Thursday, August 27, 2009

South Africa: Solidarity with soldiers of SANDU



Yesterday, 26 August, around 2000 rank and file soldiers of the South African National Defence Force, who were members of SANDU, which is their trade union, marched on the Government offices in Pretoria to demand a 30% wage increase. They were met by police who used teargas and rubber bullets against them. Several were arrested and all face suspensions and possible dismissal. (See updates below on the clampdown on the military union.) We reprint the message of solidarity sent by the WIVL to SANDU. Solidarity statements from HRS (US) and CWG (Aotearoa) follow.

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Workers International Vanguard League condemns in the strongest possible terms the brutal suppression of the soldiers march yesterday to the Union buildings. Soldiers should have the full right to protest as well as the right to strike. It is a disgrace that rank and file soldiers earn such low wages while the officer corp and generals earn huge pay packets, sitting in their comfy armchairs while sending soldiers into life-threatening situations. We fully support the right of soldiers to elect their leaders in the army and that their leaders should be subject to instant recall.

We fully support the demand for a 30% salary increase, a demand which is fully justified and fair. The current Governor of the Reserve Bank recently received a 28% salary increase but he decrees that workers must be 'reasonable' and limit their demands to the 3-6% so called inflation band. In other words, the official inflation is used as a tool to force workers to lower their demands, while actual inflation for workers is much higher than the CPIX. We can see from this that the problems that the soldiers face are the same as the rest of the working class.

We condemn the lukewarm response of the Cosatu leaders to the brutalization of the soldiers yesterday; they only noted 'with concern' the actions of the police, merely describing them as 'excessive'. A true workers leadership would have immediately have called for broader solidarity action from the rest of the working class in support of their demands and have demanded the immediate release of the 2 soldiers who were arrested, and the lifting of the suspension of the protesters. However they are silent. The Cosatu leaders rush to meet the Minister of Defence (Sisulu) instead of meeting with the soldiers and those who have been smashed by the state repressive forces.

On the 28th June there was a military coup in Honduras; well you may ask, what has that to do with the soldiers demands and your protests? The fact is that there is a US military base in Honduras, which means that the Obama regime is involved in the coup. The lesson to be learnt is that imperialism is so desperate to solve its crisis of falling profits that they have to suppress the working class even more; this means that their usual methods of controlling us, through parliament and flowery constitutions, are not enough; they have started a period of greater offensive against the working class, using military coups, police brutality, gangs of hired thugs, etc.

The shooting of protesters in communities, of the municipal strikers for merely tipping over the garbage, here in South Africa is part of the world imperialist attack. The gold mines are owned by the Bank of New York; our Reserve Bank is controlled by JP Morgan Chase. Our economy is mainly controlled by US imperialism. The government is in reality the agent of imperialism here. This is why they guarantee that every year over R200 Bn leaves SA just in declared profits, while the masses live in starvation. This poses immediate challenges for us all. When we meet or organise, can we still operate as before? We need to defend our right to meet, to march, to protest. We need to defend ourselves from the armed attacks of the brutal police and other fascistic agencies.

There is a second major lesson that we need to learn and that is that under these times of crisis of the capitalists, the trade union leaders, such as those of Cosatu, Nactu and Fedusa, close ranks with the capitalist class and act against the interest of workers. At a time that the entire working class should have been on strike for 30% or more increases, the Cosatu leaders persuade workers to lower their demands; they persuade workers not to go on strike, they sign low wage agreements and bind their members, like the municipal unions to 3 year agreements which mean that in the next 2 years their members cannot strike when they receive what is in effect a wage cut.

Even worse, when workers are mobilising to strike, the Cosatu leaders divide the working class by not mobilising any concrete solidarity, and even break ranks to sign for peanuts and weaken the strike, such as when the railway workers went on strike recently (Satawu signed for 8% and abandoned the rest of the workers to strike on their own). The only reason why Cosatu leaders want unions of the soldiers to join them is not to increase working class solidarity, but on the contrary, to use their skills to betray the workers demands and struggles.

The third major lesson to learn is that when SA soldiers are sent to other parts of Africa (Lesotho, DRC, etc), they are being used by the imperialist forces to not only guard their mining and other assets, but to act against the local working class in these respective countries. The war in the DRC has led to over 4 million people being killed; all the imperialists were interested in was not 'peace' for the people, but to rape and plunder as much of the countries resources as possible. Imperialism and their local agent, the SA government, uses you when they need to safeguard the profits of the bosses, but once you have done this, they dump you aside.

To counter the divisive tactics of the SACP-ANC-Cosatu leaders, we need to be better organised, we need to unite with the base of Cosatu and other unions, in action on the ground.

We need to draw the lesson from Madagascar, where the soldiers united en masse with the working class, disobeying their generals order to shoot on worker protests; they took control of the military bases and said loudly and clearly that they are with the people.

What we need are workers and soldiers action committees to defend this current struggle of the soldiers for a living wage and other demands; we need to unite to defend communities for their struggles for jobs for all, for bread, for decent housing for all, for free adequate health care for all; for increasing wages when prices increase. This is the same fight. it is the same fight as the workers in Bolivia and Peru against the imperialist grab of their resources. It is the same fight as the Chinese and Zimbabwean workers against exploitation.

We demand:

1. the immediate unconditional release of the 2 arrested soldiers;

2. the immediate lifting of the suspension of all soldier protesters;

3. 30% increase in wage for soldiers and the entire working class; increase the soldiers wage to a minimum of R5000; wages must increase when prices increase;

4. Recognise the soldiers defence unions and the right to strike and protest;

5. Adequate houses for all;

6. Reduce the working week without loss of pay and share all jobs among all those who can work.

7. Down with all military operations by the SANDF in Africa; unite with the working class to defend the masses against the plunder of Anglo American and other gangster monopolies.
Workers of the world unite; we have nothing to lose but our chains!

Send messages of solidarity to The National Executive of the SANDU, c/o Jeff Dubazana sandu@mweb.co.za ; please cc messages to workersinternational@gmail.com
--
Shaheed Mahomed
Secretary
workersinternational@gmail.com
web www.workersinternational.org.za


UPDATE: 28 August

Workers International Vanguard League condemns the decision by the government to dismiss the soldiers who took part in yesterday's protest. The refusal of the courts to even grant the soldiers the right to march to the Union buildings show that the courts are the agents of the capitalists. The Obama coup in Honduras on 28 June 2009 shows that world imperialism is moving over to greater control by force and trampling on the few democratic gains the working class has made. US imperialism controls the bulk of the SA economy through Anglo American and other global gangsters. The shooting of unarmed community members dying of the cold in shacks, the shooting of municipal workers for throwing over trash cans, and now the shooting of unarmed soldiers are all part of a global capitalist attack on the working class.
The army generals received 10,5% salary increases as well as improved benefits in January this year, backdated to about October last year, while each time the defence workers unions have been stonewalled by the government, claiming time and again that they have 'no mandate'. Soldiers are expected to suffer and starve in silence while the MP's argue about which model of Mercedes Benz to buy. If the soldiers had the right to strike, this matter would have been resolved long time ago. The government is so busy bailing out capitalists who have stolen hundreds of billions of Rands of wealth from SA over the decades, that they have no time for the demands of the working class.
Even though the protest on Wed was called by Sandu, we understand that Sandu, Sasfu as well as non-unionised soldiers took part in the protest. Even the pro-boss ILO regulations support soldiers right to protest and state that where the right to strike is limited there should be alternative mechanisms in place; and even if there are illegal strikes (which this was not), there should be protection from arbitrary dismissal. The government is a signatory of the ILO but throws away even a pretence of fairness when the profits of big capital are deemed under threat.The lukewarm response from the Cosatu leaders has opened the door for the government to mass dismiss soldiers. We call on members of Sasfu, Sandu and non-unionised soldiers to unite against the mass dismissal; we call on the entire working class to rally to the defence of the soldiers cause. They have been the only ones who have been brave enough to demand a wage increase that was really required, namely 30%. We call for joint soldier- worker committees to be built in every community, to unite the struggle of the soldiers with the struggle for adequate housing, for an end to retrenchments, for jobs for all and a shortening of the working week without loss of pay (so that all who can work, can share the work), with the rest of the working class struggle for a living wage increase. We call for wages to increase each time prices increase! Let us stop the retail and food gangsters in their tracks!
We call for an urgent national meeting of delegates from all workplaces (unionised or not), working class communities (including the unemployed) and of delegates of soldiers to plan a programme of action to defend the soldiers and all sectors under attack by imperialism!
We reject the notion that SA soldiers are the last line of the defence of the country; the SA soldiers have been dispatched to the DRC and other countries, where they protect imperialist assets even if millions are killed around them- this is imperialism abusing the soldiers while the fatcats of Anglo American sit in their comfy mansions in New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, etc, out of harms way.
Workers and soldiers unite to help throw off the yoke of imperialism on the African continent. workers of the world unite, we have nothing to lose but our chains!

UPDATE 30 August

Workers International Vanguard League has received evidence that the military unions have been attempting since at least May LAST YEAR, to negotiate wage increases fo the soldiers. Each time they were met with governmentnegotiators that had 'no mandate'. The fact that the fat generals received their increases in January this year means that the government was not serious about any negotiations with the rank and file soldiers and that they have been looking for an excuse to bash the unions. Te demand of 30% for the lower ranks and 15% for the upper ranks by the soldiers, goes against the divisions between the upper elite and the foot soldiers, so characteristic of capitalist society.
The current crisis of imperialism needs greater supression of the working class and the creation of a more openly oppressive professional army of mercenaries. Imperialism and their lackeys in the state were looking for an excuse to purge the army of any elements who might side with the working class. This trend to a professional army is one which came after imperialism drew the lesson of the war in Vietnam and the weakness (for them) of a conscipted or civilian based army. The war in Iraq, with its 300 000 mercenaries, is evidence of this world trend to more fascistic methods.

This explains why the police and the courts were so brutal in suppressing any protest. The ground is being laid for integration of more fascistic types into the army and makes us believe that the petrol bombing of the military vehicle last week could have been the work of an agent provocateur. If the state appoints Dramat as head of the Hawks- whose only claim to fame is being part of a intelligence crackdown on Pagad (where infiltration and framing of activists were of the order of the day)- this explanation seems not only likely but probable and could even become a more widespread tactic by the state to crackdown on the rsing tide of resistance. It also shows the methods of the FBI and CIA are alive and well in SA.

Down with the upper layer of officers of the Praetorian (like the elite in Roman times) army of the Afrikaner bourgeoisie, the Angloamerican and the bourgeoisie of the ANC!
Down with the assassin layer of officers that oppresses and massacres the nations of Southern Africa for the interests of American and British imperialism!
For the election and removal of the chiefs of the army by committees of the rank and file soldiers!
For committees of soldiers, armed workers and peasants!
For the Socialist United States of Southern Africa!

August 30, 2009

From: Humanists for Revolutionary Socialism (HRS).

To: To 
Our oppressed soldier brothers, workers in uniform under state attack in South Africa in care of the Worker’s International Vanguard League (WIVL).


We denounce the South African state for its unconscionable behavior towards you and its illegal actions against you and your brothers.
 It is important for soldiers to know that there is worker opposition here in the “belly of the beast” to their ultimate bosses, our own main enemy, the U.S. capitalist class. We demand all U.S. imperialist forces (overt and covert) out of Africa now! Their only purpose on your continent is to further the exploitation of your people and the appropriation of your resources.

We stand opposed to them and all their plans to put you in harm's way and keep you hungry. We stand opposed to the obscene fat Boer and English generals who live off your sweat and to all the sadist and martinet junior officers that make your life hell.
 We denounce all the bourgeois authorities and the way their police 
"support the troops" with tear gas and gunfire. We denounce them and phony union leaders who stand with them when they deny your basic democratic rights to protest and to struggle for living wages and conditions. We know "leaders" like these. We call them class traitors.


The soldier's fate, as rank-and-file soldiers, is tied up to ours
 as workers in ways that cannot be dissolved, as the history of all 
modern revolutions shows. The political forces of the yes men for American and British imperialism, together with the Stalinists of the
 South African Communist party, have stalled out and sold out your proletarian revolution, and with it your national liberation. They
 move you around the African map in support of every imperialist scheme to rob one locality after another. These political forces of yes men 
are the ones who want to prosecute you now. It is they who are denying 
you the pay you need to feed and clothe your families!

Brothers! You are living under conditions of the slave-owner's tyranny.
 The South African bourgeoisie wants you to do their imperialist masters' dirty work on YOUR continent. They want you to do this for the kind of chicken feed pay they paid the non-white colonial levies (draftees)
 they led to slaughter in the past! They want you to do all the dying 
defending their class and the rule of the laws of their class' dictatorship. They want you to die for them like a Gunga Din, fighting his own oppressed people when they rise up in righteous revolt. 


You have organized! You are our Union Brothers now, no matter what 
our top COSATU and AFL-CIO misleaders say! You declare you will never surrender. That is a tremendous source of strength for us! We in the HRS and your champions, the WIVL, will go every mile of the way with you! For you will come to find that for you, as for us, the Socialist Revolution will be the only road out of the crisis of human survival and development!


We stand behind all your demands in the Proposed Agreement and demand the dropping of all charges against the jailed Brothers! For
30% raises NOW covering all 12 months of 2009! For immediate new Collective Bargaining talks to begin as soon as this Trade Agreement 
is in effect! For an across-the-board 5% raise increment on April 1,
2010! For a 1% check off for all those in uniform payable to THE UNION, etc. We support your demands in detail! And we demand the reinstatement without prejudice of any kind to their records for all the Brothers who were discharged/dismissed!


We stand behind all the demands raise by the WIVL on your behalf.
 Your situation is part of and not something different than a generalized South African crisis within a world crisis of capitalism/imperialism. Understood this way we know an injury to one of you is an injury to us all. To advance the struggle the following additional demands are endorsed and recommended for adoption by the soldiers and their supporters


1. Down with the Praetorian layer of officers of the army of DeBeers, Anglo-American and the bourgeoisie of the ANC.



2. Down with the assassin layer of officers that oppresses and massacres the nations of Southern Africa at the command of American and British imperialism.



3. For the election and for the right of recall and substitution of the chiefs of the armed forces by Committees of the Rank-And-File Servicemen to assure the military acts only in the interests of the working class, the oppressed and poor peasants.



4. For Committees of Soldiers, Armed Workers and Peasants.



5. For the Socialist United States of Southern Africa!



28-8-09
To the National Executive of SANDU.

Dear comrades of the SA National Defence Union,

The Communist Workers Group of Aotearoa/NZ sends its revolutionary greetings and proletarian solidarity to your members who are being arrested and suspended for protesting your poverty wages.

We strongly support your right to fight for a living wage, and for the right to protest and demand this and other necessities of life. We salute your militancy and your slogan "we will never surrender". This is a slogan that the whole working class should take up internationally.

We can see that you are not alone in South Africa, nor around the world, where there are many mass struggles against the global economic crisis, and the attempts by the capitalist parasites to make us bailout their system with the food out of our childrens' mouths. It is obvious that for us to live capitalism must die!

The capitalist system is in crisis, and the only thing stopping its downfall is the capitalist ruling class which uses the treacherous union leaders to hold the masses down, and weaken and divide them, while the state forces and paramilitaries prepare to smash them.

The way to end the system is for the workers in uniform to refuse to obey orders to shoot the workers out of uniform, and to join with them to occupy the workplaces, take control of transport and communications, and form armed defence committees to defeat the officers, the mercenaries, paramilitaries etc., and to fight for a Black Socialist Republic of South Africa.

In Solidarity

Dave Brown (for CWG - member of the International Leninist Trotskyist Fraction).
Aotearoa/New Zealand

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Afghanistan: Defeat the Imperialist Invaders!


NZ: US Deputy Dog

New Zealand is one of US imperialism's client states that trades the lives of its troops for favored business deals with the US. It is about to heed the call from Obama to send 70 SAS troops to Afghanistan. Obama, NATO, Australia etc., and now John Key, the NZ Prime Minister, all claim that the war in Afghanistan is necessary to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban and stop them from breeding new generations of 'terrorists'.

This is a lie. This war is a proxy imperialist war for oil and gas, part of the US fight to get control of the vast oil and gas reserves of Central Asia. The Taliban are not "terrorists" but nationalists fighting for their independence. The Karzai US puppet government controls little more than Kabul, and even then Kabul is under constant rocket and suicide bomber attacks. What is more, Karzai is just another ruthless warlord making deals with the ethnic rivals of the Pashtun. This includes passing a law which allows men to rape their wives in the Shia minority. Thus the idea that Karzai represents ‘western democracy’ against the ‘barbaric Taliban’ is another huge lie.

Defeat all imperialist invaders

We say that the imperialists have no business in Afghanistan. They should keep their nose out of Afghanistan's business. The Taliban are mainly a Pashtun tribal people fighting for their national independence after centuries of 'Western' invasions and occupations. They always defeated imperialism in the past and they are about to defeat it again. We are for the defeat of the invaders and occupiers! This includes the so-called non-combatant Engineers (Reconstruction Team) whose presence in Afghanistan building schools and hospitals bolsters the legitimacy of the puppet Karzai regime. Unlike the reformist left that calls for ‘peacekeepers’ and reconstruction teams we are for the defeat of all kinds of imperialist invaders including the NZ Engineers and UN personnel.

We are for the victory of the Taliban!

We say this because while the Taliban are a reactionary national bourgeois faction only interested in profiting from its control of Afghanistan and the exploitation of its workers, we support it in its fight against imperialism. However reactionary the Taliban is in its social attitudes towards women, towards secularism, and towards democratic rights, imperialism, even the so-called 'democratic' imperialism of Obama, is 1000 times worse. Why? Because whatever the Taliban is today, this is the result of centuries of imperialist wars, invasions and oppression. Only by defeating imperialism will the popular masses of Afghanistan be able to rid itself of its main enemy, imperialism, and overthrow the reactionary Taliban leadership.

To win this struggle is it necessary for the workers and poor peasants to unite against imperialism and their tribal warlords. These warlords all want to be junior partners with one or other imperialist power. The Taliban control the opium trade (90% of the worlds supply) in collaboration with drug lords and drug multinationals. The Hazaras and Uzbeks have done deals with the US and Karzai against the Taliban. None of the warlords of these ethnic groups will break with imperialism. Only workers and poor peasants united behind a revolutionary communist party can defeat imperialism and open the road to socialism.

Hands off Afghanistan! Hands off Pakistan!
End the national debt!
Expropriate imperialist and capitalist property!

Opium trade under workers (producers) collective control!
Oil & gas under workers control!

For the right to self-determination of all ethnic groups not only the Taliban!
For a revolutionary communist party independent of imperialism and nationalist or religious leaders!
For a Workers and Peasants Government and a socialist Afghanistan!
For a federation of socialist republics of the Middle East and Central Asia!

The Stakes for Imperialism

The fact is however, that US imperialism needs to win this war to ensure its ongoing world dominance. It has used NATO to breakup Yugoslavia and create is protectorate Kosovo. It was behind the Georgia attack on South Ossetia and Abkhazia. It plans to break up the former Soviet territory in the Caucasus and in the Caspian region. The US plans to “Balkanise” the Caucasus by splitting off breakaway ethnic groups.

Without control of Afghanistan the US will not win the “great game” (as the wars for oil in this region were called in the early 20th century). It will not gain military dominance of this former Soviet Union sphere of interest and break the hold of Russia and China on the energy resources of Central Asia. Russia has retained many of the former soviet republics as part of the CIS. It retains its nuclear arsenal and missile defence system. It has formed the CSTO (Central Security Treaty Organisation) with Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It still dominates the production and distribution of oil and gas in the region. China has joined with Russia in the (SCO) Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to protect Central Asia as a joint sphere of interest. The differences between Russia and China over who will ultimately control the region have been temporarily sidelined in the interests of presenting a united front to the US bloc.

So what is shaping up here is not a war against terror, but a war of terror - the start of a terrible escalation of regional wars into a global war against Russia and China that will inevitably run the risk of nuclear war. NZ is clearly joining the military bloc on one side of this escalation by sending combat troops to Afghanistan. Why is this? The NZ finance capitalists want to share in the plunder of the prize of Central Asian oil and gas.

The Prize of Central Asia

What is a stake in Central Asia and the Caucasus is around half the world’s natural gas reserves. The US has won control of Iraqi oilfields from its imperialist rivals. Afghanistan is a key country to control oil routes from the Caucasus and the Central Asian partners of Russia and China. China has oil interests in Iran and in Azerbaijan and Tajikistan. The US plan is to break up the SCO and Russia and China’s sphere of interest in Eurasia. US attacks on Pakistan puts pressure on both Iran and India which are associated with the SCO.

Critical to achieving this plan is control of Iran. Iran is today at the center of the zone of conflict between the two power blocs. Germany, Russia and China continue to trade with and invest in Iran while the US, France and Britain are imposing UN economic sanctions on Iran to stop it from developing nuclear weapons. Obama wants to regain control of Iran and is holding out the olive branch to Iran with one hand, while at the same time using the threat of Israeli bombs with the other. The US ruling class is torn between destabilizing the Islamic regime and risking a revolution in Iran which would spread to the whole Middle East. If it can break up the Caucasus, weaken Russia and China, and surround Iran, without sparking revolution, then it would be able to dominate and plunder the whole of the Middle East and Central Asia. NZ finance capital has backed what it sees as the victorious US bloc. Why?

NZ a minor semi-colony

NZ is clearly a minor semi-colony whose plunge down the OECD pecking order reflects its dire economic decline. The policy of the Labour Government reflected the interests of the weak NZ bourgeois fraction of productive capital that sought to do business with both US imperialism and the China/Russia bloc – its so-called ‘multilateralism’. It sent the SAS to Afghanistan in 2001 under the UN sanctioned "war on terror" but replaced them in 2005 with Engineers to build schools and other public utilities.

The National party represents that fraction of the NZ bourgeoisie that is aligned to international finance capital parasitic on productive capital. The National regime under John Key is signaling the desperation of that fraction of the NZ ruling class that is allied to the parasites of Wall St. Its class interests are to share in the profits of the plunder of productive resources of the world by backing US imperialism against the rise of China and Russia.

In NZ Key's "change" policy in NZ is to solve the crisis by making the workers pay for it. This means cutting wages jobs and taxes to capital to encourage foreign investment. It plans to privatize remaining state assets. It plans to bulldoze this rightwing economic policy through using the neo-liberal shock tactics of the 1980s and 1990s.

Thus NZ is committing itself as a subservient client state of US imperialism both as a source of superprofits and as a mercenary military force in imperialist wars. The NZ lackey bourgeoisie expect to get a dividend from the blood of Kiwi soldiers (a majority are Maori from the working class) sold to their imperialist masters.

No NZ troops, construction teams or ‘peacekeepers’ to Afghanistan!
Mobilize working class action, strikes and blockades to stop NZ troops fighting in imperialist wars!
NZ out of all imperialist alliances!

For workers to live, capitalism must die!

In the epoch of imperialism, each global crisis such as we face today, brings with it the threat of war, and as a result revolution and counter-revolution. These wars are inevitable as each imperialist power or bloc of powers must defeat its rival to grab its territory and resources. Imperialist powers have no other course as they can only survive at the expense of defeating their rivals. Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are wars for oil that can only be explained as proxy inter-imperialist wars with the potential to blow up into a global war.

Such wars, however, involve the working class on one side or the other using them as cannon fodder and exposing them to terror, starvation or genocide. If imperialist wars are not stopped by us workers turning our guns on our own ruling classes, then our fate will be counter-revolutionary defeats, the decline into generalized barbarism. Today facing the crisis of global warming caused by imperialist super-exploitation of the globe, this could mean the destruction of nature and the planet.

However, if the working class can organize internationally and stop imperialist wars by overthrowing their ruling classes, then such wars will not lead to counter-revolutionary defeats for workers. They will spark insurrections, a world revolution, the expropriation of the property of the ruling class, and open the road to international socialism and to the end of the destruction and barbarism of capitalist imperialism.

For such a revolution to be possible, workers internationally must organize into a revolutionary force across national borders, united behind a world revolutionary party and program.
The internationalist Leninist Trotskyists of our tendency call on all those who want to fight for socialism to unite their forces with ours and to build a new world revolutionary party based on the program of the Founding Congress of the Fourth International of 1938.

Communist Workers Group (Aotearoa/NZ); a member of the International Leninist-Trotskyist Fraction.
Cellphone 027 2800080 cwg006@yahoo.com http://redrave.blogspot.org

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

HONDURAS: FLTI DRAFT RESOLUTION


DRAFT RESOLUTION of the International Leninist Trotskyist
Fraction (IFLT) ON HONDURAS July 29, 2009.

1) US imperialism in the current conjuncture has combined two policies to smash the masses and make its imperialist rivals pay for the crisis. One is fascism, " or fascistic brutal military dictatorships", the other is, a form of Democratic façade or front. Honduras is one of the crisis points where the US offensive is using both of these policies as an open left hand and a right fist.

The open hand is the democratic front (imperialism dressed in Obama’s disguise) and the right fist is the open counter-revolutionary policy of wars, as in Afghanistan, massacres as in Gaza – using its Zionist state gendarme -and coups d’etat as in Honduras.

In Latin America we are seeing the results of the French-US provisional agreement forced on French imperialism by US imperialism to regain control of the sub-continent as its “backyard”. A first act of this new offensive was signaled by the Summit of the Americas early this year in Trinidad-Tobago, where Obama, supported by all the “Bolivarian” bourgeoisies laid out very clearly his policy to complete capitalist restoration in Cuba.

The Honduras coup is the first act in this offensive where the US using its two handed policy –either through the continuity of Micheletti and his coup makers, or by means of an agreement between Zelaya and these same coup makers – US imperialism wants to turn Honduras into a beachhead for further counter-revolutionary actions in Latin America, i.e. an intervention in Cuba, or Guadeloupe or any country where the masses rise up against their exploitation and oppression.

2) Honduras is a country tied to US imperialism by three chains. The first is the CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement). The second is its historic transformation since the ‘70s into a virtual US protectorate. Thus Honduras was the site of the barracks and camps where the “contras” were armed and trained -these paramilitary gangs, financed by US imperialism, planned attacks against the Nicaraguan revolution. Third, the counter-revolutionary agreements of Esquipulas and Contadora –which strangled the Central American revolution in the ‘80s – were made in Honduras, while the Honduran armed forces, actually an “occupation army” commanded from the US military base in Honduras, massacred the masses of poor peasants that were fighting to get their land back from United Fruit. Today, the US military base in Honduras remains one of the most important ones in the region.

The coup in Honduras shows how the global economic crisis is being downloaded onto the Latin American masses. Like the massacre in Bagua, Peru, last month, the Honduras’ coup is the result of the US using its right fist to violently repress resistance to its offensive. The global economic crisis with its epicenter in the US has hit Latin America nations very hard, especially those tied to US imperialism by FTAs.

Peru and now Honduras are, at the moment, the hot spots in this offensive. Honduras has experienced 3 years of rapid GDP growth at 17% per year, the result of the massive expansion of maquilas (sweatshops) producing for export to the US. Of course this short period of growth did not improve the living conditions of the Honduran masses. On the contrary it increased their exploitation and worsened the already miserable conditions they were suffering.

In 2008-2009 the crisis hit Honduras heavily. 80% of Honduran exports mainly corn, bananas, coffee, sugar cane, gold and silver, go to the US. The crisis in the US radically cut the demand for Honduran exports. At the same time the crisis brought the expulsion of thousands of Central American workers, including Hondurans, from the US. Thus thousands of workers have been deported to Honduras where they add to the numbers of unemployed already about 28% (official figures). The remittances from these deported workers running at around $2.5 billion a year has, of course, stopped.

To this growing pool of unemployed are added to those suffering massive layoffs from the imperialist-owned maquilas, plantations and mines in Honduras, now closing down because of the crisis. So, at the same time that the dollar
reserves in the Honduran National Treasury fell, a huge trade imbalance has arisen. Honduras exports to the US are now $6 billion annually while imports are $10 billion creating a deficit of $4 billion.

Honduran workers and poor peasants, like in the rest of Central America, are being forced to pay for the crisis with increasing poverty, starvation and mass layoffs. The burden of inflation, around 12% annually, is rising every day. The international price of the staple food, corn (tortillas), as well as sugar cane, remains relatively high because both are used also as raw material for biofuels.

The situation of the exploited masses is desperate. In a country that produces food –corn, sugar cane, coffee, bananas, etc.-most of the population, made up of workers, poor peasants and their families, are starving because they cannot afford even a handful of corn to eat.

The switching of production from the food staples of corn and beans in favour of exotic fruit which the transnationals such as Chiquita Brand, Dole, etc can sell at premium prices in the US, has forced Honduras to start importing food from the US at the very high prices dictated by the big food and agro-transnationals. The US military has intervened militarily several times before to secure Chiquita and Dole’s control over the fruit export market in Honduras. Chiquita (formerly United Fruit) was found guilty of funding fascist bands in Colombia from 1997 to 2004 (the so-called Autodefensa Unidas de Colombia); while Dole works in partnership with the Israeli state to export DBCP, a banned chemical substance they use on food crops all over the world.

Moreover, Honduras imports 100% of its oil which adds to its trade deficit. And if that were not enough for the masses to suffer, Honduras was hit in 2008 by Hurricane Mitch, which left 34 dead, many injured, 70,000 workers and poor peasants homeless, and caused $154 million in damage to the economy. This tragedy prevented the sowing of beans and much of the corn. The prices of food and fuel has skyrocketed caused massive starvation. 70% of Hondurans live below the poverty line and 40% are starving. Even Zelaya had to acknowledge publicly that 2 million Hondurans eat only once every three days.

3) Since 2007-2008 the Honduran masses have begun to resist their exploitation and oppression. In 2008 Zelaya has faced three general strikes against his government, demanding an end to the rising cost of living, against the FTA, etc. Zelaya responded to these massive mobilizations with repression, killing four leaders of the workers and poor peasants. Following the strikes, Zelaya then tried to win over a layer of the civil servants to support him by increasing their very low salaries marginally to the still very low US$230 per month which barely pays for the basic family food basket. But to the rest of the workers, such as the striking workers of the maquilas and the plantations, Zelaya only offered more layoffs and repression.

In 2008, Zelaya, a wealthy landowner and businessman and at the center of the pro-US Liberal Party, “moved” to the ranks of the “Bolivarians” and signed-up Honduras to the ALBA (Alternativa Bolivariana para las Americas) the ´Chavista´ alternative to the US imperialist ALCA, (Free Trade Agreement initiative for the Americas).

This turn was in response to the emergence of a sector of the Honduran national bourgeoisie that began to demand the renegotiation of deals with US and US monopolies to gain a larger slice of the super-profits expropriated from the masses for the pockets of the national bourgeoisie.

As a result of this turn, Zelaya and this pro-Chavez bourgeois sector got a loan from Venezuela in “petro-dollars” to finance the Honduran state deficit and subsidize its imports of Venezuelan oil. Thus the Zelaya administration took on strong Bonapartist sui generis (with special) features. As a national bourgeoisie in a semi-colonial country it is extremely weak in relation to the imperialist master. So the only way it can pressure imperialism to give it higher prices for exports etc is to win the support of the workers and the poor peasants, using the threat of a revolution to blackmail imperialism. Of course and at the same time, the weak national bourgeoisie must control those masses with an iron grip to prevent a revolution and the seizure of not only imperialist property but the property of the national bourgeoisie. It exercises this iron grip through the statization of the unions to contain any uprisings and by openly and violently attacking the most militant vanguard.

4) These are the conditions that brought about the split of the Honduran bourgeoisie. The Zelayaist faction of the Honduran bourgeoisie attempted to contain the anger and frustration of the masses with “Bolivarian” demagoguery and carrots from the state treasury. The other fraction of the Honduran bourgeoisie alarmed by ¨Bolivarian´ turn fearing the insurgent masses prefers delivering the masses real bullets instead of Bolivarian carrots. The Honduran bourgeoisie split, not only to gain a bigger share of the shrinking profits hit by the crisis, but because of the disagreement about how best to deal with a mass upsurge and forestall a revolution.

5) Obama and the Republicrat regime, acting on the instruction of Chiquita and Dole, took advantage of this split in the Honduran bourgeoisie to promote the civil-military coup on June 28 that removed Zelaya and dumped him in his underwear in the main Costa Rican airport.

Facing the global crisis, the new “general staff” of US imperialism in the form of President Obama, advanced its new political strategy. US imperialism could not allow Honduras –a site of a US military base and signatory of one of its FTAs - in the hands of Zelaya and his fraction of the national bourgeoisie, to join the Bolivarians and demand better terms from its paymasters. So the Republicrat regime of Obama used its military base in Honduras to make the coup against Zelaya in collaboration with the head of the Honduran armed forces, the Catholic and Evangelist clergy, and parliament and the supreme Court.

The key to the US imperialist strategy was the double face of Obama talking democratic but holding the big stick. Then, they needed to disguise the coup as a “constitutional dismissal”. But Zelaya refused to resign. Then the head of the Honduran army, long used to making coups with impunity, over-reacted and instead of the planned “elegant” pas de deux, ordered his troops to kick their way into Zelaya’s home at dawn and fly him to Costa Rica in his underwear.

It is clear that without the revolutionary uprising of the masses US imperialism will succeed in imposing its solution in Honduras. Either Micheletti and the leaders of the coup will stay in power until new elections four months away, or, a counter-revolutionary deal between Zelaya and the “coup makers” will be negotiated with the blessing of the OAS, Obama and the whole Bolivarian team.

USA imperialism facing the global crisis is signaling with the coup in Honduras that it can no longer afford ‘Bolivarian’ Bonapartists, and that openly fascistic methods are needed to crush the resistance of the working class. If the ‘Bolivarian’ Bonapartists do not increase their attacks on the working class to subdue it, US imperialism is warning that it will install new regimes by military force if necessary.

6) In response to the coup, the World Social Forum and its “left” wing made up of Stalinists, populists and fake Trotskyists, have come out screaming that it was the US “right” that made the coup, not only against Zelaya but also against “Obama-their-democratic-champion”.

This is a lie used to deceive the workers of the Americas and the rest of the world. The reality is, the White House today has two players competing to protect its interests and the property of Chiquita Brand, Dole and the US maquilas in Honduras. On the one hand there is the government of the coup led by Micheletti, backed by the armed forces, the parliament and Supreme Court, and the US military base.

On the other hand, there is the “democratic front”
that starts with Obama, includes the UN, OAS, EU, the “Bolivarian” bourgeoisies, the Castroite bureaucracy, the World Social Forum (WSF) and the fake Trotskyists in the US, Latin America and worldwide. All together they call on the democratic masses “to pressure” Obama asking him to be “consistent”, i.e. to call his ambassador in Honduras and demand that he take “all the necessary measures to reinstate the legitimate government” of that bourgeois murderer and exploiter Zelaya.

In either case it is a win-win situation for US imperialism. If the coup stays in power it will be directly controlled by the US military machine. If Zelaya returns with limited powers up to the next elections he will promise Obama not to convene a Constituent Assembly and to give an amnesty to the coup makers. In short, in either case US imperialism will keep its military base in Honduras as a beachhead for counterrevolution in the continent. For the Pentagon this is essential at a time when when the crisis conditions in Honduras are also faced throughout the rest of Central America. Imperialism does not want to see the Nicaraguan, Salvadoran and Guatemalan masses to rise up and overthrow their preventative popular front governments under the former “commandantes” of the Sandinistas and the FMLN. The “New Deal” option backed by the threat of coups has now turned these former fighters into direct agents of the US imperialists and managers of the FTAs imposing imperialist austerity against the Salvadoran and Nicaraguan masses.

7) The three weeks since the coup, have witnessed huge mobilizations of the Honduran masses, general strikes, pickets, roadblocks, etc., which have been contained by the leaders of the democratic fronts. Each day this goes on, while Zelaya calls for “popular insurrection” from his safe haven in Guatemala, the workers and the poor peasants end up in jail or losing their lives.

While the two bourgeois fractions confront each other, US imperialism gauges precisely the situation, so as to know when to best seal the deal and close the gap ripped open in the Honduran ruling class by the crisis. All bourgeois factions involved agree that their main task is to prevent at all costs the militancy of the masses from turning into an open insurrections that defeats the coup in the streets and open up the revolutionary road.

FOR PROLETARIAN METHODS OF STUGGLE

8) We, revolutionary internationalists, have to tell the truth to the masses.The working class and the exploited cannot be neutral in this confrontation between the two bourgeois camps.We have to say that even though bourgeois democracy and fascistic reaction (in this case a military coup) are both policies of imperialism and the national bourgeoisies, they are not exactly the same for the working class and the exploited masses.

Bourgeois democracy uses control of the working class organisations, corrupting them, bribing and buying the leaderships, while fascistic reaction attacks them with the intention of smashing physically the working class and the exploited masses, destroying the organizations of workers.

Internationalist workers
and fighters inside and outside of Honduras must unite to denounce the kidnapping and disappearances suffered by the leaders of the popular and workers organizations. We know that the death squads that come in the middle of the night breaking into the workers’ and popular leader’s homes to kidnap them are led by officers trained in the “School of Assassins at in Ft. Benning Georgia, USA”.

Therefore, while this split between the two bourgeois camps exists, we call on workers to defend democracy against fascism, but only with the methods that Trotsky and the Fourth International used in Spain in 1936: i.e., the working class must not defend democracy with the methods of bourgeois democracy but with the methods of proletarian revolution.

We call the Honduran workers and poor peasants to smash the coup by launching a revolutionary general strike!
Build worker, rural
worker and poor peasant armed militias to fight and defeat the coup in the streets!
Armed workers and
peasants: March to the army bases and call upon the rank and file soldiers, who are the children of the workers and peasants in uniform, to disobey their officers who staged the coup!
We call them to set up
rank and file soldier committees to unite with the workers an poor peasants militias and to requisition weapons to arm the workers and poor peasants militia to smash the coup!

Armed workers and poor peasants: March on and dissolve the parliament and the Supreme Court responsible for the coup!
March on the US military
base to defeat and drive out the US marines, murderers of the Latin American peoples, murderers of the Iraqi, Afghani and Pakistani people!

It is necessary to direct all our fire at
imperialism which prepared and is funding the coup. It is urgent to hit Wall Street where it hurts by expropriating without compensation and under workers control, Dole, the Chiquita Brand, and all the transnationals of the maquilas and the mines!
We call for workers at Dole,
Chiquita Brands, all the maquilas, and the banks, to form workers’ committees, and to occupy and take them over!
Down with the infamous FTA’s that crush under the parasitic imperialist yoke the Honduran nation!


Both Zelaya and Micheletti are plotting against the masses and will end up embracing each other while the blood of the Honduran workers and peasants is still fresh on the ground. Side by side with the workers of Honduras, in the road blocks, barricades and in the pitched battles against the military, all internationalist workers call for the smashing of the coup in the streets.

We have to confront the deceiving lying politics of the democratic front which ties the hands of the masses to the class which exploits them.
Hands off Honduras!

Down with Obama and the murderous regime of the Republicrats!
Out with the UN, the OAS and the rest of the institutions of the imperialist butchers!
No deal with those responsible of the coup!

The deal between Zelaya and Micheletti that
is being hatched in Costa Rica is covered in the blood of the Colombian resistance, betrayed when Chavez and Uribe embraced each other just a few months ago!

If Zelaya returns in a deal made with with Micheletti’s coup makers and with the blessing of Obama and Insulza and the OAS, the outcome means neither national independence or democracy for the Honduran people.Rather it will mean less freedom, democracy and food, no new jobs and land redistribution, and none of the democratic and agrarian questions will be resolved.

Zelaya,
Michelletii or any other puppet who takes their place will be backed by the same armed fist of the US military.They will tighten the noose of the FTAs, and tie Honduras to imperialism with new chains so the masses will be made to pay for the crisis with their poverty, misery and their lives. US imperialism will secure the country again as in the ‘80s as a beachhead and a key garrison for counter- revolution in the continent to defend and advance US imperialist interests.

To achieve national independence, redistribute the land, provide food, jobs, health and education, a workers and poor peasants’ government based on the independent and armed masses is necessary to expropriate the expropriators!

FOR INTERNATIONALIST ARMED WORKERS BRIGADES AND INTERNATIONAL LABOR ACTIONS TO SMASH THE COUP

9) Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Salvador, Panama and the rest of the Central American nations were formed as colonies. Their borders were drawn in the 20th century by the United Fruit (now Chiquita Brand), the transnationals and the rest of the US monopolies, in order to control and exploit the masses.

The Salvadoran and Nicaraguan masses paid with their lives during 25 years of hunger, misery and repression as a result of the betrayals of their revolutions by their treacherous leaders, i.e. the counter-revolutionary agreements of Esquipulas and Contadora strangled and defeated the Central American revolution in the ‘80s.

During those years, Fidel Castro and the Cuban Stalinist bureaucracy betrayed the Central American revolution telling the proletariat and the popular masses that neither Nicaragua nor Salvador should be “new Cubas”.

Today revolutionaries must call for many Cuban revolutions in Honduras, in Nicaragua, in Haiti, in Guadeloupe and Martinique, in the whole of Central America and the Caribbean! (of course, without the installation of a bureaucracy, but with the direct rule of armed workers’ and poor peasant councils).

Revolutionaries call for a
political revolution in Cuba by means of armed workers councils capable of driving out the Castroite bureaucrats who, hand in hand with Obama, are preparing to finish off the process of capitalist restoration in Cuba.

For the Socialist United States of Central America and the Caribbean!
The working class and the exploited Spanish, Creole English Dutch and French speaking nations of Haiti-Dominican Republic, the Antilles, Jamaica, Trinidad-Tobago, Grenada, Aruba and Curacao, can only be free from the French, British, US, Dutch imperialists when their nations drive out the imperialist military bases and murderous armies!
Hands off Central
America and Caribbean!
Hands off
Guadeloupe, Martinique and Guyana, etc!
Hands off Guyana, Belize, Trinidad
Tobago! Hands off Aruba, Curacao, Surinam!
For the military defeat of all
the occupation troops under the command of the UNO in Haiti; both, the imperialist troops and those support troops sent by the Bolivarian bourgeoisie, Lula of Brazil, Kirchner of Argentina, Morales of Bolivia and Bachelet of Chile!

Opening the road to a Socialist United States of Central America and the Caribbean, the international working class must stand together to smash the coup in Honduras. Internationalist actions such as general strikes in Nicaragua, Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, the rest of Central America and across the entire American continent are needed to give the Honduran workers and peasants confidence!
For a Day of Struggle of the
world proletariat in support to our class brothers and sisters in Honduras!

In response to the military coup in Honduras and while the workers and the exploited masses are being repressed, murdered, and jailed, the various reformists, fake Trotskyists, syndicalists, anarchists grasp at the coat-tails of the democratic front, and raise a criminal and treacherous pacifist policy, which leaves the masses armed only with sticks and stones, facing the murderous Honduran army, armed with tanks, airplanes and machineguns provided by the US military.

Not one of these
misleaders demand: Weapons for the workers and the exploited in Honduras so they can smash the coup in the streets!

On the contrary, we revolutionaries call for all the worker’s organizations in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Venezuela, El Salvador, Cuba, and the entire continent to mobilize immediately and arm international worker brigades to go to Honduras fight and smash the coup.

This is the front line of the Obama
counter-revolution we must revive the heroic traditions of the international brigades in Spain and adopt as our own their battle cry:
No Passaran!

In the ’80s, Reagan had no problem arming the Contras from Honduras to smash revolution in Nicaragua and Salvador. We claim the same right for the working class! The Nicaraguan and Salvadoran workers that had their parents, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts massacred by the Contras, have the right and authority to act to stop the fascistic coup in its tracks, and to appeal to the whole Latin American working class to build international worker brigades in Nicaragua and Salvador to smash the coup in Honduras.

DEFEAT OF HONDURAN WORKERS IS A DEFEAT FOR ALL WORKERS

10)
The coup in Honduras poses immediate international tasks for the North American proletariat. Like in Afghanistan and Iraq, each counterrevolutionary attack by US imperialism against the exploited peoples of the world, has reinforced its power and has led to further attacks against the standard of living of the North American working class itself.

It is necessary to clearly denounce, in front of the North American proletariat and its combative vanguard, the “Republicrats” regime and Obama's administration, that fact that it is responsible for the coup in Honduras, counter-posing the democratic front to prevent the Honduran workers and exploited masses from smashing the coup in the streets with the revolutionary general strike, and forming armed workers, poor peasants and soldiers committees.

It is a central task of internationalist Trotskyists to denounce the two policies of the US imperialism –‘Democratic façade/front’ and fascistic reaction - in front of the North American working class, exposing the reformist left and in particular the renegades of Trotskyism that use the democratic front to limit workers actions to putting pressure on Obama.

The North American working
class must stand up once more, supporting its workers and poor peasant brothers of Honduras!
They
must raise a March of a Million Workers against the war, call on the Dock workers of Oakland and the ILWU, and other fighting organizations of the North American working class to rise up, break with the government of Obama and the Democratic Party, and join the fight to smash the pro-imperialist coup in the streets by the Honduran masses!

Down with the coup in Honduras driven by the “Republicrat” regime and the US military base of SouthCom!
Obama hands off
Honduras!
Down with the pact prepared
by Obama, the UNO and the OAS, between Zelaya and Micheletti!
Go into
the streets supporting the Honduran workers and exploited masses!
Call for
strikes, boycotts and mobilizations to stop all delivery of arms, supplies or troops to the US military base in Honduras and to the coup regime!
Internationalist workers
send arms to the Honduran masses to smash the coup! The Dock workers of Oakland and other combative workers in the United States should call for setting up international brigades to go into Honduras and smash the pro-US coup!
If the US
imperialists can go forward with the coup in Honduras, they will be closer to finishing, along with the Castroist bureaucracy, capitalist restoration in Cuba: The North American workers cannot allow that!

The struggle to defeat of the coup in Honduras with the methods of the working class is inseparable from the struggle for the military defeat of the US imperialist troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and for the victory of the mass resistance in those nations!
It is no different from
the struggle for the defense of millions of immigrant workers –mostly Latin American - living under slave-like conditions in the United States, who are having their families destroyed by deportations, or locked up in the jails of the “Republicrat” regime.
For the military defeat of
the US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq!
Freedom for the anti-imperialist
prisoners of Guantanamo!
Immediate
and unconditional liberation of Mumia Abu Jamal and the thousands of
immigrant workers imprisoned by the “Republicrat” regime!
Punishment for the BART police, killers of Oscar Grant, the young black worker and father, in Oakland!

Down with the chauvinist trade union bureaucracy of the AFL-CIO, servant of its own imperialist bourgeoisie and its reactionary cry of “American jobs for the Americans”!
Immediate North
American citizenship, economic, political and social rights and equal wage for equal work for all immigrants in the US!
Down with the NAFTA,
CAFTA, and TLC that submit the Latin American nations to the US imperialism and enslave the Mexican, Honduran, etc. workers in maquilas!

In
the plants and maquilas of the US multinationals in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, we demand equal wages in dollars and the same working conditions as in the plants owned by the same multinationals in the United States!
The leaders of the Conlutas and
the ELAC show their submission to imperialism by failing to call for a General Strike in Latin America in defence of the people of Honduras and against the imperialist coup.

The North American working class must break with the Democratic Party and Obama, defeat the bureaucracy of the AFLCIO and raise the demand of their class brothers and sisters of the semi-colonies oppressed by US imperialism, call for the defeat of US troops occupying other nations, and defend the rights of the super-exploited immigrant workers in the United States, before it can unite to fight the attacks against its democratic gains, its wages, benefits and social safety net. Only in this way can it mount a counteroffensive to force the the capitalists, the parasites of the super-banks and of Wall Street, to pay the costs of their crisis.

The International Leninist Trotskyist Fraction [FLTI] calls for a regrouping of
revolutionaries along the lines of a new Kienthal/Zimmerwald to co-ordinate the
defence against the imperialist attacks on the world working class and to prepare a global counter-offensive.

www.humanistsforrevolutionarysocilaism.org humrevsoc@inbox.com
fltinternational@ymail.com
democraciaobrera2003@yahoo.com.ar
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