CPGB-ML » Posts in 'USA' category

Support Libya’s green resistance fighters

This motion was passed unanimously at the recent CPGB-ML party congress

This congress recognises that the imperialist beasts of the USA, Britain and France planned, financed and played the major role, assisted by their various middle-eastern puppets, in the overthrow of the popular Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi.

This congress notes that they, through the trickery of a UN resolution to impose a ‘no-fly zone’, supposedly to ‘protect’ the Libyan people, used the combined air power of Nato member states to carpet-bomb and destroy Libyan airports, military bases, media stations, hospitals, schools, electricity and water supplies, general infrastructure and residential areas alike.

Congress further notes that, even with the great military advantage that this onslaught from outside gave the rats of the Transitional National Council (TNC), they were so numerically weak and lacking in any support within Libya that they could not make decisive use of this advantage. So it was that Libya was flooded with military ‘advisors’ from the imperialist regimes and elite troops from all the neighbouring states that were under the sway of imperialism.

This congress applauds the heroic struggle that the Libyan people and their army waged against Nato’s proxy forces on the ground, despite the horrendous effects of the imperialists’ all-out air war, noting that they held out for more than six months until the capture, torture and public murder of the leader of Libya’s green revolution, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Congress also sends a red salute to the brave green fighters in Libya, who are continuing to put up resistance to imperialism and its puppets today.

Closer to home, this congress condemns the disgusting role played during the war on Libya by the ‘left’ supporters of imperialism – the social democrats, revisionists and Trotskyists. In Britain, the worst of these enemies of the international proletariat once more proved themselves to be the Labour party, the SWP, Counterfire, the CPB, and the ‘anti-war’ umbrella group in which many of those parties’ spokespeople play a leading role: the Stop the War Coalition (StW). StW held a single nationally-organised demonstration over the issue of the overthrow of the sovereign state of Libya by imperialism – but they held it outside the Libyan embassy supporting the imperialist-backed TNC and opposing the anti-imperialist leadership of Colonel Gaddafi!

This congress affirms that imperialism is the main enemy of the international working class, and that US imperialism, as the biggest and most powerful imperialist state, is the biggest enemy to world peace.

Congress further affirms that in an imperialist war the duty of the working class in an imperialist country is to work for the defeat of its own government. And an essential part of that process must be exposing and leading workers away from the misleadership of social democracy and its revisionist and Trotskyist hand-maidens, who will try with all their guile to keep workers tied to the imperialist war machine through revolutionary-sounding phrases and lies.

This congress resolves to continue working to show our class that we do have the power to stop the imperialist war machine by starving it of all the necessary supplies for its wars of brigandage, whether those supplies be weapons, transport or soldiers!

Congress further resolves to use all means at the party’s disposal to disseminate information about the ongoing battle in Libya, in order that British workers should understand that there is a popular resistance movement fighting to rid the country of imperialist forces. Our party will continue to expose the vile and rapacious doings of the TNC rats who now hope to rule Libya (with imperialist troops stood at their shoulders). These villains have murdered, kidnapped, raped, looted and evicted from their homes those supporting or suspected of supporting the green resistance. From the earliest days, even before coming to power, it was well known that the TNC rats were lynching black Libyans, as well as other black Africans working in the country, and our party will continue to remind the world of this fact.

Finally, this congress resolves to continue pointing out that this bloody war was brought upon the Libyan people in order to grab the country’s oil, to remove its anti-imperialist leadership, and to kick open the door to the re-conquest of Africa. The freedom and protection of the Libyan people was never a real reason for waging the war – except, perhaps, in the minds of a few simple souls who simply cannot, or will not, see the jackboot an inch from their face, even when it is pointed out to them.

This congress remains confident that the Libyan masses will rise again to rid their land of the imperialist puppets and bring the imperialists’ dreams of world domination to nought.

Long live the memory of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, hero of the Libyan and African peoples!
Victory to the anti-imperialist peoples!
Death to imperialism!

Free the Miami Five

This motion was passed unanimously at the recent CPGB-ML party congress

This congress condemns the ongoing unjust imprisonment and detention in the United States of Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González, the Cuban citizens who went to the United States with the aim of infiltrating Miami Cuban circles for the purpose of finding out in advance about any intended terrorist attacks being prepared against Cuban national interests. Their arrest and conviction on charges of espionage against the US and conspiracy to commit criminal acts constitute one of the most glaring indictments of the US legal system.

This congress notes that even ex-US president Jimmy Carter has been shocked at the treatment meted out to these men, known to the world as the Miami Five, and has said: “I believe that there is no reason to keep the Cuban Five imprisoned. There were doubts in the US courts and also among human-rights organisations in the world. Now, they have been in prison 12 years, and I hope that in the near future they will be released to return home.”

Congress further notes that recent evidence shows that the US government was paying journalists in Miami to keep writing tendentious articles about the case at the time that it was being heard with a view to influencing public opinion, the jury, and the likely outcome of the trial. At the time of the trial it was well known that the Miami press was printing such material, and application was made several times for a change of venue for the trial because the publicity was ensuring that there was no way a trial in Miami could be a fair one. However, the judge refused to countenance a change of venue. One can surmise what would have been the effect on the judge’s career had she flown in the face of government expectations in this regard!

This congress believes that, even if the Five had been guilty of the offences with which they were charged, the sentences imposed on them would be considered totally disproportionate in any country that laid claim to being observant of human rights. These patriotic comrades were convicted on 8 June 2001 and sentenced to four life terms and 75 years in December 2001.

Congress notes that, on 9 August 2005, after seven years of unjust imprisonment, the Miami Five won an unprecedented victory on appeal. In a unanimous 93-page decision, a brave three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the convictions and ordered a new trial. The court rightly called their prosecution “a perfect storm” of pervasive community prejudice, government misconduct and extensive negative publicity before and during the trial. However, the Bush administration appealed, and exactly one year after the favourable ruling granting the Five a new trial, the full panel of the 11th Circuit Court ruled to reverse their decision. The Cubans’ convictions were reinstated, although later court decisions reduced the sentences of Fernando González, Ramón Labañino and Antonio Guerrero. René Gonzalez has already been released (on 7 October last year) but is being kept in the US on three years’ probation, so that he cannot return to Cuba but has to remain in Miami, where he is at risk of being murdered by Cuban expatriate terrorists.

Congress further notes that there are ongoing appeals for habeas corpus, which have been given added impetus through the discovery of the large payments made by the US government to journalists reporting on the trial to the prejudice of the defendants. The appeals have been heard and the outcome is awaited. In the meantime, Gerardo is serving two life sentences and cannot under US law be paroled, while the current release dates of Ramón, Antonio and Fernando are:

  • Ramón: 30 October 2024
  • Antonio: 18 September 2017
  • Fernando: 27 February 2014

This congress joins with the Cuban government, all the people of Cuba, and all of progressive humanity the world over in calling for the immediate release of the Miami Five, their immediate return to Cuba and significant compensation to be paid to them for the long years of unjust imprisonment, which have robbed them of years of their lives.

Land of the free is a prison of nations

Mumia Abu Jamal

Mumia Abu Jamal

Download this article as a leaflet

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The United States puts itself forward as a ‘democracy’; it calls itself the ‘land of the free’; it considers that it has the right to police the world, the right to label other countries as ‘undemocratic’ or lacking in freedom; it imposes sanctions and wages wars in the name of ‘human rights’.

And yet the US state, along with its fellow imperialist vultures in Britain and elsewhere, is the worst violator of human rights in the world.

By waging unjust wars for economic and geo-political advantage, the US and its allies deny millions of people the most fundamental human right: the right to life.

Through its economic stranglehold over the third world, imperialism is responsible for the extraordinary poverty that leads to the death of 13 million children a year from malnutrition-related diseases.

Prison state

Despite the US government’s ostensible love of ‘freedom’, the US increasingly resembles a fascist state, with repressive laws, political prisoners and a massive prison population.

- Over 1 percent of the adult population is incarcerated – a massive 2,319,258 people. The US leads the world both in absolute numbers and in the proportion of its population behind bars.

- The US population accounts for approximately 5 percent of the world population, but its prison population accounts for 25 percent of the world total.

- The US incarceration rate is 3.4 times higher than that of Iran and 6.3 times higher than that of China – both countries about whose ‘human rights record’ the imperialist media (and their liberal hangers-on) bang on incessantly.

- One in 15 black men and 1 in 36 Hispanics over the age of 18 are in prison, as opposed to 1 in 106 white males.

- Whereas African Americans comprise only 12.2 percent of the US population and 13 percent of its drug users, they make up 38 percent of those arrested for drug offences and 59 percent of those convicted of drug offences.

Why are so many US citizens in prison? Because of the dedication of its ruling class to ‘freedom’: the freedom to exploit and the freedom to own vast amounts of private property.

Even in the richest country in the world, the system of exploitation means that while a handful of people are living in Dallas-style luxury, millions more live in abject poverty.

- The US is the richest country in the world, and yet, such is the disparity of wealth that almost one in eight US citizens lives in poverty.

- According to the US Department of Agriculture, about 11 million people suffer “very low food security”.

- The poverty rate for blacks was 24.3 percent in 2006; for whites it was 8.2 percent.

- The unemployment rate for blacks was 8.4 percent in November 2007; for whites it was 4.2 percent.

The job of the capitalist state is to protect the private property ‘earned’ through exploitation, and so hundreds of victims of capitalism, driven to crime through a desperation aggravated by consumerism promoted by capitalism in the interests of enhancing the profits of the rich, are thrown into prison in order to maintain capitalist order.

Political prisoners

In addition to imprisoning petty criminals, the US is also in the habit of using the prison system in an attempt to silence discontent.

It has a long history of politically-motivated frame-ups, including those of Huey Newton, Angela Davis, Assata Shakur and Mumia Abu-Jamal.

- Mumia Abu-Jamal has been in prison since 1981 and on death row since 1983.

- There is clear evidence that Mumia was the victim of a police frame-up.

- Mumia is behind bars because he is a journalist and political activist. He was an influential member of the Black Panthers, a talented organiser and publicist. The state tried to silence him by framing and locking him up.

Much like the British state, the US state does not respect civil liberties.

Under the guise of fighting against terrorism, the US has introduced laws that allow state agencies access to emails, telephone conversation recordings, medical records, financial records, etc. These laws are being used to clamp down on those who oppose the injustices of imperialism.

International human rights abuser

- The US is by far the most aggressive state in the world. Since the end of WW2, it has been involved in dozens of large-scale military actions: Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Somalia, Cuba, Congo, Panama, Dominican Republic and Lebanon, to name but a few. These are illegal, ruthless and unjust wars, fought solely for the economic benefit of the US ruling class.

- The invasion of Iraq, led by the US and fully supported by Britain, has been a disaster for the human rights of the Iraqi people: well over 1 million have been killed, over 2 million are refugees abroad, another 2 million are internal refugees. There is chronic malnutrition, minimal access to clean water and electricity, unemployment is well over 60 percent, and most schools and hospitals are defunct.

- The US has dozens of secret prisons around the world, where it tortures its victims as far away from the public eye as possible. Britain is wholly complicit in this (and, of course, has its own extensive record of prison torture).

- More than six years after the invasion of Afghanistan, the US is still holding over 350 people prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. These men have been given no trial and have been subjected to routine torture in complete violation of international law.

- Conscientious objectors in the US are put in prison. For example, Kevin Benderman, a US Army sergeant, served 12 months for refusing to deploy to Iraq.

Nobody in their right mind could label the US as the ‘land of the free’.

Only socialism will bring us real rights

Ultimately, the working class and the oppressed masses have no lasting political rights under capitalism. To the extent people enjoy democratic rights under capitalism, it is only in so far as the rule and privileges of the super-rich – the bourgeoisie – are not under threat.

Only socialism will bring real human rights for all: the right to live, the right to work, the right to education, the right to health care, the right to participate in the running of society, the right to be free from exploitation, the right to develop as an individual.

Free Mumia! Free all US political prisoners!
No freedom while imperialism lives. Forward to socialism!

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Leaflet issued by the CPGB-ML in April 2008.

Sadly, the only change since we wrote the article above is that the situation has got worse - and there are two more criminal wars to add to the charge-sheet. The war against Libya and the war against Syria.

The graphic below shows just how many US citizens are locked up - and who benefits from their incarceration.

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No Justice For All

How Kony 2012 hides the truth of imperialism in Africa

Invisible Children's founders pose with members of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army in April 2008

Invisible Children's founders pose with members of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army in April 2008

‘Going viral’ refers to the phenomenon of a video or website becoming popular, or at least widely known, via the medium of public sharing.

In the age of social networking this is no longer as impressive as it once was, but nonetheless it was certainly surprising when Kony 2012 – a short documentary which purported to dish the dirt on a fundamentalist christian terrorist organisation in Uganda, known as the Lord’s Resistance Army, and its not-so-charismatic leader Joseph Kony – ‘went viral’ a few weeks ago. And it was even more surprising when, just as his popularity was peaking, the director of Kony 2012 was arrested for public masturbation.

So, masturbation aside, what on earth is going on here?

Kony 2012 is the 11th documentary released by an allegedly not-for-profit organisation called Invisible Children. All eleven documentaries produced by Invisible Children have been about the same subject – Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army.

The name ‘Invisible Children’ refers to the group’s principal gripe with the LRA, namely, its use of child soldiers in its war against the Ugandan state. Not content with merely documenting the situation in Uganda, however, Invisible Children seeks to prescribe a solution: it wants US military action both in Uganda and in central Africa more generally. This is not a covert objective, but a stated goal of the organisation.

In fact, Invisible Children has been widely recognised for galvanising public support around the US senate’s Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, passed in 2010 – an act which led to the active deployment of US troops in Uganda.

Invisible Children is not just an advocacy group, but also an active supporter of imperialist causes in Africa. It channels a sizable percentage of the revenue it accrues through donations and merchandise sales directly into the Ugandan army and government, as well as the armies and governments of several other central African states.

Once again, these activities are not covert, but public. The founders of the organisation have gone so far as to be photographed posing with members of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army, all three of them proudly carrying weapons that their organisation, or others like it, probably helped pay for.

The reality is that Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army are a bugbear whose relatively minor role in African regional politics has been grossly distorted by Invisible Children. This was the point made by three commentators writing in the US establishment’s Foreign Policy journal in November of last year: “[Invisible Children] manipulates facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders and emphasising the LRA’s use of innocent children as soldiers, and portraying Kony — a brutal man, to be sure — as uniquely awful, a Kurtz-like embodiment of evil.

Moreover, though Invisible Children continues to focus on the LRA’s activities in Uganda, most experts are now questioning whether the group still operates in Uganda at all.

Arthur Larok, the director of Action Aid in Uganda, has criticised Invisible Children on precisely this point: “Six or 10 years ago, this would have been a really effective campaign strategy to get international campaigning. But today, years after Kony has moved away from Uganda … I’m not sure that’s effective for now. The circumstances in the north have changed.”

These changed circumstances are also highlighted by the freelance journalist Michael Wilkerson, who has pointed out that “in 2006, the LRA was pushed out of Uganda and has been operating in extremely remote areas of the DRC, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic. … the small remaining LRA forces are still wreaking havoc and very hard to catch, but northern Uganda has had tremendous recovery in the six years of peace”.

So why do Invisible Children continue to act as though Uganda is the LRA’s main base of operations and, moreover, that the LRA are a serious threat? The answer is either shameful ignorance or deliberate deception. Whichever of these two is the correct answer, Invisible Children’s shortcomings as documentarians have certainly been helpful in furthering the foreign policy aims of the United States.

As senior research fellow at the Makerere Institute of Social Research in Uganda, Adam Branch, has pointed out, the popularity of Invisible Children’s campaigns “[has been] an excuse that the US government has gladly adopted in order to help justify the expansion of their military presence in central Africa”.

More specifically, by appearing to be ‘responding’ to misguided public pressure on Uganda, the Obama administration has been given a useful cover for expanding its military presence in the country at precisely the time when its unpopular, pro-western government, and the lucrative oil contracts that it can dispense, are under threat from the population whom it has been exploiting.

Invisible Children and its supporters, whether they realise it or not, are playing a significant role in supporting western imperialism in central Africa. Through their ignorance of the complex reality of African regional politics and their naïve prejudices and faith in the altruistic motivations of imperialism, they have given ammunition (both figurative and literal) to the worst forces of reaction and obscured the fact that American troops in Uganda are not there to help the children of central Africa, but to help the US imperialist aims of monopolising Africa’s oil and mineral wealth and trying to undermine China’s ability to trade on the continent.

If people in the imperialist countries are serious about helping the people of central Africa, it is not Joseph Kony they need to focus on, but imperialist looting – and the military force it uses, both directly and indirectly, to back that up. As Adam Branch has said: “In terms of activism, the first step is to re-think the question: Instead of asking how the US can intervene in order to solve Africa’s conflicts, we need to ask what we are already doing to cause those conflicts in the first place. How are we … contributing to land grabbing and to the wars ravaging this region? How are we, as US citizens, allowing our government to militarise Africa in the name of the ‘War on Terror’ and its effort to secure oil resources?

Corporations will compete to buy next American president

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 4 March.

The current US presidential race leading up to elections in November is set to be the most expensive that there has ever been, with campaign expenditure expected to reach $2-3bn.

Provided no public funding is accepted for campaigning purposes, there is no limit to what each candidate’s backers can spend in order to get their favoured candidate elected. Money is raised from the wealthy through the medium of a Political Action Committee (PAC) and, following a ruling of the Supreme Court last year, so long as there is no direct contact with the candidate being supported, there is no limit on how much money a given PAC (or ‘Superpac’) is permitted to raise and spend.

Egyptian masses against the military council

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 4 March.

The ruling military council in Egypt has come under renewed pressure from intensified mass demonstrations calling for all power immediately to be vested in parliament following incidents at a football match in Port Said at the beginning of February.

In Egypt, football supporters clubs, known as the ‘ultras’, have been an important factor in the anti-government protests that brought down the Mubarak regime. They are known for their anti-government chants and formation marching. It is thought that at the Port Said match the police and military deliberately failed to implement routine weapons searches and subsequently stood aside to allow thugs posing as Port Said supporters to attack ultras in the crowd who had travelled from Cairo for the match. Seventy-one people were killed.

Meanwhile, the military government has ordered the arrest of no fewer than 19 persons working for foreign NGOs said to be carrying out illegal activity in Egypt, namely, conducting research with a view to sending information to the US and supporting candidates in Egyptian elections whose function would be to represent foreign interests. Eleven of those to be arrested are US citizens.

Personnel from 44 NGOs have been targeted, including the National Democratic Institution, Freedom House, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and others who were raided by the authorities in late December. In fact, according to the New York Times, “American pro-democracy groups were founded in the 1980s in part to take the place of what had been decades of covert Central Intelligence Agency involvement in the political affairs of other countries.” (‘Charges against US-aided groups come with history of distrust in Egypt’ by Scott Shane and Ron Nixon, 6 February 2012)

None of the US citizens concerned were actually taken into custody but several were holed up in the US embassy in the expectation that they would be arrested if they stepped outside. Meanwhile, as a result of the threatened arrests, the US was having to contemplate whether to suspend its military aid to Egypt, which amounts to $1.3bn annually – but if it did that it would have no hold over the country to force it to maintain its de facto truce with Israel.

However, this embarrassing impasse has now been avoided by an Egyptian court releasing 11 US citizens on bail (totalling $4m), thus enabling them to skip the country, which they have done. It is not thought that the US government will be amenable to any request for extradition for the persons concerned to face trial.

Chinese leaders gets hostile reception in USA

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 4 March.

Xi Jinping, China’s vice-president, who is expected to succeed Hu Jintao when he completes his 10 years as president, visited the US from 14 February. His reception was undiplomatic in the extreme, reflecting the rage of US imperialism at China’s undermining of its world domination.

Defence Secretary Leon Panetta made a speech in Xi Jinping’s presence about how the US needed to make substantial new investments in weapons technology to counter ‘rising powers’ who were ‘testing international rules and relationships’. Xi responded with great dignity, referring to people’s longing for peace, stability and development.

Vice President Joe Biden for his part presented Xi with a long list of grievances under the guise of a champagne toast! These included complaints about China’s enforcement of US intellectual property rights, the question of Syria, China’s ‘artificially depressed currency’, and China’s demands for technology transfer as a condition for the right to do business with China.

Given such ungraciousness on the part of their hosts, it would be surprising if China would be anxious to repeat their visit to the US any time soon.

USA’s drone fleet embarrasses Iraqi stooge government

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 4 February

Following the official withdrawal of US forces from Iraq in December, the US is deploying a small fleet of surveillance drones (which are claimed to be unarmed) in Iraq in order to protect its interests. In other words, most human soldiers may have left, but they have been replaced by robotic equivalents, backed up with some 5,000 private security contractors and 11,000 (!!!) ‘embassy staff’.

Even the puppet Iraqi government finds these facts embarrassing and difficult to justify to the Iraqi people, who continue to be under threat of attack by US controlled forces. Note has been taken of how drones have been used to kill large numbers of innocent villagers in Pakistan, while US personnel responsible for the massacre of civilians, such as the marine put on trial for leading the 2005 massacre of 24 civilians in Haditha, Iraq, are ‘punished’ with nothing more severe than a demotion.

Even more embarrassing is the fact that the US openly neglected even to pretend to consult the Iraqi puppet government about the installation of these facilities, let alone obtain its permission.

Who benefits from civil war in Myanmar?

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 4 February

The Burmese government has rekindled the civil war against the ethnic Kachin group who live in the mountainous area close to the Chinese border. This region has been effectively self-governing for 17 years under the control of the Kachin Independence Army, which levies taxes on all commerce in the region.

There have apparently been over 1,000 skirmishes since June, with 140 Kachin soldiers killed. Tens of thousands of villagers have been displaced, including thousands who have fled to China.

The area is one where major hydroelectric projects built with Chinese involvement are situated. The Myanmar government is hinting that the reason for the crackdown is that the Chinese are inconvenienced by alleged Kachin objections to their operations, which it says are the reason why it suspended the planned Myitsone Dam in a part of the state controlled by the government.

However, this is widely regarded as an excuse to cover the fact that the Myanmar government is more and more dancing to the American tune, this being the real reason it is distancing itself from Chinese funded projects. Certainly it would be odd if people actually being targeted by China should turn to China for refuge!

The area is rich in all kinds of resources, so it may be that US imperialist enterprises have expressed an interest in operating there in ways that the Myanmar government is well aware the Kachin will object to even more virulently than they have objected to Chinese projects.

Honduras disaster - made in the USA

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 4 February

The New York Times of 26 January said that “It’s time to acknowledge the foreign policy disaster that American support for the Porfirio Lobo administration in Honduras has become. Ever since the 28 June 2009 coup that deposed Honduras’s democratically elected president, José Manuel Zelaya, the country has been descending deeper into a human rights and security abyss. That abyss is in good part the State Department’s making.” (‘In Honduras, a mess made in the US’ by Dana Frank)

Under the aegis of US-managed elections, an imperialist puppet, Porfirio Lobo, became president in 2009, since when the country has gained the dubious reputation of being the murder capital of the world, rife with gang warfare and drug trafficking, corruption, police death squads, and suchlike trademarks of democracy made in the USA.