ILPS Commission 4
The global scenario: acute crisis and inter-imperialist contradictions. The COVID-19 pandemic has conflagrated it. ILPS studies of state responses to the pandemic confirm the disasters wrought by neoliberal austerity and privatization policies which have crippled health care systems and put workers in even greater peril around the world.
The military-industrial complex, the engine of monopoly capitalism, including big pharmaceutical companies, seek to exploit the crisis, destroy progress and steal more resources from state, natural environment and labour to keep profits flowing. They demand that the workers sacrifice themselves for the well-being of a few, to give up their livelihoods or risk direct contamination on the job in conditions which have been underpaid and unsafe all along. As usual, the most oppressed, poor and vulnerable populations are suffering the most.
Meanwhile, tensions among imperialist states run high and the US keeps on punishing states that do not comply with the US imperialist model and policies by maintaining cruel sanctions, depriving whole populations of medicine and food. Neither has the US and its allies relented its militarization, threats and active military engagements from Syria to Venezuela. It continues to support the most reactionary regimes such as those of the Philippines, Israel and India in order to attain their narrow and anti-social goals.
The situation is driving working people to organize community systems to cope, and at the same time they raise more questions, voice objections and act politically. The ILPS has called for a week of anti-imperialist activities as one step in uniting and building the anti-imperialist movement for a better way. This follows the development of its international and chapter-wide education programs to discuss and enhance understanding of the crisis informed by Leninist analysis and organization principles in this year of Lenin’s 150th birthday.
Commission 4 operates on the principle of just peace, which is peace with guarantees of social, economic and political justice. The people resist imperialism and reactionary, oppressive regimes, rightfully refusing to give up until their demands for land, political and social reforms are properly addressed. In fact, we urge that the people step up their education, organization and mobilization to stop imperialism and win just peace according to local conditions and in whatever ways they can.
Though its own society is crumbling, its people rising in anger and its global influence waning, the US is still the biggest military force charged with defending the monopoly capitalist system. It is the center of the world arms trade. It has a nuclear warhead stockpile of over 6,000 and has produced some 70,000 since 1945. Its rivals, Russia and China, have likewise kept and produced thousands.
The US has at least 700 military bases around the world and sharing or visiting agreements in more locations. Its proxies and satellites such as Australia, Canada, Turkey and Colombia provide resources and act on its behalf. With a 2020 military budget of some $800 million, robbing its people of guaranteed public services and decent living conditions, it demands other states to give up funds and other resources and put their own people in harm’s way to supply its war machinery, for which inhumane domestic austerity programs have been intensified.
The context of an all-sided crisis of the global system and the major imperialist powers has inspired the US to adopt a multi-faceted, aggressive strategy dubbed as “hybrid war, ”often cloaking these destructive practices in terms such as ‘counterinsurgency’ or ‘overseas contingencies operations.’ That is the fierce and relentless repertoire of tactics including weapons of mass destruction, bio-weapons, xenophobia, economic coercive measures, cultural assault, media and psy-war, cyber warfare, espionage, deals with crooks and murderers, and political interference and manipulation. Politically, the US and company are leaning further to the Right, away from bourgeois democracy, social development, law and science. In desperation, they are collaborating with reactionary, fascist and terrorist elements while they try to bend the law and the truth.
In a recent webinar hosted by activists in the US, Carlos V. Ron Martinez, Vice-Chancellor of Venezuelan Foreign Affairs for North America, spoke about “why the US is obsessed with Venezuela.” He explained the two main reasons for the US’ desire for regime change in Bolivarian Venezuela: the nationalization of its oil industry and its independent foreign relations with states such as China, Russia and Cuba. Bolivarian policies rub against the geopolitical norms and policies that the US imperialists and its allies prefer. [Notes from a webinar entitled “An Inside View of Venezuelan Resistance to US Imperialism and How to Build International Solidarity” recorded on April 23, 2020 and uploaded to the Facebook page “Stop the Machine! Create a New World!”
The Bolivarian government uses the oil industry as the “motor of its economy” to help the people. The late President Hugo Chavez revived OPEC discussions independently and began reversing privatization by renationalizing its oil industry in 2001. He renegotiated the terms of contracts with big private players such as EXXON in 2007. When world oil prices were dipping in 2013, President Nicolas Maduro reopened OPEC discussions. That is when US President Obama started imposing coercive economic measures against Bolivarian Venezuela by Executive Order. These sanctions have since intensified.
Today some $5 billion are frozen in various banks out of allegations of corruption and $30 billion of revenues have been lost from the Venezuela state corporation’s sister company in the US, Citco, which the US overtook. Thus, the capacity of the renewed state to provide and build services for the people has been drastically reduced. The people cannot acquire daily necessities because of the sanctions. It makes coping with COVID-19 especially hard.
Vice-Chancellor Martinez describes this “bizarre context” which the US is employing a “maximum pressure strategy” to force the Bolivarian government to change. It has tried to take advantage of the switch in government and COVID-19. It is backing the most reactionary elements lead by Juan Guaidó who block discussions with all the opposition parties in the Venezuelan national assembly, while the US is threatening military intervention unless President Maduro accepts its “transition plan” to have him step down and have a coalition government chosen by the US to take over. It has even proposed this plan to the UN.
It also continues its provocations, such as the outrageous, baseless indictment against the Maduro government for supposedly trafficking narcotics. “This [strategy] is basically overthrowing a government,” says Martinez. The US will not rule out a full scale, all-out military intervention. He describes it as “the biggest military mobilization in 30 years” going on in the waters surrounding Venezuela, in addition to land border incursions by mercenaries.
This scenario of “hybrid war” poses a “very dangerous situation” for the Venezuelan people and the whole region. His government is calling for the US to step aside and allow parliamentary discussions to proceed in order to smooth out internal conflict. [ibid.]
West Asia (aka Middle East) is rife with conflict because of the long and brutal history of British colonialism, which the US inherited. The US and its partners in crimes against humanity including local reactionary leaders want to ensure that (1) transnational corporations have access to the oil and other industries, and (2) national independence and social liberation are thwarted. They are hostile to nationalized industry and social reforms, not just socialism.
The Turkish state enjoys the support of its NATO allies in its barbaric campaigns to subdue labour and crush Kurdish self-determination movements in Turkey and Syria. Iraq remains in turmoil with Islamic state and NATO forces actively trying to frustrate Iraqi independence. The US is constantly challenging Iran for its independent policies. The US, Canada and European states support Saudi Arabia’s attacks on Yemen, which is destroying Yemeni society and causing famine. (Canada has made deals to supply the Saudi military.) Since 2011, the US, supported by its allies and mercenaries, and Islamic state terrorists have been assaulting Syria. Today, part of Syria is occupied by Turkey and Israel. Millions of displaced Syrians have fled and are languishing in refugee camps with little to no protection from COVID-19.
Despite the US’ hypocritical claims about democracy, human rights and international law, US imperialism and reaction oppose Syria’s struggle for sovereignty and independence. Speaking in a webinar hosted by Sanctions Kill on May 9, 2020, the Syrian Ambassador to the UN, Bashar Ja’afari, explained that the “punitive and unlawful unilateral, coercive measures” (i.e. sanctions) impede the Syrian government’s functions to support the health care sectors and finance responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Never endorsed by the UN Security Council, the illegal sanctions have been blocking bank transfers and freezing Syria funds abroad. This resulted to price inflation.
Trade and humanitarian assistance is greatly restricted, except those allowed by US to reach terrorist factions in the west and north. The EU also refused entry to a Syrian aircraft sent to retrieve Syrians in Europe on May 9. Ambassador Ja’afari sums up the multi-pronged strategy of US-led imperialism as “health terrorism, financial terrorism, education terrorism, and media terrorism” in addition to military action. [Click on the Facebook or Youtube video link on https://sanctionskill.org/resources-2/]
“All Arab lands are under some form of colonialism today,” said Palestinian activist and writer Khaled Barakat during a webinar broadcast on May 16. The webinar was hosted by ILPS member Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network [https://www.facebook.com/SamidounPrisonerSolidarity/].
After invading and destroying Iraq society, the US wants Iraq, an intersection of various nations and conflicts, to also serve as a second control in the region. Barakat elaborated that Israel, far from having evolved as a nation-state historically, was manufactured by British colonialism and maintained by US neo-colonialism (aka present-day imperialism) to serve capitalism and Western imperialism. It is a settler colonizer.
US-led imperialism supplies Israel with the arms and technology for it to be the strongest power in the region capable of protecting capitalism and maintaining reactionary rule, said Barakat. He asserted that “Israel is a deathtrap”, one that desires to perpetuate conflict. Israeli reactionary and US imperialist discourse fog up the reality that Israel occupied Palestine. Religion is not the source of the conflict, as three religions have always existed in the Palestinian population.
The Israel state always gets in the way of dialogue and cooperation in the region. Peoples’ self-determination movements, such as those in Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia, have really just begun recently, claimed Barakat, with the only measure of success so far being Tunisia.
The region is a pivotal arena of international struggle. It is important to work together to build the anti-imperialist struggle and aim to build socialist societies that do not oppress the peoples. This way, anti-imperialists can push national liberation movements, at their own pace and according to each set of circumstances, to unite with sectoral struggles, and march forward towards freedom and peaceful co-existence with social justice.
On August 5, 2019, India clearly unmasked its imperialist face to the world. The Modi government in India revoked Article 370 of its constitution that had allowed the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOK) a certain amount of autonomy: their own constitution, a separate flag and freedom to make laws. From that day onwards, the IOK has been under siege by the Indian military. More than 700,000 Indian troops have been deployed to the region, with the people of IOK facing a fresh onslaught of brutal killings, harassment, and persecution. The region has been completely cut off from all types of communication including mobile and internet services.
Kashmiri activists believe that the fascist Indian government is now following Israeli Zionist strategies to subjugate Kashmiri freedom fighters, which is well proven by statements by Indian officials. A Muslim majority area, the IOK faces fresh waves of killings with the ultimate goal of bringing in Hindu Indian settlers to change the demography as is happening in Occupied Palestine. There have been blatant statements about purchasing land in Kashmir and diverting foreign investments to the region. As part of the multi-polar world where imperialist powers are vying to annex and occupy territories, the fresh onslaught on IOK is part of the open race for control of raw materials, labor and markets. Rich in its natural bounty, Kashmir is a key target for many reasons including its geo-political positioning.
There is little doubt that India is simultaneously flexing its muscles towards China, which also claims territorial rights to parts of IOK. This is also partly a retaliation to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) agreement between China and Pakistan, the starting point of the corridor being Gilgit, and is considered by India to be part of the disputed territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir that is supposed to be under Pakistani control.
India’s imperialist policies in IOK cannot be viewed solely on their own merit and need to be understood in the light of the current strong ‘bonding’ between fascist regimes of United States of America and India. Trump’s trip to India was an open acknowledgment of their combined political and economic ambitions in the Asia region, referred to as the Asian Century, which is where the future growth lies. No doubt, it’s the US hegemonic agenda and military power which India is counting upon for its aggressive posture in South Asia.
The struggle between capitalist and people movements not only in Kashmir but across South Asia is rising where the various states, through nation-state lenses, are trying to divide the people’s movements and nullify their aspirations of national liberation. The test of time is not to fall sway to the slogans created by fascist regimes that foster religious and national divides, but to come together on the basis of collective peoples’ solidarity demanding social justice and long-lasting peace. This is no doubt only possible by engaging in resistance against monopoly capital.
CALLS TO ACTION
The imperialist system is the root of most of the major problems facing the people. It is imperative that the people rise together against it with a vision of constructing a new way according to the people’s will and present regional conditions.
Organize, unite and mobilize to stop imperialism!
Deactivate all WMD! Oppose the arms trade!
End all general economic coercive measures!
End the occupations now!
Down with fascism and militarization!
Struggle for just and lasting peace!