Tuesday, November 30, 2021

The G20, Supply Chain Problems and the World Capitalist Crisis


November 10, 2021

Reprinted from Fighting Words The G20, Supply Chain Problems and the World Capitalist Crisis – Fighting Words (fighting-words.net) 

U.S. ports scramble to address supply chain shortages U.S. ports scramble to address supply chain shortages. | Photo: Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press

By Abayomi Azikiwe

Rome, Italy was the scene of the annual summit of the Group of 20, popularly known as the G20, an intergovernmental organization that brings together the most industrialized countries within several geo-political regions.

The group is made up of 19 states and the European Union (EU) representing a large majority of the world’s gross domestic product, the total sum of goods and services produced within a society.

These countries which comprise the G20 are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK, and the U.S.

This year’s meeting held over the weekend of October 30-31 comes at a time of profound uncertainty prompted by a global public health crisis not seen since the period during the ending of World War I and its aftermath. The influenza pandemic of 1918-1920 killed millions of people across the planet while today, the rapidly transmissible COVID-19 virus has left even more sickened and dead than over a century ago.

An economic downturn during the first quarter of 2020 resulted in the loss of millions of jobs and hundreds of thousands of businesses. Governments were forced to shut down public and private institutions leaving billions of people idle, severely curtailing or eliminating household incomes.

In the midst of economic contractions, the difficulties of supply chain management have become a major impediment to any semblance of a financial recovery worldwide. If production has been disrupted, there will inevitably be problems related to the flow of goods and services between business centers and their market locations. Other issues including the storage and eventual transport of raw materials and consumer products to their destinations have been disrupted leaving huge gaps in supply chains.

These problems have been compounded by what the capitalists describe as labor shortages, where workers in the millions are leaving jobs for various reasons related to the social impact of the pandemic. Moreover, a rash of industrial actions by labor unions in the United States are in response to low-wages, safety concerns and speed-ups, are exacerbating the problem.

In Rome at the G20, U.S. President Joe Biden acknowledged the crisis yet provided no concrete measures to reverse the process. The Biden program of reforms to the tune of $ 500 billion for infrastructure and $3.5 trillion for social spending is stalled in the Congress.

Many of the other world leaders from the EU, Britain, Africa and Asia viewed Biden’s remarks during the G20 summit with much skepticism. Even journalists questioned the administration’s ability to get significant legislation through the House of Representative and the Senate which would provide the necessary funding for the rebuilding of urban, suburban and rural areas.

Even less certain of passage is the $3.5 trillion package that would address the lack of childcare, adequate wages and the large-scale investment in government programs aimed at assisting working families through poverty alleviation. Without the social spending it is not possible to ameliorate the problems which have been aggravated by the pandemic.

Biden in his closing statement to the G20 pledged to hold a White House summit in the near future to address the supply chain bottlenecks. The French Press Agency (AFP) noted in an article that:

“Among concrete steps planned by the United States, the White House said, would be to provide new financial aid to Mexico and Central American countries to resolve logistical back-ups, as well as to Southeast Asian nations to help them streamline customs procedures.”

The statement said Biden would issue an executive order aimed at streamlining the supply chain affecting important military material. A yet-to-be scheduled international summit next year will bring together private companies, labor organizations and governmental agencies to explore further remedies, the White House said. ‘Coordination is key,’ said Biden. ‘We need to work together.’”

Overall, the G20 concluded with no commitment to net neutrality by 2050. There was a promise to halt the funding of new coal plants internationally and to pursue efforts aimed at limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. These same issues were discussed further at the COP26 Summit held in Glasgow, Scotland immediately after the conclusion of the G20 in Rome.

Attacks on China at the G20

Biden made it a talking point that he was disappointed that People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping did not attend the G20 Summit in person. However, President Xi did address the gathering in a video streamed message to the heads-of-state, delegates and journalists covering the event.

Xi made several proposals to the G20 largely focusing on the need for the effective worldwide distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Countries within the underdeveloped regions have been left behind in the rush to vaccinate populations against the virus.

The Chinese leader criticized the U.S. for attempts to promote India and Taiwan as alternatives to the manufacturing and trade capacities of Beijing. Xi stressed that the sidelining of China economically would not happen.

A report published by Global Times on the address by Xi to the G20 emphasized:

“To address the complex and far-reaching impact of COVID-19 unleashed on the world economy, Xi said major economies should adopt responsible macroeconomic policies, prevent measures taken for themselves from entailing rising inflation, exchange rate fluctuations or mounting debts, avoid negative spillover on developing countries, and ensure the sound operation of the international economic and financial system. Xi said that forming exclusive blocs or even drawing ideological lines will only cause division and create more obstacles and do harm to scientific and technological innovation.”

This escalating tension between the U.S. and China is impacting the supply chain shortages which have resulted in production delays and shutdowns. Capitalist corporations such as Apple are concerned that the lack of a long-term strategy on the part of the U.S. government could damage their ability to market products domestically and internationally.

The semiconductor industry in the U.S. is highly dependent upon China and the impetus by governmental officials to boost domestic production will not be an easy task. There are plans underway for the building of a Semiconductor Manufacturing Company facility from Taiwan in the state of Arizona. Such approaches will only aggravate the confrontation between Washington and Beijing.

In the heavy industrial manufacturing sectors, the problems related to supply chain bottlenecks are gaining widespread attention. Leading executives are coming to grips with the inability to acquire parts due to political considerations related to trade tariffs which were imposed under the previous administration of President Donald Trump. Biden has not lifted these tariffs and instead is intensifying this trade war against China.

According to the business media network CNBC:

“The auto industry is a good example, where the chip shortage continues to wreak havoc for carmakers. The car industry is all about efficiency and gaining scale, and in a future scenario in which companies have to start divvying up semiconductor buying based on a government mandate, ‘you start chipping away at these economies of scale,’ said Mark Fields, former Ford CEO and current interim CEO at Hertz, on the recent CNBC TEC Town Hall. ‘It’s not a good economic choice.’”

Even in the food production sectors, various factors such as the lack of equipment and workers are fueling the inflationary trend which is worrying to consumers. Oil prices have gone up significantly alongside the rapid increase in the price of both new and used automobiles.

As long as the U.S. economy is based upon capitalist relations of production there is almost no potential for resolving these issues in the short and long terms. The capitalist ruling class and their state apparatus views the increasing role of China in the global manufacturing and trade spheres as an existential security threat to the dominance of U.S. imperialism.

The worst-case scenario in such a set of circumstances would be the eruption of a military conflict with China. There is no guarantee that the outcome of a confrontation with China would be beneficial to the U.S. Quite to the contrary, the impact of a war with China could be a trigger which could lead to the rapid devolution of the U.S. as a world power.

Three Racist Vigilantes Found Guilty of Murder in Georgia

November 29, 2021 

Reprinted from Fighting Words Three Racist Vigilantes Found Guilty of Murder in Georgia – Fighting Words (fighting-words.net)

By Abayomi Azikiwe

Ahmaud Arbery was murdered by white men in 2020 sparking national outrage. Unlike Wisconsin, where another vigilante was acquitted, these men were found guilty on multiple counts.

Brunswick, Georgia in the southern region of the state, served as a flashpoint during the early months of 2020 when a young African American man was chased and shot to death by white racists claiming they acted in self-defense while trying to carry out a “citizen’s arrest.”

Ahmaud Arbery had committed no crime and was only out jogging in the area when he was targeted, chased and brutally murdered by the assailants.

Wanda Cooper-Jones, the mother of Arbery, said she had never thought the day would come where the men who killed her son faced sentencing on multiple counts of murder. The attorney for Cooper-Jones, Lee Merritt, praised the mother’s persistent quest for justice.

Lee Merritt noted that:

“Eighteen months ago when she learned about the murder of her son, they told her that she would just have to deal with it alone. They told her that there would be no arrest, that there would be no accountability, that there would be no justice. And she made her son a promise before she laid him in the ground, that his mom would fight for justice for him.”

Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, Jr. on February 23, 2020, pursued Arbery after he had stopped at a construction site to view the work that was being done. The African American had taken nothing from the location and had no property on his person when he was attacked, assaulted and murdered by the vigilantes.

Garin Flowers reported in an article for Yahoo News saying:

“The makeup of the jury also caught heat during the selection process for its lack of diversity in a state still haunted by the memory of lynchings. Glynn County, where the trial took place in southeastern Georgia, is about a quarter Black, but only one Black juror was chosen. The state accused the defense of eliminating Black jurors based on race. Walmsley said at the time that the ‘court has found that there appears to be intentional discrimination’ in the jury selection process, but allowed the trial to move forward. He said the defense had met the legal standard necessary to dismiss the potential jurors, coming up with reasons beyond race for removing them. The three men also face federal hate crime charges in a trial scheduled for February 2022.”

Historical Context of the Verdict

Later in 2020 after the murder of Arbery, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, was killed by police while in her own apartment. The shooting was a case of mistaken identity, yet no charges were ever filed against the law-enforcement officers who fired the fatal shots which resulted in Taylor’s death.

Obviously, the tipping point was the public police execution of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 of last year. The videotaped murder of Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis fueled the already existing outrage over police brutality and racist violence against African Americans and other people of color across the United States.

Cities and towns all over the country exploded in mass demonstrations and urban rebellions from coast to coast. The protests against the police killing of Floyd spread around the globe with manifestations in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Caribbean and Canada. The uprisings even prompted the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to hold a full hearing in Geneva, Switzerland on the question of racist violence in the U.S. The UN hearing was held at the aegis of several African states utilizing a resolution of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the African Union (AU), based upon a resolution motivated by Malcolm X during his July 1964 visit to the Second OAU Summit held in Cairo, Egypt.

The brother of George Floyd, Philonise, testified at the UNHCR hearing on June 18, 2020 and appealed to the international body to take action aimed at ending racist violence in the U.S. The then administration of President Donald Trump evoked the slave-era Insurrection Act of 1806 deploying federal agents and troops to cities in various regions of the U.S. Trump demanded that the authorities dominate the streets. In essence he was calling for the use of maximum and lethal force in quelling the demonstrations and rebellions.

Dozens of people were killed along with thousands being arrested from the time of the George Floyd killing and extending for several months. With the demonstrations continuing throughout the summer of 2020, it left an indelible mark on the political landscape of the country. The civil unrest following the murder of Floyd exposed to the world even further the institutionally racist and genocidal character of the U.S. state.

The three white men who murdered Arbery were claiming self-defense based upon a slavery-era law related to making “citizen’s arrests.” This law was overturned in the Georgia state legislature in 2020.

Wisconsin Releases Vigilante After Killing Two and Wounding One

In another similar case, Kyle Rittenhouse of Illinois, was acquitted of murder after killing two people and injuring a third in another state, Wisconsin, on August 25, 2020. The deaths at the hands of Rittenhouse came during anti-racist demonstrations in Kenosha, Wisconsin in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake, an African American man wounded seven times by the police while he was moving away from the officers.

Blake’s shooting which resulted in his permanent paralysis, was a source of mass demonstrations and even a one-day strike by National Basketball Association (NBA) players in the aftermath of the incident. Of course, due to the role of the judge in the Rittenhouse trial, none of this social background information was allowed to be presented as evidence of racist motivations on the part of the defendant.

The deceased, who were also white: Joseph Rosenbaum (36), Anthony Huber (26), and the one wounded, Gaige Grosskreutz (27), were not allowed to be described in the proceedings as victims of gun violence. The judge admonished the prosecuting attorney for ostensibly introducing a line of argument forbidden by the bench.

Under these circumstances it was not surprising to many that Rittenhouse was allowed to walk away from such a blatant act of murderous violence. How could anyone seriously claim self-defense after crossing the state line with a high-powered AR-15 rifle under the guise of protecting private property. There were no concerns on the shooter’s part in regard to those demonstrating to demand justice for Blake. These and other factors clearly illustrate the inherent bias and institutional racism within the U.S. legal system.

Historically there have been thousands of lynchings in the U.S. which have not been investigated by the authorities and often declared “justifiable homicide” by the courts. This process of utilizing law-enforcement personnel, prosecuting attorneys and the courts remains in force well into the 21st century.

In regard to the Rittenhouse verdict of not guilty, the federal government through the Justice Department could file Civil Rights violation charges against the 18-year-old. Evidence related to his right-wing connections and subsequent support received during the prosecution could be introduced as elements which motivated the acquitted shooter in traveling to Kenosha and feeling emboldened enough to confront protesters exercising their purported first amendment rights.

Moreover, what right did Rittenhouse have to exercise maximum lethal force against anyone acting in response to a racial crisis in Kenosha? After being charged with the killing of two people and the wounding of someone else, Rittenhouse was defended by elements within the white community which called for his release.

These two divergent verdicts in Wisconsin and Georgia, illustrate the inconsistencies within the U.S. political and legal system. Although Wisconsin had been considered a progressive state in decades past during the 20th century, it is the state which produced Senator Joseph McCarthy who made a political career out of persecuting communists and those considered subversive to the capitalist and racist power structure. Wisconsin during 2011, was the focal point of right-wing political attacks on public sector unions and educational institutions which set a standard for replication throughout the midwestern region and throughout the U.S. as a whole.

Georgia was built on the forced removal of the Indigenous nations and the super-exploitation of the African enslaved people. Voter suppression and racist violence remains the stock-in-trade of the ruling class within the state and throughout the South. This verdict, many claim, is an anomaly within the social trajectory of the methodology used to maintain the status-quo.

What these two verdicts confirm is the necessity of transforming the entire system to eliminate the material basis for racism, national oppression and economic exploitation. Until the capitalist system is removed, and socialism is enacted, the problems of racist violence, vigilante and police terrorism will remain.

COP26 Summit Fails to Take Decisive Action on Climate Change


Reprinted from Fighting Words COP26 Summit Fails to Take Decisive Action on Climate Change – Fighting Words (fighting-words.net)

November 22, 2021

By Abayomi Azikiwe

Another annual international conference on the climate crisis ended on November 13 in Glasgow, Scotland where a contentious debate over the final document revealed fundamental differences on key issues.

Officially labeled as the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), the event was attended by representatives of approximately 200 countries and territories.

Undoubtedly, the broad character of the summit which included representatives from government delegations alongside Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and independent mass groupings, constrained the ability to pass sweeping resolutions in favor of radical programs for addressing the climate crisis. For example, references to the phasing out of coal production and usage was altered to eliminate any real commitment to shift to more environmentally safe energy sources.

A proposal for the payment of loss and damages to lesser developed countries was removed even from the draft document. The final resolutions made no mention of compensating the former colonial territories for the impact of centuries of mineral extraction, the dislocation of populations and the western demand for cheap labor and control over waterways.

The United States, which was represented by former U.S. Senator John Kerry, was involved in the negotiations over the final document. Although Kerry’s comments appeared to have expressed empathy for poor countries, the actual decisions made in Glasgow were devoid of basic concerns expressed by the peoples of Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Moreover, tens of thousands of youth staged demonstrations outside the conference hall over the two weeks duration of the summit. The main criticism levelled at the COP26 was that it was just another talking session which shied away from making the decisions necessary to mitigate and reverse the process of environmental degradation.

Developments over the last several years have been devastating for the peoples of the Global South and indeed throughout the world. Flooding, severe storms and drought have plagued people internationally. These environmental problems have been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic making the distribution more difficult of medicines, including vaccines, to population groups which are not easily accessible by modern transportation.

There were 40,000 delegates to the COP26 gathering yet only a small number were actually allowed to enter the area where the serious discussions were held among participants representing their governments. Assessments of the outcome of the summit will be ongoing. However, there were divergent views on the impact and effectiveness of the gathering.

The Scientific American magazine wrote in an analysis of the event emphasizing that:

“The final 11-page document, called the Glasgow Climate Pact, says that greenhouse gas emissions must fall by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 for global warming to be maintained at 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. It notes that, under existing emissions reduction pledges, emissions will be nearly 14% higher than in 2010 by 2030. Countries acknowledged the need to reduce emissions faster, and also agreed to report on progress annually. For the first time in a COP text, nations agreed to begin reducing coal-fired power (without carbon capture) and to start to eliminate subsidies on other fossil fuels.”

China and U.S. Announce Agreement During Summit

During the course of the summit, it was announced that China and the U.S. had agreed to work together on the reduction of carbon and methane greenhouse emissions. The current worsening relationship between Beijing and Washington was reflected in the statements made by those representing the administration of President Joe Biden.

The Chinese reaffirmed that the developing countries could not make the transition to green energy sources and production in light of the economic costs involved. China supported the demands for the payments by the western capitalist states for loss and damages to the developing regions of the world.

According to China Daily newspaper:

“Both countries have agreed to cooperate on the implementation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement on the development of international markets for carbon offsetting. This could help the development of clear international standards to promote the effective functioning of carbon markets, including the voluntary purchase of offsets by companies, which could mobilize billions of dollars of investment in developing countries. The two major powers have also agreed to communicate new nationally determined contributions to the Paris Agreement in 2025 with targets for 2035. However, given the shortfall in planned emissions reductions in relation to the 1.5 C target, the world needs revised and more ambitious nationally determined contributions from all countries well before 2025.”

Who Is Responsible for Climate Change? 

Critics of the COP26 summit denounced the event for being the most exclusionary in its history. This was due in part to the lack of vaccine availability and adequate economic resources to facilitate the travel by peoples from the Global South.

Middle East Eye (MEE) website noted that there are 20 corporations which are behind a third of all carbon emissions between 1965-2017. The news agency emphasized that the blaming of China and India for the deteriorating climate situation overlooks the role of fossil fuels and the demand for this energy resource.

An important liberation movement in North Africa, the Polisario Front, which has fought a decades-long struggle against Spain and now Morocco for its independence, complained that they were excluded from many of the critical deliberations at the summit. The Polisario Front is the major political force within the provisional government of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) that is represented at both the United Nations and the African Union (AU).

MEE describes the situation related to the Saharawi by noting:

“Sidi Breika, a representative for Polisario, the Western Sahara independence movement, told MEE the UN’s climate summit ‘endorses illegal occupation via climate injustice and people’s exclusion from adequate participation and subsequent funding in order to tackle climate change’. Breika, who was in Glasgow, believes the summit was representative of the fact that the international community favors Polisario’s enemy, Morocco. ‘Our exclusion from global climate governance and finance mechanisms means the Sahrawis are denied access to technical and financial support to address climate change, contrary to principles of equity and inclusion.’”

Another major aspect of the rising temperature of the planet is the role of the Pentagon as a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Several studies have been published documenting that the U.S. military is the planet’s largest polluter. With the escalation of its military presence in the Asia-Pacific region in confrontation with China as well as the numerous military bases and direct occupations throughout Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America, this situation is unlikely to change without a radical departure from the imperialist projects dominating Washington’s foreign policy.

Interestingly enough, the Pentagon was not represented in the U.S. delegation to the COP26 summit in Glasgow. Although there has been much rhetoric from the Defense Department equating the rapidly evolving crisis of climate change as being a threat on the level with the People’s Republic of China, military officials were not requested to attend the gathering. By keeping the Pentagon away from Scotland, the U.S. is attempting to obscure the role of its security apparatus which is endangering the planet.

Science Daily in 2019 reported on independent research conducted by two universities in the United Kingdom which evaluated the Pentagon’s massive polluting impact. The summary of the study says:

“The U.S. military’s carbon footprint is enormous and must be confronted in order to have a substantial effect on battling global warming, experts argue. Research by social scientists from Durham University and Lancaster University shows the U.S. military is one of the largest climate polluters in history, consuming more liquid fuels and emitting more CO2e (carbon-dioxide equivalent) than most countries…. In 2017 alone, the U.S. military purchased about 269,230 barrels of oil a day and emitted more than 25,000 kt- CO2e by burning those fuels. In 2017 alone, the Air Force purchased $4.9 billion worth of fuel and the Navy $2.8 billion, followed by the Army at $947 million and Marines at $36 million.”

Any serious program aimed at curtailing the most devastating effects of climate change will require a political confrontation with the Pentagon. This is where the struggle against imperialism, unjust wars and the existing international division of labor and economic power converge. The abolition of the ongoing threats of imperialist war combined with the reorganization of the extraction and distribution of energy resources will require a global movement whose mission will be to bring environmental justice and peace to the world.

Sudanese Continue to Demonstrate for Democracy

November 24, 2021

Sudan military leader reinstates interim prime minister

Reprinted from Fighting Words Sudanese Continue to Demonstrate for Democracy – Fighting Words (fighting-words.net)

By Abayomi Azikiwe

On Sunday November 21, the international media began to report that the ousted interim Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok in the Republic of Sudan had been reinstated by the leader of the military junta General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

Hamdok had been held under house arrest after being deposed by the military on October 25 amid mass demonstrations, an earlier reported attempted coup and fierce debates over the future of the oil-rich state.

The revised deal between Hamdok, some technocratic leaders and others appointed to the al-Burhan-created new Sovereign Council, provides for the reconfiguration of yet another transitional administration that will oversee the country’s affairs until elections can be held supposedly during July 2023. Immediately skepticism was voiced by numerous opposition parties, mass organizations, trade unions and youth groupings.

Demonstrations, which were scheduled for November 21, continued prompting even more repression by the police and military against the people. Several people were killed by the security forces as hundreds of thousands went into the streets to demand that the military junta leave their positions of absolute authority in Sudan.

The civilian-led Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) have categorically dismissed the Hamdok statement made on November 21 as evidence that the military coup of October 25 is still in force. Hamdok was echoing the military plans to create what they have referred to as a “technocratic” cabinet that would obviously remain under military domination.

FFC elements, among others, are demanding a complete return to civilian rule. The military in their opinion have forfeited any capacity to govern Sudan without state repression. Since the October 25 coup led by al-Burhan, more than forty people have been killed in demonstrations and resistance related activities.

An article published by the Sudan Tribune says of the response of the opposition that:

“’We were surprised by the signing of a political declaration between His Excellency Mr. Abdallah Hamdok, the Prime Minister, and His Excellency General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces,’ said the FFC in a short statement issued on Sunday (Nov. 21). The political coalition further stressed they were not part of the deal and voiced its support for the demand of the Sudanese people to restore civilian rule. The FFC supported protests calling for the release of Hamdok and the other detainees and to restore the civilian-led transition…. The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) which led the December revolution against the regime of ousted President Omar al-Bashir also rejected the ‘treason agreement’…. The Sudanese Congress Party, Sudanese Communist Party, National Umma Party, Unionist Alliance, SLM led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur, and Resistance Committees rejected the agreement.”

Although the FFC had included as a main demand within their program that Hamdok be released from custody, the ultimate objective of the democracy movement is to remove the domineering influence of the military within the Sudanese political and economic structures. Many sectors of the national economy are utilized by the military elites to enrich themselves while maintaining hegemony over the functional operations of the state.

Sudan and the International Situation

The al-Burhan regime, which has called itself the Transitional Military Council (TMC), has close ties with the monarchies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which after they seized power in April 2019, pledged several billion dollars in direct assistance. Moreover, Washington under the former administration of President Donald Trump and his successor, President Joe Biden, has demanded the payment of hundreds of millions of dollars by the Sudanese state to survivors of victims of several bombing attacks carried out in Kenya (1998), Tanzania (1998) and the Gulf of Aden (2000).

In exchange for these payments, the U.S. is removing Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. This agreement will make Sudan eligible for loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other global financial institutions.

However, to date, the Sudanese masses do not appear to have benefited from any of these deals struck with the interim administrations which have come and gone since April 2019. With the advent of a renewed Hamdok-military alliance, many are unconvinced that the situation will improve for the tens of millions of youth, women, workers, professionals and impoverished people in general.

Neighboring Egypt, a state closely aligned with the United States, is seeking to maintain its relations with the military regime in Sudan. Egypt opposes the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Project (GERD) which has caused tensions with the Addis Ababa government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Sudan has once again raised the issue of a border dispute with Ethiopia while Addis Ababa itself is battling a Washington-backed insurgency attempting to overthrow the administration of Prime Minister Abiy.

Therefore, the domestic crisis in Sudan has regional, continental and international implications due to the geographically strategic location of the country and its vast oil and other natural resources. The initial Sovereign Council under Hamdok and al-Burhan, signed onto the Abraham Accord which ostensibly normalized relations with Tel Aviv even though such a maneuver is in violation of the Israeli Boycott Act of 1958. The decision to boycott Israel was made by an elected parliament and national government just two years after the independence of Sudan from British imperialism in 1956. Any move to reverse this course at the aegis of the U.S. and its allies would surely appear to be in contravention of Sudanese constitutional law. Until an elected government of the people can be established, there cannot be any real political debate on the relationship of Sudan to those occupying Palestinian land.

Forcing the Abraham Accord on as many states within West Asia and Africa as possible is designed to further undermine the Palestinian struggle for statehood and independence from Israeli control. Yet the Palestinians are continuing to resist the colonial occupation as was evident in the uprising which occurred during May 2021.

The political balance of forces within Sudan is of importance to imperialism and its allies throughout the African continent and West Asia. Consequently, Washington under Trump or Biden does not want a revolutionary government taking power in Khartoum. A genuinely revolutionary democratic government in Sudan would inevitably be in solidarity with the Palestinians and all progressive forces throughout Africa and the world.

According to a report written by Joseph Krauss for the Associated Press and reprinted by the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) as it relates to the role of Tel Aviv in the Sudanese internal political crisis:

“Israel is also seen as a potential ally of the generals, who were the guiding force behind Sudan normalizing relations with it last year in exchange for removal from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism…. Israel’s Walla news website reported that an Israeli delegation met with Sudan’s generals days after the coup. The Israeli government has not commented on the coup or its aftermath.”

Although the U.S. has expressed opposition to the military coup of October 25, the objective of Washington in the short-term is a partnership between the Sudanese military and a technocratic elite to govern the country. The U.S. does not want a civilian administration that would oppose its designs on Sudan.

Nonetheless, this is exactly what is needed inside Sudan and other territories throughout the African Union (AU) member-states. U.S. dominance over the internal and foreign affairs of post-colonial African governments has served as the major impediment to genuine development, sovereignty and revolutionary social transformation.

Sudan, through the independent initiatives of the mass organizations, youth, women, trade unions and professional groupings, could serve as an example for a revolutionary movement which emerges from the people. Under such a dispensation, relations with other neighboring states would be based on the principles of peaceful co-existence and mutual cooperation.

Sudanese Mass Organizations Reject Overtures by Military Junta


November 21, 2021

Reprinted from Fighting Words Sudanese Mass Organizations Reject Overtures by Military Junta – Fighting Words (fighting-words.net)

By Abayomi Azikiwe

A new “Sovereign Council” has been inaugurated in the Republic of Sudan without the endorsement of the leading forces within the ousted administration.

On October 25 the military leadership of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemetti), took complete control of the state and placed under house arrest interim Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

These actions were in line with a reemerging phenomenon of military coups on the African continent which began during the 1960s. In many cases, the undemocratic usurpation of authority was directed by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the State Department as was the case in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1960 and the Republic of Ghana in 1966.

Sudan has been an independent nation since 1956, one of the first national independence movements which succeeded against British imperialism. The following year, 1957, the former Gold Coast became Ghana under the leadership of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) headed then by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

The Sudanese Professional Association (SPA), a founding organization within the broader Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), has rejected an offer by the Transitional Military Council (TMC) of al-Burhan and Hemetti to become a part of the revised “Sovereign Council”. Undoubtedly, the current regime will continue to be dominated by the military.

People opposed the coup and the appointment of another interim body dominated by the military immediately reacted to al-Burhan’s moves by blocking roads with burning tires. Thousands of images of the unrest were widely circulated over social media.

On November 13, hundreds of thousands took to the streets in various cities around Sudan including Khartoum, where the capital is located. Despite the arrest of many political leaders and other repressive measures enacted by the military, the turnout to the protests were enormous. Obviously much of the mobilization efforts were conducted clandestinely since the military coup makers control the armaments, broadcasting services, internet connectivity and other critical organs of the state.

Since the eruption of social unrest in December 2018, untold numbers of people have lost their lives in resistance activities. In the aftermath of four months of marches, rebellions and general strikes, in early April 2019 the military overthrew the administration of the-then President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. However, the people leading the opposition forces wanted a civilian government to determine the future of this centrally located and resource-rich African nation.

An article in the Sudan Tribune said of the manifestations on November 13:

“According to medical reports, five protesters were killed in Khartoum state, four with bullets, and the fifth after inhaling tear gas, and there are many wounded in the various cities of Khartoum State. Besides Khartoum state, reports from other states say that thousands protested in Dongola and Kareema, in Northern State, Atbara of the Nile River State and Madani of Al Jazira State. In the Darfur region, demonstrators came out in El Fasher and Nyala, where 64 demonstrators were arrested. The pro-democracy protests also took place in Port Sudan of the Red Sea State and Kosti of the While Nile. The 13 November protests were organized by the Sudanese Professionals Associations and the Resistance Committees in support of the civilian state in Sudan.”

Prime Minister Hamdok has dismissed any suggestion that he resume his duties as interim leader of the Sovereign Council and is demanding the reinstatement of the Constitutional Declaration which was negotiated with the involvement of the African Union (AU). Several other members of the cabinet which was removed in the October 25 putsch also continue to be detained.

Since the first recent military coup of April 2019, which effectively blocked any attempt at forming a national democratic government led by civilians from various political parties, trade unions, mass and professional groupings, the TMC has received support from the monarchies of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and the State of Israel. In defiance of its own constitutional law established in 1958, the Sovereign Council agreed to “normalize relations” with Tel Aviv. Since this measure was adopted at the aegis of the former U.S. President Donald Trump, there appears to have been no exchange of diplomatic missions.

Nonetheless, there are several reports claiming that the TMC has deployed a delegation to Tel Aviv for private discussions. Later there were articles saying the Israelis have sent a team to Khartoum for talks. Despite the role of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Israel, the social conditions are dire in Sudan. The political unrest is clearly fueled by the declining living conditions inside the country.

International Impact of the Coup

Of course, the U.S. State Department is shuttling back and forth from Washington to Khartoum in an effort to appear concerned about the situation in Sudan. The tactics of the Trump administration, and the essentially unchanged policies of the current President Joe Biden, have been a destabilizing factor in the country.

The initial Sovereign Council which was chaired as well by al-Burhan although Hamdok was the civilian head, agreed to a number of commitments which will further render Sudan into indebtedness to the world capitalist system. International finance capital has agreed to lend Khartoum money under certain conditions which will not enhance its ability to become a genuinely independent and self-sustaining state.

Hamdok and al-Burhan signed obligations to pay hundreds of millions in U.S. dollars to survivors of victims of terrorist attacks which occurred long before the removal of President al-Bashir. The Sovereign Council was coercively manipulated into signing such agreements in exchange for the removal of Sudan from the list of “state sponsors of terrorism.”

If anything can be learned from the previous six or more decades of independent African countries it is the role of funding institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in derailing the development strategies of post-colonial states. In light of the economic crisis largely precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the potential for a renewed round of borrowing and refinancing of loans among AU member-states is highly likely.

Whither Sudan?

The debt incurred by the Sudanese people compounded by the political discontent caused by the acquiescence to the so-called “Abraham Accords”, designed to undermine solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli regime, unless revoked, will only further hamper the capacity of Khartoum to unify under a civilian administration. Within a broader international context, Washington and Tel Aviv along with their allies among the Gulf monarchies, can only offer further indebtedness and war to the people of Sudan and Africa as a whole.

The AU in a statement from the Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat notes:

“On the 6th of November, the African Union Peace and Security (PSC) Council suspended Sudan’s membership in the regional organization after the 25th October military coup in violation of the African Union brokered constitutional declaration of 17 August 2019 governing the transitional period. The PSC said that the suspension would continue until the reestablishment of a civilian-led authority. However, coup leaders continue to detain Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, his prominent advisers and cabinet members as well as political leaders.”

Nevertheless, until the resources allocated by imperialism and its allies internationally are halted, the continued subversion of the revolutionary democratic process by the TMC will further stall the total transformation of the country. The mass organizations are calling for additional marches and work stoppages. The fragility of the new “Sovereign Council” will be clearly illustrated since it cannot make any serious case for its existence beyond stifling a progressive path forward.

The new regime is composed of the military along with some leaders of the armed opposition groups which had negotiated a peace agreement in Juba, Republic of South Sudan. These maneuvers have been met with derision and civil disorder. At some point, sooner or later, the tenuous alliance engineered by al-Burhan and his international patrons will burst asunder due to the burgeoning domestic and global opposition to, yet another, neo-colonial construct manufactured in Washington, New York and Tel Aviv.

South African Local Elections Held Amid Numerous Crises


November 10, 2021

Reprinted from Fighting Words South African Local Elections Held Amid Numerous Crises – Fighting Words (fighting-words.net)

By Abayomi Azikiwe

With a COVID-19 pandemic causing enormous public health issues in the Republic of South Africa, local governmental elections were held on November 1 where millions of registered voters participated.

The results indicate that the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the party which led the struggle for national liberation from the apartheid colonial system, has witnessed another erosion of electoral support.

The ANC garnered less than 50% of the votes yet far outperformed the leading opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, by gaining more than twice as many votes. The ANC secured 46.03% while the DA won 21.84%.

In actual numbers, the ANC votes totaled 10.6 million while the DA scored approximately 5.1 million. The third ranking party behind the ANC and DA was the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) which earned around 2.4 million votes, this represented 10.41% of the ballots cast.

Although the ANC scored seven percentage points lower than they did in the last local governmental election in 2016 (53%), the DA’s proportion of the electorate also shrunk by six percent. The EFF increased its margin by two percent from 2016. Nonetheless, the EFF remains far behind the ANC as well as the DA.

Other smaller parties such as the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the new group called ActionSA, won much smaller numbers of votes. The remaining twenty-three percent of the votes were largely scattered among numerous smaller parties and some independents.

The ANC has been reeling from internal divisions between factions for and opposed to former President Jacob Zuma, who is now undergoing criminal proceedings related to charges for corruption and refusal to testify before a commission headed by the chief justice of the Constitutional Court. Zuma has been released from prison on medical parole.

These divisions have permeated various local and national structures of the ruling party. The ANC headquarters at Luthuli House in Johannesburg has been the scene of pickets due to the inability of the party to pay salaries to its employees. Recent reports indicate that some of these problems are being corrected.

The DA is still viewed by most Africans as a party of the white middle and upper classes. They have failed to secure a significant proportion of the African electorate. Even in relation to its leaders, at least two Africans selected by the DA to ostensibly serve as president of the organization over the last decade have either been dismissed or resigned in disgust citing the pervasive racism within its ranks.

During the campaign leading up to the November 1 location election, the DA circulated racist posters in the Phoenix area of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province, one of the worst centers of violence during the earlier July riots. The posters appeared to support vigilante actions by the predominantly Asian population in the municipality which resulted in the deaths of several Africans during the unrest.

The EFF headed by Julius Malema, who was expelled as the leader of the ANC Youth League several years earlier, has advocated what appears to be a radical alternative to the ruling party program. They have called for the immediate nationalization of agricultural land and mines inside the country. Yet their message has not gained more than ten percent in the recent local votes. The EFF politicians did win seats on various municipal governing structures. However, the EFF party did not secure even one council as the dominant political force.

Figures released on November 4 by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) revealed that the ANC won 167 municipal councils in comparison to 24 for the DA. In the Gauteng province, the ANC did not regain control of the mayoral seats in Johannesburg and Pretoria, necessitating negotiations with other parties to determine the outcome. Within this province, the most urbanized in the country of nearly 60 million, the ANC won 36% of the total votes, a reduction of nine percent since the previous local elections five years before.

The ANC performed its best in the lesser urbanized areas of the country. They won majorities in six out of nine provinces: Eastern Cape (62.99), Free State (50.61), Northern Cape (50.55), Limpopo (68.27) and Northwest (55.4). In the three other provinces of KZN, Western Cape and Gauteng, the votes were heavily split among the opposition parties. The DA in its Western Cape base won a majority of council votes with 54.2%.

Impact of the Pandemic and the Economic Slump

South Africa has been the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic on the continent with the largest number of infections and deaths. The government of ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa has rolled out an ambitious vaccination program securing doses from numerous sources including Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer-BioTech. The use of Oxford AstraZeneca was suspended in February 2021 over concerns about its lack of effectiveness in preventing transmission of the beta variant.

There is also an agreement to locally manufacture coronavirus vaccines which would be distributed throughout Africa. A recent announcement was made stating that a joint partnership between Pfizer-BioTech and the Biovac Institute in Cape Town was formed to produce vaccines beginning in early 2022. The goal is to produce 100 million vaccines annually.

The subsequent economic and social crises precipitated by the pandemic has resulted in higher rates of unemployment. An unprecedented rate of 34% of joblessness was recorded in the second quarter of 2021. These rates disproportionately impact the African population and youth. This is largely due to the continuing gaps in educational and skills sets between the European and African population groups.

With the arrest of former President Zuma in early July, riots erupted in the KZN port city of Durban and spread to areas of Gauteng around Johannesburg. Although the unrest was sparked by supporters of Zuma, the attacks in KZN and Gauteng were focused on small and medium-sized retail outlets such as malls and liquor stores. There were no reports of property damage at factories and mines. Many people took advantage of the situation to obtain food and other consumer goods. The police and military exercised restraint in repressing the property damage and looting. Nonetheless, over 300 people were killed during the disturbances.

The fact that the riots were confined to certain urban sections of two provinces suggests that the unrest was not necessarily the result of political grievances. Seven other provinces which make up the country remained calm during this period.

High rates of poverty and unemployment appeared to be the motivating reasons behind the overwhelming majority of those who joined the looting and arson attacks on retail businesses. Police were able to recover substantial amounts of the goods taken as the family members and neighbors of those who participated in the riots called the law-enforcement authorities to return the loot. As a result of the attacks on small and medium-sized businesses many more jobs were wiped out. Overall, the riots resulted in $US 3.4 billion in lost output and placed another 150,000 jobs at risk. Approximately 200 malls were impacted with some 3,000 shops looted. In addition, 200 banks and post offices were also vandalized in the disturbances.

In the lead up to the local elections there were two significant labor actions worthy of mention within this context. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) held a strike against the steel industry beginning on October 5. NUMSA, which was expelled from the ANC-allied Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) several years ago, demanded an 8% pay increase within the metals and engineering sectors. The strike lasted three weeks and ended when the union accepted a 6% pay increase over three years.

NUMSA claims to be to the left of the COSATU-ANC-SACP alliance and has formed another trade union federation called the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU). SAFTU attempted to form a party in 2019. However, the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP) gained less than 40,000 votes in the 2019 national elections, not even winning one percent of the electorate. SRWP did not appear to have contested the local elections held on November 1.

COSATU did call a one-day strike on October 7 to protest the high levels of unemployment and other economic issues. The trade union federation marched to the administrative center of government in Pretoria and presented a list of demands to the Ministry of Labor.

The NUMSA strike apparently did not resonate among other sectors of the working class since there has not been a wave of industrial actions in South Africa in recent months. It will be quite interesting to follow the role of labor in the aftermath of the recent elections.

Implications for the Next Three Years

There will not be a national election in South Africa until 2024. The results of the November 1 poll indicate that the political landscape will become more fragmented with the ANC still occupying a dominant role albeit with reduced electoral support.

Objectively there has not been the emergence of a viable organized political alternative to the ANC from the right or left. The party has ruled the country since the 1994 democratic breakthrough resulting in the ascendancy of the first ANC President Nelson Mandela. In every election since 1994, the ANC has won a substantial majority of the votes.

The loss of seven percentage points in its majority during the local elections will undoubtedly prompt deep reflection and calls for rectification. Jessie Duarte, the Deputy Secretary General of the ANC said that the party must “shape up” in response to the results of the elections.

Duarte also said that the party was prepared to negotiate agreements with other forces in municipal councils where there were no clear majorities. This phenomenon of “hung councils”, some 70 in this poll, were present as well after the 2016 local elections. The Deputy Secretary General attributed the low turnout in the November 1 election to the pandemic along with the current energy crisis where power outages (load shedding) have become a serious problem with the state-owned energy firm, ESKOM, being in dire need of reconstruction. Alternative energy sources other than coal are being examined in South Africa.

Congressman Gosar, Vigilantism and the Class Struggle

November 29, 2021

Congressman Brooks attack on Senator Charles Sumner, 1856 - prelude to the Civil War.

By David Sole

On November 17, 2021 the U.S. House of Representatives voted to censure right-wing Congressman Paul Gosar, (R-Arizona) and remove him from his two committee seats. Gosar had posted an Anime  cartoon of himself killing progressive Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Joe Biden on Twitter. The vote was 223 to 207 with only two Republicans voting for censure.

One wonders why Gosar’s advocacy of deadly force against the President alone hasn’t landed him in jail. His call for murder of the radical Ocasio-Cortez must be viewed in context of the current political scene, as well. That almost half the members of the House would not condemn this exposes the coming conflict that will not be settled in polite debate.

It has been only 10 months since then President Donald Trump gathered a mob of supporters and sought to have them overturn his loss in the election of November 2020. The January 6 insurrection saw the invasion of the halls of Congress, violent and deadly conflict in and around the building and the collaboration of some layers of the police and military which allowed the assault to go on for hours.

After the uprising was suppressed both houses of Congress reconvened to ceremonially certify the election results as reported by the Electoral College. Even after the violence and death they had witnessed, 7 Republican Senators and 138 Republican Congresspersons still voted NOT to accept the election results adding fuel to the big lie that fueled the insurrection.

Gosar the tip of a vigilante iceberg

Representative Gosar’s actions occurred in the midst of two trials of right-wing vigilantism being watched across the nation. Only days after the censure vote a jury in Kenosha, Wisconsin found teenage terrorist Kyle Rittenhouse NOT GUILTY. Rittenhouse had taken an illegally possessed AR-15 style assault rifle, had his mother drive him across state lines and gunned down three Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha on August 25, 2020. The protests followed the police shooting of unarmed African American Jacob Blake six times in the back days earlier. Two of Rittenhouse’s victims died.

In Glynn County, Georgia three white men were on trial for hunting down and killing Ahmaud Arbery, a 25 year old African American jogger on February 23, 2020. Gosar, Rittenhouse and Arbery’s killers are only the tip of an iceberg of white supremacy and reaction that includes much of the nation’s police forces along with armed racist militias and any number of self-appointed vigilantes. They certainly cannot be considered a fringe element.

Brooks and Sumner

One hundred sixty-five years ago real bloody violence was seen on the floor of the U.S. Senate chamber. Unlike Gosar’s digital attack on Ocasio-Cortez, pro-slavery Representative Preston Brooks assaulted anti-slavery Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts. It was May 22, 1856 when Brooks used a heavy walking cane to beat Sumner bloody and senseless for a speech given by the Senator a few days earlier. It was many years before Sumner was able to return to public life and by then the Civil War had begun. A motion to expel Brooks from the House of Representatives failed.

The U.S. Civil War (1861 – 1865) is often described as a war between slavery and freedom. But it can better be understood as a war to settle who would rule the country – the slave owners or the rising capitalist/banking class based in the north.

The irreconcilable conflict – capitalism vs. slavery

The war, itself, was preceded by decades of struggles and maneuvers. It was known as the “irreconcilable conflict” because every compromise broke down, exposing the ever deepening rift between two ruling classes and their two economic systems. One had to eradicate the other.

As the Civil War approached it seemed as if the northern capitalists forces would not or could not commit to a real struggle. One Southern state after another proclaimed secession from the Union after Lincoln was elected. The great Abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass despaired. He booked passage for himself and his family on a ship for Haiti. Just before his departure, however, the rebel forces bombarded Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. The military hostilities had begun. Fort Sumter sat in Charleston, S. Carolina’s harbor. It was S. Carolina that had sent Preston Brooks to Congress.

For months, dragging into years, the Northern forces still did not fight decisively. Head of the Union forces, General George McClellan, refused to carry out orders and attack Southern positions. Tens of thousands of Union troops died in one battle after another.

McClellan was ultimately replaced and Union forces learned hard lessons in combat. Of course it was only in 1863 that Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

This very brief review should remind us that a civil war, a type of revolution and the class struggle at its core, does not follow a logical course. The roots of the conflict are often not even clear to those who do the fighting.

Socialism vs. capitalism

Today the future of the United States seems firmly in the hands of the bankers and corporate bosses. This avaricious capitalist class is the descendent of the victors of the Civil War. They are a much smaller class now having gathered together wealth in the tens of billions. They can only maintain their exploitation of wage labor and their control of the levers of power by keeping the hundreds of millions of the working class divided.

That is why so much is invested in promoting white supremacy. That’s why anti-women and anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant ideology is pushed onto the masses.

For a moment it may appear that racist vigilantism is dominant. Yet only a year ago the largest crowds of all races joined together in the George Floyd protests. There are other signs that the multi-faceted working class has enormous potential for struggle. Even without the organization and leadership of the traditional union movement, millions of workers have walked off their jobs in protest of the miserable rate of pay prevailing. This has been called “The Great Resignation” and puts fear in the hearts of the Wall Street elite.

While it has not gotten much coverage, ten thousand workers at the John Deere Corporation went out on strike and won a clear victory in wages and working conditions. Other strikes are breaking out, even though they are still isolated instances.

Even the New York Times, a mouthpiece of the capitalist ruling class, had to allude to the building pressure of the class struggle to explain what was pushing forward the Democratic Party’s legislation. On November 20, 2021 the NYTimes.com lead story pointed out that “income inequality, economic stagnation and a pandemic propelled an even more ambitious bill.”

The building, irreconcilable conflict in the U.S. is between capitalism and socialism. As in many past revolutions it is very likely this will not be fought out in those words. Nonetheless the only solution to the mounting problems of the huge working class can be found in the overthrow of the capitalist control of the economy and government and its replacement with a system that answers the fundamental needs of the vast majority of the population.

There can be no doubt that entirely new layers of leadership must emerge from a painful and prolonged process of struggle. Setbacks and defeats can be expected. But there is no reason to despair. Victory is certain.

Taiwan: Flashpoint for War


November 21, 2021 

Reprinted from Fighting Words Taiwan: Flashpoint for War – Fighting Words (fighting-words.net)

U.S. ships in the South China Sea could lead to war. | Photo: sputniknews.com

By Chris Fry

October 25 this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Taiwan’s Republic of China (ROC) being ejected from the United Nations, and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) being installed as the true, legitimate government of China, both in the UN General Assembly as well as the Security Council.

This was not only a stinging defeat for the Taiwan military regime, but more importantly for its U.S. imperialist master, which at the time was losing its brutal war of occupation in Vietnam.  For two decades after the victory of the Chinese Communist Revolution in 1949, the U.S. had sustained the absurd myth that the defeated Chiang Kai-Shek regime, which had fled to Taiwan that year and was protected by the U.S. Navy, was the legitimate government of China. That bubble had now burst.

Seven years later, the U.S., under President Carter, signed an agreement with China recognizing the PRC as the sole legitimate government of China, and the island of Taiwan as part of China. The existing military alliance with Taiwan was terminated. This change of imperialist strategy came after the PRC stepped up its conflict with the Soviet Union and opened a border war with Socialist Vietnam. Obviously, Wall Street hoped that opening relations with the PRC would pull it into its orbit and spur a counterrevolution there that would topple the workers’ state.

That never happened, and now China has become a huge economic rival that threatens U.S. hegemony. It has done so while maintaining its socialist foundations of planning and social ownership over large portions of its economy, and tight controls over its own and foreign capitalist class. Through its “Belt and Road” initiative, it has made possible many beneficial infrastructure projects in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean, while the U.S. offers only weapons sales and military bases.

Taiwan has become a flashpoint for conflict and possible war between the U.S. and China. In direct violation of the 1979 agreement, the U.S., first under Trump and now under Biden, despite denials, has pressed the Taiwan regime to declare itself an independent country. This is also a shift in Taiwan’s policy, whose leaders up until the election of the “Green” Coalition in 2016, had always maintained that Taiwan was part of “one China”. But surveys of Taiwan’s residents show that there is little support for independence. Most certainly do not wish to be the pawns of a U.S. proxy war against the PRC.  Negotiations begun in the 1990s have made the PRC Taiwan’s biggest trading partner.

But now the Taiwan regime, which is heavily armed from decades of weapons sales by the U.S., is hosting U.S. troops on the island. And the U.S. corporate media has many screaming headlines about how the “aggressive” Chinese air force is flying over Taiwan, while failing to mention that Taiwan’s self-declared Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) stretches not only over a huge portion of the South China Sea, but also over a large part of the Chinese mainland. In fact, Chinese jets were never close to Taiwan’s land and sea borders at all.

This change of U.S. policy was obviously kowtowing to a shift by a major part of Wall Street and its political minions towards confronting the PRC over its increasingly successful socialist economic construction along with its leftwards turn under the leadership of President Xi. The specter of the loss of its economic and technical hegemony has now largely overcome the U.S.  banks’ and corporations’ fear of the loss of their investments in China.

For the Pentagon, Taiwan would provide an ideal military base right off China’s shore, where fleets of nuclear-armed U.S., British, French, and Japanese warships are parading, declaring their “freedom of navigation” while threatening a military blockade that would shut down the busiest sea lanes in the world.

Trump and Biden’s push for Taiwan’s independence does have an instructive precedent: the British and French governments’ campaign to mobilize public support for and recognition of the Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War.

They are our brother toilers, notwithstanding a difference in colour – George Howell, secretary of the London Trades, 1862

When the U.S. Civil War broke out in April 1861, Confederate leaders were confident that the British government would intervene and support their slaver republic. As Eric Foner describes in his book “British Labor and the American Civil War”:

“We have only to stop shipment of cotton for three months and a revolution will occur in England,” a Confederate leader told William H. Russell, American correspondent for the London Times. “Hundreds of thousands of your workers will starve without our cotton, and they will demand you break the blockade.”

Indeed, the textile workers in the Lancashire, center of the British textile industry, did suffer terrible hardship:

At its peak – in November, 1862 – about three-fourths of the labor force of the Lancashire cotton industry was idle. Full-time employment of 533,950 workers in November, 1861 dropped to 203,200 in November, 1862…Meanwhile, the total unemployment went from zero in November, 1860 to 330,759 in November, 1862.

Nearly all the British capitalist newspapers and even some of the workers press, noting that, in the beginning of the war, the Lincoln government stated that the war’s goal was the “preservation of the union” and not the ending of slavery, called for the British government to press the Union for an armistice and proclaimed that a war against the U.S. was preferable to the continuation of the blockade. They proclaimed the Confederacy to be a democracy, with an elected Congress and President, just as the U.S. describes Taiwan today.

It is well known that in the fall of 1862, Lord Palmerston and Napoleon III of France discussed jointly forcing the North to accept an armistice which they expected would lead to reconciliation with the South, with the understanding that in case of failure, England and France would recognize the Confederacy.

England’s capitalist class was hostile to the rising capitalist class in the U.S., just as the current U.S. ruling class is hostile towards Socialist China. The English aristocracy felt an affinity for the “genteel” slave owners in the Confederacy. But there was one social force in England that never wavered in its support of the struggle against slavery and the Confederacy – the English working class.

English workers were at this time denied the right to vote. The Chartist movement of 1838 to1857 waged a struggle for suffrage but were ruthlessly suppressed, with their leaders jailed or exiled. But during the U.S. Civil War they made their voices heard through mass meetings, many with thousands of workers attending.

At first, textile factory owners organized mass meetings in the Lancashire district, where they presented pro-Confederacy resolutions. But the thousands of workers who showed up shouted them down. Then they chipped in to rent halls (very difficult to do amid all the unemployment) and held meetings of their own. They demanded no British government intervention in the Civil War, an end of slavery, and voting rights for the freedmen, something that the British workers were then denied.

Such meetings were then held across the mill towns like Manchester and Birmingham, culminating in a mass meeting in London in April 1863, organized by Karl Marx, and attended by the son of the U.S. Ambassador to England, who conveyed the resolutions in support of the Union back to the Lincoln Administration.

Lincoln himself sent messages of gratitude to the British workers for their support, and the U.S. sent ships like the George Griswold with tons of food for the starving textile workers.

Although the British government secretly constructed warships like the Alabama for the Confederacy to help break the Union blockade, this strong workers’ movement prevented the British and French governments from recognizing the Confederacy as a legitimate government. And soon after, the British workers would not only win their own suffrage but also would form the International Workingmen’s Association (IWA), which became known as the First International.

In the face of the U.S. drive to “recognize” by force Taiwan’s “independence”, it is the task of progressives here, in solidarity with the workers in all of China, to mobilize against any imperialist interference in China’s internal affairs, and to stop Washington’s war drive against the PRC.

Next: Taiwan’s so-called “democracy”, the White Terror, and the struggle for computer chips.

People’s Organization for Progress Campaigns for Legislative Action in New Jersey


November 29, 2021 

Reprinted from Fighting Words People’s Organization for Progress Campaigns for Legislative Action in New Jersey – Fighting Words (fighting-words.net)

The People’s Organization For Progress. | Photo: Terri Kay

By Terri Kay

The Peoples Organization for Progress launched a major campaign on October 8, with what they called the Long March for Justice. The major demand of the campaign was to enable Civilian Complaint Review Boards, CCRB’s, to have subpoena power. Larry Hamm, Chair of POP, led the march from Montclair, New Jersey through about 22 towns, over 67 miles to Trenton, New Jersey’s State Capitol, covering about 10 miles per day.

The City of Newark, among a number of other NJ cites, already has a CCRB to monitor police behavior, but they are powerless without subpoena power. The state Supreme Court last year ruled against giving Newark’s review board subpoena power after a legal challenge from Newark’s Fraternal Order of Police. A state bill, A4656/S2963, which would enable subpoena power was introduced in September 2020, but has not been passed.

Other issues raised as part of the Long March for Justice include NJ S322, which would establish a reparations task force, federal voting rights reform, and federal minimum wage laws. The march was endorsed by a large number of organizations, including Black Lives Matter Paterson, Newark Communities for Accountable Policing, Black Lives Matter NJ, Atlantic City Chapter of the National Action Network, Trenton Anti-Violence Coalition, and New Jersey Chapter of the Poor Peoples Campaign.

SFSU President Overrules Her Own Faculty Panel


November 12, 2021

Reprinted from Fighting Words SFSU President Overrules Her Own Faculty Panel – Fighting Words (fighting-words.net)


In an outrageous and insulting decision, President Lynn Mahoney of SFSU [San Francisco State University] has disregarded the legitimate reprimand of a faculty panel that recommended redress to Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi, founding director of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies (AMED) program, for the University’s failure regarding violations of Professor Abdulhadi’s and her colleague Professor Tomomi Kinukawa’s academic freedom.

President Mahoney’s decision upholds University’s corporatized acceptance of Big Tech’s increasing control over academic discussion and its complicity with Zionist organizations that stifles all discourse on issues of human rights and dignity for the Palestinian people.  

The President’s decision follows a ruling by the faculty member panel based on a six hour hearing following the arbitrary cancellation by Zoom and other social media outlets of Drs. Abdulhadi and Kinukawa’s online open classroom, “Whose Narratives? Gender, Justice and Resistance: A Conversation with Leila Khaled.” The University is bound by contract, law and AAUP policy to protect academic freedom rather than subcontracting the responsibility to private companies. Further, universities must maintain structural independence from the whims and demands of partisan lobbying organizations, including Zionist groups like the Academic Engagement Network (AEN) and the Lawfare Project.

In its ruling, now vetoed by President Mahoney, the faculty panel affirmed that: “San Francisco State University has inflicted harm upon Dr. Abdulhadi (and co-instructor, Dr. Kinukawa) and that her academic freedom was, in fact, violated. We characterize this harm in two ways: 1) that the university did not provide adequate support to Dr. Abdulhadi against the actions of the corporate entity, Zoom, and, more importantly against the outside organization, Lawfare Project.”  Furthermore, the panel ordered the university to provide remedy in the form of a public apology to Dr. Abdulhadi and to provide “a site for rescheduling the event with Leila Khaled on an alternate platform, without interference”.

Clearly, with this decision, SFSU is continuing its policy of harassment of Dr. Abdulhadi, intensifying its efforts to dismantle the AMED program, and confirming its complicity with Zionist organizations that seek to silence Palestinian voices on campuses across the country as Israel has pursued against Palestinian human rights organizations. SFSU’s lip service to academic freedom flies in the face of limiting Palestinian speech in favor of an overriding concern for its corporate bottom line.

As with this week’s criminalization of 6 legitimate Palestinian human rights organizations by the Israeli government, SFSU chose to follow the Zionist playbook of demonizing all actions in support of Palestinian liberation and teaching about Palestine as “terrorism” and “anti-Semitic”.

President Mahoney’s decision was written by Ingrid Williams, Vice President of Human Resources.  According to University by-law, the President’s veto will trigger an automatic and independent arbitration hearing for a final decision on Dr. Abdulhadi’s grievance.

C.L.R. James: (aka, J.R. Johnson): Pamphlet Points at Scandal of “Jim-Crow in Uniform”, 24 May 1943

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 21, 24 May 1943, p.–6.

Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for MIA.

The War’s Greatest Scandal, Jim Crow in Uniform is the title of a pamphlet (published by the March on Washington Committee, five cents) on Negroes in the United States Army; and Jim Crow, ugly, barbarous and detestable as he is wherever he appears, is more than usually hideous when dressed in the uniform, and carrying out the commands, of American imperialism.

Take this: “Alexandria, La., January 11, 1942. – Twenty-eight Negro soldiers shot or clubbed in a race riot provoked by the attempt of a white MP to arrest a Negro soldier. Three thousand Negro soldiers put under arrest by white MPs and city and state policemen. Basic cause of riot: lack of recreational facilities for 16,000 Negro troops stationed in nearby camps: refusal of Army authorities to allow colored MPs.”

There you have the main point which this pamphlet makes. We must note not only the persecution and the brutal mistreatment and humiliation of the Negro troops by the reactionary elements of the population, both inside and outside the Army. It is the refusal of the Army authorities themselves to protect their own Negro soldiers, which gives another glaring proof that the war is. not a war against Nazi racialism, but is a war for nothing else but the maintenance of the capitalist system.

Government Fosters Jim Crow

How could the Army, in this society, in such a war, do otherwise than join in the savage persecution of the Negroes? The Army segregates the Negroes in its ranks and thereby not only breaks the law with impunity, but encourages racial feeling. Winfred Lynn has challenged the evil at its legal root by bringing suit against the Army authorities for inducting him into a Jim Crow regiment. But whatever the legal aspects, of the case, which the pamphlet goes into with brevity and precision, it is too much to expect that this case can act as anything more than a focus of exposure and agitation. For the Navy discriminates against the Negroes as if they have the plague; the Air Corps will not allow them any but the most meager opportunities; the Red Cross segregates their blood, in defiance of all science except the scientists of the Hitler regime.

For those hypocritical scoundrels who counsel the Negro to, trust in Roosevelt, the record of this so-called friend of the Negro is briefly but pregnantly summarized. Here is a beautiful quotation: “We are inexpressibly shocked that a President of the United States at a time of national peril should surrender so completely to enemies of Democracy who would destroy national unity by advocation of segregation. Official approval by the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of such discrimination and segregation is a stab in the back of democracy.”

Who are the perpetrators of this piece of hypocrisy? Walter White of the NAACP, Arnold Hill of the National Urban League. Of course! And the latest addition to these two is A. Philip Randolph, of the March on Washington Committee. As usual they are at their old game, jumping in front whenever the Negro people are deeply stirred by intolerable injustice, running to Roosevelt and, when they are kicked in the pants, protesting to the world how deeply surprised and shocked they are.

Jim Crow Continues

Yet, despite the repeated kicks and repeated shocks and surprises of Walter White and Philip Randolph, the Jim Crow in the Army continues. The Negro press is filled with examples every week. Why it continues so flagrantly is also to be observed in this pamphlet.

The executive secretary of the MOW contributes a foreword: people may think it is unwise to raise these questions now, but it is necessary to struggle. The Negro people WERE READY to struggle! It was their determination that gave rise to the March on Washington Committee, whose aim was in its very title. But Randolph and White called off the march – called it off because they could not break with Roosevelt, called it off because they are all-out in support of the war and still want to oppose and put an end to one of the basic proofs of the American imperialist system. You cannot do both; and thus, whenever they run up against the consequences of their pro-war policy, all that they can do is to bleat: “We are surprised, we are shocked.”

Nevertheless, the Jim Crow, as usual, continues. The great arsenal of democracy sends its armies and its arms abroad. But by its very nature it piles up an arsenal of weapons against itself in its incessant attacks against the elementary democratic rights of the people. These weapons need to be collected and put in handy form at the disposal of the masses.

This pamphlet, the work of Dwight and Nancy Macdonald, is a good arsenal. In the hands of people who know how to use it, it would be a powerful aid in the struggle for true and honest democracy. But though Randolph’s organization can publish this pamphlet, it cannot use its material to any effect. To achieve any results it must be used to direct the Negro masses straight to the fountainhead – to march to the President himself in Washington.

Will Randolph do this? Only when the Negro people themselves stick him in the middle of the marchers and take him along with them, whether he wants to or not. Then, and only then, will Jim Crow begin to tremble.

C.L.R. James: Hollywood Does a Re-Take on the War, 24 May 1943

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 21, 24 May 1943, p. 4.

Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for MIA.

Films cannot reproduce reality. But they can sometimes do more. They can give you a representation of events and people which can be more real than reality to an observer. By concentration, by leaving out the inessential, by dramatic symbolization, you can, through a good film, see a period of history or understand a movement better than by years of study. Thus, for instance, a film in which the following dialogue took place.

Chamberlain: We understand the German need for capitalist expansion. But we are arming. We shall not allow ourselves to be pushed out of Europe.

Hitler: I know that. But I must have Austria and Czechoslovakia, on the road to the Ukraine.

Chamberlain: Yes, but what guarantee have I got that when you have strengthened yourself in the East you will not turn against us in the West?

Hitler: I give you my word that –

Chamberlain: Stop that nonsense. This is not a diplomatic conference, or a party speech.

Hitler: Sorry – but you must give me my way. If you force me to another course, think of the consequences – the danger of revolution.

Chamberlain: That I see as well as you. But remember. If you overrun Poland, it will be war. We draw the line at Poland.

Hitler: I must have the province of East Prussia and Danzig.

Chamberlain: That could be arranged, if you have patience. But remember, you cannot dominate Northeastern as well as Southeastern Europe.

And so on and so forth.

For that is why wars come. Because of the clash of INTERESTS.

Let us review the European situation during the recent period.

Britain is determined not to allow any country to dominate all Europe; supports France against Germany; Germany is defeated in 1918. Britain at once begins to support Germany against France. Germany and Austria, starving, want to unite. Britain and France refuse.

Hitler comes into power in a desperate Germany. Poland says to France: “This man is dangerous. Let us crush him now.” Some in France say: “Yes.” Others say; “Yes, but if we crush him there will be a social revolution, and then what?” Lloyd George says: “Leave him. If he goes, there’ll be communism.”

Italy says: “We need Ethiopia.” French capital says: “Let us, divide it; you, Britain and ourselves.” They quarrel over the division. Mussolini, getting angry, attacks.

As soon as Hitler sees this he enters the Rhineland. The French, very frightened, turn to Britain. Britain says: “Leave him alone.”

Meanwhile, the Spanish workers, rise against Franco. All of them, Britain, France, USA, Italy, Germany, get together to crush the Spanish workers. Stalin intervened to be sure that no workers’ state will take power.

Japan, seeing the European nations engaged, says: “This is our chance to get China.” Roosevelt at once shouts: “Quarantine the aggressors.” But Britain does all it can to come to terms with Japan at the expense of the USA, while Chamberlain arranges Munich with Hitler. At Munich the British industrialists come to an agreement with the German, aimed at a European battle for the world market against USA imperialism.

These are some, just a few of the highlights. The struggle for economic power, to satisfy a capitalist economy that cannot be satisfied, fear of the masses whom the economy is crushing.

And Russia? Russia offered Hitler an alliance as soon as he came to power in 1933! Hitler refused it then. Only after Hitler’s refusal did Stalin become a “friend” of democracy, that is, of British and French imperialism; only to ally himself with Hitler as soon as it was expedient, Meanwhile, the British ruling class, almost to a man, supported Chamberlain; they changed only because they could not get a good working agreement with Hitler.

Such is imperialism, and imperialist war. Such is the reality of politics. Instead, what does Mission to Moscow show you? You see the stupidest diplomat who ever lived, wandering around Europe, a real “innocent” abroad, while Japanese and German diplomats whisper in corners, real movie villains. See Stalin talking like a Midwest parson, of sin and greed and wickedness and how honest Russia will have to compromise with sin if stupid Britain and honest America, with its “great President,” do not hurry up and come to Russia’s help.

The whole business is an offense to the intelligence of any honest worker. Yet what else could they do? For if they told only an inkling of the truth, the workers in every country would rise up in their wrath and settle accounts with all the war-makers. But the truth will out. And when a majority of the workers know, they will act.