Tuesday, August 31, 2021

United States Withdraws from Afghanistan After Humiliating Defeat

UNTOLD DEAD, AND MILLIONS DISLOCATED, WHILE THE PENTAGON AND STATE DEPARTMENT EVACUATE TENS OF THOUSANDS

August 29, 2021

Fighting Words United States Withdraws from Afghanistan After Humiliating Defeat – Fighting Words (fighting-words.net)

After 20 years of destruction and countless billions of war spending, the U.S. has been driven out of Afghanistan. | Photo: Kim DeFranco/fightbacknews.org

Fighting Words Editorial

We welcome the defeat of U.S. imperialism in the Central Asian state of Afghanistan in the aftermath of a two decades-long occupation.

This completely unnecessary war since 2001 was initiated under the false pretense of fighting “terrorism” as represented by the al-Qaeda grouping.

The hijacked passenger jet crashes into the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon right outside of Washington, D.C. provided a rationale for former U.S. President George. W. Bush to launch a worldwide war against those deemed in opposition to the foreign policy of Washington. There was no evidence that the previous Taliban government was involved in the planning, financing or execution of the September 11, 2001 attacks where over 3,000 people were killed.

The following month, in October of 2001, Bush announced the massive bombing and ground invasion of Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden, the former leader of al-Qaeda was not found until nearly ten years later, not in Afghanistan, but in neighboring Pakistan.

The U.S. public and the world were told that the purpose of the war was to downgrade the capability or to destroy al-Qaeda. Another reason cited by both the Bush and Obama administrations was that the Pentagon wanted to either capture or kill Osama bin Laden.

Nonetheless, after Bin Laden was killed in a commando raid in May 2011, the Pentagon and allied NATO forces remained in Afghanistan for another ten years. Over the last twenty years, the focus of the war has shifted from al-Qaeda to the Taliban and the Haqanni Network. Yet the war continued, draining the national treasury of the U.S. and other NATO members.

Estimates suggest that at least $2 trillion was spent on the failed war by the working people of the U.S. The human costs of killed, wounded and traumatized soldiers and their families are incalculable. Tax monies used to maintain the occupation could have been easily utilized to rebuild the cities, suburbs, small towns and rural areas which have been devastated due to the recurrent economic recessions.

The infrastructural deterioration within the U.S. is a direct result of the Pentagon budget along with the unequal distribution of wealth. Weapons manufacturers, defense services corporations, financial institutions, mercenary entities such as Blackwater and its various iterations, all profited immensely from the Afghanistan occupation and other wars that have been carried out simultaneously by the White House and Wall Street.

Those who opposed the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan have long been vindicated for their principled political position. Today, once again, Washington has been exposed as the imperialist warmongers who have brought death and destruction to Central Asia coupled with the impoverishment and immiseration of the working and oppressed people in the U.S.

The Taliban spokespersons in Kabul have laid out their plans for a new inclusive government based in the capital. They have made statements related to their positions on women in society as well as the potential for bilateral relations with neighboring states and the international community.

Corporate media outlets in the U.S. are criticizing the administration of President Joe Biden for the rapid retreat and the subsequent chaos which has shocked people throughout the world. Tens of thousands are being airlifted out of Afghanistan including those holding U.S. passports and green cards coupled with those who assisted the Pentagon and State Department during their occupation.

Ultimately, it will be up to the people of Afghanistan to resolve their own internal problems related to governance, national development and foreign policy. Russia, China and Iran have pledged to work with the new Taliban government to prevent further destabilization and displacements which are impacting the regions of Central, South and Western Asia.

Afghanistan Illustrated the Imperialist Aims of the U.S. in the Region

Since the late 1970s, when Afghanistan had been governed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDPA), a socialist-oriented secular organization which had instituted reforms related to women’s rights, land reform and economic development, the U.S. has interfered in the internal affairs of the country. Washington, under the Democratic administration of President Jimmy Carter and his National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, began to fund the so-called “Mujahedeen” in their struggle to overturn the secular and anti-imperialist government.

The former Soviet Union deployed troops into Afghanistan in December 1979 in order to defend the socialist-oriented government. The PDPA invited the Soviets into the country as a fraternal party.

With the advent of the Republican administration of President Ronald Reagan, the anti-socialist forces were promoted by the U.S. as “freedom fighters” committed to building bourgeois democracy. Nonetheless, the U.S.-backed forces committed atrocities against the people while destroying many of the development projects initiated by the PDPA.

By 1989, the government of Mikhail Gorbachev in the Soviet Union was rapidly abandoning the commitments made to allied socialist and national liberation movements internationally. From Cuba to Eastern Europe and Africa, Soviet assistance was rapidly withdrawn. The socialist states in Eastern Europe had collapsed by the end of 1989. The Soviet Union followed this pattern and disbanded by the conclusion of 1991.

Soon enough the PDPA government collapsed under the weight of U.S. imperialist assistance to the opposition forces. For several years, the Taliban and other groups battled for control of the country. By 2001, the Taliban was in control of Kabul while the Northern Alliance was attempting to seize power.

The U.S. and NATO invasion in 2001 was declared a victory by imperialism. Less than two years later, Bush was invading Iraq under another fabrication related to the purported disarmament of the government of Saddam Hussein. There were no “weapons of mass destruction” which threatened the U.S. and its allies in the region. Thousands more U.S. and coalition troops were killed and wounded, not to mention a reported one million Iraqis.

Pentagon troops still remain in Iraq and neighboring Syria. The Iraq and Syrian governments did not invite the U.S. and its allies into their countries. Both Syria and Iraq have repeatedly demanded the withdrawal of uninvited foreign forces.

Imperialism to blame for all Afghan deaths and suffering

Biden laments that Afghan soldiers have refused to kill their fellow Afghans despite “our having paid them.” After the downfall of the Afghan puppet regime, the U.S. corporate media, from Fox News to CNN to MSNBC, have demonized the conservative religious Taliban as “anti-woman” and “bloodthirsty”. But all the Afghan casualties since the U.S. invasion and occupation starting in October, 2001, must be laid at the feet of Washington and its imperialist partners. This is from a 2010 article in the Guardian newspaper:

Twelve American soldiers face charges over a secret “kill team” that allegedly blew up and shot Afghan civilians at random and collected their fingers as trophies.

Heroic whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange, who exposed numerous war crimes committed by Coalition forces in Afghanistan, have been harshly persecuted. Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, remains locked up in a British jail today awaiting extradition to the U.S. The Trump regime even sanctioned the International Criminal Court when it began investigating U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan.

An April, 2020 report from the Watson Institute at Brown University gives an updated picture of the terrible toll that Afghans have endured from the U,S. occupation:

The war in Afghanistan continues destroying lives, due to the direct consequences of violence and the war-induced breakdown of public health, security, and infrastructure. Civilians have been killed by crossfire, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), assassinations, bombings, and night raids into houses of suspected insurgents.he United States military in 2017 relaxed its rules of engagement for airstrikes in Afghanistan, which resulted in a massive increase in civilian casualties. From the last year of the Obama administration to the last full year of recorded data during the Trump administration, the number of civilians killed by U.S.-led airstrikes in Afghanistan increased by 330 percent.

The CIA has armed Afghan militia groups to fight Islamist militants and these militias are responsible for serious human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings of civilians.

Even in the absence of fighting, unexploded ordnance from this war and landmines from previous wars continue to kill, injure, and maim civilians. Fields, roads, and school buildings are contaminated by ordnance, which often harms children as they go about chores like gathering wood.

The war has also inflicted invisible wounds. In 2009, the Afghan Ministry of Public Health reported that fully two-thirds of Afghans suffer from mental health problems.

About 241,000 people have been killed in the Afghanistan and Pakistan war zone since 2001. More than 71,000 of those killed have been civilians.

On August 26, at least 13 U.S. soldiers and 170 Afghans, including civilians and Taliban soldiers, were killed by a suicide bomber outside Kabul’s airport. You can be certain that none of those killed or wounded were weapons contractors or other war profiteers, who are the only ones who benefited to the tune of trillions of dollars from the Afghanistan War and occupation.

The current situation in Afghanistan should serve as a warning to Washington. Similar to the situations in Vietnam during 1975, Lebanon in 1983, Angola in 1987-88 and Somalia during 1993, the U.S. will probably be forced to withdraw from Syria and Iraq along with halting its support to the Israeli state in Palestine and the Saudi regime waging war against the people of Yemen.

Moreover, there are no justifiable imperialist interventions and occupations in the contemporary period. Antiwar, anti-imperialist, peace and social justice organizations must oppose all U.S. wars of conquest and regime change throughout the globe.

Black August and the Legacy of Liberation Struggles

IN 2021 AFRICAN AMERICANS REMAINED DISPROPORTIONATELY IMPRISONED AND SUBJECTED TO VARIOUS FORMS OF POLITICAL REPRESSION.

August 9, 2021 

Fighting Words Black August and the Legacy of Liberation Struggles – Fighting Words (fighting-words.net) 

African enslavement and the U.S. state African enslavement and the U.S. state.

By Abayomi Azikiwe

Since 1979 when prisoners at the San Quentin Correctional Facility in California declared the month of August as a period of commemoration honoring political detainees along with those who have sacrificed their well-being and lives in the movement for African emancipation, this holiday has grown in recognition and participation.

For decades the United States government has denied the existence of political prisoners while the entire criminal justice system has grown exponentially.

Looking back even further, the centuries-long enslavement of African people has never been officially acknowledged by the U.S. capitalist state as a crime against humanity. Not even one president out of those elected since the demise of legalized slavery in 1865 has officially apologized for the pain and suffering endured by African people between 1619 to the Civil War.

Such an admission of guilt by the state and the leading financial institutions and corporations which were built on the profits accrued through slave labor, would inevitably suggest the need for reparations. The question of reparations remains a major source of denial by the state and the capitalist system.

After the period of enslavement there were attempts to reconstruct a democratic dispensation. However, the overthrow of Federal Reconstruction between 1877 extending to the conclusion of the century which included the passage of Civil Rights Acts and three amendments to the Constitution (13th, 14th and 15th) that specifically addressed the emancipation and the granting of “citizenship rights” to African Americans, set the stage for the criminalization of an entire people.

Resistance to national oppression has always prompted an expansion of the prison system in the U.S. In the South, facilities such as Angola in Louisiana and Parchman in Mississippi were structured in a manner quite similar to plantations. African Americans have been routinely framed for crimes in which they did not commit in order to send them to penitentiaries where they work for slave wages under dangerous and highly exploitative conditions.

During the era of African enslavement there were prisons which held captured runaways from the plantation system. Plantation owners and enslavers would often place ads in newspapers during the antebellum period seeking information on Africans who had escaped their masters. The detention facilities would charge the slave owners for holding the African people and costs were levied for beatings and other forms of purported discipline.

Black August and the Struggle Against Mass Incarceration

With specific reference to Black August after its founding in 1979, an article in Teen Vogue says of its history that:

“As Dan Berger explained in an essay for Dissent, Black August remains a 31-day period for us to advocate for Black political prisoners, study Black political thinkers, and reflect on the history of Black struggle against white supremacy and state repression. The history of Black August shows us that the current targeting of protesters via carceral, shadowy methods is not new. Black organizers have long sounded the alarm about and resisted government surveillance programs like the FBI’s COINTELPRO, which worked to dismantle leftist movements. Many Black political leaders ended up imprisoned or dead as a result of the notorious covert operation. Black August calls on us to commit, even in the face of authoritarianism, to continued struggle against all forms of oppression and violence that impact Black people today.”

This same article continues by reflecting on a number of historical events which have occurred in the month of August over a period of several centuries:

“A plethora of important moments related to the struggle for Black freedom occurred in August: the beginning of the Haitian Revolution in 1791, the 2014 Ferguson uprising, the landing of enslaved Africans stolen from present-day Angola at the Jamestown settler colony in 1619, the 1963 March on Washington, the 1831 slave insurrection led by Nat Turner, and the 1965 Watts rebellion, to name a few. Joan Little, a Black woman who was charged with first-degree murder after she defended herself against sexual assault by a white prison guard, was acquitted and freed in August 1975. Brilliant Black activists and leaders like Anna Julia Cooper, James Baldwin, Marcus Garvey, Marsha P. Johnson, and Fred Hampton were all born in August. The month marks the passing of prolific Black writers and political thinkers like W.E.B. DuBois and Toni Morrison. Jonathan P. Jackson, the 17-year-old younger brother of George Jackson, was killed in August 1970 as he attempted to free his older brother and two other Black prisoners. This August also marks six years (2020) since the police killing of Michael Brown.”

African American prison intellectual and organizer George Jackson, a co-founder of the Black Guerrilla Family and Field Marshal for the Black Panther Party, was assassinated on August 21, 1971, during a rebellion and attempted escape. Several white inmates and guards were killed in the incident. Jackson was shot to death by guards firing from a prison tower.

Jackson’s assassination sent shockwaves throughout the U.S. both within and without the prison system. Anger over his death sparked other prison rebellions, the most well-known being the uprising at Attica in New York state which erupted just weeks later. The then governor of New York, Nelson Rockefeller, ordered the prison retaken by the state police resulting in the deaths of 43 people including inmates and some guards held hostage for four days.

The writings of Jackson are still being read around the world. In later years, a film entitled “Black August” depicted the life, times and contributions of George L. Jackson.

U.S. Has the Highest Incarceration Rate in the World

Today in 2021, there has been a decline in the number of people held within jails, state and federal prisons in part as a result of the inmate releases due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There were huge outbreaks of coronavirus starting in the spring of 2020 in correctional institutions. The infections impacted the inmates along with the guards, visitors and administrators.

A report published by the Vera Institute of Justice based in New York City says of the present situation in the jails and prisons:

“The number of people incarcerated in state and federal prisons and local jails in the United States dropped from around 2.1 million in 2019 to 1.8 million by mid-2020—a 14 percent decrease. This decline held through the fall. This represents a 21 percent decline from a peak of 2.3 million people in prison and jail in 2008. State and federal prisons held an estimated 1,311,100 people at midyear 2020—down 124,400, or 9 percent, from 2019. Prisons declined by an additional 61,800 people in late 2020, bringing the total prison population to 1,249,300 people, a 13 percent decline from 2019 to late 2020 (the end of September or beginning of October).”

Many hope that this decline is the beginning of a trend towards lower rates of incarceration in the U.S. Nonetheless, the current economic crisis worsened by the pandemic has placed millions in deep financial distress. Large scale evictions are occurring after workers have lost their jobs or are prevented from being employed due to healthcare issues and problems related to the lack of affordable childcare. Schools and daycare centers were closed after the advent of the pandemic in the early months of 2020. These social conditions could easily lead to a renewed wave of criminalization and imprisonment particularly among Black and Brown peoples.

The prison population at its peak in 2008 represented an increase of 500% since the late 1960s, a period of mass resistance and urban rebellion. A government sponsored “war of drugs” beginning under the administration of President Richard M. Nixon was extended by subsequent U.S. leaders. Its impact resulted in higher incarceration rates for African Americans and people of Latin American descent. This disproportionate rate of incarceration among people of color is an aspect of the modern manifestations of national oppression and super-exploitation.

Political prisoners such as Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier have been locked up for decades without cause being accused of crimes and then railroaded through the courts solely based upon their activism. Repeated demands for their releases have not resulted in freedom.

Moreover, the purported labor shortages within the U.S. capitalist system stemming from the pandemic are being addressed by employers through prison labor. A recent article published by the Guardian emphasizes that prisoners on work release are being highly exploited in the industries of construction, waste management, production and food services.

The report in the Guardian written by Michael Sainato notes:

“Employers and industry groups have claimed labor shortages were stifling recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Republican governors blaming unemployment benefits. Some 26 states have canceled federal extended unemployment benefits early, though economists have noted the available jobs recovery data shows there is no economy-wide labor shortage. That hasn’t stopped employers and business groups from using perceived labor shortages as a pretext to seek out cheap labor sources; employers are hiring teenagers to fill open jobs, automating some job roles to avoid raising wages, lobbying Congress to double the cap on work immigration visas and expanding the use of prison labor.”

Therefore, cheap labor exploitation is integral to the continuation of the existing racist capitalist system. The problem of mass incarceration is linked to the struggle for Black liberation and the construction of a socialist economy.

Attempts Continue to Remove Socialist President Pedro Castillo in Peru

By Abayomi Azikiwe 

Aug 19, 2021

News Ghana Attempts Continue to Remove Socialist President Pedro Castillo in Peru | News Ghana

Foreign Minister was forced to resign after a campaign was launched for his removal due to comments made prior to taking office.

Daily efforts are continuing aimed at the overthrow of the recently elected administration of President Pedro Castillo of Peru.

Castillo, a member of the Free Peru Party, a socialist organization which grew out of the popular struggles of workers and farmers largely based in the rural areas of this South American state, won the national presidential elections during July.

The president is a former elementary school teacher, union leader and is a new participant in electoral politics in the often-volatile social atmosphere prevailing in Peru for several decades. Over the last five years, Peru has had the same number of presidents who departed due to impeachments and resignations.

A cabinet composed of progressives and socialists has to be approved by the legislative Congress of the Republic which is dominated by right-wing elements. There have already been demonstrations in the capital of Lima demanding the ouster of Castillo and his administration. The national currency, the Sol, has lost value as a direct result of the right-wing opposition allied with international finance capital committed to maintaining Peru and other South American and regional states under the domination of Washington and Wall Street.

On August 17, Foreign Minister Hector Bajar, 85, turned in his resignation after the conservative press backed by the western corporate media launched a campaign citing comments he made during a lecture given long before the election of Castillo and the taking of office by Free Peru. Bajar, a longtime activist and socialist theoretician, joined the revolutionary movement in Peru during the 1960s.

Bajar was a leading member of the National Liberation Army (ELN) which waged a political and armed struggle against the neo-colonial regime of the period. He was arrested and spent five years in prison stemming from his guerilla activities.

In 1968, after a military seizure of power by General Juan Velasco Alvarado, Bajar was granted amnesty and asked to join the regime of what was called the Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces. The coup in 1968 was motivated by the repressive and corrupt policies of President Fernando Belaunde. After being deployed to the rural areas where the poverty and deprivation of the peasants and farmers were revealed to members of the military, they pressured the leadership of the armed forces to seize power. Many believe that this coup was carried out in an effort to preempt a people’s revolution in the country. Although many ELN members were killed, arrested and forced into exile during the early to mid-1960s, the objective conditions remained ripe for widespread unrest.

Bajar was assigned to work on land reform in Peru after being released from detention. The Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces held power until 1975. Bajar would work in subsequent years as a writer, professor and community organizer.

In a videotaped lecture before a left-wing audience dated during 2020, which aired on Peru’s Panorama television program on August 15, Bajar asserted that: “I’m convinced, although I can’t prove it, that the Shining Path was in large part created by the CIA and (other) intelligence services.” Shining Path was a guerilla movement in Peru during the 1980s and early 1990s. A counter-insurgency campaign against the rebels by the military led to the deaths of 70,000 people. Bajar linked the supposed Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operation to the Peruvian Navy, which immediately responded demanding his resignation.

An article published by Reuters press agency said of the political crisis in Peru: “The foreign minister’s departure is likely to add more political uncertainty to an administration already navigating a highly volatile and polarized first few weeks that saw the country’s sol currency fall to record lows against the dollar. Castillo, a member of a Marxist-Leninist party, has come under fire for naming a Cabinet that critics say is filled with fringe and inexperienced ministers. His backers say the Cabinet represents Peru’s marginalized masses.” (https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/perus-foreign-minister-resigns-setback-new-leader-castillo-2021-08-17/)

Such assessments are rife within the western-based corporate media. Although Bajar was pressured to resign for criticizing the Shining Path and the Navy, other reports have sought to link Prime Minister Guido Bellido to the same self-proclaimed Maoist grouping which operated under the banner of the Communist Party of Peru—Sandero Luminoso. An article published by the Wall Street Journal recently made claims that Sandero Luminoso had carried out killings recently inside of Peru leaving pamphlets at the scene calling for a boycott of the elections which brought Free Peru to power. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/peru-cuba-authoritarian-pedro-castillo-democracy-impeachment-maoist-11628446665)

Regional Dimensions of the Political Struggle in Peru

These attacks on the government of President Castillo are following a similar pattern utilized repeatedly throughout Latin America. In the Caribbean, the Republic of Cuba has been under a United States blockade for more than six decades.

An attempt to destabilize the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) government on July 11 through the instigation of counter-revolutionary demonstrations and violence against the people failed to gain any traction among the masses. Thousands of PCC cadres and members of mass units of the Revolution came out into the streets in defense of the government of President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez.

Corporate and governmental media outlets in the U.S. immediately began to publish articles accusing the Cuban government of ruthlessly suppressing the demonstrations which the White House said were legitimate representations of the people. The administration of President Joe Biden, which has not rolled back additional sanctions imposed on Cuba by its predecessor, Donald Trump, and instead implemented new punitive measures against the military apparatus of the country.

In Venezuela, the Bolivarian Republic government led by President Nicolas Maduro, has been the target of numerous coup attempts engineered by the CIA and the State Department. The Trump administration recognized Juan Guido, a largely unknown political figure, as the “legitimate” head-of-state in Venezuela. The Biden administration has not lifted any of the sanctions against Caracas and still recognizes Guido as the person they are promoting to displace the revolutionary government.

Bolivia has voted back into office the Movement for Socialism which was overthrown by the military in 2019. Since taking office, Bolivian President Luis Arce has withdrawn from the so-called Lima Group established at the aegis of imperialism aimed at the illegal overthrow of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

There was much speculation that former Foreign Minister Hector Bejar would totally disassociate Peru from the counter-revolutionary Lima Grouping. President Castillo must appoint another foreign minister while awaiting the approval of the Congress of the Republic where Free Peru and its allies do not have a majority.

Revolutionary Legacy in Peru Remains Relevant

Peru is a deeply exploited and impoverished state in South America which historically has produced tremendous wealth for the world capitalist system. The country is well-endowed with mineral resources which include gold, copper, silver, lead, zinc as well as petroleum.

The struggle for genuine democracy and socialism has been waged for many decades. The Marxist theorist and co-founder of the Socialist and Communist Parties during the 1920s, Jose Carlos Mariategui La Chira, wrote extensively on the Peruvian situation within the context of the global crisis of capitalism and imperialism.

In a series of lectures entitled “History of the World Crisis” Mariategui outlines what he perceived as the central issues facing the working class in Peru. The first lecture was called “The World Crisis and the Peruvian Proletariat” delivered to the Peruvian Student Federation on June 15, 1923, Mariategui emphasizes: “In this great contemporary crisis, the proletariat is not a spectator; it is an actor. In it the fate of the world proletariat is to be resolved. From it will emerge — according to all odds and predictions — the proletarian civilization, the socialist civilization, destined to succeed the declining, decadent, moribund capitalist, individualist, and bourgeois civilization. The proletariat needs, now more than ever, to know what happens in the world. It cannot know it by way of the fragmented, occasional, homeopathic reports of the daily cable — badly translated, and worse written, in most instances — coming always from reactionary agencies charged with discrediting the Revolution’s parties, organizations, and men (people), and of discouraging and disorienting the world proletariat…. We are witnessing the disintegration, the agony of a worn-out, senile, decrepit society, and, at the same time, we are witnessing the slow and restless gestation, the formation, the creation, of the new society. All men (humanity), for whom a sincere ideological filiation binds to the new society and separates us from the old, must profoundly fix our gaze on this, agitated and intense, transcendental period in human history.” (https://www.marxists.org/archive/mariateg/works/1924-hwc/hwc01.htm)

Today throughout South America, Central America and the Caribbean this struggle against imperialism and for socialist transformation continues. Anti-imperialists throughout the region and in North America have a role to play in fostering solidarity with the oppressed and struggling peoples of the world.

Peru’s Progressive President Under Attack

SOCIALIST PEDRO CASTILLO UNDEER FIRE AFTER TAKING OFFICE

August 15, 2021 

Fighting Words Peru’s Progressive President Under Attack – Fighting Words (fighting-words.net)

President Pedro Castillo of Peru Comes Under Fire After Taking Office President Pedro Castillo of Peru Comes Under Fire After Taking Office. | Photo: Ernesto Arias/AFP

By Abayomi Azikiwe

Right-wing political interests within the Peruvian parliament backed by international finance capital have sought to besiege the newly elected socialist president of the South American state of Peru.

There was a tremendous struggle to win the right of the new president to take office since several challenges to the vote resulted in a delay in his inauguration.

The Free Peru Party which Castillo represents, along with its allies, holds approximately 50 seats within the national parliament. Their margin within the legislative body makes them a minority out of 130 members.

This party was founded by Vladimir Cerron, a regional politician who held office as governor of Junin.  Cerron remains Secretary General of the Free Peru Party while battling a criminal investigation which led to his conviction and incarceration.

Impeachment by the parliament is not a rare occurrence within Peruvian politics. Former President Martin Vizcarra was thrown out of office in 2020 as were many others elected since 1985.

Only 87 votes would be needed to remove the existing president from his position. The opposition forces are mobilizing their supporters both within and without government in order to maintain the status-quo.

Castillo was sworn into office on July 28 and only several days later, two thousand right-wing protesters held a demonstration in the capital of Lima demanding that the parliament impeach the president. Many statements have been made by supporters of the presidential candidate which Castillo defeated, Keiko Fujimori, a member of the political dynasty that has held influence in the country since the 1980s when the country faced widespread violence in the rural areas in efforts by the state to contain two liberation movements, the Shining Path and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement.

Peru’s electorate which voted in the current president has been afflicted by widespread corruption and the interference into its internal affairs by multinational mining corporations whose profit-making ventures have left the majority of the people impoverished. Western media outlets and their surrogates in Latin America have published articles since the inauguration of President Castillo claiming that the government is dominated by “far leftists” who would discourage investment by capitalist companies.

Castillo appointed Guido Bellido as Prime Minister who is charged with forming a new government by appointing a cabinet. The anticipation of many is that the right-wing dominated legislature will not approve the executive team assembled by Free Peru. In the event of such a disapproval the cabinet could be dismissed opening up a debate over the future of the constitutional order within the country.

Bellido is another target of the corporate media and the right-wing forces in Peru. He has been accused of being a “far leftist” committed to the radical reconstruction of the national economy of Peru. Both Castillo and Bellido are in solidarity with the revolutionary governments of Cuba and Venezuela.

An indication of the hostility towards the Castillo presidency is illustrated by the Christian Science Monitor which wrote on August 6 that:

“A far-right party has demanded another five ministers be removed from the Cabinet for alleged terrorism sympathies. One is Héctor Béjar, Mr. Castillo’s foreign minister, who trained in Cuba in the 1960s and was part of a small band of guerrillas that tried to spark revolution in Peru. The other eight opposition parties in Congress have all demanded changes as well. Of the 19 ministers, 12 have raised objections from one or more party. The Castillo government ‘has chosen ideology over pragmatism,’ says Gonzalo Banda, a political science professor at the Catholic University of Santa María.”

The solidarity expressed by Free Peru with the left governments and revolutionary movements in the region is mischaracterized by the right-wing which asserts that they are supporting “dictatorships.” In addition, Castillo and Bellido are seeking to enhance ties with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) which already has joint agreements with the government in the copper mining industry.

On his first day in office, Castillo was inoculated with the Sinopharm vaccine developed by China in the efforts to guard against the further spread of COVID-19. Despite its statements of admiration for revolutionary movements and governments in Latin America, Peru still maintains ties with the United States through diplomatic channels and economic agreements.

Ideological and Political Origins of the Free Peru Party

Castillo was chosen by the Free Peru Party as its candidate in the recent elections. His background is in the education sector and trade unionism. The Party is heavily oriented towards the rural areas of Peru where it received the overwhelming votes of the peasants and farmers.

Free Peru says its ideology is based upon the teaching and activities of Karl Marx, the co-founder of the First International and the principal theoretician of scientific socialism and V.I. Lenin, the co-founder of the Bolshevik faction within the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP) and later the Russian Communist Party which took power in October 1917 establishing the first socialist state.

Another major influence is the Peruvian philosopher, journalist and organizer, Jose Carlos Mariategui La Chira (1894-1930). Mariategui was a major figure in the left movement in Peru and later traveled extensively in Europe. He was in Italy during the period leading up to the rise of Benito Mussolini and the fascist regime in 1922.

In Latin America, Mariategui was the founder of the Socialist Party in 1928 which later became the Communist Party of Peru in 1930. His major contribution philosophically was the book entitled “Seven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian Reality” published in 1928. This work is often credited as being the first historical materialist analysis of the social situation in South America. The author blamed the land-owning elites backed by imperialism as the source of political stagnation in the region.

Mariategui discusses the “Indian question” as a manifestation of the land problem in Peru. He advances the notion that socialist ideology should be based upon the concrete circumstances of the workers and farmers inside the country. Due to years-long health problems, Mariategui died in 1930 at the age of 35. Today Mariategui’s writings are still widely read throughout Latin America and his influence continues as illustrated by the contemporary debates within Peru and other states in South America.

Implications of the Destabilization Efforts Against Peru

Of course, the present circumstances facing Castillo in Peru is indicative of the imperialist policies within South America, Central America and the Caribbean. U.S. imperialism and its allies are seeking to overthrow all revolutionary governments in Latin America while thwarting those political parties, trade unions and popular alliances fighting to transform these states from neo-colonialism to socialist construction.

Although Castillo has made statements attempting to distance himself from the characterizations made by the corporate and imperialist-allied media, this has not halted the efforts to remove his administration from office. The foreign affairs ministry immediately announced Peru’s withdrawal from the so-called Lima Group, a U.S.-sponsored alliance of conservative forces aimed at the overthrow of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the installation of a right-wing regime compliant to the dictates of Washington and Wall Street.

Telesur reported on Peru in an August 6 dispatch noting:

“On Tuesday (Aug. 3), Peru’s Foreign Affairs Minister Hector Bejar announced that his country would withdraw from the Lima Group, which supported the Venezuelan opposition to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution in 2019. ‘From a democratic foreign policy, we will contribute to the understanding of the various political tendencies that exist in Venezuela without intervening in its internal affairs,’ Bejar stated. Conservative politicians and former presidents from Peru, Mexico, Bolivia, and Argentina formed the Lima Group, an institution that operates as an instrument of U.S. geopolitics towards Latin America. In his inaugural address, Bejar also assured that he will work to strengthen cooperation and integration among Latin American countries without making ideological distinctions.”

An independent foreign policy which recognizes the sovereignty of Venezuela, Cuba and other countries in the region will undoubtedly fuel Washington’s opposition to the Free Peru government. Bolivian President Luis Arce of the Movement for Socialism Party has welcomed the withdrawal of Peru from the Lima Group. Bolivia underwent a U.S.-backed coup in 2019 overthrowing former President Evo Morales. Nonetheless, Arce won the latest election in 2020 returning the socialist government to power.

Even though the U.S. is now governed administratively by the Democratic Party under President Joe Biden, the foreign policy imperatives have not been altered. Hostilities towards Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, China, Iran, Zimbabwe and other anti-imperialist states remains a hallmark of the imperialist system irrespective of the two leading capitalist parties. A shift in Washington’s posture towards the socialist states and oppressed nations will require the building of an uncompromising antiwar and anti-imperialist movement within the confines of the U.S.

Lessons of the Civil War – Then and Now

August 25, 2021 

Fighting Words Lessons of the Civil War – Then and Now – Fighting Words (fighting-words.net)

Black soldiers- civil war

The “irrepressible conflict” could only be settled by a revolutionary Civil War to break the back of the slaveholders’ power. That included over 186,000 African American soldiers. | Photo: ozy.com

By David Sole

While April 15, 1861 is given as the official start of the United States’ Civil War, most historians recognize that the outbreak of military hostilities was preceded by decades of controversy and conflict. Even at the time, the contention between the powerful slave owning ruling-class and the growing capitalist interests (summed up as South and North) was known as the “irrepressible conflict.”

Today another irrepressible conflict is manifesting itself in this country. The January 6, 2021 insurrectionary attack on the U.S. Congress should not be seen as an isolated event. It is becoming clear that this reactionary movement is becoming more and more aggressive. It has the seeds of a nascent civil war.

The struggles leading to the Civil War of 1861 were played out in the halls of Congress over national legislation. Political parties could not avoid the issues. They also were fought out in the courts. And there was much turmoil in the streets of many towns and cities. Things reached their climax in the brutal military conflict of 1861 to 1865.

The decades before the Civil War

The founding document of the United States, the Constitution, clearly exhibits the split in the ruling classes.  During the 1787 Constitutional Convention delegates compromised on how to count enslaved people related to how many members of the House of Representatives a state would have as well as how many presidential electoral votes

The slave owners wanted to count each slave as a full person, although slaves would have no vote, nor any other rights. Northern industrialists and farmers, while not fighting to end slavery, did not want to count slaves at all for these purposes.

Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution ended the dispute with the “Three-fifths Compromise”, counting slaves as 3/5 of a person. This gave the slave states the upper hand in Congress and in presidential elections for many decades. Five of the first seven presidents were slave owners.

In 1820 the conflict again came to a head when Missouri applied for admission to the Union as a slave state. After an intense legislative struggle Maine was admitted as a free state alongside Missouri in The Missouri Compromise. And slavery was to be excluded from all new states in the Louisiana Purchase north of the southern boundary of Missouri.

By 1850 the question of the status of new states again arose. In the Compromise of 1850 California was admitted as a free state. Among other questions dealt with in the five bills making up the compromise was the strengthening of the Fugitive Slave Act requiring all officials and all people in the North to assist in catching and returning runaway slaves – or for that matter anyone who “slave catchers” even claimed to be after, with or without evidence.

The addition of new states again intensified the conflict in 1854 with the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which rescinded the Missouri Compromise to allow the expansion of slavery, particularly in the territories stolen from Mexico in the Mexican American War. The crisis spread outside the halls of Congress in armed conflict in “bloody Kansas” just 7 years before the outbreak of the Civil War. There, militant Abolitionists like John Brown discovered that poor white farmers would wage armed struggle against the slavocracy to preserve their families’ small farms. Along with freed Black slaves after the Emancipation Declaration of 1862, they would fill the ranks of the Union Army in the coming conflict.

The very floor of the U.S. Senate was bloodied when, on May 22, 1856, South Carolina Representative Preston Brooks attacked anti-slavery Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner. Sumner had given a strong anti-slavery speech several days before. Brooks, wielding a heavy walking stick, beat Sumner almost to death in the Senate Chambers. It was three years before Charles Sumner recovered and returned to Congress. A motion to expel Brooks from Congress failed to get the 2/3 vote needed.

From chattel slavery then to white-supremacy today

No one today can miss the intense polarization across this country. At its core is racism and white supremacy, although other issues are definitely included. Some of these are anti-women and anti-LGBTQ+ prejudices, anti-union sentiment and anti-science ignorance especially vehement in denying climate change, the danger of the COVID-19 virus and the need for vaccination and masks.

None of this is new but it was promoted and intensified by former president Donald Trump during his term of office and ever since his electoral defeat. The January 6, 2021 insurrectionary attack on Congress is reminiscent of the attack on Charles Sumner 165 years earlier. The complete takeover of the Republican Party by these forces makes it clear that there can be no rational discourse with the adherents of this movement.

The broad attack on voting rights, aimed at African Americans, other people of color and other progressive forces is one of the center pieces of the struggle today. The failure of Congress, both houses controlled by the Democratic Party, and President Joseph Biden to make protection of the right to vote the preeminent legislative goal of his administration is of great concern to many.

Reverend Dr. William Barber, who along with other Black leaders have been arrested several times while demonstrating for voting rights for the oppressed, has called on Biden and Pelosi to withdraw the trillion-dollar so-called “bipartisan infrastructure” bill passed in the Senate, designed mostly to fill the coffers of corporate contractors, until the Senate passes the voting rights bills already passed in the House. The protection of the democratic rights of the oppressed must supersede this corporate expansion plan.

The Supreme Court in an era of conflict

Before the Civil War the U.S. Supreme Court was totally in the hands of the reactionaries. The Dred Scott decision of 1857 declared that no Black person in the United States, no matter slave or free, had any rights provided by the Constitution. This was definitely a contributing factor to the Civil War since it was certain that no relief could be found in the courts.

Today a thoroughly backward Supreme Court is following the footsteps of Chief Justice Taney’s court. Two recent rulings immediately come to mind. In Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee (June 3, 2021) the court went 6-3 to uphold two voter suppression laws in Arizona. The appeals court in San Francisco had held that these laws adversely affected Black, Hispanic and Native American voters. The Brnovich decision overturning the appeals court further erodes voting rights and comes 8 years after the Supreme Court gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act – a signal achievement of the Civil Rights Movement.

In Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid the court again ruled 6 to 3 to overturn 65 years of well-established labor rights. This decision overturned a 1975 California law that allowed unions limited entry on farms to organize mostly oppressed workers. The right-wing court ruled that this deprived the bosses their “property rights”. Writing for vox.com on June 23, 2021, Ian Millhiser called Cedar Point “disastrous news for unions” and said “the Court’s new union-busting decision reads like something out of Ayn Rand’s darkest fantasies.”

Irrepressible Conflict from coast to coast

The decade leading up to the Civil War was also fought out in many towns and cities. Anti-slavery forces crisscrossed the North holding meetings and rallies. In a number of dramatic cases masses of people mobilized to defeat slave catchers and free imprisoned fugitives running from enslavement.

One of the most famous incidents took place on October 1, 1851 in Syracuse, NY. In 1843 an enslaved man named William Henry fled from Missouri. Hunted for years he fled over and over until he settled in upstate New York, now called himself Jerry. Here he was captured and faced return to slavery under the Fugitive Slave Act. Crowds of abolitionists gathered, armed themselves and stormed the courthouse where Jerry was being held. They forced his release and transported him to safety in Canada.

In other locations, however, pro-slavery crowds broke up abolitionist meetings. In several instances anti-slavery activists were beaten and even killed.

Today confrontations are also playing out around the country. Much attention was given to the voter suppression legislation being pushed through in Texas. The right-wing Republican majority was sure to pass the bill until the Democrats walked out, forcing a suspension of proceedings due to lack of quorum. To avoid being forced back into the building, over 50 these legislators fled to Washington, D.C. on July 12, 2021.

On July 13 the Texas House voted to issue civil arrest warrants for their Democratic colleagues. The House Speaker signed these warrants after the Texas Supreme Court ruled that it was legal. The Texas Senate proceeded to pass the noxious voter suppression bill and some Democrats broke ranks and returned to the Texas House.

Bitter conflict has also erupted in Florida as the state’s governor barred any local officials from mandating protective masks for students and staff in public schools. Both the Broward County and Miami-Dade County School Boards have disregarded Governor Ron DeSantis’ order and said schools will require masks.

DeSantis threatens to stop paychecks for any officials defying him and the Federal government may step in to pay those salaries.

The conflict inside political parties

The two main political parties before the Civil War had been the pro-slavery Democratic Party and the Whig Party. The Whigs generally were the party of business, farmers and bankers based in the North. They were not an anti-slavery party. Rather they were mainly interested in having the Federal government protect the interests of business and finance. As the irrepressible conflict intensified many small parties sprang up such as the Liberty Party in New York and the Free Soil Party. In some localities abolitionists were even elected to Congress.

In 1854 anti-slavery Whigs, joined by Free Soilers, Temperance activists and other progressives, founded the Republican Party. The Republicans ran John C. Fremont for president in the election of 1856 and won 11 of the 16 northern states. The Republicans were not strictly against slavery in the southern states, but the growing weakness of the South versus the North economically and population-wise guaranteed the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. The southern slave states then proceeded to secede from the union.

Lincoln’s inauguration was on March 4, 1861 but action against the secessionists only occurred after the South Carolina militia bombarded Federal Fort Sumter in the Charleston harbor on April 12, 1861.

Today the Republican Party has become the bastion of racism, white-supremacy, anti-unionism and reaction. The Democratic Party is seriously split between its mass base of workers and oppressed people on the one hand, and those who support the Wall Street corporate and banking interests on the other (known as the Corporate Democrats).

Like the Whig Party in the pre-Civil War period the Democratic Party of today cannot contain these contradictory class interests. A party must emerge, perhaps not chemically pure, that more fully and forcefully fights for the interests of poor and working people. Its program is not hard to imagine or to craft – all the elements have already been laid out in one arena or another. Fundamentally it would be a socialist program for transferring the enormous wealth of this nation to those who produce it and away from the parasitic capitalist class that currently works overtime to keep it for themselves. Such a program would also include the most vigorous confrontation and defeat of white-supremacy and also an end to imperialist wars and intervention abroad.

Like the young Republican Party of 1854 it might not win an immediate election, but it would galvanize the mass of people and prepare them for struggle.

It should always be remembered that the irrepressible conflict was not settled in the halls of Congress, not won in the courts of the land nor was it resolved even by the election of the new party to the presidency. The resolution only came through a bitter civil war. Such a fight may be in our future. We need a mass political organization to lead us in that struggle.

Biden Fails to Isolate Cuba

August 24, 2021

Fighting Words Biden fails to isolate Cuba – Fighting Words (fighting-words.net)

Cuba and China, both targets of U.S. imperialism, strengthen ties. | Photo: escambray.cu

By Chris Fry

With U.S. officials and their Afghan collaborators engaged in a mad scramble to escape from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, now is the time to note another huge international failure by the Biden Administration: i.e., to enlist international support for their vicious campaign of blockade and sanctions against socialist Cuba, especially in Latin America, and particularly among other Caribbean nations.

Even before the violent demonstrations against the socialist Cuban government on July 11th, sparked by both the U.S. blockade as well as the CIA, for the 29th year in a row, the United Nations passed a resolution, 184 countries to 2, the 2 being the U.S. and Israel, demanding that the U.S. “end the economic blockade against Cuba.”

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, present during the vote in the General Assembly Hall, said that the blockade was a “massive, flagrant and unacceptable violation of the human rights of the Cuban people”.

He added that the embargo is about “an economic war of extraterritorial scope against a small country already affected in the recent period by the economic crisis derived from the pandemic”.

“Like the virus, the blockade asphyxiates and kills, it must stop”, he urged.

Biden’s anti-Cuban policies have especially failed in Latin America, where only four right-wing U.S. allies (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Guatemala)  signed on to Washington’s statement: “condemning [Cuba’s] mass arrests and calling for full restoration of disrupted internet access.”  

Even Canada refused to sign Biden’s statement.

When the head of the Organization of American States (OAS), U.S. puppet Louis Almagro, tried to set up a meeting to have the group condemn Cuba, he found overwhelming oppositionfrom the member countries.

“Any discussion could only satisfy political hawks with an eye on U.S. midterm elections where winning South Florida with the backing of Cuban exiles would be a prize,” wrote Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the OAS, Ronald Sanders, in a column published on digital platform Caribbean News Global.

“The task of the OAS should be to promote peaceful and cooperative relations in the hemisphere, not to feed division and conflict.”

He had sent a letter on behalf of 13 countries from the Caribbean Community or CARICOM – which though small, represents a significant voting bloc in the OAS – urging the body to reconsider the “unproductive” meeting, while other countries sent similar missives.

Cuba’s ambassador to Argentina, Pedro Pablo Prada, responded to Almagro’s failed meeting attempt:

‘One can be an ideological adversary but not a faker. If the Cuban Revolution were not deeply libertarian and democratic, it would not be in power, nor would Cubans have resisted over 60 years of blockades and aggressions, nor practiced solidarity with the world that supports us,’ Prada noted.

The growing list of “leftist” Latin American countries, including Mexico, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Venezuela have all sent aid to Cuba, with the new president of Peru offering his support as well. Cuba responded:

“We appreciate countries that defended the Latin American and Caribbean dignity,” said Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, who has accused U.S.-backed counterrevolutionaries of being behind the protests following years of open U.S. funding of democracy programs on the island.

 A U.S. State Department spokesperson said it was “deeply disappointed” the OAS meeting did not take place, adding: “The people of the Americas have a right to hear from the Inter-American Commission on Human rights about the situation in Cuba”.

Of course, this official multi-government support for Cuba, in defiance of imperialist pressure, comes on top of mass solidarity demonstrations across the U.S. and around the world.

Biden’s broken promises

During his presidential campaign, Biden promised a return to Obama’s Cuba policies, which relaxed many of the sanctions and reopened the U.S. embassy in Cuba. “Trump’s reversals,” Biden said during his campaign, “have inflicted harm on the Cuban people and done nothing to advance democracy and human rights.”  Of course, neither Obama’s, Biden’s, nor Trump’s strategies ever meant an end to the imperialist dream of regime change in Cuba.

Analysts have blamed Biden’s shift back to the Trump strategy, which disappointed many Biden supporters, to “tighten” the blockade against Cuba on his trying to draw political support from the right-wing Cuban exile community in Florida and from Republican politicians in general, as well as keep the backing of Democratic rabid anti-Cuban U.S. Senator Menendez from New Jersey. This all may be true.

But there may be another important factor as to why Biden has decided to continue the Trump strategy in Cuba, which is the same reason that he is continuing and increasing the level of confrontation with the People’s Republic of China.

China’s Caribbean Belt and Silk Road Initiative

On December 24, 2020, the newsletter “The Diplomat”, a journal closely connected to the U.S. State Department, published an article by two scholars titled: “Sino-Cuban Relations: No New ‘Cold War’ in Havana”. The article had a subtitle that read: “If we were going to see a new Cold War in the Caribbean, it should have happened by now.”

The article asserted that:

However, placed in the context of increasingly frantic pronouncements about a “New Cold War” and Beijing’s consistently more aggressive foreign policy, predictions of significant deepening of Sino-Cuban relations have come up short…Beijing has shown no signs of taking the enormously risky step of formalizing any sort of relationship with Cuba beyond fairly conventional aid and investment support at a level that is woefully insufficient to meet Havana’s severe on the ground needs. Moreover, the window for such an approach appears to be closing.

In Washington, conventional wisdom holds that the incoming Biden administration will return to the status quo ante of the Obama era, rolling back Trump’s restrictions and returning to a Cuba policy based on engagement rather than isolation and embargo.

But just seven short months later, how the official Washington viewpoint has changed! Biden now calls Cuba a “failed state”, ripe for military intervention and occupation. Wall Street’s political minions from both bourgeois parties have chimed in agreement, with the mayor of Miami calling for a bombing campaign against Cuba.

A new article in “The Diplomat”, published on August 3, is written by Leland Lazarus, a speechwriter for Admiral Craig Faller, Combatant Commander of U.S. Southern Command, and Dr, Evan Ellis, a research professor at the U.S. War College Strategic Studies Institute. This article, titled “How China Helps the Cuban Regime Stay Afloat and Shut Down Protests”, carries a far more aggressive message against both socialist Cuba and socialist China.

Its subtitle is: “Chinese companies have played a key part in building Cuba’s telecommunications infrastructure, a system the regime uses to control its people, just as the CCP does within its own borders.” Unlike the December article, this one puts both the Pentagon’s “pivot to the Pacific” strategy and militarist paranoia on full display:

Due to its position in the Caribbean, Cuba can exert influence over the southeastern maritime approach to the United States, which contains vital sea lanes leading to ports in Miami, New Orleans, and Houston. Author George Friedman has argued that, with an increased presence in Cuba, China could potentially “block American ports without actually blocking them,” just like U.S. naval bases and installations pose a similar challenge to China around the first island chain and Straits of Malacca. Cuba’s influence in the Caribbean also makes it a useful proxy through which Beijing can pressure the four countries in the region (out of the 15 total globally) that recognize Taiwan to switch recognition.

It should be noted that Fighting Words recently published an article, “Was Moise Killed to Stop China’s Belt and Silk Road in the Caribbean?”, which asked: Did the CIA kill the president of Haiti to prevent that country from switching its recognition from Taiwan to the People’s Republic of China?

The Diplomat article complains about China “filling in” for the former Soviet Union in assisting Cuba’s development:

High-level government officials from China have visited Cuba 22 times since 1993; Cuban high level government officials have visited China 25 times since 1995. During a visit to the island in 2014, President Xi Jinping said, “The two countries advance hand in hand on the road on the path of the construction of socialism with its own characteristics, offering reciprocal support on issues related to our respective vital interests.”

In November of 2018, Cuba signed on to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. In the agricultural sector, Chinese companies are increasing sugar and rice production, improving irrigation to boost crop yields, and providing tractors to plow Cuban fields.

Chinese influence on the island doesn’t end there. Cubans are now traveling with cars from Geely, trucks from Sino Truck, and buses from Yutong. The company Haier now sells appliances and electronics to Cuba, including the establishment of a computer assembly plant and renewable energy research facility on the island. China’s Jilin province and the city of Changchun have cooperative relations with Cuban biopharmaceutical companies. Cuba was one of the first official destinations for Spanish-language training for Chinese personnel in the hemisphere. Reciprocally, the University of Havana was one of the first Confucius Institutes established by China in the region. 

Obviously, revolutionary Cuba’s heroic anti-imperialist legacy and its assistance to oppressed countries around the world is reason enough for Washington’s renewed vicious hostility to its government and people. But the fact that Biden has stepped up Trump’s anti-China strategy across the globe must be recognized as a key factor in this and should be considered by the support movement for socialist Cuba. Cuba has a right to deepen its relations with socialist China to assist in its own technical development without interference from U.S. imperialism.

End the Cuba blockade! End the U.S. war threats against China and Cuba!

Dozens Rally to “Stop the Hate” in Rural Wisconsin

DIVERSE GROUP RESPONDS TO RIGHT-WING ATTACKS AGAINST LIBRARY AND SCHOOL BOARD

August 25, 2021

Fighting Words Dozens Rally to “Stop the Hate” in Rural Wisconsin – Fighting Words (fighting-words.net)

Stop the Hate Rally 8-10-21

By FW Staff

Manitowoc, WI, 8/10/21 — Dozens rallied at Lincoln High School, in response to a call by the Manitowoc Human Rights Coalition, before a scheduled Board of Education meeting. The rally was called “To defend the school system and library from the forces of intolerance, bigotry, racism, and hate that are undermining diversity and respect for all members of our community. Our schools and library are increasingly under attack from a well-funded and nationally organized campaign that opposes free thought, truth, diversity, and our unions”.

A banner held on the grass while people were picketing in front of the school read “Shut Down Racist Hate, No Borders in the Workers Struggle”. It was signed by Wisconsin Bail Out the People Movement. Diverse signs carried by the picketers included a rainbow flag with the word “Peace”, “Stop the War on Children from Gaza to the U.S./Mexico Border”, “Say It Loud, Say It Clear, Refugees Are Welcome Here”, “Stop Asian Hate Now”, and “Peace and Equality for All”.

After picketing for about an hour, the entire group marched inside to attend the Manitowoc School Board Meeting. Former Alderperson Aaron Bailey, who was also one of the rally organizers, told the School Board during public comment:

“Do not let them deter you. Do not let these fear tactics intimidate you…I believe in you, our kids believe in you. You have a duty to our kids to introduce them to what they would naturally benefit from.”

The chairperson of the Manitowoc Republican Party also spoke, pushing forward the national right-wing program against the teaching of Critical Race Theory in the public schools. CRT is an academic program taught in law schools about systemic racism. It is not taught in Manitowoc public schools.

In spring and summer 2021 in particular, the Center of the American Experiment worked closely with the Americans for Prosperity and other right-wing groups such as the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation to push Education Not Indoctrination attacks on local school boards, among other attacks.

The Education Not Indoctrination group attacking historical truth being taught within public education is a part of the right-wing State Policy Network, all of which is funded in part by the Bradley Foundation. Right wing forces are using CRT to push forward their agenda of attacking educators’ unions, pushing privatization and opposing historical truth being taught in public schools. The right is also using CRT and their anti-masking campaigns to recruit a base for school board elections.

Education Not Indoctrination is active in Manitowoc, Wisconsin and other locations. On August 8 a member of the group, John Cress from Manitowoc, sent what is viewed by many community members as a threatening email opposing the planned Stop The Hate Rally.

The Stop the Hate Rally was also supported by the Wisconsin Bail Out the People Movement, MLK Day Manitowoc, and the Peoples Power Summit.