Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Busting the Cannabis Madness Myth

 cannabis causes psychosis

The Green's Bill to extend access to Medical Cannabis came up for a vote to send it to Select Committee on 31st January. It was voted down 73 to 47. A majority for the Bill would have sent it to Select Committee - a relatively democratic forum to challenge the myths surrounding cannabis without the debate being dominated by the hysteria of the corporate media and the lobbyists for Big Pharma. It would have forced the health bureaucracy to defend their 'scientific evidence' about the 'harm' of cannabis against serious criticism. Its defeat proves that there is entrenched opposition in parliament to liberalising Medical Cannabis, especially the right to grow and supply outside of the control of Big Pharma. 

Clearly the 'refer madness' myth hyped for decades remains the main barrier to reform. Our target has to be the pseudo scientific and bureaucratic devotion to the myths underlying prohibition that has stymied all genuine cannabis reform in NZ. The biggest lie is that cannabis causes psychosis.
Progress with cannabis law reform is cripplingly slow. Why? A century of stigmatisation and prohibition has embedded a reactionary ‘harm’ mythology from the days of ‘reefer madness’ to today’s ‘cannabis psychosis’ in the popular culture, health science and medical practice. The mythology claims that cannabis is addictive, leads to ‘harder’ drugs, makes you anti-social, dumbs you down, makes you fail in education, perform poorly at work, and in the end, it makes you mad. These are myths that conveniently blame individuals as ‘dope fiends’ rather than the victims of the alienating capitalist society into which they are born.

We won’t make any headway towards the liberalisation of cannabis and other drugs until we debunk these ‘harm’ myths, and understand the nature of capitalism and its effects, inequality, poverty, social breakdown etc, as the real cause of drug use, and that drug abuse is a consequence of a policy of prohibition. But let's skip the historical lecture and go straight to the misuse of science to bolster a hysterical prohibition culture.

NZ Misuse of Drugs Act and the myth of ‘harm’

The NZ Misuse of Drugs Act makes cannabis use a crime (unless waived by Ministerial approval) rather than a health need, on the grounds that it causes harm to health. Even if Cannabis were ‘decriminalised’ the assumption of ‘harm’ requires a ‘least harm’ approach to law reform by the Ministry of Health (MOH) which considers that cannabis ‘contributes’ to 32 deaths per year in NZ.

The NZ Drug Foundation (NZDF) rejects the MOH method of arriving at 32 deaths. It adopts a more moderate approach; that harm does not arise from “toxic overdoses”, but the “long-term effects” of use.

Cannabis does cause harm, but the harm comes from heavy long-term use and is mostly linked to mental health – lasting physical harm is unlikely, while poisoning or death is unheard of.
So, the NZDF proposes ‘decriminalisation’ of cannabis use by 2020 combined with heavy state regulation and licensing to minimise ‘harm’. It seems that the Drug Foundation is trying to steer the public debate for law reform down the path of least resistance. Yet that resistance seems to be coming mainly from the Government and Health bureaucracy rather than in the general population.

This conflict between ‘harm’ and ‘health’ is evident in the Drug Foundation itself. On the one hand, the NZDF Executive Director Ross Bell argues that the District of Columbia (US) legalisation of use, but not trade, might be best for NZ:

Mr Bell looks to the District of Columbia which changed its approach towards marijuana as recently as last year. It legalised its use, but not the trade in it, so under a new law, people can grow it, use it and give it away, but they can't sell it. This is most closely in line with how Kiwis use it, Mr Bell said, suggesting it could be a starting point for discussion here. “If you think of the way Kiwis use cannabis, often they're not getting it from the tinny house. It might be the first thing we allow is for people to grow and give.” 
However, the Drug Foundation’s official new reform proposal repeats the ‘cannabis causes harm’ mantra.
We know that the majority of people use cannabis without serious harm.However, a small proportion experience negative impacts such as anxiety, depression, memory loss and mood swings. Those who use cannabis long term may face health risks such as respiratory disease (if smoked) and mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, at least for those who may be predisposed.Cannabis impairs driving, especially when combined with alcohol. It also carries the risk of dependency in around one in 10 users. Heavy use by young people has been linked to poorer outcomes in education and employment as well as a reduction in IQ points, though the research on this is mixed.Our verdict? Cannabis can be harmful, so our law should focus on minimising harm, especially to young people. The best way to minimise harm is to tightly regulate use.” 
The evidence for and against ‘harm’

The evidence contests the ‘harm’ myth. It shows that the “negative effects” attributed to cannabis such as anxiety and depression, mood swings and even memory loss are are widely experienced in society by many who don’t use cannabis, and when they occur among the few users who 'overdose', this like any drug overdose, is largely the result of prohibition which works against safe and controlled conditions for drug use.

Dependency is another word for addiction and this claim is widely disputed, notably by Carl Hart, not only for cannabis, but for other ‘hard’ drugs as well (to his own surprise). He finds that when offered choices between drugs and money his experimental subjects will often reject drugs and take the money proving that drug addiction is learned behaviour in situations where you don’t get to choose money.

And the familiar story that cannabis ‘abuse’ by youth harms their schooling, college prospects and can lead to suicide, and so on, is probably the effect of prohibition. When kids who are expelled from school, denied financial support and criminalised explains much of the risk of suicide. 

But the biggest driver of the 'minimal harm' orthodoxy in the NZDF model reform relies on the Canterbury Study led by David Fergusson. Take the link between smoking cannabis and the risk of lung cancer. A US study using a large sample, done by Tashkin, showed that the 'normal, moderate’ level of cannabis smoking had no measurable link to lung cancer. Not only that, cannabis smoking was better than non-smoking for some people! This study, however, was contradicted by the NZ study which did find a ‘correlation’ between heavy smoking and lung damage.

Tashkin says,

The largest epidemiologic (case-control) study of the association between marijuana use and lung cancer failed to demonstrate that marijuana increases the risk of developing lung (or, for that matter, upper airway) cancer.” He notes that a much smaller, recent study from New Zealand did claim to find a link, but only in very heavy users. He says, “The authors’ interpretation of their data can be faulted because of the small numbers of their subjects exhibiting such heavy use, which rendered their estimates of risk imprecise." [My emphasis] 
The Scientific American, however, is more precise:
… looking at residents of Los Angeles County, the scientists found that even those who smoked more than 20,000 joints in their life did not have an increased risk of lung cancer. [my emphasis]
Tashkin is saying that the Canterbury study cannot claim to have found that heavy smoking of cannabis causes lung damage. His Los Angeles sample of heavy users found no significant correlation. The NZ sample of heavy smokers was too small to exclude all other factors that may explain the correlation between cannabis and lung damage. Therefore, the positive correlation in the NZ study between cannabis use and lung damage may be a consequence of lung damage caused by some other unmeasured cause.

While very heavy smoking of cannabis causing lung damage may be ‘common sense’, Tashkin's large study was able to control for confounding factors and did not find any correlation, or causal link. If there are doubts about the Canterbury project’s results on lung damage, perhaps the NZDF concern about a studies 'suggesting' a causal link between cannabis use and ‘psychosis’ in adolescents should be also be re-examined.

Cannabis and Psychosis: Search for a causal link…

One of the reviews of studies (7, one of which was the Christchurch study) into this link by Le Bec PY et. al. (2009) found that “cannabis may be an independent risk factor” for psychosis:

Together, the seven studies were all prospective cohorts and represented 50,275 human subjects. There were three European studies (from Sweden, Holland and Germany), one from New Zealand and one from Australia. Only one study of the seven did not show a significant association between cannabis consumption and increase of the risk of developing a psychosis. However, this study had some bias, such as low level of cannabis use and the lack of evaluation of cannabis use after inclusion. For the six other studies, data show the existence of a significant association between cannabis use and psychotic disorders (with an increased risk between 1.2 and 2.8 in Zammit et al.'s study), particularly among vulnerable individuals (that is with a pre-psychotic state at the time of inclusion). Therefore, all the studies that assessed a dose-effect relationship showed this link between cannabis use and the emergence of psychosis or psychotic symptoms. The fact that all causal criteria were present in the studies suggests that cannabis use may be an independent risk factor for the development of psychosis. Results seem to be more consistent for vulnerable individuals with the hypothesis that cannabis use may precipitate psychosis, notably among vulnerable subjects. In particular, early onset of cannabis use during adolescence should be an environmental stressor that interacts with a genetic predisposition to induce a psychotic disorder. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19748375 [my emphasis]
Note that the closest that this review comes to finding that cannabis may be a cause of psychosis, is that, “…cannabis use may be an independent risk factor for the development of psychosis.” The strength of that suggestion comes down to what are referred to as “all causal criteria” being controlled as potential confounders, that is, alternative causes. So, what is the strength of this claim in the Christchurch study? In their 2004 paper Fergusson et. al. addressed the problem of testing ‘causal linkages’ to eliminate other explanations. I will summarise their paper.

Fergusson et. al. (2004) describe how their statistical method allowed them to control for ‘confounders” (i.e. other possible causes) both, “fixed” influences, such as age, gender etc that did not change over the time-frame of the data, and “time-dynamic” influences, such as education, employment etc., that did change over the time-frame and could ‘confound’ the association between cannabis use and psychosis. By testing the association among all confounders, against cannabis use, and against psychiatric symptoms, the study concludes that there is still a residual association between cannabis use and psychosis, ‘independent’ (with its own causal effect) of the influence of all confounders, that justifies treating cannabis as a contributory cause.

The second important conclusion was that the study was able to compare the subjects scores on all the relevant variables over a time frame between 18, 21 and 25 years of age, and data collected at those three points showed that the “direction of cause” was from cannabis to psychosis, rather than the reverse. 

How does one include all possible alternative causes in a longitudinal cohort study with a relatively small sample size, so that cannabis stands out as the ‘independent’ cause? Note that for the sake of the argument about 'cause' I am not challenging the validity and reliability of the data such as 'psychiatric symptoms' at this point. Nor am I competent to assess the statistical methods used to perform these ‘tests’ in the Christchurch study. However, an assessment of such statistical methods was included in the review of the field by Ksir and Hart in 2016. They reviewed the evidence in support of two competing theories (hypotheses) between cannabis and psychosis; the “contributing cause” view held by the Christchurch study, and the “shared vulnerability” view held by the review authors.

Cannabis and Psychosis: Critical Overview of the Relationship.


According to Ksir and Hart (2016)
Interest in the relationship between cannabis use and psychosis has increased dramatically in recent years, in part because of concerns related to the growing availability of cannabis and potential risks to health and human functioning. There now exists a plethora of scientific articles addressing this issue, but few provide a clear verdict about the causal nature of the cannabis-psychosis association. Here, we review recent research reports on cannabis and psychosis, giving particular attention to how each report provides evidence relating to two hypotheses: (1) cannabis as a contributing cause and (2) shared vulnerability. Two primary kinds of data are brought to bear on this issue: studies done with schizophrenic patients and studies of first-episode psychosis. Evidence reviewed here suggests that cannabis does not in itself cause a psychosis disorder. Rather, the evidence leads us to conclude that both early use and heavy use of cannabis are more likely in individuals with a vulnerability to psychosis. The role of early and heavy cannabis use as a prodromal [symptomatic of an attack or disease] sign merits further examination, along with a variety of other problem behaviors (e.g., early or heavy use of cigarettes or alcohol and poor school performance). Future research studies that focus exclusively on the cannabis-psychosis association will therefore be of little value in our quest to better understand psychosis and how and why it occurs. [my emphasis]
In other words, the authors conclude that cannabis cannot be shown to be a cause of psychosis, and the best interpretation of the limited evidence is that it suggests that cannabis may be part of a “shared vulnerability” where those ‘vulnerable’ to psychosis may use cannabis along with other substances as a means of self-medication.

The policy conclusions that flow from this conclusion are to reject cannabis as a cause of psychosis on the basis of a weak claim of “contributory causation”, and to address the common social and genetic factors that cause this ‘shared vulnerability’ associated with cannabis use. This shifts the focus away from the prevailing model of “harm” towards a model of “preventative health”.

That this is a highly politicized area is attested to by the debate between Ksir and Hart and the authors of one of the studies they reviewed, over why a correlation cannot as a rule be a cause, and whether the the appropriate policy response is the legalization of cannabis and other drugs or continued prohibition.

The significance of these policy options is clear if the most obvious cause of ‘harm’ is prohibition itself rather than the ‘harm’ attributed to cannabis. For example, the US study referred to above claiming that cannabis use led to school dropouts, failure to attend college, and more suicide attempts, could easily be explained as the effects of prohibition. The author advocates that prohibition should be replaced by prevention.

Conclusion: Prohibition causes the harm attributed to cannabis

The reform debate therefore comes down to one of two approaches. First the ‘harm’ model. Modest and incremental change via decriminalisation leaves the growth, sale and consumption, regulated and licensed, redirecting drug policy from prohibition towards state control and regulation. This is the moderate road which makes the assumption of ‘harm’ an excuse to protect individuals from harming themselves. The question of what constitutes ‘harm’ is reviewed, and the myths that cannabis is a 'gateway drug', that overdoses are 'toxic' and can even cause death, are rejected. Nevertheless, cannabis is still held to cause ‘harm’ among youth, long-term heavy users and those genetically or socially at risk of mental illness. For that reason law reform must be gradual, based on ‘best science’ and guided by the medical model of ‘least harm’.

The second approach is that cannabis is a harmless natural plant, used as a preventative and palliative medicine over millennia. Cannabis and our endocannabinoid system have co-adapted over our history of evolution. It is not only ‘harmless’ it is ‘harm-killing’ with many (including as yet undiscovered) health benefits. These include pain relief replacing opioids, stopping spasms in MS, and seizures in epileptics and pain in advanced cancer etc. And coming over the horizon is the prevention and elimination of diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, etc. In assessing these health benefits, we should combine all sources of evidence: anecdotal, medical, laboratory research, epidemiological, as well as the ‘gold standard’ clinical trials, to understand fully the important role of cannabis in our lives.

We conclude that the ‘harm’ associated with cannabis is mainly caused by the policy of prohibition that reflects the objectives of powerful groups and class interests in society, and is reproduced in research assumptions and media sensationalism. It is not an attribute of cannabis itself but of politically loaded economic and social policies. We can see this clearly in the benefits that have accrued in many nations such as Portugal and Paraguay, and in those US states where decriminalisation or legalisation has occurred. Medical Cannabis has now been approved by WHO. But we still have to overcome the fear of THC as the cause of ‘reefer madness’ and prove that in a safe, legal environment, CDB cannot be separated from THC and the other components of cannabis without losing the full health benefits of the herb.

We can make a start as capitalism goes into its terminal decline and fall, but only fully reap the benefits of cannabis as part of the socialisation of production for need and not profit in a socialist society that has returned to nature in time to avoid human extinction.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Pela Revolução Permanente no Irã, Oriente Médio e Norte da África!

Solidariedade com o levante iraniano!

(1) O novo levante no Irã é de importância histórico-mundial. Isso prova que as massas estão prontas e dispostas a lutar para derrubar o capitalismo em sua agonia. Os trabalhadores iranianos e os agricultores pobres se recusam a pagar pela crise terminal do capitalismo global com as suas vidas e os seus padrões de vida. Marxistas entendem que este levante está atrasado e só pode terminar em revolução socialista ou bárbara contra-revolução. Mas não estamos sozinhos nessa perspectiva histórica. Um homem iraniano, envelhecido 111 anos, fala de ter nascido no Irã (então Pérsia) na época nos primeiros passos para a revolução burguesa que ocorreu em 1906. Ele disse “Eu sabia que esse dia chegaria, eu fiquei vivo para ele”. Ele viveu toda a época do imperialismo no Irã durante a qual seu desenvolvimento nacional foi retido pela rivalidade das grandes potências, auxiliado por seus agentes burgueses nacionais, e a traiçoeira pequeno burguesia ‘democrática’ da esquerda, na disputa pelo controle da Eurásia como chave para dominar o mundo. 

(2) Quando Lenin escreveu “O imperialismo; A fase superior do capitalismo”em 1915, o lugar do Irã no capitalismo global já era de subordinação ao imperialismo. Lenin definiu imperialismo como um sistema em que os países imperialistas opressores dominam países coloniais oprimidos. No entanto, um punhado de países eram ‘transitórios’ os quais incluiu Pérsia, China e Turquia. Ele chamou esses países de semi-colônias :

” ..países que, formalmente, politicamente eram independentes, mas que são, na verdade, enredados na rede de dependência financeira e diplomática”.
Assim como a revolução russa provou a teoria / programa da Revolução Permanente ser correta, o fez o desenvolvimento futuro do Irã. A reforma constitucional de 1906 limitou os poderes do Shah mas não conseguiu escapar da “rede de dependência financeira e diplomática” sem se libertar da rivalidade imperialista britânica, alemã e russa para o controle do petróleo persa. A revolução nacional do Irã nunca foi concluída porque ela foi presa na garra do imperialismo na I Guerra mundial que tentava a redivisão do mundo em face do levante revolucionário internacional. O tratado russo-persa de 1921 protegia a revolução soviética de incursões do exército branco ao sul, enquanto garantia os direitos de transporte no Mar Cáspio para a Pérsia. Tal foi a re-divisão do mundo que eliminou o imperialismo russo da cena, substituindo-o pelo poder da União Soviética até o acordo de Stalin com o bloco anglo-americano durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial.

(3) o Irã aproveitou a redivisão pós Segunda Guerra Mundial e a onda de descolonização, mas como a maioria das colônias ficou aquém de completar a revolução nacional democrática (burguesa). Que sucedeu apenas na China, onde os capitalistas recusaram a oferta para compartilhar o poder com o maoísta PC chinês e fugiu para Taiwan, e tardiamente em Cuba onde os EUA se recusou a compartilhar o poder forçando os castristas ir para os braços da stalinista URSS. Em 1951 a Frente Nacional de Mossadegh, comprometida com a nacionalização do petróleo, ganhou uma maioria parlamentar e derrubou o poder absoluto da monarquia constitucional, mas não conseguiu percorrer todo o caminho para derrotar a burguesia nacional numa revolução socialista. O resultado foi um populista governo burguês anti-imperialista que nacionalizou a indústria do petróleo. Contudo, para o movimento popular dos trabalhadores e agricultores pobres faltava um revolucionário partido bolchevique-leninista capaz de romper a frente popular. Mossadegh tentou negociar com os imperialistas, enquanto eles impunham sanções na produção e comércio, bem como um bloqueio naval. Agentes americanos e britânicos criaram divisões entre os apoiadores de Mossadegh e em 1953 eles conspiraram para realizar um golpe para restaurar sua propriedade e controle de petróleo iraniano e para restaurar Reza Xá Pahlavi como monarca constitucional.

Inicialmente, a tentativa de golpe fracassou, com a Frente Nacional e o (Partido Comunista) Tudeh indo às ruas e o Xá fugindo para os EUA. Os EUA e a Grã-Bretanha planejou uma segunda tentativa. Desta vez o golpe sucedeu, principalmente porque Mossadegh desmobilizou seu apoio de massas e o partido stalinista Tudeh aquietou-se complacente pela frente popular aparentemente vitoriosa que incluiu seu movimento islâmico rival pressagiando o seu papel reacionário em 1979. Perdendo o apoio no parlamento, Mossadegh, em seguida, fizeram um referendo para dissolver o parlamento e tirar do Xá seus poderes remanescentes; um golpe constitucional da esquerda que o fez perder mais apoio. Prenunciando Allende no Chile em 1973, Mossadegh não mobilizou seus apoiadores nem os chamou recorrer às armas. Tudo o que era necessário então era neutralizar Tudeh, infiltrando provocadores no partido para provocar uma “insurreição comunista”, perdendo a Mossadegh mais apoio e, finalmente, instigando os oficiais pro-Xá sob o general Zahidi para prendê-lo e assumir o controle do governo.

(4) Resumimos nossa posição sobre a revolução anti-imperialista de 1979 e da contra-revolução pela burguesia islâmica do bazaar:
“A tragédia da revolução de 1979 mostrou que o Irã estava maduro para a revolução, mas não tinha uma direção revolucionária. Os operários e camponeses pobres foram a força por trás da revolução anti-Xá, mas foram conduzidos por liberais e stalinistas que aliados com a burguesia nacional islâmica que em 1981 tinha ligado os trabalhadores mais avançados e exterminados muitos milhares dos melhores militantes. O fracasso da revolução socialista pode ser claramente atribuído ao papel do partido stalinista Tudeh, que seguiu a fatalista linha stalinista de fazer uma revolução democrática em aliança com a burguesia ‘progressista’ para expulsar os imperialistas. Os stalinistas se recusam a aprender com a sua traição da revolução na China em 1927, quando seu ‘aliado” e membro honorário da Comintern, Chiang Kai Shek, cooptou o Partido Comunista e massacrou sua liderança.

Novamente, isto serve para demonstrar que a menos que os trabalhadores liderem os camponeses pobres à revolução, a burguesia nacional reacionária usará sua liderança na frente popular anti-imperialista para cooptar os trabalhadores e oprimidos e esmagar a revolução socialista. As lições de Outubro ainda não foram aprendidas. Os stalinistas, guevaristas, trotskistas renegados e Mudjadaheen (maoístas) depositam sua confiança na democracia burguesa, em vez dos revolucionários operários e camponeses pobres. Mais uma vez, os trabalhadores e os camponeses pobres se levantam, mas falta um partido marxista revolucionário e eles são derrotados pela burguesia reacionária, servindo direta ou indiretamente os interesses de uma ou outra potência imperialista.

(5) A República Islâmica e sua ditadura de quase 40 anos e a episódica resistência a ela, chega até sua situação atual como parte do bloco Rússia-China, indo para a guerra no Oriente Médio para repartição do Iraque ao Líbano. Ele está tentando resolver sua crise semi-colonial à custa das semi colônias menores e os povo trabalhador do Oriente Médio e do Irã. Pelo menos duas vezes até agora, após a negociação Astana e de Sochi, o mundo foi girado um conto de um acordo sírio. Tudo o que foi resolvido, a partir do ponto de vista dos governantes iranianos, é que a Síria vai ter que pagar pela intervenção em apoio à Assad! E enquanto isso, a política expansionista contínua introduzindo às massas iraquianas, sírias e iemenitas os “voluntários” da temida Guarda Revolucionária Iraniana. Estes não só reprimem e roubam tudo à vista em áreas “liberadas”, mas têm seus dedos em todo tipo de empreendimentos econômicos onde quer que estejam, tudo com a benção dos teocratas.
Como resultado (como um cartoon no Facebook coloca) o Irã está bombeando capital e  mercenários para o Iraque, Síria e Iêmen em um papel de subordinado à Rússia e a China, remendando suas pontes com a Turquia e Qatar, e matando de fome seus próprios trabalhadores e camponeses. Assim, os determinantes da revolta é uma história de desenvolvimento desigual e combinado semi-colonial em face a uma crise mundial que cria todas as condições objetivas para a revolução, mas que ainda não tem a condição subjetiva vital de um partido revolucionário bolchevique-leninista. Com apenas duas alternativas, em última análise, as massas iranianas devem encontrar o caminho para leninismo para ser capaz de realizar a sua revolução, porque a única outra alternativa é a pior reação que eles presenciaram até agora.

 Como a luta está se desenvolvendo e os dois blocos imperialistas 

(6) Lemos que noventa por cento dos iranianos estão se alimentando com o equivalente a cupões de alimentos, e que estes estão programados para serem cortados. Onde 27% do Produto Interno Bruto foi dedicado ao bem-estar social e um piso básico semelhante ao Bolsa  Família brasileiro,em 2008, um estudo do Banco Mundial agora mostra como isso foi “reformado” para baixo a 3% hoje. O desemprego dos jovens é enorme, a inflação de dois dígitos tornou-se um elemento permanente e o salário mínimo do governo é da ‘renda mínima necessária’ oficial para uma família de três membros. Esta condição prevalece como resultado dos custos de guerras dos teocratas que ocorrem durante uma crise global do capitalismo e, especialmente, desde que o Irã tem apoiado a contra-revolução de Assad com tanto sangue e dinheiro. Um aumento no investimento internacional deveria resultar em melhores condições de vida, assim como a reeleição de Rouhani, que a imprensa ocidental chama de “moderado”. Mas, enquanto os ganhos nas ações foram vendidos, nada melhorou nas ruas. No mês passado, os preços da gasolina dobrou. Onde Alemanha e Espanha foram os grandes investidores após os protestos de 2009 (pela fraude nos resultados das eleições), hoje o dinheiro inunda a partir da China : 
“A China está financiando bilhões de dólares em projetos chineses no Irã, fazendo incursões profundas na economia, enquanto concorrentes europeus lutam para encontrar bancos dispostos a financiar as suas ambições, disseram autoridades do governo e indústria iranianas… o financiamento chinês, de longe o maior declarante de intenções de investimento do que qualquer outro país no Irã, está em contraste gritante com a seca dos investidores ocidentais desde que o presidente dos EUA, Donald Trump rejeitou o pacto de 2015 acordado pelas grandes potências, aumentando a ameaça de que as sanções poderiam ser re-impostas.”

Autoridades iranianas dizem que as ofertas são parte de US $ 124 bilhões da Nova Rota da Seda, iniciativa de Pequim que visa construir nova infra-estrutura – de rodovias e ferrovias a portos e usinas de energia -entre a China e Europa para pavimentar o caminho para uma expansão do comércio”

As revolta das massas é geral e não restrita às grandes cidades. A alegação do governo feita pelo britânico “Guardian” de que as manifestações tenham acabado é espúria. A revolta combina demandas econômicas e políticas e apela à expulsão dos teocratas e o grande aiatolá Khamenei são chamadas em todo o país. Zamaneh mídia relata que o segundo semestre de 2017 viu um aumento de greves trabalhistas sobre o não pagamento de salários e demissões em massa. Os protestos não se limitam aos trabalhadores industriais, que sofreram o pior de tudo, mas se espalharam para todos os setores de trabalho assalariado. Zamaneh relata as repressões do estado atingem as minorias nacionais mais duramente, assim como os muitos curdos que são mineiros.

Nossa “esquerda” oriental nos assegura quer(a) não há classe de trabalhadora lá, ou (b) que este é apenas o último de uma série de trabalhos da CIA nas massas do Oriente Médio e Norte da África. Estamos aqui para dizer-lhe que existe uma ‘situação pré-revolucionária’ na linguagem do bolchevismo. Condenamos com antecedência qualquer tentativa de impingir uma frente popular sobre as massas iranianas. Eles estão justamente cansados com os líderes que lhes trazem nada além de guerras, pobreza e repressão anti-sindical. Quando uma vez perceberem que essas condições são lançadas sobre eles por uma classe social inimiga, eles também reconhecerão e rejeitarão quaisquer esquemas “a meio caminho”, sejam as frentes populares ou as Assembléias Constituintes, e o estado desse apoio.

(7) As frações reformistas da esquerda e os falsos trotskistas, necessariamente estão expostos e derrotados pela dialética. Se os protestos se  sustentarem e crescerem em uma revolução permanente através da formação de conselhos de trabalhadores, ocupando fábricas etc., e ele realmente começar a lutar pelo poder, podemos esperar que os pró-Assad corram para a defesa do regime, como fizeram na Síria. Estes falsos esquerdistas são tão fixados em sua visão de um mundo unipolar e cegos pelo seu oriental-chauvinismo que todos eles podem ver, sempre que um levante popular nas semi-colônias contra regimes capitalistas despóticos, é ação nefasta da CIA. A falsa esquerda, (na verdade, muito parecido com a Voice of America, que sugere que clérigos linha-dura estão por trás dos protestos!), acredita que o regime pode ser reformado / melhorado. Ou para esta “esquerda”, as próprias pessoas não são capazes de revolução – então elas devem ser as ferramentas de Wall Street. Assim, quando Trump enaltece a revolta, sem nenhum custo político para si mesmo ou sua marca, a falsa esquerda  vê um exército de espiões e provocadores agindo.

O regime lançou uma ofensiva para conter os protestos. Isso pode levá-los à obscuridade, como na Síria, onde milícias armadas surgiram para defender o levante da violenta repressão. Vai ser difícil (não impossível) para a falsa esquerda apresentar os protestos no Irã como trabalho da CIA e / ou radicais islâmicos. É claro que eles vão tentar dizer que é uma “revolução colorida”, ou seja, anti-corrupção, pró-capitalista, mas muitos não vão comprar isso por muito tempo. Eles não podem defender o regime na sua forma mais usual, alegando que o regime é secular e democrático, sendo totalmente apoiados por Erdogan e Putin (embora com cautela, os planos de Putin seja em manter uma aliança com o Irã, independentemente da sua liderança)! Naturalmente as massas iranianas têm pouco tempo para estes ocidentais pequeno-burguês. Colorir esta revolução de VERMELHO!
Chamamos os trabalhadores de todo o mundo a se engajar e participar de ações de trabalhadores em solidariedade com o levante iraniano!

(8) Seguindo o vigoroso patrocinador do governo, canal de notícias RT, declarou as revoltas terem acabado e “como qualquer  violento protesto”, inaceitável. Sombra de Marikana! A falsa esquerda deu ao CNA (Congresso Nacional Africano) um passe livre e nos últimos 6 anos eles têm dado indireto, se não suporte direto, à Assad. Este é o nexo do bloco SCO / BRICS (Organização de Cooperação de Xangai e o bloco  Brasil Rússia, Índia, China, África do Sul), que reunem-se ao emergente bloco imperialista da Rússia / China, com várias semi-colônias capitalistas tentando libertar-se ou permanecerem viáveis, livres do imperialismo norte-americano /União Européia. Assim, junto com aplausos do Fórum Social Mundial / LINKS assemblage, de Chávez presenteando Assad com a espada Bolivariana ao Irã apoiando Assad contra a revolução síria, as classes capitalistas semi-coloniais (Bolivariana, sul africanos e iranianos … ) agem para parar a onda de aspiração revolucionária do proletariado procurando fazer a revolução nacional democrática permanente- isto é, socialista. A esquerda stalinista, com LINKS, os castristas e os falsos trotskistas  do PSL e WWP, optaram por apoiar um bloco imperialista sobre o outro. Cem anos depois de Outubro e eles repetem a traição social-imperialista de agosto de 1914.

O determinante comum da atual onda de protestos é a austeridade devido à crise econômica global que está sendo imposto para as semi-colônias pelas potências imperialistas. Como em toda revolta desde a erupção na Tunísia no início da “Primavera Árabe”, vemos revoltas espontâneas descoordenados  não organizados por qualquer fração burguesa ou influência externa. No Irã, a culpa é dirigida ao regime, não as sanções, etc., daí slogans contrários à intervenção na Síria e Gaza representam um internacionalismo proletário, não uma conspiração da CIA. Isto é evidente na demanda do dirgente do sindicato de professores  que pede o fim do regime (ele foi preso pelo regime durante 5 anos, então não pode ser um fantoche da CIA). Assim, o regime é improvável que seja capaz de enterrar esse levante, tomando a linha que EUA / Israel etc., são os culpados. Daí a defesa do regime pela esquerda imperialista já é exposta como falência! 

Não desprezamos a nossa visão do que precisa ser feito, a saber: 

Por solidariedade internacional dos trabalhadores com as massas iranianas!

Por ações  e greves políticas dos trabalhadores para defender os sindicatos e trabalhadores iranianos!

Abaixo a repressão à mídia social! Retirar todas as acusações e libertar todos os manifestantes presos!

Pela Revolução Permanente no Irã! Acabar com o regime! Esmagar o Estado burguês / clerical!

Formar conselhos operários e milícias, dividir o exército, sem retorno do Xá, unir a revolução com a resistência na Síria e na Palestina!

Abaixo o imperialismo incluindo tanto o bloco dos EUA /UE e do SCO da Rússia e a China! Abaixo os  lacaios burgueses / clericais!

Apoio  internacional dos trabalhadores para reabertura da revolução iraniana juntando-se com a Revolução Árabe! 

Pelo direito de autodeterminação do povo curdo! Por um Curdistão socialista!

Por um partido leninista bolchevique que não ceda a liderança para stalinistas, maoístas, bolivarianos e guevaristas! 
Para um estado dos trabalhadores e camponeses pobres! 

Para uma federação de repúblicas socialistas do Oriente Médio e Norte da África! 

Por uma  nova, revolucionária Internacional dos Trabalhadores, baseada no método e Programa de Transição de Trotsky de 1938 : “Morte agonizante do Capitalismo e as Tarefas da Quarta Internacional”! 

Comitê de Ligação dos Comunistas 8 de fevereiro de 2018 

documentos do Comitê de Ligação dos Comunistas sobre o Irã: 


http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2015/06/mena-yemen-and-arab -revolution.html 



http: / /redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2011/11/defend-iran-against-us-eu-and-israel.html 

http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2010/03/us-and-chinese- imperialismo-mãos-off.html


http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2015/07/for-workers-socialist-federation-of .html




https://chinadigitaltimes.net/2018/ 01 / ministério de verdade-não-reporte-Irã-protestos / 


http: //www.worldbank.org/en/country/iran/overview 

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/12/01/asia-pacific/chinas-investments-iran-surge-coming-western -nations-solha / 



Original em http://www.cwgusa.org/?p=1967
Traduzido por GTR

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Solidarity with the Iranian upsurge! For Permanent Revolution in Iran, the Middle East and North Africa!

(1) The new uprising in Iran is of world-historic significance. It proves that the masses are ready and willing to fight to overthrow capitalism in its death throes. The Iranian workers and poor farmers refuse to pay for the terminal crisis of global capitalism with their lives and their living standards. Marxists understand that this uprising is overdue and can only end in socialist revolution or barbaric counter-revolution. But we are not alone in this historic perspective. An Iranian man, aged 111 years, speaks of being born at the time of Iran’s (then Persia) first step toward bourgeois revolution that took place in 1906. He said “I knew this day would come, I stayed alive for it”. He lived through the whole epoch of imperialism in Iran during during which its national development was held back by the rivalry of the Great Powers, aided by their national bourgeois agents, and the treacherous petty bourgeois ‘democratic’ left, in the contest for control over Eurasia as the key to world domination.

(2) When Lenin wrote “Imperialism; The highest stage of Capitalism” in 1915, Iran’s place in global capitalism was already subordinated to imperialism. Lenin defined imperialism as a system in which imperialist oppressor countries dominated colonial oppressed countries. However a handful of countries were ‘transitional’ or in between which included Persia, China and Turkey. He called these semi-colonies:

"..countries which, formally, are politically independent, but which are, in fact, enmeshed in the net of financial and diplomatic dependence.”
Just as the Russian revolution proved the theory/program of Permanent Revolution correct, so did Iran’s future development. The constitutional reform of 1906 limited the powers of the Shah but could not escape the “net of financial and diplomatic dependence” without breaking free from British, German and Russian imperialist rivalry for control of Persian oil. Iran’s national revolution was never completed because it was caught in the post WW1 grip of imperialism’s attempts at redivision of the world in the face of international revolutionary upsurge. The Russo-Persian treaty of 1921 protected the Soviet revolution from White incursions from the south while granting shipping rights in the Caspian Sea to Persia. Such was the re-division of the world which removed Russian imperialism from the scene replacing it with the power of the Soviet Union up until Stalin’s deal with the Anglo-American bloc during WW2.

(3) Iran took advantage of the post WW2 redivision and the wave of decolonisation, but like most of the colonies fell short of completing the national democratic (bourgeois) revolution. That succeeded only in China where the capitalists refused the offer to share power with the Maoist CCP and fled to Taiwan, and belatedly in Cuba where the US refused to share power forcing the Castroites into the arms of the Stalinist USSR. In 1951 Mossadegh’s National Front, committed to oil nationalisation, won a parliamentary majority and overturned the absolute power of the constitutional monarchy but failed to go all the way to throw out the national bourgeoisie in a socialist revolution. The result was a hugely popular anti-imperialist bourgeois government that nationalised the oil industry. However, the popular workers and poor farmers movement lacked a revolutionary Bolshevik-Leninist Party capable of breaking the popular front. Mossadegh attempted to negotiate with the imperialists while they imposed production and trade sanctions as well as a naval blockade. US and British agents created divisions in Mossadegh’s support and in 1953 they conspired to stage a coup to restore their ownership and control of Iranian oil and to restore Reza Shah Pahlavi as Constitutional monarch.

The coup attempt failed initially, as the National Front and the Tudeh (Communist Party) took to the streets and the Shah fled to the US. The US and Britain planned a second attempt. This time the coup succeeded mainly because Mossadegh demobilised his mass support and the Stalinist Tudeh party was lulled into the complacency by the apparently victorious popular front which included its rival Islamic movement presaging its reactionary role in 1979. Losing support in parliament, Mossadegh then staged a referendum to dissolve parliament and strip the Shah of his remaining powers; a left constitutional coup which lost him more support. Foreshadowing Allende in Chile in 1973, Mossadegh did not mobilise his support nor call for their resort to arms. All that was needed then was to neutralise Tudeh by infiltrating provocateurs into the party to provoke a ‘communist insurrection’ losing Mossadegh more support, and finally instigating pro-Shah officers under General Zahidi to arrest him and take control of the government.

(4) We summarize our position on the 1979 anti-imperialist revolution and the counter-revolution by the Islamic bourgeoisie of the bazaar:

“The tragedy of the 1979 revolution showed that Iran was ripe for revolution but lacked a revolutionary leadership. The workers and poor peasants were the force behind the anti-Shah revolution, but were led by liberals and Stalinists who allied with the Islamic national bourgeoisie who by 1981 had turned on the most advanced workers and exterminated many thousands of the best militants. The failure of the socialist revolution can be clearly blamed on the role of the Stalinist Tudeh party which followed the fatalist Stalinist line of making a democratic revolution in alliance with the ‘progressive’ bourgeoisie to kick out the imperialists. The Stalinists refused to learn from their betrayal of the revolution in China in 1927 when their ‘ally” and honorary member of the Comintern, Chiang Kai Shek, turned on the Communist Party and massacred its leadership.”

Again this serves to demonstrate that unless the workers lead the poor peasants to revolution then the reactionary national bourgeoisie will use its leadership of the anti-imperialist popular front to turn on the workers and oppressed and smash the socialist revolution. The lessons of October have still not been learned. The Stalinists, Guevarists, renegade Trotskyists and Mudjadaheen (Maoists) put their trust in bourgeois democracy rather than the revolutionary workers and poor peasants. Again and again, the workers and poor peasants rise up but lacking a revolutionary Marxist party they are defeated by the reactionary bourgeoisie, serving directly or indirectly the interests of one or other imperialist power.

(5) The Islamic Republic and its near-40 year dictatorship and episodic resistance to it has, up to its present situation as part of the Russia-China bloc, gone to war in the Middle East to re-partition it from Iraq to Lebanon. It is trying to solve its semi-colonial crisis at the expense of lesser semi-colonies and the working peoples of the Middle East and Iran. At least twice now, after the Astana parley and after Sochi, the world has been spun a tale of a Syrian settlement. All that has been settled, from the point of view of the Iranian rulers, is that Syria will have to pay for the intervention in upport of Assad! And meanwhile, the continuous expansionary policy has introduced Iraqi, Syrian and Yemeni masses to the behaviors of “volunteers” from the dreaded Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. These not only mete out repressions and steal everything in sight in “liberated” areas, but have their fingers in every sort of economic enterprise wherever they are, all with the blessing of the theocrats.

As a result (as a cartoon on Facebook puts it) Iran is pumping capital and mercenaries into Iraq and Syria and Yemen in a subordinate role to Russia and China, mending its bridges with Turkey and Qatar, and starving its own workers and peasants. So the determinants of the uprising are a history of semi-colonial uneven and combined development and facing a global crisis which creates all the objective conditions for revolution but which still lacks the vital subjective condition of a rolutionary Bolshevik-Leninist Party. With only two alternatives, ultimately, the Iranian masses must find the road to Leninism to be able to carry their revolution through, because the only other alternative is worse reaction than they have experienced to date. 

How the struggle is developing and the two imperialist blocs

(6) We read that ninety percent of Iranians are feeding themselves with the equivalent of food stamps, and that these are slated to be further cut. Where 27% of the Gross Domestic Product was devoted to social welfare and a basic floor akin to the Brazilian Bolsa de Familia for all in 2008, a World Bank study now crows how this has been “reformed” down to 3% today. Youth unemployment is massive, double digit inflation has become a permanent fixture and the government minimum wage is ⅓ of the official ‘minimum necessary income’ for a family of three. This condition prevails as a result of the costs of the theocrats’ wars taking place during a global crisis of capitalism, and especially since Iran has been backing Assad’s counterrevolution with both blood and treasure. An uptick in international investment was supposed to result in improved standard of living conditions, as was the re-election of Rouhani, whom the western press calls a “moderate.” But while the shares of stocks have been sold, nothing got better on the street. In the last month, gasoline prices have doubled. Where Germany and Spain were the big investors after the 2009 protests (over the fake election results), today the money floods in from China: 

“China is financing billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese-led projects in Iran, making deep inroads into the economy while European competitors struggle to find banks willing to fund their ambitions, Iranian government and industry officials said….The Chinese funding, by far the largest statement of investment intent of any country in Iran, is in stark contrast with the drought facing Western investors since U.S. President Donald Trump disavowed the 2015 pact agreed on by major powers, raising the threat sanctions could be reimposed.

Iranian officials say the deals are part of Beijing’s $124 billion Belt and Road initiative, which aims to build new infrastructure — from highways and railways to ports and power plants — between China and Europe to pave the way for an expansion of trade.”

The masses revolt is general and not limited to the largest cities. The Government claim made to the U.K. “Guardian” that the demonstrations have faded is spurious. The revolt combines economic and political demands and calls for the ouster of the theocrats and Grand Ayatollah Khamenei have been taken up across the country. Zamaneh Media reports that the second half of 2017 has seen a spike in labor walkouts over non-payment of wages and mass layoffs. The protests are not limited to the industrial workers, who have suffered the worst of it, but have spread to all wage labor sectors. Zamaneh reports the state repressions have hit national minorities harder, also, such as the many Kurds who are miners.

Our orientalist “left” assures us of either (a) there is no working class there, or (b) that this is just the latest in a string of C.I.A. put-up jobs on the Middle Eastern and North African masses. We’re here to tell you there exists a ‘pre-revolutionary situation’ in the language of Bolshevism. We condemn in advance any attempt to foist a popular front on the Iranian masses. They are rightly sick of the leaders who bring them nothing but wars, poverty and union-busting repressions. When once they realize that these conditions are dumped onto them by an enemy social class, they too will recognize and reject any “half-way” schemes, whether popular fronts or Constituent Assemblies, and the state those support.

(7) Left reformist factions and fake Trotskyists, necessarily are exposed and defeated by dialectics. If the protest movement sustains, and grows over into permanent revolution by forming workers councils, occupying factories etc., and it actually begins to challenge for power, we can expect the pro-Assad left to jump to the defense of the regime as they did in Syria. These faux leftists are so fixated on their unipolar world view and blinded by their western orientalist-chauvinism that all they can see, whenever an angry populous in the semi-colonies rise up against despotic capitalist regimes, is the nefarious hand of the CIA. The faux left, (actually much like the Voice of America, which suggests hardline clerics are behind the protests!), believes the regime can be reformed/ improved. Or this “left”, the people themselves are not capable of revolution--so they must be the tools of Wall St. Thus when Trump lauds the uprising, at no political cost to himself or his brand, the fake left sees an army of spies and provocateurs at work.

The regime has launched an offensive to stop the protests. This may drive them underground as in Syria where armed militias emerged to defend the uprising from violent repression. It will be difficult (not impossible) for the fake left to present the protests in Iran as the work of the CIA and/or Islamic radicals. Of course they will try to say it is a “color revolution,” i.e., an anti-corruption, pro-capitalist one, but not many will buy this for long. They cannot defend the regime in their more usual way, claiming that the regime is secular and democratic, being fully backed by Erdogan and Putin (albeit with caution, Putin’s plans rely on keeping an alliance with Iran irrespective of leadership)! Naturally the Iranian masses have little time for these western petty-bourgeois. Color this revolution RED! We call on workers everywhere to down tools and engage in labor actions in solidarity with the Iranian uprising!

(8) Following the government-sponsored pep rally RT news declared the uprisings to be over and "like any violent protests" unacceptable. Shades of Marikana! The faux left gave the ANC a free pass and for the last 6 years they have given backhanded if not outright support to Assad. This is the nexus of the SCO/BRICS (Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Brazil Russia,India, China, South Africa) bloc which rallied to the emergent Russia/China imperialist bloc the various capitalist semi-colonies trying to break free or remain viable while free from US/EU imperialism. So alongside cheers from the World Social Forum/LINKS assemblage, from Chavez gifting Assad the Bolivarian sword to Iran supporting Assad against the Syrian Revolution, the semi-colonial comprador capitalist classes (Bolivarian, Southern African, and Iranian...) act to stop the wave of proletarian revolutionary aspiration seeking to make the national democratic revolution permanent-- that is, socialist. The Stalinist left alongside LINKS, the Castroists and the faux Trotskyists of the PSL and WWP, have chosen to support one imperialist bloc over the other. A hundred years after October and they repeat the social-imperialist treachery of August, 1914.

The common determinant of the current wave of protests is the austerity due to the global economic crisis being downloaded onto the semi-colonies by the imperialist powers. As in every uprising since the Tunisian eruption at the beginning of the “Arab Spring,” we see spontaneous uncoordinated revolts not organised by any bourgeois faction or outside influence. In Iran, blame is directed at the regime, not sanctions, etc., hence slogans opposing intervention in Syria and Gaza represent a proletarian internationalism, not a CIA plot. This is evident in the demand of the head of teachers union who calls for an end to the regime (he was jailed by the regime for 5 years so cannot be a CIA stooge). So the regime is unlikely to be able to bury this uprising by taking the line that US/Israel etc., are to blame. Hence the imperialist left defence of the regime is already exposed as bankrupt!
We do not disdain to make our view of what needs to be done known:

For international labor solidarity with the Iranian masses!

For labor actions and labor political strikes to defend Iranian trade unionists and workers!

Down with the clampdown on social media! Drop all charges and free all arrested protesters!

For Permanent Revolution in Iran! End the regime! Smash the bourgeois/clerical state!

Set up workers councils and militias, split the army, no return to the Shah, unite the revolution with the resistance in Syria and Palestine!

Down with imperialism including both the U.S./E.U. bloc and the SCO with Russia and China! Down with the bourgeois/clerical lackeys!

International workers' support for reopening of the Iranian revolution joined with the Arab Revolution!

For the right to self-determination for the Kurdish People! For a socialist Kurdistan!

For a Bolshevik Leninist Party that does not cede the leadership to Stalinists, Maoists, Bolivarians and Guevarists!

For a workers and poor farmers state!

For a federation of socialist republics of the Middle and Near East!

For a new, revolutionary Workers’ International, based on the method and Trotsky’s 1938 Transitional Program: “Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International”!

Liaison Committee of Communists 8 February, 2018

LCC documents on Iran:



















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