Monday, March 26, 2007

More Struggles Against US Military Bases

I've recently commented on the opposition that exists in Australia to established US military bases like Pine Gap, and to the growing opposition to the proposed US base at Geraldton.

US imperialism is running into opposition everywhere.

On February 17 2007, tens of thousands of Italians took to the streets of Vicenza to demand that plans to build a new US military base in the city be scrapped. Police estimated that 25,000 participated; march organisers said 100, 000.

Vicenza already has a US military base on the city's northwest outskirts. Now the US plans to build a second, in the southeast, doubling the number of its personnel to 4500.

Meanwhile, opposition has been growing in the Czech Republic to plans for a US radar base in that country. On March 17, 150 people demonstrated abogainst the base in Prague's Wenceslas Square. The small numbers at the rally don't do tribute to the widespread opposition to the planned base, established through polls and petitions.

The following piece provides some background to circumstances in the Czech Republic. It comes from the Communist Youth Union (KSM) which was declared illegal by the Czech Republic on October 12, 2006 because it proclaimed the necessity of replacing the private ownership of the means of production with collective ownership of the means of production. The KSM is allied with the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moldavia, the former ruling revisionist party of Czechoslovakia.

The KSM struggles against US military base in the Czech Republic

Fri, 23 Mar 2007 17:39:57 -0800No military bases of imperialism on our territory!

The KSM struggles against US military base in the Czech Republic

The Communist Youth Union (KSM) in the Czech Republic has launched a campaign against a plan to construct a US military missile base in the Czech Republic. This base would be a part of the missile defence system of the USA. The campaign was launched before the parliamentary elections in summer 2006. The KSM was the first organization in the country to take such a stand.

Negotiations about this plan were started by the government of the USA and the government of the Czech Republic led by the Social Democratic Party in secrecy several years before information about them were published thanks to MPs of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia. The KSM subsequently started its struggle against this plan and was gradually joined by a number of organizations.

The KSM leads its campaign against the US military base on two lines: 1/ the KSM organizes its own communist campaign together with the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia and a couple of other civic associations and 2/ the KSM actively participates in a wider initiative called "No to military bases"
which is a politically more diverse coalition of forces.

The situation in the Czech Republic after the 2006 parliamentary elections was very complicated. After 7 months of political crisis without a government backed by a majority in the parliament, a new majority right-wing government led by the strongest right-wing political party in the country - Civic Democratic Party (ODS) has been installed.

It is relevant to mention that the government of the USA waited until the right-wing government led by the ODS gained its majority in the House of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic to announce officially its decision to ask the Czech Republic’s government for agreement with the building of the US military base in the country. This announcement of the USA government was published just SEVERAL MINUTES after the Czech right-wing government received majority support in the parliament (winning 2 of the Social Democratic MPs). The KSM demanded in its campaign publication of all the documents on the secret negotiations about the plan to construct the US military base in the country, resolutely opposed this plan and asked for a referendum on this crucial issue concerning the whole country and all its inhabitants.

The position of the relevant political parties on the question of the US military base and to the referendum on this matter differs significantly. The right-wing Civic Democratic Party (ODS) refuses the democratic institution of referendum generally, states that the people are not competent to decide about questions of national security like this crucial issue and eagerly struggles for the interests of the USA to show its loyalty to its ally.

Another government right-centrist party Christian Democratic Party- Czechoslovak People’s Party has not engaged itself so visibly in this issue but generally supports the line followed by the ODS. The third ruling party - the Green Party, which originally advocated the institution of referendum in its pre-elections expressions very vehemently and profiled itself as a non-militarist political party, dropped its previous promises which attracted a significant number of especially young people. Together with its anticommunism, it preferred its government position to result in an unprincipled stance supporting the US base under a precondition that the US base should be officially part of a NATO system. The position of the Green Party in the Czech Republic on the issue of military bases as well as its anticommunist behaviour makes this political party an object of critical views from its foreign Green fellow-parties.

Also positions of the Czech Social Democratic Party concerning the issue of the US military base are worthy of a more detailed comment. The negotiations about the plan to construct a US military base in the Czech Republic were started during the period of the government led by Social Democrats. Also chairman of the Social Democratic Party Jiri Paroubek, after his initial unclear statements, declared that he would support the US base in the country. Nevertheless, when the social democratic party was ousted from power it officially declared a negative attitude to the US military base plan and supported the idea of a referendum on the issue. Simultaneously, significant voices from inside of the Social Democratic Party speak out in favour of the construction of the US military base.

Generally it may be summed up that the Social Democratic Party’s position was determined by its non-government position. It followed the logic of maximisation of its political capital in the situation where a vast majority of society opposes the US military base to plan its new opposition position to win political points. The only consistent opponent of the US military base is the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, which also proposed a bill on the referendum on the US military base that was nevertheless defeated in the parliament. The attitude to the demand of a national referendum documents the real attitude to democracy of relevant political parties in the Czech Republic where the Communist Party is in debates repeatedly accused by the other political parties of its alleged lack of democratic character - an argument which is instrumentally used as a tool for delegitimization of their principal political opponent.

There have also been demands to organize local referenda on the issue of the US military base in the municipalities that are potential neighbours of the US military base. Such a referendum has been organized in the municipality of Trokavec where a vast majority of its inhabitants opposed the US military base plan. It is also relevant to mention that in 3 out of 4 municipalities in the close neighbourhood of the potential US military base the mayors are representatives of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia.

Originally the official plan was to build the US military base either in the Czech Republic or in Poland. Later the plan was modified, as it was presented because of a strong opposition to the plan from the mobilised public opinion in the Czech Republic where approximately 80% of the people oppose the US military base in their country. The new proposal was to build a missile base in Poland and a radar base as a part of this military base in the Czech Republic.

The KSM’s anti-base campaign has been very successful. The KSM has organized a number of public protests, demonstrations, debates with citizens and also a very successful petition for which 80,000 signatures have been gathered so far. This is a great success taking into consideration that it is a petition organized by the KSM - an organization of young people which has been officially dissolved by the state. (A simultaneously organized petition of the large initiative "No to military bases" has so far gathered 20 000 signatures.)

The work of the KSM among the people on the streets is important also because it shows them that this banned youth organization struggles in the front line for the concrete demands of the majority of people.

Radim Gonda
Vice-chairman of the KSM
Czech Republic

Thursday, March 22, 2007


for haisanlu

I dreamed I saw the Spirit of Mao
Rising from the marble mausoleum
"Where you going and watcha gonna do?"
I asked as he went by
"I once set out for Anyuan," he said,
"Now I’m setting out for Kathmandu."

Youthful grace shone from the face
Of the Spirit of Mao Zedong
"Why are you going, can this be true?"
I asked the red, red sun
"The reason I went to Ruijin," he said,
"Is why I’m going to Kathmandu."

A cloud whisked him off ten thousand li
Across the land he loved
"You’re up so high, how is the view?"
I asked and the ether replied
"Just as good as from Jinganshan," he said,
"And just as good as from Kathmandu."

There’s rich again in China
Corruption stalks the land
"I’m going to see what Prachanda can do,"
The solemn voice went on
"I’m going to retrieve the spirit of Yan’an
And bring it back from Kathmandu.
I’ll be coming back from Kathmandu!"

Friday, March 16, 2007

100th Mao Badge Posted on Flickr

For anyone interested in an aesthetic and ideological history of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, there is no better primary source than the thousands of differently-designed badges of Chairman Mao Zedong.

I buy a bunch every time I go to China, adding them to the ones I started wearing as a teenager in the late 1960s.

Where I can, I provide a brief description of the front image of the badge, and a translation of the inscription on the rear, which often identifies the event commemorated by the badge and/or the issuing authority.

If you got to Flickr through the "Mike's Mao Badges" link opposite, you'll now see one hundred badges of Chairman Mao.

The information I've provided on each is similar in format to that for badge no. 100 (above):

Diam: 40mm
Red, gold
Front: Mao Zedong against red background, golden waves below
Rear: 国庆 inside red lantern
欢庆国庆十九周年 1968.10.1 (Huanqing Guoqing shijiu zhounian – Celebrate the 19th Anniversary of National Day 1st October 1968)

Preserve the people's history!

For a revolutionary aesthetics!

Thursday, March 15, 2007



The Japanese people learned much from the adventures of their militarist regime in the 30’s and 40’s of the previous century.

They also learnt about the cruelty of Western imperialism when the US attacked two of their cities with atom bombs to force a surrender before Soviet troops could arrive in the country and be involved in shaping its future.

They were then betrayed by the MacArthur regime, which protected both the huge zaibatsu corporate regimes like Mitsubishi and Sumitomo, and the criminal Emperor Hirohito.

The zaibatsu should have been nationalised, if not socialised; Hirohito should have been jailed for life, if not executed.

Instead, the germ of militarism and the festering sore of capitalist industry and finance were left to grow and enjoy good and long-lasting life.

The monarchy has been given a prettier, if no less reactionary, face.

Japanese industrial corporations and financial institutions plunder much of the world.

A succession of Prime Monsters pay their respects to dead war criminals in annual pilgrimages to the Yasukuni Shrine.

There is strict control over text books so that young Japanese people are not taught the criminal history of Japanese imperialism and its numerous crimes like the Rape of Nanjing, the sex slavery of the so-called "comfort women", the live experimentation on humans of chemical and biological weapons, the Bataan Death March and countless other glories of the Bushido spirit.

For every gain that is made by the victims of these crimes, the organised Japanese Right fights tooth and nail to divest its ruling class of responsibility.

There is a refusal to formally apologise to the comfort women.

There is the weird logic of the Tokyo High Court, which two days ago overturned Niigata District Court’s landmark ruling that had ordered the Japanese Government and a Japanese company to pay compensation to the Chinese who were made to work as slave labourers during World War 2.

And yet this is the "great Asian democracy" to which Australian Prime Monster John Howard has tied Australia’s military fortunes in the interests of a declining US imperialism.

The only positive out of all this is that it will further develop the emergence of those conditions that will allow the Japanese people to act with responsibility towards themselves and the people of the whole world.

They are the key to exposing and defeating US imperialism and Japanese militarism.

Let the Japanese people act!


Japan and Australia have just announced that they have signed a joint declaration on "security"

The "security" they are talking about is the security of US imperialism.

The overlords of the earth have come unstuck in Iraq and Afghanistan and are looking to farm out some of the responsibility for maintaining US global supremacy to those who are under its control (Australia) or benefiting, for the moment, from its military might (Japan).

Their much-vaunted "full spectrum dominance" was recently challenged by China’s demonstration of its ability to shoot down a satellite. "Full spectrum dominance" was originally coined by the United States Air Force to describe its goal of completely controlling outer space as a sphere for military operations, and then came to be used to describe its stated intention of crushing any opposition to, or independence from, its complete control of global resources, markets and investment opportunities.

It is the most naked expression of imperialist arrogance and bluster, and the Chinese literally shot it out of the skies.

By way of retaliation, US imperialism has decided to increase the antagonistic aspect of its contradiction with China. Hence the Australia-Japan joint declaration on "security".

The joint declaration is Japan’s first on military ties with a country other than the United States. Australia’s Prime Monster Howard has tried to ease Chinese concerns about the nature of the pact, denying that it is aimed at that country.

The signing of the agreement is likely to lead to intelligence sharing and the participation of Japanese troops in exercises on Australian soil. They could possibly participate in the Talisman Sabre exercise in Queensland, beginning in May and already scheduled to involve 20,000 US and Australian troops. If they do, it will boost the growing alliance of anti-imperialists, peace activists and environmentalists who are opposing these war games.

Other recent developments, which suggest a growing role for Australia and Japan in US plans to secure its interests in the East Asian region, include the announcement in February of a new US satellite base at Geraldton in WA. The base will be a critical link in a network of satellites that will enhance US combat communications and specifically, its ability to wage wars in the Middle East and Asia (see previous post:For Australian Independence - No More US Bases).

Visiting Fellow at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Philip Dorling, has stated that "once (the base is) operational, it would be almost impossible for Australia to be fully neutral or stand back from any war in which the US was involved."

Japan, for its part, upgraded its Defense Agency to full ministerial status in January, indicating a move away from the role assigned to its troops following the defeat of its aggressions in World War 2.

Both countries showed their closeness to the US by sending troops to support its illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. Japan’s ground forces, which Australian troops had been protecting, were withdrawn last year, but air force personnel were left in Kuwait to transport supplies to US forces in Iraq.

These developments have been closely orchestrated by the US imperialists. Howard faces an election soon and his fortunes are fast fading, so he has to act fast to render his final services to his masters. One of those, US Vice-President Dick Cheney, recently "visited" (doesn’t that sound friendly!) Australia and Japan, and pushed for India to join the new "security arrangement" to "offset China’s emerging power". This was reported on Thursday 15 March by ninemsn staff under the heading "Australia security pact to encircle China".

Of course, a nation of 20 million people can’t physically encircle a nation of 1.3 billion, but Australia can host sophisticated US military bases like Pine Gap, and now Geraldton. It is small militarily, but has a large landmass to place at the disposal of the US imperialists and their militarist Japanese partners.

China’s reaction to these developments has been polite, but pointed.

Commenting on the same day, China’s PLA Daily saw the pact as "paving the way for more overseas deployment of Japan’s Self-Defence Forces in the future."

In response to Japanese and Australian assurances that the security pact does not target China, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said he "hoped the Japanese and Australian leaders are true to their word."

The PLA Daily called on the two countries to "do things to promote the trust among countries in the region and refrain from doing anything which would harm regional peace and security."

The world’s people call for opposition to imperialism, for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalist regimes and say "Down with the Australia-Japan Security Pact!"