The year 2009 started off with newly-inaugurated Barack Obama sending 21,000 troops to the war in Afghanistan, and caps off with him committing 30,000 more, plus 56,000 mercenaries. Obama dealt with this year’s crisis in time-honored capitalist traditions. He bailed out banks and auto-makers while calling on the working class to make sacrifices “for the greater good.” He proclaimed this year a ‘Year of Service’ while announcing these troop increases in Afghanistan, making clear why the ruling class needs our service.
El Salvador — This is the story of a comrade, an ex-commander in the FMLN guerilla army, who met the PLP through an old ex-fellow combatant with whom he shared many wartime experiences. His old friend related PLP’s communist ideas to him, how other workers internationally were organizing in the working class with PLP’s line. This gladdened him, but first he began reading CHALLENGE regularly before participating in discussions.
He was invited to several PLP club meetings but decided to take some time before actually joining due to all the experiences described below. Currently he attends meetings punctually. Initially he listened carefully to the analysis. His level of participation and responsibility in the armed struggle and his analysis of current events make him very prudent.
At West Point on December 1, Obama announced a major “jobs program.” He’s sending 30,000 more troops (and as many mercenaries) to “work” in Afghanistan. His coming force of over 200,000 (including “battlefield contractors”) must perform several critical tasks for U.S. imperialism. One is securing the ground for a gas pipeline planned to bypass both Iran and Russia (see below). Another involves spreading combat operations into neighboring Pakistan.
Undocumented Workers Deal Bosses Blow for Blow
PARIS, December 4 — The two-month strike of 5,500 undocumented workers fighting for immigrants’ rights has been a shining light in a depressed French labor movement. Consequently, the bosses and their government have concentrated their attacks on these workers, but the latter have been returning blow for blow.
The U.S. rulers claim to be champions of “human rights” and throw around charges against China and other countries which they say are violating “human rights.” This is a sick joke. The “human rights” movement was created by the ruling class to divert workers’ anger away from blaming the bosses for the atrocities of capitalism.
BERKELEY, CA, November 20 — Early today, several hundred University of California-Berkeley (UCB) students and workers fought baton-swinging cops when the former rushed to campus to support a lecture-hall occupation and to protest fee hikes and “crisis cuts.” Despite heavy police presence, there were valiant attempts to hold the line at the barricades.
The war for oil being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan is also taking its toll in the U.S. The 13 deaths at Ft. Hood can be added to the 5,300 dead U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and over one million Iraqi and Afghanis killed since the invasions of 2003.
CHICAGO, October 10 — The fatal beating of 16-year-old Derrion Albert on September 24 left more than one victim. Anjanette Albert, Derrion’s mother, was correct when she identified the young men charged with first-degree murder in her son’s senseless death as “victims too.” Capitalism — which creates poverty, homelessness, unemployment and war in its relentless drive for profits — causes this violence. Racism is one of the system’s main weapons that victimizes and divides our class.
BRONX, NY, October 2 — Over 200 bakers, mechanics, electricians, teachers, professors, city workers, day care workers, teamsters, and transit workers chanted together, “The workers, united, will never be defeated!”; “Keep Stella in the Bronx”; and “Whose factory? Our Factory!” in front of the Stella D’Oro factory.
The recent revelation that Iran has suspended its nuclear weapons program for the last four years marks a step towards, not away from, wider war in the Middle East. Policy-makers representing the liberal, imperialist wing of U.S. rulers dropped the Iran bombshell in order to hamstring the remaining neocons in the lame-duck Bush administration. The liberals want to prevent Cheney & Co., whom they view as inept war makers, from launching an undermanned, unilateral military strike on Iran in their administration’s last year.
With the U.S. war machine bogged down in Iraq, the liberal rulers are buying time. They hope a Democratic president can mobilize the vast forces — both U.S. troops and allies — needed for inevitable clashes not just with Iran but with rivals China and Russia. Toning down the U.S.’s image as a racist torturer (while in no way eliminating actual torture) is crucial to this process. That’s why a "new and improved" liberal-led CIA revealed that the corrupt, incompetent old neocon CIA had, back in 2005, destroyed videotapes of torture at Guantanamo.
Liberals Try To Remake Discredited CIA For War Effort
The "December Surprise" on Iran comes not from the White House but from a spy apparatus, once discredited for its Iraq weapons-of-mass-destruction fiasco but newly rehabilitated by imperialist liberals. Ray Takeyh, an Iran expert at the Rockefeller-led imperialists’ Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), boasted, "The intelligence community surprised everyone, including the Bush administration" (CFR website, 12/04/07). The liberal NY Times joined the chorus of praise: "The new national intelligence directorate is analyzing information more rigorously" (12/09/07).
Key to this pro-imperialist transformation has been Gen. Michael Hayden, CIA chief since 2006. Hayden serves the liberal wing. Bill Clinton chose him to direct the National Security Agency in 1999. His mentor in the Air Force was Gen. Charles Boyd, formerly executive director of the Hart-Rudman commission, which outlined U.S. capitalism’s plans for world domination for the next 25 years.
Boyd penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, "A Symphony for Hayden" at the time of his prot�g�’s CIA appointment last year. It was Hayden who blabbed about the Guantanamo torture tapes to pin the blame on Bush die-hards and cast his own crew as "reforming" white knights. Liberal Sen. Jay Rockefeller, while condoning torture, backs Hayden’s whistle-blowing because waterboarding "however well-intentioned, plays into the hands of our enemies" (NYT, 12/08/07). However, the Democrats were briefed about waterboarding back in 2002 and said nothing.
Liberals Want To Buy Time For Iran War...
Mobilizing the U.S. militarily and building popular support for its wars are the chief tasks the liberal rulers lay upon the next President. CFR chairman Richard Haass told National Public Radio (12/08/07), "The new president will inherit a tremendously complex world and a U.S. less well-positioned to deal with it because our military is stretched and worn down and because of anti-Americanism."
The liberals understand that Iran won’t be a quick "hit-and-run" job. Robert Blackwill, counselor at the CFR writes, "If diplomacy fails and the U.S. attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities, the result would likely be a long war, as Tehran isn’t likely to surrender. Such use of force would also further destabilize the Middle East, inflame the Islamic world, strengthen terrorist forces everywhere and would probably produce attacks on the American homeland" (Wall Street Journal 12/6/07). So, to give the rulers time to militarize the U.S., the new intelligence estimate sets the timetable for action beyond the Bush gang’s term, declaring, "Iran will achieve nuclear weapons capabilities somewhere between 2009 and 2015."
...But May Strike Soon
Robert Gates, the liberals’ replacement for Rumsfeld (Gates has worked for the Baker-Hamilton commission and the CFR), said there was no telling when the pretext for a U.S. invasion would arise. "Iran could restart those efforts at any time." At a recent conference in Bahrain, Gates urged U.S. Mid-East allies to "develop regional air and missile defense systems" and maritime security to prepare for war against Iran. He promised that the U.S. was hell-bent on expanding its war for control of the region’s oil. "The United States remains committed to defending its vital interests and those of its allies in Iraq and in the wider Middle East" (NY Times, 12/09/07). "Vital interests" has been code for Mid-East oil ever since Jimmy Carter used the term in his Carter Doctrine and began the military build-up to secure it after the 1979 Iranian ayatollahs’ ouster of the Shah, a U.S. puppet.
All the Democratic candidates seek to meet their capitalist masters’ needs in ways that will shed even more workers’ blood. Supporting any of them would be a grave error. The course for our class must be to join and build the revolutionary communist Progressive Labor Party, which has the long-term outlook of destroying the profit system and its ever-deadlier wars.
Hi-Tech Weapons of Mass Control
Every holiday season the bosses push their new line of technology commodities onto the working class. iPhones, Blackberries, Wii and X-Box bring in big bucks. At the same time social networking programs like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and blogs have been praised as the "democratization" of the Web, giving voice to anyone with access to a computer, the bosses use this ability to more tightly control workers as they face increasing rivalry from growing imperialist powers and engage in wars for oil.
New Technologies And Fascism
The Bush Administration used the 9/11 attacks to institute fascism under the guise of the PATRIOT Act and Homeland Security. The government controls the Internet in the U.S. with measures that can trace what information people are seeking and who they are speaking to. Programs have been created to track certain words and phrases so that they can be filed for future use. In airports, records retrieved by privacy advocates and reported in WIRED magazine (09/20/07) reveal that Homeland Security tracks information and stores it in databases about people, from their "race" to their reading material.
Locally in the schools, we saw police brought in as security guards; and metal detectors and now cameras are becoming the norm in every school. The City of New York now wants to install a closed-circuit camera system similar to London, so they can do facial scans for particular people. New York City hopes to install 3000 cameras by 2010 (Christian Science Monitor, 07/11/07).