Monday, March 30, 2020

US Naval Expeditionary Forces a new feature of rivalry with China

Written by: (Contributed) on 30 March 2020

Moves by the US Marines Corps to establish Naval Expeditionary Units (NEUs) in the Pacific against China, have revealed military planning for real war scenarios. The ten-year military plan, which was unveiled in mid-March, is aimed at creating guerrilla-style operational groups for rapid deployment to strategic areas of the region.

The new US military plan has drawn upon earlier regional initiatives.

It is a policy Australia should refrain from joining as there is a great likelihood of being drawn into military hostilities, with little control over the initial planning.

A recent announcement from General David Berger, the US commander of the Marine Corps that the military were planning Naval Expeditionary Units (NEUs) for rapid deployment hostilities in the Pacific region can best be seen as a further step toward eventual real war scenarios. The NEUs have been planned for rapid movement between small strategically-placed landmasses every 48-72 hours, being moved by remotely piloted amphibious naval vessels. (1)

The announcement has followed concerns from the US military that their traditional bases were targeted by China's recent weapons and missile program. The Pentagon fears their command centres will be rendered non-operational following an attack and their main military GPS satellite system jammed. (2) They have therefore revamped their military planning to include operations under the direct line of missile fire with rapid access and egress onto small islands to avoid detection, more in keeping with classic guerrilla-style operations.

The announcement also coincided with a US military media release that it was planning to deploy miniature nuclear generators which 'could power a remote base'. (3) While the generators were planned for use as standby facilities should regular power grids be cut off, the so-called Pele project was also described as a 'safe, small, mobile nuclear reactor (which) would enable units to carry a nearly endless clean power supply, enabling expansion and sustainment of operations for extended periods of time anywhere on the planet'. (4)

The position adopted by the US has been the outcome of acknowledgement that the balance of forces is swinging heavily against the Pentagon. The rise of China as a serious social-imperialist competitor has been both significant and much faster than the US expected. Traditional war-games including Pacific Surprise and Ghost Fleet have focussed on the concern that 'the Marine Corps will not be in a position to be relevant in a clash with a peer competitor'; hence General Berger's new military plan 'to configure the corps to focus on the China threat'. (5)

The main aim of the NEUs will be to target China's navy before it manages to enter the main Pacific Ocean and follows the so-called Island Chain Theory (ICT), a largely discredited military plan from the previous Cold War. The military planning will draw heavily upon the extensive use of drones and other intelligence-gathering facilities. 'Targeting data' has been included in the military planning for transmission 'to air force and naval units further away, which would fire longer-range missiles'. (6)

The Pacific region is dotted with a large number of strategically-placed small islands, some of which are not inhabited. Others have become temporary home to fisher-folk. Historically the small islands have marked vital shipping-lanes and the ability of seafarers to gauge tidal movements and water depth. In recent times, however, serious diplomatic rifts have taken place following various US allies grabbing control of the islands for seemingly ulterior motives.

Several years ago, for example, the Japanese government quite unexpectedly announced the nationalisation of about 280 islands of a total of about 400 remote islands which served as markers for determining Japanese territorial waters. (7) The government in Tokyo was not even able to initially identify the owners of the islands, although it nationalised them on the basis they were 'important national territories'. (8)

Less than a week after the government announcement in Tokyo about the nationalisation of the islands, the country's education ministry issued plans to 'stipulate in teaching manuals that the disputed Senkaku Islands and Takeshima islets are our inherent territories'. (9) The educational ministry had taken on an overtly nationalistic political line; the two landmasses concerned are also regarded by Beijing as part of China's national sovereignty.

The developments form part of US-led military planning to use Japan as a northern regional hub for 'US interests', which have included the country attempting to negate its post-war pacifist constitution. Australia, likewise, has been developed by the same military planning as a southern hub, with extensive facilities for US troop rotations and joint training facilities.

The moves have coincided with similar problems on the Korean peninsula, where controversy over the sovereignty of a number of small islands dates to the unresolved outcome of the Korean War. Yeonpyeong island, for example, is situated in what the ROK and DPRK regard as contested areas of sea. A decade ago, it led to military hostilities between the two countries. Elsewhere, military planning for a naval base on Jeju Island for US-led operations with ROK counterparts, seriously backfired and resulted in an estimated 95 per cent of the inhabitants of the island opposing the US.

The recent US military planning for NEUs, however, has rested upon longer-term planning dating to the Obama period, where the presidential administration was responsible for re-opening regional facilities 'the US military either abandoned or was evicted from … decades ago'. (10) What was particularly significant about the re-opening of the regional bases was that the US showed no desire to re-occupy the massive bases of the past. The Pentagon wanted 'permission to operate from the old installations as guests, mostly on the temporary basis'. (11) 

Similar US-led military planning has also included the developments of sensitive facilities on Guam, in Micronesia, which has become a major hub for operations. It is also situated to the north of the sprawling Caroline Islands and the Ralik and Ratak groups of islands; hundreds of small landmasses, most of which remain under US sovereignty. Elsewhere, in the southern part of the Pacific, the Tuamotu Arch group of islands, many of which remain under British control, provide a strategic link into the elite Five Eyes intelligence body.

A major thrust of the renewed US diplomacy of the Obama period was directed toward concerns arising from China taking control 'of islands at the centre of a territorial dispute with Japan'. (12) The Pentagon was already planning to use the small islands as strategic locations for future hostilities with China and this saw high-level diplomatic initiatives take place between US Defence Secretary Robert Gates and his Japanese counterparts earlier in 2011. The diplomatic talks 'underscored deepening defence ties' and 'joint planning for regional contingencies … to boost their alliance'. (13)

Nowhere in the General David Berger military plan, however, has reference been given to two vital considerations: with China possessing a maritime fleet from the time of the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) which was expanded during the reign of Emperor Zhu Di in 1421, China's knowledge of oceanography is likely to be far superior to that of US-led military planners, as their maps reveal. (14) The fact China established 21 bases across the Pacific to assist with their oceanography in the fifteenth century, would tend to indicate a very sophisticated knowledge of the region. (15) Secondly, the NEUs, as they hop from one strategic vantage-point to the next, will require effective signals facilities to both receive directives and forward intelligence, such equipment being relatively easy to monitor. On both counts, China's military remain very likely to gain the upper hand.

In conclusion it might be important to draw similar examples to the recent US-led General Berger military planning for NEUs to that of former Imperial Japan, in the 1930s. Imperial Japan's military planning included stealth and the clandestine fortification of many small islands across the region as future strategic assets. Some of the military facilities, including secret stores and arms caches, were only finally de-commissioned in the 1960s. The Pentagon appears to have adopted similar designs to that of Imperial Japan.

With both Australia and Japan being ever closer to US-led regional military planning the likelihood of both countries being drawn into real war scenarios is a distinct possibility:
We need an independent foreign policy!

1.     Marines retool to meet China threat, Australian, 24 March 2020.
2.     Ibid.
3.     Pentagon plans portable mini nuke power plants, Australian, 11 March 2020.
4.     Ibid.
5.     Australian, op.cit., 24 March 2020.
6.     Ibid.
7.     Japan to nationalise 280 islands, The Age (Melbourne), 10 January 2014.
8.     Ibid.
9.     Japan puts disputed islands on school curriculum, The Age (Melbourne), 13 January 2014.
10.   US eyes return to south-east Asian bases, The Guardian Weekly (U.K.), 29 June 2012.
11.   Ibid.
12.   US signs defence deal in Asia, The Guardian Weekly (U.K.), 2 May 2014.
13.   US, Japan move closer on defence concerns, Australian, 14 January 2011.
14.   1421, The Year China discovered the world, Gavin Marshall, (London, 2002), page 113; and, Appendix One, Chinese Circumnavigation of the World 1421-3, Synopsis of Evidence, pp. 494-595.
15.   Ibid., pp. 449-451.

Friday, March 27, 2020

A bean-feast in the making: stimulus packages and the global economy

Written by: (Contributed) on 28 March 2020 

In recent weeks the United States and two key allies have announced huge stimulus packages, ostensibly to deal with the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19.

Two important factors, however, have to be considered when studying the developments.

Firstly, the economies of the advanced, industrial countries have been in serious longer-term decline, since well before the recent coronavirus pandemic.

Secondly, the US government and its allies were preparing measures through international financial institutions to artificially prop-up and stabilise their economies. Nevertheless, they continually refused to consider implementation of the measures.
From the earliest days of last year warnings about the declining state of the global economy fell upon the deaf ears of world leaders, despite the US and its two key allies dropping down tables of countries listed by GDP growth rates to:
                                                           US – position 103
                                                          Australia - position 110
                                                          UK – position 155. (1)
Evidence of their standpoint can be found from publications issued by the international financial institutions they control. It was announced in January, 2019 that 'the world is at risk of a sharp downturn' by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which stated growth had slumped from:
                                                          3.7 per cent - 2018
                                                          3.5 per cent – 2019. (2)
The same report also stated that the 'global expansion is weakening and at a rate that is somewhat faster than expected'. (3)
A World Bank report, furthermore, issued a similar warning the same month to that of the IMF, saying 'global growth is expected to lose momentum this year'. (4)
The trends of declining global growth rates have to also be viewed in the context of longer-term developments, which can be easily verified:
                                                        1961 – 4.32 per cent
                                                        2018 - 3.03 per cent (5)
The economic decline was not, however, even, being all the more dramatic in the advanced, industrial countries which had hidden behind the growth rates of other countries in South Asia where they averaged 6.77 per cent and East Asia and Pacific regions which recorded an average of 4.21 per cent. These figures reveal the real state of growth in the advanced capitalist economies compared to world growth:
                                                          2017     2018     2019     2020
                   World                              3.8        3.6        3.2        3.5 (projected)
                   Advanced Economies     2.4        2.2        1.9        1.7 (projected) (6)          
Economic studies of Australia, historically a relatively strong economy, likewise established that the economy had been seriously under-performing. During the period July 2017 to January 2020, while the annual general trend was an average decline of 0.85 per cent, the economy had actually further dropped from 0.6 per cent to 0.5 per cent. (7)
The reports, nevertheless, fell upon deaf ears. Despite their rapidly declining economic positions, the US, Australia and the UK have remained important financial hubs for the global economy. The interests of those who hold class and state power have been well served and able to accumulate even greater wealth as they have flung capital to the four corners of the globe in search of ever higher returns for shareholders and speculators. The fact many of those whom they exploit reside in the developing world, where social safety-nets provide little assistance and support is not a matter for concern. The squalor for which they are responsible is almost beyond belief; but as those concerned cannot see it from the luxurious balconies and patios of their places of residence, it does not cause much concern.
Vast disparities of wealth accumulation between countries has been accompanied by similar divisions within countries.
The Credit Suisse 2019 report, for example, stated while global wealth had grown by 2.6 per cent during the year, it was not, however, equally distributed. Common-sense considerations include those of any Australian worker and their counterparts elsewhere who have long become accustomed to declining living standards and economic sacrifice. Most Australian workers have not seen a wage increase of 2.6 per cent in many years. A major feat for their trade-unions has been to merely safeguard existing terms and conditions of employment with successive rounds of Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBAs) in the face of  the increased powers of the corporate sector and compliant government departments which seek to maximise profit. Days of wage increases above and beyond questionable government defined cost-of-living thresholds appear confined to the annals of history.
The recent period has been marked by huge accumulation of wealth, at the expense of the poor.
The Credit Suisse report actually found the lower half of all global wealth owners accounted for less than one per cent of global wealth; the richest ten per cent, by contrast, owned 82 per cent of wealth, the top one per cent owned 45 per cent. (8)
All that glitters, however, is not gold.
It has also been known within the closed circles of decision-makers in international financial institutions such economic systems and their relations with those who they exploit are unsustainable. They cannot last forever. The corporate sector, for example, has also required stability in order to plan financial outlay, and recent developments have shown concern for political instability. 
For some years international financial institutions have, therefore, been formulating massive economic rescue packages to prop-up and stabilise major western economies. (9) Even as late as last year, however, the US, Australian and UK governments refused to accept the need for economic stimulus packages. Suddenly, however, in the face of the coronavirus the three governments have clamoured to implement huge packages:
                                                          US – US$2.2 trillion
                                                          Australia – A 189 billion
                                                          UK – Euros 360 billion.
The so-called coronavirus rescue packages have also been topped up by local secondary subsidies which include the Steven Marshall Liberal government in South Australia adding a further A$650 million through a Jobs Rescue Package. The state government in NSW, likewise, added a further A$2.3 billion local package to safeguard jobs in Sydney. (10) Details and specifications of both state initiatives have not been particularly forthcoming.
Elsewhere, however, it has been interesting to note how the British government prioritised allocations of their rescue packages to provide US$7 billion for self-employed and business 'vulnerable people' while only US$500 million, one-fourteenth of the former, has been allocated for 'the welfare state and a hardship fund for local authorities'. (11)
The US, Australia and the UK have also, in reality, shut down, with little hope of re-opening until toward the end of the year or even 2021, with serious curtailment of basic civil liberties for ordinary people. In Australia, government statements have announced closure of state borders and further threats of possible containment of whole areas. People have been advised to stay at home, while social gatherings subject to limitation of small numbers of people. Those in control of class and state power have assumed almost absolute control, with the Australian Defence Forces and the Reserves placed on standby for rapid intervention into civil affairs if, and when, required.
Following announcements of rescue packages by governments, as if co-ordinated by invisible hands from elsewhere, the Trump administration issued a media release stating the 2020 G7 summit at Camp David would be cancelled due to fears of the coronavirus and would only take place by video-conference. (12) 
Less than a week later, however, the White House issued a further media statement stating 'we have to go back to work, much sooner than people thought', and that the country must be 'opened up and just raring to go by Easter'. (13) The health considerations of ordinary US working class people appear to not have been a priority matter for the Trump administration; it was, nevertheless, something which 'Pentagon chiefs said they expected the virus to continue to take its toll on the country for months'. (14) Once the stimulus package has been implemented, ordinary workers would appear an expendable item for Trump's America which is more interested in maintaining and increasing profits of the corporate sector than general health considerations.
The position of the Trump administration has also been accompanied with a torrid stream of abusive allegations toward China, adding to an already tense diplomatic relationship between the two world powers. The positions of the Australian and British governments have been more guarded although unlikely to be much different to the White House. Political leaders in both Canberra and London have rarely, if ever, been known to openly criticise their US counterparts.
While it would be not in keeping with serious studies of this period to point to simple conspiracies, the three governments have seized upon the recent pandemic as a matter of political expedience. We should, therefore, be on our guard about the real agendas of such questionable people:
We need an independent foreign policy and socialism!
1.     Wikipedia: List of countries by real GDP growth rate, 2018.
2.     IMF issues warning,, 22 Jaqnuary 2019.
3.     Ibid.
4.     World Bank Warning, Biz News, 9 January 2019.
5.     Macrotrends, World GDP Growth Rates, 1961-2020.
6.     Macrotrends, World GDP Growth Rates, World Economy; and, Table One, Overview, World Economic Outlook, IMF, July 2019.
7.     Australia GDP Growth Rate, 1959-2019, Trading Economics.
8.     Editorial, Wealth Report, 2019, Credit Suisse.
9.     The contributor, in discussion with management of the company he is employed by, and a well-placed US source.
10.   Billions added to jobs-save actions, Australian, 27 March 2020.
11.   UK stimulus package, The Business Insider – Australia, 12 March 2020. 
12.   Trump fires back, The Weekend Australian, 21-22 March 2020.
13.   Trump urges everyone back to work, Australian, 26 March 2020.
14.   Ibid.

ICOR resolution: Statement on the racist attacks in Germany

Written by: ICOR on 28 March 2020 

On 20 February 2020, a racist and fascist killer murdered nine people and wounded several dozen others in Hanau. We remind of Ferhat Unvar, Mercedes Kierpacz, Hamza Kurtović, Fatih Saraçoğlu, Vili Viorel Paun, Sedat Gürbüz, Said Hashemi, Gökhan Gültekin, Kalojan Velkow. We express our deepest sympathy to all relatives and friends of the murdered victims and the surviving victims of the attack. He hit two shisha bars before killing himself.

In Halle on 9 October a fascist committed an anti-semitic, racist assault on the synagogue as well as on a snack bar. He murdered two and injured several persons.

In June 2019, the conservative District President of Hesse of the CDU was executed with a shot in the head. The main defendant was active in nazi networks and in cooperation with the NPD (Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands), a German neo-Nazi party.

In the same period of time, a short-lived election victory of an FDP candidate for Minister President occurred because of an agreement between the FDP (liberals) - CDU (conservatives) - AfD (fascist). This agreement in Thuringia - designed to drive out Die Linke, the left-wing reformist party - was quickly denounced as the handshake of shame. But it set a precedent: agreements on a government level are now conceivable.(1) As a result of immediate demonstrations by tens of thousands of people, the bourgeois parties have had to give up breaking this taboo for the time being.
These situations reveal both the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary attempted breakthrough of the extreme right. It goes hand in hand with a legitimization of its discourse. It is not specific to Germany, but it is worrying that it also expresses itself in this country. This is both because of the history of German imperialism, the dictatorship of fascism, the genocide of the European Jews, Roma and Sinti, the instigation of two murderous world wars, the war of extermination against the Soviet Union and because of the immense weight that this state represents in the European Union.

This situation is common to all states and reflects a strong trend. A trend fueled by the deterioration of the economic situation, by the greed of the bourgeoisie. This degradation invariably translates itself politically. A progressive destruction of democratic rights, the fascistization of the state apparatus, ... in short, the pressure is mounting. The constant struggle against progressive revolutionary ideas means that political expressions of this anger can turn to the most violent reaction. The bourgeoisie rejoices in this.

The racist and toxic climate has been adorned with a democratic and legal façade by officially confining itself to criticism of Islam and its reactionary tendencies but by doing so fueling anti-Islamic slander. The words of the German Interior Minister are still present: "Migration is the mother of all problems!" These are the real racist, and basically fascist roots of the problem. This is its primary foundation, its primary nature. The heart of fascism is the völkische (ethno-nationalist) extermination strategy towards all “non-Blood Germans”, the oppression of the revolutionary workers' movement, the hatred of socialism and openly aggressive anti-communism. In the face of this, the bourgeois parties defend the idea that it would be a "terrible hatred", a “lone madman”, racism at most. This is to seriously talk down and whitewash the scope of fascist terror.

Often these assassins are presented as operating alone, as lone wolves. But behind that there are racist-fascist networks operating internationally and nationally. The logistic support, the dissemination of their calls for murder and systematic hate speeches is carried by fascist currents and underground organizations, also on the Internet. This shared responsibility is on several levels:

• A moral complicity of reactionary agitators.
• A practical complicity, on the part of the state apparatus. Neo-Nazi or fascist networks benefit from tolerance on the part of the police, the intelligence services or the judiciary. The NSU scandal in 2011 revealed a deep intertwining of Nazi murderers with parts of the German secret service and parts of the German state.
• A media silence, but also a continuous highlighting and presence of the AfD in all televised debates, in which formulations evading the political character of the crime are used.
• Strategic support: the German finance capital regards the existence of these groups and the influence of their ideology as a counter-insurance in case the democratic interfaces fail. The protofascist or in parts fascist AfD and the increasing fascistization are an option of the imperialist state of the Federal Republic of Germany. If crises are intensifying, if class struggles are developing broadly, if the contradictions of big powers are developing to imperialist wars, then those in rule will want to resort to this form of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, to install fascism in power.

We condemn these attacks, and we also condemn the direct and indirect accomplices to them.

The only ones who really, fundamentally defend the interests of the people, the interests of the exploited and the oppressed, are those who fight against the imperialist and capitalist system, against fascism and reaction.

Our thoughts are with the victims of these horrible attacks. These attacks are all the more horrible because the relatives of the victims and the survivors rarely get justice. Let us give them a voice.

The ICOR welcomes the series of mass demonstrations which have been taking place daily in many German cities since the Hanau attacks. Tens of thousands of people are not only demonstrating, but also talking in the neighborhood, at the workplace and in the family. The bourgeois parties have realized that their way of doing things is not working at the moment and hypocritically paint themselves as fighters against racism!  The determined fight against the right-wing development of the governments and the fascist tendency must be continued seriously and much more strongly in order to stop them and open up a proletarian and revolutionary perspective for socialism.

(1) In France, in 1998, a similar situation occurred: Charles Millon, UDF deputy (center) was elected in a contested manner with the votes of the extreme right. The situation triggered an outcry at the time. Today, it is no longer a problem.

Signatories (as of 23 March 2020, further signatories possible):

1. ORC   Organisation Révolutionnaire du Congo (Revolutionary Organization of Congo), Democratic Republic of the Congo
2. MMLPL   Moroccan Marxist-Leninist Proletarian Line
3. CPSA (ML)   Communist Party of South Africa (Marxist-Leninist)
4. PPDS   Parti Patriotique Démocratique Socialiste (Patriotic Democratic Socialist Party), Tunisia
5. CPI (ML) Red Star   Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Red Star
6. Ranjbaran   Hezb-e Ranjbaran-e Iran (Proletarian Party of Iran)
7. NCP (Mashal)   Nepal Communist Party (Mashal)
8. БКП   Българска Комунистическа Партия (Bulgarian Communist Party)
9. PR-ByH   Partija Rada - ByH (Party of Labor - Bosnia and Herzegovina), Bosnia and Herzegovina
10. MLPD   Marxistisch-Leninistische Partei Deutschlands (Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany)
11. UCLyon   Unité Communiste Lyon (Communist United Lyon), France
12. UPML   Union Prolétarienne Marxiste-Léniniste (Marxist-Leninist Proletarian Union), France
13. BP (NK-T)   Bolşevik Parti (Kuzey Kürdistan-Türkiye) (Bolshevik Party (North Kurdistan-Turkey))
14. KOL   Kommunistische Organisation Luxemburg (Communist Organization of Luxemburg)
15. MIKSZ   Magyar Ifjúság Közösségi Szervezete (Organisation of Hungarian Youth Community), Hungary
16. RM   Rode Morgen (Red Dawn), Netherlands
17. MLGS   Marxistisch-Leninistische Gruppe Schweiz (Marxist-Leninist Group of Switzerland)
18. KSC-CSSP   Komunisticka Strana Cheskoslovenska – Cheskoslovenska Strana Prace (Communist Party of Czechoslovakia – Czechoslovakian Workers Party), Czech Republic
19. TIKB   Türkiye İhtilalci Komünistler Birliği (Union of Revolutionary Communists of Turkey)
20. TKP-ML   Türkiye Komünist Partisi – Marksist-Leninist (Communist Party of Turkey – Marxist-Leninist)
21. KSRD   Koordinazionnyj Sowjet Rabotschewo Dvizhenija (Coordination Council of the Workers Class Movement), Ukraine
22. MLP   Marksistsko-Leninskaja Platforma (Marxist-Leninist Platform), Russia
23. PCP (independiente)   Partido Comunista Paraguayo (independiente) (Paraguayan  Communist Party (independent))
24. BDP   Bloque Democratico Popular (Popular Democratic Bloc), Peru
25. PML del Perú   Partido Marxista Leninista del Perú (Marxist-Leninist Party of Peru)
26. PC (ML)   Partido Comunista (Marxista Leninista) (Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)), Dominican Republic
27. PCR-U   Partido Comunista Revolucionario del Uruguay (Revolutionary Communist Party of Uruguay)
28. CPA (M-L)  Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)

Thursday, March 26, 2020

ICOR: Resolution on encroachment in Nepal by India

Written by: ICOR on 27 March 2020 

India issued new political map on November 2nd, 2019, putting Nepal’s land of about 372.37 square kilometer from Limpiadhura to Kalapani in its territory. Kalapani lies at the western tri-boarder point where Nepal, India and China meet. The Mahakali River originates from Limpiadhura, Kalapani. According to the 1816 Sugauli treaty (Article 5) signed between the then East India Company and Nepal, the river demarcates India and Nepal. However, India has now officially claimed the Kalapani area as its own, ignoring and disregarding the past treaty and international law.

It is this act of aggression from India that has put Nepal in great risk of losing its own precious piece of land. Following a humiliating defeat in the Sino-Indian War of 1962, Indian troops entered Kalipani of Nepal and built military outposts. Ever since India has gradually intensified its occupation, with new step creating a public outrage in Nepal. During the most recent protests, Nepalis fulminated against India’s act of legitimizing its claim on a revised national map. The new map of India, published following the occupation of Jammu and Kashmir, includes the entire area of Kalapani as a part of India’s Uttarakhanda State.

As a result, streets of Kathmandu are angry, but the leadership in Singhadurbar is still hesitant to raise the issue with India with a strong determination. Though the present government and its Prime minister have categorically said that Kalapani is Nepal’s territory and they will solve the issue with India through diplomatic channels, yet the government has failed to achieve any concrete result, except sending a diplomatic note to India. India has acknowledged the receipt of Nepal’s letter, and it has given no firm date to enter into dialogue with on Kalapani dispute.

It is to be remembered that late Indian Prime minister A. B. Vajpayee in a 1997 visit, and current Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 2014 visit, agreed to find the solution to the dispute over Kalapani through bilateral diplomatic talks, but the Indian government now maintains that its new map is accurate. So, Nepal needs to reiterate its commitment to take back the occupied land from India, mainly for defending its sovereignty.

Nepal is threatened by a comparatively superior power, India, which seems to have been encouraged to occupy Nepal’s land after its own troops marched into Kashmir despite the state being a territory of dispute between India and Pakistan. India has shown little regard to international law, and Nepal has been the victim of aggression from a superior power. In fact, Kalapani has become a textbook case of an aspiring great power militarily occupying a strategic territory of a smaller neighbor. India has occupied Nepal’s territory for the last six decades before officially including it recently in its national map.

The strategic value of occupying Kalapani for India is in large part to gain an advantage against superior rivals, China. In this context, Nepal may tactically need China’s cooperation while dealing with India’s aggression in order to exploit the contradictions. Since the 19962 War, China has surpassed India in economic and military might. For this reason, India might have occupied Kalapani to gain militarily strategic advantage against China.

Whatever India’s claims and objectives, Limpiadhura, Kalapani, is the origin of the Mahakali River, the boarder point of Nepal as per Sugauli treaty. Another reason behind India’s occupation of this area is its accessibility compared to other surrounding mountains providing an excellent location for an Indian military base. Nepal’s claim is supported by Nepal-China treaty signed on March 20, 1960. In this light, China could be positive in supporting Neplal’s claim while settling the dispute with India.

Water experts of Nepal and Britain in 1916 had publicized the fact that Kutiyangdi River flowing Limpiadhura is the Mahakali River. All maps issued from 1818 to 1856 testify that the same river is the origin of Mahakali River. In the treaty with China, same proof was forwarded to assume the river as the tri-border point. All these proofs are with Nepal, but India has distorted facts and figures, exemplifying its hegemony over Nepal. Nepal had objected to China and India when in 2015 they reached an understanding to make Lipulake as the point for exchanging trade between two countries without consulting Nepal.

Nepal has been raising its voice to take back the occupied land, and people of all sectors have given support to Nepal’s stance. However, the present government has been quite slow in pursuing the matter with an urgency. We want the government to act firmly and decisively. If India doesn’t come to the table of talk, Nepal should internationalize the issue taking it to the SAARC, UN and international forum. Maps issued before and after 1860 Sugauli Treaty are in the Library of Congress, Washington, and, British Librar, London, and in the libraries of China, India, and Russia. Now in Nepal too, some individuals have taken the copies of those maps to be given to the Nepal’s government. The fact that the river originating from Limiadhura is Kalinadi is supported also on the basis of water science. Even the census taken in 1964 also proves that the entire Kalapani is a Nepal’s land. In the 1958 election, the people of Kalapani had voted for the candidates of different parties of Nepal. The voters list of that year is still safe as a proof to support Nepal’s claim. All these proofs and documents are sufficient to give counter response to India in order to get back the land occupied by India nullifying all international norms of relations.

Signatories (as of 25 March 2020, further signatories possible):

1. ORC   Organisation Révolutionnaire du Congo (Revolutionary Organization of Congo), Democratic Republic of the Congo
2. CPK   Communist Party of Kenya, Kenya
3. MMLPL   Moroccan Marxist-Leninist Proletarian Line
4. CPSA (ML)   Communist Party of South Africa (Marxist-Leninist)
5. PPDS   Parti Patriotique Démocratique Socialiste (Patriotic Democratic Socialist Party), Tunisia
6. CPB   Communist Party of Bangladesh
7. CPI (ML) Red Star   Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Red Star
8. Ranjbaran   Hezb-e Ranjbaran-e Iran (Proletarian Party of Iran)
9. NCP (Mashal)   Nepal Communist Party (Mashal)
10. БКП   Българска Комунистическа Партия (Bulgarian Communist Party)
11. PR-ByH   Partija Rada - ByH (Party of Labor - Bosnia and Herzegovina), Bosnia and Herzegovina
12. MLPD   Marxistisch-Leninistische Partei Deutschlands (Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany)
13. UCLyon   Unité Communiste Lyon (Communist United Lyon), France
14. KOL   Kommunistische Organisation Luxemburg (Communist Organization of Luxemburg)
15. MIKSZ   Magyar Ifjúság Közösségi Szervezete (Organisation of Hungarian Youth Community), Hungary
16. RM   Rode Morgen (Red Dawn), Netherlands
17. KSC-CSSP   Komunisticka Strana Cheskoslovenska – Cheskoslovenska Strana Prace (Communist Party of Czechoslovakia – Czechoslovakian Workers Party), Czech Republic
18. TIKB   Türkiye İhtilalci Komünistler Birliği (Union of Revolutionary Communists of Turkey)
19. TKP-ML   Türkiye Komünist Partisi – Marksist-Leninist (Communist Party of Turkey – Marxist-Leninist)
20. MLKP   Marksist Leninist Komünist Parti Türkiye / Kürdistan (Marxist Leninist Communist Party Turkey / Kurdistan)
21. KSRD   Koordinazionnyj Sowjet Rabotschewo Dvizhenija (Coordination Council of the Workers Class Movement), Ukraine
22. MLP   Marksistsko-Leninskaja Platforma (Marxist-Leninist Platform), Russia
23. PCC-M   Partido Comunista de Colombia – Maoista (Communist Party of Colombia - Maoist)
24. PCP (independiente)   Partido Comunista Paraguayo (independiente) (Paraguayan  Communist Party (independent))
25. BDP   Bloque Democratico Popular (Popular Democratic Bloc), Peru
26. PC (ML)   Partido Comunista (Marxista Leninista) (Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)), Dominican Republic
27. PCR-U   Partido Comunista Revolucionario del Uruguay (Revolutionary Communist Party of Uruguay)
28. CPA/ML   Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)

Lifting a rock only to drop it on one's own feet - big business attacks on CFMEU only deepen construction workers' desire to struggle

Antonio G.

The latest political attack on the ACT branch of the CFMEU and its secretary, Jason O'Mara, is an important reminder that the Australian parliamentary system is nothing more than a covert dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.

In the latest round of attacks, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced in August that it had charged the ACT branch of the CFMEU and its secretary Jason for allegedly inducing suppliers of steelfixing and scaffolding services to enter into cartel arrangements. The charges relate specifically to a series of enterprise bargaining meetings that took place in 2012 between workers in various construction subcontracting companies, who were represented by their union, and the bosses of those same companies. During the meetings it is alleged Jason negotiated on the basis of a log of claims relating to workers' wages and entitlements that had been developed by union members across the steelfixing and scaffolding sectors.

On this account the ACCC seems to be trying to establish a legal precedent that effectively criminalises the very basis of unionism under the enterprise bargaining system, by making it illegal or very difficult for workers to develop an industry wide log of claims that can be used as a foundation for individual enterprise bargaining. (The enterprise bargaining system was developed by the ALP in the early 90's and is itself already designed to weaken workers' bargaining power by forcing workers to negotiate only within their individual company or enterprise.)

Legal and political system only serves the interests of the ruling class
 The big business ruling class will always try, through their capitalist state, to divide the working class and isolate each individual worker as much as possible within the social system of production. Sometimes they do this culturally, by, for example, peddling the reactionary ideals of racism, sexism anf bigotry among the workers; sometimes they do this through their monopoly on violence, by sending police in to break up a picket or a strike; and sometimes they do this legally or politically, by setting up commissions and judicial bodies to exercise power through legal authority within their class system. The ACCC is an example of one of those commissions, and exercises class power within the bourgeois state on behalf of the bosses.

The ACCC's attack on the CFMEU illustrates its class nature. To offer a contrast: when, for example, every second Thursday, the multinational oil companies collude to raise the price of petrol per litre in their service stations, the ACCC is silent. When, as another example, the two big supermarket giants collude to fix the price of milk or oranges in ways that bring small farmers to their knees, forcing them to sell their commodities below their value, the ACCC is silent. When, on the other hand, a workers' representative bargains on behalf of workers who have organised across an industry for higher wages and conditions, the ACCC lays cartel charges through high profile court proceedings six months out from a federal election. These inconsistencies are not surprising when we investigate the class nature of the Australian parliamentary system.

Big business enjoys an almost unlimited capacity to establish organs that exercise capitalist class domination like the ACCC and the Federal court. However, the relentless attacks on the CFMEU over the past ten years are proof that, notwithstanding all of their power and resources, the bosses face great difficulties in ensuring their domination over Australian workers. The need they have for all of their special commissions and coercive institutions, and the continued difficulties that those bodies face in ensuring the bosses' control, relate to the great irreconcilable contradiction of their economic system: that in the capitalist system, production is socialised, but the profits generated by that socialised production (labour) are privately accumulated (by big business). Working class organisation has the capacity to turn this contradiction into an opportunity to fight for a better world.

The task for communists in the face of this latest, and indeed all, political attacks on trade unionism, masquerading as shallow appeals to bourgeois legalism as the case may be, is not just to resolutely defend the democratic rights that workers and their representatives have won within the capitalist system through hundreds of years of arduous struggle, rights that act as a foundation for the capacity to develop revolutionary working class consciousness. Communists must, on top of this, seek to understand the ways that the modern contradictions of the capitalist system can be exploited and attacked to strengthen working class organisation. When the bosses and their lackeys thrash around attacking workers' organisations they provide us with good clues about where our investigations can uncover useful knowledge.

Mao Zedong once said "Lifting a rock only to drop it on one's own feet" is a Chinese folk saying to describe the behaviour of certain fools. The reactionaries in all countries are fools of this kind. In the final analysis, their persecution of the revolutionary people only serves to accelerate the people's revolutions on a broader and more intense scale.”

Only through a thorough and active investigation of these latest political attacks on the CFMEU will we be able to develop the tools we need to determine whether or not the rock, in this case, falls on the head of another workers' representative, or, alternatively, on the toes of the bosses and their ACCC. One thing is certain, the relentless attacks on the CFMEU will only deepen construction workers' desire to struggle.