The latest issue of ULK (#75) was very informative. The article on Afghanistan was a good review of many of the issues.
One you did not mention and that is one of the reasons that China is sending money is that of the mineral resources of the country.
About 8 years ago I had a teacher who applied to work as an analyst for the CIA. As part of his application he did a report on Afghanistan. He found out why the U.$. invaded the country. There are large deposits of copper and lithium ore. The U.$. soldiers were to protect the Chinese workers who were building the railway that would transport the ore into China for processing.
Just like Spain, France, etc. in the 16th and 17th centuries, the U.$. government was in another country to steal its natural resources.
MIM(Prisons) responds: Certainly, natural resources continue to be a major impetus for imperialist foreign policy and war. The gas lines through the Caspian Sea were also a key concern in the region at the time.
Your description of the roles of the Amerikans and Chinese in Afghanistan is emblematic of the relationship between the two countries ever since the capitalist roaders took over in China in 1976. Today contradictions have heightened as Chinese capital has become more developed and therefore needs to exert its interests independent of the United $tates. Meanwhile the Amerikans have begun looking at bringing production and supply chains of basic goods a little closer to home after becoming dependent on the labor of Chinese proletarians. These contradictions playing out demonstrate why inter-imperialist conflict is the rule.
On Thursday, 12 August 2021, CNN reported that Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul would fall into the hands of the Taliban in 30 to 60 days.(1) On Sunday the 15th (only 3 days later!) the Taliban took control of Kabul. One day after that, the chief comprador leader of the Islamic Republic, Ashraf Ghani, fled the country on an airplane.
As thousands stormed the capital’s airport to flee the country from the Taliban takeover, U.$. soldiers escorting Amerikan personnel shot and killed two Afghanis on the tarmac of Kabul International Airport.(2) Video footage captured citizens hanging onto the side of the airplane and falling off mid-departure.
In regards to the humiliating end note of their 20 years war, the National $ecurity Advisor pig Jake Sullivian said the following:
“Despite the fact that we spent 20 years and tens of billions of dollars to give the best equipment, the best training and the best capacity to the Afghan security forces, we could not give them the will and they ultimately decided that they would not fight for Kabul and they would not fight for the country.”(3)
U.$. imperialism and the “democracy” they claim to spread around the world propped up the extremely reactionary government of the now fallen Islamic Republic. Despite wimmin’s rights having been a focal excuse for the imperialists to invade Afghanistan, their puppets in the Islamic Republic had no meaningful difference in wimmin’s rights in Afghanistan.
To the U.$. imperialists, their defeat (while surprising in how quickly Kabul fell) did not come as shock. On Saturday, 29 February 2020, (around a year and half before the fall of Kabul) the United $tates and the Taliban met in a five star hotel in Qatar and signed agreements to end the 20 years war.(4) One of the primary points of the agreements was complete withdrawal of U.$. troops within 14 months.(5) It seems that this is one of the rare agreements in which Amerikans made a promise and actually kept it with an oppressed nation. Other agreements included Taliban’s refusal to “terrorist groups” such as Al-Qaeda to use Afghanistan’s territory as operation grounds, and lifting of U.$. sanctions on the country.
The Sober Taliban?
In the Amerikan press, there were two big talking points around their defeat in Afghanistan. One was the would-be refugees trying to flee Afghanistan into the arms of Amerika, which nicely reinforces the story that Amerikans were the saviors in the country after all. The second was how wimmin would fair when the Taliban took over again. This reinforces the justification for invading Afghanistan to have been to liberate wimmin from gender oppression, a point that continues to serve U.$. militarism even after a failed 20 year war. A point that had nothing to do at all with why the U.$. invaded.
The Taliban is not unaware of these perceptions, leading to their representatives at the peace negotiations to suggest for less backwards treatment of wimmin under their rule.(6) Zabihullah Mujahid has claimed that they will “honor women’s rights,” and the “independence of private media” (journalists, news organizations, etc.).(7)
Mujahid’s comment highlights an important part of the Taliban’s new look (and most importantly, their class character). As rising from the bourgeois nationalist position, they were part of a country-wide Islamic movement to usurp warlord factions which ruled Afghanistan. The warlords themselves rose with western aid to usurp Soviet social-imperialist compradors led by Mohammad Najibullah. Mohammad Najibullah also started out with bourgeois nationalist tendencies usurping monarchist compradors.
After coming to power in the 1990s, the Taliban were overthrown by the U.$. imperialists themselves in the early 2000s after seeking to bite the hand that fed them decades before. Now, in 2021, they have risen to the seat again in Kabul. In order to maintain legitimacy, they must seek acceptability to new potential imperialist sponsors. If that means talking the talk to become the neo-colonial semi-feudal comprador state that the puppet regime beforehand never lived up to, then they must do it out of tactical necessity. Despite this tricky position that they have found themselves in, the United $tates’ do not seem to be the number one contender as Afghanistan’s neo-colonial ruler.
Upon the line of which class interest is at the helm of Afghanistan’s liberation from the United $tates’, we should also emphasize that under the leadership of the national bourgeois there was also the petty-bourgeoisie, the peasantry, and the agricultural proletariat within the Taliban movement. This character of Afghanistan’s national liberation gives time and space for the Afghan masses to breathe and provide necessary conditions for discussions on the country’s past, present, and future: what is to be done? What were the historical conditions that led up to colonial exploitations and humiliation? What does our liberation from the U.$. imperialists mean today? These questions will be further asked during the transformation of subjective and objective forces by revolutionaries.
The Social-Imperialist Road to Afghanistan
China was one of the first major imperialist countries to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan as a legitimate country.(8) It is nothing new for social-imperialism (not only in Afghanistan but for the whole world) to hijack bourgeois nationalist movements and turn them into satellite states. The number one tactic of Soviet social-imperialism was through neo-colonial aid, and China seems to be using the same tactic. China’s foreign minister Wang Yi said on September 8th, only a few weeks after the Taliban’s victory, that they will be providing the Taliban government $31 million dollars equivalent in food and aid.(9)
While publicly declaring their $31 million dollar deal with the Taliban, Wang Yi has also expressed calls for the Taliban to combat and remove the Uyghar jihadist movements of Xinjiang province – primarily the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP). Where China borders Afghanistan, the Xinjiang province is where most Uyghars reside (a majority Muslim national minority group of China facing oppression). The Turkestan Islamic Party – which has had historical alliances with the Taliban of Afghanistan – poses a major threat to the stability of capitalist China alongside the general Uyghar minority group. As a group who once declared liberation for the Muslim world, the Taliban will now have to be in a position of being the agents for Chinese social-imperialism against fellow Muslim nations/organizations. This is the limit to Jihadism as an anti-imperialist force (and other bourgeois nationalist anti-imperialisms) and the poisonous consequences of social-imperialism. Without Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, liberated countries will only fall back to colonialism.
Long Live Afghanistan
The United $tates’ defeat in Afghanistan, and the Taliban’s victory is a victory for the Afghan people. For the first time, Afghanistan could have a chance of being an independent nation state in our modern capitalist era. However, foreign meddling by the Amerikans, Chinese and others continue to threaten the development of Afghanistan’s self-determination. It is only by continuing down the road of independence that questions of economics, gender and the urban/rural divide in the country can be adequately addressed. The Taliban has served as a historically important and necessary opponent of foreign occupation, but the Afghan people need more than that to continue to address the contradictions they face as a nation. Revolutionaries here in the United $tates must continue to oppose our government’s interference in that progress.
Long Live Afghanistan!
Down with world imperialism!
1. Barbara Starr, “Intelligence assessments warn Afghan capital could be cut off and collapse in coming months,” CNN, 12 August 2021.
2. Rebecca Klapper, “U.S. Military Fatally Shoots 2 at Kabul Airport as Biden Orders in 1,000 Additional Troops,” Newsweek, 12 August 12, 2021.
4. Saphora Smith, “U.S.-Taliban sign landmark agreement in bid to end America’s longest war,” MSNBC, 29 February 2020.
6. Amanda Thub, “Why the Taliban’s Repression of Women May Be More Tactical Than Ideological,” The New York Times, 4 October 2021.
7. Associated Press, “The Taliban Claim They’ll Respect Women’s Rights — With Their Reading Of Islamic Law,” NPR, August 12, 2021
8. Memri, “During September, China-Taliban Relations Continued To Strengthen,” 5 October 2021.
9. Helen Reagan, “China to provide Afghanistan with $31 million worth of food and Covid vaccines,” CNN, 9 September 2021.
These last couple of months, all that was on the news was the U.$ evacuation of Afghanistan and the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. U.$. citizens, military personnel (i.e. veterans, active duty) and politicians have been showing their distaste for how Joe Biden pulled the U.$. troops out of Afghanistan; where scenes of Afghanis who aided the U.$. in their failed attempt to incorporate a U.$ controlled government in their homeland, frantically rushing to the Kabul airport to catch a ride with the U.$. citizens and troops. During the frantic and chaotic evacuation, ISIS-Kabul (ISIS-K) committed a suicide-bomb attack, which killed 13 U.$. troops, leading Joe Biden in a press conference to state, “.. We won’t forget and we won’t forgive. We’ll hunt you (ISIS-K) down till the end of the earth…”. I had to laugh at the screen once I heard the words leave Joe Biden’s mouth, because of the contradictions that this U.$. government hands out to the world and her own citizens continuously.
The U.$. preaches of peace and unity to the world over, but terrorizes or keeps a sniper scope on territories of the world, where it wants control over in the disguise of “the spreading of democracy.” But the only democracy that needs to be spreading faster than the COVID-19 virus and all its variants, is the New Democracy controlled by the Joint Dictatorship of the Proletariat of the Oppressed Nations(JPDON). Under the JDPON all oppressed nations may dictate their own destiny and as a collective of oppressed nations keep imperialism in the cage where it rightfully deserves to be in.
The democracy that the imperialists want to implement and maintain will only bring death and destruction. Our FWL men, women, and children are being deemed as terrorists then are murdered and imprisoned by the U.$. piggy force. Just how our TW brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews are being murdered and imprisoned by these imperialist armies and drones. Just how the comrade O.G. Hawk poem in issue #74 stated: “… FBI, CIA, and all of America’s comrades have hurt more people than anybody on earth crying that democracy is what it’s worth!”
We can go back into history and see the shaded hand of the U.$. stirring the pot of confusion and destruction, while the other hand points an entirely different picture of the truth. From the “War on Drugs” to the recently ended “War in the Middle East”, both were supplied with the money, drugs and weapons by the U.$ government and counterparts. The U.$. piggy force are trained to be in a war zone when they hit the local streets; for to them our neighborhood blocks are their Iraq and Afghanistan. How many of We have been terrorized by the U.$. government? As this article was being written, Haitian migrants were being whipped by U.$. border control officers on horse back at the Southern border of this country; an Afghani man and a couple of Afghani children were bombed in a drone attack when mistaken as a convoy of ISIS-K members. The latter is one of many over this ended 20 year war, that the U.$. government won’t admit. Prisoners from the East coast to the West coast are still being tortured with inhumane treatment, as We the FW lumpen are being singled out and put under manipulation techniques to enchant the spell of defeatism; deferring both the leaders and comrades from continuing on with the fight to liberate oneself from a capitalist/imperialist power.
We won’t turn the other cheek, extend the hand of friendship and sing “kumbaya” or whatever make-me-feel-warm-&-fuzzy-inside bullshit that the imperialists use as a ploy to keep We in a docile state. Holding on to the hope for that perfect union that Martin Luther King Jr., his descendants and followers of the non-violent movement have yet to experience. Just as Biden said about ISIS-K, the FW lumpen and TW proletariat won’t forget nor forgive the capitalist/imperialist governments for the genocide of all indigenous peoples and folks around the world, for colonialism and neocolonialism, the destruction of the planet Earth for profitable gain for the few; while everyone else is fighting each other for the top or a closer to the top spots of this fucked up capitalist pyramid scheme.
As We liberate our minds and each other from the imperialist/capitalist doctrines, culture and power, We’ll come to see justice being served to the worlds most wanted terrorist group, and a new age will emerge. An age of Freedom, Justice, and Equality for the majority of the world.
The most recent killing of U.$. troops in Afghanistan on 26 August 2021 marks the deadliest day in over a decade for the imperialists in that country. It also makes two points quite clear. First, the once reviled Taliban has negotiated a deal with the United $tates in which they regained control of their country in exchange for cooperation against organizations like ISIS(K) who’ve claimed responsibility for the attack. The explosion took the lives of thirteen U.$. soldiers.
ISIS(K) is just one of over twenty armed groups in Afghanistan that pose a threat to Taliban rule. However, the main incentive for the Taliban’s allegiance to U.$. imperialism seems to be the Afghan economy which the Taliban inherited once the “democratically elected” government of Afghanistan realized that U.$. imperialism would no longer prop them up.(1)
Second, Chican@s continue to account for a substantial portion of Amerikan occupation forces in the Third World. Statistics in recent years have shown Chican@s continue to be a growing source of foot soldiers for the Amerikans.
The attack on U.$. troops came just three days before the fifty-first anniversary of the hystoric Chican@ Moratorium. Contrary to what various sell outs, integrationists and those who’ve simply been kept in ignorance have to say about the matter, the moratorium was not about civil rights or equality. Rather, the moratorium was an exercise in power by Raza who attempted to deprive the imperialists of Chican@ troops in their war of colonization and attrition in Vietnam.(2) Thus, it is both heartbreaking and sickening to see that so many years after the last real upsurge against U.$. imperialism in the semi-colonies, Chican@s continue to sacrifice and be sacrificed for the oppressor nation. If Chican@s are to live and die for a cause then it should be for Aztlán, the international proletariat and socialism. August 26 was yet another example of what happens when we fail to organize the oppressed – the imperialists organize them for us.
While four of the thirteen soldiers killed at the Afghanistan International Airport that day were Chican@s born and raised in occupied Aztlán, it should be noted that at least two other fatalities had Spanish surnames.(3) That said, it is still important to note that the attack was a blow against U.$. imperialism by anti-imperialists in the region, and for that we should be appreciative, not horrified. Our sympathies should be with the Afghan family who lost their lives in the U.$. retaliation drone strike and the rest of the victims of the ISIS(K) who were caught in the crossfire on August 26. Chican@s or not, those U.$. soldiers chose their own destiny when they decided it was okay to travel halfway around the world to further oppress an already oppressed population.
It is not far-fetched to envision a reality in which Chican@ youth strive to live and die for Aztlán liberated and free. The development of material conditions will be crucial in this regard, but it will be the struggle of revolutionaries and the masses of turned up youth that will be principal. We should not let the fact that Amerika’s longest war has come to an end deter us from the urgency of organizing the oppressed nations for liberation and against U.$. militarism. “Raza Si, Guerra No!” should be one of many political slogans that we champion in the bi-polar world that is life under imperialism, as Amerikkka’s designs on the African continent promise to become an even bloodier killing field in the years to come.
Notes: 1. The PBS News Hour, 27 August 2021. 2. A MIM(Prisons) study group, 2015, Chican@ Power and the Struggle for Aztlán. (available to prisoners for $10) 3. KTLA 5 News, 27 August 2021.
At this moment Cuba is entering into a new phase in their struggle which unveils a reality unfavorable to socialist construction. Yet we should keep in mind that Cuba’s fate remains unsealed. History shows that the Cuban people are up to the task of fighting for socialism as they continue to inspire others around the world. They have enormous amounts of creative and practical experience. Here we examine some of the positions in the popular debate around Cuba, as well as the true source of its successes and failures.
Privatization and Pandemic
The current protests in Cuba are the result of growing privatization of sectors in multiple industries. This has been a gradual trend, but in February of 2021 it took on new heights. Tourism in particular, as a private industry, is Cuba’s largest revenue generator making over $3.3 billion for its people in 2018. With the ease of relations under President Obama there was unfortunately even more of a rise in privatization and large growth in tourism. Labour Minister Marta Elena Feito said the list of authorized activities in the private sector had most recently expanded from 127 to more than 2,000. Some of these include barbershops, restaurants, taxi services, domicile and hotel rentals, small shops and cafes. Most of these private sector jobs, which are primarily in major cities such as Havana, are oriented towards the tourist industry.
The last report showed that 600,000 people, around 13% of the workforce, joined the private sector when the opportunity arose. COVID-19 brought problems as the borders were closed to non-residents in order to prevent the pandemic’s spread. About 16,000 private workers asked for their licenses to be suspended, according to the Labor Ministry, which temporarily exempted them from taxes. Shortly after, the amount increased to 119,000, which was roughly 19 percent of the private workforce. This measure allowed for a small section of the private work force to be protected during the pandemic, however other sections, mostly in tourism, were catastrophically hit.
U.S. Economic Warfare
The labor ministry stated that the decline began before COVID-19 as a result of Trump’s new additions to the embargo on Cuba. In December of 2020, Cuban tourism had fallen by 16.5% due to U.S. sanctions that imposed restrictions on travel to Cuba, money transfers, and trade between Cuba and other nations. The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control in 2020 stated the following in regards to the more recent additions, “OFAC is removing the authorization for banking institutions subject to U.S. jurisdiction to process certain funds transfers originating and terminating outside the United States, commonly known as”U-turn" transactions. Banking institutions subject to U.S. jurisdiction will be authorized to reject such transactions, but may no longer process them." The rules also block money sent to Cuban government affiliates, and decreased the limit but still allow for remittances to most families in Cuba.
On 19 October 1960, the U.S. embargo was implemented as policy to undermine the revolutionary government as a response to its nationalization of industries and dealings with countries led by communist parties. Over the coming years tension only increased and the embargo would continually be adjusted to prevent growth of the Cuban economy. As of now the sanctions vary with over 231 entities and subentities like ministries, holding companies, hotels, etc.; meaning the U.S. is trying to control Cuba’s economy. These provisions also extend to international companies like the various shipping companies in 2019 which were sanctioned by the U.S. government for participating in oil trade between Venezuela and Cuba. This was during the same period that the U.S. was accusing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro of falsifying the election results that left Juan Guaido to bite the dust. Allegations which later were proven to be false yet nevertheless caused dire consequences for millions.
Economic terrorism continues to be perpetrated by the U.S. against Cuba to prohibit other nations and companies from participating in trade deals. Some ways the U.S. does this is by denying licenses or deals with U.S.-based companies or other nations that have the audacity to ignore the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Year after year the U.N. votes in favor of an end to the embargo with only two nations (the U.S. and Israel) voting in favor of continuing the embargo.
In 2021 former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo designated Cuba once again as a state sponsor of international terrorism in another futile attempt to further isolate Cuba from potential trading partners. This designation carries with it the implication that any business or state which does business with Cuba participates in sponsoring terrorism. As a result the U.S. will then implement sanctions on those businesses or states or at the very least deny them vital business opportunities that they need to sustain a functional economy in a U.S.-dominated global market. It follows from this that the private sectors in Cuba who were not prepared for the pandemic, were already affected by the ongoing trade embargo for about 60 years, with Trump’s administration amping up attempts to suffocate Cuba’s resilient economy.
Cuban Protests Dwarfed by Uprisings in U.S.
When the protests erupted in Cuba this month, the U.S. wasted no time in opportunistically pushing their agenda. Meanwhile, expatriated Cuban terrorists living in the U.S. sent videos over social media promoting the destruction of public property owned by the Cuban people, looting, assault on peoples security forces etc. These videos, not surprisingly, never found their way into mainstream reports but were exposed by Cuban media. Díaz-Canel even made a point to say that there are revolutionaries who have been misguided by false reports forged by subversive reactionaries, and people with legitimate demands for an end to the embargo and reform of failed policies. This made clear that these demonstrators were not the target of criticism but genuinely concerned, although in some cases misguided, citizens.
In reality only a small capitalist minority from certain private sectors affected by the embargo and COVID-19 have taken to the streets to promote their interests; interests that are antagonistic to that of the Cuban people. President Díaz-Canel proceeded to visit the demonstrations himself and speak with people. On live TV Díaz-Canel called revolutionaries to take to the street and oppose the reactionaries and to stay in the streets as long as necessary in order to defend the revolution. It was correctly stated by Díaz-Canel that the reactionaries with violent intent are of a specific small group who align with U.S. interests. More specifically from his mouth he stated that, “They want to change a system, or a regime they call it, to impose what type of government and what type of regime in Cuba? The privatization of public services. The kind that gives more possibility to the rich minority and not the majority.”
Counter protests proceeded to take place where a greater part of Cuba’s 11 million people came out to demonstrate their support for the revolution and continuance of socialist construction. With such a small minority of protestors being for regime change and only a few dozen arrests we have to ask ourselves why there is such a controversy? It is only explainable by the private interests and imperialist U.S. who wishes to finally deal a deadly blow to Cuba. After decades of failed CIA assassinations, a failed U.S. invasion, and a failed Embargo, the U.S. government is reiterating its fledgling commitment to undermine the people of Cuba.
All the while the Amerikans fail to see the irony that in 2020 the protests in the U.S. were estimated to have between 15 and 26 million participants with over 14,000 arrests documented as related to the protests and a number of deaths associated. These numbers are not even all encompassing in the true magnitude of arrest and torture by the U.S. government on its own citizens. These protests put forward demands guaranteed by the Cuban constitution. Article’s 16, 18, 19, 41, 42, 43, 44 of the Cuban constitution reveal rights and guarantees afforded to Cubans that in the U.S. don’t even exist or are up for debate. A civil war was needed to end slavery only to have it replaced by Jim Crow segregation in this country. Without a doubt a quick look at the Cuban constitution in comparison with the U.S. constitution, one would begin to question the true ethics of the U.S. and why Cuba is portrayed the way it is.
Cuba has made greater advancements than the U.S. in many fields. It achieved a higher literacy rate, lower infant mortality rate, a lung cancer vaccine as well as a COVID-19 vaccine independently developed with a 92% success rate. All this despite the embargo and war crimes of the U.S. The U.S. in their sad attempt to condemn Cuba’s Communist Party declares the people of Cuba to be subjugated, unable to protest, or have free speech. As can clearly be seen, the president of Cuba not only respects the constitutional right to protest and have free speech, but invited millions to take to the streets to do so.
The Will of the People in Cuba
In 2018 a new draft of the Cuban constitution removed reference to communism. This first draft was met with wide-scale protests and a popular demand that reinstated communism as the goal. In 2019 the new Cuban constitution reaffirmed the popular will. Time after time the U.S. is embarrassed by Cuba’s revolutionary people. Which is presumably why the U.S., who routinely overthrows democracies, assassinates world leaders, or suffocates nations with sanctions, takes special interest in torturing Cuba. It is not without effect either, as many Cubans feel this pressure and suffer untold losses in this cruel escapade waged by the United States.
Mind you, Cuba is not without mistake. The continued privatization of industries and reliance on tourism is a massive failure on the part of the Cuban government. Failures to foster the full creative potential of the Cuban masses by putting politics in command has led the Cuban government to become a bureaucratic mess. With a large population of revolutionary masses eager to promote the ideals of socialism and forge ahead on their path of self-determination, it is sad to see the Cuban state fail to remove the fetters on the Cuban people that restrict their ability to take control of power for themselves. This is a result of internal contradictions within the Cuban state.
Over the past few decades the gradual decline of peoples’ power has been witnessed. Today’s events are a result of the pandemic and U.S. embargo. However, the principal issue is not from without Cuba and it certainly is not from the Cuban people. It is in the Cuban state and their failure to remain vigilant against growing opposition forces within the state itself. Forces that undermine the peoples’ will. Forces that cause unnecessary retreats and failures in planning. With all due respect, these are serious errors that must be rectified by campaigns led by the revolutionary Cuban people. Only the Cuban people can determine their destiny.
So our appeal to Cuba should be directed towards the revolutionary masses who represent the socialist majority. We are in solidarity with you and support you. We will continue to fight to bring to an end the U.S. embargo and all interventions. The revolutionaries in Cuba who emulate the ideals as well as principles of socialism with the aim of building communism are a continued inspiration to the freedom fighters all around the world.
Díaz-Canel welcomed revolutionaries to the street to participate in open debate and oppose the reactionaries. This is a step in the correct direction. So long as those revolutionaries are allowed to progress down whatever path they find suitable for themselves to sustain their revolution. So long as they combat the reactionaries as well as the revisionists. All of this on the terms set forth by the revolutionary Cuban masses themselves who are truly world renowned heroes of revolution.
MIM(Prisons) adds:It is not MIM line that Cuba was ever really on the socialist road. The Cuban revolution was very clearly one of national liberation from imperialism. However, Cuba paralleled the Derg in Ethiopia in taking on “Marxism-Leninism” for geo-political reasons related to using the Soviet Union as a counter-balance to other imperialist interests. That’s not to say there weren’t Marxists in their ranks, most popular movements in the Third World are going to have Marxist influences. But the Marxists had not consolidated a party around the proletarian line before seizing power. They did not follow Mao’s example of building United Fronts with other classes by maintaining proletarian leadership and independence. In a capitalist-imperialist world, coalition governments invariably lead to capitalism.
Cuba stood out for many decades as a symbol of resistance to U.$. imperialism, even after the fall of the Soviet Union. It is also well-known for directing resources in the interests of the Cuban people and the people of the world. In our article on Ethiopia we mention that the Cubans had their differences with the imperialist Soviet Union, and that speaks to the path Cuba took independent of the USSR during and after its existence.
We agree with current President Díaz-Canel that privatization is only bad for the people. However, nationalization only threatens imperialist meddling, it does not address the internal class contradictions of a country. And in the case of Cuba, with the dependence on tourist money and remittances, the Amerikans have significant and increasing control over their economy despite nationalization.
In the United $tates state-run firms (like the post office) are often defined as “socialism.” But Maoists define socialism differently, as an economy that is guided by the proletarian line, always engaging in class struggle, pitting the interests of collectivism, humyn needs and humyn relations above production, efficiency and profit.
As Mowgli writes, the internal contradictions of a capitalist economy in Cuba cannot ultimately be resolved without a popular movement to rectify the current leadership and shift to the socialist road. We would go further in stressing that socialism is class struggle. There is no policy shift that can bring a country to the socialist road, only the militant mobilization of the masses concentrated in a communist party that puts the class struggle at the forefront. Our opposition from within the empire to the embargo serves to help the Cuban people see their dreams come true via continued class struggle.
Anti-imperialists watching the Horn of Africa have sounded the alarm that Amerikans are scheming to further their exploitation of Ethiopia. In May, United States Agency of International Development (USAID) Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance head Sarah Charles spoke to the U.$. Congress about how the Ethiopian government and other armed forces were restricting the access of Amerikan staff and equipment in the country.(1) Ten days before the 21 June 2021 elections in Ethiopia, the U.$. State Department issued a statement expressing “grave” concern about the conditions of the elections and said they were ready to “help Ethiopia address these challenges” in order to cast doubt on election results.(2)
Many concerned about the talk coming from the U.$. government refer to Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria as warnings of what could happen in Ethiopia. Amerikan troops left the infamous sprawling Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan on 2 July 2021, allowing looters to enter the grounds the following day.(3) In 2001, the U.$. overthrew the Taliban-ruled government of Afghanistan. Twenty years later, the Taliban are poised to regain control of the country following the longest war in U.$. history. All peace-loving people have an interest in preventing another one of these long, drawn out wars that have become the norm for U.$. imperialism as it struggles to dominate the rest of the world.
U.$. imperialists have already begun waging warfare in the form of economic sanctions against both Ethiopia and Eritrea. Meanwhile, they continue to push for access by USAID and its affiliated NGOs to meddle in African affairs. The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front(TPLF) launched attacks on the Ethiopian armed forces back in November 2020, which began the war that seems to have reached a stopping point this July and has been used by the Amerikans as a reason to get involved. The TPLF led the Ethiopian government until 2018 when the TPLF president resigned due to popular pressure. In addition to domestic abuses, they led Ethiopia in a war for territory against Eritrea during that time. Eritrea has made peace with the new Ethiopian government led by Abiy Ahmed and sided with Ethiopia in the recent war against the TPLF.
Ethiopia is the 12th most populated country in the world, and the second most populated in Africa. In the 1970s, the Derg government led a quick, forced nationalization of the Ethiopian economy. Current President Abiy Ahmed has overseen the privatization and liberalizations of the economy, which began after 1991, when Ethiopia shifted from the Soviet Union to a U.$. client state. These moves by Abiy will increase foreign investment and involvement in Ethiopian industry. A 2018 plan by the Abiy-led government targeted 25% growth rates in manufacturing until 2025.(4) While falling short so far, this indicates their intentions to become Africa’s leading manufacturing hub. In other words, the Ethiopian masses still living in semi-feudal conditions are a potential source of a newly proletarianized population for imperialist corporations to extract surplus value from.
During the recent conflict, Abiy froze the assets of many TPLF associated companies with U.$. and other foreign investments, which may have concerned the Amerikans as well.
As part of their new plan to provide power for this growth in industry, Ethiopia has been operationalizing the new Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). On 6 July 2021, Ethiopia began the second stage of filling the dam. The Egyptian and Sudanese governments have been calling for U.N. intervention for fear of the impact on their water supplies. This will be the biggest hydroelectric project in Africa.(5) Egypt (run by U.$.-backed dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi) has indicated it would support intervention in Ethiopia to stop this project by saying all options are on the table. Egypt is one of the most important U.$. client states, historically falling in the top 3 receivers of military aid from the imperialists. The Trump administration had supported Egypt’s interests regarding the dam, and we expect U.$. support to continue.
Land-locked Ethiopia’s access to the Red Sea is through Eritrea or Djibouti. Djibouti is a small country between Eritrea and Somaliland. It is the home of AFRICOM, the United $tates military’s Africa Command, and a number of other imperialist militaries. These military bases provide 5% of Djibouti’s GDP. China has their only foreign military base in Djibouti, making it a potential location of conflict between the Amerikan and Chinese imperialists. This location is also important for access between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea including large movements of fossil fuels.
President Abiy has formed alliances with Eritrea and Somalia, countries the U.$. has used Ethiopia to destabilize in the past. This show of unity in the Horn of Africa could allow for greater serving of African interests, rather than Amerikan interests.
Strong Marxist History
National liberation struggles influenced by Marx, Lenin and Mao are central to the recent history of Ethiopia and Eritrea. In its early days, MIM often mentioned Eritrea as one of the locations of a liberatory people’s war in the 1980s. Current President of Eritrea, Isaias Afewerki, was one of the first members of the Eritrean Liberation Forces(ELF) to train in socialist China in 1967. He was later part of the leadership to form the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), which split from the ELF and combined the ELF’s strong nationalism with an explicit Marxist-Leninist line and the strategy of People’s War.(6)
In Ethiopia a series of Marxist-Leninist organizations emerged to challenge the feudal system of Haile Selassie. This led to the removal of Haile Selassie by his own military leaders in 1974, who formed the Derg government. The Derg undertook a massive nationalization campaign, labeling itself “Marxist-Leninist” and a socialist state in 1975. The Derg assigned head of state to U.$.-trained Mengistu Haile Mariam, but became an ally of the social-imperialist USSR. Their national-brougeois ideas fit nicely with the revisionist distortions of Soviet “Marxism-Leninism.”(7)
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front also began in the revolutionary period of the 1960s. By the late 1970s it was waging guerilla war against the Derg, under the leadership of the Marxist-Leninist League of Tigray. At this time there was a split in the revolutionary movement of Ethiopia around the question of secession, with the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front leading the call for the right to self-determination of Eritrea independent of Ethiopia. Others saw secessionist movements in Ethiopia as linked to the reactionary regionalism of feudalism, and a division of the peasant masses.(8)
In 1991, MIM Notes celebrated the overthrow of the “social-fascist Mengistu regime” by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front(EPRDF) as well as the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front(EPLF), which abstained from the provisional government of Ethiopia opting for independence instead. They noted, “MIM doesn’t have much information about the”revolutionary programs" of the EPRDF, so we must watch and let the practice of both the EPRDF and EPLF speak for itself.“(9) Yet, MIM Notes had already quoted the New York Times under the heading”Victories Betrayed":
"The best insurance against another hard-line Marxist regime in Ethiopia appears to be the presence in Ethiopia immediately after the EPRDF’s victory, of an Amerikan, Paul B. Henze.
“Henze, the station chief of the Central Intelligence Agency at the United States Embassy in Addis Ababa from 1969 to 1972, was invited to the capital as a personal guest of President Meles. He spent five weeks in Ethiopia advising Meles and was upbeat when he left. ‘Meles is pragmatic,’ Henze says. ‘He and his colleagues are not bothering with ideological matters. Ethiopia has a good chance of becoming a productive country.’”(10)
Meles Zenawi was a member of the Marxist-Leninist League of Tigray before becoming the first president of Ethiopia under the EPRDF government. As the CIA agent predicted, rather than struggling against differences between classes and nationalities in Ethiopia, the TPLF used its power to dominate the government at the expense of other nationalities and regions, and it soon became a pawn of U.$. imperialism in its maneuvering for power. As a result, by 1998, Meles(TPLF)-led Ethiopia had invaded Isaias(EPLF)-led Eritrea. It appears that both organizations abandoned their Marxist-Leninist lines prior to the overthrow of the Derg and their seizing of state power as part of the process of forming the united front against the Derg. This indicates that there were right-opportunist, liquidationist errors within the leadership of both movements that allowed them to put the liberation struggle and overthrow of the Derg above and in place of the struggle for socialism and a dictatorship of the proletariat. They did not heed the lessons of Mao’s China on how to keep proletarian leadership within a united front of class interests against imperialism. This led to reactionary bourgeois nationalism to play the leading role in these countries, despite the promising Marxist origins of this shift in power. The result gives credence to the warnings from those Marxists who argued against regionalism and secession and opposed the politics of the earlier ELF and original TPLF.
The Organization for African Unity, started by leaders like Kwame Nkrumah and Haile Selassie, also took up a line that it was against the interests of the people of Africa to begin dismantling the states that were amalgamations of peoples imposed by the colonial powers. History has proven this strategy to be effective in preventing divisions among the oppressed. Nkrumah had hoped for the OAU to become a federal government uniting all of Africa, but that strategy did not win out.
At the same time, Maoists recognize the right to self-determination of all nations. And the liberation movement in Eritrea held much promise leading up to liberation. Eritrea also differed from other regions in Ethiopia in that it was previously a separately administered state under Italian colonial occupation. Today, Eritrea remains the only country in Africa without AFRICOM presence, leading to much derision from the United $tates and Europe over the years. They took pride in their non-aligned stance in a world divided by the United $tates and the social imperialist Soviet Union. In 1984, Isaias Afewerki also declared they had no links or support from China. They did not take a position on whether China was still socialist at the time. Isaias did look at Cuba as an example of what happens when you become a client state of the Soviet Union. Isaias claimed the Cubans disagreed with USSR policy in Ethiopia and Eritrea, yet Cuban troops operated in Derg-ruled Ethiopia on behalf of Soviet interests in the 1980s.(11)
While Eritrea has a history of independence and remaining politically neutral, they have recently provided support for the U.$./Saudi war on Yemen that has led to a massive loss of humyn life since 2015. This was likely motivated by financial gain.(12) In the 1980s, South Yemen was in solidarity with the Eritrean liberation struggle despite opposition by the imperialist Soviet Union. Like Cuba, South Yemen took on the form of “Marxist-Leninist” state years after its liberation under the influence of the Soviet Union. Like the Cubans, they seemed to recognize the righteousness of the Eritrean liberation struggle. Today, we cannot view the Eritrean leadership as serving real self-determination when they are being pitted against Yemen by the imperialists. Ultimately, it was the abandonment of proletarian politics that led Eritrean leadership to side with imperialism in the Middle East.
While revisionism seems to have thwarted the popular revolutionary forces in the Horn of Africa in the late 20th century, the proletarian, revolutionary line is no stranger to the people of the region. This is further evidenced by President Abiy having to specifically address and critique Marx, Lenin and Mao in his recent book.(13) It is only through the unified struggle of all African people that the current violence, death and starvation can be properly ended. U.$. and other imperialist involvement will continue to pit Africans against Africans and other oppressed people.
Our Role in the Horn of Africa
In April 2018, Abiy Ahmed of the Oromo Democratic Party was elected Prime Minister of the EPRDF government of Ethiopia. This marked the end of TPLF leadership in the EPRDF, which was replaced by the Prosperity Party coalition in November 2019, excluding TPLF. After his confirmation, Abiy quickly established peace with Eritrea, still headed by Isaias Afewerki. This was a historic peace agreement, returning land to Eritrea that the TPLF had been occupying, signalling unity in the region against the U.$.-backed TPLF. Eritrea and Ethiopia have remained united in the war that began in November 2020 with a TPLF attack on Ethiopian forces. Until the people of the region can mount proletarian-led struggles for power again, the Eritrean-Ethiopian alliance remains important for strengthening the region against further meddling by foreign imperialism.
Our role in all of this is determined by the imperial nature of the United $tates government. Like all people in the world, it is our duty to build towards a dictatorship of the proletariat in our own backyard. But we have the added duty of countering the imperial machinations of our current government.
We should expose the imperialist nature of State Department agencies like USAID that want to present themselves as humanitarian organizations. While President Trump celebrated the Ethiopia and Eritrea peace deal, the Biden administration has brought those favoring intervention in the Horn of Africa back into the White House.
Toward the end of his presidency, Barack Obama appointed Gayle Smith to Administer USAID. Gayle Smith was first employed by USAID in 1994. She had lived in EPLF-run areas dating back to the 1970’s, where she was a “journalist” working undercover for the CIA. She later spent time embedded with the TPLF where she mentored Meles Zenawi, who would go on to wage decades of war against the EPLF.(14) Another close confidant of Meles was Susan Rice, who was national security advisor to Barack Obama.(13) And as we mentioned above, Meles had open relations with local CIA agents from the very beginning of his presidency.
In 2021, Biden has appointed Samantha Power to head USAID. Samantha Power had succeeded Susan Rice as Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations after being mentored by both Rice and Obama. Rice was involved in the violent separation of South Sudan from Sudan and lied about mass rapes to justify the invasion of Libya. Rice and Power worked with Hillary Clinton to greenlight the invasion of that killed Muammar Gaddafi, which Clinton later laughed about on television.
In 2013, Power led the charge within the Obama administration to bomb Syria, which Rice came around to support. Power’s book A Problem From Hell justifies intervention against genocide. She used this mission statement of hers to justify bombing Syria and Libya, and now stands behind it to intervene and defend the TPLF.(15) We oppose the continued expansion of U.$. troops in Africa since President Bush started AFRICOM in 2008. U.$. support for the TPLF clearly aims to divide Africans so that they can be better controlled for the benefit of imperialist-country corporations.
In April, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) began considering calls for aid to Third World countries in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.(1) Since then, finance capital flows have begun moving out of the Third World and back into the United $tates, resulting in currencies in those countries losing their value. This is making it impossible for these countries to pay off their existing debt burdens, as well as to fund much-needed relief for their people during this crisis.
In our previous article we mentioned the possibility of the IMF issuing Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) which would allow all countries to access funds, via the United Nations, without accruing additional debt and interest. We have also been echoing the call for complete debt forgiveness, or jubilee, for the poorest nations of the world.
In place of these measures, the United $tates has set up a system where countries can apply for dollars in exchange for local currency from the U.$. Federal Reserve Board. This allows the United $tates to decide who gets funding. Due to their control of the IMF, the Amerikans have already blocked funding to Venezuela to combat the pandemic.(2)
The money being offered from the the Fed will also be given as loans, with interest.(2) Already, the most exploited countries of the world cannot afford to pay off existing loans. Many countries are spending more on debt payments than healthcare during the pandemic.(1) In addition, these loans, unlike the proposed SDRs, will have conditions that give the Amerikans control over the path of development these countries take in the future.
The exiting of finance capital from the Third World will have the effect of passing the impacts of the economic crisis disproportionately on to those countries. Meanwhile, the United $tates is offering to send dollars back to put these countries further into debt and ratchet up further policy control over their economies. While the United $tates is currently leading the world in deaths due to the novel coronavirus, the Third World nations are likely destined to see much more dire death and suffering without debt forgiveness, unconditional aid, and the lifting of sanctions and embargoes by the imperialists.
In times of capitalist expansion, exporting finance capital works to transfer wealth from the Third World periphery to the First World nations. Now that the economy is quickly contracting, the methods above show how pulling finance capital out of the periphery also transfers wealth to the First World nations. Ultimately, national liberation struggles are necessary to free the peripheral countries from the economic system of imperialism that uses them as a source of wealth at the expense of much humyn suffering.
On 2 April 2020 Cuban President Miguel Canel-Diaz said,
“Cuba denounces the fact that medical supplies from [China’s] Alibaba Foundation to help combat Covid-19 have not arrived in the country due to the criminal US blockade against the island nation.”(1)
These life-saving supplies were blocked by the United States, which has put economic sanctions on Cuba since its revolution liberated the island from the U.$.-backed Batista dictatorship in 1959.
At the same time that the United $tates is blocking Chinese support from entering Cuba, there are reports that Amerikans are in China buying supplies that are destined for countries in Europe.(2)
The COVID-19 virus affects everyone. It is in everyone’s interests to slow the spread of the virus, and to develop effective treatments for it. These actions by the United $tates go against the interests of all the world’s people.
The leaders of the world need to come together in one common cause until this pandemic is over. Since late March, the United Nations has been making a similar call, urging an end to all military actions worldwide.(3)
We call on the United States and its partners to:
Halt all blockades, embargoes and sanctions so that resources can flow freely to countries that need them to fight COVID-19.
Halt all military actions as a gesture of peace and unity of all of humynity in combating this pandemic, and put that portion of the military budget into mobilizing treatment for people in the United $tates who need support and protection from COVID-19.
Forgive debts to the poorest countries of the world so that they have the resources to do their part to fight the spread of this virus.
by a North Carolina prisoner September 2019 permalink
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins Penguin Group, New York, 2004
I just read a very enlightening book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins. It’s a memoir of a former manager of Economics and Planning at MAIN (Chas T. Main Inc.), a powerful corporation, where he worked with CIA agents and other economic hit men to impoverish and subjugate peoples and countries around the world. Plagued by a guilty conscience, he later founded Independent Power Systems and developed environmental friendly power plants. Yet he was still tempted by imperialism.
In his confessions, Mr. Perkins explains how the USA has seized power in Saudi Arabia, Panama, Ecuador and other countries. We try to avoid open warfare. Before we even send in the jackals (special forces, snipers and other assassins, etc.) we employ economic hit men to corrupt governments, destabilize local economies and destroy environments. A Bedouin hero likened the tactics we’re using against Islam to the tactics used to conquer the Native American nations. We cut down the trees and shot the buffalo. The foundations of indigenous culture collapsed, and we are now exploiting them, their farmland, their gold, and their oil.
“You see, it is the same here,” he said, “the desert is our environment. The Flowering Desert project threatens nothing less than the destruction of our entire fabric. How can we allow this to happen?” (p.130)
In order to defraud and blackmail and corrupt foreign governments, and prepare their countries for exploitation by American corporations, he traveled around the world, living in tents, jungle huts and five-star hotels. Some of the action took place in secret meetings here in the United States. I particularly enjoyed reading some of the conversations that took place in posh offices high up in skyscrapers near my home.
Economic hit men have been very successful in Saudi Arabia. When they fail, as they did in Ecuador, jackals are called in. They probably killed President Roldós of that country and President Torrijos of Panama.
If the jackals fail, as they did in Iraq, military intervention is undertaken directly by the USA government. The book sheds light upon our current aggression against Venezuela, although the author did not have a major role there.
In 1930, Venezuela was the world’s largest oil exporter. By 1973 (the time of the Arab oil embargo), Venezuela was wealthy and its people enjoyed excellent health care, education and low rates of unemployment. Within 30 years, American EHMs (Economic Hit Men) and the International Monetary Fund had changed that. The country’s per capita income was down 40% and the middle class was shrinking.
George Bush and the CIA orchestrated a coup, but their victory was short-lived. President Chavez returned to power and immediately initiated further democratic reforms. Bush began war preparations, but crushing resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan took priority and Venezuela got reprieve. Now, fifteen years after Confessions of an Economic Hit Man was published, Donald Trump is making moves to seize control of one of the world’s biggest oil reserves and other important natural resources, as well as cheap labor in a once prosperous country brought low by Amerikan imperialists.
Confessions is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand how the USA invades, attacks, and oppresses people and starves children in the name of freedom; or why so many millions of people around the world hate us.
MIM(Prisons) adds: The writings of John Perkins are a useful exposé of the modern imperialist methods of subversion of other nations’ self-determination. United Snakes interventions stand in stark contrast to all the concerns over Russian influence in U.$. election outcomes.
Despite the obvious implications of the facts Perkins revealed, ey remains unabashedly embedded in the bourgeoisie. The solutions ey provides in this book include pressuring corporations to do good things, and joining organizations to get laws passed. Now it seems ey is promoting a series of trips to the Third World for rich people to engage in mysticism. Needless to say, we see much different solutions being called for by the stories in this book.
Scott Daniel Warren faces 20 years in prison for his volunteer work distributing food and water to migrants in Arizona. Warren works with the group No More Deaths to aid migrants crossing the border in the Arizona desert. For this work, and for providing a place for two men to sleep, Warren was charged with two counts of felony harboring and one count of felony conspiracy. Eir trial ended on June 11 with a hung jury.
Warren was arrested in January 2018 along with other No More Deaths volunteers. The arrests came just hours after the group released video of border patrol agents destroying jugs of water left in the desert for migrants. This case isn't closed yet; federal prosecutors may choose to retry Warren.
The Arizona desert is one of the deadliest places for migrants to cross the border due to the extreme heat. But people are forced to this area by the 1994 Clinton era "Prevention Through Deterrence" policy aimed at making border crossings more deadly. The idea was to force crossings over more hostile terrain, putting more lives in danger, to discourage migrants from attempting the journey. Metrics of the plan's success included "deaths of aliens." By that measure, the plan has been a success. The total number of people attempting the crossing has dropped but the odds of dying have gone way up.(1)
Hundreds of migrants are found dead every year. Trump's border policies are just a continuation of the anti-immigrant policies of all Amerikan imperialist administrations, including Obama. Closed borders maintain a cheap source of labor and natural resources for the imperialists. This preserves wealth for those within at the expense of poverty for those on the outside. Migrant deaths are just one result of these borders. Fighting the Trump border wall is a distraction from the real problem. Fight borders not walls. Open the borders; return the stolen wealth to occupied nations at home and around the world.