Saturday, August 08, 2020

Nikos Zachariadis: a great communist leader

 August 1st marked the 47th anniversary of the death of Nikos Zachariadis, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) from 1931 to 1956, one of the most significant figures of the European and international communist movement in the 20th century.

         

   Nikos Zachariadis was born to ethnic Greek parents in the Turkish Ottoman Empire's Edirne (Adrianopolis) in 1903. At the age of 16, Nikos moved to Istanbul (Constantinople) where he worked as a docker and a seaman in the port. It was there that he started having his first organised relationship with the working-class movement. 

            In 1919-1922 he travelled extensively to the new Soviet Union. In 1923 he became a member of the Communist Party of Turkey. He studied in the newly-founded "KUTV" (Communist University of the Toilers of the East), also known as the "Stalin School", in the Soviet Union. After the Greco-Turkish War and the exchange of populations in 1922 the Zachariadis family moved permanently to Greece, during a period of severe political and economic crisis.

 During his stay in the Soviet Union Zachariadis had become a member of the All-Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) and in the summer 1924, after finishing his studies in the Soviet Union, Nikos travelled secretly to Greece where he undertook duties for the Young Communist League of Greece (OKNE). In 1926, during the dictatorship of General Pangalos, he was arrested and imprisoned in Thessaloniki. He managed to escape and worked secretly in various party positions. He was re-arrested and re-imprisoned in 1929, but once again he escaped and fled to the Soviet Union.

Nikos Zachariadis moved back to Greece in 1931 following a decision by the Communist International and became Secretary of the Central Committee of the Greek Communist Party (KKE). He led the Party during extremely difficult times, especially in a period of harsh anti-communist laws and violent persecutions by the bourgeois governments. He was captured and imprisoned in August 1936 by the State Security of Metaxas' fascist regime. From 1936 to 1941 he remained in prison. After the Nazi German invasion of Greece in 1941, he was transferred to the notorious Dachau concentration camp in Bavaria. Zachariadis was released in May 1945. Returning to Greece he re-assumed the KKE leadership, thus becoming the Party's General Secretary. During the peak of class struggle in the country following the restoration of the monarchy by Anglo-American imperialism he organised the heroic Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) which fought against the bourgeois army and it’s British and American imperialist allies during the 1946-1949 Civil War. After the defeat of DSE in 1949, the KKE leadership, including Zachariadis, fled into exile in the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries. Zachariadis spent a few years in Tashkent, the capital of Soviet Uzbekistan, which has become the exile home of a large number of Greek communist exiles. 

The death of Joseph Stalin and the right, opportunist turn of the CPSU that followed had a serious impact in the Greek communist movement. In May 1956, the 6th Plenum of the Central Committee of KKE – significantly influenced by Khrushchev's revisionist leadership – wrongfully denounced Zachariadis for "serious mistakes" and "sectarianism”. On February 1957 he was expelled from the Party. Nikos Zachariadis passed the rest of his life in exile in Siberia, particularly in Yahuta and Surgut. On 1st August 1973, at the age of 70, he was found dead in his home in Surgut. According to the official account of his death, Zachariadis had committed suicide.

In December 1991, his remains were repatriated in Greece where he was given a funeral at Athens' First Cemetery.In July 2011, taking a historically and politically significant decision, the National Conference of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) fully rehabilitated Nikos Zachariadis as General Secretary and Party member, reversing the unjust decisions of the 6th Plenum.

 

Nobody can take away your honour. You can only lose it by yourself - Nikos Zachariadis.

 

Friday, August 07, 2020

Summertime Blues

 It’s not been a good week for the Prime Minister. The latest opinion polls still put the Tories in the lead but the Labour leader is now near level-pegging with Boris Johnson on the personal approval ratings. Labour has joined the clamour calling for the former minister facing rape charges to be removed from the Tory party. Rumours abound about a future Tory leadership challenge from the ambitious new Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and Sir Kier Starmer has taken a break from his anti-Corbynista witch-hunt to give the Government a month to fix the broken COVID-19 test-and-trace system.

Starmer said the Prime Minister must admit his “world-beating” £10 billion system is flawed. “His repeated refusal to accept that test and trace isn’t functioning properly is a roadblock to fixing the issues and restoring public confidence”.      

Writing in the Guardian, the Labour leader called on the Johnson government to set out a clear plan to deal with the widely predicted second wave of the coronavirus plague. Starmer said there was “precious little evidence” of serious preparation for a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. Ministers have one month to make the track and trace system work and halt a devastating second wave of COVID-19 or Britain will face a “long and bleak winter” he said.

Johnson’s Rasputin, Dominic Cummings, may think he’s the master of deception but people, including the Tory die-hards of the Home Counties, are beginning to see through the smoke and mirrors these days.

Media reports of supposed Government plans to impose some sort of M25 no-go area around London and place everyone over 50 under virtual house arrest to contain a second wave have been met with outrage and derision, and the decision to appoint an official spokesperson to represent the Prime Minister in front of the media has only fired renewed speculation around Johnson’s health.

Some say Boris has never fully recovered from his bout with the coronavirus in April. Others repeat stories about Boris’s daily three-hour “power naps”, breathlessness and inability to concentrate that one would normally expect from the Labour ranks. The fact that they are going the rounds amongst disaffected Tories reflects their disquiet at the Government’s confused response to the coronavirus crisis that had paralysed the country.

 Banking on Biden

Meanwhile the Remainer camp is banking on Donald Trump’s defeat in the forthcoming US presidential elections. Johnson’s entire Brexit strategy has been based on replacing the Treaty of Rome with a new ‘Treaty of Washington’ that would open the British domestic market, including the NHS, to corporate America in exchange for preferential trans-Atlantic trade.

The Democrats have always favoured Britain’s continued membership of the European Union (EU), which enables their British-based investments to operate competitively within the EU. Johnson’s deal will be dead in the water if Trump’s Democratic rival, Joe Biden, wins.

That’s when they’ll call for the Brexit transition period to be extended to the end of this parliament’s five-year term whilst preparing for the ‘national government’ that Starmer thinks he’s immensely qualified to head. That will then pave the way for new negotiations with Brussels and the ‘second referendum’ of their hopes and dreams.

Johnson won’t be losing any sleep over Starmer in the immediate future. The new Labour leader has done little or nothing to restore Labour’s fortunes in its former bastions in Scotland or the North that are now in the hands of the Tories and the Scottish Nationalists. But Starmer is biding his time.

Monday, August 03, 2020

On Yer Bike


 Remember summers of old? Those halcyon days when workers took their traditional summer break while the great and the good trooped off to loll around their villas in Tuscany or bask in the Caribbean sun?
Those days are sadly gone. We’re now in the era of coronavirus and the “staycation”. August is still the “Silly Season” but these days the papers have to fill their columns with even more rubbish now that the Wimbledon championships have been cancelled along with most of the cricket and the other competitive sports fixtures.
The traditional summer sightings of the Loch Ness monster and giant jellyfish stranded on the Devon coast may have gone but the Johnson Government is doing its best to entertain us by offering free bikes on the NHS while Sir Keir Starmer’s supporters while away the time trying to drum Jeremy Corbyn out of the Labour Party he once led.
In 1981 Norman Tebbitt, a now largely forgotten Tory Cabinet minister of the Thatcher era, told unemployed workers to follow the example of his father who “got on his bike to look for a job” during the 1930s. Now his successors are urging us to do the same thing to fight the flab.
The Government has launched a campaign to combat obesity in England by offering £50 bike repair vouchers as part of plans to boost cycling and walking. An initial 50,000 vouchers will be issued online this week. Bikes will be available on the NHS and doctor’s surgeries will be stocked with bicycles to lend, with training, access to cycling groups and peer support. In some cases, we’re told, patients will be even allowed to keep them if they use them enough.
Boris Johnson says cycling and walking have "a huge role to play" in tackling health and environmental challenges amid growing evidence of a link between obesity and an increased risk of contracting Covid-19 and Type 2 diabetes.
"But to build a healthier, more active nation, we need the right infrastructure, training and support in place to give people the confidence to travel on two wheels," Johnson says. “That's why now is the time to shift gears and press ahead with our biggest and boldest plans yet to boost active travel - so that everyone can feel the transformative benefits of cycling”.
Of course the “Fix Your Bike” scheme is just another “feel good” campaign like the Chancellor’s £10 “Eat Out to Help Out” food voucher and the hand-outs designed to keep charities and small businesses going during the current crisis.
But laudable in itself, not “everyone” can safely ride a bike – least of all the morbidly obese that the campaign is aimed at. If the Government genuinely wants to provide a safe environment for cyclists the first step would be to take public transport back into public ownership and restore the subsidies to bring down bus and train fares and reduce car usage across the country.
If the Government seriously wants to encourage “active travel” it could start by conserving the countryside that has been plundered by the property developers for decades and restoring London’s Green Belt and the open spaces of our great cities.
Finally the best “feel-good” factor would be to give the health service the resources it needs to speed the research into developing a vaccine against Covid-19 and  tackle the coronavirus plague that has brought this country and most of the world to its knees this year.

In Memoriam Nina Andreyeva

Nina Alexandrovna Andreyeva
1938–2020


Nina Alexandrovna Andreyeva has passed away in St Petersburg, the city known as Leningrad during the Soviet era. The leader of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks (AUCPB) died on 24th July 2020 after a long illness.
Nina Andreyeva helped revive the Russian communist movement during the chaos that followed the destruction of the Soviet Union and although her party was always overshadowed by the mainstream successors to the old Communist Party of the Soviet Union, her views helped change the public perception of the Stalin leadership in Russia and throughout the world communist movement.
Nina Andreyeva was born on 12th October 1938 in a working-class family in Leningrad. During the Second World War she lost her father, who was killed in action in 1941.
She graduated from high school with a gold medal with honours from the Leningrad Institute of Technology in the technical sciences. In 1966, she joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). As an honest party member, she always took a firm principled stand. For this, the bureaucracy twice tried to deprive her of her Party card. These were the people who would later burn their Party cards to serve imperialism and join the bourgeois camp.
It was in the midst of Gorbachev's perestroika, when the traitors launched an attack on the foundations of socialism, that Nina Andreyeva showed her firm Bolshevik character in the famous letter I cannot compromise my principles that was published in Sovetskaya Rossiya, the daily newspaper of the Supreme Soviet, on 13th March 1988.
The article became known throughout the Soviet Union and beyond. Nina Andreyeva exposed Gorbachev's treacherous policy and caused such a public outcry that the Politburo of the CPSU, at the request of Gorbachev, spent two days discussing how to deal with her.
Her letter divided society into two camps: the defenders of socialism and those who wanted to destroy everything related to the Soviet period. It sparked a wide public debate and was reprinted in 800 regional and local publications.
It was denounced as "a manifesto of anti-perestroika forces" and Nina Andreyeva was forced to leave her teaching post at the Leningrad Institute of Technology. But she still kept up the fight.
In 1989 Nina Andreyeva led the All-Union ‘Unity for Leninism and Communist Ideals’ movement. In July 1991 she became the leader of the ‘Bolshevik platform’ within the CPSU. And on 8th November 1991, she was elected leader of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks (AUCPB).
Nina Andreyeva wrote a number of books dedicated to the struggle against opportunism, Zionism and fascism that were published all over the world, whilst calling on the world communist movement to uphold the cause of Lenin and Stalin at seminars in Democratic Korea, India and across the European continent, including the Brussels international May Day communist conference where she met NCP leader Andy Brooks in the early 1990s.
Her party failed to get mass support for its call for a “political general strike” and it was always overshadowed by the two mainstream successors to the old CPSU in the Russian Federation. But Nina Andreyeva’s scientific defence of the Soviet Union and the Stalin leadership led the fight-back that demolished the myths and lies spread by Gorbachov and Yeltsin during the counter-revolution that destroyed the world’s first socialist republic.
She helped shift Russian public consciousness towards renewed appreciation of the achievements of the Stalin era. Stalin’s memory is now upheld by all the communist parties in Russia and the Soviet leader’s achievements are now even partially accepted by the anti-communist Putin regime.
 Her life is, perhaps, best summed up in the tribute from the party she founded and led for over 30 years. The AUCPB said that the life-long principles of NA Andreyeva could be summed up by Stalin's words: “Not a step back! This should be our main appeal. We must stubbornly, to the last drop of blood, defend every position ... Our Motherland is going through difficult days. We must stop, and then push back and defeat the enemy, no matter what it takes!”


Why is the US conducting virus research in Eastern Ukraine?

by Theo Russell

Revelations by whistle-blowers are ringing alarm bells across Europe. Campaigners in Kharkov province, Eastern Ukraine, are appealing for international support to expose the work of US-financed bio-research labs in Merefa district, 10 miles south-west of the industrial city of Kharkov.
According to the Kharkov Ecological Monitoring Association (KEMA) and independent Kharkov journalists and bloggers, the laboratory complex was built by the US company Black & Watch, which has close ties with the Pentagon. The facility has been operating for several years and is officially called the Central Abstract Laboratory.
`KEMA’s source confirmed that in 2018 the lab carried out studies of influenza viruses with pathogens brought from the USA. Local staff were told that this research was to develop a so-called “universal, smart” vaccine, able to adapt to multiple virus mutations. These studies ended in early summer 2019 and all the results were “exported”.
The whistle-blowers also say they have evidence linking one of the laboratories with outbreaks of measles and diphtheria in Eastern Ukraine in 2018–2019.
The source also highlighted serious health and safety concerns at the lab. Water and electricity supplies were regularly cut due to local power cuts, including during major experiments. He said medical refrigerators were often turned off and adequate temperature ventilation conditions were often not maintained.
Last year some patients taking part in the lab’s medical experiments died, but details have been kept secret.
Strangely, the facility is guarded not by the Ukrainian police but by the National Bureau of Interpol in Ukraine.
In 2019 the laboratory collected biological samples and tested new drugs on residents of Kharkov, often homeless or low-income people. Attempts were made to give drugs being tested to state health and education providers, and even children's camps.
The Kharkov lab also carries out research on the ability of insects to carry dangerous pathogens including the Zika virus, West Nile Fever, Dengue Fever and others. In 2018 insects were released in a forest near the lab to study how the infected insects transmit the virus to animals.
A former employee of one of the biological laboratories located between the villages of Pesochin and Podvorki contacted KEMA anonymously and explained that the laboratory was working on normal research, but its real work was hidden from public view.
The laboratory’s work is under the direction of Melinda Haring, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Centre. The Atlantic Council was founded in 1961, is very close to NATO, and describes itself as “a non-partisan organisation that galvanises US leadership and engagement in the world, in partnership with allies and partners, to shape solutions to global challenges”.
Haring’s assistant Paul Niland is managing director of Pan Publishing and an active backer of the Kiev regime. He apparently oversees the ongoing research and co-ordinates the interaction of American and Ukrainian specialists.
The bio-labs are financed by the International Renaissance Foundation, part of the global network of ‘human rights and democracy’ organisations run by financier George Soros, with funds passing via the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.
Whilst KEMA’s source was still working in the laboratory, ex Health Minister Ulyana Suprun, her deputy Pavel Kovtonyuk and the head of the National Health Service of Ukraine Oleg Petrenko were personally involved in the project.
KEMA’s source also named Americans who have worked at the Kharkov facility, including senior researchers and professors from Vanderbilt University, New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Indiana University School of Medicine, and several US hospitals.
One of these, Kartlos Kankadze, a Washington-based native of Tbilisi, is a pharmacist from USAID (United States Agency for International Development) who specialises in research on infectious diseases, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
KEMA has sent the evidence it has collected to ecological and health organisations in Europe and elsewhere, proposing joint research into the activities of the Kharkov bio-research labs.
According to KEMA: “We have sufficient information to start an investigation at the state level. However, given the complete absence of our country's sovereignty, the Ukrainian authorities will never take this step.”