Category Archives: Capitalism
India: “Protracted People’s War at Hand,” Warns Top Maoist CPI
Greece: Brutal Police Repression of a Determined Skouries Mine Protest
AntiGoldGr Based on an article by Stavroula Poulimeni on Alterthess.gr Photos by @lolosmarios and @dromografos
AntiGoldGr – Once more a demonstration against Eldorado Gold’s Skouries mine in Halkidiki was met with tons of teargas by the riot police. More than 1.500 demonstrators of all ages marched to the location where Eldorado’s subsidiary, Hellas Gold, is developing a huge open-pit gold and copper mine right in the middle of what used to be a pristine forest. Approximately 180 hectares of forest have so far been cleared in order to make way for the mine, a processing plant and two monstrous tailings dams. For the past three years, the local people and the broader solidarity movement resisting the mine have faced extreme repression and penalization of their struggle. More than 300 residents of the area are facing criminal charges related to their efforts to preserve the mountain, the environment and the health of their communities.
The protest started around noon and the demonstrators took the police by surprise as they found the gate open and managed to enter the plant construction site. Within moments they were attacked by the riot police with teargas and flash-bang grenades.
The demonstrators were pushed outside and the gate was closed but the police started chasing them in the forest, firing massive amounts of teargas directly at them. But the people were determined not to leave and they managed to stay there for three hours, chanting slogans and encouraging each other as teargas canisters were dropping on their heads. The whole area was covered in a white cloud of teargas. Several protestors suffered respiratory problems and one had to be taken to the hospital. Even under these conditions, the demonstrators did not lose their sense of humour and they offered bottles of water to the riot policemen with the sign “Do not beat us. We brought you water. SOS HALKIDIKI”.
This was the first big protest after a while and it proved that the anti- gold mining movement remains strong and determined to oust Eldorado from Halkidiki. According to the press release issued by the people’s Coordinating Committee: “Once more the democratic right to protest was sacrificed on the altar of development.
Belgian Worker’s Benefits Shredded by Capitalist Rulers
100k Protest Austerity in Brussels, Police Repression Sparks Riot
11/06/2014 — Brussels, Belgium
Belgian riot police fired tear gas and water cannon’s repressing the demonstrators on Thursday, at the first of what’s to be a series of anti-austerity demonstrations and strikes planned for the coming weeks. More than 100,000 people were on the streets of Brussels where they marched peacefully for almost two hours before violence broke out.
Car windows were smashed, other vehicles were overturned or set alight, and protsetors threw paving stones and fireworks. There were also reports of serious injuries among police as well as demonstrators. 14 demonstrators were reportedly taken to area hospitals, Brussels newspaper De Morgen reports.
Should anti-Imperialists oppose only US imperialism?
[The world imperialist system today has entered a period of crisis, internal instability and disarray, growing internal conflict and inter-imperialist contention, conflict, and the beginnings of opposing bloc formations. It is a far-from-healthy and broadly discredited system, forcing the costs of its desperate wars and troubled (and false) bourgeois “recoveries” on the masses of people worldwide. Wave upon wave of resistance and rebellion has begun, sometimes toppling old imperialist puppets, though finding the path to create liberated societies very difficult. Fantasies that the US had, since WW2, successfully formed a system of efficient and unchallengable control of world imperialist domination, have fallen on hard times. Imperialist Russia and imperialist China have grown from the defeat of socialism and the seizure of power by capitalists, and have set upon an assertion of power and authority in regional, economic, political, military, monetary and financial affairs (though each is struggling to contain growing internal discontent). Anti-imperialists and revolutionaries who only think in the framework of decades-long opposition to US hegemony in the world system will look in vain, and to their own discredit, for friends or allies among the contending imperialists. The only path forward is to build revolutionary proletarian class-conscious parties and mass-based political forces with eyes wide open, independent of ties and influence by any and all imperialists.
Revolutionary Frontlines has recently received a new study from redpath.net, which examines the shape of the imperialist system today, with special emphasis on the still-debated role of China and Chinese imperialism. The introduction to this path-breaking study and analysis is posted here below. The entire document can be viewed at the website of http://www.red-path.net, where the document (produced by an independent research and writing group) was first posted. It can also be viewed and downloaded at http://www.mlmrsg.com/79-statements/82-is-china-an-imperialist-country-considerations-and-evidence. — Revolutionary Frontlines]
IS CHINA AN IMPERIALIST COUNTRY? by NB Turner, et al.
It has long been known and understood that the entire world has been under the control of capitalist-imperialism. For a time, a section of this world broke from it, beginning with the victory of socialism in Russia and continuing through the Chinese Revolution, constituting a socialist world. Yet, in time, the socialist countries, through internal class struggles in politics and economics, were seized by capitalist conciliators and advocates, and then by capitalists themselves, who were largely within the ruling communist parties themselves. First in Russia, and later in China, when these counter-revolutions and coups took place, there ensued a period of entry and integration into the world imperialist system. The Soviet Union, at first under the existing signboard of socialism, continued much of its established national and economic power relations into a new social-imperialist bloc (socialist in name, imperialist in reality). The Russian capitalist-imperialist attempt to maintain this bloc, or important sections of what had been part of this bloc, and its historic allies, has continued in the years since the “socialist” signboard was discarded. In China, the defeat of the proletariat and the capitalist capture of state power, after the death of the great revolutionary Mao Zedong, have also led to a period of integration into the world imperialist system. China still operates under a “socialist” signboard, but has conducted itself unambiguously as a capitalist power.
Before the last decade, especially since the demise of the “socialist bloc,” the US was commonly seen as the sole Superpower, to which all other powers had to defer. The system which the US had designed, at the end of WW2, was global in scope, and to some more “democratic” in appearance than the old colonial empires. But it was built around the elitist privilege of power and authority, meaning the US as Superpower was at the centerpiece of the controls.
But in the last decade the imperialist world system is not what it used to be. Throughout the world, corrupt and comprador regimes have faced significant and often unprecedented mass popular opposition movements which have revealed the deep instability of the old neo-colonial arrangements. Continue reading
Capitalist China rapidly expanding its share of inter-imperialist contention and rivalry
[After Mao Zedong died 35 years ago, bourgeois forces within the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party led by the opportunist (revisionist or false-Marxist) Teng Hsiao-Ping seized power and began a ruthless period of destroying socialism and of capitalist profiteering and accumulation (under false banners of “market socialism”, “development” and “modernization”). After re-organizing the Chinese workers to serve, for several years, the established Western imperialists as a “cheap labor” resource, the Chinese bourgeoisie, concentrated in both “state-owned” enterprises and private corporations, launched a more open imperialist drive with foreign investments, global resource acquisition, military force expansion, expanded trade relations, and corollary diplomatic, media, educational, cultural, and joint-venture monetary and finance-credit initiatives. The following article details one area of this expansion — arms exports — which inevitably creates new deals for parts supplies, operational training, logistical integration, joint military training exercises, and other aspects of new alliance formation.
All who oppose imperialism, and who have learned so much from the oppression of many imperialist powers such as the British Empire and US imperialism, must take note of this development of Chinese Social-Imperialism (socialist in words, imperialist in deeds). While China is not the largest, and there are certainly many smaller, imperialist powers within the single imperialist world system, the people have no interest in taking the side of one imperialist versus another. Only when the people’s revolution destroys and banishes imperialism on a world scale will creative history on human terms truly begin. — Frontlines ed.]
China’s Arms Industry Makes Global Inroads
By EDWARD WONG and NICOLA CLARK, New York Times
BEIJING — From the moment Turkey announced plans two years ago to acquire a long-range missile defense system, the multibillion-dollar contract from a key NATO member appeared to be an American company’s to lose.
For years, Turkey’s military had relied on NATO-supplied Patriot missiles, built by the American companies Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, to defend its skies, and the system was fully compatible with the air-defense platforms operated by other members of the alliance.
There were other contenders for the deal, of course. Rival manufacturers in Russia and Europe made bids. Turkey rejected those — but not in favor of the American companies. Its selection last month of a little-known Chinese defense company, China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp oration, stunned the military-industrial establishment in Washington and Brussels.
The sale was especially unusual because the Chinese missile defense system, known as the HQ-9, would be difficult to integrate with existing NATO equipment. China Precision is also subject to sanctions from the United States for selling technologies that the United States says could help Iran, Syria and North Korea develop unconventional weapons. A State Department spokeswoman said this month that American officials had expressed to the Turkish government “serious concerns” about the deal, which has not yet been signed.
Industry executives and arms-sales analysts say the Chinese probably beat out their more established rivals by significantly undercutting them on price, offering their system at $3 billion. Nonetheless, Turkey’s selection of a Chinese state-owned manufacturer is a breakthrough for China, a nation that has set its sights on moving up the value chain in arms technology and establishing itself as a credible competitor in the global weapons market. Continue reading
Britain’s “regrets” for colonial torture in Kenya and the reparations debate in Caribbean
Editorial, Jamaica Observer, Friday, June 07, 2013
England’s expression yesterday of sincere regret and offer of compensation for the acts of torture that a British colonial government carried out against Kenyans fighting for liberation from colonial rule in the 1950s and 1960s, will, we expect, revive the reparations debate in the Caribbean.
As reported on page 29 of today’s Jamaica Observer, the simultaneous announcement in Nairobi and London sparked celebration in the Kenyan capital. Elderly Kenyans clapped and sang joyful songs of struggle during a near two-hour press conference attended by Mr Christian Turner, the British high commissioner to Kenya.
In London, Foreign Secretary William Hague told the House of Commons that his Government accepted that Kenyans were subjected to torture and other ill treatment.
However, what we found most significant was that Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office insisted that an “expression of deep regret” was not the same thing as an apology.
Wire service reports tell us that the compensation will see approximately US$21.5 million being paid to the 5,200 Kenyans who were found to have been tortured, or about US$4,100 per Kenyan victim. Another US$9.25 million will be used to pay costs to the Kenyans’ legal team.
Quite frankly, the payouts are low, and the British Government, we are told, has made it clear that it “doesn’t accept liability for the actions of previous colonial governments”. Continue reading
Greek opponents of Eldorado mine take message to company’s Canadian HQ: ‘Leave us alone’
Anti-gold mining protest — Halkidiki, March 25, 2013
More than 3.000 people chanting slogans against Eldorado Gold marched three kilometres from the village of Megali Panagia to the location where the first clash of anti-mining protestors with the riot police took place one year ago. This was the last in a series of powerful demonstrations against gold mining that took place in the last couple of weeks in Alexandroupoli, Komotini and Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, where an unprecedented 20.000 people chanted “Eldorado Gold go away now!”.
Greek villagers brought their region’s fierce battle against Vancouver-based Eldorado Gold to the firm’s headquarters Friday, marking the end of the activists’ cross-Canada tour opposing open-pit gold mining in their homeland.
Over the past year, a growing conflict in Greece’s Halkidiki region — birthplace of the philosopher Aristotle –has seen thousands of residents blockade roads, raid mine sites, and skirmish with police they say are corrupt and beholden to the company. Another demonstration brought 20,000 protesters to the streets of Thessaloniki.
“Our will will not be curbed,” said Maria Kadoglou, a resident of Ierissos village, Greece. “We will keep on fighting until Eldorado Gold goes away.” Continue reading
China Is Seen Nearing U.S.’s Military Power in Region
By MARTIN FACKLER, New York Times, May 1, 2013
TOKYO — China’s growing industrial might is likely to allow it to mount an increasingly formidable challenge to the military supremacy of the United States in the waters around China that include Japan and Taiwan, though it will probably seek to avoid an outright armed conflict, according to a detailed new report by a group of American researchers.
The report by the nine researchers, published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the most likely outcome for the next two decades showed China narrowing the gap with the United States in military abilities, in areas including building aircraft carriers and stealth fighter jets. At the same time, the report, to be released Friday, said China’s economic interdependence with the United States and the rest of Asia would probably prevent it from becoming a full-blown, cold-war-style foe, or from using military force to try to drive the United States from the region.
One of the authors, Michael D. Swaine, an expert on Chinese defense policy, called the report one of the first attempts to predict the longer-term consequences of China’s rise for a region whose growing economic prosperity has been largely a result of the peace and stability brought by American military hegemony. He said one conclusion was that the appearance of a new rival meant that, for better or for worse, the current American-dominated status quo might not last much longer.
“We wanted to ask, how should the United States deal with this possibility?” said Mr. Swaine, an analyst at the Carnegie Endowment, based in Washington. “Can the United States continue with business as usual in the western Pacific, or must it start thinking of alternative ways to reassure the region about security?” Continue reading
May Day fury: Angry workers rally worldwide
ISTANBUL — Workers around the world united in anger during May Day rallies Wednesday — from fury in Europe over austerity measures that have cut wages, reduced benefits and eliminated many jobs altogether, to rage in Asia over relentlessly low pay, the rising cost of living and hideous working conditions that have left hundreds dead in recent months.
In protests, strikes and other demonstrations held in cities across the planet, activists lashed out at political and business leaders they allege have ignored workers’ voices or enriched themselves at the expense of laborers. In some places, the demonstrations turned violent, with activists clashing with police.
Many nations have been struggling with economic downturns for several years now, and workplace disasters in developing countries are nothing new, but the intensity of some of Wednesday’s gatherings suggested workers’ frustrations have grown especially acute, with many demanding immediate action to address their concerns.
The anger was painfully evident in Bangladesh, where the collapse last week of an illegally built eight-story facility housing multiple garment factories killed more than 400 in a Dhaka suburb. The building collapse followed a garment factory fire in November that killed 112 people in the country, and it has increased the pressure on the global garment industry to improve working conditions.
A loud procession of thousands of workers wound through central Dhaka on Wednesday. Many waved the national flag and demanded the death penalty for the now-detained owner of the doomed building. From a loudspeaker on the back of a truck, a participant spoke for the throngs gathered: “My brother has died. My sister has died. Their blood will not be valueless.” Continue reading
Britain’s colonial shame: Slave-owners given huge payouts after abolition
David Cameron’s ancestors were among the wealthy families who received generous reparation payments that would be worth millions of pounds in today’s money
Sunday 24 February 2013
The true scale of Britain’s involvement in the slave trade has been laid bare in documents revealing how the country’s wealthiest families received the modern equivalent of billions of pounds in compensation after slavery was abolished.
The previously unseen records show exactly who received what in payouts from the Government when slave ownership was abolished by Britain – much to the potential embarrassment of their descendants. Dr Nick Draper from University College London, who has studied the compensation papers, says as many as one-fifth of wealthy Victorian Britons derived all or part of their fortunes from the slave economy.
As a result, there are now wealthy families all around the UK still indirectly enjoying the proceeds of slavery where it has been passed on to them. Dr Draper said: “There was a feeding frenzy around the compensation.” A John Austin, for instance, owned 415 slaves, and got compensation of £20,511, a sum worth nearly £17m today. And there were many who received far more.
Academics from UCL, led by Dr Draper, spent three years drawing together 46,000 records of compensation given to British slave-owners into an internet database to be launched for public use on Wednesday. But he emphasised that the claims set to be unveiled were not just from rich families but included many “very ordinary men and women” and covered the entire spectrum of society.
Dr Draper added that the database’s findings may have implications for the “reparations debate”. Barbados is currently leading the way in calling for reparations from former colonial powers for the injustices suffered by slaves and their families. Continue reading
The global rush to grab land and other resources
[The basic law of capitalism is “expand or die” — and quickly so, as the threat of being crushed or swallowed by competing exploiters also grows without a break. Maximizing profits through ruthless exploitation of labor, manipulation of trade, and wholesale plunder of resources, all drive at immediate returns, and threaten and cause the destruction of the long-term survival of peoples across the planet. The article below details how the inherent malevolence of the capitalist-imperialist system, is driving billions of people in despair and into struggle against it. — Frontlines ed.]
25 February 2013. A World to Win News Service. The planet is facing a serious food crisis. The unsustainable use of resources, from the land to the sea, due to the violent rush for profit, poses a great threat to humanity and the planet. But rivalry for control of food production and distribution under the profit-driven capitalist system is still sharpening, taking new forms and causing greater misery for the world’s people. The land-grab going on in Africa and other parts of the world is part of this trend.
Africa, whose people were kidnapped by the millions for the slave trade and ground down and bled under colonialism and since, a continent whose resources has been sacked for centuries and which has suffered so much from wars spurred by big-power rivalry, faces a new form of looting today. Corporations, private banks, pension funds and many multinational companies have grabbed fertile land all over the continent. With the connivance of corrupt and client governments dependent on foreign investment, they have secured long leases by paying as little as half a U.S. dollar per hectare per year.
Although this kind of land acquisition is far from new, there has been a spectacular jump since 2008. In the following year, investors bought or leased more than 56 million hectares in Asia, Latin America and especially Africa, roughly 15 times more land that the yearly average in the preceding half century. (Farah Stockman, Boston Globe, 24 February 2013) Continue reading
Technology of Exploitation: Intensifying Workers’ Heartrates to Maximize Capitalist Profits
Tesco accused of using electronic armbands to monitor its staff
Supermarket grades employees on efficiency and can reprimand them for breaks, says ex-worker
Tesco workers are being made to wear electronic armbands that managers can use to grade how hard they are working.
A former staff member has claimed employees are given marks based on how efficiently they work in a bid to improve productivity and can be called in front of management if they take unscheduled toilet breaks.
The armbands are worn by warehouse staff and forklift drivers, who use them to scan the stock they collect from supermarket distribution points and send it out for delivery. Tesco said the armbands are used to improve efficiency and save its staff from having to carry around pens and paper to keep track of deliveries. But the device is also being used to keep an eye on employees’ work rates, the ex-staff member said.
The former employee said the device provided an order to collect from the warehouse and a set amount of time to complete it. If workers met that target, they were awarded a 100 per cent score, but that would rise to 200 per cent if they worked twice as quickly. The score would fall if they did not meet the target. Continue reading
Spain: Economic crisis pushes funeral costs out of reach, many donate to science
[As the capitalist crisis — the so-called “Great Recession” — continues to shake up lives and property relations, real estate corporations are reorganizing housing markets to take advantage of mass desperation and this now also affects the funeral and cemetary markets. For a diabolical view of how capitalist cost-benefit analysis anticipates death rates–soaring from suicides, but traffic deaths declining because people cannot afford car repairs or gas–and how science ends up with a body glut–see this article. — Frontlines ed.]
Economic Crisis Leaves Hard-Hit Spaniards Scrimping on Funerals
By Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, November 22, 2012
BARCELONA — María Cristina Riveros can barely afford to live, let alone die. So when the end comes, she insists, there will be no spray of red roses or marble tombstone to mark her grave. Instead she is donating her body to science, to avoid being a financial burden on her family.
“I’m not upset about death — I’m upset about life,” said Mrs. Riveros, 53, an unemployed geriatric nurse and single mother, as she waited in line on a recent day for food at a church here. Her 16-year-old daughter, who suffers from a rare immune deficiency, needs €9,000, or about $11,500, for an operation, she said. Monthly insurance payments for her own funeral were out of the question.
Europe’s grinding economic crisis has left hard-hit Spaniards scrimping on death. They are defaulting on cemetery plots — and thousands face being evicted from them. They are opting for inexpensive funerals, or financing them in monthly installments. Pricey extras like grief therapy, organists to play “Ave Maria” or elaborate floral arrangements are being pruned.
But while austerity tears at the funeral industry — and some say the social fabric of the country — it has been a boon for science. Donating a body has become such a popular alternative to the cost of a funeral that some medical schools complain they do not have enough refrigerators to store all of them. Continue reading
Arundhati Roy: “Indian capitalism fully monopolistic”
HYDERABAD, August 13, 2012
Staff Reporter, The Hindu
‘Nelson Mandela was not allowed to implement land reforms’
Noted writer Arundhati Roy has said capitalism in India is most unique as it tries to control the society in every possible manner by establishing monopoly on all key sectors connected to life, which is not seen even in most capitalistic western countries.
“Capitalism encourages everything that does not threaten its interests including the recent anti-corruption movement led by social activist Anna Hazare and his team. By encouraging social groups to take up different issues separately, capitalism will fragment social energy in a way that will deny a holistic struggle for justice”, the Booker prize winner said here on Sunday.
Speaking at a function organised to release the Telugu translation of her essay, Capitalism – A Ghost Story, the social activist said capitalism in the country would make people depend on them from commodities like salt to costly cars, communication to media and minerals to power. It would undermine everything to further its interests, she noted.
By employing perception management, capitalism would control public policy, resources and businesses as it would innovate itself continuously, Ms. Arundhati Roy stated. “It will criminalise the tribals and make them squatters on their own land. They fund human rights organisations but will never allow them to speak about pure justice,” she said.
Stating how foresighted and influential the capitalism would be, the writer explained how the capitalist forces made Nelson Mandela the President of South Africa in the name of ending apartheid and did not allow him to implement land reforms and nationalisation of natural resources. She also explained how the corporate philosophy would mould public policies to suit their interests.
Human rights activist Prof. G. Haragopal said the book was most relevant to the society at a time when the social conflict was on the rise. Former Director of CCMB P.M. Bhargava, Prof. Ghanta Chakrapani and others spoke. The original essay was translated into Telugu by one K. Suresh.