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Comments on Agriculture and Food in Crisis

Comments on Agriculture and Food in Crisis (2010, Monthly Review Press) ed. by Fred Magdoff and Brian Tokar.

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In the period between 2006 and 2008, a world food crisis emerged. Agriculture and Food in Crisis (2010, Monthly Review Press) is an anthology of articles describing the causes and effects of this crisis. The collection is edited by Fred Magdoff and Brian Tokar. Since the book contains the works of so many authors, many views are presented. The articles contain the typical liberal problems of academic treatments of oppression. Even so, the work contains useful information on how neoliberalism intersects with the growing food crisis, especially in the Third World. Rather than looking at each author, this review comments on useful information found throughout the volume.

Global food shortages have become a major issue, especially for the poorest peoples, those living in the Third World. Food prices are rising. Over the last few years, millions have gone hungry, unable to afford basic nutrition. In the poorest countries, 125 million more people fell into extreme poverty in just the years between 2006 and 2008. Many declared a global food crisis. The World Food Program worried that food reserves would not be able to meet the urgent demand. (33) However, what was not recognized was that this food crisis is part of a larger crisis, the crisis of capitalism itself. Capitalism regularly creates artificial crises. Marx called this the anarchy of capitalist production. The current methods of agricultural production and food distribution, formed and maintained by capitalism, are crises in and of themselves. Global food production is decreasing even though current human needs are not being met, especially in the Third World. Grain and soybeans previously grown for human consumption are being diverted into industrial meat production, factory farms, to maintain profit margins and First World consumption patterns. Third World countries are compelled to accept neoliberal structural-adjustment policies, turning them into food importers. This leads to lower food production and higher food prices in the Third World. Due to depeasantificaiton, one sixth of humanity now lives in slum conditions, mostly in the megacities of the Third World. (10) The transformation of peasants into slumdwellers takes place at the same time as corporate domination of the world’s food system increases on an unprecedented scale. More than one billion people suffer from severe hunger. Nearly two billion more, almost all of the Third World, suffer from food insecurity. (12) The current systems of agriculture production and food distribution are failing at least half of the planet’s people. Yet, even with decreases in food production, the world still produces enough food to feed everyone. (13) Although this should not be taken to mean that either infinite population growth,  population and consumption levels are necessarily sustainable. The work details the grim realities of food production under capitalism today. The global poor cannot compete in terms of purchasing power with multinational corporations, global institutions, and First World states that wish to see the world’s food supply appropriated for meat production, fuel production, or simply consumed by populations in the wealthier countries. The global capitalist economy distributes wealth in a vastly uneven manner both between individuals within countries, and between countries themselves. (14) The current system is unsustainable, ecologically and socially. What most of treatments of the issue fail to understand is that the solutions to such problems require going beyond capitalism itself.

The essays describe how the neoliberal power holders interact to ensure their control of the food system. The IMF and World Bank have both created and maintained the neoliberal policies behind the food crises. Structural adjustment policies, forced upon indebted countries, have contributed to a global “capitalist transformation of the countryside.” (43) Structural adjustment means power accumulates in the hands of the few. A handful of corporations increasingly monopolize the food system. (211) The number of corporations controlling food production and distribution has contracted. Two companies control two-thirds of the world’s grain market. (211) Three companies — Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta — have cornered the commercial seeds trade, controlling 40 percent of that market. (21) These corporations have declared themselves owners of the very seeds that humanity has been forced to rely on by patenting their genetic modifications. Yet their genetically modified crops have not shown increases in yields. (23) Even so, farmers from Mexico to India find themselves forced to purchase these seeds. Once producers, Indian farmers today find themselves as consumers, forced to purchase expensive corporate-owned seeds from landlords and lenders to get by. (46) Moreover, ten companies control 75 percent of the agrochemical market. Thus dependency of growers and the power of corporations are increased. Traditional producers have little options within a global system that is increasingly rigged against them.

Truly free markets are a myth. Despite neoliberal propaganda touting the power of the free market, control of food supplies has been anything but free. Open markets by themselves are not enough for corporations to profit in the Third World. Governments must intervene to ensure and increase corporate profits. The rich countries of the First World rely on subsidizing their own population while muscling Third World states against such policies. Domestic production of food is subsidized by First World governments so too are  crops billed as ecofriendly. The 2008 Mitchell Report, a suppressed report from an economist at the World Bank, alleges that increases in biofuel production in the United States and the EU were to blame for three-fourths of the huge increase in food prices in the years between 2002 and 2008. (36) For the purported reason of “energy independence,” and to placate First Worldist environmentalists, the US government offers subsidies that promote shifting the production of corn to agrofuel, making the shift a profitable venture. (122) In addition, profits are made by exporting subsidized, non-nutritious foods from the First World to the poor countries of Third World. These corporations have had to wage campaigns with state help to change the diets of people in the Third World. For example, people in the Third World seldom consumed wheat. With wheat-producing corporations looking to expand their markets, the US government provided “charitable” wheat for countries that had never produced it. A United Nations report describes similar campaigns. First World states and their corporate allies through “massive marketing and advocacy” made “high-fat, high sugar and low-fiber fast foods and soft drinks” palatable to a new base of consumers in the Third World. Predictably, the influx of these foods and the changing of diet coincided with an “escalating trend” of non-communicable disease in poor countries. (22)

First World government policies have turned food production upside down. Mexico was the first country to domesticate corn. Corn was a staple of Mexico’s ancient indigenous cultures. Corn only reached the “old world” after contact with European explorers and settlers. Yet by 2007, Mexico was dependent on importing its corn from the United States. According to one set of authors in the volume, this is the result of IMF and World Bank structural-adjustment polices that began in the 1980s. The result was trade liberalization, land privatization of formerly-collective land, and elimination of various government protections for peasants that had been in place since the Mexican Revolution. NAFTA further solidified this shift. Mexico, traditionally a country with a rich tradition of food production, soon became a net importer of its food. (40)

The neoliberal impact on food production and distribution has resulted in vast demographic changes in the Third World. Depeasantization and its correlate slumification have been major trends over the last decade. Modern primitive accumulation drives peasants from their land to undeveloped urban areas. In Marx’s day, capitalism forced the peasantry into the factories of new urban production zones. Migration to cities today does not correspond to any industrial need. Thus, today’s peasants are driven into informal slum economies. (27) Nearly one-sixth of humanity lives in slums. The peasants who migrate to the slums essentially drop out of the economy, they are cut off from society. The slumification of the peasantry correlates with an increase of corporate control of agriculture as well as the massive increase in the number of people facing food insecurity. Depeasantization takes other forms as well. In the countryside, farmer suicides have increased dramatically. In rural Maharashtra India, suicide rates tripled from 1995 to 2005. Some 150,000 Indian farmers took their lives over the last few years alone. (46) The depeasantization and slummification that results, in part, from neoliberal control of the food supply has created a vast, new social and geographic base for revolution. The course of future revolutions will surely be imprinted by the neoliberal food policies.

There are numerous suggestions about how to challenge the neoliberal control of the global food supply. “NGOs will save the world,” say many liberals. Since the 1980s, the number of “development-oriented” NGOs in the Third World has increased dramatically. NGOs have attracted vast sums of investment from foreign donors by creating the impression that NGOs are less corrupt, more innovative, more efficient, and closer to the community than states and corporations. NGOs advocates claim that NGOs allow knowledge of sustainable agriculture practices to travel between various “social worlds,” allowing these disparate groups to “unite,” to offer alternatives to current agricultural practices. (276) Having to satisfy the interests of foreign donors and the local elites, NGOs do little to challenge the economic system as such. NGOs’ focus on their local projects rather than the broader social change necessary to solve the problem and protect such gains. NGOs end up as social bandaids that fail to offer any real alternative to the system. Instead NGOs form a pillar of the system within those communities most oppressed by the system. NGOs, consciously or not, often come to occupy the social space ripe for revolutionary activism and the creation of the revolutionary institutions of New Power. NGOs come to compete with and block New Power. Thus, despite themselves, NGOs end up serving the very system they criticize. Other recommendations in the volume end up reinventing the wheel. For example, two authors advise that looking to certain aspects of centuries-old traditional food production practices can inform new agricultural practices that do not rely on corporate agrochemicals or monoculture. The current system of food distribution is inefficient. Currently, food items travel an average of 1,300 miles before reaching someone’s plate. (47) Keeping food production close to its consumers is one part of the solution, a solution pioneered, in part, by past socialist societies. Decentralization combined with collectivism of agricultural was part of the socialist model pursued in China during the Cultural Revolution. Self-reliance was pushed by China’s people’s communes. However, it is hard to see how such recommendations could be implemented without a revolutionary, proletarian state dedicated to protecting such localization from neoliberal domination.

The essays emphasize not only today’s aspects of imperial control, but also the continuity with imperialism’s past. The extractive policies of the colonial era share commonalities with the neoliberal policies of today. Just as in the past, raw materials flowed from the Third World to the First World, where they were transformed into finished goods, today, the First World has transformed the Third World into a “world farm.” (51) The wealthy countries of the First World, representing a minority of global consumers, feed, quite literally, on the labor and resources of the Third World. Today’s imperialism, like earlier forms, transfers power and wealth to the top, leaving the vast majority impoverished. The solution is not found within a system driven by profit and expansion. The nature of capitalism is to place profit above the vast majority of humanity. Capitalism’s nature is to continually expand even if the consequences threaten humanity and the Earth itself. Just as the bourgeois state is not the answer, neither can NGOs and small-scale community organizations upend the extractive relationship between the First World and the Third World that drives the modern food system. The best intentions of liberals do little to really solve the crisis facing the global poor. The crises caused by today’s capitalist agriculture and food systems require revolutionary change. A real solution requires an alternative system that serves the interests of the poor and the Earth itself. The people of the Third World suffer. The earth suffers. The system is rotten. No one should starve. No one should go hungry. Food production should empower, not exploit the people. The answer is not reformism of any kind. Oppression leads to resistance. In response to the global food crisis, popular eruptions occurred in dozens of countries, from Bangladesh to Mexico. In Haiti, riots in 2008 led to the ousting of the prime minister. These policies also led to reinvigorated resistance movements across Mexico, notably the Zapatistas and the Popular Revolutionary Army. However, to truly restructure global society, we need global people’s war waged by the poor of the Third World led by the most advanced revolutionary science, Leading Light Communism.

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Americans, First Worlders waste food, Third Worlders starve

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Americans, First Worlders waste food, Third Worlders starve

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Karl Marx described the proletariat as the dispossessed, as earning only enough to survive to the next day and having nothing to lose but its chains. However, this hardly describes the American, or the First World, working class. The First World working class doesn’t have chains to lose, rather what they stand to lose under socialism is their decadent lifestyles. Nowhere is this decadence more apparent than in the food that Americans, and First World peoples, waste every year.

Americans are throwing away at least 75 billion dollars in food each year.  (1) In other words, Americans waste more food than the Gross Domestic Products (GDPs) of Albania, Nepal, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Mozambique, Laos and Niger combined.  (2) 14-15 percent of all edible food is discarded, untouched or unopened. This accounts for  43 billion dollars worth of discarded food by American households alone.  A shocking 40 to 50 percent of all food ready for harvest in the United States never gets eaten. (3) In addition, the United States spends about 1 billion dollars just disposing of its food waste. (4)

The United States is not the only wasteful society. Other First World countries have similar behaviors. People in Britain throw away a third of all the food they purchase. In Sweden, families with small children throw away about a quarter of their food. (5)

According to the World Health Organization, starvation is the greatest single threat to the public health. Starvation is the biggest factor contributing to child mortality, being present in half of all cases. Starvation currently affects more than a billion people, 1 out of every 6 people worldwide. Starving people reside almost exclusively in the Third World. This is the case even though the world produces enough food to feed the entire 6 billion population. In fact, enough food is produced to feed twice as many people. (6) (7)

The distribution and waste of food are yet more indications of global class divisions. The peoples of the wealthiest countries, the First World, are throwing away up to half of the food that they purchase, while the poorest countries, the Third World, are either starving or exist on the verge of starvation. This is yet another indication that the main contradiction in the world today is between the First and Third World. First World workers are not, by a long shot, what Marx would identify as a proletariat. Rather, it is in the Third World where the true proletariat and its allies exist on the edge of survival.

Notes

1. http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20041122/foodwaste.html

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)

3. http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Financial-Industry/US-wastes-half-its-food

4. http://www.siwi.org/documents/Resources/Policy_Briefs/PB_From_Filed_to_Fork_2008.pdf

5. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/18/weekinreview/18martin.html

6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starvation#cite_note-8

7. http://monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/one-billion-go-hungry-socialism-is-better-than-capitalism/

Will First Worlders benefit from socialism?

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Will First Worlders benefit from socialism?

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“Dear Leading Light,

Will First Worlders benefit at all from socialism?”

Thank you for writing.

Socialism will lead to a lower-material standard of living for First World peoples. First World peoples earn many times more than the value of their labor. They earn many times more than an egalitarian, socialist distribution worldwide would entail. First World populations get more than their share of the pie. They live off the labor of the Third World. Under socialism, First World populations will have to give up their privileges, their lives of luxury, based on extracting super-profits from the Third World. The New Power of the Leading Light will rule over the First World until First World populations can live as contributing members of global society. Here are some positive things that the New Power of the Leading Light has to offer First Worlders:

1. Healthier lives. Even though socialism will entail a drop in the overall standard of living of peoples of the First World, in some ways life will improve for First World populations under socialism. With socialism, the capitalist food industries will not be free to control the diets of the population. First World peoples, generally, do not want for food. However, the food they consume can be extremely unhealthy. This is especially true of fast food and snacks. This has led to some of the highest obesity rates in the world being amongst First World populations. This situation won’t be allowed to exist under socialism. People will come before profits under socialism. Thus science will govern the dietary choices that people have available to them. In addition, socialism will encourage and may even require exercise as part of the work or school day. Time at work or at school may be allocated for an exercise regimen. In addition, people will receive health care under socialism. Health care should be considered a human right under socialism. Thus the First World population, even though materially poorer, will generally lead healthier lives. A healthy population is a happier one.

2. Meaningful lives. Maoists in China thought that people could change. Maoists had a strong belief in people power. Under the Maoists, Chinese society was seen as a giant school of Maoism that had many elaborate practices that all aimed to educate and remold the entire population, both friends and enemies. These elaborate measures ran the range from criticism and self-criticism before the masses, to Mao Zedong Thought teams and classes, to labor and prison reform. In labor reform, people were sent to do hard work alongside the masses to be humbled and to learn. This was often the prescription for communist cadres who had acted as high-handed bureaucrats toward the people. Such cadres were sent to the countryside to be humbled, to learn of the plight of the masses, and to learn from them. This practice was an old one, it pre-dated the Cultural Revolution. It went at least back to the Great Leap Forward in the late 1950s. It was also practiced, with limited success, during campaigns such as the Socialist Education Movement prior to the Cultural Revolution. However, the Cultural Revolution raised this practice to new levels. An entire system of May 7th cadre schools were set up at the height of the Cultural Revolution as part of the process of rehabilitating and remolding cadres through labor. In addition, an entire generation of red guards were sent down to learn from the peasantry from 1968 onward. Many of these red guards would participate in the radical push to reestablish the collective economy of the countryside from 1968 to 1970. Just as those who needed to be humbled and reeducated were sent to the Chinese countryside, First Worlders might also be sent to the “global countryside,” the Third World, to do work for and alongside the truly oppressed. This hypothetical process need not be one that is seen as punishment. Rather, this hypothetical process will be one that ends the empty, decadent, and often boring and dreary lives of First Worlders. Instead, First Worlders will be sent on an adventure to reinvent themselves alongside the masses of the Third World. What is more exciting than self-reinvention and creating a whole new, just world? Capitalism limits the horizons of people, socialism will open First Worlders up to new possibilities. What is considered the good life should not be endless consumption, it should be a life of adventure, excitement, creativity, and doing good by humanity. Capitalism offers meaninglessness. Socialism offers meaning.

3. A future. The First World way of life is not sustainable. If First World populations continue to live as they do, then they will not only destroy themselves but also the entire planet. Socialism entails a more sustainable, balanced relationship between man and nature. Capitalism ensures a future that is an ecological hell. Socialism ensures that future generations will be happy and prosperous.

4. Peace. Capitalism is a system that has generated countless wars for profit. Many First World people die in these wars. The worst wars of this century were intra-imperialist wars, both World War 1 and 2 killed tens of millions, including many First World people. Socialism will guarantee that nobody will die in a war over profit. Nobody will die to maintain a class of parasites. Nobody will die in this senseless way. Socialism will provide peace from imperialist war.

Unfortunately, these benefits of socialism do not establish First World peoples as a social base for revolution. First World peoples are, and will continue to be, the most reactionary populations in the world for the time being. However, socialism is not about punishment, it is about liberation. However, we cannot let sentimentalism stand in our way from setting the world right. Let there be no mistake, liberation of humanity will entail the destruction of the First World way of life. In the end, in the long run, this will even be good for First World peoples themselves.

Water and imperialism

Water and imperialism*water01

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Water is essential, in various ways, to all human activity. Water is something that humans, literally, cannot do without. Every human needs water in order live and to have a good life. Societies need water for the survival of their populations. Usable water, as a resource, is finite and distributed unevenly across the planet. Most societies have difficulty providing water to their populations, especially in the Proletarian World, the Third World. The inability to access water is referred to as the water crisis. The water crisis results in terrible human costs every year. And, as usable water becomes less and less available in the future, the brunt of the water crisis will befall proletarian populations. The writings of  Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, social theorist and architect of the Bolshevik revolution, have framed discussions of imperialism and global poverty. Famously, it was Vladamir Illich Lenin who predicted cycles of world wars as  the imperialists vied for the dwindling resources of the Third World. In the twenty-first century, there is increasing conflict over water. Lack of usable water will be a source of great instability.

Capitalist imperialism plays a role in the crisis.  And, the masses that suffers from these water wars and social instability.  As activist and author Arundhati Roy states:

“Empire does not always appear in the form of cruise missiles and tanks, as it has in Iraq or Afghanistan or Vietnam. It appears in their lives in very local avatars-losing their jobs, being sent unpayable electricity bills, having their water supply cut, being evicted from their homes and uprooted from their land. It is a process of relentless impoverishment with which the poor are historically familiar. What Empire does is further entrench and exacerbate already existing inequalities.”(1)

The effects of the water crisis are wide ranging. According to secretary-general of the United Nations at the time, Kofi Annan, “One person in six lives without regular access to safe drinking water; over twice that number—2.4 billion—lack access to adequate sanitation.” (2) Each year more than five million people die from water-related disease. (3) The World Health Organization states that 1.8 million children die every year as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and sanitation.  (4)

1.2 billion people have no sanitation facilities at all. 2.5 billion lack decent sanitation. (5) Fecal matter causes the majority of illnesses in the world. At any given time, half of the poor of the developing world are ill due to water supply, sanitation and hygiene. The biggest cause of infection is poor sanitation, usually related to water. (6)

In addition, agriculture and the water crisis are connected. Firstly, the water crisis is a significant factor in the world food crisis. Poor agricultural techniques waste water. And, overall, if agriculture remains on the same path, it will produce less and less relative to the growing human population. According to one source, “Irrigation-fed agriculture provides 45 percent of the world’s food supplies, and without it, we could not feed our planet’s population of six billion people.” According to the influential head of environmental research institute Worldwatch, Lester Brown, believes that water scarcity is now “the single biggest threat to global food security” (7) Much of the current irrigation is stressed, using more groundwater reserves than can be sustained. (8) As access diminishes, overuse of current water supplies results in increased pollution and environmental damage. This, in turn, diminishes water resources.  Thus, the water crisis is also a significant factor in the world food crisis.

Population growth will especially compound the problems in water and agriculture. A third of the world’s population live in “water stressed” countries currently. (9) This number will only increase in the coming years.  “Population and economic growth across Asia and the rest of the developing world is a major factor driving fresh-water scarcity. The Earth’s human population is predicted to rise from 6 billion to about 9 billion by 2050, the UN reports. Feeding them will mean more irrigation for crops.” (10) Feeding an increased population will mean more water.

This full brunt of the water crisis is suffered by the Third World. Access to water varies greatly from place to place. Looking at the distribution of access to water from one place to another shows that First World has more access than the Third World. This is exactly what one would expect. Privilege in one area accompanies privileges in other areas. Those with high incomes, those in the First World, have access to food, shelter, water, and other goods required for the good life.

The median income globally is about US $ 912.50 (US $ 2.50 per day). There are 2.5 billion people living on less than US $730 a year (US $ 2 per day).  By contrast, the median yearly  income of  a household in the United States was $46,326 in 2006. (11) The average person requires 5 gallons of water per day to survive. The average American uses 100 to 176 gallons of water a day. An average African family consumes roughly 5 gallons a day. (12) There are 2.9 billion without decent sanitation. (13) Those without access to drinking water are not in the First World.

The wealth and power of the First World translates into the ability to control access to water in the Third World. Imperialists use water as just another commodity, and they are not above brandishing their control of such a commodity for political ends. This has only increased with the rush toward globalization.

Water is increasingly playing a role in imperialist schemes against the Third World.  For example, one contention between the Palestinians and Israelis is the mountain aquifer underneath the West Bank. The Israeli state and settlers have dominated the groundwater supplies. Palestinians are charged three times more for water than Israelis. (14) Under International Law, Israel is required to provide drinking water to Palestinians. Israel is not allowed to deny it to them. (15) Yet increasing costs is one way to wage war against the Palestinians using water instead of bullets. By controlling water, its distribution and cost, the Israelis and their American allies are able to wield power over the Palestinians. Control over water means control over agriculture and food supplies, it means control over sanitation, and control over human life.

The water crisis also threatens to play a role in the reversal of Zimbabwe’s land reform movement. One consequence of the land reform movement in Zimbabwe has been an increase in water problems. Land in Zimbabwe had been controlled by Europeans, reducing the African population to pauperism. Mugabe’s land reform redistributed the land back to the majority African population. One unintended consequence of the land reform was that the new land owners proved unable to maintain the water systems and irrigation dams.

These problems can be manipulated by political forces. (16) The ex-land owners, those who had benefited from the old imperialist and white supremacist system  in  Zimbabwe, have a vested interest in a water crisis because they stand to benefit. Such a crisis could be exploited politically to oust Mugabe and return themselves to power. These forces are backed by powerful Western allies who seek to reduce Zimbabwe to the status of a colony.  (17)

The one example with a happy ending is the conflict in Bolivia. A water conflict in Bolivia also set an imperial power against a poorer people.  Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. (18) Seventy percent of its population live in poverty. Ten percent of children die before age five. Bolivia’s economy was wrecked by hyper-inflation in the 1980s. A small ruling elite dominated Bolivian society. Sixty percent of the population is indigenous. Those of European background have historically had more privileges than the poorer and indigenous segments of the population. In Bolivia in 1999, Cochabamba auctioned its water supply in order to increase services. The water system was purchased by Aguas Del Tunari, a part of Bechtel, a large American corporation. As part of the purchase, the company was guaranteed a 15 to 17 percent rate of profit. After taking over the water system, Aguas del Tunari raised the water rates, some as high as 300 percent. (19) This sparked massive protests that lasted two months. The protesters accused the company of “leasing the rain” as they clashed with the Bolivian military. Hundreds were arrested and a  seventeen year-old boy was shot and killed. Journalist Luis Bredow describes the revolt:

“Everyone was protesting, everyone… I’ve never seen anything like it in Bolivia. Housewives were throwing stones at the police. It really was a revolt.”

The water conflict intersected with traditional nationalist sentiment. These clashes nearly collapsed the government of Bolivia. The sale of the water resources had to be withdrawn. The view that water is a commodity like any other has led to disaster for the masses. According to Vandana Shiva:

“At the core of the market solution to pollution is the assumption that water exists in unlimited supply. The idea that markets can mitigate pollution by facilitating increased allocation fails to recognize that water diversion to one area comes at the cost of water scarcity elsewhere.

In contrast to the corporate theorists who promote market solutions to pollution, grassroots organizations call for political and ecological solutions. Communities fighting high-tech industrial pollution have proposed the Community Environmental Bill of Rights, which includes rights to clean industry; to safety from harmful exposure; to prevention; to knowledge; to participation; to protection and enforcement; to compensation; and to cleanup. All of these rights are basic elements of a water democracy in which the right to clean water is protected for all citizens. Markets can guarantee none of these rights.”

Furthermore:

“Market assumptions are blind to the ecological limits set by the water cycle and the economic limits set by poverty. Over-exploitation of water and disruption of the water cycle create absolute scarcity that markets cannot substitute with other commodities. The assumption of substitution is in fact central to logic of commodification. “ (20)

The problem of water crisis can be solved in principle. According to one source, 97.5 percent of the Earth’s water resources are salty. Of the remaining water, only a single percent is available for humans:

“Even this tiny proportion, however, would be enough for humans to live on Earth if the water cycle was properly functioning and if we managed our water use wisely.” (21)

Even so, the nature of capitalism is to view every resource, from labor to water, as a commodity. The water crisis cannot be solved on a global scale until there is a change in social relations globally. It cannot be solve under the current system of capitalism because the very nature of capitalism itself is to put a price on resources, to eliminate the commons. This being the case, it is likely that solutions will not be put in place for a very long time. And, in the meantime, this translates into increased conflicts, even wars over  diminishing access to water.

The reason that the water crisis won’t be solved in the short term is that imperialists have an interest in perpetuating the crisis. Capitalist imperialism is a system organized around profit, not human need. As long as there is profit to be made by “leasing the rain” or using the water crisis to destabilize political enemies, then the policy makers of the First World will not act to solve the water crisis. It will be up to the masses to solve the water conflicts themselves as was done in Bolivia. To solve it at the global level, to solve it once and for all, requires sweeping, fundamental changes. It requires a whole new society at the global level, a New Power, organized according to the most advanced revolutionary science, Leading Light Communism. There is no problem we cannot solve. Dare to win.

Notes

1. Roy, Arundhati. People vs. Empire. In These Times magazine. January 2005.

2. Hillary Mayell UN Highlights World Water Crisis for National Geographic News. June 5, 2003.

3. Pacific Institute,  Dirty Water: Estimated Deaths from Water-Related Diseases 2000-2020. 2002.

4. Global Citizens Core.  http://www.globalcitizencorps.org/issues.htm?page=issues_water&elon=1&gclid=CN7WgOrp7ZYCFRxNagodBmgurg

5.  UNICEF/WHO. Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation: Special Focus on Sanitation. 2008.

6. Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC). 2008. A Guide to Investigating One of the Biggest Scandals of the Last 50 Years.

7. Africa’s Potential Water Wars. BBC News. 1999.http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/454926.stm

8. World Water Crisis Underlies World Food Crisis. Environmental News Service. 2008. http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/aug2008/2008-08-18-01.asp

9. The World Water Crisis. http://www.worldwaterday.net/index.cfm?objectid=E39A970B-F1F6-6035-B9F75093B863ED13

10. Wallace, Scott.  Is water becoming ‘the new oil’? Christian Science Monitor. 2008. http://features.csmonitor.com/environment/2008/05/29/is-water-becoming-‘the-new-oil’/

11. US Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/

12. UN Water. Tackling a Global Crisis: International Year of Sanitation 2008. 2008.

13. UN Water. Tackling a Global Crisis: International Year of Sanitation 2008. 2008.

14. Ofori-Amoah, Abigail. Water Wars and International Conflict. 2004.http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/OFORIAA/

15. Water war leaves Palestinians thirsty. BBS News. June 2003.http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2982730.stm

16. Maoist-Third Worldists denounce imperialist meddling in Zimbabwe.http://monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com/2008/06/26/maoist-third-worldists-denounce-imperialist-meddling-in-zimbabwe/

17. Banda, Ignatius. Poverty: Water Wars Hit Rural Zimbabwe. IPS.http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=44294

18. Bolivia Country Report. CIA World Fact Book. 2008.https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/bl.html

19. Joseph, Richard. The Water War in Bolivia. Counterpunch. March 26/7, 2005.  http://www.counterpunch.org/joseph03262005.html

20. Vandana Shiva.  Water Wars. South End Press. 2002.http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Vandana_Shiva/Water_Wars_VShiva.html

21.  World Water Crisis Underlies World Food Crisis. Environmental News Service. 2008. http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/aug2008/2008-08-18-01.asp

* An earlier version of this article was originally published elsewhere, but the author has given us permission to republish it here with edits.

Bangladesh: the holocaust in our water

Bangladesh: the holocaust in our waterarsenic-250_tcm18-59295

(llco.org)

Water is one of the most basic things required for life. Seventy-one percent of the Earth’s surface is water. By weight, the average human body is about 65 percent water. Water brings life to animals, forests, crops, lands. Even though 97 percent of people in Bangladesh have access to water, only 40 percent have  access to  sanitation. In other words, the majority of our people, 60 percent of our brothers and sisters, do not have access to safe, clean drinking water.

To make matters worse, we, our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters, are suffering a holocaust hidden in our water. Potable water is limited. And the groundwater that is used by 90 percent of the population is contaminated with arsenic. The levels of arsenic in our water is contributing to what the World Health Organization calls “the largest mass poisoning of a population in history… beyond the accidents at Bhopal, India, in 1984, and Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1986,” affecting as many as 77 million of brothers and sisters. Exposure to arsenic causes the deaths of one out of every five people in Bangladesh. This means that roughly 30 million people of our current populations will die from poisoning. The state could easily direct more resources into preventing these deaths, but it does not care. This is a invisible holocaust that those in power refuse to address in a serious way. Yet we see the this holocaust every day when we look into the eyes of our sick and dying children and elders. This holocaust is a result of underdevelopment imposed by the empire, the capitalists, and feudalists. It is a result of poor planning by the state and imperial schemes. The mass poisoning could have been easily avoided in the people had a say in their own destiny. It could have easily been avoided with a system that placed people and the environment first.

Corruption and underdevelopment touches every aspect of life in Bangladesh, including the availability of water. The availability of water changes with the season. There is the monsoon season and there are drier months. However, because of centuries of underdevelopment and neglect, our state has not developed the infrastructure to capture the excess water from the wetter months to provide during the drier months. This problem is compounded. This gives us little control over our water since our great rivers, the Brahmaputra, Meghna, and Ganges, all originate in other countries that are able to control the flow of water at its source. This is yet another example of how the capitalist system values profit, not people. The state could easily create the infrastructure to deliver clean, consistent water year round for the masses. For the capitalists, poor people, workers, peasants, small owners, homeless, we do not matter. They do not care if our sons and daughters drink clean water or poison.

Another problem is the rising salinity, the salt content, of our water, which makes our water less suitable for human use and agriculture. One of the reasons for the rising salt content of our water is the construction of projects such as the Farakka Barrage in India, which diverts water from the Ganges to irrigate Indian soil. This causes the flow of water to slow, thus raising salinity. In addition, the number of shrimp farms in fresh water causes salinity to rise. All of this has an adverse effect on our soil and groundwater. All of this reduces our precious fresh water. All of this could easily be addressed by proper planning and infrastructure development.

The old system, the empire, capitalism, feudalism, are all rotten to the core. The Awami League, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, the Islamists, etc. have no real solutions. Our lives mean nothing to the Old Power. Our children are poisoned every single day. Every time they drink, days are being stolen from their lives. When they steal our water, they steal our lives. We raise our fists.  They have no right to steal our lives, the lives of our children and our children’s children. Our future is our own. Together, we can take back our lives. We have the organization, the science, the leadership to really win. There is path to our future. Follow the Leading Light. Be the Leading Light. Our sun is rising. Our day is coming.

Sources

http://water.usgs.gov/edu/earthhowmuch.html

http://thewaterproject.org/water-in-crisis-bangladesh

http://www.bbc.com/news/10358063

Our Day Is Coming (Video)

Our Day is Coming

(llco.org)

The world cries out in pain. Two futures, two roads are before us: communism or barbarism, the Leading Light or endless night. There is a choice to be made.

We must transform ourselves for revolution. Do away with pettiness, greed, ego, smallness of mind. We must think beyond ourselves. An offense against one is an offense against all. When one bleeds, we all bleed. We must think as humanity and beyond. Not only is this a battle for our future, it is a battle for the future of our planet.

We, warriors of the people, must also act as guardians of the animals, the plants, the lands, the seas, the skies that sustain us all. The war to liberate the poor of the Third World is also a war for the future of our planet. It is through this righteous struggle that we become lights in a world of darkness, it is through this righteous struggle that we become who we really are. it is through this struggle that we forge the future.

Unity is strength

Capitalist culture teaches every individual that they are the center of the universe, that they are a castle unto themselves. We must break down the walls that keep us apart. It is only through organization, discipline, loyalty, leadership that we can really win.

Duty. Patience. We must be humble. We must find our roles. Learning to lead is also learning to listen and to follow. Well all stumble at times. Everyone makes mistakes. To be human is to fall. Pick yourself up when you have fallen. To learn from mistakes is the nature of science. To go forward against all obstacles is to be great.

To create we must destroy. We must pursue our cause to the end. To be ruthless, decisive and bold, to do everything that it takes to win. To the old world, we are a firestorm, to burn away, to annihilate, to turn to dust all that stands against us. We must be the sword of history. At the same time, we must have bigness of heart, humility, kindness. One hand holds the sword, the other must be extended outward to help.

We must dare go beyond the horizons.

New possibilities. We will not win by repeating the past. The last waves of revolution were defeated. We do not go forward by cobbling together the fragments of the past. We must understand the past, learn from the past, but we must go beyond it. The next wave of revolution is made by boldly striking out, casting aside dogma, by putting the most advanced revolutionary science, Leading Light Communism, in command.

We declare total war on the old ways, the Old Power. We declare total war on the First World. We demand nothing less than a whole new world, a world without poverty, without suffering, without cruelty, without war, without hunger, without chauvinism, without rape.

We demand a world of equality, a world of peace, a world of justice. Happiness. Joy. Serve the people. Imagine true freedom where we can be our best selves. A better world is possible, an equal world is possible, but we must fight hard and to the end.

Global people’s war all the way to Leading Light Communism. To give oneself over, to live and die for justice, for revolution, for our world is to be great. To this we pledge everything, our resources, our talents, our lives. The future is there for the taking if we dare. Never surrender.

Follow the Leading Light. Be the Leading Light. Our sun is rising. Our day is coming.

Interview with Leading Light Commander Prairie Fire on gender, sex, life

Interview with Leading Light Commander Prairie Fire on gender, sex, lifewomen-229x300

(llco.org)

  1. So many people claiming to be Marxist are really just liberal. You are one of the only voices, maybe the only voice, really challenging bourgeois, liberal feminism from the left. Let me ask you: What is probably the biggest, single misunderstanding about gender among activists today?

Probably the biggest misconception is that patriarchy is the same for women in the First and Third World. It is a huge misconception that women experience patriarchy the same way, that they are similarly oppressed in both the First and Third World. Furthermore, it is a big misconception that women in both the First and Third World have an interest in eliminating gender oppression globally. In fact, women in the First World benefit from the gender oppression of women in the Third World. Like First World men, First World women benefit from the patriarchal control of Third World women’s bodies. It is this control that squeezes more and more work out of Third World women, for example. This value create by the Third World ends up in the pockets of the First World. The entire First World way of life, all the privileges, the social-democratic benefits, are a result, in part, of the gender oppression of Third World women. First Worldist feminists promote the lie that all women experience patriarchy the same way, that they all are one big sisterhood united against gender oppression. This is one of the many lies First Worldists use to oppress the Third World. Remember how Chinese revolutionaries warned us of those who “wave the red flag to oppose the red flag.” First Worldist feminism and gender activism are yet other ways revisionism enters the revolutionary movement. Just as Lenin wrote about the “split in the working class,” so too is there as split among women. First World women, on the whole, are enemies of revolution. Similarly, most Third World women can be counted as friends. We must reject all manifestations of reaction, including liberalism and traditionalism. We must reject all First Worldism. We must embrace proletarianism, real, proletarian feminism.

  1. Mao Zedong stated that the first thing we have to do as revolutionaries is separate friends and enemies. You say First World women are enemies just as First World peoples as a whole are. But you say Third World women are mostly friends of the revolution. What kinds of oppression do they face?

Our sisters in the Third World face the worst of the imperial system. They suffer all the horrors that Empire inflicts on Third World men, and then some. They suffer subsistence and sub-subsistence incomes. They suffer grueling, unsafe work for pennies a day, usually earning substantially less than their male counterparts. They suffer gender apartheid. Sometimes they have to give sexual favors to their employers and other men with power. They have to toil away in the domestic sphere, often suffering abuse when they do not fulfill what is expected of them. They have to take care of children, even as they are working. They live under constant threat of abuse and rape, sometimes from their own husbands. Young women are sold off into marriage, often against their will. Girls can have their clitorouses removed so that men can better control them. They must endure the tyrannies of their husband’s in-laws. They are valued less by society. If the family must consume less, the females sacrifice first. They are often the last to receive health care. Sometimes female babies are discarded to die. Sometimes girls are sold into sex slavery by their own families. In some places, females not only suffer under imperialist capitalism, but they suffer under semi-feudalism. It is sometimes prohibited by law for girls to receive an education. It might be prohibited for females to go outside without covering their whole bodies, or it might be prohibited for them to go outside without a male relative. They can face an entire system of gender apartheid. In much of the world, females are not equal under the law. They have little rights in cases of divorce. They are not allowed to own significant property. In some places, beating women is seen as acceptable, normal behavior. The world is truly a nightmare for many women. They truly have nothing to lose but their chains. These women need revolution. They need a radical reorganization of the social order to end oppression, to serve their interests, to save their children. Revolution is about future. It is about creating a just society, caring, loving, happy families. It is about a future where we are secure in the knowledge our children will be safe and prosper. Leading Light Communism is their sword to pick up and slay the beast of patriarchy, feudalism, capitalism, Empire.

  1. You have called for women to pick up the sword of Leading Light Communism to overthrow their oppressor. Can women be good fighters?

Women are one of our greatest, our strongest, our sharpest weapons. There is a special strength in those who have tasted the worst this system has to offer, as so many women have. Those who have endured the worst, been abused, smashed down, survived the worst, have a special spirit. To stand against them is like fighting the hurricane. They have a strength that cannot be conquered. Fighting without women in our ranks is like fighting with one arm tied behind our backs. This is one of the greatest advantages of our movement over others. Reactionaries, religious extremists, traditionalists relegate women to a subordinate position, a gender apartheid. “No!” Because we are led by genuine, revolutionary science, all-powerful, Leading Light Communism, we do not harbor any chauvinism, no hate. We have only love. We say with the Chinese revolutionaries: “Women hold up half the sky!” Women can fight alongside men. Women can lead alongside men. Women can be as strong as men, even stronger. It is their future too. They not only have the right, but the moral obligation to fight. We all fight for our children, our shared future, destiny. The Leading Light. Global People’s War. They are us. We are them.

  1. You have taught that traditionalism is one form that revisionism can take, but so is liberalism. Some First Worldists take up the politics of the left wing of bourgeois feminism. They see all men as the enemy. They even claim that it is necessary to get rid of genders, and men or manhood, to reach communism?

Probably one of the most famous revolutionary slogans is “women hold up half the sky!” It was a slogan from Maoist China. Recently, First Worldist revisionists made the strange argument that the Maoist slogan “women hold up half the sky” somehow meant or implied the Chinese Maoists were against gender and manhood itself. This is somewhat mind boggling that someone would put forward such a goofy interpretation. According to such a strange interpretation, one wonders who exactly upheld the sky’s other half?

The saying itself, in its very wording, suggests that women are half, not more, not less, of a whole. Their responsibilities and duties are half of a greater whole. It is an inspiring slogan, a call for replacing old oppressions with new, liberating unity. When the liberal revisionist misrepresents the slogan, he is allowing his own ideological biases to distort its meaning, which should be obvious to most. The revisionist is also allowing her own narrowness and pettiness of spirit to taint a beautiful, poetic expression of the revolutionary hope and reality that oppressed men and women have far more in common, and far more to gain, by working together. The Chinese Maoists were genuine revolutionaries leading a vast country of men and women. First Worldist revisionists who answer to no social base are well-known for embracing all kinds strange politics. It is like the children’s story of Chicken Little. An acorn falls on his head so he thinks the sky is falling. They run around waving their arms: “all sex is rape,” “all men are evil!,” and so on. It is self-absorbed, petty, ego-driven crackpotism that has nothing to do with real revolution. It is totally disconnected from ordinary people. Those who raise such irresponsible politics only serve the bourgeoisie, but they are mostly ignored even in the First World.

It is important to eliminate gender oppression. This is not the same thing as eliminating genders. Overthrowing patriarchy is not the same thing as eliminating men and manhood. One would be hard pressed to find such a concept of eliminating gender itself in the revolutionary tradition, in the works of Marx, Lenin, Mao, or other Leading Lights. On the contrary, revolutionaries of the past have seen the denial of manhood as an injustice inflicted on poorer men by the reactionary system. This complaint is often heard even by poorer communities.

The history of the Chinese Communist Party’s outlook on gender is complex. It evolved in all kinds of ways. However, I would like to see evidence that their concept of women’s liberation was tied in any meaningful way to “fighting manhood” in some kind of specific, stronger sense, as some crackpots claim. In fact, the Communist Party could also facilitate marriages between men and women for large segments of the population. Men in rural China often were very poor and lacked the status to acquire a bride in the traditional way, arranged marriages, bride prices, etc. In a 1931, Mao reportedly said the inability of poor men to be married was a big injustice. Similarly, women sometimes fled their homes to avoid being sold to husbands or they fled the tyranny of in-laws, specifically the step mothers. In the Party, men and women sought to escape the patriarchy that hurt them both. The communists were a safe haven from feudal tyranny. But you have a case here where poor, rural men were being denied the possibility of having a family, status, which meant a lot in Chinese society. Similarly women had their reasons for entering these circles. My point is that Mao himself expressed that denial of manhood was an abuse inflicted on poor men. One only need to look at old Maoist propaganda to see portrayals of strong, proud, brave, healthy men and women. There was no concept of eliminating gender and manhood coming from the Maoists or Bolsheviks.

There is a view out there among some First World Maoists and anarchists that men and manhood are inherently bad. This is not the revolutionary view. It is one extreme view that emerges from the liberal paradigm that the individuals must be in competition with each other. One manifestation of this extreme view that advancing women means oppressing or eliminating men or separating from them. This kind of unhealthy outlook is reflected, albeit in less extreme ways, in the romance culture in the First World. People describe themselves as “players” in a “game” of winners and losers. Their ultra-left strand of liberalism is a kind of reverse of the gender apartheid of traditionalism. Both extremist views are very wrong, anti-people. Rather than trying to make people, males, females lose so they can benefit in their relationships, shouldn’t we try to see gender in a way to make everyone win? The view that men and manhood are necessarily bad is an extreme view within the broad liberal camp. Such a view is crackpot, but has a small following in the First World activist community. It is the outlook of Chicken Little who leaps to all kinds of wild conclusions when he misinterprets a thump on his head. Such extreme views only serve the patriarchy by discrediting those of us who really do fight against gender oppression, which is very real. Most women want to be women. Most men want to be men. Most women don’t see anything wrong with men being men. Most men don’t see anything wrong with women being women. Motherhood and fatherhood are healthy things. However, we should not limit anyone to any single gender role. People should have freedom within the context of advancing the community to Leading Light Communism. We should promote healthy ways of living that allow us to thrive, create, be strong. We need to promote virtue. We need to promote the spirit of the nurturer, the worker, the farmer, the musician, the artist, the warrior, the scientist, the poet, the philosopher. We need to promote images of attractive, healthy, vigorous, virtuous, strong women and men.  We need to promote images of women that are powerful, but are not whores and bitches. We need to promote images of men that are not weaklings, but also not pimps, douchebags, assholes. We need to promote images of loving revolutionaries who take care of their family and community.

Revolution is not about getting rid of the family. Revolution is about getting rid of oppression. It is about getting rid of those who use the family to oppress. Revolution is not about getting rid of genders. It is about getting rid of those who use gender to oppress. Real revolution is about saving the family, integrating it back into the community, and into the shared destiny of achieving real freedom. It is the proletarian outlook that rejects the pink flag of the liberal Empire, but also rejects the black flag of traditionalism, fascism, feudalism. The revolutionary outlook was pioneered, but not completed, by the Bolsheviks in the Soviet Union and by the Maoists in China. It it the outlook of Proletarianism, or proletarian feminism. It is the red flag of the Leading Light.

  1. Is sex biological?

The revisionists make the strange argument that sex is not biological. They point to the few anomalous, ambiguous cases in order to conclude male and female do not really exist. This silliness is popular in the First World, even among Marxist-Leninists, Maoists, and other revisionists. Sex, whether one is male or female, is biological. Sexual dimorphism, male and female, exists across nature in most complex species. Not only do males and females have different bodies and different sexual organs, they have differences in their endocrine systems and in their brains. This does not mean women are better than men or vice versa. It simply means that biological differences exist. It is also foolish not to recognize that these differences manifest themselves psychologically and in sexual culture. Gender is not identical to sex, but there is a biological dimension to it.

  1. Can you explain more about gender? Is gender biological?

It depends on what we mean by “gender.” If we are talking about “gender” as a position in a system of oppression, then it is not biological. The difference between First and Third World women should make that clear. First and Third World women share the same biology, but have different roles in the system of gender oppression. First World women and Third World women have different positions in regard to the global patriarchy. First World women tend to benefit from it. Third World women suffer. First World women are granted more and more life options. Third World women have their life options restricted. And there is a causal relation here between the extension of social-democratic privilege in the First World and the narrowing of life options in the Third World, a narrowing that sometimes occurs through the most brutal forms of feudal patriarchy. Thus First World women are oppressors. Third World women are, on the whole, oppressed in the global patriarchy. They share very different gender interests. Because of their First World privileges, First World women are not as limited by their role in reproduction as they once were. First World women share some, but not all, of the same culture and identity of First World men. And First World men have also become more and more like First World women. This is a big part of the liberal culture of Empire. So some aspects of gender are definitely very social in origin.

But, if we are discussing the psychological component of “gender,” there is a biological component. There are aspects of gender that are still biological, that cannot be overcome by culture and society. There are biological differences that exist between men and women that manifest themselves in mating, emotional life, etc. There are some differences in sexual and reproductive behavior. People speak of the “maternal instinct” in women, for example. There are differences in body chemistry, sexual psychology, emotions, behaviors. Humans are animals. Like animals, humans have innate instincts and behaviors. Acknowledging difference does not mean any gender is better or worse than another. The slogan “women hold up half the sky” implies that poor men and poor women should work together in a complementary way, not in competition. If we are to build a revolutionary society that is genuinely scientific, we must construct a society that works with, not against, our natures. We, men and women, need to work together.

  1. Is manhood bad?

Many of those same characteristics often associated with manhood are ones we need in order to fight, to really make revolution. These characteristics are not exclusive to men, but they have been attacked by liberal Empire as part of an effort to undermine our communities and fighting capacity. It is Empire, the society of Friedrich Nietzsche’s last man, without ambition, intensity, destiny. Strength, valor, honor, loyalty are all lacking and mocked in Empire. The drive to excellence is lacking. Leadership and genius are mocked. In Plato’s tripartite division of the soul, the soul is pictured as a chariot that moves due to the efforts of two horses and a driver. There is the pull of the crass desires, the stomach. The soul is also pulled by what the Greeks called “thymos,” spiritness, excellence, the pull of the athlete and warrior. There is also reason, intellect. Liberal Empire is driven by stomach, by petty consumerism. The other parts of the soul are suppressed by contemporary culture. Liberal Empire is a world where both the best and worst lack conviction, neither has “passionate intensity,” unless it is intense consumerist conviction. Traditionalism tends to elevate thymos far more than liberalism, but it combines heart with the crass appetites of the stomach. In this sense, it still shares much with liberalism. Both liberalism and traditionalism denigrate reason, the intellect, the spirit of the scientist and philosopher. Real revolution, Leading Light Communism, by contrast, elevates the heart alongside reason. This is why say Leading Lights are warrior geniuses who serve the people.

There is a design to it all, to Empire and its liberalism. “Men without chests” will not make revolution. Chicken Littles will not. The system is one of mediocrity, that denigrates those people and those qualities that we need to make revolution. In this way, the system has beaten the revolutionary movement before the fight starts. It buys off the population in the First World, so there is no proletariat. And it turns the First World population into cowards, whiners, dunces, Chicken Littles, “men without chests.” Even if they wanted to make revolution, they could not. The attack on “manhood” by some liberals is, in part, an attack on the ability of poor people, including women, to organize themselves in a way to really take power.

A long time ago, Karl Marx talked about how capitalism had destroyed the traditional family. Capitalism has invaded every part of our lives, included the most intimate, the family. The culture of liberalism spreads across the Third World, destroying communities and families. This has a terrible effect on oppressed peoples. The values of self-serving, liberal capitalism replace community and family. Without revolutionary institutions and culture, without New Power, social bonds whither, people no longer care for each other. Community and family wither. We must transform, revolutionize community and family through New Power and Global People’s War, not destroy them, not serve broken communities and families up to Empire.

  1. Is it true that the CIA has financed and promoted First Worldist, liberal feminism?

In the past, the Soviets channeled aid to secular nationalists and anti-imperialists. As a way to combat that, the Western imperialists, including the Zionists, channeled aid to traditionalists, Islamist extremists, as a way to counter and undermine secular organizations and regimes. It is well-known how the CIA has promoted traditionalism when it has found it useful. The West promoted the Islamic extremists in Afghanistan. Even Hamas, at one point, was aided as a way to undermine Palestine’s secular resistance at the time. In Indonesia, the Western imperialists aided in the suppression of the Communist Party and the overthrow of Sukarno’s nationalist regime. In his place, they installed Islamist generals led by Suharto. The streets of Jakarta ran red with the blood of all the victims of the coup. The West has promoted traditionalism by aiding the Gulf Arab states, including Saudi Arabia where women are not allowed to drive, where they do not have equal rights in society. Saudi Arabia, where some of the worst gender apartheid exists, exports some of the most vicious traditionalism across the Muslim world with the help of the West. The West has worked with Pakistan at times to promote brutal traditionalism. In Libya, the West overthrew the Gaddafi regime, which was far more secular and nationalist than what exists now. Extremist Islamic militias are now running wild imposing their brutal concept of traditionalist sharia. In Syria, the Western imperialists have used traditionalists to tear the society apart. Going back even further, from World War 1 to World War 2, many in the West promoted traditionalism in Europe as a way to attack Bolshevik, communist revolution. They promoted forms of Christian traditionalism as a way to suppress leftist revolutionaries. Even recently, traditionalism has been promoted in Eastern Europe when the West has found it useful. Bosnia and Kosovo are examples. Even today, the West aids liberalism in the Ukraine with one hand and traditionalist, fascist trends with the other. And, the Russians also promote their own traditionalist and liberal forces in various conflicts. There is also the case of Bangladesh where the West promotes both sides of the conflict. They promote both the current regime of the Awami League, which is a bit more liberal. And they, along with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, promote the barbarism of the extremist Islamic traditionalists. Muslims are being burned alive by random attacks on civilians by the extremists there. This is in an effort to weaken the society to make it easier for the imperialists to control. The point is that the West has a long record of supporting the worst, fascistic, traditionalist, brutal organizations and regimes when it serves them. They are perfectly willing to support gender apartheid if it suits them. However, this is just one part of the equation.

Liberalism has also been a weapon against the Third World. Imperialists have historically used the pretext of modernization, liberal progress, to justify their domination over and attacks against the colonial world. The imperialists have claimed that their domination of the colonial world was part of a great civilizing mission to remove backward traditions. Liberalism was often part of this package. Afghanistan is one of the most interesting cases. The United States supported the most brutal extremist traditionalists against the Soviet-supported reformist regime in the 1970s and 1980s. Then, once the United States came into conflict with the Taleban after the events of September 11, 2001, the imperialists decided that Afghanistan was in need of modernization and liberalization. First Worldist feminists lined up to cheerlead the imperialist invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. Similarly, First Worldist gender activists agitate for imperialist attacks on Iran because they think they are aiding gay rights. Even First Worldist revisionists and Maoist groups, which are in the pockets of the state, held rallies in the United States against Iran’s 12 treatment of women and gays. The liberal and left liberal establishment is playing its role in Empire. They see imperialism as a vehicle for modernization, to advance liberal civilization. Here it is also important to mention the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). NGOs and aid organizations are very much tied to this imperialist control. They are used to infiltrate communities. They become a form of liberal power, pushing imperialist social and cultural policies, in the communities of the Third World. They are part of population management and social engineering by Empire. The network of these organizations and agencies overlaps very much with imperial intelligence. And there is more.

There is the famous case where one of the leading liberal feminists was exposed. Red Stockings, a Marxist-influenced feminist group, exposed some of the connections between liberal, bourgeois, First Worldist feminism and the CIA. They exposed Gloria Steinem and Ms. magazine’s CIA connections in the 1970s. It is no secret that Steinem worked for the CIA spying on student radical groups, including Marxists. Steinum and Ms. magazine disseminated a particular kind of feminism that was both First Worldist and liberal. It was a pseudoradicalism very much in-line with the CIA’s vision of a proper imperial civilization, a culture of liberal imperialism. Steinum herself expresses that she was happy that she never felt that the her CIA handlers were speaking down to her. She felt they were very respectful toward her and her politics. She was one of the boys, so to speak. And, her handlers were part of the girls. The CIA’s involvement in First Worldist, liberal feminism is a matter of historical fact. Furthermore, it is well known that the CIA also financed some types of art that were seen to promote liberal values, seen to undermine socialist, heroic values in the Eastern bloc. It is entirely predictable that the CIA would intervene in the culture, intervene in left-wing social and cultural movements in foreign countries, but also in the United States itself. The CIA, the broad network of intelligence agencies, think tanks, NGOs, policy shapers have a vested interest in creating the most stable, lasting Empire possible. This includes shaping every aspect of imperial life, which included attitudes about sexuality and gender. This is not the era of Lenin’s imperialist rivalry. The United States is in conflict with Europe. The CIA is not so narrow in its outlook. It looks beyond mere US national interests, to the shaping of global civilization itself. They are looking beyond nation, so too must we. We too must develop a 13 whole new approach, a kind of total war that is multi-generational, that looks beyond today’s political entities to civilization itself.

  1. You say that much of First Worldist feminism is really just liberalism. Can you elaborate?

There are really unfortunately only two main sides to the debate, at least as most people see it. There is liberalism, the culture of Empire, the rainbow or pink flag. Then there is traditionalism, the black flag. Many people see the main fight in the world as one between a globalist Empire that pushes a sexual and gender culture that is liberal versus a reactionary, anti-gay, anti-feminist, nationalist, racial, communal traditionalism. Our view is that both liberalism and traditionalism are two sides of the imperial coin. It’s like the saying goes, “liberalism is the face of the ruling class when they are not afraid, fascism when they are afraid.” Today, liberalism is the main face of Empire, but there is a traditionalist trend bubbling up from below in some places, especially in Europe. Traditionalism is making a comeback in much of the Muslim world also. This has led to terrible results, especially for women. We reject both.

One of the problems is that few people know the vision of real communism, the Leading Light. When revisionists try to articulate their vision, it either sounds like liberalism or it sounds like traditionalism. Revisionists are unable to really find any political space between liberalism and traditionalism. And, if you all you can do is sound like a liberal or traditionalist, then it is pointless to try to maintain a separate identity. Be what you are. Be a liberal or traditionalist. Stop pretending to be a communist. Stop wrapping liberalism and traditionalism in the red flag. This is why so few people turn to the so-called “far left” anymore. Leading Light is the one force out there that is articulating a real vision that is neither liberal nor traditionalist. Our view is proletarianism. We advocate the liberation of men and women within the context of total revolution. We advocate the freedom of men to be men and women to be women, without putting any kind of restrictions on gender. Men and women should be encouraged to be attractive, healthy, strong, virtuous, creative as men and as women. There is nothing oppressive about being a good, healthy, positive exemplar of whatever your identity is. Both the Soviet Union and China, in their revolutionary phases, promoted these virtues without erasing gender itself. People should be encouraged to be their best selves within the context of advancing the community, the revolution. And, for most people, this means being a good example of manhood or womanhood. Despite what some revisionists think, there is a biological basis not only to sex, but also a biological aspect to some, but not all parts, gender. If we are to make a socialism, and communism, that succeeds, that really wins, we need to work with, not against, nature. If you go against nature, people will reject revolution. Revolution must move with nature, not against it.

  1. Liberals are so obsessed with identity. They love talking about themselves, personalities. I know you hate to talk about yourself, but lots of people are curious about the man behind the writings. Can you talk a little about yourself and how you deal with the sexual culture of the First World?

Traditionalism is a terrible order where women are controlled in very direct, abusive ways. It is a kind of gender apartheid inflicted on women. Capitalism with its liberalism overthrew traditionalism in many parts of our world. In the place of traditionalism, new forms of unhealthy and abusive behavior arose. Immanuel Kant wrote, in his time, of marriage being a contract to use each other’s bodies and property. Karl Marx wrote about how capitalism had penetrated every aspect of life, including the most intimate realm of family. Friedrich Engels wrote that marriage under capitalism and, by implication, relationships were really just prostitution. Usually, in his day, it was women selling and men buying. Today, it is a free for all. Liberalism is a culture of mutual degradation, lack of respect, mutual use and abuse, “assholes,” “pimps,” “douchebags,” “hoes,” “bitches,” and so on. Some people, fascists, religionists, Islamists, think the solution is a return to traditionalism. Liberalism has gotten so bad that even many women are running toward traditionalism. But traditionalism is really just a war against women, gender apartheid. It is no answer. First World people live in a disgusting wasteland of Empire where they do not know how to express themselves or relate in healthy sexual ways. Many people do not know how to be strong without being abusive. People even call romance and sex “the game,” as though you win at the expense of your friends, community, family, those around you, including your lover. People are afraid to give, because in such an environment, if you give an inch, a mile is taken. It is imperative that we lead humanity out of the wasteland. Proletarianism is the path to real freedom and respect.

I believe in family. I believe in community. I believe in giving, in sacrifice. I believe in love, love of wife or girlfriend, love of family, community, people, the Earth. Love is a big part of what makes life worth living. To be strong requires the help of others, especially someone special, someone you love and who loves you. First World sexual culture is one where we are made to feel that being strong is incompatible with caring about someone. Mainstream culture tries to tell us our best feelings are wrong, that we should be embarrassed or feel guilty. It is a bizarre world where those with virtue are mocked. Those with none are praised. I am someone who has experienced some of the worst of this world, yet I have survived. I endure. I carry on. It is important to keep marching even if the wasteland seems endless. We are on a mission. We are Leading Lights, men and women of destiny. We cannot help but remember our lives are not fully our own. Duty is always commanding us onward. We do have each other, the best of the best, and we have hope. I have hope. Hope is a precious thing.

  1. What about those who criticize Mao or Che Guevara as womanizers? What do you say to them?

Revolutionary leaders like Mao and Che have done far more to advance the cause of humanity, including women, than their nitpicky critics. Che had a hand in the leadership of numerous revolutionary and anti-imperialist struggles that sought to end not only economic oppression, but also gender oppression. He gave his life for the liberation of women. And Mao was the greatest feminist of all time. Mao led a revolution that involved a quarter of humanity, one out of every four women on Earth was involved in the Chinese revolution. The Maoist revolution brought political power, property, and basic human rights to a quarter of humanity, one out of every four women. Think about it. For the first time, women could have a say in their daily lives, in their families, in their communities, in politics. Women were given more ability to control property. They now had power in the families, in divorce. Mao ended the gruesome practice of foot-binding, the Chinese practice of deforming female feet to satisfy a perverted-male fetish. Under the Maoist regime, Jiang Qing, a woman, Mao’s wife, rose very high in elite circles of political power. Lin Biao’s wife, Ye Qun, also acquired tremendous power. This means a lot given how backward Chinese society was only a few decades before. Even with the defeat of the Chinese revolution in the 1970s, much of this progress remains. The Maoist revolution smashed feudalism and all of its barbarism for a quarter of humanity. This may not seem important to gossipy lifestylists who would rather talk about Mao’s liaisons with young peasant girls rather than the world-historic changes experienced by a quarter of the world’s women thanks to leaders like Mao and Lin Biao. And, really, should anyone be shocked that an older man sought out the company of young, healthy, pretty women, and that such women sought out an older, respected, powerful man? Is this so shocking, really?

  1. Thank you for your thoughts. Are there any final words?

In order to defeat Empire, we do not need a bickering herd of cats. We need unity and strength. We need to forge the people into a mighty army with unity of purpose and action. Real revolutionary science, all-powerful Leading Light Communism strengthens, not weakens, the people in their fight. Those who weaken people’s movements, even while claiming to be revolutionary or radical, are revisionist agents of the system. There is one real path to freedom. We must see through the illusion. There are more options than what they show us. Liberalism, Empire, is not the answer. Traditionalism, fascism, feudalism is no answer. Liberalism sets poor men against poor women, poor women are set against poor men. Traditionalism, gender apartheid, also sets poor men against poor women. By contrast, proletarianism unites. Poor men and poor women join hands in the common proletarian struggle against the system. We must drop the pink and black flags. We must pick up the red flag. We must elevate the revolutionary, Leading Light vision. We are filled with love. We love our families. We love our communities. We love our elders. We love our children. We, sisters and brothers, are warriors, attractive, strong, healthy, courageous, creative, filled with genius. Together, we fight for our common destiny. Our future is our own. First World men do not hold up the sky. First World women do not uphold the sky. We, the Proletarian World, the Third World and its allies, uphold the sky together, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, wives and husbands.