Hugo Chavez is dead, he is no more! The cruel hand of death has finally snatched him away from us. He battled for two years to see if he could complete what he had started, but the dark laws that govern the workings of human systems have destroyed his life. Medicine and series of operations have proved powerless to accomplish what was passionately hoped for, what millions of human hearts demanded.
With the last few comrades registering on Sunday morning (March 10th) the total number taking part in the congress went over 2800. The main discussions of the day were on the coming election campaign, an organisational discussion and a report on the work of the IMT internationally.
Hugo Chávez is no more. The cause of freedom, socialism and humanity has lost a courageous champion. He died on Tuesday, March 5, at 4.25 pm local time. The news was announced by Vice President Maduro. The President was just 58, and had been 14 years in power. He has been battling cancer for the last two years, but when news of his death was announced, it came as a shock.
In a period of crisis and decline of capitalism, to many people religion is the one certainty to cling on to. But if the Pope himself is no longer convinced he can keep his position until his death, this illusion of solidity begins to break down. The effect of the surprise announcement of his retirement by Pope Benedict XVI on the consciousness of over a billion Roman Catholics is going to be that of a spiritual earthquake, and it is surely going to have political consequences too.
The last time a Pope abdicated his position before Benedict XVI was in 1415, when Gregory XII retired with the purpose of recomposing the Western Schism, a forty-year long split between the Church of Rome and the Church of Avignon. The papal spokesman himself has ruled out serious health issues behind the 2013 abdication. It seems that this pontiff’s resignation is also based on a profound split within the Catholic Church and particularly within the Roman Curia, i.e. the government of the Church and the administrative apparatus of its miniature theocracy.
A crisis of the system is what emerges from the Italian elections of February 24/25. The Wall Street Journal reveals the concerns of the international bourgeoisie when it says that, "So far as the market is concerned, the Italian elections have produced the worst possible outcome." Rather alarmed is also the Financial Times which published an editorial statement on February 26 with the title, "Italy takes a step into the unknown."
In recent years, the long drawn out struggle of the FIAT workers in Pomigliano, Italy, has gained an international echo. The attacks on trade union activists and the banning of the only militant trade union with large support amongst the workers, the FIOM-CGIL, by FIAT management reveal the ruthlessness of the bosses in removing the most elementary trade union rights of the workers. We publish here an appeal for solidarity launched by the International Marxist Tendency, IMT ,International Executive Committee two weeks ago, with a first list of signatures from many countries. Workers' Alternative is part of the IMT. This resolution has been translated and published in the factory paper RadioFabbrica produced by workers and shop stewards in the metal industry and all FIAT plants all over Italy, for distribution at the factories gates. We call on our readers and supporters to add their signatures to the appeal.
The answer to this question once seemed like a no-brainer. During the years of the postwar boom, college was sold as a kind of normal stage of life for young Americans, and attaining a degree from a public university was a sure way toward a higher salary. It was often quite affordable as well, thanks to things like Pell Grants and a greater amount of public funding. Those days seem far away now.
This was the pointed question posed in a recent article on the website of Forbes, the proud and unapologetic mouthpiece of capitalism. In the words of the article’s author, Igor Greenwald: “Capitalism has been the dominant economic system in the Western world for, give or take, 400 years. And in that virtual eye blink in the grander scheme of things it has produced more wealth than all the prior economic systems put together ... But nothing—not even the bestest thing ever—lasts forever. Stuff happens. Things change. Systems work until they don’t. How close is capitalism to the end of its useful life? What comes next?”
The first victims of the on going privatization of electricity in Nigeria are the ordinary consuming masses who have found their electricity bills go up multiple folds. Today, scores are incurring huge electricity bills as PHCN tariffs have continued to go up and leaving huge dent in the pockets of toiling masses.
Increment in tariffs and outright deregulation are part of the consequences of move towards the privatization of PHCN. The argument of the government is that price increment and total deregulation of electricity tariff would attract the “foreign investors”.
Sometimes decades pass and not much happens. At other times more events take place in days than those that occurred in decades. After the collapse of the Soviet Union twenty years ago we were relentlessly told the great political and economic questions had all been settled and that liberal democracy and free-market capitalism had triumphed. Socialism had been consigned to the dustbin of history. The strategists of capital were exultant. The “end of history” was proclaimed by Francis Fukuyama.
No doubt, Fashola government in Lagos state means different things to different people. To the elite, who wish to drive his car without hindrance through a well-flowered road, a road that is devoid of poor children hawking the streets, with beggars completely packed off the visible arena of passage; to him, Fashola is a hero. It is a different case to a poor woman who had lived all her life selling in one corner of the road, a condition forced down her throat by immense poverty, with her children hawking all over Lagos at the risk of being arrested by the police or even be crushed by moving vehicles. These children suppose to be in school, but public education has completely collapsed and becoming increasingly expensive. When she is ill she has to go to native doctor because public health is dead; a small apartment she stays will either soon be pulled down or is already demolished in the interest of Mega city project; to her, Lagos has never been so hellish as it is now. Of the estimated 18 million Lagosians, 11.55 million (64.2%) are living below poverty level; the question is, under genuine democracy who really own Lagos?
To say that the situation in Nigeria is getting more rotten by the day is an understatement. The country has become notorious as far as the world’s negatives are concerned. Many are barely managing to survive on a dollar a day, unemployment is massive, wages are very low, scores are rendered homeless daily, flood is ravaging everywhere, artificial fuel scarcity and arbitrary price increments are the order of the day. Healthcare has collapsed the same as power supply, which remains highly unstable.
The government seems to have ‘Midas touch’: anything they touch turns to shit! Daily, the airwaves are dominated by reports of insane IMF/World Bank inspired government policies, which only results in more pains for the masses.
The suffering of the people of Pakistan is largely unknown in the West. A veil of silence has been carefully drawn over the number of people killed every day by American drones and Taliban murders. But recently a small corner of the curtain was raised as the result of a particularly appalling event.
Yesterday Malala Yousafzai was brutally shot by gunmen as she was returning home from school. Masked assassins stepped onto a bus filled with terrified children, identified her, and shot her at point blank range in the head and neck.
Who are these men who wage war on defenceless schoolgirls? We know who they are because they have already admitted their guilt. The cowardly murderers who perpetrated this vile deed feel no need to hide away from public opinion. They feel no shame, for they are utterly shameless. The Pakistan Taliban has claimed responsibility for this act of bloodthirsty savagery.
A cheap, crude, anti-Islamic film entitled The Innocence of Muslims, produced and promoted by reactionary Christian fundamentalists in the United States and posted on the internet in July, has led to demonstrations in many countries around the world, including attacks on US embassies and in the case of Libya to the killing of four US diplomats at the US Consulate in Benghazi. We look into why all this is happening.
According to reports, the film originally had the title Desert Warriors and was not about Muhammad at all. Actors who had taken part in the film have claimed they were unaware of the fact that the film was about Muhammad, and that the storyline which transformed the film into the format in which it eventually appeared on the internet was the result of dubbing. The scripting was deliberately designed to be insulting to Muslims.
On Monday, September 3, most of the miners arrested during the Marikana massacre were released after an outcry of protest forced the state prosecutor to withdraw charges of murder against them. The strike at Lonmin continues as well as strikes and protests at other mines. The incident has clearly revealed the real content of the struggle between left and right in the run up to the ANC Manguang Conference.
It is revealing that the 270 miners and others arrested during the Marikana massacre were charged with murder of their 34 comrades who had been killed by the police. It says a lot about how little has really changed despite the 1994 transition from apartheid to formal capitalist democracy. The “common purpose” doctrine which was used to charge them was widely used by the apartheid regime to send MK and ANC fighters to the gaols, without having to go into the trouble to actually find any proof of their guilt. The doctrine states that people involved in a common activity are equally responsible for any damage that results from it, even if they have not physically committed it.
The idea that an independent Scotland on a capitalist basis would solve the problems of the Scottish people is false to the core. On the contrary, it would result in falling living standards as wages were driven down to boost competitiveness.
Scottish National Party
Despite the SNP’s traditional claim of “rich Scots versus Poor Brits” and an economic future based on “Scotland’s oil”, North Sea oil is due to fall from 0.7% of UK national income in 2011-12 to only 0.2% by 2022-23. The banking sector, which plays a big role in the economy, is in difficulties and propped up by the British state.
The recent quarrel over the timing and constitutional validity of the proposed independence referendum in Scotland has again pushed the national question to the forefront of British politics. Such developments give us a fresh opportunity to revisit this important issue.
Lenin in his book State and Revolution warned that the national question in Britain, which appeared resolved long ago, could raise its head under certain circumstances. This amazing prediction came true with the world crisis of 1974 and the deepening crisis of British capitalism. The re-emergence of nationalism in Scotland and Wales that Lenin had anticipated, was reflected in the growth of support for Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party throughout the 1970s and 1980s and up to the present.
It is a dialectical contradiction that the national question could arise when the historical justification for nation states has come to an end with the decline of capitalism itself. The creation of nation states was one of the historical achievements of capitalism in the period of its ascent, especially between 1789 and 1848. That the crisis of capitalism has led to a revival of latent nationalism is a reflection of the fact that this is the epoch of decline.
Hundred years ago, on 19 August 1912 to be precise, the first trade union organization was born in Nigeria. Though, it was initially called Southern Civil Service Union, it had about 500 memberships, which spread from South to North. It was later renamed Nigerian Civil Service Union after the amalgamation of the Southern and Northern protectorates. It was organized and headed by Henry Liebert who was a Sierra Leonean immigrant living then in Nigeria.
While attention is still on the draconian traffic laws recently imposed by the ACN government in Lagos, another major attack on the working masses of Lagos is already in progress. The Lagos state government had perfected plans to increase the taxes of the overtaxed workers of Lagos. The current payslip for July already reflects this crude reality. The State had increased the taxes payable by Lagos state workers without any form of prior discussion with the state NLC and the various public sector workers unions including the Nigerian Medical Association.
As usual, there is a news blackout by the mainstream media about this attack. The information got out when the governor summoned the State NLC and the public sector union leaderships to a meeting last week Thursday, 9/08/12, to inform them of the coup on workers' wages. Fasola claimed that due to the heavy debt profile of Lagos state, the government had increased the taxes of workers, in essence cut down wages, in order to pay the fictitious debt the ACN regime has incurred over the years.
The situation in Pakistan is almost identical to that of Nigeria. The scientific explanation of the Pakistani society as put forward by Lai Khan also applies to Nigeria and the underdeveloped economies of the world.
For quite some time now several so called secular parties, especially the MQM, have been campaigning around the idea that feudalism is the real cause of the country’s plight and its abolishment is the only solution to Pakistan’s tribulations. Their endeavour is in fact mainly to defend the petty bourgeois businesses and the Mafia capitalism on which they rely for their social and economic basis.
This cliché has been in vogue for decades. The ex-lefts and the liberal intelligentsia have been analysing Pakistan as a feudal society and defining the solution in the accomplishment of the national democratic or the bourgeois revolution for the development of the country.
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