Mittwoch, 30. Oktober 2013
7 October 2013. A World to Win News Service. Following are slightly edited excerpts from a statement by Abhay, spokesman for the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) dated 17 September, 2013. In protest against the killing of 14 Maoist villagers in the eastern central Indian state of Odisha, the party called for a "bharat bandh" – a general shut-down – on 5 October. According to press reports, state bus services were halted in the Malkangiri district of Odisha that day. On 14 September 2013, the SOG [Special Operations Group, an elite military force] of Odisha conducted a joint operation with the District Voluntary Force and the police in the Silakota forests in the Podiya block of the Malkangiri district in Odisha and brutally massacred 14 Maoists, including a woman comrade. The police seized their weapons too. Our CC, CPI (Maoist) is calling upon the people of our country to observe a bharat bandh on 5 October to protest this brutality perpetrated by the neo-fascist Naveen Patnaik government in collusion with the central government and under the guidance of the imperialists, particularly the U.S. imperialists. [Odisha Chief Minister] Naveen Patnaik has been shamelessly playing the ultimate comprador since he came to power by signing countless MoUs [agreements] with the MNCs [multinational companies] to hand over for peanuts the natural riches and resources of Odisha. The people of Odisha, particularly the Adivasis [tribal people] and the Dalit [formerly known as "untouchables"] peasantry are engaged in a life and death struggle against the central and state governments and their mining mafia which are hell-bent on displacing them and impoverishing them to please the corporate houses by implementing these MoUs. They are also waging a bitter struggle against the big landlords, usurers and liquor mafia that are sucking their blood like leeches. The militant, long-drawn and uncompromising struggles of the brave people of Odisha against POSCO [a multinational steel company] and in Kashipur, Niyamagiri and Narayanapatna have not only inspired the fighting people of our country but also every activist fighting against the ill effects of neo-liberal policies all over the world. The Naveen Patnaik government, born with deaf ears due to its comprador character, has ignored the genuine demands of the people and instead resorted to severe repression with the complete support and aid [of the centrql government], including 27 battalions of paramilitary forces including COBRA [counter-insurgency troops] against all the people's movements ongoing in Odisha. Massacres of people and activists including Maoists have become a common feature of this repression. Arrests, false cases, harsh punishments, inhuman incarcerations, beatings, atrocities, rapes, burning people's homes and property – the neo-fascists did not leave any stone of cruelty unturned to suppress the genuine aspirations of the people. Our party has been working since decades in Odisha and organizing the oppressed masses, particularly the Adivasis, against the exploitation, oppression and suppression they are suffering at the hands of the ruling classes. It has either been in the forefront or has extended its full support to all the people's movements against liberalization, privatization and globalization not only in Odisha but in the majority of the states in our country. So the Indian ruling classes, under the guidance and goading of the imperialists, launched the multi-pronged, country-wide offensive Operation Green Hunt, a war on the people, in mid-2009 to wipe out our movement and suppress the genuine struggles of the people. Repression of the oppressed masses is the hallmark of any exploiting state and OGH denotes a crucial node in this as it has surpassed all the previous offensives both in its scale and brutality. Though OGH is supposed to wipe out the Maoist movement it is in fact aimed to suppress every genuine democratic demand of the people, particularly for Jal, Jangle and Zameen [land, water and forest resources]. That is why the Maoists, democratic organizations and individuals and the people are at the receiving end of this offensive... Our beloved comrades who were killed in Malkangiri are mostly Adivasis who have taken upon themselves the duty of fighting the neo-liberal policies that are most detrimental not only to the Adivasis but all other exploited and oppressed masses in our country. Protesting their "encounter" [murders disguised as an armed clash] means lending your voice not only against the brutal offensive OGH but also saying a big NO to the pro-imperialist economic policies of the ruling classes. This year alone has seen massacres of people and Maoists in places like Lakadbandha in Jharkhand, Govindgaon, Bhatpar, Sindesur, Medri and Bhagawanpur in Gadchiroli of Maharashtra, in Edesmetta and Puvvarti in Chhattisgarh to name a few. In almost all these incidents both village women and women Maoists were also brutally murdered. All of them belong to the oppressed sections of our country and they have been fighting for the liberation of all oppressed sections in the society. Protesting these massacres should be done by whoever opposes the lopsided development model of the ruling classes and we appeal to every citizen who aspires for democracy in our country to participate in the protest. We appeal to all the genuine democratic organizations, parties and individuals of our country to unequivocally condemn the 14 September massacre and organize and participate in protests against it. We appeal to the people of our country to observe a bharat bandh on 5 October and participate in the protests in huge numbers.
7 October 2013. A World to Win News Service. On 3 October, a boat on the Mediterranean Sea a short distance from the Italian island of Lampedusa carrying more than 500 refugee immigrants was left to sink. Only 155 people are known to have survived. Most of the passengers were from Eritrea and Somalia. Divers are still searching for the bodies of the missing. Experienced in dealing with tragedies, they were nonetheless horrified by the sight of bodies so tightly packed together in the hold that they are still on their feet, with one woman's hair flowing out the window of the boat lying 47 metres under the sea. One diver said he could not shake off the image of the dead with their arms raised as though calling for help. Another started to cry as he described pulling out the body of a child whose face then hit his own, saying it could have been his own son. Some of the survivors swam to shore, a kilometre away. Others clung to empty water bottles to stay afloat until they were finally picked up after three hours in the sea. There is unclarity as to why the boat did not find a docking point. Reports say the bay was too rocky to land. Some say the passengers started a fire to attract attention to their plight but it quickly spread and the boat sank. Survivors also report seeing a few boats in the distance and one boat with a light that encircled them and then left. The first fisherman to reach the fiery wreck sounded an alarm. He said that some of the 47 migrants he pulled from the sea had been stripped of their clothing, probably by the current. Other fishermen who arrived at the site were overcome with emotion at the sight of a sea full of floating refugees waving their arms and screaming for help. They asked, how could you turn away when you see a person who needs help? It's unthinkable that a fisherman of Lampedusa would pretend to see nothing. Another fisherman said he injured his arm lifting 18 kerosene-soaked bodies into his boat. One told BBC that the coastguard actually hampered rescue efforts. "They refused to take on board some people we'd already saved because they said protocol forbade it," he told BBC. Normally migrants seeking refugee status have cell phones for contacting the authorities when they reach shore, but they were forced to give them up in Libya where they were confined for two months before embarking by ruthless smugglers who charged thousands of dollars per person for this perilous passage. On the day of the funeral 10 fishing boats lowered bouquets of flowers over the spot where the submerged boat still lies in honour of the remaining victims entombed in the hold. One of the boats in the area hoisted a black flag bristling in the wind with the simple word "Shame!" emblazoned on it. Children at the funeral carried a banner stating, "Enough! There is no excuse for indifference." Lampedusa is much closer to North Africa than to Italy. For migrants trying to enter Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, paradoxically one of the world's most closely watched water bodies, is an epicentre of death. This is the description used by non-governmental organisations who support the rights of immigrants to asylum in Europe. The sheer numbers of preventable deaths made this particular incident able to achieve world media attention, causing outpourings of grief and outrage. Part of what was unusual in this tragedy was the large number of women and children who died. Deaths in this dangerous trajectory occur regularly, but more often in smaller, mainly unnoticed numbers – and mostly young men. If their bodies don't disappear, they sometimes wash ashore on resort beaches in Spain or Greece. Many cross in small, overcrowded boats that don't have even the proper oars for rowing. Previous to this disaster, the most notorious tragedy that caught widespread attention was the "left to die" boat with only 11 survivors out of 72 people, during the Nato war on Libya. Blame for deliberately ignoring their plight was clearly laid at Nato's feet by a report from the Council of Europe (see awtwns120402). Over the past twenty years an estimated 20,000 lives have been lost while crossing the Mediterranean Sea, 1,500 in 2011 alone. Italy, Spain and Greece have been the closest entry points to Europe, but for those trying to go north it is only the last leg of a difficult and dangerous journey for a migrant. Abdul, a 16-year-old Somali boy who survived this latest crossing, said his father paid a total of $7,500 to smugglers to get him to Lampedusa, where he arrived by boat 12 days ago – about six months after leaving Mogadishu. "I want to study. I want a future," he told Reuters. For many, entire families pool their resources to send one family member north, who in turn sends money back to help the family. For those who survive the journey, if they do not receive asylum they are forced to live in the shadows of society, often facing brutality at the hands of police and right-wing gangs who operate with impunity, like what took place in Greece against Bangladeshi farm workers last April. Local lawyers argue that Italian laws aimed at curbing illegal migration dissuade boats from helping migrants in distress at sea. One commercial boat that picked up people on a drifting dinghy in the middle of the Mediterranean was forced by the Italian government to take them back to Libya. There are disputes between different sections of local governments and within the European Union over responsibility for rescuing immigrants. Boatloads of impoverished immigrants poured out of Europe for centuries – Italy is only one example – but now no European country is willing to bear the expense of minimal operations of mercy mandated by international law (the 27 countries of the European Union have allocated a total of four ships, two helicopters and two planes for Mediterranean rescue operations), let alone open its arms to desperate migrants. Instead, openly or by implication, they try to make immigrants share the blame for the unemployment in their countries caused by the world capitalist-imperialist system and aggravated by the recent financial crisis. The survivors of this tragedy will be placed under investigation for "clandestine immigration", an offence that could lead to a 5,000 euro fine. This puts the Italian government in league with the criminal smugglers, giving it their "fair share" of the extortion of these immigrants. According to the UN's refugee agency UNHCR, despite the dangers people face, from 1 January to 30 September this year, 30,100 migrants reached Italy on boats from North Africa. At this particular short moment in history the biggest groups were from Syria (7,500), Eritrea (7,500) and Somalia (3,000). Eritrea was once an Italian colony, and the Italian government shipped off 70,000 people, including workers and poor Italian farmers, to live there. Somalia was first an Italian and then a British colony, and the U.S. has done its best to assert its interests over the country. Syria was seized by the French, and all the main imperialist powers are fanning the flames of the horrendous situation there. The discussion taking place around this needless loss of lives must pose some deeper questions of what kind of global system we live in that drives people out of their homelands, that makes the world the lopsided place it is. Experience has shown – and now we have seen it demonstrated once again – that the European states would just as soon that these immigrants all drown, preferably farther from shore where they die unseen.
30 September 2013. A World to Win News Service. A rainforest is a hot, thick jungle characterized by high rainfall, between 250 and 450 centimetres annually. Although they cover only 6 percent of the earth's surface, rainforests contain more than half of all the different types of plants and animals on the earth. As many as 30 million species of plants and animals live in tropical rainforests. Most of the rainforests are located around the middle of the earth, near the equator. They help clean the air that we breathe. They are often called the "lungs of the planet'' because of their role in absorbing carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas – and producing oxygen. They stabilize climate and produce rainfall all around the world. They maintain the recycling of water between the ground and the sky and protect against flood, drought and soil erosion. Rainforests are found in Africa, Asia, Australia, and Central and South America. The world's largest is the Amazon a rainforest in Brazil and eight neighbouring countries, stretching across the continent from the Andes mountains to the Atlantic ocean. Over a thousand herbal medicine plants are situated in these forests. They are called "the world's largest pharmacy." They are also a huge source of food and an amazing and beautiful section of our planet. They are the earth's oldest living ecosystems. How are rainforests being destroyed? Every year an area over 22,000 square kilometres of rainforest is cut down and destroyed. The plants and animals either die or must find a new forest to live. Human activities – determined by logic of the movement of capital and its insatiable hunger for profit – are the main cause of rainforest destruction. · Extraction of minerals and energy · Construction of roads and pipelines · Cutting wood for lumber by big companies – legal and illegal logging · Large scale agriculture (usually export crops) · Clearing the forest to create grazing land for cattle farming · Cutting wood to obtain pulp for producing paper · Land for poor farmers who are pushed out of their homes due to land grabbing or expansion of cities and shanty towns Rainforests are also threatened by climate change, which is contributing to droughts in parts of the Amazon and South Asia. Drought causes massive die-offs of trees, and dried-out leaf litter increases the risk of forest fires. Forest fires are also often set by land developers, ranchers and plantation owners to clear the land. In 2005 and 2010, the Amazon experienced the worst droughts ever recorded. Rivers dried up, isolating communities, and millions of acres burned. The smoke caused widespread health problems and blocked the formation of rain clouds, while the burning emitted a huge amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, worsening the effects of climate change. Meanwhile Indonesia has experienced several severe droughts in recent decades. The worst occurred in 1982-1983 and 1997-1998, when millions of acres of forest burned. These precious rainforests are plundered by logging for timber and cleared for palm oil plantations. Almost three-quarters of Indonesia's original forest is already gone. According to the United Nations Environmental Project, at current rates of destruction, almost all of Indonesia's forests will be gone by 2022. The destruction and fragmentation of forests – as well as rainforests and other natural habitats inland and in seas – could bring about the extinction of many species of plants and animals. Large-scale pollution and the degradation of the water, air and soil, combined with the real advance of climate change, is already creating a serious environmental disaster. Humanity is well on the way to making this planet literally uninhabitable, meaning the environment and human destiny is on the brink of disaster. As climate scientist James Hansen has warned, "Our home planet is now dangerously near a tipping point." The destruction of the Amazon rainforest In the nine years from 1991 to 2000, the total area of the Amazon rainforest cut and burned down rose from 415,000 to 587,000 square kilometres. Most of this land is used for large-scale cattle farming. Deforestation was accelerated following the opening of highways deep into the forest, such as the Trans-Amazonian highway built by the Brazilian government in 1972. Cattle farming, valuable hardwood logging and the growing of soya beans (soybeans), often for biofuel production, the expansion of cities and mining are the main reasons for cutting away the Amazonian Rainforest. Brazil is the second biggest producer of soya beans after the U.S. In the Amazon, cleared land is valued between 5-10 times more than forested land, which of course constitutes an irresistible motivation to cut down trees on a mass scale. By Brazilian law, clearing land for crops or fields is considered an ‘'effective use'', which is relevant for asserting land ownership. This change in land use may alter the region's climate, according to scientists using NASA satellite data. From 1992 to 1996, Amazonian deforestation increased by 34 percent By 2005, a 17.1 percent total loss of rainforest was recorded. Almost the same trend is still continuing. It has been calculated that in 2006, McDonald's and its suppliers alone were responsible for the deforestation of 70,000 square kilometres of the Amazon rainforest over the preceding three years. The need for soya to fed to their chickens, for example, was a major factor. In addition to the massive deforestation, these suppliers have also been linked to illegal land grabbing and the use of slave labour on these farms. Tens of thousands of Brazilians from all over the country have been lured into the jungle by the promise of jobs and then held at gunpoint and forced to work as slaves. Even when the slaves eventually escape or end up abandoned, the plantation owners are almost never punished. The landlords and their gangs of thugs enjoy impunity from the law. If deforestation at the rate of 2007 continues, within two decades, the Amazon rainforest will be reduced by 40 percent. Lately there has been slight reduction but the shrinking of the forest is still continuing. Can capitalism save the environment? In the age of imperialism and rivalry over world domination, where the imperialist countries ruled by monopoly capitalists carry out bloody invasions and wars, and commit and sponsor genocides, one cannot expect these global powers to respect, care for and sustain our planet. For them, nature is something to be seized and plundered, and exploited and poured into profit-driven commodity production. Capitalists or blocs of capital confront one another as competitors; their relative peace is a preparation period for wars. They must be prepared and ready to seize on any advantage to undercut their competition, otherwise they will go under. That's why major powers up to now have failed to agree on a meaningful action at various international conferences regarding climate change. That's why capitalism as a system cannot deal with environment in a proper way, even if an individual capitalist or group of capitalists sincerely wanted to. The motive force behind any capitalist production is profit. Their logic is this: everything produced is a commodity that must be sold at a profit. Regardless of the will of the capitalists themselves, they must expand or die, and they only take into account their own profits and losses and not the damages and cost to the environment, the general population, and so on. In this process of expansion, capitalism proceeds through imperialist domination of oppressed nations and strategic rivalry between imperialist powers and their allies. This is carried out through world wars, regional wars, wars to maintain their rule against revolutions, brutal violence against native people and so on, as we can see in the cases of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria… In fact, the U.S. army is not only the main enforcer of the system that is plundering the earth's environment and its people, but a major source of carbon dioxide emission. The carbon emissions generated by the U.S.-led war in Iraq every year was equal to the emissions created by the addition of 25 million more cars on the roads in the U.S. annually. If the war was ranked as a country in terms of emissions, it would emit more carbon dioxide each year than 139 of the worlds' nations do annually according to a report by Oil Change International. Often people in the "third world" suffer qualitatively more from the consequences of global warming than those living in imperialist countries ruled by the monopoly capitalists. But capitalists will never put the interests of the preservation of the ecosystems of the entire planet above their development plans in order to ensure the health of the planet and the people for the future generations. What else can we expect from a system that has used atomic weapons against people in Japan (by the U.S.) and introduced the use of chemical weapons (both sides used them in World War One, and the British used it to put down a revolt against their domination of Iraq in 1920. Italy used poison gas in its attempt to take over Ethiopia in the 1930s). This is without mentioning the massive destruction of people and the environment in wars to control "third world" countries ever since – or the massive nuclear arsenals that the major powers and Israel have built up to maintain and advance their interests. Those who have no respect for human life will definitely have no respect for our planet. In fact it is this system that has got us into this situation in the first place, and the situation will definitely become even worse. Our survival depends on the natural world, from green plants that produce oxygen to other living species that provide food and medicine; we cannot live without fresh water, nutrient-rich soils and clean air. At the same time we are linked with the natural world through complex evolutionary chains and through networks of ecosystems that provide the flow of energy for life to maintain itself. If we do not move to stem climate change, to protect and preserve fast vanishing natural ecosystems around the world, this planet could very well become uninhabitable for billions of people and possibly all of humanity. The inner workings of capitalism-imperialism, and the imperialists' history and practice on a global scale, proves beyond doubt that this system and those who run it are not and cannot be fit to be caretakers of our planet.
14 October 2013. A World to Win News Service. Following is a leaflet being circulated by the Revolutionary Communist Organization of Mexico (OCR) that also appeared in Aurora Roja (aurora-roja.blogspot.mx). This past 2 October saw spirited and combative commemorations of the massacre of hundreds of students, youth and other people demonstrating against the government at Plaza Tlatelolco on the eve of the Mexico City Olympic Games in 1968. That event intensified a long period of upheaval and revolt that reverberates throughout Mexico today. This year striking teachers furious at government attempts to weaken the educational system and dismantle their union took to the streets in large numbers that morning, and the afternoon saw major clashes between students and youth and police. This is the context for a call for a National Week of Resistance entitled "Stop the War on the People" whose initial signatories include numerous professors, schoolteachers, union representatives, lawyers and journalists, a street vendors' group and people from indigenous (Indian) communities, among others. The call denounces more than 100,000 murders, 25,000 disappearances and 4,000 femicides (murders of women). Let's unleash a torrent of struggle to stop the war against the people! If you hate the state's brutality and injustice, you have to act now! The same state that 45 years ago murdered hundreds of activists on 2 October 1968 is now executing, torturing, jailing and disappearing people with impunity. This is truly a war against the people. The death squads run by the Navy and the Army are murdering innocent people. In September 2011, the bodies of 35 brutally murdered people were thrown alongside a motorway in Boca del Rio in the state of Veracruz. They were allegedly killed by the "MataZetas" [supposed vigilantes targeting the Zeta drug organization], but, as we exposed at that time, the victims were not Zetas but innocent people, and these so-called MataZetas acted just like a death squad. Now a member of an elite Navy unit has confirmed that the killers were Navy troops. The existence of this and other death squads whose members were trained in Colombia and the United States was documented in the book published by Parliament, Escuadrones de la muerte en Mexico (Ricardo Monreal, Camara de Diputados, 2013). These secret counter-insurgency units murder people arbitrarily, especially poor people, even before any insurgency takes place. The murders are part of a war against the people. What we are witnessing is a "preventive" war whose purpose is to terrorize and demoralize the people on the bottom of society, especially youth who have no future under this system, before they have a chance to rise up and struggle for the road to liberation. The police and armed forces in general are killing and disappearing many innocent people under the pretext of combating "organized crime," when actually they are in collusion with it at the federal, state and local levels of government. Further, the government uses narcos to commit political assassinations, as has been documented by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (CIDH) in its Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas. Despite government propaganda, there have been more than 13,000 such killings so far this year, which is almost the same level as 2012. The state represses and disarms community police and guards [informal, armed village defence groups organized to keep out marauders of all types] while at the same time militarizing many areas, especially indigenous communities and regions. Instead of pursuing the criminals, they are attacking people who are defending themselves against the mining and energy corporations that are destroying the environment, and against the soldiers and police who are raping women and arresting or murdering political activists. Last August some 6,000 uniformed members of the Navy, Army and Federal Police raided a mountain area in the state of Guerrero to arrest 29 members of a coordinating committee of community authorities and self-defence organizations, the CRAC-PC (Coordinadora Regional de Autoridades Comunitarias-Policía Comunitaria). The coordinator in Olinala, Nestora Salgado Garcia, was held in a maximum security prison en Tepic, Nayarit, under trumped-up kidnapping charges. When community police members protested this injustice, more of them were arrested. The state government of Guerrero and the federal Attorney General try to either dismantle these organizations or bring them under control by (making them part of an official "rural police". Moreover, in September, a Chiapas court approved the 60-year jail term meted out to the Tzotzil [Indian] schoolteacher Alberto Patishtan, who has already served 13 years for a crime he did not commit. The state continues to cover up the murders of women that are becoming even more numerous in some states, and it threatens the victim's family members when they demand justice. It covers up the disappearances of these young women and protects the networks of sex-slave traffickers. At the same time, it imprisons women for having an abortion or even a spontaneous miscarriage. These criminal laws deny women their basic right to decide what to do with their bodies and their lives. The Navy, Army, police, National Migration Institute agents and hired killers work together to kidnap and disappear immigrants from Central America – somewhere between 10,000 and 80,000 in the last six years. They serve U.S. interests (reducing immigration) and take their share, forcing immigrants to work as slaves for the drug cartels and killing those who refuse, like the 72 executed a few years ago in San Fernando, Tamaulipas. The Meso-American Migrant Movement (MMM) says it has documented between 70,000 and 80,000 cases of Central American migrants who disappeared during President Felipe Calderon's six years in office. About 30 percent were women and girls, many of them sold to the trafficking networks in Tlaxcala, Puebla and Chiapas. The U.S. National Security Agency in the U.S., and in Mexico, the Interior Ministry, Defence Ministry and the Attorney General systematically spy on all electronic communications (Internet, cell phones) in Mexico, and, in fact, the NSA spies on the whole world, not only to "monitor" what people think and do, but also to use this information to repress and kill them when they consider that appropriate to achieve their objectives. They disappear and murder people struggling against these injustices in order to tame and demoralize other activists and many other people who hate all this, even if they haven't yet dared fight against it. For example, they murdered Nepomuceno Moreno Nunez (2011), because he protested the disappearance of his son in Sonora; Marisela Escobedo (2010), because she protested the disappearance of her daughter and the unjust freeing of the man who murdered her in Chihuahua; Josefina Reyes Salazar and five other members of her family (2009-2011) who had denounced the repression by the Army and other crimes in Juarez; Digna Ochoa (2001), [a human rights lawyer] who brought charges against the Army and defended the environmentalist peasants of Petatlán, Guerrero (a murder covered up as a so-called suicide by the Federal District government led by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador [the standard-bearer of the allegedly reformist Party of the Democratic Revolution, PRD] and his prosecutor Bernardo Batiz). They murdered the National University (UNAM) student activists Pavel Gonzalez (2004, a murder the Federal District judicial police also called a "suicide") and Carlos Sinuhe Cuevas Mejia (2011), who had been previously harassed and threatened by anonymous flyers and the Net. From 2007 through 2011, at least 63 political activists were assassinated in Mexico according to the UN Human Rights Commission. Why do they do it? And what can we do? Javier Sicilia of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD) recently declared that "this is a failed, criminal state," and that "the problem is that the state is totally corrupt, it's criminal because it is working hand in hand with organized crime in some way or another." Clearly it is "corrupt" and in collusion with organized crime, but to conclude that this is the basic problem would mean confusing some of the effects with the cause that produces them. All this reactionary violence by the state is not simply due to corrupt officials, negligent authorities or the lack of 'human rights sensitivity training" among the police and armed forces members (a favourite remedy suggested by human rights organizations). It is not because the state is "non-existent" or "not doing its job", although certainly in many areas of the country the drug traffickers are more in control than the state institutions. The truth is that basically, the state is doing its job, because its job is not to "serve and protect the people", as they always say. On the contrary, its job is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people, to defend and enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression that characterize this system and produce all the poverty, brutality, humiliation and degradation the people suffer from. For example, in 1968 in Tlatelolco or in 2006 in Oaxaca, the state did not murder and imprison people to "protect and serve the people" but rather to smash just protest and rebellion against an oppressive social order. And this "order" is still in force, generating more horrors than ever, in 2013. This is not the only possible social order. On the contrary, this is an outmoded system in which capitalist exploitation is combined with the remains of semi-feudal serfdom and dominated by imperialism. It is an obstacle that can and must be eliminated by a revolution carried out by millions of the oppressed under communist leadership, a revolution that will give birth to a much better society, one that will serve not only the Mexican people but also the struggle to emancipate all humanity. This revolution is possible and necessary. It is the only real solution, the only way to put an end to the totally unnecessary suffering caused by this system. There is an urgent need for many more struggling people to take part in and strengthen the movement for this revolution. We have to fight these attacks on the people and at the same time change the way people act and think, so that we can make this revolution. Companeras and companeros, we call on you to act now to put an end to an intolerable situation, the brutal violence being unleashed against the people by a criminal state – in essence, a war against the people. This state represents and serves the interests of the big corporations, landowners and imperialists; it is murdering, torturing, disappearing and imprisoning tens of thousands of people in order to tame, paralyse and demoralize the people they oppress, hate and fear. As many people have said, this is an emergency. We can't let those who hold power have a free hand to continue committing these atrocities without facing a stronger and more determined resistance. We can't let them continue covering up these heartless attacks so that most people don't even know about them. Nor can we allow those who are resisting to remain alone and beaten down. We have to mobilize the people who suffer from these attacks and win over other sections of the people to take part in this struggle. We have to wage a serious resistance with the goal of putting an end to these horrors and not just lessening them a little, or being satisfied with false promises and meaningless gestures by a government seeking to disorient and break up the resistance. By uniting to expose, denounce and struggle against these crimes, we can put this government and the system it defends on trial, nourish a new, hopeful-creating and combative atmosphere in the country, and forge greater clarity and unity about how to fight this soulless repression and better understand its origin and how to get rid of it. The challenge is this: to forge an independent and combative network that exposes this state's crimes and creates more resistance, consciousness and capacity to change this world. To as broadly as possible denounce the reactionary and totally illegitimate violence being carried out by the Army, Navy and police forces at every level. To begin to organize a National Week of Resistance-Stop the War Against the People, 21-27 October 2013. Let's organize cultural events, forums, film showings, photo exhibitions, plays and so on during this week, culminating in marches and rallies on Sunday, 27 October in cities and towns throughout the country. The army and police are not workers, they are the armed forces of the exploiters!
21 October 2013. A World to Win News Service. Another killing fire broke out in a Bangladesh garment factory in early October. Ten people died and scores more injured when four buildings caught fire in a clothing manufacturing zone outside Dhaka. Just days earlier, in late September, as many as 200,000 angry workers closed down 300 factories for a day, set some on fire and clashed with police for three days demanding a minimum monthly salary of $100, while companies offered only $46. Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at the demonstrators, injuring dozens in this overall volatile situation. Ongoing events bring forward actions by the garment workers as their anger continues to boil over. The garment industry produces never-ending tragedies for workers, four million people, mainly women. It is the main industry, second in size only to China's clothing manufacture, in a country of 155 million. This on-the-job slaughter continues, despite the spotlight shown on the major international clothing retailers and their claims and vows to change working conditions after the Rana Plaza building collapse in April that killed 1,200 workers, The trail of blood leads to the imperialist towers of capital in New York, London and Paris, where brands like Carrefour, Walmart, H&M, Tesco, IKEA, C&A, Gap and Sainsbury intensely compete for market share. Extremely low wages, child labour, repression of the people, no building or safety codes, and corrupt and pliable local governments are in fact the necessary conditions for profitable imperialist investment. The following is a slightly edited version of an article sent to A World to Win News Service from comrades in Bangladesh. After the Rana Plaza incident, the high-intensity outbursts of the garment workers ended, but the movement continued on various levels, particularly around working conditions in the industry, concentrated on efforts to raise wages. The minimum wage has been 3,000 taka, or $38 per month ($1=80 BD taka) since 2010. With this wage, one person can barely survive. The new wage scale was not even close to sufficient, and at the same the cost of living rose. So, the new salary made very little change in living conditions. A major portion of the salary goes to landlords. The workers are required to work at least two hours overtime, sometimes as much as five to ten hours. If they do so, they can earn 1-2,000 takas per month more and are thus able to survive and send money to their families in the villages. Not all workers receive the minimum entry wage. Expert workers get 4-6,000 takas as a basic salary plus overtime (which can be 1-3,000 takas more). Many of the woman garment workers are unmarried, divorced, widows or have husbands who are physically unable to work. Many married couples are in the workplace, so there are often several members of the family at work, including children. This is the only way they survive. Even though life is very difficult, garment workers are not fully dissatisfied with this situation. In the villages where there are few jobs, especially for young girls or women, life is impossible. Women there basically do their household chores which are considered of no value. In these circumstances, together the ruling class, the imperialists and the garment owners propagate that the garment industry saves the economy, creates many jobs, especially for women, and this is a great achievement of this system. With the exception of some progressive and Maoist organisations, all the other political forces think like this. The "left" among them wants to reform this situation and concentrate on raising wages and improving working conditions of the workers. Now, after Tazreen [121 garment workers died and at least 200 were injured last November in a fire that spread rapidly throughout the Tazreen Fashions factory] and especially the Rana Plaza tragedy, the workers' movement was revitalized around the question of wages. After the Rana Plaza tragedy, the government and factory owners became very frightened and cautious. The pressure from Western NGOs, trade unions, and humanitarian organisations, etc., also gave them problems. Worker organisations (mainly some NGOs and some left and reformist trade unions) now demand a minimum wage of 8,000 takas. Due to upcoming elections the government is calling for a new wage scale. After a long time, the owners said they will raise wages to 3,600 takas. This created a furious reaction among the workers giving rise to the recent upsurge. Due to the momentum of the workers' movement, the government and the factory owners complained that the workers are conspiring to crush the garment sector. The so-called secular government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina even propagated that fundamentalists Islamists or the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP, the main bourgeoisie rival party) are behind the conspiracy. On the other hand, BNP is blaming the governing Awami League (AL) for ruining the garment sector. Everyone blames their opponents, in an effort to be in the best position for upcoming elections. The current situation will definitely influence the outcome. Most of the factory owners are the hooligans of the ruling parties or ex-bureaucrats or other rich people. They might have some land in rural areas, but they are not large landowners. For example, Sohel Rana, the owner of Rana Plaza, was not a landlord but a mastan ["godfather", a leader of an organised crime syndicate in league with politicians who benefit from them financially and in turn protect them] of the AL party now in power. Through many means and with the help of those in power, he became the owner of Rana Plaza. Now he is a big, rich businessman. Feudal relationships are incorporated into this type of capitalism. People do not support these bourgeois parties. They think they are all the same, they exist for the betterment of the rich and not for the poor. Yet they continue to participate in elections and in each election round, vote for one party, then in the next, change and vote for the other. During the last 23 years of "democracy", no party was elected for two successive terms. The opposition BNP party will benefit from this situation, because the workers and people blame the current ruling party for their misery. The AL knows they will lose to the BNP in the coming election, so they are trying to gain control of the NGOs and revisionist trade unions. They already assigned Shajahan Khan, a notorious mastan and bourgeoisie trade union leader, to lead this organisation. All these bourgeois and other forces claim that the garment industry has saved the country by creating so many jobs. They say that jobs have even made women self-sufficient, so the industry should not be destroyed and if the workers continue protesting, they themselves will be jobless and the women workers will be compelled to become prostitutes. Many workers also think this. But paradoxically, they continue fighting against their low salaries and horrible working conditions. They attack the institutions of the state and the rich, including their industries. They practically want to attack the system, but do not know how to do this or what the alternate system would be. All these issues are part of the cruel reality on the ground. And hiding behind all this is the most important reality – the role of the capitalist-imperialists who really dominate the garment industry – the foreign buyers. The government, the bourgeoisie parties and the garment owners insist that the buyers will take their business to other countries if labour unrest continues. They say the workers must accept whatever is offered to them. An article by Dr Muhammad Yunus exposed the imbalance in profits gained by the local producers and big company buyers like Walmart, Gap, etc. He concludes that the domestic factory owners get about $5 for a shirt. The price of this shirt in the U.S. is $25. The other costs for the imperialist corporate owners is not more than $10 per piece. Their profit is a minimum of $10 per shirt. [Yunus is a Bangladeshi economist who is a leading proponent of the need for capitalist economic development in the third world by means of a "micro-credit" system to encourage poor women to become small-scale entrepreneurs, a scheme for which he received a Nobel prize in 2006.] Dr Yunus' exposure was not widely propagated. He did not want to disturb the local bourgeoisie nor the imperialist bourgeois buyers. Instead he appealed to Western consumers to pay 50 cents more for an item of clothing, providing this money be used to increase the wages and improve working conditions. This is all part of the discourse in Bangladesh. All this avoids seeing imperialist penetration as the main issue. The garment industry is not a national industry. It is solely dependent on imperialism and is a feature of the globalised economy of imperialism. If you want revolution, and want to proceed towards socialism and communism, you must break with this economy, not try to reform it like Hugo Chavez and others. To make this happen will be a very hard and complex process because workers and people generally are not thinking like this. You must propagate revolutionary politics and build a revolutionary organisation that shows them the road to liberation. It may be an easier task in the rural areas. At the same time most of the workers are rural people. To break with this type of imperialist-dependent economy is not easy. Bangladesh is a small country with a huge population. There is not sufficient land to distribute among workers. At the same time, you cannot build the necessary number of industries overnight to solve the jobless condition of a huge population of this sector and other sectors like it. But that is what is needed. The economy also can and must be reconstructed through the process of protracted people's war. Many small industry and work-sectors must be created in villages, first in support of agriculture, and then meeting other important needs of the population. Many things in the villages – the economy, class structure, culture, the environment, etc. are changing rapidly. And important changes are taking place in towns and cities also. There is a need to study the effects of all these things. The capitalist system and its proponents and the revisionists hide Bangladesh's imperialist dependency. And as long as the economy is dependent on imperialism, you can do very little for the safety and welfare of the workers. The owners are the worst type of compradors, one of the main pillars of the ruling class, and the main beneficiary of this man(woman)-eating big economy. They are the main financiers of the ruling class parties. The government and the ruling parties are trying to cool down the revolt of workers through suppression and phony "workers' leaders". With the elections ahead, the contradictions among the ruling class parties will intensify. At the same time, they are all in unity against the workers' movement.