Month: November, 2017
“Eradicating the Bacillus”
worker | November 30, 2017 | 9:03 pm | Analysis, Imperialism, Jeremy Corbyn, socialism, USSR, V.I. Lenin | Comments closed

- by Greg Godels is available at:

“Eradicating the Bacillus”

Thursday, November 30, 2017

“Eradicating the Bacillus”
In the US, the last few months have seen a host of celebratory salutes to, tributes to, and commentaries on the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Serious research and thought were reflected in many, reminding us of both the sacrifices and achievements made by the workers of many nationalities who established the first sustained workers’ state, the USSR. Authors and speakers touched on many aspects of the Revolution and its rich legacy of fighting for socialism and ending imperialism.
Needless to say, little (or none?) of the victories of twentieth century socialism spawned by the Russian Revolution found its way into the monopoly media; the fete for the Bolshevik Revolution was held on alternative websites, by small circulation journals, and in small meeting halls and venues. This would neither surprise nor disappoint Vladimir Lenin; rather, it would conjure memories of the difficult and stubborn work of the small, often disputatious Russian Social Democratic Party in the years leading up to the revolutions of 1905 and 1917.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that the mainstream capitalist media had no commentary on the Russian Revolution. They did.
And it was relentlessly and uniformly negative. No warm words of any kind were spared for Russian workers of 1917 and their cause. In fact, in a year when the media and its wealthy and powerful collaborators decided to resurrect the spectre of Soviet Russia in a new, hysterical anti-Russia campaign, moguls mounted a lurid, anti-Communist campaign unseen since the Cold War.
The New York Times unleashed their rabid neo-McCarthyite commentator (Communism Through Rose-Colored Glasses), Bret Stephens, to spew his venom and unsparingly and gratuitously denounce anyone that he could even remotely connect with the Revolution, from those wearing “Lenin or Mao T-shirts” to Lillian Hellman. Progressives, Jeremy Corbyn, and, predictably, Bernie Sanders are condemned, part of the “bacillus” yet to be “eradicated,” to reference his clumsy, vulgar paraphrase of Winston Churchill. They, like any of us who find any merit at all in the Soviet experience, are “fools, fanatics, or cynics.”
Then there was the nutty Masha Gessen– the favorite of NPR’s resident bootlicker to wealthy patrons, Scott Simon– who analyzes the Soviet experience in a strange brew of mysticism and psycho-babble. Even The Wall Street Journal reviewer of her new book (The Future is History) concedes that she “puts forth a[n]… argument full of psychospeak about ‘energies’ and an entire society succumbing to depression.” He goes on: “She begins with the dubious assertion that one of Soviet society’s decisive troubles derived from the state prohibition against sociology and psychoanalysis, which meant the society ‘had been forbidden to know itself.’”
“Dubious” assertion? Or whacky assertion?
But Gessen will always be remembered for embracing the term “Homo Sovieticus,” a term that will undoubtedly prove attractive to those mindlessly active in the twitter universe.
For reviewing Gessen’s book, reviewer Stephen Kotkin had the favor returned with a glowing review in The Wall Street Journal of his book, Stalin: Waiting for Hitler 1929-1941. Joshua Rubenstein– himself the author of another catalogue of Stalin’s evil, The Last Days of Stalin— engages the usual verbal histrionics: “despotism,” “violent and catastrophic,” “ruthlessness and paranoia,” “draconian,” “remarkable cruelty,” “calamitous,” “crimes,” “ideological fanaticism.” These, and other shrill descriptions, pile up in a mere ten paragraphs. Rubenstein clearly reveals his anti-Soviet bias when he describes Soviet aid and assistance to the elected Spanish anti-fascist government in 1936 as an “intervention.” The interveners were the Italian and German fascists; the Soviets were, unlike the Western “democracies,” the only opponents of intervention.
Kotkin’s service to the WSJ and the anti-Soviet cause were rewarded with a long op-ed piece in the Journal in the weekend Review section (November 4-5, 2017). The Princeton and Stanford professor tackled the topic, The Communist Century, with great vigor. He sets the tone with the dramatic claim that …communism has claimed at least 65 million lives, according to the painstaking research of demographers.”
The victims-of-Communism numbers game was elaborated and popularized by Robert Conquest, a writer whose career overlapped on numerous occasions with the Cold War propaganda efforts of the UK Information Research Department, the US CIA, and the CIA’s publishing fronts. Conquest owned the estimate of 20 million deaths from the Soviet purges of the late 1930s. At the height of the Cold War, this astounding figure met no resistance from “scholars” at elite universities. Indeed, every schoolgirl and schoolboy in the crazed, rabid 1950s “knew” of the tens of millions of victims of Stalin’s purges.
Unfortunately for Conquest (though he never acknowledged it) and the many lemming-like academic experts, the post-Soviet archives revealed that his numbers were vastly inflated. In fact, they had no relationship whatsoever to the actualities of that nonetheless tragic period.
Kotkin’s claimed 65 million victims of Communist misdeeds should, accordingly, be taken with less than a grain of salt, though it is curiously and mysteriously well below the endorsed estimate of his mentor, Martin Malia. Malia, the author of the preface to the infamous Black Book of Communism (1994), endorsed that sensationalized book’s claim that 94 million lives were lost to Communism. Some contributors to the Black Book retracted this claim, noting that it was arrived at by an obsession with approaching the magic number of 100 million victims. They subsequently “negotiated” (or manufactured) a tally between 65 and 93 million. Such is the “rigor” of Soviet scholarship at elite universities.
Kotkin, like most other anti-Communist crusaders, gives away the numbers endgame, the purpose behind blaming uncountable victims upon Communism. For the arch-enemies of Communism like Conquest and the participants in the Black Book, it is imperative that Communism be perceived as equally evil with or more evil than Nazism and fascism. This charge of moral equivalence is targeted at the liberals who might view Communism as a benign ally in the defense of liberal values or social reforms. No one has done more to promote this false equivalency than Yale professor Timothy Snyder with his shoddy, ideologically driven book, Bloodlands.
Of course, the Washington Post also has its resident guardians of anti-Soviet dogma in Marc Thiessen and the incomparable Anne Applebaum. Applebaum has enjoyed a meteoric career from graduate student to journalist covering Eastern European affairs to the widely acknowledged leader of anti-Soviet witch-hunters. Her marriage to an equally anti-Communist Polish journalist-turned-politician further strengthened her role as the hardest charging of the hard-charging professional anti-Communists. Her consistent work denouncing everything Soviet has earned her a place on the ruling class Council of Foreign Relations and the CIA’s “active measure,” the National Endowment for Democracy.
She “celebrated” the Bolshevik Revolution on November 6 with a several-thousand-word Washington Post essay raising the feverish alarm of a return of Bolshevism (100 years later, Bolshevism is back. And we should be worried.) Applebaum repeats a favorite theme of the new generation of virulent anti-Communists: the events of November 1917 were a coup d’etat and not a revolution. Of course, this claim is hard to square with another favorite theme– the Bolsheviks numbered only two to ten thousand followers. How do you reconcile such a tiny group “overthrowing” the government and the security forces of the fourth most populated empire in the world?
The Bolsheviks lied. Lenin was a liar. Trotsky was a liar. “So were his comrades. The Bolsheviks lied about the past… and they lied about the future, too. All through the spring and summer of 1917, Trotsky and Lenin repeatedly made promises that would never be kept.” Further, Lenin’s henchmen used the “tactics of psychological warfare that would later become their trademark” to mesmerize the population. That same easily charmed population was to later fight for socialism against counter-revolutionary domestic reaction and foreign intervention in a bloody five-year war (1917-1922), the same supposedly easily tricked population that laid down their arms and refused to fight for the Czar or his “democratic” successors. This neat picture of perfidy surely exposes a belief in both superhuman, mystical powers possessed by Lenin and an utter contempt for the integrity and intelligence of the Russian masses.
But it is not really the historical Bolsheviks who are Applebaum’s target, but today’s “neo-Bolsheviks.”
And who are the “neo-Bolsheviks”?
For Ms. Applebaum, they are everyone politically outside of her comfortable, insular world of manners and upper-middle class conservatism. First and foremost, she elects to smear the social democrats in Spain and Greece, along with Jeremy Corbyn, who may consider “bringing back nationalization.” Similarly, their US counterparts “on the fringes of the Democratic Party” (Bernie Sanders!) are condemned because they embrace “a dark, negative version of American history” and “spurn basic patriotism and support America’s opponents, whether in Russia or the Middle East.” (Sadly, my social democratic friends will likely not allow these ravings to shake their confidence in Applebaum’s equally inane pronouncements on Communism.)
But the “neo-Bolsheviks” exist on the right as well! She identifies them as those rightists who “scorn Christian Democracy, which had its political base in the church and sought to bring morality back to politics…” “If some of what these extremists [on the right] say is to be taken seriously, their endgame– the destruction of the existing political order, possibly including the U.S. Constitution– is one that the Bolsheviks would have understood.” In Applebaum’s bizarre world, there are Bolsheviks of both the left and right lurking under our beds! Safety is only found in the bosom of Christian democracy, that post-war artifact cobbled together by the Western powers to counter the parliamentary rise of Communism.
The anti-Communist graffiti artists, the professional defacers of the Soviet legacy, are legion. Books and commentaries by others, like Victor Sebestyen, Serhii Plokhy, Douglas Smith, Svetlana Alexievich, Amy Knight, and Catherine Merridale, join the authors reviewed here in churning out new grist for the anti-Communist, anti-Soviet mill.
With many Soviet sources now available, the practice of Cold War defamation has become a riskier business, an enterprise possibly bringing embarrassment to the most outrageous fabricators. Accordingly, the most sophisticated among the new generation of Cold Warriors have turned in a new direction: the 1930s famines in then Soviet Ukraine. With little risk of exposure and eager cooperation from the virulently anti-Communist, extreme nationalists now installed to govern Ukraine, they have started a new victim-numbers race to rally the cause of anti-Communism, a new narrative of Red wickedness.
Applebaum is right about one thing. There is evil in the air.
But it is the vicious slander of everything Red, especially the legacy of the Soviet Union.
Greg Godels (Zoltan Zigedy)
European Communist Initiative: On the intensification of the militarization and aggressiveness of the EU
worker | November 30, 2017 | 8:52 pm | Analysis, Imperialism, Party Voices | Comments closed

Friday, December 1, 2017

European Communist Initiative: On the intensification of the militarization and aggressiveness of the EU
The EU, the NATO and the bourgeois governments of their member-states are engaged in an escalating arms race and in the development of military plans and preparations, which pose a serious danger for the peoples.
These developments reflect the contradictions among the governments within the EU and NATO as well as their contradictions with other imperialist centers and rival powers which are focused on the control of hydrocarbons and energy pipelines in the Middle East, in Northern Africa, in Eastern Mediterranean and other regions.
This process, which concerns the capitalist profits and the division of the market shares, poses a great danger for people’s peace and security, although it is carried out allegedly in the name of the peoples. The EU, as an imperialist union, is reinforcing its militarization. Guided by its “Global Strategy” and the White Paper on Defense it has established the European Defense Union and the related Fund while at the same time it has reinforced the systematic supervision of the promotion of armaments by the member-states through the Coordinated Annual Review on Defense (CARD).
In the same framework, the EU is promoting military forces and formations aiming at the creation of an “EU army” such as the permanent structured cooperation (PESCO), the battle groups, the inter-groups either in competition with the US and NATO, or in cooperation with them, serving in each case the interests of the European monopolies.
In view of these dangerous developments the peoples must be organized and prepared, they must be vigilant and strengthen their struggle against the adventurous military plans, the interventions and the wars of the bourgeois governments and the imperialist organizations such as the EU and NATO.
The European Communist Initiative:
-Calls on the peoples to condemn the bourgeois governments of their countries which promote the reinforcement of armaments, the upgrading, the extension and the increase of US, NATO and EU military bases in their countries as well as the various concessions to them for the implementation of the imperialist plans against the peoples.
-To strengthen the struggle against the EU, the NATO and all imperialist alliances.
-We struggle for the right of the peoples to choose independently their own path of development, including the right to disengage from the EU and NATO. We intensify our struggle for socialism which is necessary and timely.
Interview with Marco Rizzo, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Italy (PC)

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Interview with Marco Rizzo, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Italy (PC)
The General Secretary of the Communist Party of Italy (Partito Comunista), Marco Rizzo, gave a very interesting interview to the International Communist Press:
ICP: Before starting, could you inform our readers about the discussions within the Italian Communist Movement that led to the founding of your party, the Communist Party of Italy?
Marco Rizzo: The ideological and political origins of our Party refer to the political area of ​​the legendary organizer of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) during the Resistance, Pietro Secchia, who was an opponent of Togliatti for what concerned its moderatism according to the “Italian Way to Socialism”. This area kept living through the magazine Interstampa and the Marxist Cultural Centers, born in Italy during the ‘80s. This area was, in fact, the backbone of the struggle of the pro-Soviet opposition within the PCI and the establishment of the new party, Rifondazione Comunista, after the PCI dissolution in 1991.
During the first period of Rifondazione Comunista, that area always supported the struggle to keep the communist question open in Italy. At that time, unfortunately, took up the political deviation, embodied by Bertinotti and his total abjuration of communist history and tradition. In 1998, after the final break between Cossutta and Bertinotti, that area played a major role in the birth of the Party of the Italian Communists (PdCI).
The war in Kosovo (which I tirelessly and in vain tried to oppose to, subsequently practicing a severe self-critique over that period) marks the beginning of the cracking of the relationship between me and those political leaders.
Our political area – the only one critical in the national secretariat of the PdCI – claims the need to review the relationship with the center-left government (which the PdCI was involved to) and to work for the unity of Communist and anti-capitalist forces, in a totally alternative perspective to the bipolar logic of the Second Republic. In fact, we had built an area for all the communist dissatisfaction with the center-left government and the so-called leftist unitary process.
On July 3, 2009, we announced the founding of the Popular Leftist Communist (CSP) political movement, a party whose aim was to rally the communists on the basis of their presence in the actual social conflicts.
Meanwhile, the economic crisis breaks out makes in Europe. In May 2010 CSP responded to the call of the Greek Communist Party (KKE). From that moment on, the relationships between CSP and KKE intensify more and more. On January 21, 2012, the party decides to modify its symbol by adding the words “Partito Comunista” under the sickle and hammer. On 6 April 2013, the European Communist Parties, Marxist-Leninist, were called in Rome; among others, the Greek Communist Party, the Communist Party of Peoples of Spain (PCPE), the Russian Communist Party (PCOR), the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), respond to the appeal. The Committee also participates in the Communist- Youth Front (FGC).
In Brussels on October 1, 2013, CSP-Communist Party participates in the assembly of the Communist Party of Europe convened by the Greek Communist Party. From the assembly will be born the “Initiative of Communist and Workers’ Parties”, which thus officially sanctions international cooperation with a document signed by 29 communist parties.
With the congress of 17/18/19 January 2014, the COMUNIST PARTY revives in Italy.
On 21st and 22nd January 2017 was hold in Rome the second National Congress of the Communist Party, with the renewed unanimous election of the outgoing leaders of the Party.
ICP: The communist movement in Italy has a very long and honored past. During the decades full of struggles he witnessed brilliant victories, as well as devastating defeats. Have the weaknesses that led to the liquidation were examined and understood by communists and avant-garde workers? Today, what are the main lessons stemming from this story? Can you tell us something by taking examples?
MR: The situation when Palmiro Togliatti headed the PCI after the Resistance was undeniably adverse to the possibility of “starting the revolution” in Italy. In 1944, the PCI, with the North of the country occupied by the Nazi-Germans and their Fascist servants and the South “freed” by the Anglo-Americans, worked to marginalize the positions of those who wanted to delegate the liberation of Italy to the allied armies and, on the contrary, tried to involve the popular masses in the anti-fascist struggle, even military. This “temporary compromise”, however, lost its character of transience and ended in obscuring revolutionary goals relating to the issue of the State and the conquest of political power, which is pivotal for the Communists. We believe that deviations from the revolutionary path originated from many flawed assessments of the situation by Togliatti and part of the PCI leadership group.
Once the Fascist state has been defeated, it was to be replaced with a new type of State, not the simple re-issue of the old liberal state. All the States that came out of the war and of the Resistance had not a well-defined shape, the power was not firmly and definitively in the hands of any of the two classes. The battle for institutional arrangements in Italy was still on the way. During the Resistance, the PCI grew a lot, becoming the first popular party and counting 2,5 million members. The National Liberation Committees (CLN) could become, as a broad popular front, the basis of a new state and replace the old state. But in May 1947, left-wing parties were excluded from the coalition government. Regarding the lack of adequate conditions for a proletarian revolution, Pietro Secchia, at that time organizational responsible of the PCI, wisely noticed (for those times a statement like those sounded like a very criticism): “there is a huge gap between doing an insurrection and doing nothing …”. It is clear that the statement was directed to Togliatti’s policy, who chose the institutional path as a strategic line since 1944, while the experience of popular government of the CLN could have provided other perspectives. The new policy, suggested by Cominform, is brought in Italy at the Sixth Congress of the Party (January 1948). The political relation is strongly self-critical and “it recall the criticism that came from outside”. Neither after the lockout from the government, nor after the attack on Togliatti’s life, in July 1948, PCI tried to force the situation. The tactical and evaluation mistakes of Togliatti and the majority of the PCI leadership group of those years are understandable only in the light of this analysis, and not simply as betrayal. The first mistake was the a-priori acceptance of the forms of bourgeois democracy.
The second mistake, consequent to the first, was the magnification of the compromise, which would have been temporary and limited to the period of belligerence, until the final acceptance of bourgeois democracy and institutions as the only ground of struggle. We believe that the causes of these two deviations must be identified in the overestimation of the party’s ability to resolve the power duality in favor of the proletariat by acting primarily on the slippery ground of bourgeois parliamentary democracy and, on the other hand, the underestimation of the strength of the party and its ability to resist and deter any reactionary action on the ground of mass struggles, where it was most conspicuous, that never diminished, even during clandestine and armed struggle.
The story of the following years shows that the Italian bourgeoisie, which became the absolute holder of state power in 1947, uses it with the open purpose of bending the working class and of undoing and putting the Communist Party on the corner. In this political situation, the PCI was limited to defending its right to the existence and the “democratic” legality, incapable to counterattack in an incisive manner. Over the years, the fetish of unity has always spoiled the debate about line and program, causing divergences to appear in muted, hidden, muffled forms, never seen as contrasts of principle, in an erroneous application of democratic centralism, only aimed to perpetuate the ruling groups. Thousands of militants, who devoted their lives to the Cause, had more and more serious difficulty to understand and act.
On the other hand, it is undeniable that the PCI played a decisive role in the conquest of workers’ rights in the aftermath of WWII. It improved their living and working conditions. It achieved significant rights on the social and economic life. After the war, there was considerable economic and political room for a reformist politic, thanks to the balance of the international forces between socialist countries and imperialist countries. The PCI was able to use them successfully for the benefit of the working class and the workers, but was unable to link these achievements with the political goal of the seizure of power. It behaved like a good social-democratic party, but a revolutionary party should look like something different: a truly communist party that, always keeping in mind the existing strength correlations, keeps the push towards the ultimate goal unchanged. Certainly, the PCI accumulated in that long time an immense and qualified heritage, made of militancy, passion and honest human relationships, which made it the most precious heritage, unfortunately betrayed and subsequently dissipated.
ICP: After the dissolution of the Italian Communist Party (PCI), which was once the largest communist party in Europe, what is the state of the art of the communist movement in Italy today? Is there still a significant presence of the current Eurocommunist and opportunistic stream?
MR: After the dissolution of the PCI, many branches were derived from Rifondazione Comunista. In addition to that of the PdCI and then, from that one, our Party, there was a right-wing split of “Left, Ecology and Freedom”, now melt down to a cauldron of the Democratic Party. This last stream cannot even be called “opportunistic” or “revisionist”, given its abyssal distance from Marxism. It participates in the power distribution at central and local levels, as PD allows it to.
On the left wing, we find an organization which has resumed the historical name of the PCI and which inherited, in our view, the traits of electoralism, pushed by their desire to “unite the left” (not better specified). It magnifies Berlinguer’s character, more as a personal and political reference, focusing on the less compromising moments of his political experience. It looks carefully, even with admiration, at the Chinese and BRICS experience, considering it as an example of “class struggle between nations”, which, in our view, reveals a flawed understanding of Leninism. There are, as many other countries, other fringes, selfish Marxist-Leninists of Maoist inspiration, and small Trotskyite ones. All of these organizations, however, do not be really rooted in the working class and limit their diatribe to crumpled debates in narrow circles.
ICP: Are you planning to restore one day the historical name of the Italian communist movement? Or should we ask: How far are you thinking about achieving this?
MR: For political reasons we will keep the present name. We want to separate us from the historical name of the PCI, which was changed from the historical one of Gramsci, Communist Party of Italy (PCd’I) in 1943, because we intend to represent a real break with regard to Togliatti’s and Berlinguer’s politics. We could resume the glorious name of the PCd’I, but we believe that the name we have assumed at the present represents our identity at best (even if sometimes it poses some identification problem). One day, we would like to add to our name an additional statement: “Italian Section of the Communist International”
ICP: How do you evaluate your political influence and your organization to date? Can you give us some examples of PC-Italy-led fights?
MR: Our country has to re-establish the presence of communists in the workplace from the roots. The goal is a difficult one because, in addition to the destruction of the Italian Communist Party, we have also witnessed the degeneration of the trade union movement. In Italy, the historic CGIL, the pugnacious trade union once led by PCI, currently fully manages the power jointly with bourgeois forces. There are several trade unions in Italy, including very few with a (more or less) class ideology. Anyway, they are divided into various political currents: the class movement is very backward. Our Party has long promoted the “United Front of Workers”, to unite the struggles of workers, especially those based on political attacks and not just merely defensive ones. We work in the trade unions to support the most coherent areas. We struggle in some workplaces to build the party in there. We work with youth, relying on the Communist Youth Front, with whom we experience an ideological and political unity. We work in some popular neighborhoods to regain the political spaces left abandoned by the left and to reject the rampant racist right-wing derives.
ICP: We see there is a very active and militant youth organization called the Communist Youth Front (FGC), founded by your young militants. What do young Italians think about communism? Young people are interested in politics?
MR: The Communist Youth Front is a distinct organization with respect to the PC, but we recognize it as a coherent Marxist-Leninist youth organization and it recognizes us as the organization that is rebuilding the party of the working class in Italy. We have a solid organizational pact, transposed in our respective statutes and an identical ideological vision.
The FGC has been working hard and meritorious for some years to overturn the wave of ideological disorientation that overwhelms young Italians, workers and students of the popular strata. Their work of ideological and political education is precious and makes us look to the future with hope. Today, the bourgeoisie’s victory on the ideological front tries to exclude the communist issue even from the debate, to bury the memory once and for all, so many young people have never even heard of communism. The interest in politics of young people today is very scarce, because they are nauseated by rampant politicians, and so many of them are often prey of false sirens, like the “Five Star Movement” (Movimento 5 Stelle). The FGC penetration in schools, especially technical schools, and among young workers, serves to reverse this trend. For example, in Milan the FGC has won the student elections in upper secondary schools (15-19 years) for the second consecutive year and a FGC representative has been elected President of the Student “Consulta”. Similar successes occur in other parts of the country, where the FGC acquires growing reputation and accessions, as it’s highlighted by its electoral success.
ICP: What struggles are you focusing on these days?
We work to be present in the major class conflicts, such as, for example, the ILVA factory (one of the leading steel industries in Europe), from Genova to Taranto, which is about to fire more than 4,000 workers.
Another very important fight involved the transportation strike, which paralyzed Italy last month and where our militants have spent a lot of energies. Other struggles, in logistics, in healthcare, in other manufacturing companies, see the presence of first-rate communists. One of the struggles to which a peripheral organization of the party has committed during last weeks, has been a mass campaign in a popular neighborhood in Rome to isolate the intervention of xenophobic fascists against foreigners and refugees. There have been demonstrations that have seen a great deal of citizens alongside our militants.
In such occasions, our Party always tries to recall the classical nature of fascism and to tie the anti-fascist struggle to the anti-capitalist one.
Another activity carried out by our Party is the defense of the communist historical heritage and the ideological counterattack against anti-communism, which also rages in Italy.
During the summer we also held numerous “communist parties”, like every year, to make our Party more and more known; and this year the theme of the Centenary of October was the starting point for debates to link it to the tight news.
This year was also characterized by mass internationalist demonstrations organized by our Party in Rome; the first we made on March 25, on the occasion of the anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. We also organized an internationalist event (with the KKE and the PCPE to which various communist parties in Europe joined) and then with the participation in the rally that took place in Sicily in May against the G8 organized in Taormina. Last but not least, on November 11 in Rome, our Party and the FGC held an important mass rally with the participation of more than 5,000 militants under the slogan “It’s your Revolution” to transform a simple commemoration into a fight act and to tie the memory of the past to today’s tasks.
ICP: Italy is at the center of the issue of refugees. There are tens of thousands of refugees arriving in your country every year and there are some discussions about the borders between neighboring countries and Italy. Can you explain your position on this issue? What kind of actions do you make to strengthen solidarity with the refugees?
MR: The action of our Party is first of all aimed at denouncing the “war among poor people” (or “robbing Peter to pay Paul”) caused by the constant flow of refugees in Italy and to contrast the consequent xenophobic wave that arises from that. We recall that the problem could only be resolved by interrupting the imperialistic and exploitation wars in the Third and Fourth World countries, resulting in the use of a large number of workers, without rights, as a “Reserve army of labour”. We promote the slogan “equal work with equal salary”, which unifies the workers’  front and opposes all divisions: between different races and cultures, gender, age, etc.
Then, as we have already mentioned, where we are more present, as in Rome, we are taking mass action to support the reasons of refugees but also those of Italian citizens, claiming the right to home and work for all, recalling that it could be possible in a socialist society but not a capitalist one.
We oppose to the bourgeois left focused only on the so-called “individual rights”, remembering that without social rights sustaining them, civil rights are worthless and useless.
We are also in close relationships with foreign workers’ communities and support them in their difficult struggle here in Italy.
We would also like to have a more intense humanitarian action, but the economic and human resources conditions of our Party urge us to focus more on political and ideological facts than deploying a concrete humanitarian action, although we recognize that this is also an important and necessary field of intervention.
Fidel Castro, ¡presente! Thousands gathered at the University of Havana to honour the Comandante
worker | November 29, 2017 | 6:36 pm | Cuba, Fidel Castro | Comments closed

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Fidel Castro, ¡presente! Thousands gathered at the University of Havana to honour the Comandante

Thousands of people gathered at the University of Havana in order to pay their respect to Comadante Fidel Castro, on the one years since his death. Report from Granma International.

Once again the historic guerilla brought together a multitude of grateful youth. Once again he showed us the right way, with his index finger pointing to the future. In a cultural-political act at the University of Havana’s historic Grand Staircase – where he spoke to students on many occasions – the generation in which he placed all his trust, gathered one year after his passing, to show that Fidel has not left, and that today, he is more present than ever. 

Accompanied by José Ramón Machado Ventura, second secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee; Party Political Bureau members Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, and Mercedes López Acea, a Council of State vice president, the hearts of Cuba’s youth throbbed with every song sung that evening, and with the images recalling Fidel’s life-long connection with the new generations. 
“I am Fidel,” “We hear him, we feel him, Fidel is present!” were the phrases chanted by the multitude of youth gathered on the same steps Fidel climbed every morning in his conquest for knowledge, to commemorate the day that the eternal youth began his journey into eternity; same day 60 years before when he and other expeditionaries set sail on the Granma yacht to free Cuba.
Leading that expedition, “the man that taught us to be, the leader par excellence, Marti’s loyalist follower, our comrade in the struggle” as President of the National Organizing Committee of the Federation of Secondary School Students, Niuvys Garcés described him; Fidel, the man who transcended “the borders of his time” to “live forever among is people.” 
“That’s how we feel you Fidel, more present and alive (…) Every day you call on us to attack the Moncada Garrisons, to be the Granma yacht expeditionaries, to ask ourselves what we must improve in order to be outstanding students (…) how to love our history more and defend our homeland under any circumstance.”

During the ceremony, which also saw the participation of Olga Lidia Tapia, a member of the Party Central Committee Secretariat, and Susely Morfa González, first secretary of the Young Communist League (UJC) National Committee, the young student noted that everyday Cubans must think “what would he (Fidel) do if he was here,” and reflect on his concept of the true essence of Revolution.
Because, as Raúl Palmero, President of the Federation of University Students (FEU), “the giant” left us a noble nation and redefined the role of youth; he transformed all of Cuba into a university, and gave us the greatest gift of all: “an independent homeland built with pride and which will never surrender.”

Palmero went on to recall a message sent by the Comandante en Jefe to the FEU on January 26, 2015, in which he “warned that imperialism cannot be trusted,” and in so doing, the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution supplied students with weapons and the truth, “like just another classmate.” 

The poem Canto a Fidel, in addition to songs which have become narratives of the Revolution, such as “La Bayamesa,” “La Era,” “Mi historia crecerá,” “Cualquier lugar es mi tierra,” “14 verbos de junio,” and “Cabalgando con Fidel,” were just some of the musical offerings presented during the ceremony, which also saw performances by Trova singers Raúl Torres, Eduardo Sosa, Annie Garcés and Vicente Feliú; as well as groups like the Jazz Band, Arnaldo Rodríguez y su Talismán, Moncada and La Colmenita; the company Tiempos and actor Alden Knight, among others. 
The ceremony was also attended by the heads of the ministries of Education and Culture, Ena Elsa Velázquez Cobiella and Abel Prieto Jiménez, respectively; senior officials of the UJC, youth movements and other guests.
Irma Thomas Ruler Of My Heart
worker | November 28, 2017 | 8:13 pm | African American Culture | Comments closed

Biggest Greek unions call general strike as bailout talks resume
worker | November 28, 2017 | 8:08 pm | Greece | Comments closed

Biggest Greek unions call general strike as bailout talks resume

Greece’s biggest labor unions have called a new general strike next month over bailout-linked austerity policies, as the government begins new talks with international creditors. The ADEDY civil servants’ union called the December 14 strike, in which private sector unions will participate, to protest against pension and salary cuts, AP reports. They will also demand pay rises and public sector hiring. The bailout program is set to end in August 2018, after which Greece must finance itself by selling government bonds. Tuesday’s talks in Athens with bailout creditors focused on energy market reforms.

Buffalo Soldiers Go To Africa | Black Agenda Report
worker | November 28, 2017 | 8:05 pm | Africa, Analysis, Imperialism | Comments closed

Buffalo Soldiers Go To Africa | Black Agenda Report

Buffalo Soldiers Go To Africa

08 Nov 2017
Buffalo Soldiers Go To Africa
Buffalo Soldiers Go To Africa

“The last thing any African in the US wants or needs is the prospect of death in pursuit of a corporate agenda in Africa.”

In black barbershops across the U.S. where old school brothers talk trash about sports and beg young bloods to either comb or shave the tops of their nappy fades, there may be little knowledge of goings-on in Africa. There is however concern and bewilderment in those shops about the death of Sgt. La David T. Johnson in Niger last month.

America’s African community is drenched with its own blood, spilled during military conflicts instigated by an empire that uses soldiers drawn from the ranks of the poor and communities of color as cannon fodder. Like the Buffalo Soldiers who were ordered to kill Indians, Johnson is but the latest to be used and killed for an agenda his people did not set. In 1965 almost 25 percent of those who died in combat in Vietnam were African-descended soldiers. In 2003 blacks accounted for nearly 20 percent of deaths in Iraq. But the poignancy and special tragedy of Johnson’s death is that it occurred in Africa, the young man’s ancestral homeland. Not only is this fact not lost on the brothers in the barbershop, the Pentagon must also have long been concerned about the implications of sending latter-day Buffalo Soldiers to Africa.

“The first person appointed to head AFRICOM was Kip Ward, a black man.”

When U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) was established nearly a decade ago, the optics of the U.S. expanding its military presence in Africa must certainly have been a primary concern. Consider the evidence. The first person appointed to head AFRICOM was Kip Ward, a black man. Also, there were determined but unsuccessful efforts made to persuade any country to host AFRICOM headquarters in Africa rather than its ultimate location in Germany. Finally, the unstated objective of AFRICOM appears to be avoidance of U.S. casualties by training and directing Africa’s armies to act as proxies that carry out combat missions to ensure that Africa remains stable and conducive to the exploitative operations of major western corporations. For that reason great care has been taken to ensure that AFRICOM is not perceived as paternalistic. Specifically, the military forces of African countries are referred to as “partners” to incorrectly imply an equal relationship between the U.S. and African governments.

The nightmare scenario for AFRICOM is that U.S. soldiers of African descent and the communities from whence they come will not only see through the illusion and become aware of how they are being used as pawns, but they will also sympathize and empathize with some of the people who have been targeted by AFRICOM operations. For example, in the early years of the 21st Century when militant activists in Nigeria fought against environmental catastrophes caused by western oil corporations by sabotaging oil company operations and driving down profits, the creation of AFRICOM followed in short order. Because Africans everywhere can understand real people who struggle against oil companies and other multi-national corporations, AFRICOM obfuscates its true aims and claims that it is fighting only “terrorists.”

“The nightmare scenario for AFRICOM is that U.S. soldiers of African descent sympathize and empathize with some of the people who have been targeted by AFRICOM operations.”

As AFRICOM has increased the presence of U.S. military forces in impoverished and exploited regions of Africa, it has likely made areas that had little to no terrorist activity increasingly attractive territories for terrorist recruitment. Be it al-Qaeda, ISIS or some other group, some experts believe it is much easier when U.S. soldiers are actually lurking nearby for terrorist groups to persuade poor communities that the source of their misery is the U.S. This was the last lesson that Sgt. Johnson and three other U.S. soldiers learned when, according to reports, non-combatant villagers likely set them up for the attack that ended their lives.

While AFRICOM might point to the killings of the four soldiers as another justification for its construction of a major drone base in Niger, others can, with good reason, suggest that fighting terrorists for the sake of fighting terrorists is not the primary purpose of that base. The base is located in Agadez, which is a few hours away from the town of Arlit, where French companies conduct major uranium mining operations. France is the United States’ primary partner in imperialist crime in Africa, and logic suggests the drone base is to protect uranium mining operations and not Africa’s people from terrorists. This means that if Sgt. Johnson’s mission was to build support among the locals for the drone base it is likely that he tragically gave his life for imperialist access to Africa’s uranium.

“The drone base is to protect uranium mining operations and not Africa’s people from terrorists.”

America’s African community has the capacity to resist the U.S. militarization of Africa by simply refusing to participate. Between the years 2000 and 2007 black enlistment in the U.S. military declined by 58 percent. The military’s own studies showed that the unpopularity of the Iraq war was the primary reason for this development. One young would-be recruit referenced the Hurricane Katrina disaster and said: “Why should we go over there and help [Iraqis] when the [U.S. government] can’t help us over here?” He added that the war is unnecessary. “It’s not our war. We got our own war here, just staying alive.”

The war to stay alive in America has not abated, and the last thing any African in the U.S. wants or needs is the prospect of death in pursuit of a corporate agenda in Africa. Building greater awareness of AFRICOM’s reality will ultimately cause young Africans born and living in the U.S. to decline invitations to follow the tragic path walked by Sgt. La David T. Johnson.

Mark P. Fancher is an attorney who periodically writes for Black Agenda Report. He can be contacted at mfancher(at)