Life, Latin America, Maoism

Life, Latin America, Maoismamihanenglishpos

(llco.org)

1. In the previous interview, you described the history of the formation of Leading Light, or at least the North American branch. Can you go back a bit further? How were you first introduced to politics?

As far back as I can remember, I had a strong sense of justice. I remember my father, who thought of himself as a freethinker and Christian lefty, despising the Reagan administration. Even as a child in the 1980s, I remember being very upset about the irrationality of nuclear weapons. As a child, I always heard that the United States had nuclear weapons enough to destroy the planet hundreds of times over. I have no idea about the exact nuclear ability of the Western imperialists or the Soviet Union at the time, but it struck me as very strange that a society would develop the capacity to destroy all life on the planet one time over, let alone one hundred times. Seeing poverty, especially the horrific poverty, in places like Africa and Asia left a mark on me. My father’s family is from the East coast. My family used to talk and joke about the Irish Republican struggle as I grew up. One of my relatives had been arrested for providing help, jobs, documents, and money, to Republicans in the United States. One of the few memories of my grandfather I have is him joking, “You know, we’ve doubled our ammunition?” “We’re throwing half bricks now.” The other side of our family was from the poorest areas of the Carolina mountains. They identified, like numerous poor whites, as indigenous. My grandmother looked indigenous. We think we found our relative on the Dawes rolls — someone with the same name, same age — but we were never able to hunt down the requisite chain of birth certificates to get tribal membership. And, we never really tried. There is the joke: “What do you get when you have 16 white people in a room?” “One Cherokee.” In any case, that identification with those on the losing side of genocide, even if it was superficial or even fabricated, also gave me a sense that the world was deeply unjust.

As I reached middle school, I began reading a lot about the atrocities in Latin America, especially Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. The streets there were littered with corpses, victims of the deathsquads. I learned that the death, terror, and poverty there were very much connected to the relative level of prosperity and comfort found in the United States. My family’s financial situation was never very stable, so we moved around a lot, also moved between what is called “middle class” and “lower middle class,” the latter often being a codeword for the situation many of the poorer working people find themselves in in the United States. I became familiar with poverty insofar as it exists in the First World, especially as I grew older. Years later, some of the places we lived were big heroin areas. Even so, even as a young teen, I realized that our situation was nothing like that of peoples of the Proletarian World. I recognized very early that comfort in the First World was very much connected to suffering in the Third World. I recognized very early on that serious change was not a possibility in the foreseeable future in the United States.

In middle school, I read everything I could get my hands on, which did not make me popular. The internet did not exist as it now does, so getting information was much more difficult then. I used what money I received  to buy books or magazines. Sometimes I shoplifted them. Other times, I went to the library. I read Karl Marx as best I could. I began reading about the Soviet Union. Many years later, I spoke with a Palestinian comrade about what drew him to communism. He said he had seen the red army on TV and “they seemed so strong and we were so weak.” I became interested in socialism for similar reasons. Even though later I understood the Soviet Union of the 1980s was not a model of liberation, at the time, it was something concrete I could pin my hopes on. I felt very weak, bullied a lot. So I read histories of revolution. I began to read Lenin, Che, and Mao. The owner of a local used bookstore gave me a copy of Lin Biao’s Long Live the Victory of People’s War! I found the whole idea of the guerrilla fighter very romantic.

I grew up with computers, which was somewhat unusual at the time. I introduced this line of revolutionary thought to my hacker and phreaker friends. We ran a phreaker BBS with a revolutionary angle. This was around the time of Anarchy Burger Two if anyone remembers such things. We would do Beige Boxes or hack Telstar in the late 1980s before the modern internet. We’d get huge phone chats going where we discusses many things, including revolution. At some point, some of us decided we hated the stupidity of life in the United States so much that we began plotting our escape. We began robbing stores and burglarizing homes in hopes of getting enough capital to fund our move to Latin America in order to fight empire. At one point, someone shot up a local store at night and left fingerprints. My co-conspirators turned out to be snitches. I was fingered as the ring leader. Around this time, me and my father got into a very brutal fight. As the police net closed and as tensions with my parents increased, I ran away at age 16. I ended up moving across the country and living with my brother. When I did come back to live with my parents, the police had not forgotten. I spent the last year or so of high school on probation. Even so, that did not stop my political development.

The last year of high school I joined a local gang. We fought the local racists. My old neighborhood was a big Klan stronghold. Plus, there were lots of neo-Nazis. The white laces fought the red laces, and we fought both of them. One of my comrades once pulled a realistic-looking BB gun on Nazis, forcing them to hand over their flight jackets and boots, along with their wallets. Another time, I used a hand taser on one of them at a rave club. After one of the local Nazis was shot, we had a local DJ at a club dedicate “Head like a hole, black like your soul” by NIN to the skinhead. For this, they chased us for over a year. We participated in the big anti-Klan riot on Martin Luther King Day in Denver in 1992. The Klan had occupied the capitol steps. And, at the time, that neighborhood was far less gentrified than it is now. So, it exploded. We were the ones who began the snowball and rock throwing. We felt it was our duty since we had history with some of the participants and organizers on the Klan side. The Klan leader who organized it had just been released from prison for trying to firebomb the Auraria projects. He was from our neighborhood. So was the kid who was arrested with the gun on the Klan side. I was also dating one of their ex-girlfriends, so this made them really hate me. The riot turned out to be one of the biggest in Denver history. The police could not find an escape route for the Klan. The police protected the Klan, firing tear gas and pepper spray into the crowd. The tear gas canisters were kicked and thrown back into police lines. I was there when the police car’s windows were first smashed out, then the car got tipped over. Eventually, the riot spread down the local main street. This was big news in Colorado. The police brought me in for the riot, but never charged me.

Eventually I made it through college, doing the usual college activist things. I kept reading, kept learning. I discovered Maoist groups through local infoshops. I began handing out their literature in the early 1990s. At the time, all the Maoist groups were cheerleading for Sendero in Peru. All the Maoists were competing to be perceived as fraternal with Peru, to have Gonzalo’s stamp of approval I guess. Like others, I was reading about the struggle there, reading all their documents.  At the time, I thought of myself as a Maoist. I could parrot the slogans. I knew the Maoist cookbook inside and out: people’s war, united front, new democracy, mass line, cultural revolution, and so on. I was not unlike many dogmatic Maoists today. I had a very doctrinaire, but also very superficial understanding of revolution. It is the kind of ideology that can really advance you past other newbies, but at a certain point becomes a fetter on scientific progress. At the time, it was probably the best thing going, but, at bottom, it is simply not truly scientific. What drove me to Maoism then is what drives most to it today. Most people in the First World who get into Maoism do so not because they know much about the actual revolution in China. Maoism in the First World is mostly about romanticizing guerrilla struggles in the Third World. It gives people a sense they are part of something big. What Maoism provides that run-of-the-mill guerrillaism doesn’t is a kind of easy-to-use, one-size-fits-all template, a vocabulary to adds a pseudo-intellectual pretense to what would otherwise be ordinary cheerleading. It lets people mask what is essentially cheerleading for exotic guerrilla movements in a pseudo-intellectual rhetoric. It is better than nothing. And I did learn a lot from Marx, Lenin, and Mao. But, when I look back, I am somewhat embarrassed about that time. Even at the time, because I had studied rigorous disciplines in college, I realized how superficial Maoism was, I just didn’t have an alternative to it at the time. Things are so different now that we are armed with Leading Light Communism. It is such a breath of fresh air to be a part of the real revolutionary movement today, and not stuck in that kind of dogmatic straightjacket. If you are thirsty and all you have is dirty water, you will drink, but if you have a choice between dirty and clean water, you will always pick the fresh water.  There is nothing more compelling that the Leading Light of truth.

In any case, it was the early 1990s, I was spinning house music at parties. One of my friends in college was from Mexico. He was a big supporter of the Zapatistas. He invited me to come live with his family in Mexico. So I sold my 1200s in order to leave to fight empire. It was in 1995 or 1996 that I left for Mexico.

Poster 01 English2. You mentioned Maoism. What do you think of Maoism today?
Poster-01-English-686x1024

I think of Maoism a lot like Maoists once used to think of Hoxhaism, as “dogmatic revisionism.” I see it as a dead trend and a dead end. Revolutions have a kind of arc. You had the arc of the Bolshevik and spin-off revolutions. That arc peaked a long time ago. It is not a living wave of social transformation, even if there are still fragments of that revolutionary defeat still out there that populate the landscape. Similarly, the Maoist arc ended a long time ago, yet you still have groups here and there that raise that banner.

I don’t think we make revolution by gathering up those fragments of defeat into some kind of opportunist unity. Those revolutionary waves were defeated for a reason. Think about it this way. If Stalin’s regime was unable to prevent capitalist counter-revolution in the mighty USSR, which spanned 1/6th of the world’s land and was the second most powerful country on Earth, why do we think tiny, poor Albania under Hoxha can? We have seen the endgame of Maoism in China, so why do we think that model is going to work in the Philippines or Peru, for example? The Bolshevik revolution took state power in 1917. Mao declared the People’s Republic in 1949. The Cultural Revolution began in 1965 or 1966, depending on how you look at it. It’s been almost a century since 1917, and a half century since the Cultural Revolution. The world has changed. The science has to change. Adapt or perish.

The next wave of revolution is not going to be made by dogmatically repeating the past. We need to learn from the past, but also go beyond it. Those who are stuck in the past really do a disservice to the masses. The imperialists, the capitalists, have not been stagnant. They have been updating their science of oppression. They have been refining their military technology. They have been recruiting brains from the best universities to staff their imperial think tanks. They have been incorporating the most advanced science in order to enslave us more efficiently. It  boggles the mind that “revolutionaries” believe that the secret to success is absolute fidelity to a set of cookbook formulas from a half century ago. The way we beat the empire is by updating our science. We have to match them and beat them. This is why we always say Leading Light is not about following Marx, Lenin, or Mao. We have one supreme leader, truth. Only the Leading Light of truth will set us free. Advance, advance, advance. Fight, fight, fight.

Marxism-Leninism, Trotskyism, nor Maoism are not going anywhere as they currently exist. Marx talked about how history often repeats itself as “first time tragedy, second time farce.” Nothing that people associate with Maoism today is new. The idea that Maoism is some kind of “third, higher stage” is not a new idea. Many Maoists today think this “new stage” stuff is from Gonzalo in Peru. It isn’t. Before Gonzalo was talking this way, India’s Charu Majumdar was. And Charu Majumdar just got it from his contemporaries in China. The idea goes back to Maoist discourse that was popularized in the mid and late 1960s. The “new stage” idea is specifically from Lin Biao. It is mentioned over and over in such obscure texts as the original introduction to Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong. Yes, the “red book.” It is even in Lin Biao’s “Report to the Ninth Congress of the Chinese Communist Party” in 1969. The inability to deal with history honestly is part of the comical nature of Maoism today.

So, you have Marx’s “first time tragedy, second time farce” situation. The first death of Maoism was when China began reversing its radical domestic and international policies. Lin Biao died in 1971. China’s support for people’s wars around the world is replaced by an opportunistic, nationalist calculation not unlike the Soviet revisionist one. China begins aligning with the Western imperialists. This nationalist opportunism is sometimes associated with a doctrine called “Three Worlds Theory,” but the theory was really just window dressing for the practice. Domestically, Mao begins reversing the Cultural Revolution. Deng Xiaoping is brought back. The Maoist movement took a huge hit in China and internationally. Many could not stomach China’s support for Pinochet. Many could not stomach China’s support of Pakistan and the West as they tried to starve Bangladesh into submission. Some Maoists were even promoting NATO. The international Maoist movement was thrown into confusion, which is why many ex-Maoists took “the Albanian escape hatch,” becoming Hoxhaists for a time. China slid into capitalism. Maoism died its first death. That amazing, beautiful gem, that revolution, where a quarter of the world’s population stood up and demanded a better word, was lost. It was a real tragedy for humanity. Its loss can hardly be calculated. Maoists today still haven’t honestly dealt with it. Only Leading Light has. But, today, Maoism has died again, but its death today has more of a farcical character. You have all kinds of opportunists and loudmouths seeking to lead a movement which barely exists. Maoists proclaim they have the unique ability to prevent reformist sellout, but all around Maoist parties engage in reformism and negotiation just like those of other social-democratic trends. There are a couple prestigious leftover parties that remain, and these parties bravely fight for the people. And these parties should be supported just as any progressive anti-imperialist force should. However, as brave as some of them are, Maoists are not going anywhere as they currently exist. And it is not healthy to pretend otherwise. We need to serve the people truth, not fiction. Some Maoists even raise the slogan “impose Maoism,” as if the solution to the impasse is posturing. I think it was Lenin who stated that paper will tolerate anything. Well, the internet will tolerate even more. As far as Maoism goes, for now, we let the dead bury the dead. They will come to the Leading Light when they are ready. As we go forward, the best in all trends will find their way to us. What we are offering is the Leading Light of truth, pure and simple.

3. You lived in Latin America? Did that contribute to your political development? 

I spent a couple years in Mexico. I was drawn there because it was close, and Mexico was in turmoil in the 1990s due to the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Mexico has been a land of suffering and revolution for a long time, for at least a century: Zapata, Villa, Cabanas, Gamiz, right? However, the neo-liberal policies were met with an upsurge of mass resistance. The Zapatista uprising in Chiapas got a lot of attention globally. The Maya of Central America had suffered greatly from imperial violence. It is sometimes forgotten that the civil war in Guatemala between the US-backed state and the URNG was also a war between the whiter capitalists and landlords versus the darker, indigenous workers and farmers. Tens of thousands were killed by death squads and state violence there. In Mexico, the Maya areas had traditionally been very poor. This was made worse by NAFTA. In order to comply with NAFTA, Mexico had to get rid of its traditional protections to indigenous land. The Maya rebelled with the help of an old guerrilla group with roots going back to at least the early 1980s, maybe the 1970s. I can’t remember all the details of the history of the EZLN.

In other parts of Mexico, like the South Mountains, there was another group, the EPR, which was based mostly in Guerrero and Oaxaca. They go back to earlier incarnations too. They announced their existence one year after the Aguas Blancas massacre of FAC-MLN-OCSS activists. They took many by surprise when they took over some small towns and read their Aguas Blancas manifesto a year later, 1996. There were numerous other groups around too. I floated around the scene for awhile, living in Guerrero and Mexico itself. I volunteered at the Second Indigenous National Congress, in which the Zapatistas played a leading role. I was a security guard. I also attended a congress in defense of indigenous communities held by FAC-MLN-OCSS. Prior to that congress, we were driven to a crumbling building in, what I believe was, the slums surrounding Mexico. There were all kinds of people there from all over the country. Lots of indigenous and poor people. This building was a coordinating hub from which activists were then sent to various communities. We were specifically told that if we left their protection, people in the community might kill us. It wasn’t that, being from the United States, I had lighter skin so much as our delegation was from ENAH, which was a university for wealthier students. So, we made sure to stay inside the building. People drank and sang songs around a little campfire in the building. We stayed the night there before leaving to the community the next day. When we went to the community, the entire population of a couple hundred attended a huge mass meeting by FAC-MLN-OCSS. The people gave speeches, asked questions, etc. Then the huge meeting divided up into committees to tackle different issues, everything from potable water to the disappeared. At the final day of the congress, we had a big march around the small community with red flags. The FAC-MLN-OCSS congress impressed me very much at the time. It was probably the “most real” of any of my political work at that point.

Around this time, I met a lot of other people. There was a big Chilean ex-pat community that had fled Pinochet. There were many Chilean radicals. Patricio Ortiz, who had escaped prison in Chile in a helicopter, stayed in Mexico with some of my comrades around this time, although I never met him. I entered the scene after he had just gone off to Europe where he received asylum. I remember the media speculating about his whereabouts since it was such a sensational escape, an embarrassment to the military regime. Student radicals at UNAM and ENAH were organizing themselves into small, usually poorly organized urban guerrilla groups at that time. Not far from where I lived, near the ENAH where the CNI was held, cranes and other machines were being used to build a mall on top of some pyramid-type ruins. The construction equipment kept getting sabotaged, even blown up. Corporate businesses were blown up after dark. Police were being shot at at night. At least one student was shot and killed near Villa Panamericana, not far from my apartment. Mexico was especially volatile at the time with the Zapatista march. On the anniversary of the Tlatelolco massacre, all of Mexico’s center was shut down because all the students from grade schools to the universities gathered there to protest and riot. All the stores were boarded up as students threw small bombs. At one point, some of us did a little training in the mountains in hopes of creating a better organized movement, but little came of it. We split on ideological lines almost as soon as we formed.

I also floated around the Maoist left, which was very much focused on the fate of the Peruvian revolution since Gonzalo had been arrested. The Maoist left was divided into many groups with very similar names that I can’t even remember. A few supported Gonzalo’s argument about waves and the need to end the people’s war, but nobody paid much attention to them. At the time, the Gonzalo letter was generally seen as a hoax. There was another group there that was close to RIM that had a big meeting on the people’s war in Peru. I went to the meeting where the presenters from Peru said all was good in their people’s war when it was becoming more and more apparent that it was not. The claim was that the arrest of Gonzalo was merely a “bend in the road.”  They claimed the people’s war was leaping from victory to victory. I think this was the time when people spoke of “Red Path,” before Feliciano was captured and went over to the enemy. Anyway, at one point during the presentation, someone asked why they were so sure the people’s war in Peru could not be defeated. The presenters responded that because they had reached strategic equilibrium, they could not ever be defeated. Once strategic equilibrium was reached, the outcomes were only stalemate or victory, but not defeat. This was a ridiculously metaphysical explanation. Revolutions can always be defeated. The Bolshevik revolution and the Chinese revolution were defeated long after they had state power, long after strategic equilibrium. An older communist who was sitting next to me was trying to hold in his laughter. He said what we both were thinking, “maybe you never reached strategic equilibrium then.” They didn’t think it was funny. The joke of course is that “strategic equilibrium” in their weird, metaphysical sense can never be reached. There were also Maoists who were very critical of RIM. Some of these Maoists who agitated a lot in Zocalo had a Third Worldist outlook, although nothing really refined. I ended up hooking up with their group for awhile. All of the Mexican Maoists I encountered were in a pre-people’s war state. When I finally left Mexico, I promised to do what I could in the United States to help my comrades there.

I almost forgot. I also attended the World Youth Festival in Havana. I was not an official delegate, I just hopped on a plane from Mexico and stayed with some priests we knew there. Me and a comrade ended up crashing a lot of the official events. I’m not sure if Spain has an embassy in Cuba or not, but they do have a diplomatic residence. Myself and a comrade made friends with the daughter of the Spanish ambassador or head diplomat. She ended up swiping some press passes for us so we could attend the festival events. We visited the meetings and events. The parties were fun. We attended a cool party at the Middle East house with people dancing around a big bonfire. We got materials from Palestinian revolutionary groups. This was before many groups had web pages. We set up a web page in English for some of the materials when we returned to Mexico. At one point, there was a parade of different groups from all over the world. The North Koreans were amazingly choreographed during the march. They were also extremely nervous when talking to outsiders. When approached, they would hand you some political pins and then walk away skittishly. When the Kurds came by, I yelled “Biji Kurdistan!” They invited me to march with them after giving me a paper PKK flag to hold and an ERNK t-shirt to wear. FARC had a table where they distributed FARC swag, including posters of attractive FARC fighters and their magazine. I remember the Libyans had a big table with a poster of Gaddafi’s bombed out compound: “REAGAN = TERRORIST.” I was invited to their embassy, they said I needed to get a copy of the “green book” in English. I think they were trying to recruit people because they were really pushy. I never followed up with them.

There was a lot of prostitution in Havana, especially near the ocean front by the old hotels in “pidawa.” Typically you would be approached by pimps who would announce, “my sister likes you, you should come meet her.” I overheard some drunk guys from the US delegation to the festival talking about how great Cuba was because of all the “cheap pussy.” I didn’t want to get into a big confrontation with them but I did yell, “poverty is a great aphrodisiac, assholes” their way.

All in all, I don’t think I made the best of my time in those years. I bounced around the Mexican scene without really establishing deep roots. We were very young and liked to party a lot also. Rave music was taking off in Mexico at the time, so we went to some raves. Had fun. One of the most interesting memories I have is from Tixtla, Guerrero, a small indigenous town. There was a small disco near the city center that played Latinized, mainstream house music.The club was empty, except me and maybe a dozen local, indigenous youth. In the club, they would do variations on their indigenous folk dancing to the house music. They found my liquid dancing very interesting, as I found theirs.

There is a lot I am not saying here. And I try not to dwell on the past. Although the experiences there were interesting and valuable, I think I would do things a lot differently if I could go back.

4. What do you think of your work today?

The work now is the best, most important work I have ever been involved with. Building on the whole history of revolution and history of thought, we have advanced the science of revolution in an all-round way. For the past 15 years, we have been working on this project in various forms. We have integrated scientific advances from every area into Leading Light Communism. We have the new breakthrough, the new synthesis that will really change the world. Our banner and that of the masses’ are one. We are the people. We are the future. The sword of truth is sharper than ever. We have won the ideological battle at the level of high science, it’s all about organization and logistics now.

We have gathered the brightest lights in the sky, the best of the best, warrior geniuses from across the globe, north and south, east and west. After much difficulty, we continue to assemble the the greatest revolutionary minds and hearts alive. The most thoughtful, the most daring, the most caring will be with us. We are Leading Lights, the warriors, the martyrs. We are the Leading Light, the organization of the new type to initiate the Global People’s War, to purge the world of all suffering, so that a new humanity and land will flourish. Our future is our own because we have the science, the leadership, the organization, the loyalty, the discipline, the daring, the courage to really win. There is an oath, a command that we have written on our souls: One Earth. One people. One organization. One leadership. One life to give. My life for the masses, for the land, for the Leading Light.

5. Is there anything else you want to add?

Yes, a few things. Firstly, I have left out many things. One day they will be told. Secondly, this is just my history, the history of a single leader. We have many leaders all over the world whose stories will one day be told. Although I am from the United States originally, Leading Light is a global movement. Our heroic leaders in Asia and Latin America will come forward with their own stories when the time is right. Thirdly, to those who are reading this who are not yet with us: The time is now. This is a long march period for us. We are marching every day, with heavy loads on our backs. We look forward to that day when we arrive at our base.  It is time to put away childish things. The masses demand you to do your duty. The time for sacrifice is now. Donate your time. Donate your money. Donate. Sacrifice. Serve the people. Live, serve, and die for the Earth. Do everything you can, dedicate all your energy, all your power, to this victory. Right now, in the beginning, is when it matters most. The yappers will yap. The liars will lie. The wreckers will wreck. That is what they do. Don’t fall for it. Soar above it all. This is your future, your liberation too. Red Salute!

Questions about Maoism and Leading Light Communism

Questions about Maoism and Leading Light CommunismLL_x_1

(llco.org)

We recently received some questions about the relationship of Leading Light Communism to Maoism.

1. LLCO’s concept of the Third World is the same of chairman Mao?

No. The Leading Light’s “Global Class Analysis” is totally different from Mao’s “Theory of Three Worlds.” Let’s look at the differences.

Mao Zedong upheld a “Theory of Three Worlds” in the 1970s. Mao reportedly said the “First World” was made up of the United States and the Soviet Union. The “Second World” was made up of the smaller imperialists like European countries, Japan, Australia, etc. The “Third World” was made up of the poorer countries. Mao’s conception was one based on the nationalist, geopolitical needs of China, not on proletarian science. Mao’s theory was invented after the fact to justify China’s increasingly narrow-nationalist foreign policy in the 1970s. In any case, according to the Maoist approach, the main thing that determined one world from another was military power, geopolitical aggressiveness, etc. So, even though European imperialist countries had a higher standard of living than the Soviet Union, the smaller, militarily weaker, European imperialists were part of Mao’s “Second World.” By contrast, Leading Light looks at the world from the standpoint of what Mao called “the first question of revolution”: “Who are our enemies? Who are our friends?” We look at the world, not from the standpoint of nationalism and foreign policy, but from the standpoint of the question of class, from the standpoint of the proletariat. Our Global Class Analysis looks at the world from the standpoint of aligning social forces in order to make revolution to eliminate all exploitation and oppression, to reach true freedom, Leading Light Communism. Thus we divide human society into “worlds” based on standard of living. Those zones, countries, geographic areas whose populations have the poorest standard of living are the most Third World. Those zones, countries, geographic areas whose populations have the wealthiest standard of living are the most First World. We can see society as divided into a continuum, one pole represents the higher standard of living, the First World. The Third World, the lower standard of living, is another pole. The “Second World” pole between the two. Although we do not often talk about the “Second World,” it can be seen as those countries concentrated in the middle in terms of standard of living.

[First World] -S-U——————–P-R- [“Second World”] —————-M———–B- [Third World]

On this model, a country like Switzerland, “S,” with a higher standard of living, falls closer to the extreme end of the First World than the United States, “U.” A country like Portugal, “P,” falls on the First World side, but closer to the middle. Russia, “R,” also, falls somewhere closer to the middle. Similarly Bangladesh, “B,” has a poorer population than Mexico, “M.” On this model, wealthy Gulf countries fall on the First World side also. This model can also be applied within individual countries. For example, there are First World neighborhoods and areas in Third World countries that have a much higher standard of living. Similarly, there are some pockets of the First World within Third World countries.

We can also use this model to predict the rise of fascism. Traditionalist fascism is much more likely to take hold in First World countries with a lower standard of living, for example Greece or Russia. Wealthier First World countries tend to adopt a more liberal outlook. The closer a country is to the Third World pole, the greater the social base, the potential, for revolution. Similarly, the higher the standard of living that exists, the more First World a country is, the smaller the proletarian class, the bigger the bourgeoisie. Thus we say there is no significant proletariat in the First World. We must write off the First World populations because they have a bigger interest in preserving and advancing their position in the system than in destroying the system itself. First World peoples have far, far more to lose than their chains. They have their whole consumerist, comfortable, bourgeois standard of living to lose. The true proletariat has nothing to lose but its chains. Again and again, we see the bourgeois populations of the First World oppose revolution and anti-imperialist struggles. Revolution proceeds from the Third World pole to the “Second World” pole to the First World pole.

2. Why we must to defeat the First World?

Long ago, Maoists in China understood that class had changed since Karl Marx’s day. For example, Maoists in China spoke of the “new bourgeoisie” that arose within the Communist Party itself. Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping were part of this new bourgeoisie, yet did they personally own factories as the traditional bourgeoisie of the England of Marx’s day? Could Liu Shaoqi personally give away China’s productive power to his friends or children? No. The new bourgeoisie in the Soviet Union and China was not the traditionalist bourgeoisie of Marx. The new bourgeoisie was a bureaucratic, technocratic class that collectively owned China’s wealth. This new bourgeoisie was led by reactionary ideology. And the new bourgeoisie used their position to further take power from the masses and concentrate it in their own hands. The point here is that Maoists long ago recognized that new class formations had arisen that Marx had not fully anticipated. The working bourgeoisie of the First World may work, but that does not mean they are exploited. They have such a high standard of living, they benefit so much from Empire, that they have no interest in overthrowing it. Friedrich Engels wrote long ago of how the entire population of England was becoming bourgeois on the back of the exploitation of India.  Vladimir Lenin long ago wrote of the “labor aristocracy.” Lin Biao too spoke of a “global countryside” that opposed a “global city.” All of these writers were pointing to the fact that class was changing. Just as the Maoists had identified a new bourgeoisie in their midst, these authors were identifying another new bourgeoisie arising in the imperial and wealthy countries, in what would become the First World. Leading Light builds on these ideas and advances them to a whole new scientific level.

Maoists during the Cultural Revolution emphasized the importance of  Lenin’s observation that “Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat.” Long ago, Maoists in China understood that the defeat of the bourgeoisie is key to advancing to communism. They emphasized the necessity of the “all-round Dictatorship of the Proletariat over the bourgeoisie.” Maoists in China were not just talking about Marx’s traditional bourgeoisie, but also the new bourgeoisie that arises inside the Communist Party itself. Similarly, we too much extend our recognition of class struggle to all-round Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Real Marxism has always demanded defeat of the bourgeoisie. And today, this means defeat of this new bourgeoisie, the Bourgeois World, the First World itself. Just as this was a dividing line between real Marxism and revisionism in the past, it is a dividing line between real Marxism and revisionism today. We must defeat the bourgeoisie, not compromise with it. Thus we must reject the revisionism poison of Karl Kautsky, Nikita Khrushchev, Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping, and the First Worldists. Just as the Maoists in China raised the understanding of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat to a whole new level, so too does Leading Light Communism advance this aspect of revolutionary science.

3. You said that you have some comrades in the First World, what is the function of the comrades in the First World?

Leading Light Communism aims at total victory through Global People’s War that is truly global. All Leading Lights, no matter what their origin or location, are our brothers and sisters. There is a long tradition of exceptional individuals from the bourgeoisie who break from their class background. The most famous example is Freidrich Engels himself, who not only provided resources so that Marx could survive, but  Engels was a revolutionary scientist in his own right. Leading Light is a movement for all real revolutionaries.

Leading Light raises the slogan “Revolution in the Third World, Resistance in the First World.” First World comrades have a duty to do everything they can to support the Global People’s War of the Leading Light, especially in the Third World. They also have a duty to create resistance in the First World. They have a duty to gain resources. They have a duty to undermine the Empire. They have a duty to subvert and weaken the First World. First World comrades have the same duty to serve the people, to live and die for the people, as Third World comrades. We do not abandon revolution in the First World, we just recognize that it is not possible in the foreseeable future. To conquer the First World, we must first liberate the Third World. Thus, as Lin Biao said, the world revolution proceeds from the global countryside to the global city.

4. The indigenous, black, and other ethnic minorities in the First World are enemy of Third World?

It is important to realize that not all minorities/nationalities are the same. For example, Asians within the United States have higher incomes than whites. And, the Asian community is not homogeneous. There are Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Laotians, Hmong, Filipinos, Malaysians, Indonesians, Koreans, and many other Asian populations in the United States. There are great differences that exist. For example, Japanese will be richer than Laotians. Similarly, there is a great many differences between the many indigenous peoples. There are also differences between black communities. Some black communities are much better off than others. Similarly, this is true of Chicanos, Mexicans, and other Latinos. Cubans are better off than Salvadorans in the United States. There a great many differences between different populations. And there is variety within the populations. Even though there is great variation, on the whole, most of these populations are part of the First World. Even though their standard of living is often less than the white population in the United States, it is still First World. On the whole, these are still First World populations. Even so, there are some Third World pockets within First World countries. Some indigenous populations in the United States, and some aboriginal populations in Australia, can be considered Third World. There are small pockets of very poor white people also. However, all these populations tend to be too small, fragmented, isolated, and dynamic to serve as reliable social bases for revolution. There might be some exceptions, but this is the general rule. Leading Light’s line is not that there is no proletariat in the First World countries. Rather, we say, there is no significant proletariat in the First World countries.

This does not mean that there aren’t great injustices that occur within these and other populations inside First World countries. It does not mean that we should not be outraged at injustice. However, we are not liberals. We are revolutionaries. Our job is to make revolution. And, whether we like it or not, the pockets of genuinely exploited, poor, Third World communities, in the First World do not add up to a significant social base capable of making revolution.

5. Do you see Lin Biao as greater than Mao Zedong?

Rather than look at the individuals, we should look at the political lines. Politics in command, not individuality. In some cases, Lin Biao’s line was better than Mao Zedong’s. Lin Biao challenged Mao’s turn to the right, including his alignment with Western imperialism in the 1970s. In the 1960s, Mao criticized Nitka Khrushchev for his line of “peaceful coexistence” with the imperialists. By the 1970s, Mao himself had moved into alignment with the Western imperialists. Just as the Soviets, Mao was putting national interest above the interest of the international proletariat. This was part of the conservative turn in the 1970s in China. Mao favored a China-centered geopolitics in the 1970s. Lin Biao favored an emphasis on aiding people’s wars and anti-imperialist struggles. Lin Biao favored people’s war; Mao favored national interest. Furthermore, Lin Biao correctly emphasized that global revolution would proceed from the “global countryside” to the “global city.” Lin Biao also wanted to continue to radicalize the Cultural Revolution after 1969, Mao moved to bring back many of the rightists and revisionists that had fallen. Lin Biao pushed left after 1969; Mao pushed right. On these points, Lin Biao was better than Mao. However, overall, Mao was a more important figure than Lin Biao. It was Mao, not Lin Biao, who guided the Chinese revolution. It was Mao who is the most important ideological author of the Chinese revolution and the Maoist wave of revolutions. Lin Biao is a Leading Light, but Lenin and Mao are the two brightest Leading Lights of twentieth century revolution. Think about it: Mao was the leader of a proletarian revolution that encompassed a quarter of humanity. His star shines very, very bright.

Our first duty is to revolutionary science, Leading Light Communism, not the legacies of individual leaders. All of these Leading Lights of the past – Marx, Lenin, Mao Zedong, Lin Biao, etc. – were great heroes, leaders, servants of the people. They embodied some of the best in humanity. They embodied our best selves, our best aspirations. However, history did not stop when Mao died. Science continues to develop. Today, we have developed the science of revolution to a whole new stage in order to initiate the next great wave of revolution. Just as Lenin advanced Marx,  Mao advanced Lenin, we advance them all. Leading Light Communism is the future.

6. You claim Leading Light Communism is the highest stage of revolutionary science. What is the difference between Leading Light Communism and the classical Marxism-Leninism-Maoism?

Leading Light Communism is an all-round advance of revolutionary science. Leading Light Communism has advanced every area of revolutionary science. It is not possible to list all the advances of Leading Light Communism here. Instead, we will focus on some key advances:

Leading Light Communism integrates the most advanced discoveries of today to create a genuinely scientific epistemology, an epistemology that integrates the best aspects of Marxist materialism with contemporary advances in logic, linguistics, cognitive science and neurology, and statistical analysis. Great advances are happening in all these areas of knowledge, if Marxism does not adapt, then it might as well be frozen metaphysics. Science did not freeze when Mao died in 1976. The capitalists are constantly advancing the science of oppression, if we do not counter their advances, we will always lose. We must wage a tit-for-tat struggle against the capitalists by advancing the science of revolution, Leading Light Communism. This idea is at the heart of advancing science to a whole new stage.

Leading Light advances political economy to a whole new stage. Leading Light a new theory of Global Class Analysis that reveals how class works on the global level today. Global Class Analysis tells us that the social base for revolution exists almost exclusively in Third World. No significant proletariat exists in the First World. Leading Light shows how the the modern bourgeoisie and proletariat has changed. Not only are the new forms of the bourgeoisie that have arisen in the First Word, but Leading Light also emphasizes the growing importance of shifting demographics in the Third World.

Leading Light advances our understanding of gender. Leading Light shows how just as Empire has changed class dynamics, it also changes gender dynamics. First World people as a whole are granted more life options at the expense of Third World people. This is true for men and women. First World women have won more and more access to the traditional privileges of First World men. This is part of the growth of liberalism and social democracy in the First World. However, we have to ask, who pays for this? Third World women often experience the worst forms of patriarchal oppression. Patriarchy in the Third World is used as a way to enforce horrible forms of gender apartheid. Patriarchy, especially in semi-feudal forms, is used to exploit and control women in the Third World. So, we have a situation where First World women are gaining more and more First World privilege, more and more life options, on the backs of continued imperialist and semi-feudal, patriarchal oppression of Third World men and women. This creates a situation where First World women do not have a common gender interest with Third World women. First World women may want gender equality with First World men, but the lifestyles of both First World men and women requires the continued existence of patriarchal, semi-feudal barbarism imposed on Third World women. Thus Third World men and women have far more common interest, both class and gender, than either has with First World men and women.

Leading Light has further advanced revolutionary military science. Revolution in the contemporary world is a matter of developing the Global People’s War of the Leading Light, a people’s war on a global scale by the Proletarian World against the Bourgeois World. This is a total war, a war against the First World as a whole, against First World civilization itself. It demands new forms of people’s war, advanced theory and practice. The shifting demographics, the rise of the slum, has deep implications for waging people’s war. The rise of the slum dwelling classes in the Third World means that future revolutions cannot be thought of simply in terms of countryside and city, but must be thought of also in terms of the growing role of slums. Information technology, psychological warfare, the rise of airpower, satellites, robotics, etc. will play greater roles in future conflicts. New technologies and approaches must be integrated into contemporary strategies in order to win. The revolutionary law of people power is still fundamental, but people power, to win, must be focused in ever more concentrated, advanced ways to win. “Without theory, practice is blind.”

Leading Light further advances our understanding of the history of revolution, counter-revolution, and socialist construction. Leading Light advances the understanding of the rise of revisionism and capitalist restoration to a whole new level. Leading Light shows how the Theory of the Productive Forces, the police paradigm, and certain conceptions of human good are interlinked. Although both the Soviet Union and Maoist China, in the revolutionary phases, were shining examples, they were flawed in important ways. Leading Light offers the most advanced account of the shortcomings of previous waves of revolution. This gives us important knowledge about how to do better next time.

Leading Light also advances the Marxist understanding of ecology. Leading Light shows how past Marxism failed to understand the importance of nature. For example, nature plays an important role in political economy. One way to further underscore the parasitism of the First World as a whole is to look at consumption patterns. The First World is simply not sustainable. First World consumption levels, the First World lifestyle, is killing the planet, our common home. First World consumption is a threat to the global ecosystem itself and a threat to the continued existence of all life, including the proletariat. Thus it is an important part of any future revolution to put care and defense of nature at the forefront. The New Power of the Proletariat must take a fundamentally different approach to nature than the reactionaries who threaten us all with extinction. Past socialism failed in significant ways in this regard, Leading Light says that the most advanced ecological science is an important, key part of the most advanced proletarian science today, Leading Light Communism.

Leading Light offers a new, advanced scientific vision of revolutionary construction. We are trying to eliminate thousands years of oppressive social organization and social programming. For thousands of years, power, economy, and culture have been organized in terribly oppressive ways. Marx described his project as scientific socialism and communism, applying the best science to the task of ending all oppression. Thus past revolutions need to be viewed as scientific experiment. Just as the Bolsheviks advanced over Marx and earlier attempts to reach communism, the Maoists advanced on the Bolsheviks. Similarly, real revolutionary scientists recognize that we need to advance over Mao’s revolution. If Mao had gotten everything right, he would have won. Socialism would still exist in China today if the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist tradition alone was the answer. Since the restoration of capitalism in China, the world has changed in important ways. We must learn from the greats who came before, but we must go forward. We must always recognize we stand on the shoulders of giants, but we have a duty to the masses the arm them with the most advanced revolutionary science. Anything short of this is treason.

Leading Light Communism has made advances in numerous other areas: high and low science, aesthetics, Cultural Revolution, United Front, New Power, and on and on. Leading Light Communism is a real advance, it is not just empty rhetoric, sloganeering, cultism. The scientific advances are so numerous and deep that it is not possible to articulate them in such a short format. The Leading Light has elevated every aspect of revolutionary science to a new stage. Leading Lights are not Avakianists who offer nothing but eclecticism and empty rhetoric. Leading Lights are not Prachandists who use the cover of innovation to revise the revolutionary heart out of Marxism. Leading Light is not empty cultism, sloganistic bombast. This is a genuine scientific advance that preserves and elevates the best in Maoism – Cultural Revolution, People’s War, New Power – but takes it all to a qualitatively new level.

There is a way forward. True Marxists, true Leninists, true Maoists are not metaphysicians with frozen dogmas. True Marxists, Leninists, Maoists are revolutionary scientists. To be a real Maoist today requires going beyond Mao. This is what science demands. Being a Maoist always meant adherence to the most advanced revolutionary science, not the letter of Mao’s work. Real Maoism is science, not religion posing as science. Thus it is the duty of all real Maoists to go beyond Mao, to adopt the most advanced revolutionary science today. And this means upholding Leading Light Communism.

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

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

Understanding the Kurdish resistance in Syria

Understanding the Kurdish resistance in Syriajohnson_1

(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 cheerlead 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

Most Americans support torture

Most Americans support tortureBlog_Torture

(llco.org)

In the United States, the Senate Intelligence Committee has released a scathing report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) use of torture. The 500 page report is a summary of a larger, still-classified 6,000 page study on the CIA’s interrogation methods and treatment of prisoners accused of terrorism. The use of black-site prisons has long been public knowledge. The use of waterboarding, which induces the body to think it is dying, is the most well-know method of torture. The report contained interesting new information not widely known. According to the report, 20 percent of the detainees were “wrongfully held.” One mentally challenged man was held just to get leverage over his family. In addition to that, the CIA forced prisoners into “a forward-facing position (Trendelenburg) with head lower than torso.” A “lunch tray” was prepared, “consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins was ‘pureed’ and rectally infused.” Children and families of the detainees were threatened with violence and sexual abuse. Ice baths were used. Prisoners were required to stand 66 hours on end. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was almost tortured immediately, without even bothering with much questioning. The CIA had planned to hold him indefinitely without charge or trial. Detainees were tortured simply for not referring to their interrogators as “sir” and for complaining about stomach aches. Bush’s Justice Department lied to Congress on occasion, including about the claim torture foiled the plans of Jose Padilla. In addition, the State Department and other agencies were not informed when the CIA made deals to open secret prisons abroad. (1) Numerous other outrages were documented in the report.

Although its effect has not filtered out to the US public fully yet, it is not a secret that the United States has long engaged in horrible behavior toward prisoners in the name of fighting terrorism. There have been numerous cases in the media where the CIA has been caught kidnapping people off the streets and shipping them off to secret prisons to be tortured. Sometimes, the people have been innocent or were detained based on mistaken identity. The practice of “rendition” has been in exposed numerous times in the media, yet has provoked little public outrage. Probably the most well-known torture scandal was that of Abu Ghraib, where numerous photographs emerged of US military personnel torturing Iraqi prisoners. There has also been numerous cases of police torture and violence inside the United States, and a general increase in the security state. Even with all this, most Americans, according to a 2009 poll, support the ongoing use of torture. A good majority, 71 percent, of Americans responded that torture can be justified in some cases. According to the poll, 49 percent said it can “often” or “sometimes” be justified and 22 percent responded that torture can be “rarely” justified. Only 25 percent of Americans said torture could “never” be justified. These numbers are telling in themselves. However, there is a certain stigma associated with answering that torture is justified. It is probable that the real support for torture is even higher among Americans. (2)

It is not surprising that more Americans do not oppose torture. When it comes down to it, many Americans perceive it in their interests to support the worst violence of the state. This is not uncommon in an imperial population. Human rights are not respected if there is a real perceived threat to the system. This just shows how an imperial population can easily compartmentalize its conception of itself. On the one hand, the population of the United States likes to claim that its armies protect democracy and human rights globally. On the other hand, they are very willing to toss that pretense when they need to, which is one reason that Americans are so drawn to rouge military, intelligence, and police officers in television and film.

The First World is an empire of hypocrisy. It must be obliterated. We reject their world, their future. Our future is one where all people will have true dignity and equality. They will wage their wars according to their rules. We will wage ours our way.

Notes

  1. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/12/cia-torture-report-abuses-rectal-feeding
  2. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/12/09/lets-not-kid-ourselves-most-americans-are-fine-with-torture-even-when-you-call-it-torture/

Obama seeks new resolution on the so-called “Islamic State”

Obama seeks new resolution on the so-called “Islamic State”obama_war_funding_titled_medium

(llco.org)

On Wednesday, US President Obama opened the door to “limited” ground operations against the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS, ISIL, IS) by proposing a resolution to the US Congress authorizing a limited actions. According to a statement by Obama, the resolution does not authorize new troops for another war in the Middle East, but it authorizes activities by those current troops stationed in the region against the Islamic State for three years. Obama proclaimed that the Islamic State “will lose.”

We should look with great skepticism on Obama’s three-year time table, considering that the United States has been actively fighting Iraq since 1990. In reality, the United State has been involved in a continuous war against Iraq since the first Gulf War began in August, 1990 to February, 1991 followed by a decade-long air war. This was accompanied by a war against Iraq’s infrastructure, over a decade of strict sanctions to punish and weaken Iraq. This was followed by the invasion and occupation of Iraq that began in 2003. This war was declared over in 2011, but continues to this day. Now the United States seeks to increase its involvement in Iraq again under the pretext of fighting the Islamic State. Thus the recent declaration by Obama changes very little. It merely seek legitimation for continued imperialist policies against Iraq.

The latest move by the Obama administration reflects the hypocrisy of Empire. Empire sought to use the Arab Spring movements to create a Middle East more friendly to themselves. Empire actively encouraged the destabilization, later to be followed by a clandestine NATO invasion, that toppled the Gaddafi regime in Libya. Empire sought the same in Iran in 2009, but failed. Although, perhaps as a result, Ahmadinejad was replaced in 2013 by those less hostile to the United States. Protests against Assad’s regime in Syria turned to civil war in 2011 with Empire supplying massive funds, weapons, and training for numerous sectarian, Sunni opposition groups and foreign fighters. Although the Western media maintained the myth that there was a viable liberal, moderate “Free Syrian Army,” it quickly became apparent that the extremists were the only capable fighting force opposed to the Assad regime. These extremist groups followed the tactic pioneered by Al Qaeda in Iraq. They sought to bring themselves to power on the back of a sectarian conflict between Sunnis versus Shia. Thus the Syrian conflict became part of a wider regional power struggle between Shia Iran and the Sunni Gulf states, Israel, their allies, and other imperialist states. Thus Empire and its allies began funneling massive support to the Islamic State and similar groups in their effort to undermine the Assad regime and Iranian influence. Soon, the Islamic State had not only filled a power vacuum in northern Syria, but also Iraq. The result was a barbaric, nightmare regime that broadcast its atrocities on youtube: beheadings of prisoners, crucifixions, stoning of women, throwing gays off buildings, murdering minorities, public markets where girls – trophies of war – are sold as sex slaves. Most recently, in violation of Islamic law, the Islamic State burned a Jordanian pilot alive on youtube. Surely, bomber pilots themselves burn whole towns and villages with their bombs, they are not innocent. However, burning people alive on film only creates a spectacle of terror. So much for hearts and minds. The Islamic State is one of the few insurgencies that has been successful putting little emphasis on mass line. How can an insurgency get so far while caring so little for those it rules over?

The Islamic State is a Frankenstein creation of Empire that will not bring liberation. It will only bring ruin. It is part of a divide and conquer strategy by Empire against the peoples of the Middle East. Empire created the conditions for the rise of the monster — a quarter century of aggression that has left Iraq in ruins, killing millions. Empire created the conditions that have killed hundreds of thousands in Syria. Empire has a direct hand in creating the monster through funding, training, and weapons, especially through the Gulf states, Israel, and Turkey. However, now the Frankenstein is too big now. So, Empire is now reigning in its monster. Empire will beat the monster into submission through bombings and ground operations. And, in the end, the Hezbollah-Assad-Iran-Iraq axis will be weaker. The Sunni and Shia populations will be devastated in Iraq and Syria. The people of the region will be beaten into submission. The populations will be more divided than ever along ethnic and sectarian lines. And Empire will be able to justify its continued occupation. And the bourgeois media will proclaim Empire the hero for saving the Arab peoples from the monster. This is part of a new pattern of crisis politics where Empire creates a crisis, then Empire uses the crisis to justify its intervention. Then Empire puts itself forward as the only sensible alternative. With one hand, Empire starts the fire. With the other hand, Empire puts out the fire. And the capitalist media claps with both hands for the imperial heroes. The Islamic State is not a genuine anti-imperialist force even though it appears to be in conflict with Empire. At a deeper level, it is serving Empire’s purpose of weakening the ability of Third World people to resist, discrediting real resistance to Empire that might arise, and it plays the villain that allows Empire to play the hero. Empire is literally playing multiple sides of the conflict in order to weaken the entire region. Empire is pulling the strings of the Islamic State.

We must oppose all imperial plots. We must oppose both Empire and the so-called “Islamic State.” We must oppose further imperialist intervention in Iraq and Syria. Empire created the problem. They have no interest in really ending it. We must oppose Empire and its efforts to divide and conquer the Third World by stroking up sectarian conflict and destabilization. We must support the genuine united front against imperialism, not pretenders like the Islamic State that work hand-in-hand with Empire to weaken the masses. The Islamic State only brings sectarian conflict, medieval barbarism, and ruin. The solution is not Empire. The solution is not extremist perversions of Islam. The solution is the Leading Light of truth.

Quick points on Yemen

Quick points on Yemenyemeni-300x158

(llco.org)

Yemen is now the target of an invasion by the forces of Empire. This is the culmination of a long crisis. Yemen has a long history of division and social strife. However, the recent crisis can be traced to the negotiated overthrow of then President Ali Abdullah Saleh after two decades. The then Vice-president Abd Rubbuh Mansur Hadi became head of an attempted national reconciliation government that united the diverse, fractured opposition. Insurgencies continued. Insurgents from northern Houthi tribes who practice a kind of Shia Islam broke into and occupied the capital Sana’a in 2014. They forced Hadi to form a “unity government”  with numerous factions. Yet the unity government was crippled. It failed. In January 2015, Hadi resigned. The Houthis declared themselves the new state led by the Revolutionary Committee lead by Mohammed Ali al-Houthi. However, Hadi excaped to the southern city of Aden where he proclaimed himself still the legitimate leader of the country. He called on the old state and military to rally to him. Now, Empire is using the instability in Yemen to invade and occupy the country.

There are several points to consider.

1. This conflict is part of a regional war between the Shia bloc of Iran, the Assad regime, Hezbollah, the Iraqi militias, Bahrain protesters, etc. versus the the Sunni Gulf States, Israel, Turkey, Jordan, etc. The latter bloc is part of Empire and its allies. The Shia bloc supports the Houthi rebels, although the level of support is not known. Empire supports the Hadi regime.

2. The regime of  Ali Abdullah Saleh was a close ally of the Empire. The United States proclaimed it a key player its war on terror. Yemen was even held up as a success, a model to be emulated, at one point. It was in Yemen that, for years, the United States waged a secret drone war killing thousands of innocent people. The United States supplied aid and trainers to help the regime. Similarly, the Aden-based regime of Abd Rubbuh Mansur Hadi is supported by Empire.

3. It is unclear if there is any concrete support to the Shia Houthi rebels from Iran. The Houthi brand of Shiaism is very different from the Iranian branch. Although the Iranians have extended moral support to the Houthis, this is more for geopolitical reasons than ideological. Both Iran and the Houthis share common enemies.

4. Just as in Syria and Iraq, there is an ambiguous relationship between Sunni jihadists and Empire. With one hand, Empire supports the jihadists. With the other, it smacks them down. Empire uses them as a destabilizing force. Empire uses them as its shock troops. Empire uses them as its pawns as a way to weaken the Third World, as a way to offset Iranian hegemony. The imperialists create a mess by supporting jihadists, then the imperialists try to play the hero. Imperialists create chaos, then they seize power.

5. The country of Yemen is not united, but divided along tribal, religious, and geographic lines. The war in Yemen is very sectarian in nature. Nonetheless, Yemen is a pawn in a geopolitical struggle. Saudi Arabia and Israel have intervened in the conflict, bombing the Houthi. Now, Saudi Arabia is planning a ground invasion and occupation. Saudi Arabia is amassing 150,000 troops on the border. Reportedly, the Saudis are trying to get Pakistani manpower for this operation also. Egypt’s navy is supporting the intervention. The United States, France, the United Kingdom, Turkey also support the attack on Yemen.

We must oppose foreign intervention in Yemen, especially by Empire. We must denounce the militarist policies of Empire, especially the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia and its Islamic State and Al Queda allies who are using genocide and sectarianism to destroy the peoples of the Third World. We must oppose those who would deliver the people of Yemen into the hands of Empire and semi-feudal barbarism.