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US imperialism

Afghanistan: Exiled members of the former People's Democratic Party return to refound party

By John Bachtell

March 17, 2010 -- People's World -- In a potentially important development, exiled members of the former People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan are returning to the country to re-found the organisation. They plan to hold a congress in Kabul later this year and rename the organisation the Democratic Party of Afghanistan.

The PDPA was the ruling party that led the country on a path of socialism before being ousted from power in 1992 by the US government-backed Taliban. Thousands of PDPA members were slaughtered or driven into exile where they have functioned over the years as scattered groups.

Exiled members met recently in Germany to unite their ranks and agree on an approach to reestablishing a legal political party on Afghanistan soil.

"The main goal is to return to Afghanistan and bring a situation of peace and stability in the region", said Dr. Zalmay Gulzad, professor of social sciences at Harold Washington Community College in Chicago. Gulzad was born in Afghanistan and came to the US as a student in 1971 and stayed. "Once peace is achieved the movement will evolve into different stages."

Asia-Pacific calls for protests during Obama's visits to Guam, Indonesia and Australia

Statement by the Working Peoples Association (Indonesia), People's Democratic Party (Indonesia), Socialist Alliance (Australia), Socialist Worker (New Zealand), Partido Lakas ng Masa (Philippines), Solidarity (Australia), Labour Party Pakistan, Socialist Alternative (Australia), Socialist Party of Malaysia and the Confederation Congress of Indonesia Union Alliance. Supported by James Petras

[If your organisation would like to add their names to the statement, please email international@prp-indonesia.org.]

March 8, 2010 -- We, the undersigned progressive, anti-war, anti-neoliberalism and anti-imperialist organisations in the Asia-Pacific region, call for a wave protests to meet US President Barack Obama's planned visits to Guam, Indonesia and Australia in March 2010.

Mozambique: ‘The war ended 17 years ago, but we are still poor’

Children in Maputo who make a living salvaging at the dump.
 Photo by GroundWorkSouth Africa.

By Joseph Hanlon and Milton Keynes

March 5, 2010 -- Pambazuka News -- A return to war in Mozambique is highly unlikely, but the widening chasm between rich and poor and growing social exclusion are creating a ‘serious risk’ of conflict. This was the warning issued by the Peer Review Mechanism Forum in Mozambique’s self-evaluation report to the African Union Peer Review in February 2009.[1] Similarly, Mozambique’s Institute for the Promotion of Peace—an association of former fighters from both sides in the 1981–92 war— remarked in March 2009 that Mozambique seems at peace, but growing economic disparities and socioeconomic injustice are weakening the peaceful transition.[2] Mozambique’s peace has been remarkable—without any truth commission or international courts, the 1992 peace accord has held without retributions and with former foes serving together in parliament and the army.

Haiti Emergency Relief Fund: `Haiti needs solidarity, not charity'

HERF volunteers in Haiti following the earthquake. Photo by ©2010 HIP/Kevin Pina.

Marilyn Langlois, board member of the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund, interviewed by Amanda Zivcic, for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal and Green Left Weekly.

March 1, 2010

How was the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund formed, and how connected is the HERF to ordinary people in Haiti?

The Haiti Emergency Relief Fund (HERF) was formed shortly after the February 29, 2004, coup e'tat as an offshoot of our partner organisation Haiti Action Committee (both based in the San Franscisco Bay Area), which does political advocacy and consciousness raising about Haiti and has long-term relationships with several grassroots leaders in the Lavalas movement that represents the vast majority of Haiti's population.

Mauritian socialists' open letter to Greenpeace -- `Don't help cover up colonialism's crimes on Diego Garcia'

Diego Garcia from a satellite. The US base in visible in the top left of the atoll. Photo from NASA.

By Ram Seegobin, Lalit de Klas

February 8, 2010

Dear leaders of Greenpeace [UK],

We understand that your organisation has taken a position in favour of the British government’s outrageous plan to create a “marine park” on territory which is not its own, thus tricking ill-informed people into supporting the British state on rather vague grounds of “the environment”, while they are in fact banishing the people who lived there and flaunting the Charter of the United Nations.

Venezuela’s revolution faces crucial battles; Chavez: `Towards a communal state!'

Revolutionary youth mobilise in Caracas, February 12, 2010. Photo by ABN.

By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

February 20, 2010 -- Decisive battles between the forces of revolution and counter-revolution loom on the horizon in Venezuela. The campaign for the September 26, 2010, National Assembly elections will be a crucial battle between the supporters of socialist President Hugo Chavez and the US-backed right-wing opposition. But these battles, part of the class struggle between the poor majority and the capitalist elite, will be fought more in the streets than at the ballot box.

So far this year, there has been an escalation of demonstrations by violent opposition student groups; the continued selective assassination of trade union and peasant leaders by right-wing paramilitaries; and an intensified private media campaign presenting a picture of a debilitated government in crisis — and on its way out.

How credible is Human Rights Watch on Cuba?

Human Rights Watch does not see the US blockade of Cuba as a human rights abuse.

By Tim Anderson

February 11, 2010 -- In late 2009 the New York-based group Human Rights Watch published a report titled New Castro Same Cuba. Based on the testimony of former prisoners, the report systematically condemns the Cuban government as an “abusive” regime that uses its “repressive machinery … draconian laws and sham trials to incarcerate scores more who have dared to exercise their fundamental freedoms”.

The group says it interviewed 40 political prisoners and claims to have identified extraordinary laws by which Cubans can be imprisoned simply for expressing views critical of their socialist system.

At first glance one might be forgiven for thinking that Cuba must be among the worst of human rights abusers in the Americas. A little reflection, however, might lead one to question such statements coming from the USA, a country with thousands held in an international network of secret prisons, many subject to torture regimes.

So how credible is this scathing report on Cuba? And who does Human Rights Watch represent?

Reconstructing Haiti: Time to break with foreign interference

Sweatshop in Haiti.

By Regan Boychuk

January 26, 2010 -- Haitians’ incredible plight has always been difficult to fully appreciate. Then the earthquake struck: hundreds of thousands dead, hundreds of thousands more hurt, a million homeless, and two million in need of food. It defies imagination.

And according to a journalist just returned from Haiti, even the heart-rending footage we’ve seen here on television fails to “portray the magnitude of the tragedy that has happened – and the degree to which the Haitian people are suffering. When looking at images from the disaster,” writes Steven Edwards, “we need to multiply by ten times our reaction of horror – only doing that can give you a true picture of what is going on in a place that has become hell not far from our shores.”[i]

The challenges facing 21st century socialism in Venezuela

``In Venezuela the biggest threat to the revolution does not come from the right-wing political opposition but from the so-called `endogenous' or `Chavista' right wing, in that chunks of the revolutionary bloc, including state elites and party officials, will develop a deeper stake in defending global capitalism over socialist transformation''' -- William I. Robinson

Interview with William I. Robinson, professor of sociology, University of California at Santa Barbara, by Chronis Polychroniou, editor of the Greek daily newspaper Eleftherotypia

February 1, 2010 -- ZNet

Chronis Polychroniou: There are scare stories coming from Venezuela. The border is heating up, infiltration is taking place, a new Colombian military base near the border, US access to several new bases on Colombia and constant subversion. Is the regime concerned about a possible invasion? If yes, who is going to intervene?

John Bellamy Foster: The crisis of capital: economy, ecology and empire

From pdxjustice Media Productions on Vimeo.

Professor of sociology and editor of Monthly Review, John Bellamy Foster, talks about the triple crises in the economy, the environment, and the imperial wars and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond..

Honduras: Obama's new puppets on display; Massive demonstration as Lobo takes power

The mass national resistance movement against the June 28 coup remains a viable and significant political force. Photo by James Rodriguez.

By Felipe Stuart Cournoyer, Managua

January 26, 2010 -- During the dubious Honduran election process leading up to voting day on November 27, 2009, the people would chant “Santos[1] de santo no tiene nada. Lobo de lobo lo tiene todo” ["(Elvin) Santos gets nothing from the saints; Lobo’s taken it all from the wolf.”] 

Haiti: A history of struggle and exploitation

``Old Toussaint L'Overture'' by Larry Richardson.

By Amanda Zivcic

January 23, 2010 -- Since the earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, there has been a global outpouring of support. Many people, horrified by the scenes of sheer devastation, the astronomical death toll and the struggle of survivors to gain access to medicines, food and shelter, are left wondering: why so many?

The oft-repeated tag of Haiti being “the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere” is true but this did not just happen. It is the result of a history of colonialism, slavery, imperialism, foreign military intervention, foreign-imposed dictatorships and unjust debt.

The Caribbean nation’s indigenous people were all but wiped out by 1520 due to the disease and exploitation that came with the arrival of the Spaniards in 1492. After France and Spain divided the island of Hispaniola into Haiti and the Dominican Republic, French and Spanish settlers arrived.

Fidel Castro on Haiti: Cuba `sends doctors, not soldiers'

By Fidel Castro Ruz

January 23, 2010 -- In my reflection of January 14, two days after the catastrophe in Haiti, which destroyed that neighbouring sister nation of Haiti, I wrote:

In the field of healthcare and other areas, Cuba –- despite being a poor and blockaded country -– has been cooperating with the Haitian people for many years. Around 400 doctors and healthcare experts are offering their services free of charge to the Haitian people. Our doctors are working every day in 227 of the country’s 337 communes. On the other hand, at least 400 young Haitians have trained as doctors in our homeland. They will now work with the reinforcement brigade which traveled there yesterday to save lives in this critical situation. Thus, without any special effort being made, up to 1000 doctors and healthcare experts can be mobilised, almost all of whom are already there willing to cooperate with any other state that wishes to save the lives of the Haitian people and rehabilitate the injured...

Peter Hallward: Securing disaster in Haiti

By Peter Hallward

January 21, 2010 -- Haitianalysis.com -- Nine days after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, it's now clear that the initial phase of the US-led relief operation has conformed to the three fundamental tendencies that have shaped the more general course of the island's recent history.[1] It has adopted military priorities and strategies. It has sidelined Haiti's own leaders and government, and ignored the needs of the majority of its people. And it has proceeded in ways that reinforce the already harrowing gap between rich and poor. All three tendencies aren't just connected, they are mutually reinforcing. These same tendencies will continue to govern the imminent reconstruction effort as well, unless determined political action is taken to counteract them.

I

Haiti's `odious debt' must be completely and unconditionally cancelled!

By Eric Toussaint and Sophie Perchellet,[1]Translated by Francesca Denley in collaboration with
Marie Lagatta

Haiti was partially destroyed by an earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale. We have all shed tears and the media, as it bombards us with apocalyptic images, reports on generous financial pledges various states have made. Haiti needs to be rebuilt. But most mainstream comments fail to look beyond the terrible earthquake. While we are told that Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world, no explanations of why that is so are provided. We are led to believe that poverty just happened, that it is a situation beyond remedy, that Haiti is an "accursed land”.

Venezuela steps up aid effort to Haiti, questions US military deployment

Aid from Venezuela bound for Haiti.

By Kiraz Janicke, Caracas

January 20, 2010 – Venezuelanalysis.com – Venezuela has stepped up its aid effort to Haiti as a second earthquake rocked the Caribbean country again today. This follows a 7.3 magnitude earthquake which destroyed the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince last week leaving at least 75,000 people confirmed dead, 250,000 injured and millions homeless.

Echoing his Nicaraguan counterpart Daniel Ortega, who accused the United States of “manipulating the tragedy to install North American troops in Haiti” and French Secretary of State for Cooperation Alain Joyandet, who criticised the US role in Haiti, saying the priority was “helping Haiti, not occupying Haiti”, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez also questioned the US military response to the disaster.

“It seems that the United States is militarily occupying Haiti, taking advantage of the tragedy, 6000 soldiers have arrived. Thousands are disembarking in Haiti as if it were a war”, Chávez said during his weekly television program Alo Presidente on January 18.

Audio: The militarisation of 'aid' and the recolonisation of Haiti

January 19, 2010 -- Radio Basics via LeftClick -- In this show, Canada's Radio Basics discusses the social and historical context in which a natural disaster has become a social disaster of epic proportions. Guests are Kevin Pina of the Haiti Information Project, an investigative journalist who has worked on Haiti since 1991, and B.C. Holmes from Toronto Haiti Action, who just returned from Haiti days before the quake and tells us about the gross human rights abuses faced by Haitians at the hands of the occupiers since 2004.

Party of Socialism and Liberty, Brazil: Chavez’s call to form the Fifth International and the world situation

By Pedro Fuentes

January 11, 2010 -- At the meeting of left-wing political parties and socialists held in Caracas on the eve of the congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez called for the formation the Fifth Socialist International. In a strong speech in which he summarised the history of international socialist organisations, Chavez said, Confronting the capitalist crisis and the threat of war that threatens the future of humanity, it is time to convene the Fifth International, towards the unity of the left parties and revolutionaries willing to fight for socialism … of the parties and socialist currents and social movements in the world to create a common strategy for the fight against imperialism, the overthrow of capitalism by socialism.

At that meeting, which had a clearly anti-imperialist tone, there were many parties that were out of place; including, the Mexican Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the Chinese Communist Party and even the Brazilian Workers Party (PT). Others were missing, for example, the Brazilian Party of Socialism and Liberty (PSOL), the French New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA), the National Resistance Front of Honduras and the Revolutionary Tendency of El Salvador, among others.

Fidel Castro: The struggle now is to save our species

Rebel army enters Havana, January 1, 1959.

By Fidel Castro

January 3, 2010 -- As the Cuban Revolution celebrated its 51st anniversary two days ago, memories of that January 1, 1959, came to mind. The outlandish idea that, after half a century — which flew by — we would remember it as if it were yesterday, never occurred to any of us.

During the meeting at the Oriente sugar mill on December 28, 1958, with the commander in chief of the enemy’s forces, whose elite units were surrounded without any way out whatsoever, the commander admitted defeat and appealed to our generosity to find a dignified way out for the rest of his forces. He knew of our humane treatment of prisoners and the injured without any exception. He accepted the agreement that I proposed, although I warned him that operations under way would continue. But he travelled to the capital, and, incited by the United States embassy, instigated a coup d’état.

How to cure the post-Copenhagen hangover

Protesters in Newcastle,December 20, 2009. Photo by Rising Tide.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

December 23, 2009 -- In Copenhagen, the world’s richest leaders continued their fiery fossil fuel party last Friday night, December 18, ignoring requests of global village neighbours to please chill out. Instead of halting the hedonism, US President Barack Obama and the Euro elites cracked open the mansion door to add a few nouveau riche guests: South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, China’s Jiabao Wen (reportedly the most obnoxious of the lot), Brazil’s Lula Inacio da Silva and India’s Manmohan Singh. By Saturday morning, still drunk with their power over the planet, these wild and crazy party animals had stumbled back onto their jets and headed home.

The rest of us now have a killer hangover, because on behalf mainly of white capitalists (who are having the most fun of all), the world’s rulers stuck the poor and future generations with the vast clean-up charges – and worse: certain death for millions.

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