Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Statement of solidarity with President Evo Morales and the Bolivian people

Faced with the decisions of the governments of Portugal, Spain, France and Italy to prevent the overflight and landing of the official airplane carrying the President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Evo Morales, on his return from a visit to the Russian Federation, the undersigned Parties and organizations:
1 – Vehemently condemn the decisions of the Governments of the above­mentioned countries and demand a formal apology to President Evo Morales and to the Plurinational State of Bolivia for a co­ordinated attitude which disrespected the most elementary legal principles and international conventions, and which attempted against the safety and the life of President Evo Morales.
2 – Consider that this behaviour, which has no precedent in peacetime Europe, is all the more serious since it is clearly related with the attempt by the U.S. Administration to persecute a former agent of the US National Security Agency who confirmed the existence of an international network of mass surveillance and of violation of the most elementary rights, freedoms, and guarantees of the peoples and of the sovereignty of States.
3 – Demand that the Governments of Portugal, Spain, France and Italy publicly and comprehensively explain the details surrounding those decisions, which represent an illegal act that, from the point of view of International Law, can be considered an act of State terrorism.
4 – Condemn the complicity of the European Union with these illegal acts, in a display of its true nature and policies, and of its submission within the framework of NATO.
5 – Demand a clear and unequivocal condemnation of these decisions by the relevant bodies of the United Nations.
6 – Hail the States and multilateral and international organizations which have condemned these acts and call upon the peoples of Bolivia, of the above­mentioned European countries, as well as upon all peoples of the world, namely in Latin America, to express in the most diverse manner their condemnation and repudiation of such a serious affront to President Evo Morales, to the sovereignty of Bolivia and of the other peoples targeted by this decision, as well as to national and democratic rights and to the freedom of the peoples.
7 – Express their solidarity with the peoples of Portugal, Spain, Italy and France who, in their countries, fight against the policies of exploitation, oppression, national surrender and submission to the interests of imperialism.
8 – Reaffirm their commitment to continue and intensify the internationalist solidarity with all forces who, in the most diverse corners of the world, carry on the struggle against the war­mongering and authoritarian strategy of interference, targeting the social, labour, democratic and national rights of the peoples, which is being stepped up by imperialism, in the context of the ever more profound crisis of capitalism.
July 18, 2013

Algerian Party for Democracy and Socialism
Brazilian Communist Party
Communist Party in Denmark
Democratic Progressive Tribune – Bahrain
Workers Party of Belgium
Communist Party of Bohemia & Moravia
Communist Party of Bolivia
Communist Party of Brazil
Communist Party of Britain
New Communist Party of Britain
Communist Party of Chile
Communist Party of Cuba
Progressive Party of the Working People of Cyprus (AKEL)
Communist Party of Denmark
Communist Party of Egypt
Unified Communist Party of Georgia
Communist Party of Greece
Communist Party of India
Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Communist Party of Ireland
Workers' Party of Ireland
Party of the Communist Refoundation (Italy)
Party of the Italian Communists
Communist Party of Mexico
Communist Party of Pakistan
Communist Party of Spain
Communist Party of the People of Spain
Communist Party of the Russian Federation
Communist Party of Turkey
German Communist Party
Hungarian Workers' Party
Lebanese Communist Party
New Communist Party of Yugoslavia
Party of the People (Panamá)
 Portuguese Communist Party
 South African Communist Party
 Tudeh Party of Iran

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tools of imperialism

By Neil Harris

AFTER the overthrow of the Egyptian government, Robert Fisk writing in the Independent asked; “When is a military coup not a military coup?”  His answer was “When America says it isn’t.”
That hypocrisy is normal these days; Bradley Manning is in jail, awaiting a long prison sentence for whistle-blowing American atrocities in Iraq while John Kiriakou, a whistle-blower  and former CIA officer is the only person to be jailed as a result of the US torture programme. He has just started two and a half years in prison for revealing that a CIA officer destroyed the video evidence of the torture. She has since been promoted to head of “operations”.
With Julian Assange of Wikileaks holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy and Edward Snowden on the run for exposing the National Security Agency’s spying, you could get the idea that the American government doesn’t like whistle-blowing or internet activism. That isn’t always the case; the American government finds the internet very helpful as a tool for propaganda as this quote from “Radio Free Asia” shows:
“The Internet has emerged as a crucial platform for freedom of expression and the exchange of ideas and information. Access to an open Internet offers an opportunity for a global citizenry to freely communicate, collaborate, and exchange ideas. Unfortunately hundreds of millions of individuals’ online interactions are being monitored and obstructed by repressive governments. These government actions limit the ability for citizens to take full advantage of the powerful communications platform that the Internet has become.”
America has two “Public Diplomacy” programmes – these are the open, legal methods of destabilising governments and politicians that America doesn’t agree with. It never does this directly, it uses a series of “fronts” to hide the source of the money, although as we’ve shown in the past it isn’t that hard to follow the trail of the money back to base.
While US State Department activities often feature in this paper, “The Broadcast Board of Governors” (BBG) is separate and deals with radio and television propaganda broadcasts around the world – most of which were once funded by the CIA. It covers the old cold war stations; Radio Free Europe and Voice of America as well as “Radio Free Asia”
 “…the United States Congress recognised Radio Free Asia (RFA), through the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), as an engine to empower a global citizenry to overcome governments that illegitimately block, censor, and curb the potential of the Internet as a free speech zone.”
The targets change with America’s foreign policy agenda – right now Cuba and the Middle East are top priorities while China is important too, which is where “Radio Free Asia” comes in. The BBG has also embraced the internet with enthusiasm:
“The Internet has emerged as a crucial platform for freedom of expression and the exchange of ideas and information. Access to an open Internet offers an opportunity for a global citizenry to freely communicate, collaborate, and exchange ideas. Unfortunately hundreds of millions of individuals’ online interactions are being monitored and obstructed by repressive governments. These government actions limit the ability for citizens to take full advantage of the powerful communications platform that the Internet has become.”
In order to expand its activities, the “Open Technology Fund” was set up last year, to exploit the internet and the new media by directing and organising the many well-meaning people who want to do “good”, but don’t look hard enough at the causes they are supporting.
Right now, the fund is advertising for new ideas and proposals, money no object as usual. To help prospective fundees get the picture, the fund helpfully lists some of the organisations it already supports.
Edward Snowden might have found “Globaleaks” helpful:
“GlobaLeaks is the first open-source whistle-blowing framework. It empowers anyone to easily set up and maintain a whistle-blowing platform. GlobaLeaks can help many different types of users: media organisations, activist groups, corporations and public agencies.”
The newspapers who reported the revelations about the National Security Agency may have found the Martus Project helpful:
“Journalists and human rights defenders face grave threats to themselves and to their sources that trust them with their stories. As more journalists use technology to store and manage their data, more perpetrators try to attack that technology. Benetech’s Martus is a tool aimed at providing journalists with a means of transmitting information, while protecting their sources and themselves”.
Journalists or human rights activists worried about their security might welcome help from the LEAP Encryption Access Project:
“LEAP is a non-profit dedicated to giving all internet users access to secure communication. Our focus is on adapting encryption technology to make it easy to use and widely available.”
No state is ever going to be able to get millions of people in other countries to do what it wants by being open about it – they need a lot of little organisations, all apparently “independent” and non-profitmaking to do the work for them. “Open ITP” seems almost too good to be true:
“Open ITP supports and incubates a collection of free and open source projects that enable anonymous, secure, reliable, and unrestricted communication on the Internet. Its goal is to enable people to talk directly to each other without being censored, surveilled or restricted.”
Of course, it is too good to be true, it’s another front for US law enforcement like “TOR” (The Onion Router), which the New Worker previously exposed as a website that purports to offer anonymity to those who want to hide their activities from governments but which was created and developed by the Office of Naval Intelligence and is currently funded by various fronts for the US Government.
The internet isn’t straightforward any more – in developing countries internet access isn’t easy, the cost of a computer is high and landlines are unreliable. Mobile phone technology sidesteps many of these problems and there is a stream of second hand phones and smart phones being sold to the Third World to satisfy the demand. As a result, the new media are just as important in poorer countries as they are in the West. RFA has realised the potential and is exploiting this with “The Guardian Project” which aims to:
“Create easy to use apps, open-source firmware MODs, and customised, commercial mobile phones that can be used and deployed around the world, by any person looking to protect their communications and personal data from unjust intrusion and monitoring.”
With all these projects, the only protection is from the governments that America does not approve of. The US government always ensures it has access to all this information and uses it to further its foreign policy aims and to identify individuals and causes it does not agree with. Use them at your peril.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The necessity of revolution

by Eric Trevett

HUMAN beings first emerged and developed from a class of primates that had a large family group social structure and at all stages of development humans have always been social beings. Early humans maintained the collective group because isolated individuals, especially if they were mothers and infants, could not survive.
Humans have always been social beings and in the first phase of human existence they survived on the basis of food gathering and hunting. Their diet would probably have included insects and their life was very harsh.
Science and art were both based on observing nature. Gradually over the millennia the knowledge acquired from these observations led to animal husbandry and arable farming being established. The ability to learn from experience and pass on knowledge proved that humans could do what no other animal could aspire to. Humans developed the power to be able to foresee the future and consciously make changes in their mode of living and to the environment generally.
In changing the world early humans changed themselves. Without this the continuous advance in knowledge up to modern science and technology could never have been achieved.
The point is that in the womb of primitive society development was taking place that created the opportunity for a new society to be born.
Trade was established as nomadic herders met each other, or met settled arable farmers, and exchanged goods. This was done at first by straight barter but later exchange was made easier by the first coinage. Gold discs carrying an image of a cow to show they represented the exchange value of a cow but were easier to carry about in a pocket or bag.
This gave rise to the beginnings of the notion of private property and wealth that could be accumulated — not by tending animals or working in the fields or crafting implements or ornaments but simply by buying the products of other people’s labour at one price and selling them at a higher price.
This undermined the tribal principles of common ownership and gave rise to the possibility that, like cattle and sheep, people could also become private property — slaves. The most common routes to becoming a slave were either being taken prisoner in a war or falling into unpayable debt. This was the beginning of slave-based societies, where one class, the owners of the slaves and the means of production, controlled the labour of the slaves to create more wealth for themselves. Society divided into classes.
Slave society had to impose its authority on the slaves and created a state or armed bodies of men to coerce slaves against rebellion or absconding. Slave societies were very labour intensive. Huge numbers of slaves worked under the direction of people who were beginning to acquire knowledge of mathematics and engineering, leading to remarkable achievements. People began to use horses and produced war chariots and complex giant catapults as weapons. Building, mining and the production of food and other commodities became organised on a large scale, leading to creations like the Roman systems of roads and aqueducts — some of which still stand today.
The advancing technology also led to the possibility of new forms of exploitative society, like feudalism, which gave serfs a motive to work. Under slavery the workforce has no incentive to work.
The economic factor has always been basic to the development of the character of society and the ideas and forces for a new society grow in the womb of the old society. It is a common factor in feudalism and capitalism.
In order to change it is necessary to unleash new productive forces to satisfy the needs and desires of successive ruling classes. The factor of exploitation was easy to see in the circumstances of slavery and in the development and revolutionary transformation of feudalism, where the serf was tied to the land to serve the lord of the manor’s requirements. But they also had a certain degree of freedom and could develop cottage industries.
Through feudalism and capitalism the development of technology has enhanced the productivity of the individual worker leading to the accumulation of more wealth for the ruling class.
The merchant capitalists and bankers took advantage of peasant revolts and discontent to take control of the state machine and they demoted the landed aristocracy. This development was used to increase the exploitation of the working class.
The seeds of capitalism came with the development of trade on a local and international scale. Britain emerged as a major capitalist country and colonial power but this could never have happened without its rupture with the Roman Catholic church. The Roman Catholic church was against usury and lending capital with an interest charge. Released from that bondage the British ruling class was able to build mighty fleets and not only conquer but occupy other countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas and so have access to raw materials used in the manufacture of a variety of goods and to markets to sell the commodities.
By contrast Spain and Holland plundered the seas in search of gold and occupied territories in Africa and America. A measure of Britain’s dominant position is to look at old maps of Africa and Asia and note the predominance of the pink bits that showed countries under British subjugation — out numbering those of France, Germany, Belgium and so on. Britain was regarded as the workshop of the world.
The increasing demand for wool, which was accelerated by the introduction of the factory system, undermined what was left of feudal practices in rural areas as the enclosure movement — the privatisation of land — to create more and more sheep pastures. This drove peasants from the land into urban areas where they were persecuted and disciplined to become factory workers. Throughout the period there had been some revolutionary changes in technology.
Most productive work and services were still labour intensive compared to modern practices and this was the case up until the Second World War. Water power, coal and steam gave way to electricity and the internal combustion engine. Engineering made great strides after the Second World War. In older factories when an overhead belt drive broke down, a whole line of machines would be put out of action. This system has been replaced by machines that stand independently and have their own power supply.
New technologies have allowed some capitalist enterprises to rise to become monopolies and become giant global powers. And the state machine has been reinforced along with this rise. And alongside that there has been the ideological campaign to popularise capitalism, using religion, praising the monarchy and making the armed forces part of the coercive legal system.
At the same time they have taken advantage of the divisions in the labour movement. Reformism, which means limiting working class struggle to gaining improvements within the capitalist system, became the dominant theoretical trend within the working class. We still have a long way to go.
But bearing in mind that the economic factor is basic to realising change and where revolutionised technology is being used to maximise profits and reduce costs possibilities for change are increasing.
Capitalism is incapable of solving the economic and political crisis that we are enmeshed in. The creation of a xenophobic and racist party — the United Kingdom Independence Party in addition to the basic fascist British National Party reflects the divisions within the Tory party and also the divisions within the ruling class itself.
Fascism is still capitalism under a harsh anti-working class dictatorship that cannot resolve the crisis of capitalism and uses racism, militarism and jingoism to persecute minorities and raise the threat of war.
“They shall not pass,” was the statement of the anti-fascist movement before the Second World War. The validity of it today is relevant for all democratic people’s ideas and organisation.
One of the main aims of the capitalists’ use of new technology is to reduce production costs by reducing labour costs, which means cutting the workforce.
There is a balance between the introduction of new technology and the labour power required for the production of wealth. Labour power is being discarded and the aim of the ruling class is to establish a small technologically equipped highly paid elite workforce.
Technology has made it possible for the use of heavy metals to be replaced by the use of lighter metals, plastics, fibre glass and composites.
The answers to the new developments are far reaching. Experience has shown that the approach of the Luddites, who destroyed new technology, is not the answer.
The capitalist system is bankrupt, corrupt and viciously opposed to the trade unions and the whole working class movement. The current austerity policies reduce living standards and this exacerbates the deepening crisis by undermining any possibility of creating an expanding economy.
It is the historic role of the working class, united and led by the revolutionary party to replace capitalism. There is no future for the working class in seeking a crisis-free capitalism. The working class now has the freedom of necessity to ensure a social revolution takes place. The alternative would be an increasingly authoritarian, brutalised and ruthless capitalist class keeping the working class down.
In socialist society new technology will be used in the interests of the workers and to strengthen world peace. Poverty, nationally and internationally, will disappear.
Under socialism the arts and sciences will flourish. It will be possible to invest in green, renewable sources of energy and possibly to produce nuclear energy safely and desalinate sea water to irrigate crops. There would be a real prospect of overcoming and reversing the effects of climate change under the new system of socialism.
We are confident that the international struggle against the cuts and the austerity programme will lead to rising class awareness and the rebirth of revolutionary socialist and communist parties.