International Correspondence, August-November 2019 issue

The August-November 2019 issue of International Correspondence magazine, published by the International Workers’ Unity-Fourth International, is already out in English. The latest issue looks at Trump’s trade war with China and its effects on the world economy. The feature article by Miguel Sorans (“What does Trump get out of his conflict with China?”) asks the following questions: “The so-called “trade war” unleashed by Trump against China opens a whole series of questions and debates. What is the real magnitude of this conflict? Is it essentially a “war” over technology? Or is it a kind of “cold war” of the United States to prevent China from becoming the dominant capitalist power in the world in a few years? Could China be being “attacked” by imperialism?”

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What does Trump get out of his conflict with China?

The so-called “trade war” unleashed by Trump against China opens a whole series of questions and debates. What is the real magnitude of this conflict? Is it essentially a “war” over technology? Or is it a kind of “cold war” of the United States to prevent China from becoming the dominant capitalist power in the world in a few years? Could China be being “attacked” by imperialism?

By Miguel Sorans

Some leftist authors go so far as to say that Trump and the United States could only impose themselves on China using military force. Also from certain sectors of the reformist left (former Stalinists, Castroism, or Chavismo), they consider there would be something “progressive” in this clash, in favour of China which supposedly would seek “a multipolar world” weakening Yankee imperialism.

From our socialist current we discard any apocalyptic vision as if it could be an irreconcilable clash that could even bring us closer to a third world war. Nor do we consider that there could be something progressive from China. We believe the so-called “trade war” between the United States  and China to be a part, logically the most prominent, of all inter-bourgeois friction and clashes that have worsened in the world as a result of the continuation of the capitalist world economic crisis opened in 2007/2008. In this case, it is a strong clash between the economic interests of the dominant imperialist power (United States) and the second and growing capitalist power (China).

Trump and his “trade wars”

The capitalist crisis is global and is the background of these economic or trade shocks. That is why there is not only an “economic war” with China, but Trump has launched several “trade wars.” He began, in 2018, with the European Union (EU) and Canada imposing strong tariffs on the importation of steel and aluminium as well as other industrial products from those countries, to comply with his “America first” electoral slogan. Then he went against Mexico to force it to establish a new free trade agreement. In July, he launched another “war” threatening French President Emmanuel Macron with applying sanctions to French wine, if he did not go back with the so-called “Google tax”, a tax on American multinational companies (Amazon, Google, Apple, and Facebook) that invoice in France above € 750 million per year. Trump takes on the defence of his multinationals’ profits in France and in the world. Additionally, he also endorses the conservative Boris Jonhson, premier of the United Kingdom, who wants to move forward with Brexit, i.e., with the break with the EU, another of the ongoing “trade wars”.

Trump is developing a fight for the defence of the interests of Yankee imperialism amid a brutal crisis of the capitalist-imperialist system. He seeks to defend his multinationals and tries to balance their weaknesses in the world market. He threatens with the club to end with the negotiation carrot.

This non-recovery from the crisis is even ratified by the data and preventions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In its report World Economic Outlook it says: “Against this backdrop, global growth is forecast at 3.2 percent in 2019, picking up to 3.5 percent in 2020 (…). The projected growth pickup in 2020 is precarious…” (IMF, World Economic Outlook, 23 July 2019). China has ceased to grow in double digits for years: its annual growth is between 6 and 6.2 per cent.

The underlying causes of the non-recovery of the acute crisis of the capitalist economy are because of the failure of imperialism and the multinationals and the IMF to impose the quotas they would need for exploitation and looting on the masses and countries. The other pole of the world situation is the advance of popular rebellions and mass movements against austerity plans, against governments and regimes. This is the main obstacle that Trump, the capitalist dictatorship of the Communist Party in China, and the multinationals across the globe have to overcome the chronic crisis in which they are plunged.

What does Trump get out of his conflict with China?

There are those who say that the background of Trump’s goal in his “economic war” with China would be to prevent it from becoming the dominant capitalist power in a few years, displacing the US. There are many analysts who agree with this vision.

We rule out that this is Trump’s goal. Because, for now, there is no condition in which, in the coming years, China could become a superior power to the United States and, in turn, the dominant power of the world.

The United States, despite its crisis, remains by far the first world power. It is hegemonic and the dominant imperialism. It is real that China has been progressing in recent years and is occupying the second place, behind the United States, in GDP (Gross Domestic Product, the total of what is produced in a country) worldwide. It is also real that China in recent years displaced Japan and Germany from second and third place, respectively. In 2008 we pointed out that China was the seventh world economic power, today it is the second (see article on Correspondencia Internacional No. 25, February 2008, And it cannot be ruled out that, in the coming decades, China can overcome the US in GDP. But you cannot measure a dominant power in the world just by GDP.

Regarding GDP, we must consider the peculiarity of what China is. It is the country with the largest population on the planet, with 1.4 billion inhabitants. The United States has 327 million. The population of China is 20 per cent of the world total. That gives it exceptional productive potential. But, in the other areas, it is clear the United States is comfortably above China and the rest of the countries of the world. Just compare, for example, per capita income in 2018: while in the United States was US$ 62,850, in China, it was US$ 9,470. It was even lower than that of more backward countries like Argentina, which stood at US$ 12,370. Also if we compare military might, the difference is abysmal. In the ranking of the 100 largest multinational companies in the world, 53 are from the United States and 11 from China. And so we could continue with other numbers.

In fact, reflecting the crisis and decline of US imperialism, Trump is really looking to stifle China to favour his multinationals and his financial capital. Therefore, he also launched an offensive against the large multinationals of European imperialism and Canada, to reach agreements in favour of his companies.

In the peculiar case of China, Trump presses to achieve greater openness for US multinationals and financial capital than what has existed for many years in that country. And to condition China’s renowned technological advances in the field of mobile phones. But this is always based on limiting the competition of Chinese multinationals with Yankee multinationals. Because of the inheritance of the expropriation of the bourgeoisie in the 1949 revolution, state-owned companies and banks still have great weight. The Chinese financial system still has a high state and mixed dominance. Under current regulations, a bank, for example, cannot have a foreign shareholding majority. “Today, foreign firms have less than 2 per cent of the assets of the Chinese banking sector” (La Nación, 11 July 2019). Trump and European imperialism, want to change this. In addition, “China has about 150,000 state-owned companies. It is a very small amount compared to the total number of companies that exist in the country, but their weight is overwhelming” (El País, Business section, 28 May 2019).

And in this, imperialism has made progress. China, on several occasions, has been retreating and agreeing to Yankee pressures. President Xi Jinping, for example, in April 2018, in the middle of the so-called “economic war”, made an announcement of a greater opening to foreign investments. Among its most outstanding points, it states that there will be “an immediate majority of foreign capital in Chinese stock companies, and all kinds of restrictions on foreign investment are eliminated in three years” (article by analyst Jorge Castro, Clarín, Argentina, 15 April 2018), which would start in manufacturing. Jinping also announced an opening of regulations in telecommunications and that there would no longer be any restrictions for foreign investment in private health. The same in education, on the grounds that there are already 14 private universities, including a Harvard branch, in China.

These are the things that imperialism seeks. This is the essence of the supposed “economic war” and not a background confrontation or a total break with the Chinese dictatorship.

China: irreconcilable enemy of the United States or strategic capitalist ally?

The facts show that China is not an irreconcilable enemy of the United States but that, first, it has grown as a capitalist power thanks to a large injection of foreign direct investment and especially from the American multinationals.

Second, the dictatorship of the Communist Party of China is essentially an ally of the United States at a key point: the need to continue exploiting the world working class. And in particular the Chinese proletariat and people, to get the highest exploitation quotas that guarantee the super-profits of multinationals and international banks. Therefore, also, in countries where China makes investments in infrastructure or mining works, they move this super-exploitation regime; regime which is endorsed by the capitalist governments of Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

The United States, the EU, China, and Japan are, in fact, part of a counterrevolutionary front against the masses of the world to super exploit them. This is also reflected in the institutional superstructure, in events such as the G7, the G20, in the general assembly of the United Nations, in the IMF, in the World Trade Organization (which China has been part of for decades, confirming they are already a capitalist economy). In these events, the plans for exploitation and looting of the peoples are settled and agreed in an attempt to get out of the crisis the great powers have.

The other major point of agreement between the United States and China, also with the European Union, the Vatican, and Japan is the unrestricted support for the dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party. For them, it is a guarantee of stability to continue with their super-exploitation plans for their multinationals as well as for any capitalist company installed in China.

All this does not mean that, as a great capitalist country and holder of a Chinese bourgeoisie, it does not have its friction or clashes and economic disputes within the framework of a global crisis of capitalism. Undoubtedly, the regime headed by Xi Jinping defends the interests of a great Chinese bourgeoisie that has been forming in the process of capitalist restoration of recent decades. Among them, private multinational groups such as Alibaba, Lenovo, Huawei or ZTE.

Trump and his contradictions with the “economic war”

Trump’s comings and goings in his “economic wars” show the weakness of imperialism. In the case of China, it led to a division in the great bourgeoisie of the United States itself and the large economic groups linked to foreign trade and its multinationals.

China responded to Trump’s tariffs with heavy import tariffs on US soybeans. Because of them, the claims to Trump by the large soy producers grew. This resulted in the Trump administration having to grant an aid package to the agricultural sector of “US$ 16 billion in order to mitigate the effects of the trade dispute with China” (Clarín, 28 April 2019). Something similar happened with other Yankee multinationals that produce in China and export to the US.

For example, “over 170 companies, including the multinationals Nike and Adidas, asked Trump to remove footwear from the list of Chinese products, whose imports into the country could be affected with 25 per cent tariffs” (Clarín, ibid.).

Huawei conflict

In much of 2019, the centre of the conflict unleashed by Trump was linked to cell phone company Huawei, China’s number one company in cell phones. Huawei is the second-largest mobile phone company in the world, after South Korean Samsung. This conflict also shows the contradictions in which Trump and China itself are immersed.

There are those who say it is a war for “the mastery of technology”. And that China could jeopardise US technological supremacy. We consider that, also in this, there are exaggerations. Even used by Trump himself, who went so far as to accuse Huawei of “endangering national security”, “spying”, and so on.

We cannot deny the technological advances of capitalist China. And that in some specific aspects it has approached or surpassed the United States. One of those aspects is the issue of mobile phones and 5G. But it is not real that China is close to surpassing the United States in the global technological issue. Nor is it true that Huawei is the only one that dominates the 5G technology. There are five companies that develop 5G, including the Chinese Huawei and ZTE. But the South Korean Samsung, the Swedish Ericson, and the Finnish Nokia are also advanced.

Therefore, it must be acknowledged that China has progressed in recent years in technological development, but it is an uneven development since it cannot reach the same level as the United States. It has also taken steps in cyberspace or robotics but as a whole it is far behind the United States.

International analyst Jorge Castro, an admirer of Trump and the Chinese regime, recognises the abysmal inequality in technology between the United States and China. Castro points out that “[The United States surpasses China 10 to 1] in basic artificial intelligence research and its pool of talents it reaches 850,000 researchers while there are 50,000 on the People’s Republic” (Clarín, 21 March 2019).

The very example of Huawei, and beyond its worldwide recognised potential, shows that it has no technological independence from the United States. On the contrary, China relies heavily on American components to assemble its cell phones. For example, “American chips and software feed the central Chinese servers. In fact, China has been a huge driver of revenue for Apple, Oracle, Intel, Qualcomm, and other big technology names. And to a large extent, China had no choice since it did not have the capacity to produce these components” (La Nación, Argentina, 21 May 2019).

There is an interrelation, since these American multinationals have Huawei, ZTE, and other Chinese companies as a major buyer for their cell phone components. So, there is a productive integration, a unity between the United States and China, not independence. Huawei depends on the United States and in turn,, American Apple depends on its factory in China. For example, US company Broadcomm, which makes chips, forecasts a fall of US$ 2 billion in its 2019 revenue from Trump’s policy. Hence, in June, over 500 companies in the United States asked through a letter to Trump to stop the so-called “trade war”. Among those companies that signed are Walmart, Levi, GAP, and another 650 American entities (data from Clarín, 15 June 2019). That’s why at the G20 meeting in late June in Japan, Trump had to sit down with Xi Jinping and set a truce for the Huawei conflict, which may be called the “Osaka truce”.

Of course, there will continue to be new clashes and friction between the United States and China and their companies, but the real framework for both Trump and Xi Jinping is the search for agreements between the United States and the Chinese dictatorship, to balance common business.

The future of China as a capitalist power

The outlook and the result of the economic development that China may have in the coming years is closely linked not only to economic issues and pacts with multinationals and the United States, but also to the class struggle in China and the world.

Precisely this factor is denied by most international analysts. The “Chinese miracle” has always been talked about as a demonstration of the progress that capitalism can give. There was a factor that was the unprecedented invasion of foreign investments in the last 20–30 years. But the “Chinese miracle” is based on the over-exploitation of millions of workers with salaries in dollars 30 or 40 times lower than those in the metropolises. This has allowed a capitalist accumulation, enrichment, and a spectacular profit of the multinationals and the new Chinese bourgeoisie itself that was emerging in the heat of openness to capitalism.

The reality of China shows that capitalism as a great “progress” and modernity is limited to a high and middle class, a sector of 300 or 400 million. A strip that includes not only the new oligarchs and Chinese businessmen but the entire bureaucracy of the political and military apparatus of the Chinese CP. But China is a country of 1.4 billion inhabitants, so there is an inequality as is not known in other countries. There are over a billion people who have tremendous salary inequality. In rural areas, half of the population has total poverty wages. There are 82 million who live below the poverty line (World Bank 2018 data), hundreds of millions suffer from the decline in the level of health care and education and, fundamentally, hundreds of millions receive hunger wages.

China is a great capitalist power, a sub-imperialism led by a bourgeois Stalinist dictatorship. It has been built as a great power on those bases of super-exploitation. So, its future is linked to the result of the class struggle. Precisely the slowdown or economic stagnation that China is experiencing has to do not only with the problem of the global crisis, but there has been a wage change in the interior of China because of the development of strikes for years.

In the big industrial centres of the coastal cities, the “offensive” strikes for wage increases have grown since 2010. As the protests grew, wages have increased because the dictatorship and the bourgeoisie had to give concessions to avoid a social destabilization that they fear. The victory of the strike by Honda workers in Guangdong, who achieved a 50 per cent increase, was an example that was repeated in industrial areas. The minimum industrial wage in Guangdong is estimated at US$ 287 (2018 data), still very low compared to the salary of a worker in the big metropolises. But higher than the US$ 60 or US$ 70 they received since the 1980s–1990s. This led to some smaller multinationals moving to other countries where labour costs are lower such as Vietnam, Cambodia or Bangladesh.

So, China’s future is closely linked to the result of this social confrontation. Strikes, that continue to develop each year (in 2018 they increased by 400 protests compared to 2017), combined with the rebellion of hundreds of thousands in Hong Kong for democratic rights, are putting a yellow light of alert. Not only for the Chinese dictatorship but for their own multinationals and imperialism because a social destabilization would cause fundamental changes in the country and in the world situation. The “Chinese miracle” could stumble or cease to be because it is clear that the dictatorial regime is mounted on a pressure cooker, which at some point may end up bursting.

We, as revolutionary socialists, are committed to supporting the struggles of the working class and the youth of China. We rely on this mobilization to end the capitalist dictatorship and achieve a government of the workers and the people. And that the revolutionary traditions of the socialist revolution begun in 1949 with the expropriation of the bourgeoisie can be retaken by the Chinese mass movement in the 21st century, to reverse the capitalist restoration.

Miguel Sorans is a leader of Izquierda Socialista (Socialist Left) of Argentina and the IWL. This article was originally published in International Correspondence 43, August–November 2019.

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International Correspondence, March-June 2019 issue

The March-June 2019 issue of International Correspondence magazine, published by the International Workers’ Unity-Fourth International, is already out in English. Featuring in-depth analysis on the crisis in Venezuela, this issue also pays special attention to the reverberations of the economic world crisis that began in 2017; the state of Brazilian politics after the election of far-right politician Bolsonaro; the Yellow Vets movement in France as well as the political crisis in the Spanish state. This issue also looks at the recent neo-fascist turn in Italy, Mexico under Obrador, Tunisia after the revolutionary wave from eight years ago, the popular uprising in Sudan and the debates within the Argentinian left on the need to unify forces.

Link to the PDF version:

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¡No a la amenaza de despido contra José Bodas!

Por la Corriente, Clasista, Unitaria, Revolucionaria y Autónoma de Venezuela

Por redes sociales y otras vías, ha comenzado a circular el rumor de un eventual despido de José Bodas de Pdvsa. Bodas es trabajador de refinería Puerto La Cruz, en el estado Anzoátegui, con 31 años de servicio en nuestra principal industria, operador de planta, y actualmente secretario general de la Federación Unitaria de Trabajadores Petroleros (Futpv), elegido por las trabajadoras y trabajadores petroleros, en la plancha de la Corriente Clasista, Unitaria, Revolucionaria y Autónoma.

Bodas, junto a los trabajadores de la refinería de Puerto la Cruz, fue artífice en el enfrentamiento al paro-sabotaje petrolero en el 2002, orquestado por la meritocracia de Pdvsa, ligada a los partidos patronales y al imperialismo norteamericano. Estas acciones hicieron posible que la refinería de Puerto La Cruz no se parara durante los dos meses del paro-sabotaje.

Desde hace ya un par de semanas, hubo una amenaza directa contra el compañero José Bodas, con el argumento de que no tenía al día el permiso sindical, esto se logró detener al enviarse los permisos escritos a la gerencia respectiva. No obstante, en los últimos días, los rumores de su despido se han hecho cada vez más insistentes.

José Bodas es dirigente de la Corriente Clasista, Unitaria, Revolucionaria y Autónoma, la cual se ha puesto al frente de la defensa de los derechos de los trabajadores petroleros, exigiendo salarios dignos, luchando por el cumplimiento del contrato colectivo, contra el Factor de Equilibrio 9030, defendiendo los derechos de los trabajadores de la nómina mayor, y a todos los trabajadores y trabajadoras de la industria petrolera.

Junto a muchos trabajadores combativos y clasistas de nuestra principal industria, Bodas ha sido vanguardia en la denuncia de la situación de desastre operativo en la que se encuentra Pdvsa. Igualmente, ha denunciado a la dirigencia burocrática de la Futpv, encabezada por Wills Rangel, quien se ha arrodillado al patrono, junto a la mayoría de la directiva de la federación. Entregando nuestros contratos colectivos y todos nuestros derechos, sumiendo a las trabajadoras y trabajadores de Pdvsa en la más absoluta miseria, devengando salarios de hambre.

El compañero Bodas, junto a Fran Luna, también directivo de la Futpv y dirigente de C-cura, son reconocidos a nivel nacional en todas las áreas petroleras, como los más consecuentes luchadores por los derechos y reivindicaciones de la clase obrera petrolera.

En las áreas, en los portones, a lo largo y ancho del país, en los medios de comunicación, en redes sociales, su posición ha sido de indeclinable compromiso con las bases obreras. Su posición política ha sido clara y transparente. Siempre guiado por la necesidad de mantener la independencia política de los trabajadores ante cualquier variante patronal, no tiene ningún vínculo con los partidos de la oposición patronal que encabeza Juan Guaidó; ha repudiado públicamente la injerencia imperialista, y cualquier tipo de injerencia extranjera en nuestros asuntos internos, pero también ha enfrentado la política del gobierno nacional.

A Bodas se le quiere sacar del juego político-sindical porque la actual dirigencia de la Futpv está consciente que en un nuevo proceso electoral, muy probablemente perderían con Bodas y la plancha de C-cura. En ese sentido, estamos claros que se le quiere cobrar su indeclinable compromiso con los petroleros y petroleras. Cualquier acción contra el directivo de la Futpv sería una retaliación por su posición de lucha por las reivindicaciones de los trabajadores petroleros.

El gobierno nacional desarrolla una política de persecución a la dirigencia sindical y a los trabajadores que luchan en la defensa de sus derechos. Esta criminalización de la protesta, es hoy práctica habitual en Pdvsa, y en todas las empresas publicas, así como contra los distintos sectores populares que se movilizan por sus derechos en el país.

Esto tiene como objetivo seguir aplicando el paquetazo de ajuste que el gobierno instrumenta desde el pasado año. Por eso en Pdvsa y otras instituciones públicas, han despedido trabajadores, jubilan de manera forzosa, amparan suspensiones ilegales en las empresas privadas, criminalizan y reprimen a los campesinos, jóvenes y sectores populares que luchan por comida y servicios públicos. No obstante, la disposición de lucha de todos los trabajadores y trabajadoras sigue intacta, y con la movilización derrotaremos la pretensión del gobierno de acallar nuestros reclamos.

Seguimos con el compromiso de lucha con la clase trabajadora, más allá de las amenazas Estaremos en los portones, en los muelles, en las refinerías, taladros, en las oficinas, en todas las áreas al lado de los trabajadores activos y de los jubilados. Seguiremos haciendo lo que siempre hemos hecho: luchar codo a codo con los de abajo, junto a los trabajadores y trabajadoras, al lado de los que luchan por sus derechos.

Debemos repudiar estas amenazas contra Bodas, en ese sentido, llamamos a los trabajadores petroleros y a todos los trabajadores del país, incluso internacionalmente, a los dirigentes sindicales y dirigentes sociales democráticos a rechazar estas amenazas de despido contra José Bodas. Ya han habido pronunciamientos de dirigentes sindicales contra estas amenazas. El mismo llamado lo hacemos a la directiva de la Futpv, a que se pronuncien rechazando estas amenazas, y que no se concreten estos rumores de despido.

Campaña en defensa de Jose Bodas

Los abajo firmantes nos sumamos al rechazo a la amenaza de despido del dirigente sindical José Bodas, secretario general de la Federacion Unitaria de Trabajadores Petroleros de Venezuela.

Firmar aqui

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Stop Xenophobic and Racist Lynchings in the Dominican Republic!

We publish here a statement by the Socialist Workers’ Movement (MST) from the Dominican Republic.

The undersigned organizations and personalities are trying to shine a spotlight on the persistence of racist hate crimes in the Dominican Republic. We wish to express our concern, outrage, and opposition to the hate speeches and xenophobic attitudes promoted by institutions and authorities of the Dominican State.

On June 3 of this year, in the neighborhood of Matanzas in Santiago, the second most populated and important city in the Dominican Republic, a racist horde carried out yet another lynching of two Haitian workers. As has been established in the official investigations, the businessman Gabriel Beato Burgos, unprovoked and motivated by anti-Haitian xenophobia, fired shots at two men of Haitian nationality and during this barrage a stray bullet shot by him struck and killed the young Dominican man Daniel Espejo. To cover up his crime, Burgos accused the Haitian men he shot at of having killed Espejo. Incited by the false story of the real killer, a mob of racists attacked Victor Pierre and Esil´homme Atul, two Haitian workers who were passing by and had no connection with the first incident. This racist mob killed Pierre and seriously injured Atul. Witnesses have expressed that several Haitian families living in the community were also threatened and expelled by the mob.

This brutal hate crime against two innocent Haitian workers is new evidence of the degeneration of the racist regime in the Dominican Republic, and particularly in the El Cibao region, which has become a center of operations for ultra-right nationalist groups. The mayor of Santiago, Abel Martínez Durán, who is a member of the Central Committee and the Political Committee of the ruling Dominican Liberation Party, has promoted hate campaigns against Haitian immigrants and has encouraged his followers to use excessive force, abuse, extortion and theft from Haitian nationals. Just last year a tourist from Kenya, Frederick Marwan, was attacked by the Santiago police only because they believed he was of Haitian nationality. In addition to stirring up lynch mobs, the Dominican government has also been engaged in the arbitrary expulsion of Dominicans of Haitian descent in illegal deportation proceedings which has been protested.

In the Dominican Republic, it’s sadly common for racist mobs to burn the homes of Haitian immigrants and expel them from the communities where they live. And virtually all of these crimes go unpunished. One of the most emblematic cases of racist violence in recent years was the murder of young Claude Jean Harry “Tulile”, who was found hanging in a park in Santiago in 2015, even more outragesly the perpetrators of this muderous crime remain unpunished. According to the report “The Republic of Injustices” published in 2018 by the Initiative for Investigative Journalism in the Americas, in the last decade the press covered 67 lynchings of which 15 were against people of Haitian nationality. The real number of lynchings in the Dominican Republic is higher and the majority of the victims were young black dominicans.

Most media outlets amplify racist and conspiracy laden speeches of anti-immigrant public figures about a “silent invasion,” continuing a disastrous tradition of Trujillo’s fascist dictatorship. Institutional racism has reached such a point that the Dominican State has been adopting policies in the last six years, such as La Sentencia which seeks to erase birthright citizenship rights, to convert more than 100,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent into statelessness. In this context of oppression, Haitian and Dominican women of Haitian descent are especially vulnerable.

Discourses that fuel hatred and terror are the prelude to serious criminal actions, including hate crimes. It is common, and especially in pre-election periods, for government officials and candidates from most parties to use racist rhetoric, foisting on Haitian immigrants the country’s economic and social problems, especially criminality and a supposed overload of public services. The tendency is to deny the facts and statistics, which indicate that immigrant workers, mostly Haitians, contribute significantly to the country’s economic development. Far from parasitizing the Dominican State, on the contrary, they are commonly overexploited and deprived of the right to unionization, the full enjoyment of their labor rights and the principle of equal pay for equal work.

Together with the sectors of Dominican society that defend human rights and aspire for a better coexistence and respect for diversity amongst all people, we call for the broadest anti-racist solidarity to denounce the alarming and dangerous situation that Haitian immigrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent are going through in the Dominican Republic which is fueled by the rise of racist propaganda and racist State policies. We demand that the Dominican government cease policies which deny the rights of Haitian immigrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent. We demand an end to impunity for racist and fascist groups that incite lynchings, murders and mass expulsions of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent. We demand that the Dominican State sign international pacts and treaties that defend the rights of migrants, and approve laws against racist hate crimes. And we demand justice for all victims of racist lynchings, especially Claude Jean Harry “Tulile” and Victor Pierre!

Social and political organizations

#HaitianosRD, Dominican Republic

Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos, Dominican Republic
Afritude Laboratorio Creativo Político,Dominican Republic
Haitian Popular Youth Organization (ODJPH), Dominican Republic
Junta de Prietas, Dominican Republic
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, US
Black Lives Matter New York, US
Life in Leggings, Barbados
Caribbean Solidarity Network, US
Red Bloom Communist Collective, US
Women’s Wednesday’s, Guyana
Socialist Workers’ Movement, Dominican Republic
Socialist Workers Alliance, Guyana
League for the Revolutionary Party, US
Acción AfroDominicana, Dominican Republic
Radical Women, USAand Australia
Freedom Socialist Party, USA and Australia
Alliance of Middle Eastern and North African Socialists

Individual signatures:

Dominican Republic:
Hugo Cedeño,ex-president of the Teachers’ Federation of the Santo Domingo Autonomous University (FAPROUASD)
Luis Cedeño,President of the Junta de Vecinos Isabelita 3era Sector, East Santo Domingo
Pastor de la Rosa Ventura, sociologist, diretory member of FAPROUASD
Félix Cepeda, philosopher, Human Rights activist

Wadner Pierre,photo journalist
Kim Ives, journalist, Haiti Liberté
Guerchang Basita, Rasin Kan Pep La

Wooldy Edson Louidor, professor and researcher

Rubén “Pollo” Sobrero, Secretary General, Trains Union West Section-Haedo
Edgardo Reynoso,trains union leader, delegate of the TBA Branch-Sarmiento
Mónica Schlottahuer,trains union delegate and congresswoman, Socialist Left-Left Front (FIT)
Liliana Olivero,ex member of the Cordoba regional parliament, Socialist Left-Left Front (FIT)
José Castillo, university teacher, AGD union leader, Socialist Left
Angelica Lagunas,member of the Neuquen regional parliament, teachers’ union leader, Socialist Left-Left Front (FIT)
Juan Carlos Giordano, national congress member, Left Front (FIT) and Socialist Left national leader
Laura Marrone,teachers’ leader and city council lawmaker of the City of Buenos Aires, Socialist Left-Left Front (FIT)

Miguel Lamas, journalist, Cochabamba

Joao Batista Araujo ‘Babá’, City council member of Rio de Janeiro y and leader of the SocialistWorkers Tendency of the Socialism and Freedm Party (CST-PSOL)
Pedro Rosa, Sintuff union leader and leader of the Fasubra University Workers’ Federation

United States:
William I. Robinson,University of California, Santa Barbara
Jeb Sprague,University of California, Riverside
Hilbourne Watson, Bucknell University
Dylan Kerrigan, University of the West Indies
Jasmin Hristov, University of British Columbia Okanagan
John Kirkland, Carpenters Local 167, Philadelphia
John Leslie, Socialist Action
John Reimann,, Workers International Network

David Turpin, Anti-war committees in solidarity with the struggles for self-determination

Spanish State: 

Cristina Mas,union delegate of the press workers, Internationalist Struggle member (LI)
Luis Carlos Gómez Pintado, airports union delegate (AENA), LI member
Josep Lluis del Alcázar,public education union delegate, LI member
Marga Olalla,Barcelona municipality union delegate, LI member
Pedro Mercader,public education union delegate, LI member
Miquel Blanch,union delegate of adult education schools, member of the CCOO union tendency of Girona, LI member
M. Esther del Alcázar,public education union delegate, LI member

Ranier Ríos,leader of the Socialist Workers’ Movement (MST)

Priscilla Vásquez,national leader of the social security workers
Virgilio Arauz,leader of Propuesta Socialista.

Enrique Fernández Chacón, ex national congress member, leader of Unios en la Lucha

Enrique Gómez, leader of Movimiento al Socialismo

Sedat Durel,Secretary General of the revolutionary telecommunications and call centers union (Dev İletişim-İş)
Atakan Çiftçi, Education and science workers’ union delegate (Eğitim-Sen)
Oktay Çelik, president ofthe Workers’ Democracy Party

Orlando Chirino, National coordinator of the C-cura sindical tendency, ex presidential candidate of the Freedom and Socialism Party (PSL)
José Bodas,Secretary General of the Oil Workers’ Unitarian Federation of Venezuela
Miguel Ángel Hernández, leader of the Freedom and Socialism Party (PSL)

United Kingdom:
Ali Burn, activist
Billy Gregson, activist
Peter Hallward, Kingston University
Felicity Dowling, Left Unity
Jim Hollinshead, Chair of John Moores University, University and College Union

Rohini Hensman, writer and researcher

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República Dominicana ¡Alto a los linchamientos xenófobos y racistas!

Las organizaciones y personalidades abajo firmantes alertamos acerca de la persistencia de los crímenes de odio racista en República Dominicana. Queremos expresar nuestra preocupación y rechazo a los discursos de odio y actitudes xenófobas que promueven instituciones y autoridades del Estado dominicano.

El 3 de junio del presente año, en el barrio de Matanzas en Santiago, la segunda ciudad más poblada e importante de República Dominicana, una horda racista llevó a cabo un nuevo linchamiento en contra de dos trabajadores haitianos. Tal y como consta en las averiguaciones oficiales, el comerciante Gabriel Beato Burgos en un primer ataque, motivado por la xenofobia, arremetió a balazos contra dos hombres de nacionalidad haitiana y una bala perdida disparada por él asesinó al joven Daniel Espejo. Para encubrir su crimen, acusó a los haitianos que él mismo había intentado asesinar.

Incitada por el asesino, una turba de racistas atacó a Victor Pierre y Esil´homme Atul, dos trabajadores haitianos que pasaban por el lugar y no tenían relación con el primer incidente, asesinando a Pierre e hiriendo gravemente a Atul. Testigos han denunciado que varias familias haitianas residentes en la comunidad fueron expulsadas por parte de la turba.

Este brutal crimen de odio contra dos trabajadores haitianos inocentes es una nueva evidenciadel grado de degeneración del régimen racista que impera en República Dominicana, y particularmente de la región de El Cibao, que se ha convertido en un centro de operaciones de grupos nacionalistas de ultraderecha. El alcalde, Abel Martínez Durán, quien es uno de los altos dirigentes del partido oficialista, ha impulsado campañas de odio contra las personas inmigrantes haitianas y ha dispuesto a sus subalternos a hacer uso excesivo de la fuerza, atropellando, extorsionando y robándole a las personas de nacionalidad haitiana. Incluso el año pasado un turista de Kenya, Frederick Marwan, fue agredido por la policía de Santiago únicamente porque creyeron que era de nacionalidad haitiana. También se ha denunciado la arbitraria expulsión de personas dominicanas de ascendencia haitiana en procesos ilegales de deportación.

Es común que las turbas racistas quemen las viviendas de inmigrantes haitianos y los expulsen de las comunidades donde viven. Y prácticamente la totalidad de estos crímenes quedan en la impunidad. Uno de los casos más emblemáticos de la violencia racista de los últimos años, el asesinato del joven Claude Jean Harry “Tulile”, quien apareció colgado en un parque de Santiago en 2015, sigue en la impunidad.

Según el reportaje “La República de las injusticias” publicado en 2018 por la Iniciativa para el Periodismo de Investigación en las Américas, en la última década la prensa cubrió 67 linchamientos de los cuales 15 fueron contra personas de nacionalidad haitiana. La verdadera cifra de linchamientos ocurridos en el país es mayor, y la mayoría de las víctimas son jóvenes dominicanos negros.

La mayoría de los medios de prensa, radio y TV amplifican discursos racistas y conspiracionistas acerca de una “invasión silenciosa”, dando continuidad a una nefasta tradición de la dictadura fascista de Trujillo. El racismo institucional ha llegado a tal punto que el Estado dominicano viene adoptando políticas en los últimos seis años para convertir en apátridas a más de cien mil dominicanos descendientes de haitianos. En este contexto opresivo, las mujeres haitianas y dominicanas de ascendencia haitiana son particularmente vulnerables.

Los discursos que alimentan el odio y el terror en la sociedad son la antesala de graves acciones criminales, incluyendo los crímenes de odio. Es común, y especialmente en períodos preelectorales, que funcionarios gubernamentales y candidatos de la mayoría de los partidos hagan uso de una retórica racista, endilgando a los inmigrantes haitianos los problemas económicos y sociales del país, sobre todo la criminalidad y una supuesta sobrecarga de los servicios públicos. La tendencia es negar los hechos y los datos de la realidad, que indican que los trabajadores inmigrantes, mayoritariamente haitianos, aportan significativamente al desarrollo económico del país. Lejos de parasitar al Estado dominicano, muy por el contrario, comúnmente son sobreexplotados y privados del derecho a la sindicalización, al pleno disfrute de sus derechos laborales y al principio de igual pago por igual trabajo.

Junto con los sectores de la sociedad que defienden los derechos humanos y apuestan a una mejor convivencia y respeto de la diversidad de todo tipo entre todas las personas, llamamos a la más amplia solidaridad anti-racista para denunciar la alarmante y peligrosa situación que atraviesan los inmigrantes haitianos y los dominicanos descendientes de haitianos en República Dominicana debido al auge de la propaganda racista y las políticas de Estado racistas. Exigimos al gobierno dominicano cesar las políticas tendientes a negar los derechos de los inmigrantes haitianos y las personas dominicanas de ascendencia haitiana.

Exigimos que cese la impunidad de los grupos racistas y fascistas que incitan a linchamientos, asesinatos y expulsiones en masa de personas haitianas y dominicanas de ascendencia haitiana. Exigimos al Estado dominicano que suscriba los pactos y tratados internacionales que defienden los derechos de los migrantes, y que apruebe leyes contra los crímenes de odio racista. Y exigimos justicia para todas las víctimas de linchamientos racistas, especialmente para Claude Jean Harry y Victor Pierre.

Organizaciones sociales y políticas adherentes

#HaitianosRD, República Dominicana

Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos, República Dominicana
Afritude Laboratorio Creativo Político, República Dominicana
Organización de Jóvenes Populares Haitianos (ODJPH), República Dominicana
Junta de Prietas, República Dominicana
Malcolm X GrassrootsMovement, EEUU
Black Lives Matter New York, EEUU
Life in Leggings, Barbados
Red de Solidaridad Caribeña (CaribbeanSolidarity Network)
Red Bloom Communist Collective, EEUU
Women’s Wednesday’s, Guyana
Movimiento Socialista de los Trabajadores (UIT-CI), República Dominicana
Alianza de Trabajadores Socialistas, Guyana
Acción AfroDominicana, República Dominicana
Liga por un partido revolucionario, EEUU
Radical Women, EEUU y Australia
Freedom Socialist Party, EEUU y Australia
Alianza de Socialistas de Medio Oriente y el Norte de África

Firmas Individuales:
República Dominicana:
Hugo Cedeño, sociólogo, ex Presidente de la Federación de Profesores de la Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (FAPROUASD)
Luis Cedeño, Presidente Junta de Vecinos sector Isabelita 3era., Santo Domingo Este
Pastor de la Rosa Ventura, sociólogo, Secretario de Asuntos Gremiales de FAPROUASD
Félix Cepeda, filósofo, activista DDHH

Wadner Pierre, fotoreportero
Kim Ives, periodista, Haiti Liberté
Guerchang Basita, Rasin Kan Pep La

Wooldy Edson Louidor, profesor e investigador

Rubén “Pollo” Sobrero, Secretario General Unión Ferroviaria Seccional Oeste-Haedo
Edgardo Reynoso, dirigente ferroviario del Cuerpo de Delegados del Ramal TBA-Sarmiento
Mónica Schlottahuer, Delegada ferroviaria y diputada nacional de Izquierda Socialista-FIT
Liliana Olivero, ex Diputada por Córdoba de Izquierda Socialista-FIT
José Castillo, profesor universitario, dirigente de AGD y de Izquierda Socialista
Angélica Lagunas, Diputada por Neuquén de Izquierda Socialista-FIT, dirigente sindical docente
Juan Carlos Giordano, diputado nacional electo FIT y dirigente nacional de Izquierda Socialista
Laura Marrone, Dirigente docente y legisladora electa Izquierda Socialista-FIT, por Buenos Aires

Miguel Lamas, periodista internacional, Cochabamba

Joao Batista Araujo “Babá”, Concejal de Rio de Janeiro y dirigente de la Corriente Socialista de los Trabajadores en el PSOL
Pedro Rosa, dirigente del Sintuff y la Fasubra (Federación de Trabajadores Universitarios)

Estados Unidos:
William I. Robinson, University of California, Santa Barbara
Jeb Sprague, University of California, Riverside
Hilbourne Watson, BucknellUniversity
Dylan Kerrigan, University of the West Indies
Jasmin Hristov, University of British Columbia Okanagan
John Kirkland, Sindicato de Carpinteros Local 167, Filadelfia
John Leslie, SocialistAction
John Reimann,, Red Internacional de Trabajadores David Turpin, Anti-War Committees in Solidarity with the Struggles for Self-Determination.


Estado Español:
Cristina Mas, Delegada sindical de trabajadores de prensa, militante de Lucha Internacionalista (LI)
Luis Carlos Gómez Pintado, Delegado sindical trabajadores AENA (Aeropuertos), militante de LI
Josep Lluis del Alcázar, Delegado sindical de enseñanza pública, militante de LI
Marga Olalla, Delegada sindical de trabajadores municipales de Barcelona, militante de LI
Pedro Mercader, Delegado Sindical de enseñanza pública, militante de LI
Miquel Blanch, Delegado sindical de profesorado de escuelas de adultos, miembro de la Corriente Sindical de CCOO de Girona, militante de LI
M. Esther del Alcázar, Delegada sindical de enseñanza pública, militante de LI

Ranier Ríos,dirigente del Movimiento Socialista de los Trabajadores

Priscilla Vásquez, dirigente nacional de los Trabajadores del Seguro Social de Panamá
Virgilio Arauz, dirigente de Propuesta Socialista.

Enrique Fernández Chacón, ex diputado nacional, dirigente de Uníos en la Lucha

Enrique Gómez, dirigente del Movimiento al Socialismo

Sedat Durel, Secretario General del Sindicato de los trabajadores revolucionarios de la telecomunicación y de centros de llamados (Devİletişim-İş)
Atakan Çiftçi, delegado del Sindicato de los trabajadores de educación y de ciencia (Eğitim-Sen)
Oktay Çelik, presidente del Partido de la Democracia Obrera

Orlando Chirino, Coordinador Nacional de la corriente sindical C-cura, ex candidato a presidente del Partido Socialismo y Libertad
José Bodas, Secretario General de la Federación Unitaria de Trabajadores Petroleros de Venezuela
Miguel Ángel Hernández, dirigente del Partido Socialismo y Libertad

Reino Unido:
Ali Burn, activista
Billy Gregson, activista
Peter Hallward, Kingston University
Felicity Dowling, Left Unity
Jim Hollinshead, Presidente de la Universidad John Moores, University and College Union

RohiniHensman, escritora e investigadora
(read in english)

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Nicaragua: 40 years after Somoza’s fall, another dictatorship

By Miguel Sorans*

The triumph of the revolution in 1979 was a great impact and generated great expectations. After 45 days of a general strike and the armed struggle of the FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front), the National Guard was defeated and the fierce dictator fled. Forty years later, the leader of that revolution, Daniel Ortega, is a bloodthirsty dictator repudiated by his people.

The leadership of Sandinismo took to defeat that triumphant revolution. It is very important to draw the conclusions of how, 40 years later, the former commander Daniel Ortega, using the flags of the FSLN, governs for the rich and against the working and oppressed people. Some former Sandinistas such as writer Sergio Ramirez (he was Ortega’s vice president from 1985 to 1990) argue, against Ortega, that it was all because “we wanted a hegemonic party” and that the “democratic” character of the revolution was put aside. For the revolutionary socialists the analysis differs. Although Ortega’s anti-democratic advance is real, the underlying problem is that the FSLN did not break with the bourgeoisie and imperialism. And along that road they ended up starving and repressing the Nicaraguan people.

The Revolutionary Triumph

The revolution was immense. The Somoza family had dominated Nicaragua since 1936, with a pro-American dictatorship. In 1979 practically all the Nicaraguan people rose. By mid-year, in intense fighting between the FSLN and the National Guard “the boys” (the popular name for the Sandinistas) took the northern area (Matagalpa and León). In the capital Managua, a desperate bloodthirsty Somoza bombarded the working-class neighbourhoods. The street fighting took place in the city. On the southern front (border with Costa Rica), the final battle was concentrated in the city’s taking of Rivas, the last stronghold of the dictatorship. On 19 July, Managua was in rebels’ hands. In a country with two and a half million inhabitants, there were approximately 50,000 casualties.

In their struggle, and with the Sandinistas at the head, the Nicaraguan masses liquidated the bourgeois state, annihilated their army, partially armed themselves and began to occupy lands and factories, forming trade unions and exercising embryonic and partially direct political power. An enormous opportunity opened to advance expropriating the great bourgeoisie and imperialism, to ignore the dictatorship foreign debt, to begin a planning economy to satisfy in the first place the urgent needs of the Nicaraguan people. That is to say, to start the path towards socialism.

The policy of the FSLN leadership was the opposite. They formed the Government of National Reconstruction (GRN), with the main representatives of the tiny anti-Somocist bourgeoisie, Violeta Chamorro of the Conservative Party, and the businessman Alfonso Robelo.

The Sandinistas undertook this path with the help of a very important advisor: Fidel Castro. In a speech in the Cuban city of Holguin, with the presence of Robelo and several Sandinista commanders, Castro said that “Nicaragua should not be another Cuba” (Juventud Rebelde, 29 July 1979**). He advised the Sandinistas to do the opposite of the Cuban experience of 1959-61, when Fidel and Che Guevara led the break with imperialism and the Cuban bourgeoisie, expropriations and economic planning.

Our current, headed by Nahuel Moreno, put forward an alternative policy to that of Ortega and Castro. We intervened in the 1979 revolution with the Simon Bolivar Brigade. The policy of the brigade leaders was to promote mobilisation and an independent workers’ and peasants’ power, via the new unions and popular militias. It proposed a Sandinista government without capitalists to advance in the expropriation of the landowners and the bourgeoisie and to support the revolutionary process of El Salvador. Ortega’s policy and the leadership of the FSLN was different. And that is why Ortega finally expelled the brigade. He made the brigadists arrested and imprisoned in Panama.

Ortega and the FSLN ruled with the bourgeoisie and rebuilt the economy and the political and military institutions of capitalism. It was the Nicaraguan people who suffered the consequences of this policy with more poverty and repression.

Now it is necessary to end Ortega’s dictatorship

In 1990 the FSLN lost the elections to the right-wing pro-American Violeta Chamorro. In 2006 Daniel Ortega returned to power, having previously signed an agreement with the Constitutionalist Liberal Party of corrupt Arnoldo Aleman. He allied himself with the right-wing sectors in Congress to pass, for example, a law banning the right to abortion, one of the revolution’s achievements. He made a deal with the Catholic Church and with the big businessmen of the Private Business Superior Council (COSEP). Finally, in April 2018, a popular uprising broke out. The detonator was Ortega’s attempt to impose a welfare reform suggested by the IMF. Thousands took to the streets all over the country. People set up barricades again. Ortega had to retreat with the reform. But the people hated the dictatorship and the mobilisation did not to stop and demanded: Out Daniel! The Church, imperialism, the OAS and the big businessmen, fearful that Ortega would fall for a new revolution, like those in North Africa, called for “dialogue” and negotiation. While Ortega continued repressing and imprisoning activists. To this day we know of around 350 dead. Applying these two politics they have succeeded, for now and despite the mobilisations, the regime has survived.

The mobilisation showed forms of self-organisation of the students, the women’s movement and the peasantry (the “Movement against the Canal,” among them). But the deficit of the Nicaraguan popular rebellion has been the absence of a revolutionary leadership. They used this vacuum to channel the opposition to the regime through the Civic Alliance, where the business sectors of Cosep and Mario Arana, president of the American Chamber of Commerce, among others, are hegemonic. Since March, a negotiation table with the government has been set up. But many sectors are critical of this dialogue. Among them were the leaders of the student movement, women’s organisations in struggle and former Sandinista commanders like Luis Carrion and Dora Tellez, who broke up with Ortega. Because of these negotiations, an amnesty law came out that freed an important part of the imprisoned leaders, such as the peasant leader Medardo Mairena, the student leader Yubrank Suazo or journalists Miguel Mora and Lucia Pineda. But the law has been repudiated because it has a trap that allows for the liberation and “amnesty” of the regime’s genocidal police and paramilitary while other activists remain imprisoned.

The only way out against this dialogue of cheaters and liars is to continue with the popular mobilisation until overthrowing Ortega’s dictatorship. In this way, we must take steps to form an alternative revolutionary regrouping. In the perspective of fighting for a government of those from below, of the self-organised workers, students, women and peasantry. The task that remained pending after the 1979 revolution.

*Miguel Sorans is a leading member of the Socialist Left (Argentina) and of the IWU-FI; he is also a former member of the Simon Bolivar Brigade.

You can hear the full speech at


The Simon Bolivar Brigade*

The PST (Socialist Workers Party) of Colombia promoted it from Bogota, where Nahuel Moreno was exiled, and led a systematic campaign to support the struggle against Somoza’s dictatorship.

Recruitment and training began in Bogota in June 1979. More than a thousand volunteers signed up in a few days. It was financed with fundraisings from unions, other organisations and many people who contributed to the piggy banks.

Many were individually incorporated into the ranks of the Sandinista army in the South Front and participated in the bloody confrontations that took place against the last resistance of the Somoza National Guard. Three members of the brigade fell in combat (Mario Cruz Morales, Pedro Ochoa García and Max Senqui) and many were injured. On the Atlantic Coast, in the city of Bluefields, the defeat of the Somocist and the seizure of the city were directly in the hands of a column of brigadists.

Once the dictatorship was overthrown, the brigade dedicated itself to supporting the formation of new unions, 110 organisations in Managua and Bluefields, along with support for the armed neighbourhood militias. On 16 August 1979, they were arrested and expelled from the country.

*See La Brigada Simon Bolivar. El Socialista (only in Spanish)


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Puerto Rico: cae Rosselló y la crisis no se cierra

Por Martin Fú

Las masivas y espontáneas protestas que comenzaron el pasado 13 de julio y movilizaron más de un millón de personas, terminaron tirando al gobernador Ricardo Roselló. Dimitió por el repudio generalizado a sus dichos homofóbicos, machistas y violentos. Sumado al rechazo a las políticas que someten a cientos de miles a una creciente miseria y han forzado el mayor exilio de puertorriqueños de las últimas décadas.

La jornada del 22 de julio, con huelga general, bloqueos de rutas y autopistas de San Juan terminaron coronando la salida y renuncia de Rosselló del gobierno, que ha quedado acéfalo con un real vacío de poder. La figura de Wanda Vázquez, secretaria de Justicia y en la primera línea como posible sucesora en medio de esta enorme crisis, es rechazada y amplía, aún más, la movilización. Sumando a Colectiva Feminista en Construcción, que denuncia el paso de Vázquez como jefa de la Procuraduría de las Mujeres en 2010 “donde no abordó los problemas de violencia de género y fue una pieza más en la burocracia del gobierno” (Clarín, 26 de Julio) y utilizó sus influencias para acomodar a su hijo y marido en la función pública. La crisis no se ha cerrado y en la isla soplan vientos de bronca. Dos son los partidos que se alternan en el poder en Puerto Rico desde 1950, el partido Nuevo Progresista -del gobernador depuesto- y el partido Popular Democrático. Ambos son expresiones patronales, correas de transmisión del imperialismo yanqui. Cuentan con el rechazo de las mayorías que hasta expresaron el “que se vayan todos” en las enormes movilizaciones de julio. La Junta de Supervisión Fiscal, organismo creado por los banqueros yanquis para garantizar los pagos de la deuda sigue en pie. Ha perdurado con el paso de los gobiernos y según sus propios voceros el ajuste y las políticas fiscales son mandatadas por la misma. Esta crisis pone de manifiesto, una vez más, la necesidad de la independencia total y definitiva de los Estados Unidos. Reflotando las pasadas luchas independentistas encabezadas por dirigentes como Filiberto Ojeda Ríos y Oscar López Rivera (ver El Socialista Nº 432).

Puerto Rico ha autodecretado su bancarrota económica desde mayo de 2017, con una deuda externa de 70.000 millones de dólares que no para de crecer. Ser un estado asociado a Estados Unidos no le supone ninguna ventaja o mejor ubicación a los puertorriqueños, frente al resto de Latinoamérica. El país tiene una tasa de desempleo del 15%, tres veces superior a la de cualquier estado de la Unión, siendo el costo de vida más caro que en el continente y los salarios sensiblemente inferiores. Las políticas de ajuste y los recortes de presupuesto fueron los detonantes en la decisión de decenas de miles de emigrar hacia Estados Unidos, sumado a la corrupción y la desidia, condiciones que se repiten y multiplican en la mayoría de los gobiernos de Latinoamérica. Los doce años de recesión económica y la crisis del endeudamiento han servido de aliciente en el proceso revolucionario iniciado el 13 de julio en San Juan de Puerto Rico. La isla sufrió en 2017 los embates de los huracanes Irma y María que la arrasaron de punta a punta, sintiéndose en los barrios más pobres debido a su precaria infraestructura. Hubo miles de muertos cientos de desaparecidos y durante meses sectores populares vivieron sin luz ni agua. Las mayorías populares debieron sufrir también el abandono de un gobierno que no dio respuesta y del gobierno de Trump, que miraba hacia otro lado. Luego Trump, ante la presión popular, hasta ventiló el desvergonzado robo de los fondos destinados a los primeros auxilios y planes de reconstrucción de la isla más urgentes.

Eduardo Lato, escritor puertorriqueño, señaló que “han sido doce días en que los que por primera vez en décadas vivimos sin amos, descubrimos en estas jornadas la fuerza indetenible de la libertad” (Clarín, 26 de julio). Parece ser la mejor ilustración de lo que fueron las jornadas revolucionarias de julio y el espíritu de jóvenes, trabajadores y el pueblo en general supieron expresar en las calles. Sin una dirección política y con figuras del arte como la del músico Ricky Martín, René de Calle 13, el rapero Bad Bunny encabezando las movilizaciones y con la solidaridad de otros artistas como Benicio del Toro y Luis Fonsi, la exigencia del cambio de la dirigencia política de la isla es uno de los reclamos que unifica la rebelión. Esto pone en el tapete la necesidad de que la juventud rebelde, los artistas, los trabajadores, las mujeres y sectores de la izquierda, den paso en la formación de un nuevo partido de los de abajo.

La crisis política no está resuelta. La movilización popular rechaza el recambio de Wanda Vázquez. El pueblo boricua debe seguir su lucha hasta lograr un gobierno surgido de la movilización revolucionaria y de las nuevas organizaciones populares que vayan surgiendo. La movilización debe reclamar el no pago de la deuda externa para utilizar ese dinero en un plan de emergencia de obras públicas para generar trabajo y reconstruir las ciudades más afectadas por el huracán. En ese camino retomar la pelea por la independencia de Puerto Rico de los Estados Unidos. Desde la Unidad Internacional de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores-Cuarta Internacional (UIT-CI) acompañamos este proceso y llamamos a rodear de solidaridad al pueblo de Puerto Rico, que nuevamente se ha puesto de pie y ha salido a las calles a luchar por un futuro más digno para su pueblo.

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China/Hong Kong: Thousands on the streets for more freedoms

In recent weeks hundreds of thousands of young people mobilised in Hong Kong, initially against the extradition law promoted by the pro-Beijing government of Carrie Lam’s, and then to take up again the democratic slogans that promoted the massive mobilisations of 2014 with the “umbrella revolution”.

The extradition bill defended by Carrie Lam’s government, aims to give more power to the central Chinese dictatorship led by the CCP, over the autonomy of the former British colony, by allowing extradition of suspects of common crimes to Beijing. When the debate on this bill began in Parliament, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers mobilised and surrounded the building in repudiation of the bill, denouncing that the Chinese dictatorship could use it to extradite activists fighting for democratic rights.

With this project, the semi-autonomy enjoyed by Hong Kong enters a dispute. Although the agreement between Great Britain and China (1997), for transferring sovereignty, will last until 2047 where China cannot intervene in the former’s autonomy colony, with the extradition law China would violate in principle the judicial autonomy in the framework of the division of powers that Hong Kong has. But, in addition, it is a new advance of the capitalist dictatorship of the Chinese CP (CCP) in pursuit of further undermining the few democratic rights and freedoms that exist in Hong Kong. This law seeks to persecute, pressure and criminalise the opposition sectors, it is defended by the Chinese dictatorship for fear that this democratising wave will replicate in mainland China where millions of workers and peasants live exploited and without the right to protest, nor democratic freedoms, such as building a political party different from the CCP, unionising,…

As happened with the “umbrella revolution” in 2014, in which hundreds of thousands of people, especially students, demonstrated against the Hong Kong executive, demanding free and democratic elections. They kept the economic capital paralyzed for three months, with sit-ins and mobilisations that summoned hundreds of thousands of citizens. That democratic rebellion in Hong Kong is part of the struggle that is being waged throughout China to end the dictatorship of the single party, for the free right to strike, to free speech, to organise trade unions, student centres, political parties and full democratic freedoms. It is that rebellion that is being replicated throughout Hong Kong today.

They achieved a first triumph, because of mobilisation, pushing back the dictatorship Carrie Lam is playing as a mainland China puppet, who had to suspend the treatment of the law. The enthusiasm for this first victory emboldens the movement to continue for the definitive elimination of the law and Carrie Lam’s resignation.

Last Monday, 1 July, thousands of demonstrators took over parliament during a massive mobilisation on the 22nd anniversary of Britain’s 1997 return of Hong Kong to China. The demonstrators seized the parliament for hours, repressed with tear gas to leave. The Hong Kong youth and workers continue to be mobilised for the definitive fall of the extradition law, against police repression, for Carrie Lam’s resignation and for free elections.

From the International Workers’ Unity – Fourth International we call on workers, women and youth of the world to show solidarity with the Hong Kong workers and youth who fight for democratic demands. We call to repudiate the repression of Carrie Lam’s police who defends the interests of the capitalist dictatorship of the Chinese CP and any attempt of intervention of the dictatorship of the CCP.

Eduardo Ruarte
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Trump’s Military Fake in Iran

By Simon Rodriguez*

Surrounded by the failures in domestic politics and the internal crises of his government, reflected in a very high rotation of high officials, with constant public contradictions between Trump and his cabinet, the American president has been using a spectacular foreign policy to hide his weaknesses. The most recent case has been his war threats against Iran, with the sending of bombers which he cancelled at the last moment, on 20 June.

In 2018, adapting to the line of Israel and the most aggressive sectors of the American right, the Trump government broke the nuclear agreement that Obama had signed with Iran. In that pact, signed in 2015, the US lifted economic sanctions for the theocratic regime’s commitment not to exceed agreed uranium enrichment quotas for its nuclear programme. The re-establishment of sanctions by Trump has impacted the Iranian economy, which had already been suffering the wear and tear implied by the military occupation of Syria in the service of Assad’s fascist dictatorship. In response to the sanctions, Iran restarted the uranium enrichment process and announced that in July it would exceed the quota agreed in 2015.

The tension increased with the carrying out of six attacks on oil tankers in the last six weeks in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the strategic points of greatest interest for imperialism. With only 33 kilometres wide at its narrowest point, it handles around a fifth of world oil exports, some 19 million barrels a day from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Iran, and liquefied gas from Qatar, its main world exporter. Iran denies being responsible for the attacks.

In this context, on 19 June, Iran shot down an unmanned US spy drone. Everything would show that the apparatus was flying over Iranian territorial waters. The imperialist spokesmen claim that the action took place over international waters. Trump ordered a retaliatory bombardment and soon after, with the bombers already flying, cancelled the attack. He limited the retaliation to a cyber-attack against the Iranian government.

Trump showed in a very short time all his faces: first he said to believe that the drone’s demolition had not been deliberate, then he ordered and cancelled the attack, then he declared that he interrupted the attack because it seemed disproportionate to him as they informed him it would cost 150 deaths. More recently, he has offered Iran prosperity and friendship for twitter if it desists from its nuclear programme. An obvious offer to renegotiate an agreement. The imperialist governments of the European Union have openly criticised the unilateral nature of US policy towards Iran, calling for negotiation.

Trump’s bluff has revealed great differences with his security advisor, Bolton, and Secretary of State, Pompeo, as shown in leaks to the press. According to government sources, Trump says he is not in favour of a war with Iran and complains to his closest circle that his officials want to manipulate him into a war adventure. The magnate, of racist and imperialist convictions, is guided by the motto “America first,” arguing that the role of the world police is very costly. Near the pre-election period, an invasion is not among his plans. The memory of Iraq, America’s second Vietnam, continues to deter imperialism from waging new wars of aggression. But he does not abandon his permanent threats of aggression against the peoples.

The Iranian regime makes the most of the just repudiation that Trump’s threats generate in its country and worldwide. For four decades this capitalist, anti-worker and anti-people theocracy has been using the supposed imminence of a US military aggression to justify the non-existence of democratic freedoms and the repression against the resistance to its austerity policies. We revolutionaries repudiate Trump’s military threats and economic sanctions against Iran, at the same time we stand in solidarity with the workers and people of Iran who are suffering under the boots of the dictatorship.

A pattern is being drawn that shows the crisis of political, economic and military domination of US imperialism. Friendly talks followed threats of a nuclear attack on North Korea between Trump and Kim Jong Un. The failure of the 30 April coup attempt diluted the option of military aggression in which Trump and Guaido counted on the rupture of the Chavista military high command. As with Iran, in these cases the Trump government has used the military threat to achieve results. Any attempt by imperialism to gain an advantage through military blackmail must be repudiated, yet so far Trump is barking but not biting.

*Simon Rodriguez is a member of the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSL) in Venezuela, IWU-FI section.


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