Tag Archives: Oil

It’s Memorial Day!

It’s Memorial Day: a day to ponder the effects of the virally exceptionalist form of Imperialism the USA unleashes daily on the international working class. In a nutshell, the US basically believes that they are the exception to every rule in their pursuit of profit at the world’s expense and to crush their rivals, it is really the working class that suffers. Take Syria for example: exactly what is the US failed strategy in the Levant against Islamic State? At first, if one were to listen to the bourgeoisie’s media, one would think that the US and its allies are against Islamic State. But, that is appearance vs. essence. The internal aspect of a contradiction is its primary focus.

The internal motor of world history right now is Interimperialist rivalry. In the context of the Levant, it is between Iranian hegemony vs. US, EU, Saudi, Turkish, and Israeli imperialist and hegemonic designs. The vast amount of natural gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean are now virtually monopolized by Israel – except for the Alawite Coast of Syria. As discussed in earlier blogs, Lebanon basically absconded their rights to this natural gas, but Syria did not. Saudi Arabia and Turkey, though in a bit of a contradiction themselves as to who will be the real regional Islamic power, the loosey goosey liberal Islam of Erdogan’s ruling AKP Party or the Feudal Wahhabism of Saudi Arabia, both want to dominate the oil and geostrategically rich Middle East. So, this leaves the beleaguered fascists, the Assad government and his Hezbollah Allies, to fight against the fascists in Al-Qaida, Islamic State, and an alphabet soup of other Jihadist groups all hell bent on worshiping their god of death, destruction, bigotry, and misogyny. It’s fascist vs. fascist and hundreds of thousands of our working class brothers and sisters are dead while millions have lost their homes and are displaced.

So, how does the US tie into all of this? Simple really: ISIS and Al-Qaida are being treated like a US asset against the Assad regime while a terrorist threat in the rest of the world. Qatar’s, an ally of the US, Al Jazeera, a news source many are turning to since they know they can’t trust the Western Media, supports Jabhat al Nusra, the Al Qaiada franchise in Syria. When groups like Al Qaiada are in Syria, Al Jazeera and the rest of the bosses’ media apparatus refer to them as “rebels”, yet when they are anywhere else in the world, they are referred to as “terrorists”. The levels of hypocrisy go even deeper. The extravagant press campain about the fall of Palmyra may be the preparation of public opinion for a true military engagement against Dash (ISIS). Public opinion has already begun to shift towards a military operation against Islamic State; they are being seen as something worth fighting against, and this shift will be useful to the US imperialists who need troops on the ground in the Middle East. The campaign can echo what happened in Nigeria where Boko Haram went from being a massive threat to virtually extinct once the military commander was elected president. How fast can the US and allies wipe up the ISIS mess? Or, will the Frankenstein monster of Jihadism return like it has in Afghanistan? Or, is Jihadism currently in Afghanistan in order to justify the US troops still in that geographically important pipeline transit route?

The failed US campaign in Iraq against ISIS is due to the fact that they only want to fight them in Iraq. They want ISIS to topple the mostly secular fascist Assad regime, and so consider them much like an asset in Syria. They bomb them in Iraq and target infrastructure and depots in Syria. Like a good attack dog on a leash, Israel doesn’t open fire on Al Qaiada footsteps away from their borders, but bombs Hezbollah miles away. They claim it is to keep them from getting missiles. Regardless, of how the excuses of the imperialists and their regional thugs, the US and Israel respectively, the point is that ISIS has virtual free reign in Syria to heal up, reinforce, and resupply. Basically, ISIS isn’t playing nice. If they had just caused havoc and destruction in Syria, then it is doubtful any bombs would have actually fallen on them.

In a further show of completely murderous hypocrisy, and never letting a good failed strategy completely fail, “… in a move that could mark an expansion of U.S. involvement in the conflict, Turkey said it and the United States had agreed in principle to give air support to some forces from Syria’s mainstream opposition.” This paragraph, buried in the article, brings up two questions: 1.) what “mainstream opposition” and 2.) who are they going to bomb?

There is no “mainstream opposition” in Syria, that’s as much of a myth as democracy. This is such propagandistic language: mainstream means the majority or middle. The mainstream opposition in Syria is composed of a bunch of fascists bent on terrorism. The group with a democratic aspiration was defeated and basically used as an arms depot by ISIS. They really existed only on paper and in the imagination of the bosses, because “no such ‘moderate’ rebel movement ever existed – at least not in any significant numbers – that reality is ignored by all the ‘smart people’ of Washington. It is simply too good a talking point (to be read as absolute lie constantly pushed by the lying bosses’ media) to surrender. The truth is that Obama was right when he told New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman in August 2014 that the notion of a “moderate” rebel force that could achieve much was ‘always … a fantasy.'”

Turkey and Saudi Arabia both want a staunchly Sunni regime in Syria to stop Iranian Shia hegemony. So on top of the everyday physical violence of any dictatorship or government under capitalism, the working class in the Levant will also have to suffer under the particularly oppressive brain-deadening violence of the false consciousness of religion. And, while the bosses’ media weeps crocodile tears for the ruins of Palmyra and the soon to be extinct Northern Bald Ibis, hundreds of women, children, and men were just execution style murdered in the streets by ISIS and had their bodies left out as a warning Michael Brown style. Again, these fascists are only a problem when they get in the way of where the bosses would like to spend their vacations touring or impeding their oilfields, pipelines, and acquisition of profit.

Secondly, whom are they going to bomb? Is this a declaration of war against the tottering Assad regime? Will Iran and Russia watch their client state get smashed by this consortium? Will China let this occur when they have so much at stake? When Libya was overrun by fascists, they were forced out, and this will happen again if a US client state takes over. China may be downplaying this in the current press, but they are not going to be happy to lose access to pipelines, natural gas reserves, and oil. Russia will not peacefully surrender their base at Tartus; it’s too important to them. Russia has designs on that area of the world as well, and their side of this Syrian mess of a contradiction needs to be examined as well.

To the north of Turkey, in the Black Sea, Russia wants to begin construction on the Turkish Stream pipeline. Though this is a geographically different area, it is still intertwined with the interimperialist proxy war occurring in the Levant.
Proposed Turkish and South Stream Pipelines

The key to reading this map of the Turkish stream pipeline is recognizing the importance of Crimea. Bulgaria and Russia have been playing nice, even though Romania has been leaning towards the US, EU, UK axis. The fact that Russia is beginning this project alone is the bribe to Turkey. If Turkey wants the vast natural gas that it hungers for, it can throw in the investment that they promised and “wet their beaks” in the profit. If they don’t cough up the cash, then Russia can build the pipeline in the waters off of the recently annexed Crimea and directly into the very small nodal point, bordering Romania, Turkey, and Bulgaria, so that it ends up in its final destination of Bulgaria. The amount of profit that this pipeline will create, as it will provide gas to Europe and knock out Ukraine as a transit state as well as cutting it off from trillions of dollars that it otherwise would have gotten from owning Crimea, clearly functions as a pretty sweet bribe to Turkey.

Turkey may bite. If they do, what will Russia ask of them vis a vis Assad’s regime in Syria? Will it come with a base or some military agreements? Either way, this pipeline is a direct confrontation to the designs of US and European imperialism: Politically, Turkish Stream is highly unpopular in Europe. The Europeans are making every effort possible to develop alternatives, such as the Trans-Anatolian, Trans-Adriatic and Trans-Caspian pipelines, which could transport natural gas from Turkmenistan to Europe. Companies in Europe are throwing their support and finances behind some of these other projects.

This Memorial Day, a phony bosses’ holiday celebrating their conquests and recognizing the militarism that drives their machine of exploitation abroad alongside intensifying racist oppression within their own borders, let’s remember why the bosses sent our working class children to die for profit. Let’s watch these “Masters of war who build to destroy” and remember why it is that we fight for Communism. Let’s steel ourselves for the long struggle ahead in this darkest of dark ages of human history and know that a Communist revolution, a dawn, will happen. The Progressive Labor Party is the organization that will lead the working class to Communist Revolution so that we will have world that meets our needs, not one whose vision of death and destruction in the name of profit is murdering us.

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Humanitarian Imperialism in Uganda

The US is taking virtually the same paternalistic posture towards Africa that Victorian Britain did. Imperialist Britain was so racist that they considered their mass murdering attacks that colonized the  African and Indian peoples to be a civilizing force.  The US, like Victorian Britain before it, doesn’t care about bringing democracy or values, it only cares about padding its pockets and selling the war to its working class.  The savage truth is that wherever there is a direct clash between US and Russian/Chinese imperialist interests, a “humanitarian crisis” occurs there. Yet, capitalism itself is a humanitarian crisis. How many workers in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are killed by US drones and cluster bombs? Or directly by US soldiers having a bad day?  Who has killed more children, a Ugandan strong man or Obama?

Though once of great concern to governments in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa, primarily Uganda, the LRA exists today as a low-level insurgency. The LRA is estimated to have only 200-300 fighters, and the group sustains itself by recruiting child soldiers during unsophisticated raids with machetes on villages in northwestern Uganda and the nearby corners of South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

The Joseph Kony campaign media blitz that was all over Facebook has already drummed up the popular support needed by US imperialism to invade a nation that has “Newly discovered oil reserves around Uganda’s Lake Albert”.  Yup, billions of barrels of oil that is just now starting to be tapped.  You could already see the dollar signs flashing on the little black and green hearts of the world’s capitalists.

“Stratfor believed that the United States had exaggerated the threat posed by the LRA.” Why would the Kony 2012 video go so viral so quickly? If the united states didn’t need a humanitarian cover to gloss over their insatiable lust for oil and resources.  Obama, willing servant of US capitalists, and bosses are no strangers to using Ugandan workers in their imperialist wars. As they used Ugandans in their wars of conquest at only a fraction of the cost that they paid to US soldiers to do the same potentially lethal jobs.

Though Kony is a terrible human being who deserves to die at the hands of the working class he exploits, how is he any worse than the US’ personal thug Haitian President Martelly who attacked his own college students in their university, smashed whatever he couldn’t steal, and basically destroyed their ability to get an education as he instilled the kind of fascist terror that the racist US bosses call business as usual in Haiti. 

The US fascist attack on workers closes hospitals, creates homeless workers, cuts to Medicaid, attacks special need children, yet they have the absolute hypocrisy to point the finger at small time dictators like Assad and patsies like Joseph Kony!  Yes, they are terrible bad people, but the only reason that they are targets by the US is because they’re somebody else’s terrible bad people.  Super thug Rahm Emanual is basically assaulting students’ educations in Chicago, US capitalists are plotting how to close more hospitals and limit health care (see the letters section in the 3/14/2012 Challenge), European capitalists are destroying whole lives in Europe, and yet we’re supposed to only concentrate on one particular bad guy?  The whole system of capitalism has to go, root and branch.

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2011: Crisis-driven Bosses Attack, But Class Struggle Alive and Well

The events of 2011 served to remind us of two important aspects of capitalist society. First, the bosses of the world, caught in a sharpening struggle against their rivals and a spreading financial crisis, always have their knives out to assault the working class. Attacks intensified against our jobs, education, health, homes and families. The myths of democracy, fairness and opportunity for workers were exposed by a worldwide reality: we live under the bosses’ dictatorship. The past year made clear that regardless of national boundaries, no matter the “race” or gender of the boss, the ruling class will eagerly consign workers to hell on earth for the smallest gain in profit.

The ultimate expression of the boss’s callousness to sacrifice the lives of workers is imperialist war, of which there was no shortage in 2011. The U.S., still the main capitalist power in the world, continued its racist massacres in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan in hopes of securing the Middle East’s oil and natural gas. Without the growth of a new worldwide communist movement, the prospects for 2012 and beyond are not much better.

While the U.S. remains the dominant power, other rivals, most prominently China, are gaining power — militarily, economically and politically. This challenge does not go unnoticed by the U.S. ruling class. The recent announcement by President Obama (the Nobel Peace Prize winner) that U.S. Marines will be stationed in northern Australia, alongside the recent diplomatic overtures to Myanmar, which borders China, signal a future where direct military conflict between the U.S. and China will be increasingly likely.

But the deadly maneuvering of the ruling class is only one side of the story of 2011. The second lesson, clearly visible from a quick look back through the pages of any of the bosses’ newspapers, is that workers are not meekly accepting these attacks. Class struggle is alive and well.  The list of places where large-scale rebellion rocked the bosses this past year is a long one: Algeria, Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, England, France, Greece, Israel/Palestine, Libya, Mexico, Pakistan, Spain, Syria, the U.S., and more.

To advance the cause of communist revolution, the international Progressive Labor Party has joined and led some of these militant struggles. In the pages of CHALLENGE, these battles and many other reports of class struggle were presented with a communist analysis.  If we are ever to defeat the murderous bosses and end their reign of terror, the working class must transform these narrow reform struggles into a fight for the working class to take state power — a fight for communist revolution.

The International PLP Advances

In New York City, the working class took on the racist Department of Education and its plan to impose Jim Crow-style segregation at the John Jay Campus high schools. In Israel/Palestine, a Summer Project participated in the fight against racist evictions and the housing shortage gripping workers there. In Haiti, we struggled to help rebuild a shattered society with communist principles of international solidarity and equality.

PL’s Summer Project in Haiti included a “Freedom School” for the discussion of communist principles. “Serve the working class” became more than a motto; it was put into practice when Party members created a clinic to serve the medical needs for Haitians in tent camps. The racist health care system was also a focus for comrades in the U.S. In New York we fought against the racist closing of Brookdale Hospital. Comrades and friends in Philadelphia fought to prevent the firing of a trusted hospital coworker. In Chicago, where hospital bosses tried to give patients a death sentence by transferring them to a decrepit facility, PL and others fought back.

Chicago was also the battleground for the heroic efforts of students and parents (primarily mothers), supported by the Party, to prevent the racist closing of the Whittier School library. Providing an example for the Occupy movement to follow, the parents (primarily mothers) and students at this majority Latino school, supported by the Party, seized the building and renamed it “La Casita.” For nearly a month, they held off the racist dogs of the Chicago Department of Education from carrying out their plan. Our comrades helped in many ways, from medical care to overnight guard duty. All the while they pointed out that whether we won or lost this particular battle, the bosses would still have state power. Our job is to fight not only “our” bosses, but bosses everywhere.

In Pakistan and Bangladesh, communists infused labor struggles in garment factories and universities with a vision of a society based on need rather than profit. In Mexico, where flooding threatened to destroy a community of 200,000 people, the Party explained that if our communist predecessors in the Soviet Union could move entire factories over the Ural mountains in three months during World War II, we could protect their city — if we had state power.

In these places and others around the world, CHALLENGE was ever-present. It consistently hammered home the point that it is only when we take on capitalism itself — when we transform battles against corrupt dictators, greedy bankers and fascist school boards into a world-wide communist movement — will we achieve workers’ liberation.

Arab Spring and Wall Street Occupy Working Class’s Imagination

Perhaps the most significant expressions of working-class fight-back were the upheavals in North Africa and the Middle East, collectively dubbed the Arab Spring, and in the Occupy Wall Street movement, a worldwide rage at the inequality of wealth that is the hallmark of capitalism.

The Arab Spring began with a rebellion in Tunisia that followed the self-immolation of a desperate young worker. But the uprising was fueled by a 13% official unemployment rate (about 30% for youth), skyrocketing prices for food, and political corruption. Similarly, in Egypt, while the bourgeois media focused on Cairo’s Tahrir Square and the struggle for “democracy,” the real battles were over rampant unemployment and the price of food. Strikes at Egypt’s textile mills, pharmaceutical plants, chemical industries, the Cairo airport, the transportation sector, banks, ports and the Suez Canal are the primary source of revolutionary optimism.

Workers throughout the world cheered on scenes from Tunisia and Tahrir Square, which makes the outcome of these battles all the more painful. In Egypt, ruthless dictator Hosni Mubarak was first replaced by a ruthless military and now in addition by the even more ruthless Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists (see CHALLENGE, 10/19). In Tunisia, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted and elections were held in October, but unemployment still crushes the youth there. This is the essence of reform struggles. However militant it may be, any struggle that fails to attack the entire capitalist system will simply replace one set of bosses with another. For workers, the promise of a new society has been met with the reality of continued joblessness and misery.

Nonetheless, the international working class proudly looked on as workers in Tahrir Square held up signs reading, “We are all Wisconsin,” a reference to the 100,000-strong protest against the attack on public sector workers in that state. Months before anyone occupied a park near Wall Street, thousands of workers occupied the state capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin.

Just as in Cairo, however, the brave workers of Wisconsin have been misled, this time into backing electoral politics and the Democratic Party. In the midst of this struggle, the Party brought forward the idea that both the fascist Governor Scott Walker and the supposedly “heroic” Democrats were all defenders of capitalism — and were all therefore enemies of the working class. This communist idea attracted many workers in Wisconsin and around the world.

In September, the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement began in New York City before spreading to more than 1,500 cities worldwide. OWS captured the attention of workers who were tired of seeing banks get trillions of dollars in bailouts while education, transportation, health care, wages and jobs are slashed. One chant especially reflected this anger: “Banks got bailed out; We got sold out!” Throughout 2011, the Party participated in many of these occupations, picket lines, schools, churches and job sites, armed with leaflets and CHALLENGE.

PLP continues to strive to replace the dead-end reform tactics of the old communist movement with the fight for revolutionary communism for billions of workers in the world.

May Day

This past year was the 140th anniversary of the Paris Commune, the first time workers took control of the state. In this spirit, we celebrated May Day with marches, dinners and songs. From Colombia to El Salvador, in Los Angeles and New York, in Haiti and Palestine, we raised the red flag honoring our revolutionary ancestors. This year our May Day celebrations grew in size and better reflected the international character of the working class.

Turning Fascist Oppression into Communist Organizing

The working class continues to suffer from the racist exploitation and oppression that capitalism requires. In their increasingly desperate competition for dominance, the various national ruling classes outdo one another in making workers homeless, sick, maimed or killed in pursuit of profit. Frantic about “sovereign debt,” collapsing banks, currency disasters (notably the euro) and the industrial crisis of overproduction, the world’s bosses are peeling back their thin masks of “democracy” to reveal the bloody maw of a fascist monster. Meanwhile, the fight over Central Asian and Middle Eastern oil and natural gas appears to be careening toward broader military conflicts.

As we move into 2012, the battles against our capitalist enemies will continue to rage. The workers of the world will continue to fight back, in ways large and small. Everything we do as workers and communists counts: every march or picket line or discussion strengthened by  communist ideas, every time we help another worker and demonstrate how we can build a society without the parasitic bosses. By doing these things and more, the Party will help the working class move closer to ushering in a classless society that produces for need, not profit. Communist ideas are essential for this crucial advance. A mass, international, revolutionary party is necessary to lead the way. PL is that party. Now is the time to join!

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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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Oil $$$ Put U.S. Rulers in Iraq for the Long Haul

Most everyone has come to understand that the U.S. rulers’ invasion of Iraq was all about oil. But not even the oil barons knew just how much was up for grabs. Now it’s revealed that Barack Obama has 8.2 million reasons not to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq anytime soon. That’s how many barrels of oil companies like Exxon Mobil claim they can pump every day — if it ever becomes safe for them to operate there.

Stunning production targets emerging from Iraq’s ongoing oilfield licensing talks with major firms put it on a strategic par with oil kingpin Saudi Arabia. The rising stakes underlie the recent upsurge in Iraqi factional violence and guarantee not only a permanent U.S. military occupation but future deadly “surges” to help Exxon & Co. realize their goal. Production today stagnates around 2.3 million barrels a day (mbd).

Invading Iraq was the brainchild of U.S. Big Oil. Occupation plans took shape in a high-level joint project of the Rockefeller-led Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the James A. Baker Institute, imperialist think-tanks both closely linked to Exxon Mobil and J.P. Morgan Chase. Just before the 2003 invasion, the CFR-Baker cabal issued a report, “Iraq: The Day After,” promising that “U.S. and allied military forces will quickly occupy, control, and protect oil fields” in order to “achieve more significant increases — say, to 6 mbd by 2010.”

When the Bushites bungled the invasion by sending too few troops, the liberal, imperialist wing of U.S. capitalists blamed renegade neo-cons like Cheney and Rumsfeld for launching a misguided “war of choice.” But U.S. imperialists cannot afford to walk away from the 8 mbd windfall that new technology makes possible.

Saudi Rulers Unreliable Allies for U.S. Rulers

Controlling 8 mbd of Iraqi crude would sharply reduce U.S. dependence on shaky Saudi Arabia as the world’s sole “swing producer,” meaning a country having enough spare capacity to adjust production in an economic or military crisis.

But Saudi royals rule a powder keg. Though they profit from the most lucrative long-term deal in capitalism’s history, serving as Exxon’s biggest oil supplier, their 30 million subjects receive nothing from this bonanza. They sympathize more with al Qaeda and Hamas than with Washington. Prince Turki al-Faisal, former chief of Saudi intelligence, in an op-ed piece in the NY Times (9/13/09), said it would be unwise for his country to normalize diplomatic relations with U.S. ally Israel. The prince fears that Saudi workers’ anger at Israel’s concentration-camp treatment of Palestinians may dethrone his oily dynasty.

So Exxon Mobil-led groups have bids in for 6.3 mbd, or almost four-fifths of Iraq’s potential [See Table]. Meanwhile the U.S. war machine remains ever poised to invade Saudi Arabia to prop up its ruling princes if the masses were to rebel. The Pentagon has massive bases to the north (Iraq), to the east (Bahrain and Qatar), to the west (Djibouti) and to the south (Diego Garcia).

However, Exxon & Co. shouldn’t start counting their Iraqi chickens just yet. Iraq still has no national law governing oil contracts. And no sooner had Iraq held its first oilfield auction in June, “the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government condemned it as unconstitutional.” (Energy Intelligence, 9/7/09)

More ‘Surges’ On The Agenda?

Fighting among rival Iraqi Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, and attacks on U.S. bases have intensified since the oil projects were revealed. The NY Times (9/13/09) suggests that U.S. troops may have to seize the streets again: “After the withdrawal of most American combat forces from Iraq’s cities on June 30, violence has remained a constant, with attackers able to plant and detonate bombs….seemingly with impunity.”

U.S. rulers and their allies are ready to worsen an already sickening equation: over one million dead Iraqis and more than 4,000 dead GIs “in exchange for” eight million daily barrels of crude.

We need a sharpening fight against U.S. imperialism — in the shops and unions, the communities and churches, among GIs, and in all mass organizations — to mount militant battles against the U.S. bosses’ deadly goals. Out of these class struggles, tying the mountainous racist and economic attacks on the working class to the need to exterminate the profit system, we can build a mass PLP that can lead a communist revolution to destroy capitalism and its endless oil wars.

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Obama’s Afghan War Crucial to U.S. Bosses’ Global Control

The fight between the U.S. imperialists and their Russian, Chinese and Iranian rivals — for control of the oil and gas fields of the Caspian Sea and Central Asia region and the pipeline routes to take these resources to market — is leading to wider Middle Eastern wars and eventually to an inevitable global confrontation. Controlling this region is crucial to the U.S. bosses’ efforts to regain absolute control of oil-rich Middle East, which have been the basis for their dominant imperialist position since the end of World War II.

Obama chose to concentrate on the Afghanistan war in hopes the U.S. backed TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline) could be built.  This pipeline, bypassing both Russia and Iran, could reverse Russian-Chinese advances in the energy-rich former Soviet republics, giving the U.S. control of this strategic region.

If successful, together with a new string of U.S. bases in the area, TAPI would put Russia and China on the defensive militarily, break Russia’s growing world energy monopoly, especially of the European Union’s energy market, and position the U.S. bosses to potentially starve China of the energy resources needed to fuel its economic and military rise.

It would also free the U.S. military machine to deal with Iran, if it hadn’t capitulated by then. Iraq could then be more easily pacified and U.S. imperialism’s dream of extending its hegemony well into the 21st century would be within reach.

As U.S. imperialists’ political, economic and military hegemony shrinks, their ability to control the outcome of world events becomes limited. An example is the recent Afghan presidential election, aimed at getting rid of Karzai, who has become an obstacle to their geopolitical goals in the area. He’s been cozying up to China and deepening his ties with the warlords of the Northern Alliance, backed by Russia, Iran and India.

Their electoral scheme failed. So far, with 99% of the votes counted, Karzai is the winner with 54% against the U.S candidate Abdullah Abdullah’s 28%. Plan B was to claim massive fraud and call for a run-off election rigged to guarantee Abdullah”s victory. But some among their ranks like Zbiegnew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor to Jimmy Carter, disagree with this plan. They claim it would further destabilize Afghanistan and increase the “growing risk …that the Taliban …be viewed as a resistance movement against foreign occupation… and that would be a strategic defeat.”

The U.S. ruling class is clearly at odds over this. Some are making frantic efforts to force Karzai into a unity government with his rival Abdullah Abdullah (known in Afghanistan as “Obama’s wife”). Others see no option but to accept Karzai and to configure a government run by their ambassador Eikenberry and General McCrystal. Some call for the “Afghanization” of the war while others demand Obama’s unfailing commitment to his surge. Some, with Saudi Arabia and Britain, are working for a negotiated settlement with the “good Taliban.”

Besides, some of their European allies also disagree with the plan and are reluctant to send more troops. German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the elections, while demanding, with leaders from Britain and France, an international conference to force the “Afghanization” of the war so “that the international engagement can be reduced.” Brzezinski agrees, arguing it might reduce “the growing risk of the war becoming a war of foreigners against Afghans,” and the Europeans allies “might be less likely to pull out entirely…. [Leaving] the U.S. alone in the lurch.”

Whatever tactics the U.S. butchers finally decide on, pipeline TAPI may never fly. It is detrimental to the ambitions of China, Russia and Iran. A U.S.-Taliban agreement will never bring peace to Afghanistan as the warlords of the Northern Alliance, the Taliban’s sworn mortal enemies, will fight desperately to survive.

Even if the U.S. imperialists carve out an independent “Pashtunistan” from Afghanistan-Pakistan, as some are planning, the war is likely to widen as the area’s instability helps China and Russia further consolidate their grip on the Caspian-Central Asia region. The Iranian nuclear issue  — nothing but a fig leaf to hide the vital role of Iran’s energy resources and strategic location in the fight for world domination — is rapidly forcing a showdown between the U.S., Russia, Iran and potentially Israel.

How many more millions must be murdered, maimed and displaced for the profits of the imperialists of the world? No election, peace agreement, U. N. resolution or slick-talking politician like Obama will ever put an end to this butchery. Workers, students and soldiers, getting angrier at the cutbacks and layoffs, need to see that the widening imperialist genocide, inherent in capitalist crisis, is costing $billions and murdering so many members of our class! Students need to unite with soldiers and workers who bear the heaviest burden for the capitalist war economy. Only an international communist-conscious working class under the leadership of PLP can put an end to this bosses’ inferno, with a communist revolution.

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Afghanistan Center of Imperialist Dogfight over Oil, Gas

The U.S. imperialists are desperately trying to regain full control of their empire’s cornerstone at any cost: possessing the world’s energy reserves, especially those of the Greater Middle East. Since their main focus now is the Caspian Region, Afghanistan is Obama’s main foreign policy objective.

How many more U.S.-NATO troops Obama will sacrifice in this war is not known yet, nor how many more Afghan workers, women and children will be massacred. But the stakes are high for the U.S. rulers, and they aren’t going to let the prospect of more blood on their hands stand in the way.

The stakes are also high for their capitalist-imperialist rivals in the region, particularly the Russians and Chinese bosses. Russia’s rise as an aspiring hegemon is dependent on controlling the world’s energy resources; while China needs ever-greater quantities of crude to fuel its industrial and military might. Their contradictions with the U.S. will develop into military clashes, with large-scale war looming on the horizon.
If pacified enough, the U.S. rulers hope Afghanistan’s strategic location will transport vast energy resources, bypassing Russia’s territory, and positioning them to replace Russia as the main controller-distributor of Caspian-Central Asia’s energy.

This would break the energy chokehold Russia has on the European imperialists, crucial if the U. S. hopes to get the EU’s support on important geopolitical issues, wider wars and the coming global war (See Box). A U.S. success in Afghanistan would also pressure China to become U.S.-energy dependent.

All Roads to Afghanistan Go Through Moscow, China and Iran

U.S. bosses’ military success in Afghanistan depends on supplying their troops, which has become ever more difficult. At present, three-quarters of supplies bound for Afghanistan must pass through Pakistan where “almost half of the US supplies …… [are] pilfered by motley groups of Taliban militants, petty traders and plain thieves…” (Asian Times on Line, 1/27/09)

With the Pakistani rulers less willing or capable of guaranteeing their supplies safe passage, the U.S. rulers must find alternative routes. But, the only possible routes, besides Iran and China, run through either the Caspian Region or Russia, all of which require Russian cooperation. Thus, the U.S. rulers’ big dilemma is how to get it and at what price. Nevertheless, whatever agreement these imperialist butchers reach will only intensify their contradictions and speed up their military confrontation.

Afghan President Karzai too Close to Russia and China

After seven years of racist U. S. terror and genocide against Afghani workers, a resurgent Taliban controls between 50% and 70% of the country and the U.S.-NATO forces are losing the war. To try to salvage the situation, Obama’s approach is to pacify Afghanistan enough to build the pipelines to safely transport energy resources to market. Thus the U.S. bosses are trying something that was unspeakable in the days after 9/11, the “inclusion of the Taliban or Taliban elements in a coalition government.” (George Friedman, Stratfor, 1/29/09)

This plan calls for dumping Karzai, who is refusing to go quietly. He is railing against Afghani civilians murdered by U.S. raids and moving closer to Russia and China. Against U.S. opposition, he recently accepted Russian military aid offerings. Also, in Moscow last January 23, Russian and Afghan diplomats “pledged to continue developing Russian-Afghan cooperation.” (Asia Times Online, 1/27/09)

Furthermore, Moscow will host a conference on Afghanistan under the aegis of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization, comprised of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan). Russian President Medvedev is adamant that “nothing can be resolved (regarding Afghanistan) without taking into account the collective opinion of states which have an interest in the resolution of the situation”.

Russian Imperialists Ready to Defend Their Backyard

Russia will soon approve a new national security strategy that identifies the United States as Russia’s primary rival. It singles out controlling global energy resources as the long-term source of conflict, which could develop into military confrontation. (Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 2 January 6, 2009) To this end Russian just gave Kyrgyzstan $2.4 billion to kick the U.S. out of its Manas airbase, used to supply allies’ troops in Afghanistan.

Workers, soldiers and students worldwide must realize that capitalism inevitably leads to wider wars and eventually to World War 3.  We must break with all politicians and bosses, be it Obama, Putin, Karzai or the religious holy rollers. Let’s turn their imperialist wars into a revolutionary storm to wipe out capitalism and build a communist society where we share and allocate the world’s natural resources according to our needs, not the bosses’ profits.

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U.S. Bombs Pakistan, Escalating U.S. Afghan War for Oil

On October 24 a reported 10,000 Afghans chanting “Death to the barbarian Taliban and Americans” protested the Taliban’s execution of 26 young men. Claiming responsibility, a Taliban spokesman said they were Afghan security-force recruits. But a witness told Agence France Presse, “They were innocent civilians who wanted jobs…on their way to Iran.”

On November 5, U.S. warplanes, allegedly targeting Taliban, bombed an Afghan wedding party, killing 37 (including 23 children). A day later 30 more civilians died in another U.S. air attack.

The unprecedented size of the anti-Taliban rally reflects Afghans’ anger at the barbarity of both sides in a war in which they are increasingly the victims. A survey by The International Council on Security and Development found that six of ten Afghans want foreign troops out. Yet president-elect Barack Obama pledges to send 20,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

For Afghans, seven years of U.S.-NATO occupation has meant more deaths, and worsening economic conditions. In some areas, 80% live below the poverty line. One in five children dies before the age of five. Millions face famine the winter. Food prices have skyrocketed.

Afghanistan now produces 93% of the world’s heroin. Addiction is rising, even among women and children. Cheap and readily available heroin replaces costly medicine and is used as an antidote against despair. Tent cities ring the capital next to mansions built from narco-trafficking. Billions in foreign aid go to profiteers, not the needy.

In 2001, the U.S. returned Northern Alliance Fundamentalists to power — warlords and former jihadists who view women as domestic slaves and procreators. They’re now an 80% majority in parliament in the world’s most dangerous country for women. Gang rape, murder, abduction of girls and women go unpunished, as do killings of female teachers, activists and professionals. Women trying to escape violent husbands and families are jailed.

The Taliban’s growing military strength, its deployment of suicide bombers and roadside explosives, is leading to an increasingly dangerous battlefield for occupying forces, especially in southern and eastern Afghanistan where the Taliban fighting force swells when necessary with locals willing to fight for cash.

The Taliban are also fighting for political and economic power, challenging the U.S.-installed, puppet president, Hamid Karzai, and the warlords and drug czars in government positions whose access to international funds and resources has made them extremely wealthy.

A coalition of Karzai’s parliamentary rivals — the United National Front — want an international effort to settle the civil war. But the U.S. opposes this and, aided by the Saudis, is quietly working to include “moderate” Taliban in the Karzai government. Recently the heads of the CIA and ISI (Pakistan’s intelligence agency) met in Washington. They discussed isolating Pakistan’s “moderate” Taliban from the militants and Al Qaeda who are engaged in a brutal war with the Pakistani army in the tribal region that has left many dead and more than 300,000 homeless.

While talking “reconciliation,” the U.S. has been widening the war: 300 U.S. military advisors now train Pakistani counter-insurgency troops on U.S.-purchased land near Pakistan’s capital. Since July the U.S. military has bombed Pakistani locations where it claims Afghan Taliban have safe havens. Despite Pakistani government protests, the attacks continue, killing many civilians, escalating the conflict on both sides of the border and foreshadowing a break-up of the region into ethnic enclaves.

The U.S. calls its escalation a continuation of “the war on terror” but it’s really a dogfight with imperialist rivals, primarily Russia, but also China and Iran, for control of Central Asia’s oil and gas fields as well as enhancing the profits of its multi-national corporations.

Former Pakistan Army Chief, General Mirza Aslam Beg, suspects the U.S. wants to end Pakistani control of the tribal areas and Balouchistan, a Pakistani province bordering Iran and Afghanistan where the U.S. is secretly training Balouchistan separatists. The Taliban might then be offered a deal: an independent state carved from both sides of the Afghan/Pakistan border. Balouchistan would become a U.S client state and the U.S. would build a long-anticipated pipeline from Central Asia through a stabilized Afghanistan and Balouchistan to the Arabian Sea.

In the 1970s, there were country-wide uprisings by peasants and strikes by workers in government printing shops, textile mills, cement plants, mines, transportation and on construction sites. Many fought against the ruling class which used religion to oppress workers and peasants. Women were particularly exploited, virtual slaves to their husbands and families; they worked at home, on the land, and produced handicrafts for additional family income.

We in PLP are trying to learn from the achievements and mistakes of the old communist movement, in order to advance the struggle against all the imperialists and their cohorts (be they Jihadists, state-capitalists or free marketers). We call on the workers and peasants of Afghanistan, who had fought and still fight against the fundamentalists, drug warlords and various imperialist puppets like President Karzai, to join with us in rebuilding an international communist movement to smash capitalism in all its forms.

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The U.S. now faces a historic crisis and, desperate to stop their decline, they must control sources of energy. They are currently pushing for privatization of energy in Mexico through the government of Felipe Calderon and his allies in the Mexican Congress who promise the U.S. control over oil and gas, since Spain has stepped in and is already savoring part of the energy pie.

The rivalry between the imperialists is sharpening all around the world and reflects weakening U.S. domination and the strengthening of rivals like Russia, China and India. Control of the world’s oil safeguards U.S bosses’ continuing worldwide supremacy. Without that control, this goal will be illusive. In the Caucasus, the U.S. wants to break Russia’s fuel monopoly and thus assure a third major source of energy on the planet. This intensifies the rivalry between the two imperialists.

Some Mexican capitalists don’t want to share with the U.S. or Spanish capitalists. That’s why they push nationalism to win worker support for their own control of the oil profits. Lopez Obrador is the spokesman for the nationalist capitalists. He may be willing to fight a civil war to defend this wealth against mainly U.S. bosses, not for the well-being of Mexican workers, but for higher profits and stability for Mexican bosses. That’s why he’s formed the FAP (Broad Progressive Front) in which an estimated 3 million people participated in mobilizations for the “peaceful transformation of the public life of Mexico,” in reality to support Obrador against the privatization of PEMEX.

The actions organized by FAP mean that they have too weak a presence in Congress to achieve their goals there. That’s why they threaten actions against privatization to be carried out by workers in the different states of Mexico. But the politicians trap workers into trying to win reforms from various profit-hungry capitalists who only want the best deal for themselves, keeping the workers chained to capitalist exploitation.

Mexico is a strategic ally of the U.S. Most Mexican oil and food sales go to the U.S. That’s why they have designed Plan Puebla Panama as a supplier of the wealth of Latin America to North America. Many U.S. manufacturers gain great profit by paying skilled Mexican workers so little. The most profitable industry is auto and lately aerospace in the north, mainly Chihuahua. In coming wider wars, these industries will play an important role, since they make weapons.

Behind Felipe Calderon’s “war against drug traffic” is the militarization of the country. The U.S. bosses and their lackeys in Mexico will fight to protect their wealth like oil, natural gas, water, biodiversity, uranium, etc. from their imperialist enemies. They could also try to control any popular uprising by unleashing police terror against workers.

Through the Alliance for Security and Prosperity of North America (ASPAN, a treaty made with ex-President Fox), the Merida initiative with Calderon, and recently the proposal to integrate Mexico into NORAD (North American Aerospace Command), the U.S. has entered a financial, military and energy “alliance” with Mexico and Canada, which is basically a proposal to focus on the strategic security of the U.S. in the face of wider war.

There’s no good or lesser evil capitalist or imperialist. They all seek to live off the wealth created by the working class. Siding with either block of capitalists is the worst error workers could make. We need to build an alliance with workers, students and soldiers around the PLP and fight internationally to destroy this system. Communist ideas must illuminate our staunch struggle to end the nightmare of capitalism. Only a communist revolution can establish a society that finally ends individualism, sexism, racism, nationalism and exploitation. That society is communism and for that we’ll fight to the win. JOIN US! FIGHT FOR COMMUNISM!

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There will be bloodied capitalists….

The Academy-award nominated film, “There Will Be Blood,” with a spectacular performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, who won Best Actor, is said to be based on Upton Sinclair’s 1926 novel, “Oil!” Unfortunately, it is not. The director, Paul Thomas Anderson, borrowed only three aspects of the novel – the setting (southern California), the industry (oil) and the time period (first quarter of the 20th century). He omitted the heart of Sinclair’s wonderful book: an exciting and insightful description of the struggle between labor and capital, and the way in which the owners control government, Hollywood and the press for their own ends. It’s an unintended and welcome consequence of the film’s success that many people are reading ‘Oil!”

A terrific novel, it follows two main characters – J. Arnold Ross, a self-made, hard-driving owner of several oil fields, a millionaire who only has two interests. One is getting oil out of the ground and making money, and the second is the well-being of his son, affectionately called “Bunny.” Father and son care deeply for each other. But as “Bunny” grows up and becomes more socially aware, he becomes close friends with Paul Watkins, a young carpenter who works for Ross Sr. Paul helps lead a strike in the oil fields and is radicalized by left-wing organizers. Bunny is sympathetic to the strikers and begins to listen carefully to Paul’s socialist ideas.

During WWI, the newspapers were filled with crude anti-Bolshevik propaganda, believed by most people. But not by Paul, who sees things clearly from the point of view of the workers:

“Bunny,” he said, “do you remember our oil-strike, and what we read about it in the papers? Suppose you have never been to Paradise [an oil field], and didn’t know the strikers, but had got all your impressions from the Angel City newspapers! Well, that’s the way it seems to me about Russia; this is the biggest strike in history, and the strikers have won, and seized the oil-wells.”

Paul, drafted into the U.S. army, is sent to Vladivostok in the Russian far east, part of an intervention by a dozen imperialist armies aimed at helping the Russian aristocracy, the White Army, overthrow the new workers government. His friend comes back in poor health and when Bunny asks what had been the purpose of his expedition, Paul replies:

“I’ve told you – to break the strike. The biggest strike in all history – the Russian workers against the landlords and the bankers; and we were to put the workers down, and the landlords and bankers up! . . . .[T]hey would get together and call themselves a government, and it was our job to rush them supplies, and they would print money, and hire some adventurers, and grab a bunch of peasants and ‘conscript’ them, and that would be an army, and we’d move them on the railroad, and they’d overthrow another Soviet government, and slaughter a few more hundreds or thousands of workingmen. That’s been my job for the past year and half; do you wonder I’m sick.”

Bunny begins to question the capitalist system that was the source of his father’s and his own wealth. He comes to realize that there is a war going on every day in the factories and the fields. Describing one oil field and the accidents that occurred there as the men raced to produce more oil and more profits, Sinclair writes:

… of all the thousands of men who had worked here, seventy-three out of every hundred had been killed or seriously injured during the few years of the field’s life! It was literally true that capitalist industry was a world war going on all the time, unheeded by the newspapers.

His friend Paul becomes an organizer for the Communist Party, which tells the workers that capitalism needs to be overthrown with revolution. One of Bunny’s college friends, Rachel, is a member of the Socialist Party, which tells the workers that capitalism can be peacefully voted out through elections. Although Sinclair gives Paul all the best arguments, Bunny’s temperament – which is to avoid conflict – leads him to side with the Socialists, as did Sinclair himself. Yet Sinclair is respectful of the politics and accomplishments of the international communist movement.

This review only touches the surface of this powerful and thoughtful novel, which ends with both personal tragedy and a hope for the future.

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