U.S. Marines open new base on Guam to prepare for future war with China / by Dave DeCamp

Originally published: Antiwar.com  on January 26, 2023

The U.S. Marine Corps on Thursday formally opened a new military base in the U.S. territory of Guam as part of Washington’s military buildup in the Asia Pacific that is aimed at China.

The base is still under construction but will eventually house 5,000 U.S. Marines, likely by the end of 2024. According to The Wall Street Journal, the purpose of the base is to prepare for a potential war with China in the islands of the western Pacific Ocean.

David Berger, the commandant of the Marine Corps, said that U.S. Marines would be the first to be deployed in the event of a war with China. “We don’t want to fight to get to the fight. We want to already be inside, so if there’s a conflict, the stand-in forces are already forward,” he said.

The Marine Corps has been revamping to better prepare for war with China by creating units that are more mobile and can quickly move around islands in the region. The U.S. is deploying one of these units, known as a Marine Littoral Regiment, to Okinawa by 2025, which will be armed with anti-ship missiles.

According to Kyodo News, the new base in Guam will host 4,000 U.S. Marines that will be transferred from Okinawa. The U.S. and Japan agreed to reduce the military burden on Okinawa, which hosts over 70% of U.S. bases in Japan, over local opposition to the U.S. presence. But the plans to deploy the Marine Littoral Regiment further entrenches the military presence in the Okinawa prefecture.

There is also local opposition to the expansion of the U.S. military presence in Guam, as Kyodo reported anti-base demonstrators protested against the opening of the new Marines Corps facility. An activist said that the military buildup will make Guam “a target for a war that we didn’t want to be part of.”

Antiwar.com is one project of our parent foundation, the Randolph Bourne Institute. It is a program that provides a sounding board of interest to all who are concerned about U.S. foreign policy and its implications.

FBI wants to put me on trial for fighting for Black freedom: Instead put the colonizer State on trial! / by Omali Yeshitela

[Source: uhurusolidarity.org]

Originally published: CovertAction Magazine  on January 21, 2023

There are strong indications that in early 2023, I, Omali Yeshitela, Chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party, founder of the Uhuru (“Freedom”) Movement, will be indicted, along with other Uhuru leaders and members, by the federal government of the United States.

Omali Yeshitela speaking before crowd in late 1960s. [Source: apspuhuru.org]

Using the bogus and slanderous charge that we are “Russian agents,” the U.S. government and its “Department of Justice” will attempt to put us on trial and imprison us for fighting for the liberation of African people in the U.S. and around the world.

But they will fail. We will win.

I am 81 years old. My political work for the last 60 years or so is influenced by the fact that in my entire life I have not known a single day when my people were not experiencing oppression, exploitation and humiliation. For most of my life, I have worked to build the movement for freedom for black people in the U.S. and around the world, most significantly beginning with my work as an organizer with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s.

Since 1972 I have organized and led the African People’s Socialist Party and the Uhuru Movement, a worldwide organization fighting for the self-determination of African people everywhere. Our organizational presence extends to nearly every continent. We exist throughout the U.S., Europe, the U.K., Africa, and the Caribbean.

Scene from military-style raid outside Omali Yeshitela’s home on July 29, 2022. [Photo: Burning Spear Media]

Our Party presides over more than fifty institutions of economic development and self-reliance for the African community including numerous projects in north St. Louis, Missouri known as the Black Power Blueprint.

On July 29th of 2022, the FBI violently and militarily raided my home in north St. Louis, Missouri where I live with my wife, the Deputy Chair of the African People’s Socialist Party, Ona Zené Yeshitela, along with six other homes and offices of Uhuru Movement leaders. See CAM’s coverage of the raid here.

Now the U.S. government is attempting to discredit our righteous struggle to free our people from the perpetual immiseration we face in this country stemming from America’s unresolved “original sin” of slavery and colonialism, a sin whose existence was given testimony by U.S. president Joseph Biden on December 15, 2022.

Their “case” against us is baseless and ridiculous. Our case against them is backed by an undeniable history of centuries of ongoing atrocities against our people and our movement by the U.S. government, who have often used the FBI and Department of Justice as their political weapons against us.

[Source: loveancestry.com]

When they put us on trial, we will put them on trial.

The U.S. government must be made to explain this attack on us in light of the well-known history of COINTELPRO and other covert and overt acts of surveillance, harassment, imprisonment and/or assassination of leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Fred Hampton and many others.

The U.S. is attempting to hide this blatant attack on black people by saying that it is an attack on Russia, not the African Liberation Movement.

How will they defend this absurd notion against the overwhelming evidence of the criminal colonial assaults by the FBI and Justice Department against African people historically, often using the specter of “the Russians” or “the Communists” as their legal cover?

This case is not about whether or not I went to Russia, or whether or not I have a position around the war in Ukraine that was the same as what the Russians had. This attack was perpetrated against us because we have always fought for the liberation of Africa and African people everywhere.

The legal statutes the U.S. will use to execute this political attack will include the so-called “Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA),” which they also used in 1951 to construct their indictment of W.E.B. DuBois on nearly identical charges of working for “the Russians.”

This is selective prosecution. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee and other Israeli lobbying organizations are seemingly immune from prosecution under the FARA law despite their obvious public function as agents of the Israeli government. The “Foreign Agents Registration Act” is almost never enforced unless it is used as a tool against Africans and other colonized peoples.

We will raise up our supposed legal rights to freedom of speech, freedom of association, and freedom of assembly, but more importantly, the government must be made to answer for their oppression and terror against black people historically.

Beginning in the 1970s, our Party laid out a strategic approach to winning the freedom for black people that included building relationships with people all around the world to support the struggle for African self-determination in the U.S.

At our First Party Congress held in Oakland, California in 1981, we received solidarity statements from organizations and governments from around the world, including FECOPES in Colombia, Casa El Salvador, the Pan African Congress of Azania (South Africa), the FSLN government from Nicaragua, the New Jewel Movement-led government of Grenada, Casa Chile, the Revolutionary Workers’ Party of Argentina, the Association of Vietnamese Patriots in the U.S., and the National United Movement of Barbados.

This helps to give lie to the notion that our connection to a Russian NGO is evidence of an illicit relationship that we would have with a “foreign” power.

I traveled to Ireland more than 40 years ago to meet with the Irish Republican Socialist Party at a time when the Irish people were engaged in a struggle for their independence from British colonialism.

In 1983 The Burning Spear newspaper published an article covering how we won the Irish Republican Socialist Party to support our demand for reparations. They held a press conference with us in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The IRSP came out and said that they didn’t want any monetary donations from any Irish people in America who were not supporting the liberation struggle of black people in the U.S.

Our Party has a half-century long historical trajectory that precedes anything that the U.S. government is talking about now in terms of Russia. I was in Nicaragua representing black people after the Nicaraguan Revolution, based on our relationship with the Sandinista National Liberation Front with whom we worked closely in San Francisco leading up to their victory in 1979.

In 1982 we held the first World Tribunal for Reparations for Black People in history. We indicted the U.S. government based on international law and the right of an oppressed people to wield our own state power.

One aspect of the international law used for the Reparations Tribunal was the question of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

An international panel of judges ruled at the end of two days of testimony that the United States is guilty of genocide against African people. It took another 40 years for the United States to ratify this genocide convention, and only in a fashion that freed itself from any possible trial or repercussions.

The reason the U.S. wouldn’t ratify the Genocide Convention was because they wanted to evade responsibility for their treatment of the colonized African and Indigenous peoples in this country.

The U.S. government and the FBI’s attacks on the Uhuru Movement did not begin in 2022. It goes back decades.

In 1996 more than 300 militarily armed police attacked the Uhuru House in St. Petersburg, FL, with airplanes and helicopters. They pumped the entire reserve of tear gas in the city into the Uhuru House where a mass meeting was going on following the police murder of an 18-year-old African teen. This was the same Uhuru House they just invaded and raided again on July 29.

[Source: stltoday.com]

Omali Yeshitela stands before his home and speaks to supporters after FBI raid on July 29, 2022. As I mentioned earlier, Biden himself, when he was trying to win the loyalty of our people in Africa, had to confess the “original sin” of this country: the stolen labor of African people on the stolen land of the Indigenous people, the foundation on which the United States rests.

Let’s call Biden as a witness to testify about this original sin. Let’s cross-examine him with these questions: Did the original sin ever go away? Can we explain the police murder of George Floyd by the original sin? Can we explain the attacks on the Uhuru Movement by this original sin?

After the FBI raids on seven offices and homes of the Uhuru Movement in two cities in the pre-dawn hours of July 29, 2022, there was a tremendous amount of interest, support and outrage coming from literally millions of people and organizations throughout the U.S. and the world.

Numerous organizations and individuals including St. Louis Alderman from Ward 18, Jesse Todd, Zaki Baruti, President-General of the Universal Afrikan People’s Organization, New York councilpersons Charles and Inez Barron, Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Nellie Bailey and others sent messages of support, all of which are cited on our website Handsoffuhuru.org.

But as indictments loom, now is the time to escalate the campaign to mobilize massive public support for the Uhuru Movement, the African People’s Socialist Party, its leaders and members and the right of African people everywhere to organize and advocate for our liberation.

Zaki Baruti [Source: blackisbackcoalition.org]

Resources are urgently needed for our legal defense and campaign work. We are recruiting into our legal support team. We urge all supporters to sign the emergency response pledge form in preparation for political actions once the indictments come down: see handsoffuhuru.org/emergency-response.

Our victory will be won in the streets. Join the movement. Put the colonial state on trial. Turn the tables. Win broad mass support from African people and other forces inside this country and around the world.

Join the Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa! Defense Campaign and get involved wherever you’re located. Build a committee. Donate. Hold a fundraiser. Be a part of making history and winning a landmark victory for the African Liberation Movement that will forever change the world.

Omali Yeshitela (born Joseph Waller) is the founder and chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party, which leads the Uhuru Movement.

Yeshitela is credited with popularizing the demand for reparations to African people in the U.S. and worldwide, having served as the People’s Advocate at the First International Tribunal on Reparations to Black People in the U.S., held in Brooklyn, New York in 1982.

He is the author of numerous books and pamphlets including Vanguard: Advanced Detachment of the African Revolution and An Uneasy Equilibrium: The African Revolution versus Parasitic Capitalism.

You should thank this Russian Naval Officer that you and your loved ones are alive today / by Jeremy Kuzmarov

Source: gasedal.wordpress.com

Originally published: CovertAction Magazine on December 15, 2022

On October 27, 1962, Soviet naval officer Vasily Arkhipov helped prevent the outbreak of World War III and saved humanity from nuclear catastrophe.

Vasily Arkhipov [Source: warhistoryonline.com]

A minesweeper during the Pacific War, Arkhipov was the commander of a diesel submarine that had been sent by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to escort merchant ships bound for Cuba, which were equipped with a torpedo boat armed with a nuclear warhead.

On October 14, 1962, a U.S. spy plane flying over Cuba had revealed that the Soviet Union was building ramps for the installation of missiles with nuclear warheads, in retaliation for the United States deploying missiles with nuclear warheads capable of striking the Soviet Union in Italy, at Gioia del Colle (Apulia in southern Italy), and in Turkey.

President Kennedy’s imposition of a naval blockade after the spy plane discovery triggered the 13-day Cuban Missile Crisis, during which time the submarine that Arkhipov commanded was being pursued by U.S. destroyers which, using depth charges, were trying to force Arkhipov’s submarine to the surface.

President Kennedy with the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. [Source: freedomrockradio.co]

After the Soviet sub’s ventilation system broke down and communication was cut, the captain of the Soviet submarine group, Valentin Grigoryevich Savitsky, was convinced that war had broken out.

Not wanting to sink without a fight, he decided to launch a nuclear warhead at the aircraft carrier pursuing his sub.

The political officer, Ivan Semyonovich Maslennikov, agreed with the captain, but on the flagship B-59, Arkhipov’s consent was also needed, and he objected, convincing Savitsky ultimately to do the same.1

Arkhipov’s persuasion averted a nuclear war, whose consequences would have been horrific. After surfacing, Arkhipov’s sub was fired on by Americans but was able to return to the Soviet Union safely.

The Soviet B-59 nuclear submarine forced to surface off the coast of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. [Source: beyondnuclearinternational.org]

Spooked about how the world had come so close to the nuclear brink, President Kennedy gave a speech at American University in June 1963, five months before his assassination, calling for a “reexamin[ation of the U.S.] attitude towards the Soviet Union” and “Cold War” and for the U.S. and Soviets to work together for a “just and genuine peace” and to “halt the arms race.”

“Confident and unafraid,” Kennedy concluded,

we must labor on—not towards a strategy of annihilation but towards a strategy of peace.

Another Grave Moment of Danger

Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara was not mincing his words when he said years after the events that “We came very, very close [to nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis,] closer than we knew at the time.”

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., characterized the period of the Cuban Missile Crisis as “not only the most dangerous moment of the Cold War [but] the most dangerous moment in human history.”

That moment of danger unfortunately appears just as sharp today.

Time magazine reported in late October that Russia’s launching of missile strikes targeting energy plants within Ukraine and civilian infrastructure “triggered fears that hostilities were escalating and inching closer to nuclear war.”

JFK giving commencement address at American University in June 1963 in which he spoke for a rethinking of the Cold War and need for disarmament. Five months later, he was assassinated. [Source: pinterest.com]

The U.S. had stoked the fire by a) engaging in provocative military drills testing the handling of thermonuclear bombs; b) delivering bombers to Europe equipped with low-yield tactical nuclear weapons; and c) carrying out acts of international terrorism such as the sinking of the flagship vessel of the Russian Black Sea Fleet called the Moskva that prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to place Russia on high nuclear alert.

The U.S. was generally the one to provoke a new Cold War with Russia by a) expanding NATO towards Russia’s border; b) imposing economic sanctions on it under fraudulent pretexts; c) and then backing a coup in Ukraine that triggered the conflict in eastern Ukraine which has evolved into a proxy war.2

In October 2018, the Trump administration pulled the U.S. out of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement, characterized by former U.S. ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman, Jr., as “probably the most successful treaty in the history of arms control.”3

Carl J. Richard, head of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) which oversees the nation’s nuclear arsenal, wrote in the U.S. Naval Institute’s monthly magazine subsequently that the U.S. military had to “shift its principal assumption from ‘nuclear employment is not possible’ to ‘nuclear employment is a very real possibility,’” in the face of threats from Russia and China.

Richard’s successor, Anthony J. Cotton, said just as ominously during his confirmation hearing in September that his job was to prepare the 150,000 men and women under his command to deploy nuclear weapons, and that the president should have flexible nuclear options.

[Source: heraldcourier.com]

Both Richard and Cotton appear to be of the opposite character of Arkhipov, whose level-headedness under pressure and commitment to peace between the U.S. and Russia needs to be remembered at this time.

In a deeply Russophobic climate, Arkhipov should remind us also not to associate Russians with the stereotyped qualities promoted about them in Hollywood films—and in the ravings of Pentagon war planners and politicians who have led us into another grave crisis.

  1.  See Ron Ridenour, The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert (New York: Punto Press, 2018), chapter 5.
  2.  See Jeremy Kuzmarov and John Marciano, The Russians are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2018).
  3. See Scott Ritter, Disarmament in the Time of Perestroika: Arms Control and the End of the Soviet Union (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2022) on the lost promise of the disarmament treaties of the late Cold War era.

Jeremy Kuzmarov (https://jeremykuzmarov.com) is Managing Editor of CovertAction Magazine and author of The Russians Are Coming, Again, with John Marciano (Monthly Review Press, 2018).

MR Online, December 28, 2022, https://mronline.org/

Jose Maria Sison, founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines / by Struggle-La Lucha

Originally published: Struggle-La Lucha on December 16, 2022

From the Philippine Revolution Web Central:

The greatest Filipino of the past century bereaved us peacefully last night.

Prof. Jose Ma. Sison, founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines, passed away at around 8:40 p.m. (Philippine time) after two weeks confinement in a hospital in Utrech, The Netherlands. He was 83.

The Filipino proletariat and toiling people grieve the death of their teacher and guiding light.

The entire Communist Party of the Philippines gives the highest possible tribute to its founding chairman, great Marxist-Leninist-Maoist thinker, patriot, internationalist and revolutionary leader.

Even as we mourn, we vow continue to give all our strength and determination to carry the revolution forward guided by the memory and teachings of the people’s beloved Ka Joma.

Let the immortal revolutionary spirit of Ka Joma live on!

December 17, 2022

Tribute of the 2nd Congress to Comrade Jose Ma. Sison

Resolution of the Second Congress of the Communist Party of the Philippines – November 7, 2016

The Second Congress of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) extends its profound appreciation and expresses deepest gratitude to Comrade Jose Ma. Sison for his immense contribution to the Philippine revolution as founding chair of the Party, founder of the New People’s Army and pioneer of the People’s Democratic Government in the Philippines.

Ka Joma is a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist extraordinaire and indefatigable revolutionary fighter. He applied dialectical and historical materialism to expose the fundamental nature of the semicolonial and semifeudal social system in the Philippines. He put forward an incisive class analysis that laid bare the moribund, exploitative and oppressive rule of the big bourgeois compradors and big landlords in collusion with the U.S. imperialists.

He set forth the program for a people’s democratic revolution as immediate preparation for the socialist revolution. He always sets sights on the ultimate goal of communism.

Ka Joma was a revolutionary trailblazer. In his youth, he joined workers federations and helped organize unions. Ka Joma formed the SCAUP (Student Cultural Association of the University of the Philippines) in 1959 to promote national democracy and Marxism-Leninism and wage ideological and cultural struggle against the religio-sectarians and anti-communist forces among the student intellectuals. Together with fellow proletarian revolutionaries, he initiated study meetings to read and discuss Marxist-Leninist classic writings.

Under Ka Joma’s leadership, the SCAUP organized a protest action in March 1961 against the congressional witchhunt of the Committee on Anti-Filipino Activities which targeted UP faculty members accused of writing and publishing Marxist materials in violation of the Anti-Subversion Law. Around 5,000 students joined the first demonstration with an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal character since more than ten years prior. As a consequence, Ka Joma became a target of reactionary violence and survived attempts on his life. Unfazed, he and the SCAUP continued to launch protests against the Laurel-Langley Agreement and the Military Bases Agreement and other issues as land reform and national industrialization, workers rights, civil and political liberties and solidarity with other peoples against U.S. acts of agression up to 1964.

He and other proletarian revolutionaries eventually joined the old merger Socialist and Communist Party in 1961. In recognition of his communist and youthful fervor, he was assigned to head the youth bureau of the old Party and appointed as member of the executive committee. He initiated meetings to study the classic works of Marx, Lenin, Mao and other great communist thinkers which challenged the stale conditions of the old Party.

He founded the Kabataang Makabayan (KM) in November 1964 and led its development as one of the most important youth organizations in Philippine history. As KM chair, and as a young professor and militant, he went on campus tours and spoke before students as well as young professionals to espouse the necessity of waging a national democratic revolution. His speeches compiled in the volume Struggle for National Democracy (SND) served as one of the cornerstones of the national democratic propaganda movement. The KM would eventually be at the head and core of large mass demonstrations during the late 1960s up to the declaration of martial law in 1972.

As one of the leaders of the old party, Ka Joma prepared a political report exposing and repudiating the revisionism and opportunism of the successive Lava leadership as well as the errors of military adventurism and capitulation of the Taruc-Sumulong gang of the old people’s liberation army. The old party had deteriorated as an out-and-out revisionist party.

Despite Ka Joma’s effort, the old party proved to be beyond resuscitation from its revisionist death. Gangsters in the old party would carry out attempts on his life to snuff the revolutionary revival of the Filipino proletariat.

As Amado Guerrero, Ka Joma led the reestablishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines on the theoretical foundations of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. He prepared the Party constitution, the Program for a People’s Democratic Revolution and the document Rectify Errors and Rebuild the Party and presided over the Congress of Reestablishment held in Alaminos, Pangasinan on December 26, 1968. In 1969, he authored Philippine Society and Revolution which presents the history of the Filipino people, analyzes the semicolonial and semifeudal character of Philippine society and defines the people’s democratic revolution. He prepared the Basic Rules of the New People’s Army and the Declaration of the New People’s Army and directed the Meeting of Red commanders and fighters to found the New People’s Army (NPA) on March 29, 1969.

He led the Party in its early period of growth. He wrote the Organizational Guide and Outline of Reports in April 1971 and the Revolutionary Guide to Land Reform in September 1972 which both served to direct the work of building the mass organizations, organs of political power, units of the people’s army and the Party, as well as in mobilizing the peasants in waging agrarian revolution. He authored the Preliminary Report on Northern Luzon in August 1970 which served as a template in the work of other regional committees.

While directing the development and training of the New People’s Army from its initial base in Central Luzon to the forests of Isabela in Cagayan Valley, he also guided the youth activists in waging mass struggles in Metro Manila against the U.S.-Marcos dictatorship.

Ka Joma was ever on top of the revolutionary upsurge of the students and workers movement in 1970 and 1971. Chants of Amado Guerrero’s name reverberates in Manila and other cities in harmony with calls to join the people’s war in the countryside.

The CPP grew rapidly in its first few years under Ka Joma’s leadership. The Party established itself across the country and led the nationwide advance of the revolutionary armed struggle. He personally supervised the political and military training of Party cadres and NPA commanders in the forested region of Isabela from where they were deployed to other regions.

In 1971, he presided over the Central Committee and presented the Summing-Up Our Experiences After Three Years (1968-1971). He prepared in 1974 the Specific Characteristics of Our People’s War which authoritatively laid out the strategy and tactics for waging people’s war in the Philippines. In 1975, he authored Our Urgent Tasks, containing the Central Committee’s report and program of action. He served as editor-in-chief of Ang Bayan in its first years of publication.

In the underground movement, Ka Joma continued to guide the Party and the NPA in its growth under the brutal fascist martial law regime of dictator Marcos. He issued advisories to underground Party cadres and mass activists. Inspired by the raging people’s war in the countryside, they dared the fascist machinery and carried-out organizing efforts among students and workers.

The first workers’ strike broke out in 1975 preceding the growth of the workers movement. Large student demonstrations against rising school fees and the deterioration of the educational system were carried out from 1977 onwards completely shattering the terror of martial law.

Ka Joma continued to lead the Party in nationwide growth until 1977 when he and his wife Julie were arrested by the wild dogs of the Marcos dictatorship while in transit from one guerrilla zone to another. He was presented by the AFP to Marcos as a trophy. He was detained, subjected to severe torture, put under solitary confinement for more than five years interrupted only by joint confinement with Julie in 1980-1981, and later partial solitary confinement with one or two other political prisoners from 1982-1985.

While in prison, Ka Joma was able to maintain contact with the Party leadership and revolutionary forces outside through clandestine methods of communication. With the collaboration of Ka Julie, lifelong partner and comrade of Ka Joma, they produced important letters and advisories. In 1983, Ka Julie released the article JMS On the Mode of Production which served as a theoretical elucidation and clarification of the nature of the semicolonial and semifeudal social system in order to cast away confusion brought about by claims of industrialization by the U.S.-Marcos dictatorship. It counterattacked claims made by pretenders to socialism who insist that the Philippines had become a developing capitalist country under the fascist dictatorship.

A powerful upsurge of the anti-fascist mass movement followed the assassination of Marcos archrival Benigno Aquino in 1983. This was principally propelled by the workers and student movement which could mount demonstrations of 50,000 or greater from the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1984, Ka Joma released the paper On the Losing Course of the AFP under the pseudonym Patnubay Liwanag to assess the balance of forces and to signal to or sway the Pentagon to better drop Marcos, which would entail causing a split in the AFP. In September 1984, the Pentagon acceded to the Armacost formula and decided to join the U.S. State Department and other U.S. agencies to drop him. By early 1985 Reagan signed the National Security Directive with definite plan to ease out Marcos.

Ka Joma also asserted the need to weaken the reactionary armed strength in the countryside and expand the people’s army to a critical mass 25,000 rifles and one guerrilla platoon per municipality as constructive criticism of the plan to carry out a “strategic counter-offensive.”

The anti-fascist upsurge culminated in a people’s uprising supported by a military rebellion of elements in the reactionary AFP. The Party’s persevering and solid leadership of the anti-fascist movement and revolutionary armed struggle created favorable conditions that led to the overthrow the U.S.-Marcos dictatorship in 1986. Despite strong opposition by the U.S. and reactionary defense establishment, the Aquino regime was compelled to open the detested gates of the Marcos dungeons allowing Ka Joma to be released.

He wasted no time resuming revolutionary work. In a few months time, he mounted a major lecture series to propound a critical class analysis of the Corazon Aquino regime and expose it as representative of big bourgeois comprador and landlord rule. The series of lectures which later comprised the volume Philippine Crisis and Revolution countered the “political spectrum” analysis of populists which pictured the Aquino regime as a bourgeois liberal regime to goad the revolutionary forces along the path of class collaboration and capitulation.

These populists as well as other charlatans carried out a campaign to undermine the basic analysis of classes and production system in the Philippines to justify the convoluted concept of a strategic counter-offensive wishfully thinking that the people’s war can leapfrog to strategic victory bypassing the probable historical course. A number of key leaders of the Party and revolutionary forces were drawn to the self-destructive path of insurrectionism and premature regularization and military adventurism. This would later bring about grave and almost fatal losses to the Party and the NPA, as well as to the urban mass movement.

Forced to exile in 1987 by the Aquino regime which canceled his passport and travel papers, Ka Joma sought political asylum in The Netherlands while on a lecture tour. He eventually resided in Utrecht and work with other comrades in the international office of the National Democratic Front. Although thousand of miles away from the Philippines, he continued to maintain close contact with the Party leaders in the country and provide advise and guidance to help them in their work.

Ka Joma served as one of the steadfast exponent of the Second Great Rectification Movement launched by the 10th Plenum of the CPP Central Committee in 1992. The Party leadership actively sought Ka Joma’s theoretical insights and analysis. In preparing the key document Reaffirm Our Basic Principles and Rectify Errors, the Party leadership referred to Ka Joma and the Party’s founding documents which he authored. With Ka Joma’s full support, the rectification campaign of 1992-1998 united and strengthened the Party to ever greater heights.

Ka Joma also played a key role in authoring the paper Stand for Socialism Against Modern Revisionism which illuminated the path of socialist revolution during the dark hours of the complete restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union in 1990 touted in the monopoly bourgeois mass media as the fall of socialism, a refutation of communism, and the “end of history” and final victory of the capitalist system.

Reflecting Ka Joma’s sharp Maoist critique of modern revisionism, the paper presented a clear historical understanding of the process of capitalist restoration in the USSR from 1956 onwards. This served as key to understanding the continuing viability of socialism and to inspiring the Filipino proletariat to persevere in the two-stage revolution and the international proletariat to carry forward the socialist cause.

Ka Joma’s Utrecht base eventually became a political center of the international communist and anti-imperialist resistance movements. He played an important role in the centennial celebration of Mao Zedong in 1993 which served as a vigorous ideological campaign to reaffirm Marxist-Leninist views and to proclaim Maoism as the third epochal development of Marxism-Leninism.

Up to the early 2000s, he also played a lead role in the formation of the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (ICMLPO) which serves as a center for ideological and practical exchange among communist and workers parties which stood for socialism and opposed modern revisionism. He provided valuable insights and practical assistance to numerous communist parties from Asia to Europe and the Americas.

Over the past decade, he has led the International League of People’s Struggles or the ILPS which has served as coordinating center for anti-imperialist movements around the globe. He authored the paper “On imperialist globalization” in 1997 which clarified that the proletariat remains in the era of imperialism and socialist revolution.

Because of his role in guiding the advance of the international anti-imperialist struggle, Ka Joma was put in the crosshairs of U.S. imperialism. He was included in the U.S. list of “foreign terrorists”, together with the CPP and NPA. At 68 years old, he was arrested in 2007 by the Dutch police and detained for more than 15 days.

Since 1992, together with the NDFP Negotiating Panel, Ka Joma has also ably represented the interests of the Filipino people and revolutionary movement in peace negotiations with successive representatives of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). He has been appointed as Chief Political Consultant of the NDFP Negotiating Panel and has deftly guided it in negotiations with the GRP over the past 25 years.

Over the past several years, Ka Joma continued to provide invaluable insights into the domestic crisis and the situation of the revolutionary forces. He continues to provide advise to the Party and the revolutionary forces in the Philippines on resolving the problems of advancing the revolution to a new and higher stage.

He has set forth critical analysis of the objective international conditions. He has put forward a Marxist-Leninist critique of the capitalist crisis of overproduction which is at the base of the international financial crisis and the prolonged depression that has wracked the global capitalist system. He has reaffirmed that we are still at the historical epoch of imperialism, the last crisis stage of capitalism.

Ka Joma is the torch bearer of the international communist movement. Through the dark period of capitalist restoration, he has kept the flames of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism burning and inspired the proletariat to take advantage of the crisis of global capitalism, persevere along the path of socialism and communism and bring the international communist revolution to a new chapter of revival and reinvigoration.


The Second Congress of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) resolves to give the highest honors to Comrade Jose Ma. Sison, great communist thinker, leader, teacher and guide of the Filipino proletariat and torch bearer of the international communist movement.

In recognition of Ka Joma’s immense contribution to the Philippine revolution and the international workers movement, the Second Congress further resolves:
1. to instruct the Central Committee to continue to seek Ka Joma’s insights and advise on various aspects of the Party’s work in the ideological, political and organizational fields.

2. to endorse the five volume writings of Jose Ma. Sison as basic reference and study material of the CPP and to urge the entire Party membership and revolutionary forces to read and study Ka Joma’s writings.

The Second Congress of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is certain that with the treasure of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist work that Ka Joma has produced over the past five decades of revolutionary practice, the Party is well-equipped in leading the national democratic revolution to greater heights and complete victory in the coming years.

MR Online, December 19, 2022, https://mronline.org/

Commune or nothing! Venezuela’s transition to socialism / by Venezuelanalysis.com

Originally published in Venezuelanalysis.com on November 9, 2022

Amidst Washington’s economic siege, Venezuela’s communes have continued advancing to offer long-standing solutions to the economic crisis in order to build a socialist future where life trumps capital. Communes are, by definition, deeply anti-imperialist and anticapitalist.

Currently, Venezuela has dozens of communes, between rural and urban, some new and others with a baggage of revolutionary struggle. They are made up of people that occupy a shared territory and have historical, cultural, social, ethnic, and economic ties that bind them together. Some rural communes were set up after campesino families took back lands that had historically belonged to them but were seized by landowners for private profit.

Today, communes are a wonderful demonstration of socialism as a viable way to practice substantial democracy and build sovereign production while taking care of the planet.

In his last political address, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez stated that communes were the cornerstone of the Bolivarian Revolution, with the power to truly emancipate the people. He urged cadres and organizations to prioritize the communes with his battle cry: “Commune or Nothing!”

| The Bolivarian Process | MR Online' political horizon got clearer with time, as Chávez set his sights on the construction of socialism and with communes being the "unit cells." Find out more in our latest infographic. (Venezuelanalysis)

The Bolivarian Process’ political horizon got clearer with time, as Chávez set his sights on the construction of socialism and with communes being the “unit cells.” Find out more in our latest infographic. (Venezuelanalysis)

A Unity of Opposites: The Dengist and the Red Guard / by Douglas E. Greene

Mao Zedong

According to Mao Zedong, the principal law of materialist dialectics is the unity of opposites. Thus, it is quite fitting to observe that we can find the unity of opposites on display in evaluations of Mao himself as represented by Domenico Losurdo and Alain Badiou. For Losurdo, Mao is praised for his realism, nationalism, and attention to economic modernization. By contrast, Alain Badiou sees Mao as an eternal rebel, a symbol of the communist idea, and a universalist. These positions could not be more opposed. Even in their judgements of what Mao did wrong in the Cultural Revolution, both provide different answers. On the one hand, Losurdo condemns Mao for going too far with mass rebellion; while on the other, Badiou faults Mao for not going far enough. Yet as we shall see, even though Losurdo and Badiou form a yin and a yang, they both end up short when it comes to Mao.

Domenico Losurdo

The late Domenico Losurdo (1941–2018) was one of the foremost Marxist writers of his generation. He was the author of acclaimed studies on liberalism, Antonio Gramsci, G. W. F. Hegel, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Karl Marx. Losurdo was not simply an academic, but a militant in the Italian Maoist movement of the 1960s. When it came to Marxist-Leninism, Losurdo was forthright about his allegiance: “This is the tradition in which I recognize myself.”1 By the 1980s, Losurdo hard joined the Italian Communist Party. After its dissolution in 1991, he was a member of the Communist Refoundation Party, followed by the Party of Italian Communists. The last organization that Losurdo joined was the anti-revisionist Communist Party of Italy (PCI). At the sixth congress of the PCI in 2011, Losurdo wrote: “It is the coexistence of promising prospects and terrible threats that makes the construction and strengthening of the communist parties urgent. I sincerely hope that the party we are rebuilding today will be up to its tasks.”2

In order to situate Losurdo’s view of Mao, we need to grasp how he understood the different camps of “Western” and “Eastern” Marxism. According to Losurdo, Western Marxism was born as a reaction against imperialism, the slaughter of the First World War, and the aura of the Bolshevik Revolution: “In the West, the radical, indeed apocalyptic, historical turning point is undoubtedly represented by the outbreak and flare-up of the First World War. The tiredness, the disgust, the indignation at the interminable carnage, all this promotes the rapid spread of the communist movement.”3 Furthermore, he argues that Western Marxism was shaped not only by material circumstances, but also the cultural tradition of “Judeo-Christian messianism.” Early Western Marxists like Ernst Bloch, Georg Lukács, and Walter Benjamin all viewed the Russian Revolution through an apocalyptic lens as a utopian and universalist event that would deliver humanity from all the vices of bourgeois society. In the ranks of Bolshevism, Losurdo singles out Leon Trotsky as the embodiment of this messianic spirit of Western Marxism: “If one can ever speak in Russia of Western Marxism, this is represented by Trotsky.”4

However, Western Marxists were bound to be disappointed once their hopes of achieving a classless society did not come to pass in the USSR. Losurdo argues that Western Marxism could not comprehend the mundane need to develop the productive forces and reckon with so-called realism. Since figures like Trotsky refused to deal with this reality, they condemned efforts to do so by “realists” like Stalin as betrayals of the revolution: “Any political programme that fell short of demanding a social order without a state and military apparatus seemed wholly inadequate.”5

Losurdo claims that since Western Marxists were detached from the material realities of imperialist encirclement and economic backwardness, they made a virtue of poverty and authenticity that was akin to a religious belief:

In the eyes of these “Communists,” the imperialist encirclement of “real, existing socialism” and the socialist revolution are simply as irrelevant as the Roman siege of Jerusalem and the Jewish national revolution were for the assembly of Jewish early Christians. From this perspective every effort to analyze the concrete historical conditions is a distraction and immoral; the only thing that really matters is the authenticity and the purity of the gospel of salvation.6

In turn, this leads Western Marxists to disavow the experience of “actually existing socialism” as inauthentic. Losurdo argues that this position plays into anticommunist prejudices and makes Western Marxism acceptable to the bourgeoisie: “They passionately deny the accusation that they are in any way connected to the history of ‘real, existing socialism.’ At the same time they reduce this history to a simple series of horrors in the hope that this will lend them credibility especially in the eyes of the liberal bourgeoisie.”7

Instead of taking this approach, Losurdo argues that socialism must purge itself of the “abstract utopianism,” messianism, internationalism that are the hallmarks of Western Marxism. In its place, he advocates the embrace of “realism” which includes normalizing the market, nationalism, the bureaucracy, the rule of law, and the promotion of material incentives. According to Losurdo, twentieth-century socialism failed because it was too permeated with Western Marxist abstractions, as a result, it was unable to connect with its material environment:

What has been defeated, in the Third World and in the “socialist camp” itself, is a Western Marxism that, having failed to take into account the national and religious identity-religion is often an essential constituent element of national identity-of the countries in which it operated, has failed to orientalize itself, so to speak.8

By contrast, Losurdo says that Marxism’s counterpart in Asia had much different concerns than Western Marxism. In contrast, it was the reality of colonialism that provided the immediate environment that shaped the reception of Marxism after 1917. As Losurdo says, what spoke loudest to Marxists such as Mao was the Leninist theory of imperialism: “Marxism-Leninism is the truth finally found after a long search; the ideological weapon capable of putting an end to the situation of oppression and ‘contempt’ imposed by colonialism and imperialism, the ideological weapon which ensures the victory of the revolution in China.”9

While Western Marxists were cosmopolitans separated from reality, Marxists like Mao both understood and integrated into national life. Losurdo praises Mao’s efforts to “nationalize” Marxism, arguing that the “Sinification” of Marxism was the unification of “East and West, general characteristics and national peculiarities.”10 In other words, Mao (along with Fidel Castro and Ho Chi Minh) fused together internationalism with patriotism: “they never contradicted patriotism and internationalism, indeed, they always saw in the struggle for the liberation of oppressed nations an essential moment in the march of internationalism and universalism, of what Gramsci defines as ‘integral humanism.’”11 He notes that Western Marxism, with its “pure vision of the universal,” could only view these national liberation struggles with utter contempt.12

In addition, Mao’s thoughts on the productive forces were markedly different from those found in Western Marxism. Losurdo observes that the Long March and the anti-Japanese resistance was an “epic endeavor.” During the war, the Japanese targeted the whole population for subjugation, which meant that the “class struggle and national resistance tended to merge in China.”13 To fight Japan, the Communist Party of China (CPC) sought to build a united front that included not only workers and peasants, but also the national bourgeoisie. In this fight for national survival, the CPC’s commitment to production became inseparable from the greater war effort:

From this moment [at the beginning of the Anti-Japanese War], the commitment to the production and development of the economy becomes, especially in the liberated areas controlled by the Communist Party, at the same time an integral part of the national class struggle. It is clear then why, even in the midst of the war effort, Mao called communist leaders to pay close attention to the economic dimension of the conflict.14

Unlike Western Marxists, with their grand disdain for “vulgar” productive forces, Marxists in Asia saw the economic front as even more important than the class struggle and national liberation.15

According to Losurdo, this focus on increasing production did not change after the foundation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. For one, China endured embargos and economic attacks from the United States, which made no secret of its efforts to overthrow the new regime. China might have secured national unity, but it faced the continued threat of imperialist aggression and neocolonial subjugation. Therefore, China’s economic development had the twin tasks of social transformation and modernization.16

Recognizing the economic problems of the Soviet Union, but still wanting to continue the revolution, Mao turned to a “Western Marxist” solution. As Losurdo observes: “Mao Zedong believed that these problems could be solved through the uninterrupted mobilization of the masses. This led to the Great Leap Forward, followed by the Cultural Revolution. A new stage of the revolution was called upon to guarantee both economic development and progress in the direction of socialism. This new stage of socialism had the mission of liberating the initiatives of the masses from all bureaucratic obstacles, even from the bureaucratic obstacles of the Communist Party and the state that it controlled.”17 In other words, Losurdo senses in Mao the same Western Marxist abstract universalism found in figures such as Trotsky.18

Losurdo believes that both the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution created unrealistic millenarian moods to mobilize the people. In these campaigns, Mao undermined the authority of both the party and state. Since these two institutions could no longer ensure stability, this meant that China was only held together by the prestige and power of Mao’s personality, buttressed by the army:

Because the mediating roles of the Party and the state had been swept away, there really only existed, on the one hand, the immediate relationship to the charismatic leader, and on the other hand, the immediate relationship to the masses (though these were in fact manipulated and fanaticized by means of the news media and controlled by an army prepared to intervene in emergencies). These were truly the years of a triumphal Bonapartism.19

For Losurdo, Mao’s fundamental mistake was relying on mass mobilization and revolutionary utopias. This was completely at odds with the requirements of realism: “The ‘Great Leap Forward’ and the ‘Cultural Revolution’ took no account of the need to normalize the process of transformation. No one can call upon the masses to be heroes all the time, to endure being continuously and eternally mobilized, always ready to sacrifice, to do without, to deny oneself. The call to heroism must always remain the exception and never become the rule.”20 Despite Mao’s desire to increase productive forces and overcome inequality, Losurdo concludes that his efforts were unsustainable in the long-term.

After Mao’s death, the leadership of China passed to Deng Xiaoping. A noted “realist” in the CPC, he was not interested in ideological purity, but increasing production through any means. As Deng famously said in 1962: “It does not matter if it is a yellow cat or a black cat, as long as it catches mice.”21 Under Deng, the Cultural Revolution was formally ended and politics were “normalized.” Market socialism was introduced, leading to the rapid increase of productive forces, along with inequality, corruption, and a degradation of social solidarity.

Losurdo believes that China’s return to the realism of “Eastern Marxism” is something to be celebrated. He argues that Deng’s policies were successful in advancing the cause of socialism: “And even with the attendant high costs, the outcomes of undertaking this new course are generally visible: a rapid expansion in the development of productive forces; an economic miracle of European proportions; access like never before to economic and social opportunities for hundreds of millions of Chinese. All of this adds up to a liberation process of enormous proportions.”22 It is safe to assume that Losurdo believes Deng’s governance proves the superiority of Chinese Marxism over Western Marxism, with its focus on organizing the mechanisms of normalcy, and not utopian dreams.

Yet this does not mean Losurdo completely repudiates Mao’s legacy. Deng changed course by rejecting Mao’s radicalism, but without repeating Nikita Khrushchev’s approach to Joseph Stalin, “demonizing those who preceded him in holding power.”23 Deng himself bluntly acknowledged this: “We will not do to Chairman Mao what Khrushchev [sic] did to Stalin.”24 He knew that Mao was a source of legitimacy in China who could not be dismissed in one blow without irrevocably harming the CPC: “Comrade Mao Zedong was not an isolated individual, he was the leader of our Party until the moment of his death. When we write about his mistakes, we should not exaggerate, for otherwise we shall be discrediting Comrade Mao Zedong, and this would mean discrediting our Party and state.”25 This led China to adopt a formal verdict on Mao of being 70 percent good and 30 percent bad. Ironically, this was the same verdict Mao had on Stalin.

In 1981, the CPC approved a resolution on Mao’s historical role. Ultimately, Mao was praised for his correct version of Marxism before 1956, but afterward, he pursued the incorrect “Western Marxist” policies of the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution: “Chief responsibility for the grave ‘Left’ error of the ‘cultural revolution,’ an error comprehensive in magnitude and protracted in duration, does indeed lie with Comrade Mao Zedong. But after all it was the error of a great proletarian revolutionary.”26 For Losurdo, Deng and CPC’s defense of the “realist” as opposed to the “utopian” side of Mao successfully preserved the validity of socialism in China and allowed for its continued advance: “The procedure chosen by the new Chinese leadership, in any case, avoided a delegitimation of revolutionary power. Above all, it made possible a genuine debate about the conditions and characteristics of the construction of a socialist society, because it did not shift all the difficulties, uncertainties, and objective contradictions onto one person as scapegoat.”27

Alain Badiou

Alain Badiou appeared destined for a quiet career as an academic and a writer, but became politically active during the 1960s. Originally a member of the leftist Parti Socialiste Unifié, the student-worker protests of May 1968 transformed Badiou into a Maoist revolutionary. He describes this moment of political awakening as a religious conversion: “I admit without any reticence that May 68 was for me, in the order of philosophy as in everything else, a genuine road-to-Damascus experience.… It is the masses who make history, including the history of knowledge.”28 Afterwards, Badiou was active in the Maoist organization Union des communistes de France marxiste-léniniste (UCFml) and then the non-Maoist L’Organisation Politique. In addition, Badiou has combined his political activism with a prodigious output of plays, philosophical works, literature, and political polemics. He is currently one of the most prominent public intellectuals in France.

Before explaining how Badiou views Mao, we must discuss his understanding of communism. According to Badiou, communism is a Platonic idea that has existed since the emergence of class society: “Every historical event is communist, to the degree that ‘communist’ designates the transtemporal subjectivity of emancipation, the egalitarian passion, the Idea of justice, the will to break with the compromises of the service des biens, the deposition of egoism, an intolerance of oppression, the wish to impose a withering away of the state.”29 For Badiou, communism itself is an idea that is not connected to any specific class, whether workers, serfs, peasants, or slaves. Instead, communism possesses an invariant and transhistorical character: “The communist invariants have no defined class character: they synthesize the universal aspiration of the exploited to topple every principle of exploitation and oppression.”30

Since all communist invariants emerge from similar political events, they take on shared characteristics. In Logics of Worlds, Badiou lists four common traits found in any political truth that aims at communism:

All these truths articulate four determinations: will (against socio-economic necessity), equality (against established hierarchies of power or wealth), confidence (against anti-popular suspicion or fear of the masses), authority or terror (against the ‘natural’ free play of the competition). This is the generic kernel of a political truth of this type.”31

The communist invariants not only share these four attributes, but they are also symbolized by proper names. Among those names highlighted by Badiou are Spartacus, Louis Auguste Blanqui, Maximilien Robespierre, Marx, V. I. Lenin, Che Guevara, and, of course, Mao. As Badiou says, for the unnamed masses who fight for emancipation, these proper names stand for the idea and truth of communism:

The anonymous action of millions of militants, rebels, fighters, unrepresentable as such, is combined and counted as one in the simple, powerful symbol of the proper name. Thus, proper names are involved in the operation of the Idea, and the ones I just mentioned are elements of the Idea of communism at its various different stages.32

While communism is an eternal idea, Badiou—at least in his more Marxist days—argued that the proletariat was not doomed to simply go through the same past struggles repeatedly. Rather, the proletariat is a universal class through which the communist program can finally be realized: “With the proletariat, ideological resistance becomes not only the repetition of the invariant but also the mastery of its realization.”33 This is true because Marxism is the accumulation of knowledge from all the past popular struggles carried out by other communist invariants. For the proletariat, Marxism now becomes the key instrument to its ultimate victory: “We must conceive of Marxism as the accumulated wisdom of popular revolutions, the reason they engender, and the fixation and precision of their target.”34 When Badiou wrote these words in 1976, he undoubtedly saw Maoist thought as the highest synthesis of Marxist knowledge for the proletariat. However, since the 1980s at least, Badiou has retreated from an identification of the proletariat as a universal class.

Badiou sees communism as a political truth which undergoes periodic sequences of emergence, growth, and exhaustion: “I will begin by saying that a political truth can, after all, be described in a purely empirical way: it is a concrete, time-specific sequence in which a new thought and a new practice of collective emancipation arise, exist, and eventually disappear.”35 According to Badiou, there have been two separate sequences of modern communism. The first came with the French Revolution in 1792 and lasted until 1871. He argues that the major characteristics of the first sequence were combining a mass movement of workers with the conquest of power: “This sequence combined, under the sign of communism, the mass popular movement and a thematic of the seizure of power. The object was to organize the popular movement, in multiple forms—demonstrations, strikes, uprisings, armed actions, and so on—in preparation for an overturn, evidently meaning an insurrectional overturn such as went by the name of ‘revolution.’”36 This sequence ended with the Paris Commune, which Badiou identifies as “the supreme form of this combination of popular movement, working-class leadership and armed insurrection.”37

The second sequence lasted from the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 to the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976. Badiou argues that this sequence was dominated by the question of how to escape the defeat of the Paris Commune and achieve victory. Lenin’s vanguard party provided these answers: “This obsession with victory and the Real was focused on problems of organization and discipline, and entirely contained, from Lenin’s What is to Be Done? of 1902, in the theory and practice of the centralized and homogeneous class party.”38 While the vanguard party allowed communists in the second sequence to take power, it created the new problem of the terroristic and bureaucratic party-state. As Badiou put it:

The party, in fact, appropriate for insurrectionary or military victory over weakened reactionary powers, proved ill-adapted for the construction of a state of proletarian dictatorship in Marx’s sense, in other words a state organizing the transition towards a non-state, a power of non-power, a dialectical form of the withering away of the state. The form of the party-state, on the contrary, involved an experiment with an unprecedented form of authoritarian or even terroristic state, one that in any case was entirely separate from people’s practical life.39

The main attempt to break out of the party-state impasse was made by Mao. Badiou argues that Mao was opposed to the depoliticization and ossification of the Stalinist state:

Similarly, Mao rises up against Stalin’s objectivism. He argues that Stalin ‘wants only technology and cadres’ and only deals with the ‘knowledge of the laws’. He neither indicates ‘how to become the masters of these laws’, nor does he sufficiently illuminate ‘the subjective activism of the Party and the masses’. In truth, Mao indicts Stalin for a veritable depoliticization of the will…This depoliticization must be envisaged in terms of its most remote consequences: the transition to communism, the only source of legitimacy for the authority of the socialist state. Without a political break, without the will to abolish ‘the old rules and the old systems’, the transition to communism is illusory.40

For Mao, the way out of the Stalinist deadlock was the politicization of the masses and an assault on the party-state. This took the form of the Cultural Revolution and the resurrection of the Paris Commune: “We can therefore say without fear that, in the current phase of revolutionary politics, the Cultural Revolution plays the role that the Paris Commune played in its Leninist sequence. The Cultural Revolution is the Commune of the age of Communist Parties and Socialist States.”41 For Badiou, the Cultural Revolution was a historic attempt to break through the deadlock of the party-state and renew the idea of communism.

Yet Badiou identifies a contradiction in the Cultural Revolution between the needs of order and rebellion:

On one hand, the issue is to arouse mass revolutionary action in the margins of the state of the dictatorship of the proletariat, or to acknowledge, in the theoretical jargon of the time, that even though the state is formally a ‘proletarian’ state, the class struggle continues, including forms of mass revolt. Mao and his followers will go so far as to say that under socialism, the bourgeoisie reconstitutes itself and organizes itself within the Communist Party itself. On the other hand, with actual civil war still being excluded, the general form of the relation between the party and the state, in particular concerning the use of repressive forces, must remain unchanged at least in so far as it is not really a question of destroying the party.42

While Mao and his supporters told the masses that it is “right to rebel” against the party-state, there was also the need to maintain stability. Despite the Cultural Revolution’s invocation of a new state based on the Paris Commune, Badiou notes that Mao wanted to maintain the party-state, insisting that most cadres were basically good.

For Badiou, the seizures of power—particularly the Shanghai People’s Commune of 1967—reveal the failures of the self-imposed limits of the Cultural Revolution. Mao ended up retreating from the commune form, instead supporting the creation of “three-in-one” revolutionary committees composed of cadre from the party, army, and mass organizations. This amounted to the restoration of the party-state’s power and authority. Furthermore, the workers’ movements and Red Guards were disbanded. Badiou concludes that the Cultural Revolution proved that the party-state cannot serve as a means to reach communism:

[The Cultural Revolution] marks an irreplaceable experience of saturation, because a violent will to find a new political path, to relaunch the revolution, and to find new forms of the workers’ struggle under the formal conditions of socialism ended up in failure when confronted with the necessary maintenance, for reasons of public order and the refusal of civil war, of the general frame of the party-state.43

In terms of Mao himself, Badiou says that he played a contradictory role in the Cultural Revolution as both a rebel and a restorationist:

We can clearly see that Mao, by bringing in the workers, wanted to prevent the situation from turning into one of ‘military control.’ He wanted to protect those who had been his initial allies and had been the bearers of enthusiasm and political innovation. But Mao is also a man of the party-state. He wants its renovation, even a violent one, but not its destruction. In the end he knows full well that by subjugating the last outpost of young rebellious ‘leftists,’ he eliminates the last margin left to anything that is not in line (in 1968) with the recognized leadership of the Cultural Revolution: the line of party reconstruction. He knows it, but he is resigned. Because he holds no alternative hypothesis—nobody does as to the existence of the state, and because the large majority of people, after two exalted but very trying years, want the state to exist and to make its existence known, if necessary with brute force.44

Ultimately, Badiou claims that the Cultural Revolution proves that the next sequence of communism must dispense with the vanguard party: “We know today that all emancipatory politics must put an end to the model of the party, or of multiple parties, in order to affirm a politics ‘without party,’ and yet at the same time without lapsing into the figure of anarchism, which has never been anything else than the vain critique, or the double, or the shadow, of the communist parties, just as the black flag is only the double or the shadow of the red flag.”45 Despite his denials, Badiou’s communism is effectively a form of speculative anarchism, with its celebration of miraculous “events.” However, his concept of the invariant allows Badiou to avoid disillusionment like other former Maoists. Instead, he can argue for the revival of communism since it will always exist as a form of mass rebellion:

I maintain the expression [of communist invariants], against that of the ‘death of communism.’ And that—at the very moment in which a monstrous avatar, literally disastrous (a ‘State of communism’!) is falling apart—it thus be a matter of the following: any event which is foundational of truth exposes the subject it induces to the eternity of the equal. ‘Communism,’ in having named this eternity adequately serve to name a death.46

Even now, Badiou refuses to disavow Mao. On the fiftieth anniversary of the Cultural Revolution in 2016, Badiou upheld Mao as a representative of the communist idea: “You might say that what I first saw in Mao and the Chinese Communist Party was a ‘left’ critique of Soviet politics. Mao’s major grievance was as follows: Stalin’s vision isn’t dialectical. He represents congealed, immobilized state socialism, whereas Mao, as is clear in all his great texts, thinks in an almost infinite way.”47 In the end, Badiou holds true to his youthful Red Guard beliefs by affirming Mao as an eternal rebel.

Two Halves that Don’t Make a Whole

What would Losurdo and Badiou say about each other’s views on Mao? Losurdo would likely consider Badiou to be infected with Western Marxist abstractions and anarchism in his celebration of mass rebellion and disregard for the needs of realism. By contrast, Badiou would no doubt consider Losurdo to be a Stalinist cop, with his defense of order, normalcy, and the bureaucratic party-state. Between them, no resolution could be possible. Yet this contradiction does not add up to a coherent picture of Mao.

In Mao, there is an antinomy without resolution between the opposed dialectic of the Dengist and the Red Guard. The source of this unresolvable conflict is built into Mao’s dialectics since he rejects any reconciliation or negation of the negation. Instead, there is an eternal struggle between opposites. According to Mao, there are always rival positions in politics representing different roads such as bourgeois and proletarian, capitalist or socialist, or Dengism and the Red Guard. Depending on the requirements of the situation at hand, Mao himself oscillates between opposed positions. This ambiguity was most clearly on display during the Cultural Revolution where Mao was the source of both ultimate authority and rebellion. In religious terms, it could be said that Mao was both God and Lucifer. Ultimately, the Dengist and Red Guard fail to understand Mao, since neither are willing to conclude an identity between their unity of opposites.

  1. Domenico Losurdo, “Domenico Losurdo interviewed by Matteo Gargani (2016),” Red Sails.
  2. Domenico Losurdo, “Intervention at the 6th PdCI National Congress,” Domenico Losurdo (2011).
  3.  Domenico Losurdo, Il marxismo occidentale Come nacque, come morì, come può Rinascere (Bari: Laterza2017), 33, translation mine.
  4.  Domenico Losurdo, Antonio Gramsci dal liberalismo al “comunismo critico” (Rome: Gamberetti, 1997), 242, translation mine.
  5.  Domenico Losurdo, Class Struggle: A Political and Philosophical History (New York: Palgrave, 2016), 229.
  6.  Domenico Losurdo, “Flight from History? The Communist Movement between Self-Criticism and Self-Contempt,” Nature, Society and Thought 13, no. 3 (2000): 461.
  7.  Losurdo, “Flight from History? The Communist Movement between Self-Criticism and Self-Contempt.” For a thorough refutation of Losurdo on Stalin, see the appendix of Doug Greene, The Dialectics of Saturn: On the Question of Stalinism (forthcoming).
  8.  Losurdo, Antonio Gramsci dal liberalismo al “comunismo critico,” 242, translation mine.
  9.  Domenico Losurdo, “World War I, the October Revolution and Marxism’s Reception in the West and East,” in Cataclysm 1914: The First World War and the Making of Modern World Politics, ed.  Alexander Anievas (Boston: Brill, 2015), 263.
  10.  Losurdo, Antonio Gramsci dal liberalismo al “comunismo critico,” 242, translation mine.
  11.  Domenico Losurdo, “Como Nasceu e como Morreu o ‘Marxismo Ocidental’,” Marxists Internet Archive, translation mine.
  12.  Domenico Losurdo, “Como Nasceu e como Morreu o ‘Marxismo Ocidental.’”
  13.  Losurdo, Class Struggle: A Political and Philosophical History , 160.
  14.  Losurdo, “World War I, the October Revolution and Marxism’s Reception in the West and East, 266–67.
  15.  Losurdo, “World War I, the October Revolution and Marxism’s Reception in the West and East, 266–67.
  16.  Losurdo, “Flight from History? The Communist Movement between Self-Criticism and Self-Contempt,” 494.
  17.  Losurdo, “Flight from History? The Communist Movement between Self-Criticism and Self-Contempt,” 494–95.
  18.  It is absurd for Losurdo to compare Trotsky with Mao as falling under the same species of voluntarism. For more on Trotsky’s anti-voluntarist politics, see The Dialectics of Saturn.
  19.  Losurdo, “Flight from History? The Communist Movement between Self-Criticism and Self-Contempt,” 495.
  20.  Losurdo, “Flight from History? The Communist Movement between Self-Criticism and Self-Contempt,” 495.
  21.  Deng Xiaoping, “Restore Agricultural Production,” in Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping – Volume I (1938–1965) (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1992), 318.
  22.  Losurdo 2000, 497.
  23.  Ibid. 496.
  24.  Deng, “Answers to Fallaci,” Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping, vol. 2, 344.
  25.  Deng, “On Drafts of Resolution on CPC History,” Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping, vol. 2, 300.
  26.  Communist Party of China, “June 27, 1981- Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China,” Wilson Center, p. 16.
  27.  Losurdo, “Flight from History? The Communist Movement between Self-Criticism and Self-Contempt, 497.
  28.  Quoted in Peter Hallward, Badiou: A Subject to Truth (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003), 33.
  29.  Quoted in Hallward, Badiou: A Subject to Truth, 241.
  30.  Quoted in Bruno Bosteels, Badiou and Politics (Durnham: Duke University Press, 2011), 277.
  31.  Alain Badiou, Logics of Worlds: Being and Event, 2 (New York: Continuum, 2009), 27.
  32.  Alain Badiou, The Communist Hypothesis (New York: Verso, 2010), 250-51.
  33.  Quoted in Bosteels, Badiou and Politics, 279.
  34.  Quoted in Bosteels, Badiou and Politics, 280.
  35.  Badiou, The Communist Hypothesis, 231.
  36.  Alain Badiou, The Meaning of Sarkozy (New York: Verso, 2008), 106.
  37.  Badiou, The Meaning of Sarkozy, 106.
  38.  Badiou, The Meaning of Sarkozy, 108. By “passion for the real,” Badiou is referring to a term from Lacanian psychoanalysis that refers to a desire for what can be done in the here and now in a sense of immediate material urgency. In terms of politics, Badiou views the Real as making the impossible possible: “And in particular, this conception of the real as being, in a situation, in any given symbolic field, the point of impasse, or the point of impossibility, which precisely allows us to think the situation as a whole, according to its real. Part of what I said a moment ago could be resaid as follows: emancipatory politics always consists in making seem possible precisely that which, from within the situation, is declared to be impossible.” Peter Hallward and Alain Badiou, “Politics and philosophy: an interview with Alain Badiou,” Angelaki 3.3 (1998): 124; Alain Badiou, The Century (Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2007), 32.
  39.  Badiou, The Meaning of Sarkozy, 109.
  40.  Badiou, Logics of Worlds: Being and Event, 22.
  41.  Badiou, The Communist Hypothesis, 278.
  42.  Badiou, The Communist Hypothesis, 113–14.
  43.  Badiou, The Communist Hypothesis, 155.
  44.  Badiou, The Communist Hypothesis, 148.
  45.  Badiou, The Communist Hypothesis,155.
  46.  Alain Badiou, Infinite Thought: Truth and the Return to Philosophy (New York: Continuum, 2003), 131.
  47.  Alain Badiou, “Mao thinks in an almost infinite way,” Verso Books, May 16, 2016.

Douglas Greene is an independent Marxist historian living in the greater Boston area. He is the author of two biographies: Communist Insurgent: Blanqui’s Politics of Revolution and A Failure of Vision: Michael Harrington and the Limits of Democratic Socialism.

MR Online, August 19, 2022, https://mronline.org/

Fidel’s guidance in all of Cuba’s struggles / by Alejandra Garcia

Originally published: Resumen English on August 11, 2022

These days Cuba is recovering from an unprecedented fire, which has kept Matanzas, the whole island, and especially rescuers, firefighters, and authorities on full alert since the night of August 5. The continuous explosions in one of the main oil storage facilities in the country left a trail of thick black smoke that covered the Havana sky for five days. It also left so far two deaths, 14 people missing, and over a hundred people injured. Now that the flames have been extinguished the next phase of clean up will begin and it will start with finding the remains of those brave firefighters who threw themselves immediately into battle for their homeland.

However, amid pain and agony, Cuba has one great consolation: since 1959, the people have never been alone in struggles, accidents, or catastrophes of any kind. Fidel never permitted it. Today, when the island is just 2 days away from remembering the 96th anniversary of his birth, the 6th that has passed without his physical presence, the people proved once again that his ideas and his example do not abandon them.

In the most uncertain moments of the fight to put out the fire, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermudez mentioned, again and again, a phrase well known to Cubans: “The protection of our citizens will always occupy the first place in our efforts. Nothing will have priority over this.”

Fidel repeated those same words in March 2003, a few months after two powerful hurricanes, Lili and Isidore, crossed the island in September 2002, both of which had an almost identical path, coming barely 11 days between one another.

“In the face of climate changes, the environmental damage caused by humankind, economic crises, epidemics and cyclones, our material, scientific and technical resources are increasingly abundant,” he added.

Cuba had already lived through other extreme experiences at that time. Hurricane Flora, for example, passed over the island in October 1963 and is remembered for its heavy rains, which overflowed rivers, ruined crops, and destroyed houses. More than 1,150 people died during that violent five-day storm, as well as thousands of animals.

According to Bohemia, Fidel directed the relief operations and moved from one province to another. First Santa Clara, then Camagüey, and even into the most dangerous area of the Cauto River.

“The Commander-in-Chief of the Revolution was, as always, in the front line. It was not uncommon to see him personally organizing rescue brigades, attending to the victims, sharing the pain of the people,” the magazine reported.

Fidel Castro was on the front line of the catastrophe, even during the battering of the winds and waters, even though the historic hurricane had not yet left the eastern province within which it performed several loops while trapped by the mountains.

The leader of the Revolution moved there with amphibious tanks of the Rebel Army and he personally saved many victims who remained on the roofs, the top of trees, or those who were trapped in the floodwaters. The helicopters fought against the heavy winds, taking advantage of every space of calm to save entire families.

All the victims received material assistance. The enormous damage was mitigated and everything was rebuilt. No family was left behind.

Since 2016, the year Fidel died, Cuba has faced other situations of great pain: Hurricane Irma (2016), the plane crash at José Martí International Airport (2018), and the tornado that destroyed hundreds of houses in Havana (2019), an unprecedented pandemic, a raging fire…

But Cuban leaders continue Fidel’s legacy. From the checkpoint stationed a few kilometers from the fire, after it was made known that the flames were already under control, Díaz-Canel took a few minutes to recall – as he does every day – some words of the man who remains and will remain present in each of our struggles: “Our people will be able to overcome any obstacle, any difficulty; our people will be able to march forward unstoppable, and they will be able to overcome their own weaknesses.”

In commemoration of Fidel’s  birthday on August 13 we present Estela Bravo’s extraordinary documentary, Fidel the Untold Story

MR Online, August 14, 2022, https://mronline.org/

Former Bolivian President Evo Morales calls for a Global campaign to eliminate NATO / by Jeremy Kuzmarov

Evo Morales | Source: declassifieduk.org

Originally published in Covert Action Magazine on July 30, 2022

In an interview with British journalist Matt Kennard at his home in El Trópico, a small town four hours from Cochabamba in the heart of the Amazon rain forest, former Bolivian president Evo Morales (2006-2019) called for an international campaign to eliminate NATO [the North Atlantic Treaty Organization].

According to Morales, this campaign should explain to people worldwide that “NATO is—ultimately—the United States. It is not a guarantee for humanity or for life. I do not accept—in fact, I condemn—how they can exclude Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. When the U.S. has intervened in Iraq, in Libya, in so many countries in recent years, why have they not been expelled from the Human Rights Council? Why was that never questioned?”

Morales continued:

We [in the Movimiento al Socialismo, MAS] have profound ideological differences with the politics implemented by the United States using NATO, which are based on interventionism and militarism. Between Russia and Ukraine they want to reach an agreement and [the U.S.] keeps provoking war, the U.S. military industry, which is able to live thanks to war, and they provoke wars in order to sell their weapons. That’s the other reality we live in.

| With the constant shipment of weapons to Ukraine the United States and NATO continue with their policy of quotfighting Russia to the last Ukrainian soldierquot iuvmpressnews | MR Online
[Source: iuvmpress.news]

Coup Against Alternative Economic Model

Morales is one of the most successful presidents in Latin American history who closed down a U.S. military base in Bolivia, expelled the CIA and DEA, and helped reverse half a millennium of colonial history by helping Bolivia to industrialize its economy.

In November 2019, Morales was ousted in a U.S./UK-backed coup that culminated with the army’s massacre of anti-coup protesters. Morales survived an assassination attempt only because Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, sent a plane to rescue him.

The beneficiary of the coup, Jeanine Áñez—a conservative Christian who lost the October 2020 election to Luis Arce of MAS—was sentenced to 10 years in prison in June after being convicted of terrorism and sedition.

Morales—who returned to Bolivia after Arce’s election in October 2020—believes that the coup was prompted by his move to nationalize Bolivia’s oil and gas reserves.

Morales told Matt Kennard that “I continue to be convinced that the empire, capitalism, imperialism, do not accept that there is an economic model that is better than neoliberalism. The coup was against our economic model… we showed that another Bolivia is possible.”

| Bolivia just wants to have friends rpolandball | MR Online
[Source: reddit.com]

“All For Lithium”

In 2021, the British Foreign Office released documents which showed that the British embassy in Bolivia had paid an Oxford-based company to optimize “exploitation” of Bolivia’s lithium deposits the month after Morales fled the country after being ousted in the coup.

The documents also showed the UK embassy in La Paz acted as “strategic partner” to Áñez’ coup regime and organized an international mining event in Bolivia four months after democracy was overthrown.

| | MR Online
Jeff Glekin, the UK ambassador, with Jeanine Áñez in January 2020. [Source: declassifieduk.org]

Bolivia possesses the world’s second largest reserves of lithium, a metal used to make batteries, which has been increasingly coveted due to the burgeoning electric-car industry.

Under the traditional imperial dynamic which had kept Bolivia poor, rich countries extract raw materials, send them to Europe to be made into products, and then sell them back to Third World countries like Bolivia as finished products at a mark-up.

With Bolivia’s lithium deposits, Morales was adamant this system was finished. Bolivia would not just extract the lithium; it would build the batteries too. He told Kennard that:

We started with a laboratory, obviously with international experts that we hired. Then we moved on to a pilot plant. We invested around $20 million, and now it’s working. Every year it produces about 200 tonnes of lithium carbonate, and lithium batteries, in Potosí [the capital of the Spanish empire where the Spanish had undertaken silver mining in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries.]

| Bolivian state firm YLBs plant is seen at the Salar de Uyuni a vast white salt flat at the center of a global resource race for the battery metal lithium outside of Uyuni Bolivia March 26 2022 REUTERSClaudia Morales | MR Online
Bolivian state firm YLB’s plant is seen at the Salar de Uyuni, a vast white salt flat at the center of a global resource race for the battery metal lithium, outside of Uyuni, Bolivia, March 26, 2022. [Source: learningenglish.voanews.com]

Morales continued:

We had a plan to install 42 new [lithium] plants by 2029. It was estimated that profits would be five billion dollars. Profits! That’s when the coup came. The U.S. says China’s presence is not permitted but… having a market in China is very important. Also in Germany. The next step was with Russia, and then came the coup. Just last year, we found out that England had also participated in the coup—all for lithium.

Colonial Mentality

When Kennard told Morales that the UK Foreign office had denied that a coup took place, Morales responded that this was hard to comprehend and reflected “a totally colonial mindset. They think that some countries are the property of other nations. They think God put them there, so the world belongs to the U.S. and the UK. That’s why the rebellions and the uprisings will continue.”

With the People or the Evil Empire?

Morales has great admiration for Julian Assange whose detention, he said,

represents an escalation, an intimidation so that all the crimes against humanity committed by the different governments of the United States are never revealed. So many interventions, so many invasions, so much looting.

| The US Is Determined to Make Julian Assange Pay for Exposing the Cruelty of Its War on Iraq | Sri Lanka Guardian | MR Online
Morales has great admiration for Julian Assange. [Source: siguardian.org]

Currently, Morales is working on building independent media in Bolivia, where he says that most of the media “belong to the empire or the right-wing.”

Optimistic about the recent victory of left-wing political forces in PeruChile and Colombia and Lula’s expected return to the presidency in Brazil, Morales told Kennard that,

in politics we must ask ourselves: Are we with the people or are we with the empire? If we are with the people, we make a country; if we are with the empire, we make money. If we are with the people, we fight for life, for humanity; if we are with the empire, we are with the politics of death, the culture of death, interventions, and pillaging of the people. That is what we ask ourselves as humans, as leaders: ‘Are we at the service of our people?

Jeremy Kuzmarov is Managing Editor of CovertAction Magazine and author of The Russians Are Coming, Again, with John Marciano (Monthly Review Press, 2018).

MR Online, August 2, 2022, https://mronline.org/