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[Economics] [ULK Issue 5]
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Financial Crisis: Capitalism is an irrational economic system

Amerikan financial leaders were taken by surprise with the recent financial meltdown in Amerika and around the world. Even those who predicted the credit crisis did not expect the far reaching consequences. In fact on October 23, former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan told congress he was "shocked" at the situation and admitted that capitalism was not working as well as he thought it would. Greenspan went so far as to say he was "partially wrong" to think the free market could regulate itself. Greenspan was the chair of the Federal Reserve for over 18 years.

In reality the capitalists know perfectly well that the free market does not work. The regulation of financial markets (or any government regulation) contradicts the fundamental principals of free market capitalism, but they are happy to regulate when it works in their financial interests. Some people are complaining that the government is introducing "socialist" practices with this regulation. But the capitalist government of Amerika knows very well what it's doing - it is preserving capitalism, not promoting socialism. The inevitable crises of capitalism expose weaknesses in the system. To preserve that system, the capitalists need to shore up the economy. If that requires regulation, they will have no problem doing it.

Marx taught us a couple musts of a capitalist economy: capital must circulate and capital must accumulate. These two musts conflict with each other. Accumulation led to imperialism and the limits that imperialism put on circulation led to the crises of the 1930s in the capitalist world.



John Keynes represented the path to saving capitalism during the Great Depression. A path that John McCain and Joe the plumber would call socialism today, but a path that was developed by Keynes and implemented by the Roosevelt administration that was explicitly in opposition to socialism, which existed at the time in the Soviet Union.



Marx did predict this crisis - not directly because he could not know our specific conditions today. But to the extent that he correctly predicted that capitalism will always face crises, Marx was once again right about capitalism. In basic terms, Marx said that capitalism is not rational and so the capitalists are going to overproduce as a part of competition because they can not know the exact size of the market, nor can they rationally apportion that market to the producers.

Lenin expanded on Marx's theories explaining that imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism. One of the definitive characteristics of imperialism described by Lenin was the rise of finance capital. Like all capital, finance capital could not just sit still. So markets were created that didn't actually sell material goods but sold money itself or promises of money in various forms. Not only was this the haven for the imperialists with ever-concentrating capital, but increasingly, the oppressor nation became involved in these markets as ways of getting their share of global super-profits, while helping the imperialists manage these massive economic games. 



In the 1930s, there was anti-capitalist pressure from a socialist Soviet Union that was expanding its economy at record rates while the capitalist world crumbled. Meanwhile fascism exerted its own pressures on the future of capitalism in Europe unleashing unbridled violence to advance their own economic prosperity. In response, the idea that government was responsible for a nation's economic welfare and had the right to interfere in economics became prominent among the bourgeoisie for the first time.



The success of the New Deal was built on shattered post-WWII Europe and Japan, which the united $tates could use as an outlet for its own expanding production. Without these consumer nations, an army of people ready to work at home and new access to labor and resources of dozens of former European colonies, the New Deal policies would not have succeeded as they did in bringing a thriving u$-led capitalism to life.



Compared to the New Deal days, the u$ economy may be too top heavy this time. With most amerikans working in finance, law enforcement, state bureaucracies, advertisement/sales and other service industries, we have a country of parasites. There is no surplus value and little surplus population to fall back on. And we'll probably see a fascist revolution in this country before we see large numbers of amerikans taking up public works jobs that they currently force on Mexicans and other oppressed peoples.



Today the united $tates is no longer a rising economy, it is at the top and it is top heavy. With the former socialist countries having been incorporated back into the capitalist economy in the later decades of the 20th century, there are no new markets to break into. And with a large population that does not produce close to enough to sustain itself, being cut off from Third World labor and resources would be disastrous for the u$ economy.



While Keynes held that government intervention was necessary to keep a capitalist economy expanding, he did not recognize the limits on capitalist expansion recognized by Marx and Lenin. These limits make it harder and harder for capitalism to recover with time as accumulation becomes more extreme. Without imperialist war and massive loss of life, this accumulation remained a barrier to recovering from the Great Depression.



The Keynesians, increasingly the majority of capitalists during this economic crisis, say that the only way to stop the irrational banks is regulation - capitalism can not regulate itself because of the drive for profit, and the lack of information about competitors. We must distinguish this system of capitalism from socialism, which is characterized by nationalization of industry and finance, but more importantly, is controlled by a dictatorship of the proletariat working in the interests of the vast majority of the people. Any nationalization done under capitalism is controlled by a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie working in the interests of the few. In China, after Mao died, the bourgeoisie took power and began running the government for the profit of a few. They left industries nationalized and this fooled some people into thinking China was still socialist. But as the recent actions of the Amerikan government demonstrate, nationalization is not synonymous with socialism.

Although we should not confuse capitalist regulation with socialism, it is interesting to note that there are reports of a big upsurge in sales of Karl Marx's book Capital, as well as visits to his grave as people around the world seek an explanation for the financial crisis. While capitalism is making big profits for the imperialists and their labor aristocrats, those people benefiting have little interest in questioning the system. But in a time of crises some people are apparently inspired to think a little harder about what capitalism means. We don't anticipate this leading to a global upsurge in support for communism. Even with the current economic crisis, the workers in imperialist countries are still benefiting from the exploitation of the Third World. And so their economic interests are still tied up with capitalism.

True to the interests of the Amerikan citizens, what is considered progressive radio in the u$ can't stop crying about mortgages, car payments and kids having to go to community college. They completely ignore that most people in the world have never owned a car, a house or had a chance to get a college education. Joe the plumber, McCain's example of anti-Obama working people in Amerika, did a press event where he announced he was scared of Obama trying to take the country to socialism. Joe the plumber is in the richest 3.89% globally, that's why he's scared of wealth redistribution. When things get really bad, Joe the plumber is going to be fighting for national socialism so that at least he doesn't have to share with other nations.


For those labor aristocrats who want a more rational economic system, we encourage them to study communism. But we won't lie to them and tell them that fighting for communism is fighting for their economic interests. This will just foster reactionary nationalism, or fascism. And it is times of economic crisis when we need to be most wary of fascist upsurges in countries where the workers are benefiting from the exploitation of oppressed nations.

In general, times of capitalist crisis are times of opportunity for the international proletariat. While it is clear that it will take a lot more than the latest crisis to move the imperialist country citizens into the ranks of the proletariat and form a mass base for revolution, the revolutionary movements in Third World countries can take advantage of imperialist weaknesses. The relative strength of imperialism at this point in time may pull it through, but certainly the current crisis may allow our comrades in the Third World to gain some ground in the fight for liberation. The imperialists are doing what they can to shore up smaller countries hit hardest by economic collapse by providing IMF loans (Iceland, Hungary, Ukraine). But these loans are provided strategically and will not prevent the suffering and exploitation of Third World people, which existed before this economic crisis and will continue after it until the people rise up and put an end to this system of imperialism.

Notes: See MIM Theory 1 and 10 for further elaboration on why the Amerikan citizens are part of the labor aristocracy and not the proletariat.

This article referenced in:
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[Elections] [ULK Issue 5]
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Black prez in white amerika

Over a decade ago Tupac said we weren't ready to see a Black president. Yesterday, amerikans elected one. As we wrote about previously in an article on Obama's candidacy, neo-colonialism is nothing new. Africa has already had half a century of Black presidents. As a minority diaspora in the belly of the beast it is no surprise that it took much longer to see one in the united $tates. And it should be no surprise that given such a situation he has less independence from the imperialists than a president in a small African nation with little economic development.

The biggest lesson we can take from the Obama election is that we are surrounded by amerikans (surprise). And we say that in the context of amerikans being nationalists and members of an oppressor nation (think nazi Germany or apartheid Azania).

When George W. Bush ran against Kerry we said, "another day, another imperialist candidate for president." But we tended to agree with those saying that a Bush presidency would help to polarize the world and turn people more strongly against u$ imperialism. You might argue that we were right.

But the shortcoming of that history is the significant rise of anti-Bush sentiments among amerikans. This gave them a way out. Islamic groups like al-Qaeda held amerikans responsible for the actions of a president who a large plurality of them voted for, while too many so-called “communists” have played the role of neo-colonial peacemakers between the oppressors and the oppressed.

The anti-Bush united front blurred the lines between radicals in the u.$. and the Democratic Party. This process was helped along by those calling themselves Maoist accepting leadership roles in this movement. (We'll watch as this movement dissolves proving that they do support a different kind of imperialism, in this case one with a black face.)

But yesterday marked the moving of the poles. Suddenly, the millions who mushed themselves into the "radical left" because they disagreed with Bush are back in the white house with amerikan flags waving. It's not that they ever put their amerikan flags down or were ever radical at all. But they allowed and even promoted radical sounding rhetoric to rope some of the more radical and energetic activists into the Democratic Party, including oppressed nation youth.

Now all that has changed. Obama can't pretend he opposes the occupation of Iraq or be wishy washy on the fence anymore. He has to end it or stay the course. In that way the Bush - Obama 1-2 punch might be the perfect lesson in bourgeois politics. For all those years people said Bush was an evil, horrible man. Then dream prez Barack Obama comes in, and nothing changes. Lesson learned?

New Afrikan or Afrikan Amerikan

Comrades have already pointed out that Obama wasn't winning the white vote, putting into question our statement above that amerikans elected a Black president. (1) Not only did the Democratic Party benefit from the armed struggle against u$ imperialism while the Republicans were in the white house, but they also bet correctly on a growing oppressed nation electorate in the u$. In both cases, any progress should be attributed to the oppressed and not white amerika.

With the u$ hot war in Pakistan under way and the new president elect fully in support, we already have concrete evidence that this presidency is gonna be a lot like the last 43. Yet many Black people agree with Tupac that the new president is heaven sent. Blacks overwhelmingly opposed the war on Iraq, when white amerikans supported it. (2) Will they back Obama's war on Pakistan?

Oppressed nations should treat the Obama presidency as an opportunity to make demands from a president who claims to understand where they're from. The most astute New Afrikan leaders are rotting away in isolation cells in the united $tates. Some elders are facing trial for alleged crimes over a quarter century old. If Obama claims to care about people who aren't white he better stop the extreme repression being dealt out to any Black, Brown or Red leader that stands up for their people.

Obama united amerikans, reminding revolutionaries what we're up against in this country. He also united amerikans with oppressed nations within u$ borders (not to mention in Africa and elsewhere). It is yet to be seen whether Blacks and other internal semi-colonies are aligning themselves more completely with the oppressor nation from which they benefit financially or will step up to the opportunity to expand the voice of the oppressed. As the economic crisis advances, the oppressed would be smart to bet on self-reliance and self-determination. When the most oppressed and exploited come to tell amerika that they can't steal their wealth anymore, we'd like to be on the right side of history.

The oppressed youth in the united $tates need vanguards that unflinchingly uphold self-determination and anti-imperialism. White politics and non-profits have done too much to dilute the revolutionary energy of oppressed youth into dead-ends that do not serve oppressed people globally or promote any real change.

notes:
(1) Fox News exit poll summary. http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/11/05/fox-news-exit-poll-summary-599974112/
(2) A year and a half after the invasion 42% of whites thought it was a mistake, while 76% of Blacks did. see Gallup Poll. Iraq Support Split Along Racial Lines. Sept. 14, 2004. http://www.gallup.com/poll/13012/Iraq-Support-Split-Along-Racial-Lines.aspx

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[Europe] [ULK Issue 5]
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Georgia conflict: battle for imperialist control

September 4 - U.S. Vice President Cheney visited Georgia this week, meeting with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and criticizing the Russian invasion. This visit coincided with the Bush administration announcing $1 billion in aid to Georgia. This is the latest in an escalating battle between two imperialist powers, the United $tates and Russia, and their puppets in Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. This fight over control of European land will not benefit the people of the region, regardless of who wins. Only true autonomy for the nations living there, and removal of imperialist military and oil interests, will ultimately serve the interests of the people.

It is important to Amerika to keep the government of Saakashvili in power in Georgia as it is very supportive of Amerikan imperialist interests, primarily related to oil and strategic military positioning. In 2003 groups that helped to remove Saakashvili's predecessor, Eduard Shevardnadze, received funding from the U.$. government(3), yet another in a long line of Amerikan-backed coups and rigged elections to put Amerikan puppets into power around the world.

Even before the Russian invasion, in 2008 the U.$. sent $64 million in aid to Georgia, a third of which was for the Georgian military.(1) In return, Georgia contributed troops to the U.$.-led invasion of Iraq. So essentially the U.$. was arming troops to serve as puppets for Amerikan imperialism while also setting up a stronger military to defend its claim on Georgia. The U.$. is evaluating increasing military aid to Georgia in light of their inability to defend against a Russian invasion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) - another economic wing of imperialism - is also preparing to provide Georgia with a $750 million line of credit. As can be seen with IMF loans to countries around the world, this is a great way to keep small countries totally dependent on imperialist money and at the mercy of imperialist policy demands.

Georgian President Saakashvili is a U.$.-educated lawyer who knows how to play to Amerikan imperialist interests. After the August military battles, his government organized anti-Russia protests across Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, with huge banners denouncing Russia in English - a language that most in Georgia don't understand.(2)

Why are the imperialists so interested in Georgia?

Georgia is a geographically strategic country, with its link to the Black Sea. Georgia is a transit route for oil as a part of a major pipeline carrying oil from the Caspian Sea to Europe. This pipeline carries 1.2 million barrels of crude each day traveling through Azerbaijan and Turkey on the way to the Mediterranean Sea where the oil is shipped to the west. The pipeline was financed by the U.$ (costing $3.9 billion) and is owned and operated by a group of energy companies led by BP (formerly British Petroleum). This pipeline does not go through South Ossetia or Abkhazie.

Georgia is also an important strategic ally for the United $tates as a pro-U.$. force in a volatile region and bordering Russia. Amerika has permanently stationed "military advisors" in Georgia. At the same time Russia has been building up its military presence in the region and opposing U.$. moves to get Georgia into NATO. Russia would gain similar benefits from control of Georgia: partial control of an oil pipeline and a politically strategic military base, cutting off one of Amerika's allies that borders Russia.

History of the conflict

Even before the August invasions there was significant tension between South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Georgia. South Ossetia and Abkhazia are small regions bordering Russia. Separatists in these two provinces have been demanding independence since 1990 when Georgia became independent and claimed both areas as part of Georgia. Most people living in these regions are not Georgian. Since 1992 both areas have been operating semi-autonomously with Russian military support.

In 2006 Russia built a military base in South Ossetia, and in April of 2008 Russia established legal ties between itself and these two regions, also building up a military presence in Abkhazia. With a history of military conflict between Georgia and South Ossetian separatists, there have also been many attempts at internationally brokered peace agreements.

Currently in effect is a 1992 Sochi peace agreement which, according to the US Department of State, "…established a cease-fire between the Georgian and South Ossetian forces and defined both a zone of conflict around the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali and a security corridor along the border of South Ossetian territories. The Agreement also created the Joint Control Commission (JCC), and a peacekeeping body, the Joint Peacekeeping Forces group (JPKF). The JPKF is under Russian command and is comprised of peacekeepers from Georgia, Russia, and Russia's North Ossetian autonomous republic (as the separatist South Ossetian government remained unrecognized)…"(4) This agreement clearly authorizes Russian presence in the region.

In fact, the U.$. ambassador to Moscow initially endorsed Russia's military move into Georgia as a legitimate response after Russian troops came under attack.(5)

There is little debate that Georgia attacked South Ossetia in early August in a major offensive against the provincial capital of Tskhinvali, though Georgia is claiming they did so only after their soldiers were attacked (by South Ossetian separatists or possibly by Russian military - the story has changed a few times). Given the history of Amerikan imperialism and its tight control over its puppets, we are certain this attack was known about in advance and encouraged by the Amerikan government, either overtly or subtly.

Russia's ability to aggressively invade Georgia with such significant firepower makes it clear that they had been preparing for this fight, though certainly the Georgian attack on South Ossetia was a convenient excuse. Either way, the South Ossetian people are pawns in a war between Russian and Amerikan imperialist forces, each backing leaders who will act as their puppets.

For the Ossetians, the question is what is the principal contradiction standing in their way towards self-determination. As a part of the Russian Federation, it would seem that imperialist Russia would be playing the greatest role as oppressor there. However, in the context of a u$ proxy invasion using Georgian troops, the interests of the Ossetians are best served by upholding the pre-invasion status quo of relative peace with Russian supervision and opposing further attacks. So, despite the fact that South Ossetia does not promise to benefit as a client of Russian imperialism, those of us in the First World imperialist countries can best serve the Ossetian people by opposing u$/eu involvement and anti-Russian sentiments that justify such involvement with the myth of "Western democracy vs. Russian autocracy."

Under imperialism war is inevitable

Since the state capitalists took power in the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin, that country, and later Russia, has pursued a clearly capitalist economic system. The competition between Russia and the U.$. has nothing to do with "democracy" or "freedom" or communist aspirations in Russia. It is merely the military and political positioning of two big imperialist countries fighting over the spoils of Third World exploitation. The United $tates has a head start and many international allies in the battle, but Russia wants its part of the spoils too.

Imperialism is a system that generates profits for First World countries through exploitation of the Third World. Competition between imperialists over resources and labor in the Third World is a natural result, just like capitalism itself is predicated on competition between corporations. Imperialists may align with each other for various short or long term strategic partnerships (or because smaller imperialist countries can not survive without protection and support of a larger imperialist country). In over half a century, the imperialists have managed to avoid overt military conflicts with each other, but this has only intensified the violence of global wars felt in the Third World.

Whereas, Maoists uphold that the principal contradiction in the world today remains that between the oppressed nations and imperialism, we see progress in resolving those contradictions through self-determination of the oppressed. Russia could have played a progressive role in providing international banking services to Hamas in Palestine or extending diplomatic relations with the Lakotah Nation in North America. There is no reason to reject the possibility of similar roles for u$ imperialism. By definition, any alliances between imperialists and oppressed nations will be temporary.

During WWII communists saw a qualitative difference between the fascist states and the other imperialist states that led to the conclusion that a United Front with the bourgeois democracies was a necessary strategic move. In 2008, we see anti-amerikanism as an important progressive force uniting the proletariat and its potential allies. But we do not see ourselves in a stage where overall strategic alliance with a certain imperialist camp will benefit the international proletariat.

In the case of this conflict in Georgia, the only right side is the side of the Georgian, South Ossetian and Abkhazian people. And for the First World, that means opposing u$ or european backed invasions in the region. We have no independent confirmations of revolutionary organizing among the people, though we have no doubt that in Stalin's birthplace there is a strong memory of revolutionary history.


Notes:
1. Washington Post, September 4, 2008
2. Washington Post, September 2, 2008
3. Time Magazine, September 3, 2008
4. Counter Punch, www.counterpunch.org, August 30, 2008
5. The Globe and Mail, August 8, 2008

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[Elections] [Gender] [ULK Issue 6]
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Palin demonstrates gender privilege in Amerika

There is a lot of talk about John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska. A female on the Republican ticket does not mean any more than a female on the Democratic ticket. We should not be fighting for greater access for wimmin to positions of imperialist power in Amerika. Some wimmin have already achieved these positions, but having even more will not change the global situation of gender oppression or imperialist oppression in any way.

Hillary Clinton is part of the imperialist government as Senator from New York, and Sarah Palin as Governor of Alaska - wimmin in the Supreme Court and in leadership positions in the Amerikan government have done their part to further the militarist hegemony of Amerikan imperialism. In spite of all this, it is interesting that the Republican's will have a woman on the ticket while the democrats will not when Hillary Clinton's candidacy played up the gender issue. This seems to be a clear attempt to grab the vote of Clinton supporters who were in it just for the question of gender.

Some people are calling Palin a "pro-life feminist". The pro-life label is great irony for any Amerikan who supports (and even promotes) imperialist militarism. Countless people are killed by Amerikan intervention (covert and overt) and the products of Amerikan foreign policy. People who are truly pro-life fight Amerikan imperialism to stop the mass global murder by imperialism. At the same time, the label of "feminist" for Palin is as contradictory as the "pro-life" label. Feminism should mean fighting for an end to gender oppression. Just because she enjoys wealth and privilege doesn't mean Palin can't participate in this battle, but her political line is definitely not feminist. Palin is a part of the gender aristocracy in Amerika, and she is a part of the fight for greater gender privileges for oppressor nation men and wimmin, this is most definitely not feminism.

It's important to recognize that gender privilege in Amerika is enjoyed by oppressor nation biological wimmin as well as men. For years MIM has put forward the clear line that gender oppression is not just a question of biology. In imperialist Amerika, biological wimmin enjoy gender privilege relative to Third World wimmin and men. We call this group the gender aristocracy. This is not to say wimmin in Amerika are equal to men. In fact there is still a differential in earnings, and certainly a differential in representation in government in Amerika with only 16% of congresspeople being wimmin. But this relative difference between white nation biological wimmin and men is nothing compared to the differential between the oppressed and oppressor nations. Overall gender oppression is suffered by both men and wimmin of oppressed nations and gender privilege is enjoyed by both men and wimmin of oppressor nations.

Amerika has a long history of gender oppression of Black men who were lynched for rumors that they raped white wimmin (707 of the 2,060 lynchings in the u$ from 1882 to 1903 were for rape related accusations).(1) The theory of gender aristocracy is also clearly demonstrated when we think about contraceptive testing on Third World wimmin and men, to benefit Amerikan wimmin. Access to new and better contraceptives for Amerikans has repeatedly come at the expense of Third World people.

And on this topic of contraception, much of the discussion of Palin initially focused on her family and questions of so-called ethics. Palin's 17-year-old unwed daughter is pregnant, somewhat ironic as Palin is a supporter of abstinence education rather than contraception. Fortunately for Palin (who is staunchly anti-abortion), her daughter has decided to keep the baby and marry the father. In reality, those in the Republican party who say people should not talk about Palin's children are right - we have plenty of other more important topics to discuss. We need to tackle imperialism as a system, and part of this is talking about the hypocrisy of a womyn who fights to deny young people real education about reproduction, a practice that has been demonstrated to lead to more unwanted pregnancies.(2)

Palin has a lot of dumb Amerikan views about education, many which she shares with others in the government. She wants to teach religious creationism and so-called "intelligent design" alongside evolution in Amerikan schools, presumably presenting fantasy as science. It is fantasy that assumes we can teach youth about abstinence and ignore the increasing pregnancy rates and spread of STDs, so maybe this position should not be a surprise. In another fantasy, Palin also believes that global warming is not a product of humyn activity (though at least she's ahead of some politicians in admitting that it exists).

In the end Palin is just another imperialist candidate for an imperialist government who will perpetuate imperialist policies that lead to oppression, exploitation and death of Third World peoples. The difference with Palin is that she further demonstrates the power of the gender aristocracy in Amerika.

Notes:
(1) Marable, Manning. How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America. Southend Press, 2000. p. 117.
(2) Contraception v Abstinence Education, December 12, 2006 review of studies published at stats.org

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[International Connections] [Censorship] [ULK Issue 4]
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Some Ammo for China v. Bush

"We speak out for a free press, freedom of assembly and labor rights, not to antagonize China's leaders, but because trusting its people with greater freedom is the only way for China to develop its full potential." - U.$. President George W. Bush (1)

Last week MIM(Prisons) released our biannual censorship report, which cites documented incidents of censorship of our literature in more than half of the states in the united $tates of amerikkka. That's just the documented incidents of one organization with a tiny distribution.

Comrades in our movement have been yelled at, kicked out, ticketed, physically attacked, arrested and many are currently sitting in isolation cells for the crime of trying to speak about or distribute literature expressing our ideas. For prisoners in isolation, it's usually just a matter of possessing said literature.

If China changes its policy of not publicly criticizing the internal affairs of other countries, documentation of the extensive censorship we face is provided right here on our website for their use.

Let there be no mistake, freedom of speech in a class system is a bourgeois myth.

notes: (1) Washington Post. August 7, 2008.

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[Elections] [ULK Issue 4]
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Obama's world tour - international news roundup

Barack Obama's July international tour gives as much insight into what is not important to Amerika as it tells us about what is important. Looking at where Obama's tour stopped, we can see some big continents skipped: He did not visit Asia, Africa or Latin America. These regions represent the vast majority of oppressed and exploited people in the world. That's not to say Obama only focused on imperialist countries, but his visits to Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan and Palestine underscore the relative importance of the Middle East to imperialism right now.

The missing Third World

It is pretty clear that Amerikans are not very interested in Third World countries as long as super profits flow back home and there is no perception of significant threat. The Amerikan government has done a great job of building up fear around the Middle East and its potential danger to Amerikan people. This served to justify several recent battles in the ongoing World War three against the Third World, and maintains our focus on this region.

Asia is currently in the news only for the Olympics and stories about pollution in Beijing. It is interesting that many have taken the opportunity of the Olympics to attack China and its foreign and domestic policies. We at MIM(Prisons) are not fans of the capitalist government in China, but we find their policies no more objectionable than those of the many other imperialist countries that have hosted the Olympics. And as we've discussed in a previous article on Tibet (White Nationalism still reaching out to Tibet), the attacks on China around this topic are regurgitation of white-washed imperialist history. Historical example predicts that the white nationalists condemning China will not rally for an independent New Afrika in response to Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics. Yet, New Afrikans were enslaved by amerika, whereas Tibetans freed themselves from slavery in joining the socialist project of the People's Republic of China in the 1950s. The current mayor of Chicago has overseen numerous slayings of Black residents and many years of torture chambers run in the city's jails, targeting New Afrikans in particular. Mayor Daley's father oversaw the murder and imprisonment of Black Panthers, Vice Lords, Black P. Stone Rangers and other organizations organizing for Black self-determination as mayor of the city in the late 1960s. China would be hard-pressed to outdo the city of Chicago alone in its genocidal national oppression.

Even his African heritage is not sufficient reason for Obama to talk about that continent, much less visit there. In general Amerika is pretty happy to ignore Africa and it is among the regions of the world that the Amerikan public knows the least about. In Zimbabwe there is significant turmoil over Presidential election results and subsequent economic collapse. Imperialist hegemony relies on relative stability of oppressed nations and so there is a lot of interest in this country right now. The U.$. has gotten involved to the extent of calling for sanctions on the Mugabe government but this country is not impacting the Amerikan economy enough to merit further action. In reality this is a good thing as attention from Amerika generally means imperialist intervention (overt or covert) and is generally devastating for a country. But the flip side of that is that countries already devastated by imperialism are ignored because of the poor conditions and lack of threat to imperialism. The U.$. is setting the stage for potential actions against the Mugabe government in the future if that seems useful to imperialism, and this is something anti-imperialists must remain vigilant about fighting.

Iraq and Afghanistan

All eyes are on Iraq as Amerikans continue to fight a war that was started under false pretenses but continues as Amerika fights for a strong foothold in the Middle East. Obama continues to advocate a pull out of troops within 16 months if he is elected President. But as we reported in a previous article on the elections: Just because he wants to pull troops out of Iraq doesn't mean Obama is anti-militarist. Obama is clear that he will use the Amerikan military to defend the Amerikan economy. From his web site: "The excellence of our military is unmatched. But as a result of a misguided war in Iraq, our forces are under pressure as never before. Obama will make the investments we need so that the finest military in the world is best-prepared to meet 21st-century threats." And he wants to expand the imperialist military: "We have learned from Iraq that our military needs more men and women in uniform to reduce the strain on our active force. Obama will increase the size of ground forces, adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines."

Further, Obama has called for u$ troop redeployment to Afghanistan and into Pakistan. Essentially Obama will free up the resources to move from one invasion to another. Meanwhile, one of Obama's high-profile foreign policy advisors is Zbigniew Brzezinski, who's book detailing plans for continued amerikan hegemony foreshadows the current occupation of Afghanistan to secure access to the Caspian Sea. Brzezinski was a strong backer of the Shah in Iran, and later supported military occupation of the country to maintain stability after the Shah's fall. The amerikan imperialists will disagree on where to invade and who to befriend, but they never disagree on whether to be imperialists or to promote amerikan domination over the rest of the world.

There is really little difference between Obama's position and that of the current administration. Bush is now saying clearly that the "terrorists" in Iraq are on the brink of defeat and the Iraqi government and security forces are getting stronger, which would allow “further reductions in our combat forces, as conditions permit.” (NYT, Aug 1, 2008) Bush is likely looking for vindication of his policies and a "victory" before the end of his presidency, but the government also recognizes the decreasing popularity of this war with the Amerikan people. Earlier in July, Bush announced a plan to send more troops to Afghanistan: "We're going to increase troops by 2009." (Yahoo News, July 2, 2008)

Iran

This brings us to Iran - not a stop in Obama's world tour but a topic he discussed several times in public speeches around the world. "A nuclear Iran would be a game-changing situation, not just in the Middle East, but around the world," said Obama. "A nuclear Iran would pose a grave threat, and the world must prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon." "It would endanger Israel and the rest of the region, and it could embolden terrorists and spark a dangerous arm race in the Middle East."

Obama is putting forward consistent imperialist rhetoric which sets the stage for an invasion or any other attacks against Iran the imperialists deem necessary. This is partly due to the position of the close Amerikan buddy, Israel, a country that considers Iranian nuclear power to be a direct threat. It is ok for Israel, a viciously aggressive country with a bloody history of repression against Palestinians, to have nuclear weapons, but their enemies must not be allowed to develop such tools. Some have speculated that Israel may attack Iran, and if that happens Amerika wants to be positioned to support their ally.

Israel

During his stop in Israel Obama told Israeli President Shimon Peres: "I'm here on this trip to reaffirm the special relationship between Israel and the United States and my abiding commitment to Israel's security and my hope that I can serve as an effective partner, whether as a U.S. senator or as president." Obama has always been consistent in his strong support for this imperialist ally. Joining him on his tour of the region was Dennis Ross, a former Middle East envoy who is a consultant for The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think-tank promoting the Israeli lobby under the guise of academia.

Oil

Very related to Middle East policy, with so much attention to gas prices in Amerika, John McCain has seized on this issue as the path to the presidency and is vocally promoting offshore drilling. Of course invading oil-rich countries is one way to gain control of significant stores of oil and bring down gas prices, but since that seems to be costing more Amerikan lives and money than the Amerikan people are willing to tolerate, environmental destruction to get at more oil is a reasonable backup strategy for the imperialists.

A poll from the Public Policy Institute of California reported that by the end of July Californian's had shifted their opinions, with a slim majority now supporting offshore drilling. California would be one of the main sites where costal waters would be opened to drilling by the McCain proposal. Historically public opinion has shifted with the price of gas - as prices go up, support for drilling goes up. This is typical Amerikan me-firstism, which leaves room for environmental protection, national self-determination, and other policies that are good for the majority of the world's people only if it doesn't impact their pocketbooks.

McCain's new support for offshore drilling has certainly gained him some donations from the oil industry. But a 2007 study from the Department of Energy suggested that new offshore leases will not lead to production of oil until 2020 and would not impact prices until 2030.( http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/otheranalysis/ongr.html) McCain has claimed offshore drilling could provide economic relief within months, which contradicts these studies by his own government. There is no doubt that oil drilling is bad for the environment. But the Amerikan government is uninterested in adopting far sighted policies that might protect against environmental destruction by developing energy sources. Until the Amerikan public really feels the impact of environmental destruction (in their pocketbooks or in their health) it is unlikely the government will be motivated to act.

As MIM wrote back in 1996: "The root cause of environmental problems is capitalism, the private ownership of the means of production by a relative handful of people. This essence of capitalism is one reason why capitalism creates environmental problems: while the majority of the world's people have a material interest in maintaining a healthy planet, the small capitalist ruling class is not accountable to this majority, except in the indirect sense that the ruling class seeks to co-opt the demands of the majority in order to maintain the capitalist system. A second reason why capitalism creates environmental problems is that although the world's resources are controlled by a relative handful of people, planning is not centralized under capitalism. Instead, production is anarchic; it is centered around making profits, not around meeting basic human needs in the short or long runs. Much of what is produced by the capitalist system is unnecessary and wasteful, and the system is not fundamentally capable of incorporating long-term human survival as a need. Finally, the capitalist system does not distribute resources equitably. Under capitalism, many people do not have adequate resources for survival. Many environmental problems stem from this root problem….. The capitalist system of production for profit creates a number of environmental problems which are often understood and discussed in isolation from their root causes. Key among these is pollution of air, water and land. Pollution, like all else under capitalism, is unequally distributed. On a world scale, waste from the imperialist countries is dumped in the neocolonies." (MIM Theory 12: http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/mt/mt12capenv.html)

European stops

Obama was received like a rock star in Berlin and was generally very popular among European leaders in his tour of that region. This just provides further evidence that Obama is a good imperialist, who works well with his imperialist allies. Being loved by other imperialist country populations may be considered good credentials by some voting Amerikans, but for anti-imperialists it is just further proof of an enemy of the people.

We have already lamented the readiness of many youth and oppressed people to join the Obama bandwagon because of his identity. Some closer to MIM(Prisons) are still suggesting that Obama represents progress for our movement and that everything reported in this article is just for show to get elected. This analysis acknowledges one important reality, while ignoring another. It recognizes that amerikans would not vote for someone who is working in the interests of the oppressed, and therefore such a persyn would have to put on a show to get elected. The mistake these people make is putting identity above a of mountain facts. We have seen serious revolutionaries degenerate into bourgeois politics, so don't think dark skin and a little time in the projects in Chicago means someone is a friend. The bourgeois theory of history upholds the idea that individuals make history, the proletarian theory looks to social forces on the group level to explain history and predict future developments. The president of the united $tates is only one persyn. Obama comes with a whole package of people, and they're all the standard imperialists, voted in by the same old amerikan oppressor nation.

More interesting than the theory that Obama is a progressive in imperialist clothing is the proposal that he could be the nail in the coffin of the Black Nation as an oppressed internal semi-colony. We would expect the bourgeois internationalists to have to pull the rest of white amerika into full integration, but we'd also expect this to require a healthy push from the oppressed themselves.

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[Culture] [Control Units] [ULK Issue 4]
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Unlock the Box movie previews at StopMax

MIM(Prisons) interviewed Reel Soldier, who previewed a new film they are working on at the StopMax conference in Philadelphia in May.

MIM(Prisons): What was the purpose of the conference?

Well, the StopMax campaign mission reads, "Our mission is to promote and support a national movement to end the use of solitary confinement and related forms of torture in US prisons." And i think it did a very good job of that with the conference. It brought together an impressive group of organizations and people that have been doing work around the issue of isolation and prison torture.

MIMP: So your film fit in well with the theme of the conference. Can you tell us a little about the film?

Yeah, it was really good timing for us. The film is called Unlock the Box, and it is all about the history of and the struggle against the use of long-term isolation in u$ prisons. It is very clear about the emergence of control units (and large-scale incarceration in general) as a form of political repression. If you look at the history of penitentiaries and more severe forms of isolation, it was largely determined to be a failed experiment over a century ago. But with the effective end of Jim Crow and other overt forms of white power, and the national liberation struggles that emerged from that struggle, prisons and isolation become an important tool for controlling the oppressed populations within u$ borders.

So it gets into some history. We also have some factual information on what control units are including new research some comrades have put together on the number and extent of long-term isolation. We think we have the best numbers out there right now, and they're a lot higher than the usual 25,000 that people have been citing for some years. We're seeing upwards of 100,000 people in long-term isolation. But this research is ongoing because it is so hard to get complete statistics, and a number of groups at the conference are collaborating to share this information. The plan is to publish the stats on [url=http://www.abolishcontrolunits.org]www.abolishcontrolunits.org soon, where you can also get information on the movie and how to order the DVD.

MIMP: What led you to create this film? What do you hope to accomplish with it?

The film came out of work that some of us were doing with the United Front to Abolish the SHU, which was a collection of organizations in California working together to build the campaign there. After doing a conference in 2005 by the same name, some of our public work died out and some of us changed focus for various reasons. But it seemed like a good time to sum up and document what had been years of work in California, and we knew of others, including MIM, who were carrying out similar campaigns across the country. In addition, we had felt we had put enough energy into petitioning the legislature to shut down the SHU, and that our window of influence there had closed with little success. We did have success in reaching the public and bringing light to an issue that is very hidden from the public eye though. And the movie was an idea to continue public opinion work in another format.

MIMP: What did people at the conference think of the film? Did you get any useful feedback to help shape the final version?

The response was great. I have to give props to the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) for bringing together so many people who were so involved in this issue. The audience couldn't have been more catered to the movie. Unfortunately, we only had a rough draft done at that point, but people still felt it was very moving and on point. I was actually even a little surprised, because the film gives a pretty radical analysis of the international connections with the war on terror, the war on gangs, and the role of the amerikan oppressor nation in supporting this torture. And yet, everyone that responded seemed to really like the message and the content of the movie.

As far as feedback, the main thing was probably the suggestions of things that we should add to the film. And with all the great resources at the conference we were able to gather a lot of material to incorporate some of those suggestions. We don't claim to have a comprehensive coverage of the struggle everywhere, but we've got a lot of good examples, and a lot of information packed in to this movie. We got one suggestion to add more persynal stories to win people over on that level, which we have done. Our preview focused on some of the more theoretical material that we wanted to get across for that forum. And a couple of us that have been involved in the film production itself used the opportunity to look at the technical aspects and overall flow in a little more critical light. Just having an audience in the room with you allows you to say, "man, this part is too long" or "that visual just looks cheesy" when just a day ago you're sitting in front of the computer and you can't imagine cutting anything out or changing something.

MIMP: What were the key accomplishments of the conference?

Well, for us it was a huge accomplishment to get a preview of our movie on the screen. If it wasn't for this conference who knows where this project would be now. It really pushed us to get something on disc. I mean i was literally compressing the movie and burning it to disc for the first time less than 24 hours before our presentation. So we got to expose people to the film and we got lots of pre-orders for the DVD. This is important, because at this point we don't have a distributor so we're just going to do one big mass mailing when it comes out in September. So people need to send in their orders now to get one.

But the conference as a whole really seemed to solidify for the first time, what many of us have been striving for for years, a national campaign to oppose control units. The AFSC has stepped up to play the role of providing infrastructure to promote continued communication and collaboration between different parties working around this campaign.

So, it seems like the campaign has reached a critical mass of a sort. And it may be good timing in regards to how many states are re-evaluating their tough-on-crime laws and prison-building crazes.

MIMP: How will attendees be working to carry the struggle forward?

That's a good question. People were really enthusiastic about working together. But we will see how that plays out. Sharing information is always good, so that should help all of us if that continues effectively. But, as we learned with the United Front to Abolish the SHU, it is sometimes hard to bring a lot organizations together when politics are very different. We had some experiences where it seemed that sectarianism seemed to prevent groups who were nominally working on the same issues from joining the United Front, or causing them to leave. And it's clear that some groups have different approaches stemming from their different politics. Which shouldn't necessarily be a problem, since a United Front has room for many different political lines and strategies.

There is a question of whether some strategies or political interests within the movement are somewhat antagonistic though. For example, there is a strong focus on getting the mentally ill out of SHU, which in our analysis usually plays into the states goal of using the SHU as a tool of political repression. This has become the standard because it works. But by works, i mean that they can get the laws passed, but it doesn't necessarily translate into less people being in SHU, just different populations - generally populations that are or potentially would pose political challenges to the white power structure. So this could be a net setback.

Some state campaigns have been successful in actually getting the numbers in SHU decreased legislatively. In contrast, court challenges to the SHU as a whole have been ineffective, only having limited successes in regards to specific conditions or to the mentally ill.

New legislative campaigns are well under way in places like Arizona and Illinois, and likely to spread. Others were more focused on the need to organizing prisoners, street organizations and the oppressed nations in general. Hopefully these two major focuses can complement each other as the campaign advances.

MIMP: How can people who are interested in this struggle get involved with the film or the United Front?

Well, this movie has been largely inspired by the work MIM and now MIM(Prisons) has been doing. And our analysis in the film is along those lines. Which puts us more in the camp of focusing on the organizing of prisoners and by extension street organizations. In fact, i've been talking to a number of comrades in this process about a second film that focuses on the lumpen on the street. But i think one of the lessons you can take from the movie is that control units are a response to a powerful movement of the oppressed, that included a strong prison movement. By prison movement, i mean prisoners organizing on the inside. We don't really see anything like that today, though the possibility exists.

So people on the inside need to make that happen. We need strong cadre organizations with a real analysis and political line to back up these more reformist oriented campaigns that some of the outside organizations are focusing on. And since the nature of prisons and control units is to prevent that from happening, we need people on the outside to provide the infrastructure to help make that happen. I'd point to MIM(Prisons) political books to prisoners program and study programs as important to developing cadre level comrades behind bars. As the movie points out in the conclusion, this is what we need to put an end to the pointless violence that is going on in there right now and to create a system that serves the people. And of course, we've got to work to keep people out of the SHU.

As far as getting involved with the film, we just need to get it out there at this point. Check out the website to order a DVD. And any indie distributors or online stores out there should email the contact there if they are interested in making this thing generally available in the future. If you're on the outside and interested in joining this campaign a good first step would be hosting a showing of this film in your area. You can usually get a free space at the library or local college or church. We will probably post some promo materials online at some point for people to use. And if you are gonna do a showing send them an email and they will promote it on the website, we've actually already had a few groups host other showings of the preview we put out.

I mean, i assume anyone who's reading this is gonna be hip to MIM(Prisons), so that's where i'd look for specific info on campaigns that need your support. And there are a lot of other groups out there working on this issue you might support as well. But i'd encourage people to think seriously about what the best strategy is to actually achieve our goals (and before that you might need to define what your goals are). That is what we are striving for constantly, and i hope this film helps us all consolidate our thoughts around that question.

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[Culture] [ULK Issue 4]
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Immortal Technique - The 3rd World drops


Immortal Technique & DJ Green Lantern
The 3rd World
Viper Records
June 24, 2008

The long awaited third album from Immortal Technique hit stores today. It's not Revolutionary Volume 3, it's not the much hyped Middle Passage, but it's a mix tape with DJ Green Lantern called Third World. The title is fitting, as the album takes a pretty consistent perspective of the oppressed of the Third World. Tech's lyrics with samples to complement from DJ Green Lantern, over some banging beats, make this a highly recommended album to check out.

MIM's review of and interview with Immortal Technique received a lot of interest and response from readers of MIM Notes and etext.org in the past. The biggest criticism of Tech's politics has to be the role of the white nation as oppressor vs. ally in the revolution. On his first CD, he declared camaraderie with working class whites as a whole. But a comparison of Open Your Eyes off of Third World with The Poverty of Philosophy off of Vol.1 indicates that his politics have continued to develop in the internationalist direction that was more clearly pronounced on Vol.2. So, we see Tech growing ideologically, as well as musically on this new CD.

MIM(Prisons) mentioned Immortal Technique in a discussion of the principal contradiction, where we were critical of his treatment of Bu$h and bin Laden as one in the same. This stems from his reliance on conspiracy theories in favor of studying politics on the group level. But Third World is much lighter on conspiracy theory, and responds to this critique and the development of the principal contradiction globally by clearly allying with the jihad against u$ occupation. Tech even calls out all the rappers who used to be down with Allah, for turning silent out of fear.

Philosophically, Tech repeatedly pushes materialism, with lines like:3

Son, remember, when you fight to be free.
You see things how they are,
and not how you like them to be

He demonstrates the application of this materialism in his revolutionary theory that is based in internationalism and recognizes the principal contradiction between the oppressor and oppressed nations. Open Your Eyes is jam-packed with a great analysis political economy with a great hook. The first line sums it up nicely,

We're here because you are there.

The title track Third World is just as good, but more lyrical, staying on the topic of the truly oppressed with lines like:

it makes the hood in amerika look like paradise
and
...700 children died by the end of this song.

The opening track also speaks some real truth:

They call us terrorists after they ruined our countries
Funded right-wing paramilitary monkeys
Tortured a populace,
then blamed the communists
Your lies are too obvious.

On these tracks, he also alludes to the impending invasion of the imperialist countries by the oppressed who will take back what is theirs. The album is very favorable to the Joint Dictatorship of the Proletariat of the Oppressed Nations. He also refers to the Reconquista in Hollywood Driveby:

everybody talking about the south taking over,
it's true motherfucker, but it's comin' over the border.

Many have been critical of Immortal Technique for homophobia and misogyny in his lyrics. Not that he is any worse than your average, on the contrary. But we might expect more from someone who is such a conscious revolutionary. There's nothing too feminist on the Third World and some of his comrades utilize some misogynist language. Of course, the whole album is very macho in Tech's typical style, but it is a revolutionary machismo that we could use more of. He does provide some good advice regarding sex and romance, like this verse from Reverse Pimpology that undercuts some of the sick tendencies of our romance culture, and goes on to put prisons, police and revolution as a higher priority:

most people are only players because they got played
and have not let go of that shit since the 7th grade
yeah, you got your heart broke
life sucks doesn't it
but you shouldn't fuck up someone else's life because of it.

We welcome the return of Immortal Technique with some new music that shows real development. We can highly recommend that comrades pick this album up, after you order your copy of the Unlock the Box DVD.

This article referenced in:
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[Theory] [Middle East]
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Muslim science gets it right again

Class and nation prevail over self-described ideology

As the people have taught us quite well over the last few years, ones ideology is more than a name. While those claiming the scientific method of dialectical materialism in the name of Marx, Lenin and Mao have made calls welcoming imperialist forces into their countries (whether the United Nations or the united $tates itself), Muslims have drawn the line in the sand and said NO! to u$ imperialism in Africa, Southeast Asia and especially in the Middle East where imperialist occupation is most pronounced.

While so-called Maoists have welcomed the u$ imperialists as partners in building "New Democracy", Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr rebuked u$ Defense Secretary Gates' attempts to welcome him into the imperialist-run political process this week. He is quoted as stating:

"I will always remain your enemy because you are occupying Iraq."
...
"I heard the statement of the terrorist amerikan defense minister and I feel compelled to give a decent response to such a terrorist. I have no enemy but you, you are the occupier. You have always been my enemy and you will always be my enemy until the last drop of my blood." (1)

This was in a speech where he defended Iraqis in the imperialist-backed military for not attacking other Iraqis in u$-ordered raids, asking that the state give them their jobs back. In relation to this he stated:

"Don't raise your weapons against Iraqis as long as they don't help the occupier. I also call on the Iraqi government to back its people to rid the land of the occupier." (1)

This is what revolutionary scientists call recognizing the principal contradiction and uniting all who can be united to push that contradiction to its resolution. That is how history is made. These statements by al-Sadr are in the context of an Iraq with many factions poised to fight each other, even willing to side with the imperialists to do so.

Elsewhere in the region, reports of a strengthened and entrenched Hizbolluh in southern Lebanon have stated that they have embraced and successfully recruited communities across religious lines that have often divided the country in the past. (2) Necessity is a great teacher, and u$ and i$raeli occupations have brought the necessity of united defense to the forefront in places like Lebanon and Iraq. Similarly, it is meeting the needs of the revolutionary struggle that offers the fastest road to liberation for wimmin, without whom the resistance will surely fail. As a class system that perpetuates its inherent inequalities, imperialist intervention can not unite the oppressed, liberate wimmin, nor even consistently provide the masses with their material needs as Hizbolluh and the "Sadrists" must do in their regions.

Dating back to Lenin and the beginning of the first socialist experiment in Russia, communists have shown that while religion is the opiate of the masses, the masses are not enemies because they still embrace religion. We can have great confidence that the scientific method will win out as the people struggle for survival and for liberation. Muslims in Iraq and Lebanon have demonstrated this truth in practice.

notes:
(1) Flashpoints. April 14, 2008. http://www.kpfa.org/archives/index.php?arch=25805
(2) Christian Science Monitor. April 15, 2008.

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[China] [National Oppression] [ULK Issue 3]
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White Nationalism still reaching out to Tibet

Recent stirrings in Tibet bring up an opportunity to expose the white-washed history of that part of the world presented in the imperialist countries, and could potentially help build the multinational anti-imperialist movement in China. But there is much interference on the part of the oppressor nations that threaten genuine people's movements there.

The disproportionate attention paid to Tibet by the bourgeois press is a product of a decades long campaign by the CIA to destabilize China, dating back to when the country was a stronghold of socialism in the world. Today, China's rise towards an imperialist competitor keeps the Tibet card a useful one in the hands of a meddling Uncle $cam.

The imperialists are encouraging divisions within China, nothing new there in the last 50 years. But why are amerikkkans, in the name of humyn rights, waving the Tibetan flag and demanding change in China? More importantly, why are these same white people not waving the flag of the Lakota people who recently declared sovereignty from a state that actually committed large-scale land grabbing and genocide against them? Why are these same white people not crying out at the injustice of a system that imprisons young Black men at rates far above any other country in humyn history?

Last year the China scare was about toy safety, not Tibetan humyn rights. Amerikkkans fear Chinese toys, just like they fear Mexican labor and work hard to secure their share of stolen Aztlán by militarizing the border with Mexico and filling u$ prisons with Mexican citizens. Is it any wonder that only 10% of Mexicans have a positive view of the United States? (1)

As upper class Tibetan wimmin stated in 1960, "Those people in Tibet who talked about 'independence' always had some foreign connections. Why do so many British and American writers concern themselves with Tibetan 'independence.' Is it for the good of the Tibetans or for their own good?" (Strong, p. 113) This question remains very relevant today. And while we cannot give a good analysis, nor less offer short-term solutions, for the conflicts between Tibetans and Uighurs and Hans in China today, we can warn against those who have the historical honesty to condemn Tibetan feudalism, but will fuel the flames of conflict between the various peoples of China.

With the largest population of any country, China is still a predominately peasant society with a rapidly growing proletariat. The interests of these oppressed classes are the same; in opposition to the current capitalist regime and to foreign imperialism. Teaming up with foreign intelligence agencies to pit one group of oppressed against another does not liberate anyone. Anti-Han propaganda was the tool of the slave owners in the 1950s, and to this day remains beneficial to those who wish to exploit all the people of China.

Popular calls taken up by the white nationalists in relation to Tibet are those of local control and preserving the culture. New Age hippies claim to feel spiritual connections to the cultures of the Himalayan region with little regard to whether the people who live there are better off or not. It is hard to see what they find so appealing about the worship of god-kings, the starvation of serfs and the physical torture of humyn slaves that made up the social systems of Tibet and Nepal in the 20th century. But white people will vehemently defend the "right" of these cultures to stay frozen in time. In commentary on a BBC article on Tibet today, a Kanadian writes about the inherently peaceful nature of the people of Tibet, ignoring decades of history of struggle against starvation, oppression and torture. Unlike this Kanadian, we do not believe that races exist, nor that some are born more peaceful than others, we believe all people strive for peace and will resist when they are oppressed.

Today, the construction of the railway through Tibet is one topic of controversy, with opponents saying it will only help exploit the region and will not benefit the people. This is a likely outcome in a capitalist country that has fully developed into its role as the sweatshop and dumping ground for the First World. But isolation and localism is not the answer, despite the hippies' dreams. We do not wish to witness a repeat of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, which has led to horrible losses for the oppressed people of those regions on both sides of local conflicts.

A comparison to events in the Soviet Union also gives an interesting lesson in the differences in handling national conflicts between a socialist state that serves the people and an imperialist state claiming socialism but really exploiting them. The Dalai Lama claimed that amerikkka offered to finance a holy war against Communist China in the early 1950s (see Strong, p.45), similar to what the amerikkkans did in Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union decades later. The defense of Afghanistan from the social-imperialist Soviet Union was a successful rallying cry for the people of the region, even with u$ backing. In contrast, the resistance in Tibet to a socialist China, serving the interests of the people, was never made up of more than a minority of aristocratic Tibetans and their slaves. Even the Dalai Lama opposed this interference by the CIA.

Defending the socialist legacy

The bourgeois press repeatedly mentions the "liberation" of Tibet in quotation marks. Yet if we do a very cursory comparison of China's role in the liberation of Tibet and the United $tates role in the "liberation" of Iraq we see that it is really the "liberation" of Iraq that is a farce. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) didn't interfere militarily in Tibet until they had the full support of the people in defeating the feudal clique, and even waited 8 months after defeating the Tibetan military to negotiate an agreement before stepping into Tibet proper. (Strong, p. 44) Large sections of the rebel armies even joined the PLA instantly, as they had been forced by warlords to fight.

The rebels in Tibet were carrying out a terrorist campaign on the people and waging armed conflict against the PLA in its struggle to maintain the social hierarchy of Tibet under the Dalai Lama. They were rebelling against the changes that were taking place in Tibetan society, changes that communists in China understood to be the natural resolution of internal contradictions within that society. It was that understanding that led to Mao's successful policy in Tibet and the PLA truly being a force of liberation in supporting the will of the people. It took another 8 years after the official "liberation" for the feudal government's power to crumble within Tibet, ending in the rebellion of 1959, which the PLA easily quelled with the support of the masses. Within a year of that battle the former serfs and slaves were active participants in local government, learning to read and write, organizing production both as independent farmers and collectives, none of which they had ever done in previous history. (Strong pp. 57-60)

In contrast, Amerikkkans claimed that they would be welcomed by Iraq with open arms, and yet 5 years later Iraqis have bombed the Green Zone multiple times in the last week, killing 3 u$ soldiers in the attack today. The Green Zone is where agents of the foreign occupation (or "liberation") are forced to cordon themselves off to feel safe from the people of Iraq. Amerikkkan soldiers must patrol outside the Green Zone and fear for their lives every time they drive down the street. Meanwhile, the country continues to be in violent chaos with economic security at the lowest it's been in decades.

The current Chinese regime only helps to promote historical amnesia in relation to the accomplishments of socialism in China. The politically lazy can look at the riot police in Tibet right now and confirm what they've been told about political totalitarianism in China since 1949. Even self-identified anarchists are choosing the former slave-owning god-king (whatever happened to "No gods, No masters!"?) Dalai Lama over Mao Zedong who encouraged the mobilization of millions of people with his call to "Bombard the Headquarters" during the Cultural Revolution. Once again, white nationalism trumps political consistency.

Freedom of Religion

One common complaint against the current Chinese regime is the repression of religious groups, or any large organization independent of the government. This is used by the bourgeois press to feed into the myth of the abolishment of religion under the Communist Party of China. One "Living Buddha" had this message for the people of the world:

Here in Tibet, people used religion to exploit other people. Living Buddhas thought how to get more lands and serfs and treasure. This is not the Buddha's teaching. When the big monasteries oppress the small ones, and the upper lamas oppress the poor lamas, this is not freedom of religion... We are now learning that only by abolishing exploitation can we abide by the teaching of Sakyamuni. It was through the Communist Party that the people got freedom of religion. Because of this I can now serve the people and follow truly the teachings of Buddha. (Strong, p. 96)

Material Conditions

Prior to the liberation of Tibet, the population was 90% serfs and 5% slaves, most of whom faced starvation, malnutrition, physical abuse and lacked any persynal freedoms. (Strong, p. 52) As the class structure was transformed under socialism, the production of grain and livestock both doubled from 1959 to 1970 following reorganization and the introduction of science.(3) Not only were persynal freedoms greatly expanded via the abolition of slavery and feudalism, but questions of life and death were dealt with in an effective way.

And we remember now how the lords told us tales of the Communists and the tales were not true... We began to know it when the PLA first built the highway. The lords said the highway was only for the good of the Hans. But the working people found the highway a benefit, and those who worked on the road got paid in money wages, as well as food and clothes and shoes, and they bought themselves golden ear-rings and mules. (Strong, p. 150)

This quote comes from a time when capitalism and trade had much potential for bringing progress to the region. This may not be true today, as the productive forces of the region were unleashed with the land reforms and reorganization following 1959. More likely, increased access to Tibet by the current Chinese regime will mean more stealing of resources and dumping of toxins in the region. But it does go to show that utopian isolationism is not in the best interest of Tibet, or any other nation in the world.

Those who take up the anti-Chinese banner calling for a return to theocracy for Tibet are supporting a backward step to feudalism for that country. Even people pretending to oppose feudalism but stoking the flames of nationalist conflict between Tibet and China are serving the interests of the CIA. Revolutionaries need to focus on the anti-imperialist struggle and avoid pitting oppressed nations against each other.

As MIM points out: "With China capitalist now, the possibility exists for Han Chinese to really exploit the Tibetans. However, the 'Free Tibet' movement wants to increase exploitation even more to make Tibet a semi-colony of the United $tates, England and the rest of the 'West.'"

See MIM's Tibet Page for more background info
Another recent article on Tibet from Monkey Smashes Heaven

notes:
(1) Global survey shows uptick in US image. Christian Science Monitor. April 2, 2008.
(2) US soldiers killed in Green Zone. BBC News. April 6, 2008.
(3) Hung Nung. Farming and Stock Breeding Thrive in Tibet. Great Changes in Tibet. People's Republic of China, 1972.
Strong, Anna Louise. When Serfs Stood Up in Tibet. New World Press. Peking, 1960.

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