Communist Worker

Archive of Communist Workers Group of Aoteaora/New Zealand up to 2006

Take Back Air New Zealand, no compensation, and under Workers’ Control!

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The fourth Labour government of 1984-1990, privatised Telecom, NZ Rail and many other state assets. It also set up State Owned Enterprises, a health system based on contracts, boards of trustees running schools, competitive power companies, and put law in place for councils to privatize their services also, through Local Authority Trading Enterprises. All of these changes were based on capitalist program that competition between capitalists created efficiency gains.

The sellouts of the Labour party are continued because the Clark Labour government has not undone those changes, and sits by without intervening, while destructive competition continues to hurt the working class. This Labour government is selling out, and always has.

That destructive competition is clear when companies collapse or sub-contract their workers, when quality is lost, when wages and conditions and staffing levels do not keep up with inflation or previous standards.

In railways it is clear that 10-15 years of private ownership, did not adequately maintain the tracks and the Government had to buy back the tracks and pay for their maintenance. Likewise the locomotives, carriages, etc, are run down and the quality of services has decreased. Staffing levels were slashed but quality has also fallen.

In Air New Zealand the government owns 80% of the company, yet fails to protect workers jobs. The Labour government bailed out Air NZ in the ‘national interest’ and has said it would not sell the airline. To protect the working class, it has to preserve the standards of Airline workers jobs and the standards of airline maintenance. Already Air New Zealand failed in its’ ANSETT company leaving workers unemployed and without redundancy. The government had to rescue it then, with $885 million.

Will we see the running down of the quality of airline services after the massive job cuts which Air NZ are part-way through doing? – already that has been predicted.

CTU negotiates redundancies and increased exploitation

The Employment relations law has the potential for increasing industrial bargaining strength. If unions can force employers into negotiations through Multi-Employer Collective Agreements (MECAs) then these have the potential to set (wages and conditions) like awards, across a whole industry. However, the NDU – Woolsworths dispute has shown that relying on the ERA failed to gain even a multi-site agreement with the same employer. It seems that to force the bosses to accept MECAs etc the workers have to step outside the ERA and use their collective power.

This shows the weakness of Air NZ workers who are trying to defend their wages and conditions in the face of the competition of other airlines. Air NZ management is trying to cut costs by contracting out almost all its jobs. To defend their wages and conditions Air NZ workers need MECAs to prevent other airlines from offering ‘cut price’ services by cutting their workers wages and conditions. That would mean efficiencies between airlines would not be based on lower wages or conditions of workers in the ‘cheapest’ airline.

Air NZ plans to contract out the jobs of staff who load the planes, is the latest in a long list of workers invited to apply for redundancy. Last time it was maintenance engineers who were being threatened massive jobs cuts. The Engineers Union (EPMU) tried to out manage, Air NZ management. Not behaving like a super union – but a super capitalist. They paid management consultants to come up with a counter-proposal to show that their workers could out-produce the contracted out workers and meet Air NZ cost cutting. This allowed some engineers to keep their jobs by agreeing to work harder and smarter, but sacrificed 100s of others. Obviously the EPMU agrees with the principle that the job of unions is to make workers produce more. They trade off job losses for increased exploitation of those whose jobs they ‘save’ doing a better job than the capitalists in screwing the workers to increase profits.

The EPMU has tried the parliamentary road to try to protect workers, spending hundreds of thousands to support Labour Party and get it elected to government. Similarly the Service & Food Workers Union (SFWU) has supported Labour and got it’s own, former bureaucrats elected. This very same Labour government has stood by and will stand by and watch another round of job cuts at Air NZ. Job cuts which are attacks on the organization and membership of those same unions.

Renationalise, no compensation, under workers’ control

Neither of those strategies worked to prevent job losses in the past and they won’t work this time either. An effective strategy to fight job losses can only be found if workers are united to make an effort to protect these jobs. United strike action would need to be backed by pickets to stop management or casuals doing the work. Instead of redundancies all jobs should be shared by reducing the hours of work without loss of pay. Increased worker productivity would be reflected in further reduction of hours without loss of pay. But such a fight for the rank and file control of the union and for job sharing without loss of pay would challenge the rights of the private owners, including the 80% ‘public’ shareholding of the government to cut the losses and subsidise the profits of the private sector. It would then become clear that to win these basic demands, workers would have to take over the ownership and control of the industry.

This would require the re-nationalisation of the airlines without payment of compensation and operated by the workers. If workers really had control of their unions and could force the government to nationalise under workers control the major industries then we would be talking about a workers’ government. Because such a nationalisation would be an expropriation of capitalist property no capitalist government would do this. The fate of the Airline industry then like all industries, banks, etc would be determined by a workers plan. This plan would allocate resources, set wages, conditions, safety standards etc. to meet the needs of all working people, without considerations of cutting costs to meet profits.

Privatising the Ports

Port companies were also left in a rotten position by these Labour governments. Ports have been competing against one another and have cut labour costs by casualising the waterfront workforce and decreasing health & safety standards. Stevedoring companies compete on costs, and it is workers whose wages and conditions are driven down. The working class loses out. Health & Safety standards are not able to be adequately enforced by union members when industrial action may be met by the entire company ‘going bankrupt’ and throwing workers out into unemployment without redundancy, and another company can replace the workforce. The record of the ‘Wharfies’ union is shocking. Not only has it gone along with the privatisation process, it has joined it, now holding shares in a stevedoring company! It is the mark of a rotten union when it goes into business exploiting its own members as workers!

Port Unions get out of business!

For a national rank and file movement to take back control of the unions!

Re-nationalise the ports without compensation under workers’ control!

From Class Struggle 69 Oct/Nov 2006

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Written by raved

May 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Nationalise Feltex under Workers Control!

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Abandoned carpet looms at Feltex mill in Riccarton, Christchurch


ANZ bank put Feltex into receivership and it is bought by Godfrey Hirst. ANZ gets its 160 m back but the shareholders (boo hoo) and workers get the shit end of the deal! What this proves is the rule of Aussie finance capital in NZ. ANZ and Hirst conspired to get the best deal for them both. ANZ came out of it with its loan repaid, and Hirst got Feltex at a bankruptcy fire sale price. Hirst was then able to take over Feltex without any obligations to the workers. It’s a model of how finance capital work, destroying the value of less efficient competitors, grabbing whatever assets are worth something, and selling off everything else.

When Feltex was put in receivership the workers at Riccarton (Christchurch() responded with a brief occupation of the canteen to get their redundancy payouts protected.

A member of the CWG wrote a letter in support of the occupation Indymedia:

“As a former spinner who worked at the Riccarton Plant many years ago, I support the workers occupying the factory AND keeping it in production. By keeping it producing they prove that it is the workers that run the company not the incompetent management or the big banks.

It doesnt matter which capitalist company ends up buying the bankrupt firm, the workers will get screwed. The Aussie banks, Godfrey Hirst and the kiwi Bros Turner are all in it to make a profit from the workers labour. Its the workers value that built up the company and it is the workers who should reap the rewards of their labour not the bosses or the banks.

They should follow the example of workers in Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela and demand that Feltex be nationalised with no compensation to the ANZ or to the shareholders who are only gambling with the labour and lives of the workers.

Nationalisation would require the state to refinance the company to make it viable and competitive. But what could be a smarter investment decision by this Labour Government than to add value to the wool off the sheep’s back?

But this process needs to be under the control of the workers themselves. After all the state works in the interests of the bosses not workers. The workers must insist that instead of the investment going as a subsidy to the bosses (so that the firm can be sold off later), it should be a public shareholding that is held in trust for ALL wage workers and does not get allocated to individual workers so they can flog it off on the stock exchange.

The workers should decide how much of the earnings of Feltex could then be shared out equally among the Feltex workers to pay a living wage and the rest would go to finance growth and build up the public shareholding.

I’m sure the workers at Feltex, with support from other workers, have more than enough guts, experience and ingenuity to figure out how to make this a goer and work out what needs to be done along the way. Like what our Latin American brothers and sisters are doing, it could be the start of something big.” 

Feltex employed 785 staff at yarn spinning plants in Lower Hutt (200), Feilding (85), Dannevirke (150) , a woven carpet manufacturing plant in Christchurch (170), and a scouring plant in Kakariki (45). The receivership meant that those made redundant lost most of their redundancy payouts. A union delegate talked about the reaction of the workers to this news.

(Oct 5) “Stuffed around for 2 years” says Feltex Delegate at Kakariki, while NDU officials offer support and condolences:

‘Workers from the closed Feltex scouring plant in Kakariki are shocked and angry, says site delegate, Joseph Murray.

The 32 plant workers, all members of the Meat Workers Union, from the scouring plant near Marton, went back to work for the last time this morning to pick up their possessions under the watchful eye of security guards.

“I feel bloody sorry for the other guys, especially those who have recently gotten a mortgage. Now where are they going to go? There aren’t any jobs in Martin and there’s a 10 week WINZ stand down.”

Mr Martin said that the workers could receive $15,000 in redundancy from the Godfrey Hirst deal. However, like many of the long term staff before the receivership, he was entitled to a redundancy of up to $35,000 based on his annual earnings. He said that is was a double blow, as his redundancy would have been higher two years ago as his annual earnings had dropped significantly due to the poor board management of Feltex over the past two years.

Representatives of the 750 National Distribution Union and Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union Feltex members visited the worksite today to give them support and condolences.’

The CWG posted another comment on Indymedia (now edited and enlarged)

“The NDU leadership can’t win this one because the Aussie banks and companies it loves to hate have legally locked them out of the future of Feltex.

When the receivership hit the NDU was already on the ‘back foot’ demanding that the redundant jobs should be sold at the highest price! To get on the ‘front foot’, the NDU should be demanding that its mates in government back the nationalisation of Feltex in lieu of lost redundancy payouts. At the very least this will create a debate about why Labour is talking ‘buy kiwi’ but not defending its own kiwi workers jobs, even in the SOEs or in Air NZ (see article).

Of course we know that Labour will not do this unless put under huge pressure (pay up for the pledge card!). The government owns the majority of Air NZ and its not protecting the 100s of jobs at risk there. Why should it nationalise Feltex when it has an interest in seeing Godrey Hirst restructure Feltex to make it efficient and win more export orders?

It will only intervene if the workers themselves take a stand and get huge public support for a state buyout. They would really have to go on the ‘front foot’. Facing closure they would have to decide that it is better to occupy and fight than go down the road to look for other jobs.

If the NDU swings a higher redundancy (its mates may cough up to make the NDU look good) then that may close off this option. If not, it will depend on how many want to fight and who will support them. That’s something that only the workers concerned and their supporters can decide.

The time is long overdue to demand that the Labour government backs its own statements about keeping production in NZ and developing kiwi design and technology. All those privatised workers in the 1980s and 1990s that went down the road never really got the chance to fight for their jobs. This should not be motivated by NZ nationalism i.e. protecting ‘our’ jobs from foreigners, but as a step towards workers control of production internationally.

None of the factory occupations in Argentina or even Venezuela (under a sympathetic government) were straight forward or happened overnight. In most cases workers had to occupy for months or even years facing long legal wrangles and often evictions. Some lost, some won. The main example in Naomi Klein’s documentary ‘The Take’, a heavy engineering shop, was not typical. ‘Brukman’ was more typical. That was basically 30 women machinists putting up one hell of a fight with 3,000 supporters. Now instead of making designer garments they make working clothes.

What could Feltex do with 100 workers and 10,000 supporters?” 

Postscript: (8 November)

The occupation of the Riccarton workers fizzled out quickly. They went back to work so that those not made redundant would be re-hired on the same pay and conditions. That took some steam out of the fight! And no doubt there are some other jobs out there for redundant workers that took further heat off a serious occupation. Obviously NZ workers are not feeling the total devastation that has led to occupations of factories under workers control in Latin America. And most still have illusions in the ability of the unions to negotiate better redundancies and conditions under the bosses ERA. But the ruthless lockouts and closures of the imperialist monopolies that now own most of NZ business outright will increasingly become the norm, and it is now time for the militant sections of the union movement to start making plans for a national rank and file movement to challenge the class collaborationist leadership of the CTU. For a National Rank and File movement to Challenge the class collaborationist CTU leadership!

From Class Struggle 69 Oct/Nov 2006

Written by raved

May 28, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NDU/Progressive settlement embeds class collaborationist partnership model

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Supermarket workers during lockout in Auckland

A staunch struggle of the workers whose guts and loyalty to the union could have seen them take control of the dispute out of the hands of NDU leadership with its loyalty to the Labour Party and the legal partnership model of industrial relations where workers and bosses negotiate outcomes in the employment court, better known by revolutionaries as ‘class collaboration’.

On the face of it this dispute ended in a draw since the workers who stayed staunch survived the vicious lockout by Woolworths (Australian owner of Progressive Enterprises in NZ) and returned proudly to their work on better conditions than they left. But at the same time Woolworths came out of it with a sweeter deal than it deserved and has a more dominant position in the industry then before with its manoeuvre to block Stephen Tindall’s plan to expand the Warehouse as a major competitor. The only clear winner was the NDU leadership and the Labour Party with the embedment of the ERA and its class collaborationist philosophy of ‘partnership’ between business and labour.

It could have been an outright win for the workers

A number of aspects of the struggle were bad. From the start the workers didn’t run the show. It was run by the NDU leadership of Laila Harre and her allies from the Alliance, Matt McCarten and Co. That meant that it was always going to stay inside the legal limits of the ERA. So when the boss locked the striking workers out, Harre countered with law suits. One to challenge the lockout, one to challenge the use of ‘scabs’ to do the jobs of the locked- out workers, and one to challenge Woolworths refusal to agree to ‘conciliation’.

This is what we would expect a union leadership committed to a ‘partnership’ with the bosses to do. Substitute the class struggle for a legal struggle within the bosses’ law. Insofar as the law can be used to strengthen the workers fight, of course we should use it. But when it stops workers from using their class power then workers need to be in the position to weigh up their options themselves. This did not happen. The legal route meant that the lockout dragged on for 4 weeks without any real workers involvement in the decision making. It got bogged down in a legal battle played out in front of the media where Laila Harre tried to pressure Woolworths into a settlement by turning public opinion against the Aussie company. In other words, the NDU leadership showed that it had no faith in the power of the union membership by using public opinion to pressure the boss and the Labour Government.

Meanwhile Woolworths ignored the pickets at its distribution centres and set up ‘hubs’ or scab-run distribution centres at key supermarkets. The workers attempts to counter this were limited by the officials to token ‘flying pickets’ of NDU workers and assorted supporters of supermarkets and distribution centres with flyers appealing to drivers and the public to boycott Woolworth stores. While many truck drivers themselves members of the NDU or in solidarity with the NDU workers refused to cross these token pickets, most of the goods got through.

If the NDU leadership tactics did produce a settlement where the workers didn’t lose pay and conditions, it failed to get its central demand of a MECCA, and it let Woolworths off the hook when its custom was on the wane. If the lockout had been run by the rank and file much more could have been won. It was necessary for a rank and file strike committee to have been formed from the outset to let the striking workers democratically decide what tactics were necessary to shut down Woolworths and defeat its vicious lockout.

Winning tactics have to be ‘illegal’

First, the union should have abandoned the restrictions of the law when the bosses did. The bosses ignored the law to employ scabs. Instead of challenging the bosses in court, the rank and file could have mobilised mass pickets against the scab distributional centres. Once the bosses locked the workers out, instead of challenging this in court and keeping a picket outside the now abandoned distribution centres, workers could have been delegated into flying pickets to go to all the major worksites around Auckland and recruit workers to form the backbone of 24 hour community pickets around every Woolworths supplier, hub and supermarket.

Second, to hit Woolworths where it hurt it was necessary to build mass ‘Community’ pickets at all the major outlets and supermarkets to stop the trucks. These pickets were illegal under the ERA, but mass numbers of hundreds of unionists organised by local NDU rank and file teams could have had a major impact. The NDU leadership obviously rejected this tactic as undermining the legal challenges it was mounting in court. But the rank and file should have been able to weigh up these two tactics themselves and make the decision.

Third, the decision of the NDU officials not to try to involve the supermarket workers, also in the process of negotiating an agreement, was entirely based on the legalities and public opinion. They judged that the support of supermarket workers would have been weak given the low level of union membership, and that the loss of members due to the supermarket managers hostility to the distribution workers strike, may have led to a rejection of strike action, or worse a strike that led to a second lockout. On top of that the NDU officials wanted to sign off on the supermarket agreement anyway and would have been worried how the court would view a sympathy strike.

A rank and file strike committee could have changed all that. Mass pickets at the supermarkets would have tested the level of support from supermarket workers and made the opening of a second front against Woolworths a possibility. In that event, whatever the outcome, the union could have forged links at the level of the rank and file as a base for unity at the next rounds of negotiations.

Get rank and file control of the union!

Had a rank and file strike committee existed, and had these ‘illegal’ tactics been adopted, the company (which abused the law anyway) would have been under much more pressure to concede not only a MECA but much better agreements than the workers got in the end. The ERA would have been invoked by both the company and the NDU leadership to enforce a settlement, but the gains would have been won outside labour’s industrial law leg-iron, and outside the control of the union officials who are the bosses’ police inside the labour movement.

However, before this sort of victory can happen, the rank and file need to assert their democratic right to run the union and to elect delegates and officials that are mandated by the rank and file, recallable immediately when they fail to follow the members’ mandate, and paid no more than the average wage on the jobsite.

Break with the class collaborationist partnership between bosses and the CTU!

Break with the Labour Party aligned CTU bureaucracy.

For militant, democratic unions under the control of the rank and file!

From Class Struggle 69 Oct/Nov 2006


Written by raved

May 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Another Imperialist coup in Fiji?

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Commander ‘Frank’ Bainimarama

The Fijian military has renewed its threat to depose the Government unless it drops its intentions to pardon those involved in the 2000 coup, and to put coastal property into the hands of tribal chiefs. The Australian government concerned to protect its economic interests in Fiji is pushing for the sacking of the Army chief for sedition. The head of the military, Commodore Bainimarama, on the other hand paints himself as the hero and not the villain, rescuing Fiji from imperialist re-colonization. Certain sections on the left caught in the trap of wanting to see the Fiji military in a good light, are comparing Bainimarama to Hugo Chavez. Let’s look at the background and find out what’s really going on.

“He (Fiji Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase) has been on record to say that Fijians have been waiting for these bills for donkeys years when we all know that only a handful of people will gain from these…..The people have been waiting for water to be continuous in their taps for more than donkey’s years and the rising crime rate is not doing anyone any good, including the criminals. Poverty and unemployment have risen and Qarase is waiting for bills that we are not all going to benefit from.”
Commodore Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama, Fiji Times Nov 9 2006

The Racial Tolerance and Unity Bill (RTU) and the Qoliqoli (traditional fishing grounds) Bill that are at the heart of the present crisis, are just the latest fight among the Fiji ruling class since the Rabuka coups of 1987 over who will reap the benefits of imperialist exploitation. Such troubles go back to an even earlier period when in 1874, Ratu Seru Cakabau (the King of Fiji), ceded the islands over to Britain in order to stave off a US invasion based on debts the King had run up with American business interests. Bainimarama’s current role seems to be a similar strong-man attempt to shield ordinary Fijians from the ravages of imperialist re-colonization.

The essence of the RTU which had the backing of the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) and the leaders of the Methodist Church was to give amnesty to the right wing coup plotters of 2000 who were hell bent on subordinating all workers and non-ethnic Fijians to the tyranny of a militarised neo-liberal economic order. It was Commodore Bainimarama who prevented the coup from succeeding and who put Qarase in as a caretaker Prime Minister. He is enraged that his former protégé now has coup-makers in his government and proposes to amnesty the main ringleaders like George Speight.

Bainimarama described the RTU recently as a form of ‘ethnic cleansing’ and the Qoliqoli Bill ‘racist.’ At first glance, the Qoliqoli Bill appears to be the reverse of the state theft of the ‘Foreshore and Seabed’ in NZ. But looking at the outcomes, both the Qoliqoli Bill and the NZ Foreshore and Seabed Act, seek to wrest control away from the majority population (workers) and place them in the hands of the few for the benefit of the few. Today in NZ, the state is imposing Marine Reserves in areas that have been the traditional fishing grounds for coastal Iwi and recreational fishers while giving consent to marine commercial mining interests to exploit whatever minerals lie off the NZ coast at the cost of the environment and NZ workers.

Clearly Bainimarama fears that the coup-makers will regain their positions of influence and exploit the resources freed up by the Qoliqoli Bill in partnership with the Chiefs and imperialist corporations at the expense of the mass of Fijian people. George Speight’s coup of 2000 (4 years after Fiji became a member of the WTO), represented an attempt to divest all state owned property over to the private sector in accordance with WTO rules. For Speight and his powerful puppet masters the stakes were high, but the profits would have been even greater. Attempts by the Bill’s supporters to justify it on the grounds of restoring traditional values, are laughable because they represent Fiji’s elite who are the only ones who would profit. The ‘Qoliqoli’ would also see tribal bosses fighting over boundaries and falling victim to more powerful commercial forces in the same way as Ratu Seru Cakabau feared in 1874.

The economic collapse since the 2000 coup has forced the Qoliqoli Bill to the fore in the Fiji parliament as a last ditch effort to fall into line with the dictates of the WTO. This is in spite of concerns expressed by PM Qarase and his Foreign Affairs and External Trade Minister Kaliopate Tavola about the negative impact that the WTO rules have on small developing countries. PM Qarase (formerly a merchant banker) at a recent DHL Exporters function spoke of the urgent need to increase exports to satisfy WTO demands. The main beneficiaries of the WTO rules in Fiji until recently have been US and Australian interests.

Australian Imperialism

But what has become blatantly clear in the Pacific region in the last 10 years, is a shift away from the racist and patronising Australian/US economic influence towards that of Asia and especially China. This directly challenges the US doctrine for world dominance outlined in its Neocon ‘Project for a New American Century’ (PNAC), and it is a rude affront to Australia’s imperial ambitions in the South Pacific.

In 1998, the conservative kingdom of Tonga established ties with China whilst severing links to Taiwan. An act of economic expediency by Tonga’s rulers, it has however had the positive effect of exposing to Tonga’s workers the true nature of the relationship between Tonga and the US. This raises the question as to whether Australian and NZ intervention in Tonga in the aftermath of the recent riots, are really designed to impose a RAMSI-like solution to reverse Tonga’s deals with China, much as they have done in East Timor recently. (see article in this issue).

Ministers at the recent November 2006 Pacific Rim summit held in Hanoi, Vietnam; scoffed at a US proposed ‘Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific’ (FTAAP). This was an underhand attempt by the US to rein in all trade deals by individual nations under an umbrella that would be under the control of the US.

Recent visits to China by members of the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC), PM Qarase and military commander Bainimarama, reveal the common desire of both liberals and conservatives fractions of the Fiji national bourgeoisie to pull away from the overbearing dominance of Australia in Fijian affairs. Chinese Premier Wen Jiaobao’s description of the China-Fiji relationship as a “model for others to follow” hasn’t gone down too well in Washington, but comes as no surprise to the US’s regional sidekick, Australia which has recently met mounting resistance to its recolonization of Papua New Guinea, Solomons and East Timor.

Australian imperialism goes on the offensive

At the same time as Asia has become a major player in Fiji, there is little love lost between the US and Australia who are increasingly acting as competitors in the Asia-Pacific region, in particular in China itself.

As a long time investor in Asia, Australia has always seen China as its most important market which will soon eclipse Japan as its No. 1 export partner. In April this year, the negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) began and a Nuclear Transfer/Co-operation Agreement (NT/CA) for the supply of Australian uranium to China was signed.

Significantly, Australian Treasurer Peter Costello’s comment in October to East Asian central bankers about the need to divest from the US dollar as orderly as possible didn’t exactly sound like reassurance for its old buddy. Australia is emerging as a significant imperialist rival to the US. Hence the free trade deal it signed after many years of sucking up to the US is much more favourable to the US. The Australian Wheat Board-Iraq scandal being relentlessly pursued in Washington shows that although Australia is an important ally, the US has no scruples about putting the brakes on its imperialist designs.

Australia’s behaviour toward its Pacific Island neighbours has everything to do with its hunger to control resources over a vast collective economic zone to feed its regional empire. Its stand-over tactics in East Timor to acquire the oil rich ‘Timor Gap’ and intervention in the Solomons are practice runs to take on bigger fish like Fiji and the re-colonization of Papua New Guinea.

A joint deal known as the Indonesia and Australia Framework for Security Co-operation (IAFSC) was signed this week as part of a package that includes the sale of nuclear technology. Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has made no secret of the fact that he wants the West Papua Independence Movement crushed, so that all efforts can be put into concentrating on resource plunder as part of Australia’s wider strategy. As a key ally of the Suharto regime during the suppression of East Timor from 1975, Australia continued to play an invaluable role to ensure that the status quo of outside hegemony over East Timor remained after Suharto’s demise.

Australian PM John Howard has made no secret of the fact that he wants to invoke the ‘Biketawa Declaration’ (a deal forced on the 16 member Pacific Islands Forum) that gives Australia the mandate to carry out military interventions under the guise of ‘regional co-operation’. All indications under the present (2006) political climate suggest that Fiji’s workers and the poor will suffer massive violence worse than in 1991 and probably far worse than what has been seen in the Solomons.

The call by Fiji’s political Right (including Qarase) for international intervention against a threatened coup, is fraught with all the contradictions that one expects from economic nationalists who call on Australian and NZ troops to protect their precious business interests. Their interventionist call is based on their recognition that the Fijian ruling class does not have the numbers to defend their privileges and therefore finds it necessary to plead desperately for an intervention force consisting of Australian and New Zealand troops to enforce the rule of international capital. It exposes them as sell-outs of the nation’s wealth before the eyes of the very people they claim to represent.

Fiji Labour Party betrays the workers

While the Fijian ruling class is united in its interests in inviting direct foreign investment, and is complying with the WTO rules, the working class made up of the majority of ethnic Fijians and Indo-Fijians pay the price of such investment with worsening economic and social conditions.

The Labour Party that once under Bavadra championed the poor and opposed the WTO has now become a junior coalition partner with Qarase’s conservative SDL (Soqosoqo Duavata Lewenivanua) Party. It has had its own internal differences going back to 1987. Under the abrasive leadership of Mahendra Choudhry, FLP support among ethnic Fijian’s has fallen as low as 2%, marking a clear racial divide. The main reason for this is that since 1987 there has been a determination by Fijian nationalists to split Fiji’s workers along ethnic lines with the result that they have ended up blindly supporting parties that are only interested in enriching the elite, both ethnic Fijian and Indo-Fijian.

The departure of prominent liberal-left founding FLP member Tupeni Baba to form the now defunct NLUP (New Labour Unity Party) in 2001 was a good example of this betrayal of the workers. After a short academic break in Auckland NZ his return to Fiji saw him make an opportunist shift to the Right by joining Qarase’s SDL.

The Qarase govt budget for 2007 that includes an increase of VAT (Value-Added Tax) to 15% has been supported by four FLP cabinet ministers. As a result, they face disciplinary action from the FLP Executive Council for going against Party policy. It is unlikely that the MPs will be forced to reverse their vote. As a result the poor mostly Indo-Fijians who support the FLP will suffer. Fiji Council of Social Services spokesperson Hassan Khan said recently “It is a prescription for social disharmony and has no justification.” Other social commentators say that the present poverty levels in Fiji are nothing compared to what will come after the increased VAT and other anti-worker measures.

For Fiji’s workers, the situation is pretty bleak. The Labour Party has abandoned them and the union leaders have proven to be in the pockets of the bosses.

Fijian workers were still numbed and coming to terms with the events of 1987 when, in 1991, the combined forces of military and police violently attacked hundreds of striking miners and their families involved in a dispute over poor working and living conditions. Most of Fijian society was horrified by what took place.

Since then workers have been at the mercy of corrupt union bureaucrats who serve the interests of bosses much like anywhere else in the world. For example, in May 2006 when gold prices were hitting record highs, the Fiji Mine Workers Union (FMWU) colluded with Australian-owned Emperor Gold Mine (EGM), to get rid of 300 workers by claiming a 6 month closure to cut costs. The real reason however was to dramatically increase profit margins.

Into this vacuum in Fijian politics where the majority of the population comprising ethnic Fijian and Indo-Fijian workers have no effective political voice let alone power, comes the military, and in particular Commodore Frank Bainimarama. Is it possible for the army chief to represent the interests of the workers against imperialism and its local lackeys, the voracious Fijian bourgeoisie?

Bainimarama: the next ‘Hugo Chavez?’

The rise and popularity of working class hero Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, has given inspiration to certain sections of the workers movement especially those gathered around the ‘World Social Forum’ (WSF). His brand of ‘Bolivarian Socialism’, while little more than a populist ideology and a return to economic nationalism, has gotten up the noses of the neo-liberals. Is Bainimarama cast in the mould of a Chavez of the South Pacific?

Like Chavez, Bainimarama hails from the military where both are highly respected at all levels especially by the rank and file. His timing of his attack on the Qarase Govt. while he was overseas, normally not a good time if you want to avoid being overthrown, was designed to demonstrate the support he had back home. Public opinion on the streets of Suva while he was still overseas saw him as the lesser of two evils. Fiji President Iloilo appointed Lt. Colonel Meli Saubulinayau as Bainimarama’s replacement, but the Colonel refused. With that, the unity of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) and its 3,500 personnel looks solid. The Fiji Police backed by the Australian government is pressing ahead with charging Bainimarama with sedition or even treason. However, Bainimarama’s position still looks relatively secure. But for what purpose?

Bainimarama is on record as having said that he would much rather work with Mahendra Chaudhry’s FLP rather than Qarase. OK, but that doesn’t make him a ‘socialist’. His comments about the plight of the poor and calling Qarase’s rightwing policies corrupt, are commendable and mirror many statements made by Chavez over the years.

But the ‘Bolivarian’ statesman is way short on ‘socialism’ in the strictest sense. Chavez’s engagement with trade unions has been bureaucratic and has so far prevented the formation of a labour movement independent of the state and the military. The question arises, is the role of the Fijian Army also one of posing as anti-imperialist in order to more effectively contain and subordinate a mass uprising under a worsening economic situation?

Fiji Land Forces Commander Colonel Pita Driti on the subject of Australia and NZ’s behaviour toward Fiji, The Solomons and Papua New Guinea, said it represented “The hegemonic shoving of big brother policies down our throat.” He also said “We will not accept any foreign intervention.” This comes after his allegation that the Australians were preparing to invade Fiji. If such a threat was real, why haven’t the two battalions stationed in the Middle East been brought home and why has there not been a general mobilisation? Like Chavez, Bainimarama has made no attempt to empower the trade unions and working class to prepare them for such an invasion.

In fact there is no evidence of Bainimarama being aligned to ‘left’ causes. In December 2005, developments were starting to look that way when Bainimarama was invited by the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) to China. Maybe a Maoist ‘Peoples War’ was on the agenda, who knows? The only obvious outcome was his support for the ‘One China Policy’. Then just eight months later, he led a contingent of Fiji military to the Pentagon sponsored and US State Department managed Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) exercise held in Mongolia. The Israeli’s were invited, but were too busy killing people in Gaza to come.

Bainimarama’s trip to the Middle East to review his troops engaged in imperialist warmongering (UN, MFO, Private Security) basically says it all. He has no intention of changing the status quo. Gravy train trips to former Stalinist workers states, don’t make a revolution and certainly don’t inspire confidence that it will make Fiji a better place.

Like an army on ‘welfare’, the UN and MFO subsidises 1/3 of Fiji’s light infantry battalions to such a degree that Fiji can’t afford to bring them home. As ‘Peacekeepers’, Fiji’s former soldiers with the UN and MFO don’t even qualify for war pensions and so are forced to find work with private security companies in places like Iraq and Afghanistan etc. The 4000 troops left at home, are what Bainimarama expects to use to defend Fiji against an ANZAC-axis intervention.

For those tempted to regard Bainimarama as a South Seas Hugo Chavez, think again. Chavez is a populist whose popularity comes from spending some of Venezuela’s oil wealth on the poor. But if the poor were to rise up, he would use the army to suppress them. Bainimarama is not interested in the working people of Fiji becoming their own bosses. He preaches against imperialism, but his interests are no more than keeping Fijian resources for Fijian bosses. It the workers were to rise up he would put them down to preserve law and order and the rights of private property. The recent ‘stroll’ through the streets of Suva by the Fiji army in full combat kit, was an intimidating reminder of the instrument of oppression. But it is an instrument of capitalist power not of workers power. That power lies in the hands of Fiji’s workers and not the army’s guns.

South Pacific Workers Movement

The problem that has plagued the indigenous movements against colonization worldwide has been the failure to marry those struggles to the workers movement. A combination of dispossession of control of resources and political cooption by the oppressor, have conspired to reduce the struggles of the oppressed to ‘identity politics’ within the World Social Forum (WSF) or worse, inter-ethnic warfare, dividing the working class along national and ethnic lines.

The indigenous struggle in Aotearoa-NZ is no different. Its activists have ended up in a mixed bag of rightward shifting politics. Tuhoe activist Tame Iti’s support of George Speight during the 2000 coup substituted a popular front based on indigenous identity for a united workers struggle.

Union bureaucracies in the region have played their traditional role of stifling militant activity to appease the bosses, while workers have had to put up with the increasing pressures of market ‘liberalization.’ Reliant on labour organizations subordinated to the UN affiliated ILO and the newly formed International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) – a merger of the ICFTU and WCL – set the scene for a continuation of the treacherous leadership that workers have faced many times in the past. The rotten trend by union affiliated social democratic parties such as the ALP, NZLP and FLP to follow the path of economic neo-liberalism, is a betrayal, but one that comes as no surprise.

The fact is that the Pacific is in the process of being re-colonized by rival imperialist powers all under intense pressure to compete with the new giant in the region, China. The absence of a struggle based on the unity of the working class makes the task of organizing workers in the scattered and isolated islands of the Pacific very difficult. Yet the working people of the Pacific from East Timor to Tonga are proving that they can fight back against the deepening exploitation and oppression.

The Pacific peoples urgently need an internationalist Marxist party with a program that unites and mobilizes all the workers and poor farmers to fight for democracy and against imperialist re-colonization.

Such a Party and program would unite the peoples of the Pacific states in one struggle. In Fiji for example, the split in the Fijian working class along ethnic lines is fatal unless corrected. Workers need to re-found the FLP as a multi-ethnic workers party on a program of rejection of WTO, the national debt, re-nationalization of land and industry without compensation and under workers control, decent health and education etc. The FLP should organize the rank and file of the military to side with the people against both imperialist invasions and the coups of sections of the Fiji ruling class!

At the same time the workers of the imperialist countries and semi-colonies of Asia-Pacific, from Chile to China, must fight their own capitalist regimes, oppose imperialist military invasions and wars, and unite all nationalities and ethnicities in one revolutionary internationalist workers party.

Meanwhile, real solidarity action in support of workers in such places as Fiji, have to be initiated at the rank and file level if it is going to be effective. A big part of that solidarity is to get material aid to the affected workers by whatever means possible. The boycott of Fiji during the 2000 coup initiated by the CTU and ACTU was minimal, almost unnoticeable and absent of rank and file input. This must change! For an international revolutionary workers party and program!

Australian and NZ troops refuse to be used as tools of imperialism!
For a united multi-ethnic Fijian Labour Party!
Unite the rank and file of the military with their worker brothers and sisters!
For an internationalist revolutionary workers party!
For a Pacific Federation of Socialist Republics!
Whakakotahi Nga Kaimahi O Te Moananui A Kiwa! [Workers of the Pacific Unite!]
Te Taua Karuwhero Kahui
Communist Workers Group – Member of the Leninist-Trotskyist Fraction.
From Class Struggle 69 Oct/Nov 2006

Written by raved

May 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm

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NZ Troops out of Tonga! For a Workers’ and Farmers’ Government!

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Revolutionary graffiti from the political riot in Tonga

The long fight for democracy in Tonga has recently exploded into mass protest and the burning down of 80% of the capital Nuku’alofa. The cause was a rejection of the latest proposals for democratic reform agreed to by the King and Prime Minister, being rejected at the last minute. Responding to the government’s calls, Australia and New Zealand had sent troops and police to enforce a state of emergency. Revolutionaries must demand the immediate withdrawal of these troops, and call for the immediate convening of a Constituent Assembly based on one person, one vote!

One year ago a prolonged public employees (PSA) strike led a renewed protest against the semi-feudal regime in Tonga. This regime based on a Royal family which owns the land and most of the businesses in Tonga, acts as the agents for monopoly corporations in Tonga. !% of the population dominates the economy and the rest are deprived of property and forced to live in extreme hardship. Tonga has been struggling to hold its economic position. GDP stands at T$361 million, with GDP per capita, totalling T$2936 with GDP growth at 1.6%. It exports US$13.9 million per annum and imports US$82.9 million per year. Its main exports are fish, squash and vanilla, main imports are food, animals, beverages and tobacco. (see Class Struggle #63 Sept/Oct 2005).

The PSA strike was settled by promises that more MPs would be elected by the people instead of being appointed by the King. A report that recommended that the majority of MPs would be directly elected by the people was agreed to by the new King this year, and was expected to be passed before Parliament rose last week. When parliament rose without passing the reform elements of the pro-democracy rally outside parliament rioted and burned and trashed the PM’s office and other public buildings and the businesses and property of the Royal Family and their commercial allies. Unfortunately six youths who were trapped in store-room were killed in the fire.

The parliament immediately called an emergency Cabinet meeting and passed the reform that would see the number of MPs in the 32 seat house elected by the people increased from nine to twenty-one by 2008. But this decision did not reach the angry protestors who continued on their organised attack on the hated symbols of the rich ruling class in Tonga.

The response of the King was not to apologise for delaying the reforms and inciting the peoples’ anger, but to blame the democracy movement for ‘shaming’ Tonga. He imposed a state of emergency and is threatening severe punishment for those convicted of ‘riot’ and ‘arson’. To enforce the state of emergency (which gives the police the power to ban meetings of more than five people, arrest suspects, impose curfews etc.) the regime asked the Australian and New Zealand governments to send troops and police. Currently Australia has 50 troops and 35 police and NZ has 72 troops and 65 police. The NZ government claims that the troops and police are there to ‘keep the peace’. The NZ Greens have objected to their presence as support the Monarchy.

Many Tongan’s (many of whom are living in New Zealand as citizens or long term residents) have backed the King against the ‘violence’, but another large section which comprises the broad pro-democracy movement rejects the foreign troops being used to prop up the regime and suppress the democracy movement. Some have called for the troops to get out while others want the foreign troops to be ‘neutral’ peacekeepers.

The fact is that even if the reform is introduced in 2008, a majority of MPs elected by ‘commoners’ does not give the people control of the government. The demand of the longstanding leader of the pro-democracy movement is for all MPs to be elected by the people, and for the Prime Minister and Cabinet to be elected by the MPs. It has taken a long strike and the burning of downtown Nuku’alofa to get even the most modest of reforms accepted by the Monarchy. The danger now is that the Monarchy will dig in and use the excuse of a ‘failed state’ to enlist the long-term intervention of Australia and New Zealand in a RAMSI-type regime to keep the people down and monopolise Tonga’s resources for the imperialist interests.

The response of revolutionary internationalists must be to fight for democratic reforms, always warning that they will never be granted by the reactionary regime whose interests are to ally with imperialism. In NZ and Australia support for the pro-democracy movement must be built in the labour movement. Many Tongan workers in NZ are the backbone of the unions and supporters of the Labour Government. Our program must be:

Australian and NZ troops out! Reject any label of ‘failed state’ and the permanent intervention of ANZ military and police.

Campaign for democracy in the Tongan army to split the rank and file from the Monarchy!

For a Constituent Assembly based on one person one vote, regardless of class, status or gender!

For the re-nationalisation of public assets in Tonga, without compensation to the Monarchy or the imperialists!

For a Government of the workers and farmers of Tonga, as part of a Pacific Federation of Socialist Republics!

From Class Struggle 69 Oct/Nov 2006

Written by raved

May 28, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

How to defend the gains of Cuban revolution

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In August 1, we learned that Fidel Castro had to undergo abdominal surgery due to a serious illness. His brother, vice-president and minister of defence Raul Castro, was to take charge temporarily of the presidency of Cuba. Fidel’s serious illness and his old age – he has just celebrated his 80th birthday – has put Cuba’s future centre stage again.

Capitalist restoration or socialist revolution?

Cuba is the only workers state in Latin America. In 1959 a workers and peasants revolution succeeded in expropriating the bourgeoisie. Immediately Bush and Condoleezza Rice started speaking about a “transition” in Cuba. The ‘gusana’ bourgeoisie (1) in Miami demonstrated in the streets, enthusiastic about returning to Cuba to recover their properties. On the other hand, the European imperialist powers – which have lucrative businesses on the island – said they wished Fidel a quick recovery.

No doubt, the imperialist bourgeoisies and their different fractions are discussing the best way to complete the capitalist restoration in Cuba. After more than 15 years of pro-capitalist measures carried out by the Castroite bureaucracy, Cuba has been turned into extremely degenerated workers state. The monopoly of foreign trade has been abandoned. Nationalized property and central planning, despite being heavily bureaucratic, has been badly eroded.

In spite of this, the anti-imperialist consciousness of the Cuban workers and peasants won in the struggle for the victorious revolution is still alive. They will defend the expropriation of the bourgeoisie that arose out of the insurrectionary general strike that overthrew the dictator Batista and made possible the first workers’ state in Latin America.

But with each day the bureaucracy’s restorationist policies causes creates deeper inequalities and a growing bureaucracy, workers aristocracy and rich middle classes as the potential new bourgeoisie.The poverty and suffering of the big majority of workers and peasants threatens to undermine the revolutionary consciousness of the masses. The worse their situation gets the more the masses will identify real socialism with the fake socialism Fidel Castro talks to them about; a “socialism” with miserable wages, rationing cards and never ending hardships.

But real socialism can only start from the highest degree of development reached by the productive forces under capitalism; that is in the imperialist countries. The working class of a underdeveloped country like Cuba can make a workers and peasants’ revolution sooner than the workers of an imperialist country, but it cannot arrive at socialism without the victory of socialist revolution in at least some imperialist countries. For this reason, every workers’ and peasants’ revolution that remains isolated and doesn’t join forces with other countries undergoing revolution, sooner or later will be bureaucratized and retreat backwards into counter-revolution.

For that reason, the Stalinist pseudo – theory of “socialism in a single country” is clearly a reactionary utopia, proven by the collapse of the USSR, China and the East European ex-workers’ states headed by the Stalinist bureaucracy. The extreme decomposition of the Cuban worker state is yet another instance of the bankruptcy of that pseudo-theory.

It was a reactionary utopia to affirm that a huge country (almost a continent in itself, with 150 million workers and peasants and enormous natural resources) such as the USSR could be arrive at socialism without a decisive advance of the world revolution (which the Stalinist bureaucracy strangled step by step). It was also a utopia that China could keep going as a workers state after the expropriation of the bourgeoisie in 1949, without a world revolution. Indeed far from realising socialism, both collapsed back into capitalism bringing about a historical defeat of the working class of those nations and the whole world. How much more reactionary then to claim, as the Castroite bureaucracy does, that it is possible to make “socialism in a single island” while the Latin American and North American revolutions have been contained and strangled (again with the help of the Castroite bureaucracy).

The only thing that can result from the isolation of a workers’ state in a single country, is the distribution of scarcity. Arising out of this scarcity the bureaucracy emerges as the gendarme to police the queue and reward itself with privileges at the expense of the workers. As the agents of the capitalist world economy inside the workers’ states the bureaucracy frees itself from dependence on state property and restores capitalism to transform itself into a new bourgeoisie.

The Bolshevik Party always saw the triumphant October revolution in Russia as a spark to ignite the European and world revolution, and for that reason it founded the 3rd  International. On the contrary, Stalinism – the executioner of Bolshevism – usurped the October revolution, and developed the fake “theory” of “socialism in a single country” and its counterrevolutionary policy of collaborating with ‘democratic’ imperialists in the rest of the world.

Without doubt, today the gains of the Cuban revolution are in danger. To finish the capitalist restoration in Cuba would be an historical defeat not only for Cuban workers and peasants, but for the proletariat and the exploited of all Latin America and the world. Defending the revolutionary gains that still remain, and preventing the Cuban worker state, despite its degeneration, from destruction is an anti-imperialist and revolutionary task of the working class of the greatest importance. As Trotsky said, those who won’t defend the existing gains cannot win new ones.

Every standpoint on the Cuban issue today that doesn’t agree with the position of the founders of the 4th International in the Congress of 1938 on the defence of workers’ states, amounts to an open and definitive rupture with the program of Trotskyism, and a capitulation to the Castroite bureaucracy.

As Trotsky said in 1937:

“To identify the October Revolution and the peoples in the USSR with the ruling caste, is to betray workers interests and help the reaction” (The Revolution Betrayed, Leon Trotsky).

In the same way, today, to link the Cuban revolution and the Cuban workers and peasants fate with the fate of Castroite bureaucracy, is to betray the interests of the proletariat. On the contrary, the advances of Cuban revolution can only be defended today by fighting against the Castroite bureaucracy’s privileges, and replacing the bureaucracy with a government of workers’ and peasants’ councils (soviets). Only a revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat can make Cuba the spark to light the fire of Latin American and world revolution.

How to defeat the US Imperialist and the Miami “gusano” threat to Cuba? The overthrow of the bureaucracy by a workers and peasants’ political revolution would spread panic among the Gringo imperialist bourgeoisie. It would become a driving force to push the North American proletariat, only now standing up to fight, towards a revolutionary struggle.

Two imperialist plans to complete capitalist restoration in Cuba

It is clear, once again that there are two different plans, promoted by different fractions of the imperialist bourgeoisies, to finish capitalist restoration in Cuba.

The fall of the worker states in Eastern Europe and USSR – the only states Cuba traded with – plunged the Cuban workers’ state into a deep crisis. The productive forces were already retarded by the reactionary utopia of “socialism in one island” imposed by the Castroite bureaucracy. On top of this, US economic sanctions from the early 1990s made the shortages worse. This pushed the bureaucracy to open the economy to foreign trade with European imperialist monopolies and created the conditions for the birth of a rich middle class.

Spanish, French, Italian, Canadian, Swiss imperialist monopolies began investing and extracting super- profits in Cuba from the beginning of the 1990s. This took the form of FDI or “joint ventures” with the Cuban state (the so called “mixed enterprises”) and they now have a big stake in very profitable businesses in tourism, nickel and oil, etc.

A fraction of the US bourgeoisie – associated with the Chamber of Commerce – favors the same policy and calls for an end to economic sanctions so it can also share in in the plunder of Cuba alongside its European rivals.

For this fraction of the world imperialist bourgeoisie, completing capitalist restoration in the island is best done by reintroducing the ‘law of value’ i.e. the market, money, “joint ventures” etc., as happened in both the ex-USSR and China. Free trade would open Cuba to cheap goods to undermine the workers and peasants support for the workers’ state, and create opportunities for the new middle classes and the bureaucratic caste to become a new bourgeoisie.

But clearly this is not the plan of the bourgeois clique around Bush, Rice, the oil monopolies and the arms industry, who are currently administrating US bourgeoisie interests. Their plan means counterrevolution by invasion and occupation. Capitalist restoration will be completed by the “gusana” bourgeoisie and US monopolies return to the island. Meanwhile, they are happy for European monopolies to invest in the infrastructure on the island and to modernise the economy. For when the US invasion takes place the gringos and “gusanos” will seize their former property rights expropriated by the revolution, including those concessions granted by the Castroite bureaucracy to the European monopolies!

The objective of the Bushite fraction of the US bourgeoisie is not only to obtain super-profits by restoring capitalism in Cuba, but to recover all their private property, turning Cuba again into “an American brothel” as it used to be before the revolution. US imperialism and the “gusana” bourgeoisie in Miami, would then become the national bourgeoisie in a Cuba restored to capitalism.

his is the strategic objective of the Bushite fraction of US imperialism. However, it has not been able to implement this policy because of the heroic resistance of the Iraqi masses that “swamped” the Anglo Yankees troops in Iraq causing a crisis in Bush government, and the national war of resistance of the Palestinian and Lebanese masses that humiliated the Zionist army in the south of Lebanon.

These are the two imperialist fractions in a race to see who gets the property in a restored Cuba: US imperialism and the “gusanos” of Miami, or the European imperialist monopolies in collaboration with the Castroite bureaucracy as the prospective new national bourgeoisie.

Mercosur is a new milestone on the road to capitalist restoration

Stalinists, Castroites and the fake Trotskyists – all members of the World Social Forum – tell the Latin American working class and exploited peoples that to defend Cuba is to support Fidel Castro and the Castroite bureaucracy. They say that both Castro and the Castroite bureaucracy are “anti-imperialist” and defend Cuba against capitalism.

However, the Cuban revolution has not survived thanks to the Castroite bureaucracy’s policies, but in spite of and against it. The Cuban revolution survives thanks to the revolutionary and anti-imperialist struggle of the working class and the exploited during the ’60s, the ’70s, and the ’80s. It survives thanks to the Ecuadorian and Argentinean revolutions, to the magnificent Bolivian revolution, and to the great anti-imperialist struggle of the Venezuelan masses that have taken place in the first few years of the 21th century.

And today the Cuban revolutionary advances are in danger not because Fidel is sick, but because the restorationist Castroite bureaucracy in the name of the revolution has collaborated with the national bourgeoisies to strangle the Argentinean and Ecuadorian revolutions, and contain the great Bolivian revolution. Over four decades the Castroite bureaucracy, in condemning Cuba to isolation, and in preparing the destruction of the gains of the revolution, has betrayed the Latin American revolution.

Thus, the betrayal by Castroism of the Chilean revolution (the revolution of the “Industrial colons” and coordinated worker-peasant councils) in 1973, with Fidel proclaiming the “peaceful road to socialism”, lead to a coup by Pinochet and the ITT followed by a number of counterrevolutionary military governments in Latin America. All those developments left Cuba isolated.

In the 1980s, by proposing that Nicaragua shouldn’t be a new Cuba, and abandoning the Central American revolution to the counter-revolutionary pacts of Esquipulas and Contadora, the Castroite bureaucracy – which is a part of the Stalinist bureaucracy – began to prepare its transition to capitalist restoration.

Thus, in the 1990s – after the collapse of USSR, China and the Eastern Europe workers states – we saw the reform of the Constitution and Foreign Capitals Investment Law driven through by the Castroite bureaucracy in preparation for capitalist restoration on the island. These reforms which undermined the foundations of Cuba as a workers’ state.

Since 2000, the opening of the Ecuadorian and Argentinean revolutions, and expecially that of the heroic Bolivian revolution in 2003, has sounded the alarm to the Castroite bureaucracy. It knew perfectly well that a victorious workers and peasants revolution in Bolivia would be like an electric shock to the entire Latin American masses, and especially, the Cuban masses. Its own survival as a privileged caste and its plan to become the new bourgeoisie would be immediately at risk. For that reason, the Castroite bureaucracy played a key role, together with the other counter-revolutionary leaders in the World Social Forum, in surrounding and containing the Bolivian revolution, in backing and supporting the class collaborationist policies of Mesa’s government and the government of Evo Morales today.

The betrayal to Bolivian revolution, is consistent with the history of betrayals of the masses’ struggles in Latin America, and prepared the conditions for a new leap in the capitalist restoration process in Cuba and ofn the bureaucracy recycling itself as a bourgeoisie.

This leap was clearly seen when Castro signed a commercial agreement on behalf of Cuba with Mercosur, at the last summit of presidents in Cordoba (Argentina), in mid July. Argentinean, Venezuelan, Brazilian, and Uruguayan bourgeoisies, along with imperialist monopolies installed in those countries, will be able to export to Cuba large quantities of goods at subsidized prices. This agreement for introducting cheap imports by means of ‘joint ventures’ with capitalist corporations is part of the plan of completing capitalist restoration in the island.

Thus the restorationist Castroite bureaucracy represented by Castro himself proved that they are on course to become the new national bourgeoisie. This is why Fidel Castro has said that Chavez “has the task to look after Cuba” when he dies. His objective is for Cuba to become like Venezuela, that is to say, a capitalist country, but with a national bourgeoisie formed out of the recycled bureaucracy.

This agreement of the Castroite bureaucracy with Mercosur – a free trade agreement with the imperialist monopolies and national bourgeoisies of its member countries – marks a new leap forward in the capitalist restoration process in Cuba. It is as if – though not an exact analogy –Stalin and the Russian bureaucracy had established a trade agreement with French and English imperialists, instead of creating COMECON – the common market with the deformed worker states of Eastern Europe. That would have meant clearly an opening of the road to capitalist restoration as was finally done by Gorbachev in the 1980s, and by Yeltsin in 1989 to complete the restoration and the recycling of the bureaucracy as a new bourgeoisie.

The signing of the agreement with the Mercosur clearly points to the fact that once the Bolivian revolution is strangled and the revolutionary struggle of the Latin American masses completely aborted, the the process of capitalist restoration in Cuba can be completed. This agreement between the Castroites and Mercosur angered Bush, Rice and the “gusanos” in Miami because it confirmed that the bureaucracy is already planning to restore capitalist private property of the means of production under the framework of Mercosur and not the FTAA of US imperialism. The social inequality in Cuba will get worse and will cause greater demoralization of the workers and rural masses, undermining their commitment to defend the gains of the revolution. In fact this is what both the main imperialist fractions bet on, in their race to finish capitalist restoration in Cuba.

The strip tease exposes the “mixed economy” as the Castroite bureaucracy prepares its transformation into a new bourgeoisie

Fidel’s illness and Raul Castro’s role as his temporary replacement is a “srtrip tease” of the Castroite bureaucracy, exposing its plans to complete capitalist restoration and turn itself into a bourgeoisie. It is clear the army -a.k.a “Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias” (“Revolutionary Armed Forces”) is the fundamental institution through which the Castroite bureaucracy is driving the capitalist restoration plan.

The army controls most of the “mixed companies” (“joint ventures” with foreign monopolies, created under the umbrella of the “Foreign Investment Law”), from model farms that produce for export, to telecommunications, to tourism and nickel. Today the army controls 322 of the biggest companies, some of them Cuban capital, and others mixed with foreign capital – among them, “Gaviota” (tourism and transport), Cubanacan (tourism), Almacenes Universal (tax free areas), Sasa (auto parts), Habanos (cigars), Cimex (import and export, distribution, gas stations, real estate). These companies employ 20% of Cuban labor, represent 89% of the exports, and generate 59% of the earnings in tourism. The army directly controls these companies through the Grupo de Administración Empresarial S. A. (Managerial Administration Group A.S.) or GAESA, of which the general director is… Raul Castro, and the executive director is his son-in-law. These companies are run by a new generation of young army officers, all of them trained in business administration schools in Europe.

In this way the restorationist bureaucracy has been preparing for its role as a bourgeoisie: by joining the boards (undisclosed to the public) of stock companies with bank accounts in fiscal paradises (off-shore accounts); as anonymous shareholders with their holdings protected by commercial secrecy; as partners in joint ventures with imperialist monopolies such as the Sherrit (which has 50% of the mixed company Moa Nickel, and the gas company Energas), the French Pernod Ricard (which has 50% of Corporation Cuba Ron S.A.), the Swiss Nestlé (with 50% of the food company Los Portales), and the Spanish Altadis (50% of Habanos S.A.).

It is clear then that private property rights are being restored in Cuba very quickly, and that the bureaucracy is now rapidly forming a new bourgeoisie. The only two things that for the moment the bureaucracy has not been able to do – and the reason that capitalist restoration has not yet been completed – are the absolute right to private property in land and the right to inherit such property.

The right to inheritance is a key question, as Leon Trotsky brilliantly outlined in The Revolution Betrayed, “property that cannot be bequeathed to descendants loses half of its value”.

The Castroite bureaucracy’s policies have carried the Cuban workers’ state to an extreme degree of degeneration. Such that today in Cuba two economies coexist at the same time: a capitalist economy that works under the law of value, and a transitional economy in crisis and severe decomposition.

These two economies are in a struggle of life and death. One or other must win. The unstable coexistence of these two economies has its expression in the two currency system introduced in Cuba by the bureaucracy. Thus, you have the “chavito” (convertible peso; 1peso= 1dollar) used for tourism and which allows foreign monopolies to take their earnings out of Cuba in US dollars. This “chavito” is a real “exchange insurance” for imperialist investments, paid for by super-exploiting the workers and peasants. It expresses the law of value in the sector of the economy open to capitalist property and to imperialist investment which has the highest labor productivity and most value-added commodities. Only 20% of the population – the restorationist bureaucratic caste, the labor aristocracy and a newly enriched middle class, linked to imperialist investments – have access to the “chavito” and to exclusive goods and services of this sector.

On the other hand, you have the devalued Cuban peso that expresses low labor productivity, the low quality of products and the low value created in the nationalised sector of the economy. It represents the workers’ state in acute degeneration. The low wages of the big majority of workers and peasants are paid with this devalued peso. 80% of the population lives facing shortages and deprivation, depending on ration cards. This poverty coexists with a growth rate of 11.8% in 2005 which exceeded that of China.

This shows that in Cuba the law of value that governs the capitalist economy is already in operation. It means that market values are imposed on the planned economy creating huge wealth in the newly enriched middle class and emerging bourgeoisie, while driving the vast majority of the population into poverty as in any capitalist country. The introduction of the market and the widening gap between rich and poor is what undermines the ability of the Cuban masses to defend the revolution. Political consciousness is always the expression of material conditions. If the material gains of the revolution resulting from the expropriation of the bourgeoisie are destroyed, then so is the consciousness that defends them destroyed.

During the 1980s the bureaucracy In the USSR and the workers’ states of Eastern Europe became restorationist, and by enforcing pro-capitalist measures (such as Gorbachev’s “perestroika”) it forced tens of millions of workers and farmers into misery. For example, the coalminers in the Donbass (Ukraine) were living under worse conditions than the Bolivian miners in 1940 – such that they had to fight for… soap and toilet paper. Why would millions of hungry workers and farmers come out in defense of a “revolution” that condemns them to hunger, misery, and unheard of shortages? It is precisely the intention of all fractions of the imperialist bourgeoisies to cause this same demoralization and destruction of the anti-imperialist consciousness in the Cuban masses and to undermine their resistance to the completion of capitalist restoration.

Break with all the national bourgeoisies of the continent! For a Federation of Socialist Republics of the Americas!

Everyone that claims to be anti-imperialist and revolutionary has a duty to defend Cuba from the US blockade and the renewed threats of US imperialism and the “gusana” bourgeoisie of Miami. But how to defend effectively the historical gains of the Cuban revolution already much weakened by the class collaborationist politics of the Castroite bureaucracy?

The first task to effectively defend the gains of the revolution, is for the Cuban workers and farmers to break with Mercosur and all the agreements and treaties which give the resources of the island to the imperialist monopolies that have been sacking Latin America for decades. Second, is to break with the bourgeoisie all over the continent. Third, to defeat the counterrevolutionary policy of the Castroite bureaucracy that usurps the prestige of the Cuban revolution to maintain and support the lackey, anti-worker and repressive governments and regimes of Kirchner, Lula, Bachelet, Morales, etc. Fourth, is to break with the UN – that today is ready to intervene in Middle East to crush the Palestinian people, as it did in the 1990s in the Balkans, and to defeat the politics of Fidel Castro and the Cuban bureaucracy who call on the world’s masses to trust that den of imperialist thieves.

It is not possible to defend Cuba without fighting against all class collaborationist politics, so that the working class and the exploited in the continent can break with their own bourgeoisies and the left leg of the popular front of the treacherous fake Trotskyists of the WSF. It is not possible to defend Cuba if you are holding hands with the WSF because it belongs to Chavez, Lula, Evo Morales and the likes, to the national bourgeoisies of Mercosur, to the Castroite bureaucracy and the treacherous misleaders of all colors, that form the party of capitalist restoration in Cuba!

Cuba will be defended when El Alto becomes once more the central headquarters of the Bolivian revolution, and when that revolution (today caught in the trap of the Constituent Assembly by Evo Morales’ class collaboratist government backed by Fidel Castro) returns to the road to victory. It will be defended when the Ecuadorian revolution rises up again (after Fidel’s friend Chavez stabbed it in the back when he lent oil to Palacio to break the oil workers’ strike). Cuba will be defended by the Argentine working class breaking the ‘social pact’ of the bureaucracy with the bosses and the government of Kirchner (a government that has put Castroites in many state offices, and which was warmly supported by Fidel on his recent visit), and retakes the revolutionary road of 2001.

Cuba will be defended when the workers and farmers in Mexico –the teachers of Oaxaca, the miners and steel workers of Michoacan, the exploited people of San Salvador Atenco, the poor farmers of Chiapas –unite their struggles into one revolutionary front. Today these struggles are in danger of being isolated and expropriated by the bourgeois Lopez Obrador, presented as “progressive” by the Castroite bureaucracy and the WSF. Cuba will be defended when the workers and peasants of Central America rise up against the CAFTA imposed by the bourgeoisies with the open collaboration of the ex-commaders of the Sandinistas and FMLN who today have become Wall Street yuppies and government officials in the bourgeois states of Nicaragua and El Salvador.

Cuba will be defended when the Venezuelan workers and exploited can guarantee that not one barrel of oil is sold to the US imperialists who feed it to the military machine that murders Iraqis, and finances the Zionist-Fascist state of Israel to murder the Palestinian people and the Arab masses in Lebanon.

Either the revolution will extend to Central and South America, or, sooner or later, the fate of Cuba will be the same of the oppressed nations in Central America and the Caribbean: new enslaved colonies, enslaved by the CAFTAs, or directly occupied as US protectorates, as Haiti is today after it was bled-white. Cuban workers and peasants can see themselves in the mirror of their class brothers and sisters of the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America today: that will be their destiny if the capitalist restoration prevails!

Cuba will be defended when the North American workers, led by the Latino immigrants, refuse to kneel before the imperialist butchers of the Democratic Party – as Castroism does- but rises up and unites against the war in Iraq. It will be defended when the US working class comes to the defense of the Palestinian people and the masses of Lebanon. It will be defended when the US workers defend the gains of the Cuban revolution against all imperialist threats and aggressions, and supports the fight against the FTAA that ties the nations of Central America to imperialism with double chains.

The fence imposed on Cuba from the outside by US imperialism with its blockade, and from the inside by the Castroite bureaucracy with its restorationist policy, can only be broken by the Cuban workers and peasants their fight for political revolution with the struggles of the working class and the exploited of the rest of Latin America. Te isolation of Cuba can be effectively broken by centralizing a common struggle in Latin America and with that of the North American working class, against imperialism and the national bourgeoisies that are its servants!

In order to defend the conquests of the revolution the Cuban masses must fight for a political revolution to overthrow the bureaucracy and win worker democracy

To defend Cuba means to break all political ties with the bourgeoisie that the restorationist Castroite bureaucracy imposes on the workers and peasants. For that reason, it means to finish with the restorationist policies of the bureaucracy and with the growing social inequality it brings.

Stop the wage and social inequality!

Stop the privileges, ranks, medals and decorations!

Down with the differential wages and the prizes for production in the joint ventures and the imperialist monopolies!

For equal work for an equal wage in all the sectors of the economy!

Out with the parasites: all the bureaucrats must go to work paid at the average wage of a worker and in Cuban Pesos!

Down with the “two currencies”!

For a single currency that reflects the real productivity of labor of the whole Cuban economy!

Reimpose exchange controls so that the value produced by Cuban workers is not siphoned off to imperialist monopolies! Re-imposing the monopoly of the foreign trade in all the branches of the economy!

Restore the centrally economy planned, under the control of the workers and peasants councils!

Smash the “gusano” bourgeoisie!

End all commercial secrets that allow the imperialist monopolies to hide their profits!

End all corruption that allows the bureaucracy to profit from “joint-stock companies”!

For workers’ control of all the branches of the production – including tourism, nickel and petroleum!

Renationalise without compensation and under workers control the private interests of the “joint-stock companies” and mixed companies!

For the freedom to organize unions in the private and mixed companies and in the state owned companies!

For workers’, peasants’ and soldiers’ councils!

For workers democracy where the majority of the workers and peasants decided on strategy and tactics of defending the revolution!

For political parties that demonstrate they can defend the gains of the revolution!

For workers’ and peasants’ militias, the arming of the entire population to defend Cuba and take back Guantanamo!

For a political revolution to overthrow the restorationist bureaucracy and build a socialist Cuba as part of the Socialist United States of Central America and the Caribbean, which would be, at the same time be a decisive step to win the unity with the North American proletariat, and open the way to the workers and socialist revolution in the United States!

For an international party of socialist revolution to defeat the class collaborationist and restorationist World Social Forum!

For this reason, no-one can defend the Cuban revolution without fighting to re-found the international party of the socialist revolution. Only such an internationalist proletarian party is capable of uniting and organising the working class from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego in a victorious war against imperialism, the client national bourgeoisies and capitalist restoration in Cuba.

Castro’s bureaucracy is a declared enemy of an international revolutionary party. On the contrary, it organises a continental policy of subordination of Latin American workers to their own national bourgeoisies and the North American working class to the Democratic Party. The fake Trotskyists have lent support to this class collaborationist policy by supporting the Castroite bureaucracy and the ‘Trotskyist’ impostor Celia Hart Santamaria. All over Latin America, that are forming new parties uniting Castroites, Stalinists and the trade union bureaucracies – such as the PRS in Venezuela, Podemos (“We can!”) in Chile, the P-SOL in Brazil, “Plenario de Autoconvocados” (“Self convened fighters plenum”) in Argentina, etc. which acts as the “left wing” of the the World Social Forum as a counter-revolutionary international.

The imminent danger posed by finishing capitalist restoration in Cuba, makes the first task of internationalist Trotskyists that of completing the unfinished work of the founders of Fourth International in America: “… for the Leninist Bolsheviks, there is no more important task than to establish the connection – and then the unification – between the different parts of the proletarian organization in the continent, creating such a well constructed organism that any revolutionary shock taking place in Patagonia, reverberates immediately as if it was transmitted by a perfect nervous system, in the revolutionary proletarian organizations of the United States. Until this has been done the task of the Leninist Bolsheviks in the American Continent will not have been carried out”. (“The countries of the Caribbean “, Clave magazine Nº 4, November 13, 1937).

Only as a result of this struggle will an international workers revolutionary party be set up in Cuba, which armed with the Program of the Fourth International and its fight for political revolution – both having passed the test of histor –will be able to lead the Cuban working class and peasants to victory. To this task, we, of the Leninist Trotskyist Fraction, devote all our forces.

In the 1930s, Trotskyism – the heir and continuator to Bolshevism – was the only current in the world working class that adjusted and updated its theory and the program to fight to for political revolution in the Soviet workers state, overthrowing the Stalinist bureaucracy which had usurped the revolution, to create a healthy workers’ state as a revolutionary pole in the struggle for the world revolution.

In those years, groups and tendencies called “friends of USSR“ blossomed all around the world. They were the agents of the Stalinist bureaucracy and promoted its counter-revolutionary policies. Today, social democracy, recycled Stalinism, and former Trotskyists, joined together in The World Social Forum, are the “friends of Cuba”. That is, the servants and defenders of Castro and the Castroite bureaucracy’s policies in the continent and in Cuba itself.

The tasks of defending the gains of the Cuban revolution and the fight for political revolution to defeat the restorationist bureaucracy, are key parts of the program for socialist revolution in Latin America, the United States and the world. The Cuban issue today – as the Russian issue in the ’30s, devides the healthy forces of Trotskyism that fight to regroup at an international level from those that rally –like the Pabloites did in 1953, but in a more brazen and shameless way –to the side of the Stalinist bureaucracy, defending its interests.

In 1953, the Pabloites subordinated Trotskyism into Stalinism. The Stalinist bureaucracy had gained prestige from the victorious struggle of the Soviet masses to defeat Nazism. Millions of workers everywhere entered the communist parties. This policy led to Trotskyism tailing Stalinism and ultimately liquidating the Fourth International as a revolutionary world party of socialism.

Inevitably when the restoration of capitalism occurred in the degenerated workers’ state began after 1989, the renegades of Trotskyism who had kneeled down to Stalinism wept while trying to hide their capitulations and their responsibility for the counter-revolution, putting the blame on Trotsky, Lenin and Marxism.

Today, with the excuse that Cuba is being attacked by imperialism, the renegades if Trotskyism kneel down before the Castroite bureaucracy and abandon any struggle for a political revolution in Cuba – that is to say, the dictatorship of the revolutionary proletariat in Cuba.

When in the 1930s Trotskyism was fighting Stalinism, it organized hundreds of Trotskyist militants in Cuba. The struggle to set up again a Trotskyist, revolutionary and internationalist party in Cuba is in our hands, in the hands of those who are fighting for an International Conference of principled Trotskyists and revolutionary worker organizations. The renegades to Trotskyism already have their party in Cuba: the party of Castroite bureaucracy and its agent’s, the charlatan Celia Hart Santamaria. They are the third batch of Mensheviks. They have deserted to the Stalinist camp with all their arms to be the left leg of the popular front with ‘democratic imperialism’!

Leninist-Trotskyist Fraction 17 August 2006.

From Class Struggle 68 August-September 2006

Lebanon: a new front in the Imperialist-Zionist war for oil

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Leninist Trotskyist Fraction statement

A pact between the UN, Zionism, Siniora and the Hizbollah leadership tries to do what the Israeli army could not do, impose disarmament and surrender on the Hizbollah and Palestinian resistance. Out with the new troops of occupation of the imperialistic butchers of the UN! Turn the civil wars in Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq into the beginning of the workers’ and peasants’ revolution in Lebanon, Palestine and the whole Middle East, so that it becomes the grave of the Zionist-fascist state of Israel and the genocidal imperialist troops in Iraq!

The genocidal Zionist army of Olmert and Bush smashed its teeth against the heroic national war of resistance of Hizbollah and the masses of the south of the Lebanon

After 34 days of systematic bombing of the workers districts of Beirut and the south of Lebanon, leaving thousands of dead and wounded, the Zionist army of Israel – the fourth most powerful in the world commanded by Olmert and Bush, could not even occupy securely one kilometer into the south of Lebanon. It broke its teeth against the heroic resistance that cost thousands of lives of workers and oppressed people, including many of the the 100s of thousands displaced Palestinians.

Because it could not win against a guerilla army, Israel agreed to a cease-fire on Monday 14 of August at 8 am and began to retreat back across the border. The ceasefire agreement provides that from the 17 of August the Lebanese army will start to move 15,000 troops south of the Litani river, and that along with around 2000 French troops already in the Lebanon, there will be an ‘international force’ of up to 15,000 under the command of UNIFIL. Its objective: to disarm Hisbollah and the other militias in the south of the Lebanon. That is to say, to impose what imperialism and his Zionist gendarme Israel could not do in more than a month of military destruction.

We shall see if the can achieve this objective. The Lebanese and Palestinian exiles of the south of the Lebanon – and of all Middle East, that resisted heroically against a high tech military machine, feel victorious. That is why more of million workers, farmers and their families – Palestinian and Lebanese from the south, that had taken refuge to the north of the Litani river, immediately after the ceasefire began a mass migration back to their homes and land in the south.

One said they were returning “as a tribute to the Resistance. For that reason it is necessary to return: they have died fighting by us and for Lebanon. The best way to fight Israel is to overcome outfear and to re-occupy our houses. That act intimidates the Israelis. They never thought that we would return and that they would lose the war” (Clarin, 15/08/06). In Bint Jbeil, a shepherd who returned to that city where the most brutal battles wre fought exclaimed: “Praise be to God, we won this war. We saved our land and we defeated to the Israeli army in spite of all its high technology” (Libération, France, 17/08/06)

The goal of Bush and the Zionist state in this new “war for oil” is to turn Lebanon into a protectorate to plunder the oil wealth of the Caucasus

Bush and Olmert has a clear objective in sending the army against the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank at the end of June, and then going to war against Lebanon in the middle of July. This was to finally destroy the Palestinian resistance in the same way NATO bombed the Bosnian Serbs in the Balkans in the 1990s. They wanted to massively defeat the resistance in Gaza and Transjordan where the people are already imprisoned in concentration camps, causing a new diaspora. They were also determined to smash Hizbollah and its defence of the Palestine masses in the south of Lebanon because it forced Israel out of Lebanon in 2000 sparking the second intefada. In defeating Hizbollah Lebanon could be turned into a new Yankee protectorate.

Anglo/US imperialism and its Zionist gendarme needed to fulfill these objectives to be able to be guarantee the oil pipeline from the ex- Soviet republics of Kazajstán and Azerbaiján to Israel. British Petroleum has built a pipe line from Bakú to the port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean in Turkey. The pipeline is planned to go from Ceyhan under the sea to Haifa where it will be piped to the Red Sea and on to Asia. Israel also wants access to water from the Litani r iver and further north. For these projects the US and the Zionist state needs to control the Mediterranean coast and the south of the Lebanon. So despite rhetoric about captured soldiers and Hizbollah being Iran’s proxy, the real purpose of this war was once more oil, as it was in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And because wars for oil always generate resistance, Yankee imperialism looked to use this war to teach a lesson to the the resistance movements, in particular the Iraqi resistance that has bogged down the Anglo/US troops and caused crises for Bush and Blair at home. It gambled on a victory against Hizbollah to strengthen its Sunni allies in Iraq against the Shiite Mahdi army, and to free its military to invade other countries such as Syria and Iran.

These objectives explain why the attacks on Lebanon were of a surgical precision. They destroyed the workers districts and the Palestinian camps of the south so as to defeat the working class, in particular the Palestinian masses. They destroyed the bridges and ports that were not needed in their plan to create a secure passage for the oil pipe lines and water aqueducts. On the other hand they left the districts of the bourgeoisie with its luxury hotels, summer houses, and exclusive tourist centers, absolutely intact – so that the bourgeois cooled off in their swimming pools while thousands of poor people died in Beirut. They also left the the modern “City” of Beirut, the properties of the bourgeoisie in the north of the country, and, the quarters of the Lebanese army, intact.

They expected that the Lebanese bourgeoisie would “blame” Hizbollah for the war, and so give more authority to the government of Siniora and to the army of the Lebanon – pro-Yankee mercenaries and allies of Zionism – supported by NATO troops, would finish smashing and disarming the masses in the south. But after more than a month, it was obvious that Bush and the Zionist state ad failed to fulfill their objectives in their war of destruction: they were prevented by the heroic resistance of the armed masses.

The armed masses’ heroic war of resistance stopped the fourth most powerful army on the planet which had to be rescued by the imperialist UNIFIL ‘multinational peacekeepers’

While its humiliated troops retreated from Lebanon before a tide of civilians, the Zionist General Staff along with Bush complained that Hizbollah was not a regular army and did not fight according to the rules of war! Hizbollah were “terrorists without scruples” that used the “civilian population” as “human shields”. What total hypocrisy from these imperialist Zionist butchers! They, the imperialists and the Zionists, are the true terrorists. They do not have any scruples in using the masses and the peoples of the world as “civilian” targets! The US imperialists killed millions in the last 30 years in Iraq alone, and are still killing every day tens of innocent civilians!

The “terrorists” are the Zionists who reduce to rubble half of Lebanon, rubble under which there are thousands of corpses of workers, farmers, women, children, and old people! The Zionist state is racist and fascist. It is a racist state, where torture is legal! It is the state that for over half a century has been killing the Palestinian people systematically, and where Mossad “openly murders selectively” using snipers to assassinate leaders of the organizations of the Palestine resistance in complete daylight. A fascist state, yes, because fascism – the most extreme form of capitalist rule during the epoch of imperialism – locks up the working class in concentration camps, surrounded by walls, wire fences, soldiers, and fascist colonies, in much the way Nazism did against the Jewish people in Europe during World War II.

But what Bush and Olmert cannot hide is that the Zionist army failed not because it met “terrorists” who broke the rules of war, but because the armed people defended their lives, their land, houses and their families against an occupation army. It had to face a heroic national civil war of resistance of the armed masses, in which each house and each piece of land, became a trench, and each “civilian” a combatant. What Bush and Olmert call “terrorists” and “human shields”, were in reality Lebanese and Palestinian workers and farmers of the south that, from the roofs of their houses, shot Katiushas against the enemy, and fought in combat house to house, hand-to-hand. According to a teacher from Aïta al-Chaab, a town a few metre from the border with the Zionist state: “We fought not for love of the war, but to protect our lives, our women, our children (…) We are common people. The fighter that destroyed that Israeli tank military there, is the town’s medical doctor” (Libération, France, 17/08/06)
 
It was this heroic resistance of the masses that it prevented the Zionist army after a month of destruction, from holding onto even a kilometer of territory to the south of the Litani River!

More than this, the workers and the exploited people of all Middle East began to rise up in Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iran and Iraq in defence of the Lebanese resistance. This put at risk all the survile bourgeois regimes and governments of the region. In Iraq, enormous mobilizations of hundreds of thousands of Shiites threatened to rise up against the puppet government whose main support is indeed the Shiite bourgeoisie of Iraq and Iran. The anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist mobilisations of the masses of the Middle East threatened to set fire to the region. Meanwhile inside the imperialistic countries – in the United States, the UK and Europe etc more militant sections of the workers and youth protested strongly against the huge destruction and the massacres in towns like Qana.

What is more, instead of “blaming” Hizbollah for the war as the US and Zionists had expected, the more violent the destruction the more the masses joined the resistance, shouting “We are all Hizbollah” and “They bomb Tel Aviv”. Thus, if the Zionist army had continued to advance into the territory of Lebanon, there was the real threat of a revolutionary mass uprising. This could have overthrown the bourgeois leadership of Hizbollah, disarmed the pro-Zionist army of Lebanon, and used the arms to bring down the pro-imperialistic government of Siniora. That this was a real possiblity was reflected in the slogan “Bomb Tel Aviv” which would have turned the resistance into a counter-offensive. This would have been a signal for an uprising of the masses of Gaza and Transjordan in the fight to destroy the Zionist-facist of Israel.

The Palestinian and Lebanese masses prove that the working class is the only class that can defend the nation against imperialism

It was not lack of heroísm or lack of will to fight that stopped the masses from going down this road. The national bourgeoisies of the Middle East, that all national bourgeoisies in semi colonial or colonial countries, try to get as bigger slice of profits by negotiation with imperialism. However, as soon as the revolutionary masses begin to threaten their class interests, their property and the state itself, they turn against the masses to defend those interests and those of imperialism.

The bourgeoisies of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, long allies of the US and the Zionist state – just like the Druse and Maronite bourgeoisies of Lebanon, and the client government of Siniora – demanded the “disarmament of Hizbollah” and in each country brutally repressed the demonstrations of the oppressed masses in support to their Palestinian brothers and sisters of the south of the Lebanon.

So the Iranian the Syrian bourgeoisie, despite threatening “the mother of all battles” against imperialism and Zionism”, suddenly became “neutral”. They did not move a finger in support of the masses of Lebanon and historical Palestine when tens of thousands of Syrian and Iranian workers demonstrated against the imperialist and Zionist butchers. So the large armies of Syria and Iran did not come to the aid of the heroic resistance of the masses, leaving more than a thousand dead, tens of thousands injured and the south of Lebanon devastated.

On the contrary, the Syrian bourgeoisie offered to be a “mediator” to negotiate the exchange of prisoners and even promised to support the US in its “war against terrorism”. In Iran the Shiite bourgeoisie of ayatollahs also acts as a guarantor of the puppet colaborationist government in Iraq, and in turn the stability of the US protectorate and the commands the ‘Iraqi’ army and the police in the civil war against the resistance.

Equally, the leadership of Hizbollah – an organization that is alliled to the Iranian Shiite bourgeoisie and the ayatollahs –is incapable of fighting a national war against the invader until the end. For that reason, during the war, it did not break with the client regime of Siniora or call for itw overthrow It did not call on the masses to march on the barracks of the Lebanese army to disarm it and to create workers and peasants militias. It refused to call on Syria and Iran to declare war on Zionism, or the Shiite masses in Iraq to rise up against the puppet government.

They refused to act on the demand raised by the masses of Palestine and Lebanon to “Bomb Tel Aviv”. On the contrary, it limited its missile strikes, declaring that it would only attack Tel Aviv if Israel bombed the center of Beirut – that is, the financial and business center, despite the bombardment of the workers districts and the heaquarters of Hizbollah.

Yet the workers and peasants of south Lebanon, by their heroic national war of resistance against the Zionist attack showed once again that neither Hizbollah, nor Hamas, or any fraction of the national bourgeoisies can defend the nation from imperialism. They demonstrated that in Lebanon, in historical Palestine – as in any country oppressed by imperialism, the working class is the only truely national class, with the interest and the will to defend the nation against imperialism.

UNSC 1701: A pact between the UN, Zionism, Siniora and Hizbollah leaders to make the mass resistance disarm and surrender

Because of the heroic resistance of the masses, imperialism and the Zionist state could not totally destroy Hizbollah and the Palestinians in Lebanon. As is the case in Iraq, the Lebanese masses proved capable of putting up a stiff opposition to the imperialist/Zionist offensive. Opening up a second front in which the masses faced the US/Zionist “war of terror” was a victory for the world wide proletariat.

But the bourgeois leadership of Hizbollah prevented this heroic national war of resistance from turning into the start of a workers and peasants revolution in Lebanon and Palestine capable of spreading to the whole Middle East. This was the only real prospect of defeating the Zionist army, destroying the State of Israel and burying the occupying Anglo/US troops in the sands of Iraq.

Therefore, the halting of the war by means of a cease-fire creates a provisional status quo based on a pact between the UN Security Council whose permanent members, US, UK, France, China and Russia are imperialist powers or otherwise major rivals for the world’s resources, the Zionist-fascist state of Israel, the pro-imperialistic client regime of Lebanon and the bourgeois leadership of Hizbollah.

This pact has the objective of achieving what Bush and the Zionist army could not do, defeating the Palestinian and Lebanese masses of the south, and destroying the only powerful guerilla army, Hizbollah, that can fight for the national independence of Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan.

In order to implement the plan the Hizbollah must withdraw north of the Litani river while the south is occupied by 15,000 soldiers of the Lebanese army, which fired not one short defend the nation against the Zionist assault, and 15,000 “blue helmets” of the UN, who have the task of disarming the masses and locking up the Palestinian refugees in concentration camps.

The cynicism of the permanent members of the UNSC has no limits. UNSC Resolution 1701 does not condemn the war of agression of the Zionist-facist state of Israel that left Lebanon in ruins killing more than a thousand workers and their families. It presents these UN mercenaries who authorised the massacres in the Balkans, the first war against Iraq, the occupation of Afghanistan, and the massacre of the Palestinian people that led to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, as the guarantors of “peace” in the south of the Lebanon!

If this plan is to succeed Hizbollah will have to use all of its prestige and mass support won in the fight against the Zionist army, to persuad the masses to accept the rule of the pro-imperilalist army of Siniora,the UN ‘blue helmets’ and to give up its arms. This will be a difficult task. Each house in the south of Lebanon was a site of resistance, and each family has dead to honour. The masses feel like victors and are returning to their land and homes in the south where some Zionist troops remain and only a few kilometers separate them from the borders of the state of Israel.

If they do not convince the masses to give up their arms th e next plan may be the one used against the Bosnians. The UN surrounded the Bosnian cities of Sebrenica and Gorazde, entered and disarmed them and then allowed the Serbian troops of Milosevic to come and “ethnically cleanse” the Bosnian people. This is what they are preparing with the counter-revolutionary pact between the UN, Siniora, the Lebanese army and the state of Israel!

The French imperialist butchers want to take charge of the occupation to advance their interests in the Middle East

France proposed the pact to the UN Security Council of the UN and already has around 2000 troops in Lebanon which arrived in mid July “to evacuate its citizens”. This is no accident. French imperialism is in a desparate rivalry with US imperialism for markets, spheres of influence and oil pipelines. It is in partnership with the Syrian and Iranian bourgeoisie of the Bazaar (Shiite), just as it was with Saddam Hussein in Iraq, before the Anglo/US invasion cancelled Frances oil contracts with Iraq. Iran supplies oil to France and gas to Russia which pipes it to the ex-Soviet republics of the Baltic.

For that reason, the failure of the US/Zionist aims to defeat Hizbollah and partition Lebanon has created an opening for French imperialism to play a larger role in the region. That is why Chirac proposed the UN ceasefire resolution, some thousands of troops, and offered to lead the UNIFIL operation in Lebanon so that it could have more influence over the Lebanese regime.

Chirac and the greedy French monopolies already speculate on their increased profits. Anglo/US imperialism and Zionist Israel will now have to offer a share of the gas and oil of Azerbaiján and Kazakjstán passing through Turkey and the Mediterranean, to their French competitors in exchange for guarantees of stablility in Lebanon.

The French imperialist butchers will not hesitate to smash in fire and blood the popular resistance in the south of Lebanon, just as they did in the Balkans where the French “blue helmets” permitted the Serbian massacre of the Bosnians, or as they did in the Ivory Coast of Africa; are as they did against the Algerian people fighting the French colonial yoke. These are the bloodthirsty French imperialistic butchers who the treacherous leaders of the World Social Forum paint as “democratic” and “pacifists” before the workers and the exploited peoples of the world! French imperialism hands off the Lebanon, Palestine and the Middle East!

The pact will also help conceal the ongoing Zionist repression in Gaza and the West Bank

During the month that Israel assaulted Lebanon, imperialism, the UN, the mainstream media and the client bourgeoisies of the Middle East, all did their best to hide the fact that the Zionist-Fascist state of Israel continued its barbaric killing and repressing of the the Palestinian people of Gaza and the West Bank.

More than 200 Palestinian workers, peasants, women and children were killed from 28 June onward. There are 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners still being ill treated and tortured in the Zionist jails. In Gaza and Transjordan, the population is locked up behind walls, surrounded by the Israeli army, with all their roads, bridges and border posts. These are nothing but two great ghettos, two concentration camps where hunger, thirst, disease and despair reign. There is no food, there is no medicine, there is no water, there is no work, it is not possible to be come or go. If this is not the same fascism used by the Nazis against Jews, then what is?

The ceasefire pact is also to create the impression that the war is over, whereas in reality the killing continues in Gaza and Transjordan. Before long under the eyes of UNIFIL the Israelis will be preparing to slaughter the disarmed Palestinian and Lebanese masses in the south of the Lebanon.

Hands off Lebanon and Palestine! Down with the client regime of Siniora and his sepoy army!

 

We must stop this imperialist/Zionist pact, ceasefire, etc from being imposed on the heroic Palestinian masses and the people of the south of the Lebanon! UN troops out of Lebanon!

The Lebanese army refused to fight and to defend the nation from the brutal attack of the Zionist army. For committees of soldiers to sack the officers and disarm them and put the arms to the use of the resistance!

For workers’ and peasants’ militias from the north of the Lebanon to Gaza and Transjordan. For revolutionary national war to destroy the Zionist-fascist state of Israel!

The masses of south Lebanon, and of of the workers districts of Beirut, who resisted the Zionist army, had their houses and infrastructure destroyed. Roads, bridges, power etc were wiped out. A quarter of the total population of the Lebanon is now returning to their towns and villages to the south of the Litani river to find a devastated land, without houses, food, water, medicines or hospitals. Meanwhile, the bourgeoisie and the rich middle-class of the north that did not fight, nor defend the country from the Zionist invasion, have their properties and luxurious houses intact, and do not have to suffer hunger, thirst, cold, and only risk sunburn when basking in their swimming pools.

For a workers emergency economic plan to provide adequate living conditions for the workers and peasants families who defended the nation!

For the immediate expropriation without compensation and under workers control, of the mansions, tourist hotels, summer houses etc. of the bourgeoisies of the Lebanon, to provide food, water, medicine, and shelter to the Palestinian and Lebanese masses!

Down with the imperialist-Zionist client regime of Siniora and Co!

Transform the heroic civil war of resistance against imperialism and the Zionist-fascist state into a counter-offensive and the beginning of the workers and peasants revolution in Lebanon and historical Palestine.

A Workers’ and Peasants’ government is necessary to defeat the imperialist occupation!

A Lebanese Workers and Peasants’ government can become a bastion in the struggle to build destroy the state Zionist-fascist of Israel and to win a secular, democratic and nonracist Palestinian state, and open the road for a Workers’ and Peasants’ Government of the armed Palestinian masses.

The international working class must reject the ceasefire that has been imposed on the Palestinian and Lebanese masses!

The international working class must support the Iraqi resistance in the growing counter-offensive against the puppet government of the protectorate, to fight for its overthrow and to expel the invading troops!

The workers and peasants of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and the whole Middle East must break their submission to their own bourgeoisies and redouble the combat against their governments which stand by while the Zionists kill the Palestinian and Lebanese masses, and use the blood of the resistance fighters as small change in their negotiations with imperialism and Zionism.

Only in this way will the workers and peasants of the region will be able to advance towards a Federation of Workers and Peasants’ Republics of the Middle East, defeating imperialism and Zionism, and the regimes of their junior partners, the national bourgeosies, to create the conditions for peace and justice in the region.

The Zionist-fascist state of Israel must be destroyed and imperialism buried in the sands!

Once again, the heroic resistance of the Palestinian and Lebanese masses, has tested the strength of the military might of imperialism and Zionism, and has won a victory for the workers and exploited peoples of the world.

The US and British workers are strengthened in their fight against the weakened Bush and Blair regimes. The working class youth of France are also strengthened in their fight against the persecution and deportation of the French bourgeoise and their imperialist regime.

Recognising this fact, the world wide working class, espcially in the imperialist countries, must honour this struggle and raise as their battle flag “Long Live our class brothers and sisters of Palestine, of south Lebanon, of Iraq and all the Middle East; the Zionist-fascist state of Israel must die, and the Anglo-US invading army must be buried in the sands of Iraq!”

Our first task is to smash the counter-revolutionary pact between the UN, the US, France, the Zionist state and the client regime of the Lebanon. UNIFIL hands off Lebanon!

The French working class has a great responsibility in its hands, against its own bourgeoisie leading the imperialist occupation of Lebanon. It must prevent a repeat of the ‘Balkans’ massacres against the Palestinian and Lebanese masses: is necessary for working youth rise up again to the shout of:

“French imperialism hands off Palestine, Lebanon and the Middle East”!

French trooops out of Lebanon or Paris and every city in France will every nigh become “a Baghdad”!

Stop the imperialist troops being sent to occupy Iraq to aid the victory of the Iraqian resistance!

For the defeat of the Anglo-US troops in Iraq and for the victory of the Iraqi masses!

Out with all imperialistic troops in Afghanistan and the Middle East!

To achieve this it will be necessary to defeat the labour aristocracies and the bureaucratic leaderships of the the World Social Forum that subordinate the working class to the bourgeoisie by calling on the imperialists “to fight for peace” and painting the UN and the French imperialistic butchers in the Middle East as “democratic” and “pacifist”.

To break with the bourgeoisie, the workers in the imperialist countries, in Latin America, Africa and Asia Pacific, must make the victory of the heroic resistance of the Palestinian masses, of the Lebanon and the Middle East, their common demand: “So that the Palestinian people and the oppressed masses of the Middle East live, the Zionist-fascist state of Israel and imperialism, must die!

Leninist-Trotskyist Fraction 17 August of 2006

From Class Struggle 68 August-September 2006