Tag Archives: Africa

PLP Wraps Up Convention

“When you see a Palestinian Arab and Jewish worker standing side by side while saying that they need to build the Party, the bosses better be scared.” This sentiment from a PLer who spent over 40 years fighting for communism was repeated and illustrated time and time again. Comrades from India and Pakistan, Africa and the Middle East, and North and South America defied the ruler’s artificial borders and got together to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of The Progressive Labor Party’s  inexorable struggle for communism.

With hundreds and hundreds of the working class gathered to teach ourselves how to fight back and to discuss our line as illustrated in “Dark Night Shall Have Its End”, the renewing joy of working class solidarity was the vibe of the day. As our Party continues to grow in country after country, continent after continent, and defy border after border, we know that another world is in birth.

The Party’s organizing in the teeth of fascism in Ferguson was directly compared to organizing in a factory in China. The PLers from China pointed out that the corrupt government controls the unions and organizations that are supposed to help the workers. He went on to say that there are no organizations in China that are on the side of the working class except for PLP. As the PLer from China was discussing how the unions sell out the workers, a PLer from the U.S. pointed out that the unions in the U.S. were also on the side of the bosses and anti-working class. This reaffirmed our line that the we the working class have the same enemy and the same fight.

PLP’s line on the necessity of armed revolution; the need to fight sexism; the struggle against nationalism and racism; the need to build the Party; and the historically unprecedented change to a collective leadership and away from a single chairman was reaffirmed to thunderous applause.

PLP was born in the struggle against revisionism and for communism in a time when it looked like revolution was on the horizon. That horizon is much further away than we thought. What other group born during that era is still around, still growing, still fighting back, and, more importantly, led and organized by a new young generation of leaders steeled in the struggle against capitalism? The simple answer is none. The reason is the principled struggle against revisionism in order to stay firmly rooted on the road to revolution.

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Capitalism Continues to Brutalize the Working Class

Capitalism knows no bounds when it comes to hypocrisy. They lament the ruins at Palmyra that are thousands of years old and were under a severe attack by the Islamic State, yet how many tears do they shed for the thousands of migrants and refugees caused by the proxy wars raging in the Levant? The rotten fascist ideology of Islamic jihadism is spreading in Tunisia and caused promising young men to embrace it as if there was ever some kind of liberation in the mental slavery of the opiate of religion. Neither Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, nor any religion will ever liberate the working class with their anti-scientific modality of thought.

In 2011, when the world stood up and saw dictatorial structures around the Middle East topple after a young man lit himself on fire due to state repression in Tunisia, there was a lot of hope. When the strongman Mubarak was toppled in Egypt, many other well meaning people were inspired by the uprising, but The Progressive Labor Party was very clear that this was not going to be a step towards any kind of liberation for the working class. Some people even started calling it the “Jasmine Revolution” due to it aligning itself with moderate Islamic movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and lacking Communist politics. PLP was very clear that these movements were not revolutionary at all and would lead to disillusionment and dead ends for the massive protests, as they did not attack capitalism as the root problem, but, instead, fought for reforms.

PLP does not criticize these movements because we are full of doom and gloom and want to just be able to say, “I told you so” when the movements fail. It would be great if there was an easier way to get to Communism, but, as the old movements showed us, there are no shortcuts on the road to successful revolution. The impoverished masses of workers around the world are looking for answers to get out of the terrible lives and exploitation that capitalism dishes out to us daily. As they look for it, they can go either to the right or to the left. Without an armed and Communist led mass movement, there are many members of the working class that believe the fascist lies of the Jihadist movement.

So, the ruling class sheds its crocodile tears for the ruins of Palmyra and tries to talk about their KKKops getting shot, but they never mention that in 2014, 51 KKKops were killed vs. 1,100 citizens that were killed by the KKKops. The direct repression the killer kkkops dish out primarily to the Black and Hispanic sections of the working class. The working class is angry, but that anger will just be like the peasant rebellions under feudalism: raging fires out of control that do not systemically challenge the ruling class. Though the working class is angry, they can be mislead.

The PLP will continue to build an international Communist movement against racism and sexism. We will continue to build the Party regardless of the conditions that we have to live within. We are one Party that is organizing against nationalism, against oil wars, against the false consciousness and promises of religion, and against the economic system that needs the brutal exploitation of the great many in order to enrich the lives of the very few.

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Murderers Without Borders Imperialists Cloak Libyan Oil Grab with Phony ‘Humanitarianism’

Obama’s invasion of oil-rich Libya marks U.S. imperialists’ first major use of their phony “Responsibility To Protect” (RTP) excuse for waging wider wars. The RTP doctrine, adopted at a 2005 UN summit, despite China’s and Russia’s objections, eliminates capitalist national borders as obstacles to imperialist intervention. The invaders have only to assert that they’re “rescuing the locals.”

Bombing and missile raids by the U.S. (with junior partner Britain and temporary ally France) supposedly aim at saving Libya’s citizens from dictator Qaddafi, under RTP. But the wave of Mideast rebellions made U.S. rulers and their imperialist allies shaky over maintaining the oil deals they’ve made with each other and Qaddafi over past years.

Obama was very ready to allot hundreds of millions for this latest war while cutting billions from education and social service budgets, causing massive layoffs of teachers and other government workers. The initial U.S. Navy attack with 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles alone cost nearly $100 million. As of March 29, the Pentagon had spent $550 million in the first ten days.

The upsurge that spread from Tunisia to Algeria to Egypt, where thousands of workers struck for higher wages and against mass unemployment as they did in Iraq — and continues to spread throughout the region — made the oil-thirsty imperialists nervous. Therefore, the U.S.-led campaign focused on protecting the Libyan assets of oil giants Exxon Mobil, Marathon, and Occidental (U.S.); BP (U.K.); and Total (French). At this writing, NATO air strikes were helping pro-U.S. rebels seize two oil refineries and a strategic export terminal. On March 27, they captured two oil-export ports.

Of course, the U.S. chose not to “rescue” protestors in Bahrain, the base of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, and allowed its government and invading Saudi troops to kill hundreds to ward off any rebellion that might eventually threaten Saudi’s oil fields, the world’s largest.

In a March 24 article, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), U.S. imperialism’s top think-tank — bankrolled by Exxon Mobil-JP Morgan Chase — trumpets U.S.-led killing in Libya as “A New Lease on Life for Humanitarianism.” Its author, war criminal Stewart Patrick, who helped shape Afghan strategy in Bush, Jr.’s State Department, called RTP, as executed in Libya, the “biggest challenge to state sovereignty in three and a half centuries.”

Patrick was referring to Obama’s effective trashing of the long-lived 17th century Treaties of Westphalia. Those Treaties had enshrined the existence of capitalist nation states and defined invasion — the rulers’ ultimate means of sorting out differences — as war.

But today, after the demise of the old communist movement, U.S. bosses, though in decline, temporarily enjoy unequaled ability to project military force anywhere on earth. So Obama & Co. claim the RTP right to selectively invade any country, cloaked as “saviors” rather than aggressors. Patrick writes, “it [RTP] makes a state’s presumed right of non-intervention contingent on its ability and willingness to protect its citizens and threatens collective, timely, and decisive action if it does not.”

Liberal Rulers’ ‘Responsibility To
Protect’ = License to Invade and Kill

In addition to the elite, Rockefeller-backed CFR, the lethal, hypocritical “responsibility-to-protect” pretext has a champion in Human Rights Watch.  HRW, a mass organization founded and funded by billionaire swindler and Rockefeller ally George Soros, lures well-meaning people to liberal causes that aid U.S. imperialism. In a March 25 web article praising both the Libyan invasion and RTP, Human Rights Watch approved killing civilians:

“Opposing forces may attack a military target that is making use of human shields, but it is still obligated to determine whether the attack is proportionate — that is, that the expected loss of civilian life and property is not greater than the anticipated military advantage of the attack.” Oil facilities, presumably, meet the callous cost-benefit test. HRW also urges U.S. “humanitarian intervention” in Ivory Coast’s violent presidental dispute in which China and the Western imperialists back opposing sides.

U.S. Bosses in War Policy Disarray: Isolationist Tea Partiers vs. World War III Imperialists

But not all U.S. capitalists embrace Obama’s North African foray. In fact, fearing opposition from forces lacking imperialist interests (personified by Tea Partiers), Obama did not consult Congress before raining missiles on Tripoli.  More importantly, to some power brokers within the dominant imperialist wing of U.S. rulers, Libya pales beside bigger worries:

“We clearly have much more vital interests to protect in Yemen and Bahrain [neighbors of the U.S. oil empire’s cornerstone Saudi Arabia — Ed.]” says Rockefeller Brothers Fund trustee and former State Department planner Nicholas Burns. (Boston Globe, 3/22/11) But, says Burns. “We have no choice now but to lead in order to save Libya from its dictator and to redeem U.S. power, credibility, and purpose in the Middle East.”

Richard Haass, CFR president and advisor to mass murderer of Iraq War I, Colin Powell, looks even farther down the road to his masters’ ultimate requirements. On Libya, he expressed doubts (CFR website, 3/21/11) about “committing the United States to another costly foreign intervention at a moment we owe it to ourselves…to get our economic and military houses in order so we can meet our obligations at home and be prepared to meet true wars of necessity (North Korea for one) if and when they arise?” Haass speaks not so indirectly about U.S. imperialists’ needs to militarize the nation for all-out war with China (North Korea’s enabler).

Supporting oil-thirsty Pentagon-backed Libyan rebel leaders as “freedom fighters” — however courageous the rank and file is — leads down a political dead end. Rather workers must build for the ultimate destruction of the profit system that constantly produces regional resource wars, like Libya, as preludes to global inter-imperialist conflict.

That’s why PL’ers and our supporters must expose the racist exploitative profit system and its oppression at every turn, in factories and unions, among GI’s and in schools, churches and all mass organizations. More important, we must up the ante of the class struggle in these areas, escalating and leading the anti-racist fights against the ruling class and its lackey politicians.

Consequently, as the class struggle intensifies, the rulers will strike back with their state power (as they’re doing in the Mideast and in Wisconsin). This can be used still further to turn the class struggle into a “school for communism.” This means winning workers and their allies to see that the system cannot be reformed and to understand that building PLP and it’s goal of organizing a communist revolution — that will end the capitalists’ deadly dogfights and put the working class in power — is the only road to follow.

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Imperialism Program for Africa: Billions in Profits, Pennies for AIDS

PART II

(Conclusion. In our post the source of AIDS was traced to the holocaust-like poverty heaped on Africans through colonialism, forced labor and slavery, creating starvation conditions which impelled these super-oppressed people to kill apes for food, apes which–it later turned out–carried the AIDS virus.)

Starting in the 1960’s, African societies changed from colonialism to rule by indigenous nationalist or fascist rulers allied with imperialism. For example, the Belgian Congo became Zaire. Patrice Lumumba was assassinated by the CIA. They installed Mobuto, a worthy successor to King Leopold in greed and bloodthirstiness. South Africa and Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe) remained under fascist apartheid throughout this period. Armies of male migrant workers left the countryside for the newly-crowded cities, while their wives remained behind in remote rural areas. Prostitution became a major growth industry, some European companies even setting up whorehouses near their factories for their workers. A seemingly endless series of nationalist and inter-imperialist wars sent millions of soldiers and refugees all over central Africa.

Enslaved by the global market economy, conditions created by colonialism continued and worsened in “post-colonial” African societies. HIV spread like wildfire through populations ravaged by poverty, war, famine and disease. HIV spread to Europe and the U.S., and then to Haiti and Thailand, primarily through sex tourism, often child prostitution. Prostitution and dirty needles spread it to Latin America, India and Eastern Europe, centers of new epidemics. The IMF’s (International Monetary Fund) stranglehold on poor countries caused massive unemployment, promoted prostitution, imposed cutbacks in health care and education and made life-saving drugs unaffordable.

Sexism kills, just as surely as–and combined with–racism. In Africa, traditional oppression of women has meshed with new, profit-driven forms of oppression. In southern Africa, married women often don’t dare ask their husbands to wear condoms, and are pressured by relatives to stay unprotected for maximum fertility. Husbands are expected to have many sex partners while their wives are expected to be monogamous.

Some day the HIV pandemic will be known as one of imperialism’s worst crimes. Rulers in both Africa and the U.S. claim that the situation is hopeless, and that millions are doomed. Yet the money it would take to provide effective prevention and therapy now ($100 billion yearly) is only a small fraction of what imperialists spent on wars against Iraq and Vietnam. It is an even smaller fraction of the profits they’ve made from African rubber, diamonds, gold, copper, oil and slave labor. In a few countries (like Uganda and Thailand) even simple prevention campaigns have had a big impact. So building a larger movement now, that refuses to accept rules protecting the bosses’ profits, can save many more lives. Mass production and distribution of pirated anti-AIDS drugs, in collaboration with medical workers in Africa, can prevent transmission and provide treatment for millions.

A larger movement must also lead a sharp and prolonged struggle against sexism in order to transform relationships between men, women and children, ending prostitution and sex slavery. It must fight to end the super-exploitation of migrant labor. These goals can only be achieved through the revolutionary destruction of capitalism. The experience of once socialist China in eradicating prostitution, syphilis and drug addiction (which have all returned in now capitalist China) shows that revolutionary communism can, even in poor societies, solve massive public health problems.

Sources: Hahn, B.H. et al. (2000); Korber et al. (2000); Science 287: 607 Chitnis et al. (2000), AIDS Res. Hum. Retroviruses 16: 5-8; Gao et al. (1999) Nature 397: 436-441; Hooper, E.M. (1999) The River; Schoofs (2000) “The Agony of Africa” (at http://www.villagevoice.com/specials/africa) ScientificAmerican, January 2000; New York Times, 6/28/00 and 7/9/00. Recommended background: A. Hochschild King Leopold’s Ghost; W. Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa; B. Davidson, “The Black Man’s Burden: Africa and the Curse of the Nation-State”

 

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N. Africa to Mideast to Asia:Capitalism’s Survival Undercuts Workers’ Revolt; Wider Wars Loom

Tens of thousands of workers and youth are waging a political battle to overthrow U.S.-backed corrupt fascist dictators, cutting a wide swath throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Many have taken up arms and risked their lives fighting brutal attacks by the rulers’ cops and armies, whose tanks, guns and tear gas are marked “Made in USA.”

The rebels are also going on strike against the ravages of capitalism — skyrocketing food prices and massive unemployment — demanding jobs.

Unfortunately these courageous workers and youth will wind up with the same capitalist system that has produced this mass poverty and fascist conditions. What leadership that does exist is not fighting for workers’ power — communism — which would destroy the profit system and its ruling bosses. This only highlights the necessity to build the Progressive Labor Party to develop the kind of leadership that would make a fundamental change, a real revolution that would toss out the old ruling class and put the working class in power.

However, the U.S. may very well be playing both sides. While the rebellions oppose dictators backed by the U.S., their replacements might be U.S.-backed also. Some student rebels have been trained by CIA front groups on a 2008 organizing conference at Columbia University in NYC) as well as a union movement trained by the AFL-CIA.

Significantly these struggles are raging in and near the heart of U.S. rulers’ energy-based global empire, raising big questions: Will pro- or anti-U.S. bosses gain long-term advantage from the conflicts? And now that many Arab lands are, or could be, under shaky new management, how can Exxon Mobil and its Big Oil buddies hang on to critical oil fields and shipping routes?

Iran’s ayatollahs made their opportunistic aims clear by sending a pair of warships through embroiled Egypt’s Suez Canal into the Mediterranean, long controlled by the U.S. Sixth Fleet. Meanwhile, Obama & Co.’s response involves expanding the scope of liberal President Jimmy Carter oil “Doctrine”:

“An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force. (Carter’s 1980 State of the Union Address)

Today’s revolts could spread to Carter’s obvious focus, Saudi Arabia, U.S. imperialism’s most vital energy interest. So Obama’s actual and possible combat theater protecting U.S. bosses’ “vital interests” now stretches from the mountains of Pakistan across the Gulf to the North African coast. And now the U.S. military has admitted its Afghan strategy is failing, and is withdrawing from strategic areas in that country. (NY Times, 2/25)

Liberal Bosses Want 20,000 Troops for Libyan Bloodbath

Libya, where dictator Qaddafi’s thugs have killed hundreds, and Exxon and U.S. ally BP have had to suspend drilling for crude oil, is especially worrisome to U.S. rulers. The NY Times summed up these risks: “The worst-case scenario, should the rebellion topple him,…is…a failed state where Al Qaeda or other radical groups could exploit the chaos and operate with impunity.” (2/27)

Michael O’Hanlon, military expert at the liberal Brookings Institution, urged the Pentagon to prepare a ground force, contrasting Libya with U.S. inaction in the 1994 crisis in Rwanda: “It would have taken closer to 20,000 troops, or more, to do the job right. There could well be a similar requirement here.” (Brookings website, 2/25) Obama booster O’Hanlon even provides the outlines of a body count: “We could lose one of our soldiers or Marines for every 10 enemy fighters we had to take down. If Qadhafi loyalists numbered in the thousands…we could lose hundreds of U.S. troops.” O’Hanlon would no doubt recommend the same treatment for al Qaeda sympathizers in Libya.

But Saudi Arabia, as the world’s greatest petroleum source and ExxonMobil’s biggest supplier, poses far graver concerns for U.S. bosses — so grave, in fact, that they resort to code to speak about it publicly. Michael Levi, a fellow at the influential Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), funded by Rockefeller, Exxon and J.P. Morgan Chase, wrote: “If unrest actually migrated to the desert kingdom…Riyadh [Saudi’s capital] would probably impress on the world that it needed support if they didn’t want to see prices get out of control. That would be a credible threat, and could result in a very concrete set of responses”(CFR website, 2/25/11).

“Concrete response” means “invasion.” Two main groups seek to benefit from Saudi regime change: swelling ranks of unemployed youth and those capitalists not part of Saudi’s royal family, shut out of the fabulously lucrative oil racket. Osama bin Laden, a member of the latter, has united elements of both into the anti-U.S. al Qaeda.

Interestingly, Saudi’s ruling king, fearing an uprising, and to calm oil interests, just allotted $36 billion for reforms in his kingdom. But rather than “calming” the situation, those oil interests see his concerns as evidence of a further threat to the region and can very well provoke even more oil price hikes.

Top U.S. Warlord Visits Big Oil States and U.S. Bases

To hammer home the U.S. invasion vow, Admiral Mike Mullen, the U.S.’s top military chief, recently visited Kuwait on the pretense of commemorating the 20th anniversary of Desert Storm. In 1991, a U.S.-led coalition of 750,000 soldiers ousted Iraqi invaders from Kuwait. But the display of U.S. and allied firepower demonstrates Obama’s promise of a repeat performance to defend Saudi Arabia.

Covering the February 26 celebration, Stars and Stripes, the U.S. brass’s mouthpiece for GIs gushed:

“Tanks, troops, armored vehicles, helicopters and barrel-rolling [combat maneuver to elude adversaries] fighter jets…passed in formation before Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and other dignitaries including Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs in 1991, and Spain’s King Juan Carlos. It was a spectacle rarely seen in the world today. Saudi, Kuwaiti, French, British, and other troops joined the relatively small contingent of roughly 175 Americans thundering down the road.”

Saudi Arabia’s participation indicated its coming turn for potential U.S. invasion.

Powell’s presence signaled the future use of his “overwhelming force Doctrine.”  The Spanish, French and British showing demonstrates that Obama, more like the Bush, Sr. than Bush, Jr., understands the U.S. need for broad military coalitions.

Mullen landed in Kuwait after a five-day Gulf tour of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Djibouti and Bahrain. These seven states either produce vast amounts of oil or house major U.S. military bases that defend the U.S. strategic stranglehold on its distribution. A Mullen spokesman reassured Saudi king Abdullah that Obama intends to keep him on his throne:  “The aim of the 1991 Gulf War was not to democratize Kuwait.” (Agencie French Press, 2/25)

But where would U.S. rulers find the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of troops needed for a Saudi invasion that would probably draw in Iran? Restoring the draft in present circumstances remains unthinkable. Gary Hart, a leading imperialist strategist, thinks the solution for U.S. imperialists lies in tying the liberal side of the fight over workers’ rights now centered in Wisconsin to a patriotic movement that would back U.S. rulers’ war plans.

Hart was co-chairman of Clinton’s 1999 Hart-Rudman Commission that drew up blueprints for a centralized U.S. police state, while both fearing and welcoming a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Hart figures this could galvanize mass U.S. support for a Saudi invasion, just as it did for the eventual invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the latter war now the longest in U.S. history. (See box)

Opportunities to Build the PLP

The uprisings and U.S. rulers’ reactions to them offer many valuable political lessons, about which we will write in coming issues. But for now we point to the first and foremost: Don’t trust the liberal bosses.

Meanwhile, PLP members and friends must back solidarity with — participate in — any rising working-class struggles, to be in position to guide them towards the goal of workers’ power and away from the liberals’ dead-end war aims. Recent anti-government working-class resistance to ruling-class attacks, both in the U.S. and abroad, show that politics are increasingly motivating workers. This can be advanced to demonstrate the need for a communist party, the PLP, a central role for our Party in the immediate period.

Liberal Gary Hart Seeks to Turn Wisconsin Protests to U.S. War Aims

Writing about Tea Partiers trumping U.S. imperialist policy from Madison to Tripoli, imperialist strategist Hart says, “There are lessons to be learned meanwhile about the limits of …American power. The struggle here is whether we will return to a pre-New Deal America with many fewer ladders of opportunity, safety nets for the poor and elderly, and regulatory protections for consumers, workers, and the environment.” (Hart’s weblog, 2/21) Hart wants a new New Deal, with even more ladders and nets. He understands U.S. rulers’ need to somehow recreate Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. FDR ran an alphabet soup of social programs, from the militaristic CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) to the job-creating (though slave wage) WPA (Works Progress Administration). It was these, along with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, that helped overcome Tea Party-style 1930s isolationism by luring workers into the arms of a war-making government.

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U.S.-England, China Rivalry Behind Zimbabwe Turmoil

On June 29, Robert Mugabe was inaugurated for a sixth term as President of Zimbabwe. Plans for a Kenya-style solution (sharing of power among different political factions after the violent turmoil in that country in the beginning of this year) were scrapped  after the opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) dropped out of the elections. This followed the terror campaign waged by Mugabe’s goons which left 104 dead and 3,500 injured. Tsvangirai left the country and basically abandoned his followers to their own fate.

Zimbawe’s economy is a mess. Hyperinflation has led to a bottle of Coke costing 15 billion Zimbabwean dollars in the black market (Wall St. Journal, July 2). The embargo imposed by Britain and the U.S. only hurts the working-class masses even more.  Washington and London are taking a stand against Mugabe not because he steals elections — hell, Bush and many other U.S. allies worldwide have done that — but because of China’s growing influence in Africa. When U.S. Secy. Of State Condi Rice went to Beijing and asked the Chinese rulers to join the arms embargo against Zimbabwe, Chinese Foreign Secretary Yang Jiechi refused, saying that the only solution was for Mugabe to enter talks with the opposition.

The opposition MDC, led by Tsvangirai, an ex-union leader, is considered totally in the pockets of  Western imperialists. In 2002, the MDC opposed the take-over of the white capitalist farmers despite the popularity of the move (these agricultural bosses were a leftover from Ian Smith’s white-supremacist regime before a guerrilla war ended it). Mugabe seized some of the richest farms to reward his cronies. The MDC also favors neo-liberal policies such as privatization and free trade which would worsen the lives of the working masses.

But Mugabe himself is a good example of how a militant nationalist who helped lead the fight against the racist rulers of Rhodesia (Ian Smith’s racist regime) turns into just another exploiter. In the 1990s, the Mugabe regime imposed International Monetary Fund-type austerity measures against the working class, attacking pay and welfare services and selling off state industries. The opposition MDC actually came from the working-class resistance to these measures when the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZACTU) broke with the ruling ZANU-PF and in  1995 organized a general strike. Tsvangirai headed the union federation and gained a reputation as a militant leader.

But it didn’t last too long. He joined with NGOs and even with multinational corporations and white agricultural bosses and became a pawn of London and Washington. So Zimbabwe’s workers had no choice between two anti-working-class politicians (Mugabe and Tsvangirai).

It’s unclear what will happen next. Will Mugabe be able to hold onto power with China’s support, under pressure from the U.S. and the UK and their local allies in Africa? Whatever happens, the future is bleak for Zimbabwe’s working urban and rural masses. A South African-style solution is no answer. Witness the recent anti-immigrant pogroms in South Africa which attacked Zimbabwe immigrant workers there, whose earnings helped their families back home. There’s no shortcut out of this capitalist hell except the hard and long task that revolutionary-minded workers must carry out here and in Africa to build a revolutionary communist leadership.

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Africa Series Part VI: Rich Become Billionaires, Workers Rebel for Food

In the 19th century, Karl Marx said, “The rich get richer and the poor poorer.” Capitalism sure proves it.

Forbes Magazine just announced its latest list of billionaires. This year’s worldwide crop of 1,215 is worth $4.4 trillion, up 26% from last year.

Meanwhile, food rebellions erupted in several African countries (Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Mauritania, Mozambique, Guinea) as well as in Yemen and Indonesia. Hundreds were killed in Mauritania.
In Cameroon, a cabbies’ strike on February 25 protesting high fuel prices sparked the rebellion. It spread across the country. Over 100 were killed and over 1,600 arrested. The government was forced to grant some wage hikes and other reforms. But Simon Nkwenti of the Teachers’ Union Federation said, “For us, these are just cosmetic measures and a non-event. What we want is the restoration of salaries to their pre-1993 levels.” (Reuters, 3/8)

Cameroon was once one of sub-Sahara Africa’s most successful capitalist countries, but the collapse of its export prices destroyed the economy. In 1993, an International Monetary Fund-imposed austerity package slashed wages 70%. A year later, the CFA (French backed currency) was devalued 50%.

Ironically, today’s food crisis is caused by the rising prices of many commodities, including corn used for biofuel. The amount of crops for human or animal consumption has increased up to 7% since 2000, but for biofuel it’s 25%. (El País, Madrid, 3/8) The price of wheat, milk and butter has tripled since 2000, chicken, rice and corn cost twice as much.

A system like capitalism and imperialism which cannot feed the hungry while a few live in obscene luxury must be destroyed and replaced with a society based on production for need: communism. J
(A future CHALLENGE article will examine biofuel and rise of world hunger.)

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Rivalry With China Behind Bush’s Africa Trip

(This part of the series on Africa will review Bush’s current trip to that continent –– the first was in 2003 –– which took him to Tanzania, Rwanda, Liberia, Ghana and Benin.)

Bush’s trip was supposed to highlight U.S. “aid” to fight AIDS, Malaria and poverty in Africa. This “aid,” like all imperialist aid, mainly helps pharmaceutical corporations and other businesses making big bucks from selling drugs and helps local bosses who profit from the misery of Africa’s super-exploited masses. But that’s only a sideline. Bush’s main purpose is fighting China’s growing influence on that continent.

In 2007, oil represented over 90% of SubSahara Africa’s exports to the U.S. Today, 10% of all U.S. oil products imports come from Africa, mainly from the Gulf of Guinea region. By 2015, it’s expected to grow to 25%. That’s what’s behind the formation of AFRICOM, the Pentagon’s newest command center, which now operates from U.S. bases in Germany but which the U.S. wants to transfer to Africa itself.

Presently, the U.S. only has a base in Djibouti, in a former French colonial outpost. Bush’s Ghana speech denied that the U.S. is aiming to build military bases in Africa, trying to placate key countries (Nigeria, Algeria, and South Africa) which object to U.S. troops on that continent. Only Liberia — just recovering from a bloody civil war over diamonds — has offered itself for U.S. bases, which is why Bush included it in his visit. Liberia was founded in 1847 by freed U.S. slaves, but for a long time was basically a colony of the Firestone Tire company.

Bush also labeled as “bull” the charge that the U.S. was competing with China in Africa. (Reuters, 2/20) But that’s exactly the reason behind his trip. China has become a key player in Africa, investing billions, particularly in the oil-rich Sudan.

China’s support for the Sudanese government is the reason for the “Free Darfur” campaign in the U.S., including liberal entertainment stars like George Clooney, Mia Farrow and Steven Spielberg. (Bush repeatedly blamed the Sudanese government for the massacres there, while ignoring the 5.4 millions slaughtered in the Congo since the 1990s as well as massacres in Ethiopia and other pro-U.S.-ruled countries).

Imperialism and capitalism have meant endless bloody wars in Africa, like the recent one in Chad where Exxon, Chevron and PetroChina operate while the French Army keeps the bloody Déby regime in power (see CHALLENGE, 2/27). No “aid” from any imperialists will liberate Africa’s masses. The only long-range solution is for workers, students and peasants to unite, breaking with all tribal and national divisions and building a revolutionary communist movement. Communists must concentrate on the huge proletariat of South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt, which can lead the way. That’s what PLP fights for.

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Oil, Uranium Sparking Imperialist War Over Chad

Chad is the latest tinderbox to explode in Africa, and the world. Just in recent weeks, bloody conflict has erupted in “stable” Kenya, more war in Congo and continuous armed clashes in Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta region, among others. These fights have something in common: they’re caused by imperialism and local capitalists who have intensifies all the contradictions in the region, while the working masses pay with their lives.

After the Chad government and four rebel groups signed a cease-fire last October, fighting broke out again in early February. Rebel forces attacked N’Dajema, Chad’s capital, trying to oust strongman Idriss Deby. Chad is one of Africa’s poorest countries, but only for the people, not for its rulers and the imperialist corporations raking in big bucks here.

In 2003, after completion of a $3.7 billion pipeline linking its oilfields to Atlantic coast terminals, landlocked Chad became an oil exporter.

The Doba pipeline — operated by Exxon Mobil with partners Chevron and Malaysia’s state-run Petronas — pumps 160,000 barrels a day through Cameroon to the Gulf of Guinea.

Last September, Chad’s national oil refiner signed a joint venture deal with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), parent of PetroChina and China’s largest oil and gas producer. PetroChina says it has discovered at least 100 million tons of oil at a new project in Chad. (Reuters Factbox, 2/3)

Despite the oil revenues, there’s been no real improvement in most Chadians’ standard of living. Chad remains one of the world’s poorest countries, ranked 171 out of 177 in the UN development index, which uses criteria such as average income, life expectancy and literacy.

The rebels, which include some former high-ranking members of the Deby government, have support from Sudan, which sees Deby as backing anti-Sudanese government forces in Darfur. There are actually 300,000 refugees from Sudan and the Central African Republic living in UN camps in Chad. Thousands of Chadian refugees are fleeing the latest fighting.

France is still a leading trading partner of Chad, a former French colony. President Sarkozy claims he’s trying to break with old French policies of using military force to prop up corrupt regimes in Africa’s former French colonies, choosing diplomacy instead. But the military option is still open. France’s 1,500 troops lead the biggest European Union “peacekeeping” force that’s ever been here, as part of MINURCAT (UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad), supposedly to protect refugees from these two neighboring countries in the Chad camps. Small COS (French commando) groups are also operating in the border of Sudan and Central Africa, spying on rebel groups fighting the Chad government. And then Chad’s western neighbor Niger is France’s main source of uranium to fuel its nuclear reactors on which France is totally dependent to produce its electricity.

Thus, the fighting in Chad is becoming another regional war, involving Sudan and the Central African Republic, French and European troops, Exxon, Chevron, Malaysia’s Petronas and China’s CNPC (the main oil company in Sudan). Even Libya’s ruler, Col. Khaddafi, now a darling of Paris, is allowing French military planes operating in Chad to refuel in Libya airfields (Le Canard Enchaine, 2/6). The rivalry among the various imperialists and their oil companies to control the energy supplies of Africa and the world is intensifying the conflict.

All this is a recipe for endless imperialist wars, mass poverty and massacres. Indeed, for Africa’s toiling masses the choice is increasingly between imperialist-capitalist barbarism or uniting to smash these bloodsucking exploiters. It won’t be easy to break the many barriers the imperialists and local rulers use to divide the continent’s workers and peasants, and build a revolutionary communist movement, but it is the only viable solution to this hell.

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Africa, Part II: Imperialists’ Profits Behind 5.4 Million Congo Deaths

“The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalized the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief momenta of primitive accumulation.” (Karl Marx: “Capital,” Volume One, Chapter 31; Genesis of the Industrial Capitalist)

For over a century and a half the Congo has been ravaged by this bloody accumulation of capital. Belgium’s King Leopold became one of the world’s richest men by turning the Congo into his private fiefdom, murdering 10-15 million. The imperialists and local capitalists who took over after Congo’s independence from Belgium in 1960 have continued this genocide. Now a “peace deal” was signed to settle the fighting in the eastern Congo which has created 400,000 new refugees. (See CHALLENGE, 1/30) But since the causes of the conflict have not really changed, little can be expected from this latest truce.

According to the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) latest report, (Reuters, 1/22), 5.4 millions people have been killed in the Congo since the war began in the region in 1998, causing more deaths than any other conflict since World War II. “Congo’s loss is equivalent to the entire population of Denmark or the state of Colorado perishing within a decade,” stated IRC president George Rupp.

The shootings between the warring factions have not been the main cause of these deaths. Malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition, aggravated by the war, were the Congo’s top killers, said the survey. “Most of the deaths are due to easily treatable and preventable diseases through the collapse of health systems and the disruption of livelihoods,” said IRC director of global health programs Richard Brennan, one of the survey’s authors. Congo has the lowest spending on health care of any country in the world, averaging just $15 per person annually.

The latest fighting before the January 22 truce came after Congo President Kabila met Condoleezza Rice in Ethiopia in September 2007. Rice also secured the support of the rulers of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. In November, Kabila was flown to Washington in the private plane of an Israeli mining magnate with interests in the Congo, to meet Bush. Then, with U.N. support, Kabila sent a large military force to fight rebel general Nkunda. But it was a disaster. The Congolese army was routed, forcing the government and its militia allies to reach a truce with the rebel forces.

The current fighting is labeled a “tribal conflict” between Tutsis and Hutus (continuing the one that led to the genocide in Rwanda and Burundi in the 1990s), but capitalist and imperialist thirst for profits are the real causes. General Nkunda is backed by Tutsi bosses and the Rwandan government who seek to control the mineral wealth of the Eastern Congo.

U.S., Canadian and European companies have monopolized the exploitation of diamonds, cobalt, gold, coltan and other mineral wealth in the region. They use local militias and bosses as subcontractors who impose slave-like conditions on those working in the mines. But now, China, India, Spain and even Russia are entering the operation, which is why the U.S. and European bosses want to ensure their lackeys are in control.

Huge oil deposits have been discovered in Lake Alberta, on the border between the Congo and Uganda. British Heritage Oil is now involved (its CEO has links to British military companies like Executive Outcomes and Sandline). Chinese and Spanish oil companies are now interested in exploring for oil there.

Besides Washington and Europe, Kabila is also being courted by China, which is giving his government $8 billion for infrastructure projects and mining operations. This will lead to Chinese companies’ control of several important copper and cobalt mines.
(Future articles: how imperialist and local bosses reap huge profits from gold and other resources while African workers starve and die.)

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