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Showing posts from May, 2009

Pakistan’s Swat Civilians decimated by the Obama-Holbrooke Af-Pak War, By Andrew Taylor

The results of the US dictated total war campaign in NW Pakistan are beginning to come to international attention. Red Cross officials have made their first visit into the war-torn Swat Valley of Pakistan since the USA inspired fighting began between the Pakistan Military and Taliban Resistance. They have reported that civilians in the northwestern region of the country are in dire need of assistance.

There is no domestic running water, no power and precious little food in the area according to the team leader of The International Committee of the Red Cross. Telephone lines are knocked out and the traumatised population is effectively excommunicated from the outside world.

Only skeletal personnel remain in the hospitals and an immediate and comprehensive humanitarian response is needed, the Red Cross said in a statement.

Pakistan’s Military 'expects' to finish off its five-week total war campaign in the North West within days, driving Taliban fighters from Swat and adjacent distr…

Settlers, leftists clash near West Bank village of Safa, By Haaretz Service

Clashes erupted on Saturday between settlers and left-wing activists who were trying to help Palestinians with agricultural work near the village of Safa in the West Bank.

Activists from the Jewish-Arab rights group Ta'ayush arrived at the village, which is located near the settlement of Bat Ayin, and were attacked by 15 to 20 masked settlers, according to one of the activists.

Activist Mairav Zonszein told Haaretz that the settlers assaulted the activists and pelted them with stones, breaking one of their cameras, and flipping over one of their cars, breaking the windshield.

Israel Defense Forces soldiers and Border Police armed with batons arrived and forcefully removed the demonstrators from the scene, according to Zonszein. Border Police then declared the area a closed military zone. No injuries were reported.

Zonszein added that five activists were arrested under the closed military zone order, which she stressed had been enforc…

Afghan Poets mirror feelings of Afghans caught in conflict

Reuters Blogs
By Hanan Habibzai

“We voted for the kingdom of Hamid Karzai to have a peaceful life, Instead we got death."

Intellectuals and poets have a commanding presence in Afghan society. It is the poets who often mirror the feelings of ordinary people, revealing much about the mindset of Afghans in the face of occupation and civil war.

Now, it is the smell of fresh blood rather than the delights of Afghanistan’s mountains and fields that occupies the poets. As an Afghan, when I read their works, I am shocked by the state of my country, and see in that state the failures of my government and the international community.

When Barack Obama won the U.S. presidential election last year, many Afghans, intellectuals included, believed the end of the Bush era meant a let-up in their suffering.

But after the U.S. bombardments on the western province of Farah on May 4/5, the latest …

PM Netanyahu won't freeze Settlement Construction for natural growth Jun. 1, 2009, Herb Keinon , THE JERUSALEM POST

The Jerusalem Post

Israel will not freeze settlement construction for natural growth, despite intense pressure from the Obama administration to do so, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has indicated that he will remove illegal settlement outposts, he is determined, the Post has learned, to continue building for natural growth in settlements beyond the security barrier.

In Netanyahu's view, it is further understood that there is no reason housing units cannot be built inside the major settlement blocs for people who want to move there, as well as for natural growth.

In light of unequivocal comments made over the last week by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling for an end to all settlement construction, including for natural growth, as well as US and Israeli officials' failure to reach an agreement on this issue in London last week, there i…

Late-term abortion doctor shot dead inside US church (excerpt)

By: Damien Pearse
Sunday 31 May, 2009

A doctor who was one of the few in the US to continue carrying out late-term abortions was shot dead in a church today.

George Tiller, 67, who had been picketed, bombed and shot in the arms in previous incidents, was killed at his church in Kansas, according to police sources.
Tiller was a controversial man, whose clinic has been the site of protests for two decades. He was shot and wounded by a protester in 1993 and someone placed a bomb on the roof of the clinic in 1986, seriously damaging the building.

Police spokesman Gordon Bassham would not confirm the victim's identity but said a 67-year-old "high-profile individual in the community" was shot and killed. He was shot at 10am in the lobby of Reformation Lutheran church in Wichita, police and city officials said.

According to the reports a white man carrying a handgun shot the doctor and then fled in a blu…

DPRK Korean nuclear test, The Guardian, (Communist Party of Australia)

DPRK Korean nuclear test
(Cartoon by Steve Bell of The Guardian)

Blogger's Comment on the N Korean Crisis:

These Statements add more context to the discussion. How did the N Korean situation come to its present crisis? As the CPA has stated, after 50 long years the US has never officially ended the war against the socialist state, the USA has regularly held war exercises in concert with its S. Korean proxy state ; the US has refused to sign a peace treaty with N Korea and has failed to honour its commitments from the six-party and other talks to deliver food and help develop viable non-nuclear energy. N Korea, a poor and isolated nation, has responded in a destabilizing reactive manner that may well not get it any further ahead in the long siege. But no moralizing from Washington DC is credible, simply because all of America's actions toward N Korea over long years and up to this time have been immoral, antagonistic and stupid .

Issue # 1412 27 May 2009
The Guardian, Communi…

US Defence Secretary campaigns for " real sanctions that bring real pain" to N Korea

[UNITED STATES DEFENCE SECRETARY ROBERT]GATES said the North's nuclear program does not "at this point" represent a direct military threat to the United States and he does not plan a buildup of American troops in the region. But the North's efforts pose the potential for an arms race in Asia that could spread beyond the region, he said.

He did not give specifics on how the U.S. might respond to North Korea, but called for tougher sanctions on the reclusive communist regime.

Call for sanctions causing 'real pain'

"For there to be a peaceful solution requires multilateral efforts and a willingness to impose real sanctions that bring real pain," he said.

"The policy of the United States has not changed. Our goal is complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, and we will not accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state," Gates said.

U.S. satellite photos have re…

Chavez: My Next Gift For Obama Will Be Lenin Book

CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chavez says he has a new book for President Barack Obama: "What is to be Done?"by communist Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Soviet state.
Chavez says he'll "give it to Obama at the next meeting."
"What is to be Done?" is Lenin's political treatise on the role of intellectuals and the proletariat in promoting revolution, written more than a decade before he led the Bolshevik takeover of Russia in 1917.

Chavez gave Obama a copy of "Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent" by Eduardo Galeano at an April summit.
The book jumped the next day to the No. 2 seller on
Chavez spoke Friday on a marathon, anniversary edition of his "Hello President" television show.

Afghanistan, Another Untold Story, by Michael Parenti

(posted in 2009)

Barack Obama is on record as advocating a military escalation in Afghanistan. Before sinking any deeper into that quagmire, we might do well to learn something about recent Afghani history and the role played by the United States.

Less than a month after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, US leaders began an all-out aerial assault upon Afghanistan, the country purportedly harboring Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist organization. More than twenty years earlier, in 1980, the United States intervened to stop a Soviet “invasion” of that country. Even some leading progressive writers, who normally take a more critical view of US policy abroad, treated the US intervention against the Soviet-supported government as “a good thing.” The actual story is not such a good thing.

Some Real History

Since feudal times the landholding system in Afghanistan had remained unchanged,…

Fidel Castro: Reality Will Overpower Obama’s “Sincere Intentions”

Fidel Castro: Reality Will Overpower Obama’s “Sincere Intentions”

HAVANA – Fidel Castro said he believes that President Barack Obama truly wants to improve relations between the United States and Cuba, but that the U.S. political reality will make that impossible.

The former leader commented in an article recounting his meeting on Tuesday with three members of a U.S. congressional delegation.

Castro said that when one of the lawmakers, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), told him Obama would need help from Cuba to end the five-decade chill in U.S.-Cuban ties, he replied by observing “that the objective realities” of the United States are “stronger than Obama’s sincere intentions.”

Castro, who formally stepped down as head of state early last year due to health reasons, also told Rush that Cuba has not been the aggressor between the two nations nor posed any threat to the United States.

Both Fidel Castro and his successor, younger b…

BOOKREVIEW: The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine — Ilan Pappe, 2007

Frontline Vol 2. Issue 9. March 2009

The main purpose of this compelling book by dissident Israeli historian Ilan Pappe is to call into question the foundation myths of the State of Israel. According to mainstream and popular Israeli historiography “in 1948 Israel was able to establish itself as an independent nation-state on part of [then British-administered] Palestine because early Zionists has succeeded in ‘settling an empty land’ and ‘making the desert bloom’”.

In fact, Pappe points out, pre-1948 Palestine was far from being an empty land and had been populated for centuries by Arab communities in hundreds of small villages, peacefully subsisting largely on the basis of farming and agriculture in an environment that was far from desert. As Pappe demonstrates in sometimes harrowing detail, what happened in 1948 and thereafter fully deserves the epithet “Nakba” – “catastrophe” – given to it by the Palestinians. As part of a pre-me…

Book review by Peter Symon, Socialism Betrayed Behind the collapse of the Soviet Union, by Roger Keeran and Thomas Kenny

The Guardian June 23, 2004
Communist Party of Australia

Socialism Betrayed:
Behind the collapse of the Soviet Union
by Roger Keeran and Thomas Kenny

This is yet another analysis of what will undoubtedly continue
to be a topic of discussion for many years to come. The authors
hope their book will contribute to the discussion of the
"reckless ways" that wrecked the world's first socialist

They quote Fidel Castro: "Socialism did not die from natural
causes: it was a suicide". But was it suicide or was it murder?

Before coming to this question again something about the book.

Socialism Betrayed traces the many circumstances and
deviations that undoubtedly contributed to the final overthrow of
socialism and the dismemberment of the Soviet Union into many
supposedly independent republics.

It identifies many contributors to this "greatest tragedy of the
20th century" from Stalin, Krushchev, Brezhnev, through to
Chernenko and Gorbachev. This is not to suggest eq…

this poem by anglo-american poet W H Auden is dedicated to Ariel Sharon:

The Ogre does what ogres can,
Deeds quite impossible for Man,
But one prize is beyond his reach,
The Ogre cannot master Speech.
About a subjugated plain,
Among its desperate and slain,
The Ogre stalks with hands on hips,
While drivel gushes from his lips.

A Political Lesson from a Scottish Comrade, by Andrew Taylor

I recently received an email from a Scottish comrade, a public school teacher in Glasgow. He was initially supportive of Barack obama but in light of the past 5 months actions by the White House urges Americans to take a political lesson from the Election of New Labour's Tony Blair (which came after a long right-wing winter of 2 Margaret Thatcher and 1 John Major government) Neil writes:

"Lots on the left here in the UK in the late nineties/early 2000's said, "Give New Labour more time..." - they took us to war; made the poor poorer; are replacing nuclear weapons with our tax money; upped the ante from Thatcherism to Neo-liberalism and robbed our public services; allowed bankers to rob our savings and take our homes from us and presided over the tax robbery the Members of Parliament have carried out. Millions dead, millions in poverty. The lesson there is not to stand back "giving them more time" - but to question every move/ protest every wrong doing&q…

Commander's Intent: Lt. General Stanley McChrystal May 12 2009 by Marc Ambinder

FUNNY THING ABOUT THE NEW COMMANDER OF US FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN, Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal: for a brief period of time, his name was left out of the Pentagon phone books. That's because, of course, he was general officer of a series of units whom the Pentagon stubbornly refuses to admit the existence of, even though popular culture and selective leaks have them quite famous and much admired. Since 9/11, the activities of the Joint Special Operations Command have been hidden, and appropriately so, from the perspective of the government. The Bush Administration declassified the existence of one elite unit, "Grey Fox," for the benefit of Bob Woodward's book about the war in Afghanistan. A few commanders of Delta Force, the Army's top counterterrorist/direct action unit, have written books about the failure to capture Osama Bin Laden. McChrystal and theater commander D…

Obama’s New Commander In Afghanistan Was Cheney’s Chief Assassin

Obama’s appointment of General Stanley McChrystal reflects a grave new military escalation of his Afghanistan war.

“The Deltas are psychos…You have to be a certified psychopath to join the Delta Force…”, a US Army colonel from Fort Bragg once told me back in the 1980s. Now President Obama has elevated the most notorious of the psychopaths, General Stanley McChrystal, to head the US and NATO military command in Afghanistan.

McChrystal’s rise to leadership is marked by his central role in directing special operations teams engaged in extrajudicial assassinations, systematic torture, bombing of civilian communities and search and destroy missions. He is the very embodiment of the brutality and gore that accompanies military-driven empire building. Between September 2003 and August 2008, McChrystal directed the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations (JSO) Command which operates s…

Impunity for CIA Torturers : The Debate Intensifies

Translated mardi 12 mai 2009, par Claire Scammell

Obama, who had assured agents that they would not be brought to trial despite disclosures of their use of torture, has been forced to concede the possibility of an inquiry.

By opening the door to a possible inquiry into those responsible for the use of torture, Barack Obama has reopened the debate - after having maintained that there would not be any legal action against CIA agents, who were acting in “good faith”.

Obama had received, at the time, an enthusiastic welcome in Langley, home of the CIA headquarters. It was under pressure from those who had contributed so much to his election that the president had to find a way to respond to the split in opinion over the impunity granted to political sponsors of torturers.

The results of polls have been contradictory ; early last week 70% of citizens polled, shocked by the confidential documents made public by the president, were in favour o…

Joint Statement of Communist and Workers Parties of Europe, 18 March 2009

18 March 2009

The Czech EU presidency in the midst of a capitalist economic crisis,has taken the initiative to organize a series of events to bring anticommunists and now attempt to equate communism and Nazism, to rewrite history and manipulate people's minds, especially the generation of youth, with a view to the future rather than the past.

The intention expressed in the EU (in countries where the Communist Party has already been outlawed),is to characterize communism and class struggle as crimes, it not only seeks to attack the Communists, nor is it limited only to countries in the EU.

Anticommunist hysteria that erupted a few years ago with the "Memorandum" on the need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes "in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, hysteria which continues today, militates against the working class and other popular sectors.

They want to beat the leading forces of the popular movement and its anti-f…

Statement by Farman Ali, Secretary LPP Pukhtoon Khawa (Labour Party of Pakistan) excerpt

Source: Labor Party of Pakistan

"Until the Afghanistan situation is better, and NATO forces leave Afghanistan, the Pakistan situation will not be better. Afghanistan is on the borders. The Taliban takes inspiration from there. They are linked with the Afghan Taliban. They help each other. American imperialist are not interested in peace in this area. They are escalating the war. They are pressurizing the Pakistani government to take more military actions against the Taliban. But Taliban are not affected, it is the people of the area that are hit badly. We are paying the price of the new liberal agenda. We must oppose the both."

Communist Party USA Statement on North Korean Nuclear Test

Andrew Taylor's Note:

I publish this Statement in order to educate my readers on the current line of the cpusa. I do not endorse it and in my Op-Ed below provide my reasons for principled dissent from this political line. I do not agree that "The general direction of the Obama administration's foreign policy is at odds with that of any administration in the past 30 years, if not longer". If that were so why are 2 million Pakistanis currently displaced in an Obama-ordered Pakistani Civil War? Why is Obama sending 30,000 additional US troops to secure the occupation of Afghanistan? I do not agree that "the movement for peace and against imperialism is that much more difficult" because of N Korea. The primary locus of world imperialism was and is American imperialism with its reckless domestic war-mongering and aggressive, inhuman foreign war-making.
_____________ ________________________ ____________________
By Communist Party USA
Original source: CPUSA…

The Giant and Jack, or, The USA lectures N. Korea about Nuclear Arms

It embarrassed me to read mainstream western Statements on the N Korean missile tests. I include the CPUSA Statement in the mainstream reactions.

For long years, N Korea has called for a replacement of the Cold War truce with a peace treaty that would permit a normalisation of relations with the USA. Washington has refused to sign any such peace treaty, and so remains technically at war with North Korea for the past 60 years.

The USA maintains 10,000 nuclear warheads and performs regular extensive tests with the most hi-tech weaponry in the world. Moreover the USA has launched aggressive predatory war after war, as well as multiple actions of nuclear blackmail, campaigns of economic destabilization illegal covert actions and coup d'etat.

Yet the US military imperial machine in Washington is seen by the "reasonable men" of the bourgeoisie as the "responsible" power while North Korea is portrayed as a wicked rogue state for only testing their very elementary, small …

Legendary Haitian Political Leader Father Gerard Jean-Juste passes away

MIAMI - Legendary activist, Father Gerard Jean-Juste passed away at Jackson Memorial Hospital (Miami) at approximately 5:00 p.m. Wednesday (May 27) from complications of a prolonged illness.

Father Jean-Juste was the executive director of Miami's Haitian Refugee Center and a fierce advocate for the rights of Haitian refugees, often in opposition to U.S. policies towards Haiti.

After his return to Haiti, following the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship, Jean-Juste became a outspoken advocate for Haiti's poor and downtrodden masses. He organized an ongoing program to feed the poor, including hundreds of children. Over a decade later, that program continues to play a vital role in the lives of many.

A leading supporter of President Jean Bertrand Aristide and Haitian democracy, he braved two coup d'etats while continuing his work under both the Cedras military junta and later the Latortue regime. Father Jean-Juste became a symbol of the struggle…

A New Road for the Communist Party of Great Britain (April 1977), with a 2009 Introduction by: Andrew Taylor

by Alex Callinicos, from International Socialism (1st series), No.97, April 1977, pp.12-15.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
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Note by Andrew Taylor:

During the 1970s and 80s a number of the European and international communist parties attempted to strike out on a new 3rd Way which was neither for Socialist Revolution and Worker's power - nor for the mere reformism of Social-Democracy. Italian Communist Party (PCI) The Spanish Communist Party (PCE), the Movement for Socialism (Venezuela), The Japanese Communist Party, The Mexican Communist Party and Communist Party of Australia were all more or less involved in this intellectual and political re-alignment of the Left away from Leninism. The Communist Party of Great Britain eventually adopted not only a eurocommunist but a liquidationist answer to The Communist Party!

In some cases, Eurocommunists showed auda…