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[Fascism] [Militarism] [Philippines] [USSR] [ULK Issue 71]
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Strategizing Against Fascism

fight imperialism smash fascism

Our readership has always talked about fascism more than the mainstream because they face some of the most fascistic aspects of imperialism within U.$. borders. As the dialogue around fascism in relation to the White House enterslj6 the mainstream, it becomes more important for us to distinguish our line, and the potential strategies that follow from that line.(1)

The first draft of an article on the self-determination of the Lakota people referred repeatedly to the fascism that they faced. The parallel is certainly justified. As we know Hitler was very inspired by the Amerikan genocide and colonization of First Nations. Yet, fascism arose hundreds of years after settlers first came to Turtle Island. There are many similarities, but also differences, between Nazi Germany and the early United $tates, and the United $tates today.(2) Understanding what fascism is is important for fighting it.

Fascism as Inter-Imperialist Conflict

“Marxist-Leninists eventually argued that fascism is qualitatively more evil than ordinary imperialism. First, fascism occupied imperialist countries and exterminated national self-determination in direct ways that the other imperialists did not. Second, and less important, fascism is the open dictatorship of the bourgeoisie instead of just the more masked dictatorship of bourgeois democracy.” MC5, May 1993, “Historical applications of Line, Strategy and Tactics: The United Front”, MIM Theory 6: The Stalin Issue, p.76. ($5)

MC5 goes on to say that the principal contradiction during the period of the rise of fascism was actually that between the socialist and the imperialist camps. That the Nazis focused so much on the destruction of the Soviet Union, undermining their own success, demonstrates the role of fascism as a response to socialism.

Stalin’s strategy in this period was to divide the imperialist camp. It’s hard to see how the socialist camp today could employ such a strategy since we are not operating from the base of power that Stalin was (the USSR actually had the military might to stop the Nazis). But in his time, Stalin’s strategy proved correct.

A Global Threat or Bourgeois Politics

Antifa and the unorganized rebellions against the police in cities across the country have forced anti-fascism into the mainstream. Yet the mainstream rhetoric has quickly transformed the “battle against fascism” in the United $tates into a thinly veiled campaign for the Democratic Party presidential election in November. The likes of Bob Avakian, Angela Davis and Noam Chomsky have all called on people to vote for Joe Biden, citing this battle.

Stopping fascism is a lower level goal than ending imperialism or building socialism. There are times, like World War II, when stopping fascism is the appropriate focus for communists. At that time fascism was waging a military assault across Europe and threatening the first dictatorship of the proletariat.

Presidential candidate Biden has already promised a significant increase in military spending, and President Trump has increased military spending during his term, despite his criticisms of the self-interest of the military industrial complex. Both candidates are clearly behind continued U.$. militarism to wage war against the oppressed peoples of the world. Neither candidate has indicated a rapacious military campaign to conquer and occupy other nations. Between the two options offered by the U.$. imperialists, we do not yet see the principal characteristic that led the communists of the COMINTERN to see fascism as a greater evil than imperialism.

Those who are crying “fascism” in the U.$. today are arguing that state repression internal to the United $tates is ramping up. So let’s look at what MC5 called the “less important” distinguishing characteristic of fascism.

The Democratic Struggle Against Fascism in the Third World

“The imperialists export fascism to many Third World countries via puppet governments. And imperialist countries can turn to fascism themselves. But it is important to note that there is no third choice for independent fascism in the world: they are either imperialist or imperialist-puppets. Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan had all reached the banking stage of capitalism and had a real basis for thinking they could take over colonies from the British and French. … The vast majority of the world’s fascist-ruled countries have been U.$. puppets.” – MIM Congress, “Osama Bin Laden and the Concept of ‘Theocratic Fascism’”, 2004

Strategy varies from place to place. An example of this from the past is when the Filipinos waged a campaign against the GATT trade agreement. In the Philippines this was a righteous campaign against imperialist control over their economy. However, in the United $tates the campaign against GATT was one focused on protecting Amerikan jobs, which implies fortifying imperialist borders against labor from other countries. So you can see how the same campaign can have very different impacts in different contexts. It is our responsibility to understand our own context and organize accordingly.

In a previous article on this same topic, we mentioned the anti-imperialist rhetoric of the newly elected President Duterte in the Philippines. After Duterte’s anti-United $tates rhetoric fizzled, the National Democratic Front in the Philippines have begun campaigning against the “fascist US-Duterte regime.” This framing is important. The fascism is coming from the United $tates and being implemented by the puppet Duterte. This allows for their propaganda to be consumed within the United $tates without fueling U.$. militarism for an invasion of the Philippines to rescue them from fascism.

This is in sharp contrast to the rhetoric around “islamo-fascism” in Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This framing was of course propagated by the Pentagon, but also by many calling themselves “communists.” It fueled anti-Muslim sentiments in support of U.$. militarism in Central Asia.

The framing of fascism in the form of puppet regimes is useful for the national democratic movements in the Third World to unite all who can be united. But these puppet regimes do not signify a shift in the global balance of power that warrant a strategic re-orientation like the rise of fascism within an imperialist country would.

Don’t Vote, Build Bases of Power

Another important point to note is that there is an active People’s War in the Philippines. The National Democratic Front is led by the communist party. The united front to get Trump out of office is led by the Democratic Party, in other words, the imperialists. The imperialists are not facing the threat of a communist revolution in the United $tates like they are in the Philippines that would warrant a shift to outright bourgeois dictatorship.

The imperialists responded to the 9/11 attacks with a series of changes in law, such as the Patriot Act, which legalized some of the things Trump has been doing domestically. Initially, MIM was part of the movement to oppose the Patriot Act. However, they decided to leave that movement when it was clear it was dominated by libertarians. Other “communists” tailed this movement with calls to “Drive out the Bush regime” often referring to Bush as a fascist. These same “communists” who were effectively campaigning for Obama’s election by offering no other alternative to Bush, because they have no power, are now openly endorsing Biden.

When the Soviet Union allied with the United $tates, and the Filipino communists ally with the bourgeois forces, they do not put down their guns, or give up their goals of building socialism. To be real players in the anti-fascist struggle, we must first build power like the Soviet Union did and the Filipinos are doing. Stalin did bite his tongue about U.$. imperialism to defeat German fascism. To bite our tongue today about Joe Biden’s militarism and targeting of oppressed nations with mass incarceration is to abandon the oppressed nations of the world.

It is good to see those in the imperialist state defending bourgeois democracy. That is their role. Our role is to build public opinion against imperialism and build independent institutions of the oppressed. As Trump attempts to frame Biden/Harris as the radical left, it is important to demonstrate real revolutionary politics in this country. And the target of the revolution is imperialism. Imperialism must be overthrown before we can really begin the task of building a society without oppression. To put this goal to the side to focus on getting Trump out of office, especially at a time when more and more people are looking for systemic change, is to stop representing the international proletariat. In this era in the United $tates, anti-imperialism is the radical position, while anti-fascism and anti-racism are the reformist positions.

Notes:
1. order MIM Theory 5: Diet for a Small Red Planet ($5) for an in-depth look at the relationship between line, strategy and tactics
2. order our Fascism and Contemporary Economics ($3) for a deeper look at the history and economic of fascism

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[Environmentalism] [Philippines] [Civil Liberties] [ULK Issue 39]
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Hundreds of Environmental Activists Murdered

Global Witness killings of environmental activists
A new report from Global Witness documents over 900 assassinations of people protecting the environment and rights to land in the last decade.(1) And this is just the ones they could find information on, meaning the real number is higher. Of course, none of those killed were from the First World. The big countries in the report were Brazil (448), Honduras (109), Philippines (67), Peru (58) and Colombia (52). The killers have been prosecuted in only 6 of the 908 cases. The report also suggests that this is a growing phenomenon, which seems plausible given the heightening contradictions between the demands of capitalist production and the capacity of the natural world to maintain the balance of systems that are necessary to sustain life as we know it.

In the past, some have painted environmentalism as a concern of the First World. However, this has never really been true, as it is the most oppressed people who have suffered and struggled against the most extreme man-made disasters. And the threat that their struggles pose to the capitalists' interests is highlighted by this list of assassinations; people who were mostly killed in cold blood, a fate those in the oppressor nations know nothing about.

There is a concentration of murders in the tropical countries, where vast rain forests with some of the greatest biodiversity on the planet are making what could be their final stand. Long a source of natural resources, in recent decades these forests have been leveled at an increasing rate that cannot be sustained. In such cases there is a clear connection between protecting the ecological functioning of a region and the national liberation struggle tied to land. These "untamed" lands are often the homes of peoples who have not fully been assimilated into the global capitalist economy. Often private property and land deeds do not exist in these areas, attracting the brutality of the exploiters. The people struggling to exist on these lands have a completely different perspective on what land ownership and stewardship mean.

Many of the reports of these assassinations can be discouraging, when we see vocal leaders of small indigenous groups gunned down by paid assassins of the capitalists and no one is held accountable. But this war does have two sides. In many of the hotspots in this report there are strong organizations that have mobilized indigenous people to defend their lands. One of those examples has made some headlines recently in the Philippines. The revolutionary forces in the Philippines have called for a ban on logging because it has impoverished the indigenous people and peasantry, making them susceptible to environmental disasters as we saw last November with typhoon Yolanda. The New People's Army (NPA) is exerting dual power in putting this ban into effect by engaging in gun battles and arresting members of the military of the U.$. puppet regime that defend the logging companies.(2) In a separate campaign the NPA recently stormed Apex Mining Company, torching their equipment.(3) This is one of many mining companies they have targeted due to the destruction they wreak on indigenous lands and humyn health. This connection between the struggles of the indigenous people and peasantry, the environment and land is nothing new for the Communist Party of the Philippines as was documented in the decades old film Green Guerrillas.

While most pronounced in the Third World, ecological destruction threatens all humyn life and continues to be a growing rallying point for progressive forces in the First World as well. Maoists must tie this work to a realistic class analysis and link the struggle to protect our environment to the struggle for national liberation of the oppressed. A true revolutionary ecology must engage the workings of a system that has assassinated well over 900 innocent people for trying to protect the world that we all live in.

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[U.S. Imperialism] [Philippines] [Environmentalism] [ULK Issue 35]
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U.$. Showboats As Filipinos Die From Imperialism

dead bodies rot after Typhoon Yolanda
Tacloban, the Philippines, an island devastated by a recent typhoon, shows the contrasts between wealth and poverty, and underscores the reality that "natural" disasters are not natural at all. People in First World countries have the infrastructure, resources and response systems in place to save lives that are lost in the Third World when the same disasters hit.

Overall the Philippines is a poor country; in 2012 there were 15 provinces with over 40% of the population below the poverty threshold.(1) While not in one of these 15 provinces, the government reports 32% of people in Leyte (Tacloban's province) are below the poverty line.(2) These people, living below the poverty line, had an income of less than $179/month for a family of five. A third of Tacloban's houses have wooden exterior walls and one in seven have grass roofs.(3) In these conditions, it is no surprise that a typhoon could wreak such havoc in Tacloban.

Bodies of the dead are rotting in the streets as aid fails to reach those devastated by the storm. There is no clean water and little food. Yet the Philippines is a country frequently hit by severe storms, with about 20 typhoons a year, and this storm was identified well in advance. Both these conditions should engender preparedness on the part of the government. However, in the Philippines disaster preparation and relief are delegated to local governors without a strong central leadership. Some services are more effectively delivered on a large scale. This is one area where we can show obviously that communism has a better solution than the individualism of capitalism. Where central control will lead to more efficient solutions, a communist-led government would not hesitate to take that control. But capitalism is not focused on serving the people, it is focused on maximizing profits and power for the few. And these profits result in deaths from malnutrition, military aggression, lack of health care, and "natural" disasters. As long as the imperialists retain their power and wealth, they don't mind tens of millions of preventable deaths a year.

In an interesting historical connection, Imelda Marcos, wife of the former president of the Philippines, is from Tacloban. The family of Imelda Marcos dominated local politics for years; she herself held a congressional seat in the 1990s. Imelda's husband, Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled in the Philippines from 1965-1986 with the support of the U.$. government, embezzled billions of dollars in public funds while in power. The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) waged revolutionary armed struggle against the Marcos regime, growing in strength during the Marcos dictatorship. In the end, when Marcos's demise was inevitable, the United $tates stepped in to have a role in the change of government, turning on Marcos and backing Corazon Aquino. Her family legacy lives on today as her son Benigno Aquino holds the President's office. Unfortunately, the popular movement that forced Marcos out did not go further than installing another imperialist puppet. While the communist movement was strong, it was not yet strong enough to lead the people to force the U.$. imperialists out, leaving them to play a dominating role in the country's politics and economics to this day.(4)

This is the backdrop for the reported six warships the Amerikans sent to the Philippines last week, with more than 80 fighter jets and 5,000 navy soldiers.(5) Today the United $tates is taking advantage of the disaster in the Philippines to increase military presence, while playing the hero. As reported in a CPP press release:

"The US government is militarizing disaster response in the Philippines, in much the same way that the US militarized disaster response in Haiti in the 2010 earthquake," said the CPP. The high-handed presence of US armed troops in Haiti has been widely renounced. The US government has since maintained its presence in Haiti...

"What the disaster victims need urgently are food, water and medical attention, not US warships bringing in emergency rations to justifty their armed presence in Philippine sovereign waters," pointed out the CPP. "If the US government were really interested in providing assistance to countries who have suffered from calamities, then it should increase its funds to civilian agencies that deal in disaster response and emergency relief, not in fattening its international military forces and taking advantage of the people's miseries to justify their presence," added the CPP.(5)

Much of the press is quiet about the ongoing war in the Philippines between the U.$. puppet regime and the CPP-led New People's Army (NPA), as well as other liberation forces in different regions of the islands. But it has been brought up in the Filipino press to spread propaganda about NPA soldiers attacking government relief efforts. The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) have denounced these lies pointing out that the location of the attack was not in an area where relief efforts were needed. The CPP reiterated that "NPA units in areas ravaged by the recent super typhoon Yolanda are currently engaged in relief and rehabilitation efforts assisting local Party branches and revolutionary mass organizations in mobilizing emergency supply for disaster victims." Shortly thereafter a ceasefire was declared on behalf of the NPA in order to focus on relief efforts.

The liberation struggle has long been connected to the protection of the natural resources of the islands that the imperialist countries continue to extract for great profits off the backs of the Filipino proletariat.

The storm has also received a lot of attention at a climate change summit in Poland where Filipino officials have begun a hunger strike to attempt to force "meaningful" change in relation to energy consumption. Climate change has been predicted to cause more extreme weather conditions, and this recent massive typhoon is just another possible indicator that that is happening. Yet, as international summits continue, little change is made in the over-consumption of the imperialist nations driving this disaster.

As many in the Filipino countryside have already recognized, the only solution to environmental destruction and disasters is an end to capitalism. With a rational system that puts the needs of the people over the goal of profits, we can build infrastructure suited to the environmental conditions, set up emergency response systems that provide fast and effective support, and plan consumption in a way that does not undercut the very natural systems that we live in and depend on.

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