Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lenin, Trotsky, and the October Revolution (90th Memory) - Part I

“No matter what one thinks of Bolshevism, it is undeniable that the Russian Revolution is one of the great events of human history, and the rise of the Bolsheviki a phenomenon of world-wide importance. Just as historians search the records for the minutest details of the story of the Paris Commune, so they will want to know what happened in Petrograd in November, 1917, the spirit which animated the people, and how the leaders looked, talked and acted.” (John Reed: Preface to Ten Days that Shook the World)

The Status Quo of the Left

A person can never learn anything about the October Revolution (November in the Old Calendar) without understanding the status quo of the Left, the Lenin and Trotsky collisions, the imperial wars, and the basic concepts of Marxism.

The left has entered massive debates in the 19th century after the failure of the Paris Commune rebellion of 1871 and earlier the Spanish Commune of 1866. The later was trashed effectively by Engels, the former generated the grounds for expanding Marx’s revolutionary ideas on the ground. The Second ‘Socialist’ International was built after the First International collapsed (with the break-up of the Communists and the Anarchists). The figures who would lead the 2nd International would be Eleanor Marx, Eduard Avalin, Engels himself, Plekhanov (father of Russian Marxism), Karl Kautsky (Spearhead of German Socialism), and others. While the Second International flourished, the great divide expanded despite the foundation of several powerful labor and social democratic parties (then labor and social democratic parties were purely socialist in nature).

Debates among the socialist spheres rotated around the different phases of capitalism. For example, most quasi-feudal societies were supposed to enter the capitalist era before advocating a Proletariat Revolution, this probably would be led by Kautsky, Julius Martov (first spearhead of the Mensheviks), and others. The other line advocated that the feudal lords integrated themselves in the Capitalist system, henceforth all countries already submit to Capitalism. The Proletariat are ready to erupt the revolution when they can as well when the circumstances are available. They focused on the core values of Marx, and argued that Europe already emerged out of the feudal era by 1840. This will be advocated by Rosa Luxemburg, Lenin, Trotsky, Lunacharsky, and several others.

Toward the late 19th Century, Anarchist, and Marxist circles were established on the grassroots level. Lenin, Martov, Vera Zasulich, Plekhanov, Axelrod, and Potresov established the radical journal: Iskra (which means in English: the Spark). Iskra will become the founding basis for activists through out Europe (and elsewhere). Others, such as the likes Trotsky will join. Iskra itself became the building block to build the Russian Social Democratic Party. The Iskra also displayed the heavy collisions between the old guards and the new ones. Lenin, Martov, and Potresov (younger generation) will entered a collision against the Plekhanov, Axelrod, and Zasulich. Here, Trotsky and Lenin will meet the first time in London, October 1902. Lenin and his wife Krupskaya were using alias names of MR. and Ms. Richter.

The Iskra witnessed heavy collisions between Lenin and Plekhanov, who attempted to place an iron-grip over Iskra. Lenin proposed the ousting of Axelrod, Zasulich, and Potresov from the Iskra editorial because they haven’t been productive, while Plekhanov and others fought him heavily. Excluding for the this proposal at the assemply failing, Lenin won every single proposal at a two vote difference, henceforth Lenin’s faction would be called the Bolsheviks (meaning Majority in English), while Martov’s faction would become the Mensheviks (meaning Minority in English). Eventually, the Russian Social Democratic Party will collapse into two separate parties. This signaled the division lines between the Socialists: Emancipation from below through a pure Marxist approach, or step down and reconcile with the right-wings.

In 1905, Leon Trotsky escaped back to Russia after a massacre of proletariat called “Black Friday”, and transformed a workers’ demonstration into a proletariat revolution whereby he succeeded where all his predecessors failed: establishing a Soviet. Trotsky clearly supported a workers’ revolution; however, he advocated the reunification of the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks into the Russian Social Democratic Party. Even though dubbed a Menshevik for disagreeing with Lenin, Trotsky wasn’t any of the two. In fact, when the Petrograd Soviet collapsed, Trotsky was greeted in contempt, while back in exile again, by Lenin and Martov, We will return to 1905 for different reasons at a different section.

The 1905 revolution stormed the Left through out Europe by surprise. Theories were revised, the softies who claimed socialism were placed in a corner. At the dawn of the break of imperial wars among empires, the left remained divided between pure emancipation from below or allying with right.

When World War I came into existence, the Second International collapsed. Kautsky’s stubbornness of remaining its prime figure destroyed whatever is left. The Socialists were divided. One Socialist became the Minister of War to support France’s imperial causes, and he was severely attacked by Trotsky. Trotsky’s mentor, Parvus, became a German Nationalist supporting Czarist Germany in the face of the allies, and to this Trotsky issued an obituary mourning the death of his friend (even though he remained alive). The Mensheviks were also divided into supporting Russia’s war or not. Lenin severely attacked all forms of Nationalism in the war and called it: “Bourgeoisie’s war”. He heavily criticized any socialist who supported the concept of “Fatherland”. For Lenin, these are imaginary boundaries that divided the Proletariat to unite against their oppressors. Two powerful figures also followed this path bluntly, and they paid the price ultimately: Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebnekht. Karl was locked up in prison during all the time of the World War.

Yet, people like Rosa Luxemburg, Lenin, and Trotsky expected a global change throughout the world. Marx’s basic rules over here will come handy. Lenin and Trotsky foresaw the insurrection of the Proletariat in the face of their oppressors. Trotsky and Lenin in specific anticipated a revolution that will trigger a global revolution and knew that it was their chance to attempt to overthrow the capitalist system.

End of Part I

Trotsky, Lenin, and the October Revolution (90th Anniversary) - Introduction

The year 2007 marks the 90th anniversary of probably the greatest event which almost shook the foundations of Capitalism and taught us a lesson that anything is possible to attain the goals of Marxism. The two primary engineers are definitely Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky. This doesn’t mean we exclude the role of the Bolshevik key figures such as Kamenev,Bukharin, Zinoviev, Radek, Rakovsky, Reed, Riazanov, Kollontai, Sverdlov (another details on Sverdlov by Trotsky, and a whole list of never ending figures. Another dimension of course is the great sacrifices the proletariat paid for to achieve equality in 1917. This of course would make couple of Stalinists angry (Lebanon and abroad), but I will like to announce the introduction of October Revolution (90th Anniversary) series to explain for the Lebanese left what has happened in the past and how we can on Lebanese and International scale build to the next level of activism and establishing a Proletariat movement. After all, the only real war that exists in the 21st century is the class war. There are no Nationalistic wars, such wars are conducted for business reasons.

The preferred references to understand in a simplified form the October revolution are:
The Prophet Armed (Isaac Deutcher), Lenin and Trotsky: For What they Stood For (Alan Woods and Ted Grant), Bolshevism: The Road to the Revolution (Alan Woods), 10 Days that Shocked the World (John Reed), The History of the Russian Revolution (Leon Trotsky), , and almost never ending wonderful references on the subject. I would like to comment on two people who shamefully tried to distort history as it happened: Stalin and Kautsky. Stalin advocated his Russian Nationalism which he linked to Lenin and crowned himself as “Defender of Leninism”, while Kautsky justified himself by deviating from the path of “emancipation from below” and tried to eliminate the importance and lessons of the October Revolution (Check Lenin's Book). I consider the latter more dangerous than the former. Stalinism died with Stalin, and what we still have are minor residues slowly moving to capitalism. The Latter is more dangerous because he opened a path for right-wingers to become active under the banner of the left. The Left of course, such as the current bankrupt Social Democrats globally, would be tempted to follow the easy way to solve the problems of the working class by allying with the right-wing. We see this with the Democratic Left Movement, while the Lebanese Communist Party justifies how a Stalinist party would behave in the absence of Moscow. All of these lessons will pop up in the October revolution, along the importance of Internationalism, Class Struggle, Historical Materialism, Dialectical Materialism, Marxist Economics, Science of Revolutions and its ethics, and Marxist Sociology.

I hope you will enjoy those series, and sadly I wish I can just write down everything I know on the topic, but that would require a whole set of remarkable books that will never end.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

90th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution: Esteban Volkov and Alan Woods speak in Copenhagen

Article taken from here

Over 200 people packed the Workers' Museum in Copenhagen last night, leaving standing room only, in order to hear Esteban Volkov and Alan Woods speak on the 90th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. Esteban Volkov, the grandson of Leon Trotsky, and also last living witness to his assassination, spoke in the city where Trotsky made his final public speech in 1932.

This month celebrates 90 years since the October revolution, which swept away the old oppressive Tsarist dictatorship, brought Russia out of the First World War and capped off 9 months of struggle by the working class with the coming to power of the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin and Trotsky.

In 1932, 8 years after the death of Lenin, Trotsky found himself in exile in Prinkipo, in Turkey, isolated from the entire world and deprived of any means of direct contact with the international labour movement. Therefore, when the youth of the Danish Social Democracy invited Trotsky to speak 15 years after the events of 1917, he accepted the invitation enthusiastically. This was the last time that Trotsky ever spoke at a public meeting. To read the transcript of this read In Defence of October.

The meeting on Wednesday night was the culmination of a year's planning by the comrades of Socialistisk Standpunkt, the Marxist voice of the Danish Labour movement. The event attracted the attention of the mainstream media, who were curious to find out what this peculiar spectacle was all about. The celebration of the October revolution and the ideas of Marxism attracted the Nyhedsavisen, a Danish paper with a circulation of 500,000, who conducted an interview with Volkov, of which you can read about here.

At 6 o'clock sharp a large number of young people, trade unionists and labour movement activists filed into the magnificent hall of the Workers' Museum, which has a long history in the Danish workers' movement dating back to the days of the Paris commune. The magnificent wood panels that surrounded the hall were adorned with wood cuttings depicting the different professions of the working class; carpenters, painters, engravers etc. The platform was decorated with a large banner with pictures of Lenin and Trotsky.

The meeting was opened by Marie Friederiksen, the editor of Socialistik Standpunkt, followed by the young worker Lasse Bertelsen, who introduced the main speakers, Esteban Volkov and Alan Woods.

In a moving speech, Esteban Volkov relayed the main events of his life and contacts with Leon Trotsky until the assassination of his grandfather in August 1940; "He (Trotsky) and a small group of followers faced the harshest dictatorship in history, and Stalin usurped the power of the workers for himself."

"I joined my grandfather in Prinpiko in the early 1930s. Even as a child I was taught to hate the oppressors and love the oppressed. But I gradually learnt to understand that there was also another: the Stalinist bureaucracy which was trampling the rights of the workers underfoot."

Volkov described how he learnt of the assassination of one after another of Trotsky's collaborators: Ignace Reiss, Erwin Wolff, Andreas Nin, and also Trotsky's sons Leon and Sergei Sedov.

He described how, after the assassination of Leon Sedov, his grandfather brought him to Mexico. He described in great detail the first attack on Trotsky in May 1940, when he was wounded in the foot by gunfire. Finally, he described the events leading to the assignation of Trotsky by the Stalinist agent Mercader, in August 1940.

"In my brief 80 years... I never in my life met someone as brave and intelligent as Leon Trotsky. Trotsky's confidence in the future of the working class and socialism was absolute, but it did not drop from the sky. He always defended the ideas of Marx, Lenin and the October revolution. In his last testament he says ‘life is beautiful, let us cleanse it of all injustice and oppression and live it to the full'".

Esteban Volkov's emotional speech was received by the audience with a standing ovation which lasted for several minutes.

The second speaker was Alan Woods, editor of Marxist.com, who spoke on the October revolution; "The October revolution was the greatest event in human history, because here for the first time, if we exclude the glorious episode of the Paris commune, the masses, that is the millions of ordinary working class men and women overthrew the old oppressive state and at least began the task of the socialist transformation of society."

Alan referred to the assertion which is frequently made that young people are not interested in politics. "Young people are not interested in politics! Yes, we are not interested in YOUR politics (applause)".

Alan explained that the ruling class and its ideologues have a spiteful attitude toward all revolutions, not just the Russian revolution but the French revolution of the 18th century and the English revolution of the 17th century. This spitefulness comes from fear. The ruling class does not fear revolutions of the past, but revolutions of the future. It is determined to poison the minds of the youth against revolution in general.

Alan questioned the idea that the Soviet Union never achieved anything. The nationalised planned economy transformed Russia, which was more backward than Pakistan today, into a modern developed economy. A formerly illiterate nation had more scientists than the USA, Germany, Britain and Japan together. Such a transformation has never been seen in the history of the world. The Soviet Union proved that it was possible to operate the economy of a vast subcontinent without landlords, private bankers and economists." What failed in the Soviet Union was not socialism, but a bureaucratic and totalitarian caricature of socialism.

Alan's speech was received with an enthusiastic ovation and the singing of the Internationale. Among those present was a television crew from the most important Russian television service, NTV, who were visibly moved by the meeting, which will be shown on Russian television, in prime viewing time on the popular news programme Sevogdnya at 7 pm next Sunday.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Mariategui: Anti-Imperialism Perspective (1929)

More relevant than ever, submitted in 1929 and nothing changed since then... taken from here

(Presented to the First Latin American Communist Conference, June 1929.)

To what degree is the situation of the Latin American republics similar to that of the semi-colonial countries? The economic condition of these republics is undoubtedly semi-colonial, and this characteristic of their economies tends to be accentuated as capitalism, and therefore imperialist penetration, develops. But the national bourgeoisies, who see cooperation with imperialism as their best source of profits, feel themselves secure enough as mistresses of power not to be too greatly preoccupied with national sovereignty. The South American bourgeoisies, not yet facing Yankee military occupation (with the exception of Panama), are not disposed to admit the necessity of struggling for their second independence, as Aprista propaganda naively supposes. The state, or better yet the ruling class, does not seem to feel the need for a greater or more secure degree of national autonomy. The revolution for independence is relatively too near, its myths and symbols too alive in the consciousness of the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie. The illusion of national sovereignty still lives on. It would be a serious mistake to claim that this social layer still has a sense of revolutionary nationalism, as in those places where it does represent a factor for anti-imperialist struggle in semi-colonial countries enslaved by imperialism, for example, in Asia in recent decades.

Over a year ago, in our discussion with Aprista leaders in which we rejected their desire to propose the creation of a Latin American Kuomintang, we put forward the following thesis as a way to avoid Eurocentric plagiarism and to accommodate our revolutionary activity to a precise appreciation of our own reality:

Collaboration with the bourgeoisie and even many feudal elements in the anti-imperialist struggle in China are explicable in terms of race and national culture that are not relevant for us. A Chinese nobleman or bourgeois feels himself Chinese to the core. He matches the white man's contempt for his stratified and decrepit culture with his own contempt and pride in his millennia-long tradition. Anti-imperialism can therefore find support in such sentiments and in a sense of Chinese nationalism Circumstances are not the same in Indo America. The native aristocracy and bourgeoisie feel no solidarity with the people in possessing a common history and culture. In Peru, the white aristocrat and bourgeois scorn the popular and the national. They consider themselves white above all else. The petty bourgeois mestizo imitates their example. The Lima bourgeoisie fraternizes with the Yankee capitalists, even with their mere employees at the Country Club, the Tennis Club, and in the streets. The Yankee can marry the native senorita without the inconvenience of differences in race or religion, and she feels no national or cultural misgivings in preferring marriage with a member of the invading race. The middle class girl has no qualms in this regard, either. The girl who can trap a Yankee employed by the Grace Company or the Foundation does it with the satisfaction of thereby raising her social position. The nationalist factor for these inescapable objective reasons is neither decisive nor basic to the anti imperialist struggle in our environment. Only in countries such as Argentina, where there is a large and rich bourgeoisie proud of their country's wealth and power and where the national character for this reason has clearer contours than in more backward countries could anti imperialism (perhaps) penetrate more easily among bourgeois elements. But this is for reasons related to capitalist expansion and development, rather than for reasons of social justice and socialist theory as in our case.

The betrayal by the Chinese bourgeoisie and the failure of the Kuomintang have not yet been understood in their full magnitude. Their capitalist style of nationalism (one not related to social justice or theory) demonstrates how little we can trust the revolutionary nationalist sentiments of the bourgeoisie, even in countries like China.

As long as the imperialists are able to "manage" the sentiments and formalities of these states' national sovereignty and are not forced to resort to armed intervention or military occupation, they can definitively count on the collaboration of their bourgeoisies. While they may depend upon the imperialist economy, these countries, or rather their bourgeoisies, consider themselves as much the masters of their own fate as Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, and the other "dependent states" of Europe.

This factor of political psychology should not be discounted in the precise estimation of the possibilities of anti-imperialist action in Latin America. Neglect of this matter has been one of the characteristics of Aprista theory.

The fundamental difference between us in Peru who originally accepted the APRA (as a project for a united front, never as a party or even as an effective organizer of struggle), and those outside Peru who later defined it as a Latin American Kuomintang, is that the former remain faithful to the revolutionary, socioeconomic conception of anti-imperialism; the latter, meanwhile, explain their position by saying: "We are leftists (or socialists) because we are anti-imperialists." Anti-imperialism thereby is raised to the level of a program, a political attitude, a movement that is valid in and of itself and that leads spontaneously to socialism, to the social revolution (how, we have no idea). This idea inordinately overestimates the anti-imperialist movement, exaggerates the myth of the struggle for a "second independence," and romanticizes that we are already living in the era of a new emancipation. This leads to the idea of replacing the anti-imperialist leagues with political parties. From an APRA initially conceived as a united front, a popular alliance, a bloc of oppressed classes, we pass to an APRA defined as the Latin American Kuomintang.

For us, anti-imperialism does not and cannot constitute, by itself a political program for a mass movement capable of conquering state power. Anti-imperialism, even if it could mobilize the nationalist bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie on the side of the worker and peasant masses (and we have already definitively denied this possibility), does not annul class antagonisms nor suppress different class interests.

Neither the bourgeoisie nor the petty bourgeoisie in power can carry out anti-imperialist politics. To demonstrate this we have the experience of Mexico, where the petty bourgeoisie has just allied with Yankee imperialism. In its relations with the United States, a "nationalist" government might use different language than the Leguia government of Peru. This government is clearly, unabashedly Pan-Americanist and Monroeist. But any other bourgeois government would carry out the same practical policies on loans and concessions. Foreign capital investment in Peru grows in direct and close relation to the country's economic development, the exploitation of its natural riches, its population, and the improvement of its routes of communication. How can the most demagogic petty bourgeois oppose this capitalist penetration? With nothing but words; with nothing but a quick, nationalist fix. The taking of power by anti-imperialism, if it were possible, would not represent the taking of power by the proletarian masses, by socialism. The socialist revolution will find its most bloody and dangerous enemy (dangerous because of their confusionism and demagogy) in those petty bourgeois placed in power by the voices of order.

Without ruling out the use of any type of anti-imperialist agitation or any action to mobilize those social sectors that might eventually join the struggle, our mission is to explain to and show the masses that only the socialist revolution can stand as a definitive and real barrier to the advance of imperialism.

* * *
These factors differentiate the situation of the South American countries from that of the Central American nations. There, Yankee imperialism, by resorting to armed intervention without the slightest hesitation, does provoke a patriotic reaction that could easily win a part of the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie to an anti-imperialist perspective. Aprista propaganda, conducted personally by Haya de la Torre, has obtained better results here than in any other part of America. His confusionist and messianic perorations, which claim to be related to the economic struggle, actually appeal to racial and emotional factors, thereby meeting the necessary conditions for impressing the petty bourgeois intellectual. Class parties and powerful, clearly class-conscious union organizations are not destined for the same quick growth here as in South America. In our countries, the class factor is more decisive and more developed. There is no reason to resort to vague populist formulas behind which reactionary tendencies can only prosper. At the moment, Aprismo, as propaganda, is limited to Central America; in South America, it is being totally liquidated, a consequence of the populist, "bossist," and petty bourgeois deviation that sees it as a Latin American Kuomintang. The next Anti-Imperialist Congress in Paris, which will have to unify the anti-imperialist organizations and distinguish between anti-imperialist programs and agitation and the tasks of class parties and trade unions, will put an absolute end to this question.

Do the interests of imperialist capitalism necessarily and inevitably coincide with the feudal and semi-feudal interests of our countries' landowning classes? Is the struggle against feudalism unavoidably and completely identical with the anti-imperialist struggle? Certainly, imperialist capitalism uses the power of the feudal class to the degree that it considers it the politically dominant class. But their economic interests are not the same. The petty-bourgeoisie, even the most demagogic, can end up in the same intimate alliance with imperialist capitalism if it, in practice, dilutes its most conspicuous nationalist impulses. Finance capital would feel more secure if power were in the hands of a larger social class that is in a better position than the old, hated feudal class to defend the interests of capitalism and serve as its guard and water boy by satisfying certain overdue demands and distorting the masses' class orientation. The creation of a class of smallholders, the expropriation of the latifundia, and the liquidation of feudal privileges are not in opposition to the interests of imperialism in an immediate sense. On the contrary, to the degree that feudal vestiges still remain despite the growth of the capitalist economy, the movement for the liquidation of feudal privileges coincides with the interests of capitalist development as promoted by imperialist experts and investments. The disappearance of the large latifundia, the creation of an agrarian economy through what bourgeois demagoguery calls the democratization" of the land, the displacement of the old aristocracies by a more powerful bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie better able to guarantee social peace: none of this is contrary to imperialist interests. The Leguia regime in Peru, as timid as it has been in regard to the interests of the latifundistas and gamonales (who support it to a great degree), has no problem resorting to demagogy, declaiming against feudalism and feudal privilege, thundering against the old oligarchies, and promoting a program of land distribution to make every field worker a small landowner. Leguiismo draws its greatest strength from precisely this type of demagogy. Legitismo does not dare lay a hand on the large landowners. But the natural direction of capitalist development-irrigation works, the exploitation of new mines, etc.-is in contradiction to the interests and privileges of feudalism. To the degree that the amount of cultivated land increases and new centers of employment appear, the latifundistas lose their principal power: the absolute and unconditional control of labor. In Lambayeque, where a water diversion project has been started by the American engineer Sutton, the technical commission has already run up against the interests of the large feudal landowners. These landowners grow mainly sugar. The threat that they will lose their monopoly of land and water, and thereby their means of controlling the work force, infuriates these people and pushes them toward attitudes that the government considers subversive, no matter how closely it is connected to these elements. Sutton has all the characteristics of the North American capitalist businessman. His outlook and his work clash with the feudal spirit of the latfundistas. For example, Sutton has established a system of water distribution that is based on the principle that these resources belong to the state; the latifundistas believe that water rights are part of their right to the land. By this theory, the water was theirs; it was and is the absolute property of their estates.

And is the petty bourgeoisie, whose role in the struggle against imperialism is so often overestimated, necessarily opposed to imperialist penetration because of economic exploitation? The petty bourgeoisie is undoubtedly the social class most sensitive to the fascination of nationalist mythology. But the economic factor which predominates is the following: in countries afflicted with Spanish-style poverty, where the petty bourgeoisie, locked in decades-old prejudice, resists proletarianization; where, because of their miserable wages, they do not have the economic power to partially transform themselves into a working class; where the desperate search for office employment, a petty government job, and the hunt for a "decent" salary and a "decent" job dominate, the creation of large enterprises that represent better-paid jobs, even if they enormously exploit their local employees, is favorably received by the middle classes. A Yankee business represents a better salary, possibilities for advancement, and liberation from dependence on the state, which can only offer a future to speculators. This reality weighs decisively on the consciousness of the petty bourgeois looking for or in possession of a position. In these countries with Spanish-style poverty, we repeat, the situation of the middle classes is not the same as in those countries where these classes have gone through a period of free competition and of capitalist development favorable to individual initiative and success and to oppression by the giant monopolies.

In conclusion, we are anti-imperialists because we are Marxists, because we are revolutionaries, because we oppose capitalism with socialism, an antagonistic system called upon to transcend it, and because in our struggle against foreign imperialism we are fulfilling our duty of solidarity with the revolutionary masses of Europe.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Same Headlines - Same News but different dates

By December 1st 2007, it will be the first year anniversary of the Opposition launching their Open Demonstration in the Business Trade Center known as Down Town. The tents have been open ever since, although most of the time they are empty and they lost their esteem.

The Opposition failed to oust the US and French backed Government, and eventually gained nothing so far from the entire operation except participating in worsening the situation (along with the government) at the economic, social and political level. The Political level’s critical level (call it Two Minutes to Midnight) may have soothed down, unlike last year’s December and late January; however, people still worry about Hooligans belonging to different parties might erupt anytime. The good news though, none of the politicians want that so far. So, what we have is the same routine of bourgeoisie corrupted politicians and sect leaders disparaging each other on daily basis in a ping-pong manner. Thousands of jobs have been canceled, and now the Presidential issue remains the sole driver for news to fill their empty 7:30 and 8:00 news.

Saad Harriri and Aoun met in Paris (which is strange though because they could have easily met in Lebanon, or chatted via the phone). Aoun is dubbed as 8th of March by the 14th of March (government) while Aoun insists he is a separate entity, but not to be divided from Hezbollah. Personally I think Saad Harriri should have given Aoun a nice check of money because he pushed a huge chunk of the Christians back to isolated traditional “Marounstan” logic. Aoun, as expected has been cornered, and it seems his own allies are abandoning him on the Presidential Campaign. Rather, they are using him to attain bargaining cards from the Government. This of course includes the two primary actors (other than Aoun) Hezbollah and AMAL movements.

Meanwhile, we heard from Akhbar newspaper that Hezbollah did the largest Military maneuver in its history below the Litani river (where UNIFIL are supported to be allocated). Neither the UNIFIL nor the Lebanese intelligence detected anything. Hezbollah’s statement to the Akhbar Newspaper was that they are just practicing and to send a message that they are prepared to face Israel. Can someone explain to me how the hell a resistance movement does a full scale military maneuvers and training without the invader? Statements are awaited to get full knowledge on the manner.

The 14th of March seem that they are still clutching to both Boutros Harb and Nassib Lahoud as their primary candidates to the Presidential elections. So far, the deadlock remains. Harriri acts as if he is the mitigating agent among the factions while Junblatt goes frenzy on TV. The foreign nations’ ministers, specially the US and France, argue that no country should intervene in Lebanon’s internal affairs, then they go visit every primary key actor politician in Lebanon. Syria isn’t that better, and worse is Israel. Every time they breach Syrian sovereign land, they reinforce the division that exists in Lebanon by promoting the Opposition’s logo: “Pro Resistance or Against”. Personally I do not see any resistance to US imperialism as the Opposition claims, all I see is a lunatic General seeking the presidential chair by willing to ally even with the devil, capitalists running the government, and capitalists from the opposition want to regain previous gains to distribute gains.

The funniest part is when watching NBN TV, they still refer to the government as “non-legitimate”, but if that is true, then how come it’s supreme president (Nabih Berri himself) is always in contact with the Prime Minister and his boss Saad Harriri.

On the other side, the government has covered better grounds than they wanted. For starters, the Future Block (ultra capitalists) has prepared the full package to bury Lebanon in the World Trade Organization. They already initiated the procedures of privatizations on the telecommunication level, and the people are going to worry about the WTO to starve them to death, and not only the 14th of March and Opposition coalitions’ corrupted leaders.

Most of the people are fed up from watching the same news (unless Israel does a blunder or one politician is assassinated). The headlines have been almost the same on daily basis, and people are more alienated than ever. Work already alienated the proletariat, sectarianism (along with fearing the other) remains dividing the Lebanese into two gigantic camps (then each camp to mini sects/parties), and now the chance to even hope/dream for a better situation is down the drain and discouraging.

These days, me and the comrades sit and guess the headlines of tomorrow’s newspaper. The sad part of the story, most of the time we guess correct. What is there to guess for? Jaajaa retaliated on Aoun? Aoun declared he is a reconciliatory president? Seniora trying to compete with Hezbollah about who is resisting more? Even We’am Wahhab’stupid speeches are no longer shocking or Elias Attallah (when sober) are also predictable. Junblatt’s disparage on Syria? Or Rice’s boring speeches about leaving Lebanon alone? OR who visited who? Or who wants a better a Lebanon? Or who stated what at Archbishop’s Sfair?

All of this fiasco and most of the Lebanese seem to forget a humanitarian crisis occurring at Nahr el Bared. Most of the Lebanese forgot about Nahr el Bared after Lebanon’s “War on Terror” was over with Fatah Islam. They totally forgot about the looting taking over up there. They forgot about the need to pressure the government to reconstruct Nahr el Bared after it was flattened. They forgot to stress about the need to provide alternate living standards for the Palestinians in exile (for a second time since 1948). They never wondered what happened to the relatives of the deceased; did they get any form of compensation?

Speaking of Fatah Islam, the army said they are linked to Al-Qaeda; however how come we never heard Zawahari mentioning Fatah Islam while mentioning every detail in Northern Arab Africa. Al-Qaeda usually issue statements about their assassinated Cadres? How come nothing is mentioned about Fatah Islam even though a whole organization was supposed to be dismantled to kingdom come at Qa’eda’s sources? Again this brings suspicion to two traditional suspects: Seymour Hersh’s logic that the US (along potentially with government) is building tiny terrorist cells to counter the expanding Shiite expenditure (even though over here the Lebanese Army suffered most in a military sense) and the Syrians who wanted to destabilize the country’s sanity infrastructure even more.

The primary question is: when the “seculars” will wake up and join forces upon a progressive platform to bind the country’s divided proletariat into one.


Friday, November 02, 2007

One World - One Human Race

It has been a while since I last wrote because I was extremely busy, hopefully now I can manage more on a daily basis.

You may be surprised to see the article’s title “One Human Race”, but this article will tackle one of the core issues of Marx’s basic ideas: Internationalism.

From here we shall begin with a statement that I always love to write: “All the members of the Proletariat are equal despite race, gender, nationality, color, sect, and tendency.” Tendency refers to the “non-straights” or “homosexuals”. Tony Cliff actually wrote about integrating Tendency in 1976 as part of the class struggle, but for now let us dwell on this beautiful concept of internationalism. This concept is fundamental in every corner of the world, including Lebanon.

Marx and Engel’s theme, Internationalism (and on a later stage Rosa Luxemburg, John Reed, Lenin, Trotsky, Karl Radek, Guevara, and a lot others) remains the heart of Marxism within the Proletariat’s battle to emancipate themselves from the bourgeoisie. The first notion someone might disagree with me is: “But MFL, there are no longer Proletariat and Bourgeoisie.” I would yell out loudly: “Wrong!”

The summarized definition of the proletariat is those who lack the means of production; henceforth they are left with nothing but their muscles to work, and hope that the bourgeoisie would give them a better treatment. Another trait of the Proletariat is the fact they are always alienated due to the fast pace of their work. Due to excessive work, the Proletariat are always isolated from their surrounding, and hence they blocked to attain collective consciousness (whether via a Proletariat Vanguard Party, or build their own). The Proletariat are enslaved in banks, factories (yes assembly lines and sweatshops are still existent through out the world), services section, while the “owners of the means of Production” harvest the fruits, and accumulate cash.

The last two words are very important, ‘accumulate cash’. The supporters of neo-liberalism always celebrate the circulation of money, or pray that money spills from the top to bottom (which rarely happens). The Bourgeoisie spend a mere fraction to allow the right-wing economists to celebrate “the money multiplier” syndrome. Rather they stockpile while the purchasing power of the Proletariat shrinks. Marx said: “Automation is gradually replacing the proletariat while the workers are left to compete for cheaper wages.” This is true, if one proletariat is not satisfied with his/her work, they are easily replaced by others, and in a lot of 3rd world countries: import cheaper labor elsewhere and destabilize the labor market of the country (hence triggering bad case of recession). In 2001, statistics (from the Balance of Payments, and others) showed of the top 100 entities, 51 one of them are corporations while 49 are nation states. I think that is a scary number if you ask me. That means that somewhere in the top 100 entities, a corporation can move 1% of its budget (which would equate to a lot of Asian nations and most of Africa combined) to else where. Actually according to the ILO, again in 2001, the number of global workers within the transnational corporations is only 10%, while the transnational corporations are gradually eradicating minor and middle run corporations (or tiny ones) to integrate them within their own empire. When 3.2 trillion dollars rotate the globe in one day (according to the Balance of Payments), this shows three important details:

- The shift from the manufacturing industry to the services is enormous (hence more unemployment is taking place, which includes also 1st world nations because they are closing their factories and moving east.
- The greediness of the bourgeoisie whereby 3.2 trillion dollars rotate the globe in the form of direct investment, which means the markets of the world (specially 3rd world) are left at the mercy of the transnational corporations.
- The Transnational Corporations, and their servants (the elected officials of the first world) refused to protect the fragile markets because they prefer the free volatile market rather implement the Tobin Tax. The concept of the Tobin Tax was to charge a mini-tax on every direct investment, and the revenues would go to cover the debts of a third world country (which actually is in debt due to previous colonialism). I highly recommend you rent the documentary: “The Corporation” for a nice idea.

This leads us to the concept of internationalism, the majority of the world is starving or suffering from bad economic recessions because bunch of CEOs prefer to maximize their profits rather than believe in a just way of financial distribution.

The previous boundary which divides the world into nationalism is collapsing, as Marx predicted in “The German Ideology”. The world will shrink in size to the extent there will be no difference between what color as long as the corporations are functioning at the expense of the Proletariat. Of course, if one manager miscalculates, it is tens of thousands of unemployed proletariat forced to work cheaper. Religion no longer has any value in dividing the Proletariat, rather, it binds when the religious institution is needed as an oppressive tool. I think the Vatican and Saudi Arabia are nice examples of that fact.

Capitalism has its own functionary internationalism of its own. It also trespasses boundaries to cover the proletariat also despite race, gender, ethnicity, color, religion, and nationality. Lenin was clear on that issue, there cant be a revolution on a national scale, for what is the use to establish a socialist country amidst capitalist greed. The only occasion socialism will temporary work (on a minor welfare degree) is when the nation has sufficient resources /services capabilities to manage to manage throughout the capitalist system. As long as money has a social and purchasing value, capitalism will remain standing still and the poor will get poorer (unless feeling lucky to purchase a lottery ticket).

It is capitalism that produced all this form of decaying 19th century nationalism. It is capitalism that preserves the religious institution as an obedient tool with the promise of “suffer now, and enjoy heaven”. This is class struggle. It is Capitalism that is distorting history. If the US is the land of freedom, why don’t they admit that they established their nation by literally committing ethnic cleansing the original inhabitants of that land.
Here, Marx and his merry warriors step in. Marx attempted to establish the first international movement to bind the proletariat all over, and ever since, the struggle has been going on. The primary goal is the abolishment of this ruthless system, there can be no other way to end the crisis of capitalism, and the “neo-imperialist tools” (whether preemptive wars like Israel and USA, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank…etc). There is no other way! (you hear that ignorant Democratic Leftists and Lebanese Communist Party?). Any other form of solution will lead us to vicious circles or tyranny.

The borders of the elite are fading away, and remain fading. Previous imperial conquests are replaced with market domination and shoving the workers aside. We are one race, as one motto in Genoa said: “We are six billion, you are 6!” There is no difference where you are, as long as you are fighting for your rights and the rights of your fellow colleague.

Time will come for our return!
Hasta La Victoria Siempre