Wednesday, November 28, 2018

20th International Meeting of Communist & Workers Parties Written Contribution of Russian CWP

Viktor Tyulkin, First Secretary of
Russian Communist Workers Party Central Committee
November 23-25 2018г. Athens, Greece


Unabridged text of RCWP contribution to the 20th International Meeting of Communist and Workers parties (solidnet): «Modern working class and its unions. Tasks of the political vanguard – communist and workers parties in the struggle against exploitation and imperialistic wars, for the rights of workers and peoples, for peace and Socialism”.
                                                       Plan and theses:
     Dear comrades in arms, let me greet all the participants of the 20th Meeting on behalf of Russian Communist Workers Party. We’d like to express our special gratitude to the host of the meeting – to the heroic Communist Party of Greece. We congratulate Greek comrades on the centennial anniversary of their party! KKE adheres to revolutionary Marxism and for most of communist parties this party serves as an example of the organization of working class struggle. In was exactly on initiative of KKE that our regular meetings started in 1998 and now we have already the 20th meeting. We started in Greece and here we are again in Athens after 20 years. This is a good reason to sum up our deeds and come to some basic conclusions.


  1. It’s clear that for all the complex and scientific descriptions of the theme to discuss, all of us prefer to talk about the subjects that seem to participants to be of greatest importance. The main concern of our party is to discuss the reasons for the defeat of Socialism in USSR and in Eastern Europe, the lessons for the communist movement as a whole and the ways to overcome the mistakes. 20 years ago when making my speech here at our first meeting I answered the question on what were the reasons of the defeat of CPSU and Socialism in USSR as follows: the main reasons for the defeat were internal. To put it briefly: the power wasn’t Soviet any more, whereas the party wasn’t communist at the times of Gorbachev. CPSU under Gorbachev stopped representing the interests of working class and took the course toward market economy, i.e. to Capitalism and towards political pluralism, i.e. to bourgeois parliamentarianism. Thus, the party had led Soviet people to Capitalism as if to say “under the Red Banner”. We represent the part of CPSU that was against those processes and we are of the opinion that all international communist movement should make corresponding conclusions.
            From our current point of view, we all as worldwide workers’ movement have made little progress in analyzing those events and sometimes have even rolled back.
  1. Last year we celebrated the centennial anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. CPRF was the host of the event then and we met in Leningrad and Moscow. The celebration was carried out basically in the form of extensive festivities, even including attending the cosplay “parade” in the Red Square (though it was the first time in the history of our meetings that there was not enough time for all the participants to make their reports). We actually didn’t have too many reasons to celebrate as we met the anniversary of the Great October where it took place under conditions of temporary defeat of its cause. That’s why we think that we shouldn’t have allocated so much time to celebrations.
            In August 2017 (centennial anniversary of the VI Congress of RSDRP that decided to start preparations for the armed insurrection) our party invited parties that adhere to Marxism-Leninism to take part in a conference held in Leningrad where we together analyzed our own mistakes while keeping in mind the famous expression of Lenin: “Nobody can defeat us but for our own mistakes”. Forty Marxist orthodox parties presented their analysis and conclusions. In the end there was adopted a joint declaration “CENTENNILA ANNIVERSARY OF THE GREAT OCTOBER SOCIALIST REVOLUTION – LESSONS AND TASKS FOR MODERN COMMUNISTS” – “October-100”.
            The proceedings of the conference reflect the basic principle: Communism is science and it should be treated as such. In the declaration adopted at the conference there have been summed up and described both main achievements of the Soviet Power and the main mistakes committed. These mistakes are as follows:
theoretical: rejection of the proletarian dictatorship concept and adoption of the nationwide state;
political: rejection of the Soviet type of power where Soviets are based on objective reality that is common for working people – i.e. their organization in the process of material production, transition to parliament;
- economical: rejection of the planned, directly social nature of socialist production and introduction of commodity production, transition to market. All attempts to introduce socialist commoditization will inevitably bring about the destruction of Socialism. Now this is not only scientifically grounded thesis, unfortunately, this was also proven by history.
            These mistakes have been repeated by both oppositional parties, as well as parties in power that bear the name “communist”. That is the crisis of communist movement has not only been overcome, it hasn’t been properly diagnosed. The situation nowadays resembles general transformation and degradation of the old parties at the times of II International. 
  1. In many countries of the world imperialists have been banning communist parties’ activities (e.g. Baltic states and Ukraine), making illegal communist symbols, preventing communists from taking part in elections etc. Anticommunist propaganda of various degree of rabidity has been spread everywhere. Still, these are not these bans that has come to be the main method adopted by anticommunists, their main tool is leading into false direction, emasculation of programs and goals of communist movement.
RCWP claims that under the influence of bourgeoisie, opportunism and revisionism have changed their nature and turned into a powerful guided weapon of imperialism. The most familiar example of such transformation is the trend of so called eurocommunism that gave birth to the Party of European Left. The right bias in Russia has also not ended with Gorbachev, the destruction of USSR and CPSU in 1991. The political course of Gorbachev in Russian Federation has been carried on by parliamentary party with communist name – i.e. by CPRF. It’s quite obvious that such parties don’t pose any threat to bourgeoisie and are in fact supported by the regime. These are our class enemies. Bourgeoisie has come to learn perfectly well how to castrate revolutionary ideas.
  1. Characteristic features of such parties are as follows:
- claims that the limits for revolutions have been up;
- they not only reject proletarian dictatorship in the period preceding the construction of full communism, they also refuse to organize class struggle now;
- in practice they announce that parliamentarianism means the power of people and try to adopt to the system in the role of responsible and constructive opposition. Adherence to the model of market socialism;
            This is a typical occurrence in communist movement worldwide. Simply put this is the adaptation of parties to capitalism under the guise of presenting themselves as parliamentary defenders of people.
            As the result of this right transformation of communist parties masses are withdrawn from real political struggle and the role of working people is limited to this of electorate at the polling stations that give their votes to party leaders. The strategy of such opportunistic parties is limited to promises of success by way of next elections, these promises given to working people, whereas their struggles are limited to the struggle for honest elections. In case of success, opportunists promise some center-left governments or governments of people’s trust etc. Such limiting their activities to parliament only brings the parties a reward in the form of seats in elected bodies and in executive offices (like governors’ posts). More and more often they conclude behind the curtain deals, agree upon candidates or withdraw some of them when necessary, they get adequate financing from state budgets. European Left are among the most familiar example, whereas financing of parliamentary parties in Russian Federation from the state budget has increased 328-fold since 2003.
            Such parties don’t recognize other forms of extra-parliamentary class struggle, or just pay them lip service while actually hampering them. In fact, they ensure the stability of bourgeois democracy by way of suggesting people the
  1. Our program presumes that working people should develop struggle of their own. To reach any goal one has to struggle, begging brings nothing. Providing the struggle reaches certain degree of scope and organization, one can start considering the issue of taking power by working people – i.e. of the Soviet Power.
            Meanwhile we have been feeling the most severe pressure of reaction, still we have to keep our resolve and struggle in order to deliver the revolutionary spark to the powder keg of people’s energy on time.
            Lenin said: “Whether there will be revolution or not doesn’t depend solely on us. Nevertheless, we shall do what we should and these deeds will never get lost”. The task of Socialism is not in the least limited to only proclaiming power of people, working people should have real practical possibility to exercise this power. From our point of view, all the parties should study and reproduce the experience of Soviets. Soviets represent the most adequate form of realization power of working people, the organizational form of proletarian dictatorship. Working masses should participate in the struggle themselves, and this matters most of all. Initially they should take part in making the decision on taking power, later, under Socialism, they should participate in the implementation of proletarian dictatorship – i.e. universal involvement of working people in the management of the state as Lenin saw it should take place. It wouldn’t not be possible and just irresponsible to urge people to take part in the struggle, unless we have clear perception of what we are going to construct and how we are going to do this.
            We in Russia focus upon creating class trade unions while using the experience of our Greek comrades from PAME, we also try to implement the tactics of alliances and Workers’ Front. To be frank, we cannot tell that we’ve been very much successful in establishing mass movement. Our opponents from parliamentary opposition often ask us gloatingly: where on earth are your proletarian battalions made of steel?
We have to answer that meanwhile workers go to polling stations as petitioners, in particular, this is due to your politics. Zyganov claims that it was three times when he and CPRF saved the country from crisis and collapse – in 1993 after the massacre of the Supreme Soviet, in 1996 when Zyganov gave up the results of the presidential elections and in 1998 after the default and coming to power of Primakov’s cabinet. It was essentially the regime of Eltsyn that was saved then.
We believe that our task is to retain and develop Marxist-Leninist political theory and practice for the future communist movement in Russia that nobody will be able to put out.
WE lived under Socialism and know for sure that the relations between people used to be much better, much more fair, chaste and honest, much more human. This is worth to struggle for!
  1. One of the crucial theoretical issues pertaining to the development of Socialism is the issue of promotion of post-commodity system that means directly social production that is free from all traces of commoditization. This issue has been not only of great interest, but also a matter of dispute that has been splitting world communist movement. It’s clear that first of all here is meant CPC and the “Chinese type of Socialism”. Our reply to market oriented comrades that urge us to follow the example of Chine is as follows: unless you reach classical Socialism with directly social production, you’ll inevitably find yourself within plain commodityCapitalism. We’d like to avoid seeing in China the implementation of Gorbachev’s dream to move to Capitalism under the Red Banner.
            Economic successes of China are indeed impressive and command respect, but they do not necessarily mean success in Socialist construction. As Lenin used to put it – a similar satisfaction can be obtained under Capitalism as well. In the list of countries with the biggest number billionaires China is ranked the second, whereas Russia is the third. It’s clear that both countries are very far away from construction of classless society, i.e. Communism. Chinese Capitalism has been even more increasing its reactionary role worldwide (it’s enough to remember the massacre of workers at Chinese oil drilling enterprises in Zhanaozen, Kazakhstan in 2011, as well as the current struggle of Greek workers and in particular the trade union ENEDEP of dockworkers against privatization of Piraeus by Chinese company COSCO. In Russia there has been observed increasing of tension and opposition to the expansion of foreign companies, esp. Chinese ones in the territories with special economic regime (TOR) in the Far East. There the authorities let foreign companies to ruthlessly exploit land and rob natural resources over extended period of time (70 years). All this may lead to direct clashes with local population and naturally causes growth of nationalistic feelings. All this taken into account we believe that it’s too early to tell about the success of Chinese Socialism and one can rather describe the process as expansion of Chinese imperialism).
We think that inclusion of CPC representatives into Working Group will further increase the general right bias.
  1. We believe it’s necessary to mark a special role that modern capitalist Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin have been playing in spreading anticommunism. On the one hand, RF is allegedly the assignee of USSR and is viewed by many people as anti-imperialist force that resists USA and NATO and contributes to the just struggle of people in Syria and Donbass (though we always warn everybody that RF conducts backroom negotiations and may betray). On the other hand the country has sort of overcome Communism and is in the process of establishing normal life under bourgeois democracy. Russian authorities herewith have been carrying out refined and gradual, but still adamant politics of anti-communism and anti-sovietism. They blacken and distort history, they lie and exaggerate past mistakes and difficulties, still they appropriate past successes and victories and boast of them. Thus, RF portrays herself as the heir to the victors over Fascism, as defender of national-liberation movements and progressive forces all over the world, as the successor of the pioneers of space research. The authorities have even gone so far as to allow recognizing the role of Stalin as constructor of the state and the Supreme Commander.
They present the events of the past so as if the achievements of Socialism had not been the outcome of the socialist social order, but were rather obtained despite and contrary to it and to the horrors of totalitarianism. Russian authorities carry this politics out through the system of education, through mass media and cinema, literature, through introduction of religion. The last World Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi, Russia can demonstrate this tactics well. Dances and festivities, elements of anti-Americanism Putin’s style instead of anti-capitalism and anti-imperialist struggle constitute the essence of the event.
Against this background, the outwardly friendly relations of Putin’s RF and communist Chine, as well as with Cuba, Vietnam and DPRK give the people of Russia as well as of other countries the impression of regularity and positivity of counterrevolutionary changes. (Example. Chairman of China Xi Jinping in the cause of the BRICS summit held in India in 2016 congratulated Putin on the victory of the party United Russia in parliamentary elections: “Recently there have been successfully completed parliamentary elections to Duma of new convocation. United Russia has won decisively and this ensures stability and good political background for further sustainable development of Russia”. He actually congratulates Putin on the improving of the basis of anti-communism and anti-sovietism and strengthening of Capitalism. No comment.). It’s obvious that international communist movement should resist these lies.
  1. In XX Century the parties that adhered to orthodox, i.e. revolutionary Marxism united themselves into Communist (the third) International, this being a reaction to the prostitute like transformation of the II International parties. In the 21 conditions of admission to Comintern there were described tasks of communist parties, i.e. their responsibilities, whereas the struggle for proletarian dictatorship, for the revolutionary nature of the parties, the struggle against opportunism were listed as the most important. The issue of Comintern’s dissolution needs a special consideration, still one thing is clear: the main outcome of its activities was the defeat of Fascism and creation of world socialist system with the powerful nucleus in the form USSR and the countries of CMEA.
Soviet Union saved world civilization by its decisive contribution to the victory over Nazism. What matters even more is the fact that this victory demonstrated benefits of Socialism over Capitalism. On reconstruction of the ruined economy in the shortest possible terms USSR turned into one of the most educated countries of the world and could demonstrate advanced science and technologies. This was the reason why the precedence in space research came naturally. The first man on Earth who went into space on board the cosmic ship “Vostok” was a soviet pilot, a worker, communist Yuri Gagarin.
Soviet Union has influenced greatly the total course of human history. Socialism of USSR and of other socialist countries, its social achievements forced capitalists to give concessions and introduce more extended and concrete social guarantees to working people in their countries.
  1. The main lesson that Lenin gave to all proletarian parties (in its narrow sense) is as follows: Bolsheviks could raise working class and people of Russia to revolution not because they joined all sort of opposition, but first of all because they defeated opportunism of Mensheviks in workers’ movement both in the field of theory and organization.
In the world there are still many parties that adhere to revolutionary Marxism. Theoretical thought is still active, the work of scientists who stick to Marxism-Leninism goes on. All this means that the task of integration of Marxists carried out through delimitation with those who distort Marxism is still actual. Eventually, we’ll have to take this task. Without the solution of this issue, the struggle of working class is doomed to stalemate.
Taking into account the processes of imperialistic globalization of the world economy, we have to go back to the issue of possibility of socialist revolution in one separate country with unique conditions of self-sufficiency as in Russia, this revolution to be assisted by proletariat from other countries. Sure that the revolution in a number of countries would be more advisable. That’s why the topic of proletarian internationalism and the task of revolutionary Marxism victory over opportunism acquire special import.
Our party has unequivocally sorted it out with this issue and we are not going to falter!
Long live Marxism-Leninism!
Long live Socialist Revolution!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

THE ZIMBABWE CASE: LESSONS FOR VENEZUELA




ECONOMY

 
ANDRÉS VILLADIEGO. Special for TP

Economist


One of the common features of the recent hyperinflationary episodes in the world is the persistence of public budget deficits that can not be covered by increasing taxes, cutting government expenditures or external financing. When these conventional mechanisms are insufficient, they resort to the "monetization of the deficit", that is, to a monetary issue that does not correspond to the real levels of the economy, in order to have liquidity in national currency to cover the gap between the income of the government and its expenditures.

The issuance of liquidity is a valid mechanism of monetary policy under certain conditions, but if it is used indiscriminately and recurrently, it begins to favor an uncontrolled rise in prices. This happened in Zimbabwe from 2006: after a fall in the export of agricultural products that caused a reduction in tax revenues, the government of that African nation began an aggressive monetization of its budget deficit. But with the issuance of money, the government prompted a rapid devaluation of the exchange rate, which went from 24 Zimbabwean dollars (ZWD) to the US dollar (USD) in 2005 to the unspeakable figure of 1023 ZWD / USD in 2009.

As a result, between 2006 and 2009, three "monetary re-conversions" were carried out, so that 25 zeros of the face value of the banknotes of that country were eliminated. In November 2008, hyperinflation reached 98% daily, despite the fact that since 2007 the government had prohibited the price increases by law. In January 2009, the Ministry of Finance allowed the use of foreign currencies such as the US dollar, the South African rand and the pound sterling, in a disorderly process of dollarization that managed to stop hyperinflation, but caused other problems such as the shortage of banknotes in foreign exchange.

We can not pretend to mechanically extrapolate the extreme case of Zimbabwe to our reality (see TP No. 2,945 *), but we must warn that before carrying out a monetary reconversion it is best to defeat hyperinflation first. And for this, it is necessary to reduce the priority of the payment of the external debt, in order to have the diminished oil income to invest it in the economic reactivation; organize and make public finances more sustainable by rationalizing spending and implementing a truly progressive tax policy; stabilize nominal variables such as the exchange rate through an effective monetary policy; reorient the financial system to support national production instead of privileging consumption (see TP No. 2,996 **). At the same time, it must identify the most vulnerable sectors of society and help them with compensatory measures such as the granting of direct subsidies.


It is necessary to understand that economic policy must start from the scientific understanding of reality, diagnosing problems adequately in order to apply effective and non-effective measures. Finally, the need for a real economic revolution must be patiently explained to the working people and mobilized for the recovery of the country.


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

AKEL General Secretary letter to the Minister of Education about the upsurge of nationalism – chauvinism in our education system

AKEL C.C. Press Office, 2 November 2018, Nicosia
The General Secretary of the C.C. of AKEL Andros Kyprianou today sent a letter to the Minister of Education and Culture Costas Hambiaouris regarding the upsurge of nationalism – chauvinism in our education system.
The letter is as follows:
“It is with great concern and reflection that we note the rise of nationalism – chauvinism in our education system. A series of events have recently caused turmoil in Cypriot society. At the same time, they raise many questions about the orientation and content of Education being given to our children. Although your Ministry has already expressed its position by characterizing these incidents as “isolated”, we believe that a serious analysis of the situation both within Cypriot society, as well as across Europe must sound the alarm so that appropriate measures are at long last taken. Our concern is growing because not only because young children are playing a leading part in these incidents, but also teachers who are supposed to teach respect, tolerance and human rights.
With this letter I want to remind you or bring to your attention the following incidents:
– During the parade in honor of the 28th October anniversary, the Gymnasium of Constantinopoleos (that is children aged 12 to 15), under the guidance of a teacher were chanting slogans about Constantinople and “Ayia Sophia”. This incident has already been confirmed, upon our complaint, by the Department of Secondary Education of your Ministry.
– School students of the Ayi Yianni Lyceum in Limassol “paraded” inside the School shouting extreme-right slogans.
– A teacher on Sunday 28th October in a Church of the Athienou Municipality read a speech, which manifestly contained rhetoric of hate, bigotry, racism and extreme nationalism.
We consider that these three incidents of chauvinist outbursts during the celebrations of an anniversary which teaches resistance to fascism, expansionism, and to all that these inhuman ideals represent, must concern us.
I also remind you that a decision was taken by your Government to establish a bicommunal committee on education which has as a goal the promotion of mutual understanding, cooperation and the combatting of nationalism – chauvinism. I also remind you of the Purpose and Objectives of our Education as outlined in our Curriculum Programs. It is evident that at least on these specific issues our Education system is not fulfilling its goals effectively.
In conclusion, I hereby make these incidents known in the hope that not only temporary and short-term measures will be taken, but that they should represent the cause for a wider reflection about how such fanatical and intolerant behavior will be rooted out from children’s minds, on how we manage to cultivate among our children the universal principles and values ​​that suit them and about how these universal principles and values can accompany them in a future of peace, security and human rights.
Besides, in honoring historical anniversaries we must also draw lessons from them.”

Sunday, October 28, 2018

HANDS OFF BRASIL AND ALL SOUTH AMERICA! NO US ARMS FOR BRASIL!

https://partyofcommunistsusa.org/hands-off-brasil-and-all-south-america-no-us-arms-for-brasil/


The Party of Communists USA denounces in the most vociferous terms the sham election results in Brazil where the U.S. backed and financed fascist candidate Jair Bolsonaro has been declared the winner. This does not bode well for the Brazilian working class.

PCUSA calls for the complete embargo of military aid to Brazil, which has yet to prove that human rights will be respected under the new military-style regime. Brazil only emerged 33 years ago from a right-wing military dictatorship. Bolsonaro comes from the military and has openly called for returning Brazil to military rule. Unions and the left in Brazil face a potentially grim situation now that Bolsonaro has won, since he calls for repression against trade unionists and leftists as well as promoting attacks on Black people, LGBTQ people and women.

In a Fightback News exclusive interview with Luiza Bezerra, the Young Workers Secretary of the Brazilian Workers Central (CTB), a militant union federation in Brazil with 9 million members, Bezerra gives her analysis on the rise of Bolsonaro, what the unions are doing to respond, and the role of U.S. imperialism in these developments.
“Bolsonaro has been a right-wing deputy for 28 years. He has long advocated the return of the military dictatorship and makes scary claims about torture, defending it,” Bezerra said. “He has clearly misogynistic, homophobic and racist attitudes. Today he is in first place in the campaign for the presidency of the country, with a discourse centered on God (although the Brazilian state is secular) and on an anti-PT feeling [PT is the ‘Partido dos Trabalhadores’ in Portuguese, or ‘Workers Party’ in English]. The feeling is of extermination of the adversary and not more of a healthy and democratic debate. There are several cases of violence on the part of Bolsonaro voters against those who disagree with their ideas: we have five confirmed deaths and several beatings. With speeches similar to that of the military dictatorship (or even Hitler) against communism and minorities, his possible election calls into question the very recent Brazilian democracy.
We call upon the U.S. trade union movement and all democratic forces to resist attempts by the United States to aid the military dictatorship in Brazil. We must stand united at all times with our Brazilian comrades in arms. We must build solidarity with the Brazilian trade union federations, CTB and UST and encourage all anti-fascist forces to work together to restore democratic rule. Nós vamos vencer! Sim, nós podemos!


Saturday, October 20, 2018

Bolsonaro represents the return of the dictatorship in Brazil


In defense of the democracy and the constitution of the citizen of 1988, the General Confederation of the Worker of Brazil - CGTB manifests its deep refusal to the candidacy of Jair Bolsonaro. This candidacy means the return of the dictatorship that has bled our country for 21 years and that we have overthrown with much struggle and mobilization of our people.
Let's do ours the words of Ulysses Guimarães: "I hate and dislike the dictatorship".
            With his macabre campaign, Bolsonaro threatened to wage a civil war, tear up the Constitution, close the National Congress and elevated to the category of heroes, torturers, assassins such as Colonel Ustra. With bayonets or batons, Bolsonaro wants to impose, at the request of bankers and foreigners, a neoliberal program of wage reduction, destruction of public social security, further cuts in public investment in health and education. education, to continue to transfer to the bankers the resources of the national treasury and, among other outrages privatize all state enterprises. And Brazilian people already know that there is nothing more corrupt than a military dictatorship.
            That is why we support critically the candidacy of Fernando Haddad - In democracy, it will be infinitely easier and less painful for the people to build, in the street, a way out of the disastrous crisis in which the governments of the PT, the PMDB and the PSDB put the country, and undo the program of Haddad which is, essentially, the same as that of Bolsonaro: a program of social security reform, maintenance of the minimum wage without real increase, bank interest in the heights, economy controlled by the bankers and, as they have already announced, increasing reduction of the budget of the State and in addition, its complicity with the system of corruption conceived by the PT.

            The General Workers' Central - CGTB will continue its fight: In defense of democracy, strengthening the internal market, increasing production, reducing interest rates, increasing public investment and ending unemployment.

FAREWELL TO A WORKING-CLASS HERO



Eric „Stalin‟ Mtshali 1933-2018

The Obituary of Comrade Eric „Stalin‟ Mtshali, “The Man of Steel”

by Comrade Ian P. Beddowes

Eric Mtshali (84) was born in Clermont, Durban, on 20th November 1933. Mtshali was a recipient of the National Order of Mendi for Bravery in Silver in recognition of the sacrifices and contribution he made in the South African struggle against oppression, the struggle for democracy and social emancipation.
He grew up and attended both primary and secondary school in Clermont, and was introduced to the struggle when he was a high school learner by Wilson Cele, who was the District Secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP). Mtshali was involved in amateur boxing at school. His last fight occurred after meeting Cele, who asked him about the fight and his future plans. He further asked Mtshali about his interests and then introduced him to the local Ratepayers Association.
Mtshali was amused by the Association when he was growing up in Clermont, which was declared a “freehold area”, meaning that it was one of the few settlements in South Africa where Black people were allowed to buy and own a house. He later discovered that its meetings, which took place every Sunday, were actually African National Congress (ANC) meetings. He and four of his friends who were drawn closer to the Association used to sing. They particularly liked the struggle song Mayibuye i-Afrikha. However, at that time they did not have a full grasp of what that meant in a broader context. The association‟s members were known as Amaphekula skhuni, trouble makers in English but revolutionaries in Zulu.
Cele was working together with Harry Gwala, who became known as “The Lion of the Midlands”, as well as with Stephen Dlamini and Marimuthu Pragalathan „M.P.‟Naicker. It was as a result of their work that Mtshali joined the SACP in 1957.

At that time the Party was an underground organisation following its banning by the apartheid regime in 1950 under the Suppression of Communism Act. It therefore operated in secret. Recruitment to the Party was preceded by thoroughgoing screening, targeted induction and advanced training of the recruits.

Mtshali joined the ANC a year after he had joined the SACP. By this time he had started accumulating experience of work in mass organisations, having joined the ranks of trade unions in 1950-1951 at the age of 18. Another stalwart of the struggle who participated in shaping Mtshali‟s political and ideological world view was Rusty Bernstein. Mtshali also worked with Kay Moonsamy, who became SACP National Treasurer.

As a young man, working as a casual labourer at the docks, loading and unloading goods from the ships, Mtshali developed an idea of following a career that would help him make money. But Cele, who introduced him to the trade union movement, was not convinced. He gave Mtshali a pamphlet titled The Three Sources and Three Components Parts of Marxism, authored by Vladimir Lenin, the historic leader of the Great October Socialist Revolution that took place in Russia in 1917. He succeeded in convincing Mtshali to change his mind, thanks to a section in the pamphlet stating that people have always been victims of deceit and that will remain so until they conduct an inquiry into the class interests underpinning economic and other social phenomena.

In 1951, at the age of 18, Mtshali started trade union organising for the Dock and Harbour Workers‟ Union as a casual worker. At that time he was paid a mere 15 shillings per week. It was during this time that he started attending political classes and workshops organised by the union and became active in the struggle for a living wage and improved employment conditions. He became involved in the founding of the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU) in 1955.

SACTU became part of the Congress Alliance together with the ANC, the Congress of Democrats, the Coloured People‟s Congress and the South African Indian Congress. While in theory the Alliance was legally made up of these five formations, in practice the underground SACP, from which Mtshali was receiving systematic training, was the sixth. Its members and leaders were active in the other Congress formations and were part both of their leadership and in organising the Congress of the People that adopted the Freedom Charter on 26th June 1955. Mtshali was one of the tens of thousands of volunteers who participated in collecting the freedom demands of the people country-wide in the democratic consultation process that led to the writing of the Freedom Charter.

One of the first major responses by the apartheid regime was the banning of the entire SACTU leadership, the ANC in 1960 and other political formations. The SACP and the ANC responded by establishing the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) in 1961. Mtshali, who became affectionately also known as “Comrade Stalin”, or “The Man of Steel”, was among the first who were prepared to pay the highest price with their lives and accordingly joined the MK. He was one of the most advanced and resolute cadres who, on his part based on his Communist conviction, directly linked the struggle for the national democratic revolution to the struggle for socialism ― a transition, according to his belief, from the oppressive and exploitative system of capitalism and its social and environmental consequences to a classless society free from all forms of class oppression, inequalities, exploitation and domination.

Mtshali left South Africa in July 1962 and went into exile without an opportunity to inform his family. Eight years later, without having had any contact with them, his first wife, Jabu Sibisi-Mtshali passed away. He married his second wife, Thokozile Mtshali (née Makubu) in 1980. She passed away in 2012, 19 years after they separated (after exile).
Mtshali was deployed to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for military and intelligence training. He spent two terms at the Party School in the Soviet Union. Later he was deployed to receive further training in Cuba. On his return he was deployed to the MK‟s first military base in Tanzania and was appointed Chief of Personnel. He worked under Moses Kotane, John Beaver (JB) Marks and Moses Mabhida. Kotane was also the SACP General Secretary (he remains the longest serving SACP General Secretary to this day). JB Marks was a member of the Communist Party since 1932 and later served as its Chairperson. Mabhida succeeded Kotane after his death in May 1978 as SACP General Secretary.

Mtshali had been elected to the Central Committee of the Party in 1971, the same year he started serving as the Chief Representative of the ANC in Tanzania, a role he played for five years until 1976.

Comrade Stalin became one of the founding members of the intelligence division of the ANC, of which he was the last surviving co-founder. Together with Chris Hani, Benson Ntsele and Don Nangu, they founded The Dawn, a weekly journal of the MK, which he was the editor from 1964 to 1969. Mtshali‟s involvement in political education, using the magazine, provided a clear direction during the Sino-Soviet split on various strands of thought amongst the soldiers who were trained in the Soviet Union and China respectively.
The Man of Steel received further training while in Tanzania, and thereafter he was deployed to Egypt together with Lambert Moloi for a special higher training to lay the basis for future politico-military campaigns against the apartheid regime. Mtshali served in a crucial unit that started the sabotage missions. He handled all of his tasks with extreme care and dedication. In his capacity as the Chief of Personnel, he among others was responsible for transporting MK members and military hardware, working with Kotan, in one of the crucial military programmes across the Zambezi River. Together with about 40 MK combatants Mtshali attempted to enter South Africa using the ship Aventura in 1970. The mission was recalled after they realised that it was compromised. Mtshali had participated in the Wankie and Sipolilo Campaigns of 1967, in which he commanded 12 MK and Zimbabwe People‟s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) combatants to rescue a section of the Luthuli Detachment that had been surrounded by the forces of the oppressor régime of Rhodesia. The combatants crossed the river in three dinghies. Two dinghies capsized during the mission with most of the occupants being attacked by crocodiles ― necessitating a new rescue mission inside a rescue mission.

Mtshali was one of the central figures in the “James Bond Unit”. At one point the Unit managed to smuggle firearms and carried out fully-fledged sabotage operations against the apartheid régime in South Africa.

After the mid-1970s, the Man of Steel was deployed to work as a SACTU representative at the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He had sacrificed a lot in building the proletarian class-oriented trade union movement in South Africa, and had accumulated sufficient experience in trade union organising from his dedication and selfless service to the workers. At one point he had no pay and survived on bananas as a daily lunch whilst organising workers in South Africa.
Comrade Stalin continued to serve workers with outstanding loyalty, and was deployed by the WFTU to establish trade unions in many parts of our African continent. He worked in Ethiopia, Sudan and Morocco, pioneering the development of the progressive trade union movement. He formed the first open trade unions in Ethiopia, during the time of Mengistu Haile Mariam as President. Previously, trade unions were suppressed in Ethiopia.

Mtshali was further deployed by the WFTU to revive the trade union movement in Sudan after the massacre of Communists, including the General Secretary of the Communist Party, in that country. He went to Sudan to carry out the work despite the danger that the mission involved. The Communist Party of Sudan, which remained resilient during that period of brutal attacks, helped The Man of Steel to revive the country‟s trade union movement.

Together with Joe Matthews, Mtshali was assigned by the SACP to establish the Communist Party of Lesotho. The assignment signified the critical role that he played in the work of the Party and symbolised the trust that he had earned. In Lesotho he worked among other revolutionaries with Mokhafisi Kena. The mission was very crucial in Lesotho both in its national and international context as well as in paving the way to bringing down the apartheid regime in South Africa. During the 1980s, the Man of Steel became involved in reviving the trade union movement inside South Africa. It was during this period that many of the affiliates of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the federation itself were established. COSATU became SACTU‟s successor in the National Democratic Revolutionary Alliance headed by the ANC. Mtshali was also a member of the ANC-headed Revolutionary Council.

Comrade Stalin returned formally to South Africa after the unbanning of the SACP, the ANC and other political organisations in 1991. Following the 1994 democratic breakthrough, he served as the Deputy Commissioner of Police Crime Intelligence in KwaZulu-Natal, from 1995 to 2000. When he was nominated to serve as a Ward Councillor of the ANC in eThekwini in 2000, he did not say he was a senior leader with a wealth of many years of national and international experience and therefore had to serve in a senior authority nationally, he made himself available to serve the people as a Ward Councillor, a role he played for four years until 2004 when he was elected to serve in Parliament as an MP of the ANC.

In Parliament he formed part of the portfolio committees of labour, higher education and training as well as human settlements.

At the time of his last breath, he was the longest serving Central Committee Member of the SACP. At its 14th Congress in July 2017, the Party conferred him one of its highest awards, the Moses Kotane Award for his excellent service to the peace-loving people of South Africa and the world working-class struggle for socialism. By virtue of this exceptional award, he became a lifetime member of the Central Committee of the Party.
He ceased to breathe in the early hours of the morning on Friday, 12 October 2018 after a long illness.

He is survived by his third wife Gcinile (née Kunene) and daughter Lindiwe Mtshali, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Editorial Understanding “America First”



Behind Donald Trump’s “America First” trumpet there are more coherent forces pushing for a redrawing of the international order. Trump may seem incompetent, but there is a logic to many of his actions – whether it be destabilising NATO or embracing Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
A couple of US ideologues, professor Daniel Quinn Mills (long-time professor at Steve Bannon’s alma mater, Harvard Business School) and Steven Rosefielde (anti-Communist economics professor in North Carolina), laid out the vision in a little noticed 2017 book published in Singapore.
In The Trump Phenomenon and The Future of US Foreign Policy, the two argue that the post-World War II “Western world order” is dying, with institutions like NATO proving more a burden than a help for the US empire. At home, the country is in a state of “decay”. The dynamics of “population growth, immigration, and the politics of inclusiveness,” they claim, “are weakening the nation state.”
Their solution? America has to shift away from “international cosmopolitanism” toward a nationalist and explicitly imperial policy to assert its power in the world. In an updating of the realpolitik of the 1970s, the US should seek a “Cold Peace” of competition with Russia rather than a “Cold War” mind-set rooted in the NATO alliance. The assumption is that Putin is following such an outlook, and by doing likewise, war between the two powers can be avoided and American capitalist interests can go about their business while other challengers to US power, specifically China, are contained.
And in dealing with other smaller countries, progress can be made by backing similar nationalist and anti-cosmopolitan forces. (The authors’ repeated critiques of cosmopolitanism and high finance bear a resemblance to older anti-Semitic propaganda that is hard to miss.)
There are also divisions within the capitalist class at work here. Remember that the globally-oriented US financial sector, for the most part, was never in favour of Trump’s nomination and election. They’ll take the tax cuts and deregulation he offers of course, but someone who is regularly threatening to restrict free trade is not the first choice of international banks. The turn toward a more unilateral, great power approach is more in line with the interests of energy, natural resource, and (some parts of) manufacturing capital in the US.
Trump often seems to be reading from the script written by Mills and Rosefielde, but his own election tie-ups with Putin and the Russian state often overshadow any ideological analysis of what’s going on. The easy explanation is just to say Putin helped him win, so Trump toes his line.
But there is a bigger attack on democracy underway here, as well as the pursuit of an agenda belonging to particular sectors of the capitalist class. And while the dismantling of NATO and a re-ordering of the world in favour of peaceful relations and the end of militarism would be a good thing, that’s probably not the kind of outcome planned by Trump or Putin. In other, more transparent circumstances, it might even be possible to welcome such diplomatic overtures between long-time nuclear-armed adversaries (as was the case with North Korea).
Despite the uproar over his stage show with Putin there were developments that came out of his trip to Europe that Trump can mark as personal achievements.
He had the opportunity to further boost the emerging nationalistic, xenophobic, and militaristic global right-wing alliance everywhere he went. At the NATO meeting in Brussels, he argued for a ramp-up in military spending, pushing for ever more financial resources in Europe and North America to go toward war preparations. In Britain, he put the spotlight on the buffoonish anti-immigrant politician and former cabinet member Boris Johnson, suggesting he’d make “a great prime minister.”
And in a nod to the rhetoric of neo-Nazis and white nationalists across the continent – as well as in the US – he lamented how Europe was “losing its culture” because of immigrants: a call to “Make Europe Great Again”.

Monday, June 4, 2018

NGO Action News-June 1, 2018



Middle East
 
  • On 30 May, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights issued a press release condemning Israeli forces’ interception of a boat carrying Palestinian passengers as it was leaving Gaza sea port. The Great March of Return committee had announced a day before the establishment of a “boat for freedom and breaking the siege”, carrying patients and injured Palestinians to break the Israeli blockade.
 
  • On 29 May, Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel informed about their complaint to the Justice Ministry’s Police Investigation Department, demanding an investigation into the excessive force used by Israeli police to disperse demonstrations that took place in Haifa on 18 May.
 
 
 
  • On 27 May, B’Tselem issued a statement denouncing the decision of three Israeli Supreme Court Justices to issue warrants for the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar community’s homes and to relocate the residents.
 
  • On 24 May, Peace Now issued a press release criticizing the Israeli Defense Minister’s announcement of the expected approval of 2,500 housing units in the settlements. Based on information obtained by the organization, most of the houses will be located in isolated settlements, defined as east of the potential border route of the Geneva Initiative.
 
 
Europe
 
  • On 1 June, Amnesty International issued a statement condemning Israel’s illegal demolition and forcible transfer of a Palestinian Bedouin village, as they amount to war crimes.  Amnesty International says that the Supreme Court’s ruling is “extremely dangerous and may set a precedent for other communities that oppose Israeli plans to relocate them to urban centers.”
 
 
North America
 
  • On 1 June, the Health Advisory Council of Jewish Voice for Peace published their June media watch report on recent developments and casualties in Gaza, quoting sources such as Medical Aid for Palestinians, B’Tselem, Gisha and Human Rights Watch.
 
  • On 29 May, Human Rights Watch issued a report “Bankrolling Abuse: Israeli banks in West Bank settlements.” The report explains the mechanisms contributing to the expansion of unlawful settlements through Israel’s largest banks. The latter’s involvements are said to acquire a property interest in the development projects and shepherd them through completion.
 
 
United Nations
 
  • On 31 May, UN human rights experts expressed grave concerns about an Israeli court’s decision on 24 May to uphold a plan by the Government of Israel to demolish the entire Palestinian Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank east of Jerusalem. The UN experts called upon Israel to respect the rights of the Khan al-Ahmar residents to remain on their lands and to have their status regularized.
 
  • On 31 May, UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl delivered a press briefing on his visit to a health care facility in Gaza. He sent an emergency call for help to save Gaza’s health system and boost UNRWA’s ability to provide care to the patients injured during the demonstrations, in addition to support for mental health and psychological care.
 
  • On 31 May, OCHA published their humanitarian snapshot on “Mass casualties in the context of demonstrations in the Gaza Strip.” It highlights a total of 128 deaths and 13,375 injuries in the Palestinian casualties since 30 March.
 
  • On 30 May, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, briefed the Security Council on the situation in Gaza. He warned the region was “on the brink of war” after rockets and mortar shells were fired across the border between Gaza and Israel. Mladenov also told that the Palestinians in Gaza that work will be done to ensure they have a “future beyond mere survival.”
 
 
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