War and Capitalism are permanently linked, opposition to both is considered “perversion” . This explains the acts of legal violence against anti imperialists and conscientious objectors. Below is a touching narrative by one brave and conscientious man whose only crime is that he refuses to participate in organized and institutionalized violence. Asian Human Rights Commission has issued an urgent appeal on his behalf. we appeal to all progressive people to take up the cause!

SA

 

 

 

SOUTH KOREA: A man is awaiting imprisonment for his beliefs

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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from ‘World Without War’, a non-governmental organization that Mr. MOON Myungjin, who refused to do compulsory military service based on his beliefs and conscience, is about to receive rigorous imprisonment through legal procedure. We wish to draw your attention to the fact that his imprisonment is another example in the country where approximately a thousand young men have been imprisoned annually, which has been going on for more than 50 years. They have been criminally prosecuted and imprisoned due to the failure of the government to provide an alternative service for those who refuse to take up arms either based on their beliefs or religion.

CASE NARRATIVE: (the statement below is written by Mr. MOON Myungjin)

The reasons for my objection to taking up arms

1.
Going to jail instead of enlisting in the army has been one of the most crucial issues in my life. There is no one specific moment when I have chosen to refuse military service, nor is it easy to explain the reasons for my objection in simple terms. One thing is clear. It has become harder and harder to convince myself that I should take up arms as a soldier. So, this declaration will be a note that briefly describes my thought processes in arriving at the decision to become a conscientious objector.

I first pondered upon the state, the armed forces and war when the US-led war against Iraq broke out in 2003. I came to question what ‘national interest’ is, after having been to a protest against the Korean government’s decision to dispatch troops to Iraq. I asked myself who the national interest was meant for. I began to experience a discrepancy within my own thoughts and beliefs. I had been identifying myself with the state. I did not question the Korean saying ‘The physical strength of the individual is the strength of the nation’ learned through the national education system. I began to realize that the real world was far from what I had learned and believed it to be. This came about after experiencing the violence of the police against protestors. I had always considered the police to be ‘advocates of justice’.

I came to have firmer and clearer thoughts about my conscientious objection while engaged in the protest against the expansion of a US military base in Pyeongtaek in 2006.The villagers just wanted to spend their lives working the land on which they had grown up. Instead, the government mobilized the armed forces and riot police to evict them. In the early morning of May 4, I saw ruthless violence by the army and the police with my own eyes when their operation to crack down on the villagers as well as the protestors started. People either responded just as violently, or helplessly froze in the face of the overwhelming state violence. At that moment, on the one hand I was prepared to react in a nonviolent way in an effort not to become a devil while fighting back against the devil; on the other, I just felt a primal fear to see the armed forces, known to exist for national security, attack its own people as if they were the enemy.

For me the military is where the ability not to see a human being as human is internalized. While going through the experiences of seeing the violence of the riot police and armed forces in Pyeongtack, the candlelight vigil triggered by the import of US beef with mad cow disease and another forced eviction which took the lives of six people in Yongsan, I wondered how violence could be exerted by one human being against another. I tried to make myself understand how one person can fire a missile to where there exist people like him/her while I was watching the war in Iraq and Afghanistan on television. My conclusion was that you can point a gun only when you see others as not having the same feelings and needs as yourself. Now the meaning of being involved in the armed forces has come to me to act like a robot, there to be mobilized and to obey in favor of the state interests.

2.
Awaiting the day I will (perhaps) be put in prison, I think of the children I met during my teaching practice this spring. It was indeed a pleasant experience to realize that I did matter to them; to see the kids wanting to grab my hands while walking together to the canteen and also wanting to have meals sitting beside me. I felt truly alive to see the kids coming to play rock-paper-scissors with me to have fun, writing me a letter expressing thanks for me passing back the pencil case which had fallen on the floor, and the kids telling me they wanted to become a student teacher like me. I wanted to willingly empathize with the happiness and the pain of each child.

Pedagogy that I studied in my university years raised questions of the nature of education and how growth and development in human beings happens. The question of what education is for led me to think about how I live my life and what I value most at the moment. Although it was only a month’s experience of teaching practice, I was able to conclude that the aim of education is to learn how to love each other. I believe that although we keep facing conflicts, we could develop ourselves through knowing the extent and limits of the self from the conflicts, and connecting with each other.

I understand ‘security’ as a stage where people can live feeling safe. It does not contribute to ‘security’ at all to learn to regard other human beings as less than human, and to train killing skills. I do not want to imagine myself going into the military, which is supposed to exist for national security, and adopting the feelings of fear and hostility against what is called ‘the enemy’. I have not wanted to join the mechanism whereby militarism, like the hierarchical and male-dominated culture, to which I am subjected, neglects individual conscience, prevails and reproduces by virtue of it being the military.

3.
I remember visiting Laos PDR last month to participate in the first meetings of states parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. In Laos, one person a day on average loses his/her life due to unexploded ordnance of cluster bombs. This means that millions of cluster munitions the US dropped during the Indochina War still remain, affecting the people’s lives. With regards to cluster munitions, which have been already stigmatized as non-humanitarian weapons within the international community, the South Korean government still argues the need for cluster bombs, allegedly referring to the importance of national security, while South Korean companies such as Hanwha and Poongsan profit by producing and exporting cluster munitions.

The government is asserting that it should take a tougher stance against North Korea in view of the recent incident in Yeonpyeong Island. At the same time, the MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System), of which the Korean armed forces are proud, was described positively in the Korean media. However, it is not the North Korean artillery, but somebody’s life and our humanity that is devastated by the South Korean artillery. Not only should North Korea be criticized, but also South Korea should accept responsibility for the current state of heightened tension. Just as there have been several deaths in the South, there must also have been some people injured or killed in the North during the recent military conflict. The more we develop fear and hostility against each other continuously, the more tears will be shed by those affected by the violence.

No one being deserves to be killed. Both South Korea and the surrounding countries should stop playing the game of spending more and more on war expenditure. It is only a few in the ruling class and the munitions industry who take advantage of constantly waging hostility and increasing armament expenditure. Violence leads to a vicious circle of another retaliation and more violence. My conscientious objection is both the least and the best stance that I can take against this vicious circle of violence.

4.
Thanks to my objection to military service, I have been able to reflect upon my own way of life. As already mentioned in somebody else’s declaration, I would have been able to deepen my thoughts on feminism and pacifism while pondering upon my conscientious objection, rather than the fact I was already pacifist before I decided to be a conscientious objector. I became a vegetarian and started riding a bicycle, having been inspired by the people I met through the peace movement group ‘World Without War’. I came to think a way of life in which I earn less, consume less and do as little harm as I could to the world. Looking back, it could be presumed that what constitutes the person I am now has come about since I started thinking of being a conscientious objector and while engaged in the peace movement.

On the contrary, it has been stressful sometimes for me to imagine the prison term which may come. At one stage, it was painful to envision myself in prison whenever I plan for the future. It was never easy to face my mother who tried to persuade me to reconsider my decision, saying I might have regrets after I finish the prison term. I was both saddened and angry to fall out with my parents who would argue it does not have to be me going to jail instead of military service, whereas I still feel some kind of guilt about going against what my parents have expected of me.

Last but not least, I would like to acknowledge the influence and the inspiration that I have received from my comrades, which have helped shape my thoughts. I believe that although it is me who has chosen to refuse military service, it is not a decision derived entirely from my own original thinking. I suppose the reason that I have been able to confirm my decision to become a conscientious objector was not because I have firm and flawless beliefs, but because I have been fully inspired by others around me who practice a nonviolent way of life. For me, it would be more accurate to say that I have come naturally to take this choice of being a conscientious objector in the context of how I live, than as a special and exceptional choice.

I hope my conscientious objection would resonate among people, and so reassess the reasons for the existence of the armed forces. I would have liked to question the militarism in Korean society, which goes beyond the matter of relativism, such as one’s freedom of conscience competing against another’s freedom of conscience. I wish my conscientious objection to enable me to still be able to empathize with other human beings, as well as remain sensitive to their pain in the future.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Conscientious Objection to Military service in South Korea

For the past several decades, conscientious objectors against military service have been going to prison. Yet it was only after 2000 that the issue became known to the public. That the cumulative number of conscientious objectors who served prison sentences exceeded ten thousand at the time profoundly shocked Korean society. Long considered an issue for Jehovah’s Witnesses only, conscientious objection became a social ‘movement’ with the public declaration of the first non-Jehovah’s Witness conscientious objector, the pacifist and Buddhist Oh Tae-yang in December 2001. In early 2002, “Korea Solidarity for Conscientious Objection” (KSCO) was formed by 36 civil and social organizations. They began to raise public awareness about conscientious objection through various activities such as discussion forums, lectures, public hearings, campaigns, and written articles.

The criticism and scolding against the conscientious objection movement were tremendous at first. The idea of national security was so absolute in the anti-communist Republic of Korea that more armament was considered socially ‘good’, while any kind of counter-argument was severely repressed. In South Korea, society went through a series of militarist regimes where a 100% enlistment rate was set as a social objective and the conscription-based military system was sanctified. It was not possible to bring up discussions on probable changes in the military system. Under these circumstances, it was difficult to expect not only reflections on the military as state-monopolized violence but also different points of view based on democracy and tolerance. A movement for change, however, was slowly created by the tremendous amount of time in jail and the pain that conscientious objectors endured. This was coupled with the efforts made by both recent conscientious objectors who publicly announced their objection and their supporters.

Afterwards, the duration of the usual prison term sentence for conscientious objectors was cut down from three years to one and a half years. In 2002, a case of conscientious objection was appealed to the Constitutional Court for review for the first time, and in 2004, a conscientious objector received a verdict of not guilty for the first time. In late 2004, assemblymen Mr. Im Joing-In and Roh Hoe-Chan each submitted a Military Service Act Amendment Bill to the South Korean National Assembly. In late 2005, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea announced a recommendation to introduce alternative service. This was a first time for a Korean national institute to do such a thing. In addition, the international community, upon recognizing the situation for Korean conscientious objectors, began to apply pressure on the Korean government. For example, the UN Human Rights Committee repeatedly ruled that the Korean government should consider alternate service for Korean conscientious objectors.

Thanks to these social changes, it appeared that the imprisonment of conscientious objectors which had continued for more than 50 years after liberation might end in the very near future. On September 18, 2007, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced plans to allow conscientious objectors to perform alternative civilian service, which was supposed to start in January 2009. In addition, at the Universal Periodic Review held in Geneva on May 7, 2008, the Chief of Human Rights Division of MND confirmed the position of Korea to introduce alternative service for conscientious objectors. But once the conservative Lee Myung-Bak government took office, MND suddenly changed its position. Having made little effort to prepare for alternative service with an excuse of ‘national consensus,’ MND publicly announced it would ‘nullify’ the introduction of alternative service for conscientious objectors in December 24, 2008. Their supposed basis for the decision was an opinion survey which was a very small part of the research commissioned by Military Manpower Administration in which there were more responses against alternative service. While the more-than-500-page-long research paper concludes that alternative service must be introduced, MND arbitrarily chose to use only part of the survey data for their own interests. The hard-fought changes by the civilian society were so easily overturned by the regime change. Up until now, more than 15,000 have been imprisoned for their objection to military service since Korea’s liberation from Japan in 1945. And in particular, more than 5,000 have gone through imprisonment since 2000, the year when the issue of conscientious objection began to be discussed in public.

Yet it was not only the CO movement participants who thought that the situation was unjust, but the militaristic and nationalistic Korean society had been changing slowly over the course of time and as the CO movement has continued. In the summer of 2008, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea officially expressed concern and sent a statement to MND, urging it to quickly introduce alternative service for conscientious objectors. This issue has been continuously raised in the judicial branch as well. There have been a series of requests with the Constitutional Court for a determination of constitutionality of the Homeland Army Reserve Act. In the current situation where legislative solutions are very unlikely, the Constitutional Court’s possible decision for conscientious objectors remains one of the possibilities. In 2010, UN Human Rights Committee pressed the Korean government once again by having its second ruling on individual CO communications. WRI, an anti-war organization which undertakes CO activities internationally, spread the news about Korea’s situation throughout the world.

In South Korea, about a thousand conscientious objectors are presently in prison.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please send a letter to the authorities listed below and express your deep concerns about this case as well as the inaction of making alternative service possible.

Please be informed that we have also sent a separate letter to the UN Special Rapportuer on freedom of religion or belief.

To support this appeal, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

SOUTH KOREA: A man should not be punished for his beliefs

Name of accused: Mr. MOON Myungjin, conscientious objector
Case & Charges: Case no. 2011GODAHN55; First trial held on March 16, 2011 at Single Criminal Court #3, Seoul Western District Court; article 88(section 1) of the Military Service Act

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the case of Mr. Moon Myungjin, who would not perform military service on the grounds of his beliefs and is going to be criminally prosecuted and imprisoned as a result.

According to the information obtained, Mr. Moon Myungjin who refused to be drafted within the prescribed period of time, whereupon he was accused under article 88(section 1) of the Military Service Act, was prosecuted and the first trial is scheduled to be held at Seoul Western District Court on March 18, 2011. Following previous cases, Mr. Moon would be put under court custody as soon as the court declares the sentences against him. I am also informed that it is most unlikely that Mr. Moon will be free from criminal imprisonment by the courts as there are hundreds of accused who had received one and a half years imprisonment before him. The hard fact is that there little room left for the lower courts to convert such decisions already made.

I am aware that the Constitutional Court delivered a decision on August 26, 2004, in a case unrelated to the current case of Mr. Moon. It rejected, by a majority vote, a constitutional challenge to article 88 of the Military Service Act on the grounds of incompatibility with the protection of freedom of conscience protected under the Korean Constitution. I would like to draw your attention in this judgment, to the fact that the Constitutional Court expressed that the legislature of South Korea has the responsibility to ease the conflict between freedom of conscience and the duty of a citizen as prescribed by the law. They should therefore consider taking appropriate action.

Sadly, as more time has passed, neither legislatures nor the concerned authorities, including the Ministry of National Defense, have made efforts to amend or make a law introducing alternative military service for the conscious objectors. All the more, the youth have become criminals. Having criminal records, they have been socially discriminated against and restricted in living.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to point out that the question has arisen that persons are going to be punished for a long time due to the inaction of the government. If a person is punished for such reasons, there will be also be a time coming in which the courts have to review earlier cases. The government might then have to undertake unbearable compensation for those who have been imprisoned due to such inaction. Furthermore, the court will not be free from criticism for taking no initiatives as the Seoul Nambu District Court made a judgment of acquittal to one conscientious objector in 2004.

I urge that a person who refuses to do compulsory military service on the grounds of his beliefs or religion should no longer be punished and imprisoned. The concerned authorities, in particular the President as well as the Ministry of National Defense, should introduce alternative service in order not to wrongly imprison the youth of the nation any more.

I take this opportunity to remind the government of South Korea of the need to establish a mechanism to provide the authors of the individual communications to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which South Korea is a state party, with effective remedies such as decriminalization of conscientious objectors, including compensation. In this regard, the Korean government has so far failed to establish or even discuss such mechanisms to implement the jurisprudence by the international human rights instruments including the UN Human Rights Committee. It will be nothing but a voice in the wind for the government to implement changes without having such a system in place in its domestic laws.

Yours sincerely,

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PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Lee Myung-Bak
President
1 Sejong-no, Jongno-gu
Seoul, 110-820
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Fax: +82 2 770 4751
E-mail: foreign@president.go.kr or president@cwd.go.kr or president@president.go.kr

2. Mr. Lee Gui-Nam
Minister of Justice
88 Gwanmon-ro, Gwachon-si
Gyonggi Province 427-760
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Tel: +82 2 503 7023
Fax: +82 2 2110 3079 / 503 7046
E-mail: webmaster@moj.go.kr

3. Mr. Kim Joon-Gyu
Prosecutor General
Supreme Prosecutor’s Office
1730-1, Seocho3-dong
Seocho-gu, Seoul
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Fax: +82 2 3480 2555
Tel: +82 2 3480 2000
E-mail: koreapros@spo.go.kr

4. Mr. Kim Kwan-Jin
Minister
Ministry of National Defense
No. 1, Yongsan-dong 3-ga
Yongsan-gu, Seoul
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Tel: +82 2 748 1111
Fax: +82 2 748 6895
E-mail: cyber@mnd.go.kr

5. Judge
c/o Single Criminal Court #3 (ref. 2011GODAHN 55)
Seoul Western District Court
99 Mapo-ro
Mapo-gu, Seoul
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Tel: +82 2 3271 1114

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission

Written by Lal Khan in Lahore Tuesday, 22 December 2009

With thanks: International Marxist Website

After years of military dictatorships followed by sham democracy, the situation in Pakistan has reached such a point that the masses are yearning for radical change. Their suffering is immense as the people at the top continue to enrich themselves at the expensive of the workers and peasants, collaborating with imperialism as it rides rough-shod over the people of Pakistan. Everything is moving to an inevitable revolutionary explosion.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court in its verdict of 16 December, 2009 declared the notorious NRO null and void ab initio. The National Reconciliation Ordinance of October 2007 was promulgated by the then President of Pakistan General Parvaiz Musharraf. It was the outcome of a deal he had struck with Benazir Bhutto, life Chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party in a covert meeting in Abu Dhabi. The deal was brokered by the United States and Britain. The aim was to create a new setup that could facilitate the imperialist war and other interests in this turbulent region.

According to this ordinance all cases of politicians including corruption, murder, extortion, kidnappings and other heinous crimes would be withdrawn. Some of the major beneficiaries are now in power including Benazir’s widower Zardari, now the President of Pakistan and some of his most sinister ministers. The other main beneficiary is the Muteheda Qaumi Movement, MQM, whose leader, an absconder resident in London for several years, and its other leading figures were facing charges of murder and other crimes. The MQM is a mafia-type organisation with neo-fascist tendencies and its main ideological baggage is based on ethnic conflict.

The present democratic dispensation is the product of such a nefarious design. After Benazir’s assassination in December 2007 Musharraf’s fate was sealed. The plan B came into action and Zardari having a long standing relationship with US officials was catapulted into the presidency with his firm assurance that he would be more subservient to the Americans than Musharraf or Benazir could ever have been. The Electoral College for this election are comprised of members of the National and provincial assemblies who were elected in the February 2008 elections, the results of which were tailor-made in Washington to serve the imperialist strategies.

Ironically this unanimity, or “reconciliation”, between all the parties in Parliament was prompted by a collective fear on the part of these representatives of the ruling class in the wake of the beginnings of a mass movement that they witnessed on the arrival of Benazir from exile in Karachi on October 18, 2007 and later after the explosion of the wrath of the workers, peasants and youth at the news of her assassination on December 27, 2007. After a long period of suffering, the oppressed in Pakistan had risen up in the hope that the leader of their traditional party, the PPP under Benazir Bhutto, would be a beacon of change and free them from the unrelenting misery and distress.

The Americans had already done their homework with the PPP leaders, who mainly come from the moneyed classes, to divert this outburst into a democratic election and façade of “democracy”. These leaders drowned the mass anger and revolt in sorrow and despair. They refused to call for a general strike for the elections to be held on the scheduled date of January 8, 2008 and blocked the movement. This gave an opportunity to the Pakistani state and its imperialist masters to regroup their forces and stave off the threat of a revolutionary upheaval.

The Military in Pakistan has ruled directly for more than half of the country’s 62 years of chequered history. All the military regimes were supported and propped up by US imperialism. During the “democratic” intermissions the plight of the masses continued to deteriorate. After the first decade (1947-58) of democratic regimes, such was the crisis that when Martial Law was imposed by Field Martial Ayub Khan there was even a sense of relief amongst several sections of society.

Ayub Khan had the impertinence to say in one of his initial statements “we must understand that democracy cannot work in a hot climate. To have democracy we must have a cold climate like Britain.” General Ayub told the first meeting of his cabinet, “As far as you are concerned there is only one embassy that matters in this country: the American Embassy.”

The Ayub dictatorship embarked upon an ambitious economic, agrarian and industrial programme in the 1960s, mainly sponsored by “US Aid” and the World Bank. Although Pakistan achieved its highest growth rates under Ayub, Keynesian economic policies failed to improve the lot of the masses. The aggravated social contradictions exploded into the revolution of 1968-69 that was fundamentally of a socialist character. [See Pakistan’s Other Story-The 1968-69 Revolution].

The failure of the existing left leadership to give a clear revolutionary programme and perspective to the movement resulted in the rise of the Populism of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Due to the absence of a Bolshevik-Leninist revolutionary party the revolution was lost. But it did shake the whole of South Asia. The ruling classes initially tried to impose Martial Law again. However, its failure to curb the tide resulted in the first elections based on the adult franchise in 1970 where the PPP became the largest party in West Pakistan.

Having failed to curtail the revolutionary wave that pierced through the ballot, ultimately the ruling classes resorted to a war with India, which led to the break-up of Pakistan and then Bhutto was given power who, forced by the pressure of the masses, initiated radical reforms from above, but only to exhaust the revolution brewing below.

Bhutto’s elected left reformist government was subsequently overthrown by a military coup led by General Zia ul Haq in July 1977, who later hanged Bhutto at the behest of US imperialism. The eleven-year brutal dictatorship of Zia was perhaps the most traumatic period for the working masses in Pakistan. In connivance with the Americans, Zia propped up and unleashed the beast of Islamic fundamentalism to crush the left. The continuance of that grotesque monstrosity is what produced the present day fundamentalist terror that is ripping apart the social fabric of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Zia Dictatorship began to crumble after another upheaval on the return from exile of Bhutto’s daughter Benazir in April 1986. The contradictions in the already weakened dictatorship were thus sharpened. General Zia’s plane was conveniently blown up in mid air in August 1988 – some have speculated that this may have been done at the request of the Americans, whom the megalomaniac and insane general had begun to “disobey” seeking his own personal agenda.

From 1988 to 1999 there was another democratic interlude, where Benazir and Nawaz Sharif alternated in short stints of rulerships. This period was marred by an orgy of corruption, incompetence, spiralling economic decline and chaos. General Musharraf took power in a bloodless coup by overthrowing Sharif. Musharraf then introduced a “quasi-democracy” in 2002 but the 9/11 episode in the USA once again made another dictator another main American collaborator. This time the façade was not against communists but we had the so-called “war against terror”.

Musharraf’s demise and the regime that ensued once again brought unprecedented agony and pain for the people of Pakistan. History has turned full circle. This vicious cycle of Pakistan’s political superstructure – dictatorship to democracy and back to dictatorship ‑ has brought no respite to society. Only the suffering has intensified. In reality this is a reflection of the ongoing social and economic crisis built into the foundations of this tragic country.

The Pakistani ruling class after its independence from direct British rule came onto the scene of history too late and with this came an inability to develop the economy. It was a weak class even at its inception. It could not produce enough surpluses for its profits and capital needed to tap the resources of the country and carry out its historical role of the national revolution that its pioneers had envisaged. It adjusted itself accordingly, and its survival depended on the one hand by being subservient to imperialism and on the other allying itself and compromising with the landed aristocracy created under the Raj. The founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, as early as November 1947, less than three months after the formation of Pakistan, had sent his emissary to Washington asking for a $2bn loan. The response he got was a mere $10million of loose change.

The failure of Pakistan’s ruling elite is evident 62 years later. None of the national democratic tasks have been completed. Several agrarian reforms have failed to abolish feudalism. Pakistan came into existence not as a nation but as a state comprising different nationalities. National oppression continues and the national question has become a festering wound on the body politic of this country. The task of the formation of a modern nation state is far from being achieved and will in fact further deteriorate with the impending crisis. This state of incompleteness of the tasks has wrought havoc on the social and economic life of Pakistani society.

The social and political infrastructure is in a state of collapse. “National sovereignty” is a farce and hardly anybody believes in the state’s independence. Imperialist intervention and domination is on a greater scale today than it was in 1947, the year of Pakistan’s creation. Except for a few years under Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, all the finance ministers have been employees of the World Bank or other imperialist financial institutions.

Now the US is even trying to control sections of Pakistan’s armed forces and intruding its military corporate contractors to take over “security” in several vital parts of the country. These include former Blackwater now XE securities, DynCorp and others. An embittered general described the strategic relationship as Americans using Pakistan as a “condom”. The conflicts within the army are also the result of this aggressive hegemony being thrust into the Military’s domain. This is already giving rise to bloody conflicts among different agencies and sections of the armed forces representing black money and other sections of finance capital. This conflict is being waged covertly at the present time. But if a desperate imperialism faces an impending defeat in Afghanistan and tries a partial US occupation of NWFP (Pushtoonkhwa), it could even trigger a severe crisis in the army already under strain from carrying out the CENTCOM instructions on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The fallout could have catastrophic consequences.

Similarly the severe crisis of Pakistani capitalism has failed to develop a parliamentary democracy. The Pakistani ruling class, in the wake of its economic failures turned to plunder of the state at an early stage. They pay less than 10% of total taxation revenues. The real burden falls on the working class who are forced to pay more than 80% of the revenues through indirect taxation. The capitalist class steals electricity and gas, while billions of dollars of bank loans have been written off. According to the figures presented before the Supreme Court of Pakistan, a small section of these leeches’ annual corruption exceeds Rs. 500 billion (US$6.2bn). Most of this money is stashed away in western banking havens.

As this process started to become more and more evident, the army, the most powerful instrument of the state, started to become part of this evil nexus of plunderers and usurpers. The drug-funded and US/Saudi sponsored Afghan Jihad brought even greater loot to the coffers of the generals. Other institutions of the state and society including the judiciary, the bureaucracy and the media joined in this orgy of corruption. Hence, whenever there was a political crisis (conflict of the civilian plunderers) the military moved in to quell the rot. The dictatorships bred more corruption and as they began to lose their grip democracy was introduced ‑ the main reason being the growing danger of a mass revolt that is provoked by these repressive regimes.

Although even a bourgeois democracy is a progressive step forward as compared to military dictatorships, the exploitative system that the military rulers intervene to salvage remains intact. In Pakistan this crisis-ridden system again creates a political instability that reflects the burning economic turmoil. The army and state are not a class, but in the last analysis the economic and social conditions determine the nature of the regime that is needed by the ruling class to preserve the system of exploitation of labour. Comrade Ted Grant elaborated on this in 1949 “The state by its very nature is composed of a bureaucracy, officers, generals, heads of police etc. But those do not constitute a class; they are the instrument of a class even if they may be in antagonism to that class. They cannot themselves be a class.” (The unbroken thread, pp.235).

In Pakistan the irony is that time and again the masses have risen up against the dictatorship, fundamentally to overthrow the yoke of exploitation and misery inflicted upon them by this vicious system of class rule. When they were allowed even to make half a choice through the ballot-box they propelled the PPP to power. Yet their hopes have been dashed time and again by the PPP in government in the short span of less than 40 years. The toiling masses have been loyal to their tradition for generations. The ruling class only allowed the PPP into the corridors of power to dissipate the mass upsurge. Above all the ruling class, the state and the imperialists have used the capitulating leaders of the PPP to carry through cuts, privatisations and other drastic anti-working class measures. They could not have achieved so much with the right-wing governments of Sharif, etc., but even under the dictatorships they combined caution with repression.

However, at least in the 1970s the PPP government did carry through some reforms for the betterment of the impoverished masses. In the later PPP governments since 1988 such was the crisis of Pakistani capitalism that there was no room for even minimal reforms. The PPP governments carried through right-wing policies and actions. Paradoxically, privatization and other policies of counter-reforms were introduced at the behest of imperialism by the PPP government in 1989.

The present theory of “reconciliation” initiated by imperialism is the most blatant and insidious form of class collaboration. Policies like the Public Private Partnership (PPP) are a deceptive and poisonous methodology to blunt the class struggle, deceive and corrupt the workers. Such privatization devastates the workers who fall into this treachery of “ownership” of factories from which they are themselves fired to sustain profits. The shares of “ownership” are turned into trash by the speculators on the stock markets and the impoverished workers become bankrupt and are forced into starvation and drudgery.

As the crisis worsens, the ruling class and the establishment come to the conclusion that the potential of a PPP government to carry out the policies to preserve capitalism have become exhausted, and they use the state to kick out PPP governments. If the Army is not in a position to carry out this act, then the other vital organ of the state, the Judiciary comes into play. After all, both are the sacrosanct pillars of the state.

As the PPP is a populist party it lacks democratic structures, with no democratically elected bodies and no revocability of the leadership. Hence an atmosphere of pusillanimity and conformity prevails inside the party where compromises and deals are the prerogative of the leader alone. The working masses have no alternative yet. Hence the right wing regime and dictatorships only prevail until the masses are in a state of disillusionment and despair due to the shattered hopes from the previous PPP government. At the same time the PPP leadership in its quest for power again, using the force of tradition tries to mobilise the masses. The slogans and programmes of every campaign are carefully calculated by the experts and advisors of the PPP leadership.

However, it is very difficult to control the masses once they are mobilized and are on the move. This forces the leaders to radicalise their slogans as the pressure from below mounts. Dialectically this further emboldens the masses and forces the traditional leaders to further move to the left and begin to defy the state. Sections of the state become terrified by this surge and in desperation resort to the most atrocious measures.

This was the dynamic and the intensification of the movement in the autumn of 2007 that led to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. The experts who were promoting the interests of the status quo failed to handle this situation that was rapidly spiralling out of control. In ordinary times they try to use ideas and tactics, from left reformism to democracy, to the slogan of “food, shelter and clothing”. But they ensure that the party’s founding programme that calls for revolutionary socialism remains hidden from the rank and file and the workers and youth who are the main basis of support for the Party. It has in fact been buried by the leadership for more than two decades. Actually it is very awkward and embarrassing even to mention the word “socialism” in the meetings of the various tiers of the leaders.

Most if these present-day leaders have never read the founding documents of the PPP. This documents clearly states, “The ultimate objective of the party’s policy is the attainment of a classless society which is only possible through Socialism in our times”. The irony is that the initial revision of this programme was given the vulgar expression of a “multi-class party”. The latest version of this form of class collaborationism is “Reconciliation”. Often such discourses have led to the tragic assassinations of the most charismatic leaders of the PPP.

Chairman Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in his last book, “If I am assassinated”, had clearly warned about the catastrophic consequences of these class collaborationist digressions and even stressed upon the role of this ideological deviation in the imposition of Zia’s brutal Martial Law and as a cause of his own ordeal and assassination. Yet the next generation of the PPP leaders have not learnt anything from his last testament. And as the old saying goes, “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. How tragically the subsequent events have proved this to be so pertinent. But for how long will the masses continue to adhere to this tradition?

The present PPP-led coalition government based on the theory of “reconciliation” has meant havoc for the masses. In just two years of its existence, price hikes, increases in unemployment, lack of healthcare and education, deprivation, shortage of electricity, water, flour, sugar, petroleum products, gas, etc., have been astronomical. The level of poverty has risen sharply. Wars are raging in large areas of the country. Terrorism, fear, uncertainty and insecurity stalk the land. Suicide bombings and terrorist carnage has turned society into a living hell. The Americans are using the Pakistan Army and the state to fight their wars for strategies and interests that have been given false names and objectives. The PPP is in government but they are not the ones calling the shots. In this caged rulership they are being used to execute policies to further the vested interests of the imperialists and the ruling elites.

The crisis of the state and society has reached such proportions that even the serious bourgeois analysts are terrified of the consequences. They confess today what they could not even imagine in the past. An article in The Dawn says the following:

“Pakistan’s biggest tragedy… has been the axis of trouble between America, Pakistan army and the religious parties… until and unless the axis is broken… the so-called democratisation of Pakistan will not bring peace or prosperity to the latter’s 170 million people, nearly eighty percent of whom live below the poverty line of $2 a day. The army has no incentive to break the axis of trouble (a legacy of the great game) because it thrives on the perpetuations of conflicts in the region and the largesse it receives from the United States. Pakistan had been cursed by the civilian and military leaders who are too eager to follow the US agenda…

“…Politics has been demonised to degrees that save for the incompetent and allegedly corrupt individuals like Mr. Zardari or Mr. Nawaz Sharif or creations of the establishment like Altaf Hussain (MQM) or Maulana Fazalur Rehman, few wish to navigate the treacherous and murderous waters of Pakistani Politics.”

In this crisis-ridden condition the masses have been persistently imbued with the illusion that the judiciary would be the source of their salvation. This notion has been instilled not just by the right-wing politicians, the Islamic fundamentalists, the corrupt and reactionary bourgeois media but also by the left parties and groups. The restoration of the so-called “free” judiciary has not only failed to give any respite to the impoverished millions but has miserably failed to solve even petty issues like sugar shortages, petroleum prices, etc., and has been exposed to be impotent and ineffective. Its ‘suo motto’ actions have proved to be deceptive and farcical. The masses in their experiences of life know that not only justice is ridiculously expensive but it is corrupt to the core. The article in The Dawn further elaborates and exposes the role and character of Pakistan’s Judiciary.

“An independent Judiciary is an oxymoron in current objective conditions. The so called revolt by some in the judiciary against Musharraf was the manifestation of the power struggle inside the establishment. The judiciary is as much part of the collapsing Pakistani state structure as some of the big media personalities. The ugly reality is that the business of that state and policies has become a mafia enterprise with usual mix of big money (read business, drugs, land) interests and crime. This criminal enterprise has the active support of the Americans who find it convenient to use a corrupt instrument that a puppet state is, be it military or quasi military…

“…Until and unless a movement emerges that appeals to popular sentiment and represents the people’s real aspirations to create a genuinely democratic state, Pakistan’s chance of survival in its current state are grim.” (The Dawn, 5 December 2009)

We have quoted this article at some length because it graphically exposes the gravity of the situation. And that exposure is in the most important and traditional paper of Pakistan’s ruling class. The present ruling class are crying hoarse about democracy. They equate every solution of every problem to “democracy”. The din has now escalated to a deafening crescendo. Yelling about democracy at the top their voices round the clock, on the television, in the newspapers, every political party with ideologies ranging from Islamic fundamentalism to the nationalists, to the liberal and so-called ‘secular democrats’, has been issuing an agonising, monotonous and annoying message for the masses. The PPP leaders are the most tedious and raucous. The masses being thrust in the abyss of misery, poverty and disease have become sick and tired of this democratic demagogy, constitutional and legalistic wrangles and all this hypocritical nonsense of “national” interests’ with its decayed and treacherous patriotism.

Democracy is not a social system. It is a methodology used in different varieties in different social systems in history. From that of the Roman republic to the Athenian model and from the Asiatic despotic democracy to the shura of Islam this method of rule has gone through various forms and shapes. The masses in Pakistan have only experienced the worsening of their misery and pain under this “democracy” of finance capital and free market economics. The genuine democracy of the workers and the toiling masses can only be accomplished by the overthrow of this yoke of dictatorship of the financial oligarchy. The conditions on the ground and what the masses think represent a death knell for the upholders of this system. In a recent British Council report of s survey on Pakistan called “Next generation”, the following inferences have been drawn.

The young respondents who participated in this survey are deeply disillusioned with only 15 percent believing that Pakistan is moving in the right direction; 72 percent feel they are worse off than they were a year ago. Given this level of despair it is hardly surprising that only two percent are members of any political party. Just half of them are bothered to get themselves enrolled in the voters list and only 30% voted in the last election. Only half of young Pakistanis enter primary schools and a quarter go on to receive a secondary education. Less than five percent get a higher education of any kind. The conditions in hospitals and other basic facilities are even worse. Seventy eight percent of the population is forced into semi or non scientific medication. They simply can’t afford proper treatment. But this despair and apathy is not going to last forever.

The masses are fed up with most political and ideological tendencies and ideologies on the horizon. All present “solutions” that are within the confines of this rotting capitalist system. The masses are fed up with the Islamic parties and religious fundamentalism. The surge in terrorism has eroded their support drastically, which was not much anyway. They pose no alternative. The pro American stance of the nationalists and their love for a free market enterprise seals their fate of getting a mass social base. Liberal democracy with its rampant corruption, its betrayals and lumbering of the economic crusade upon the shoulders of the population has repelled the masses. There is a widespread revulsion towards these political trends and parties. Meanwhile, the army is going through internal conflicts that have fractured its cohesion and discipline. The escalation of war will further ignite dissent within the armed forces. The judiciary is being rapidly exposed. It sacrosanct image imposed by the media will further erode as deprivation and want intensify. It won’t and can’t solve any problems of the masses.

The PPP government is being targeted by the media. The Muslim League’s and Sharif’s party is facing a downward economic spiral. The only outcome of the policies of the present PPP government is that they are repaving the way for the right wing. If the Sharifs fail the right will bring in another alternative. But even the removal of the PPP government will not quell the rot. The crisis will further aggravate. Even if the ruling class and the Americans try to install a new military dictatorship it will be a very dangerous move for the system itself. It’s not the same military and it’s not the same times. Even Musharraf’s dictatorship seemed to be a picnic compared to the strong dictatorship of Ayub Khan or the brutal and ferocious military rule of Zia Ul Haq.

A new dictatorship may be very repressive to begin with but would be very fragile and would not last long in the present conditions. Bourgeois democracy has failed to deliver. The system is rotten to the core. It cannot take society forward. The extreme crisis of the system reflects the elements of barbarism raising its ugly head in several parts of Pakistan. Without a socio-economic transformation the country is doomed. Its breakup is not the most likely perspective but if at all it should happen, the bloodshed and devastation would be unprecedented. Its existence in the present form will be a continual aggravation of crisis and instability. The only way forward is the overthrow of this system through a socialist revolution.

There are innumerable left groups and parties. But they are miniscule and confused. They unite to break up into more sects that merge and then reunite again, without considering the ideological and theoretical basis or clear perspective and aims. They unite for ‘revolution’ without agreeing upon even the basic character of the revolution.

The PPP’s present leadership has been discredited to the extent that their regaining of social base in the coming period is unlikely. According to the Forbes magazine, Zardari is amongst the ten richest heads of state. He has even more wealth than the Queen of England. But that is not the end of the PPP. In spite, and despite, of its leadership the masses will not let go of their tradition without a fight. This time there is a far greater possibility that the leadership will be challenged as the party yet once again fills up in the wake of a fresh movement of the masses. But this time the challenge will come on an ideological basis. The Socialist foundations will come to haunt the present corrupt leaders and their cronies. There will be a huge ferment in the ranks.

The perspective of the movement is not just the only hope for the survival of this society but it is a reality unforeseen in the doom and gloom of those whose ideas were defeated by historical events. New generations have grown up since the fall of Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. They are yearning for change. Once they enter the arena of struggle a revolutionary wave will spread across society. Its reverberations will be felt among the trade unions, students, youth and the poor peasants. It will have an impact in the PPP as we saw the impact of the masses in the psychology of the leadership in the autumn of 2007.

If an organized Marxist tendency is quantitatively and qualitatively developed in time then another accidental leadership or demagogic individual being prepared by the state will not be able to hijack the PPP and divert and betray the movement again. A massive upheaval that would erupt out of such atrocious conditions and smash seemingly formidable obstacles will be even more forceful and militant than what we saw in 1968-69. The Marxists, if they are present as a substantial force armed with firm ideological understanding and profound methodology of revolutionary socialism, at the onset of such an upsurge will be able to illuminate for the workers, peasants and youth a clear path and a destiny they have yearned for generations. The victory of revolutionary socialism in Pakistan would not just destroy barbarism, but would have revolutionary repercussions far beyond these artificial borders.

A Comment by Lal Khan of IMT (translated by AA from Tabqatti Jiddojehd)

The recent Supreme Court’s recent decision declaring the NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) null and void has emerged as latest explosion in the series of tremulous events which have been arising from the severe political, economic and social crisis plaguing Pakistani state and society.  Instead of resolving this severe crisis, this decision will actually sharpen the contradictions and deepen the crisis and the anarchic situation. In August 1970 the veteran communist theoretician Comrade Ted Grant wrote, “we see the ruling classes of Pakistan swing from one form of governance to another, from military dictatorship to democracy and than the cycle repeats it self. This on their part is an attempt to avoid and escape the principle contradictions confronting them. But whatever is their form of government, military dictatorship or a “difficult democracy” they fail to provide economic and social stability” (Unbroken Thread, Ted Grant, 1970,p 431)

The Hidden NRO

After 30 years this crisis has become far more complex and severe. Corruption is not the cause of failure of this system rather it’s the fundamental necessity and creation of this system.  In this rotten system who is not corrupt? From pillars of state and politics to journalism and vanguards of social morality every layer of authority and ruling classes is corrupt. In this state afflicted by the crisis capitalism the pillars of state have no solutions.  Just like western capitalism, the client politicians of the ruling elite and establishment do corruption like master tacticians; they leave no proof behind and no stain on their character.. Their corruption is protected and safe. Despite all this when one considers the different existential crisis affecting every aspect of society and state of so called Islamic republic, corruption really becomes a non-issue.  The judiciary which is being portrayed as holy, sacred and clean is historically one of the most corrupt institution of Pakistan . Not only this, judiciary has always given verdicts which have strengthened the strangulating grip of ruthless capitalism and establishment on the people.  This decision is just yet another addition into this long tradition of decisions given by the superior judiciary of Pakistan .  Just like Army, civil bureaucracy, parliament, corporate media the judiciary is part and pillar of the state.  Just like these the principle function of judiciary is to preserve this inherently unjust system at any cost. Some  times using brute force and violence and at other instances utilizing the farcical democracy or judicial and constitutional wizardry the rotten social values and institutions of this system of ruthless capitalist plunder are given new life. The bitter reality is that this state and its institutions and all the political parties affiliated with it are slave of international monetary capitalism. If the capital cannot be generated by fair means utilizing unfair means become a necessity in this system where capital is god venerated in temples of state.  In a system where every relationship, value and emotion has become a commodity, justice too is on sale at judicial market.  In this hideous play of the ruling elite, the imperialism is strengthening its grip and is continuously looting and plundering the national wealth and assets without any resistance.  Pakistan Peoples Party was product of a revolution (1968-69 revolution) but it could never transform itself into a Leninist revolutionary party.  This contradiction resulted in its adoption by the working classes and downtrodden people of Pakistan as their revolutionary tradition and at the same time, its real character being “populist” instead of “Leninist-revolutionary” makes it vulnerable to be used by the ruling elite and enemy classes for furthering their agenda and easing their difficulties. Despite having the ample opportunities to completely dislodge the capitalist system in 1968-69 and in 1971-72, the failure to do so and decision to operate within the constraints of this system, the party leadership is on a continuous swing of deviating from Party’s original and fundamental programme of Socialism.  With this the slow infiltration of enemy classes in the party started and their grip on party has been increasing ever since. It is not to be denied that the present leadership of feudal, industrialists and petty bourgeois up starters have indulged in corruption but the question is which party and institution of Pakistan has not? Karl Marx once wrote those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.
In every crisis, the working classes and downtrodden masses of Pakistan have given their sweat, blood and tears to save this party. But the establishment and ruling classes have always used this party to control the crisis of state and to diffuse the revolutionary insurrections of masses and working classes standing behind this party. On return of Benazir Bhutto the monumental popular uprising completely exposed and discredited the so called “Lawyers Movement” and sharpened the class struggle. The sheer volume of popular uprising bewildered the establishment and ruling classes which were shaken to their roots. The epicenter of this movement Benazir Bhutto was assassinated and by a fraudulent election , a setup was imposed on the people in which government was given to the peoples party but the real power  was vested with some one else under tutelage of Washington.  The credit of removing General Pervez Mushraff was granted to the Lawyers Movement by the national and international corporate media instead of the glorious sacrifices and class struggle of people of Pakistan . The petty bourgeois and elitist leaders of Pakistan Peoples Party, blinded by the lust for power and wealth were under the deceptive illusion that they have the power in the state structure. The governance of this system moved them to impose ruthless capitalist policies like the criminally deceptive concept of “Public-Private Partnership, privatization and de-regulation resulting in unprecedented rise in poverty, hunger, unemployment and load shedding alienating the masses which form the very base of this party. With this economic terrorism people were attacked and the movement started to diffuse depriving people’s party of its “use value” by the state and establishment. As the leadership of Pakistan Peoples Party tried to strengthen its hold on Power structure , the holders of real power and the real rulers of this country h used yet another of their institution, the Judiciary instead  of the traditional bully the Pak Army to show the Peoples Party’s government their real worth.  In reaching this situation, the people’s party government by its sheer incompetence and pursuit of anti people economic policies has weakened it self and paved the way for the right wing assault. The irony is that even if Peoples Party government is kicked out the problems and crisis will not be resolved. Rather the situation will deteriorate manifolds, barbarism will plunder the society. The brutal assassination of Benazir Bhutto created a sympathy wave but the people burning in the hell of poverty, hunger and terrorism can’t wait for ever spell bound by an illusion. Even if they don’t rise in a revolutionary movement, holding on to the dwindling hope provided by their traditional party, in presence of such levels of poverty, humiliation, hunger and crisis any hope of stability is not tangible.

The crisis of society itself manifests in forms of contradictions within ruling elite, the state institutions creating an internal conflict within the state and ruling elite.  Every system of governance created by the bosses from ruthless military dictatorships to controlled democracy of General Musharraf and the capitalist parliamentary democracy has failed miserably. Every party and every institution stands exposed in front of the people. In this situation, it will be very difficult for the present leadership of Pakistan Peoples Party to use its traditional sympathy card. No doubt that the people and working class will be saddened by the dismissal of the government of their traditional party but they will only come out to actively support and defend the government, if the party returns to its original programme of socialism as rallying cry for a revolutionary movement.  This scenario in the present situation is very difficult keeping in mind the present leadership of the party. This on the other hand will create an ideological turbulence in the base of the party. Many expressions of this will be in form of personal and opportunistic dissent but an ideological conflict within the party is inevitable. The phenomenal question will surface in the party that which class this party represents and which class’s interests it pursues instead. The last writing and testament of Chairman Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto will re emerge and new avenues will open for the revolutionary tendency within the party. The traditional party slogan of “Socialism or death” will once again echo in this party.. The victory of revolutionary socialists in Peoples Party will pave the way for the socialist transformation of the society with the permanent solution of poverty, hunger  Islamic fascism and unemployment and this will become a reality.

Written byMike Palecek
Wednesday, 12 August 2009

With thanks: International Marxist Website

We are constantly bombarded with the myth that capitalism drives innovation, technology, and scientific advancement. But in fact, the precise opposite is true. Capitalism is holding back every aspect of human development, and science and technology is no exception.

We are constantly bombarded with the myth that capitalism drives innovation, technology, and scientific advancement. We are told that competition, combined with the profit motive, pushes science to new frontiers and gives big corporations incentive to invent new medicines, drugs, and treatments. The free market, we are told, is the greatest motivator for human advance. But in fact, the precise opposite is true. Patents, profits, and private ownership of the means of production are actually the greatest fetters science has known in recent history. Capitalism is holding back every aspect of human development, and science and technology is no exception.

Main slab of the Darwinius masillae holotype fossil. Photo by Jens L. Franzen, Philip D. Gingerich, Jörg Habersetzer1, Jørn H. Hurum, Wighart von Koenigswald, B. Holly Smith.Main slab of the Darwinius masillae holotype fossil. Photo by Jens L. Franzen, Philip D. Gingerich, Jörg Habersetzer1, Jørn H. Hurum, Wighart von Koenigswald, B. Holly Smith.The most recent and blatant example of private ownership serving as a barrier to advancement can be found in the Ida fossil. Darwinius masillae is a 47 million year old lemur that was recently “discovered”. Anyone and everyone interested in evolution cheered at the unveiling of a transitional species, linking upper primates and lower mammals. Ida has forward-facing eyes, short limbs, and even opposable thumbs. What is even more remarkable is the stunning condition she was preserved in. This fossil is 95% complete. The outline of her fur is clearly visible and scientists have even been able to examine the contents of her stomach, determining that her last meal consisted of fruits, seeds, and leaves. Enthusiasts are flocking to New York’s Museum of Natural History to get a glimpse of the landmark fossil.

So what does Ida have to do with capitalism? Well, she was actually unearthed in 1983 and has been held by a private collector ever since. The collector didn’t realize the significance of the fossil (not surprising since he is not a paleontologist) and so it just collected dust for 25 years.

There is a large international market for fossils. Capitalism has reduced these treasures, which rightly belong to all of humanity, to mere commodities. Privately held fossils are regularly leased to museums so that they may be studied or displayed. Private fossil collections tour the world, where they can make money for their owners, instead of undergoing serious study. And countless rare specimens sit in the warehouses of investment companies, or the living rooms of collectors serving as nothing more than a conversation piece. It is impossible to know how many important fossils are sitting, waiting to be discovered in some millionaire’s office.

Medical Research

The pharmaceutical industry is well known for price gouging and refusing to distribute medicines to those who can’t afford it. The lack of drugs to combat the AIDS pandemic, particularly in Africa, is enough to prove capitalism’s inability to distribute medicine to those in need. But what role does the profit motive play in developing new drugs? The big pharmaceuticals have an equally damning record in the research and development side of their industry.

AIDS patients can pay tens of thousands of dollars per year for the medication they need to keep them alive. In 2003, when a new drug called Fuzeon was introduced, there was an outcry over the cost, which would hit patients with a bill of over $20,000 per year. Roche’s chairman and chief executive, Franz Humer tried to justify the price tag, “We need to make a decent rate of return on our innovations. This is a major breakthrough therapy… I can’t imagine a society that doesn’t want that innovation to continue.”

But the innovation that Mr. Humer speaks of is only half-hearted. Drug companies are not motivated by compassion; they are motivated by cash. To a drug company, a person with AIDS is not a patient, but a customer. The pharmaceutical industry has a financial incentive to make sure that these people are repeat-customers, consequently there is very little research being done to find a cure. Most research done by the private sector is centered on finding new anti-retroviral drugs – drugs that patients will have to continue taking for a lifetime.

There has been a push to fund research for an AIDS vaccine and, more recently, an effective microbicide. However, the vast majority of this funding comes from government and non-profit groups. The pharmaceutical industry simply isn’t funding the research to tackle this pandemic. And why would they? No company on earth would fund research that is specifically designed to put them out of business.

Similar problems arise in other areas of medical research. In the cancer field an extremely promising drug was discovered in early 2007. Researchers at the University of Alberta discovered that a simple molecule DCA can reactivate mitochondria in cancer cells, allowing them to die like normal cells. DCA was found to be extremely effective against many forms of cancer in the laboratory and shows promise for being an actual cure for cancer. DCA has been used for decades to treat people with mitochondria disorders. Its effects on the human body are therefore well known, making the development process much simpler.

But clinical trials of DCA have been slowed by funding issues. DCA is not patented or patentable. Drug companies will not have the ability to make massive profits off the production of this drug, so they are not interested. Researchers have been forced to raise money themselves to fund their important work. Initial trials, on a small scale, are now under way and the preliminary results are very encouraging. But it has been two years since this breakthrough was made and serious study is only just getting underway. The U of A’s faculty of medicine has been forced to beg for money from government and non-profit organizations. To date, they have not received a single cent from a for-profit medical organization.

The lack of research into potential non-patentable cures does not stop at DCA. There is an entire industry built up around so-called alternative natural remedies. Many people, this author included, are skeptical about the claims made by those that support alternative medicines. Richard Dawkins is quick to point out that “If a healing technique is demonstrated to have curative properties in properly controlled double-blind trials, it ceases to be alternative. It simply…becomes medicine.” But this black and white view does not take into account the limitations placed on science by capitalism. The refusal to fund the testing needed to verify non-patentable alternative medicines has two damaging effects. First, we are kept in the dark about potentially effective medications. And second, the modern-day snake oil salesmen that peddle false cures are given credibility by the few alternative treatments that do work.

Technology and Industry

The manufacturing industry in particular is supposed to be where capitalist innovation is in its element. We are told that competition between companies will lead to better products, lower prices, new technology and new innovation. But again, upon closer inspection we see private interests serving as more of a barrier than an enabler. Patents and trade secrets prevent new technologies from being developed. The oil industry in particular has a long history of purchasing patents, simply to prevent the products from ever coming to market.

Competition can serve as a motivator for the development of new products. But as we have already seen above, it can also serve as a motivator to prevent new products from ever seeing the light of day. Companies will not only refuse to fund research for the development of a product that might hurt their industry, but in some cases they will go to extraordinary lengths to prevent anyone else from doing the same research.

The 2006 documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car” goes into great detail about the role of big oil companies, auto manufacturers, and the US Federal Government in preventing an alternative vehicle from hitting the road. The filmmaker claims that auto companies would lose out if an electric vehicle was ever produced because of the simplicity of their maintenance. The replacement parts side of the auto industry would be decimated. Oil companies would see a dramatic reduction in the demand for their products as the world switched to electric vehicles. It is claimed that hydrogen fuel cells, which have very little chance of being developed into a useful technology, are used as a distraction from real alternatives. The film maker blasts the American government for directing research away from electric vehicles and towards hydrogen fuel cells.

But the most damning accusations are against major oil companies and auto manufacturers. The film suggests that auto companies have sabotaged their own research into electric cars. What’s worse, is that oil companies have purchased the patents for NiMH batteries to prevent them from being used in electric vehicles. These are the same batteries that are used in laptop computers and large batteries of this type would make the electric vehicle possible. But Chevron maintains veto power over any licensing or use of NiMH battery technology. They continue to refuse to sell these batteries for research purposes. Some hybrid vehicles are now using NiMH batteries, but hybrid vehicles, while improving mileage, still rely on fossil fuels.

While the purchasing of patents is an effective way of shelving new innovations, there are certainly other ways the capitalist system holds back research and development. The very nature of a system based on competition makes collaborative research impossible. Whether it be the pharmaceutical industry, the auto industry or any other, capitalism divides the best engineers and scientists among competing corporations. Anyone involved in research or product development is forced to sign a confidentiality agreement as a condition of employment. Not only are these people prevented from working together, they are not even allowed to compare their notes!

Peer review is supposed to be an important piece of the scientific method. Often, major advancements are made, not by an individual group researchers, but by many groups of researchers. One team develops one piece of the puzzle, someone else discovers another and still another team of scientists puts all of the pieces together. How can a system based on competition foster such collaborative efforts? Simply stated, it can’t.

The governments of the world clearly recognize this as a problem; every time they are met with a serious crisis, they throw their free-market ideals out the window and turn to the public sector. It has been argued many times that World War Two was won by nationalization and planning. Capitalism in Britain was essentially put on hold, so that the war effort could be effectively organized. In the United States, such large scale nationalization did not take place, but when it came to research and development, the private sector was not trusted to handle it on their own.

Fearing that the Nazis were developing the atomic bomb, the US government initiated a massive public program to ensure they were the first to wield a weapon of mass destruction. The Manhattan project succeeded where private industry could not. At one point, over 130,000 people were working on the project. The world’s best and brightest were brought together into a massive collaborative undertaking. They discovered more about nuclear fission in the span of a few years, than they had in the decades since the first atom was split in 1919. Regardless of what one thinks of the atom bomb, this was doubtlessly one of the greatest scientific advancements of the 20th century.

Science, technology and economic planning

Sputnik 1 was the first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite. It was launched by the Soviet Union on 4 October 1957. Work by Gregory R Todd.Sputnik 1 was the first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite. It was launched by the Soviet Union on 4 October 1957. Work by Gregory R Todd.The ultimate proof of capitalism’s hindrance of science and technology comes not from capitalism, but from the alternative. While the Soviet Union under Stalin was far from the ideal socialist society (something which we have explained extensively elsewhere), its history gives us valuable insight into the potential of a nationalized planned economy. In 1917 the Bolsheviks took control of a backwards, semi-feudal, third world country that had been ruined by the First World War. In a matter of decades, it was transformed into a leading super-power. The USSR would go on to be the first to put a satellite into orbit, the first to put a man in space, and the first to build a permanently manned outpost in space. Soviet scientists pushed the frontiers of knowledge, particularly in the areas of Mathematics, Astronomy, Nuclear Physics, Space Exploration and Chemistry. Many Soviet era scientists have been awarded Nobel prizes in various fields. These successes are particularly stunning, when one considers the state the country was in when capitalism was overthrown.

How were such advancements possible? How did the Soviet Union go from having a population that was 90% illiterate, to having more scientists, doctors and engineers per capita than any other country on Earth in just a few decades? The superiority of the nationalized planned economy and the break from the madness of capitalism is the only explanation.

The first step in this process was simply the recognition that science was a priority. Under capitalism, the ability of private companies to develop science and technology is limited by a narrow view of what is profitable. Companies do not plan to advance technology, they plan to build a marketable product and will only do what is necessary to bring that product to market. The Soviets immediately recognized the importance of the overall development of science and technology and linked it to the development of the country as a whole. This broad view allowed them to put substantial resources into all areas of study.

Another vital component of their success was the massive expansion of education. By abolishing private schools and providing free education at all levels, individuals in the population were able to meet their potential. A citizen could continue their studies as long as they were capable. By contrast, even many advanced capitalist countries have been unable to eliminate illiteracy today, let alone open up university education to all who are able. Under capitalism, massive financial barriers are placed in front of students, which prevent large portions of the population from reaching their potential. When half of the world’s population is forced to live on less than two dollars a day, we can only conclude that massive reserves of human talent are being wasted.

The soviet government immediately tore down all the barriers on science that strangle innovation within the capitalist system. Patents, trade secrets, and private industry were eliminated. This allowed for more collaborative research across fields and a free flow of information between institutions. Religious prejudices that had long held back rational study were pushed aside. One only has to look at the ban on stem-cell research under the Bush regime to see the negative effects religious bigotry can have on science.

But it wasn’t all good news under Stalinism. Just as the bureaucracy hindered the development of the economy, it also hindered certain areas of study. While the many barriers of capitalism were broken down, in some cases new ones were erected as the direction of scientific study was subjugated to the needs and desires of the bureaucracy. In the most extreme cases, certain fields of study were outlawed entirely and leading scientists were arrested and sent to labour camps in Siberia. One of the most outrageous cases was Stalin’s contempt for chromosomal genetics. The study of genetics was banned and several prominent geneticists, including Agol, Levit and Nadson were executed. Nikolai Vavilov, one of the Soviet Union’s great geneticists was sent to a labour camp, where he died in 1943. This ban wasn’t overturned until the mid 1960s. These crimes were not crimes of socialism, but of Stalinism. Under a democratically planned economy, there would be no reason for such atrocities.

Today, it is the task of those interested in science and socialism to learn the lessons of history. Science is being held back by private interests and industry. A lack of resources for education and research keep doors closed to young aspiring minds. Religious interference locks science in a cage and declares important fields of study off-limits. The chains of the free-market prevent meaningful research from being done. Private companies refuse to let new technologies out of their back rooms. Private collectors hold unique and important specimens for their own personal amusement. Potential cures for deadly diseases are tossed aside to clear the way for research into the latest drug to cure erectile dysfunction. This is madness. Capitalism does not drive innovation, but hinders it at every step.

Humanity today is being held back by an economic system designed to enslave the majority for the benefit of a minority. Every aspect of human development is hindered by the erroneously-named free-market. With the development of computers, the internet and new technologies, humanity stands at the doorstep of a bright future of scientific advancement and prosperity. We are learning more and more about every aspect of our existence. What was once impossible, is now tangible. What was once a mystery, is now understood. What was once veiled, is now in plain sight. The advancement of scientific knowledge will one day put even the farthest reaches of the universe at our fingertips. The only thing that stands in our way is capitalism.

“There can be no socialism without the emancipation of women, and there can no emancipation of women while the economic slavery of capitalism persists.”


For more Pakistani context of Women day and the struggle please read my old article on Fehmida Riaz and discourse of exclusion

With thanks: International Marxist Website

[SA]

On International Working Women’s Day – Fight Back Against Women’s Oppression.

By Julian Benson

We are living in a period that can be defined as one of the most turbulent in history. The economic crisis, through its sheer scale and reach, is bringing about a wholesale change in the consciousness of working people the world over. The contradictions and weaknesses of this system are becoming plainly evident as capitalism buckles under its own weight. As always, it is the poor, the oppressed, and the workers who must shoulder this weight in order to hold up the privileges of the rich. There is no portion of the working class that has so greatly and extensively borne this affliction than working women.

The International Working Womenäs Day is the day we pay homage to the tremendous contributions that female workers have made in the fight for a just society. Here women demonstrating against immigration laws in France. Photo by looking4poetry on Flickr.
The International Working Women’s Day is the day we pay homage to the tremendous contributions that female workers have made in the fight for a just society. Here women demonstrating against immigration laws in France. Photo by looking4poetry on Flickr.

March 8, International Working Women’s Day, is arguably one of the most important dates of the calendar for the global labour movement. It is the day we pay homage to the tremendous contributions that female workers have made in the fight for a just society. It is the day we reaffirm women’s place of honour at the head of our movement. More than anything else, it is the day that all workers, whatever their sex, colour, or creed, remind those who seek to divide us that we know that our struggle, our enemy, and our goal, is one and the same.

The conditions faced by working-class women today clearly illustrate the systemic nature of their exploitation. Despite the mouthpieces of the bosses taking up the cry of women’s rights in the last several decades, the facts show that their words are not reflected by their actions. According to the British Trades Union Congress (TUC), the layoff rate for female workers has increased by 2.3% since the start of 2008, almost double that of male workers. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), 90% of workers in sweatshops are women and young girls.

The corporate media, when it is forced to acknowledge these facts, continually tries to confuse workers by presenting them as a gender versus gender issue. Reuters, in an article on the effects of the slump on women, spends one paragraph talking about the plight of women workers and commits the remainder of its three-page article discussing how many women are CEOs or board members of the largest corporations. The argument made by liberal Feminists is that the progress of women can be measured by how many women hold positions of power in the large corporations and in governments. When Stephen Harper announced a cabinet reshuffle after the last federal election in Canada, bourgeois feminists were delighted when he appointed a record 11 women, or 29% of cabinet, to his Tory government. The Feminist NGO, Catalyst, boasts that the percentage of female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies went from 8.7% in 1995 to 16.4% in 2005. However, do facts like this really mean that the welfare of all women is improving? According to the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), in the same ten-year period, women workers went from making 72% of a male worker’s pay for work of equal value, to just 70.5%. Having more women cabinet ministers and CEOs has not only failed to improve the lot of working women, pay equity has actually decreased in the last decade and the exploitation of women is as evident as ever.

Stephen Harper (right) is heading a government with record number of female ministers but this has not improved the situation for women. The same can be said for Germany's first female Prime Minister, who has presided over huge cuts in the welfare state. Photo by franz88 on Flickr.
Stephen Harper (right) is heading a government with record number of female ministers but this has not improved the situation for women. The same can be said for Germany’s first female Prime Minister (left), who has presided over huge cuts in the welfare state. Photo by franz88 on Flickr.

Capitalism depends on the subjugation of women for its very survival. Sexism, along with racism and every other divisive tool the bourgeois possess, are vital wedges needed to drive apart male workers from their female comrades in order to prevent the rise of the one thing that can undo this system: worker’s unity. Bourgeois women, the CEOs and cabinet ministers, have nothing to gain by ending the disproportionate exploitation of women workers. In fact, they have a vested interest in ensuring that this oppression continues. Keeping female workers at a lower wage than their male counterparts has the effect of putting pressure on male workers to accept lower wages in order to compete for the same jobs, thus repugnantly fostering sexism and pitting worker against worker. Additionally, women are made to form a reserve army of cheap, mobile labour, which is very profitable for the capitalists. There is a reason why women overwhelmingly fill low paid service sector jobs and sweatshops. Capitalism also doesn’t count the creation and nurturing of life as real productive work in society and expects it to be done for free, largely by working class women. A woman’s biological role as the child bearer creates a situation where, under capitalism, it is women who are also the ones who have to take up the burden of child rearing. This leaves women with the double burden of being responsible for the care of her children and home, while additionally working to help support them. Shouldering this extra weight leaves the woman worker with little free time to become politically active, organize unions, or, in many cases, even work a full-time job. This leads to women being forced into the most exploitative working conditions, often on poverty wages, thus making their situation ever worse, helping to re-enforce their economic dependence on men.

Capitalism forces upon women the double burden of child rearing and wage labour. Photo by UNICEF Iran, Mojgan Parssa-Magham.
Capitalism forces upon women the double burden of child rearing and wage labour. Photo by UNICEF Iran, Mojgan Parssa-Magham.

It is this economic dependence that has forced women to endure the most humiliating abuse across the centuries. Even in so-called enlightened Western countries, every day working class women face the choice between poverty, homelessness and losing their children on the one side, or putting up with a violent and abusive partner on the other. Programmes to protect women from these situations, meagre though they are, are also being cut back by governments looking to save money in the financial crisis. However, despite (or perhaps because of) the social and economic hardships that working class women face on a daily basis, when these women rise up to defend their rights, they do so with an unequalled militancy.

Ironically, it is bourgeois women who act as some of the worst exploitative employers of working class women. All one has to do is to take a bus in the early morning through any wealthy neighbourhood to see the army of nannies, cooks, and cleaning staff, largely pulled from immigrant women, who perform the domestic chores of these upper class households. The bourgeois women, of course, are indeed “liberated”. They are free from both the daily grind of wage labour and from the tiresome burden of domestic slavery and can readily pursue the same ends that bourgeois men do, such as politics, business, and academia. This “liberation,” in which the liberal Feminists wish to paint a victory for women, is realistically just the dumping of all these burdens directly on the already overworked mass of working class women.

It is the duty of all socialists to fight against sexism within the labour movement, not only because of its disgusting chauvinism, but more crucially because it is a tool used by the bosses to divide and conquer. The common theme shared by both liberal Feminists and reactionary chauvinists is that men and women have competing interests. Socialists believe this to be untrue. The bourgeois have an interest in maintaining gender divisions, while workers simultaneously have an interest in breaking them down. We fight along class lines for socialism not because, as some academics have stated, “Marxism doesn’t understand the women’s struggle,” but for precisely the opposite reason. Marxism is infused with over 150 years of hard won experience in the struggle against the exploitation and oppression of women. It is through continually studying this living history of our movement that we have understood that there is no solution to the women’s struggle under capitalism.

Only in socialism can a solution be found. Through universal child care, education, housing and healthcare, through the socialization of domestic chores by creating public laundries, kitchens, etc. and through the guarantee of equal pay in a system of full and fair employment, can the burdens placed on working-women’s social development finally be lifted.

On February 20, two Iranian female workers were sentenced to 100 lashes in public. Their offence wasn’t the flaunting of the Iranian regime’s reactionary “virtue laws”. What they did was far more dangerous to the Iranian state   they were arrested and whipped for attending a May Day rally.

We Marxists know, just as well as the ruling class, that the revolutionary potential of female workers is the sword of Damocles hanging over them and their system. In 1917, it was the women of Petrograd that marched from factory to factory, rousing their sons, brothers, and fathers out into the streets in what was the beginning of the Russian Revolution. Just like then, it will be the women who will embody our revolution. It will be the working women who will usher in the end of capitalism, and with it, the end of the exploitation of women now and forever. We say, “There can be no socialism without the emancipation of women, and there can no emancipation of women while the economic slavery of capitalism persists.”

It will be the working women who will usher in the end of capitalism, and with it, the end of the exploitation of women now and forever. Photo by Carlo Nicora on Flickr.
There can be no socialism without the emancipation of women and it will be working women who will usher in the end of capitalism, and with it, the end of the exploitation of women now and forever. Photo by Carlo Nicora on Flickr.

Shaheryar Ali

“Every Kiss Begins With Kay Jewelers”

With Pakistani Liberal’s new found love for Capitalism during General Mushraffs golden age of “Enlightened Moderation” Valentine Day has become the latest new festival in Pakistan. Now Islamists and religious fanatics in their usual opposition to any thing western have opposed Valentine’s Day on the premise that it promotes “obscenity”. The expression of Love is outrageous in their eyes and it erodes the moral and social fabric of the society, which if I decode means “that some how it dilutes the forced ‘gender segregation” in the Pakistan. Religious Right in Pakistan is not the only one in this their counterparts in India the Saffron brigade behave similarly

This opposition is not on Valentine’s Day rather it is to some thing which this day is thought to be representing that is Love and opposition to War, Violence and State authority. Modern day practices of Valentine’s days have nothing to do with the spirit of this day. Like every thing else Capitalism has converted this expression of Love into its anti-thesis. On onside Capitalist consumerist degeneration has resulted in “commoditization of Love” essentially equating love with wealth. The card industry, cosmetic industry, Diamond industry, Fashion Industry, the media Industry all in order to exploit the most beautiful of human emotion have contributed in building stereotypes, promoting prejudices and cultural hegemonies. The first victim of this is Love itself which is reduced to the category of a commodity which can be bought. This assault on Love is compounded by the market built sexism and promotion of highly loaded “stereotypical gender roles”. A general survey of the promotion campaigns around the world on Valentine Day reveals that it promotes a very shallow and sexist role of a woman. Most of it is based on the premise that woman can be wooed into love by showering her with expensive gifts. Diamond and Gold monopolies have shamelessly promoted this image of woman virtually equating love with a form of prostitution. Overall this approach enhances the already existing male chauvinist attitudes towards the women who are considered commodities themselves and “pleasure-toys” which can be bought by a DeBeers ring.

Muslim Gay Pride

Muslim Gay Pride

A shameful example is this commercial which states “every kiss starts with Kay Jewelers”. In most of the promotion activities “men” are shown to be buying gifts for the “women” thus enhancing yet another of male chauvinist myths that “Men are the bread winners” reducing women to a mere dependent of the male who remains happy with a constant supply of diamonds, roses and chocolates. Yet another stereotyping this Valentine’s Day industry is building is what I call the “Jock and the Cheerleader” complex. A particular image of a boy Jock and a Cheerleader is repeated over and over again. This creates a complex in other boys and girls who don’t subscribe to this image. The societies governed by capitalism live on “conformity” carefully constructed resemblances which assures ones survival at social and economical level. There is an immense pressure on young people especially teenagers to “fit-in” otherwise they fall in “nerd”, “sissy” , “freak” and other “un-kool” categories. These in advanced countries have resulted in high teenage suicide rate, campus violence and murder. This complex is than banked upon by the “cosmetic mafia”, the “fashion industry”, “drug trade” and medically unregulated and monstrous “cosmetic surgery industry”. All these mafias are busy in their exploitation in Pakistan’s Valentine day boom. The hair transplant and plastic surgery clinics have mushroomed in Urban Pakistan and are unregulated and engaging in malpractice. They perform procedures ranging from liposuction to hymenoplasty. This to provide the Pakistani males the “Virgins” they want to marry. The image of male which is portrayed on Pakistani Valentine related media is a fair post teen urban male clad in Levi with an expensive multi media mobile phone, bulging muscles and an Ipod listening to western music. He is surrounded by admiring females they too fully urban dolls manufactured in some latest in vogue saloon. This is against which most young Pakistani has to compete and look up to the result is frustration, street crime and campus prostitution.

When the problem of sustenance of capitalism was being discussed in Western Europe after the war it was identified that Capitalism also operates in the realm of ideology by creating conflicting identities and it is the key to its sustenance. This “operation in contradiction” is visible in the pseudo-conflict between the pro-capitalist seculars and Islamic fascists around the Valentine’s Day. It is to be noted that forces like Jamate Islami in Pakistan and Hindu Nationalists in India who are notorious for their disruption of Valentine Day’s activities are vehemently Anti-communist and Anti-Left and pro-Capitalism. Jamate Islami has been on the forefront of resisting anti capitalist reforms of PPP in 70s and has supported “free market economy”. Thus first they allow the capitalization of Love and than protest on its “cultural manifestations”. The extreme fear, violence and confusion this phenomenon creates results in “de-humanization”, “dejection” and a sense of “de realization”. A poetic expression of this de-realized love in time of violence has been done by Awais Aftab the brilliant young Pakistani blogger. By expressing his torment on loss of love in age of violence and confusion Mr Aftab has emerged as an “alternate voice” in otherwise cooperate and Jihadi dominated discourse on Valentine day. The poem is called “Vitriolage” and it opens with these lovely lines

No Shiv Sena threatens me
Nor do Talibans bind my hands
Yet in the miasmatic world
In which i breathe
There is no Valentine’s Day
For you, for me

The entry can be reached here. Whilst the Pakistani blogsphere is conformist to a strangulating degree, a dear friend “freethinker” has deconstructed Valentine’s discourse by celebrating Love and Subversion..

Gay Valentine stereotypes

Gay Valentine stereotypes

The dominant discourse on Valentine’s Day around the globe is “segregationist”, “totalizing’ and “de-humanizing”. This is extremely hegemonizing defining love in a strict “heterosexual” relationship. Love is only an emotion which is present between a “biological male” and a “biological female”. This corporate capitalist agenda disenfranchises whole of Homosexual humans. Reducing them to the status of “perverts” and “deviants” they are deprived of their humanity and rights, the political expression of this corporate and capitalist bigotry can be seen especially in United States where the corporate and its political allies the Moral Majority and Republicans have started a witch hunt against homosexuals by “defining” categories like “marriage”, “inheritance” and “family” in strict heterosexual terms. This in this sense becomes a strictly “fascist phenomenon”. By bombarding retinas and minds with pictures and visuals of love as a “heterosexual only” phenomenon, minds are being slowly transformed for annihilating a whole deviant population. Unfortunately even the self proclaimed “liberals” and “secularists” of Pakistan are insensitive to politics of gender and sexuality and even their notions of “human rights” and “pluralism” are plagued by essentialist prejudices of modernity. None of the major aggregation of Pakistani bloggers or Blog-zines has dared to challenge the conformity or protest at the segregationist interpretation of Love on Valentine’s Day. Across the border situation is batter. Blogbharti the aggregator of Indian Blogosphere published an article by an Indian Gay blogger Crazy Sam on Valentine’s Day. By doing so Blogbharti subverted the segregationist and exclusionary discourse on Love. Blogbharti should be congratulated for this act. Sam’s passionate plea is for “Equal Love”, he speaks about the segregated society and segregated love, reminding the straight heterosexual couples that the “fear” they feel on Valentine’s Day due to threat from the fascist goons is everyday reality of Gay of Life in India.

“Now just think about a small percentage of population who always has felt this unfairness that you are all feeling right now, every single day! Yes I’m talking about gays. For us gays, we could never think of celebrating Valentine’s Day with our special person in open places because we never felt secure to express our love. There is this fear always echoing in our minds (and not on Valentine’s Day alone) about what others would think and react if they see us holding hands or sitting across a table looking into each others eyes or giving a peck on the cheeks. It is not a good feel to always search for a secluded place to exchange such small tokens of love” Read the full article here

Sam maintains his own blog by the very “deconstructive” name of “The Straight Friendly Gay Blog”. It must be understood that

Jihad For Love

Jihad For Love

“exclusion” is the sole of a fascist society. Nothing is more dangerous than “exclusionary discourse” especially in Pakistan. Taliban couldn’t be defeated by pseudo-secularist discourse which is conformist and exclusionary. The Liberal Muslim’s insistence on constructing an “enlightened spiritual Islam” fails precisely because it becomes apart of dominant “Islam is the greatest and most democratic and liberal religion in the world” discourse in which Taliban and Liberal Muslims are united. The subversion is thus not achieved and all resistance becomes futile. This discourse insists on keeping “the others” invisible, the invisibility slowly evolves into amnesia and at this stage Genocide begins. How these apparently contradictory discourses merge can be demonstrated. While the Islamic Fascist says Homosexuals must be killed or there are no homosexuals in muslim world thus pushing gays towards genocide. This will result in protest by many even from western world who will focus on Islam’s objection to homosexuality. The Liberal muslim while vehemently oppose to Taliban will brand it “Islamophobia” and Euro-centricism giving examples of historic tolerance of homosexuality in the Past. To the general public which hears to “consensus opinion” message goes “Its all west’s fault they are enemies of Islam” because this is what both Mullah and secular is saying. The marginalized group is forgotten and keeps becoming victim of the dominant discourse. Ahmedin Nijad declared there are no homosexuals in Iran. This is a dangerous exclusionary discourse. Muslim Gay filmmaker Pervez Sharma has subverted this by making documentary recording “same gender love” in Muslim Societies. The film has got critical acclaim and awards and it challenges exclusionary discourse as well Islamophobia. The title itself is deconstructive “A Jihad for Love”

“Fourteen centuries after the revelation of the holy Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Islam today is the world’s second largest and fastest growing religion. Muslim gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma travels the many worlds of this dynamic faith discovering the stories of its most unlikely storytellers: lesbian and gay Muslims.

Filmed over 5 1/2 years, in 12 countries and 9 languages, “A Jihad for Love” comes from the heart of Islam. Looking beyond a hostile and war-torn present, this film seeks to reclaim the Islamic concept of a greater Jihad, which can mean ‘an inner struggle’ or ‘to strive in the path of God’. In doing so the film and its remarkable subjects move beyond the narrow concept of ‘Jihad’ as holy war.”

The film has been criticized for not challenging the theological objections to homosexuality but at least it has tried to challenge the strangulating invisibility imparted on Muslim Gays by Ahmedinijad and likes.

The Pakistani secularists or liberals who becomes tear eyed at the “barbarity” of ignorant Mullahs who wont allow the “love” who hate flowers and chocolates should keep in mind while they defend a corporate degenerative, exclusionary, stereotypical caricature of Love , they can Love even in most fascists of the societies, Taliban’s Afghanistan didn’t banned straight marriage nor did Hitler but in Iran these two teenage boys were hanged only because they loved each other and with Sharia in place in Swat this is the fate which awaits us , the Pakistani Gays if you people remained conformists

Hanged for Love, Iranian gays

Hanged for Love, Iranian gays

I dunno why i recall that famous speech by Michael Moore , delivered at the Oscars, ” we like non fiction because We live in fictitious times , we live in a time where fictitious elections give us a fictitious president—“

The tragedy continues, we are now having what i call “Fictitious Revolutions”, one has just occured in Nepal, where a heroic struggle by people resulted in Communist victory but which resulted in a “revolution” where “workers” are not in control and capitalism still rules. Good bye to the King and welcome Microsoft is the Maoist agenda

Yet another of fictitious revolutions is being cooked up in Pakistan, with “Go Musharaf Go” and “Welcome Capitalism Welcome” is the policy of Pakistani lawyers and civil society

I have found this very interesting artcle on International Marxist Website

Nepal: The April 2006 uprising, the Constituent Assembly and the abolition of the monarchy

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By Rajesh Tyagi in Delhi
Friday, 30 May 2008
The newly elected Constituent Assembly in Nepal, a fallout of the April uprising of 2006, is now in motion. It has made a formal declaration of an end to the monarchy, with a ‘graceful’ exit for it.

As a system of governance, the monarchy had already lost all its steam since the great people’s uprising of April 2006, while the forces of medieval reaction ‑ hitherto protected under the wings of the monarchy in Nepal ‑ were already adapting with Nepali bourgeois rule. Because of this, the abolition of the monarchy in Nepal as a state system, and the consequent emergence of a republic, has but a limited significance. This is in sharp contrast to the bourgeois overturns in 19th century Europe, where the emergence of bourgeois republics, represented a turn in world history. In 21st century Nepal, such a republic (although a step forward in bourgeois democratic terms) is of no real meaning and of no practical use for the people of Nepal, unless and until it puts power directly in the hands of the working class and through it the peasantry. Power would be meaningless until it is directed against the bourgeois.

Old school of Stalinism and Maoism

Unfortunately, in Nepal, the Communist leadership, miseducated in the old schools of Stalinism and Maoism, neither has any perspective nor is ready to lead the proletariat to take power. It instead, seeks the power in collaboration with bourgeois/landlords. Its failure to comprehend the true mechanics of revolution in Nepal has resulted in missing the great opportunities to accomplish the revolution, which had presented them again and again.

The great tide of revolutionary upsurge of April 2006 against the old bourgeois-monarchist regime in Nepal receded after the leadership failed to take that historic movement to its logical conclusion – the destruction of monarchy and seizure of power by the proletariat. Revolution was thus forced to pull back from the threshold of victory, with meagre concessions offered by the monarchy. Failing to lead the rebellious people to a successful revolution and consolidate the power of the proletariat (backed by the peasantry), the disoriented leadership, instead, presented the concessions as a big achievement for revolution. This passive and reformist policy of the Communist leadership resulted in a rapid receding of the revolutionary mood of the people in Nepal. Instead of realising its error and preparing for a new wave, the leadership has since taken an about urn, more and more, towards legalism and class collaboration, adapting itself to the ebb in the revolution that they themselves were responsible for.

However, the April 2006 upsurge has left its imprint on the history of Nepal. The importance of the upsurge lies not in the concessions it succeeded in wresting from the hands of the monarchy, as both the bourgeois and the Maoist leaders both perceive, but in the fact that it illuminated a new path through the action of the proletariat in key cities, once again endorsing the bankruptcy of Stalinism/Maoism. What could not be achieved in more than ten years of armed struggle was achieved as if by a magic wand in 10 days of a general strike of the proletariat. This uprising had virtually shaken the monarchist regime from its roots. There lies now a whole gulf between the new Nepal as it emerged after April 2006 and the old one as it existed before the uprising.

The high tide of revolution during upsurge of April 2006, forced a radical rupture between the old and new Nepal. The monarchy lost all its strength and legitimacy, after its armed forces tried their best to drown the uprising in blood, but were paralysed before the might of the rebellious people, leaving the monarchy in the lurch. During the uprising, for the first time, the urban proletariat marked its entry onto the political scene as a class, turning the seat of monarchist-bourgeois power ‑ the city of Kathmandu ‑ into the centre stage of revolutionary drama. This put various hypotheses of revolution in Nepal to the test, first among them the formulations of Maoism and its slogan of the “Chinese road”, and refuted them through living revolutionary practice. It refuted the myth spread by the Maoist leaders about the weakness of the working class in the backward countries, where the peasantry constitutes a majority. It showed beyond all doubt that despite its small numerical strength, the proletariat is fully capable of taking the leadership of the revolution by organising itself into a vanguard detachment of the peasant mass, independent of the bourgeois and in opposition to it.

All the forces of old Nepal – the Monarchy, the forces of medievalism led by it and the bourgeois ‑ trembled before this upsurge. Although the upsurge was spontaneous, demonstrating the political immaturity of the working class, it brought forward the immense political energy latent within the proletariat, which on its own had embarked upon the threshold of a political overturn, and if it was forced to retreat, it was only due to the absence of a true leadership.

What prevented the Communists from taking power?

What stood between monarchy and the people? What prevented the Communists from taking power at the head of the working class, aided by the peasantry? Practically nothing! But the Communist leadership in Nepal, miseducated in the school of Maoism/Stalinism, refused to take the power through the working class and in opposition to the bourgeois, as it was prepared to take power only in alliance with the bourgeois and not against it. They had planned to execute a bourgeois-democratic revolution, through a “bloc of all classes”, with the bourgeois as a partner. Neither were they willing, nor ready to lead the revolution against the bourgeois. The bourgeois, in its turn was not ready to wipe out the monarchy.

The false leadership of the Maoist/Stalinist parties, thus found itself in a dilemma and a virtual political crisis during the upsurge of 2006. All of these Communist Parties and groups in Nepal at that time were closely collaborating with bourgeois parties in one way or another. The upsurge suddenly confronted them with the question of taking power by wiping out the monarchy, for which the stage was all set by history. But firstly the bourgeois parties like the Nepali Congress, having one of their heads faced towards the monarchy, did not at all wish its destruction, especially at the height of revolution. Moreover, the destruction of the monarchy through a radical onslaught of the masses would have immediately posed the question of power, with hostile classes facing each other – bourgeois/landlords on one side and the proletariat/peasantry on the other.

The bourgeois would have had to be confronted in a direct and decisive struggle for power, if the upsurge was to culminate in a successful revolution. The Communist parties, who rubbing shoulders until the previous evening with the bourgeois parties, were not ready for this eventuality and thus found themselves in a dilemma. They could not have turned the tables overnight against the bourgeois, calling its destruction. They therefore voluntarily let the historical opportunity pass and missed the shot. The line of collaboration with the bourgeois in a “bloc of all classes”, the “two stage theory of revolution” and the slogan of the “Chinese road” proved fatal for the revolution. The false perspective of the Maoist leaders thus resulted in political paralysis of the revolution. The proletariat had to return from threshold of power, which it could have taken in a revolutionary manner.

Due to their incorrect perspective, regarding the role and correlation of social classes and consequently the nature and dynamics of revolution in Nepal, the Maoist leaders neither could feel the pulse in April 2006 nor could catch it in their own electoral victory in April 2008.The election victory, only but a meek and belated echo of the revolutionary thunder of April 2006, came as a surprise to the Maoists themselves, in the same way as the upsurge of April 2006 had taken them by surprise. The irony is that the Maoists are still demonstrating their political bankruptcy, while failing to understand the true meaning and spirit of the electoral mandate of 2008.

The nature and meaning of the mandate

The Maoists, as with their failure in estimating the nature and depth of the uprising of April 2006, have also failed to assess the nature and meaning of the mandate given to them by the workers and toilers of Nepal. The Maoists pose this verdict as a vindication of their incorrect politics, which in fact is a mandate to remove not only the monarchy and feudalism, but also to cross over to more real and fundamental tasks, which are socialist in nature, and thus they fall beyond the domain of democratic revolution. But the Maoists have taken it upon themselves to stand as guarantors against this “cross over”, which is the real essence of Maoism at work in Nepal today.

The Maoists are translating the mandate in a spirit opposite to and abrogative of the mandate itself. They refuse to accept this mandate for a revolutionary stride forward and to consolidate the power in the hands of the proletariat with the support of the peasantry. Instead, they are interpreting this mandate, in the first place as a “fractured mandate”, thereby proposing a broad front of all political forces in the country to carry out the mandate, i.e. to build and consolidate a bourgeois democratic Republic. Instead of taking the mandate for a complete overturn, not only of the monarchy, but the bourgeoisie as well, the Maoists are seeking to perfect their alliance with the bourgeois and are planning a peaceful capitalist development in Nepal, in conjunction with it, for at least a decade to come. Refusing to see the complete adaptation between capitalism and medievalism in present-day Nepal, the Maoists falsely attribute a role to the bourgeois in the struggle against the monarchy and propose an alliance with it. Instead of marching towards a proletarian overturn in a direct fight against the bourgeois, they are striving to forge a union with it, basing themselves upon the bogus doctrine of the “two stage” revolution – presently democratic (bourgeois!), and only at some point in the future socialist. Their limited programme does not go beyond the contours of a bourgeois republic, and they are preparing a roadmap which is essentially capitalist in nature. At a juncture in history when the forces of revolution have sufficiently matured to advance against both the monarchy and the bourgeois, the Maoists are capitulating, pinning their hopes upon the bourgeois, instead of directing the revolution against it.

With a bright hope for a radical change in their lives, the people in Nepal have hailed and celebrated the electoral defeat of the pro-establishment parties, both royalists and bourgeois. But the Maoist leadership has already set about drowning these hopes, by seeking an alliance with the bourgeois/landlords and their parties.

Reassuring the bourgeoisie and landlords

Immediately following the election result, Prachanda declared, “In this 21st Century we need the cooperation of everyone for development”. He further added that the “CPN(M) is ready to work with all parties to write the Constitution”.

In an interview to the Nepal Times, Baburam Bhattarai clearly added further clarification:

“When we say we want to end feudalism, we don’t mean we want to end private ownership. Our revolution in our language is a bourgeois democratic revolution. In other words collectivisation, socialisation or nationalisation are not our current agenda. We like to assure everyone that once Maoists come to power, the investment climate will be even more favourable. There should not be any unnecessary misunderstanding about that”.

Both Prachanda and Bhattarai met the Federation of Nepal Chambers of Commerce and Industry, for more than two hours, wherein they called upon the capitalists:

“Within 10 years let us work magic for economic revolution and mesmerise the whole world. We will allow private investment and promote foreign investment”.

Doubly reassuring the capitalists they told the gathering:

“Do not lose confidence. We are not going to capture industries. We need your cooperation to gain economic prosperity.”

Amidst applause from the elite gathering, Prachanda declared: “We are Maoists of [the] 21st century”, and repelling all apprehensions of those present, he added further: “A strong hand is needed to build a strong nation”.

Both Prachanda and Bhattarai in their speeches cited South Korea and Malaysia as models of how the investment would be encouraged in Nepal. When asked about China, Prachanda praised it for elimination of the feudal system “that established a solid foundation for economic growth”. He claimed that, “once we restructure the state and involve the private sector, it will be possible to achieve that economic growth”.

On 30th April Baburam Bhattarai asserted that Nepal would see an economic revolution in the next 10 years. The Maoist leaders then deliberated with top World Bank officials about the future development plans in Nepal, pledging that bourgeois interests would be protected under their rule. They have offered immunity to the King along with his properties, if he abdicates voluntarily, which after the revolt of 2006, is a big concession to the King.

Dousing the flames of revolution

The false Stalinist/Maoist leadership is engaged now in dousing the flames of revolution that may have survived after the debacle of April 2006. While hobnobbing with the local and foreign capitalists, the Maoist leadership is openly calling for a change in the role of the Communist Youth, i.e. the Young Communist League (YCL). Prachanda has assured the capitalists that the YCL would disengage from its past to assume “constructive” activities. The YCL, representing the younger generation of revolutionaries in Nepal, would become the first casualty of political manoeuvre of this false leadership, which has already taken a turn towards reformism. To facilitate the smooth and peaceful participation in bourgeois power, the Maoist leadership has shown its readiness to return the properties confiscated during the last decade. It has agreed even to the dissolution of the armed militias under its control.

Instead of taking power through the direct action of workers and peasants, the Maoists are all set to assume the power through a “bloc of all classes”, including the capitalists, both local and foreign. The blueprint they have for development of Nepal in the next decade to come is essentially based upon a nationalist perspective, to be executed in conjunction with the bourgeois, in sharp contrast to the dictatorship of the proletariat and its internationalist perspective. For the present, bourgeois property will remain sacrosanct and it will be protected, and capitalism will be developed. These Maoist leaders, these petit bourgeois revolutionaries, are practically surrendering all power to the bourgeois, converting themselves into a “bureaucratic crust” representing this power. This they do in the name of “democratic revolution”, which they strictly counterpose against the “Socialist revolution” leaving the latter to take place only in some distant unspecified future.

However, paradoxically, there exists a peculiar overlapping of democratic and socialist tasks in the revolution in Nepal. The monarchy and bourgeois are integrated here with each other in a very close and inseparable manner, as the big bourgeois property and industry in Nepal belongs to members of the royal family, either the Shahs or Ranas, alongside with the feudal estates that they possess. The Nepali bourgeois, of which the royal family constitutes an upper crust, is amalgamated on the one hand with medievalism in Nepal, while on the other it is directly subjugated to world capitalism. Thus, any alliance with the bourgeois in Nepal would retard the struggle on both fronts. The revolution in Nepal cannot advance even an inch in alliance with the bourgeois. Revolution can advance only as a two-pronged sword one of whose edges is always directed against the bourgeois. Political alliances with the bourgeois as a partner would only more and more deepen the political crisis. The bourgeois republic in Nepal is a fiction in which neither the bourgeois nor the proletariat has any faith or interest.

Any sort of arrangement with the monarchy or the bourgeois would thus be outright reactionary and an open betrayal of the revolution. Merely a formal abolition of feudal titles, instead of the destruction of feudalism and above all the monarchy, would not bring any change in social relations in Nepal. Not able to conceive this ABC of Marxism, the Maoists are treading the path of class conciliation, instead of class struggle. While insulating the capitalist property against its invasion by the revolution, the Maoists are deceitfully paying lip service to the cause of the destruction of feudalism in Nepal, ignoring the fact that the two are inseparably amalgamated with each other.

Symbolic abolition of the monarchy

The fact is that while the bourgeois preferred the ceremonial survival of the monarchy, the Maoists want its symbolic abolition. They seem to be two sides of the same coin. The past of the Stalinist/Maoist parties in Nepal is tainted in this aspect. Their long association with the monarchy under King Birendra, is not a secret in Nepal. This opportunist striving for political leadership, both bourgeois and communist, in competing with each other for a place in the lap of the King, is sarcastically termed in political circles in Nepal as the “princely trend”. They collaborated with the monarchy even against bourgeois democracy, when they should have taken the lead in the fight against the monarchy, and now that it is the moment to fight against bourgeois, they collaborate with it. If the Maoists have been able move against the monarchy in Nepal, it has only been under the immense pressure of the people and their own rank and file cadres.

The formal abolition of the monarchy is meaningless if it merely limited to the abolition of a few titles and privileges. The immediate programme of the revolution in Nepal is to remove the monarchy with all its political and social institutions, confiscate the properties of the Royals and destroy all feudal relations in the country. While executing this immediate programme, which of course would meet with fierce resistance from the forces of reaction in Nepal, above all from the bourgeois itself, the revolution must cross over to the destruction of bourgeois property as well, in an uninterrupted wave. This is the clear verdict of the recent elections.

The Maoist leaders refuse to understand and execute the revolutionary verdict. They are zealously striving to establish a bourgeois democracy and thereby arresting the revolution at the bourgeois democratic stage. Maoists fail to recognise that at the advent of the 21st century, bourgeois democracy, being devoid of all political energy, is incapable of presenting any viable alternative to the feudal regimes and it is only the dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e. genuine workers’ democracy, which may successfully execute the programme of the revolution.

The Nepali bourgeois exhausted its role long ago

The Nepali bourgeois had in fact already exhausted all its energies by 1958, i.e. within a decade of the armed struggle started by itself with the demands of a bourgeois parliamentary democracy in place of the monarchy, but which it openly betrayed by accepting and confiding in the constitution handed over by the monarch. It bargained away parliamentary democracy for a constitutional monarchy. The weak bourgeois miserably failed in taking the revolution even an inch further or to resolve any of the tasks of a democratic nature. The “revolution” of the bourgeois thus came to a halt over half a century ago. Neither can it be repeated, nor can there be a second bourgeois revolution now. Only a proletarian revolution can accomplish these leftover democratic tasks, as part of its uninterrupted revolution and not as a bourgeois-democratic revolution as our Maoists think. It is not parliamentary democracy, but the dictatorship of proletariat, supported by the peasantry, which is on the agenda.

The people have voted for the Maoists hoping that they would do away with the apparatus of exploitation and repression, but they seem to be betraying this faith, as they now propose to take power through an alliance with the bourgeois. One can see ‑ with no special effort ‑ that the plan of the Maoist leaders for the whole of the next decade includes everything for a bourgeois development of Nepal, but nothing for furthering and expanding the revolution, nothing for the workers and peasants of Nepal. What they failed to achieve at the height of the mass upheaval during the April 2006 upsurge, cannot be achieved through legal means under a constitutional bourgeois democracy.

The workers and the youth in Nepal, who had raised the banner of revolt against the monarchy in April 2006, with the slogans “We want the head of the King” and “It is we not the King who are the real power”, and who supported the Maoists in gaining electoral victory, in the bright hope of radical changes, now wonder if this is what they had fought for. Enormous contradictions have erupted between the revolutionary potential that the situation offers and the very narrow programme with limited demands presented by the Maoists. The programme of the Maoists is based upon a nationalist perspective of national “progress” and national “unity”, that is a “progress” essentially along capitalist lines and a “unity” between the workers/peasants on the one hand and the capitalists/landlords on the other.

Critical juncture in history

At this critical juncture in history, when enormous revolutionary opportunities are presenting themselves in Nepal, the Maoists are singing the song of the “bloc of all classes” to appease the bourgeois/landlords of Nepal and the world capitalists. Instead of directing the revolution further against the landlord/capitalist bloc, and expropriating the expropriators of the toiling people ‑ something for which they got a clear mandate in the elections ‑ the Maoists are making lucrative offers of collaboration to local and foreign reactionaries, even inviting them to share power. It is not without reason that the strategists in the US have already started discussing if and how the Maoist-led coalition government can be utilised for furthering US designs in the region!

The Maoists received this unprecedented vote, not because of their present political perspective ‑ as is the general perception, but which history will very soon prove out and out incorrect ‑ but because as an accident of history they happened to occupy the whole spectrum of the “extreme left” in Nepal, in the absence of a genuine proletarian party. This explains how and why the Maoists in the recent unfolding of events failed to foresee or comprehend this victory in advance, a victory which appeared to them only as a bolt from the blue, and why they fail even now to understand the meaning of the mandate.

As far as the stealing of the march by the CPN(M) over the other Stalinist/Maoist factions is concerned, the same has to be understood by the fact that while all the other factions had remained inside the old parliament, thus having their opportunism exposed very soon in their day to day activities, the CPN(M) although in essence it relied on the very same politics, escaped this fate, as it had boycotted parliament for a long time. With this advantage over the other factions, the CPN(M) could secure an advantage over them, and consolidate a big electoral victory in its favour. It is however clear that this vote is not an endorsement for the opportunist politics of the Maoists, with all its zig-zags, but is a radical vote for extreme left policies, with a clear mandate to carry forward the revolution. This pattern of voting clearly demonstrates the severity and depth of the social and political crisis in Nepal, to which the programme of the Maoists of revolution by stages – now democratic and later socialist ‑ is no match. The Maoists, at the very threshold, refuse to understand and execute the mandate in this spirit. Instead of carrying forward the revolution, they have started to apply brakes to the revolution, depriving it of its class essence. The Maoists conceive the question of the abolition of the monarchy as if it affects all the classes in Nepal in the same way and as if all the classes are equally interested in it, thereby depriving it of its class essence.

Workers and peasants are not going to achieve anything by proclamations of a “Republic”. Such proclamations become meaningless without power being firmly in the hands of the workers, followed and supported by the peasantry. People have not given a mandate for a bourgeois republic to be realised through the bogus formula of the “bloc of all classes”. The mandate cannot be understood in simplistic arithmetical terms of proportionate votes to parties representing different social interests. To understand the mandate one must have a correct assessment of the nature of revolution and the role of different classes within it, which presents itself in algebraic fashion. The perception of the Maoists that the “people have voted for different parties to work together for the development of Nepal” is not only incorrect but outright bogus. There is a historic and unprecedented swing of the political pendulum in favour of the forces of the revolutionary left, which means a forcible overthrow of all the exploiters, one after the other. The mandate is for the abandonment of the bogus idea of a bourgeois republic. The mandate is against the perspective of “stage-ism”, against compartmentalisation of democratic and socialist stages of the revolution and essentially in favour of a dictatorship of the proletariat supported by the peasantry. But the Maoists, in the absence of a revolutionary mindset, fail to understand this mandate, and take it as a mandate for peaceful bourgeois development in Nepal, with the cooperation of all.

The course of political development in Nepal is pushing the Communists to take power through the proletariat and as a proletarian dictatorship, but the Maoists are not prepared to take it and are willingly wasting the opportunity, surrendering power to the bourgeois, clearing the road for capitalist development. Misinterpreting the mandate, the Maoists refuse to carry it out against the enemies of the people. Instead of taking it as a mandate to accomplish the revolution, the Maoists have taken it as one for a peaceful collaboration of the classes. They are out to invite everybody, from the bourgeois Nepali Congress to the CPN-UML, to form a bloc with them to run the country peacefully and on the path of bourgeois development. They are clearly heading towards open class collaboration with the bourgeois, instead of its outright expropriation.

Inventing a revolutionary bourgeois in Nepal

The Maoists wish to execute the revolution according to their blueprint of a “two stage revolution” and for this they invent a revolutionary bourgeois in Nepal – the Nepali Congress etc. etc. ‑ as a collaborator and as a pledge for a capitalist growth of Nepal for at least one decade to come!

The Stalinist/Maoist parties in Nepal, whether it be the CPN-Maoist or the UML or other small parties, all share politically this common perspective of “stage-ism”, i.e. the bogus Menshevik “two stage theory”, which was discarded long ago by the February and October revolutions in Russia in 1917 and that since then has repeatedly been refuted by revolutionary experience in different countries. Based upon the compartmentalisation between the “democratic” and “socialist” tasks of the revolution, and adopted later by the Comintern under Stalin, this line has proved a virtual trap to arrest the revolution at the bourgeois democratic stage for an indefinite period. It serves to disorient and demoralise the proletariat, pushing the revolution to ebb, reinforcing and strengthening the bourgeois and ultimately losing power to it. This is exactly what happened in China, Spain, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Chile, Nicaragua and other parts of the world, wherever this theory of revolution in stages was applied. Everywhere it proved disastrous for revolution, and resulted in defeat for the masses. With this common perspective, shared among all of them, all the Stalinist/Maoist communist parties in Nepal aspire to a bourgeois-democratic revolution, which according to their dreams would establish “a democratic power shared by all classes, for a period. Staring out from this common political platform, on which they do not have any dispute among them, these parties take to different routes to execute this Menshevik programme. While all the others took the parliamentary road, the Maoists took to the armed struggle, but only to establish the selfsame bourgeois democratic regime in Nepal, cherished by all of them.

Shocked and moved by the immense revolutionary energy generated by the upsurge of April 2006, of which the cities and the urban proletariat were the epicentres, and which successfully demonstrated the limitations of partisan warfare in rural Nepal, without the leadership of the city proletariat, the Maoists reverted back to the cities, but only to reinforce their alliance with the bourgeois/landlords and their parties such as the Nepali Congress. This backtracking of the Maoists to the cities in the wake of the April uprising, abandoning the partisan struggle in the rural areas, deflates all the boasting about the April upsurge coming about as the result of ten years of partisan war. The upsurge came, in fact, as a refutation of the Maoist strategy, which they termed as “Chinese road”.

This common perspective of “stage-ism” and the common goal of “bourgeois democracy” is the real political platform of the Stalinist/Maoist parties of the old type, who dominate the political scene in Nepal for the time being. None of these parties attempts to answer the discourse on real and fundamental issues of politics and instead raise issues of secondary and tactical importance only, to draw the political lines. The Maoists focus their disputes around tactical issue such as the forms of struggle, falsely counterposing them to each other ‑ armed action vs. parliamentary action ‑ while in essence they all carry out the same political line of class collaboration, whether through parliament or through partisan struggle.

No fundamental difference between different Maoist trends

The Maoists had parted their ways from the unified CPN, criticising its leadership as renegade and revisionist, mainly for its participation in parliamentary politics. They immediately proposed armed struggle of the peasantry as an alternative strategy. This strategy was, however, changed after April 2006 uprising, but the political perspective of Maoism – the “two stage theory” and the “bloc of various classes”, was retained. The Maoists did not differ with the then CPN on any of the political positions or fundamental standpoints, but raised disputes on the tactical aspects, subsidiary to the main strategic issues.

The 2006 upsurge, however, compelled the Maoists to change their tactics, to shift the focus of their work from the rural areas to the cities, even contrary to the preaching of Maoism. Prachanda said in an interview in 2006, that in any event they would not return to the villages to restart the armed struggle. Similarly, in 2007, CP Gajurel told a press conference that a city-based revolution was in the offing in Nepal. Yet the Maoists failed to change their fundamental political perspectives and retained it in all fundamental particulars. Still they continue to refuse to open their eyes to the futility of their old Stalinist/Maoist perspective of “revolution in stages” and “bloc of various classes”, thereby diminishing the role of the proletariat and instead artificially carving out a role for the bourgeois in the revolution. They grasped the importance of action in the cities and the futility of rural based warfare, in wilful and clear deviation from the conventional “path” of Maoism, but their failure to understand the nature of the revolution in backward countries, and the role and attitude of the bourgeois and proletariat within it, made them cling to their prejudices about the bourgeois and its parliamentarism, instead of making preparations for a proletarian overturn in Nepal.

Now the question arises as to how this bogus recipe of “two stage theory” and of “bloc of all classes”, laced with the gloomy dreams of the growth of capitalism, will be swallowed by the workers and poor peasantry in Nepal and why they should wait for another 10 years to come. Here comes into play the Prachanda doctrine, “a strong hand to build a strong nation”. This strong hand would punch the proletariat and the peasantry, if they refuse to swallow the recipe of capitalist development prepared by the Maoists. Workers and peasants in Nepal will soon find that the Maoists will be playing the role of a policemen standing as a guarantee for the protection of bourgeois property in Nepal, as they have pledged time and again.

As apologists of the Menshevik theory of “stage-ism”, the Maoists are revealing themselves as red lieutenants of the bourgeois/landlords. The power in their hands, sooner rather than later, will turn into a bureaucratic apparatus for crushing the revolutionary proletariat and peasantry, which in any case would not confine itself to the “democratic” stage of revolution even for months, not to say of a decade, and would strive to carry forward the revolution by crossing over the narrow limits of the bogus programme of the Maoists’ democratic revolution. The state power, if not directed against the bourgeois, would certainly be directed against the workers and peasants!

History is presenting the question of power starkly

While the Maoists are busy in forging the unwarranted collaboration between hostile classes, under the slogan of a Republic, history is presenting the question of power starkly – who will rule Nepal, the bourgeois or the proletariat? The simplistic Maoist slogan of a democratic republic does not present any answer to this. The dispute is over the role and character of this democratic republic. Would it be realised in opposition to, or in conjunction with, the bourgeois? A republic under proletarian dictatorship or the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie? The fate of the revolution is bound to this issue. The Maoists show their utter incapacity to resolve this issue in a revolutionary way. The bourgeois, however, is unable to come to power unless and until the revolution itself is betrayed, its flames are put down and power is surrendered voluntarily by those at the head of the revolution.

The present turn in the politics of Nepal, presents only a caricature of the February revolution in Russia in 1917, with no October overturn in the offing, in the absence of a Bolshevik opposition. We will soon witness the same surrender of power by its Menshevik leadership, before the local reaction and imperialist bourgeoisie. We will find this leadership zealously defending the bourgeois state, law and property against the people. Unable to advance the revolution even an inch further, with every passing day, the Maoists would find themselves more and more trapped inside their false web of bourgeois democracy. Either the Maoists abandon the working people becoming open apologists of bourgeois democracy or the working people becoming more and more disillusioned, will eventually be forced to look for an alternative to the Maoists.

From the point of view of the proletariat, the abolition of the monarchy is only a means to an end and not an end in itself. The Maoists/Stalinists, the epigones of Leninism, are seeking collaboration with the bourgeois in Nepal, as they head towards a bourgeois republic in complete betrayal of the mandate both of the 2006 uprising and the recent elections. The proletariat must organise itself to take power in Nepal with the aid of the poor peasantry and thus execute the mandate by overturning both the monarchy and bourgeois. To be able do this, it needs first to detach itself from the influence of the Stalinist/Maoist leadership and its false perspective. What is needed is a genuine Marxist opposition within the Nepalese Communist movement capable of gaining the ear of the rank and file with the aim of establishing a genuine Leninist policy, armed with the perspective of permanent revolution, instead of the old Stalinist/Maoist outlook that seeks class-conciliation instead of class struggle.

Delhi, May 28, 2008