Tag Archive: states


VOAG-Logo-(Brick)a8Ukraine and the Rebirth of Fascism in Europe

The violence on the streets of Ukraine is not a simple expression of popular anger against a government.  Instead, it is merely the latest example of the rise of the most insidious form of fascism that Europe has seen since the fall of the Third Reich.

Recent months have seen regular protests by the Ukrainian political opposition and its supporters –  protests ostensibly in response to Ukrainian President Yanukovich’s refusal to sign a trade agreement with the European Union that was seen by many political observers as the first step towards European integration.  The protests remained largely peaceful until January 17th when protesters armed with clubs, helmets, and improvised bombs unleashed brutal violence on the police, storming government buildings, beating anyone suspected of pro-government sympathies, and generally wreaking havoc on the streets of Kiev.  But who are these violent extremists and what is their ideology?

The political formation is known as “Pravy Sektor” (Right Sector), which is essentially an umbrella organization for a number of fascist groups including supporters of the “Svoboda” (Freedom) Party, “Patriots of Ukraine”, “Ukrainian National Assembly – Pravy Sektor”.  All of these organizations share a common ideology that is vehemently anti-Russian, anti-immigrant, and anti-Jewish among other things.  In addition they share a common reverence for the so called “Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists” led by Stepan Bandera, the infamous Nazi collaborators who actively fought against the Soviet Union and engaged in some of the worst atrocities committed by any side in World War II.

While Ukrainian political forces, opposition and government, continue to negotiate, a very different battle is being waged in the streets.  Using intimidation and brute force more typical of Hitler’s “Brownshirts” or Mussolini’s “Blackshirts” than a contemporary political movement, these groups have managed to turn a conflict over economic policy and the political allegiances of the country into an existential struggle for the very survival of the nation that these so called “nationalists” claim to love so dearly.  The images of Kiev burning, Lviv streets filled with thugs, and other chilling examples of the chaos in the country, illustrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that the political negotiation with the Maidan (Kiev’s central square and center of the protests) opposition is now no longer the central issue.  Rather, it is the question of Ukrainian fascism and whether it is to be supported or rejected.

For its part, the United States has strongly come down on the side of the fascist.  In early December, members of the US ruling establishment such as John McCain and Victoria Nuland were seen at Maidan lending their support to the protesters.  However, as the character of the opposition has become apparent, the US and Western ruling class and its media machine have done little to condemn the fascists.  Instead, their representatives have met with representatives of Right Sector and deemed them to be “no threat.”  In other words, the US and its allies have given their tacit approval for the continuation and proliferation of the violence in the name of their ultimate goal.

In an attempt to pry Ukraine out of the Russian sphere of influence, the US-EU-NATO alliance has, not for the first time, allied itself with fascists.  Of course, for decades, millions in Latin America were disappeared or murdered by fascist paramilitary forces armed and supported by the United States.  The mujahideen of Afghanistan, also extreme ideological reactionaries, were created and financed by the United States for the purposes of destabilizing Russia.  And of course, there is the painful reality of Libya and, most recently Syria, where the United States and its allies finance and support extremist jihadis against a government that has refused to align with the US and Israel.  There is a disturbing pattern here that has never been lost on keen political observers: the United States always makes common cause with right wing extremists and fascists for geopolitical gain.

The Fascist Menace Across the Continent
Ukraine and the rise of right wing extremism there cannot be seen, let alone understood, in isolation.  Rather, it must be examined as part of a growing trend throughout Europe (and indeed the world).

In Greece, savage austerity imposed by the troika (IMF, ECB, and European Commission) has crippled the country’s economy, leading to a depression as bad, if not worse, than the Great Depression in the United States.  It is against this backdrop of economic collapse that the Golden Dawn party has grown to become the third most popular political party in the country.  Espousing an ideology of hate, the Golden Dawn – in effect a Nazi party that promotes anti-Jewish, anti-immigrant, anti-women chauvinism – is a political force that the government in Athens has understood to be a serious threat to the very fabric of society.  It is this threat which led the government to arrest the party’s leadership after a Golden Dawn Nazi fatally stabbed an anti-fascist rapper.  Athens has launched an investigation into the party, though the results of this investigation and trial remain somewhat unclear.

What makes Golden Dawn such an insidious threat is the fact that, despite their central ideology of Nazism, their anti-EU, anti-austerity rhetoric appeals to many in the economically devastated Greece.  As with many fascist movements in the 20th Century, Golden Dawn scapegoats immigrants, Muslim and African primarily, for many of the problems facing Greeks.  In dire economic circumstances, such irrational hate becomes appealing; an answer to the question of how to solve society’s problems.  Indeed, despite Golden Dawn’s leaders being jailed, other party members are still in parliament, still running for major offices including mayor of Athens.  Though an electoral victory is unlikely, another strong showing at the polls will make the eradication of fascism in Greece that much harder.

Were this phenomenon confined to Greece and Ukraine, it would not constitute a continental trend.  Sadly however, we see the rise of similar, albeit slightly less overtly fascist, political parties all over Europe.  In Spain, the ruling pro-austerity People’s Party has moved to establish draconian laws restricting protest and free speech, and empowering and sanctioning repressive police tactics.  In France, the National Front Party of Marine Le Pen, which vehemently scapegoats Muslim and African immigrants, won nearly twenty percent of the vote in the first round of presidential elections.  Similarly, the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands – which promotes anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant policies – has grown to be the third largest in parliament.  Throughout Scandinavia, ultra nationalist parties which once toiled in complete irrelevance and obscurity are now significant players in elections.  These trends are worrying to say the least.

It should be noted too that, beyond Europe, there are a number of quasi-fascist political formations which are, in one way or another, supported by the United States.  The right wing coups that overthrew the governments of Paraguay and Honduras were tacitly and/or overtly supported by Washington in their seemingly endless quest to suppress the Left in Latin America.  Of course, one should also remember that the protest movement in Russia was spearheaded by Alexei Navalny and his nationalist followers who espouse a virulently anti-Muslim, racist ideology that views immigrants from the Russian Caucasus and former Soviet republics as beneath “European Russians”.  These and other examples begin to paint a very ugly portrait of a US foreign policy that attempts to use economic hardship and political upheaval to extend US hegemony around the world.

In Ukraine, the “Right Sector” has taken the fight from the negotiating table to the streets in an attempt to fulfill the dream of Stepan Bandera – a Ukraine free of Russia, Jews, and all other “undesirables” as they see it.  Buoyed by the continued support from the US and Europe, these fanatics represent a more serious threat to democracy than Yanukovich and the pro-Russian government ever could.  If Europe and the United States don’t recognize this threat in its infancy, by the time they finally do, it might just be too late.

Update – Ukraine’s Gold:
Meanwhile the Russian newspaper, Iskra reported on March 11th, that two days previously, in a mysterious operation under the cover of night, Ukraine’s gold reserves were promptly loaded onboard an unmarked plane, which subsequently took the gold to the US:

“Tonight, at 2:00am, an unregistered transport plane took off took off from Boryspil airport. According to Boryspil staff, prior to the plane’s appearance, four trucks and two cargo minibuses arrived at the airport all with their license plates missing. Fifteen people in black uniforms, masks and body armor stepped out, some armed with machine guns. These people loaded the plane with more than forty heavy boxes. After this, several mysterious men arrived and also entered the plane. The loading was carried out in a hurry. After unloading, their plateless cars immediately left the runway, and the plane took off on an emergency basis”.

“Airport officials who saw this mysterious “special operation” immediately notified the administration of the airport, which however strongly advised them “not to meddle in other people’s business. Later, the editors were called by one of the senior officials of the former Ministry of Income and Fees, who reported that, according to him, tonight on the orders of one of the “new leaders” of Ukraine, all the gold reserves of the Ukraine were taken to the United States”.

Indicatively, according to the latest IMF figures, Ukraine’s official gold holdings are just over 40 tons, having doubled in the past decade. Lets hope the Ukranians haven’t just “liberated” of all their gold, which after a brief stay 80 feet below the surface at 33 Liberty, will promptly find its way either to the Bundesbank, or to the billionaire oligarchs, based either in London or elsewhere, and currently in charge of “post-liberation” Ukraine.The Voag is everywhere

Assad did not use chemical weapons

CBS News reports that the U.S. is finalizing plans for war against Syria – and positioning ships to launch cruise missiles against the Syrian government -based on the claim that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its people. The last time the U.S. blamed the Syrian government for a chemical weapons attack, that claim was debunked.

But is the claim that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its people true this time? It’s not surprising that Syria’s close ally Russia is expressing doubt. Agence France-Presse (AFP) notes: Russia, which has previously said it has proof of chemical weapons use by the rebels, expressed deep scepticism about the opposition’s claims. The foreign ministry said the timing of the allegations as UN inspectors began their work “makes us think that we are once again dealing with a premeditated provocation.”

But Russia isn’t the only doubter. AFP reports: “At the moment, I am not totally convinced because the people who are helping them are without any protective clothing and without any respirators,” said Paula Vanninen, director of Verifin, the Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention. “In a real case, they would also be contaminated and would also be having symptoms.” John Hart, head of the Chemical and Biological Security Project at Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said he had not seen the telltale evidence in the eyes of the victims that would be compelling evidence of chemical weapons use. “Of the videos that I’ve seen for the last few hours, none of them show pinpoint pupils this would indicate exposure to organophosphorus nerve agents,” he said.

Gwyn Winfield, editor of CBRNe World magazine, which specialises in chemical weapons issues, said the evidence did not suggest that the chemicals used were of the weapons-grade that the Syrian army possesses in its stockpiles. “We’re not seeing reports that doctors and nurses are becoming fatalities, so that would suggest that the toxicity of it isn’t what we would consider military sarin. It may well be that it is a lower-grade,” Winfield told AFP.

Haaretz reports: Western experts on chemical warfare who have examined at least part of the footage are skeptical that weapons-grade chemical substances were used, although they all emphasize that serious conclusions cannot be reached without thorough on-site examination. Dan Kaszeta, a former officer of the U.S. Army’s Chemical Corps and a leading private consultant, pointed out a number of details absent from the footage so far: “None of the people treating the casualties or photographing them are wearing any sort of chemical-warfare protective gear,” he says, “and despite that, none of them seem to be armed.” This would seem to rule out most types of military-grade chemical weapons, including the vast majority of nerve gases, since these substances would not evaporate immediately, especially if they were used in sufficient quantities to kill hundreds of people, but rather leave a level of contamination on clothes and bodies which would harm anyone coming in unprotected contact with them in the hours after an attack. In addition, he says that “there are none of the other signs you would expect to see in the aftermath of a chemical attack, such as intermediate levels of casualties, severe visual problems, vomiting and loss of bowel control”.

Steve Johnson, a leading researcher on the effects of hazardous material exposure at England’s Cranfield University who has worked with Britain’s Ministry of Defense on chemical warfare issues, agrees that “from the details we have seen so far, a large number of casualties over a wide area would mean quite a pervasive dispersal. With that level of chemical agent, you would expect to see a lot of contamination on the casualties coming in, and it would affect those treating them who are not properly protected. We are not seeing that here.”

Additional questions also remain unanswered, especially regarding the timing of the attack, being that it occurred on the exact same day that a team of UN inspectors was in Damascus to investigate earlier claims of chemical weapons use. It is also unclear what tactical goal the Syrian army would have been trying to achieve, when over the last few weeks it has managed to push back the rebels who were encroaching on central areas of the capital. But if this was not a chemical weapons attack, what then caused the deaths of so many people without any external signs of trauma?

The Syrian rebels (and perhaps other players in the region) have a clear interest in presenting this as the largest chemical attack by the army loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad to date, even if the cause was otherwise, especially while the UN inspectors are in the country.

It is also in their interest to do so whilst U.S. President Barack Obama remains reluctant to commit any military support to the rebels, when only the crossing of a “red line” could convince him to change his policy. The rebels and the doctors on the scene may indeed believe that chemical weapons were used, since they fear such an attack, but they may not have the necessary knowledge and means to make such a diagnosis. The European Union demanded Wednesday that the UN inspectors be granted access to the new sites of alleged chemical attacks, but since this is not within the team’s mandate, it is unlikely that the Syrian government will do so.Stephen Johnson, an expert in weapons and chemical explosives at Cranfield Forensic Institute, said that the video footage looked suspect:

There are, within some of the videos, examples which seem a little hyper-real, and almost as if they’ve been set up. Which is not to say that they are fake but it does cause some concern. Some of the people with foaming, the foam seems to be too white, too pure, and not consistent with the sort of internal injury you might expect to see, which you’d expect to be bloodier or yellower.

Chemical and biological weapons researcher Jean Pascal Zanders said that the footage appears to show victims of asphyxiation, which is not consistent with the use of mustard gas or the nerve agents VX or sarin: “I’m deliberately not using the term chemical weapons here,” he said, adding that the use of “industrial toxicants” was a more likely explanation.

Michael Rivero asks:
1. Why would Syria’s Assad invite United Nations chemical weapons inspectors to Syria, then launch a chemical weapons attack against women and children on the very day they arrive, just miles from where they are staying?

2. If Assad were going to use chemical weapons, wouldn\rquote t he use them against the hired mercenary army trying to oust him? What does he gain attacking women and children? Nothing! The gain is all on the side of the US Government desperate to get the war agenda going again. As I type these words, US trained and equipped forces are already across the border into Syria, and US naval forces are sailing into position to launch a massive cruise missile attack into Syria that will surely kill more Syrians than were claimed to have died in the chemical attack.

Last time there was a chemical weapon attack in Syria, Bush administration office Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson said that he thought Israel might have given chemical weapons to the Syrian rebels to frame the government. British MP George Galloway just floated the same theory in regards to the new chemical weapon attack.

The evidence so far for the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army is second-hand and comes from a biased source. Of course, we don’t know who carried out the attack, or what weapon was used. But given the well-documented fact that the U.S. has been planning regime change in Syria for 20 years straight – and planned to use false ploys for 50 years – it is worth being skeptical until all of the evidence is in. Indeed, many are asking whether this is Iraq War 2.0. For example, the Independent writes: Pictures showing that the Syrian army used chemical weapons against rebel-held Eastern Ghouta just east of Damascus are likely to be viewed sceptically because the claims so much resemble those made about Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) before the US and British invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Like the Iraqi opposition to Saddam, who provided most of the evidence of WMDs, the Syrian opposition has every incentive to show the Syrian government deploying chemical weapons in order to trigger foreign intervention. But the obvious fact that for the Syrian government to use chemical weapons would be much against their own interests does not prove it did not happen. Governments and armies do stupid things. But it is difficult to imagine any compelling reason why they should do so since they have plenty of other means of killing people in Eastern Ghouta, such as heavy artillery or small arms, which they regularly use.The VOAG is watching, the VOAG is everywhere!

Hands Off SyriaMessage From ‘Hands Off Syria!’

August 26th, 2013
There is a very dangerous situation developing in the Middle east in the immediate future with this latest provocation. It is a completely conscienceless attack on mainly civilians in order to ignite a wider bloodbath. It shows clearly that imperialism, dominated by U.S. imperialism has no agenda in the middle east (or anywhere else) except for destruction of communities and whole nations in order to loot their resources

The evidence in the attachment against this attack being he work of the Syrian government is strong and yet is being completely disregarded by the media in the main. the BBC in particular is at its slimy lying best as an instrument of ruling class propaganda, despite its being completely funded by ordinary people, which should insure its independence.

According to the foreign secretary, Britain and America intend to go ahead with attacks on Syria independently of the U.N. as ‘diplomacy’ has not worked. By diplomacy they presumably mean sanctions(which, according to the reporter Franklin Lamb, are devastating the lives of ordinary civilians) and arming and sending into the country bands of fanatics to cause murder and destruction.

This is a very dangerous escalation of an already explosive situation in the Middle East and one that is not desired by the vast majority of people in Britain and the United States and shows desperation in the face of the unravelling of their plans for the devastation and division of Syria by the use of proxy forces. In the light of the victories of the Syrian government forces in recent weeks and the demoralisation and divisions in the ranks of the armed gangs it makes no sense whatsoever for Syrian government forces to resort to an action that would bring down retaliation on their heads.

This is undoubtedly a provocation. The Syrian government and army are all that stands in the way of the dismembrment and destruction of the country by imperialism.In this situation it is imperative that all Socialists must call for unconditional support for Syria against these attacks by imperialism regardless of the nature of the regime in charge. The demand must be HANDS OFF SYRIA!Hands Off Syria

Miliband’s Plans To Break The Labour Party / Trade Union Link

Editorial of Newsline, Wednesday, 10 July 2013
Miliband wants to break with unions so Labour can form a national government with the Tories STANDING with the ‘One Nation’ Tory slogan behind him, Labour leader Miliband yesterday outlined his intention to wrest the Labour Party completely away from the trade unions and the organised working class that founded it.  He said: ‘I am here today to talk about how we can build a different kind of politics. That is what I mean by “One Nation”.’

He continued: ‘We will do so by shaping a Party appropriate for the twenty-first century not the twentieth century in which we were founded. We will represent the national interest.’  This is a joke, since today living standards are being driven back towards that period of history, and will get there once they have privatised the NHS and the Welfare State.
 Miliband added: ‘A hundred years ago the trade unions helped found the Labour Party. Decade by decade, from Neil Kinnock to John Smith to Tony Blair, we have been changing that relationship. And now in this generation, we must do so again to build the new politics, we need to do more, not less, to make individual trade union members part of our Party.’
Organised trade unions are to be put out of the party, and only allowed to donate to it – like the situation between the AFL-CIO and the Democrats in the US.

 In fact, the trade unions founded, built and financed the Labour Party to advance the cause of the working class, and used their block vote to keep the party from getting into the hands of the ruling class via the antics of middle class careerists who sought to make their political careers out of it.

 The case for the working class having that kind of class-based party today is huge, but this time to put an end to capitalism through revolution and not to try to reform it.  Miliband intends to continue from where Blair and Brown left off, to break the link between the organised working class in the trade unions and the Labour Party, and recognise only individual membership by trade unionists. He intends to end the remnants of the block vote that the unions have today, to turn the Labour Party into another US Democratic party.

The new politics ‘involves a diversity of candidates, from all backgrounds, selected in a fair way’ he says. This way turns out to be the introduction of US-type primaries to choose candidates in elections.
He added: ‘We live in a totally different era than when the Labour Party was founded. That is why Labour is increasingly becoming a community organisation.’  He continued: ‘Since I became Labour leader, we have opened up our policy making process and opened up the Party to registered supporters. People who do not want to join Labour but share our aims.

‘But I want to go further’. So I propose for the next London Mayoral election Labour will have a primary for our candidate selection.  ‘Any Londoner should be eligible to vote and all they will need to do is to register as a supporter of the Labour Party at any time up to the ballot.  ‘And Ray Collins will examine how to pioneer this idea elsewhere too. Such as in future Parliamentary selections where a sitting MP is retiring and where the local party has dwindled, and a primary could make for a more properly representative selection process.’

The Labour Party is to be just another bourgeois party, organising local campaigns governed by the national interest, that is the interests of the bosses. Today we have a Labour Party leadership that supports the Tory cuts, is pledged not to end them, and is pledged to bring in even more horrendous measures if they become necessary to save capitalism.
 This is why he wants the organised trade unions out of the Labour Party. He is freeing the Labour Party from the trade unions all the better to form a national government with the Tories to do what Ramsay MacDonald did in 1931, as the capitalist crisis worsens. The trade unions must fight Miliband’s plan tooth and nail. They must end all financing of the party till Miliband quits and Labour decides to fight the Tories and their austerity programme instead of, as currently, supporting them.The VOAG

Vietnam protest against Olympic sponsor Dow Chemical

The organisers of London’s 2012 Olympics call them the Green Games – a monument to best sustainable practice within the sports world. The Vietnamese government says the organisers should tell that to the hundreds of thousands of children born with cleft palates, mental disabilities, hernias, lung, larynx and prostate cancer, missing limbs and extra fingers and toes. Vietnam joined the growing chorus of protest against Olympic sponsors accused of “green-washing” their past sins earlier this month. In a letter obtained by GlobalPost, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism castigated the Lausanne-based International Olympic Committee (IOC) for green-lighting Dow Chemical as a major Olympic sponsor.

Dow produced about one-third of the 80 million liters of Agent Orange defoliants sprayed over southern Vietnam, during what the Vietnamese call “The American War.” The Vietnamese Red Cross estimates that up to 3 million Vietnamese have been affected by Agent Orange, including at least 300,000 children born with birth defects. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimates are much higher. It says 4.8 million people were exposed, resulting in 400,000 deaths and injuries and about 500,000 children born with defects, many of which are still being born to this day — some four generations later. “Agent Orange … destroyed the environment, claimed the lives of millions of Vietnamese and left terrible effects on millions of others, who are now suffering from incurable diseases. Hundreds of thousands of fourth generation children have been born with severe congenital deformities,” wrote Hoang Tuan Anh, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism to the IOC.

“Dow Chemical has expressed indifference and refused compensation for victims of Agent Orange, as well as their responsibility to clean up contaminated areas. Dow also continues to destroy the environment. In 2010, US EPA listed Dow as the second worst polluter in the world,” the letter said.

Vietnam has unsuccessfully brought legal action against Dow and other Agent Orange producers in US courts. But activists say that the Communist state is caught in a legal bind. The producers of Agent Orange blame the US government for its use, while sovereign immunity shields Washington from prosecution in American courts.

US helicopters and planes sprayed about 20% of southern Vietnam with the defoliants over a 10-year period. The goal was to strip the North Vietnamese of jungle cover and limit access to food supplies. A less reported aim was to drive rural Vietnamese who may have been sympathetic to Hanoi into US-controlled cities in what was then South Vietnam. “It’s ironic that Dow is allowed to sponsor sporting events including Paralympics athletes when it is responsible for creating generations of severely disabled children and refuses to do anything to help them,” wrote a Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin spokesman in an email.

Dow, the IOC and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games ignored repeated requests for comment. Dow Chemical inked a 10-year deal with the IOC in 2010. Dow envisioned a global sales bump of about $1 billion by promoting, ironically enough, a raft of environmentally-friendly products.

But it was the $11.25 million contract doled out to Dow for the 336 giant panels that will make up the decorative wrap that first sparked controversy. The Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, a watchdog body charged with overseeing the Games’ environmental credentials, was rocked when commissioner Meredith Alexander resigned last month in protest over Dow’s awarding of the stadium contract.

Campaigners believe that Dow also has ongoing liabilities relating to the 1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, India, that led to an estimated 20,000 deaths and serious injury to tens of thousands more. “But the Olympics is big business. There is an expensive machine behind the Games that is funded by corporate sponsors. Sadly when these sponsors are selected, money talks much more loudly than values,” said Alexander to The Guardian. Big business indeed. Dow’s Olympic stable mates also include BP and Rio Tinto, two resource extraction behemoths that rights groups say have woeful environmental and human-rights track records.

“Dow refuses to accept responsibility. They state they were told to make the chemicals by the US government and will not and have not paid one cent in compensation,” writes Len Aldis, secretary of Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society, in an email to GlobalPost. “Despite their record, money talks. The IOC should cancel Dow’s sponsorship of the Games.”
This article was first published on http://postnoon.com
For more on this story go to: Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society 

Theses on inter-imperialist rivalries

The VOAG’s comrades at Socialist Fight sent the following statement explaining their (correct) position on contemporary imperialism.  The VOAG feels that it deserves a wider audience, and therefore has taken the step of publishing it. For PDF back issues of Socialist Fight journal, scroll down and click the links to the right. For the latest Socialist Fight journal contact: Socialist _ Fight@yahoo.co.uk

Gerry Downing, 18 May 2012
1. The US is still the hegemonic imperialist world power.
2. Its overwhelming military superiority and the dollar as world trading currency make it the main enemy. The situation is not like that before WWI and WWII when there was no clear dominant world imperialist power.
3. That being said the position of Marxism on inter-imperialist wars remains, dual defeatism and civil war against our own bourgeoisie – the main enemy is at home!
4. Though declining the US still has the ability to make alliances and force compliances far more than other imperialist power blocks which are only half-formed – the EU or China/Russia with Germany balancing between both.
5. In this situation semi-colonial countries like Syria or Iran are perfectly entitled to seek aid from Germany, Russia and China in defence of their own sovereignty, although we acknowledge they are giving it in defence of their own imperialist interests.
6. Attempts by the US to splinter its rivals e.g. South Ossetia/Georgia, the Ukraine, Tibet and the World Uyghur Congress must be politically opposed.
7. There is a major difference between the finance capital-dominated economies of the US and GB and their allies (as seen in the UN vote to attack Libya) and the industrial capitalist economies of Germany, Russia and China who abstained in that vote.
8. However this conflict is not between finance capital and industrial capital or between neo-liberal laissez-faire capitalism and Keynesian, ‘big state, social democratic’ capitalism.  All capitalist production is dominated by finance capital; it is the method of extraction of the surplus from the wage-labour of the workers.
9. Rather it is a conflict between two forms of capitalist exploitation, the one in which fictitious capital and the dollar as world trading currency was able to extract value from the rest of the capitalist world and the other where advanced technology and in particular heavy industry in Germany benefiting from the low exchange value of the Euro was able to dominate in both Germany and China with Russia benefiting from both.
10. Therefore we cannot alter our Leninist appreciation of world Imperialism and the anti-Imperialist rivalries emerging as US Imperialism weakens relative to its rivals and which will produce WWIII but we must understand the differences behind the conflicts in formulating our own tactical approach to this crisis.The VOAG

Fidel Castro Calls US Republican Nomination Race ‘Competition Of Idiocy And Ignorance’

HAVANA — Fidel Castro lambasted the Republican presidential race as the greatest competition of “idiocy and ignorance” the world has ever seen in a column published Wednesday, and also took shots at the news media and foreign governments for seizing on the death of a Cuban prisoner to demand greater respect for human rights.

Castro’s comments came in a long opinion piece carried by official media two days after Republican presidential hopefuls at a debate in Florida presented mostly hard-line stances on what to do about the Communist-run island, and even speculated as to what would happen to the 85-year-old revolutionary leader’s soul when he dies.

Cuba has become an important issue as the candidates court Florida’s influential Cuban-American community in an effort to win the biggest electoral prize so far in the primary season.

Castro said he always assumed the candidates would try to outdo each other on the issue of Cuba, but that he was nonetheless appalled by the level of debate.

“The selection of a Republican candidate for the presidency of this globalized and expansive empire is – and I mean this seriously – the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been,” said the retired Cuban leader, who has dueled with 11 U.S. administrations since his 1959 revolution.

Castro also disputed international media accounts about the Jan. 19 death of Wilman Villar, a 31-year-old Cuban prisoner, saying the man was not a dissident and not on a 50-day hunger strike as human rights groups and the island’s opposition claim.

Castro reiterated the government’s contention that Villar was a common criminal sent to prison for domestic violence, and that he received the best medical attention possible. Washington and several European governments have condemned Cuba for his death, and Amnesty International says it was about to put Villar on a global list of prisoners of conscience.

Villar has become a cause celebre for opponents of the Cuban government, but he was not a well known figure, even among island dissidents, before his death.

Republican candidate Mitt Romney said during Monday’s debate that Villar died “fighting for democracy” and that his death highlighted the need to remain firm on Cuba. Washington has maintained a near-50-year trade and travel embargo on Cuba.

Another Republican candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, said he would authorize increased covert operations to bring down the Cuban government. And at another moment of Monday’s debate, Romney and Gingrich sparred over whether Castro’s soul would go to heaven or hell.

When asked what he would do as president if he found out Castro had died, Romney said he would first “thank Heavens” that the bearded revolutionary had finally “returned to his maker,” to which Gingrich replied “I don’t think Fidel’s going to meet his maker. I think he’s going to go to the other place.”

Castro didn’t refer to the comments specifically in his opinion piece, saying that he was too busy with other things to waste any more time analyzing the Republican competition.

However, Obama’s record speaks for itself:
1. Defended DADT in federal court and continued to enforce it for 2 more unnecessary years
2. Deported more immigrants than Bush
3. Sent 60,000 extra troops to an illegal occupation in Afghanistan
4. Kept Guantanamo Bay in operation
5. Extended tax cuts for the rich

6. Pledged 30 billion dollars to segregation & apartheid in Israel
7. Increased funding to nuclear power
8. Expanded offshore drilling
9. Gave permits to BP and other oil companies exempting them from environmental protection laws
10. Signed a bill that allows the indefinite detention of US citizens without a trial
11. Extended the Patriot Act
12. Launched FBI raids on anti-war activists in Chicago and Minneapolis
13. Criminalized the uninsured
14. Permitted drone bombing on innocent Pakistanis
15. Extended the Wall Street Bailout

During a state visit to Chile on 21 March 2011, US President Obama announced: ‘we’ll continue to seek ways to increase the independence of the Cuban people, who I believe are entitled to the same freedom and liberty as everyone else in this hemisphere.’ The ways sought by the US administration have been amply exposed since January 2011 through two court cases and by four Cuban agents. US policy has evolved, adapted and expanded, but the objective has remained unchanged since 1960 – the destruction of Cuba’ socialist revolution. Helen Yaffe reports.

While the US blockade has attempted ‘to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government’ (Lester D Mallory, US government official, 6 April 1960),1 the programme of fostering internal dissent was kept secret from 1959 to 1990. However: ‘In 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the financial and logistical support to Cuban dissidents became public and was integrated into US law’ (Salim Lamrani, Znet, 15 March 2011).

Programmes were run by the CIA until 1987 when Cuban authorities used evidence from 27 undercover agents to expose illegal activities and the use of diplomatic status as a cover for CIA operations. Subsequently, government-funded organisations have been used to promote internal opposition: the US Agency for International Development (USAID), National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Freedom House. US imperialism’s ‘unwavering support for human rights, democracy, and the open market system’ (Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba website) is backed by serious money. US President Bush’s administration of 2001 to 2008 ‘invested’ $166 million in pursuing capitalist restoration. The Obama administration has allocated $60 million to this end from 2009 to 2011.