This AWTWNS news packet for the week of 27 June 2016 contains two articles. They may be reproduced or used in any way, in whole or in part, as long as they are credited.
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- UK Brexit: Reaction rebranded as the “will of the people”
- Mexico: “From Ayotzinapa to the ‘Porkys’: The crimes of a depraved state in the service of an oppressive system – Fight the power and prepare for revolution!”
UK Brexit: Reaction rebranded as the “will of the people”
27 June 2016. A World to Win News Service. By Robert Borba. On 23 June, a referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union resulted in a victory for Leave. Within hours, Tory Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the referendum and led the campaign to stay in the EU in opposition to a large chunk of his own party, announced his resignation. Within days an internal challenge was mounted to Labour Party head Jeremy Corbyn, who also supported the Remain campaign. As one veteran BBC news presenter remarked, Britain’s two main governing parties have alternately experienced meltdowns in the face of electoral defeat, but never before at the same time. The disarray in Westminster is unprecedented. And the shock waves are spreading, hitting the European Union and beyond.
The vote in this referendum is being widely hailed in the UK media as a victory of “the people versus the establishment”. The leaders of the Leave campaign triumphantly proclaimed, “We have got our country back”. Britain’s largest circulating newspaper, The Sun, splashed “Independence Day” across its front page. Pundits proclaimed that Britain is “once again an independent, self-governing democracy”, all thanks to “the people’s verdict” – “The people have spoken”.
Actually, the people have been deceived, manipulated and deeply degraded by both sides. A bad wind is rising, an unleashing of undisguised backwardness, as it is in the “advanced” imperialist countries in general. Already people – especially women and girls – suspected of being insufficiently English are being harassed and sometimes worse in public spaces. This is hardly new but it is now reaching new depths as bullies apparently feel that the referendum has ratified their birthright as self-identified “white” men – who gets to be considered “white” in the UK is a contested question – to take out their resentment at the way they have been treated on those they consider inferior. This is what the promised “sovereignty” looks like on the street.
While the referendum arose from very real disagreements among the country’s rulers about how to deal with changes in the UK’s position in the world and the world itself, and intense political rivalries, the way the campaign was waged from the start by both sides made it a means of engaging millions who have become increasingly alienated and angry at the status quo and bringing them back into the political processes that have long served to legitimate capitalist rule.
It is the workings of the global imperialist system itself that have been driving profound changes in Britain – the hollowing out the industrial economy that offered relative stability for many years; the undermining of the situation of millions in the middle strata; changes in women’s position and in the country’s ethnic composition; the deterioration of public services – all of this has created a great sense of unease and alienation. The values and traditions most people live by – the ideological glue that has held Britain’s capitalist society together – have been brought smack up against a changing material reality. The Leave campaign offered people a simple solution: leave the European Union, stop immigration and go back to the glory days of the British Empire.
The Leave campaign tapped deep reservoirs of nostalgia for a return to some kind of Agatha Christie-like Middle England, a time when “a man’s home was his castle”, when “people of color knew their place”, and women of all classes were supposed to serve their husbands, whether they were middle class “homemakers” or worked in factories. Those values are fully on display in The Sun, where women are always either princesses or body parts, while the pages of more sophisticated media like The Independent reveal both an uneasiness with these relations and a profound inability to get beyond them. An era when the most naked racism was considered socially acceptable, a justification for the fact that hundreds of millions of people around the world suffered under Britain’s colonial yoke.
In fact, the basis for whatever stability and petty privileges enjoyed outside of elite circles was and still is Britain’s place among the handful of imperialist nations where the world’s wealth is concentrated. Representatives of a class of exploiters who have miseducated, mistreated and misused millions of ordinary masses here for generations are now harnessing their anger and bitterness in an effort to turn them into little storm-troopers against immigrants who in fact are working the worst-paying, dirtiest most menial jobs.
Let’s consider this claim that the Leave campaign represented the “people against the establishment”. Or as the Daily Mail, which lives and breathes “Britain first” chauvinism of the worst order, from its support for fascism in the 1930s through to its support for apartheid in South Africa, trumpeted on its Sunday front page, “It was the day the quiet people of Britain rose up against an arrogant political class and a contemptuous Brussels elite”.
It is true that the campaign was marked by fury and bitterness directed at “arrogant politicians” and “elite forces” who are indeed “contemptuous” of the hardships and sufferings of ordinary people. But what was the content of the campaign? What was shaping and directing all this anger and alienation? Against whom and for what end?
Leave hammered at the theme that the Remain forces didn’t really believe in the British people – “They don’t think the British people can go it alone”, “They don’t think we’re good enough”. Nigel Farage, head of the UK Independence Party and a major Leave campaigner, ranted that immigrants were “stealing British jobs” and “swamping our public services”. But how was this answered by Remain leader Cameron, whose government has brought about almost seven years of austerity budgets, deteriorating social services and deepening inequality, not to mention ongoing wars for empire in the Middle East? By framing the issue in terms of whether immigrants made a net contribution or were a net drain on the British economy. In other words, within the very same framework as Leave, teaching people to look at their fellow human beings, immigrants, solely on the basis of “what’s in it for us Brits”. When the terms of debate are focused so tightly on chauvinist terrain, then why go for the watered-down patriotism of Cameron and Remain? Why not go instead with the undiluted chauvinist calls of Leave and its virulent racist leaders like Farage?
This was not some people’s uprising from below – far from it. Boris Johnson, the Tory leader who served two mandates as mayor of London, is now the leading candidate to become the next prime minister. Almost half the ruling Tory Party Members of Parliament (MPs), including senior leaders and cabinet ministers, campaigned to Leave. UKIP, which promotes “free enterprise” and privatisation and has support from major business figures, won the largest share of the vote in the 2009 European Parliamentary elections, ahead of both Labour and the Tories. The Guardian reported that the newspapers supporting Leave have four times the circulation of those supporting Remain. And what role do these mouthpieces of powerful reactionary capitalists like the billionaire Rupert Murdoch serve, other than to shape and mould public opinion in the service of the capitalist system?
The referendum was also highly revealing about the character of the Labour Party and its new, supposedly radical leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Labour’s arguments for remaining in the EU focused on two points: first, that we need to “cooperate with our neighbours” to face urgent problems like the environmental crisis that are increasingly global in scope; and second, that the EU offers protection of workers’ rights against the Tory government. The first of these arguments ran straight up against the harsh reality that these European “neighbours” in fact form an equally reactionary and predatory imperialist bloc, which has been sharply exposed by recent events, including most recently by erecting borders against millions of desperate migrants fleeing the wars and chaos brought on to no small extent by the big European powers themselves. And as for the second argument, here too Labour framed its arguments exclusively in terms of “what’s in it for us Brits”, now in the form of “us British workers”. Again, putting the argument in these terms meant arguing with aggressive patriots over who’s most patriotic – an argument that the “Britain first” Leave campaigners were ultimately to win.
Leave promised that Britain freed of the shackles of the Brussels bureaucracy will experience unprecedented prosperity. At the core of Leave’s promises of a better life outside the EU is targeting immigrants as a source of every woe facing people. But it is the workings of the capitalist system and a state that reflects and reinforces that which is responsible for all this suffering, not immigrants. And will Britain being outside the EU change any of that? No. All that has changed is that the reactionary “my country first” nationalism that has been rising in Britain and throughout the imperialist countries has been given new vigour. Now that Leave has won, they will be expected to deliver on their promises – while all they’ll actually be able to deliver is more of the same. And then where will all the anger and frustration be at that turn?
The powerful forces unleashed by the global imperialist system are undermining the stability and order of generations of capitalist rule in Britain and more broadly in unprecedented ways. The same upsurge that has carried Britain outside the EU may well carry Scotland out of the United Kingdom, and could even trigger the unravelling of the European Union itself. The same forces that have given impetus to the reactionary jingoism that has been enshrined by this referendum open up a radically different potential.
As the traditional political parties are thrown into chaos, as the status quo loses its hold on people and millions grow increasingly frustrated and angry at the workings of bourgeois democracy, there are unprecedented possibilities for bringing out the need for a radical solution to all this: the revolutionary overthrow of the existing order and the establishment of a new revolutionary state that could mobilise people to begin to solve the problems facing humanity and overcome the divisions and inequalities ravaging humanity. In this light, the online petition seeking a new referendum signed by over 3 million people in a few days misses the point – what is needed is not more better voting, but overthrowing the structures of domination that invariably render elections a tool of a reactionary elite.
(For more on why this is happening now, see “Brexit shocks the system” at revcom.us).
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Mexico: “From Ayotzinapa to the ‘Porkys’: The crimes of a depraved state in the service of an oppressive system – Fight the power and prepare for revolution!”
27 June 2016. A World to Win News Service. The following is by Aurora Roja, voice of the Revolutionary Communist Organization (OCR), Mexico. (aurora-roja.blogspot.com)
Ayotzinapa, Tlatlaya, the cover-up of the “Porkys” case and so many other crimes have been carried out by a State that is the executioner of the people it claims to represent. They kill, rape, disappear and unjustly imprison people, all the while bragging about their “democracy” and “state of law”. They do it to spread fear, especially among the rebellious and those at the bottom of society, to protect a system based on the making of scandalous profits for a handful by exploiting and oppressing the vast majority of people.
The good news is that we can get rid of that system. We can and must carry out a real revolution that overthrows this system, defeats and dismantles this State, and creates a new and much better society, a society that will put an end to all the horrors we are living through, and that will unite with the oppressed in the rest of the world for the final emancipation of humanity.
This system’s crimes are monstrous.
The federal government, along with the state and municipal governments, were direct participants in a joint operation to murder and disappear the Ayotzinapa teachers’ college students and later to cover up these terrible crimes.
This is the only conclusion that can be drawn from the evidence presented in the reports of the Intergovernmental Group of Independent Experts. Soldiers and police of all three of these levels of government were tracking the students since the day before they were killed by means of a joint command and control system known as C-4. All of these repressive bodies were in the streets of Iguala the night these crimes were committed. All took part in an operation to keep the students from leaving the area. The army took control of the C-4, including the surveillance cameras, during the critical hours, and later deleted the videos of these crimes. The Navy and the Attorney General’s Office later tortured people to back up the lie that organized crime had killed the 43 students and burned their bodies at the Cocula rubbish tip. Everything indicates that the federal government also planted “evidence” to support this lie, the 42 bullet casings found in the heap, and a bone identified as belonging to the disappeared student Alex Mora Venancio found in the San Juan river a day after a visit there by Tomas Zeron, head of the Federal Investigation Agenc. This visit was recorded by independent reporters but unmentioned in the official report. If the federal government planted the bone from Alex’s body, then obviously it was directly involved and its hands are totally covered in blood. The federal government was directly implicated in these crimes which it now claims to be “investigating” while in reality covering up for and protecting the material and intellectual authorities in the army and the state and federal government. That’s why we say, From Iguala [where the students were murdered] to Los Pinos [the Mexican president’s residence], jail the murderers! The whole damn system is guilty!
So far there has been impunity for the cold-blooded massacre of people detained by the army in Tlatlaya, following orders from the upper ranks to “wipe out criminals in the night”. The officers were never touched, and the seven soldiers following orders were freed despite the courageous testimony of witnesses who had been tortured by the police to keep the truth from coming out, and even the evidence presented by the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) regarding what it called the “execution” of “at least 12 to 15 people” in June 2014. This was no isolated incident. Many more people were killed in Tanhuato and Apatzingan in 2015. No one knows how many people have been murdered or disappeared by the Army, Navy and Federal Police.
Torture is a routine procedure for the Army and police at all levels. A video posted to social media on 13 April 2016 showed two soldiers and a federal cop in Guerrero smothering a woman for four minutes, holding her head in a plastic bag while she was handcuffed and lying on the ground. The video caused so much uproar that they had to issue a cynical apology, but the woman is still in prison based on her “confession” under torture. Last year, when UN Special Reporter on torture Juan Méndez declared that torture has become “generalized” in Mexico, the federal government denied it, and tried to discredit him and keep him from coming back to Mexico.
The state has committed and covered up thousands of disappearances throughout the country. In many cases it is the “forces of order” themselves that commit these crimes, like the Army in the Juarez Valley and the Navy in Nuevo Leon. In other cases people are disappeared by organized crime, but the authorities work hand in hand with them to cover up these crimes and even threaten and repress the victims’ families when they demand justice. In Tetelcingo, Morelos, mass protests brought to light two secret mass graves where 150 people who had been murdered were clandestinely buried by the state prosecutor’s office.
The government protects woman-killers and rapists like “the Porkys” in Veracruz. In the face of tens of thousands of cases of “femicide” and rape all over the country, the government combines cynical declarations with actions meant to guarantee the impunity of the woman-haters and criminalize the victims, like the case of Yakiri, a woman indicted for having defended herself from an attempted rape and murder, and Daphne, a 17-year-old in Veracruz raped by “the Porkys”, four sons of rich and influential fathers protected by the state for more than a year until popular outrage finally forced the government to issue arrest orders for them, but only one has been indicted. In response to these and many other crimes, people marched in 25 cities in Mexico on to protest “macho” [male supremacist] violence on 24 April, giving voice to a new spirit of resistance among women, especially young women.
The State is unleashing a wave of repression to silence people’s protests. It represses teachers struggling against the reactionary counter-“reform” of the educational system. [Six teachers were shot dead during protests against the new educational measures in Oaxaca on 19 June. See 20 June posting on aurora-roja.blogspot.com, in Spanish only.] It has jailed hundreds of political prisoners, while activists, journalists and human rights defenders are murdered for having opposed the crimes of this system.
All these crimes follow a logic, the logic of a State that exists to defend the interests of the predominantly capitalist system against the vast majority of people who are exploited and oppressed by this system. This State is utterly corrupt, it’s true, but the problem is one far more deeply rooted than corruption, or even a “narco state” or “failed state”, as some people think. The underlying cause of the brutal violence against the people by the police, military and other repressive institutions is the system whose functioning they defend and maintain.
This is a system marked by enormous inequalities and injustices, based on the exploitation and oppression of the vast majority of people by a small capitalist class under the domination of the imperialist-capitalists in the global system. The system works to meet the needs of these classes and capital itself in competition with other capitals to extract greater profits and continue expanding as they dispossess people and drive them off their land and devastate the environment, condemning the majority to grinding poverty and an exhausting struggle to survive, forcing the other classes in society to go along or simply submit. This system can’t satisfy the needs of the great majority of people; it can’t eliminate patriarchy and the oppression of women; the oppression, discrimination and robbery suffered by indigenous peoples; the lack of any future for the youth; or the poverty of a large part of the people. It can’t even get rid of the scourge of organized crime, a high-yield death machine that flourishes under imperialist capitalism, boosting the incomes of banks, shopping centres and all kinds of legal “investments” profits paid for by the stolen lives of our youth and the overall degradation of society.
The State apparatus exists to maintain this system and prevent or suppress any obstacles or threats to its functioning. That is why it carries out unjust and often arbitrary violence, to intimidate, demoralize and terrorize the vast majority, to prevent or put down resistance and rebellion, and try to rob people of their hope for a better world.
We will no longer tolerate these great injustices. We will struggle to put an end to them, not just lessen them slightly. And we will forge the leadership, consciousness and organization needed to make revolution.
The attacks on the people are growing because the system’s contradictions are getting sharper. The same contradictions that lead to greater attacks on people also provide the basis for a revolution to put an end to this system and launch a new stage of communist revolution in the world. This revolution is not an “illusory dream”. It is a liberating change that we can bring about through the difficult and persistent struggle of millions of people guided by the scientific method of the new synthesis developed by Bob Avakian. We call on all those who want to work for this revolution right now to get organized in the Revolutionary People’s Movement to study and apply this new synthesis of communism and advance toward revolution.
We also call upon all those who oppose, from many different points of view, the crimes committed or covered up by this state to unite against this war on the people by joining the “Stop the War on the People” National Resistance Network and the End Patriarchy and the War against Women initiative, struggling together to expose this criminal State and strengthen the resistance and struggle to put an end to these horrors.
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