Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Perestroika that could be but was aborted

Fascinating first-person narration by Prof. Buzgalin, back then a young Marxist enthusiast who tried, with some success, to push for a real democratic collectivism in the late USSR.



Part of a series of 12 episodes on the collapse of the USSR that you can watch at The Real News.

Monday, June 11, 2018

G7, G-what?

By snubbing the most important imperial tool for governability (aside NATO but not really different from NATO), Donald Trump is throwing rocks at his own roof, because it's hard to see how would the USA project its power through the world without the G7. G7 is the backbone of NATO, all its members except Japan (the backbone of "Eastern NATO" on its own right) are major NATO powers and that's why the G7 exists and why it has been instrumental to establish US imperial hegemony over the world. Trump is destroying that, and I for one welcome it, even not without some vertigo, as all major changes should inspire. 

The pouting face of Merkel, the tears of British newspapers crying foul about Brexit and the non-existent "special relationship" (bootlicking vassallage I call it, because Britain gets nothing from its subservience to the USA) and then of course the stupid childish face of Trump himself, they are all very worth a sinking global system that was already sinking anyhow, so why to spare this old man the joys of laughing at this childish game of armchairs?

NATO was already cracking, notably because of the major difficulties that the Berlin-Washington relation undergoes as the USA and its most loyal puppets (France, Britain) have rampaged with no criterion across the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, against Libya, Syria and Russia. Remember how Italy and Germany rejected to join the adventurerist toppling of Muamar el Gaddafi, mostly because it was an attack on Italian interests in favor of French and British ones? Most people don't grasp this well: they tend to think in terms of unilateral imperialism but imperialism is always multilateral, multipolar, and it always leads to conflict and wars (even if nukes seem to prevent major global wars, smaller localized wars and the ever growing "cold war" tension is certainly there); in the case of Libya, it was Italy the main loser (after Libya itself, of course) and Germany was already upset enough to align themselves with Rome rather than with the big boss in Washington D.C.

That's because Germany, as manufacturer-exporter power, has a very long history of searching for all kinds of markets and one of them used to be Iran. And who have therefore harmed US/EU sanctions against Iran? Germany among others. And it is exactly the same with the anti-Russia sanctions but I'd dare to say that even much more severe. Germany has been a good dog anyhow and bowed to what master commanded, albeit reluctantly, but this was only or mostly because the other markets it had access to compensated. But now? With all this Trumptard "nationalism" in form of tariffs, what will keep Germany in line? The military occupation? Well, it does not seem enough: if Germany says "US and NATO bases out" it's hard to see how NATO will be able not to comply. They'd move just a few steps away to Poland but that's another story.

But of course Germany does not want that because NATO and EU are extremely imbricated with each other, and Germany needs EU, which is its primary market and a major pillar of its imperialist policy, what Varoufakis called the "postmodern IV Reich". So basically Trumptard Washington is playing with fire and putting Germany between a rock and a hard place: threatening to blow up Germany's most prized market and subservient sphere of influence (EU, which will blow up anyhow on its own contradictions, sooner than later: watch Italy, remember Brexit, ponder Spain about to blow up in pieces, look at the massive strikes and related street fights in France) if Germany does not behave as a bootlicking slave of the USA. 

And Germany does but there will be a point where it won't anymore. When and how is that? Probably not very far away in time. I already explained how Trump wants to destroy the EU and make sure Europe becomes a colony of the US empire, at least to a much larger degree it has been so far (because of the cold war cum class war of the mid 20th century, and also the transition from a Europe-centered world to a US-centered one), and it is clear that the EU will blow up in pieces soonish (something that the US wants but while keeping NATO as intact as possible, what may not be possible). 

Another crack in NATO is Turkey. Turkey is under Erdogan almost identical to Nazi Germany in its arrogant warmongering and incontrollability (and Erdogan makes no secret of his admiration for the German genocider). All major powers love (and secretly hate) Erdogan because of that: the USA wants Turkey to remain in NATO and keep aiding them to de-stabilize the Middle East, Russia wants Turkey to leave NATO and especially to be "independent" enough to act as their ally, including in the infamous "Pipelinistan", which is another facet of imperialism. But the most coveted asset of Turkey are the straits (Bosphorus-Marmara-Dardanelles) that join the Aegean and Black seas, of critical importance to Russia since times immemorial.

So we have the following cocktail of instability:
  1. The USA wanting to reform the Empire in favor of the metropolis even at rist of destroying the Empire itself.
  2. Germany wanting to get their way in both exploiting the EU as a semi-colony and being allowed to have unrestricted business with Russia, Iran, etc., this last against the will of the Imperial master, now asserting itself as "iron fist" madman in charge and reminding everybody else they are nothing but minions.
  3. Turkey playing to be the Muslim version of Nazi Germany and being flirted by a despaired former lover (USA) and an aspiring new lover (Russia).
  4. Latin Europe exploding at slow motion but in ways that seem impossible to stop. This happens in different ways in each state but it happens all across the region (except for Portugal, where social-democracy with a green touch has made the country gain stability).
  5. Poland playing to be Mussolini's Italy in Eastern Europe, with full backing of the USA but directly in contradiction since long ago with the interests of Germany (and of course, those of Russia). 
  6. Britain drifting aimlessly between the Brexiter despair, the Corbynist hope and the nearly total indifference by all its "allies", including the USA.
And then of course in the background is China, whose local expression in Europe typically comes by the name of Russia. Mind you that Russia would prefer a more balanced independent role but that the USA has cornered it against the all-embracing arms of China. Remember that no long ago the G7 used to be called the G8... but then Russia was kicked out.

Probably the most crucial element in all this is the weakness of Germany as power: it is an economic powerhouse that cannot assert itself against its master and overlord the USA. Or can it? And, if so, how? Nobody, as far as I know, defends in Germany a more belligerant and independent stand... yet. But, on the other side, it seems like there is no alternative for Germany than actually becoming more belligerant. However becoming more belligerant, asserting itself as power by means other than economic and diplomatic would not just break taboos but actually would initially cause its global market share to shrink dramatically. And those are the marked cards Trump is playing with: you may pout all you want, Angela, but if you dare to do anything, you won't sell a single Volkswagen or Siemens thing in the USA, and your darling EU house of cards may easily fall down with a single but determined blow.

The question is: can the USA survive that kind of upheaval of its own imperial structure? My bet is that it cannot and that it's actually only doing that out of desperation because it's already riddled with holes and problems it can hardly overcome.

Monday, April 23, 2018

USA: police or terrorist occupation forces?

This happened in Georgia (USA), just a few days ago, police equipped as soldiers and acting as the most brutal occupation forces I've seen outside Palestine, attack a peaceful antifascist demo:




You can read the whole story at Raw Story.

A good socio-economic news channel

There are others that I may have mentioned in the past, like The Real News or Redacted Tonight but this morning I had breakfast with Professor Wolf and I really liked it because it tells the naker truth, no pretense of anything else your life space is smaller, economic recovery for the rich is not doing anything for your rightful depression other than selling you pills, and they want you to believe you are a slave and nothing more.




That's how I like my news: no nonsense, it makes me feel more energetic by the morning full of anticapitalist energy, wanting to do things.

These are their sites:


Saturday, March 24, 2018

Spain's fascist repression against Catalonia knows no bounds

Do not cry for a land that fights, fight for a land that cries!
Today several Catalan politicians were jailed on accusation of "sedition" or "rebellion", what is a nonsense because they never used violence to overthrow the status quo but the Spanish Inquisition (Supreme Court in this case) is making things up and twisting the law all they can in order to step up the repression. 

One of them, the Secretary General of Catalan Republican Left (ERC), Marta Rovira, chose to exile herself to Switzerland, joining a growing number of Catalan political leaders in exile, either in Switzerland or in Belgium. 

Another of those imprisoned today was Jordi Turull, who is the only candidate for the Presidency of the Catalan Government (Generalitat de Catalunya), vote that was being held today (he did not get enough votes because the decisive Popular Unity List (CUP) abstained on grounds of wavering republicanism and lack of a social program). 

Also imprisoned were Carme Forcadell (former President of the Catalan Parliament), Raul Romeva (former head of the Republican unity list Together for Catalonia), Josep Rull and Dolors Bassa (former consellers or ministers).

This every day looks more like Turkey. 

But the streets are angry, very angry.

Not only because of Catalonia, there are many other open conflicts feeding into each other, notably the retirees have been staging massive protests in the last weeks against the effective pension cuts while police salaries are increased, military expenditure doubled as Trump demanded, corruption cases keep showing at every corner like mushrooms and the illegitimate debt to save the Spanish banks and other private ventures like useless highways, i.e. to save German and other international banks for slightly longer, is being increased every day. 

The Precariat is also angry and starting to get organized and protest. Also a synchronous conflict has been happening in Murcia City between working class neighbors and the state who illegally is imposing that the bullet train (TAV, another useless waste) goes through their neighborhoods, right by their homes in many cases, above ground, cutting the city in two. The government went so nervous that police was seen patrolling with loaded guns just a couple of days ago, something unseen since ETA began its disarmament process. 

But where anger is really spilling over is in Catalonia, always in the nonviolent manner they have conducted their independence process so far. I do not have yet all the info but I know that semi-spontaneously, organized by the Comittees of Defense of the Republic (CDR, popular assemblies working in national network), there have been many demos and pickets. Notably they have cut the train traffic at the station of Lleida, the border with France at Puigcerdá, and have walked out in most towns across the country, in several cases suffering violent police repression. 

Popular picket at Lleida train station (and some cops)

demo in Barcelona
police brutality today in Catalonia (credit: Jordi Borras)



















These images (from FB group We Stand in Solidarity With Catalans) aren't but a tiny relation of what has been happening today again in the forbidden Catalan Republic. And I suspect that it is only the beginning of something huge, because the general mood is clear: if they jail our leaders, they will have to jail millions of us. 

There are informal calls for long-standing general strike, for repeated road, railroad, airport and harbor blockades. Not sure what exactly will come out of this but it looks that, once again, we are in a proto-revolutionary scenario, at the very least in Catalonia. 

And let's not forget that Catalans are 7.5 million people, 16% of the population of the failed state of Spain, and also one of the most vigorous economic areas in spite of Madrid sucking every single large company or almost. 

As a side note, the government can't even pass the budget, because they can't muster a majority to do so, they are resorting to pointless resistance by means of the state apparatus, dominated by fascist currents like the greedy Catholic order Opus Dei, but they lack any sort of coherent governance beyond last trench repression without any sort of compromise with common sense and social consensus. 

The situation is anything but under control: the failed banana kingdom is one step or several closer to total collapse. And I will applaud when that finally happens, because in order to save the Spanairds (by force or grade) Spain must be destroyed, razed to the ground and power returned to the peoples. 

Gora herrien borroka! Long live the struggle of the peoples!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Afrin is the new Kobane, let us all defend it however we can

North Syria Federation
(credit: Editor abcdef, Wikimedia)
In yellow Afrin Region (canton)
Let's begin stating the obvious (but not so-obvious to many apparently):

1. Turkey has a fascist regime led by Hitler-loving and Islamo-Fascist extremist Tayyip Erdogan.

2. Russia and the USA are both capitalist (and thus imperialist) states: there is no monopolar imperialism, imperialism is by (Lenin's) definition the struggle of the various capitalist powers to control the world's resources and attempt to exert quasi-imperial or at least some relative hegemony over the rest. 

3. The SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces, organized around the Kurdish YPG/YPJ core) and the legitimate government of Syria (Baath, Assad) get along even if they clearly have different political projects: the former internationalist and Kurdish-centered, radically democratic and decidedly communist, the latter Arab nationalist (pan-Arabist), not so democratic (in spite of the reforms) and not so socialist (rather state-directed national capitalism). In spite of skirmishes and diverging international alliances this has been the case since the beginning, when the YPG coalesced as a Kurdish self-defense force.

Also maybe not-so-obvious to some may be the fact that Turkey has a huge army but that it is made up mainly of recruits, many of whom hate Erdogan (even by rigging the elections the Turkish neo-sultan only managed to get a narrow majority in parliament and needs the backing of the secular-fascists to stay in power). We have already seen in Ukraine how these conscription armies are very inefficient against motivated popular militias, notably when their commander regime is illegitimate and the war they are waging is as well. 

It is also important to underline that Syria has allowed massive YPG-SDF reinforcements to arrive to Afrin. And that Turkey is working with Islamist militias (roughly Al Qaeda and DAESH, just recently renamed again for PR reasons) just the same they used them as death squads in the brutal repression of the Bakur (North Kurdistan) uprising in 2014-15.

Both the USA and Russia court Turkey. The former want it to return to its former status of reliable ally (vassal) and thus are not taking active action in Afrin, where they are not present, but still signalling they won't retreat from Manbij or other lands of the Northern Syria Federation where they hold some military presence. The latter have snubbed their Syrian ally in regard to air protection of the canton of Afrin, as determined by truce agreements, because they clearly want Turkey to become yet another ally in the region, along with Iran (also anti-Kurdish) and Syria. The powers do not care about Afrin at all: they are interested mainly in the Bosporus Straits, which are Turkey's main asset, and secondarily in projection in the Fertile Crescent.


What's actually going on? 

As far as I can tell there has been heavy bombardment by Turkey of civilian towns, using chemical weapons in at least some cases, and even the destruction of a landmark historical ruin (a signature of Islamo-fascism) but on land Turkey and their allies have made only very limited gains. 

As of today Turkey has only occupied a hill on the border, hailed as a "great victory" by their propaganda machinery, of course. The initial attempts to take over the southeastern extension of the canton north of Aleppo failed, with many more casualties in the Islamo-Turkish camp than in the Kurdish Communist one.

However, let's face it, it's a David versus Goliath scenario in which, in spite of their bravery, the Kurds and allies (including as far as I know some internationalist units) have it very difficult. The same was true in Kobane and they prevailed though... on their own forces alone. 

I would expect that, as soon as the Spring arrives, the Kurdish forces north of the railroad (the official Syro-Turkish border is the old Baghdad railroad in most of its length) will initiate some sort of offensive, forcing the Turkish army to spread wide, but right now it is massively concentrated around the small territory of Afrin, the Mountain of Kurds.

  
Popular forces can win against all odds

But we have seen it before in Donbass and in Kobane: a motivated militia can certainly defeat a poorly motivated conscription army, never mind fascist mercenaries. Why do I "dare" to compare Donbass and Afrin: aren't ones in the side of Russia and the others in the side of the USA? The answer is "no": neither Russia nor the USA care much about their popular "allies", they
fear them in fact, precisely because they are democratic and popular, and only offer them very limited and conditional support at best. They are just forced to cooperate with them because of geostrategical reasons but always with the sight elsewhere: Kiev, the Bosporus, Latakia, etc. Who backs them is not important, what matters is that they are democratic and popular forces.

And I must say that it is most interesting that these great powers are being forced by circumstances, by the inefficiency of other more fascist or authoritarian approaches, to rely on these grassroots militias to some extent. It evidences that Lenin was right when he characterized Imperialism as a clash of oligarchic mafias on which we revolutionaries should not be too interested but rather on the possibility of making some revolutions in the cracks generated by this inter-imperialist struggle.These cracks are every day larger and democratic socialism is arising in them, not without difficulty but with perseverance and admirable toughness. 

And that's why we must help as much as we can to defend Afrin and denounce the Turco-Islamist criminal aggression: because it's not just the people of Afrin and the many thousands of refugees installed there, it's not just the right to self rule of the Kurdish and all other peoples, it is global revolution what is being fought there. Afrin is the linchpin of our hope for a better world, we can't just watch or ignore it.