Welcome... / FRFI 201 Feb / Mar 2008

FRFI 201 February / March 2008

‘In the last few years, I have discovered Che the thinker, the reflector, Che the critical thinker, Che the transformer of the economic system, Che of the stage of industrialisation in Cuba…all of which [Orlando] Borrego has been elaborating upon with an expertise and loyalty to the thought of Che…’
– Venezuelan President Chavez, October 2007.

Readers and supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! have the exceptional opportunity to hear Chavez’s teacher when Orlando Borrego tours Britain between 21 February and 7 March 2008, in a speaking tour organised by Rock around the Blockade, a solidarity campaign in support of the Cuban Revolution (see pages 6/7). Borrego worked with Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara to develop an approach to socialist transition which placed human beings at the centre of society, focusing on collective consciousness and workers’ democracy. They rejected dependence on capitalist mechanisms: profit, interest, credit, material incentives, self-interest. Borrego will be accompanied by Jesus Garcia, philosopher, elected local government representative and author of five books on socialism and democracy, and by Yoselin Rufin, a young woman leader of Cuba’s Federation of University Students.

In the last issue of FRFI, we reported on important debates underway within Cuba about structural reforms to the economy and social organisation. Capitalist promoters outside Cuba have scurried to give a platform and prestige to the handful of Cuban academics who have been seduced by the myth of ‘free market’ efficiency. By inviting Borrego, Garcia and Rufin, Rock around the Blockade is providing an international forum for communists who represent true human progress; a rejection of the brutal capitalist logic of exploitation and production for profit not people’s needs.

This revolutionary approach to development is reflected in the growing strength of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), an alliance embracing Cuba, Venezuela (see page 5), Bolivia and Nicaragua in trade and social cooperation in every sphere, from medical care to telecommunications. ALBA is based on solidarity and mutually beneficial exchange, opposing the imperialist exploitation that has trapped underdeveloped countries in downward cycles of debt, poverty and despair. As FRFI goes to press, the sixth summit of ALBA in Caracas, Venezuela, will set up the Bank of ALBA, a vital step to promote equitable and sustainable development, and protect ALBA countries from world financial and stock-exchange volatility.

What began as a mortgage crisis in the US has snowballed, toppling financial and corporate institutions, as the domino effect on credit expansion reveals the inherently crisis-ridden nature of capitalism (see page 3). Britain is also in for troubled times, with its over-valued housing market and the centrality of its parasitic financial sector (see pages 1/2). The implication is clear, the US position as dominant imperialist power is under threat. The US ruling class will not accept its decline without the most vicious fight to retain domination over the world. Inter-imperialist rivalries are intensifying in the struggle for control of the world’s resources, essential to stave off the collapse of the system. Over a year ago scientists, alarmed by the proliferation of nuclear weapons, moved the hand of the doomsday clock from seven to five minutes to midnight. Midnight represents the end of civilisation (see pages 10/11).

The brutal wars and occupations led by the United States and Britain are part of that battle for domination (see page 12). Last year over 6,200 people were killed in Afghanistan, while estimates for civilians killed in Iraq since the invasion in 2003 stand at 1.25 million. As a proportion of the population that would be equivalent to three million dead in Britain – within four years. Iraq is a catastrophic human tragedy created by the ruthless greed of the imperialist US and Britain. Join supporters of FRFI calling for the British Labour government to be put on trial for war crimes (see page 14). Meanwhile in Israel, the US and British governments give support to Zionism’s deadly divide and rule tactics to crush the Hamas-led Palestinian resistance (see page 5).

Imperialist brutality is reflected domestically by racist repression of immigrants and asylum seekers, who are chew ed up and spat out according to the needs of British capitalism (see page 8/9). Immigrants constitute a reserve army of labour. They are part of, in Karl Marx’s words: ‘A class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital. These labourers, who must sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.’ Asylum seekers in Britain are part of the most oppressed section of the working class. FRFI both supports and reports on the struggle of asylum seekers to win the right to live and work in Britain (see pages 14 and 16). This is an essential part of defending the interests of the entire working class. Those who criminalise and marginalise asylum seekers, forcing them into destitution, locking them up and deporting them, are from the same ruling class which plans to build more prisons for controlling the entire working class (see page 13) and which is privatising our health and education systems, undermining the principle of free universal provision (see page 4).

Defending our rights in Brit ain means defending socialist principles: production for people’s needs, not profit; social provision not the fetishism of the market; solidarity and integration, not alienation and antagonism. Now into its 50th year of revolution, socialist Cuba has shown that this is a fight that can and must be won. ALBA has shown that the example is spreading. Read FRFI, arm yourself with that knowledge, join us campaigning for a better world. Social ism not barbarism!


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