The following website feature commenced on June 7, 2021. It is a compilation of brief comments or analysis of news stories by the editor of A Socialist In Canada, Roger Annis. Many of these comments also appeared in one of the three news pages on the website–world news, Canada news, ecology news–in the form of text in square brackets [ ].
Story: New Zealand and the new, imperialist war alliance against China
[New Zealand has been on tiptoes during the recent years of imperialist warmongering. It didn’t join the Lima Group and has continued to recognize the government of Venezuela. It didn’t sign onto one of the ‘Five Eyes’ anti-China statements and it withdrew a ‘genocide against the Uyghurs’ allegation from a recent parliamentary criticism of China. The government now says it was not even informed of the creation of the new military alliance of Australia/ Britian/U.S. directed against China. (Canada also says it wasn’t informed, but this particular seems highly dubious.)
[It has been a joint policy of both National Party and Labour Party-led governments in New Zealand to avoid publicly poking China in the nose. This remains their policy. But as the drums of imperialist war against China beat more and more loudly, the participation of New Zealand is to be expected. The NZ navy joined the recent UK armada directed against China and the navy is officially part of an alliance most New Zealanders have forgotten existed–the Five-Power Defence Arrangements. It dates back to 1971 and involves NZ, Australia, UK, Singapore and Malaysia. (Wikipedia)
[Antiwar protests in Australia are urgently needed, including in light of the Labour Party’s support for the ‘AUKUS’ outrage. How about this for a theme: ‘Not one penny for nuclear submarines! No to threats against China! Yes to massive investment to eliminate poverty and fight the global warming emergency!’]
Story: China and common prosperity, by Michael Roberts (Marxist economist in Britain), published on his website, Sep 11, 2021
[This informative analysis concludes with the worn Trotskyist refrain that “China’s leadership is not accountable to its working people; there are no organs of worker democracy, there is no democratic planning. Only the 100 million CP members have a say in China’s economic future, and that is really only among the top…” This refrain fails to explain how it is that China can somehow be waging the most successful social campaign in world history to lessen poverty and inequality while simultaneously lacking any meaningful democracy. Such an explanation strips the word ‘democracy’ of any meaning or utility.
[In reality, the radical lessening of poverty underway in China for some time now is the most democratic measure imaginable for China and for any other country in the contemporary world. The formal trappings of bourgeois ‘democracy’ should be considered and compared in such a context as that, not by abstract musings coming from Britain, one of the seats of the imperialist ‘democracy’ that has done so much in the past century to ruin the world.]
Story: The pandemic has made us all so full of rage. What happens if we never get over it?, by Edward Keenan, Washington bureau chief, Toronto Star, Sep 4, 2021
[This commentary in the Toronto Star addresses the troubling rise of anti-vaccination protest and conspiracy theory in the U.S. and Canada. But like similar commentaries, it fails to locate the reason and source for the right-wing protests and beliefs. This failure is understandble, because the protests illustrate three ‘uncomfortable’ realities about the state of the capitalist world some 45 years following the rise of globalized capitalism (nonsensically termed ‘neoliberalism’ by academics). Those three realities are:
1. The negligence characterisitic of the pandemic response by the governments and public health authorities in the wealthiest (imperialist) countries of the world (in contrast to China’s highly successful pandemic response). That negligence includes the widely-reported ‘vaccine apartheid’ that is denying vaccine access to most of the poorer countreis of the world.
2. The decline of scientific practice and understanding characteristic of globalized capitalism. This spills over into regressive social policy and practice by capitalist governments, for example, the erosion if not direct attacks on public health care services and practice. Of special note are the rising attacks against the right of women in the U.S. to access abortion services.
3. The rise of fascism and other far-right ideologies in the imperialist countries of the world (also in in countries subordinate to imperialism such as Brazil and India).
[Opposition to vaccine science is the official position of the Republican Party, of one half of the governing-party duo in the United States. The Canadian government happens to be tightly allied with this governing duo in efforts to strangle, starve and violently overthrow governments in China, Cuba, Venezuela and elsewhere that are successfully combating the coronavirus pandemic.
[Postscript: And here is another liberal columnist in the Toronto Star, Bruce Arthur, offering his explanation on September 14 of the origins of the right-wing anti-vaccination protests taking place in Canada. Once again, there is a failure to locate the protests within the context of rising far-right ideologies and the official decline of science as a guide to economic and social policies. The fossil fuel death cult that rules in Canada’s federal and provincial governments supports far-right and fascist movements in such countries as Ukraine, India and Brazil. The cult will be the death of us all if its hold on power is not broken. By way of rounding out the show on September 14, the Star publishes an op-ed commentary by the ‘president and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies’, a fanatical, pro-Israel (that is, extreme-right) entity, complaining about the use of swastikas as graffiti in Canada’s September 20 election campaign.]
Story: Australian socialist writes on pandemic crisis but says nothing on vaccinations or China’s successful Covid-19 mitigation.
[An August 25 article appearing in Green Left Weekly is titled ‘Right-wing anti-lockdown protests a symptom of gov’t failures‘. The article is written in the context of the rise in new, Covid-19 cases in Australia, related lockdown mitigation measures, and recent, large protests in the country by right-wing anti-vaccination ideologues. The article writer is the national convenor of the Socialist Alliance, which publishes the newspaper.
[Oddly, the article makes no mention of what role that vaccinations and mandatory vaccination policy might play in mitigating and eventually overcoming the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. It cites one sole example, Taiwan, as a country that has successfully mitigated the pandemic spread. But that’s an odd choice because Australia’s closest neighbour, New Zealand, has a highly publicized and successful ‘zero Covid’ strategy (notwithstanding the recent appearances of Delta variant cases concentrated in Auckland). Taiwan is recording 668 total Covid-19 cases per million population compared to 645 in New Zealand. Much more significant in the article is the absence of mention of China; that country’s per capita, total case count is one tenth (!) that of Taiwan and New Zealand. This is doubly impressive considering that China is not an island country and it has massive, trade and transportation connections with the world that have continued to hum along despite the pandemic.]
Story: Nonsensical, ultraleft polemic against degrowth theory by Australian Trotskyist group
[The Socialist Alternative group in Australia published an article on August 11 titled ‘The end of growth? The capitalist economy and the ecological crisis’. The article sub-title explains: “The question of economic growth and its relation to the climate crisis is a subject of increasing discussion. Here we offer a Marxist view on this critical issue for the environmental movement.” [end citation]. The article is a sharp critique of the theory of ‘degrowth’ as a strategy for fighting the global warming emergency. Here is the article’s key argument: “…Many ecologists, activists and academics argue that an obsession with economic growth is the cause of our current ecological crisis and a commitment to “degrowing” the economy is the solution. Too often, however, this discussion lacks a sufficient class or anti-capitalist content and workers are blamed for our supposedly destructive ‘consumption patterns’. Instead, socialists should be clear that the cause of the climate crisis is the capitalist system and its incessant drive to accumulate profits, and that the only way to solve the crisis is to struggle for a socialist world where human need, including a sustainable relation to nature, comes before private greed… This means that without a planned transition to a sustainable means of life the tendency will be for ever increasing emissions. So the debate about growth and degrowth is useless unless linked to the need to bring an end to the chaos of the capitalist market.” [end citation]
[The premise of this citation is false. Marxists and other advocates of degrowth believe that the growth imperative of capitalism is much more than an “obsession”, it is an imperative, meaning it is fundamental to how the capitalist system operates. Understanding how the captialist growth imperative operates is key to understanding the global wrming emergency itself. The article authors err in writing, “the cause of the climate crisis is the capitalist system and its incessant drive to accumulate profits”. This is a simplification and caricature of Marxism. It is not simply the search for profits which drives the capitalist system. Rather, it is the class struggle between the wealthy capitalists and the laboring classes (workers, farmers, independent producers, etc). The natural inclinations of the working classes are to resist the capitalist search for the lowest wages and lowest-cost natural resource inputs. They are inclined by their material conditions of life to resist the capitalists by joining in common struggle for a better world. Competition between the capitalists and the search for maximium profits shape how this class struggle takes place and how society is organized. But the reasons for that competition are rooted in what Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels described in the first sentence of the Communist Manifesto: “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.” Note, Marx and Engles DID NOT write, ‘The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of the capitalists’ drive to accumulate profits.’ Herein lie the differences between genuine Marxism and its various caricatures.]
Story: International Committee of the Democratic Socialist of America issues statement condemning the decades-long imperialist intervention in Afghanistan, calling for immediate and unconditional support of Afghan refugees, statement issued on Aug 18, 2021
[The statement by the Democratic Socialists Of America condemns the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan and the lasting damage it has done to the political, social and economic fabric of the country and its people, all to the good. But it is similar to the statement by the U.S.-based ‘Afghans For A Better Tomorrow’,issued on August 20, insofar as both are focused on the plight of ‘refugees’ seeking to flee the country. The DSA writes, “The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) International Committee stands firmly in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, in particular with the women and ethnic minorities sure to face persecution under the Taliban. All Afghans who desire it should be granted asylum in the United States or another country of their choosing, with a waiver of all application hurdles and provision of all necessary support.”
[Neither statement says a word about the right of the Afghan people to determine their own government and their own political/economic/social course for the country. That said, the DSA statement differs from the ‘Afghans For A Better Tomorrow’ statement by voicing no support for the continued occupation of the Kabul airport by the Western powers (in the name of protecting ‘refugees’ wishing to flee the country).
[The new governing authorities in Afghanistan have stated there will be no mass retribution against Afghans who collaborated with the occupying powers during the past 20 years. This can be contrasted with the tidal wave of government and media propaganda in the West predicting that such violence is inevitable and (in the absence of evidence) is already taking place. This propaganda is unfortunately being reflected in left-wing writing on the subject.
[Writer and author Vijay Prashad is writing differently. All along, he has stressed the need for a political settlement in Afghanistan in the form of a national reconstruction government. His most recent article, dated August 19, continues to sound these themes. This should be the focus of serious writing on Afghanistan: how can people and popular organizations in the West aid the Afghan people in overcoming the horrible legacy of the war waged by the U.S. and its NATO allies? A starting point is opposition to all forms of embargo or blockade against the Afghan people and government. That includes the need for diplomatic recognition by Western powers and other countries of whatever government is constituted. It includes the need for statements and protest actions calling for massive aid for the reconstruction of the country, including reparations from the Western powers that conducted a violent and murderous occupation during the past 20 years. Large-scale aid is more likely to come from China, along the lines of its Belt and Road project, and from Russia. But the outlines of this are not yet clear.]
Story: Left-wing academics in Canada distance themselves from the Cuban Revolution and defending its gains.
[The Bullet is a website publication of the Socialist Project, a network of left-wing academics and activists based in Toronto. The latest commentary published on the website is authored by an academic in Spain and is innocuously titled ‘Cuban dilemmas, socialist debates‘ (Aug 17, 2021). The author says that the few thousand Cubans’ who protested in the streets and committed acts of vandalism on July 11, 2021 represent a considerable section of the Cuban population as a whole. “No doubt the imperialist blockade and right-wing conspiracies were factors in the Cuban protests. But they were dipping into a larger tide, and it would be stupid to think otherwise,” he writes.
[The writer argues there is a “dearth of socialist freedoms” in Cuba. He says the Communist Party of Cuba adheres to a “monopolistic conception of power” that is “more reminiscent of Stalinism than of Che Guevara, who Cuban leaders continue to claim as their own.” He continues, “Neither in Marx nor in Lenin nor in 26th of July Movement-era Castro can we find any strategic theorization whereby socialism should be built over the long term solely and exclusively under the leadership of a single party monopolizing political power… The best safeguard for partial gains and progress toward socialism is an organized people that neither depends upon the state nor is yet another of its many tributaries…”
[A commentary in The Bullet on July 27 (also published in Canadian Dimension) by a Cuban academic living abroad argues that the Cuban state is “broken”. Another recently translated commentary by a Cuban academic is published on August 9 by a Trotskyist outlet in Europe, International Viewpoint, and by the Life On The Left writer’s website in Canada. It is titled, ‘The single party system faced with the crisis’ and describes Cuba as a “one-party model of bureaucratic socialism”. The writer argues, “The bureaucracy has become a ‘class for itself’ within society and hinders changes and reforms…”
[Similar distancing from defending the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela and the independent government of Nicaragua under President Daniel Ortega is taking place by many Canadian leftists of past generations. The Bullet as well as its associated member listserve gives voice to this disaffection.]
Story: How the pandemic now ends, by Ed Yong, The Atlantic, Aug 12, 2021 …America has fallen prey to many of the same self-destructive but alluring instincts that I identified last year. It went all in on one countermeasure—vaccines—and traded it off against masks and other protective measures. It succumbed to magical thinking by acting as if a variant that had ravaged India would spare a country where half the population still hadn’t been vaccinated…
[The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic exploded in the U.S. in 2020 due to the negligence and reckless self-interest of the capitalist interests that control the country. This was also true for the leading, imperialist allies of the U.S. Nine of the top-15 countries for total coronavirus cases are members of the NATO military alliance. That said, why has their fall-back reliance on vaccines to vanquish the pandemic also failed? The answer, again, lies in negligence over safety protocols.
[But a large additional factor now comes into play–the degrading of working class consciousness and political action during the decades of globalized capitalism (beginning in the late 1970s). This has caused weak working class responses to the pandemic. The social solidarity needed to achieve herd immunity–through vaccinations together with appropriate safety practices–is absent. Large numbers of people hold anti-scientific view on vaccination, or are confused, and the political left is doing little to systematically educate on the subject, for example in campaigning for mandatory vaccinations. It is young people who are leading the charge to break through the lack of social solidarity. Students and teachers are fighting for safe schools through mandatory vaccinations and safety protocols; health care and service industry workers are fighting for similar measures, allied with doctors and health care researchers who are speaking out; international campaigns are demanding equal vaccine access to the peoples of the less-developed countries; etc. The international working class made historic achievements in the 20th century (well documented in A Socialist In Canada)–the Russian, Chinese and Cuban Revolutions of 1917, 1949 and 1959, resp.; the defeat of U.S. imperialism in Vietnam; the vast, positive changes in working class consciousness; the recovery of Russia from the disastrous years following the ending of the Soviet Union. But the overall balance sheet of the 20th century is marked by the defeats, retreats and co-optations of the working classes in the developed imperialist countries. This, in turn, casts a pall over the entire world. Recognition of this reality is a pre-condition for efforts for overcoming it.]
Story: Built for mild summers, the Pacific Northwest is scorching yet again, New York Times, Aug 11, 2021 …During the earlier heat wave in June, about 600 more people died in Washington and Oregon than would have been typical… [British Columbia, Canada reported 570 ‘sudden deaths’ directly caused by the same ‘heat dome’ event, which lasted six days.]
[The above report in the New York Times fails to examine why residents of North American cities are so vulnerable to heat waves. The reason is that the real estate/construction/automobile/tourism industry nexus that built North American cities and continues to oversee urban expansion (sprawl) exists in order to maximize profits, not provide human comfort and welfare. Scientists have warned for decades of rising global temperatures due to rising greenhouse gas emissions to reach lethal levels. And what has been the response of industry and government? To delay and deflect degrowth solutions. They believe there is more money to be made in continuing the status quo.]
Story: Is climate change the fault of ‘humanity’?, by Michael Roberts, published on his website, Aug 12, 2021
[Michael Robert is a widely read and respected Marxist economist in the UK. His analyses of the global warming emergency, as in this essay, are very insightful. But he stubbornly refuses to consider ‘degrowth’ as the social, economic and scientific path out of the emergency and into an entirely new stage of human development, which all agree needs to be socialism–a planned, social economy in which human needs and ecological balance govern societal decision-making. Instead, he posits green capitalist solutions, such as massive ‘green energy’ transition away from fossil fuels and massive public expenditure to develop ‘carbon capture and storage’ technology. In other words, there is no questioning in his writings of the vast excess in the relentless capitalist plunder of the Earth, and how to end that.
[Michael Roberts’ analysis of why capitalist plunder takes place and is unceasing is limited to the false, pseudo-Marxist view that competition between capitalists is what drives the incessant expansionism of the capitalist system. But it is a different form of competition which drives this expansionism. It is the competition between capitalists and the working classes over the social surplus produced by society. The capitalists seek maximum return on their capital, come hell or high water (literally). They constantly seek to cut wages and social benefits, and they shift their investments around the globe seeking the lowest costs for wage labour and natural resources. On the other hand, the working classes, due to their very conditions of life, are compelled to wage class struggle in common cause for the future of the planet and its inhabitants.
[The utopian ecosocialists fail to accurately and scientifically explain why it is that capitalism cannot resolve the global warming emergency. That’s because they do not understand the source of capitalism’s expansionist dynamic. Their explanations are reduced to crude interpretations of the role of competition between the capitalists. Here is how two ecosocialists in Australia mistakenly put it in a recent article arguing against degrowth: The competition between companies and even different capitalist powers for markets and resources means that this drive for profit is relentless and expansive. Therefore, capitalism also involves a continuous quest for economic growth. (end citation) Their belief that economic expansionism can be contained and controlled by ‘green capitalist’ measures leads them to reject the path of degrowth. Instead, they typically issue vague calls for capitalist governmens to ‘do something’. And if the governments fail to do so, then the working class will ‘scale up its response’, whatever that means. Is it merely a coincidence that leading ecosocialist writers live and write in the illusory conditions of abundance in the Western imperialist countries? Their analyses are evidently influenced by subtle or not-so-subtle wishes that material abundance such as they experience daily may continue whatever the consequences for society and the ecology of the planet.]
Story: Jacobin magazine’s superficial analysis of politics in Canada
[An August 7 article in Jacobin by writer Luke Savage is titled ‘Canada’s social democrats could make big gains in a snap election‘. The article is a superficial political analysis that is all too common among left-wing political writing in Canada. Canada’s social-democratic New Democratic Party, the third largest party in Canada’s Parliament, has formerly voted to prop up the Liberal Party government of Justin Trudeau since the 2019 election that produced a minority government, Current seats in Parliament are: 155 Liberal, 119 Conservative, 32 Bloc québécois, 24 NDP, two Green, five independent).
[The NDP supports Canada’s military participation in the U.S.-led New Cold War against China and Russia and hasn’t formally raised a peep against the U.S./Canada-led sanctions against the people of Venezuela. (Importantly, a few ‘maverick’ NDP MPs have spoken out against the Venezuela embargo.) The left-wing credentials of the NDP are a far cry, even, from the limited standard of the Labour Party of Britain during the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.
[The NDP stakes its claim to left-wing credentials on its verbal, though not active, support for such social measures as expanded pensions, a national ‘pharmacare’ program, and small increases in taxation of the wealthiest. In government, as in British Columbia since 2015 and in Alberta from 2015 to 2019, the NDP provides some softening of the harshest social edges of globalized capitalism, but it simultaneously pursues the ‘big ticket’ items of Canada’s capitalist class: expanded natural resource plunder, including oil, gas and tar sands extraction and massive hydro-electric dam expansion; crushing the poorest of the poor with starvation wages in service industries, starvation welfare rates and promoting rampant house price inflation side-by-side with negligence in failing to build adequate social housing; avoiding the strict public health measures needed to contain the coronavirus pandemic; and on and on.
[The political left in Canada has for decades failed to build a broad, left-wing party to represent the working class, including the First Nations component of the working class. The Jacobin writer expresses the characterist politics of this political left when he writes, “The NDP must champion its social-democratic agenda loudly and unapologetically.” But that is precisely what the NDP is doing: championing its pro-capitalist agenda. Instead of building an alternative to this dead end, the political left tails along for the ride.
[A more left-wing sounding analysis than that of the Jacobin writer was published in Canadian Dimension on July 17. There, two academics present their views of what it would take to breathe some life into a moribund NDP. Theirs is a static and vacuous analysis. Imagining a potential, future NDP, they write, “It is going to require the hard graft of going into working class communities and making connections on the basis of a shared identity, one that inspires trust and a two way commitment to get out to vote and then deliver progressive policies in office.” There is not a hint that perhaps what is needed is a genuine party of socialism to contest for power. Such a party would pressure the NDP and its constituent bodies to join in united action in opposing the three great capitalist evils of our times: imperialist militarism, environmental destruction and rising social inequities.
[Postscript: Writer Luke Savage has doubled down on his hopes for the NDP to somehow transform itself into a party representing the working class. A new article by him in Jacobin on August 18 looks hopefully to the Canadian election to take place on September 20. The article is titled, ‘The NDP has a chance to radically reshape the coming Canadian election’. Coincidentally, an interview with British filmmaker Ken Loach, also published in Jacobin, provides insight into the efforts in recent years to transform the British Labour Party into something left wing, under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. Roach reflects on the party in light of his recent expulsion for the ‘crime’ of associating with left-wing members of that party. He calls the new, right-wing and autocratic leader of the party, Keir Starmer, ‘Mr Bean trying to act like Stalin’.]
Story: New stage opens in Vancouver courtroom in the attempted railroading into U.S. prison gulag of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. Report by CBC News, Aug 4, 2021
[A news report in the Globe and Mail daily on August 4 shows the lengths to which corporate newspaper editors and journalists in Canada are prepared to join the U.S. and Canadian governments in their efforts to hobble Chinese technology companies such as Huawei. The report was written one day before the new stage of Meng Wanzhou’s judicial (extradition) railroading opened in a Vancouver courtroom on August 4. The Globe report censors out the information revealed last month showing that the main plank in the U.S. legal case against Meng Wanzhou–that Huawei deliberately hid its relationship with a technology entity conducting business in Iran–is a lie. (The judge in the case nevertheless refused to dismiss the U.S./Canada case!) The Globe report also makes several gratuitous slurs against the Huawei CFO. One, it falsely reports that she lives “free on bail” in Vancouver. That’s a lie; see the details about the conditions of her house arrest in the above CBC News report. Two, it says that her and her husband’s house in Vancouver where she is living while under house arrest (for the past 32 months!) is a “mansion”. See the attached photo of the house and decide for yourself. The house is worth millions, but this is typical of hundreds of thousands of houses in the hyper-inflated real estate market in metropolitan Vancouver. The average price of a detached house in Vancouver city is $1.7 million. The Washington Post echoes the Globe‘s distortions in a report dated August 4. A Globe article by the same writer on August 5 does report the U.S. fabrication against her. It goes on to explain: “Canadian lawyers with experience in extradition cases say it is very difficult to challenge the evidence against an individual because they cannot present defences or attack the credibility of the evidence from the requesting state – in this case, the United States. Hence the focus on allegations that the U.S. abused the Canadian judicial process.”]
Story: The five characteristics of neo-imperialism: Building on Lenin’s theory of imperialism in the 21st century, by Cheng Unfu and Lu Baolin, feature essay in Monthly Review, May 2021 (Cheng Enfu is a professor at the University of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Lu Baolin is a professor at the School of Economics, Qufu Normal University in China.)
[This essay by two Chinese researchers builds upon other, recent writings on imperialism by Marxist and other left-wing writers. Notable among those is John Smith, British author of the 2016 book Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century (Monthly Review Press, excerpt here, review here). This recent essay and the 2016 book are extremely valuable for understanding and responding to the rising imperialist threats and intervention against the peoples of China, Russia, Cuba and Venezuela, and the resistance to that intervention. The two writings also document the political decline of certain left-wing and Marxist currents in the West (including Trotskyism), caused in great measure by their abandonment of the Marxist analysis of imperialism.
[Of note, however, is that neither text constitute global analyses of China and its place in the world. That’s because they do not analyze the specific social and economic characteristics of the two large countries that are successfully resisting imperialist diktats–socialist China and state capitalist Russia. Including the complex interplay in China between state economic planning and the operation of the capitalist law of value by the country’s privately-owned industry and finance. (In this regard, read: China confronts the three mountains—profitability, productivity and the West’s trade war, by Michael Roberts (Marxist economist in UK), published on his website, Aug 8, 2021) They also do not analyze the ‘mixed economy’ (socialist state planning together with private, capitalist investment) experiences of China, Cuba and Venezuela, among other countries. How do these compare with the mixed economy ‘New Economic Policy’ (NEP) of the early Soviet Union led by Lenin, Bukharin, Trotsky et al? NEP was a successful set of economic policies that guided the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics beginning in 1921. [The USSR was founded around the same time that NEP was undertaken by its constitutent republics.] NEP was ended prematurely in 1928/29 by the post-Lenin government that came to be led by Joseph Stalin. The Soviet Union under Stalin embarked on a forced-march industrialization and collectivization of agriculture in 1929 that eventually scored important social and economic achievements; they also allowed the extraordinary military defense of the Soviet Union following the invasion by Nazi Germany in June 1941. But the social/human cost of abandoning NEP was harsh and extraordinary.
[The largest challenge of all for China’s future social and economic course is its response to the global warming emergency. The Chinese government correctly points out to the world that the Western imperialist countries are the primary culprits in creating this emergency. But all countries of the world have a responsibility to join in bringing about a ‘degrowth’ in the rampant, expansionist economies that have been created by capitalism or which seek to co-exist with it. This challenge facing the Chinese people and government is not addressed at all in the above essay or in the 2016 book.]
Story: ‘China is very much an imperialist power in the making’ says ideologue in address to conference of Trotskyist ‘Counterfire’ group in London, 25-minute video presentation by Dragan Plavšic, published on the website of Counterfire, July 29, 2021
[Counterfire is the latest in a long line of Trotskyist groups and intellectuals declaring China to be an ‘imperialist’ power or ‘an imperialist power in the making’. In his talk to the Counterfire conference, Dragan Plavšic uses both terms. His evidence for the claim is as scant as the claims made by others of his ideological outlook.]
Story: Canada should reflect on its past and present struggles with racism, by Yuezhi Zhao , China Daily, July 29, 2021 (Yuezhi Zhao is a professor and Canada Research Chair in political economy of global communication at the School of Communication of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver BC.)
[The anti-China Globe and Mail daily in Canada has jumped on the appearance of the above published commentary written by Chinese-Canada academic Yuezhi Zhao. A red-baiting style commentary is published in the Globe on July 29 by a seasoned Globe columnist.
[The columnist seeks to denigrate the commentary by writing that it appears in a “state-run” media outlet, as though state-run media outlets such as the CBC in Canada, BBC in Britain and Deutsche Welle in Germany are not omnipresent in Western imperialist countries, serving as faithful transmitters of government propaganda. He writes of “repression of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in the northwestern province of Xinjiang” as fact, even though the accusation is a Western media and government construct. He writes, “Chinese officials have acknowledged that the birth rate across Xinjiang fell by nearly a third in 2018”, but any ‘change’ in birth rates of the Uyghur population occur in a context of a steadily rising Uyghur population, exposing the Western lie of a ‘genocide’ by the Chinese government against the Uyghurs.
[The Globe writer carefully avoids using the term ‘genocide’ in his litanny of accusations against the Chinese people and government even though no less than Canada’s Parliament endorsed the lying claim in a unanimous vote on February 22, 2021. He concludes his columnar tour de force with citations from several anti-China academics and former government officials in Canada.]
Story: Trotskyist publications blow hard on Cuba protests, echoing their pro-regime change arguments on Venezuela and Nicaragua.
[Two Trotskyist publications—the U.S. New Politics (and here) and the Australian Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal are loading up their pages with variants of the argument that Cuba’s ‘bureaucratic socialist’ system has failed and is causing masses of Cuban people to go into the streets demanding ‘change’. A contrasting view is explained here below by Helen Yaffe, an outstanding British scholar who documents the achivements and continuing challenges facing the Cuban people in a world of intensifying imperialist threats and war. Yaffe explains that relatively few numbers of Cubans took part in recent protests and that the purpose of the harsh and unrelenting imperialist embargo against Cuba is intended, precisely, to stir domestic protest that blames the Cuban government, not the U.S. government, for the country’s social and economic difficulties:
What’s actually going on in Cuba?, by Helen Yaffe, Novara Media, July 20, 2021 Helen Yaffe is a senior lecturer in economic and social history at the University of Glasgow. She is the author of We Are Cuba: How a Revolutionary People Have Survived in a Post-Soviet World and Che Guevara: The Economics of Revolution.
Further news and analysis:
* Shifting from campaign promises, Biden announces new Cuba sanctions after protest crackdown [sic], USA Today, July 22 ].
* 400-plus former heads of state, politicians, artists, and intellectuals call on U.S. president Biden to ‘Let Cuba Live’, People’s Dispatch, July 22, 2021
* Cuba’s mass protests are driven by the misery of COVID and economic sanctions, by Emily Morris, Institute of the Americas (University College London), The Conversation, July 16, 2021
Story: Washington chooses Ariel Henry for prime minister of Haiti as more details about the assassination of the country’s presumptive president by Colombian mercenaries, by Kim Ives, weekly column in Haiti Liberté, July 21, 2021
[Corporate news coverage of Haiti, in Canada at least, has reverted entirely, remarkably, to racist stereotypes so typical of the period leading up to the U.S.-led 2004 coup against the country’s the-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Haiti is depicted as a violent, ungovernable quandary in which the Haitian people are unable to govern themselves. The problem is endemic to the people themselves, they strongly imply. One can only imagine how bad is the news reporting in the racist homeland and former overlord of Haiti, imperialist France.
Story: Trotskyist publication ‘Left Voice’ calls for overthrow of Cuba’s socialist government. Commentary published in Left Voice, July 12, 2021
[The Trotskyist publication Left Voice, a publication of the ‘Trotskyist Faction-Fourth International’ (Wikipedia), argues that Cuba has been on the road to “capitalist restoration” for some years already and the leadership of the Cuban Revolution is taking the country further down that road. It calls the Cuban government a “one-party bureaucracy” and concludes the above, published commentary with the following: “The present crisis can only be solved through a new revolutionary intervention of the masses that puts a brake on the restorationist course, throws out the bureaucracy, and puts an end to its one-party regime — and its prohibition on any organization outside the Communist Party.” This appeal for a reckless and counter-revolutionary ‘uprising’ in Cuba echoes the longstanding calls by most Trotskyist sects in the world for the overthrow of the worker and peasant governments in power in Venezuela and Nicaragua.]
Story: The Nation magazine publishes fact-less diatribe arguing that China is an ‘imperialist state’ and is conducting ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang autonomous region. Essay published in The Nation, July 6, 2021, titled ‘Xinjiang denialists are only aiding imperialism’.
[This essay is worth reading as an example of how the ‘genocide in Xinjiang’ construct is infecting left-wing discourse in Western imperialist countries and is doing so without a shred of evidence to back it.
[The ‘evidence’ in the construct presented in The Nation consists of nothing more than acquiescence to that well-known purveyor of news and facts–governments as well as corporate and state media in the imperialist countries. Rather than assemble facts, the left-wing purveyors of ‘genocide’ accusations bluster. Here is the opening sentence of the essay: “Opposing American empire should never justify supporting perpetrators of atrocities, and yet that’s exactly what some anti-imperialists are doing with their analysis of events in China’s Xinjiang region.” The essay terms the arguments of those who defend the Chinese people and government against imperialism’s economic embargos and war threats as “narcissistic parochialism”.
[Read this commentary (pdf format) on the Nation essay, posted on Facebook on July 7, 2021: Facebook commentary on ‘genocide’ against Uyghurs in China. And read the comments which accompany the article; here is one of them: “I sure hope Guttenplan [editor of The Nation] et al have the good sense to keep this screed, rant or whatever you wish to call it out of the print edition. Hey, I’ve only been a Nation reader since ’86, but I can’t recall ever reading in its pages or on its website such a lame piece of pseudo-journalism posing as respectable commentary. The only way to actually counter the so-called denialism Mr. Roche decries is to cite it and counter with better data, yet this gutless wonder of a contributor ducks for cover and declines to cite sources or counter a single supposed non-fact. As it stands, Mr. Roche skipped entirely the necessary discussion brought about by the work of Max Blumenthal, Gareth Porter and others, as Pierre Guerlain mentions below. His failure to honestly and openly engage with that material and answer the valid questions they’ve raised renders this a fairly worthless waste of time. Who is ‘aiding imperialism’ here? It seems Mr. Roche is the one reiterating talking points inherited from Mike Pompeo.”]
Story: The new cold war against China, by John Bellamy Foster, editor, Monthly Review, July 1, 2021
[The new issue of Monthly Review (July-August 2021) is devoted to analysis of present day China; the above essay by editor John Bellamy Foster serves as an introduction to the issue. In a recent commentary, the editor of A Socialist In Canada wrote: “What is the class character and direction of development of the People’s Republic of China, and how may a socialist path of development for the Chinese people be furthered? How can the struggling peoples of the world unite in an anti-imperialist alliance to defend the Chinese people and government from the threats and sanctions of imperialism’s new cold war? Such an alliance is needed to combat the three great threats to human civilization in the era of globalized capitalism, namely, the global warming emergency, rising imperialist militarism and war, and rising social and national inequities in the world.” (end citation) The essay by John Bellamy Foster provides much material addressing the first set of questions and should be considered as essential reading for left-wing and progressive thinkers. Regarding the second question, there is very little to be found in Foster’s essay.
[A new cold war against Russia was launched by the imperialist countries in 2014, coinciding with the right-wing coup in Ukraine in February of that year and the referendum vote of the people of Crimea one month later to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. The international left has been paralyzed ever since, reluctant to defend the Russian people and government or, in many cases, downright opposed to doing so. One large reason for this reluctance is the ultraleft legacy of Marxism in the Western countries which dates back to the early years of the Russian Revolution following 1917. Specifically, Western Marxism, led by its Trotskyist variant, came to forget or marginalize the mixed economy strategy of the leaders of the 1917 Revolution. The ‘New Economic Policy’ was introduced in 1921 to overcome the legacy of economic underdevelopment of Russia and the harsh economic embargo being waged by world imperialism against the new Soviet republic. The policy was forcibly and prematurely ended in 1928-29 by the Soviet government, led by Joseph Stalin, that became entrenched following the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924.
[Leon Trotsky himself described the ending of NEP as an “inopportune liquidation” and “administrative suppression” in a 1932 essay. But his 1937 book The Revolution Betrayed, which was a comprehesnive assessment of the 1917 Revolution, barely mentioned the policy and its ending.] —Roger Annis
Story: Recent readings on China, posted to the ‘World news’ page of A Socialist In Canada website:
* China and the lure of global capitalism, book review by Macabe Keliher, in Boston Review, July 1, 2021 Markets have played a central role in China’s explosive development since the 1980s. But as GDP rose, inequality has soared—a stark turn away from earlier socialist ideals. Reviewing: How China Escaped Shock Therapy: The Market Reform Debate, by Isabella M. Weber, Routledge, 2021, 358pp
* Full text of speech by China’s president Xi Jinping at July 1 ceremony marking the centenary of the Communist Party of China, Xinhua, July 1, 2021
* 100 years of the Chinese Communist Party, by Steve Smith, Jacobin Magazine (New York), July 1, 2021 (Steve Smith is a professor in the history faculty of Oxford University. He has authored several books on the history of the Chinese Revolution of 1949, including Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History (2008).)
* Chinese Communist Party: a party of workers or capitalists?, by Michael Roberts (Marxist economist in UK), published on his website, July 1, 2021
* China declared officially malaria-free by World Health Organization, CNN, July 1, 2020
* Walden Bello’s skewed and misleading history of China. [In an essay on China published on June 30, 2021 in Foreign Policy in Focus, Philippine intellectual Walden Bello fails to ask the two sets of questions that should preoccupy any left-wing or Marxist analysis of present-day China, namely: 1: ‘What is the class character and direction of development of the People’s Republic of China, and how may a socialist path of development for the Chinese people be furthered?’ And, 2: ‘How can the struggling peoples of the world unite in an anti-imperialist alliance to defend the Chinese people and government from the threats and sanctions of imperialism’s new cold war? Such an alliance is needed to combat the three great threats to human civilization in the era of globalized capitalism, namely, the global warming emergency, rising imperialist militarism and war, and rising social and national inequities in the world.’ Bello answers the first question with an unsubstantiated claim that China has become “capitalist”. The second question is not even broached. Instead, Bello’s essay is an eclectically worded wish to see ‘left-wing regime change’ in China. Bello laments in his essay, “Though protests are widespread on the ground — and often tolerated instead of repressed — and alienation from the authorities is widely expressed on the internet, there is no systemic challenge to the Chinese Communist Party.”]
Story: A ‘right-wing turn’ of the Venezuela government?
[An interview published in the Australian Green Left Weekly on June 24, 2021 claims that the Venezuelan government under President Nicolas Maduro has carried out a definitive turn to the political right. The newspaper headlines the interview: ‘Turning right, repressing left’. The interview has been widely re-published in other left-wing publications in the West, incluidng MR Online.
[The main evidence for the headline’s claim, according to the interview, is the mixed economy policy of the government. But as with so many critical accusations against the Maduro-led government, there is next to no explanation provided to explain the government’s actual course, be it good or bad. Instead, the interview is filled with examples of negative consequences of the government’s course, including the inevitable corruption and favoritism that economic openings to the capitalist class in any country would create. Significantly, there are no examples offered to explain the continued socialist course of the government, including its important successes in combatting the coronavirus pandemic. The interview fails to make a compelling case that the GOV has made a definitive turn to the political right. Instead, we are left with the assertion that the government’s course is dictated by its desire to coddle and please capitalist interests for ideological reasons (and maybe for reasons of personal gain on the part of gov’t officials?).
[The published interview is the most formal pronouncement to date of the political break of the publisher of Green Left Weekly, the Australian Socialist Alliance (Trotskyist), from support to the government of Venezuela. There have been lots of such indicators in the publication during the past several years. Now it has become more definitive.
[The Western left, including its Marxist variant, is deeply entrenched in an ultraleft interpretation of the world since the Earth-shaking Russian Revolution of 1917 and Chinese Revolution of 1949. One of the reasons for this is dismissal of the eight-year New Economic Policy (NEP) which guided the early Soviet Union from 1922 until its premature and forceful ending by the Stalin-led regime in 1928/29. The Left Opposition of the time, led by Leon Trotsky, acquiesced to this abrupt and disastrous change. It labelled the proponents of a continued NEP, notably its leading theoretician Nicolai Bukharin, as “right-socialists”. For the story of the New Economic Policy, see Stephen Cohen’s 1973 biography Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography, 1888-1938.
Story: Forensic report by Canadian gov’t on the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 (PS752) over Tehran on Jan 8, 2020 finds no evidence the aircraft’s destruction was ‘premeditated’, CBC News, June 23, 2021 [For the past 18 months, the Canadian government has kept up a stready drumbeat of conspiratorial accusations against the government of Iran, saying it was responsible for shooting down Flight PS752. Not a word, not a peep, is offered by Ottawa or Canada’s compliant media about the years-long military threats by the U.S. and its allies against the Iranian people that has obliged the Iranian military to maintain a hair-trigger state of military preparedness. The unrelenting threats by the U.S. and its NATO allies against the Iranian government and people are the ultimate reason for the aircraft tragedy.]
Story: Vaccine imperialism at work: U.S. sends Taiwan 2.5 million vaccine doses, tripling previous pledge, Associated Press, June 20, 2021 [Vaccine imperialism is the possession and wielding of Covid-19 vaccines as instruments of imperialist domination of the world’s peoples. It explains why the imperialist countries are resisting the sharing of vaccine manufacturing know-how and it is why they purchased vaccine doses from Big Pharma in numbers many times higher than their respective populations.].
Related analysis: Vaccine donations aren’t enough, by Chelsea Clinton and Achal Prabhala, The Atlantic, June 20, 2021 The pandemic won’t be over until it’s under control around the world.
Story: As Covid-19 crisis ebbs, some in U.S. seeking 9/11-style commission of inquiry, Associated Press, June 21, 2021 [Tremendous resistance can be expected in all of the large imperialist countries to meaningful inquiries into the negligence of their governments in responding to the dire threat of a global pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. That’s because the negligence was universal, implicating not only the governments but also opposition political parties and public health officials. Each of the pandemic experiences in imperialist countries vary in intensity, but the negligence has been universal (exceptions being Australia and New Zealand).]
Story: Anti-China sentiment is becoming anti-Chinese prejudice in Canada, op-ed commentary by Paul Evans and Yuen Pau, The Globe and Mail, June 20, 2021 (Paul Evans is HSBC Chair in Asian Research at the University of British Columbia. Yuen Pau Woo is a senator for British Columbia in Canada’s unelected Senate.) Read the commentary here in pdf format: Anti-China racism in Canada [This is an otherwise unheard of commentary to appear in a mainstream media outlet in Canada, linking the widely reported rise in anti-Asian racism in Canada to the McCarthyite, anti-China outlook and policies of the Canadian government and ruling class. Even in this case, the two writers feel obliged to kowtow to the new McCarthyism by including a rote phrase at the outset of “a more assertive and repressive China”. How many Canadians see through the hypocrisy of the anti-China drive by a Canadian government and media whose past genocidal policies against Indigenous peoples have come newly to the fore following the recent discovery of 215 bodies of Indigenous children at one of Canada’s former ‘residential’ (genocidal) schools? No political analyst in Canada is exploring this question.].
Related news: Ontario gov’t commits $10 million to commence the search for residential school burial sites, but critics say much, much more funding and attention will be needed. By Brendan Kenndy, social justice reporter, Toronto Star, June 20, 2021
Story: Nicaragua’s political opposition as organized crime, commentary by Stephen Sefton, in Telesur, June 15, 2021 (Stephen Sefton is the publisher of the Spanish-language website Tortilla con Sal.)
[The Toronto Star, Canada’s largest circulation daily newspaper, has published a virulent attack against the Nicaraguan government in its edition of Saturday, June 12, 2021, authored by a ‘Carole Jerome’. This attack is mirrored in a new article by writer Dan La Botz published in two Trotskyist (right-socialist) publications in the United States–New Politics and Against The Current. The writer continues his longstanding ‘left-wing regime change for Nicaragua’ argument and that of the two publications where his article appears.].
* The CIA is attempting coups in Nicaragua with tax dollars through U.S. agencies and corporate foundations, by Nan McCurdy, Dissident Voice, June 18, 2021 (Nan McCurdy is a United Methodist Missionary and 36 year resident of Nicaragua)
* How billion-dollar foundations fund NGOs to manipulate U.S. foreign policy: A case study from Nicaragua, by Rick Sterling, Covert Action Magazine, June 8, 2021
* Nicaragua’s green revolution, by Rohan Rice, People’s Dispatch, June 6, 2021 While large polluting countries have refused to take necessary measures to slow the climate crisis, Nicaragua, one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, has taken impressive steps to shift to more sustainable energy
Story: Why the Green New Deal has failed, so far, by Matt Huber, Jacobin online magazine, May 5, 2021 [This essay is informative but of limited political and economic vision. The essay continues the author’s (and Jacobin‘s) refusal to embrace ‘degrowth’ as a fundamental guideline for political and social strategy in the face of the global warming emergency. This rejection is unfortunately common to the liberal environmental movement, including its ‘ecosocialist’ component. The essay has little to say about whether the imperialist Democratic Party machine can serve as an instrument for fundamental social and ecological change. (This recent commentary is the latest to argue a firm ‘no’ to that proposition.) If the Democratic Party is not such an instrument for change, then what new alignment of political as well as class forces can lead the fight against the exploitative and environmentally destructive policies of globalized capitalism? These policies endemic to globalized capitalism, so what is the systemic alternative? Such questions remain unexplored by critical environmental thinkers and advocates.]
Story: For the past three months, Ukraine has prevented the contact group on the conflict in Donbass from working, by Christelle Néant, founding editor, Donbass Insider, June 6, 2021 [The ‘Contact Group’ is the formal group charged with implementing the ‘Minsk 2’ ceasefire and peace agreement of February 2015. (The text of the Minsk 2 Agreement is here). The Ukrainian government was obliged to accept the agreement following its military defeat at the hands of pro-autonomy rebels in Donbass (the former Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk). The autonomous (‘peoples’) republics of Donetsk and Lugansk were founded in late 2014 following the extreme-right coup in Ukraine in February 2014 and following the refusal of the new coup government to negotiate political autonomy for Donbass. The two republics receive essential economic, political and diplomatic support from Russia. Minsk 2 was signed by the Russian and Ukrainian governments and representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk. It was endorsed by the governments of France and Germany as well as the UN Security Council. But the NATO-member countries, including France and Germany, have supported Ukraine in its ongoing sabotage of the agreement. Indeed, NATO-member countries continue to arm and train the Ukrainian armed forces, including their neo-Nazi paramilitary units. They continue to wage a ‘low intensity’ war against Donbass.]
Story: Inside the fight to uncover the ‘lab leak’ origins of the coronavirus pandemic, report in Vanity Fair, June 3, 2021
[This is one of the larger articles published in corporate media examining the claim that a ‘leak’ in the security of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China caused the outbreak of the coronovirus pandemic in late 2019 and early 2020. As such, it is worth reading for what it inadvertently shows: the ‘theory’ is nothing more than a collection of innuendo and conjecture, strung together by experienced journalists in such a way as to make it ‘appear’ as reality.
[The prestigious Nature magazine, meanwhile, has published its own conjecture on the story on June 8, titled ‘The Covid lab-leak hypothesis: What scientists do and don’t know’. Though couched in language that ‘something’ must be going on, the first sub-headline of the article reads, ‘There’s not yet any substantial evidence for a lab leak. Why are scientists still considering it?’ In answer to that question, the article makes no mention of the anti-China new cold war by the Western imperialist powers that is driving the ‘coronavirus lab leak’ story. Later, the article examines the claim that the coronavirus was collected by researchers from bats in a working mine in China some ten years ago. It writes, “There’s no evidence of this, but it can’t be ruled out.”
[This important commentary by a columnist at the LA Times speaks to the factual inacccuracies contained in a May 2020 essay published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: ‘Lab leak’ theory for coronoavirus origins. That essay, in turn, is cited as an authoritative source by the June 3 Vanity Fair article.
[Seasoned readers of the ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theories which have dominated state and corporate media in the West for some six years now will rather easily recognize in the ‘lab leak’ theories the telltale signs of a government and media campaign designed, first and foremost, to serve imperialist political objectives.]
Story: New ‘ecosocialist’ statement reveals how the doctrine is spinning its wheels and failing to rise to the challenge of the global warming emergency. [A newly published Ecosocialist Alliance Statement on G7 Conference (June 5) offers another example of how ecosocialism is stuck in the political mire. The entire statement is framed in an unrealistic call, to put it mildly, to the leaders of the large industrialized (imperialist) countries leaders to carry out a transitional, revolutionary program of social and environmental change. Among the reasons for the global warming emergency, according to the statement, is the “failure of governmental and corporate responsibility”. But in trashing the ecology of planet Earth, capitalist governments and corporations are doing exactly what the logic and imperatives of their economic order (capitalism) compel them to do. By their own anti-human standards, their efforts are not ‘failures’ but successes. They can no more change their ways than a leopard can change its spots. That is why a program of planned, step-by-step transitional measures is needed to combat the worst ravages of global warming, and it must ultimately lead to a planned, socialist economy. This is the only hope for humanity. The statement differs little from what coherent thinkers in social democratic or ‘green capitalist’ (Green) parties would write and say. There is no probing of political strategy in the statement, including no suggestions of the novel class alliances that are required to forge new paths for human development amidst the triple threat facing humanity: global warming, rising social and national inequities, and rising imperialist militarism and war (including the rising menace of nuclear weapons). Most notable of all, there is no mention of the imperative of degrowth, by which is meant a planned, radical reduction in the pillaging of the natural resources of the world and simultaneous reduction of the vast disparities in wealth and living standards between the tiny minority of wealthy capitalists and the vast majority of the world’s population, particularly the populations of underdeveloped countries. Instead, we read worn phrases and slogans lacking a coherent whole. The statement is a spinning of the ‘ecosocialist’ wheels in which the vehicle becomes more deeply stuck in a mire of its own making.—Roger Annis ]
Story: Argentina locks back down as coronavirus infections surge, Al Jazeera, May 21, 2021
[Venezuela is also battling a surge in Covid-19 cases, with an average of 1,100 new cases per day for the past two months. That’s a fraction of the numbers in other, large countries in Latin America. Total cases per million population are the following in the following selected countries: Argentina 77,000, Brazil 75,000, Chile 68,500, Colombia 62,500, Peru 57,500, Mexico 18,500, Cuba 11,500, Venezuela 8,000. Source Worldometer.].
And further: Uruguay, once a coronavirus model, struggles against a deadly wave, Washington Post, May 13, 2021 [According to Worldometer, total per capita Covid-19 cases in Uruguay are 67,000. This compares to 72,000 in Brazil, 71,000 in Argentina, 66,000 in Chile, 60,000 in Colombia and 56,000 in Peru. The number in Venezuela is 7,500, to which the heartless rulers in Western imperialist governments respond “Bring on a violent coup in Venezuela.”
Story: Corporate media and governments in the West all but ignore the report on pandemic preparedness commissioned by WHO because the report criticizes the pandemic negligence by most of the world’s governments and it doesn’t regurgitate the West’s anti-China propaganda.
[Readers looking for news in mainstream media of the report of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, issued on May 12, 2021, will be hard pressed to find much. Few media outlets are reporting on panel’s findings. Here are three perfunctory reports: by the BBC, Reuters and NPR. The reason for the near-silence is clear: the report makes no mention of the drumbeat of claims by governments and media in the West that government and public health officials in China ‘suppressed’ news of the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic virus and ‘silenced’ health experts in China seeking to warn the world. Instead, the panel report focuses squarely on the negligence by most of the world’s governments and health officials after the WHO issued a formal warning on January 30, 2020 of the danger of a pandemic.
[For its part, the Washington Post provides this dismissal at the outset of its May 12 report on the panel’s finding: “On May 12, the 13-member group, known as the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, delivered a lengthy, significant, but ultimately evasive answer.” The Post writes further, “Here is our guide to what the panel says about what happened — and what is left unsaid.” The ‘guide’ provides this distorted and lying interpretation of the panel report: “In footnotes to the timeline [emphasis added], the panel cites Washington Post reporting about how officials silenced whistleblowers and encouraged residents to keep attending public events despite risks. It also cites an Associated Press series that suggested China’s top leaders, including President Xi Jinping, were involved in the response.” The sly wording implies that the expert panel gives credence to the false accusations made by the Post and Associated Press; this is a lie. The ‘timeline’ mentioned by the Post writer is not listed on the website of the panel and a search for same on website reveals no result!]
Story: How Russian peacekeepers have prevented conflict between Syrian armed forces and the Kurdish movement in northeast Syria. Report by Al-Monitor, May 4, 2021 Under a Russian-sponsored agreement, the Syrian government-affiliated National Defense Forces retreated from the Tayy neighborhood in Qamishli, which is now under the control of the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration
[Al-Monitor is a rare source of news of the role of Russian peacekeepers in facilitating political autonomy for the Kurdish population of northern Syria and lessening tensions between the Kurdish movement and the Syrian government. Left-wing supporters in Western countries (anarchist, Trotskyist) of the pro-U.S.Kurdish movement in Syria never, ever report on Russia’s peacekeeping role in Syria. That is due to the leftists’ confused and anti-Russia outlook which distorts Russia’s role in Syria. It presents Russia as an aggressor alongside what they call the ‘Syrian regime’ or ‘Syrian dictatorship’, while skipping over any analysis of the frankly pro-U.S. orientation of Kurdish forces. See this March 5, 2021 report in the Australian Green Left Weekly as one example, or this report dated April 26 in the same publication. The April 5 report repeats the publication’s false claim that “Turkish troops have been in northern Syria since August 2016. Earlier Turkish military interventions were carried out following agreements between Russia (which backs Syria’s Bashar al-Assad dictatorship) and Turkey (which supports some anti-Assad rebel groups).” This statement distorts the political reality of the situation in Syria and implicitly argues the wildly reckless assertion (frequently cited in Green Left Weekly) that Russia’s failure to enter into war against NATO-member Turkey to halt Turkey’s (ie and NATO’s) interventions in northern Syria are proof of collaboration and cooperation between Russia and Turkey!].