The Worker, February 5, 2016
Published by the Workers Party, USA
P.O. Box 25716, Chicago, IL 60625

Independent Working Class Politics and the 2016 Elections

The 2016 election campaign is already well underway. Big business has already donated tens of millions of dollars to the campaign warchests of both the Democratic and Republican parties. The various candidates have already begun posturing for political position and advertising themselves. The monopoly-controlled mass media is already bombarding the people with election-year hype.

These elections present the working class with a serious challenge. The workers must approach these elections from the standpoint of their own independent class aims and program; the workers cannot allow the electioneering of the capitalist parties and the torrent of propaganda to drown out these aims and program. At the same time, the current elections present the workers with new opportunities, with new political space that is opening up as a result of the profound political crisis and polarization developing in our country.

Amongst the most decisive aspects of the present political moment are the widespread contempt for the Democrats and Republicans, the ever-growing disillusionment with the current political process and the search for a genuine political alternative – an alternative through which the people can actually empower themselves and aim at bringing about the fundamental changes needed in the political process and political system.

Thus the tasks facing the workers in relation to this year's elections include:

• Rallying the broadest possible section of the people against the reactionary, anti-social agenda of the capitalist class.

The workers cannot allow big business to monopolize the political debate and agenda, nor can the workers afford to create illusions in either the Democrats or the Republicans. The workers must show that the program of both parties is the program of the monopoly capitalist class. This is the program of “free market economics” and of “increasing the international competitiveness of U.S. capitalism” by increasing the exploitation of the workers to the maximum. It is the program of slashing government investments in vital social programs while using taxpayers' monies to underwrite the superprofits of the Pentagon arms merchants, the Wall Street bankers and other big business interests. It is a program of inciting racism and intensifying the yoke of racial discrimination and national oppression. It is the program of imperialism – of preparing and launching new interventions and wars against the peoples of other countries.

• Popularizing the program of economic rights, democratic renewal, a democratic foreign policy and socialism as the genuine alternative.

By taking up their own independent aims and programs, the workers, at once, break out of the straightjacket which confines the political life of the people to voting, once every 2 or 4 years. On the basis of their own program, the workers can develop a broad range of activities and organizations which create new political space and enable the people to openly contend with the capitalist parties over the direction of our country. Such independent political action includes public meetings and conferences, open denunciation of the Republicans and Democrats, mass demonstrations and other actions as well as the vital work of building up the workers own independent press.

• Demanding fundamental change in the political process and political system.

The current political process is designed to create the illusion of democracy while, in fact, the masses of people are completely excluded from governance. Under the present system, the political life of the working class and broad masses of people has been reduced to that of “voting cattle.” Every 2 or 4 years, we are given the “choice” of voting for 1 of 2 candidates, both of whom have been handpicked, financed and advertised by big business. How can it be said that the people choose their representatives when the Democrats and Republicans – who are as similar as two peas in a pod – have a virtual monopoly over the selection and nomination of the candidates running for office, a monopoly which is protected by law? How can it be said that we all enjoy “equal political rights,” when both official parties are financed by big business? How can it be said that the elections will give voice to the concerns of the masses of people, when the monopoly-controlled mass media has already decided, in advance which viewpoints and political programs are “legitimate” and which can be ignored altogether? No matter whether a Democratic or a Republican gets the most votes, it is big business which wins and the people who lose. In the end, the economic and political elite will claim that these rigged elections proved that the people have given their consent to the continuation of the class rule of the monopoly capitalist class.

Today there is an impassable gulf between what the people demand and what the government does. To change this situation means to renew American democracy by making fundamental changes in the political process and political system. The Democratic and Republican parties must be deprived of the exclusive privilege of nominating and selecting candidates for office and this right must be returned to the people themselves. New mechanisms must be created which not only hold elected officials directly accountable to the electorate but which also give the people a direct and decisive role in governance. In short, the political monopoly of the rich must be broken and the people must be empowered.

Everyone knows that our country faces grave and growing problems. Rather than presenting solutions to these problems the monopoly capitalist class and its twin political parties, the Democrats and Republicans, are only throwing society backwards. It is the people themselves who must change the situation and the urgent question is to join in further building a genuine political alternative. This is the task which the working class and all progressive people must take up. This is our response to the current capitalist election circus.

How to Advance the Movement Against Racism and Fascism

All across the country the masses of working people are becoming increasingly conscious and vigilant about the resurgence of racism and the growing fascism in our society. This vigilance is being expressed in more and more mass actions – especially in marches and demonstrations against police violence and against the numerous police-state measures being implemented by the capitalist government. In several cities, small-scale rebellions have broken out in response to police brutality and murder. 

The major shortcoming of this growing movement is that it remains largely spontaneous; by this, we mean that the masses of people who are turning to the path of struggle have yet to take the question of the political direction and the organization of the movement into their own hands. 

Precisely because the movement remains spontaneous, the people have a great deal of difficulty defeating the tactics of the capitalist government. The capitalists are using the tactic of combining repression with political deception. On the one hand, peaceful marches and rallies are attacked by the police; in many instances riot police and the national guard have been called out to suppress the anti-racist, anti-fascist struggles. On the other hand, the capitalists are activating every type of ideological diversion and political charlatan in order to disorganize and disrupt the movement from within. 

To begin with there are the liberal Democratic Party politicians who invariably appear on the scene after the mass struggle breaks out. These capitalists politicians maintain there are only “a few bad cops” and call on the people to give up their mass actions and await the verdict of some police review board or government commission. Together with the black cultural nationalists, the Democratic Party politicians cover over the source of racism in the capitalist system and capitalist state and instead point the finger at the white working people, trying to incite racial hatred and conflict. At all costs these capitalist politicians are determined to prevent any militant mass actions and the development of the independent democratic movement of the working masses. 

Along with the innumerable types of right opportunists who tail after these Democratic Party politicians, we also find several shades of anarchism, terrorism, maoism, “left” trotskyism, etc. suddenly appearing within the anti-racist, anti-fascist movement. These trends present themselves as the “alternative” to the right opportunism and empty reformism of the Democrats and their hangers-on. But on closer examination we find that such “left” opportunists march along a parallel track with the Democrats, sharing the common aim of liquidating the militant mass actions and the independent anti-racist, anti-fascist movement. 

Such “left” opportunists posture as “militant” and “action-oriented” but the real effect of their wild calls for terrorist-type actions or individual combat with police, not only isolate sections of activists from the actual level of the mass struggle but invariably result in greater police repression. In fact such trends are promoted by the capitalists precisely to force the masses back into the arms of the right opportunists and the Democrats. The masses look at the wildness and desperation of the anarchists, etc., and think “if this is the alternative to reformism and Democratic Party politics, there is no alternative at all.” 

The reformists and anarchists are advertised amongst the masses as representing the opposite poles of “reform” or “revolution.” But this is a double and triple fraud. To begin with, the choice is not between reform or revolution – the choice is between the politics of the capitalists (the politics of racism and national oppression, the politics of state violence against the working masses) or the politics of the working class (the politics of uncompromising struggle against racism, national oppression and the violence of the capitalist state – the politics of democracy). The working masses need both reforms and revolution. But neither the Democratic Party, the cultural nationalists or the so-called “left” alternatives of anarchism, maoism, terrorism, etc. fight for either reforms or revolution. The Democrats and their hangers-on not ony preach the virtues of the capitalist state, thus covering over the source of racism and fascism, but they also try to liquidate every partial movement, every movement for reforms by suppressing the initiative, the militant actions and the independent political movement of the working masses. The Democrats and the right opportunists are not in favor of meeting the immediate demands of the masses for an end to police brutality and racist violence, the Democrats are only in favor of lying to the masses, of promising change while supporting the status quo, etc. 

Yet the anarchists and other “left” opportunists refuse to expose and fight against the Democrats on these immediate issues confronting the masses. Rather the anarchists confine themselves to abstract calls for “revolution.” Thus, the anarchists, by their own admission, have no role to play in the immediate struggles of the masses and in fact think that the Democrats should remain the leaders of these struggles. Thus we ask, what kind of “revolution” are these anarchists in favor of, if it does not proceed from the urgent demands and struggles of the masses? 

Furthermore, the Democrats and right opportunists, on the one side, and the various “left” opportunists on the other, share the same ideological platform. Both have nothing but hatred for the masses of people. The right opportunists constantly condemn the masses as too “backward” to do anything but vote for the liberal capitalists, while the “left” opportunists curse the masses for not embracing some special sectarian principle about Trotsky, Mao Tse-tung or some other nonsense. All these opportunists curse the masses as the source of racism while covering over the crimes of the capitalist state. In fact, both the right opportunists and the anarchists leave the question of democratic rights completely in the hands of the capitalist state. The right opportunists openly praise the American constitution and the capitalist politicians as the epitome of democracy while the “left” opportunists, by maintaining that no rights can be won without a revolution, refuse to challenge and struggle against the growing fascism of the capitalist state. 

The Marxist-Leninist ideology, program and tactics are diametrically opposed to the line of reformism and anarchism. Our starting point is the needs and demands of the masses. We say that through their own efforts – through independent organization and mass struggle – the people can fight against and put a stop to racist violence and police terror. Our struggle must be waged against the capitalist state and the capitalist political parties and it must be waged continuously, relentlessly and irreconcilably. This is the way in which democratic rights are won and defended. The workers force their demands on the capitalists from without, through irreconcilable mass struggle. By building and strengthening our own organizations we always maintain the right and ability to defend ourselves, through direct action, against the attacks of the capitalist state. At the same time, the anti-racist, anti-fascist movement, as part of the general democratic movement of the people, aims at conquering political power so as to root out the source of racism and fascism. It is precisely by building up the independent organization and struggle of the masses that we advance both our immediate and long-term interests, extending our democratic rights today while accumulating forces for revolution. The decisive thing is that the class conscious workers and anti-racist activists must take all the questions of the direction and the organization of the movement into their own hands, orienting it along the path of irreconcilable struggle against the capitalist state. 

October Socialist Revolution:

This Era Belongs to the Working Class and Socialism

Ahead of the centennial of the October Socialist Revolution, The Worker will be printing a series of articles about the great watershed of human history which began the era of the transition from capitalism to socialism on a world scale. 

Despite the decades which have passed, despite the twists and turns of world politics, the very words “October Socialist Revolution” still invoke the most intense passions. To the capitalists and their hirelings, these words produce fear and hatred and an inevitable display of mindless invective. For the workers, the October Socialist Revolution remains a profound inspiration and a red beacon illuminating the goal of emancipation from capitalist wage-slavery, the goal of socialism and communism.

And why? Because the October Socialist Revolution marked the beginning of a new era – the era of the ascendancy and victory of the working class. The October Socialist Revolution ushered in the period of transition from capitalism to socialism on a world-scale. Since 1917, the working class has won many victories and also suffered temporary defeats. But on every continent it continues to strengthen its consciousness, organization and independent struggle guided by the goal of socialism. Despite the temporary defeat of socialism in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere, the character of the era has not changed and cannot change precisely because all the contradictions which gave rise to the October Revolution continue to exist and develop. This is why in commemorating the anniversary of October, we study this world-historic experience as a starting point, a compass, for orienting the contemporary struggle of the working class and people.

What Gave Rise to the October Revolution?

The October Revolution broke out at a time when the fundamental contradictions of capitalism, not only in Russia but on a world-scale, had matured and reached the bursting point.

To begin with, the 20th century ushered in a new stage in the development of capitalism, when, in Europe and America, the early period of so-called “free competition” was being replaced by the era of monopoly capitalism.

This new period was marked by the emergence and growth of giant corporations and industry-wide trusts and the merging of industrial capital with banking and finance capital. Monopoly capital and the new financial oligarchy – which from the early 20th century to date have only further extended their domination over the capitalist economies – sought to increase the exploitation of the workers to the maximum and subject the whole population to their economic and political dictate. In short, the era of monopoly capital sharpened the class struggle, reflecting the intensification of the basic contradiction of capitalism between the socialized productive forces and private capitalist appropriation. The economic contradictions of capitalism had matured and demanded the transition from capitalism to socialism.

But this was not all. By the turn of the 20th century, capitalism had grown into a world system of imperialism and colonialism.

The biggest monopolies and capitalist states, having conquered their home markets, began an intense, global struggle for new markets, sources of raw materials, spheres for the investment of capital, etc. The “Great Powers” not only carried out an economic division of the world but a real territorial division as well, carving Africa, Asia and Latin America into colonies.

But while the colonies were conquered by fire and sword, the 20th century also saw the rise of the great movements for national independence and liberation from imperialism and colonialism. The contradiction between imperialism, on the one hand, and the oppressed nations and peoples was also brought to the bursting point and was one of the fundamental historical conditions which gave rise to the October Revolution and which marks the contemporary era as the era of the proletarian revolution and the national liberation movements.

In addition, the emergence of present-day capitalist-imperialism intensified to the extreme the rivalries and contradictions between competing monopoly groups and imperialist states. Once the whole world was divided up, these international robbers, impelled by the inexorable capitalist law of “expand or perish,” were forced to use every means possible, including war, to grab colonies and spheres of influence from their rivals.

In sum, the emergence of monopoly capitalism brought to a head 3 fundamental contradictions – 1) the contradiction between the working class and the capitalist class; 2) the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed nations and peoples; and 3) the inter-imperialist contradiction between rival monopoly groups and capitalist states. Analyzing the development of these 3 contradictions, Lenin reached the conclusion that “imperialism is the eve of the proletarian revolution.” He pointed out that “capitalism has become reactionary; it has developed the forces of production to such a degree that mankind is faced with the alternative of adopting socialism or of experiencing years and even decades of armed struggle between the “Great” Powers for the artificial preservation of capitalism by means of colonies, monopolies, privileges and national oppression of every kind.”

These are the objective conditions which gave rise to the October Socialist Revolution and the whole course of this century has shown that the struggles for national and social liberation and the emancipation of the working class are the main content of this era.

Just before and just after the victory of the Russian revolution, revolutions also broke out in Ireland, in Germany and Hungary. As the Russian workers embarked on the road of building and consolidating socialism, as the international working class strengthened itself and brought the program of socialism to the fore in every country, capitalism spawned fascism. The open struggle between monopoly capitalism and socialism was irrevocably put on the agenda in all the “advanced” capitalist countries. And the result of the great Anti-Fascist War was the victory of socialism in several countries; even in the West, capitalism was barely able to prevent the victory of socialism.

So too, the history of this century is the chronicle of the forward march of the oppressed nations, of the world-shaking deeds of the African people, the Chinese people, the people of Vietnam, of Cuba, etc., etc., etc. in the struggle for national liberation against imperialism and colonialism. And because these great national democratic movements took place in the modern era – the era of the working class – they have been, to a greater or lesser extent, closely linked with the proletarian movement for emancipation and socialism, bringing to the fore, not only the question of national sovereignty and independence but a broad range of social questions.

Even as the proletarian movements and national democratic revolutions have put the questions of liberation and socialism on the agenda, the dying world of capitalism has continually been beset by ever-more intense inter-imperialist contradictions. World War I was not the “war to end all wars” but was followed by a Second World War, a war in which U.S. imperialism unleashed the horror of nuclear weapons against the peoples. For some fifty years after WW II, the “Cold War” between the U.S. and the new Soviet empire imposed countless local wars on the people as these rival imperialist powers struggled for world hegemony.

The 21st Century Working Class Prepares to Lead Humanity Forward  Along the High Road of Progress and Socialism

These days, of course, the propagandists for capitalism want the peoples to believe that these 3 great contradictions which constitute the very basis of contemporary capitalism have disappeared. They insist that the socialist movement of the working class and the national liberation movements of the oppressed peoples have exhausted themselves and are no longer the principal motive forces of the modern history. The propagandists for capitalism pretend that history has come to an end, that social development is frozen and that capitalism has won permanent, world-wide victory.

But what is the reality?

The reality is that capitalism, in all-sided crisis and decay, has unleashed a most reactionary offensive against all of humankind and is pushing society backwards towards Medievalism.

The underlying economic contradictions of capitalism have become so intense, that even during the boom phase of the recurring cyclical crises which characterize capitalism, the monopolies are destroying the productive forces of society and imposing new and more intense forms of exploitation on the workers and people. In the U.S. and throughout the world, corporate restructuring and downsizing have forced tens of millions of workers into a contingent workforce based on part-time or temporary jobs which do not even provide a minimal economic existence while imposing falling wages and living standards and extreme job and economic insecurity on the whole working class. To step up their exploitation of the workers, the capitalists aim at stripping away every vestige of the collective rights of the workers and people, targeting social insurance programs – such as workers compensation, unemployment insurance, welfare, etc. – which guarantee a minimal standard. The capitalists aim at reducing the workers to individual wage-slaves, completely at the mercy of the so-called “free market.”

And the anti-social agenda of monopoly capital extends to all spheres of life. Amongst other things, war has been declared on the very idea of social responsibility and the rights of the people. Investments in vital social programs are slashed or eliminated while vital public services are privatized. The biggest monopolies are simply plundering the country while insisting that the people have no rights whatsoever except to fend for themselves in the “free market” system.

With this all-sided economic crisis at its base there is sharp and growing political crisis. Monopoly capitalism is in irreconcilable contradiction to democracy. More and more the limitations and fraud of so-called capitalist democracy are revealed as nothing but a means to marginalize and disempower the people, while the capitalist state, in fact, can rely only on the most arbitrary methods of rule – putting the whole country at the disposal of the biggest monopolies while suppressing the needs of social development and the rights of the people.

On an international scale, under such banners as “economic globalization,” “interdependence,” “neo-liberalism,” the biggest capitalist monopolies, international bankers, and imperialist states, led by U.S. imperialism, aim at putting whole countries and continents under their yoke. To fortify its most extreme plunder and exploitation of the oppressed peoples, imperialism is trying to turn the clock back to the days of open colonialism, declaring that national independence and sovereignty are “outdated” and that the Great Powers alone have the right to determine the political and economic system of every country and even to intervene militarily either through so-called multi-lateral organizations and alliances or unilaterally.

So too, imperialism's fairy tale that the end of the Cold War ushered in a new period of “peace and stability,” is exposed by the intensifying rivalries amongst all the imperialist powers and capitalist states. The present period is marked by extreme turbulence and disequilibrium, by a “multi-polar” imperialist world, not the “uni-polar” world dreamed of by U.S. imperialism. The growing contradictions between the U.S. and its European allies are seen in the horror of Bosnia, the question of NATO expansion, in growing conflicts over trade and investment, etc. So too, the contradictions in Asia – between the U.S. and both Japan and China are growing. Once again, these inter-imperialist rivalries are leading humanity down the road to new aggressive wars and even a third World War.

In short, monopoly capitalism and imperialism stand as the roadblock to social development and the forward march of humanity.

But the temporary offensive of monopoly capitalism, cannot change the fundamental character of the era. Everywhere the workers and people are not only fighting against the anti-social agenda of the world bourgeoisie, but also re-organizing their ranks and preparing for renewed offensives against the citadels of capital.

The whole of contemporary history since 1917 shows that the working class and people have irresistibly rushed into the center of social and political life. The peoples will not be turned back. Everywhere they are coming out to claim their inalienable economic and human rights and demand that society be organized so as to guarantee these rights. People are fighting for their inclusion in political life, demanding an end to the rule of the economic and political elite and the creation of a new political system which genuinely empowers the people as the sovereign decision-makers. The peoples are fighting to eliminate forever the scourges of militarism, war, colonialism and imperialism and to create a world of peace based on the sovereign equality of all nations and peoples.

In short, people are demanding enlightenment and progress, a path of social development which emancipates the people and further humanizes the natural and social environment. As we approach the 21st century, more than ever, it is the liberation of the peoples and socialism which are the practical problems taken up for solution.

The Elections Have Already Been Decided; The Future Has Not

The first of the Presidential primaries took place this week and others will take place over the next several months. But the outcome is already all but decided – in both the Republican and Democratic Parties there are only one or two candidates who have a chance of getting their party's nomination.

From the point of view of the working class and people, the Presidential election was decided a long time ago. It was decided by the fact that only the Republicans and Democrats have the right to nominate candidates. It was decided by the fact that multi-million dollar campaign warchests are needed to win elections. It was decided by the fact that the monopoly-controlled media never stops advertising the Democrats and Republicans while ignoring any politics which falls outside their pre-set agenda.

In fact, the elections are not about the people choosing their representatives and deciding on the policies of government. The representatives as well as the policies are decided on by the monopoly capitalist class who have rigged the political process from start to finish.

The elections aim only at giving the appearance of democracy and claiming that the people give their consent to a government which, in reality, is of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. The long, drawn out process is used only to prepare public opinion for the agenda and candidates chosen by the capitalist class.

Yes, the elections are already decided. In January 2017, there will be another President and another Congress handpicked by the big capitalists. But this does not mean that the capitalists will necessarily have everything their way.

On the contrary. The workers and people will find ways to assert their interests. Real politics is a broad arena – an arena of struggle between the capitalists and the workers which centers on the issue of state power. At present the rich have rigged the electoral arena and excluded the people. But the people do not have to accept this limited definition of politics. There are many favorable fronts on which we can develop our own independent political movement.

For one thing, we must wage the struggle for public opinion and, in particular, use the election period to denounce the Democrats and Republicans for their attacks on the people. We must carry a broad political campaign to rally people around a genuinely pro-social political agenda – an agenda which demands that society recognize all the economic rights of the people, an agenda which demands an end to militarism and war, an agenda which demands the democratic renewal of the political process so as to empower the people.

In addition to the struggle for public opinion, we must unify and step up our mass actions aimed at resisting the attacks of the capitalists and at winning new ground for the workers' and people's movement.

The Democrats and Republicans will keep on following the same old politics – the politics of exploitation, the politics of war, the politics of racism and repression. The future of our country depends on the workers and people asserting a new politics – a politics of emancipation and empowerment of the people. This is the real task facing us – the task of building up our own consciousness, organization and political initiative – of building our independent political movement in opposition to and struggle against the parties of the rich.

Growing U.S. Desperation in Afghanistan

The following article is reprinted from the Anti-Imperialist News Service, January 26, 2016.

Earlier this month the U.S. army announced the deployment of 500 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan to reinforce the 9,800 already there. Clearly things are not going as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff planned.

U.S. military commanders admit that even their best Afghan allies are uncooperative and as a result they've had to make new plans to "restructure" their already worn-out and demoralized hirelings in the "Afghan security forces." For example, U.S. Army Brigade General Wilson Shoffner recently said of U.S. allies in the Afghan army's 215 Maiwand Corps that many will be replaced because they "are a combination of incompetence, corruption and ineffectiveness."

On January 20, Afghan General Abdul Rahman Sarjang admitted that his subordinates in Helmand province are "exhausted."

The U.S. government initiated its invasion of Afghanistan after refusing to substantiate nonmilitary claims that a major Saudi suspect in the World Trade Center tragedy might have been hiding there.

Afghanistan was later used as a precedent for NATO's first military presence outside of Europe.

Afghanistan is located at the strategic crossroads between Europe, Asia and the Middle East and is considered a key to U.S. power projection throughout the world.

The Real Aggressor and Occupier of Iraq is U.S. Imperialism

The following article is reprinted from the Anti-Imperialist News Service, January 26, 2016.

Today there is a system of military blackmail in Iraq in which people must meet whatever arbitrary demand is made by the state or risk becoming a target of airstrikes. Worse, because individuals suspected of "terrorism" are routinely killed without being charged with a crime, there is no way for civilians to decriminalize themselves in order to avoid becoming targets.

For example, the U.S. military recently conducted bombings in the towns of Khan al-Baghdadi, Kisik, Makhmur, Musul, Ramadi, Sinjar, Sultan Abdallah and Tal Afar. The collection of targets were randomly chosen in order to terrorize the population. Because the Pentagon is only accountable to the U.S. President who has ordered the information classified, the number of casualties is unknown. Nevertheless, it is clear that not a single known law was broken by any of the victims of the airstrikes.

In this "post-war" neo-colonial system, U.S. imperialism is the judge, jury and executioner, and the people of Iraq are allowed to fly only the flag that has been approved by the U.S. President.

From the start of the war, the U.S. has relied on such tactics as the saturation bombings of cities and other populated areas – a tactic which has already killed some hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Other preferred methods of the U.S. occupationist army include mass round-ups, collective punishment, torture, cutting off supplies of food, electricity, water, etc.

These methods are not mistakes. They are purposeful methods employed by the Pentagon with definite aims. These methods aim at terrorizing the Iraqi people, at asserting that the U.S. imperialists are the masters of the country and that the Iraqis are a conquered people. All the propaganda about "terrorism," "Islamic fundamentalism" or "jihadism," as the Democrats call it, attempts to justify this fascism but only proves that racism is the official ideology of the U.S. government.

Obama's tired slogan "now that we're there. . ." seeks to buy time for the warmakers as well as thwart the growing consciousness of the people, to choke the will to find out which is inspiring millions of people to come into new political life in opposition to the aggressive, colonial program which always remains the basis of U.S. imperialism's involvement in Iraq.

Maduro Reaffirms Commitment to Fight Against Colonialism and Neoliberalism

The following article is reprinted from the Anti-Imperialist News Service, January 26, 2016.

Last week Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro spoke out to reaffirm the commitment to fight the imperialist program of neo-liberal economics. The government will not back down on its promises to re-nationalize key industries, including oil. Marduro emphasized that, "We are obliged to build a productive model that allows us to generate wealth and simultaneously maintain and deepen the gains of the people."

In recent years, Venezuela has re-nationalized several key industries which, at one time, had been owned by the Venezuelan state but were subsequently privatized as a result of the neo-liberal economic policies of various governments.

The nationalization of vital economic sectors is the sovereign right of Venezuela and part of the government's program of strengthening its economic and political sovereignty. This Venezuelan right is staunchly opposed by the Democrats and Republicans who control the U.S. congress and executive branch.

Venezuelan industries in which the re-nationalization process is already underway include: oil and gas, electricity, telecommunications, steel, cement, glass, mineral and mining, agriculture and food distribution, and textiles.

Some developments include:

– removal of U.S. multinational Wilpro Energy Services as majority shareholder in PIGAP II natural gas plant

– expropriation of Venezuela's largest producer of fertilizer from U.S. multinational Koch and Italian multinational Eni

– removal of France's Lafarge, Mexico's Cemex, and Switzerland's Holcim Ltd. as majority shareholders in 3 Venezuelan cement companies

– expropriation of 2 Venezuelan glass bottle factories formerly run by U.S. multinational Owens-Illinois

– state ownership of a majority of shares in any Venezuelan gold mining carried out jointly with private companies

– cancellation of oil "operating agreements" which contracted out production to foreign oil companies

NATO Activates BMD Facility in Bucharest

The following article is reprinted from the Anti-Imperialist News Service, January 26, 2016.

Towards the end of December, the U.S. inaugurated a new Ballistic Missile Defense system in Romania under the auspices of NATO.

At the ceremony the AEGIS Ashore system in Deveselu military base was advertised by NATO's Patrick Auroy as a defensive weapon. Turning truth on it's head, Patrick Auroy went on to say that a ballistic missile program in Eastern Europe is "neither designed nor directed against Russia." He also characterized Russia's objections to the placement of ballistic missile silos near its borders as "threatening statements" which "do not help to build trust or lower tensions."

Even though the U.S. government advertises its ballistic missile program as a "defensive" program aimed at "shielding the U.S. from nuclear attack," it is, in reality, an offensive weapons system and a key component in Obama's program of further militarizing the world. The ballistic missile program is designed:

1) to be deployed in various "regional military theaters" including Europe, the Middle East and the Korean peninsula in order to insure U.S. military superiority. The U.S. and Israeli governments have already deployed short-range ballistic missiles in order to strengthen U.S.-Israeli military dominance.

2) as a first-strike weapon which can wipe out the strategic or short-range missiles of an adversary, thus destroying its deterrent force and leaving it defenseless. This greatly increases the threat and reality of a first-strike nuclear attack by the U.S.

The development of the BMD program reflects the extreme aggressiveness of U.S. imperialism in the present period.