Montag, 03.02.2003


01 Open Letter to Hans Blix
von: Bernard Wijedoru <>
02 Marcello Pera a Paris
von: Collectif Bellaciao <>
03 Red Newsletter
von: AST ˆ LRCI <>
04 RAWNEWS on Latin America
von: RAWNEWS <>
05 Freedom of Press ˆ US Style
von: RAWNEWS <>
06 Tessa Jowell warn protesters
von: RAWNEWS <>
07 Strategic Shift in South Asia
von: RAWNEWS <>


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01 Open Letter to Hans Blix
von: Bernard Wijedoru <>
Tel: (852) 23673250
P.O.Box 95832 TST
Hong Kong SAR, China. &n! bsp;
31 January 2003
Open letter to Dr. Hans Blix, UN CWI
Your 27 January report to the UN Security Council on your follow up activities on SC Resolution 1441 has caused considerable concern amongst politically conscious people world wide.
The main questions and views generated by the tone and contents of your report include the following:
1) That you have overlooked the fundamental principle of Natural Justice that it is the accuser who has to prove the accusations and that the accused has little or no responsibility to prove his innocence.
2) That you have overlooked your obligation to press the US to provide you any and all information that the US Administration possesses which justifies its allegation that Iraq does indeed have w! eapons of mass destruction.
3) The fact that the US has not provided such information for you to verify and the fact that you have apparently not pushed for such information suggests that there is no such verifiable information
4) In civilized societies, it is the DUTY of an Inspector who gives an adverse report to give clear reasons as to why he arrives at such a conclusion and discuss such adverse comments with the accused party BEFORE publicizing the adverse report.
5) When you made the adverse comments regarding the nature and extent of Iraqi cooperation, you have not stated what Iraq's responses were to the allegedly unanswered questions. Alternatively, were they un-asked questions which you included in the report primarily at the behest of the US?
6) It would appear that you had met US Government officials and discussed and agreed on the tone and contents of the report before presenting it to the Se! curity Council.
7) If you had in fact done so, it would have been common courtesy ,if the Inspection is in fact being carried out in a civilized manner, that you would have afforded a similar privilege to Iraqi Government officials as well, particularly because you were going to present an adverse report against Iraq.
In the light of the above, it is a widespread view that the wording of the report has been clearly aimed at providing ammunition to the US to pursue the invasion of Iraq, with or without UN blessing.
The peace loving world accordingly would look forward to a more transparent and defensible final report which would form the basis of the eventual Security Council Resolution regarding whether the US accusations against Iraq have been proven beyond reasonable doubt and whether Iraq has been guilty of any material breach of the provisions of SC resolution 1441.
If you continue your current questionable approach and fail in th! e task of providing a fair and objective final report, history would certainly find you guilty of crimes against humanity on account of your being a co-conspirator of President Bush's Fascist attempt at Global conquest.
As is now common knowledge, President Bush has acquired Fascist traits genetically by virtue of his grandparents being the chief US Agents and Financiers of Hitler. He has clearly displayed such traits in the way he aided and abetted the 9/11 `Reichstag' and used all the tactics and slogans used by Hitler to justify war.
Do you think it is worth your while continuing to serve such blatantly Fascist causes?Yours faithfully ,
Bernard Wijedoru
Hi Bernard!
A great letter, You are so right about Blix. He has definitely either been bought or intimidated into toeing th! e American line. I thought he looked rather sheepish when he read that speech to the Assembly.
It was interesting to note that for the first time he did not enter with ElBaradei and the body language between ElBaradei and Blix was distinctly cool. For some strange reason Blix did not ask for more time whereas ElBaradei did. This is all so obvious. Blix should be ashamed
Best wishes,
Dear Bernard,
I too felt deeply disappointed with the report by Blix, especially as I previously thought he was keeping Bush in his place as a member, not the boss that Bush imagines he is. What made him suddenly sound so weak? If he had found evidence against Iraq, he could have informed the world, and at that point he was credible. No longer. Without evidence, he seemed to change his coat.
To believe that Iraq has the power to damage the US is incredible. Moreover, the US is not concerned about t! he rest of the world, while it alone has the power of mass destruction and has never hesitated to use that power anywhere. How can Blix or anyone else support the new fascism that threatens the world - the United States of America? It is unbelieveable that the world is once more being cheated by the new Hitler and has learned nothing from the tragedy of World War II.
Thanks, an excellent letter. you have my support

02 Marcello Pera a Paris
von: Collectif Bellaciao <>
Chi é veramente Marcello Pera, presidente del Senato della Repubblica italiana ?
Terza carica dello stato, dopo il Presidente della Repubblica e il Presidente del Consiglio, Marcello Pera fa parte della sparuta schiera di intellettuali, membri del mondo accademico, che hanno aderito a Forza Italia, nel tentativo di dare una parvenza di rispettabilità al partito-azienda creato da Berlusconi per sostenere il suo disegno politico
Egli si é servito della sua carica di Presidente del Senato per facilitare, mediante la rimozione di ogni ostacolo procedurale, l'approvazione di un complesso di leggi (dall'abolizione della tassa di successione alla depenalizzazione del falso in bilancio a tutte quelle legi e leggine che servono alla moltiplicazione degli ostacoli nei processi in cui il Berlusconi ed il suo entourage sono imputati) che altro non sono se non parte del programma della loggia massonica P2 ˆ di cui l'attuale Capo del governo é stato membro emerito dal 16.1.78 al suo scioglimento per legge - e cioé:
1. Dividere ed indebolire i sindacati;
2. Rafforzare le TV private ed indebolire la TV di stato (Berlusconi se ne é addirittura impadronito);
3. Modificare la costituzione;
4. Condizionare il Consiglio superiore della magistratura;
5. Asservire al potere esecutivo il potere giudiziario;
6. Promuovere la repubblica presidenziale.
Un filosofo, Marcello Pera
- che non ha speso una parola quando Berlusconi, dopo le innumerevoli piroette del suo governo, é volato a Washington a prosternarsi ai piedi dell'imperatore Bush II, offrendo lo spazio aereo e le basi militari dell'Italia per l'imminente guerra al popolo irakeno ormai esangue, nella speranza di ottenere il riconoscimento per il nostro paese di 52° stato degli USA e la relativa stelletta (quella del 51° é stata ormai stabilmente conquistata dal "laburista" Blair), dimenticando che l'Italia non é un vassallo degli USA e che la Costituzione italiana, tuttora in vigore, esclude la guerra come mezzo per risolvere le controversie internazionali;
- che trova perfettamente normale che le istituzioni dello stato, compreso il Senato della Repubblica, siano al servizio di un governo formato da fascisti tardivamente "pentiti", da razzisti e xenofobi in servizio attivo, dai rottami democristiani e "socialisti" sopravvissuti alla tempesta di Mani pulite, da avvocati e manager della Fininvest di proprietà del Berlusconi, qualcuno dei quali sotto processo per collusione pluridecennale con la mafia;
- che assiste senza batter ciglio allo scandaloso monopolio dell'informazione che vede nelle mani del Capo del governo buona parte dei giornali, delle case editrici, delle radio e delle televisioni pubbliche e private, perché se ne serva per l'attacco sistematico alle forze politiche progressiste, alle organizzazioni sindacali, ai movimenti di contestazione che sorgono spontanei dalla società italiana, a quella parte della magistratura che non si é ancora lasciata intimidire, con le armi della falsificazione e della menzogna piu' spudorata.
E' per denunciare la reale statura morale, politica ed intellettuale di questo falso custode delle istituzioni che siamo qui oggi, e, più in generale, per segnalare e combattere ogni possibile forma di permeabilità in ambito europeo della politica dell'attuale governo italiano.
Marcello Pera, presidente del Senato Italiano, terrà una Conferenza a Parigi, lunedi`3 febbraio, alle ore 18, importante una presenza numerosa.
APPUNTAMENTO IL 03.02.2003 A PARTIRE DELLE ORE 17, di fronte all'IFRI (Institut français de la recherche Internationale) 27 rue de la Procession, PARIGI XV - Metro: Volontaires
Passate parola.

03 Red Newsletter
von: AST ˆ LRCI <>
Red Newsletter 60
Informationsdienst des ArbeiterInnenstandpunkt, 02. Februar 2003
(1) Vom Piepsen politischer PygmäInnen: Die europäischen Kommunistischen Parteien zum drohenden Irak-Krieg
(2) Venezuela: Reaktionärer Generalstreik
(3) Termine
(4) Adressen
Die website des ArbeiterInnenstandpunkt:
Vom Piepsen politischer PygmäInnen:
Die europäischen Kommunistischen Parteien zum drohenden Irak-Krieg
von Michael Pröbsting
Vor uns liegt die Erklärung "Stoppt den Krieg, bevor er beginnt!" des Forums der Neuen Europäischen Linken (NELF), einer Allianz Kommunistischer Parteien, der u.a. die deutsche PDS, der französische PCF, die griechische KKE und die KPÖ angehören. Das Dokument gehört sicherlich zum Beklagenswertesten, was linke Organisationen in den letzten Monaten zum drohenden Irak-Krieg produziert haben. (Es kann unter heruntergeladen werden.)
Gleichzeitig ist eine Pflichtlektüre für alle MarxistInnen, denn selten bekommen wir ein derart plastisches Beispiel wortreicher Impotenz geliefert. Es ist kein Schlachtruf gegen den drohenden imperialistischen Völkermord, nein, es gleicht mehr dem Piepsen politischer PygmäInnen.
Mehr noch, es ist ein Dokument der Heuchelei, unterzeichnet von Parteien wie der Kommunistischen Partei Frankreichs, die in den letzten Jahren loyal in einer imperialistischen Regierung dienten und die Angriffskriege auf Serbien 1999 und Afghanistan 2001 mittrugen. Jetzt tauschen die französischen "KommunistInnen" rasch und professionell die Rakete gegen die Friedenstaube ein ˆ aber erst nachdem sie durch die Wahlniederlage im Vorjahr von den Futtertrögen der Macht vertrieben wurden.
Insgesamt ist das ganze Dokument eine einzige Sammlung von Bitten und Betteln an die europäischen imperialistischen Regierungen und die UNO, sich doch der Wahrung des Weltfriedens anzunehmen. Kurz, der Aufruf ist ein klassisches Beispiel wie wenig der Reformismus mit Klassenkampf und Antiimperialismus zu tun ˆ selbst wenn er sich mit dem wortreichen Umhang des Marxismus(-Leninismus?) umgibt. Unter dem bunten Mantel des "pluralistischen Marxismus" sind die Walter Baiers und Gregor Gysis splitternackt.
Betteln statt kämpfen
Im einzelnen. Der Text ist in erster Linien kein Aufruf zum Klassenkampf, sondern ein Appell an die imperialistischen Regierungen der EU. Während gerade drei Sätze am Ende des 1.000 Worte langen Aufrufes für die Unterstützung der Demonstrationen am 18. Januar und am 15. Februar 2003 aufgewendet werden, befaßt sich die restliche Resolution hauptsächlich damit, die herrschende Klasse von der Sache des Weltfriedens zu überzeugen:
"Die überwiegende Mehrheit der Staaten und ihre Öffentlichkeit wenden sich gegen diese Intervention. (...)
In dieser Situation müssen die europäischen Staaten, von denen einige im UN-Sicherheitsrat wichtige Positionen innehaben, alles in ihrer Macht Stehende tun, um zu verhüten, dass es zum Schlimmsten kommt.
Wir europäischen Linksparteien rufen die politischen Verantwortungsträger in den europäischen Staaten auf, sich auf allen Handlungsebenen für internationale Bedingungen einzusetzen, die es den USA unmöglich machen, den Irak anzugreifen. Die Regelung des Konflikts in und um Irak muss der UNO, der Stimme der internationalen Gemeinschaft, vorbehalten bleiben. Wir appellieren an die europäischen Regierungen, jede Beteiligung an diesem Krieg, die Nutzung von Militärstützpunkten und Einrichtungen zu verweigern und keiner Erhöhung der Militärausgaben zuzustimmen.
Wir bitten (sic!) die Regierungen und die Öffentlichkeit, von allen im UN-Sicherheitsrat vertretenen europäischen Staaten zu fordern ..."
Wer kann den Krieg stoppen? Wir oder die herrschende Klasse?
Man sieht schon: Diese "KommunistInnen" teilen die klassisch bürgerliche Logik, daß das eigentliche Subjekt der Veränderung ˆ zumindest kurzfristig ˆ nicht die breite Masse der Bevölkerung, die ArbeiterInnenklasse, die Jugendlichen, die ImmigrantInnen, die weltweit zu Millionen auf die Straße gehen, sind, sondern die Regierungen und UNO-BotschafterInnen. Es sind letztere, die in den Augen der KP-Spitzen den Krieg verhindern können.
Das ist selbstverständlich himmelschreiender Unsinn. Die europäischen Bourgeoisien ˆ zu deren Verurteilung sich diese kommunistischen leider-nicht-Regierungsparteien nie und nimmer durchringen können ˆ folgen zuallererst einmal ihren natürlichen Interessen. Diese bestehen nicht im Weltfrieden, wie es ihnen die ReformistInnen à la Baier und Gysi einreden möchten, sondern im Profit und der Absicherung ihrer Einflußsphären. Genau deswegen sträuben sich auch der französische und deutsche Imperialismus gegen den Krieg, weil dieser eben die Einflußsphäre des größten und mächtigsten Konkurrenten, der USA, im Nahen Osten auf ihre Kosten erweitern würde. (Frankreich hat bekanntlich gute Geschäftsbeziehungen zum Irak, Deutschland zum Iran).
Gleichzeitig besteht bei dieser Argumentation des NELF aber auch eine hohe Gefahr, Illusionen in die 'guten' europäischen KapitalistInnen zu säen, welche die 'bösen' US-ImperialistInnen mit friedlichen Mitteln vor ihrer Aggression bewahren sollen. Die 'guten' EuropäerInnen wollen doch nur in Ruhe ihren Geschäften nachgehen, und daran kann einE "KommunistIn" doch schließlich nichts falsch finden ...
Die Bush-Administration wird ihnen mit Zuckerbrot und Peitsche zusetzen. Sie wird Berlin und Paris klarmachen, daß der Krieg mit oder ohne deren Einverständnis kommen wird, das aber die USA bereit wären, gewisse Wirtschaftsverträge wohlwollend zu behandeln, falls sich die Herrn Schröder und Chirac ruhig verhalten.
Der andere entscheidende Faktor in den Erwägungen der herrschenden Klassen ist natürlich auch der Druck der Straße. In keinem europäischen Land (ja in fast keinem Staat weltweit) befürwortet die Mehrheit der Bevölkerung den Krieg. Das alleine reicht noch nicht aus, denn die bürgerliche Demokratie gewährt dem Volk zwar das "freie Wort", aber kein Mitspracherecht bei den wichtigen Entscheidungen des Staates.
Letztlich ist es eine Kräftefrage: Können wir in Europa und den USA eine so starke und kämpferische Anti-Kriegsbewegung aufbauen, daß sich die Herrschenden zu fürchten beginnen. Oder verkommen wir zur "Opposition ihrer Majestät" ˆ sprich zu artigen aber ungefährlichen DemospaziergängerInnen?
Auf, auf zum Kampf? Also bitte, bleiben wir doch seriös ...
Die Erklärung der Kommunistischen Parteien Europas stellt eindeutig eine Deklaration der Loyalität gegenüber dem europäischen Imperialismus dar. Statt die ArbeiterInnenklasse über die wirklichen Interessen, über die Verlogenheit und Feigheit der europäischen Bourgeoisie aufzuklären und einen realistischen Weg für den Kampf gegen den Krieg aufzuzeigen, wird diese bloß artig gefragt und gebeten. Doch die Herrschenden zu bedrohen ˆ bedrohen durch Massenstreiks, direkten Aktionen, welche die imperialistische Kriegsmaschinerie treffen, und kämpferischen Großdemonstrationen ˆ nein, das wollen die Herren Baier, Gysi und Hue gewiß nicht. Deswegen enthält ihre Erklärung nur einen kurzen Aufruf, sich an den bereits beschlossenen Mobilisierungen zu beteiligen, aber das ist auch schon alles.
Wir sprechen hier nicht von irgendwelchen ausgefallenen Ideen, sondern schlichtweg von altbekannten Aktionsformen des antiimperialistischen Widerstandes. Während des russischen BürgerInnenkrieges verhinderten z.B. die britischen Gewerkschaften durch Streiks, daß die Regierung Interventionstruppen gegen die Sowjetunion entsenden konnte. Heute rufen die italienischen COBAS-Gewerkschaften zum Streik im Falle des Kriegsbeginns auf. Auf den Universitäten in den USA und Großbritannien bereiten StudentInnengruppen Proteststreiks und -besetzungen vor. In Britannien verweigerten EisenbahnerInnen den Transport von Kriegsmaterial und behinderten dadurch den Aufmarsch. In anderen Ländern organisieren Anti-Kriegsinitiativen Blockaden von Militärstützpunkten. Solche Aktivitäten müssen voll und ganz unterstützt werden; mehr noch: Sie müssen organisiert und weitergetrieben werden. Genau das wäre der Sinn und Zweck einer Erklärung zum Krieg: Ein Aufruf an die ArbeiterInnen, Jugendliche und ImmigrantInnen, zu kämpfen und sich zu organisieren. Doch die Parteien des NELF rufen bloß ˆ nein, sie flüstern nur ehrfurchtsvoll ˆ den Regierungen und der UNO zu. Mit solchen Parteien, die auf den Schlachtruf der KriegsgegnerInnen "Auf, auf zum Kampf!" mit einem "Also, bitte, bleiben wir doch seriös ..." reagieren, sind weder ein Staat noch eine Anti-Kriegsbewegung zu machen.
Konsequenzen ziehen!
Das alles ist kein Zufall, sondern hat Methode. Diese Kommunistischen Parteien folgen der Methode des Reformismus und der Klassenzusammenarbeit. Es geht nicht darum, der ArbeiterInnenklasse die Notwendigkeit der sozialistischen Revolution klarzumachen, sie zu organisieren für den Kampf gegen Krieg und Kapital und diesen auch tatsächlich zu führen, sondern es geht darum, die ArbeiterInnen beim nächsten Urnengang zur Stimmabgabe für die eigene Partei zu bewegen. Punkt, aus! Ja, und auch die Wahlen sind natürlich nicht Selbstzweck und dienen auch nicht der kommunistischen Propaganda, sondern sollen einen Platz auf den Parlamentsbänken und vielleicht sogar auf den MinisterInnensesseln (z.B. Frankreich, Ostdeutschland) ermöglichen, oder wenn das nicht möglich ist (KPÖ außer Graz), dann zumindest die Respektabilität bei möglichen kleinbürgerlichen BündnispartnerInnen erhöhen.
All dies könnten sich die Baiers und Gysis natürlich abschminken, wenn sie in einer öffentlichen Erklärung zum systematischen Klassenkampf gegen den imperialistischen Krieg aufrufen würden oder wenn sie gar ˆ Marx oder Gott (die BündnispartnerInnen von der Fokulare-Bewegung grüßen!) behüte! ˆ für die Niederlage der imperialistischen Truppen und den militärischen Sieg des Iraks eintreten würden. Aber das wäre natürlich zu viel verlangt. Denn dann wären diese Herren und Damen nicht in dieser Kommunistischen Partei, sondern in den Reihen des revolutionären Marxismus! Aber jene KommunistInnen, die nicht länger den Weg des Pazifismus und Reformismus gehen wollen, die ernsthaft gegen den Imperialismus kämpfen wollen, sollten die Konsequenzen ziehen! Die Stunde des Krieges naht ˆ und damit ist die Stunde der politischen Entscheidung für den revolutionären Antiimperialismus ebenfalls gekommen!
Venezuela: Reaktionärer Generalstreik
Wenn bürgerliche Medien genüsslich über einen Generalstreik berichten, ist Vorsicht angebracht. Der Generalstreik gegen Venezuelas Präsidenten Chavez, der Anfang Dezember 2002 begann, wird angeblich von allen Schichten der Bevölkerung getragen und richte sich gegen "sozialistische" Maßnahmen der Regierung. Das sind zwei Lügen auf einmal!
Der Streik wurde von einheimischen KapitalistInnen angezettelt, die ihren ArbeiterInnen für den Streik Œfrei‚ gegeben haben. Politisch wird er von der buntscheckigen und korrupten bürgerlichen Opposition im Land angeführt. Auch die Gewerkschaftsspitzen der besser gestellten Beschäftigten in der Ölindustrie haben sich dazu hergegeben, für die Ziele Œihrer‚ KapitalistInnen in den Streik zu treten.
Aber der 1998 gewählte Hugo Chavez ist alles andere als ein Sozialist; er ist ein populistischer kleinbürgerlicher Nationalist, der nicht im Traum daran denkt, den Sozialismus einzuführen. Sein Verbrechen gegen das Kapitals besteht lediglich darin, dass er im vergangenen Jahr "49 Erlässe" verfügt hat, welche die Verteilung von Brachland an mittellose Bauern/Bäuerinnen und städtische Arme vorsehen. Chavez wollte sich damit vor allem in seiner AnhängerInnenschaft Popularität sichern. Er ist auch sonst ein skrupelloser Machtpolitiker, der durch die Besetzung wichtiger Ämter mit ergebenen Gefolgsleuten seine Position festigen will. So drohte er während des Streiks nicht etwa den KapitalistInnen mit Sanktionen wie der Enteignung, sondern den ÖlarbeiterInnen mit Entlassung! Handelt so ein Sozialist?
Wie in ganz Lateinamerika sind auch in Venezuela Armut und der Hunger nach Land drückende Probleme. Etwa 17% der erwerbsfähigen Bevölkerung sind arbeitslos. Eine Landreform gehört zu den dringlichsten Aufgaben. Aber die Neuverteilung allein kann die erfolgreiche Bebauung des Landes nicht garantieren. Sie muss von günstigen Krediten, bestmöglichen Anbaumethoden und Anreizen zu genossenschaftlicher Bewirtschaftung begleitet sein.
Der schwelende Streit zwischen Chavez und den KapitalistInnen hat auch industrielle Ursachen. Das Wirtschaftswachstum von 2002 war mit einem Minus von 6,4% negativ, was vor allem durch eine konzertierte Investitionsverweigerung der KapitalistInnen hervorgerufen wurde.
Kern des Streits zwischen Regierung und Wirtschaft sind die Reprivatisierungsbestrebungen der Ölindustrie, die als wichtigste Deviseneinnahmequelle seit 25 Jahren staatskapitalistisch geführt wird. 80% der Einkünfte Venezuelas kommen aus Rohölverkäufen. Über ein Drittel des Bruttoinlandsprodukts wird durch die Ölwirtschaft erbracht. Den IndustriedirektorInnen wäre eine Privatisierung lieb, weil sie ihnen mehr Spielraum für Privatprofite eröffnen würde, während das Chavez-Regime weiter die Kontrolle über diesen Wirtschaftszweig ausüben möchte, um damit Macht und Einfluss zu behalten.
Nach dem fehlgeschlagenen Putsch im vergangenen Jahr setzt die Opposition nun auf einen Œdemokratischeren‚ Kurs. Sie baut auf wirtschaftliche Erpressung des Chavez-Regimes und mobilisiert dafür möglichst große Bevölkerungsteile. Die RegimegegnerInnen bedienen sich dabei verschiedener Manöver wie der Aussicht auf Neuwahlen. Sie wollen Chavez den Schwarzen Peter des "undemokratischen Herrschaftsanspruchs" unterschieben, um ihn politisch zu isolieren. Seine AnhängerInnenschaft, die großteils aus städtischer und ländlicher Armut besteht, soll wankelmütig gemacht und Chavez abtrünnig werden. Und sie bröckelt angesichts der sich bedrohlich verschlechternden wirtschaftlichen Lage und der scheinbar klassenübergreifenden Allianz gegen Chavez auch schon. Dennoch ist der Ausgang des Machtkampfes noch ungewiss, weil das Regime seinerseits versucht, Teile der Opposition durch Zugeständnisse zu befrieden, insbesondere die ArbeiterInnen der Ölindustrie.
Viel wird für Chavez davon abhängen, ob er die Armee neutralisieren kann. Allerdings droht auch Gefahr von ganz anderer Seite. Die USA haben ihre "VermittlerInnendienste" angeboten. Dass ausgerechnet die imperialistische Supermacht in ihren angestammten Jagdgründen eine Rolle als unparteiische Kraft spielen will, nimmt ihr aber wohl kaum jemand ab.
Andererseits können sich die USA momentan neben dem Golfgebiet keinen zweiten Flammenherd leisten. Die angespannte Lage in Venezuela soll kein Dauerzustand werden, v.a. aber darf nicht Chavez triumphieren, denn das könnte auch das Selbstbewusstsein der Massen in den Nachbarländern nach Jahren der Depression im Gefolge der Niederlage in Nikaragua neu erwecken.
Genau das aber muss das Ziel der venezuelanischen Massen sein. Die ArbeiterInnenbewegung, die städtische Armut und die mittellosen Bauern/Bäuerinnen müssen die Verteidigung des Chavez-Regimes gegen die innere und äußere Reaktion zum Anlass nehmen, sich unabhängig von Bossen, GewerkschaftsführerInnen und Chavez-Machtzirkeln in einer revolutionären ArbeiterInnenpartei zu organisieren. Sie müssen im Kampf eigene Forderungen aufstellen und die Regierung an deren Erfüllung messen.
Dann werden sie es sein, die einen Generalstreik gegen Chavez führen und ihn stürzen, wenn er wie zu erwarten, ihr Forderungsprogramm nicht umsetzt.
Als erster Schritt muss der Investitionsstreik gebrochen werden, indem das in Venezuela tätige in- und ausländische Kapital unter ArbeiterInnenkontrolle gestellt wird, besonders die Ölindustrie und die Banken.
Eine tödliche Gefahr würde dieser Bewegung aber drohen, wenn es ihr nicht gelänge, die Isolation des Landes zu durchbrechen. Die Sozialforen wie zuletzt in Porto Alegre könnten Kristallisationspunkte für internationale Brigaden aus ganz Lateinamerika bilden, die z.B. die frischen Erfahrungen und Kampfmethoden aus Argentinien einbringen, um aus der Verteidigung von Klasseninteressen eine nachhaltige Revolution werden zu lassen.

Abonniert den ArbeiterInnenstandpunkt!
* 11,-- (Solidaritätsabo * 22,--) für 12 Ausgaben
Bestellungen unter:
* Samstag, 1. Februar, 14 Uhr, U6 Handelskai, Wien: Anti-Kriegsaktion
* Samstag, 8. Februar, 14 Uhr, U6 Handelskai, Wien: Anti-Kriegsaktion
* Samstag, 15. Februar, 14 Uhr, Westbahnhof, Wien: Internationaler Aktionstag gegen den Krieg
TREFFEN des ArbeiterInnenstandpunkt:
* 7. Februar: Internationaler Aktionstag gegen den imperialistischen Krieg - Warum und wie in Österreich gegen den US-Militarismus kämpfen? (mit Film über die US-Beteiligung an den Massenmorden in Afghanistan)
* 21. Februar: Neue Regierung ˆ alter Sozialabbau und Rassismus!
* 7. März: Warum am internationalen Frauentag gegen die Überausbeutung in den Sweatshops kämpfen?
* 21. März: 70 Jahre Machtübernahme der Nazis in Deutschland: Was ist Faschismus? Wie gegen ihn kämpfen?
jeweils: 19 Uhr, Gschamster Diener, Stumpergasse 21, 1060 Wien (Nähe Westbahnhof)
Stiftgasse 8, 1070 Wien
Tel.: 0699/140 37 707
Stiftgasse 8, 1070 Wien
Gruppe Arbeitermacht
PF 146, 13091 Berlin
Die website der Liga für eine revolutionär-kommunistische Internationale:
Weitere websites der LRKI: (Schweden) (Frankreich) (Tschechische Republik)


04 RAWNEWS on Latin America
von: RAWNEWS <>
RAWNEWS on Latin America - 2/1/03
1) COLOMBIA: URGENT ACTION: Death threats against Andy Higginbottom
2) CSC Delegation to Cali. Colombia Appeal
3) Four indigenous Kuna leaders assasinated by Colombian paramilitaries - La Prensa
4) Chavez moves toward nationalization of agriculture in Venezuela - AFP
5) COMMENT: Venezuela government to distribute million acres to peasants - Fred Feldman
6) Miami conspiracy to attack Venezuela - Granma International
7) Rebel Venezuelan officer training US-Cuban mercenaries in Florida's Everglades - V Headline
8) Culture and the challenges of the contemporary world - Rebelion (Madrid)
9) Left Turns in South America: United Opposition to Neoliberalism in Bolivia? - America

COLOMBIA: URGENT ACTION: Death threats against Andy Higginbottom
The Colombia Solidarity Campaign strongly denounces the events of Friday, January 31st in London, England, and call on trade unionist, human rights workers, and individuals to send messages of concern.The Events
1. At 4.00am on Friday 31st of January Andy Higginbottom, Coordinator of the Colombia Solidarity Campaign left his house to travel to Bogota, Colombia. He had been invited to Cali, Colombia, as a representative of the Colombia Solidarity Campaign to accompany SINTRAEMCALI workers in their recent conflict with the Colombian government over the possible 'privatisation' of the Municipal Enterprises of Cali (EMCALI EICE).
2. At about 4.30am his wife received a phonecall. The caller asked "Is this Andy's house", and when she replied "Yes", the caller (a male) said "Andy will die soon". About 5 minutes later the same caller rang back and said "We're going to get Andy".
5. She has reported the events to the police, who are investigating the source of the call.
6. It should be noted that Andy Higginbottom and the Colombia Solidarity Campaign had organised a picket outside the Colombian Embassy in Knightsbridge, London on Wednesday, January the 29th. At this event Andy Higginbottom spoke with the an embassy assistant, and informed her that two members of the Colombia Solidarity Campaign would be going to Cali. The following day he emailed the assistant with details of the flight arrangements and passport details.
7. SINTRAEMCALI, is the Municipal Workers Trade Union of the Public Enterprises of Cali, which represents workers in the state owned provider of electricity, water and telecommunication in Cali, Colombia. It has been
engaged in several years of resistance to Colombian government attempts to privatise the company. During that period 8 members of the union have been assassinated, many displaced from the city and country, and many other have received death threats by mail and telephone.
8. The Colombia Solidarity Campaign is a human rights and solidarity organisation which works with Colombian trade union and social organisations to promote respect for human rights, and peace based on
social justice.
1) Please send letters, faxes, and emails calling on the Colombian Government to safeguard the Human Rights of Andy Higginbottom and other members of the Colombian Solidarity Campaign present in Colombia, and all those individuals and organisations involved in the defence of EMCALI EICE who are exercising their internationally ratified human rights of collective organisation, right to assembly, and freedom of thought.Send urgent messages of protest to:
Presidente de la Republica de Colombia
Dr. Alvaro Uribe Velez
Palacio de Narino, Carrera 8 No.7-26 Santafe de Bogota, COLOMBIA
Fax: 00 57 1 286 74 34/286, 68 42/284 21 86
Vicepresidente de la Republica de Colombia
Francisco Santos Consejeria Presidential de Derechos Humanos
Calle 7, No 654, Piso 3 Santafe de Bogota, COLOMBIA
Fax: 00 57 1 337 1351
Ministro del Interior y Justicia
Fernando Londono Hoyos Ministerio del Interior y Justicia
Palacio Echeverry, Carrera 8a, No.8-09, piso 2o., Santafe de Bogota, Colombia
Fax:00 57 1 286 8025
With Copies to:
British Consulate, Cali, Colombia
British Embassy, Bogota
Colombian Embassy (UK):
Bill Rammell MP Under Secretary of State Foreign Office
CUT Human Rights Department:
Colombia Solidarity Campaign (UK)
CSC Delegation to Cali. Colombia Appeal
The Colombia Solidarity Campaign is throwing itself into emergency solidarity actions. We are sending two observers to Cali and we are incurring many other costs in responding to the emergency in Colombia. For example two more Campaign members are joining the International Trade Union delegation invited by the CUT and CGTD in solidarity with the oilworkers union USO. We appeal to all our affilaites, individual members and supporters to make a special donation to help us do this work. Make cheques payable to "Colombia Solidarity Campaign", and send to Colombia Solidarity Campaign, PO Box 8446, London N17 6NZ.
Thank you.
Morning Star readers will recall the heroic occupation by Colombian workers of the 17-storey CAM tower in Cali last January. Their aim, in common with workers across the globe, was tp prevent the privatisation of public services.
Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the victorious 36-day takeover of public service provider EMCALI's central office in the South-West Colombian city.
The position of SINTRAEMCALI, the trade union representing electricity, telecommuniication and water workers in the company, was clear from the beginning: this was not a struggle in defence of working conditions, nor even jobs, but an occupation in defence of public services, fair prices for Cali s consumers, and an end to the corruption by politically appointed managers who for many years had bled the country dry.
It was also a struggle in defence of national resources and national pride: despite government claims that the company was no longer financially viable, there was a string of multinational corporations waiting in the wings to buy up the vast water resources of the region, and control the market for electricity, water, and telecommunications to the one and a half million consumers in the city and its surrounds.
The one-year anniversary should have been marked by celebrations. The agreement that was signed by the Colombian government ratified all of the union s demands: no price increases for one year, no privatisation of the company, a high level anti-corruption inquiry into management practices, and an agreement to carry on with a SINTRAEMCALI led Company Salvation Plan which had been reducing corruption and improving services in the year leading up to the occupation.
But this is Colombia, a country where despite government claims in International Forums that it is the oldest democracy in Latin America, is run by a handful of wealthy families allied with Multinational Corporations who continue as they have done for decades: denying basic human rights to its citizens, and brutally repressing all resistance. So it was, that one-week prior to planned celebrations the government announced that they will no longer comply with the agreement and will sell the company off.
January the 29th, 2003 has become instead, in the words of Luis Hernandez Monroy, the union s president " an appointment with history, part of the social struggle of our people. The best way forward it to show that despite the terror we will continue coming out onto the streets and we will keep on demonstrating. We await you all."
His comments are drawn from a communiqué sent out to union s members and distributed in the poorest neighbourhoods calling for a mass mobilisation to mark the signing of the agreement one short year ago. The terror that the union s president talks of is very real; trade unionists are a dying race in Colombia, with over 3800 assassinated in the last 15 years. SINTRAEMCALI, in its struggle against privatisation has likewise paid a very heavy price with 8 activists assassinated, many more forcibly displaced, and countless others in constant fear of their lives. The union s leadership are forced to have 24-hour bodyguards to protect them, and friends and family members live in constant fear of their lives.
So who is killing trade unionist in Colombia, and why? According to both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, trade unionists are being assassinated by paramilitary death squads, who are linked to the Colombian military.
The reason why is because despite the fear and intimidation, the Colombian trade union movement continues to resist the imposition of a neo-liberal economic model that seeks both to privatise and to strip away the last vestiges of social protection: pensions, minimum salaries, emergency health care, and education from a population where 60% live in poverty. In their resistance to neo-liberal economic policies they are not alone: across Colombia social movements of community activists, peasants, students, and women s organisations are fighting back, and they too are being threatened, harassed, assassinated and disappeared.
The situation worsened in May of last year when Alvaro Urribe was elected president. Urribe came to power pledging that he would end the long running Colombian civil war militarily. But this is not just a Colombian affair, but a much broader neo-liberal economic project driven by multinational corporations and US military power. Popular resistance to this project has spread across the region with mass movements in Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil and elsewhere that is refusing to bow down to the dictates of the market. In Colombia, US military strategy crystallised in the now infamous Plan Colombia, which on the pretext of a War on Drugs granted billions of US dollars in aid to the Colombian military to eliminate the armed guerrilla opposition of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the ELN (National Liberation Army) who jointly control over 50% of the nation s territory.
In the Post September 11th world, the rhetoric shifted from the war on drugs to the war on terror , and the green light was given to Colombia by the US and their Western allies to intensify the repression against their own people. Urribe has become Bush s man in Latin America and is widening the scope of US intervention.
In classic US counterinsurgency doctrine, this is not a war fought against the armed guerrilla, but more so aimed at terrorising the local population who supposedly hide and protect them. "Removing the water from the fish". It is a tried and tested technique used from Vietnam to El Salvador with devastating effect, and all those Colombians seeking to challenge the dictates of the US/World Bank/IMF trinity are labelled as subversives and targeted directly by the state or by the paramilitary death squads that it has allowed to prosper and grow.
Struggles against privatisation are just as much a threat, if not more so, then armed guerrilla movements and thus SINTRAEMCALI in its defence of public resources has thus become a thorn in the governments side, not least because in the 36 day occupation it managed to build a broad alliance across the city and beyond in defence of the public . During the occupation the Cali community marched, demonstrated, blocked off roads, and constantly surrounded the occupied CAM Tower, providing a necessary cordon of physical, social and political protection for the hundreds of workers inside.
This cordon of protection was not limited to the local area, and a range of international solidarity organisations, human rights organisations, International Trade Unions and activists showed solidarity with SINTRAEMCALI both through sending delegations, writing letters of protest to the Colombian government calling for a peaceful negotiated solution to the conflict, and a whole range of other activities. In the UK, the British based Colombia Solidarity Organisation organised pickets outside the Colombian embassy in London and sent delegates to the city. The British NGO War on Want supported solidarity actions. UNISON, the FBU, ASLEF and the TUC organised a live video link-up with Cali workers, and met several times with the Colombian ambassador in the UK to voice their concerns.
They also linked up with the ICFTU (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and the PSI (Public Services International) to put pressure at higher levels of the Colombian government to ensure a peaceful outcome. Since the signing of the agreement several delegations have visited Cali to show solidarity with the union s struggle, the most recent organised by Public Services International to commemorate International Human Rights Day, December the 10th, and to launch an anti-privatisation booklet that chronicles the events of the occupation.
Today, those very same SINTRAEMCALI workers are again occupying their workplaces and trying desperately to hold on to the gains of 2002. In order to do so they are calling on the British Labour movement, political activists, human rights activists and ordinary people to demonstrate their solidarity through concrete actions, letter writing, international solidarity delegations, and financial contributions. In an increasingly globalised world, the destinies of ordinary working people are intertwined, and privatisation processes and government cutbacks are infamous the world over.
Solidarity is also a global phenomenon as ordinary people increasingly see other people s struggles as their own. It is also a two way street. SINTRAEMCALI sent a message of support to the Fire Brigades Union, which was read out at the end of the London march in December to great applause; now it is our turn again to join hands with our Colombian brothers and sisters and show them that they are not alone.
Mario Novelli is a member of the Colombian Solidarity CampaignCopies of A 30 minute SINTRAEMCALI video charting the 36-day occupation The Tower of Victory are available in English and Spanish, and can be obtained from
There was a wrong translation. The paragraph under point 8 which read:
"At the same time CAMILO TORRES who is the Supervisor of the CAM Tower, was summonsed by some police agents. Some wives had gone there [to escape the attack?]. Then they left and CAMILO was put under the orders of COLONEL SUAREZ who drove him to FRAY DAMIÁN police station. Several workers, lawyers and human rights defenders from NOMADESC and the Solidarity Committee with Political Prisoners went there."
should have read:
"At the same time CAMILO TORRES who is the Supervisor of the CAM Tower, was summonsed by some police agents and put him in handcuffs. Then they were removed and CAMILO was put under the orders of COLONEL SUAREZ who drove him to FRAY DAMIÁN police station. Several workers, lawyers and human rights defenders from NOMADESC and the Solidarity Committee with Political Prisoners went there."
Messages of protest
In addition to the e-mail addresses supplied in the original Urgent Action, messages should also be sent to
Superintendencia de Servicios Públicos
and copied to:
Four indigenous Kuna leaders assasinated by Colombian paramilitaries
on Panama border and two US and one Canadian reporters kidnapped
Translated by ASEJ/ACERCA
From La Prensa, Panama 1/21/03
Fear and Pain in Paya, Attack Leaves Four Dead
Four Kuna indigenous authorities were assassinated this weekend and
two US and one Canadian reporter were kidnapped by a Colombian
paramilitary group that attacked the villages of Paya and Pucuro, in
the Darien, this past weekend. A group of 150 paramilitaries
assassinated the leaders of the Kuna Paya village Ernesto Ayala,
mayor; San Pascual Ayala, second mayor, and Luis Enrique Martínez,
village commissioner. One of the US reporters is Robert Pelton of the
Discovery Channel.
According to local witness Luis Caicedo, "We found three corpses
chopped up by machetes with bullets in their head in the mountains so
we couldn't take the corpses back because the land was still being
guarded by the paramilitaries."
Gilberto Vasquez, mayor of Pucuro, was also murdered. His body was
found with a bullet in the back of his head inside his house in the
This same paramilitary brigade had captured, just hours before, the
US Discovery Channel reporter Robert Pelton and two other reporters,
Marc Wedever of Canada, and another US journalist that is
Migdonio Batista, a correspondent for the radio station Voices
without Borders of the Darien, who resides in Paya indicated that the
paramilitaries, in addition to killing the village authorities,
robbed all of the belongings of the only radio station office in the
village. He also said that the armed paramilitaries robbed the
chickens, ducks and pigs and murdered the dogs. Upon leaving the
village they dropped explosives in local trucks so that they could
get away without being followed.
Another resident, Victor Maritinez, explained that since last
Saturday afternoon, when they were attacked by the Colombian
paramilitaries, the residents have not eaten anything and have only
drank water from the river. Also, as of 48 hours after the weekends
murders the National Police had not arrived with any help or
protection. The "Prensa" newspaper confirmed that as of two days
after the attack there was still no response from the border patrol.
Isidro Ayala, whose father was assassinated in this attack, explained
that the indigenous had to confront the paramilitaries with bows and
arrows and with wooden beams to defend their property and families
"because there hasn't been any police in this place for two years."
Paya is a community with 530 indigenous residents located in the
mountains of Pinogana and about 2 hours from the Colombian border.
After the attack, there was only 50 residents remaining in Paya. The
rest of the town was seeking refuge in the Boca de Cupe community or
in the nearby mountains. Pucuro, a close by village, was entirely
abandoned by its 20 residents. The paramilitaries arrived in Pucuro,
burnt 5 houses down, and after finding no residents assassinated
Gilberto Vasquez, who had been taken prisoner in Paya.
ACERCA/ASEJ received this action alert from The Kuna Youth Indigenous
Movement asking for international solidarity to conndemn the violence
of Plan Colombia that has contributed to this murder of indigenous
leaders in Panama. We translated the artilce from
What you can do?
1) Please circulate this article far and wide to inform people of
this violence of Plan Colombia leading to the death of 4 Kuna
Indigenous Leaders in Panama.
2) Stay tuned for follow-up messages and action alerts
3) Stop the violence in Colombia, by getting involved with the March
23rd/24th Colombia Mobilization (
and the April 10th-15th Latin American Solidarity Coalition
Chavez moves toward nationalization of agriculture in Venezuela;
Chavez government cool to proposal to end Venezuela strike.
CARACAS, 30 January 2002. AFP -- Saying he wants to "deepen the
economic revolution" Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced that
his government would seize state-owned agricultural storage
facilities used by private businesses and redistribute idle land. The
leftist-populist president said Thursday he was determined to
"transform the socioeconomic model and its structures."
In a speech to a group of farmers and food producers, Chavez said his
government would create a state-owned corporation to control food
storage and production of fertilizer. He also promised to
redistribute one million hectares of idle land to needy farmers, and
require banks to provide loans to finance cultivation of that land.
Earlier, Chavez's government reacted coolly to an opposition proposal
to end the strike, with a top official neither endorsing nor
rejecting the plan.
"The fact that we respect all the actions within the constitution to
obtain the goals of one sector of the nation does not mean the
government must endorse the initiative," Foreign Minister Roy
Chaderton told Union Radio.
The government "has no interest in undoing itself, either by seeking
early elections or by any change of government even within the
constitutional framework."
Chaderton's comments were the first official reaction to an opposition
proposal for a constitutional amendment shortening Chavez's mandate
and scheduling early elections, along with the reinstatement of fired
executives of the state-owned oil company, a key battleground of the
strike which began December 2.
Ali Rodriguez, president of Petroleos de Venezuela, said 5,100 of the
company's more than 38,000 employees had been fired. Chavez wants
prosecutors to file criminal charges against sacked employees who have
led the strike.
Venezuela government to distribute million acres to peasants
From Fred Feldman
The headline chosen by Agence France Presse for the item above, "Chavez
moves toward nationalization of agriculture in Venezuela" is completely
false and misleading.
The government is planning to take over about 1 million acres of UNUSED
LAND held by big landlords and corporations. They will do so under the terms
of the agrarian reform law adopted some time ago. The land is to be
distributed to landless and land-starved peasants and also to those among
the poor who wish to become peasant producers in the countryside. The small
farmers will have all rights to this land except, if the land is or remains
nationalized, they may lose the "right" to "sell" it, that is, to be driven
off their land for debt. "Agriculture," the product of the peasants' labor,
will belong to the individual producers and will not be nationalized.
And the government is taking over formally STATE-OWNED storage facilties
that have been used as private fiefdoms, like the "nationalized" oil
company, for local capitalists and landlords. This will not only cut the
ability of the capitalist opposition to starve the cities, buit it will
break the dependency of the peasants, who support the revolution, on the de
facto owners of these state facilities, who oppose the Bolivarian and also
use their position to exploit the peasants. "Agriculture," the product of
the peasants' labor, will continue to belong to the individual producers.
The proposals to make easier for peasants to obtain loans and to create a
state company to produce fertiliazer will also strengthen the position of
the peasants in the countryside and weaken the ability of the capitalists
to expropriate the product of their labor by exploiting control of lending
and of the production of modern fertilizers.
Fred Feldman
Miami conspiracy to attack Venezuela
Granma International
Havana. January 30, 2003
WASHINGTON (PL).- The White House might have announced that it was initiating a war on terrorism, but in its own backyard extremist groups Cubans and Venezuelans are plotting and receiving military training to attack their own countries of origin.
In their determination to bring down Presidents Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez, the capos of the F-4 organization, who have admitted their involvement in acts of terrorism against Cuba, plus the so-called Venezuelan Patriotic Front led by a coup officer from the Venezuelan army have signed a "civil-military alliance", according to The Wall Street Journal.
The F-4 Commandos are led by 56-year-old Rodolfo Frómeta and the Patriotic Front by coup member Captain Luis Eduardo García, (aged 37). During last April s failed coup d état, he was one of the first military dissidents to attack the Caracas Presidential Palace in order to topple the South American country s democratically elected president.
According to the daily, the two groups are committed to uniting their "combined military experience and exchanging espionage information" in their attempts to attack the legitimate authorities in Havana and Caracas.
García himself revealed that he is offering military training to 50 F-4 Commando members at a firing range located in the Everglades swamps; 30 of the recruits are Cuban-American and the rest are Miami-based radical dissidents.
Miami has become the refuge for a growing number of anti-Chávez extremists, in the midst of an exodus in which some 10,000 Venezuelans have gravitated to the city in the last three years.
"New arrivals" discover a well-established Cuban-American community whose most radical sectors are particularly enthusiastic allies in the fight against Chávez, notes the publication.&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&
Rebel Venezuelan officer discovered training US-Cuban mercenaries in Florida's Everglades
V Headline
Posted: Friday, January 31, 2003 - 5:01:34 AM
By: Robert Rudnicki
Reports published in the Wall Street Journal and on Cuba's Granma news service claim that rebel Venezuelan military officer Captain Luis Eduardo Garcia is training groups of Cuban-Americans in the art of military war fare at a firing range in the Everglades swamps.
According to the news reports, currently 50 men are receiving training, of which 30 are Cuban Americans and the rest Miami-based dissidents and radicals.
The move comes following the signing of a pact between Garcia's Venezuelan Patriotic Front and and the anti-Castro F-4 organization and the formation of a civil-military alliance.
Garcia was heavily involved in the April 11 coup d'etat against the government of President Hugo Chavez Frias.
The Wall Street Journal goes on to say that the two groups are committed to uniting their "combined military experience and exchanging espionage information."
Rebelion (Madrid)-Culture and the challenges of the contemporary world
01/21/03-James Petras
"We will never build a communist conscience with a
dollar sign in the minds and hearts of men."
Fidel Castro
To write of culture is to write of art, ideology, education, sport and many
other things. Culture can be discussed from numerous perspectives including
personality, aesthetics, politics and history. I will focus specifically on
culture as a terrain for political struggle, and leave for another time and
place a discussion of culture as an aesthetic medium, as source of
reflection and human fulfillment. In particular I will focus on culture as
ideology and how it influences class and national consciousness and
political action. Culture as ideology involves the creation and expression
of human "subjectivity" ,or specifically, national and class consciousness:
how people ( classes, gender, ethnic and racial groups ) perceive and act to
influence their objective circumstances. Subjectivity is basic to
understanding conflicts, structures of power and movements for
transformation in the contemporary world. "Subjectivity" as political
consciousness can be understood in its dynamic dialectical relation to
objective reality. How people and classes react to their objective
conditions shapes their material reality, which, in turn, impacts on their
Ideological beliefs and political action are a result of multiple
determinations, including socio-economic conditions ( crises, position in
the class structure, upward or downward social mobility, the nature of the
state ) and by political organizations, leadership, the mass media,
religious institutions and by social organizations embedded in traditions,
family and community practices. Class behavior can be influenced as much by
current economic conditions as by future aspirations and hopes.
Ideology and the Big Issues
In order to understand class and national consciousness in relation to the
Big Issues in the contemporary world it is important to identify their
There are five major challenges facing the great majority of humanity. These

1- U.S. imperialist drive for world domination through the Bush doctrine of
"permanent wars". This is exemplified by the wars of conquest in the
Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq; the preparations for war against North Korea,
Iran and the Arab East; and the military intervention in Colombia via Plan
Colombia, the belligerent attitude toward Cuba and the support for a
military coup in Venezuela.
2- The recolonization of Latin America via the imposition of ALCA and the
transfer of sovereignty to a U.S. controlled ALCA commission. Washington's
application of the doctrine of "extra-territoriality", which asserts the
right of the U.S. to override international and national laws. The rejection
by the U.S. of the International Criminal Court in order to allow its
military forces to commit crimes with impunity. The U.S. has assumed the
"right" for its military and intelligence agents to commit homicide - to
assassinate - political adversaries within the frontiers of any country.
3- The pillage of the Third World - particularly Latin America- leading to
the reversion to earlier more retrograde forms of exploitation including
white slavery ( involving the trade of millions of women and children into
coerced sex, especially from the ex-USSR and Latin America ), economic
pillage ( the theft and transfer of hundreds of billions of dollars of
private savings and public revenues from Latin America through the
international banking system to the U.S. and Europe ), the appropriation of
all the major sectors of the economy ( industry, finance, commerce ) and the
de- industrialization of Latin American economies via free trade while
retaining protective barriers and export subsidies. The result is the
reversion in many parts of Latin America to pre-capitalist economic
relations. For example, in Argentina the barter economy now involves over 4
million people. In Latin America over 60% of the labor force is in the
informal or subsistence economy, involved in simple commodity exchanges.
4- U.S. hegemony over the political class, from the electoral parties of the
center-left to the far right, leading to acomodation to the imperialist
project and perpetuation of the system of pillage and re-colonization. For
example, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the self-appointed
"Friends of Venezuela" have intervened to promote the political agenda of
U.S. client 'golpistas' against President Chavez of Venezuela.
5- The uneven growth of powerful socio-political movements throughout the
world, but most directly in Latin America in response to the empire building
project of U.S. imperialism.The problems of imperialist wars, re-colonization and pillage - raise a
fundamental challenge to the popular class forces and states organized
against the empire. The major hypothesis of this paper is that the objective
realities created by empire-building have created the necessary but not
sufficient conditions for mass anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist movements
on a world scale. The worldwide regression of socio-economic conditions can
only become the bases for a fundamental transformation in the presence of
subjective factors. To illustrate the importance of the subjective or '
cultural factor' in meeting the challenge of empire, it is useful to compare
the experiences of different countries.
Comparative Subjectivities: Argentina and the U.S.
In the United States and in Argentina large scale fraud and swindles were
committed in 2001-2002 resulting in the loss of tens of billions of dollars
in savings and pension funds. In the case of the U.S. the swindles were
perpetrated by multi- national corporations, private investment banks,
corporate auditors with the complicity of government regulatory agencies. In
Argentina, the perpetrators were the private, mostly foreign-owned, banks,
with the direct complicity of the government.
In Argentina there were mass protests, leading to a popular uprising that
forced the resignation of the government. Subsequently thousands formed
neighborhood assemblies and joined in alliances with the unemployed workers
movements to pressure the government.
In the United States, there were no mass movements - only individual
complaints, private malaise, and localized hostility to the corporations.
Alienation from the political system increased. A few groups hired lawyers
to bring legal suites against the corporations in hopes of recovering their
funds. Most of the impoverished middle class resigned themselves to a longer
working career, delayed retirement and lower living standards. Many small
investors withdrew their investments from pension funds. Inconsequential
congressional hearings, and the appointment of new state regulators changed
nothing. The system was not questioned, the corporations continued
functioning in the same manner and the President and his party secured a
'majority' in Congress - while two-thirds of the electorate were too
disgusted to vote.
These two cases raise the question of why similar massive frauds and
significant loss of savings had such divergent subjective responses? The
answer is found in the different political-cultural-ideological context in
each country.
In Argentina there are large scale political and social movements: the
unemployed "piqueteros" demonstrate and block highways; active left-wing
parties intervene in political life; a dissident public employees' trade
union confederation is in active opposition; there is widespread rejection
of the "free market" ideology among the general populace. The subjective
conditions propelling mass protests in Argentina are caused by a political
culture that encourages collective action, an ideology which identifies the
political-economic responsibility of the banks and the regime for the loss
of income and a model of successful political action based on the
piqueteros. The ' political culture' of opposition spread despite the mass
media's support for the government. The assembly movement created its own
communication networks and utilized the existing alternative media. The
assembly movement and mass action took place despite the absence of any
support from the official trade union bureaucracy closely tied to the regime
in power.
In the United States, the millions affected by the swindle were not part of
the political culture of protest and mobilization. At most they were
supporters of one of the two capitalist parties who were financed by the
major corporate swindlers. The rest of the "civic associations" to which
they belong are conservative or apolitical and provide no framework for
understanding the nature and responsibility of the government for the
swindle. None of the civic associations to which they belong provide a
vehicle for political action. The mind set of the millions of victims
revolved around loyalty to the state, the corporation and the family. Once
the state and corporation defrauded them, they fell back on the family,
which offered mostly personal solace and no basis for collective action.
Lacking any reference or organizations for collective action, without
examples of successful popular mobilizations the victims largely turned
inward toward personal solutions, swallowing their losses in silent and
impotent isolation. The major swindlers went about their business with
The contrasting "subjectivities" -level of social action and social
organization between the U.S. and Argentina under similar conditions of
socio-economic adversity points to the decisive importance of political
culture, ideology and political intervention. In the United States the
unstated slogan was "Whoever can, saves himself". In Argentina the popular
slogan was " You pick on one, you pick on all of us". The fundamental
difference is the emergence of a culture of solidarity in Argentina, in
contrast to the vertical dependence characteristic of the U.S. corporate
Comparison: Brazil and Venezuela
During the 1990's Brazil and Venezuela went through a decade of economic
stagnation with widening social inequalities and regressive income patterns.
In both countries objective conditions were favorable for consequential
political changes. In both countries a large majority of voters elected a
populist or center-left president, Hugo Chavez in the case of Venezuela and
in 2002, Lula da Silva in Brazil. Subsequently however, Chavez faced a
prolonged employers' lockout and strike. A substantial minority of the
electorate ( the figures are in dispute ) called for his resignation and
supported right wing leaders. While Chavez's support declined, Lula's
support increased in the run-up to his election. In other words, there was a
shift to the right under an incumbent president and a shift to the left
toward a newly elected candidate, under generally similar economic
The change in subjectivity and the differences require a discussion of the
political, social and cultural context. In the first instance the Chavez
regime presided over continued economic stagnation, while Lula was still in
opposition and the blame for the socio-economic problems clearly rested with
the preceding Cardoso regime. Secondly the Chavez regime concentrated his
public investment on improving services ( health, education and housing )
for the poorest sectors, while the middle classes resented the relative loss
of economic status. In Brazil the newly elected Lula regime increased its
support by promising to abolish hunger without affecting the power and
privileges of the ruling or upper- middle classes. Thirdly the
pro-imperialist mass media in Venezuela engaged in a permanent vitriolic
propaganda war against Chavez once he declared his independence of U.S.
foreign policy, particularly on Plan Colombia, ALCA and the wars of conquest
in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. In contrast Lula, once elected, has
referred to Bush as an "ally", promised to "negotiate" over ALCA and offered
to "mediate" between the coup-makers and the Chavez government (rather than
affirm his support for the constitutional government ). By adopting a
centrist agenda, Lula has secured the support of financial powers and the
"neutrality" of the mass media.
The Venezuelan mass media's constant reiteration of deceptive and slanderous
propaganda was blatantly directed at abetting military rebellion and the
overthrow of the elected Chavez government. The media blitz was a major
factor in influencing the middle class to turn against Chavez and take to
the streets. The Venezuelan media have successfully propagated an image of
an authoritarian president presiding over a dictatorial state, informed and
allied with Castro-communism and destroying the economy. The effectiveness
of the media in perpetrating this totally false image is measured by the
substantial sector of the middle class which believes it, even as their
direct experience belies it.
The vast majority of the Venezuelans, especially those trying to overthrow
the regime, freely participated and voted in seven free elections in which
Chavez or Chavez's constitutional proposals were approved. The regime has
respected the division between the three powers of government, and tolerated
the vast excesses of a press and electronic media beyond what any other
Western electoral system would have put up with. The government has
tolerated and protected mass assemblies and marches even those which have
incited military rebellion and the violent overthrow of the elected
government. While the government has not made major improvements in living
standards, especially for the middle class, the economic performance of the
government was a relative improvement over the previous regime, until the
state oil bosses sabotaged petroleum production. The principle cause of the
precipitous decline of living standards was the lockout and the paralysis of
the oil industry organized by the bosses and director of the state-owned oil
companies, they engaged in a self-fulfilling prophecy - they "predicted"
collapse and then did everything possible to make it happen. In contrast the
government has been struggling to restart production and prevent a further
decline in income.
It is clear that on the ideological and political terrain the pro-U.S.
opposition has been winning the cultural war. There is little doubt and many
historical precedents to substantiate that the extremely costly mass media
propaganda effort is probably financed in part by covert funds from U.S.
intelligence agencies. Otherwise it is not possible to understand how the
lockout can continue for so long. Without advertising revenues and with
continuing high overhead costs, the private media could not sustain full
staffing and around the clock, seven days a week, for nearly 2 months,
unless it received large scale transfers from the CIA. Similar CIA covert
subsidies were used to finance El Mercurio in Chile, La Prensa in Nicaragua
and many media outlets allied to the U.S. in countries where Washington
sought to overthrow independent regimes.
This raises the question of why the pro-coup, anti-Chavez and pro-U.S.
propaganda has been successful in polarizing the country, and in particular
of "winning over" the middle classes, in a way that is not imaginable in
The key is the "political culture" of the Caracas middle class more attuned
to Miami than to the interior of the country and urban poor. The "Miami
complex" is based on frequent visits, vacations and consumption excursions
to Florida in particular and the U.S. in general. This complex contributed
to the reproduction of the U.S. high consumption pattern and a "mall
culture" which is at the center of existence of the Caracas middle class.
The "class reference" of the Venezuelan middle class is the upper-middle
class living in Miami. They aspire to mimic their life style: a condo,
unlimited credit card spending and poorly paid Haitian maids.
The decline in living standards over the past two decades and the malaise of
the middle class led some to vote for Chavez. Their hope was based on the
notion that he would end corruption and raise incomes to sustain their Miami
vision. The problem emerged when Chavez came into conflict with the U.S.
This conflict had two effects in Venezuela: Washington's political clients
in the business and trade union elite were "activated". They in turn
appealed to the middle class to turn out Chavez. The largely white middle
class was forced to choose between a black president appealing to the poor
and their identification with the Miami complex. Latent racism among the
middle class (latent while the white middle class was dominant) was
activated by the elites and counterposed to their "model" - the life style
of the prosperous white Miami elites.
Culture and Politics
These comparative experiences highlight the importance of culture, ideology
and the mass media in shaping divergent political responses to similar
economic circumstances. Pro-imperialist media propaganda is particularly
effective in the context where the electorate has not been organized by the
left and where a culture of solidarity is absent. The prevalence of
"mimetic-consumerist" culture facilitates the penetration of authoritarian
ideology and alignment with pro-U.S. political leaders.
The impact of right wing mass media is limited when there are mass popular
organizations ( particular those which are 'horizontal' in structure ) based
on common struggles and experiences, influenced by egalitarian ideology. In
both Argentina and Brazil, the mass media are uniformly in favor of the
right wing elites in power, yet in both cases the propaganda message was
rejected by the masses. In Argentina, the mass movement overthrew the
incumbent De La Rua regime; in Brazil over 60% of the populace voted for
what they believed to be a candidate of the center-left.
Culture and War
Today the big issue is imperialist war - specifically Washington's military
attack and invasion of Iraq and nuclear threats against North Korea.
Washington's propaganda machine as well as that of its client regimes and
European 'allies' is engaged in a global effort to justify the war, to
neutralize opponents and to win adherents, particularly among the political
class. Even among the most bellicose, militarist sectors of the Bush
regime - those most prone to ignore world public opinion - there is a need
to provide a 'rationale', to secure the support of clients.
The mass media - particularly the U.S. owned media - have saturated the
world with pro-war propaganda, presenting and justifying the official line
and excluding alternative critical voices or any reports of major protests.
Nonetheless public opinion polls demonstrate that the overwhelming majority
of the people in Europe and Latin America do not believe the U.S. has made a
convincing case for war and in some countries like France over 75% oppose
the imperialist war. Even in the U.S., polls indicate a divided public.
While many support a war, the opposition is growing as witness by the mass
demonstrations of over 700,000 on January 18 this year. Moreover even among
those who support the war, a majority do so conditionally - only if the
United Nations votes in favor of a war resolution.
Mass media propaganda is less credible and serves mainly to reinforce
pro-war sentiment among the political elite and to immobilize those who
verbally oppose the war.
In the battle for popular consciousness the political opposition to the war
has been able to gain support through alternative media (electronic media)
and by public demonstrations. The voices of critical cultural figures,
intellectuals and religious leaders - particularly Christian and Muslim has
also contributed to mobilizing public opinion. Despite the great disparity
in institutional power, despite close ties between the mass media and the
U.S. imperial state, the majority of world public opinion has not been
convinced. The worldwide demonstrations against the war are growing in size
and militancy and have begun to influence sectors of the political class in
The 'culture' of imperial militarism based on violent domination has however
been embraced by certain U.S. intellectuals and Christian fundamentalists -
particularly those aligned with Israeli state. The vision of "permanent war"
abroad and domestic repression evokes images of the Third Reich. Their
support of offensive wars ("preventive wars") and their embrace of political
assassinations, indiscriminant intervention and economic blackmail are meant
to intimidate any and all regimes which might question Washington's will to
Global Empire. The emergence of totalitarian intellectuals linked to
unending imperialist wars of conquest is exemplified by their support of
massive violence against Iraq.
The United Nations estimated that 10 million deaths and injuries will result
from the U.S. invasion. In attacking a virtually defenseless population with
a foreknowledge of 10 million deaths and injuries is an act of premeditated
genocide-which is comparable or exceeding the Nazi Holocaust against the
Jews, Gypsies and Serbs. The totalitarian intellectuals who enthusiastically
embrace these genocidal policies are ardent advocates of terror bombing of
civilians in pursuit of U.S. world power.
The mass media either ignored the U.N. report on the likely millions of
victims or trivialized it as simply another news item to be buried on the
inner pages.
Premeditated genocide, the scientifically planned crime against humanity is
justified by prominent Christian fundamentalist leaders in print and
broadcast media and by right wing Jewish intellectuals in the U.S. Overseas
it is backed by major Western governments ( particularly the British,
Italian and Spainish regimes). The U.S. president with the support of the
three branches of government and the mass media feels free to execute
genocide with impunity.
What interests us, paraphrasing Eduardo Pavlovshy is the
institutionalization of genocide, much more than the individual pathologies
of Bush, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and other genocide practitioners. If we
insist on the individual attributes of the executioners of genocidal
policies we lose sight of the key to the problem: genocide as an
Within the institutional context it is logical that the Bush administration
rejected the International Criminal Court. International impunity is a
necessary accompaniment of institutional genocide. Today the cultural wars
between totalitarian and anti-war intellectuals raise fundamental issues but
none more important than the struggle against premeditated genocide.
ALCA, Resistance and Cultural Wars
ALCA is fundamentally the re-colonization of Latin America. It means the
total loss of national and popular sovereignty as well as the conquest of
Latin America's economy. But in order to realize the colonial conquest, the
imperial power requires cultural-ideological hegemony. The previous
neo-liberal policies have created the core group of pro-empire politicians,
intellectuals and economists who are promoting ALCA. They are found not only
on the right - those who openly embrace ALCA - but among the so-called
"Center-Left", those who agree to negotiate to "reform" ALCA, hoping to
secure some written concessions for sectors of their domestic ruling class.
With the failures of neo-liberalism and the rise of anti-imperialist mass
movements, the right-wing intellectuals and politicians supporting ALCA have
been largely discredited. In their place there has appeared a new type of
colonialist intellectual - the anti-colonialist, ALCA critic who, however at
the same time accepts the larger imperial framework as "realism" or
"pragmatism". They cite the "unfavorable international framework", the
"severity of the domestic crises", the "need to avoid international
confrontations" for their acceptance of ALCA negotiations. The danger of
these ex-leftist, recent intellectual converts to ALCA is that they still
carry leftist credentials and have a credible history. Their principle
ideological affirmation is to argue that newly elected center-left
politicians represent a "new era" for Latin America and cite their mass
base, their past history, their "popular origins". When leftist critics
point out the appointment of neo-liberal economic ministers and central
bankers, their regressive agreements with the IMF and World Bank the
ideologues argue for "pragmatism", "realism" and the need to make
"alliances". The ex-leftist ideologues of the "center-left" are clearly
uncomfortable with defending regimes entering into negotiations over ALCA
(particularly so soon after they had been among its staunchest critics).
They resort to irrational diatribes against "scholastic Marxists" who
articulate "outmoded and failed theories", "café leftists" who are "out of
touch with national reality". Anti-intellectual demagogy becomes the last
resort of apologists for the center-left regime's transition toward ALCA.
Their "realism" is in fact accommodation to the existing national and
international power structure. Their caricature of Marxism is an evasion of
the anti-imperialist intellectuals who criticize the center-left's insertion
into the imperial order. The attack on "café Marxists" is based on their own
growing distance from the praxis of left intellectuals engaged in the
anti-ALCA protests.
The incorporation of many former "leftist" politicians and intellectuals
into the apparatuses of the new center-left regimes is a major challenge for
consequential leftists. The main task of the leftist intellectual is not to
join and fight within the state apparatus - a hopeless terrain in which the
strategic economic and repressive positions are controlled by pro-ALCA
ministers and functionaries. The real challenge is to look outside the state
apparatus to the growing mass agrarian and urban mass movements. Inside
these mass movements involving millions of the victims of imperialist
exploitation there is a growing debate over the role of electoral politics,
the relation to newly elected center-left regimes and the relationship to
ALCA. The resolution of these debates will have a profound impact on Latin
America for the next decade.
Electoral and Movement Politics
The revolutionary movement position views electoral politics as a
subordinate element to the mass struggle, the electoral party as an
"instrument" to further mass demands and to support extra-parliamentary
action. This relationship between mass movement and electoral politics is
illustrated in Bolivia during the popular mobilizations convoked by the
cocaleros and supported generally throughout the country. The MAS, the
electoral "instrument" of the mass movements, was in the street, deputies
were assaulted and injured along with picketers at the road blockages.
Class struggle occurs within the larger and more established mass popular
movements. In Ecuador, for instance, many of the Indians who are leaders
integrated into electoral politics and part of the center-left regimes are
local traders, transport owners and recipients of funds from overseas NGO's.
They profit as intermediaries and see themselves as part of the upwardly
mobile middle class. When I asked one such indigenous leader about
bi-lingual education, he told me that it was for "poor people", he sent his
children to Spanish language schools, because "that is the way to achieve
success in life". The growing class differentiation within "Indian
communities" shatters the image of identity ideologues who reject class
analysis in favor of imputing cultural attributes to entire ethnic groups.
The centrality of socio-economic divisions within ethnic groups have
pronounced political consequences - the transformation of movements into
reformist electoralist parties.
The reformist electoralist approach is illustrated by the Workers Party in
Brazil, which refused to support the anti-ALCA referendum, to secure
electoral alliances with right-wing neo-liberal parties. During the World
Social Forum in Porto Allegre, Lula chose to participate in the WSF and the
Davos Meeting organized by the world's financial and business oligarchies.
While over 52 million Brazilians voted for Lula with the expectations of
social changes, Lula selected his strategic economic team from neo-liberal
notables without consulting the mass movements or even the Workers Party. In
Brazil electoral politics dominated the mass movements ( as was evident
during the electoral campaign when the Workers Party demanded the movements
suspend all struggles that might "alienate" rightwing oligarchs ).
The tension between electoral parties and mass movements is reflected in the
polarization of the intellectuals. For those intellectuals who are
organically linked to the electoral parties, their ideological views and
values embrace the politics of short- term accommodation to power and the
perquisites of public office. Those intellectuals who are linked to the
movements retain a realistic and autonomous position in relation to the
rightward moving center-left regimes and affirm the perspective of building
an alternative anti-imperialist and transformative project.
While the center-left intellectuals value power, prestige and media
approval, the movement intellectuals value organizing the exploited,
critical thinking and political independence.
Today throughout Latin and North American and the rest of the world, these
debates and choices confront the left intellectuals: to be part of the
imperial system and its regional blocs, or to be part of the global and
local class-based mass movements seeking to overthrow the system. It is the
choice between those who support negotiating with ALCA and those who reject
ALCA, between those who support the existing power structure (in the name of
governing for "all" the people) and those who act for the exploited people.
In the anti-war movement there are those who oppose the U.S. imperialist war
and those who oppose it only because the UN Security Council does not
approve it.
These cultural wars - the ideological debates - are not merely the
reflection of economic interests, they also produce the power blocs -
parties and movements which will decide the questions of imperialist wars or
peace, re-colonization or vibrant independent states responsive to the
impoverished classes.
Left Turns in South America: United Opposition to Neoliberalism in Bolivia? America: Posted on Tuesday, January 28 @ 11:59:54 AST
01/28/03-Topic: Sociology
"Instead of imitating Álvaro Uribe, Sánchez de Lozada should learn from
Evo MoralesExcepting Colombia, as "traditional" political parties and national
economies disintegrate, South America has moved swiftly left in the new
millennium: just over a year ago, Argentina witnessed a mass uprising of
unprecedented proportions, while neo-populist regimes are now in power in
Brazil, Venezuela, and Ecuador. In Bolivia, a country in which Left parties
have never obtained more than 3.5% of the vote, Evo Morales, leader of the
coca growers' trade union federation and the country's chief opposition
party, MAS (Movement Toward Socialism), won 20% of the vote. He lost the
presidential elections in June 2002 by a narrow margin, and only because he
refused to enter into alliances with any of the neoliberal parties. When
Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, who ruled Bolivia from 1993-97, was sworn in as
president for a second time this past August, it was clear that
neoliberalism was hobbling on its last legs.
Sánchez de Lozada faced a different political scenario than the one he
helped create as Senator in 1985 with Decree 21060 and the New Economic
Policy, which brought full-blown neoliberalism to Bolivia. The communist tin
miners' movement-the core of Latin America's most combative proletariat in
the second half of the twentieth century-was broken by President Victor Paz
Estenssoro, the very man who had risen to power on the strength of the
miner-led national revolution in 1952. The highland Aymara movement, which
had resurfaced with force in La Paz and the surrounding countryside during
and after the dictatorship of General Hugo Bánzer Suárez (1971-78),
degenerated into traditional clientelism and factionalism under the
center-left UDP coalition (1982-85). And the coca growers' movement of the
eastern lowlands had barely begun to form. The Tupac Katari Guerrilla Army
(EGTK), made up almost exclusively of highland Aymara, made its appearance
after 1986, but posed no threat to the neoliberal onslaught, and was
destroyed by the first Sánchez de Lozada regime in 1993.
Under the advice of Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs, whose "shock
treatments" would soon be applied to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet
Union, after 1985 the nationalized tin mines-the basis of the Bolivian
economy after 1952-were privatized. In conjunction with his British and
American business associates Sánchez de Lozada became Bolivia's leading
mining entrepreneur, with an estimated personal fortune of $200 million.
20,000 miners were "relocated" from the highlands, many of them to the
Chapare, and as they descended into the eastern lowlands to grow coca, they
took with them the traditions of radical trade unionism they had forged in
the mines and in mining communities in the previous half century.
In 1988-90, the coca growers' movement, 200,000-strong, established itself
as the vanguard of resistance to imperialism in Bolivia, as the U.S.
ratcheted up the intensity of the drug war in Andes. In 1989, Bolivia
produced enough coca paste to make 286 tons of cocaine, and in 1988, law
1008 made traffickers guilty until proven innocent. Current U.S. ambassador
to Bolivia David Greenlee, then an employee of the CIA, overhauled the
strategy of coca eradication by integrating military and police efforts. The
coca growers, organized in trade union federations, staged massive marches
"for life and dignity," in which they exalted the coca leaf, as distinct
from cocaine, as part of their millennial cultural tradition. They refused
any connection with drug trafficking and with rudimentary self-defense
militias, they fought the growing militarization of their region under U.S.
auspices. Their collective political strength grew in the early 1990s, and
when Sánchez de Lozada took over in 1993, they had become a movement to
reckon with. Hence their militants were subject to more frequent torture,
detention, and murder than those of any other social movement in recent
Bolivian history.
Yet Sánchez de Lozada issued a series of reforms-privatization of pensions,
the airline, the telephone company and the oil company; flexibilization of
labor; municipal and land reform-that devastated that devastated rural
cultivators and urban workers alike. The coca growers, in the absence of
organized opposition in the valleys and highlands, remained isolated in the
eastern lowlands. Bolivia became a neoliberal model, a laboratory-an IMF
"success story." But like those of that other model country, Argentina,
Bolivia's triumphs turned out to be costly mirages, and social conflict
exploded under former dictator Hugo Bánzer (1998-2001), whose ties to the
drug trade were extensive and whose governing program consisted almost
exclusively of "zero coca." Bánzer's successor, Manuel "Tuto" Quiroga
(2001-2), claimed to have reduced potential cocaine production to 13 tons
annually. Both Bánzer and Quiroga killed more people as democratically
elected presidents than Bánzer had as dictator.
In April 2000 in the city of Cochabamba (pop. 500,000), a coalition of
factory workers, high school and university students, professionals,
salaried employees, peasants from the surrounding valley, peasant
"irrigators" from the highlands, schoolteachers, neighborhood committees,
university professors, non-salaried workers, the unemployed, and street kids
blocked the privatization of water through massive civil disobedience. For
the first time since the early 1980s, a popular movement from below had
scored a substantive victory in Bolivia, defeating a North American
multinational and its Bolivian servants in government.
Protest spread in April and May 2000 to the highland Aymara, who shut down
the region around La Paz through road blockades, as Felipe Quispe, a former
guerrilla leader of the EGTK, breathed new life into the Aymara peasant
trade union federation. Though the coca growers-who know the value of
solidarity-supported the insurrection in Cochabamba and the blockades around
La Paz, they suffered serious setbacks under Bánzer's forced eradication,
and were rapidly losing ground to empire. Coca cultivation in Colombia,
meanwhile, tripled to 162,000 hectares in 2000, whereas it had never covered
more than 46,000 hectares in Bolivia. (We should regard these statistics
with caution.) And an estimated $500 million dollars were lost annually
because of forced eradication.
The cycle initiated in April 2000 intensified over the next two years and
culminated with the resurgence of the coca growers and the near-victory of
Evo Morales in June 2002; this after former U.S. ambassador Manuel Rocha
warned Bolivians not to vote for Morales. Though the material basis of the
coca growers' movement (coca) has been eliminated to a remarkable extent,
MAS-which managed, in its discourse of radical nationalism, to capture the
disaffected urban middle class and proletarian vote-regained lost territory.
So did Felipe Quispe and the highland Aymara, as the Indian Revolution*
Party (MIP) obtained five seats in Congress following a year of government
incompliance with the Island of the Sun Accords.
Despite the superior quality of its leadership and the radically democratic
nature of its organizational structure, however, the Coordination for Life
and Water in Cochabamba had all but disintegrated. And while many of Felipe
Quispe's supporters voted for Evo Morales, in practical terms the lowland
coca growers and the highland Aymara were separated by an abyss that was
widened by constant caudillo feuding between Quispe and Morales. No unity
appeared on the horizon.
As one might have expected, given the neo-colonial arrangements that have
governed Bolivia since it separated from Spain, MAS and MIP have achieved
nothing in parliament, other than the diversion of scarce resources away
from the organization of the movements. Six months after the beginning of
the Sánchez de Lozada regime, the balance is disastrous: several coca
growers killed in confrontations with the army; four landless peasants
killed by landlord militias; six more killed in the Chaco; five
conversations about forced eradication of coca with no results; ongoing
incompliance with the Island of the Sun Accords.
Exclusive blame for this depressing panorama cannot be laid at the feet of
Sánchez de Lozada, however, since he had been willing to discuss the
possibility of a temporary halt to forced eradication and commit to a study
of the market for legal consumption of the coca leaf-until Bush's man for
Latin America, Cuban-American Otto Reich, arrived in early October.
Ever since, the dialogues between Evo Morales and Sánchez de Lozada have
been farcical, as there is nothing left for them to talk about. Under great
pressure from the coca growers' assemblies, in late December Morales
announced road blockades for January-unless the government was willing to
reverse its policies on eradication and include the coca growers' unions in
the planning and execution of the study of the market for coca leaf
consumption. Morales had not consulted Felipe Quispe, however, and broke a
verbal agreement the two had made to blockade in April, after the harvest
season had passed in the highlands. Oscar Oliveira, leader of the
Coordination for Life and Water, was not consulted either, even though
Cochabamba is the gateway to the Chapare.
Undaunted, Morales wasted no time in assembling a list of organizations that
would join the January mobilization: debtors, domestics and household
servants, teachers, workers without retirement funds, peasant colonizers
from the Yungas, mining cooperatives, departmental workers' federations; a
range of groups whose demands were being ignored by the Sánchez de Lozada
administration. Morales began to focus his discourse on issues that
transcended sectoral concerns, such as privatization, the export of Bolivian
natural gas to the U.S. via Chile and the FTAA, and he claimed to speak,
with more credibility than usual, in the national interest. It seemed as if
Morales and MAS would, first, fulfill their promise of consolidating a
broad-based Left opposition that brought the spatially and sectorally
separate social movements together and, second, get back to
extra-parliamentary roots.
Morales and the opposition sent Sánchez de Lozada a letter on Christmas Eve
outlining fifteen demands for discussion and announcing a blockade for
January 6, 2003. They did not receive a reply. Instead, the government and
media invested their resources in producing and circulating anti-blockade
propaganda throughout the New Year season, proclaiming that the blockades
were anti-patriotic, punished the poorest, and threatened "democracy."
Once the blockades began on Monday, January 13, it quickly became evident
that of all the groups assembled on Morales' list, only the coca growers had
the collective power to blockade; and that the government, backed by the
nation's principal newspapers and television stations as well as the U.S.
Embassy, would use excessive force to stop them. By Monday morning, with the
road from Sacaba (Cochabamba) to Yapacaní (Santa Cruz) shut down, 7,000
troops had descended on the Chapare lowlands, while in the highlands, 3,000
were dispatched to Oruro and La Paz, 1,000 to Sucre and Potosí. 22,000
police were mobilized nationwide and "dalmation" riot police from La Paz
were sent to Cochabamba, where they did battle with university students in
solidarity with the coca growers. By the end of the day, 160 people, some of
them parents registering their children for school, had been detained and
sent to air force bases, and a young coca grower received a bullet to the
jaw that, miraculously, did not kill him.
Rómulo Gonzales, a 22 year-old coca grower from the Chapare, was not so
lucky: on the second day of the blockade he was shot to death from a
distance of 500m near Colomi, one of the last towns before the road to Santa
Cruz drops thousands of meters into the Chapare. Sánchez de Lozada,
pretending that everything was under control, left for the swearing-in cerem
ony of Lucio Gutierrez in Ecuador, as the media broadcast misleading images
of cleared roads that prompted people to travel where they had no business
doing so. Felipe Quispe and the highland Aymara peasantry negotiated the
provision of 500 tractors stipulated in the Island of the Sun Accords, while
senior citizens broke off conversations with the government over law 2434
and the indexation of their retirement benefits to the dollar, declaring
that they would march on La Paz in protest.
Under control of media mogul and Vice-President Carlos Mesa, on Wednesday,
January 15, Bolivia lived through one of its darkest days in recent memory:
40 km from Cochabamba, Felix Ibarra was murdered by government snipers;
Willy Hinojosa, 23, died from bullet wounds in the Villa Tunari hospital in
the Chapare; Victor Hinojosa died from bullet wounds in Llavín; and coca
growers militias' ambushed and injured eight soldiers in Cristal Mayu. Most
tragically, six senior citizens, forced by the "dalmation" police to get on
buses the government had rented in order to disperse the march on La Paz in
the wee hours of the morning, died in an accident on the road to Oruro,
along with seven other passengers. The bus the government rented did not
have mandatory insurance and it is not clear who will pay the survivors.
Blockades extended partially from the Chapare to Santa Cruz, Potosí and
Oruro, while in El Alto, an Aymara city of 500,000 on the upper rim of La
Paz, students, market vendors, and parents of conscripted soldiers marched
with local senior citizens. U.S. Ambassador David Greenlee arrived in La Paz
just as the situation appeared to have slipped out of government control,
but he declined to comment until Sánchez de Lozada returned for the ceremony
of protocol.
On Thursay and Friday, President Sánchez de Lozada regained the initiative,
inviting Evo Morales to dialogue in Cochabamaba, and the senior citizens'
leader met with the vice president in La Paz. However, when Morales arrived
in Cochabamba, he was told that the president would not meet with him until
the blockade was lifted and was given three hours to take action. In return,
the government promised to lift what it called "control measures", i.e.
repression. The Defender of the People, Ana María Romero, a government
official, noted that such short-term time limits could frustrate the chances
for dialogue, since it takes the popular movements much longer to arrive at
decisions through assembly and consensus.
The government betrayed its utter ignorance of the participatory mechanisms
through which popular democracy works in Bolivia. Or perhaps the 3-hour time
limit was designed to make dialogue impossible. In any event, through the
magic of the media, Morales came off as intransigent and the government as
reasonable. Shrewdly, the government and media played the senior citizens
off against the coca-growers. Whereas the former operated exclusively within
the parameters of the constitution, we were told, the latter were violent,
human rights violators seeking to destabilize the country at the expense of
the impoverished peasantry and urban proletariat.
On Friday, the senior citizens' march arrived in La Paz with great media
fanfare and received an astonishing display of material solidarity and moral
support from all sectors of the urban population. Vice President Carlos Mesa
sought to redeem himself with the help of the cameras and the music. By
Friday's end, though, there were 700 people detained on various air force
bases throughout the country, government forces had killed five people and
were responsible for the deaths of six more. Ana María Romero, Defender of
the People, reported that the prisoners were abused with racial epithets,
and that detained women were being raped and threatened with rape. Blockades
continued in the Chapare, Santa Cruz, and the semi-tropical Yungas north of
La Paz, but the highlands were firmly under government control. Even though
pressure from within the Aymara trade union federation was mounting to join
the mobilization, Felipe Quispe announced blockades for February. On
Saturday, 1500 miners marched from Huanuni, surrounded by tanks and under
surveillance from the air, toward Oruro, but in Machamarquita 500 of them
clashed with government forces, and miner Adrían Martínez was shot and
In what looks to be the most significant development since the rise of MAS,
Evo Morales convened the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the People in Cochabamba
on Sunday, January 19. Only Felipe Quispe and Saturnino Mallku, the bankrupt
leader of the moribund Bolivian Workers' Central (COB), were left out. What
makes the group so important is that it could succeed in cementing the unity
that the miners lent to the COB in the golden years of struggle before the
1980s. In those days, the COB formed a solid wall of opposition to
dictatorial military governments and occasionally exercised dual power.
If the new COB that Morales is calling for comes together, the popular
movements might be exercising dual power again in the not-too-distant
future. The government will almost surely declare a State of Siege, which
makes opposition politics illegal, the moment signs of such a development
appear. Cochabamba is already under a de facto state of siege, and the
industrialists and agro-exporters have called for the government to
implement one nationwide. Foreign NGOS have come in for criticism for their
alleged support for the mobilization, and their members could be detained
and/or deported as things go from bad to worse. A key variable will be the
morale of the army. Already parents of conscripts have complained that their
sons, who should have returned home at the end of 2002, "are being used to
kill their coca-growing brothers." Food for the conscripts is scarce and
poor quality, and some of the parents do not know the whereabouts of their
After a two-day pause in which the Chapare was cleared for traffic, the
government still refused to discuss popular demands under the pressure of
direct action, and it looked like the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the People
was going to be another case of unrealized possibility. But on Wednesday,
January 23, Felipe Quispe became part of the leadership. Thus through their
trade union confederation, the highland Aymara peasants have joined the
departmental trade union federations (CODs); a federation of Aymara and
Quechua communities (CONAMAQ); factory workers, the Coordination for Life
and Water, peasant irrigators, and university students in Cochabamba;
peasant colonizers in the Yungas; peasant federations from Sucre, Potosí,
Cochabamba, Oruro, and part of La Paz; the Bartolina Sisa women's peasant
federation; as well as the unemployed and miners' cooperatives.
In all likelihood, the flow of people and goods will be paralyzed in Bolivia
in the coming days, and it is doubtful that the government will make
concessions without first raising the level of repression dramatically
through State of Siege legislation. If the opposition can maintain its
fragile unity, there is reason to hope that it will obtain the renunciation
of Sánchez de Lozada and Carlos Mesa-which would be a popular victory of
historic proportions. Rather than a carbon copy replacement president, a
Constituent Assembly, first put on the table during the water wars of April
2000, might begin to outline a new social order in Bolivia. Though it is
impossible to say how such complex processes will work themselves out,
further radicalization of the anti-neoliberal opposition seems inevitable
for the time being. Let us hope that Lula realizes that the Bolivian
conflict can be another staging ground for Brazilian diplomacy as, under the
umbrella of the World Social Forum, left turns continue to reverberate
throughout South America.*The P in MIP is for Pachakutic, from pacha, or space-time, and kutic means
turning around-revolution, in the sense of a world turned right side up.
Forrest Hylton is conducting doctoral research in history in Bolivia

05 Freedom of Press ˆ US Style
von: RAWNEWS <>
Freedom of the Press, US style!!Posted on Tue, Jan. 28, 2003
Comcast refuses anti-war ads during State of Union
Associated Press
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - An anti-war group accused the nation's biggest cable
company on Tuesday of refusing to air TV ads opposing a U.S. war with Iraq.
Peace Action Education Fund spent $5,000 for air time for six 30-second ads
to be aired by Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp. beginning Tuesday night.
The ads were to be broadcast over CNN in the Washington, D.C., area. They
were bought to coincide with President Bush's State of the Union speech, in
which Bush was expected to reiterate his case for war.
But Comcast's legal department notified the group Tuesday morning that the
ads would not air, saying they were unsubstantiated.
"Comcast runs advertisements from many sources representing a wide range of
viewpoints, pro and con, on numerous issues of importance to the public,"
Comcast spokesman Mitchell Schmale said. "However, we must decline to run
any spot that fails to substantiate certain claims or charges. In our view,
this spot raises such questions."
The ads show citizens expressing their opposition to war with Iraq and were
to run twice on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights.
The idea was to reach Congress members, Cabinet members and other
Washington, D.C., decision makers, according to the Rev. Robert Moore,
executive director of the 2,000-member peace group, which is based in
"This is an outrageous infringement on our First Amendment rights, in the
center of our democracy, Washington, D.C.," Moore said.
"Obviously, the president and the administration are ratcheting up their
advocacy for war, culminating with the state of the union address. We
thought it was a good time to ratchet up our opposition. If people are
going to see his message, there's no reason they shouldn't see ours, too,"
said Moore, a United Church of Christ minister.

06 Tessa Jowell warn protesters
von: RAWNEWS <>
TEL; 0207 211 6938/6000
FAX; FAX 0207 211 6249

07 Strategic Shift in South Asia
von: RAWNEWS <>
Strategic shift in south Asia
Jane's Defence, January 29 2003
In an effort to garner international support for their side of the
endless Kashmir dispute, both India and Pakistan have been doing
their best to attract the friendship of the United States since the
beginning of the 'war on terrorism'. The US is seen as the only third
party that could intervene to solve the Kashmir dispute. While
Pakistan holds US President George W Bush's immediate attention,
India seemed to be winning the long-term battle, at least until now.
We reveal what is going on.
India surprised both Pakistan and the US in the signing of its recent
accord with Iran. This strategic agreement, which will allow India
the use of Iranian military bases in the event of any outbreak of
tensions with Pakistan, affects the future of the sub-continent.
The revelation by India of the pact not only heightens tension in
south Asia, but also leaves the US with a dilemma: how to react to
India's alliance with Iran, which remains part of the US 'axis of
The pact was signed a week before the visit of Iran's President,
Mahammad Khatami, to India to join the celebrations for India's
national day on 26 January. Signed in Tehran by the Indian naval
chief and the Iranian minister of defence, the pact marks a complete
turnaround by Iran, which used to be a close ally of Pakistan. How
the pact fits in with India's defence relationship with Israel is
unclear, but the threat this can pose to Pakistan is all too real.
Iran benefits by gaining access to Indian military expertise, which
will include upgrades of its fighters, as well as new tanks and
artillery. India will also help train the Iranian army and navy.
India will be allowed to deploy troops and equipment in Iran during a
crisis with Pakistan and gain access to Iranian ports.
It looks very much like an encirclement of Pakistan by India. The
pressure on Pakistan's defences would be almost overwhelming. We
expect Pakistan to respond. Much will depend on the reaction of the
Bush administration.


Redaktionsschluss: 2. Februar 2003, 23.00 Uhr
Diese Ausgabe hat Gernot Pürer

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