Saturday, May 30, 2020

Time to Go!

Aides by their very definition are expendable. They get their money and they’re paid off when they are no longer needed. If they become an embarrassment to their masters they are expected to go quietly in return for some sort of reward for keeping their mouths shut. But when they get too big for their boots, others may intervene to help them on their way.
Rasputin went down in a hail of bullets when he became an embarrassment to prominent members of the Russian aristocracy during the First World War. We’ve moved on from those days and, in any case, most minions have played the bourgeois game in Britain to abide by the unwritten code of conduct that governs the behaviour of the Establishment. Dominic Cummings, however, thinks he’s a different breed that can flout the norms of the ruling class he claims to serve.
The Johnson camp claim that there’s a hidden Remainer agenda behind the campaign to get rid of Cummings. This is largely based on the childish belief that you can kick prominent Tories, including two former Chancellors, eight former Cabinet ministers and the grandson of Winston Churchill, out of the Conservative Party with impunity.
This may well be pay-back time for the Tory grandees who were purged last September for opposing Brexit. But there are plenty more who hate him.
This is the man who spouts on about “Odyssean education” and “super-forecasters”, and allegedly claimed that "a child's performance has more to do with genetic makeup than the standard of his or her education”.
This is the man that the Sunday Times claimed had told a private meeting in February that the Government's plan for dealing with the coronavirus plague was “herd immunity, protect the economy and if that means some pensioners die, too bad”.
Johnson’s grief has clearly been brought on through Cummings’ own selfish actions. By breaking the lock-down rules he helped to devise he’s undermined the Government’s efforts to enforce the emergency regulations and made the Prime Minister look a fool. There cannot be one rule for Dominic Cummings and another for the British people.
Cummings is mocked in some sections of the Tory press. He’s jeered on the street where he lives and over 760,000 people have signed a petition calling for his dismissal. Labour and the other opposition parties are demanding the dismissal of the “chief adviser” to the Prime Minister. Some senior Tories and prominent members of the Church of England have also joined the chorus calling for Cummings to go. They can see that the Cummings affair has undermined public confidence in the lock-down regime as well as the credibility of the Tory Government.
“This is a fundamental test of character for Johnson,” John MacDonnell, the left Labour MP, said last week. “He’s dramatically failing it by defending the indefensible and doing it by obfuscation and avoidance. This is the sort of event from which the reputations of Prime Ministers do not recover.”
Once the story broke any other Prime Minister would have immediately told Cummings to fall on his sword to avoid embarrassing the Government. But Johnson is a weak man who likes to be surrounded by people lesser than himself.
Both men are rubbish. They should both go. The sooner the better.

Charilaos Florakis: The story of a Greek communist leader

by Nikos Mottas

Charilaos Florakis, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) from 1972–1991, passed away on 22nd May 2005 at the age of 91. Florakis's life, indelibly tied to the struggles of the KKE, was devoted to the ideals of Marxism-Leninism.
Born in 1914 in Paliozoglopi, a small village in Thessaly, Charilaos Florakis joined the Greek Young Communist League (OKNE) in 1929. As an OKNE member and later as a student and active worker at the ‘TTT’, the Ministry of Posts, Telegraphs, Telephone Offices, he began his political activity during a politically turbulent period for Greece.
As a teenager, he felt the first signs of the ongoing class struggle in the Greek countryside of 1930s. A telegraph worker, he was a member of the TTT struggle committee active in union campaigns during the especially difficult circumstances of General Ioannis Metaxas’ fascist dictatorship.
Due to his union activity, he was transferred many times from town to town. Wherever he went however, young Charilaos worked to build clandestine groups of communists.

Guerrilla fighter

Florakis joined the resistance against the German occupation that began in 1941. In June 1941 he became a member of the KKE. He was amongst the organisers of the first mass strike in Nazi-occupied Europe, which took place in Athens in April 1942. At the same time, he joined the ranks of EAM-ELAS (National Liberation Movement – Greek National Liberation Army), going underground in May 1942.
As a member of the anti-fascist liberation movement in the Second World War, Florakis became a commander in the EAM-ELAS guerrilla army. From 1943 to 1945 he was promoted successively to the ranks of Captain and Major in the ELAS army. He participated in the bloody events of December 1944 against British imperialists and the Greek bourgeois administration. He was arrested in October 1945.
The struggle of the Democratic Army (DSE) against the Greek bourgeois forces and their imperialist allies was the most significant moment of class struggle in 20th century Greece. Charilaos Florakis had an active role in the 1946–1949 civil war as a senior officer in the Democratic Army, first as a Lieut-Colonel and later a Major-General in 1948. In September 1949, after the defeat of the DSE, he moved to the Soviet Union. Between 1950 and 1953 he studied at the MV Frunze Military Academy in Moscow, where he graduated with honours.
‘Captain Yiotis’ – his movement name – never submitted to ‘political correctness’. Well known not to mince his words in calling a spade a spade, he told journalist Christos Theocharatos: “Yes the Civil War was unavoidable because the domestic and foreign reactionaries had decided to subjugate and exterminate every patriotic and democratic resistance.
“We could have avoided it if we had simply waited to be arrested, tortured, humiliated and murdered. But wouldn’t this extermination, without resistance, be a unilateral civil war? The Civil War was a patriotic and democratic struggle, like the Resistance (in the Second World War), and not a fight for a regime. It was the continuation of the Resistance.”
For his political ideas and activity, as a communist and a Democratic Army commander, Florakis was persecuted by the Greek bourgeois state. He faced numerous trials and was imprisoned several times – but he would always manage to find the courage and transform his defence speeches in the courts into fierce tirades against his prosecutors.
In a testimony to the court in Larisa in April 1955, Florakis said: “Communists aren't those who have no homeland. Communists are simple people, hard-working people, having ties with the land they were born in…those who don't believe in homelands and who have no country are the plutocrats. Wealth gives them the ability to live in any place and any country they choose. The [German] Occupation proved, as well as the present situation does, who has a homeland, who loves her and who sacrifices himself for her freedom and prosperity.”
The accusations against him, the persecutions, the threats against his life, could never uproot from his mind his strong belief in the communist ideal, in the Communist Party, in the great values for which he fought. Addressing his prosecutors at the end of a trial, he said: “Personally – as I told you in the beginning – I am filled by the great ideals of communism. There is no power in the world that can oblige me to denounce them. For the realisation of the Party's policy, for the service of our People's interests, for Greece, I gladly offer all my powers and, without doubt, even the most valuable possession for a human being – my own life...”
Charilaos Florakis served a total of 18 years in the prisons of Greece's post-Civil War bourgeois state. He was imprisoned at the age of 40. He was released under conditions at 52, and then re-arrested and sent into exile at 53. In 1972, in the midst of the struggle against the Colonels’ dictatorship in Greece, he was elected First Secretary of the then-banned Communist Party and later General Secretary of the Central Committee.
He served as the General Secretary of KKE from 1972 until 1991, fighting with all his power for a Communist Party dedicated to the ideals of Marxism-Leninism, and against any opportunist or revisionist deviation.

Staunch opponent of revisionism

Florakis’s role and stance against opportunism was particularly significant during the counter-revolutions of 1989–1991 in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Aleka Papariga, who succeeded him as General Secretary of the KKE, described his role: “In front of us, is the decisive contribution of Charilaos Florakis in 1990 in defence of the socialist system at the wide plenary of the Central Committee during the 13th Congress in 1991.
“He took the courageous stance of defying the mountains of lies against socialism and socialist ideology. He had – especially in the then extremely difficult and dark times – the solid belief that the world will change, that socialism will win. It isn't always easy to go 'against the flow'. It isn't always easy to remain firm when others are falling. And, even more, to pave new ways.”
Charilaos Florakis remained a consistent supporter of the important achievements of 20th century socialist construction. When Eurocommunists and revisionists were saluting the counter-revolutionary events in the Soviet Union in the beginning of the 1990s, Florakis remained a staunch defender of the ideological heritage of Marx, Engels and Lenin. He knew that the counter-revolution was a negative setback for the international communist movement, but he was also deeply assured that it wasn’t the “end of history”.
“So, therefore, the overthrow in Eastern Europe is a 'triumph of Democracy' (ironically speaking)! But what powers were strengthened by this 'triumph’? The real democratic powers or those powers which, in the name of democracy, have literally come out against socialism? 'Triumph of Democracy' with the Communist Party outlawed! 'Triumph of Democracy' with new capabilities for imperialism's intervention! 'Triumph of Democracy' with unemployment, misery, hunger and crime!”
Charilaos Florakis never accepted the theory of the “end of history” that prominent bourgeois analysts and theoreticians, such as Francis Fukuyama, were promoting back then. More specifically, Florakis said: “Despite its metaphysical content it can't change reality. And the reality states that now, with the Soviet Union dissolved capitalism’s existing contradictions haven’t been weakened, but are getting stronger … Neither capitalism is eternal, nor the end of communism has come, for the simple reason that the people will not renounce the vision of a just society and won't abandon the struggle for socialism.”
Charilaos Florakis died on 22nd May 2005 at the age of 91, in Athens. His funeral was attended by thousands of people, members and supporters of the KKE, communists and non-communists, young and old, working men and women. According to his own wish, he was buried at Agios Ilias, a quiet mountainous place surrounded by forest, close to his birthplace, Paliozoglopi.
Florakis was one of the 20th century’s most significant figures in the Greek and European communist movement. A fighter, a leader, an extraordinary personality, but most of all, an unwavering communist who remained loyal to his ideas until the end.
In a speech in 1989, at the age of 75, Charilaos said: “If, like Faust, I had to restart my life, what would I do? I would become a communist once again and I would fight for a better world and, again, I would struggle – with less or more mistakes, doesn't matter – for the homeland, for democracy, for social justice, for Socialism.”
Memory eternal, comrade Charilaos Florakis.

Trump and the anti-China blame game

Dilip Barua (centre) opens the Bangladesh China Silk Road forum
by Dilip Barua
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Bangladesh (ML)   
The US establishment and their thinktanks seem to have decided to consider China as their number one enemy – so the US government and its media are making a concerted effort to propagate fabricated and fictitious news to confuse and mislead the people on any lame excuse. On this basis, Donald Trump’s activities and speeches are always well calculated and do everything with a long-term perspective. The forthcoming days may be more critical and unstable with respect to politics and economy of the world, for the next presidential election of the USA and the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
History tells us that the USA was the first to introduce the concept of globalisation. The USA compelled developed and under-developed countries to introduce economic and political reforms to comply with the policy of globalisation. But President Donald Trump has now disassociated the USA from the world’s bodies. He didn’t attend the world economic conference in 2017. He withdrew from UNICEF and stepped out from the World Climate Forum. The German leader told the Munich Security Conference: “Our greatest friend the USA at present doesn’t believe in the concept of international community.”
President Trump recently blamed the Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) for “mismanaging and covering up the spread of Coronavirus”. He also alleged that the Director General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, had a close relationship with China and that he had delayed declaring the outbreak a public health emergency. Even though these allegations are untrue, Trump used this excuse to halt the US funding for the WHO.
The Chinese authorities informed the WHO and world related agencies including the USA about the coronavirus outbreak on the 31st December 2019. Chinese scientists maintained close contact with the WHO and the international medical community, and publicly shared the first genome sequence of the virus that made it clear that the outbreak was caused by the novel coronavirus, also known as SARS-Cov2, which causes COVID-19.
In the meantime, the WHO sent a technical delegation to China headed by Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan that included a US representative. During the visit the Chinese side were extremely open to dialogue and discussion. They shared their expertise with the WHO and medical teams all over the world.
After proper investigation and research, the WHO confirmed that the coronavirus originated from animals and not in a laboratory. So, it is crystal clear that Chinese government and the WHO were transparent, fair and technically informed when they reported back to everyone, including the Americans, about the characteristics and origin of the coronavirus.
The Chinese government had taken all the necessary steps as far as possible to control the outbreak and to protect Chinese citizens from the aggressive grip of the coronavirus in a very short period. China’s well-organised effort in the fight against the pandemic was a huge achievement.
The Director General of the WHO praised China for its excellent management. President Donald Trump also praised the Chinese government’s efforts in a tweet on the 7th February 2020. Later, however, he held China responsible for the outbreak of the infection. Trump sarcastically called COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” whilst trying to give impression that this virus would not affect the USA. In doing this he engaged in blame-game politics rather than taking the necessary steps to control the pandemic, spreading fabricated and baseless propaganda to blame China rather than to save the lives of US citizens.
Perhaps Donald Trump’s hidden agenda is to play the anti-China card and use the coronavirus issue as a political weapon in the forthcoming US presidential election.
The peoples of the world, especially those in the USA, can see that Trump is not at all serious in trying to protect the American public.
Trump was indifferent about taking necessary steps to combating COVID-19, although he had enough time. New York governor Andrew Cuomo recently pointed out research showing that strains of the coronavirus entered his state from Europe, not China. Cuomo said that the travel bans enacted by the Trump administration were too late to halt its spread whilst an editorial in the {Guardian} said Trump’s approach “puts lives of Americans in danger”.
More than 80,000 Americans have now died from the infection. The US government has disastrously failed to protect to its own people due to the lack of integrity in their policy.
We have noticed that in the present objective geopolitical situation of the world the right-wing American establishment considers China their number one enemy. Gradually this policy is being reflected in their every step, from trade war to the present pandemic.
The American political elite have taken the lead in creating an anti-Chinese atmosphere in US society as part of their drive to contain China. Now other politicians in the West and Asia are parroting Washington’s tune to distract public attention from their own mishandling of the pandemic.
The US powerbrokers realise that China will be the leader of the fourth industrial revolution, which is now in process. So, in the normal way, China will become the world’s principal supplier of industrial products and emerge as the number one economic giant, global leader and a powerful civilised nation.
The US think-tanks understand the future scenario of world politics. They realise that the emerging Chinese civilisation will be the most threatening to the USA’s continued hegemony in the world. With this perspective, the US administration tries to polarise and re-polarise the world situation, especially in terms of the global economy. The Americans will try to break the global supply chains so that their economy will be less globalised. By this process they hope to divert others from turning to China for their goods and services.
The US government desperately needs to stop China’s rise to number one world power status. To do that it has to slow down the Chinese economic growth, which has been double-digit for four decades. Now the principal object of the USA and its allies is to smear China with this Coronavirus and try to convince other countries to de-globalise the world economy.
The fabricated, false and baseless propaganda push amongst the extreme anti-China crowd in the USA is to blame China. These lies are being used as an excuse to destroy the Chinese economy and attempt to de-globalise the world. With this aim, the Washington Post and Fox News are playing the leading role in propagating fictitious and ill-motivated news. The press media under the umbrella of the USA will play the same tune to mislead and misguide public opinion.
The influential print and electronic media in India play the same role and dance to Washington’s tune. Some TV stations are dedicated to anti-Chinese propaganda. Anti-China songs are also recorded in India and propagated through YouTube. The media of the USA and its allies are biased, one-sided and too cowardly to broadcast the truth. For this reason, they are blind to the extraordinary success of the Chinese government in protecting the people from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chinese people and the Chinese government are firmly resolved to sustain their development and economic growth. They will take decisive steps to protect their national interest under the leadership of Comrade Xi Jinping. By upholding globalisation and maintaining industrial growth, China will become the leader of the fourth industrial revolution.
China strongly opposes the politicisation of public health and the stigmatisation of other countries under the excuse of the coronavirus. In this spirit, the Chinese Government sends help to the coronavirus-affected countries throughout the world, including Bangladesh, such as masks, medical kits and other necessary items. It is the greatest testimony to the international solidarity of the Chinese people. Finally, we hope China will contribute much for the peaceful and harmonious world in future.