- Created: Thursday, 07 May 2009 13:42
‘If I was an Iraqi person I would be resisting, I would be in the trenches, I would be with a rocket launcher, defending my people, defending the holy sovereignty of my country against the abuse and aggression of the empire…’
– Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, interview with Channel 4, London, 16 May 2006.
President Chavez is in the trenches, at the head of the Bolivarian Revolution spreading militant anti-imperialism throughout Latin America. This Revolution is arming: reclaiming national resources and wealth, reincorporating the vast majority of its populations who were left to rot by 30 years of neo-liberalism and globalisation, reintegrating with fraternal nations through the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America (see pages 1 and 10). Shoulder to shoulder with Chavez is new Bolivian president Evo Morales who chose International Workers’ Day to announce the nationalisation of gas fields which are daily milked by imperialist corporations and Bolivian elites (see page 9), and Fidel Castro, who can boast 47 years’ experience of audacious resistance to US imperialism, and who celebrated May Day with announcements of significant economic developments in Cuba (see page 11).
Further north, the uprising is echoed in the belly of the beast, as millions of Latin American immigrants take to the streets in the largest demonstrations ever in the United States. Joined by other immigrants and workers who share their oppression, they are a potentially revolutionary force because they are crucial to the functioning of capitalism, turning the wheels through their sweated labour power. They demonstrated this potential when they stopped the wheels turning in a one-day strike on May Day (see pages 1 and 8).
The lesson from the Bolivarian Revolution and from the US immigrant movement is that it is time to stand up and be counted, time to organise resistance within our own communities. After years of capitalist abuse and exploitation they have raised the slogan: ‘Under attack, we fight back!’ Capitalism creates the conditions of its own demise.
This slogan has begun to be raised here in Britain also. Across the country asylum seekers and other immigrants have been organising in their own communities and demanding their right to stay and work in the imperialist nation which is so culpable for the human and economic disasters and violence they have fled at home. The Revolutionary Communist Group has always said that black people and immigrants have revolutionary potential as an organised opposition in this racist, imperialist country. They are mostly consigned to the poor and most oppressed sections of the working class. FRFI has been working with anti-deportation and asylum rights campaigns throughout the country (see page 16). We stand opposed to all anti-immigration legislation.
This work increases in importance as racism is on the rise in Britain. Racism is a distorting mirror that spirals down into the gutter as well as up to the government. In the gutter we have the British National Party (BNP) and their gains in the May local elections. In the government are the likes of Labour Minister Margaret Hodge who excused the white working class for turning to BNP racists by saying that they had been ignored by the mainstream parties. Since the elections, Prime Minister Blair and the Labour government have pandered to a racist witch-hunt of immigrants, which reached fever pitch over the Home Office failure to track foreign criminals released from prison (see pages 3 and 13).
Poverty and alienation have increased among the working class in Britain, compounded by National Health Service and education privatisation (see page 3), and because the most oppressed are represented less than ever by traditional labour organisations. These organisations cannot confront racism or poverty because they are entrenched in the capitalist system which perpetuates oppression. When imperialism goes on the rampage abroad it is accompanied by a rise in racism at home. The British and US government’s brutality against the people of Afghanistan and Iraq (see page 5) and their threats against Iran (see page 4) are reflected within Britain by a rise in racism. Once again immigrants are the scape-goats, in a false history conjured up by a nostalgic portrayal of white working class communities in the service of today’s vicious racism (see page 12). It is not immigrants who are responsible for the rise in racism; this is rooted in imperialism.
The link between imperialism and racism is clearly demonstrated in the history of the foundation of Israel and the oppression of the Palestinian people (see page 7). Now those who scorch and blow up the world in the name of democracy and civilisation attempt to starve the Palestinians as a punishment for choosing Hamas to represent them in elections based on their model of democracy (see page 6). In Nepal the struggle for democracy pushes the country to the edge of revolution as the Maoists’ fight against the feudal king explodes onto the streets of Kathmandu (see page 4).
Around the world people are organising, mobilising and building resistance. They are taking up their historical responsibility to fight imperialism. We in Britain are in the belly of the beast. We are closer to the levers of power. We too must take on our historical responsibility to destroy imperialism and the capitalist system which breeds it, from within.
Under attack? Join the fight back!
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FRFI, BCM Box 5909,
London WC1N 3XX
FRFI 191 June / July 2006