South Africa: Julius Malema Exposed as Populist Demagogue

Break with the Bourgeois Tripartite Alliance!

“In our economic policies…there is not a single reference to things like nationalisation, and this is not accidental. There is not a single slogan that will connect us with any Marxist ideology.”

— Nelson Mandela

Workers Vanguard

In late February, at the tail end of a bitter, monthlong wildcat strike by mineworkers at Impala Platinum (Implats) in Rustenburg, tens of thousands waited in the blistering late-summer sun to hear Julius Malema speak. The arrival of Malema and his entourage in a convoy of BMWs and Range Rovers was greeted with cheers of “Juju! Juju! Juju!” [his nickname] from the crowd of workers and others from the impoverished Freedom Park township. One striking worker expressed the illusions many have in Malema: “This guy knows the story—he isn’t afraid to tell the truth…. I believe he will help us. Because he cares.” Malema played to the crowd’s deep-seated hatred of the bloodsucking Implats bosses, declaring, “These are our mines and we must fight until we benefit from these mines.”

But the real point of Malema’s visit to the Rustenburg mineworkers was shown by his appeal to them to submit to the leadership of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) bureaucrats who had stabbed them in the back, stay loyal to the bourgeois-nationalist African National Congress (ANC) and the ruling Tripartite Alliance, and get back to work: “Workers must be prepared to negotiate and the employer must also talk. It’s give and take, comrades—you can’t demand and do nothing.” Indeed, later that day an ANC-brokered meeting between strike leaders, NUM officials, and Implats management sealed the end of the strike without the workers’ central demands being met.

A week later, similar scenes played out at a rally in Johannesburg for the 7 March Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) general strike protesting against labour broking and the introductions of highway tolls. After the COSATU leaders conceded to the workers’ demands to hear Malema, he appeared and told them, “You are the ANC as am I. We will die the ANC!” Malema was the most popular speaker at this trade-union rally, overshadowing COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

Malema’s appearance on 7 March also highlighted the fractures within the largest trade-union federation, with COSATU president Sdumo Dlamini complaining bitterly about Malema receiving a platform to address the general strike. (Dlamini is a close ally of Jacob Zuma, who Malema has been campaigning to remove as president of the ANC and the country.) The COSATU bureaucracy, as a component part of the ruling bourgeois Tripartite Alliance together with the ANC and the reformist, Stalinist-derived South African Communist Party (SACP), is being wracked by the succession battle currently raging in the ANC ahead of its next elective conference, which will be held at the end of the year in Mangaung, in Free State province.

Malema—who has now been expelled from the ANC as a result of disciplinary charges for sowing divisions and bringing the party into disrepute, and has been removed as president of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL)—has been by far the most outspoken representative of the anti-Zuma faction in the ANC. There are also many others—including top-ranking ANC leaders—working semi-covertly to oust Zuma (to manage the divisions, open campaigning has been suppressed by the official ANC leadership). With control over the access to considerable amounts of government largesse and business connections at stake, the plotting and backstabbing is only going to increase. Things could get hectic: In April, a statement by the veterans’ organisation of Umkhonto we Sizwe [the former military wing of the ANC] in KwaZulu-Natal, which is in the pro-Zuma camp, responded to Malema’s denunciation of Zuma as a “dictator” by threatening that such acts would have been dealt with by a firing squad in the days of the anti-apartheid struggle!

The working class has absolutely no interest in supporting either side in the squalid ANC succession battle. There is now widespread working-class anger at Zuma and his allies, who have essentially continued the same anti-working-class, neoliberal policies of Zuma’s predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, since taking over from him. The bitter divisions which are now ravaging the ANC and the Alliance reflect, in a distorted way, the contradictions and massive anger at the base of society caused by the frustrated aspirations for genuine liberation which were not—and could not be—met as long as the system of neo-apartheid capitalism remains. Malema takes advantage of this genuine anger with populist demagogy. But if the disillusionment and anger with Zuma among the workers and poor masses is simply channeled into support for another variant of bourgeois nationalism like that peddled by Malema, the demoralisation and defeats will only continue. The populist Malema—not to mention the other anti-Zuma forces in the ANC—is no less than Zuma a political representative of the capitalist exploiters who will stop at nothing to maintain wage slavery. All factions in the ANC are class enemies of workers liberation.

What’s desperately needed is a revolutionary proletarian perspective, independent of and in opposition to both ANC factions and all forms of bourgeois nationalism. This means breaking the bourgeois Tripartite Alliance along class lines and forging a genuinely communist, Leninist-Trotskyist vanguard party capable of providing the revolutionary leadership needed for the workers to sweep away this racist capitalist system and replace it with a black-centred workers government which can begin to build a decent, humane society on a socialist basis. Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution provides the answer to the dead end of nationalism and its reformist hangers-on. An important task in breaking pro-communist militants of the SACP and COSATU ranks from the reformism pushed by their leaders and cohering the nucleus of such a Leninist-Trotskyist party is to politically combat and defeat the populist-nationalist false consciousness which bourgeois demagogues like Malema are able to exploit to gain a hearing among the workers.

SACP/COSATU Betrayals Pave Way for Populist Demagogue

The fact that someone like Malema can be seen by many workers as the best representative of their interests is in many ways just obscene. Here is someone who loves to flaunt his expensive Breitling watches, Armani suits, Range Rovers, multiple million rand homes and 139-hectare farm. Bourgeois newspapers have carried prominent exposés about the slush funds he uses to collect kickbacks [of government money] from wealthy “tenderpreneurs,” and the alleged profits he’s made off of his business deals are big enough to owe some R10 million [$1.2 million] in unpaid taxes. Much of Malema’s fortunes are derived from acting as a parasitic middleman in plundering the state coffers in Limpopo, one of the most bitterly impoverished provinces where much of the population has no access to basic services like running water, roads, etc. Recently, public hospitals in Limpopo could not even provide food to admitted patients because of unpaid bills.

That many workers could come to put their faith and hopes in such a shamelessly bourgeois politician is above all the responsibility of the reformist leaders of the SACP and COSATU. Together with the ANC, the SACP and COSATU tops administer neo-apartheid capitalist misery via the bourgeois Tripartite Alliance. This coalition is a nationalist popular front through which the working class rank and file of the SACP (a bourgeois workers party with a working-class base but a pro-capitalist programme and leadership) and COSATU (still the largest trade-union federation) is subordinated to the capitalist exploiters in an alliance with the outright bourgeois ANC. For years, the SACP and COSATU misleaders have repeatedly sold out working-class interests in the name of this class-collaborationist alliance, leading to increasing demoralisation of the workers, who have continued to defy their own leaders to engage in militant struggles.

Among the most prominent crimes in the long list of SACP/COSATU betrayals: In 1990, SACP leader Joe Slovo and National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA) general secretary Moses Mayekiso were sent to put a stop to a weeks-long plant occupation by workers at Mercedes-Benz in East London, which threatened the “negotiated settlement” with the white minority rulers. In 1995, under Mandela’s presidency, SACP national chairman Raymond Mhlaba dismissed 6,000 striking nurses as head of the provincial government in the Eastern Cape. In 2010, under Zuma’s presidency, COSATU general secretary Vavi isolated and then strangled a bitterly fought, weeks-long strike by nearly a million public sector workers, bringing it to an end just days before an ANC National General Council meeting in order to avoid embarrassing Zuma. The betrayals continue, as seen recently at Implats in Rustenburg.

At the ANC’s last elective conference, in December 2007 in Polokwane, Zuma replaced Thabo Mbeki as ANC president. The main base of Zuma’s support was provided by a bloc of COSATU, the SACP and the ANC Youth League (including a certain Malema, who at the time vowed that he would “kill” for Zuma). The SACP and COSATU leaders in particular promoted the lie that Zuma was a “friend” of the workers who would restore the populist “soul” of the ANC, which had supposedly been sacrificed by Mbeki and Co. in the so-called “1996 class project.” At the time, we Trotskyists of Spartacist/South Africa told the simple truth in opposition to these myths: “An ANC run by Zuma would be just as anti-working-class as the current ANC” (Spartacist South Africa No. 5, Spring 2007; reprinted in WV No. 899, 28 September 2007).

After Polokwane, the main thing which changed with Zuma taking over as ANC president is that the reformist tops became more directly integrated in administering and defending racist neo-apartheid capitalism (one of their main complaints against Mbeki had been that he was “marginalising” the ANC’s Tripartite Alliance partners). The result is that the reformists, especially the SACP central leadership, have emerged as the most loyal, craven defenders of Zuma. Some of Malema’s most bitter enemies are those SACP leaders who see him as a direct threat to the power and privileges which they were rewarded with for their support of Zuma—like SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande, who in 2009 became minister of education in Zuma’s cabinet and is now backed by some to become Zuma’s deputy at Mangaung, and SACP chairman Gwede Mantashe, who was elected secretary general of the ANC in 2007.

At the same time, the COSATU bureaucracy (which includes many SACP leaders) has been split over which faction to back in the ANC succession dispute. While some COSATU tops have clearly sided with Zuma (the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union [NEHAWU] has publicly declared its support for another term for Zuma), others like COSATU general secretary Vavi have tried to play both sides and maintain a posture of loyal critics of the ANC tops within the Alliance, and some COSATU leaders have flirted with supporting Malema and the Youth League.

Among the latter group is NUMSA general secretary Irvin Jim, who has criticised Nzimande and the SACP for “ideological confusion” and neglecting their duties as the “vanguard” of the working class. Jim and Vavi have both at times come out with demands that Nzimande withdraw from his ministerial post in order to devote himself full-time to the duties of SACP general secretary. But there should be no illusions that these criticisms have anything to do with a break from the Tripartite Alliance. They are just an attempt to posture as more “independent,” in an effort to head off working-class discontent and keep it within the framework of the nationalist popular front.

The ANC is a capitalist party which continues to enjoy the overwhelming political loyalty of the black majority because it is seen as the party which brought liberation from white minority rule, and there is currently no viable alternative. The reason why nationalism—the false view that all blacks share common interests, regardless of class differences—can play a dominant role in chaining the workers to the bourgeoisie is because the history of white minority rule means that class exploitation has mainly been experienced as raceoppression. All wings of the SACP and COSATU bureaucracies promote the ANC as the “leading force” in the “National Democratic Revolution” (NDR) in order to sell the workers this treacherous “alliance” between exploiters and exploited.

The “NDR” is the South African variant of the time-worn Stalinist “theory” of “two-stage revolution” where, supposedly, first the workers help bring the bourgeois-nationalists to power and then, in the indefinite future, advance to socialism. In reality, the “second stage” is the nationalists slaughtering workers and communists. In South Africa, many SACP and COSATU reformist misleaders have just used the “NDR” as a pseudo-theoretical cover for their wretched betrayals in order to advance themselves into the black elite.

Even the bourgeois “democratic breakthrough” stage of the “NDR” is a bankrupt sham. The negotiated settlement which ended apartheid in the early 1990s was a betrayal of the black majority’s struggle for liberation. While the apartheid system of rigid, legally enforced segregation and subjugation ended, the social reality in South Africa remains the superexploitation of mainly black labour, the impoverishment and degradation of the black masses, alongside white privilege—what we’ve characterised as neo-apartheid capitalism. While shamelessly exploiting nationalism to retain the loyalty of the oppressed, the ANC and its Alliance partners act as front men and enforcers for the continued dominance of the (still overwhelmingly white) Randlords and their imperialist backers.

After 18 years of so-called majority rule, South Africa remains one of the most unequal societies in the world, in which misery is distributed according to the stark racial lines established under British colonialism and apartheid. For example, statistics from 2005-06 showed that almost 55 per cent of the black population lived below the poverty line of R10 per day, compared to 34 per cent of the coloured [mixed-race] population, 7 per cent of the Indian population, and less than 1 per cent of the white population. Life expectancy has plummeted, falling by 12 years from 1996 to 2008, again with blacks being worst affected. This catastrophe is mainly a result of the devastating HIV/AIDS epidemic and the government’s criminal neglect and refusal to provide free antiretroviral drugs to all who are HIV-positive. Capitalist misery hits black women the hardest—from significantly higher rates of poverty and HIV infection, to the widespread practices of lobola (bride price) and even ukuthwala (“marriage by capture”) in some rural areas, to studies finding that as many as 40-50 per cent of women are assaulted by their partners. Against this background, the promises of a “better life for all” which the ANC and Alliance leaders made in 1994 increasingly seem like a sick joke, as does the official rhetoric about a “non-racist, non-sexist South Africa” and “reconciliation.”

Permanent Revolution vs. Bourgeois Populism

Malema is a bourgeois-populist demagogue who skillfully tapped into the anger and discontent among the country’s impoverished black majority—especially among young black Africans, almost half of whom have never had a job—in order to advance his own political career and enrich himself and his cronies. He ridiculed Zuma for pandering to the Queen of England, the imperialist bankers, and “white monopoly capital.” With his calls to nationalise the mines and expropriate white-owned land, Malema became a lightning rod for the ire and angst of the white racist reactionaries and mouthpieces of mining and finance capital—which, predictably, only further enhanced his mythology of standing up for the black majority.

The slogan of “economic freedom in our lifetime,” which Malema and the ANC Youth League have been paying lip service to as of late, is impossible under capitalism. The capitalists are at bottom only interested in the “freedom” to exploit labour, in maintaining their class rule to continue extracting profits from the blood and bones of their wage slaves. Bourgeois populists like Malema try to conceal the fundamental division of society into hostile classes with irreconcilably opposed material interests by throwing around phrases about “the people.” This always means deceiving the working people and defending the rule of their capitalist exploiters—sometimes by throwing the workers some more crumbs, and other times through vicious austerity and brutal repression.

A case in point is the demand for nationalisation of the mines. Malema and the ANCYL have been giving Zuma and his cabinet a lot of headaches by campaigning for this demand in the last few years, threatening that any ANC leaders who oppose it will be kicked out at the Mangaung conference. Despite repeated assurances from Zuma and other government ministers that the ANC has absolutely no intention of nationalising mines, unease grew among the mining bosses as the debate dragged on, and they responded by threatening to pull out their capital. Moody’s and other international rating agencies have cited this debate in downgrading South Africa’s credit rating, and there was a general sigh of relief from the financial press over Malema’s expulsion.

Notwithstanding the angst of the mining magnates, the Malema/ANCYL nationalisation policies are bourgeois reform schemes which would not end the superexploitation of the mineworkers. Their policy document proposes joint share holdings between the current mine owners and the government (with a majority share for the latter), meaning that the bourgeois state becomes a partner in directly exploiting the workers. There have been many cases of bourgeois governments nationalising ailing industries (with generous compensation to the capitalists) in order to improve their profitability through government-enforced austerity, only to re-privatise them later. It is more or less an open secret that Malema began advocating nationalisation of the mines in 2009 in large part because this would serve to bail out his cronies whose debt-financed BEE [Black Economic Empowerment] mining operations were failing.

Malema and the ANCYL argue for nationalising the mines by citing the statement in the ANC’s 1955 Freedom Charter that “the mineral wealth beneath the soil shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole.” This is intentionally vague, both about what it entails and how the wealth is to be “transferred.” There is absolutely nothing socialist about either this demand or the Freedom Charter as a whole. At best it poses the nationalisation of mines under capitalism by a “democratic” bourgeois state—which, as Marx and Engels put it in the Communist Manifesto, is but the executive committee for managing the affairs of the whole capitalist class. In actual fact, once the negotiations with the white rulers began in the early 1990s, the ANC quickly assured them that they did not have to worry about any nationalisations. After the April 1994 elections, Mandela once again restated the ANC position, declaring: “In our economic policies…there is not a single reference to things like nationalisation, and this is not accidental. There is not a single slogan that will connect us with any Marxist ideology.”

Exposing the emptiness of his own rhetoric, Malema alibis the betrayals of Mandela and the other Alliance tops who brokered the power-sharing deal. For example, in a political report to an ANCYL National General Council in August 2010, Malema stated: “We understand that in 1994, certain decisions could not be taken because both domestically and globally, the balance of forces favoured imperialists and therefore [was] hostile to progressive change.” As Lenin explained in his 1916 work Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, the current world system is characterised by the dominance of finance capital and monopoly trusts, where a handful of “great” imperialist powers dominate the world, subordinating the neocolonial and other dependant capitalist countries which they plunder. Malema’s reference to the “balance of forces” favouring “imperialists”—which will always be the case until workers revolutions overthrow them—is a timeworn excuse for the dirty deals carried out by nationalists and reformists in the service of maintaining capitalist rule. Despite his penchant for “anti-imperialist” rhetoric, Malema’s bourgeois programme means he is just as subordinate to imperialism as Zuma, or Mbeki and Mandela before him.

To bourgeois populism, we counterpose the Trotskyist theory of permanent revolution. Based on the understanding that the bourgeois-nationalist forces of dependant countries are incapable of solving any of the fundamental problems posed by imperialist domination because of their subordination to imperialist capital and mortal fear of their own proletariat, Trotsky explained: “With regard to countries with a belated bourgeois development, especially the colonial and semi-colonial countries, the theory of the permanent revolution signifies that the complete and genuine solution of their tasks of achieving democracy and national emancipation is conceivable only through the dictatorship of the proletariat as the leader of the subjugated nation.” But the proletarian revolution, if it is to be ultimately successful in overcoming the backwardness enforced at every level by imperialist domination, cannot stop at the imperialist-imposed national borders: “The socialist revolution begins on the national arena, it unfolds on the international arena, and is completed on the world arena. Thus, the socialist revolution becomes a permanent revolution in a newer and broader sense of the word; it attains completion only in the final victory of the new society on our entire planet.” The programmatic core of Trotsky’s permanent revolution is the struggle for the complete political and organisational independence of the working class from bourgeois nationalism and the bourgeois state.

On the Nationalization of the Mines

The NUM bureaucracy has opposed Malema and the Youth League’s calls for nationalisation out of class collaborationism, complaining in November 2011 that the discussion about possible nationalisation of the mines was scaring the capitalists. NUM president Senzeni Zokwana expressed sympathy with the mining bosses’ concern for their profits, stating: “I understand that if you are investing somebody’s money, you should be careful that you do not plant it where there is uncertainty. You have to make sure that the investment is safe” (Business Day, 14 November 2011). The SACP tops have also opposed nationalisation calls, using some orthodox-sounding phrases about the need for “socialisation” and pointing out that Malema’s schemes are bourgeois. But this is just a cover for the fact that they are defending the current policies of the Zuma government, which they are a prominent part of!

With regard to the demand for “nationalisation” of the mines and other strategic industries, Trotsky explained in the Transitional Programme (1938) that the socialist programme of workers revolution to expropriate the bourgeoisie does not exclude raising the demand for “the expropriation of several key branches of industry vital for national existence or of the most parasitic group of the bourgeoisie” when the situation warrants it:

“The difference between these demands and the muddleheaded reformist slogan of ‘nationalization’ lies in the following: (1) we reject indemnification; (2) we warn the masses against demagogues of the People’s Front who, giving lip service to nationalization, remain in reality agents of capital; (3) we call upon the masses to rely only upon their own revolutionary strength; (4) we link up the question of expropriation with that of seizure of power by the workers and farmers.”

Seizing the mine shafts, machinery and mountains of finance capital, which the mining bosses have heaped up through more than a century of superexploitation of mainly black labour, will be a basic and necessary step in the liberation from capitalist oppression. The Nzimandes, Vavis, Malemas and other demagogues of the Tripartite Alliance are enemies of this struggle for true liberation.

The Bankruptcy of Bourgeois Nationalism

While most countries of belated capitalist development are nationally oppressed as either colonies or neocolonies of the imperialists, South Africa is a peculiar case in that the national oppression of the black majority is carried out not by a foreign colonial power, but by a native white bourgeoisie tied closely to the Anglo-American imperialists. This, and the historical absence of a black property-owning class, was the main factor contributing to the dominance of nationalist consciousness among the mainly black South African working class. The ANC, with the crucial assistance of the SACP and COSATU reformists, has exploited this false consciousness in order to use the working masses as a stepping stone toward its aim of fostering a black privileged elite—the central goal of the ANC since its founding 100 years ago. The black elite which has developed since 1994 are among the most brutal exploiters of the workers, while at the same time remaining subordinate to white capital.

Another expression of nationalist consciousness among the working class is the widespread, mistaken view among pro-socialist militants that socialism amounts to a populist programme of simply redistributing the existing (white) wealth on a more egalitarian basis. Marxists understand that socialism requires a qualitatively higher level of productivity than currently exists under the irrational, anarchic capitalist system. That is why it can’t be built in a single country, and particularly not in a single backward country like South Africa, where waste, irrationality and ignorance have been developed to an extraordinary degree by the white rulers and their black nationalist front men. Our perspective is one of a socialist federation of Southern Africa, which must link up to socialist revolution in the advanced capitalist countries. As stated in the ICL “Declaration of Principles and Some Elements of Program” (February 1998):

“On the other hand, the victory of the proletariat on a world scale would place unimagined material abundance at the service of human needs, lay the basis for the elimination of classes and the eradication of social inequality based on sex and the very abolition of the social significance of race, nation and ethnicity. For the first time mankind will grasp the reins of history and control its own creation, society, resulting in an undreamed-of emancipation of human potential, and a monumental forward surge of civilization. Only then will it be possible to realize the free development of each individual as the condition for the free development of all.”

Malema seizes on the increasingly obvious bankruptcy of the ANC’s official ideology of “non-racialism”—the vague notion that racial oppression and the differences promoted under white minority rule can somehow be overcome under “democratic” capitalist rule—in order to fan racial hatred and divert from his own party’s responsibility for administering neo-apartheid capitalism. Malema’s demagoguery includes his cynical resurrection of the anti-apartheid struggle song “Shoot the Boer” (in fact, the ANC’s bourgeois cops are infinitely more likely to shoot black township protesters than “Boere”), for which he was found guilty of “hate speech” in 2011. While combatting Malema’s racialist demagogy, as Marxists we also oppose laws against so-called “hate speech,” which strengthen the bourgeois state and will always be used by the capitalists against labour and the oppressed. Malema has also spewed crude invective against the Indian and coloured minorities.

We have consistently warned of the danger of such a development from the early days of the “new” South Africa:

“If the many-sided tensions and conflicts in South African society are not centered around a class axis, they will be fought along racial, ethnic and tribal lines. In conditions of unrelieved poverty, if the nationalist principle prevails, Zulu will be set against Xhosa, black Africans against coloureds and Indians, South Africans against immigrant workers and refugees—and this will be done by self-styled ‘progressives’ in the ANC alliance no less than by open reactionaries.”

—Workers Vanguard No. 637, 19 January 1996

The “non-racialism” of the ANC and Tripartite Alliance tops—which is echoed by most of the reformist “socialists” who tail after them—is a lie. It only serves to cover up the reality of racist oppression inherent to South African capitalism, while at the same time providing fuel to demagogues like Malema. We counterpose the fight to mobilise the proletariat in concrete opposition to all manifestations of racist oppression and discrimination, linking this to the understanding that only the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism can resolve the national oppression of the black majority and lead to the elimination of all racial, tribal and other divisions. This is concretised in our slogan for a black-centred workers government, our application of Trotsky’s permanent revolution to the problem of national/racial oppression as specifically posed in South Africa. This is an inclusive slogan: “black-centred” precisely means that it is not racially exclusive but includes a full role and democratic rights for coloureds, Indians and those whites who would accept a government centred on the black African toilers and join in building a society based on genuine equality.

While Malema today poses as “friend” of the workers, the logic of nationalism in power is to whip up anti-union sentiment, attacking the organised workers movement for “undermining nation-building.” From Mandela to Zuma, this is something ANC leaders have done repeatedly since taking over the reins on behalf of the white rulers in 1994: using nationalist demagogy against the unions, claiming that relatively high wages in the industrial and public sectors are responsible for mass unemployment in the townships and abject poverty in the rural areas, blaming strikes and shop floor militancy for repelling multinational corporations from investing in South Africa, etc. In fact, when the Democratic Alliance—an openly neoliberal party of white privilege—marched to COSATU house on May 15 in a reactionary anti-union mobilisation, this was in support of the policies which they share with the ANC/Alliance government (the two-tier “youth wage subsidy” scheme and “regulation” of parasitic labour brokers).

Such anti-union demagogy is something which a populist of Malema’s ilk would no doubt take to new heights as ANC leader. Malema has already provided glimpses of this, at times displaying the virulent anti-communism which is an integral part of his brand of “narrow Africanist” nationalism. For example, after being booed at a conference of the Young Communist League in December 2009, Malema lashed out: “There is everything wrong with the communists trying to take over the ANC.” As usual, Malema’s anti-communism goes along with the most reactionary social backwardness, including disgusting anti-woman bigotry. For example, Malema has recently joined in the “shower man” song and dance ridiculing Zuma for his ignorant and dangerous statement that he had taken a shower to prevent HIV infection. But during the 2007 rape trial where Zuma made that statement, Malema stood out as one of Zuma’s biggest supporters, including making disgusting apologies for rape.

In the course of the class struggle, the working class must be broken from its current, treacherous leadership and learn to trust only its own revolutionary strength. Our aim is to build a vanguard party of the working class—the only class in modern society which is capable of leading the revolutionary struggle necessary for genuine national emancipation, for women’s liberation from hideous patriarchal oppression, for social and technological progress needed to overcome backwardness and superstition. A Leninist- Trotskyist party would intervene to provide uncompromising, class-struggle leadership to the countless struggles of the proletariat and other oppressed layers for their immediate, burning needs, linking these struggles together and pointing the way to the necessary conclusion of overthrowing the rotten capitalist system through workers revolution.

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Pussy Riot, Empire’s Unfortunate Dupes

Also see: Pussy Riot and “Human Rights” Hypocrites

Paul Craig Roberts

My heart goes out to the three Russian women who comprise the Russian rock band, Pussy Riot. They were brutally deceived and used by the Washington-financed NGOs that have infiltrated Russia. Pussy Riot was sent on a mission that was clearly illegal under statutory law.

You have to admire and to appreciate the spunk of the women. But you have to bemoan their gullibility. Washington needed a popular issue with which to demonize the Russian government for standing up to Washington’s intention to destroy Syria, just as Washington destroyed Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, and as Washington intends to destroy Lebanon and Iran.

By intentionally offending religious worshipers-which would be a hate crime in the US and its European, Canadian, and British puppet states-the women violated a statutory Russian law.

Prior to the women’s trial, Russian President Putin expressed his opinion that the women should not be harshly punished. Taking the cue from Putin, the judge gave the women, deceived and betrayed by the American-financed NGOs, two years instead of seven years.

The women were not waterboarded, raped, or forced to sign false confessions, all well-established practices of American “justice.”

The chances were good that after six months Putin would see that the women are released. But, of course, that would not serve the propaganda of the American Empire. The instructions to the Washington-financed fifth column in Russia will be to make any government leniency for Pussy Riot impossible.

Washington-organized protests, riots, property damage, assaults on state and religious images by Washington’s Russian dupes can make it impossible for Putin to stand up to nationalist opinion and commute the sentences of the Pussy Riot women.

Distrust of the Russian government and dissension within Russia are what Washington wants. As Washington continues to murder vast numbers of people around the globe, Washington will point its finger at the fate of Pussy Riot. The western bought-and-paid-for presstitute media will focus on Russia’s evil, not on the evil of Washington, London, and the EU puppet states who are slaughtering Muslims by the bucket-full.

The disparity between human rights in the west and in the east is astonishing. When a Chinese trouble-maker sought protection from Washington, the Chinese “authoritarian” government allowed the person to leave for America. But when Julian Assange, who, unlike the presstitute western media, actually provides truthful information for the western peoples, was granted political asylum by Ecuador, Great (sic) Britain, bowing to the country’s American master, refused the obligatory free passage from the UK.

The UK government, unlike the Chinese government, doesn’t mind violating international law, because it will be paid buckets of money by Washington for being a pariah state.

As Karl Marx said, money turns everything into a commodity that can be bought and sold: government, honor, morality, the writing of history, legality. Nothing is immune to purchase. This development of capitalism has reached the highest stage in the US and its puppet states, the governments of which sell out the interest of their peoples in order to please Washington and be made rich, like Tony Blair’s $35 million. Sending their citizens to fight for Washington’s empire in distant parts of the world is the service for which the utterly corrupt European politicians are paid. Despite the wondrous entity known as European Democracy, the European and British peoples are unable to do anything about their misuse in Washington’s interest. This is a new form of slavery. If a country is an American ally, its people are American slaves.

The international attention focused on Pussy Riot, an obscure rock group which apparently has no recordings on the market, demonstrates the complicity of the Western media in US propaganda. Pussy Riot is not the Beatles of the 1960s. I doubt that most of the young people demonstrating in favor of Pussy Riot had ever before heard of the group or have any understanding of how they are being manipulated.

There are so many more important issues on which media attention should be focused. There is Bradley Manning’s illegal detention and torture by the US government. Manning has already been in prison without trial for longer than Pussy Riot’s sentence!

What is Manning’s “crime.” No one knows. Washington accuses him of doing his duty under the US Military Code and revealing the war crime of the “thrill killing” of civilians by US military personnel and of releasing documents to WikiLeaks revealing the mendacity of the US government. In other words, Manning is a hero, and so off he is dragged to the torture chamber.

WikiLeaks Julian Assange, accused of posting on the Internet the leaked documents, is confined to the Ecuadorean embassy in London. The British “human rights” regime refuses to abide by international law and allow Assange, who has been granted political asylum by Ecuador, safe passage. Everyone familiar with international law knows that asylum takes precedence over the other legal claims, especially specious ones.

Washington has armed and financed outsiders to destroy Syria and to break the country up into warring factions. Instead of protesting this heinous act by Washington, the world protests the Syrian government for resisting its overthrow by Washington. I don’t think that even George Orwell imagined that the peoples of the world were this utterly stupid.

In “free and democratic” America, President Obama refuses to obey a federal court order to cease and desist from violating the clear, unambiguous Constitutional rights of US citizens. Instead, the President of the United States defies the court’s order and continues to hold US citizens in indefinite detention, and there is no movement to impeach this tyrant. To the contrary, the US is presented as the example of democracy to the world.

Where are the protests?

Non-Aligned Movement Meets in Iran, Defies USA

Sara Flounders

A meeting in Tehran starting Aug. 26 puts into the sharpest perspective the waning position of U.S. imperialism globally and especially in the Middle East. Both the U.S. and Israel’s demands for a boycott of the meeting were ignored. Clearly the U.S. hold is slipping.

Despite every U.S. government effort to economically strangle, militarily blockade and politically isolate Iran, 118 countries, including 35 heads of state and 21 foreign ministers, have accepted the invitation to send a high-level delegation to Iran for the international gathering of the Non-Aligned Movement.

More than 7,000 delegates are expected for NAM’s 16th summit since its 1961 inception. Iran is hosting the meeting. Its three-year tenure as head of NAM provides Tehran with an opportunity to elevate its international standing and show that Washington has failed to isolate it.

The media report the top issues of this world gathering will be opposition to U.S.-imposed sanctions on Iran and U.S.-NATO backed efforts to overthrow Syria’s government. As host, Iran prepares the first draft of the meeting’s final declaration. According to reports, the draft will affirm Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear technology, condemn Israel’s threats to attack Iran and censure Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands.

Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi will be the first Egyptian president to visit Iran since 1979, when the two countries broke relations following Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s signing of the Camp David Accords, which normalized Egypt’s relations with Israel. This action aligned Egypt with Washington against the Iranian revolution.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, usually compliant with Washington’s policies, said he planned to attend the Tehran gathering. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called this decision “a big mistake.”

The U.S. State Department’s Victoria Nuland called Tehran “a strange place and an inappropriate place for this meeting” and emphasized that the U.S. considers Iran a threat to the region and the world. (state.gov, Aug. 16)

The Non-Aligned Movement was founded in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in 1961 and was comprised mainly of former colonial countries that were allied militarily neither to the U.S. nor the Soviet Union.

Why at this time are so many countries and heads of state interested in participating in a meeting in Tehran, despite Washington’s stated displeasure?

U.S. bullying can’t force compliance

U.S. threats against Iran far surpass economic sanctions. They include sabotage of its infrastructure, assassination of its scientists, abductions of citizens, internal destabilization campaigns and military encirclement.

Both the sanctions on Iran and the all-out effort to overturn the Syrian government are U.S. efforts to create fear in any other country attempting to develop independently of U.S. corporate domination. To enforce its policies, Washington uses the enormous financial leverage of Wall Street banks, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which operate with the banking and financial institutions of Germany, Britain and France, and the combined weight of all U.S.-dominated NATO countries.

In January, U.S. congressional legislation demanded that every country in the world participate in economic sanctions and end all purchases of Iranian oil. In March, Iranian banks were disconnected from the SWIFT network that enables electronic financial transactions.

July 1 was to be the global cutoff in all oil sales and banking transactions with Iran. Pressure on countries that import Iranian oil were stepped up, as the U.S. and European governments threatened to take action against those who failed to apply sanctions. These steps were supposed to unravel Iran’s economy.

The ability of the world’s largest corporations and banks to seize assets and block all economic transactions threatens every developing country. But the global capitalist system is in crisis and disarray. Western financial institutions provide scant new investment money. The U.S. empire offers developing and formerly colonized countries little and demands compliance with its plans and aims.

Even from a strictly business perspective, the governments of many countries knew that sanctions would hurt not only the Iranian economy but also their own economies, by cutting off their commerce with the largest and most stable economy in the region.

Immediately, China, Russia, India, the ALBA Bloc in Latin America, and even Pakistan and South Korea announced they would not stop buying Iranian petroleum products. The majority of the global population lives in these countries.

Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran

After waging war for a decade and occupying Iraq and Afghanistan with hundreds of thousands of troops, spending trillions of dollars and destroying both countries, Washington is still frustrated by reports that Iraq and Afghanistan are trading with Iran.

The Aug. 18 New York Times reported: “President Obama’s announcement last month that he was barring a Baghdad bank from any dealings with the American banking system … [was] a rare acknowledgment of a delicate problem facing the administration in a country that American troops just left: for months Iraq has been helping Iran skirt economic sanctions. …

“American officials learned that the Iraqi government was aiding the Iranians by allowing them to use Iraqi airspace to ferry supplies to Syria.”

Iraq is now a major consumer of Iranian manufactured goods partly because Iraq has virtually no industry of its own. A high-ranking Iraqi delegation visited Tehran in August to increase commercial relations.

About 50 percent of Afghanistan’s oil comes from Iran, Afghan Minister of Commerce Anwar al Haq Ahady told reporters at a Washington Post roundtable. (Huffington Post, May 9)

Meanwhile, Afghan traders have proved more than willing to exchange dollars for rials, usable as a currency in many parts of western Afghanistan. Truckloads of cash are crossing the border, allowing Iran to bolster its reserves of dollars, euros and precious metals to stabilize its exchange rates. (New York Times, Aug. 17)

The Pentagon has demonstrated its capacity to lay waste to a country through massive bombardment. But it is unable to introduce any progressive change or development.

Of course, the governments of some countries within the Non-Aligned Movement have had sharp conflicts and contradictions with each other. But Washington’s apprehension is that under the three-year presidency of Iran, NAM may again focus on its original principle of promoting national independence, self-determination, territorial integrity, and the struggle against the heritage of colonialism and imperialism, as Fidel Castro called for at a 1979 NAM meeting in Havana.

This Tehran gathering of many of the world’s developing countries is a sharp challenge to the U.S. and Western imperialist powers and NATO, which claim to speak for the international community and for human rights while calling for regime change, armed intervention, no-fly zones in Syria and threatening wider war against Iran.

Support Syria Against US & NATO!

Source

Each week brings U.S. imperialism closer to direct military intervention in Syria with the aim of overthrowing the government of President Bashir al-Assad and crushing Syria’s independence and sovereignty. Up to now Washington has avoided direct intervention, working instead with its NATO allies through Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to fund and arm the reactionary opposition to Assad and the Syrian people.

The latest comments by President Barack Obama brings Washington another step closer to direct intervention. Obama’s propaganda pretext was something used before by U.S. presidents. He charged Syria with possessing chemical weapons. Obama also said if the U.S. saw chemical weapons moved around or being used that would be a “red line,” meaning an excuse for direct intervention. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has also threatened to intervene to keep these alleged chemical weapons from “falling into the wrong hands.”

This is just a rehash of George W. Bush’s 2002-2003 pretext for invading Iraq: the country’s alleged “weapons of mass destruction,” which were never found. The truth was different then and is different now. For strategic reasons involving the targeting of Iran and the control of energy resources in the Middle East, U.S. imperialism aims to replace the independent Syrian government with a client state, weakening Iran and the Hezbollah resistance movement in Lebanon. So far the U.S. and its allies have used proxy fighters to destroy the cohesiveness of the Syrian state and wreck its economic infrastructure, as they did Libya in 2011.

Contradicting Obama’s 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, the Obama-Clinton-Pentagon gang has waged war no less aggressively than Bush. Some say the new administration’s wars are “smarter,” since, to avoid U.S. casualties, they use proxies and air war, especially drones, and a divide-and-conquer strategy, instead of massive occupations. They kill civilians in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia as well as Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan.

For Syria they use oil-rich Saudi Arabia and Qatar to fund the aggression, Turkey to coordinate the logistics of weapon delivery, and they exacerbate Shiite-Sunni differences and Iranian-Arab differences to pursue the war. The administration even risks strengthening al-Qaida and similar groups. With Saudi funds and guns, these groups play an increasingly more important role in Syria’s civil war. They have little or no support among Syrians, and the Assad government has every right to attempt to eliminate them.

The irony of Clinton’s argument is that after Washington has promoted these reactionary forces, she says the Pentagon must intervene to keep them from seizing chemical weapons from the Assad government. More imperialist lies!

For months now whatever honest opposition to the Assad government that may have existed within Syrian society has been completely pushed aside by imperialist stooges and reactionaries, armed killers that can tear Syria apart. Anti-war and anti-imperialist forces within the NATO countries have an obligation to fight to stop the imperialist intervention and to support the defeat of the reactionary anti-Assad killers.

At the upcoming protests at the Republic and Democratic National Conventions in Tampa, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C., U.S. activists should raise demands that the imperialists get their hands off Syria!

Protest Massacre of South African Miners!

Protest Initiated by Partisan Defense Committee

Protest Massacre of South African Strikers!
Free Jailed Miners—Drop All Charges!
Victory to the Striking Miners!

Protest outside of the South African Consulate
(at 38th Street and Tunnel Entrance St., between 1st and 2nd Ave.)
Thursday, August 30, 2012
4:30 p.m.–6 p.m.

On August 16, 34 striking platinum miners were massacred in cold blood at the Lonmin Platinum-run Marikana mine northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa. The South African cops, hirelings of the Tripartite Alliance government of the African National Congress (ANC), the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the COSATU trade-union federation, perpetrated this slaughter—one of the worst in South African history. The truth is that the blood of black workers is just as cheap today under the ANC/SACP/COSATU government as it was under apartheid rule. Despicably, the miners were blamed for this massacre! Some 260 workers were arrested the same day as the massacre and are now rotting in jail; they were denied bail and are facing charges ranging from public violence to murder and attempted murder. Workers internationally should demand: Drop all charges against the Lonmin striking miners! In response to the massacre, other miners have been raising demands similar to those that sparked the Marikana strike. We say: Victory to the striking South African miners!

The Spartacist League stands for working-class emancipation from wage slavery and for sweeping away this whole rotten capitalist system through socialist revolution, which will lay the basis for eradicating racial oppression and neocolonial subjugation. Many American blacks, whose oppression is deeply rooted in the bloody history of American chattel slavery, closely identify with the oppressed South African masses. But as in South Africa, where the Tripartite Alliance offers only a continuation of oppression under capitalism, the U.S. capitalist parties—Democrats, Republican and Greens—offer a similar dead end. What’s necessary is a multiracial workers party that fights in the interest of workers and the oppressed. For internationalist workers solidarity with the South African miners!

Pussy Riot and “Human Rights” Hypocrites

Jane Cutter

On Aug. 17, three members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, were found guilty of “hooliganism” motivated by religious hatred” and sentenced to two years of hard labor, including time served. The announcement of the verdict sparked protests outside the courtroom and around the world.

Sergei Udaltsov, leader of the Left Front was arrested outside the courtroom as was Gary Kasparov, former chess master and leader of the Other Russia coalition. Kasparov alleges he was brutally beaten by police while being held in a police station.

What has been shocking to many is the severity of the sentence, given that the defendants have no prior records, and two are mothers of young children. In the aftermath of the verdict, even many of Putin’s allies have condemned it, and the Orthodox Church hierarchy has called for clemency. Lawyers for the three have alleged harsh treatment while the defendants were jailed prior to the trial. Moreover, the sudden announcement of a trial date left the defense team with only a few days to prepare.

The incident for which the three women were convicted occurred on Feb. 21. Members of the band entered Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, possibly the largest Orthodox church in the world. Dressed in their hoods and short sleeveless dresses, the performers recited prayers, chanted and danced on the Ambo, a raised part of the church which is reserved for clerics and those assisting services. They were escorted by security from the church without resistance. Footage from this incident was included in the “Punk Prayer” video. Lyrics called upon the Virgin Mary to drive Putin from Russia, and included vulgar language likely to be perceived as especially offensive to churchgoers.

According to the defendants, the point of the Feb. 21 action was not anti-religious—it was meant to highlight the “close ties between the church and state” in Russia.

Feminism equals religious hatred?

To justify the determination of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred,” Judge Marina Sirovaya outlandishly cited their “feminism.”

The judge found “a religious hatred motive in the actions of the defendants by way of them being feminists who consider men and women to be equal.”

The ruling added: “People who consider themselves feminists presently struggle for actual equality [for women]. These activities are not considered criminal in accordance with the Russian law … At the same time, Orthodox Christianity, and Catholic Christianity and other denominations do not agree with feminism and their own values are not inline with feminists.”

Under this legal interpretation, the church’s positions against feminism are to be protected while opposing gender inequality is ruled “religious hatred.” The logic of this ruling is akin to that of the  U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing the Boy Scouts to exclude gays and lesbians in the name of religious freedom.

To be sure, the actions of Pussy Riot—dancing and shouting on the Ambo in immodest attire, using obscenities and mocking sacred rites—were deliberately intended to shock. It is clear that many if not most Russians, including secular and left elements, found the action very offensive. On the other hand, the church was mainly empty and the performers did not harm anyone or damage the church. The three women at no point threatened any believers or advocated violence against them. According to the participants, the point of the performance and the video they produced was to point out the mutually beneficial relationship between President Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church and expose the hypocrisy of church leaders. There has also been speculation that the members of the group hoped to gain publicity and ultimately greater financial success as performers as a result of their video.

The protection of religion

Marxists advocate for a completely secular state and a materialist philosophical outlook—as opposed to a religious one—but call for the protection of individuals’ right to worship. A guiding policy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was not to attack religious believers, but to deprive the church of the political power it enjoyed under the czar. By creating a “heaven on earth,” people would gradually and on their own move away from religion.

The “human rights” double standard

One cannot discuss the Pussy Riot verdict without looking at the case in the greater global context. A chorus of denunciation has arisen around the world from imperialist governments and bourgeois human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Amnesty International called the verdict a “travesty.” “[It] shows that the Russian authorities will stop at no end to suppress dissent and stifle civil society,” said Michelle Ringuette, of Amnesty. The U.S. State Department said it was “concerned” by the ruling and urged a review of the case.

Much of the discussion of the Pussy Riot trial has portrayed the Russian government as a “vicious dictatorship” that does not allow free expression and abuses women activists. One need not be a defender of the Russian government’s policy regarding protests to consider the utter hypocrisy of those making these allegations in the so-called “free world.”

What might happen if activists in the United States conducted a similar action at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.? There is little doubt that people would be arrested, face jail time, fines and other charges.

Non-violent direct action—such as anti-war actions carried out at U.S. nuclear facilities—have sometimes resulted in multi-year sentences. Over 7,000 Occupy protesters were arrested in the last year and nearly every Occupy encampment was broken up by police forces across the country. This was usually justified with “public safety” considerations, but it generated no comparable outcry from Amnesty International or liberal celebrities.

Nor should we forget that the United States is the world’s largest jailer, locking up millions of people, disproportionately Black and Latino, for non-violent drug offenses with mandatory long-term sentences. Where is the internationally coordinated day of protest against this cruel criminal justice system?

While the U.S. government kills Pakistanis and Yemenis with drones, and has incarcerated a generation of youth here at home, who are they to be “concerned” about the harsh sentencing of three female punk rockers? While in the lead up to NATO’s 2012 meeting Amnesty International plastered Chicago’s streets with billboards praising the U.S./NATO occupation of Afghanistan, when it comes to Russia they pose as defenders of the world’s oppressed.

The goals behind the West’s demonization of Russia

The U.S. government and its allies in the NGO sectors are using this as an opportunity to demonize Russia at a time Russia’s foreign policy opposes U.S. and NATO machinations in the Middle East.

Russia is not pursuing a foreign policy based on revolutionary internationalism—far from it. But the Russians are currently following an independent foreign policy that advances the interests of their own bourgeoisie over the demands of western imperialism. The U.S. government hopes that the strengthening of Russia’s internal opposition, through international pressure and direct funding, will weaken the country’s obstructions to its own foreign policy objectives.

The Russian opposition

Russia is a capitalist country, in which workers are exploited for the profit of the capitalist class. Along with the massive plundering of state-owned enterprises by the new capitalist class of Russia came the destruction of the socialist social safety net. Since the overthrow of the Soviet Union, workers in Russia have seen their standard of living plummet.

Women have been especially impacted by the overthrow of the workers’ state. From full employment with health care and childcare and access to higher education, many women in the former Soviet Union are now being trafficked into the sex trade either domestically or internationally, as prostitutes and as mail-order brides because they have no other options.

Insofar as Russian opposition groups are engaged in genuine struggles for democratic rights or for socialism, progressives in the United States should support them. Their efforts to improve their conditions and form of government is not invalidated because the Russian state is currently in contradiction with the West.

On the other hand, some Russian opposition groups clearly aim to capitalize on the people’s legitimate struggles in order to bring to power a neoliberal, pro-Western trend. Within the “Other Russia” coalition, one finds communists, including those who seek the re-establishment of the Soviet Union, alongside nationalists and right-wingers. Also laying claim to the title of “opposition” are Western-oriented non-governmental organizations funded by the NED—in other words, semi-covertly by the United States. Pussy Riot and other art/protest groups are but one facet of the opposition.

We should stand against imperialism without turning our backs on the struggle of women and workers in the former Soviet Union. Rather than protect the country’s unity, the Russian state’s draconian sentence has only emboldened Orthodox conservatism, while handing hypocritical Western “human rights” groups an opportunity to mobilize worldwide.

The Russian opposition movement, united now only in their opposition to Putin, will inevitably divide as revolutionaries and anti-imperialists fight for leadership. The Party for Socialism and Liberation extends its solidarity to such forces, and can provide help here by exposing the U.S. government and its NGO lackeys as enemies, not friends, of the Russian people.

Obama’s “Red Line” Threats: New Pretext for Syria Invasion

Liu Chang

Once again, Western powers are digging deep for excuses to intervene militarily in another conflict-torn Middle East country, as U.S. President Barack Obama warned Monday that the use of chemical weapons by Syria’s government would change his “calculus.”

With the hypocritical talks of eliminating weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and protecting civilians in Libya still ringing in the ears, such “red line” threats seem to have almost become a signal for the United States and some of its Western allies to sharpen their weapons before exercising interventionism.

The world should stay vigilant that these dangerously irresponsible remarks would do nothing but effectively escalate the current bloody situation in Syria and gravely tarnish the prospects of settling Syria’s 17-month-old crisis through political means.

It is true that the UN and Arab League-led mediation efforts on the ground have yet to yield satisfactory results to broker a ceasefire between government troops and armed rebels in Syria.

However, when continuous radicalism-fueled roadside bomb attacks, along with heartrending poverty and chaos, have nearly killed the hopes for stability and prosperity in Somalia, Iraq and Libya, nations that have suffered West-led military interventions, foreign crusades would simply incur even more violence, hostilities and hatred in Syria.

Apart from being ineffective to bring real peace, military interventions by the United States and its Western partners are always interests-driven and highly selective.

It is not difficult to find that, under the disguise of humanitarianism, the United States has always tried to smash governments it considers as threats to its so-called national interests and relentlessly replace them with those that are Washington-friendly.

That easily explains why both Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, who once worked closely with the United States, were later depicted as brutal dictators with the people’s blood dripping through their fingers.

Right now, as conflicts between government troops and rebel forces still rage in Syria, nations around the world should continue to build on the progress that has been achieved by outgoing international envoy Kofi Annan and his team.

Any attempt to scrap the chances for a political settlement and to turn Syria into the next testing ground for Western weapons must be guarded against and ruled out.

China, being acutely aware of the harm of foreign interventions, has always stood firmly against them and supported the political settlement of all crises.

Thus, the Chinese government is keen to continue working with the international community to back UN-backed negotiations aimed at bringing real and lasting peace to Syria.