Summing up “Black Lives Matter” and the rebellions against police terror in the USA

Summing up Ferguson USABuyjzAxCUAENMa6

(llco.org)

On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed, 18-year-old Black man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, a 28-year-old white police officer, in Ferguson, Missouri, USA, a suburb of St. Louis. The evidence suggests that the shooting was unwarranted and, in part, racially motivated. As a result, protests occurred throughout the United States highlighting the problem of police brutality  and racism. In Ferguson itself, protests have been continuous since the shooting. A militarized police department occupied the streets there, occasionally harassing and arresting protesters in the mostly Black community. And, after the grand jury chose not to indict Darren Wilson, riots broke out. This resulted in many arrests and much damage to property. Cars and businesses were seen burning in the media. On social media, a new phrase began to find its way across peoples profile pages: “Black Lives Matter”, which then became a loose network of activists across the US seeking to end police terror of Black communities in the United States. While the phrase “Black Lives Matter” was originally coined during the acquittal of self-styled “neighborhood watchman” George Zimmerman in his trial for the murder of 17-year old Black youth Trayvon Martin, the phrase didn’t become widely used until the death of Mike Brown at the hands of Darren Wilson.

It goes without saying the the resistance to police should be supported and strengthened. It goes without saying that national oppression and police terror must be opposed by any means necessary. Those who stood up and spoke up against injustice deserve support. We salute all those who took to the streets against injustice. Leading Light has advanced the line of “resistance in the First World; revolution in the Third World.” Standing against the police terror, white supremacy, and internal colonialism certainly counts as resistance. Even so, we must be materialists about the facts on the ground.

Some First Worldists see the events of Ferguson as heralding some great, new wave of discontent that can be channeled into First World revolution. They embrace ridiculous rhetoric about the Ferguson riot being a people’s war or the beginnings of a new anarchist world. There is even a meme floating around that borrows an image of an Irish Republican woman with a gun that states “arms up, shoot back.” Even with virtually the entire “far-left” of the United States focused on Ferguson, sending activists, etc., it is significant to note that the reports of shots fired on police from the resistance in the past couple years has been few and far between. This is in a country where firearms are legal and easy to acquire. There is a big reality gap between “far-left” rhetoric of First Worldists and conditions on the ground. Ferguson is not the Third World. It is not even Northern Ireland, as the meme suggests. There also is a big reality gap between the rhetoric of the First Worldist “far left” and what they are really prepared to do. This kind of over-the-top rhetoric, guerrilla pornography, might have some limited use at the level of low science, it may work to recruit the unadvanced, but we should not mistake this kind of myth making for reality.

Police terror and mass incarceration exists, and the most directly affected have been overwhelmingly Black and Brown people. National oppression is still an issue in the United States, although the contradiction between the white nation and these internal colonies is not nearly as acute as it once was. As scientific revolutionaries, we have to understand long-term trends, not get swept up in what happens to be in front of us at a given moment. There are very real, material reasons that national liberationist politics do not resonate in the United States nearly as much as they once did. The long-term trend is toward integrating the African diaspora of the United States into a multi-national First World. National oppression will continue within the First World. Every so often, these colonial contradictions may even lead to rebellion and resistance. However, the contradictions are not so great that they will lead to revolution at present. Nor are the contradictions within the First World so great that they can sustain a people’s war. To think as much is simply delusional utopianism.

All things being equal, having people resist the system inside the United States is better than having them not resist. This is true even if the First Worldists doing the resisting are delusional about the revolutionary possibilities within the heart of empire. For those who are not particularly advanced, this kind of resistance can be a healthy way to learn. It can also be a learning moment for others about what is possible at present. Resistance is a good thing. Even so, the most advanced, should not lose sight of the real task. The Global People’s War of the Leading Light will not emerge from within the First World. Our people are the real proletariat, the masses of the Third World. Our duty is to the global poor. Those who are advanced enough to be channeled into real revolutionary work should not get distracted from the main task, even as we offer our material support for such resistance within the United States. We must concentrate our forces against the weakest links of the imperial system. This means our battle is principally in the Third World.

Our future is our own. Long live the Great Strategic Plan! Follow the Leading Light! Be the Leading Light! Long live the Leading Light! Our sun is rising. Our day has come.

Summing up "Black Lives Matter" and the rebellions against police terror in the USA

Summing up Ferguson USABuyjzAxCUAENMa6

(llco.org)

On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed, 18-year-old Black man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, a 28-year-old white police officer, in Ferguson, Missouri, USA, a suburb of St. Louis. The evidence suggests that the shooting was unwarranted and, in part, racially motivated. As a result, protests occurred throughout the United States highlighting the problem of police brutality  and racism. In Ferguson itself, protests have been continuous since the shooting. A militarized police department occupied the streets there, occasionally harassing and arresting protesters in the mostly Black community. And, after the grand jury chose not to indict Darren Wilson, riots broke out. This resulted in many arrests and much damage to property. Cars and businesses were seen burning in the media. On social media, a new phrase began to find its way across peoples profile pages: “Black Lives Matter”, which then became a loose network of activists across the US seeking to end police terror of Black communities in the United States. While the phrase “Black Lives Matter” was originally coined during the acquittal of self-styled “neighborhood watchman” George Zimmerman in his trial for the murder of 17-year old Black youth Trayvon Martin, the phrase didn’t become widely used until the death of Mike Brown at the hands of Darren Wilson.

It goes without saying the the resistance to police should be supported and strengthened. It goes without saying that national oppression and police terror must be opposed by any means necessary. Those who stood up and spoke up against injustice deserve support. We salute all those who took to the streets against injustice. Leading Light has advanced the line of “resistance in the First World; revolution in the Third World.” Standing against the police terror, white supremacy, and internal colonialism certainly counts as resistance. Even so, we must be materialists about the facts on the ground.

Some First Worldists see the events of Ferguson as heralding some great, new wave of discontent that can be channeled into First World revolution. They embrace ridiculous rhetoric about the Ferguson riot being a people’s war or the beginnings of a new anarchist world. There is even a meme floating around that borrows an image of an Irish Republican woman with a gun that states “arms up, shoot back.” Even with virtually the entire “far-left” of the United States focused on Ferguson, sending activists, etc., it is significant to note that the reports of shots fired on police from the resistance in the past couple years has been few and far between. This is in a country where firearms are legal and easy to acquire. There is a big reality gap between “far-left” rhetoric of First Worldists and conditions on the ground. Ferguson is not the Third World. It is not even Northern Ireland, as the meme suggests. There also is a big reality gap between the rhetoric of the First Worldist “far left” and what they are really prepared to do. This kind of over-the-top rhetoric, guerrilla pornography, might have some limited use at the level of low science, it may work to recruit the unadvanced, but we should not mistake this kind of myth making for reality.

Police terror and mass incarceration exists, and the most directly affected have been overwhelmingly Black and Brown people. National oppression is still an issue in the United States, although the contradiction between the white nation and these internal colonies is not nearly as acute as it once was. As scientific revolutionaries, we have to understand long-term trends, not get swept up in what happens to be in front of us at a given moment. There are very real, material reasons that national liberationist politics do not resonate in the United States nearly as much as they once did. The long-term trend is toward integrating the African diaspora of the United States into a multi-national First World. National oppression will continue within the First World. Every so often, these colonial contradictions may even lead to rebellion and resistance. However, the contradictions are not so great that they will lead to revolution at present. Nor are the contradictions within the First World so great that they can sustain a people’s war. To think as much is simply delusional utopianism.

All things being equal, having people resist the system inside the United States is better than having them not resist. This is true even if the First Worldists doing the resisting are delusional about the revolutionary possibilities within the heart of empire. For those who are not particularly advanced, this kind of resistance can be a healthy way to learn. It can also be a learning moment for others about what is possible at present. Resistance is a good thing. Even so, the most advanced, should not lose sight of the real task. The Global People’s War of the Leading Light will not emerge from within the First World. Our people are the real proletariat, the masses of the Third World. Our duty is to the global poor. Those who are advanced enough to be channeled into real revolutionary work should not get distracted from the main task, even as we offer our material support for such resistance within the United States. We must concentrate our forces against the weakest links of the imperial system. This means our battle is principally in the Third World.

Our future is our own. Long live the Great Strategic Plan! Follow the Leading Light! Be the Leading Light! Long live the Leading Light! Our sun is rising. Our day has come.

Bangladesh is in chains, literally

Bangladesh is in chains, literallyChild working in a brick crushing factory in Bangladesh

(llco.org)

In his Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx wrote that the proletariat had nothing to lose but their chains. Marx was speaking figuratively. By the time Marx wrote, Europe had mostly abolished slavery, at least officially. Marx was speaking to the wage slavery of the free laborer, who nonetheless suffered intense poverty in the Europe of the past just as free laborers suffer today in the Third World. In our land, our people suffer not just from “wage slavery” of the free laborer, but also slavery in its most vicious and barbaric form still exists even though it is now the twenty-first century. And it is only getting worse with the globalization of capitalism. Slavery, human trafficking, in Bangladesh is now tightly bound to the global market.

In 2012, it was estimated that between 330,000 and 360,000 of our brothers and sisters are enslaved. Bangladesh was tenth on a list that ranked the countries in which slavery was practiced.  Slavery has historically been concentrated in the countryside, where semi-feudal conditions and traditions are strongest. Much of the land and power in the countryside is held by landlords. The masses are so poor that we live on a razor’s edge. Many of our families live under constant threat that we will lose everything. Many of our families have already lost everything. We are driven off the land. We are hungry. We are sick. We fall into debt that we can never escape from. Ourselves and our children become slaves to the local landlords, userers, capitalists, and criminal organizations. Many flee to the city for a better life only to be met with dissappointment. There the feudal barbarism mingles and mixes with the cruety of liberal capitalism. The innocent suffer the most. Our children are turned into beasts of burden by the overlords of the country and city. Or women and daughters are stolen and placed into bondage by sex traffickers. Their bodies are sometimes exported to be consumed on the global market. The bodies of our people are just another commodity to the empire:

“She comes into the room swaddled in a red sari, carrying big premature black bags under her eyes. She tells her story in a slow, halting mumble. Sufia grew up in a village near Khulna in the south-west of Bangladesh. Her parents were farmers; she was one of eight children. ‘My parents couldn’t afford to look after me,’ she says. ‘We didn’t have enough money for food.’  And so came the lie. When Sufia was 14, a female neighbor came to her parents and said she could find her a good job in Calcutta as a housemaid. She would live well; she would learn English; she would have a well-fed future. ‘I was so excited,’ Sufia says.  ‘But as soon as we arrived in Calcutta I knew something was wrong,’ she says. ‘I didn’t know what a brothel was, but I could see the house she took me to was a bad house, where the women wore small clothes and lots of bad men were coming in and out.’ The neighbour was handed 50,000 takka – around £500 – for Sufia, and then she told her to do what she was told and disappeared.”

Another story:

“‘Jesse used to tell me that she had bought me as a slave at Tk 40,000 from Monira and Joyati, and therefore, I have to work for free,’ Bedena said.   The couple used to torture her by spraying hot water on her body, stabbing her with hot kitchen knives, and beating her up with sticks and rolling pins, alleged Bedena.   Jesse as usual tortured her Tuesday morning on the pretext that Bedena could not prepare breakfast in time, leaving her unconscious.    She discovered herself in the bathroom after regaining her consciousness.”

And:

“In the face of acute poverty, his father, a farmer, sent him at this early age to the capital to work as a domestic help, said Mohammad Sadek Ali, a cousin of the boy. Another cousin Yasmin brought him along from Kishoreganj to Dhaka city around two and a half months ago and arranged a job for him at a house in Mohammadpur near the mosque.

‘The people at the house where I worked fed me once a day. I was given some rice in the morning and that was it,’…

Masum’s body was scarred all over. Deep purple welts were seen on his back that is already crisscrossed by old scars.  He said he had been hit on the head with a rod and that the scars were from the injuries when the homemaker had flogged him with a bundle of wires.  A black blister was seen on his left elbow. ‘She burnt me here with a hot iron spoon,’ Masum said.  His cousin sister rescued him on Friday as she discovered him in this appalling state.

The child said he had to sleep inside the bathroom. ‘The floor used to be wet.’  He used to do the laundry, drag mattresses up to the rooftop to put them out in the sun and sweep and mop the floor.”

And:

“The exploitative practices centring Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia constitute nothing other than human trafficking; the governments of Bangladesh and Malaysia have not been able to protect the workers’ rights, said Irene Fernandez, a veteran migrants’ rights activist of Malaysia.

When they brought workers in surplus numbers to Malaysia, they were only interested in making fast cash. The outsourcing companies told Bangladeshi job brokers ‘you pay me 500 ringgit per worker and find jobs for them and do whatever’. So, Bangladeshi job brokers then bought the workers from the outsourcing companies, and literally made them slaves. The brokers then told the workers ‘you go and work, I will give you food and lodging’. And the workers were put to work for two, three, or four months.”

The First World is happy with slavery of our people. They do not have to feel or see our pain. They are pleased with the cheap goods that fill their homes. The global corporations say that it is good for business to keep the population controlled. Our sweat and tears fuels the prosperity of their empire. The corrupt politicians do not care about our pain. Their ears do not hear our cries, but only the orders of their imperial masters who pay them well to keep us in chains. The Islamists do not care about the poor, they declare slavery is acceptable in their twisted minds. They would have us be slaves to their barbaric caliph who feeds on the blood of the people. The feudalists and local capitalists do not care, they are the ones who hold the whip for the empire. The liberal NGOs use our pain to extend capitalist control over our lives.

We have nothing to lose but our chains. We say “no.” No to slavery, poverty, hunger, violence, disease, ignorance, cruelty. We are the ones who create the wealth. We are the ones who work. We are the ones who grow the food. We are the vast majority. They need us. We do not need them. We can have the power if we have the courage. We say “yes.” Yes to liberty, land, homes, prosperity, health, jobs, education, dignity. Today we planting seeds in ourselves, in our families, in our communities. Total liberation, total revolution, for our children and their children. We will harvest a revolution, a better world. The future is our’s. One fight. One land. One people. One organization. One leadership. One truth. One Leading Light.

Sources

http://www.irinnews.org/report/85617/bangladesh-the-modern-face-of-slavery

Bangladesh

http://gvnet.com/humantrafficking/Bangladesh.htm

http://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2013/10/18/bangladesh-10th-on-slavery-list

On the recent criticisms of northern Korea’s atomic tests

On the recent criticisms of northern Korea’s atomic tests

(llco.org)

It is reported that northern Korea has tested another atomic weapon. According to northern Korea, the device tested was a hydrogen bomb, a fusion bomb that is an advance over their fission ones. However, much doubt has been expressed over northern Korea’s claim to have detonated a true hydrogen bomb. Many international experts believe that the recent explosion was too small to have been true hydrogen bomb. Instead, many speculate that the recent explosion was a simple fission device or a fission device with fusion elements. In any case, northern Korea has been condemned by the forces of Empire.

Leading the criticism of northern Korea is the United States, a country that has been perpetually at war since its birth, a country currently estimated to have 1,900 active warheads. Since its beginning, the United States was at war with its indigenous neighbors. Nearly a whole continent of indigenous peoples were annihilated. And its tradition of war and genocide has continued into this century: world wars, millions killed in the Korean war, millions killed in Vietnam and Indochina, millions killed in the recent, ongoing wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Only one country has ever used nuclear weapons on humans. At the end of World War 2, in August 1949, the United States dropped two nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The bombs killed an estimated 129,000 to 250,000 people, mostly civilians. This is the only time nuclear devices have been used in the course of war. According to the United States, the use of atomic weapons was necessary to secure Japan’s surrender. However, Japan had already expressed their desire to surrender before the weapons were used. It is far more likely the weapons were used to test them in a real war scenario. It is also likely the weapons were dropped as a warning directed to a potentially expansionist Soviet Union. As it turns out, the bombing of the two cities was unnecessary from a military standpoint.

The Japanese were not the only victims of nuclear weapons.  After the United States forcefully moved the indigenous population of the Bikini Atoll, the United States detonated 23 warheads on there between 1946 and 1958. Many of the indigenous families were moved to Rongerik Atoll and Kili Island, which proved unable to sustain the population. Starvation resulted. Even though the indigenous families were promised that they would be able to return safely to the Bikini Atoll, the nuclear tests made the islands uninhabitable. In its quest for creating ever greater weapons of mass destruction, the United States committed genocide against this small part of the world. To add insult to injury, the degenerate marketers of Empire attached the word “bikini” to fleshy female bathing suits meant to create a sexual sensation. Thus the word “bikini” entered the public lexicon as the genocide itself was largely forgotten.

As expected, all the junior partners in Empire, all with oceans of blood on their hands, echoed the criticism of northern Korea. This included: Russia with 1,780 active warheads, the United Kingdom with 150, France with 290, China, among others. Israel, a country perpetually at war with its neighbors and involved in ongoing genocide of Palestine, is estimated to have between 40 and 600 warheads.

This world is upside down. There is a reason that northern Korea is denounced, while the biggest war criminals, who are armed with far more nuclear weapons, are largely ignored. States like northern Korea and Iran, despite their relatively peaceful histories, are attacked for developing nuclear technology because doing so increases their independence. If countries like northern Korea and Iran develop nuclear weaponry, not only does it increase their defensive capabilities, but it sets important precedents. Developing nuclear weapons is an important way for Third World peoples to reach independence. Empire knows this, which is why Empire is moving against northern Korea and Iran. Leading Lights and good people everywhere stand by the right of Third World peoples, including northern Korea and Iran, to stand up against Empire. We absolutely defend the right of northern Korea and Iran to arm themselves with nuclear technology.

Source

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_states_with_nuclear_weapons

Understanding the Kurdish Resistance in Syria

Understanding the Kurdish resistance in Syriajohnson_1-300x200

(llco.org)

Very recently, an alliance of Kurdish forces and their allies has fought off an Islamic State offensive. Kobane, Syria was the focal point of the battle. The Islamic state is a horribly reactionary force that has been encouraged and supported by the imperialists, often through back channels. The Islamic State makes clear its genocidal intentions toward the Kurds. Not long ago, the Islamic State tried to wipe out Kurdish Yazid communities. In the face of such brutality, many people correctly rallied to defense of the Kurdish people who were facing genocidal annihilation. Many were inspired by the brave Kurdish women fighting for their freedom. Even though it is very correct to rally to the defense of the Kurdish people, it is important that we have clarity about the nature and role of the Kurdish organizations.

The Kurdish organization that was most significant in beating back the Islamic State in Syria was the People’s Protection Units (YGP), which are connected to the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), which is strongest in Turkish Kurdistan. Also aiding the fight were the “Peshmerga,” the Iraqi Kurdish militias of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). The PUK is openly capitalist has a long history of collaboration with imperialism. However, the PKK has a history as a nominally communist organization, although they have now dropped that label. Today, the PKK are an openly social-democratic organization and do not pretend to be communist. Because of their leftist rhetoric and egalitarian practices, some have supposed the PKK and its satellite organizations  to be some kind of vanguard of the Syrian revolution. Because of their long history of conflict with the racist Turkish regime, some have supposed them to be reliable anti-imperialists. This is not so.

The reality is that the PKK and its satellite organizations are nationalist organizations first and foremost. Their main interest is in establishing an independent Kurdistan. As such, they ally with whatever force can help them in achieving this end. This is why at the beginning of the Syrian civil war, the PKK-YPG was in an alliance with the Assad regime, which ceded areas to them with almost no conflict. (1) This is why the PKK-YPG is today aligned with some parts of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) against both the Islamic State and the Assad regime. (2) This is why today, they seek coordinate with the United States’ bombing campaign. (3) (4) This is why they ask the United States for support in their fight in Syria. (5) This is why they call on material support from Europe. (6) The United States has had secret talks with the YPG’s political wing since 2012. Former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford:

“The PYD-YPG is a Syrian group that is moving on the ground, so we had an interest in understanding their viewpoint and ideas..” (7)

According to one source:

“Kurdish sources familiar with the indirect U.S.-PYD talks told Foreign Policy that Washington is currently pushing the PYD to distance itself from the Assad regime by joining the Syrian Coalition, working with the FSA, and improving ties with the KNC and Barzani… The recent agreement between the YPG and FSA factions to fight IS together might reflect a PYD eagerness to meet preconditions for U.S. assistance.” (8)

The willingness to ally with imperialism to achieve its end is not new. The Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) is the PKK’s satellite organization in Iranian Kurdistan. Because of the United States’ conflict with the Islamic Republic of Iran, PJAK has sought to position itself as a US asset in the region even though they are still on the US list of terrorist organizations. The PJAK made its intent known through Western journalists:

“These words are not quite coded speech, but they are PJAK’s way of batting its eyelashes at the United States, of implying that the world’s superpower and this ornery Maoist gang might find common cause against Tehran. Most of the freedoms Turkish Kurds have been eager to spill blood over have been available in Iran for years; Iran constitutionally recognizes the Kurds’ language and minority ethnic status, and there is no taboo against speaking Kurdish in public. The PJAK Kurds want more: They want secular democracy, they say, and they want the United States to go into Iran to deliver it to them. Kurds enthusiastically boycotted the sham election that won Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Iran’s presidency last year, and they speak of him in doomsday terms that would fit in at the American Enterprise Institute but sound awkward in this rebel camp where everyone’s heroes are Che Guevara and Spartacus.

‘Ahmadinejad does not respect the Sunnis. He thinks they are agents of Israel and the USA,’ says PJAK spokesman Ihsan Warya, an ex-lawyer from Kermanshah. (Most Kurds are Sunni.) Warya nevertheless points out that PJAK really does wish it were an agent of the United States, and that they’re disappointed that Washington hasn’t made contact.” (9)

Although the PKK and its satellites do not have a deep history of imperial collusion yet, they are not in principle oppose to it if imperialism is perceived to serve their nationalist ends.  As the Syrian conflict develops, it looks like they are positioning themselves to try to be part of a Western-supported coalition. Thus the PKK is not in principle different from the PUK in Iraq nor is it in principle different from numerous other nominal leftist organizations that have sought support from the United States ranging from the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) to Iranian Maoists to the Communist Party of Iraq. This is the problem with revisionist and nationalist organizations. Since they are not led by true science, by Leading Light Communism, even if they claim to be revolutionary, they can become instruments and dupes of empire.

Empire has a complex strategy in Syria and the region. It is playing multiple sides, hedging its bets so that its position is advanced no matter what the outcome of the Syrian conflict. Its overall goal is to weaken the region, especially the Iranian-Assad-Hezbollah axis. It has done this by fostering sectarian conflict on multiple sides. With one hand it supports the Islamic State, with the other it bombs them. We must remember the principal duty of progressive people is to oppose imperialism, not opportunistically cheer-lead any particular force on the ground. Let’s be clear, the Kurdish people have the right to defend themselves from genocide. We would like to see a Kurdish people who were truly free, but that freedom should not be bought at the expense of any other oppressed people of the region. We would like to see all the oppressed of the region thwart imperial plans by overcoming their differences with each other, by uniting. If they put truth, science, Leading Light Communism in command, the path to real freedom will open.

Notes

1.http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/07/26/157943/assad-hands-control-of-syrias.html

2.https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B0RLSYVIIAEwWwB.jpg:large

3.http://www.kurdishquestion.com/kurdistan/west-kurdistan/u-s-we-are-coordinating-with-ypg/318-u-s-we-are-coordinating-with-ypg.html

4.http://www.voanews.com/content/kobani-islamic-state-fighting-airstrikes-kurdish-fighters/2484354.html

5.http://rudaw.net/english/interview/03072014

6.http://kurdishquestion.com/kurdistan/west-kurdistan/kurds-are-major-players-in-middle-east.html

7.http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/10/07/washington_secret_back_channel_talks_with_kurdish_terrorists_turkey_syria_robert_ford_exclusive

8. ibid.

9.http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/dispatches/2006/06/iran_bombs_iraq.html?nav=fo

Understanding the Islamic State, ISIS, Al Qaeda in Iraq

Understanding the Islamic State, ISIS, Al Qaeda in Iraqislamic_state_of_iraq

(llco.org)

The Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (Al Qaeda in Iraq, Islamic State in Iraq, ISIS or ISIL, the Islamic State) has gone through numerous incarnations. In the past, it was known as “Al Qaeda in Iraq.” And today, its leader, previously known as “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” calls himself “Caliph Ibrahim,” the supreme leader of a new, landlocked Sunni caliphate that spans the Sunni areas of northern Iraq and northern Syria. He has declared that it is the duty of all Muslims to support and follow him and his Islamic State. To understand the nature of the ISIS, it is important to understand its methods, its history, its social base, its role in the class struggle.

It was under the previous leadership of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi that Al Qaeda in Iraq, later ISIS, developed its highly sectarian strategy. The main targets of ISIS’ sectarianism are the Shia, other non-Sunni populations, and oppressed nationalities such as the Kurds. When ISIS was known as “Al Qaeda in Iraq,” they pursued a strategy of seeking to cause a civil war between the Sunni and Shia in Iraq, a strategy that continues to this day. The 2006 attack on the Al ‘Askarī Shrine, one of the holiest sites in all of Shia Islam, was attributed to Al Qaeda in Iraq. Although they denied responsibility after a backlash of public opinion against them, the attack on the shrine fits with a pattern of attacks on Shia mosques, shrines, and other non-Sunni holy sites that continues to this day. ISIS’ approach prioritizes sectarian attacks and immediate imposition of sharia, Islamic law, over any other conflicts. In 2005, even the emir of Al Qaeda central, Ayman al Zawahiri, questioned the prioritization of sectarianism Al Qaeda in Iraq.

“We must repeat what we mentioned previously, that the majority of Muslims don’t comprehend this and possibly could not even imagine it. For that reason, many of your Muslim admirers amongst the common folk are wondering about your attacks on the Shia. The sharpness of this questioning increases when the attacks are on one of their mosques, and it increases more when the attacks are on the mausoleum of Imam Ali Bin Abi Talib, may God honor him. My opinion is that this matter won’t be acceptable to the Muslim populace however much you have tried to explain it, and aversion to this will continue.

Indeed, questions will circulate among Mujahideen circles and their opinion makers about the correctness of this conflict with the Shia at this time. Is it something that is unavoidable? Or, is it something can be put off until the force of the Mujahideen movement in Iraq gets stronger? And if some of the operations were necessary for self-defense, were all of the operations necessary? Or, were there some operations that weren’t called for?” (1)

At the time, ISIS’s strategy hoped to create chaos in order to cause a US withdrawal from Iraq. Despite their rhetoric and actions, their opposition to imperialism was not principled. They were not opposed to imperialism per se, rather they are opposed to their and the Iraqi Sunni population’s relatively weak position within the imperial system. Their armed struggle was not to throw off the yoke of imperialism, but it was ultimately about elevating themselves and those they represent within the empire. Their armed struggle would become a kind of armed reformism, an armed negotiation, with empire. Even if this was not clear at the beginnings of their movement, it is certainly clear with hindsight.

ISIS’ terror is not just directed at the Shia. ISIS has carried out genocidal policies against non-Sunnis along with a terror imposed on its own Sunni constituency. Eventually, the tide turned against “Al Qaeda in Iraq” when their own Sunni constituency revolted against them around 2007. This is referred to as the “Sunni Awakening” in the imperial media. This resulted from imperial bribes offered to Sunni tribes and it resulted from a backlash against ISIS’ sectarianism and harsh imposition of sharia: banning many traditional practices, censorship, beatings, executions, notorious beheadings, bombing of civilians. This sectarian strategy continued as ISIS intervened in the Syrian civil war. During the Syrian civil war, ISIS quickly marginalized other rebel factions, including other jihadi groups, who were fighting the Assad regime. As the most effective sect, they carved out a semi-state governed by sharia that spanned the Sunni areas of northern Syria and Iraq. Similar to their actions in Iraq, their genocidal, sectarian strategy in Syria targeted Alawi, Shia, Christian, and Kurdish populations with terror and violence. The sectarianism of the Syrian rebel groups was often met with sectarian violence on the part of the Assad regime against Sunni populations in places like Aleppo, where the regime indiscriminately bombed and shelled the population.

ISIn 2014, ISIS was IS-300x192ascending rapidly. They declared themselves the new Sunni caliphate and their leader declared himself Caliph of the “Islamic State.” After stabilizing their hold on parts of northern Syria, they played a major part in overrunning significant parts of Iraq, including Mosul and Tikrit. The rapid rise of the Islamic State was aided by many factors. The Arab Spring has inspired populations to rise up across the region. It was the weakness of the central states of Iraq and Syria that also allowed ISIS to quickly gain power. ISIS was able to fill the power vacuum and able to exploit longstanding anger amongst Sunnis. The sectarian nature of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq played a major role. The Assad regime in Syria has its support disproportionately amongst the non-Sunni populations; the Assad regime’s support is greater amongst the Alawi, Shia, Christian, Kurds, and others. Assad’s military, for example, is dominated by his Alawi sect. Unofficial pro-regime paramilitaries and mafias known as “Shabab” or “ghosts” carry out sectarian attacks on behalf of the regime. They too are dominated by the Alawi. Even more so, the Maliki regime in Iraq is based disproportionately on Shia support in the south of the country. The policies of the Maliki regime have driven both the Sunnis and the Kurds into rebellion against it. In 2011, even before the ascendency of the Islamic State, the Maliki regime declared its own Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi a criminal and enemy. The Maliki regime was so sectarian and weak that it could not even get its Kurdish population to hand over their countryman after Tariq al-Hashimi went into hiding in the Kurdish areas. The Kurdish Peshmerga, which is ostensibly setup to defend Kurish borders in Iraq, have established a presence in disputed lands. For a long time, they have set up bases here and there in the disputed areas to match the presence of the security forces from the central state. Iraqi’s central state also had limited reach into the Sunni areas, areas that began to see the sectarian Maliki regime as an occupying force. It is because of the sectarian policies of the Maliki regime that the Islamic State was able to again gain the support of those same Sunni tribal leaders who had turned against ISIS years before during the “Sunni Awakening” around 2007.  In their recent surprise offensive, the Islamic State was able to briefly gain the support of Baathist elements in Iraq, remnants of the Saddam Hussein regime that continue to suffer persecution, whose base of support is the Sunni population. The Special Republican Guards were never fully committed to battle at the time of the US invasion. And Saddam Hussein’s body-guard network and special operations are thought to have remained intact. Many of the Baathist specialists that had fled to neighboring countries at the time of the US invasion have now returned. (2) Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, who occupied the Vice-Presidency and Deputy Chairmanship of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council under Saddam Hussein, is now heading Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al-Naqshbandi, or the Army of the Men of the Naqshband. This group, which has its roots in Baathist networks and Sufi Islamic orders, was a key player, along with ISIS, in overrunning Maliki’s state security forces recently. (3) There was much speculation that the disintegration of Maliki’s security forces was part of a conspiracy amongst some of its officers, possibly officers with connections to the old Baathist regime. However, these victories over the Maliki regime are now being undermined. Once again ISIS is imposing its harsh, unpopular Islamic order on the Sunni population and ISIS is also trying to eliminate its rival groups amongst the Sunni population of Iraq. Now the Iraqi Sunni groups have begun fighting amongst each other again. It is highly doubtful the Islamic State will be able to conquer the Kurdish areas or push deep into Alawi and Shia territory in Syria or Iraq. In both Syria and Iraq respectively, the Assad regime and Maliki regimes, along with Shia militias, are slowly pushing back, retaking territory.

The Islamic State’s victories, though dramatic, should not be overstated. Its victories are not based on popular support. The Islamic State demands obedience and the immediate transformation of society. ISIS is a commandist organization with little mass line. This is reflected in their terrorist attacks on civilians. Cities occupied by the Islamic State are sometimes depopulated or underpopulated when ISIS arrives. ISIS has created a stream of refugees from many areas it has conquered. It is not just Shia, Christians, and non-Sunnis fleeing, but also Sunnis fleeing the Islamic State’s sharia. Even their declaration of the caliphate and demand that all jihadis pledge loyalty to them has been criticized as a case of extreme overreaching. Other salafists worry that ISIS will end up discrediting the effort at bringing a viable caliphate into being. They are skeptical that a small, landlocked caliphate without oil spanning northern Iraq and Syria is viable. The population also wonders how such a state would create prosperity for its citizens, especially with such powerful neighbors like Iran. The Islamic State does not like questions. Those groups that oppose the Islamic State are muscled into submission. For example, ISIS declared a merger, that the Syrian Nusra Front be absorbed into its ranks. When the Nusra Front refused, the Islamic State responded militarily, even assassinating high ranking jihadi leaders. Al Qaeda central sought to mediate. They sided with Nusra Front. They declared the merger null and void. The Islamic State ignored attempts at mediation by Al Qaeda central. Instead, they declared the merger would go through. ISIS began to militarily enforce its dominance over Nusra Front. ISIS split from Al Qaeda central. This is why the Islamic State is often described as “too extreme for Al Qaeda” in the Western press. Even the Taliban in Afghanistan have warned the Islamic State to “avoid extremism.” (4)  The Islamic State is not patient with the its rivals or the population. Salafists in many countries have criticized the Islamic State’s pretenses and its attacks on Sunni imams and scholars who disagree with them. Such conflict is not new. There is a long tradition of conflict between autocratic caliphs versus Islamic scholars, a conflict going back at least to the Umayyad dynasty. (5) Even if the Islamic State advances the cause, many scholars feel they are being cut out by a transfer of authority from themselves to the new Caliph. Such errors reflect the Islamic State’s non-proletarian origin.

The rise of the Islamic State is also connected to geopolitical conflicts favorable to it. ISIS has benefited from the regional struggle for hegemony between Iran, Hezbollah, the Assad regime, and, to an extent, the Maliki regime versus the Gulf states, Israel, and, to a lesser extent, Turkey, Jordan, and others. The Islamic State established itself early on as the most viable opposition to the Assad regime and it has established itself as a strong opponent of the Maliki regime. The high profile nature of the conflicts drew people to its ranks from all over the world. The Islamic State has the ideological credentials and military capacity so that jihadis from all over the world to swell its ranks. Their internationalism not only brought them foot soldiers, cannon fodder for the struggle, but also brought them expertise and sophistication. For example, the Islamic State’s agitprop, internet and media production is some of the most sophisticated of any insurgent force. The ISIS brand fires the imaginations of armchair jihadis everywhere, especially in the Gulf States, who provide ISIS with an endless supply of private funds. Also, the Gulf State regimes have channeled massive military and monetary aid to Sunni rebels in Syria and Iraq. Turkey, Israel, Jordan, European countries, and the United States have channeled aid to Syrian Sunni factions as well. The United States and Jordan even established a camp to train the Syrian rebels in advanced tactics and weaponry, possibly including chemical weapons. (6) Even if this aid is not always directly sent to ISIS, it often ends up in their hands since other groups are too weak to hold onto the materials, or are mafia organizations that resell the aid, or fronts for ISIS. And in some cases, states send aid directly to the Islamic State, which is why ISIS is accused of being a proxy for Qatar or Saudi Arabia. Like other Islamist forces, the Islamic State is partially a product of geopolitical conflicts. Western imperialists and their allies have a history of channeling training and resources to Islamist movements in order to undermine Soviet-backed movements and leftist movements. The most well-known example is the effort by the United States and Pakistan to support the mujahideen in Afghanistan against the pro-Soviet forces. Some of these mujahideen evolved into Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Later, the United States came into conflict with these forces, even deposing the Taliban’s state and occupying Afghanistan. Today, the United States is still fighting the Taliban and claims to be fighting Al Qaeda. Also, the Pakistani state sometimes comes into conflict with its own Islamists, including the Pakistani Taliban, which have connections to their deposed neighbors in Afghanistan. There is an opportunist relationship between the First World imperialists, their regional hegemonic allies, and certain Islamists. The Islamists are propped up by these regimes as a way for the regimes advance their First Worldist or hegemonic interests. The Islamists welcome any support as a way to advance themselves. The extreme sectarian nature of the jihadi ideology allows such movements to engage in opportunism that justifies any alliance with any force, which often leads them into alliances with imperialists and Zionists. Big imperialists and Israel channeled support to Sunni Islamists as a way to undermine pan-Arabism, leftist resistance movements, and Shia movements that come into conflict with their interests. The  Egyptian Islamic Brotherhood and also the Saudi regime conspired to assassinate Gamal Abdel Nasser multiple times. Even though the main face of Palestinian resistance today is Islamist, Islamists received support as part of Israel’s effort to weaken the Palestinian movement, which was then dominated by nationalists and leftists. (7) Some speculate that the new Caliph Ibrahim of the Islamic State, the supreme leader of ISIS, received training by the United States, Britain, and the Israeli Mossad. (8) At one point, the United States had him in custody in Camp Bucca, but he was released around 2010. (9) Many speculate that he was released because he had been a US, British, or Mossad asset. It is also possible that his detention was part of a long-term effort to give him a credible back story as an imperial deep agent who could also use his incarceration to network with jailed jihadis.

Some Islamists are straight-up agents of imperialism. However, it is important to note that although numerous Islamic groups have received imperialist support and have sometimes aligned with the imperialists, it is simplistic to believe they are all simply agents of imperialism. Although some Islamists often act as mercenaries for imperialists, they are often conflicted about it. It is also important to understand that not all Islamist movements are the same. Not only are there differences between Shia and Sunni groups, there are also important differences between Sunni groups. Movements like Hezbollah are very different from ISIS. Movements like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, for example, are very different than movements like the Islamic State. The former, for example, are playing a more progressive role in the region as they resist imperialism. The latter, the Islamic State, may spout anti-imperialist rhetoric, may come into some conflict with imperialism, but ends up serving imperialism in the big picture.

The Islamic State is a complex movement. It voices some of the injustice suffered by the Sunni populations in Syria and Iraq. No doubt, it expresses some legitimate grievances. However, ultimately, this is not the principal aspect of the Islamic State. And its rule has proven very unpopular even with the Sunni population. The Sunnis are its victims too. Although it has come into limited conflict with imperialism in Iraq, the Islamic State is not mainly an agent of the Sunni national bourgeoisie coming into conflict with imperialism as some might suppose. If anything, ISIS has come into conflict with the Sunni bourgeoisie represented by the old Iraqi Baathists on numerous occasions. On the whole, the Islamic State represents very backward segments of the Sunni populations of Syria and Iraq, comprador segments propped up by the Gulf States and other imperialists, along with segments of the petty bourgeoisie and intelligencia, along with very backward jihadis — some ideological, some mercenary — from around the globe. ISIS is willing to align with an imperialism that tolerates its fascist and semi-feudal social program. They are a comprador force, agents of empire, even though they spout an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist rhetoric. They are an extension of imperial capital aligned with local reactionary classes and globe-trotting mercenaries and ideologues from various strata. They are a response and contributor to a crisis situation in the region. Their rule is openly terrorist and  barbaric. However, their Islamist ideological commitments make it such that, although they serve imperialism overall, they are unpredictable and fall into limited conflict with the imperialists at times. The proxy war of which the Islamic State is playing a big role is part of the imperialist strategy to divide and conquer the region. Sectarian war is a way to divide masses. It is a way to create regional chaos. Syria and Iraq may be split into smaller states organized around sectarian lines, making it harder to resist imperialism.  The end result will be that the entire region will be weaker.  And Israel will be able to rest easily knowing that its main opponents, Iran and Iran’s allies, are occupied fighting the Sunni groups and their backers, especially ISIS and the Gulf states. Israel is so confident in its position that it is currently involved in an invasion of Gaza involving tens of thousands of troops, possibly an effort at full reoccupation. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed and thousands wounded in the past few days while ISIS attacks Shia and other Sunni groups in Iraq and Syria. One online site claiming to represent ISIS stated it is not interested in attacking Israel anytime soon:

“We haven’t given orders to kill the Israelis and the Jews. The war against the nearer enemy, those who rebel against the faith, is more important. Allah commands us in the Koran to fight the hypocrites, because they are much more dangerous than those who are fundamentally heretics.” (10)

That says something about the Islamic State’s priorities. The Islamic State has also attacked the Kurdish populations aligned with the Kurdish Workers’ Party, thus serving Turkey, which is part of NATO. Even though their overall actions serve the United States, Europe, and the First World generally, the Islamic State has come into conflict with the United States in Iraq. Even though the Gulf States are part of the same First World bloc with the United States, even though they share the same regional interests, they have different policies toward the Maliki regime in Iraq. Thus different parts of the imperial allies are supporting different forces in the Iraqi civil war. Thus both sides of the conflict are being played by the Western-Gulf State imperialists. In a sense, ISIS represents a “Plan B” comprador force in Iraq. The United States would prefer to deal with a comprador regime with more liberal, modern flavor, some degree of women’s rights, an outward appearance of multi-national and religious tolerance. However, the Maliki regime is not delivering, which is why Hillary Clinton recently conveyed the US desire to see Maliki resign as a step to forming a new “national unity government.”  Plus, Iran’s involvement in Iraq makes it even more difficult to follow through with neocon nation-building fantasies there. If the imperialists can’t get a liberal comprador regime out of the Maliki, there is always the alternative, a comprador Sunni-fascist ISIS waiting in the wings. If imperialism with a liberal face fails, there is always imperialism with a fascist, feudalist face. “Plan A” doesn’t work, go with “Plan B.” Or, the imperialists will just try to split the country in order to divide and conquer. In other words, their outlook is to support all sides through multiple channels so that no matter who wins, the imperialists  win.

It is important to look beneath the surface. Just because an organization spouts anti-imperialist rhetoric and brandishes automatic weapons does not make them anti-imperialist nor progressive. Imperialism orchestrates and supports many non-state actors around the world in order to further its purposes. The Islamic State is a movement that commits genocide against non-Sunnis and non-Arabs in the region. Alawi, Shia, Christians, Kurds, and others are hunted down and butchered. Areas are depopulated. Their art, culture, holy sites, their places of worship, destroyed. Not unlike other fascist movements, the property of the persecuted is appropriated by ISIS to distribute to its fighters and supporters. Where they have power, they inflict terror on the very Sunni population they claim to represent. Sunni refugees also flee the Islamic State just as others do. Sharia is implemented. Those who do not follow every aspect of Islamic law can be beaten, tortured, or killed. Those who forget to pray are made examples of. Those who have extra-martial affairs are beaten or killed. Censorship is the order of the day. Books and cigarettes are banned and burned in huge bonfires. Young girls and women are kidnapped, forced into marriage, and raped as spoils of war. Women are silenced, their motions restricted, their rights are stripped of them. Women are turned into mere property. ISIS fighters hold themselves to another standard than the populations they control. They see themselves as better and above ordinary people. The fighters act with arbitrary terror against the populations. They do what they wish and take what they wish. They kill who they wish. Beheadings and crusifictions are commonplace. Anything and everything is permitted in the name of advancing Islam. Hypocrisy and corruption are rampant. At the same time, the Islamic State serves the interests of those regimes most closely allied to the United States. They serve and are propped up by the Gulf States, Israel, Turkey, and, indirectly, the United States and European countries. The Islamic State is a hypocritic, corrupt, destructive, oppressive force serving imperialism.

There are many false paths. There are many false leaders. There are many masks that the system hides behind. We must dare to remove the masks. The masses will see through the lies. Islam is not the answer. Fantasies about restoring a feudal, Islamic golden age are lies. Filling the heads of the population with superstition only makes the population more vulnerable. If we are going to defeat imperialism, we need an educated population. If we are going to end oppression, we need masses who think scientifically. If we are going to build a society where the people have decent lives, we need fighters and thinkers. If we are really to defeat capitalism, we need to liberate the masses, not terrorize them into submission as the capitalists, feudalists, and fake caliphs do. If we are to really win, we need the masses at our side. We need women fighting along side us. Fighting without women is like fighting with one hand tied behind your back. Women hold up half the sky. Men and women unite. We need to unite the oppressed people of all religious backgrounds, all nationalities, all ethnicities, all languages. Islam is not a weapon that can take us to liberation. We need the best weapon possible, the most advanced revolutionary science, in the hands of the masses. There is one people, one Earth ,one future, one path, one organization, one leadership, one weapon, one answer: Leading Light Communism.

Notes

1. https://www.ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Zawahiris-Letter-to-Zarqawi-Translation.pdf

2. http://rudaw.net/english/interview/29062014

3. http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118356/izzat-ibrahim-al-douri-saddam-husseins-pal-key-stopping-isis

4. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2689776/Now-Taliban-warns-ISIS-Islamist-rebels-Iraq-avoid-extremism-calls-new-council-jihadi-factions-page.html

5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9zGqwKZp58

6. http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-defense-contractors-training-syrian-rebels-to-handle-chemical-weapons/5315180

7. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB123275572295011847

8. http://www.islamicnewsdaily.com/country/gulf/iraq/isis-leader-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-trained-israeli-mossad-nsa-documents-reveal/

9. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/10891700/Iraq-crisis-the-jihadist-behind-the-takeover-of-Mosul-and-how-America-let-him-go.html

10. http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/.premium-1.605097

Israel’s pink imperialism

Israel’s pink imperialismIsraelis take part in Jerusalem's annual

(llco.org)

In a recent letter, Israel’s Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar instructed the Population and Immigration Authority and the Jewish Agency to grant citizenship to the spouse of any Jew, regardless of the sexual orientation of the couple. “I do not see a distinction between Jews in heterosexual marriage and those who wed in same-sex marriages abroad in accordance with the law,” Sa’ar wrote in his letter to the Population and Immigration Authority. Yet Israel continues to deny rights to Palestinians. Most Palestinians are not only unable to attain Israeli citizenship, they are also not allowed to return to their land at all. Israeli policy is that the homosexual partners of Jews have more right to the occupied land of Palestinians than Palestinians themselves. Israeli policy grants more powers and rights to homosexual partners than Palestinians. Thus Israeli policy recognizes the longstanding connection between First World gender activism and imperialism. Israeli policy recognizes that appealing to First World homosexuals in Israel and abroad is a useful tool in imperial conquest. Israel’s policy is not unlike that of other Western imperialists today.

There is only so much value created by the global economy. There is only so much value that can be spread around globally. It takes more value to sustain the lifestyle of the average First World person than the average Third World person. More value is channeled to individuals in the First World so that they can maintain their happy existence of consumption and leisure. Typically, First World individuals work less, but receive more value than their Third World counterparts. In the past, the most privileged in the First World were heterosexual men. Today, First World society has opened more. Today, the West is more accommodating and accepting of the desires and ambitions of women and homosexuals in the First World. To extend the full range of First World privilege to women and homosexuals in the First World comes at a price. The social-democratic good life is only made possible through exploitation of Third World peoples. Increasing the quality of life in the First World is made possible by lowering quality of life in the Third World. First World peoples, including women and homosexuals, have a greater range of life options available to them because there is a restriction of life options in the Third World. There are winners and losers in the global economy.

The Israeli policy stands in a long line of liberal imperialism. Social-democratic reform reduces contradictions, reduces social tensions, within the imperial population. Imperialists often extend social-democratic reform as a way to forge the social unity to embark on imperial conquest. Thus liberal imperialism, social-democratic imperialism, is often more efficient than traditionalist imperialism. Social-democratic, pink reform also deflects Western attention from the genocide of Palestinians. Furthermore, pink-friendly Zionism is contrasted to the intolerance of Palestinian Islamic and patriotic movements in the imperial media. More and more, imperialist wars and occupation are portrayed as liberal, cosmopolitan civilizing missions. Less and less, imperialism is portrayed as a traditionalist civilizing mission, as the white man’s Christian burden. Just as the imperialist aggression against Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran are sold under the banner of First Worldist feminism, so too is the occupation of Palestine.

The dominant form of imperialism today is not traditionalist imperialism that imposes Christian religion and old gender roles on itself or the Third World. The dominant form of imperialism today is liberal, social-democratic imperialism. The dominant imperialism today does not aim to brutally conquer and control First World women and homosexuals. Rather, the liberal imperialism of today unites with First World women and homosexuals largely on their own terms against the masses of the Third World. Thus liberal imperialism sets First World women against Third World women; it sets First World homosexuals against Third World homosexuals. The belief that there is a unity of interest between First World and Third World women or between First World and Third World homosexuals is as First Worldist as the belief that there is a unity of interest between First World and Third World workers.

The answer to liberal imperialism is not traditionalism. The answer to imperialism with a pink flag is not imperialism with a black flag. It matters little to the Third World masses whether their overlords are listening to Wagner or Lady Gaga. From the standpoint of the vast majority, contradictions within the First World are as unimportant to revolution as the struggle of Coke versus Pepsi. Whether liberalism or traditionalism wins, the Third World loses. Those organizations that orient toward First World women and homosexuals are just as First Worldist as those that orient toward First World workers. First Worldism is First Worldism. Revisionism is revisionism. Leading Light rejects both liberalism and traditionalism. Leading Light rejects First Worldism and all its masks. The First World as whole is an enemy. Leading Light rejects all imperialism, all oppression, all exploitation. Leading Light is our sword. It is our shield. We are armed with the future. We are invincible.

Sources

http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Interior-Minster-Saar-Jews-can-now-make-aliya-together-with-same-sex-partners-370837

More on the Islamic State

More on the Islamic Statebeheading

(llco.org)

Speaking from the recent NATO conference, US President Obama claimed to be assembling a coalition of countries to eventually “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) that is currently seeking to establish itself in northern Iraq and Syria. (1) The United Kingdom has already pledged its support to the effort. Obama’s recent escalation of rhetoric against the Islamic State follows the Islamic State’s recent beheading of two US journalists. These beheadings were the Islamic State’s response to the United States’ bombing campaign against Islamic State’s military positions. The strikes against the Islamic State continue. Most recently, a strike was carried out against positions near Iraq’s Hadith dam. (2) In addition, the United States has delivered aid to populations besieged by the Islamic State. Even though the Islamic State is apparently coming into more conflict in recent weeks with the United States, this does not mean that the Islamic State is anti-imperialist nor progressive.

This conflict cannot be understood by simply looking at Iraq and Syria. The Islamic State is part of a broader regional war. Generally speaking, on one side stands Iran, the Assad regime, Hezbollah, and the Shia in Iraq.  On the other side stands the United States and its regional allies: the Gulf Arab states, other Sunni states like Jordan and Turkey, Israel, etc. Other lesser-known struggles are part of this broader conflict also. For example, the popular revolt against the monarchy of Bahrain is also part of this regional war.

Even though imperialism moves against the the Islamic State with one hand, it supports the Islamic State with its other hand. The Islamic State is part of an effort by the enemies of Iran to contain Iran’s influence. Hezbollah, the Assad regime in Syria, and to a lesser extent, the Shia regime and militias in Iraq are connected to Iran. Iran is perceived by the imperialists to be a far bigger threat than the Islamic State. Imperialism fears Iran emerging as a powerful mini-super power armed with nuclear weapons. Thus to counter Iran’s influence, imperialism channels support to the Islamic State through backdoor channels in the Gulf Arab states, Israel, and Turkey even as imperialism denounces the Islamic State.  Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif criticized the imperialist rhetoric:

“There is still no serious understanding about the threat and they (the United States) have as yet taken no serious action… They have helped (IS) in Syria in different ways.” (3)

The overall effect of the Islamic State is to engulf the region in brutal sectarian conflict that weakens the ability of the masses, be they Sunni, Shia, Christian, Kurd, Arab, etc., to defend themselves against imperialism. Sect is set against sect, ethnicity against ethnicity, nationality against nationality. Iraq and Syria are being split into mini-countries organized around national and religious lines. These smaller entities are more easily controlled by imperialists and their allies. The imperialists are using the Islamic State as part of their strategy to divide and conquer the region.

The brutality of the Islamic State allows the imperialists to posture as heroes. The gruesome spectacles of the Islamic State, heads on pikes, mass graves of headless corpses, images of crucifixions, videos of children carrying out executions, slavery, genocide, etc., only make it easier for the imperialists to justify their intervention. Such barbarity not only generates public support for imperialism in the global media, it also pushes local populations, especially persecuted minorities, into the arms of the imperialists. The modus operandi of the imperialists is simple: fund and support the chaos of the Islamic State through backdoor channels, then use the chaos to justify further imperialist intervention.

It is important to look beneath surfaces. The Islamic State is not part of the united front against imperialism. Whatever the militant rhetoric of the Islamic State and the imperialists, overall, they are serving each other’s interests. A tipping point may be being reached where the imperialists seek to reign in the Islamic State. Time will tell. However, currently, the Islamic State is serving its purpose as the brutal bogeyman dividing the masses and justifying further imperialist intervention in the region.  It is important to not take the Islamic State’s anti-imperialist rhetoric at face value. Talk is cheap.  The end game of the Islamic State’s insurgency is not liberation, but barbarism, genocide, and more imperialist exploitation. Religion will never be capable of leading the people to true victory. Nationalism will not either. Unity, not division, is the key to defeating imperialism. Only science, only Leading Light Communism, can truly defeat imperialism once and for all because science is based on reality, the common interests of all people.

Notes

  1. http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ukraine-crisis/obama-vows-degrade-ultimately-destroy-isis-n196686
  2. http://news.yahoo.com/u-military-planes-carry-strikes-near-iraqs-haditha-064103269.html
  3. http://news.yahoo.com/us-not-serious-fight-against-iran-101000275.html

Bangla Zone: Our lives are our own, our future is our own

Bangla Zone: Our lives are our own, our future is our own 706487_bangladesh300

(llco.org)

In Bangladesh, feudalism, capitalism, and imperialism all merge into one tyrannical, barbaric system. What exists in Bangladesh is an amalgam of modern and feudal exploitation and control. Global corporations, the neoliberal, comprador state, the network of globalist NGOs and charities all work to ensure the exploitation and control of the masses and resources. All of these institutions are part of the global empire. When it serves its interests, the global empire merges with and promotes feudal institutions and modes of production. When it serves its interests, this empire abandons feudal methods for more modern methods. Islamic and feudal traditionalism exist side-by-side with neoliberal capitalism, two sides of the same coin. The result for the people of Bangladesh is tremendous suffering.

Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated and poor countries in the world. The Gross National income per capita is 520 dollars/40,222 taka per individual, this is the Purchasing Power Parity of 1,440 dollars. Most of Bangladesh’s laborers are engaged in informal, low-income jobs with limited productivity. Twentysix percent of its 150 million population live on under 2 dollars/ 155 taka a day. Eighty percent of the population lives in rural areas. Although the farm sector accounts for less than 20 percent of Gross Domestic Product, 44 percent of the labor force employed in agriculture. The masses suffer rising landlessness. Among the poorest percent of the population, four out of five own less than half an acre of land. Many own no land at all. The number of landless and those with marginal, unproductive farms that cannot support families are increasing. Much of the rural population suffers from lack of adequate services like education, health care, roads and infrastructure, access to markets, electricity, clean water, and safe sanitation. Many people suffer from food insecurity and have unhealthy diets. Women especially suffer because of the feudalist traditions that persist. Much of the urban population also suffers great poverty, suffering many of the same problems. A significant part of the rural and urban population suffer as a result of “natural disasters” caused by poor infrastructure and planning. This threatens much of the livelihoods, crops, homes, and health of much of the rural population. Monsoons, floods, mudslides, droughts affect the rural and urban masses. Erosion and overpopulation are also big problems threatening health, livelihoods, and the environment. Cholera, dengue, and malaria threaten the population. Disease is rampant in the countryside and slums. Half of the children in rural areas are chronically malnourished, 14 percent suffer acute malnourishment. Food insecurity is a reality for Bangladesh. The literacy rate is only 57 percent in the adult population. Infant mortality is higher in Bangladesh than in most countries. This is our reality.

The reality for the imperialist is different. At the heart of the First World, in the United States, the average income for someone over 25 years is 32,000 dollars/2,475,200 taka. People in all First World countries have a relatively comfortable and safe life. Many workers in the First World are wealthier than small capitalists in the Third World. The First World as a whole is part of the bourgeois enemy that will always oppose revolution, equality, and justice. Like a beast, empire consumes more and more of the Third World. The gap between the rich and the poor grows. Over the past century, the difference between the richest and poorest countries has gone from 3 to 1 all the way to 72 to 1 today. We work, we starve, they consume. They have healthy lives and luxury, we live in toxic environments. Instead of helping solve the problems of poverty, health, and underdevelopment, they spend money on endless wars to ensure they can continue to rob the masses and the Earth. Their stomach is bottomless. They demand more, more, more. They are cannibals who feed on our suffering.

Bangladesh is going through a great transitions. Marx long ago wrote how the introduction of modern production methods push peasants off their land into the cities. Individual farming is replaced by the agribusiness of corporations. Changes in production and increasing population have resulted in an exodus of to the cities. However, empire does not value human survival. The farmers who are driven to the city find little work. They are forced to take up life in the ever-growing slums that swell with people in similar situations. Others are forced to flee the land of their birth to find work in other countries, often illegally.

The imperial system has been introducing updated, modern methods of exploiting the masses and the land in Bangladesh. Even though they still use traditionalism and feudalism, more and more, they diversify and update their methods of control. At the present time, there is tremendous conflict between the liberal capitalists and the Islamists in Bangladesh. They fight over who can best serve the empire. Two running dogs are fighting it out. No matter which dog wins, we, the masses, lose. We must not look to the old world for answers. We must not look to the Old Power. The answer is within ourselves, within the masses. A New Power is rising, a New Proletariat of all the oppressed peoples:  rural and slum, peasant and worker, employed and unemployed, man and woman, old and young, political dissidents, homeless, small owners, intellectuals, all who suffer. We are the real heroes. We must become masters of our home, of our land. Empire steals our land, our resources, our labor, our opportunity, our freedom, our dignity. There is one thing it will not steal: our future. Our future is ours, if we fight back. Our lives are our own, our future is our own. Armed with the most advanced weapon, all-powerful Leading Light Communism, we will make total revolution. We will conquer the future for our children and for our children’s children.

 Sources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_Bangladesh

http://www.ruralpovertyportal.org/country/home/tags/bangladesh

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-south-asia-12650940

http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/bangladesh_bangladesh_statistics.html

hhttp://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032006/perinc/new03_001.htm

http://llco.org/walk-this-road-with-us/

The Beast of Corruption in Bangladesh

The Beast of Corruption in Bangladeshminos-rough

(llco.org)

The beast of corruption feeds on our land. It grows fatter and fatter. In the early 2000s, Bangladesh was ranked the most corrupt state in the entire world five times. Today, Bangladesh continues to be ranked one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Sixty-six percent of Bangladeshis surveyed believe that corruption has increased in the past two years. Ninety-three percent of the population views the political parties as corrupt. Ninety-three percent believe the police are corrupt. Eighty-nine percent see the judiciary as corrupt. Eighty-eight see the parliament as corrupt. The bureaucratic administration is perceived as corrupt by 84 percent. Health care is viewed as corrupt by 81 percent. Eighty-three percent claim the private sector is corrupt. Other institutions like the mass media, non-governmental organizations, the military, etc. are also seen as corrupt by large segments of the population.

“The survey says 55 percent of the respondents consider graft in government sectors as a very serious problem, while 64 percent deem corruption in the police a matter of concern. Ninety percent of the respondents perceive that the government is influenced by particular quarters… According to the findings, 72 percent of the respondents label police as the key bribe collector while 63 percent of them gave the judiciary the second position followed by land service (44 percent), licence and permit service (33 percent), health and medical service (16 percent), education sector (12 percent), utilities (10 percent), and tax (8 percent).”

In Bangladesh, the most visible outcomes of corruption are the recent tragedies that have plagued our brothers and sisters who work in slave-like conditions. They die producing goods that are mostly exported to the First World. In 2005, when a building collapsed, 64 garment workers died. The owner did no prison time. Then there was the Tazreen Fashion factory fire that killed 117 workers in November of 2012 near Dhaka. In April 2013, over 1,100 died when a garment factory collapsed in Savar district on the outskirts of Dhaka. Corruption was partially to blame for the disaster. The owner Rana Plaza was a local politician, Sohel Rana. He was allowed to add three stories to the building illegally. And he was allowed to order laborers back to work, ignoring warnings the structure was failing. Our brother and sister workers die in order to make wealthy the corrupt capitalists, corrupt landlords, corrupt politicians, corrupt police, corrupt bureaucracy, corrupt courts, corrupt NGOs, corrupt Islamists, and corrupt empire wealthy.

The same is faced by our brothers and sisters in the countryside. Our land is stolen. Our families beaten, dishonored, terrorized. Everything is taken from us because there is no justice from the current system. According to the same survey, our fellow workers, farmers, small owners, and poor people suffer similar corruption in India, including West Bengal. All of our people, the oppressed, the poor, the proletariat, suffer under the corrupt states imposed on us by the First World empire.

The Awami League, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, the Islamists, etc. are different faces of the same corrupt beast. They are the many faces of empire. We scream for justice, but the beast does not listen or care. The Old Power, the old system, is designed to keep us in chains. There will never be real change within the current system. This is why we need New Power, revolutionary power, Leading Light Power. We must rise up and govern ourselves in our communities. We must create people’s courts that really listen to us, that truly deliver justice. We demand real due process, a legal system that works. No more bribes. No more fake encounters by the police and military to assassinate our people. No more beatings. We must strengthen our people’s army to return the land to the people and to deliver healthy lives to the oppressed of the city. As individuals we are weak, but together, united, organized, we are strong. The Leading Light is the sword of  justice. It is our weapon that will slay any beast. Pick up this sword for our children, for their children, for ourselves. Our future is our own.

Sources

http://www.transparency.org/

http://www.abhinavjournal.com/images/Management_&_Technology/Sep13/1.pdf

http://archive.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/political-parties-cops-most-corrupt/

http://llco.org/hundreds-dead-tragedy-in-bangladesh/

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/muhammad-abdul-bari/bangladesh-factory-deaths_b_3178559.html