Welcome.../ FRFI 166 April / May 2002

FRFI 166 April / May 2002

In 1848 Karl Marx and Frederick Engels argued in the Communist Manifesto that the historic fight between the oppressor and oppressed ended ‘either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes’. Engels said that ‘bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism’. Later Rosa Luxemburg, a Polish revolutionary working in Germany at the end of the First World War, raised the slogan: ‘Socialism or Barbarism’!

Today, all around the world we see the results of the failure to build socialism: the so-called ‘War on Terrorism’, military domination of the world by the USA and western Europe; neo-liberal globalisation, the expansion and intensification of capitalist exploitation; and repression of all resistance to racism, oppression and imperialism.

The war being waged by the US-sponsored Zionist terror-state against the Palestinian people is the consequence of the isolation and defeat of the 1987-91 Intifada. In the first two weeks of March alone, nearly 200 Palestinians were murdered by the Zionist military as tanks rolled into the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Refugee camps were pounded with helicopter fire, medical workers were assassinated by Israeli snipers and hundreds of people were systematically rounded up, detained and deprived of food for up to four days. And still the Intifada resists. The tactic of taking the war to the Israeli people is shaking them from their indifference and apathy. Progressive Israelis are beginning to build an opposition to Zionist terror (see pages 1/2/3).

The chaos and barbarism engulfing Afghanistan are also the result of the destruction of a popular revolution. To justify war against the Afghani people, the media has portrayed the country as feudal, stuck thousands of years behind the ‘civilised’ west. No recollection of the workers strikes throughout the 1970s. No mention of how the masses celebrated when the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan took power in April 1978. Within months the revolutionary government had abolished peasants debts, redistributed land and proclaimed women’s equality. Most of the British left opposed this revolution because it was supported by the Soviet Union. Their opposition put them on the side of the imperialists and the forces of reaction (see pages 6). After years of being trained and armed by the US and Britain, the Taliban took power and repression of women and ethnic minorities returned.

The ‘War on Terrorism’ has introduced new barbarism, the spectacle of western soldiers stumbling through barren mountains peeping into caves ‘to fight against phantoms’ (page 7). No more mention of Osama Bin Laden while the US and Britain prepare their weapons of mass destruction to wage war on Iraq – a country where 5,000 children die every month as a result of the blockade.

‘A blockade is economic genocide’ declared Kenia Serrano and Nancy Coro, two leading members of the Union of Young Communists (UJC) on the speaking tour of Britain in March. They answered hundreds of questions throughout the country with dedication and openness, passing on a powerful lesson: that socialism is a process. Despite suffering through the illegal US blockade, the process of building socialism in Cuba has today entered a new phase called the battle of ideas. By the end of this year, for example, Cuban children will have a computer with internet access in every school and there will be no more than 20 children in primary school classes (see pages 8/9). In contrast British schools continue to decline, the inevitable result of the government’s refusal to invest in education, preferring to hand our children over to corporations keen to make a quick profit (see page 5).

It is not just overseas that the imperialists resort to brutality and oppression. In the USA, nearly 350 of the Arabs and Muslims rounded up by the racist state apparatus after September 11 remain in custody. Many of them arrested for mere visa violations, they are held in solitary confinement, while the Justice Department refuses to publish their names, locations or the crimes they are suspected of, even to their families (see page 16). In Britain, the racist Labour government is consolidating its system of detention of asylum seekers, making it more effective in repressing and depressing its victims. Compulsory identity cards and the electronic tagging of children are on the way (see page 4), and a rising prison population is systematically brutalised by the kind of inhumane conditions which exist at infamous Dartmoor (see page 14).

The final part of the Labour Aristocracy article demonstrates the material basis for Labour’s racism and imperialism and the complicity of the British left, which has stifled attempts to build a serious opposition (see pages 10/11/12).

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! is the newspaper of the Revolutionary Communist Group. We produce this information because knowledge is power and it must be the fuel for action. We are on the side of the majority of the world: the poor, oppressed and exploited, the 20 million children who die every year of malnutrition and diarrhoea, the people all over the world who struggle for justice in their daily lives. Readers…there is a lot within these pages to enrage you – our message is this: don’t just get angry, get active!

Send your contributions to: FRFI, BCM Box 5909, London WC1N 3XX.


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