Tribute to Woody!

Woody Guthrie, the labor organizer and agitator who redefined the entire genre of folk music through his political philosophy was an unrepentant Marxist-Leninist, an avowed supporter of Joseph Stalin and a lifelong adherent of Communism.

By today’s standard, it certainly is not a flattering introduction to the man America has glorified to a postage stamp and whose centennial is being celebrated across corporate media in full flair without any mention of his political legacies. But to understand Woody Guthrie’s contributions, it is critical to explore why he has been stripped of all the aspects he held closest to heart. If he is exalted as the father of protest music, it is crucial to know what exactly was he protesting against, and who prevailed upon eventually. Even Nora Guthrie, his daughter who curates Woody’s archives insists today that he could not have been a communist. The Richmond Organization, Woody Guthrie’s publishers deny biographers any permission to quote Guthrie’s songs which praise Stalin. And more famously, “This Land is Your Land”, an authentic narrative of class society analysis is officially bereft of its most critical communistic verses when it is presented for consumption by American children. Like Paul Robeson, Woody Guthrie has been rendered an entertainer, a national icon, a talented songwriter, and an American Legend – after registering a collective denial about their involvements with Communism.

And yet, for Woody Guthrie, the Communist Party was his life’s foundation, his moral basis, the reason for his intellectual being which used to get translated once in a while into a song he would dedicate to the workers of the world. “I owe the Party the only guidance and recognition and pay that I’ve ever tasted,” Guthrie wrote. Not just the CPUSA, he was a lifelong admirer of Stalin. “The whole world cannot trick Joseph Stalin because he is too scientific for them,” he used to say.

When the world of communism was crumbling under intense hypocritical pressure tactics from the capitalistic warmongers following Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union, Guthrie remained steadfast a defendant of Stalin’s decision. Guthrie detailed his arguments for Stalin in his regularly published columns in the “Daily Worker”, the party newspaper. He reasoned why he felt Soviet Union could never trust the western liberal countries that betrayed her during the Munich Agreement a year ago. The British and the French had merely used the Soviet Union as a pawn in that betrayal. The West had collaborated with Hitler to annex Czechoslovakia, and Stalin was clearly aware that when time comes, they would not stop at handing over Soviet Union to Germany either. This is the reason why Stalin had signed a non-aggression pact with Germany, which clearly irked the warmongers of the West.

Following Hitler-Stalin pact, when Roosevelt’s militarist face was exposed, and despite the non-aggression pact between Stalin and Hitler, America was sent to war, Guthrie could see how FDR was no friend of the revolution; he was merely a champion of American capitalism. Guthrie thundered, in ‘The Ballad of October 16th’ –

“Oh Franklin Roosevelt told the people how he felt
We damned near believed what he said
He said, “I hate war — and so does Eleanor
But we won’t be safe till everybody’s dead.”

The Nazi-Soviet pact, however, was short-lived because as Stalin predicted, Hitler had war on his mind. But thanks to the Treaty, Stalin had availed to Soviet Union some time to prepare for the onslaughts. A country deeply ravaged by years of Civil Wars that were perpetrated against Soviet people by the West for decades, could simply expect no active assistance to fight Hitler from the Munich Agreement allies. Germany started its attacks by invading Poland, a week after signing the non-aggression treaty with Soviet Union, and Stalin came to Poland’s rescue. And Woody Guthrie translated the War in his songs. In his morning radio program “More War News”, he sang:

“I see where Hitler is a-talking peace
Since Russia met him face to face–
He just had got his war machine a-rollin’,
Coasting along, and taking Poland.
Stalin stepped in, took a big strip of Poland and gave
the farm lands back to the farmers.
A lot of little countries to Russia run
To get away from his Hitler man–
If I’d been living in Poland then
I’d been glad Stalin stepped in–
Swap my rifle for a farm…Trade my helmet for a sweetheart.”

His support for Stalin lost him his radio program on KFVD, and lost him his professional patron J. Frank Burke, the Roosevelt supporter who he owed his radio career to. But Guthrie was neither politically naive nor was he acting on emotions alone. Quite the contrary. He was an ardent and studious philosopher of communism. His purpose was not to merely entertain people through performing folk songs or become famous on the radio programs funded by liberal cronies. His idea was to “make all the thoughts of Marx and Engels and Lenin and Stalin…fly down and roost” in his brain, as he wrote inside a book he possessed: Lenin’s ‘Theory of the Agrarian Question’. Likewise inside Marx’s ‘Capital’, he reminded to himself that he would “memorize contents in a week or so…and try to write all of these things down in short words.” And through his songs and essays he did exactly that and remained uncompromising a comrade. He relentlessly towed the ‘party line’, stood in solidarity with Soviet Union, and understood the radical strategies of a difficult time.

After Stalin was proved right in his dealings with Hitler, and Soviet Union heroically fought the Nazis, FDR extended his friendship to the communists. Stalin was revered as “Uncle Joe” in American textbooks, and Guthrie changed his stance towards Roosevelt. And in “Dear Mrs Roosevelt”, he paid FDR a glowing tribute, following his demise:

“I sent him ‘cross that ocean to Yalta and to Tehran;
He didn’t like Churchill very much and told him man to man;
He said he didn’t like DeGaulle, nor no Chiang Kai Shek;
Shook hands with Joseph Stalin, says: “There’s a man I like!”
This world was lucky to see him born.”

In a society holding scientists to objective yardsticks and artists to subjective experimentations, Woody Guthrie was a social scientist and a realist artist. He was far from a romantic dreamer. And he was certainly not a pacifist for the sake of it. But he was a constant learner and he could discern between values, including his own socially conditioned ones. In his early years, he was just another racist white man. But after receiving a letter from a black young listener, he read it out for all his radio audience and acknowledged his own racism, subsequently emerging in later years as a civil rights champion of his era. Although Hal Ashby’s film “Bound for Glory” portrayed Guthrie as “Saint Woody” in an attempt to dissociate his communistic activisms, Guthrie was no saint. He was a radical, a revolutionary who believed if imperialists raised their ugly heads, it was time to battle them in bloody struggles. To the Fascists, he had the ultimate warning:

“I’ll bomb their towns and bomb their cities
Sink their ships beneath the tides.
I’ll win this war, but till I do, babe,
I could not be satisfied.”

Guthrie’s ‘machine’ indeed ‘killed Fascists’, for reactionary seeds, just as revolutionary ones, are sowed first in the minds. And he appealed to human reasoning through radical folk renditions that have founded the landscape of protest music worldwide. And he never faltered from why he needed to sing what he sang. And who but Guthrie himself could have provided a better rationale:

“I could hire out to the other side, the big money side, and get several dollars every week just to quit singing my own kind of songs and to sing the kind that knock you down still farther and the ones that poke fun at you even more and the ones that make you think that you’ve not got any sense at all. But I decided a long time ago that I’d starve to death before I’d sing any such songs as that. The radio waves and your movies and your jukeboxes and your songbooks are already loaded down and running over with such no good songs as that anyhow.”

Never in his life did he live in the gray. He unlearned his racism as much as he learnt his communism. He chose his progressive comrades and he fought for the collective principles. He picked his radical songs and he used them as effective weapons. He taught us that an artist must not be confined to the world of imaginations alone. The battlefield is the unequal world and the war against injustice is absolutely on. And until this war is won, the artist must not be satisfied!

(Saswat Pattanayak, 2012)


Vaclav Havel :: Freedom Fighter or Militarist Capitalist?

The biggest myths perpetuated in the history of political economic analysis are the established contradistinctions between ‘democracy’ and ‘dictatorship’. Based on outlined differences, democracy is canonized as the opposite model of political governance to what is disgraced as dictatorship. And with this logic in place, Vaclav Havel is glorified to be a “freedom fighter” of his land, and Kim Jong-il is denounced as a dictator who throttled freedom in his country. It may be an irony that both these leaders died around the same time, but what is way bigger a concern is the manner in which they are being judged as historical subjects.

In a corporate media culture that actively moulds our everyday thought processes through news contents, it is necessary to pause awhile, and dissect such enormous conclusions and examine if the impositions of such documented views are merely hasty, or purely methodical. For history is not just a body of collective knowledge compiled for posterity, but more importantly, critical investigations into historical scholarships instill the more necessary weapons in the minds of the future generations to improvise upon this much maligned world.

Invariably every media house in the West has recently depicted Havel as a freedom fighter while Kim Jong-il is announced as an evil dictator. What then were their legacies, and what value systems did they further? Let us investigate into the unique histories they individually were influenced by, and gave further shapes to.

Contrary to mainstream media depictions, Havel was not the romanticized non-violent leader of a bloodless Velvet Revolution. Such an assertion is grossly inadequate to explain the peoples’ history of the Eastern Europe. Czechoslovakia’s political transitions throughout last century were tumultuous at various junctures, to say the least, and Havel’s roles were equally dubious.

Before awarding the nonviolence sainthood upon a person like Havel, it is important to recollect that Havel was the first leader of Czechoslovakia to support the biggest militarist force on the earth, NATO. His ambition to drive Czechoslovakia to join NATO was one of premeditated stance that had surfaced for all three decades following the so-called Prague Spring. Not only was NATO alliance close to his heart, Havel was a ruthless proponent of capitalism all along. Resultantly, he drove Czech Republic to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as soon as he was handed over power. OECD, in turn is a creation of the Marshall Plan, a militarist and economic system that fostered American hegemony during the Cold War and its aftermath. In simpler terms, Marshall Plan (and OECD) were funded by the successive US governments with a single aim to destabilize communist countries in Eastern Europe, using financial aids and grants. Marshall Plan also fostered western European colonialism (such as Netherlands’ colonial aggressions in Indonesia and subsequent annihilations of millions of communists).

If anything, Havel’s legacies are that of a violent and ruthless anti-communist leader who aspired to divide Czechoslovakia, rule over the land (for over a decade) with an intent to end communism and make the country an active recipient of military contracts from the US, and a militarist leader who formally inducted Czech Republic into International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) combat operations in the War on Afghanistan (where Czech Republic is one of the major players).

As a member of Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Havel has led Czech Republic into legitimizing the various ribbon-based demonstrations that were instrumental in disrupting former CIS republics. Be it the so-called “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine or the electoral judgments in Belarus, OSCE has been at the most, a biased organization with agenda suitable to further western models of democracies, while selectively refraining from judging electoral frauds in United States, for example. “Orange Revolution” has been already admitted to be the handiwork of western bullies. Funders include both Republican Party and the Democratic Party. If the former party was represented by International Republican Institute (IRI- funded by the US Govt and headed by none other than Senator John McCain to “democratize” nations around the world), the Democratic Party made its presence felt in the so-called “revolutions” in Europe through its National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) headed by Madeleine Albright (whose hawkish crusade – along with Bill Clinton’s – against Iraq’s illusive WMD programs led to the tragic war on millions of innocent people). NGOs such as Freedom House which are endorsed by Bill Clinton and his likes have the dubious distinction of creating the freedom scales whereby they have ranked North Korea to be the lowest in their appraisals. Irony is that the Freedom House had declared a racist system of Rhodesian election of Ian Smith to be “fair” while legitimate election of Mugabe in Zimbabwe to be “dubious” (Chomsky/Hermann, Manufacturing Consent). Freedom House has consistently sought its information from anti-communist organizations as its sources based upon which, it ranks the freedom levels of countries. Freedom House, Chomsky writes, is “interlocked with AIM, the World Anticommunist League, Resistance International, and U.S. government bodies such as Radio Free Europe and the CIA, and has long served as a virtual propaganda arm of the (U.S) government and international right wing”.

The widely disgraced Radio Free Europe (RFE) was used as a successful tool in instigating the so-called Hungarian Revolution. Similar to Havel were the likes of Lech Walesa who would learn anti-communist tactics from RFE and go on to win Nobel Peace Prize (naturally) following deliberate collapse of communism in Hungary. Such ribbon based “Springs” and “Revolutions” are also monetarily aided by the likes of George Soros, the virulently anti-communist. His Open Society Institute openly funded the creation of the so-called “Rose Revolution” to oust the last communist leaders out of power in Georgia. And more importantly, the multi-billionaire Soros who is among the top ten richest Americans in the world financially aided the likes of Havel in furthering the so-called Charter 77, aimed at dismantling communism in Czechoslovakia. The Charter 77 naturally went on to instigate the so-called “Velvet Revolution” for which Havel is today being heroized.

What then is the origin of Velvet Revolution? Was it a spontaneous student movement against so-called communistic atrocities that merely coincided with the collapse of the Eastern Bloc? This is how the corporate media presents the revolution to be. In reality, it was a reactionary movement funded by venture capitalists of the western world that were since decades channeling money and propaganda into the regions to destabilize communism. Charter 77 group continued to create anticommunist sentiments in Czechoslovakia from 1976 to 1992, manipulatively fostering market capitalism in the region in lieu of power sharing. Václav Havel, Jan Patočka, Zdeněk Mlynář, Jiří Hájek, and Pavel Kohout – each of these Charter 77 members who formed the coalition and received funding from George Soros and assistance from CIA, RFE, IRI, NDI, Freedom House etc, were the mastermind conspirators from the very start. They worked with CIA spies and drafted propaganda materials to overthrow communism. They published their views on New York Times and Voice of America and directly aided the American interventionist agendas – both militarily and economically. They endorsed the likes of Józef “Butcher” Światło who was planted by the CIA to execute communists in Poland. Światło after his much dramatized “defection” in turn worked for the CIA and Radio Free Europe with an intent to end communism in Poland. Światło was heading the “Operation Splinter Factor”, initiated by CIA director Allen Dulles, in order to finish millions of communist activists in Eastern Europe. According to historian William Blum, the counterpart of Światło was installed in Czechoslovakia by none other than General Reinhard Gehlen, the former Nazi intelligence chief who later on worked for CIA. Gehlan was instrumental in carrying out arrests of hundreds of thousands of communists. Although World War II was decisively won by the Soviet Union, the “spheres of influences” were created to check the growth of communism. And as a result, scores of civil wars were funded by the western capitalistic world inside the “Eastern Bloc”, and CIA documents of the Cold War era reveal spy networks and “show trials” orchestrated by men and women funded by the American intelligence agency.

It was only after Światło was exposed to have been working for the CIA all along that the Polish and Hungarian governments realized how they had been duped by this man. They immediately released all their prisoners and compensated them. An American fellow-traveler Noel Field who was used by Światło, as the central figure of contact to trace all his comrades, was also released and he chose to remain in Hungary for the rest of his life. Like Światło, the person responsible for naming “Velvet Revolution”, Rita Klímová was consistently taking up the task to leak information about the party activists to the western press and intelligence agencies, while actively maintaining her communist party membership. Along with the much disgraced Światło, she was also fired from the party after she was exposed to be conducting the “Stalinist purges” while working for the western interests. She was such an anticommunist that she wrote samizdat articles under the pen name “Adam Kovárc” (Czech for Adam Smith). It was no simple coincidence that after imprisoning thousands of communists in the guise of being a Stalinist, she was chosen to translate Vaclav Havel’s works and subsequently helped facilitating his seizing of power.

The so-called “Prague Spring” was an outcome of such a period of Czech history which was dictated by former Nazi officers, American spies and RFE propaganda led by Światło. The Charter 77 furthering the anticommunist efforts was a mere continuation of such counter-revolutionary legacies.

It is important to remember that Communism never collapsed in the world. Only a few communist regimes were ended in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union following enormous anticommunist propaganda, military interventions and vulgar infiltration of western capital. Havel and the likes only represented that section of people who immensely benefitted from introduction of market capitalism in their respective countries. They were intrinsically reactionaries, anticommunists and pro-market enthusiasts. And they were ably funded by Wall Street business magnets to further the goals of corporate greed. To pay tribute to Havel who throughout his life led the life of a militarist NATO-enabling, power hungry capitalist as a “nonviolent revolutionary” is to inflict great insults to both Gandhi and Lenin at the same time.

If Alexander Dubček had his way, the “Velvet Revolution” that apparently ended communism in Czechoslovakia would not have taken over three decades to materialize. Overthrowing of Antonín Novotný was not the issue at hand. Not accommodating Vasil Biľak was not either. The reality is no one else emulated American electoral system like Havel did. He not only successfully divided up the country by racially disintegrating the Slovakians (almost 90% of whom were ethnically Slovak), Havel adopted a political system modeled on the U.S. Senate. And no surprising is the fact that the Czech Senate is vastly unpopular among the public. The elections in that post-communist land has had some of the lowest turnouts in democratic histories of the world. Records indicate that the turnouts in Czech elections are usually 30% in the first round and 20% in the second.

So much for the Freedom House rankings! And the declaration that Václav Havel was a Freedom Fighter!

(Saswat Pattanayak, 2011)

Media Lies and Libyan Lives

Although corporate western media have been reporting more than 50,000 dead in Libya – from the assaults of Gaddafi’s army – the reality is not even more than a couple of hundred bodies have been found so far.

And what is more ironic is that over 49,800 bodies are missing, right under NATO supervision.

This leads to critical questions:

a) If 50,000 were actually killed, where are the bodies?

b) Who must be held responsible for the missing bodies, considering that Gaddafi regime has nothing to do with post-mortem or morgues?

c) If indeed less than 200 were allegedly killed by Gaddafi regime, and that the 50,000 number is fictitious, who are responsible for such gimmick?

If the reported number of dead in Libya appears to be hundreds of times more than the actual dead, there should be nothing surprising about it. For decades now, western corporate media have been feeding the masses with blatant lies and sheer propaganda in the name of free press and balanced journalism. In due course of repeated slogans heralding principles of journalism, truth and objectivity, people have unquestioningly accepted the news reports – at least the ones related to proclamations made by their democratically elected governments. In trusting their governments, the voters trust their own intelligence. And when the media emerge as the platform for governmental misinformation disseminations, the most among the audience have no recourse other than to trust the mainstream media.

Such deceptive reporting(s) of exaggerated deaths have been done countless times in the past in the capitalistic regimes in an effort to spread fear, suspicion and hatred among the peoples towards the kinds of societies the ruling classes of Euro-American descent oppose. It happened while deaths were reported from Uganda during early 1970’s for instance when the media reported the number of dead to be over a million and years later it was revised to appear as a hundred thousand. Similar revisions were made during reporting on Cambodia of mid-1970’s. Such media reports gained historic admissibilities when the reporting of so-called Great Purge in Soviet Union was done. Initially it was reported that during late 1930’s, over 50% of Red Army officers were purged, and after several years, the number in the western media was reduced to 3%. In China under Mao, it was reported that at least 45 million deaths occurred between 1958 and 1962. And later the number was amended to become 20 million.

What’s interesting in the reporting of western press is that not only do they exclusively invent the numbers of deaths, but they also exclusively invent the corrections in the initially reported deaths. In case of Soviet Union, when the Civil Wars were being organized by the western military forces to annihilate Communism, the numbers of deaths caused by the Party were inflated to exhibit its barbarity. The moment Soviet Union was asked for critical interventions to contain Hitler’s quest over the First World, and millions of Soviet citizens died in the Second World War while resisting Nazi advances, the numbers of dead were drastically reduced by the western press. It served two purposes: firstly, the dead dissidents were reduced by number so that Stalin would be more acceptable to the United States to justify the Coalition Forces; secondly, the Red Army and working class Soviet people who sacrificed their lives in the War against Hitler were also reduced in number so that the role of the Soviet State would not be allowed to overshadow the roles of Britain and the US in the Second World War triumph.

In the instance of China, the Great Leap Forward was the biggest catastrophe in human history, until of course the arrival of Richard Nixon in Beijing in 1972. Suddenly the official numbers counted by the western media fell down by several millions overnight. And the Great Leap Forward was declared as having laid the foundation for the progress in China, considering that the China after Mao was to be wooed into becoming the largest business partner with the United States.

For those in the “Free World” that claim human lives are valuable and Communist and Islamic regimes do not value human lives must also be knowing that reducing the numbers of dead by millions starkly exemplifies the extent to which the slain people really count in the eyes of the evaluators. What about the missing millions of bodies? Do they matter? Where are the graves?

Cold War history has been so colored by western media propaganda that it has ceased to be Cold. As an unintended ramification and possible consequence of the old habits of generating fear psychoses and war justifications, the numbers continue to get inflated even today. In the case of Libya, before the issue is relegated to dustbins of history and before Gaddafi is eternally depicted as the dictator he was not, it is crucial to seek for answers regarding the number of actual deaths. Not just that, it is crucial to reflect upon the New York Times confessions:

“Much of the official death toll is based on the theory that there were 30,000 prisoners before the fall of the Qaddafi government, when prisons were all opened, and only 9,000 were found alive. The problem is, no one actually knows how many prisoners there were, and no one actually counted how many were released.”

So a regime which is being declared to be the cruelest in modern times used to have a merely 30,000 prisoners (political and criminal taken together, that is) during the great Misrule! Moreover, this number is actually an imaginary one, since only 9,000 prisoners were found in the prisons when the gates were opened! An entire country with 9,000 prisoners – must actually have been a mighty great nation.

Unlike the United States and the United Kingdom where prison-military-industrial-complex drives the economics, Libya was actually a free country before the “rebels” were armed and funded to take over and destroy the most secular of African nations.

Realities are strange reminders. They appear arbitrarily and knock our consciousness once in a while. The need is to wake up, when reality visits us. In undoing Libya, we would not have destroyed Gaddafi. We would have undone our potential quests to smell the realities.

(Saswat Pattanayak, 2011)

Free Market War on Gaddafi: Unjust, but Natural

The war against Libya is a continued assault on part of the imperialist and rogue nations of the First World against the champions of anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism and progressive socialism of the Third World. Contrary to corporate media spins, the war is neither about oil money, nor about installing democracy. It is neither about the rebel uprising in the Arab world, nor about merely ending a dictatorial regime.

The war against Libya is an attack on every remnant of collective human aspiration for freedom, peace, justice and equality. The war against Libya is a war against every future possibility that can enable international solidarities among peoples who envision a better world that belongs not to oligarchs and media monopolists, but is shaped up by the ideas of the internationalists, the pan-Africanists.

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s demand for the United States of Africa does not manifest in a Utopia. Quite the opposite: it is a scathing indictment of an unequal world whose mammoth immoralities are deep-rooted in an oppressed Africa. The only way the world’s richest continent has been kept impoverished thus far is through systematic subjugation of its human and natural resources, via colonial power sharing. Just as Che Guevara’s dream for a unified Latin America resulted in his assassination, Gaddafi’s dream for a unified Africa has the murderers on the loose on a hunt for him. Just as Che and the Cuban revolution have been consistently portrayed in the most inhuman manners through western media propaganda and official foreign sanctions, Gaddafi’s life of revolutionary commitments has been spun by the western media with, as Hugo Chavez says, “a colossal campaign of lies”.

The campaign of lies has been since a long time, well accepted among the Pulitzer-honored American media and the European free press alike. The western media propaganda mill never paused for a while before publicizing Ronald Reagan’s absurdities regarding Libya during his cold war witch-hunts. Its also critical to deviate slightly and observe that when the western press endorses official statements from its own politicians as truths requiring no further investigations (the weapons of mass destructions with Saddam being the most infamous of the claims), it is presumed to be the acts of the Free Press. But, if the official statements of the “evil” countries (North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Libya, China, among this endless list) are found published in their press coverages, they are outrightly denounced as unfree press. Such hypocrisies intact, the American media convinced the citizens of Reagan’s free land that Libya needed to be bombed out of proportion for it was responsible for the death of one civilian in a West Berlin nightclub bombing in 1986.

“Our evidence is direct, it is precise, it is irrefutable,” announced American President Ronald Reagan to justify his war on Libya – without providing any evidence to the press or to the public. The war on Libya during President Obama’s tenure is as deceptively being carried out today as it was during Reagan’s time. Both the regimes have demanded for Gaddafi’s ouster, if not outright murder. The only difference is Reagan managed to kill 99 civilians, while Obama sits comfortably numb over thousands of deaths and more. Looks like Reagan’s unfinished task shall find a logical culmination in Obama’s.

The pattern too is shockingly similar. Reagan’s America was rejoicing over the death of Qaddafi’s daughter, and hospitalization of his wife and other children, caused by American bombing. And today, fed with sensationalistic media spins, Obama’s America awaits with anticipation and glee for the news of deaths from Libya’s First Family.

After all, Reagan had declared Qaddafi the “mad dog of the Middle East” and the mad dog must be killed. Libya had nothing to do with the single death from nightclub bombing in Berlin then, and it was unclear how precise was American intelligence information when it came to killing of 99 civilians in Libya. Were any of them responsible for the death in Berlin? Or were they looking for just one person, Qaddafi instead? The Guardian newspaper confirmed from an Air Force intelligence officer that it was only Qaddafi who the US was actually after. No surprises, considering how the US administrations have a history of murdering heads of states that resisted American capitalistic hegemony. The more critical question then is, what excuse does the US have now to continue such monstrous principles even after the so-called Cold War is apparently over? Is it the need to monopolize over oil resources, destabilize Islamic regimes, establish political democracy world over, or just control and dominate the world in the imperialistic manner?

Considering the absolutely amicable – and profitable – relationship America shares with the Saudi Arabia and other undemocratic regimes, it would be naive to conclude that America is serious about destabilizing Islamism or establishing democratic governances. So, are Euro-American war ventures merely the battles over oil? Or are they actually about reinforcing imperialism, and bringing back colonialism? Or perhaps, both? In fact, isn’t oil a given, once colonialism is realized?

Fulfillment of imperialistic fetishes takes place through iconization of the enemy that must be annihilated. For the United States and European Union alike, Gaddafi has been the epitome of the archenemy. He has been the most defiant voice against western hegemony, and the most successful of revolutionaries in all of Africa. In bringing him down, the imperialistic ambitions would have realized a unparalleled potential. Not just the bombing of the nightclub, the American press continued to publish unfounded accusations against Gaddafi to generate and sustain a sense of paranoia among the citizens home to such an extent that they shall not resist becoming accomplices of murders in the foreign land. From Chicago gangmen who were allegedly offered millions of dollars by Gaddafi to murder innocent American citizens, to blowing up of a synagogue in Istanbul, Gaddafi was cited as the villain of it all by American press – without a trace of an evidence to substantiate such serious claims.

Not just the media propaganda, the western intellectual horizon is equally shrouded with biased agendas. Lyn Boyd-Judson from University of Southern California attempted at an academic explanation for Gaddafi’s rise in a much publicized essay. She selectively quoted another biased study on Libya by John Wright (“Libya: A Modern History”). Wright, in the classically colonialist fashion declared Libyan people as “politically retarded” (“politically ignorant” in another context) around the time Gaddafi overthrew colonial rule. Judson’s intellectual roots and Wright’s colonial mindsets are typical of subservient administrative scholarships which one way or the other thrive via endorsements of the “good old days”.

In actuality, Libya’s modern history does not comprise a “politically retarded” people who submitted themselves to Gaddafi. It is quite the contrary. When the so-called “free” nations of the First World woke up to the revolutions by North African people against European colonialism (Italian misrules in Libya, in this instance), they stepped in promptly to seize the opportunity to establish a puppet monarchy in their favor.

Contrary to claims by John Wright and endorsements by Lyn Boyd Judson, Omar Mukhtar who led the resistance against Italian colonialism in Libya was neither “politically retarded” himself, nor was leading a bunch of “politically retarded” people of North Africa. Mukhtar, a hero to Gaddafi, was a teacher of Holy Qur’an and a master of Guerrilla warfare. For over twenty years, he was ably supported by indigenous African peoples in their collective uprisings against the Italians. He was the most ferocious opponents of Fascism in the whole of Africa. When the American and British forces were not even recognizing Africa as a site of revolution, Mukhtar was waging the fiercest of battles against Benito Mussolini. While Eurocentric scholars were dismissing African people as “politically retarded”, Omar Mukhtar’s revolutionary army posed the gravest challenge in the history of Italian colonialism.

Instead of recognizing Mukhtar’s contributions and young Gaddafi’s revolutionary participations, the First World nations went ahead to install a puppet monarchy. Had they supported Mukhtar’s legacies or Gaddafi’s rise, it would have become impossible to continue the menace of neocolonialism in Libya because both Mukhtar and Gaddafi were sick and tired of Western interventions in Africa. Contrary to anthropological misgivings, peoples of Africa – both the North and the South – were enlightened, and the African peoples – both the Arabs and the indigenous – were empowered in their collective stance against colonialism. African peoples were not the “politically retarded” who needed the help of the “civilized” first world. It was the first world – the genesis of Colonialism, Fascism, Nazism, White Supremacism and Democratic Farcism – which has been the most barbaric of societies, while the African land – the origin of humanism, tolerance, peace, freedom, and justice – has been the land of greatest civilization.

Colonel Gaddafi, and Nelson Mandela are among the brightest of representatives of the civilized peoples of Africa in their steadfast opposition against the barbaric West. Unfortunately, albeit quite predictably, the western corporate media continued to highlight exactly the opposite. Unable to shatter its barbaric shell, the capitalistic world of the first world remained entrenched in waging wars against innocent peoples of Korea and Vietnam, against all edicts of international peace treaties. The First World continued to support the Apartheid regime of South Africa, the Belgian colonialism in Congo and the French annexation of Algeria, just to name a few. And most illustratively the First World continued its assault on Gaddafi – the leader who overthrew King Idris and his bunch of subservient clowns forming the first and the last monarchy in Libya, the oligarch who was installed by the European and North American ruling classes as their “good dictator”, as their Batista of the North Africa.

Colonel Gaddafi and his revolutionary army, overthrew from Libya the last remnant of colonial rule, of the neocolonial hangover, of the illegal monarchy. 1960’s onwards, it was Gaddafi who played the role of the conscience keeper of the African people. He remained the voice of the oppressed, the champion of the anti-imperialism, the fighter against colonialism and neocolonialism world over. Gaddafi was the worthy successor to Egypt’s Nasser and it was Gaddafi who furthered Nasserism from its ethos of Arab Nationalism to its eventual goal for Pan-Africanism.

Gaddafi remained the hope of the Third World, the most resolute advocate of freedom, liberty, equality and justice. It was Gaddafi who signaled to the world that the Western powers – which practiced Apartheid against the blacks in America, against the Jews in Europe, and against the indigenous peoples of Africa and Asia in the pretext of colonial rules – are the least likely candidates to be using phrases of social justice and democracy to further their imperialistic aims. It was Gaddafi who led the Third World resolutions against the colonial regimes of South Africa and of Congo – exposing the greatest hypocrisies amongst the political elites of the “free” world. It was Gaddafi who vindicated the global need to contain Israeli dominance lest it gets reduced to emerging as the stockpiling backyard for Euro-American expansionist efforts.

Gaddafi stood the tallest among all freedom fighters of the world in his unwavering support to the Black Power movement in the United States, to the Red Brigade in Italy, to the Irish Republican Army in the United Kingdom, to the Palestinian Liberation Organization, to the Japanese Red Army, to various peacenik, disarmament groups and to the Pan African Congress in South Africa, among others. He, more than anyone else, raised the global consciousness regarding the need to radically overthrow colonialism from African and Asian lands, while recognizing the ugly faces of racism, militarism, and white supremacism in the American and European territories.

No wonder, the name of Gaddafi distresses and causes enormous amount of uneasy in the power corridors of the western ruling class elites who identify with their colonial past and imperialistic future. No wonder the name of Gaddafi sends shivers in the newsrooms at the CNN and BBC, at AFP and Fox, in the corporate media propaganda mills of the “free” world. Both the liberals and the conservatives – whose imaginations have failed them in acknowledging the ongoing revolutions in Michigan, and in London, in Paris, and in Greece – are the ones too quick to judge Gaddafi as a an evil monster. No wonder, they are the ones who once criticized Nelson Mandela for coming to Tripoli in order to bestow the “Order of Good Hope”, the highest honor of the liberated South Africa, upon Colonel Muammar Qaddafi.

Speaking from Tripoli, Mandela had thundered to the Western powers and their liberal hypocrites, “Those who say I should not be here in Tripoli are without morals. This man (Colonel Qaddafi) helped us at a time when we were all alone, when those who say we should not come here were helping the enemy. Those who are bitter at our friendship can go drown themselves.”

Indeed, those that are bitter at the friendship of Gaddafi and Mandela can go drown themselves. Gaddafi and Mandela represent not only the largest regions comprising the Northern and Southern African continent, they represent ideas and values way higher than is perceivable by a world order growing in hollowness, bereft of knowledge in the historical roots of peoples revolutions. Mandela has reminded the world time and again to take cognizance of the sacrifices Libyan people under Gaddafi have made to ensure a world of dignity for the colonized and oppressed of Africa and Asia. Mandela declared, “The people of Libya shared the trenches with us in our struggle for freedom. You were in the front ranks of those whose selfless and practical support helped assure a victory that was as much yours as it is ours. We are therefore deeply moved to be amongst freedom fighters for whom the freedom of others was as precious as their own.”

What exactly distinguishes the likes of Muammar Gaddafi, Fidel Castro and Nelson Mandela from the likes of David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy and Barack Obama? The most trenchant of them all is their respective stances towards the world status quo. Whereas Gaddafi/Castro/Mandela have demanded for greater powers for the General Assembly of the United Nations with an aim to strengthen the majority of the member nations, the Cameron/Sarkozy/Obama varieties have vigorously maintained the elitist position of the Security Council as the final arbitrator of world order. Whereas Gaddafi/Castro/Mandela are indigenous revolutionaries at the forefront of battles against colonialism who must uphold the principles of social justice and organize international solidarity against global capitalism, the Cameron/Sarkozy/Obama are beneficiaries of deceptive political practices funded by private banks and vested interests that must uphold global capitalism and its expansionistic order of imperialism.

With such fundamental differences among the world leaders and ideologies, there should not be any surprises and question marks. Every war in the world has been a class war. Whether it be popular revolts against monarchies, or progressive movements against colonialism, every time the masses have united in their efforts against the imperialists, the traditional ruling classes, in turn, have recruited from among the masses to gain back their lost power. The much publicized death of colonialism and monarchy is merely a sham. Its the accompanying shame for the so-called “civilized” world which has forced their ruling classes to renounce the tags of colonialism. But in reality, colonialism is thriving in the garb of democracy crusades. In the classical patterns of geographical annexations of the imperial past, the neocolonialists are this time shamelessly encroaching whatever land they can grab with an intent to teach their former subjects a lesson.

The war on Libya certainly did not begin in 2011. However, it probably is going to end this year if the rogue nations of G8 and NATO forces end up assassinating Colonel Gaddafi. But there should not be any illusions harbored as regards the outcome of this war. It is crucial to understand that the goals of this war do not lie in its eventualities. The goal is not to democratize Libya for the benefit of its people. Indeed, as it stands today, Libya is the most developed of all African nations, and Libya is the most secular of all Arab nations. And yet these are the very reasons why Libya must be bombed and its history textbooks must be replaced. Just as the goal of this war is to obliterate any nation and people in the world that aspire to be a Libya. The goal of this war will not have been achieved until all the peoples that aspire for social justice, reparations, and revolutions against the imperialists have been silenced. The goal of the war is to replicate the experiments the American, British and French regimes have conducted upon their own Black Panthers, the London “rioters” and the Muslim youths in Paris slums. The goal of the war is to declare the revolutionaries as the criminals. The goal of the war is to glorify corporate controls as free democracies. The goal of the war against Libya is to warn the world that no more Gaddafis can be allowed to exist in this new free trade world, that no more Gaddafis can be permitted to challenge the patterns of colonialism and monarchies, that no more Gaddafis can be tolerated who dare to challenge the First World Apartheids against the indigenous peoples of the world.

Yet, the single largest mistake routinely committed by war-mongers is that they often overlook important lessons of world history. They conveniently forget that revolutionaries are not born to foster circumstances. Revolutionaries are born from within the circumstances. In assassinating one Patrice Lumumba, the western powers did not end revolutions in Africa. In assassinating one Gaddafi, these hideous NATO powers are not going to succeed in preventing future Gaddafis. Or Mandelas. Or Castros. Or numerous revolutionaries the world over, including within Europe and North America, who have been unyieldingly challenging global capitalism. As Hugo Chavez rightly announced while honoring Gaddafi with Simon Bolivar’s Sword in 2009, “What Simon Bolivar is for Venezuelans, Moammar Gaddafi is for the Libyan people.”

Just as Chavez is the worthy successor to Simon Bolivar, it will be worthy of a historical revisit to trace the legacies of future Gaddafis. For, revolutionaries are not found among officially recorded chronicles of neatly arranged presidential tribute museums. Revolutionaries are traced back within the legacies they leave behind.

(Saswat Pattanayak, 2011)

Arab World Witnessing Anarchy, Not Revolutions

Events in parts of North Africa and the Middle East have been heralded as ‘revolutions’. The levels of optimisms surrounding political restructuring apparently crafted by the ‘people’ themselves are defining. Some observers have even gone to the extent of declaring these mass movements as byproducts of Facebook and Twitter activists.

In a world craving sensationalistic news, these demonstrations have more than provided for the fodder. In times of large-scale global political corruptions, these protests are being characterized as new hopes. In our continued saga of drab and visionless compromises with oppressive status quo, these uprisings are revolutions, romanticized.

However, if peoples’ history is any teacher, not everything might be as rosy or revolutionary in the recent events. Of course, two out of 17 countries where people took to the streets, witnessed regime changes within just a couple of months; and there might be even more such upheavals, no doubt. But clubbing all these countries together into one imaginary crisis block whose people are purportedly revolting to break free and that, they are desiring to adopt values of ballot boxes and freedom of speech models, is actually a convenient method of analysis that at its best, culturally stereotypes and homogenizes an otherwise radically different groups of people, and at its worst, endorses the infamous “Eisenhower Doctrine” calling for American interventions at any cost in an effort to redefine human freedom.

Beyond Oriental Fixations:

We are constantly informed that the series of demonstrations in few countries now being more closely observed constitute some sort of Arab World Revolution. This “Arab World” imagination goes back to the days of Eisenhower Doctrine (on 9 March, 1957) which laid out that “the United States regards as vital to the national interest and world peace the preservation of the independence and integrity of the nations of the Middle East”.

Under the guise to protect the sovereignty of the Arab World, CIA in fact prepared grounds for overthrowing the government of Syria, which had, according to American National Security Council (NSC), “increased Communist penetration of government and army”. CIA intended to install Adib Shishakly, former right-wing dictator of Syria after a “revolution” was to be orchestrated to eliminate leftist forces there. Colonel Sarraj, the Syrian head of intelligence exposed CIA’s officers who had bribed his office and in Washington, the State Department bitterly embarrassed expelled Syrian ambassador – the first time since 1915 that the US had ousted a chief of mission of a foreign country.

In blatant disregard to Euro-American interests in the region, Syria and Egypt announced their plans to unite and came to be known as the United Arab Republic (UAR) in 1958. In response, America brought its allies Iraq and Jordan to form Arab Union. However, this coalition collapsed when the 14 July Revolution in Iraq overthrew the Hashemite monarchy which was being supported by Britain and America. It was a major blow to Western sphere of influence in the Arab World. Pan-Arabism which had manifested itself as a massively anti-colonial force of resistance under Egypt’s Colonel Nasser had inspired another group of “Free Officers” who took over Iraq, and the nationalists who united to quash the neocolonial expansionistic motives, only continued to grow in presence and influence.

Egypt and Syria were instances of what neutralism/”leftism” that was to bother American administrations for a long time. John F Kennedy and British Prime Minister Macmillan also pursued their interventionist tactics when they agreed on official declarations of “Penetration and cultivation of disruptive elements in the Syrian armed forces, particularly in the Syrian army, so that Syria can be guided by the West”.

Revolutions and Counter-revolutions:

History is replete with uninspiring coups and fundamentally radical revolutions. It is crucial to distinguish both categories. What Nasser exemplified was a revolution. It led not only to an end to British colonial imaginings; it gave birth to a series of fundamental changes in the Middle East and elsewhere. Iraqi liberation from the British was inspired by “Free Officers”, and so was Libyan liberation from King Idris, led by Colonel Gaddafi. More importantly, Gaddafi and Nasser – along with Tito and Nehru – were architects of the Non-Aligned Movement – the most vocally responsible union of the free countries in the world history. Likewise, the 14 July Revolution in Iraq gave birth to the most progressive government coalition in the land headed by Abdul Karim Kassem (who pioneered OPEC as a powerful association to oppose Western oil monopolies).

Not surprisingly, all these important landmarks in world history have been relegated to the dustbin of ruling class history texts as “coups”. The greatest of revolutions that took shape right inside North Africa and Middle East throughout the last century unfailingly denounced apartheid, crushed the colonial empires of the West under the mighty will of socialistic solidarities, and generated unprecedented pride among people who newly acquired freedom from hundreds of years of oppressive regimes.

And yet, in the West, these revolutionaries needed to be battled so that the favored dictators and the loyal monarchs be reallocated powers. With the masses in the Middle East actively united in taking over and nationalizing imperialistic corporate interests in their countries, it was crucial to rebuild capitalism under different names. One of the ways, as official documents have vastly suggested, had to take help of cultural cues.

Since gains of socialistic revolutions prominently included an end to religiously fundamentalist forces, America and its allies extended supports to any militant groups which could spread anti-communist sentiments throughout the Secular Arab world by means of religious instructions. Not only were communist parties systematically abolished in several countries in Africa and Middle-East, massive amount of American aid were fueled into these countries with the sole purpose of eradicating progressive forces. Although Taliban became the most influential of such forces created to singlehandedly destroy secular movements in Afghanistan, it was not the first one. Christian leader Camille Chamoun had been assisted with huge American aid to suppress socialist/secular movements in Lebanon almost five decades ago.

Western aids have funded religious counter revolutionaries in nearly every country in the world, more so, in the regions of Africa and the Middle East, for obvious reasons. Rich in natural resources and oil, these countries have inadvertently been constant victims of neocolonial expansionist projects. After the passage, ouster, or demise of early revolutionaries, these countries have been ruthlessly exploited via interventionist policies of NATO forces. Throughout years of civil wars, Gulf wars and plain colonization and plunders, these nations have faced irreplaceable damages.

Ongoing Eisenhower Doctrine:

In the early years of Nasser’s Egypt, nationalist sentiments had united the people and empowered them with Arab consciousness. This was duly supported by progressive forces all around, just as Pan-Africanism had found immense support from Latin-American revolutionaries. But over the time, via active propaganda and intense funding processes, NATO forces have either installed vicious dictators or religious forces in these lands as their puppet representatives.

As a result, Arab leaders, once the stalwarts in furthering world socialist progresses and social justice movements against evils of imperialism, have now been replaced by a bunch of sycophants reporting to American diplomats to gain financial favors, Hosni Mubarak among them. With corruptions rife, unemployment high and national priorities low, today’s Arab lands have been converted exactly into the kinds that Eisenhower had once desired.

Most countries in North Africa and the Middle East are at brinks of despair, and without any progressive leaderships and socialistic visions, most imaginations have been surrendered to the commands of religious preachers and Islamist forces. Evangelists such as Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi are at the helm of mass movements of frustrations and anger, otherwise being depicted as revolutions. Organizations such as “Muslim Brotherhood” which are communal in nature, inciting illogical religious solutions to human problems are now leading the so-called revolution in Egypt.

An uncritical acceptance of street tactics in Egypt will be a historical fallacy. The romantic notions of revolutionaries as hopeful future is one thing; a false ascription to a group of religious mischiefs as social justice fighters is yet another. The most recent instances of popular uprisings may well have been a continuation of protests on part of the people to end brutal regimes world over. But it would be akin to adopting truly convoluted manners if we defy geopolitical logic (although it strengthens diplomatic doublespeak intended to bolster American hegemony in the Middle East) to suggest, as the mainstream international media are doing, that the random protests in Iran are also part of the same “revolutionary” activities that are being witnessed in Egypt.

In Iran, the Islamists are already ruling the country. In Egypt, they are just about to rule. It is rather strange in a macabre fashion that the world rejects the former, while eagerly anticipates the latter. Muslim Brotherhood is suddenly being projected as some kind of nonviolent movement and its spiritual leader al-Qaradawi is being portrayed as a wise and scholarly man. The political strategist Mohamed ElBaradei who is endorsed by Muslim Brotherhood, and quite naturally, also by the American administration, to lead Egypt following this “revolution” has predictably enough, won Nobel Peace Prize, and more importantly, is in the privileged company of Carnegie, Bill Gates and George Soros. And as the Director General of IAEA, he is a crucial person for the West, as far as the “unruly” Iran is concerned. If history is any teacher, Muslim Brotherhood, which had conspired to assassinate Nasser with its so-called nonviolent principles, and its wealthy friends from America are going to take over Egypt, finally, away from all legacies of anti-colonial struggles, and to preserve Eisenhower’s dream of establishing freedom in the Arab World.

The countries modeled after the “Free Officers” shall now emerge as the official Islamist police states. All thanks to the ongoing Chevrolet Revolution, via Facebook and Twitter, the American Way…

(Saswat Pattanayak, 2011)