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[Economics] [U.S. Imperialism]
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Debating Fascism in Amerika

I received your response to my article on the wonderful achievements of the Black Panther Party.(1) In this article, I articulated how fascism has taken possession of this country, and what should be seen as its most advanced form. This is the form that comrade George L. Jackson spoke of in Blood in My Eye, "the third face" in power and secure. I also share this opinion, and it is rooted in my philosophy about the obvious place to start and end the colonial war, which will result in the independence of not only our brothers and sisters in the third world, but also the sleeping giant right here in Amerika.

The fact that Amerika has never entered a revolutionary situation is amazing to say the least. However, it does not mitigate the arrival of fascism. This country is indeed a police state wherein the political ascendancy is tied into and protects the interest of the upper class. It is very much characterized by militarism, imperialism, and racism. By those very definitions it would be silly for intellectuals to continue to ponder on the presence of fascism and its shock troops.

Our new "pigs are beautiful" President Donald Trump is trying to reverse the constitution in order to make Amerikkka an all-white nation as the "Founding Fathers" intended for it to be. But in determining this birthright claim, does this not automatically push out the European colonial master? This would seem to be a true statement, but if we look at fascist predatory culture, it shows that anything of any great value that ever traded hands between the Europeans was taken by a force of arms. History in itself is indeed economically-motivated class struggle. We also have the situation of Mexico being seen as a villain of white Amerikkka to glean from. This is the same stance that the earlier Europeans used to justify the extermination of the Indians and the racist attacks against black brothers and sisters who had already suffered the worst form of slavery in history.

There is much truth in your analysis. However, some truths have been mitigated or omitted to fit your contention. The earlier vanguard party's insistence to only beg for tokens, or to beg for an expansion of the system to include all of us, even after numerous failed attempts, clearly shows their ignorance of the capitalist masters. In a capitalistic society, there must always be an upper, middle, and especially lower class. Asking the government to make certain areas better is the equivalent of making other segments of society a ghetto (poor whites, Asians Amerikans, etc.). This environment is all about winners and losers, which furthers the individualism that destroys trust.

The fact that the vanguard parties rallied around such issues as women's rights, prisoners' rights, etc. should not be ignored. However, those rights are still virtually ignored. Women still do not enjoy the same rights as men (i.e. #MeToo), and the prison industrial complex is still part of the imperialist plan to use our bodies as sources of cheap raw materials to build and expand capital. The 13th Amendment even legalizes slavery in the event that one commits a crime. So yes, Amerika is a fascist country. They use the argument of being "humane imperialists, enlightened fascists." The vanguard parties, instead of pushing for judicial redress which once again failed, should have ushered the populace to go to war against the capitalist masters. Anything less than that is reform.


MIM(Prisons) responds: It's unclear if this author is arguing that the United $tates has been fascist from the start. Or if there is a change we are seeing recently that marks a new fascist government. The former is an interesting argument. This comrade agrees that imperialism and militarism are part of fascism. And from that basis, one could argue that the genocidal foundations of Amerika look at lot like "the open terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic, and most imperialist elements of finance capital" as Dutt defined fascism. [See intro article]

But we make a distinction between the repression of imperialism against oppressed nations, a feature of the brutality of imperialism, and the terroristic dictatorship of fascist imperialism. This is important because of the strategic implications. If the United $tates has been fascist from foundation, during World War II we would have to argue that the United $tates was not a potential ally in the fight against Hitler's Germany. History does not support this interpretation.

If the author is arguing that there has been some change in the United $tates since World War II, and it is only more recently fascist, then we want to respond to the definitions ey offers more directly. Defining fascism as "militarism, imperialism, and racism" raises the question of how to distinguish that from good 'ole bourgeois democratic imperialism? Imperialism is characterized by militarism and national oppression (and by association, racism). And imperialism is all about protecting the interests of the ruling class. As we discussed in [link to lead article], white nation supremacy is an inherent part of Amerikan imperialism. So that too is not, in and of itself, a good way for us to distinguish fascist imperialism from bourgeois democratic imperialism. In fact, the author is correct that the "founding fathers" of this country intended for it to be a white nation. Unless we want to argue that the United $tates was fascist from the start, throwbacks to previous policies are not inherently signs of a new fascist government.

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[U.S. Imperialism]
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Amerikan Fascism and Electoral Politics

Before we speak on fascism in Amerika and its awesome powers in centralizing authority over all lower disenfranchised segments of the population, we must first see how it developed and evolved as an international movement intended for the ruling classes. Fascism is a form of totalitarian dictatorship that flourished between World War I and World War II. Similar governments, some modeled after the Italian system, were established later in countries of Europe, Asia and South Amerika.

Fascism as a world political movement is said to have ended with the close of World War II, which ended in the defeat of fascist Italy and National Socialist Germany. However it is my opinion that after the close of WWII, fascism did indeed emerge and consolidate itself in its most advanced form in Amerika. There are also other fascist countries still in existence, that are in open opposition to the instituted government, and in others as an underground movement fighting the government by employing guerilla tactics.

In general, fascism was the effort to create, by authoritarian means, a viable national society in which competing interests were to be adjusted by being entirely subordinated to the service of the nation. The following features have been characteristic of fascism in its various manifestations:

  1. An origin at a time of serious economic disruption and of rapid and bewildering social change
  2. A philosophy that rejected democratic and humanitarian ideals, however glorifying the absolute sovereignty of the state, the unity and destiny of the people, and the unquestioning loyalty and obedience to the dictator
  3. An aggressive nationalism, which called for the mobilization and regimentation of every aspect of national life and made open use of violence and intimidation
  4. The simulation of mass popular support, accomplished by outlawing all but a single political party and by using suppression, censorship, and propaganda
  5. A program of vigorous action including economic reconstruction, industrialization, pursuit of economic self-sufficiency, territorial expansion, and of course war, which was dramatized as bold, adventurous, and promising a glorious future

Although fascist movements often grew out of socialist origins (for example, in Italy), fascism always declared itself the uncompromising enemy of communism, with which, however, fascists' actions have less in common. The propertied interests, fearful of revolution, often gave their support to fascism on the basis of promises by the fascist leaders to maintain the status quo and safeguard property. Once established, fascist regimes ruthlessly crushed communist and socialist parties as well as democratic opposition, regimented the propertied interests, and won the potentially-revolutionary masses to the fascist programs.

Thus, fascism may be regarded as an extreme defensive expedience adopted by a nation faced with the, sometimes illusory, threat of communist subversion or revolution. In 1922 Benito Mussolini set up the first successful fascist regime which initially had about 320,000 members. The party was supported at this stage of its development principally by a number of large landowners and industrialists, high-ranking army officers, subordinate government officials, and the bulk of the police. Oppressed to the fascist party were liberals, and democrats who were impotent to cope with it.

Toward the end of 1922 the fascists occupied police headquarters, railway stations, telegraph offices, and other public buildings in the northern cities of Italy. Although the constitutionally-installed government requested Victor Emmanuel III, King of Italy, to proclaim martial law in order to crush the fascists, the King decided to collaborate with Mussolini and invited him to come to Rome to form a government. Mussolini arrived in Rome 1922 October 29. This was known as the fascists' March on Rome.

After Mussolini's elevation to power, fascism became totalitarian. Expansion was the keynote of Mussolin's foreign policy. Among the specific aims of Italian fascist foreign policy were control of the Adriatic Sea, increase of the European area of Italy, enlargement of Italy's Afrikan empire, and domination of the Mediterranean Sea, which Mussolini called "mare nostrum."

Although highly suspicious and jealous of the German dictator Adolf Hitler, Mussolini found himself pushed into an alliance with Germany in the so-called Rome-Berlin Axis. The alliance led to Italy's entry into World War II on the side of Germany, which proved to be a fateful mistake. Throughout the war the fascist regime was dependent for survival on the superior military and economic resources of Germany. As a result, the German influence became predominant, and in effect, Italy became a vassal of Germany. When the Allies invaded Italy in 1944, the Italian population turned against the fascist regime and its German overlord. The people rose in revolt in 1944-45, abolished the monarchy, and established a republic.

Amerika has established itself as the mortal enemy of all socialist activity on earth. Remember that fascism allows no genuine opposition to its rule. It is a geopolitical arrangement where only one political party is allowed to exist aboveground, and no oppositional political activity is allowed. Despite the presence of political parties, there is only one legal politics in the U.S. — the politics of corporatism. The hierarchy commands all state power.

Donald Trump's documented congratulatory messages to Putin are not simply diplomatic gestures. Trump is a fascist. Trump, like FDR, was born and bred in a ruling class of families. His role is to form a new fascist regime, much like the "new deal," to merge the economic, political and labor elites. Extreme nationalism has prompted a national emergency to fund a wall to keep Mexicans out. This is much like the violence that was geared at the Indians and against us as blacks.

In my view, worrying who to elect will do us no good. With people like Trump in office the lower class should become more aware of their class enemies. In my view our only recourse is a highly orgnanized class war and then we go on to the restructuring of society. That is the answer.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This author takes a scientific approach to defining fascism. Ey offers five points which define fascism which include economic expansionism and domestic repression along nationalist lines. The first point is of great interest to us: does fascism require a time of serious economic disruption? If so, what does this look like? We didn't see serious economic disruption with the election of Trump, but this author implies that Amerika has been fascist for longer than the Trump administration. So we ask the question: when did this disruption happen and when did Amerika become fascist?

While we find this author's history of fascism on point, we wouldn’t say that "fascist movements often grew out of socialist origins" but instead acknowledge that some fascist leaders started off in socialist movements before changing political direction and becoming fascist. This is not surprising as the mass base for fascism is a group communists will also be recruiting from, and we need to be careful that our messages to these people don't push them in the wrong direction of reactionary national self-interest.

Finally, we're unsure about what this "new fascist regime" is that the author suggests Trump is building. It doesn't fit into the five defining points the author offers above, if this is a change from democratic capitalism. In fact, as the author points out, the building of a wall to keep Mexicans out of the United $tates isn't particularly different from the historic violence against indigenous people or the enslavement of Africans and more recently the oppression of New Afrikans. So we are not seeing the change in Amerikan society that would merit now calling it fascist under Trump.

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[U.S. Imperialism]
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(Mis)Use of the "Fascist" Label in the United $tates

The colloquial use of the term fascist in the United $tates has become something like, "My boss will write me up if I'm 5 minutes late; he's a real fascist." Fascism here is equated with controlling and domineering. And this is exactly how the Liberal bourgeoisie distinguishes their system from others; through freedoms and persynal liberties. The narrative of the Liberal bourgeois governments following WWII attempted to merge the defeated enemy of fascism with the rising enemy of communism, by depicting them both as being bad because they supposedly wanted to control every aspect of your life. The Amerikan system was upheld as far superior and joyous because of the vast array of choices of consumer products (and thereby, lifestyles and appearances). They also claimed to address the necessities of food, clothes and shelter, but these are almost afterthoughts given the opulence of the imperialist countries, particularly the United $tates, following WWII.

A more correct application of the term fascist comes from the likes of prisoners. In the context of prisons, this term is used to describe the concentration camps in the United $tates today, the regular torture and brutality that takes place in these institutions, and the effects of the criminal injustice system on reducing reproduction within the oppressed nations. This is a strategic use of the term in an attempt to win over the more progressive of the bourgeois Liberals who don't want these more fascistic aspects of imperialism in their country.

George Jackson, and many other Black Panthers, used the word fascist to describe the United $tates government in the late 1960s. At that time the country was facing a major crisis, a revolutionary upsurge, that connected communist governments such as China, resistance movements that were demolishing the U.$. military in countries like Vietnam, and internal semi-colonies fighting for liberation from within the United $tates such as the Black Panthers. At this time Panthers and other revolutionary leaders within the United $tates were murdered in cold blood. Even some white students were killed by the state, indicating the seriousness of the crisis. When your leaders are being killed by the state, and you are not engaging in armed struggle, that is a strong sign that fascism is on its way. The Panthers decided to form the United Front to Combat Fascism, to ally with democratic forces, especially within white Amerikkka, which marked the end of the rise of revolutionary struggle in this country. We won't try to explain that here, but mention it to say that the Panthers's shift in strategies to address what they saw as a fascist threat proved wrong in practice.

Political assassinations became a definite tactic of the U.$. government in the 1960s, but the scope was still quite limited. After this period of struggle peaked, the main reason why things turned so quickly in the United $tates is that the white nation was not facing an insurmountable crisis. Their crisis was one of war, a losing war, with a large draft that was impacting the oppressor nation greatly. The imperialists were able to cede this war to the Vietnamese, in a way that saved some face, while appeasing the demands at home. The imperialists learned from this war, and went on to carry out countless counter-insurgency operations throughout the Third World (with far less blood shed by Amerikan soldiers) that continue to this day. The crisis that will bring fascism to the United $tates will likely need to be an irreconcilable economic contradiction within the imperialist system itself; one that normal shifts in policy and resources cannot address.

Also remember that the parents of the Black Panthers lived in a completely segregated Jim Crow society, where New Afrikans were often killed for far less than trying to lead a revolutionary overthrow of the U.$. government. This was during a time when millions lost their lives fighting fascism around the world, but no one was calling the United $tates fascist.

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[Somalia] [U.S. Imperialism] [Campaigns]
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U.$. AFRICOM Drone Bombings Surge in Somalia

Somalia governance 2016 map

The United $tates has been waging a low-intensity war in Somalia for over a decade, and it's only getting worse. U.$. bombings in Somalia have tripled since Trump took office. These bombings generally go unreported in the Amerikan press, but investigative journalist Amanda Sperber has helped bring what little information there is to light. According to her report, the administration has refused to explain to Congress its reasoning for the increased bombing campaign. The United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) reports claim only terrorists have been killed in these "targeted attacks," while Sperger has spoken with victims on the ground who list young children and civilians as being killed. This has become the common result of the U.$. drone wars.

In 2017, President Trump issued a directive allowing AFRICOM to assassinate anyone it identified as a member of Al Shabaab. The new president of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, is an Amerikan-trained puppet who has allowed AFRICOM to operate freely within the country. It is little wonder that Al Shabaab garners support with calls for national liberation in a country that has no free will independent of U.$. imperialism.

In addition to AFRICOM, it has been reported that the CIA is also assassinating people in Somalia, and their requirements for transparency are even more limited. While there are reportedly 500 Amerikan troops in Somalia these days, almost all operations, including the CIA, are run from the safety of the "Green Zone." They use drones to do the killing, and then claim that everyone killed was a terrorist.

Southern Somalia is just one hotspot for AFRICOM-operated warfare on the continent of Africa. It is these secret imperial wars that comrades in United Struggle from Within are standing up against by joining the campaign to Shut Down AFRICOM. We must work to lift the veil of secrecy around these wars, and build an anti-imperialist movement that is capable of challenging these unnecessary deaths from within the belly of the beast.

As this issue of Under Lock & Key goes to print we will be tallying up the final count of petition signatures from our readers. These petitions will be submitted the Congressional Black Caucus by the Black Alliance for Peace in April.

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[Africa] [China] [Militarism] [U.S. Imperialism] [ULK Issue 66]
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Africa Can't Prosper Under Boot of United States

Anti-imperialists got a little taste of good news from Trump last month when ey announced plans to pull troops out of Syria. Ey later backpedaled saying ey did not set a timeline for such a pull out. But Trump has long made comments indicating that the new focus of U.$. strategy will be to combat China and Russia. In other words, the war on oppressed nations, particularly in the middle east and north Africa, and euphemistically dubbed the "War on Terror," will no longer be the primary focus.

It has always been MIM line that we are in a period of World War III, that is a low intensity war by the imperialists against the oppressed nations. The hegemony of the United $tates allowed for this to be the focus in the decades following World War II. That hegemony is fading, and the emergence of a fourth world war, or a third inter-imperialist war is bubbling to the surface.

Of course, inter-imperialist war does not mean the oppressed nations get a reprieve from the needless brutality of capitalism, as inter-imperialist war is always about carving up the oppressed nations for their resources and markets. Enter "Prosper Africa", the plan announced by U.$. National Security Advisor John Bolton in December. Bolton stated, "America's vision for the region is one of independence, self-reliance and growth, not dependency, domination and debt."(1) This is a hypocritical jab at China, from the country who has done more to make Africa dependent and in debt in the last half-century than any other. At the same time the Trump administration is calling for more "honest" dealings with Africa, that recognize U.$. economic and political interests more openly.

The "Prosper Africa" plan coincides with Pentagon plans to reduce U.$. troops in Africa by 10%. Nothing close to our demands to shut down Africom, rather a subtle adjustment of current U.$. strategy. The immediate focus seems to be drawing hard lines in the sand of the African continent between those compliant with U.$. imperialism and those who are not.

In recent years, China has joined forces with other emerging imperialist or sub-imperialist nations with independent banking capital including Brazil, India, Russia and South Africa (BRICS). As a group, the BRICS countries have greatly increased trade with African countries over the last decade. Increases in trade on the whole is a benefit to the well-being of all peoples involved. While this trade provides outlets and opportunities for capital from countries with growing finance capital, the established imperialist powers (the United $tates and France) face a reduction in their access to markets and in their ability to strong arm the oppressed nations of the world into serving their interests. This threatens to contribute to economic crisis in the advanced imperialist economies, and trigger more militaristic and desperate actions politically.

The Trump administration has hinted at pulling support from United Nations (U.N.) "peacekeeping" missions in Africa. While opposing the U.N. garners support from white nationalists subscribing to isolationalism and Amerikkkan exceptionalism, the real motivation here is likely to reduce Chinese influence in the region. More than 2,500 Chinese troops are stationed in war zones created by U.$. and French imperialism in South Sudan, Liberia and Mali. China accounted for 1/5 of the U.N. troops pledged to operations in Africa in 2015.(2)

China established its first military base outside of China in 2017 at the strategic location of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa. This is in line with a shift in Chinese foreign policy over the last decade from non-interference to "protecting our country's over-seas interests."(3) The United $tates, France and Japan are among the countries with existing bases in Djibouti, where the government depends on military leases as an important source of income.

The U.$.-backed coup and murder of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 helped break the continent's resistance to Africom. Up until then Africom had to operate out of Europe. With the pan-Africanist government in Libya out of the way, Africom was able to operate from within Africa for the first time. Now the United $tates has at least 46 military bases in Africa and close military relations with 53 out of the 54 African countries. Many countries have agreements to cede operational command of their militaries to Africom.(4)

While the coup in Libya was a victory for U.$. imperialism, it continues to be a disaster for Libyans, with repercussions for the whole region. The United $tates will have a much harder time stemming the still-expanding Chinese pole that challenges U.$. hegemony in Africa. As this contradiction threatens the world with inter-imperialist war, it offers opportunities for the oppressed to move independently as cracks widen in the imperialist system.

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[U.S. Imperialism] [Venezuela]
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Imperialists Push Coup in Venezuela to Secure Oil for Amerikans

The United $tates is attempting a coup in Venezuela, pushing Juan Guaidó, formerly a lawmaker in the Venezuelan government, to declare himself President. This subversion of democracy is par for the course for the imperialist United $tates. The U.$. will do whatever it takes to maintain access to cheap labor and resources in Latin America. In this latest round of intervention, the United $tates has rallied other imperialist powers and U.$. lackey governments to join the charade in recognizing the illegitimate government of Guaidó.

As of this writing, the coup is failing and the national bourgeois government led by Nicolás Maduro remains in power in Venezuela. President Trump has threatened military intervention and we can anticipate further subversion of democracy and covert and overt imperialist attacks on Venezuela in the months to come.

The Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela

Venezuela was colonized by Europeans in 1522. The people won sovereignty in 1821 led by Simón Bolívar. After WWI oil was discovered in Venezuela, prompting an economic boom. But the collapse of oil prices in the 1980s devastated the Venezuelan economy. As the standard of living fell and the government implemented harsh economic reforms at the demand of the imperialist IMF, the people began to protest. In 1989 massive riots were met with violence by the government. This led to several coup attempts. While these coups failed, they indicated the ongoing unrest and instability in the country.

In 1998, Hugo Chavez was elected President with an overwhelming majority of the vote and a mandate for change. Formerly a military leader, Chavez had attempted a coup in the previous years of unrest. While not a communist by any stretch of the imagination, Chavez represented the national bourgeoisie in Venezuela. This class is a progressive ally of the anti-imperialist forces. Chavez launched a "Bolivarian revolution" which began with a 1999 Constituent Assembly to rewrite the Constitution of Venezuela. The people were mobilized to participate in this political process.

At the same time, Chavez implemented programs to help the vast majority of poor people in the country. By 2005 they had eliminated illiteracy. Between 1999 and 2012 infant mortality was cut from 19.1 to 10 per 1000, malnutrition was reduced from 21% to 3%, and poverty rates were more than halved. Venezuela also paid off all of its debts to the World Bank and IMF and then withdrew from these imperialist organizations which promote economic subservience in the Third World.

While implementing internal reforms, Chavez took up the anti-imperialist pole of leadership in Latin America, in alliance with Cuba. In 2011 he helped launch the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), uniting 33 countries outside of imperialist control. In 2005, Venezuela launched a program to provide subsidized oil to 18 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Chavez was re-elected to two more terms as President, but died from cancer in 2013 before serving his third term. Nicolás Maduro has been the president of Venezuela since Chavez's death. As Vice President, Maduro was appointed to fill the role, and then won the popular election. Maduro again won a recent presidential election, but under the pretense that this election was not democratic, Juan Guaidó swore himself in as "interim President" in late January at the urging of the United $tates. Not even a participant in the election, Guaidó was previously the head of the national assembly, a body that was declared null and void in 2017.

Why does the U.$. care about Venezuela?

Venezuela is one of the world's leading exporters of oil, and is a founding member of OPEC. When Hugo Chavez took power, Venezuela was the third biggest supplier of oil to the U.$. and the United $tates continues to be the biggest buyer of Venezuelan oil. Chavez's government nationalized hundreds of private businesses and foreign-owned assets, such as oil projects run by ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips.(1)

We can look to the recent history of Venezuela to understand just how ridiculous is the U.$. claim to supporting "democracy" in that country. The United $tates backed the viciously repressive dictatorship of Marco Jiménez (1948-1958) because of his support of transnational corporations. This government imprisoned, tortured and murdered thousands of innocent Venezuelans. For this service the United $tates awarded Jiménez the military Legion of Merit "for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements."(2)

Obviously the United $tates' economic interests in Venezuela are significant. But there is also the geopolitical stability of imperialist control in Latin America more broadly. Cuba, Bolivia, Uruguay and Mexico are all refusing to follow the Amerikan imperialist lead in recognizing this coup. And the Venezuelan government has been a thorn in the side of the imperialists for years. Led by bourgeois nationalists, Venezuela is a solid anti-imperialist holdout in the region. The success of the Chavez government in retaining power and popular support is an embarrassment for the imperialists and an example for the oppressed in the region.

The U.$. government has been plotting coups and working to undermine the government in Venezuela since Chavez took power. Back in April 2002 the Bu$h government backed a short-lived military coup, but Chavez quickly returned to leadership. The U.$. has a long history of CIA-backed coups in Latin America. When direct overthrow of the government doesn't work, the U.$. government resorts to election meddling, murder of political leaders, and other underhanded strategies. All this is done in the name of "democracy."

The road forward for Venezuela

Venezuela is not a socialist country. Hugo Chavez brought to power a government representing the national bourgeoisie, not the proletariat. Progressive reforms were made under Chavez that serve the interests of the Venezuelan people as a whole in opposition to those of the imperialist United $tates. But Venezuela continues to operate within the capitalist model, despite rhetoric about "socialism." Oil accounts for 98% of export earnings and 50% of GDP in Venezuela.(1) As production falls, the economy has nothing to fall back on. This problem is just one example of the failures of social democracy as a solution to the plight of the Third World proletariat.

During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China, the masses were mobilized around the question of putting the people's interests first and not profits. This was the battle against the capitalist road. Venezuela has yet to part with this road. But it continues down the road of national sovereignty, refusing to be a neo-colony of the United $tates. As such, the national bourgeois government in Venezuela is on the side of the proletariat, while lacking solutions to all of its problems. We must stand firmly in support of the Bolivarian government in Venezuela as it remains a balwark against imperialist intervention and subversion.

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[U.S. Imperialism] [Honduras] [Mexico] [Migrants] [ULK Issue 65]
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Imperialism’s Refugees

trump speech bubble

19 October 2018 — One week to the day of the Dia de la Raza celebrations in Mexico, a caravan of three to four thousand migrant men, wimmin and children (forming part of what's been dubbed the Central American Exodus) stormed the Mexico-Guatemala border at the southern Mexico State of Chiapas demanding passage through Mexico on their way to the United $tates. The migrants had spent the previous seven days walking from Honduras, where the caravan originated, through Guatemala, where they grew in numbers as Guatemalans joined the procession. Upon arriving at the Mexico-Guatemala border, the migrants were stopped by an assortment of Mexican Armed Forces equipped with riot gear, armored vehicles and Amerikan-supplied Blackhawk helicopters. The neo-colonial government of Mexico was acting on orders of U.$. Pre$ident Donald Trump who had issued the threat of economic sanctions against Mexico and warned of sending troops to the joint U.$.-Mexico border if Mexico didn't stop the caravan from reaching the United $tates. Similar orders were given to Honduras and Guatemala, who initially ignored the command. As a result, Pre$ident Trump has warned of cutting off economic aid to the recalcitrant countries.(1)

Hungry, thirsty, tired, and now frustrated, the caravan broke through the border fence and began flooding into Mexico where Mexican forces fired teargas and resorted to the use of their batons on the migrants in an attempt to push the caravan back. While some migrants began throwing rocks at the police, the event reached a focal point when various young men began climbing the gates of the bridge where they were held and began to jump into the shallow Suchiate river below. After unsuccessfully trying to dissuade people from jumping, a reporter present at the event asked the question, "why jump?" One migrant responded that he was doing it for his children, and while he didn't want to die, the risk was worth it if only he could provide for his family. Others stated that they would rather die than return to the crushing poverty and pervasive gang violence that awaits them back home. "We only want to work," other migrants stated. When it was all over one child was reported to have died from teargas inhalation.(2)

Unfortunately, the assaults on the caravan did not end there. Forty-eight hours after being stopped at Suchiate, about half of the caravan was eventually admitted into Mexico while 2,000 opted to board buses heading back to Honduras. On 22 October, the remaining members of the caravan along with additional Central American refugees already in Chiapas came together, after which their numbers swelled to 7,000 to 8,000 strong. This included the 2,000 children in their midst, along with the migrants' rights organization Pueblo Sin Fronteras. Members of the caravan made a public plea to the United Nations to declare the Central American Exodus a humanitarian crisis. They ask the U.N. to intervene and send envoys and a military escort to monitor the caravan's journey through Mexico which they referred to as a "Corridor of Death." Representatives of the group accused the Mexican government of perpetuating human rights abuses against them. They claimed that wimmin had been raped and children stolen. They also spoke of children in the caravan suddenly traveling alone because their parents had disappeared.(3)

Meanwhile, further south in the hemisphere, actor Angelina Jolie, who is a special ambassador for the U.N. Human Rights Commission for refugees, traveled to Peru to call attention to the "humanitarian crisis" that is currently playing out in neighboring Venezuela where inflation and food shortages have led to mass migrations into Peru, Brazil, and Colombia.(4) The migrations out of Venezuela have been extensively covered by the Amerikan media, along with increasingly hostile rhetoric from politicians to topple the government of Nicolas Maduro, which has stood against imperialist control of the country. In comparison, the plight of the Honduran caravan has barely been given any attention by English language broadcasts except in its influence on the mid-term elections here in the United $tates. Could this be because the Venezuelan government has been a thorn in the side of U.$. imperialism for the last 20 years while the combined governments of Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras have been faithful, if reluctant, servants of that same imperialist power?

Since 2005 the official number of refugees in the world has climbed from 8.7 million to 214.4 million in 2014.(5) However, since the very definition and criteria for refugee status is set by the imperialists themselves, and hence politically motivated, we're sure the real number is way higher. For example, according to the U.N., Honduras isn't even considered a country of origin for refugees. Neither is Mexico, and yet the majority of people migrating to the United $tates come from Mexico and certainly the people of Honduras and Guatemala are fleeing conditions comparably worse than the recent crisis in Venezuela.(6)

As of 2014, there were 11.2 million undocumented migrants in the U.$.; 67% came from Mexico and Central America. Of these 11.2 million migrants, 72% live in four of the 10 states with the largest undocumented populations. Of these 10 states, four are Aztlán i.e., California, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada.(7) Statistics also show that migrants from the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador will integrate into Aztlán and their children will assimilate into the [email protected] nation.(8)

As the principal contradiction in the world (imperialism vs. the oppressed nations, principally U.$. imperialism) continues to develop, and crisis heightens, we can expect to see more of these mass exoduses in the not-too-distant future. Already, there are reports of another caravan leaving Honduras of at least 1,000 strong. Surely to Amerikans this must seem like a nightmare come true, literally thousands of Third World refugees banging at the gates of their imperialist citadel. As tragic as all of this seems it is but a glimpse of how the Third World masses will finally rise up, and in their desperation, put an end to imperialism once and for all. Oddly enough, revolutionary forces in Mexico have yet to make an appearance and lend a helping hand to the caravan while ordinary working people have already stepped up to lend their assistance. How will [email protected] respond? That is left to be seen.

¡Raza Si!
¡Moro No!

MIM(Prisons) adds: The U.$. National Endowment for Democracy was involved in both the 2009 coup to overthrow Zelaya in Honduras and 2002 coup to overthrow Chavez in Venezuela (later reversed). Hillary Clinton infamously helped orchestrate the coup in Honduras as well. Since then murderous generals trained by the U.$. School of the Amerikkkas have terrorized the population, killing indigenous people, peasants and environmental activists. The U.$. has established a large military presence in Honduras since the coup, backing the robbing of land from poor indigenous peasants and peasants of African descent.(9)

Notes: 1. Al Medio Dia, Noticias Telemundo 52, 10/19/2018
2. Ibid
3. Noticias Telemundo 52, 10/22/2018
4. Al Medio Dia, Noticias Telemundo 52, 10/23/2018
5. The World Almanac And Book of Facts 2016 pg 5
6. Ibid pg 735
7. Ibid pg 10
8. [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán, 2015, by a MIM(Prisons) Study Group, Kersplebedeb Publishing, pg 124.
9. https://old.reddit.com/r/communism/comments/9td3k3/hillary_and_honduras_the_history_of_the_coup_that/
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[China] [U.S. Imperialism] [Principal Contradiction] [United Front] [ULK Issue 60]
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China's Role in Increasing Inter-Imperialist Rivalries

the china pivot
U.$. military encirclement of rivals China and Russia

In my last article on China I rehashed the 40-year old argument that China abandoned the socialist road, with some updated facts and figures.(1) The article started as a review of the book Is China an Imperialist Country? by N.B. Turner, but left most of that question to be answered by Turner's book.

We did not publish that article to push some kind of struggle against Chinese imperialism. Rather, as we explained, it was an attack on the promotion of revisionism within the forum www.reddit.com/r/communism, and beyond. The forum's most-enforced rule is that only Marxists are allowed to post and participate in discussion there. Yet almost daily, posts building a persynality cult around Chinese President Xi Jinping, or promoting some supposed achievement of the Chinese government, are allowed and generally receive quick upvotes.

The title of our previous article asking is China in 2017 Socialist or Imperialist may be misunderstood to mean that China must be one or the other. This is not the case. Many countries are not socialist but are also not imperialist. In the case of China, however, it is still important (so many years after it abandoned socialism) to clarify that it is a capitalist country. And so our positive review of a book discussing Chinese imperialism, became a polemic against those arguing it is socialist.

One of the major contradictions in the imperialist era is the inter-imperialist contradiction. The United $tates is the dominant aspect of this contradiction as the main imperialist power in the world today. And currently Russia and China are growing imperialist powers on the other side of this inter-imperialist contradiction. Reading this contradiction as somehow representative of the class contradiction between bourgeoisie and proletariat or of the principal contradiction between oppressed nations and oppressor nations would be an error.

We have continued to uphold that China is a majority exploited country, and an oppressed nation.(2) But China is a big place. Its size is very much related to its position today as a rising imperialist power. And its size is what allows it to have this dual character of both a rising imperialist class and a majority proletariat and peasantry. Finally, its size is part of what has allowed an imperialist class to rise over a period of decades while insulating itself from conflict with the outside world — both with exploiter and exploited nations.

A major sign that a country is an exploiting country is the rise and subsequent dominance of a non-productive consumer class. At first, the Chinese capitalists depended on Western consumers to grease the wheels of their circulation of capital. While far from the majority, as in the United $tates and Europe, China has more recently begun intentionally developing a domestic consumer class.(3) This not only helps secure the circulation of capital, but begins to lay the groundwork for unequal exchange that would further favor China in its trade with other countries. Unequal exchange is a mechanism that benefits the rich First World nations, and marks a more advanced stage of imperialism than the initial stages of exporting capital to relieve the limitations of the nation-state on monopoly capitalism. As we stated in the article cited above, China's size here becomes a hindrance in that it cannot become a majority exploiter country, having 20% of the world's population, without first displacing the existing exploiter countries from that role. Of course, this will not stop them from trying and this will be a contradiction that plays out in China's interactions with the rest of the world and internally. At the same time with an existing "middle class" that is 12-15% of China's population, they are well on their way to building a consumer class that is equal in size to that of Amerika's.(3)

In our last article, we hint at emerging conflicts between China and some African nations. But the conflict that is more pressing is the fight for markets and trade dominance that it faces with the United $tates in the Pacific region and beyond. China remains, by far, the underdog in this contradiction, or the rising aspect. But again, its size is part of what gives it the ability to take positions independent of U.$. imperialism.

As we stated in our most recent article, this contradiction offers both danger and opportunity. We expect it to lead to more support for anti-imperialist forces as the imperialists try to undercut each other by backing their enemies. Then, as anti-imperialism strengthens, the imperialists will face more global public opinion problems in pursuing their goals of exploitation and domination. In other words, a rising imperialist China bodes well for the international proletariat. Not because China is a proletarian state, but because the era of U.$. hegemony must end for a new era of socialism to rise. We should be clear with people about the definitions of imperialism and socialism to make this point.

Whether N.B. Turner agrees with us on these points is unclear. It is possible eir line is closer to Bromma's, who we critiqued because ey "claims a trend towards equalization of classes internationally, reducing the national contradictions that defined the 20th century."(3) As mentioned above it seems highly unlikely for China to be able to replicate the class structure of the United $tates. And it is absolutely impossible to recreate it globally.

China's potential to play a progressive role in the world in coming years does not change the fact that the counter-revolution led by Deng Xiaoping dismantled the greatest achievement towards reaching communism so far in history. If we do not learn from that very painful setback, then we are not applying the scientific method and we will not even know what it is that we are fighting for. How and when socialism ended in China is a question that is fundamental to Maoism.

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[First Nations] [Aztlan/Chicano] [U.S. Imperialism] [ULK Issue 57]
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Plan de San Diego Commemoration Starts with 1492 Invasion of the Americas

Brown Berets marching

In 1492, the European colonization of Turtle Island, which they'd call the Americas, began with the voyage of Christopher Columbus, in command of the Niña, Pinta, and the Santa Maria. This recon expedition arrived in the Caribbean and landed on the island of present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which they named Hispaniola. In 1492, Columbus returned with a second, larger force, comprised of 17 ships and 1,200 soldiers, sailors, and colonists.

By 1535, Spanish conquistadors had launched military operations into Mexico, Central America, and Peru. Using guns, armor, and metal-edged weapons as well as horses, siege catapults, war dogs, and biological warfare, the Spanish left a trail of destruction, massacres, torture and rape. Tens of millions of indigenous peoples were killed within the first century. The Mexica (or Aztec) alone were reduced from 25-million to just 3-million. Everywhere the death rate was between 90-95% of the population.

For all native Americans, the coming of Europeans to the New World marked the beginning of a long, drawn-out disaster. Their cannons and rifles gave them the ultimate power to inflict their will on the indigenous people. Even as they learned from the indigenous people how to survive in their new environment, Europeans saw their own way of life as the only "true" civilization. Indeed, so powerful did the notion of European superiority become that today they celebrate the "Discovery" of the New World by European explorers. Too often, we forget that what happened in 1492 was not the discovery of a New World but the establishment of contact between two worlds, both already old.

Was the European, or "Western" way of life really superior? This question remains a subject of stormy controversy throughout the world. Much of the resentment against Europeans and North Amerikans expressed by people in the Muslim world, for example, is based on the history of invasion, conquest, and domination by Western powers, a subject to which our RAZA and ALL indigenous people in the Western Hemisphere are familiar. European invasion and settlement spelled the doom of indigenous societies.

Amerikkka has always been a hegemony, a term which refers to dominance or undue power or influence. A hegemonic culture is one that dominates other cultures, just as a hegemonic society is one that exerts undue power over another society.(Gramsci, 1992/1965, 1995)

Ideologies

A classic study of the emergence of an ideology was Max Weber's analysis of the link between Protestantism and Capitalism, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1974/1904). Weber noticed that the rise of Protestantism in Europe coincided with the rise of private enterprise, banking, and other aspects of capitalism. Weber hypothesized that their religious values taught them that salvation depended not on good deeds or piety but on how they lived their entire lives and particularly on how well they adhered to the norms of their "callings" (occupations).

The most important norms in Western civilizations are taught as absolutes. The Ten Commandments for example, are absolutes: "Thou shalt not kill," "Thou shalt not steal," and so on. UNFORTUNATELY, people do not always extend those norms to members of another culture. For example, the same "explorers" who swore to bring the values of Western civilization (including the Ten Commandments) to the New World thought nothing of taking Indians' land by force. Queen Elizabeth I of England could authorize agents like Sir Walter Raleigh to seize remote "heathen and barbarous" lands without viewing this act as a violation of the strongest norms of her own society.(Jennings, 1975; Snipp, 1991) Protest by the indigenous people often resulted in violent death. But the murder of indigenous people and the theft of their land were rationalized by the notion that the indigenous people were inferior people who would ultimately benefit from European influence (the same ideology that justifies in their minds the wholesale murder of our Raza throughout the barrios of Aztlán by the police). In the ideology of the conquest and colonial rule, the Ten Commandments DID NOT APPLY (then or now).

So when you hear Trump making statements like, "Make Amerikkka Great Again!", make no mistake about it, what he is in fact saying is, "Make Amerikkka White Again!"

So in commemorating the Plan de San Diego, when asked the question, "What's this gotta do with me?" "Everything you're talking about happened a long time ago." RAZA, it has everything to do with YOU! It's time for the sleeping Giant to WAKE-UP! And say YA-BASTA! We have a rendezvous with destiny!

In this New Katun! This is OUR SIXTH SUN! As [email protected] growing up in occupied Aztlán. This is why [email protected] and Raza are discriminated against, marginalized and imprisoned at higher rates than Amerikkkans.

We must build for the Reunification and Liberation of Aztlán!!!

We have been plagued with this Amerikkkan disease LONG ENOUGH!!!

VIVA LA CAUSA VIVA LA RECONQUISTA!!!

VIVA MIM!!!

MIM(Prisons) adds: By the time this issue of Under Lock & Key hits the cell blocks across the United $tates, August will be upon us. In addition to the 38th annual Black August, commemorating the New Afrikan prison struggle, this August we mark the beginning of a campaign to commemorate the Plan de San Diego. This Plan called for a united front of oppressed nations living on occupied Turtle Island to take up arms against the settlers and reclaim land for the oppressed. If you haven't already, write to MIM(Prisons) to get Plan de San Diego fliers to distribute. The flier calls on [email protected] comrades to study, build with others, write articles, make art and develop [email protected] consciousness inside prison.

The building of consciousness and unity this August should lead up to the 9th of September when all prisoners are encouraged to mark the United Front for Peace in Prisons Day of Peace and Solidarity. Last year, September 9 was marked with many actions across U.$. prisons to commemorate the Attica uprising. Let's build on that momentum! Keep us updated by sending in your reports on what you achieved during Black August, Commemoration the Plan de San Diego and on the September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity.
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[Elections] [U.S. Imperialism] [ULK Issue 54]
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Revolutionary Potential of a Trump Presidency

Trump

We have received many letters lately exploring the future of our struggle under a Trump administration. Below we print excerpts from two of those letters and our response on the topic.

From a comrade in Colorado:

"The presidential election has been most interesting. The election of King Trump may be the last chance for the folks that brought us the Cold War, Vietnam, and much of the current world instability, to try to hold on to power (or make a show of power). The racial minorities and poor people in the United $tates are actually in the majority, but they apparently did not get out and vote, so now we get Trump.

"On the possible good side, perhaps the explosion of right wing, world domination capitalism that Trump will be pushing will finally provoke the masses (the proletariat) once they really get screwed by Trump policies, to look for a real solution to improving their status. (I do not mean the U.$. labor aristocracy who are doing very well — lots of toys to keep them occupied. They will get even more under Trump's policies.) By that I mean looking to the philosophy, the understanding of socialism, as the the only viable means to their liberation from the shackles of capitalism."

From a comrade in a Federal facility:

"The election of Donald Trump is a cause to celebrate for revolutionaries. These are revolutionary times. The times where movements are built. Communists are in a position over the next 4 years to put in place a revolutionary front that can be sustained beyond the next election if it should be lost to a so-called democratic contender. No time will be lost to make revolution with these revolutionary times at hand.

"The fact that a so-called 'social democrat' - read 'socialist' - like Bernie Sanders had a chance in an Amerikan election to become president is a sign of the times that 'socialization' of European Amerikans is at a point of maturity in its epoch of imperialism. It is ready for socialism but lacks the world-historical material condition to make it possible. Thus this contradiction (condition) manifests as a 'national socialism' that is the opposite of international socialism and is nationalist or 'nationality exclusive.' That is why white Amerika elected Trump, to make Amerika white ('great') again."


MIM(Prisons) responds: The writers here make interesting points about the election of Trump as an opportunity for revolutionaries. Certainly there are some good reasons to agree with this. Trump's extremely reactionary cabinet appointments seem to be inspiring many Amerikkkans to political activism who previously were content to sit and watch the politics of this country from the sidelines, perhaps going to the polls once every 2 or 4 years. Revolutionaries should seize their initiative and make sure that people have access to information about why electoral politics aren't the answer, if they really are seeking change for the better of the majority of the world's people.

Of the large portion of people who are eligible to vote but don't vote in presidential elections we see a few major groups:

  1. People who don't care who wins because they know the government is serving their interests generally by continuing on with imperialist plunder to keep people in the United $tates rich. For the most part this is the labor aristocracy and is the vast majority of U.$. citizens. Where our comrade in Colorado says poor people are a majority in the United $tates, instead our class analysis says the labor aristocracy is the majority, and if they didn't vote it's because they knew either Clinton, Sanders, or Trump would all be fine to serve their interests.
  2. People who don't care who wins because they know that both candidates support national oppression and will work counter to their interests. This is the oppressed nation lumpen and oppressed nations generally; the "racial minorities" referred to by our Colorado comrade.
  3. People who genuinely oppose imperialism and so can't in good conscience vote for a candidate who will run the imperialist state. This is a small number of revolutionary activists within U.$. borders.

As our comrade in Colorado points out, the U.$. labor aristocracy is comfortable and may even get more comfortable under a Trump administration. As much as the bourgeois liberals are crying about Trump's election, the potential for socialist revolution to be initiated within the United $tates is slim to none. They are upset about LGBTQ rights and Trump's overt racism and sexism and anti-environmentalism, but on the whole don't mind extracting wealth from Third World peoples for their own benefit. The best we can expect from the Amerikan masses' own volition is a push toward social imperialism, which still leaves the Third World out.

Even supporters of Bernie Sanders are not socialist, as much as Sanders tries to claim that's what eir politics are about. Sanders was a candidate with a clear imperialist line on international issues. While ey might have planned to spread around the wealth a bit more to U.$. citizens, ey still falls firmly in the imperialist camp, supporting wars of aggression, and financing terrorist governments like I$rael. In this regard, Trump, Obama and Sanders are more similar than they are different. Our Colorado comrade says Trump will push world domination capitalism, but we've been seeing this for decades and it didn't slow down for a second under Obama. There is no way to reconcile Amerikan imperialism with socialism. No elected candidate will make this change. Only by forcibly overthrowing the government will we be able to implement socialism.

Our comrade in a Federal prison brings up the question of the need for world-historical material conditions to be in place to bring the Euro-Amerikan nation toward socialism. This comrade's claim that Euro-Amerikans are well on their way to supporting a socialist shift is likely overstated. But if the oppressed internal semi-colonies and oppressed Third World nations are enraged by Trump's rhetoric and policies, then we can expect revolutionaries in Amerikkka to grow in strength and number as well. The oppressed nations' response, internally and abroad, to a Trump's presidency is where we see real revolutionary potential.

This writer is correct that socialism (in the short term, and communism in the long term) is the only way to liberate the oppressed from capitalism. But when we recognize that the majority of people in the United $tates are benefiting from capitalism, we can see that most people in this country, voters and non-voters alike, aren't being fooled by mis-information. Rather they correctly understand that if we were to give back all the wealth stolen from Third World countries and stop the plunder of imperialism tomorrow, standards of living in this country would go down dramatically.

Still, there are very good reasons why Amerikans should oppose capitalism, including the destruction of the environment, the deadly culture of patriarchy and violence, and basic humynity towards other human beings around the world. And so we conclude that if Trump's presidency leads some Amerikans to greater global awareness and inspires them to oppose capitalism, it is our job to provide a correct analysis of the system and opportunities for action against the system.

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