Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fascism and the State






Mussolini and Hitler: two of a kind

Review

By Andy Brooks
 

The Ruling Class, Fascism and the State: Neil Harris, New Worker pamphlet.
 
READERS may think they know all they need to know about Hitler and his legions. But much of this “knowledge” is simply based on war-time propaganda and post-war bourgeois assumptions about the roots and rise of fascism.
            An endless stream of war-films and documentaries along with the emphasis on the 20th century in the school syllabus only spreads the confusion further or as Neil Harris says: “It is nearly a century since fascism first appeared in Italy, and yet it is as misunderstood now as it was then. That the story of Hitler and the Nazis’ rise to power are such a major part of the history taught in our schools makes this a concern, because the confusion is no accident.
 “It is a version of history that is acceptable to the ruling class and follows a simple but flawed narrative of the 20th century, namely that the great depression of the 1930’s produced two challenges to bourgeois democracy and capitalism: from the left, Communism and from the right, Fascism.”
            Neil demolishes the attempt by the ruling class to portray fascism as an aberration that has nothing to do with bourgeois rule and at the same time dispels some of the popular myths of half-baked Marxists and Trotskyists about the rise of Hitler and Mussolini that are widely held by sections of the broader left today.
            In this pamphlet, based on an opening at a New Communist Party School a couple of years ago, the author uses the class line to answer  three key  questions: Why did fascism take over in one country and not another? Why was it necessary to have a counter revolution when a revolution was not imminent? And does a fascist seizure of the state, change the nature of the state?
            This is essential reading for anyone interested in history or involved in the anti-fascist struggle. Neil Harris’ conclusions may surprise you but you can judge for yourself by ordering this pamphlet, which cost £2.50 post free from New Worker Lit, PO Box 73 London SW11 PPQ.


A Russian theme on the South Bank


The Red Kremlin by Janet Q Treloar

 By New Worker correspondent


THE SACRIFICE of millions of Soviet citizens during the Second World War is traditionally commemorated at the Soviet War Memorial in Lambeth on Remembrance Sunday. But this year there was a more unusual tribute to their struggle at a major art gallery on London’s Southbank.
            Appropriately called “A Russian Theme”, this exhibition consisted of a series of impressions of the heroic cities of Leningrad, Moscow and Stalingrad, whose resistance broke the back of the Wehrmacht..
            Janet Q Treloar is one of Britain’s leading water-colourists whose works have been exhibited all around the world, including St Petersburg as well as the Russian Embassy and the Russian Cultural Centre in London.
Last week she joined forces with another master of the craft for this shared exhibition at the Bankside Gallery, the home of the Royal Watercolour Society in London. Dennis Roxby Bott treads a familiar path with his landscapes and architectural scenes at home and abroad while Janet Treloar explores a more unconventional road of colour and light to convey her vivid impressions of the Russian scene.
            Janet went to Russia in 2005 and her paintings are based on sketches of Moscow, St Petersburg and Volgograd done at the time and then reworked to illuminate what she describes as "the debt we owe to the heroic and sacrificial resistance of the Russian people to the Nazis".
             Others are dedicated to the parallel resistance to the "terror" represented by Anna Akhmatova, whose poems – much admired in western artistic circles – were dismissed by Zhdanov at the time as  “the poetry of an overwrought, upper-class lady" and the product of "eroticism, mysticism, and political indifference”.
The exhibition only ran for a week but the venue hosts new displays throughout the year. The gallery is very near the Tate Modern at 48 Hopton Street, London, SE1 9JH   Admission is free and the gallery is open daily from 11.00 am to 6.00 pm.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Teachers in solidarity with the Palestinian people!


World Federation of Teachers in Athens protest on Saturday

Thursday, November 08, 2012

On the 95th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution




Statement of the Communist and Workers’ Parties On the 95th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution
 It is 95 years since the Great October Socialist Revolution. It has been and remains the main event in recent world history. The global significance of the October Revolution lies in the fact that it ushered in an era of socialism delivering real and indisputable results for the working people who took state power in their hands in the form of the Soviets of Workers’ and Peasants’ Deputies. The dictatorship of capital was replaced with genuine rule of the people on the basis of social ownership of the main means of production. The Great October revolutionized the international workers’ movement. Many Communist Parties were created under its direct influence. The gains made by the Soviet people forced the capitalist world to make social concessions to the workers outside the USSR because for many decades the land of the October Revolution was setting the highest world standards in the development of the economy and the social sphere, science and education. The Soviet Union was the main force that crushed Fascism during the Second World War. The heroism of the Soviet people inspired hundreds of thousands of Resistance fighters, with communists in their front ranks. The ideas of the October Revolution shaped the world socialist system. The national liberation movement of the peoples oppressed by imperialism and the collapse of the colonial system would have been impossible without the October Revolution. In spite of the temporary retreat of Socialism, we are still loyal to the ideals of social justice and internationalism and are confident of the future victories of the “comradely mode of production.” The Great October Socialist Revolution remains for all the Communists on the planet an unforgettable lesson of the class struggle of the working people for their basic interests. It sets an immortal example for the world proletariat. It will continue to be our reliable beacon in the future.============================

The Parties

 Communist Party of Armenia
Communist Party of Azerbaijan 
 Communist Party of Abkhazia 
Communist Party of Belarus 
United Communist Party of Georgia 
Communist Party of Kazakhstan 
Party of Communists of Kyrgyzstan 
Party of Communists of Republic of Moldova 
Communist Party of South Ossetia 
Communist Party of the Russian Federation 
Transdniestrian Communist Party 
Communist Party of Ukraine 
Communist Party of Bangladesh
Workers' Party of Bangladesh
Communist Party of Britain
New Communist Party of Britain
Communist Party of Canada
Socialist Workers´ Party of Croatia
Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia
Communist Party of Denmark
Communist Party of Finland
Communist Party of Ireland
Workers' Party of Ireland
Lebanese Communist Party
Communist Party of Norway
Palestinian Communist Party
Philippine Communist Party [PKP-1930]
Communist Party of Sri Lanka
Communist Party of Sweden
Syrian Communist Party
Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA).

Monday, November 05, 2012

The State Department in Berkshire!





                                     By Neil Harris

THE JIMMY Savile affair has shown how easy it was for a dishonest and manipulative man to use the BBC as a cover for his sinister activities. Unfortunately for the last 65 years, the corporation has been happy to allow its name to be used as cover by an organisation which operates with the same characteristics as Savile but to far more deadly effect. 
This October a series of enigmatic job advertisements appeared in the national press for “An office of the US Embassy London based in Berkshire”; seeking “Current Affairs Officers” specialising in Russian, Middle East or Iranian Current Affairs. Paying from £27,000 to £34,000 a year, these required good languages, including an ability to translate into English combined with writing skills and knowledge of the new media. For the Russian posts fluency in “Central Asian and/or Caucasus languages” would be desirable, while the Middle East/Iranian posts need a “working fluency in Arabic or Persian”.
Applications were invited to “London HRC@state.gov”, which are, of course, our old friends in the US State Department, except in this case, the story doesn’t end there. Even though the Middle East, Iran and Russia are high on the State Department’s wish list for regime change, these “Current Affairs Officers” will find that they are working for a different outfit altogether.
Berkshire contains a number of sites of interest to the American intelligence community, but only one that has had a historic connection with the State Department – BBC Caversham, now known as BBC Monitoring.  There has been an American presence on the BBC site since the 1947 agreement effectively merged the British and American wartime monitoring centres that had been created to listen in to the Axis powers radio broadcasts.
            The American Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) was created as a component of the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology and usually had about 20 to 30 bureaux around the world focusing on the Far East, the Pacific Rim and Latin America. Caversham concentrated on Central Asia, and the former Soviet Union. Africa, Europe and the Middle East were a joint effort, while the two organisations swapped information where required, to help each other out. After the end of the Cold War, expenditure cuts threatened both arms of the service, but the destruction of the World Trade Center and the war on terror provided a much needed lifeline.
BBC Caversham had always received most of its funding from the “Foreign Office”, effectively on behalf of MI6. This then shifted to the “Cabinet Office”, a more general euphemism for the intelligence services. From 2013 the £25 million-a-year cost of the 400 British staff and seven foreign bureaux will be coming from the general BBC budget, although the service will be of no benefit to the licence payer.
According to BBC Monitoring’s 2008 annual report Iraq and Afghanistan are “Priority one countries” and acknowledged that the “coverage of Pakistan had tripled after 2003”. The service concentrated on “political, economic, security and media news, comment and reaction”, and always does so in response to demand from the intelligence services of America and Britain. However, none of this potentially interesting information is available to the licence paying public, except in an edited version via subscription services like Lexis-Nexis.
By the beginning of this century Washington looked on FBIS as an increasingly out of date and out of touch Cold War relic. The 11th September 2001 changed all that and in 2005 the old division of the CIA became the “Open Source Center” (OSC), proudly acknowledged on the CIA website as an “intelligence center” of the CIA. The budget was safeguarded and its remit expanded to collect information from the “internet, databases, press, radio, TV, video, geospatial data, photos and commercial images”.
By 2006, the OSC had “stepped up data collection and analysis to include bloggers worldwide and developing new methods to gauge the reliability of the content”. A statistical study of OSC’s main areas of interest showed that the top five countries listened in to were then , in descending order: Russia, China, Japan, Iran and south Korea. Countries like Japan, south Korea, France and Britain are surprisingly high on the list because they are important intelligence targets for American commercial interests.
Later Twitter and Facebook were added to the list, proving to be especially useful during the “Arab Spring”, where monitoring the new social media gave the CIA/OSC an ability to gauge the level of support for the opposition. This allowed other agencies ranging from the State department to the CIA, and of course the Foreign Office-funded BBC World Service, to alter their propaganda or interventions as necessary. Recently the OSC has been practising by comparing its analysis of American new media traffic with traditional opinion poll results to hone its predictive skills.
This brings us back to why the BBC would be lending its name to a CIA operation directed at over half the world’s population.  For the last 65 years it has been an open secret that FBIS officers (just like the majority of CIA officers) were operating out of US Embassies, under the cover of being State Department diplomats. The Department of State’s own Office of Allowances, which sets out pay and allowances by location around the world, provides a helpful guide to the rates payable to officers posted to Caversham. It always does so with reference to FBIS being the “lead agency”, even after the formation of the Open Source Center. This is further confirmation that State Department staff posted to Caversham are really CIA operatives, working on BBC premises.
It’s highly unlikely that any country, except perhaps Britain, would welcome a CIA station, openly gathering information on its own territory. Indeed, Open Source Center bureaux are usually located in friendly countries.  However, the BBC is able to operate seven foreign bureaux around the world, without interference, currently located in Azerbaijan, Egypt, India, Kenya, Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. These offices are able to collect both TV and radio as well as print and electronic data. In the case of the Russian Federation, which has always been the main country of interest to America, it is even more unlikely that Putin would welcome being encircled by a ring of such stations in the Caucasus, Kiev and Moscow, if they were being operated by an “intelligence center “ of the CIA .