr Howells said: 'I was never a member of the Revolutionary Socialist Student Federation, too many Trots. But I did organise the sit-in at my art college. Whether they [MI5] were watching me I don't know.

'I don't remember anyone politically agitating but I was very much involved in the anti-Vietnam demonstrations. I was not aware that I was targeted by the Security Services. I have never asked if they had anything on me. I'd rather leave it alone.'


Friday, 7 November 2008

The U.S. presidential election—A NEW POLITICAL SITUATION

Rife with potential for working class solidarity and workers’ struggle
By Larry Holmes
Published Nov 6, 2008 11:05 PM

There is a new political situation in the U.S. and in the world. Even though Barack Obama’s sweeping electoral victory was not entirely unexpected, now that it has happened—the reality of it—the way in which it demonstrated to the world that something big has changed about the working class in the U.S., is so stunning that many still find it hard to believe.

The long history of racism in the U.S. seemed to preclude for the foreseeable future the election of an African-American president. The meltdown on Wall Street and the gravest capitalist crisis in 75 years beat back the bigotry that could have stopped Obama’s victory.

A record-breaking turnout on the part of African-American and Latin@ voters, and a tidal wave of young voters, cemented the multinational electoral coalition that made history.

True, much of the U.S. ruling class had concluded that Obama might be the radical makeover that their government needed to deal with the crisis ahead. But that fact cannot negate the role or the feelings of the masses in this phenomenon.

In the African-American communities from Chicago to Harlem to the still Katrina-devastated New Orleans there is elation over the outcome of this election, even a feeling of liberation from a measure of the racism born out of slavery, then cultivated into an unofficial second-class status, enforced by terror at the hands of the police, prisons or the KKK.

Indeed hundreds of thousands of people everywhere, for the most part spontaneously, took to the streets after Obama was declared the winner and the first African-American president of a country built on African slave labor.

And the celebrating was by no means exclusive to the African-American community.

Everywhere, both within and beyond the borders of the U.S., people of every race and nationality poured into the streets crying, yelling and embracing strangers as if a long terrible, reactionary, life-stifling occupation, exemplified by the Bush regime, had finally come to an end.
Will this election restore people’s faith in the U.S capitalist system and government at the very time that exposing the system and government is so critical to forging the mass struggle against capitalism? Perhaps for a little while, but it won’t last long.

In the coming days and months, the mass suffering brought on by the deepening of the worldwide capitalist economic crises, and the reality of the continuing U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, will betray the truth of what has or has not changed as a result of the presidential elections.

The inevitable revelation of how much change the incoming U.S. government represents, and how the mass of working and oppressed people in the U.S. and everywhere react to that revelation, will to a large degree provide the content of the world struggle against U.S. imperialism over the next period.

In lieu of that revelation, something has already changed. Only time will tell how deep and meaningful that change is. The people by the tens of millions have awakened and they have desperate expectations. The people want the U.S. capitalist government to end its wars abroad, stop layoffs and home foreclosures, provide healthcare and education.

Will the new government end the wars? Or will it withdraw troops from Iraq only to send them to Afghanistan?

Will the new Democratic Party government, with an even larger majority in Congress, bail out the workers who are losing their homes and jobs? Will it take the side of labor against capital?
One of the issues that is likely to come before the new Democratic government is a long-standing, simple, proposed law that would require a majority of workers at a workplace to sign union cards in order to get union recognition. The labor movement has been waiting for this law to pass. Will it be signed?

The people want the government to come to their rescue instead of Wall Street’s. It’s a dangerous thing to wake people up and arouse the expectations.

Now that the people are awake they may organize and fight for what they want and need. More than anything else, it is this potential that portends a new political situation in the U.S. and the world.

The feeling on the streets of cities large and small across the U.S. on election night was that now, anything is possible, and it is.

Articles copyright 1995-2008 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.


Monday, 3 November 2008

Swansea anarchist recalls links with ‘terrorist’ in US election spotlight

Oct 27 2008 by Matt Withers, Western Mail

A WELSH anarchist once described as “the most dangerous man in Britain” has spoken of his relationship with a former terrorist propelled into the spotlight of the US election.

Ian Bone, a political activist who rose to prominence in Swansea in the 1980s, is a comrade of Bill Ayers, the so-called “Weatherman” whose alleged links to Democratic candidate Barack Obama have been repeatedly raised throughout the election campaign.

Mr Ayers was once a member of the Weather Underground, a terrorist group that bombed the Capitol, the Pentagon and the State Department in the 1970s.

He was loosely involved in Mr Obama’s election as an Illinois state senator in the late 1990s, when he was introduced to local activists at a meeting in his house. He also donated $200 to Obama’s re-election campaign in 2001.

Mr Obama served with Mr Ayers on the board of the Woods Fund, a philanthropic foundation, for three years, and shared a platform with him at two conferences.

The links have been cited by Republicans throughout the campaign, with Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin accusing Mr Obama as being “someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country”.

Now it appears that Mr Ayers has links to Wales, having struck up a rapport with Mr Bone following a meeting at a conference in London two years ago.

“Bill Ayers was debating ‘armed struggle’ with John Barker of the Angry Brigade [a 1970s militant group] at the ICA in late 2006,” said Mr Bone.

“I knew John from when he came to live in Swansea after his prison sentence.”

He would not reveal what he and Mr Ayers had discussed – “I don’t reveal private conversations, unlike George Osborne,” he said – other than the fact that the anti-war activist was “pretty unapologetic” about his actions in the past.

“As John Barker said, ‘Petrol bombs are more democratic than dynamite.’” he added.

The Weathermen, a small band of extreme left-wingers who took their name from a Bob Dylan song – “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” – conducted a bombing campaign against targets such as police headquarters, prisons and courts for three years to “bring the war home”, a reference to Vietnam.

Two police officers were killed in 1981, when members of the Weathermen and the Black Liberation Army stole $1m from an armoured car. It was their last action.

Mr Ayers, now 63, turned himself in to police that year, but charges against him were dropped because of mishandled surveillance. He is now a professor of education at the University of Illinois.

“Bizarrely half the Weathermen are in jail for life, the other half are university professors,” said Mr Bone.

He thought the link between Mr Obama and Mr Ayers represented “desperate tactics” from the Republicans. “Obama’s campaign was not laid out in Bill Ayers’ front room,” he said. He thinks “Obama will be less liberal, McCain less right-wing than thought”.

Mr Bone, 61, now lives in Bristol but is spending a lot of time back in Swansea after selling the film rights for his autobiography, Bash The Rich to filmmaker Greg Hall for £10. “I’m in Swansea a lot because my book is being made into a feature film and half of it is set in Swansea,” he said.

He was dubbed “the most dangerous man in Britain” by the People newspaper after founding Class War – a tabloid newspaper costing 20p that became a whole anarchist movement.

Through its support of striking miners, dockers and print workers, and riots – Brixton, Toxteth and Stonehenge – in the 1980s, the paper was, at its height, selling 15,000 copies every week.


Ruling Nepali communist parties form coordination committee

www.chinaview.cn 2008-11-02 23:42:41

KATHMANDU, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- The two ruling communist parties in Nepal on Sunday formed a high-level coordination committee to ensure better coordination between them and advise the government on important issues.

Senior leaders of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), led by its chairman and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda", and the coalition party, the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) (CPN-UML), held a meeting on Sunday and decided to form the 12-member committee with senior CPN-M leader Mohan Baidya, also known as "Kiran" and former CPN-UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal as coordinators, local news website Nepalnews.com reported.

"A joint coordination committee has been formed to hold discussions on mutual relations between the two parties and to advise the government," another local news website eKantipur quoted CPN-M spokesperson Krishna Bahadur Mahara as saying after the meeting.

"We decided to further discuss the issues relating to government operation tomorrow," said CPN-UML leader Bhim Rawal.

Besides the formation of the committee, the ruling partners have formed two separate investigation committees to look into the clashes between their cadres erupting recently.

The cadres of CPN-M youth front Young Communist League (YCL) and the CPN-UML's Youth Force have been engaged in frequent clashes in various parts of the country recently.
They also discussed the inclusion of the opposition party Nepali Congress (NC) representative into the special committee for army integration. They have agreed to take measures from their side to persuade the NC to join the committee.

The Nepali government formed a five-member special committee on Oct. 28 to oversee the management, integration and rehabilitation of the CPN-M combatants monitored by UN. The committee has still one seat vacant, which was assigned to the opposition party, NC.
Prime Minister and CPN-M chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda" and CPN-UML general secretary Jhala Nath Khanal were also present at the meeting.

Top leaders of the two parties will again meet on Monday to further discuss ways to resolve their differences on a number of issues including the tricky issue of army integration, leaders said.

Prachanda was elected the prime minister on Aug. 15, and the republic cabinet got its final shape on Aug. 31.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Defend the Gains of the 1949 Chinese Revolution!

There is much I disagree with in this article, all the patently nonsensiscal and contradictory sloganising about "political revolution to overthrow the Stalinist beaurecracy", "Stalinist betreyal of the revolution", etc, etc, but it is not surprising considereing the source, the orthodox Trostkyist Spartacist League.

Nevertheless, there is much that is commendable and useful in this article and it is well worth cutting through the ortho-trot verbiage and taking the time to read it, in particular where it exposes the truly awful conditions that existed in Tibet under the Dalai Lama's oppressive rule, eg nearly 50% infant mortality, now around 0.5% and the doubling of life expectency since the liberation of the territory by the Peoples Liberation Army. - SJ

We print below an edited and abridged version of a presentation by Spartacist League/U.S. spokesman Keith Markin at forums in San Francisco on September 13 and Vancouver on October 4.


Right now we are seeing the biggest financial crisis of U.S. imperialism since the 1930s. The crisis is rooted in the capitalist mode of production that predominates in the international economy. In contrast, the economy of the People’s Republic of China has been growing rapidly for years. While this may not last, especially considering the state of the world economy, China has been able to industrialize and grow because its economy is not based on the drive for capitalist private profit. China is not capitalist—it is a bureaucratically deformed workers state based on collectivized property.

We are for defending the gains of the 1949 Chinese Revolution, which overthrew capitalism in the world’s most populous country. We are for the unconditional military defense against imperialism and internal counterrevolution of all the bureaucratically deformed workers states (Cuba, Vietnam and North Korea are the others). These are states where capitalism has been overthrown but the working class does not wield political power. “Unconditional” means we don’t put any prior conditions on our military defense: we defend the workers state whether or not the workers have succeeded in throwing out the ruling Stalinist bureaucracy.

At the same time, we are for proletarian political revolution to oust this bureaucracy. We recognize that the bureaucracy’s political rule is counterposed to the advance toward socialism—an egalitarian society based on modern technology and material plenty for all. The nationalism of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime, its claim that “socialism” can be built in a single country, disarms and misleads the workers. Its corruption and mismanagement undermine the collectivized economy. We fight to replace the rule of the CCP with the rule of democratically elected workers and peasants councils (soviets) committed to the fight for communism worldwide. That requires forging a new, internationalist, revolutionary party to lead these struggles.

The economy is the issue dominating the U.S. presidential elections: how to bail out the capitalists at the working people’s expense to prop up an outmoded system. Communists have a very clear principle: we don’t support or vote for a capitalist party or politician, whether Democrat, Republican or Green—period. And we would not ourselves run for an executive office that administers the capitalist state, like president, governor or mayor. The government is the executive committee of the ruling class. The capitalist state cannot be reformed to meet the interests of the oppressed, but must be swept away through workers revolution.

There are many groups out there that call themselves “Marxist” that have disdain for the principles and program of genuine Marxism. They are trying to reform an economic system that long ago outlived its usefulness. This forum is a polemic against these opponents of Marxism and in defense of a Marxist worldview.

China-Bashing and the Elections

Columnist John Feffer of the Huntington Post wrote on June 9:
“Although Iraq is the defining foreign policy issue so far in the presidential race, China will no doubt be smuggled into the election through this rather stark contrast between the Republicans and Democrats over trade…. Not to be outdone in China-bashing, McCain will likely argue that China is a national security threat that requires more military spending.”

It’s not as if the regimes of Bush I and II, as well as the Clinton regime haven’t already spent lots of money on the military. Currently, the U.S. accounts for 48 percent of the entire world’s military spending. And China has been in the imperialists’ cross hairs ever since its 1949 Revolution. With the counterrevolutionary destruction of the Soviet Union in 1991-92, China became the central strategic target of the U.S., which is encircling it with military bases from South Korea and Japan to Guam and Central Asia.

The imperialists have a two-pronged strategy for capitalist counterrevolution in China: military and economic. The Democrats and Republicans agree on the military strategy of encirclement and unremitting military provocations. They disagree only on the economic strategy. The anti-China protectionism pushed by Democratic politicians is based on the lie that the growth of the Chinese economy is a major cause of the loss of jobs and lowering living standards in the U.S. This myth promotes illusions that capitalism can work in the interests of the working class, thereby exonerating this exploitative system while making a scapegoat out of another country, in this case China. The biggest salesmen for protectionism are inevitably the bureaucrats who head the trade unions (Marxists call them “labor lieutenants of capitalism”), who are also selling the Democratic Party as “friends” of the workers.

In June 2007, Obama sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson complaining that the government “has refused yet again to declare that China is manipulating its currency”—as if that were the cause of the U.S.’s economic problems! The reality is that China has $504 billion of its $1.8 trillion in foreign exchange reserves invested in U.S. Treasury bonds, which helps to keep the U.S. economy afloat. Especially nowadays this is not a very wise investment, not to mention that this investment policy is helping to finance the U.S. military.

China-bashing has picked up intensity since the collapse of the market for subprime mortgages triggered the current financial crisis. China is being blamed for everything from the so-called international “food shortage” to higher gas prices, the problems in Darfur, and let’s not forget global warming. We’re told the reason prices have gone up is because China is industrializing, leading more Chinese to eat more, drive cars, watch television, use air conditioning. In other words, the problem isn’t the capitalist system, it’s the Chinese deformed workers state and its economic growth!

Economic penetration by the imperialists has enormously strengthened the forces of counterrevolution within China while increasing inequality. But capitalists in China are still prevented from organizing themselves politically and vying for power. The core sectors of the economy remain collectivized and the banking system remains effectively state-owned. Economic development has vastly increased the size of the proletariat, drawing many former peasants to the cities. From 1976 to 2006 the urban population has increased from 20 to 44 percent of the total. This is historically progressive. Nonetheless there are still 740 million people living in the countryside.

The contradictions of the Chinese bureaucratically deformed workers state are sharpening. China is only the third country to have a man walk in space, but it can’t effectively ensure the quality of its milk production for babies. The massive relief efforts following the devastating earthquake in Sichuan Province last spring, coupled with the collapse of many schools due to their shoddy construction, are a striking measure of these contradictions. We elaborated on this in our article on the Sichuan quake in WV No. 917, 4 July. The relief efforts were widely recognized as impressive, thus at the time cooling down the imperialist frenzy and media uproar over the counterrevolutionary riots in Tibet in March.

After the first week of the provocations in Tibet, Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited the Dalai Lama’s headquarters in India. Pelosi blathered: “If freedom-loving people throughout the world do not speak out against China’s oppression in China and Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak on behalf of human rights anywhere in the world.” Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton called on Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics in solidarity with Tibet’s “freedom fighters.” Meanwhile, ethnic Chinese and Muslims were being burned alive in Lhasa—they didn’t have traditional Tibetan scarves, known as kataks, outside their stores to identity themselves to the “freedom fighters.”
Pelosi’s “human rights” rhetoric is the vilest hypocrisy coming from a representative of U.S. imperialism, which has killed hundreds of thousands in Iraq and is currently occupying Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, that’s for the cause of “freedom” too!

Under the pro-slavery Dalai Lama, Tibetans were “free” to live an expected 35 years in squalor. Since the “Lamaocracy” was driven out of Tibet in 1959, people live nearly twice as long. Yet groups like the International Socialist Organization (ISO), Socialist Action and the Committee for a Workers’ International—represented in the U.S. by Socialist Alternative—all enthuse over the cause of the anti-Communist “Free Tibet” movement. Like the Dalai Lama and his coterie, this “movement”—the Tibetan Youth Congress, Students for a Free Tibet, etc.—is funded by the CIA front called the National Endowment for Democracy. If Tibet were not part of China, it would be a protectorate of U.S. imperialism, a base for counterrevolution throughout China.

Historical Materialism and Class Struggle

This forum is in many ways inspired by a book published in 1997, The Struggle for Modern Tibet: The Autobiography of Tashi Tsering. It is the story of a Tibetan peasant, motivated by the need to learn how to read and write, who devoted his life to modernizing Tibet. He says that he is not a Marxist, but he was attracted to Marxism because it involved “greater power and opportunity for peasants and workers.” Referring to Marxists, Tsering says that in the early1960s:

“I was struck by their notions of the cycles or phases of history, the idea that religion could sometimes be used to enslave or hinder the common people, and the importance of revolution in the history of most of the modern European states…. I thought it was time for some kind of revolution in Tibet, too, although I didn’t wish for any of the violence or the bloodshed of the sort I had been reading about [in the French and Russian Revolutions]. Yet, it was hard for me to imagine how such changes might be made to occur under our old society in any other way…. And although I was still apprehensive about the Chinese presence and long-range intentions, I began to think that perhaps what Tibet had been living through for the past ten years might in fact be the answer in the sense that the Chinese invasion of our country might have done something that we could not have done for ourselves. It had provided a revolution for us.”

Fundamental social change in Tibet began after Chinese troops defeated the counterrevolutionary 1959 uprising, which was armed and backed by the CIA. But before looking at these events, it is important to understand the origins and nature of the People’s Republic of China. Unlike in the 1917 workers revolution in Russia, the proletariat in China was not an active or conscious participant in the revolution that smashed the Chinese capitalist state. The CCP that defeated the thoroughly corrupt capitalist party, the Guomindang (GMD), was a party based on the peasants. So the obvious question is: how could a peasant party make a revolution that overthrew capitalism and established a workers state, albeit bureaucratically deformed? And what does that mean, anyway?

To answer these questions requires a Marxist worldview derived from a historical materialist examination of society. It means drawing lessons from the first and still only victorious working-class revolution, the Russian Revolution led by V.I. Lenin and Leon Trotsky’s Bolshevik Party in October 1917, and from the later political degeneration of the Soviet workers state under Joseph Stalin and his successors.

Historical materialism begins from the proposition that the production of the means to support human life—food, clothing and shelter—and the exchange of things produced are the basis of all social structures. In every society that has appeared in history, the manner in which wealth is distributed and society divided into classes is dependent on what is produced, how it is produced, and how the products are exchanged. From this point of view, the final causes of all social revolutions are to be sought in changes in the dominant mode of production and exchange. A “mode of production” is an economic system, which (except for primitive society, when there were no classes) is based on a particular form of property: societies based on slavery, feudalism, capitalism or collectivized property.

The transition from feudalism to capitalism necessitated bloody bourgeois revolutions like the English Revolution in the mid 17th century and the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century. Through these revolutions the bourgeoisie created the nation-state and transformed the means of production from being atomized (based on individual producers) into production by a collectivity of men. (“Means of production” includes natural resources like land and animals, as well as machines, tools, factories, infrastructure and technology.) Production became social, but the product of this collective labor was appropriated by the capitalists. There thus developed an irreconcilable antagonism between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.

Private ownership of the means of production, where production is motivated by profit, is the basis of the anarchy of capitalism. The capitalist system developed the productive forces, within the arena of the nation-state, faster than at any previous time in human history, leading to the development of modern science and the industrial revolution. This was its progressive historic role. But the capitalist system and its nation-state soon became a fetter upon economic and cultural development. The contradictions between socialized production and private appropriation, and between the development of the productive forces and the framework of the national state, came to a head. By about 1900, the territorial division of the whole world among the largest capitalist powers had largely been completed. This led to the first imperialist world war.

In his 1916 book, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Lenin advanced Marx’s analysis into the period of capitalist decay, clarifying that war is inherent to the imperialist system. Capitalism had created a world market dominated by the imperialist powers and divided by their rivalries. It had also fully developed its gravedigger in the proletariat. The solution is international workers revolution to overthrow the system based on capitalist production for profit, establishing workers states based on collectivized property where production is based on what is useful for society. To impart to the working class the necessary revolutionary consciousness to accomplish its historic mission of overthrowing the capitalist system is the task of a Leninist vanguard party. We consider the International Communist League the programmatic nucleus of that party today.

Before the first imperialist war, Russia was the weakest link in the imperialist chain. Trotsky described its development as “uneven and combined”: an overwhelmingly peasant country with a myriad of national and ethnic minorities oppressed by Great Russian landlords and capitalists and under an absolutist monarchy. At the same time, there was a small but important proletariat in a few industrial centers, concentrated in huge factories equipped with the most modern technology. For example, the massive Putilov metal works and the surrounding area in St. Petersburg had 30,000 workers in 1905.

The right wing of Russian social democracy, the Mensheviks, argued that the bourgeoisie must come to power to resolve the outstanding democratic tasks such as giving land to the peasantry. Against this perspective of binding the proletariat to the liberal bourgeoisie, Lenin and the Bolsheviks counterposed the revolutionary collaboration of the proletariat and the downtrodden peasantry, establishing a “democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry.” Crucially, Lenin had no illusions in any “progressive” character of the Russian bourgeoisie.
Trotsky likewise recognized that the Russian bourgeoisie was incapable of leading a democratic revolution, but went further than Lenin. In his theory of permanent revolution, developed in 1904-06, Trotsky asserted that the Russian Revolution would be proletarian-socialist in character, that the solution of the bourgeois-democratic tasks was conceivable only in the form of the dictatorship of the proletariat, leaning on the peasantry. This would place on the order of the day not only democratic tasks but socialist tasks as well. To guarantee such gains and lay the basis for a socialist society, proletarian rule had to be extended to the advanced capitalist world.
In 1917, when the tsar’s government collapsed, the Mensheviks supported the new liberal bourgeois Provisional Government and later joined the government. Lenin waged a merciless political struggle against the Mensheviks and those in the Bolshevik Party who conciliated them.

He came over to Trotsky’s view that the revolution could triumph only by placing the proletariat in power, while Trotsky came to see that Lenin’s fight for a programmatically steeled and tested vanguard party was the necessary foundation for socialist revolution. Lenin won over the key cadre in his party, and in October the Bolsheviks led the working class, supported by the peasantry, in a revolution that smashed the old state apparatus, replacing the class dictatorship of capital with the dictatorship of the proletariat based on democratically elected councils (soviets) of workers, soldiers and peasants. There is a detailed examination of these political struggles in “The Development and Extension of Leon Trotsky’s Theory of Permanent Revolution,” available in a new ICL pamphlet.

After the October Revolution, during the grueling civil war against the forces of counterrevolution backed by no less than 14 capitalist countries, the Bolsheviks founded the Communist International (Comintern), embodying their commitment to international revolution. The Russian Revolution was a confirmation of the Marxist program and a clarion call to the world’s oppressed. It is our model. We struggle for the perspective of new October Revolutions throughout the capitalist world today.

Stalinism and the Betrayal of the 1925-27 Chinese Revolution

After the Bolsheviks won the Civil War at tremendous cost, including losing the most advanced layers of the proletariat who were either killed or incorporated into the state administration, all eyes were on the powerful German working class: a proletarian victory in Germany would end the isolation of the fledgling workers state. However the 1923 German Revolution was defeated, with enormous international consequences. The postwar revolutionary wave was stopped and the global bourgeois order stabilized for a period of time. The defeat had a hugely demoralizing effect on Soviet workers, helping to pave the way for the usurpation of political power by a conservative, nationalist bureaucracy.

Beginning in 1924 (Lenin died in January that year), the bureaucracy, led at the time by Stalin, Zinoviev and Kamenev, defeated the emerging Left Opposition led by Trotsky and set in motion a process of consolidating its rule as a privileged caste atop the workers state. But the mode of production based on the predominance of collectivized property did not change: what changed was the political regime.

In the fall of 1924, Stalin began to justify the Soviet Union’s isolation and the political power of the bureaucracy with his “theory” that socialism—a society based on material abundance, in which classes have disappeared and the state has withered away—can be built in a single country, and an economically devastated one at that. “Peaceful coexistence” with the capitalists of the world soon became the corollary. The bureaucracy became hostile to the proletarian, revolutionary, internationalist program of the October Revolution. “Socialism in one country” was the banner of defeat under which countless revolutionary opportunities were betrayed. This political counterrevolution was fought by the Left Opposition led by Trotsky—and one of the first decisive political battlegrounds on the international arena was the Second Chinese Revolution of 1925-27.

The First Chinese Revolution of 1911, led by Sun Yat-sen’s bourgeois-nationalist movement and with the direct participation of the imperialists, overthrew the decrepit Qing (or Manchu) dynasty. The next year Sun founded the bourgeois-nationalist Guomindang. Before World War I, there was barely a Chinese proletariat at all. But the war stimulated the Chinese economy and by 1922 there were two million industrial workers. While this was a tiny part of the population, the proletariat was concentrated in large enterprises with the most modern techniques of production in a few urban centers on the coast, giving it enormous social power. China was not an outright colony like India, but imperialist penetration perpetuated its backwardness. Warlordism with competing imperialist sponsorship proliferated, preventing national unification.
China’s capitalist development was even more belated than Russia’s had been. The key question in the Second Chinese Revolution was: what would be the class character of the Chinese Revolution? Stalin and Bukharin continued the policy of liquidating the young Chinese CP into the bourgeois GMD, now led by Chiang Kai-shek. They revived the Menshevik line of “two-stage” betrayal, whose bankruptcy had been exposed in Russia in 1917. Citing the weakness of the workers movement in China, they argued that the revolution must be restricted to a “democratic” stage under the leadership of a “bloc of four classes”—the national bourgeoisie, urban petty bourgeoisie, workers and peasants. In this schema, the “second stage,” the struggle for socialism, is relegated to an indefinite future that in reality never comes to be. How could a national bourgeoisie lead an agrarian revolution against landlords, many of whom were part of the same bourgeoisie? The answer is: it could not.

In March 1927, a general strike of over a half a million workers in Shanghai turned into an insurrection. But the proletariat was supposed to follow the bourgeois nationalists, not insurrect against them. Stalin ordered the CCP to disarm. Lulled into the belief that Chiang Kai-shek was an ally, tens of thousands of Communists and militant workers, who were the effective power in Shanghai, were murdered when he turned on them in the massacre of April 1927.

At every step, Trotsky opposed this policy of subordinating the working class to the bourgeois nationalists. In a March 1927 statement to the Soviet Politburo, Trotsky demanded that the CCP organize soviets and initiate a revolutionary struggle for power. Drawing the lessons of the Chinese Revolution’s bloody defeat, he generalized his theory and perspective of permanent revolution to other countries of belated capitalist development. In 1928, Trotsky submitted to the Comintern’s Sixth Congress a document titled “The Draft Program of the Communist International—A Criticism of Fundamentals,” later published in The Third International After Lenin. Key international cadre were won to the Left Opposition, including James P. Cannon, a central leader of the American CP, and Chen Duxiu, the founding leader of the CCP who had been made the scapegoat for Stalin’s betrayals.

The defeat of the Second Chinese Revolution had a profound impact on the proletariat and the CCP. At Comintern insistence, the CCP denied that there had been a defeat. With the proletariat atomized, being hunted down by the GMD, the CCP soon turned its back on the workers, retreating to the countryside. Only the Chinese Trotskyists, working underground, sought to maintain roots among the urban working class. The CCP transformed itself into a peasant party in composition and political outlook. So when the 1949 Chinese Revolution overthrew capitalist rule, it did so under the leadership of a peasant-based party with Stalinist politics.

Extraordinary historical circumstances conditioned these events. There was the existence of the Soviet Union, which gave material aid to the CCP’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), albeit reluctantly. The utterly corrupt bourgeois GMD was decaying from within. The proletariat was not mobilized as an independent force. Another significant factor was that the Soviets set off an atomic bomb on 29 August 1949, which provided a nuclear deterrent against imperialist attack.

The basic policy of all sections of the Chinese bourgeoisie and the imperialist powers toward the CCP and PLA during the 1946-49 Civil War was one of physical annihilation. Thus the triumph of the PLA signaled the destruction of the Chinese capitalists as a politically organized class, reducing them to atomized property owners. Contrary to Maoist theory, there was no basis for “two-stage” revolution or a “bloc of four classes.” History proved wrong the dogma that you “cannot skip stages,” that the proletariat must first ally with a section of the capitalist class enemy in a fight for “democracy”—a class-collaborationist perspective that has produced only disaster and defeat for the world’s working people.

The smashing of capitalist class rule in China arose from the specific, and not predetermined, relations among the peasant-based CCP, the Chinese proletariat and the domestic and imperialist bourgeoisie. But the victory of the social revolution could only establish a bureaucratically deformed workers state. The CCP feared the proletariat and was suspicious of it. Like the Soviet bureaucracy, the Chinese bureaucracy is a petty-bourgeois parasitic and nationalistic caste that sits atop the workers state and feeds on it. Its privileges are derived from the existence of the workers state. Just like under Stalin, the bureaucracy’s program, whether under Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping or Hu Jintao, is based on the anti-Marxist lie of building “socialism in one country” and seeking to perpetuate the status quo by “peacefully coexisting” with imperialism.

Trotsky explained the material roots of the Soviet bureaucracy in his 1937 book The Revolution Betrayed, using language that today could be applied to the Chinese Stalinists as well:
“The basis of bureaucratic rule is the poverty of society in objects of consumption, with the resulting struggle of each against all. When there are enough goods in a store, the purchasers can come whenever they want to. When there is little goods, the purchasers are compelled to stand in line. When the lines are very long, it is necessary to appoint a policeman to keep order. Such is the starting point of the power of the Soviet bureaucracy. It ‘knows’ who is to get something and who has to wait.”

Calling for workers political revolution in the USSR, Trotsky emphasized: “It is not a question of substituting one ruling clique for another, but of changing the very methods of administering the economy and guiding the culture of the country. Bureaucratic autocracy must give place to Soviet democracy.”

Tibet and the Chinese Revolution

Until early 1949, U.S. imperialism’s policy toward Tibet was unequivocal. Tibet was seen as part of China, though with a large degree of independence from the central government. While its geographic location was not seen as strategic at that time, the CIA’s predecessor, the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), had several agents in Tibet during World War II. The U.S. changed its policy in 1949, when it was clear that the Chinese Civil War was going badly for the U.S.-backed GMD armies. One Ruth Bacon of the State Department argued that with a Communist takeover, Tibet would assume “ideological and strategic importance” and that the U.S. should no longer consider it under Chinese authority. This shows how the Tibet question has long been cynically manipulated by the imperialists for their own interests.

Everything changed with the 1950-53 Korean civil war. The PLA made no decisive move into Tibet until China was threatened by the imperialists, who had overtaken most of North Korea and were threatening China at the border. Chinese troops crossed the Yalu River bordering North Korea to drive the imperialists back, and around the same time about 40,000 PLA troops attacked the Tibetan army, which was on the brink of collapse because of inferior numbers, weapons and organization.

After the First Chinese Revolution in 1911, the 13th Dalai Lama consolidated his power by expanding and modernizing the Tibetan army along the lines of his imperialist sponsors, the British and the Japanese. So pervasive was British influence that as late as 1950 the officers issued all their commands in English while the army band was only capable of playing such “traditional” Tibetan tunes as “Auld Lang Syne,” “God Save the King” (they clearly weren’t referring to the “god-king” of Tibet) and my personal favorite, “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.” Tipperary is in Ireland—so it certainly was a long way!

The Tibetan army was clearly no match for the hardened veterans of the PLA. Under Mao’s “helmsmanship,” China began negotiations with the 14th Dalai Lama (the current one, who was about 16 then) based on a program that amounted to “one country, two systems.” This meant the CCP would allow the Tibetan ruling class to continue its social and political rule so long as it ceded sovereignty to the Chinese deformed workers state. This deal was codified in the Seventeen Point Agreement signed in May 1951.

There is a sharp contrast here with how the Bolsheviks consolidated Soviet power in Central Asia, a region which, like Tibet, was economically precapitalist and had no proletariat. The separation of church/mosque and state was crucial in the fight for women’s emancipation, especially in the heavily Muslim Soviet East. But it took time for the Bolsheviks to establish a material and political basis for secular Soviet government and educational organs to supplant clerical vestiges. Of necessity, the Bolsheviks made compromises with those sections of local religious and traditional civil institutions that had been brutally persecuted under the tsar and sided with the October Revolution. At the same time, they used Soviet state power to carefully and systematically supplant such institutions, including by simultaneously demonstrating the superiority of Soviet government.

The Soviet government under Lenin and Trotsky differentiated between the rights of individuals and social organizations to privately practice religion, and the conduct of those clerics of the Orthodox church, Islam, etc., who actively supported the forces of counterrevolution because their material interests were counterposed to the fledgling workers state. The Soviet government successfully mobilized the workers and peasants to decisively crush such forces. They set out to achieve universal literacy, instituting a materialist education for all, counterposed to all forms of religious prejudice. For example, Communist women put on the veil to teach women in Soviet Central Asia how to read and write.

If Tibet was Shangri-La for the lords and lamas it was hell for the oppressed. Formed through the merger of a feudal-like aristocracy and a vast clerical estate making up at times over 20 percent of the male population, the Lamaocracy held sway over a society of serfs, peasants and herdsmen for hundreds of years. This meant that the women did a lot of the labor, since both the monks and a not small portion of the male population, who emulated the monastic life after “sinning” by procreating, were employed in contemplation. Young boys were taken from their families, including to replenish the monk population. Household slavery also existed. It is a measure of the intensity of oppression and exploitation in lamaist Tibet that what was perhaps proportionally the largest and most idle ruling stratum in human history was economically supported by barley growers and yak herders.

Tibet and Modernization

Tsering, the Tibetan peasant whose book I mentioned earlier, finally began to get an education in the U.S. in 1960. He wrote:

“The revelations started when I began to read about medieval history, because as I began thinking about Europe in the Middle Ages—about the cathedrals, the monasteries, the feudal system, the aristocrats and monks who had all the power and land, and the close connection between church and state—I saw parallels to the old, theocratic, and essentially feudal Tibetan society of my youth.”

After reading basic Marxism and history he concluded that since it took revolutions to oust European feudalism it would take the same in Tibet.

Tsering commented on the initial arrival of the Chinese troops in the early 1950s. They soon opened the first primary school in Lhasa, and built roads and a hospital. He said: “It was more change for the good in a shorter period of time than I had seen in my life—more change, I was tempted to think, than Tibet had seen in centuries.” As Tsering understood, it took the Chinese to provide a revolution which the Tibetans could not have made for themselves.

Yet social change was very circumscribed up to 1959. Mao instructed CCPers to slow down the changes Tsering refers to. Why? The answer has everything to do with the nationalist basis of the Stalinist bureaucracy and its contradictory nature. The CCP decided the PLA had to intervene decisively in North Korea because China was directly threatened by imperialist troops advancing on its border. If the workers state goes, the parasite has no host to feed on—there’s no material basis for the bureaucracy’s privileges. At the same time, the CCP chose to “peacefully coexist” with feudal Tibet, where the Lamaocracy was perceived as no threat to the bureaucracy’s privileged position atop the deformed workers state. The oppressed peasants, serfs and herders were not of primary concern—not until there was a military threat.

The Seventeen Point Agreement only applied to central Tibet, not to the other areas where the relatively small population of Tibetans (about 1.3 million at the time) resided. The other two areas are Kham to the east, covering western Sichuan and the northwest corner of Yunnan Province, and Amdo, covering much of Qinghai and some of Gansu provinces northeast of central Tibet.

The economic policy for the first three years in Mao’s China was meant to be for recovery, to restore production. U.S. intervention in Korea showed the need for an economy in China based on heavy industry that could sustain a modern army sooner rather than later. The first five-year plan based on collectivized property was not inaugurated until 1953. Problems soon developed because China was simply too poor to apply the Soviet model for rapid economic growth. Compared to the Soviet Union in 1928, China in 1952 produced less than one-half as much grain per person.

Resistance among reactionary Tibetan forces began in the region of Kham in 1956. This intersected serious problems in the economy throughout China, which led to a rapid change from voluntary to forced collectivization in the countryside. Almost the entire peasantry was organized into collectives in a single year. This collectivization did not go over well with the remnants of the Tibetan feudal nobility in Kham.

Washington was scheming long before the counterrevolutionary uprising that commenced on 10 March 1959. Few believed the Chinese claims that the U.S. and GMD had been arming the rebels in Kham since 1956. But in a 25 March 1959 article titled “Turmoil in Tibet” the Washington Post stated, “guerrillas are said to have been well supplied by some mysterious agency with necessary light weapons and ammunition.” One U.S. Air Force officer pointed out that physical evidence is not always necessary: “If the Dalai Lama is spirited out of Tibet in the face of an overwhelming Chinese army of conquerors, are the Chinese going to think he found his support in heaven?”

What of the serfs, peasants and herders? Political, social and religious customs in Tibet largely remained as they were before the PLA’s arrival. The mass of Tibetans were tied to the status quo without the slightest knowledge or experience of any other way of life. Confused by the new ways offered by the CCP, which simultaneously urged liberation of the serfs from the feudal masters while creating alliances with these same masters, they did not join their liberators in large numbers. Clearly, the CCP’s policy of conciliating the Lamaocracy in central Tibet demobilized the oppressed classes.

It took the PLA only 20 hours or so to crush the U.S.-backed, pro-slavery Lamaocracy uprising in 1959. Following this victory the Chinese government abolished ulag (forced peasant labor) and put an end to flogging, mutilation and amputation as forms of criminal punishment. The land, livestock and tools of the aristocrats who fled into exile were distributed to the peasants, as were the land and other property of the monasteries that had participated in the uprising. The Chinese deformed workers state established secular education and built running water and electrical systems in Lhasa. As a result of the social gains of the Chinese Revolution coming to Tibet, the conditions of life vastly improved. Infant mortality, an astounding 43 percent in 1950, dramatically decreased to 0.661 percent by 2000. The literacy rate rose greatly, though it continues to be the lowest of all the provinces of China.

From Mao to Deng

In 1966, Mao initiated the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” to regain the authority he lost following the economic disaster called the “Great Leap Forward” (1958-60). The latter had brought industrial and agricultural production to a standstill, leading to a devastating famine throughout China. Instead of communism resulting from the international division of labor of several advanced workers states and the elimination of scarcity, Mao’s Chinese-style “communism” was to be brought about by the primitive labor of millions of peasants—equal sharing of poverty. Mao refused to admit that the “Great Leap” was a disaster. The Cultural Revolution was a falling out between two wings of the Stalinist bureaucracy: Mao vs. Liu and Deng, neither of which merited the least political support from Trotskyists.

Mao developed a particularly demented version of Stalinist doublespeak for the Cultural Revolution. “Capitalism” ceased to mean a particular form of property relations. Mao’s opponents within the bureaucracy were branded as “capitalist roaders” in a “class struggle.” Students were hailed as “proletarian revolutionaries” while being cynically mobilized to break workers strikes. Especially significant, the Soviet Union became “Soviet social-imperialism,” supposedly more reactionary than U.S. imperialism. This was meant to justify China’s anti-Soviet alliance with U.S. imperialism at the height of the latter’s dirty, losing war against the Vietnamese Revolution.

The prime task laid down in a 1966 CCP Central Committee decision on the Cultural Revolution was the elimination of “old ideas, culture, customs, and habits of the exploiting classes,” otherwise known as the “Four Olds.” This campaign wreaked havoc, with tremendous human and economic damage throughout China. It was anti-culture, against Western art and music and against the cultures of the Han Chinese and all minority nationalities. To this day, the group known as the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) here in the U.S. hails the demented Maoist Cultural Revolution as an achievement akin to the Russian Revolution!

There is a widespread distortion promoted by the Dalai Lama camp and the imperialists that during the Cultural Revolution Mao mobilized Han Chinese student youth to smash and destroy much of what had been at the core of Tibetan culture. But it was mostly Tibetan youth who destroyed many Buddhist relics and palaces. Wang Lixiong wrote in his thoughtful article, “Reflections on Tibet,” in New Left Review (March-April 2002):

“To point out that it was largely the Tibetans themselves who destroyed the monasteries and temples is not to exonerate the Han; but it does raise broader questions, beyond the issue of responsibility. Why did the Tibetans, who for centuries had regarded religion as the centre of their lives, smash the Buddhist statues with their own hands?… Surely these actions are evidence that, once they realized they could control their own fate, the Tibetan peasantry, in an unequivocally liberating gesture, cast off the spectre of the afterlife that had hung over them for so long and forcefully asserted that they would rather be men in this life than souls in the next.”
I disagree with Wang’s argument that the underlying impulse for the attack on Buddhist relics was “simply that Mao had replaced the Dalai Lama as the god in their minds.” Because of the continued high rate of illiteracy, coupled with the cult of Mao during the Cultural Revolution, no doubt some Tibetans viewed Mao as a god who liberated them from hell under the Dalai Lama’s rule. But what underlay their actions was that they thought they were aiding the Revolution. Tsering writes about his active participation in the Cultural Revolution: “But precisely because it was so unthinkable it was also exciting. Students like me were in the vanguard of continuing the revolution in China!”

In 1978, two years after Mao’s death and the purge of the rabidly pro-Mao “Gang of Four,” Deng took over the CCP leadership and denounced the Cultural Revolution. Despite the claims of some leftist academics and organizations that revile Deng and uphold Mao as a revolutionary alternative, Deng was in many ways Mao’s logical successor. The aim of Deng’s “market reforms,” which he dubbed “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” was the same as Mao’s: to turn China into a modern nation-state and a world power. The market-oriented reforms were an attempt to address within the framework of Stalinist bonapartism the inefficiencies of the bureaucratic command-planned economy.

Starting in 1980, the CCP put forward new policies that gave Tibet substantial financial aid. Living standards improved significantly. From 1979-94 the average income of Tibetan farmers and herders went up six times. Agricultural production was 460 percent of its 1952 level. At the same time, Deng went back to Mao’s original conciliationist stance toward the lamas. In 1978, less than a week after taking power, he indicated his willingness to start a dialogue with the Dalai Lama. The clergy were again given special treatment. The number of monks and nuns increased to 46,000 (2 percent of the Tibetan population) by 1994. Temples were under construction everywhere. The Han population in Tibet was reduced by 40 percent.

Like the rest of China, there was a lot of opposition in Tibet to problems arising out of the “market reforms” policy. The U.S. imperialists had had the Dalai Lama on their payroll since the early 1950s; now they played this card again. On 21 September 1987, the Dalai Lama appeared before the U.S. Congress. Six days later Lhasa saw its first street demonstrations since 1959. Big rallies demanded independence and raised the banned national flag. The next 17 months saw an increasingly bloody pattern of disturbances, leading ultimately to the imposition of martial law in March 1989, which remained in effect for 419 days. This was just a month before the protests began at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square against corruption and spiraling inflation, leading to an incipient proletarian political revolution that was brutally crushed on 4 June 1989.

Having been twice bitten by the policy of conciliating the CIA-backed Dalai Lama, the Chinese Stalinists again hardened their approach after the counterrevolution in the former Soviet Union and East Europe in the early 1990s. Tibet has undergone notable development and now has the third highest average monthly wages of all the provinces. But the hold of religion helps to maintain social backwardness. For example, the Tibetan illiteracy rate is still about five times the national average.

The imperialist powers hoped to take advantage of the Beijing Olympics to intensify their pressure on China through their support to the Dalai Lama. In a provocation that prefigured the Tibet riots—similar to 1987—the Dalai Lama met with German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, U.S. president Bush in Washington and Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper within a space of five weeks beginning in September 2007. A few months later, on the 49th anniversary of the 1959 uprising, the orgy of anti-Chinese rioting led by Buddhist lamas in Lhasa was followed by coordinated actions in Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan provinces. This was a counterrevolutionary provocation by the Dalai Lama and the imperialists, and the ICL opposed it.

The bureaucracy’s policies of conciliating the Dalai Lama on the one hand, and the anti-proletarian, anti-cultural, fake “class struggle” of the Cultural Revolution on the other also helped to lay the basis for this reactionary revolt. In The Revolution Betrayed Trotsky wrote: “From the point of view of socialist forms of society, the policy of the bureaucracy is striking in its contradictions and inconsistencies. But the same policy appears very consistent from the standpoint of strengthening the power of the new commanding stratum.”

The common thread is that the bureaucracy’s policies are mired in nationalism, the false ideology of a petty-bourgeois bonapartist caste that vacillates between the pressures of world imperialism and fear of the proletariat. An example of CCP bonapartism run amok was the announcement in August 2007 that reincarnation in Tibet is banned without government permission. This could be described as bureaucratic atheism.

China and Revolutionary Internationalism

It is vital for the Chinese proletariat to combat the Han chauvinism of the Stalinist bureaucracy and oppose all discrimination against Tibetans, the Muslim Uighurs of Xinjiang and all other national and ethnic minorities. The bureaucracy’s opposition to international revolution, based on the nationalist program of “socialism in one country” and its corollary, “peaceful coexistence,” deeply undercuts the defense of the deformed workers state. Tibet’s fate is tied to the fate of the Chinese Revolution, which in turn is dependent on the international revolution, especially in the imperialist centers.

The massive strikes and protests by Chinese workers and peasants that happen on a regular basis underscore the sharpening contradictions in China. Recently, there are reports that the legal right to strike may be reinstated, showing that the bureaucracy indeed rules in fear of the largest industrial proletariat in the world. We stand for trade unions in China free of the bureaucracy’s control and based on defense of the workers state. Unconditional military defense of China against counterrevolution is also in the vital class interest of the international proletariat, not least in the U.S. As James Cannon, the founder of American Trotskyism, taught us about the former Soviet Union, the best and only thing that can save China in the end is the international revolution of the proletariat. In order to regenerate the workers state, we stand for the overthrow of the bureaucracy by a political revolution.

The reformist opponents of revolutionary Marxism preach that capitalism can be reformed, and socialism is a pipedream. This is a defense of the capitalist status quo. A decade and a half ago, the International Socialist Organization, Socialist Action and their ilk cheered on the counterrevolutions that destroyed the Soviet Union and the deformed workers states of East and Central Europe, which brought unparalleled immiseration, particularly for women. They have a share of responsibility for that world-historic defeat. Other groups, for example the Workers World Party (WWP), politically supported the Stalinist bureaucracies who sold out the workers states to imperialism.

In June 1989, WWP denounced the incipient political revolution in China’s Tiananmen Square as “counterrevolutionary” and supported its bloody repression. (Its split-off group, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, has the same position.) In May of that year, organized workers contingents started to participate in the Tiananmen protests, which had begun among student youth. The threat of a general strike led the CCP to declare martial law, but for two weeks this was not implemented by the army.

As governmental authority in Beijing evaporated, workers groups began to take on responsibility for public safety, taking over essential services like transporting food and other vital necessities. A group of PLA generals sent a letter of protest to Deng Xiaoping. The army was politically splitting—not horizontally, as happens in a social revolution where the ranks split from the officers, but vertically, an aspect of the bureaucracy collapsing. Other troops loyal to Deng were finally brought in and crushed the rebellion. The Chinese proletariat needed—but did not have—a revolutionary leadership that could have led decisive action at a critical moment in history. The job of a vanguard party is to prepare for such moments.

The events in China directly impacted the mass upsurge against bureaucratic rule in East Germany (the DDR) that began later that year, which also posed pointblank the need for a Leninist party to lead the fight for the rule of workers and soldiers councils. The ICL, in our most significant intervention, fought for the revolutionary reunification of Germany—workers political revolution in the DDR combined with socialist revolution in West Germany. The power of our Trotskyist program was shown in East Berlin on 3 January 1990 when our comrades addressed a quarter-million-strong demonstration called to honor the Soviet Red Army soldiers who liberated the DDR from the Nazis. We initiated the call for this mobilization, which was taken up by the ruling Stalinists because they feared how our program had resonated among the East Berlin workers and felt compelled to mobilize their base. In the end, the Moscow and East Berlin Stalinists surrendered the DDR to the West German imperialists. As we wrote in our journal Spartacist ([English-language edition] No. 47-48, Winter 1992-93), “although shaped by the disproportion of forces, there was in fact a contest between the ICL program of political revolution and the Stalinist program of capitulation and counterrevolution.”

Today, the same fake-left groups who backed the forces of counterrevolution in the USSR and East Europe tail the CIA-backed movement for an independent Tibet. They are actually to the right of the Dalai Lama, who says he is for “cultural autonomy” within China! While the American RCP claims that capitalism has been restored in China, the ISO claims China has always been capitalist.

The group called the “Bolshevik Tendency” (BT), which occasionally claims to defend China, argues that “a revolutionary government in China would signal its willingness to coexist with Tibet’s traditional ruling caste” as long as the latter “retain popular support” (1917, 2004).

Mao tried a similar conciliationist policy in the 1950s when the Dalai Lama was in Tibet, which helped to foster the counterrevolutionary uprising in 1959. The BT’s call for “coexistence” with the lamas dovetails with the “Free Tibet” machinations of the imperialists and their social-democratic lackeys. No less than the groups who denounce China as capitalist, the BT in its own small way aids the cause of pro-imperialist counterrevolution in China.

The CCP under Mao in the 1950s effectively pursued a nationalist policy of “one country, two systems” in Tibet. Today it pursues this policy toward Taiwan, especially since the March election victory there of the Guomindang, the party of counterrevolution. The ICL fights for the program of revolutionary reunification of Taiwan with the mainland—for socialist revolution on the island, as well as the expropriation of Hong Kong capitalists, and proletarian political revolution on the mainland. We fight for new October Revolutions in the capitalist world.

From the imperialist occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan to the incarceration of masses of black youth; from the global food crisis to poverty in capitalist America and environmental degradation throughout the world: the only way to resolve these problems and eliminate the scarcity that condemns hundreds of millions to hunger and early death is to rid the world of the capitalist system and establish an international planned economy based on collectivized property. The ICL fights for a revolutionary historical perspective: for the communism of Lenin and Trotsky’s Bolsheviks and the reforging of the Fourth International, party of the world revolution!