Monday, 17 December 2018

U.S. IMPERIALISM AND THEIR KKKRISTMAS

Never mind the rhetoric about " peace on earth ", blah blah blah etc., the real history of western ( and particularly u.s. ) imperialism is the exact opposite of all the things you want to believe about this time of year. So whether their own citizens are sitting at home or waiting in line for a dinner at the mission, this is what they're doing and have done everywhere else this time and all times of the year.

American Crime

Case #34: America’s 1972 Christmas Bombing of North Vietnam

 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

Bob Avakian has written that one of three things that has "to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better: People have to fully confront the actual history of this country and its role in the world up to today, and the terrible consequences of this." (See "3 Things that have to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better.")
In that light, and in that spirit, "American Crime" is a regular feature of revcom.us. Each installment will focus on one of the 100 worst crimes committed by the U.S. rulers—out of countless bloody crimes they have carried out against people around the world, from the founding of the U.S. to the present day.
American Crime

See all the articles in this series.


THE CRIME

The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (called “North Vietnam” by the U.S.), its People’s Army, and the National Liberation Front (NLF) in South Vietnam had been waging a just people’s war for national liberation against the U.S. since 1961 (and before that the Vietnamese had been fighting the French colonialists).1 The U.S. had been bombing the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the liberation fighters in the south since 1965, but its “Christmas bombing” in 1972 was the most intense and devastating air offensive of the entire war.
For 12 days, from December 18 to 29, U.S. round-the-clock bombing pounded and decimated North Vietnam’s densely populated capital city of Hanoi as well as its nearby seaport and industrial center of Haiphong. Especially targeted and destroyed were radio stations/transmitters, railroads, power plants, docks and shipyards, bridges, petroleum and munition storage depots, and airfields. Along with these targets, which affected North Vietnam’s logistical and war fighting capacity, nearby provinces and villages were also bombed. This included bombing some dikes along the Red River delta to flood areas around Hanoi.2 Hospitals, civilian population centers (shopping streets, homes, housing complexes), factories, and diplomatic missions were destroyed as well. Eighty percent of North Vietnam’s electrical power production capability was demolished.
The massive bombing campaign was code-named Operation Linebacker II. U.S. planes, including the massive, 159-foot-long B-52 bombers, which can carry 70,000 pounds of bombs, and F-111 fighters flew an average of 100 bombing runs a day, raining death and destruction on the Hanoi-Haiphong area day and night. One U.S. pilot casually bragged that “We took off one airplane a minute out of Guam for hours. Just on time takeoff after on time takeoff.”
A wing of Hanoi’s hospital was destroyed by B-52 bombers on December 22. It was North Vietnam’s largest medical facility and research center. Among the dead were 28 doctors, nurses, and pharmacists.
Dr. Nguyen Luan described the scene to Britain’s BBC news:
Cries and moans filled the dark night. We had to use knives, hammers and shovels to break through the concrete walls in order to get to the victims trapped inside. As a surgeon, I operate on people to save their lives. Now I was using my surgical knife not to save people but to cut apart the corpses in the bomb shelter so we could rescue those still alive.
On December 26, the day after Christmas, Hanoi’s large residential and shopping area of Kham Thien was flattened by nearly 100 tons of bombs dropped from B-52s, killing and wounding nearly 600 civilians and destroying 2,000 houses. One resident of the area recounted the horror:
Bombs struck a shelter accommodating 40 inhabitants. I found my wife dead, with only her upper torso left. The bombs pulverized my son, my brother and many others into the soil. Blood and pieces of shredded human flesh remain here and there.
On the evening that the bombings began on December 18, as 129 B-52s roared over Hanoi, 10-year-old Ha Mi watched her friend’s home blown up as she and her sister hid under the stairs of their own home, hearing the B-52 bombers overhead. “Advancing, they were looming, coming towards you with a very low hum. It’s frightening.”
The U.S. government claimed its B-52s dropped about 15,000 tons of bombs in 739 assaults, with another 5,000 tons dropped by other aircraft. However U.S. antiwar veterans’ publications estimated that more than 100,000 tons were dropped, with Hanoi hit by more than 40,000 tons of explosives in the 12 days—the explosive equivalent of the two atomic bombs the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan during World War 2. The U.S. government claimed that 1,600 Vietnamese civilians were killed during the Christmas bombing,3 but Vietnamese sources estimate there were 2,300 civilian deaths—about 1,500 in Hanoi alone.
The U.S. declared Operation Linebacker II a big success even as it suffered heavy losses—in planes shot down and pilots captured and killed. While the official U.S. claim is that 11 B-52s were shot down and 11 other aircraft, Vietnamese sources have argued the toll on the U.S. Air Force was significantly greater: that the People’s Army of Vietnam (called the North Vietnamese Army—NVA—by the U.S.) had “...successfully gunned down 81 U.S. aircraft in just 11 days and nights.” America’s “Christmas Bombing” generated worldwide outrage and protests.
Representatives from Sweden and the Vatican compared the Christmas bombings to the kinds of atrocities carried out by the Nazis in WW2.

THE CRIMINALS

President Richard Nixon (1969-1974) ordered Operation Linebacker II, following the same logic that guided him in ordering an earlier bombing raid in 1972: “These bastards have never been bombed like they’re going to be bombed this time.” Nixon even told his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, that he wanted to use nuclear weapons against North Vietnam’s dikes, saying, “No, no, I’d rather use the nuclear bomb. Have you got that, Henry?” When Kissinger responded he thought that would “just be too much,” Nixon replied, “The nuclear bomb, does that bother you?... I just want you to think big, Henry, for Christsakes.”
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was a main architect and engineer of the Christmas bombings. He said B-52s were the weapon of choice in Operation Linebacker II because of their “ability to shake the mind and undermine the spirit.”
Presidential military aide General Alexander Haig, who helped plan the operation, argued the U.S. should “strike hard ... and keep on striking until the enemy’s will [is] broken.”
Generals John Dale Ryan, John W. Vogt, Jr., and John C. Meyer were the direct commanders of Linebacker II. The entire U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, the pilots and other military personnel who took part in this war crime.
South Vietnam President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu (1967-1975) collaborated with U.S. imperialism against the national liberation struggle in Vietnam, including during the 1972 Christmas bombings.

THE ALIBI

The U.S. claimed the 1961-1975 Vietnam War was being fought to defend free and democratic South Vietnam from an invasion by communist North Vietnam. In 1972, the U.S. was negotiating with the North Vietnamese to bring what Nixon called an honorable end to the war. But when peace talks broke off on December 13, Nixon and Kissinger blamed the North Vietnamese, claiming they had “stalled” and walked out of the negotiations, and then also claimed that bombing them was the only way to force them back to the table and reach a real peace agreement.
Nixon instructed his aides to say the rationale for the Christmas bombing was that “We need to get across the point that the reason for the success of negotiations was the bombing and the converse point that we did not halt the bombing until we had the negotiations back on track.”

THE ACTUAL MOTIVE

The war of liberation being fought by the Vietnamese people of North Vietnam and the National Liberation Front was part of a wave of anti-colonialist, national liberation struggles that swept Asia, Africa, and Latin America during the 1950s, ’60s, and into the ’70s. The U.S. imperialists were determined to crush these struggles and maintain or extend domination over and exploitation of these regions. America’s war in Vietnam was also aimed at encircling revolutionary China, led by Mao Zedong, and contending with the then-imperialist Soviet Union. According to estimates released by the Vietnamese government in 1995, two million Vietnamese civilians and one million soldiers were killed during the war.
The U.S. rulers knew by the mid-1960s that they could not win the war in Vietnam, even as they lied to the public about their great military progress. By the late 1960s, their war losses were mounting, and the war had spawned massive upheaval and protest against the U.S. around the world. By the early 1970s, the antiwar movement in the U.S. had also taken hold among America’s own troops—weakening their morale and fracturing their cohesion, discipline, and fighting ability. During the Christmas bombings, for the first time elite U.S. pilots reportedly rebelled by trashing officers clubs, making antiwar statements, and finding ways to opt out of flying missions. Many did this because they opposed or questioned the bombings; others did so out of a realistic fear of being shot down.
The U.S. rulers were also facing new challenges around the world, in particular from the Soviet Union. Formerly a socialist country, the Soviet Union had by that time restored capitalism and emerged as an an imperialist power, and the U.S.’s main global rival. The Soviets were backing the Vietnamese liberation fighters, and extending their reach around the globe, including by using national liberation struggles to expand their empire.
So the U.S. began withdrawing its troops and secretly began peace talks with the North Vietnamese in 1970, not simply to extricate themselves from Vietnam, but also to reposition themselves globally and take on the Soviet Union.
Those negotiations were near their end stage in December 1972, and the Christmas bombings were aimed at giving the U.S. greater leverage in the talks, crippling North Vietnam militarily, demoralizing the Vietnamese people and robbing them of their will to fight, and to take blood revenge against a people that had defied and defeated them. The U.S. sought to ensure the survival—at least for a period—of their reactionary clients in South Vietnam, and to be able to save face and credibility by claiming they’d achieved an “honorable” end to the war. And the U.S. bombings may well have been aimed at sending a message to the Soviet Union, revolutionary China, and the world, that despite their looming defeat in Vietnam, the U.S. retained both the military capacity and the political will to wreak enormous death and devastation.
The U.S. claimed Operation Linebacker II was a military success, and it may have had some impact on the final peace agreement signed in January 1973. But it didn’t fundamentally change the fact that the agreement mandated the U.S. withdraw all of its troops and advisers and dismantle all its bases in Vietnam. Nor did the Christmas bombings succeed in either destroying North Vietnam’s military or the will of the Vietnamese people to fight on. In April 1975, North Vietnam and the National Liberation Front finally overthrew the pro-U.S. government in the south, finally unified Vietnam, and inflicted a serious defeat on U.S. imperialism.

Sources
Vietnam Christmas Bombings: 1972 Mutiny of B-52 Crews,” Vietnam Veterans Against the War
North Vietnam, 1972: The Christmas bombing of Hanoi,” Rebecca Kesby, BBC World Service, December 24, 2012, bbc.com
The Christmas bombings of Hanoi in retrospect,” Voice of Vietnam, December 29, 2007
The War Is Suddenly Grim for the B-52 Fliers on Guam,” Richard Halloran, December 30, 1972, New York Times
Why the B-52 Failed,” by David Bacon, January 11, 2016, Foreign Policy in Focus
The Vietnam War, a film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, Part 9 "A Disrespectful Loyalty" (May 1970-March 1973) 

Footnotes
1. The Democratic Republic of Vietnam was founded in 1945 in northern Vietnam under the leadership of Hồ Chi Minh. However, since 1955, South Vietnam had been ruled by reactionaries beholden to the U.S. In 1960, the National Liberation Front, in alliance with North Vietnam, began a guerrilla war in South Vietnam to overthrow its reactionary rulers, drive out U.S. imperialism, and reunite all of Vietnam. [back]
2. The extent of damage to North Vietnam’s dikes is a subject of debate. It appears some dikes were hit during Operation Linebacker II, but the U.S. never carried out an all-out attack on the dikes, which Henry Kissinger estimated could have drowned 200,000 people. [back]
3. The Vietnam War, a film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, Part 9 "A Disrespectful Loyalty" (May 1970-March 1973) [back]

Saturday, 15 December 2018

SICK MOTHERFUCKERS

You've gotta be fucking joking. trump and his assholes actually have the fucking brainless nerve to deport people who they've sent to to do u.s. imperialism's killing for them ? ! They're deporting fucking veterans ? Call me naive, but I actually did not know about this.

Solidarity at the Border – FIRE delegation brings supplies to caravan

FIRE delegates and activists working with deported U.S. veterans were in solidarity at the border in Tijuana. From left to right, Lupita Cibrian of Border Verans; Rosa Maria de la Torre, Gloria Rubac, Sara Flounders of FIRE; and Blanca of Border Veterans. (Photo credit: Gerry Condon)
Tijuana, Mexico – A solidarity delegation organized by Fight for Im/migrants and Refugees Everywhere (FIRE) went to Mexico from Dec. 6 to 9 to meet with caravanista organizers and provide humanitarian aid to the thousands of Central American families who find themselves stranded on the U.S. border.
The FIRE delegation joined activists from Border Veterans, an organization for U.S. military veterans who have been deported, U.S. Veterans for Peace, and local church groups and community members to bring much needed supplies to the migrant families both in Tijuana and in nearby Barretal, the largest refugee camp for asylum seekers in Mexico.
FIRE met with caravanistas in Barretal just days after torrential rains hit the camp, which flooded bathrooms and soaked the residents’ tents, blankets and clothes. Temperatures plummet at night, so the dampness, combined with bitter cold, made conditions even more difficult for the 4,000 to 5,000 migrants in Barretal.
However, by the time the FIRE delegation arrived at the camp on Dec. 6 to bring clean socks, washcloths, body wash and other toiletries, spirits in the camp had improved. Music blared from a karaoke machine while migrants sang along, some youths danced and played soccer, and preparations were made for a small festival for the kids. The caravan is comprised almost entirely of young families, with many young children and infants among them.
“You’re looking at an entire generation of displaced people,” one Honduran organizer named Dani told the FIRE delegation. “And it is a great generation. I have met here so many future singers, musicians, artisans and activists.
“I want to thank those in the United States who have helped us. I know that North Americans have a big heart and are a people who stand in solidarity with us. Thank you for your support and for your noble hearts. The Mexican people, as well.”
“I didn’t believe that there could exist so much empathy, so much devotion, that you [United States and Mexican activists] have shown.”
“But,” Dani continues, “we know there are some people everywhere in the world who lack awareness of what is the origin of these problems. Therefore they defend causes that are a lie, causes that are murderous. In doing so, they think they fight for good things, but they fight for bad things. You can be murdering entire populations, innocent peoples.”
The majority of these young families, who are exercising their right under international law to seek asylum in the United States, come from Honduras, where a U.S.-backed coup in 2009 has lead to the collapse of civil society, political repression and widespread violence from criminal and fascist gangs. Clearly, the 13 U.S. military bases currently active in Honduras are not being used to protect the people.
“How much do you think it costs to maintain 13 bases?” Dani asks. “At a fraction of that price, could you not build 13 hospitals? Or 13 universities?”
Resisting obstacles
It’s difficult to determine exactly how many migrants have come through Tijuana in recent months seeking refuge in the United States. As of this weekend, over 2,000 families had applied for asylum. Hundreds more have risked deportation, detention and death by crossing the border without documents. That requires getting around “the Wall” that, contrary to the narrative promoted by the corporate media and racist Trump, has already been built and runs like a deep scar across occupied Mexico.
All told, it’s likely that as many as 10,000 to 15,000 caravanistas have embarked on the harrowing trek from Central America to the U.S.
Asylum seekers have few options once they arrive in Tijuana in hopes of making it across the largest border U.S. checkpoint to San Diego. Immigration authorities on both sides of the border have coordinated a ticket system, wherein families may register their asylum claim in order to be granted a claim number. Then they must wait until that number is called, at which point they are interviewed and the U.S. makes a determination on whether they have a valid claim.
Thousands of families have so far registered and many must wait several months for their number to be called. If they are not at the Tijuana border when their number is called, their registration is voided and they must start the process all over.
If the asylum seekers’ initial claim is accepted, they are allowed to cross into the United States. However, they must either pay a several-thousand-dollar bond or submit to wearing an ankle bracelet so they can be tracked by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
U.S. authorities automatically deny asylum claims to anyone who was previously deported from the U.S. as well as those convicted of certain crimes in their home country. If a person who was previously deported attempts to apply for asylum status with their children, the children will most likely be taken into U.S. custody while the adults are summarily “removed” once again. According to current U.S. law, individuals whose claims are denied will not be sent across the border to Mexico, but back to the home country they are fleeing.
Families are therefore faced with an impossible set of circumstances. They can linger near the Tijuana border, subsisting on charity, or they can turn back further into Mexico to stay at some of the better supplied refugee camps and risk missing their turn for an asylum interview. While the workers in Mexico have been welcoming their Central American neighbors, tensions between migrants and border communities are increasing due to the desperate conditions and the lack of health and sanitary facilities in the encampment.
Tijuana’s Trump-like mayor, Juan Manuel Gastelum, has said the situation has already become a “humanitarian crisis” but refuses to commit public resources to assisting the refugees and migrants. Gastelum, of the National Action Party, has called for the arrest of the caravan organizers and has taken to wearing a red baseball cap that reads “Make Tijuana Great Again,” mirroring Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.”
Gastelum also popularized a slogan that’s been adopted by far-right, anti-migrant mobs: “Mexico First.”
Heartfelt support
Near the Tijuana border on the morning of Dec. 6, members of the FIRE delegation noticed a taxi cab with the words “Apoyamos Nuestro Alcalde” (“We Support Our Mayor”) painted on the back windshield. It was parked just around the corner from a small encampment of asylum seekers who had decided to wait their turn just a 100 yards or so from the border.
There were 25 to 30 young parents and children, including infants, living in this encampment, and they had all fled violence in Honduras. One of the asylum seekers at this encampment, Julio, explained that they are hungry and low on supplies. When asked if the local government was providing any assistance, he said that the Mexican authorities are simply other arms of the U.S. government and cooperate completely with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
In a small plaza immediately outside the border were a dozen or so young Mexican men who had just been deported. Only weeks before, the plaza was crammed with caravanistas and crates of supplies stacked 10 feet high.
The city of Tijuana then ordered the plaza to be vacated in order to build a new, friendly looking and colorful barricade that reads, “Tijuana, Mexico” in big letters. Police cleared the square of migrants and left the supplies on the street for anyone to take.
Hector Lopez and his spouse Lupita were members of the community who had been cooking hot meals for the migrants in the plaza shortly before it was cleared by police; they later scrambled to rescue as many supplies as they could. Lopez is a U.S. military veteran who was deported to Mexico in 2006.
“I was only born here. Ninety-five percent of my life I was in the United States, so I’m an American. I was just born in Mexico,” Hector told the FIRE delegation in the Tijuana office of Border Veterans, while wearing a sweatshirt that reads Veteranos Por La Paz (Veterans for Peace).
He went on to say, “If we are good enough to die for the United States, and good enough to kill for the United States, then we are damn well good enough to live in the United States.”
Apart from providing humanitarian aid and much needed supplies, Hector and Lupita Lopez, along with their colleague Robert, another deported veteran, and his spouse work tirelessly to combat the rampant misinformation that is spread to migrants and asylum seekers.
Deported veterans also work with local church groups to assist caravanistas with legal assistance and counseling and psychology services. They’re the sort of first responders who assist both migrants and deportees. In general, they discourage families from attempting to cross the border “illegally,” especially since Trump signed an executive order that makes it more likely parents can be separated from their children for doing so.
But the longer the families wait, the more they require assistance. Many families are being encouraged to find work and settle in Mexico, as their safety and wellbeing is not necessarily secure once they cross into the United States.
“People are not sure when their next meal will be. It’s clear the authorities are purposefully restricting food so families are worn down and more likely to sign their own deportation documents,” Lupita Lopez explains.
For now, these several thousand families are waiting, displaced from their home by U.S. imperialism.
A week of action has been called in solidarity with the migrant caravan, culminating on Dec. 18, International Migrants Day. FIRE and Workers World Party are co-sponsoring events in many cities across the United States.
“The people know they are not alone. The people have faith that you are the only ones who can break down this wall, no one else,” says Alfonso Guerrero Ulloa, a Honduran activist who was granted permanent asylum in Mexico after being targeted by both the U.S. and Honduran governments for his resistance to imperialism.
Ulloa has helped coordinate with the caravanistas and has been instrumental in the supply lines and safety in Barretal.
As he says this, Ulloa is greeted by a young woman who is carrying her 2- month-old daughter.
“Ah!” says Ulloa. “And here is our youngest freedom fighter.”

Friday, 14 December 2018

DO YOU NEED ANOTHER REASON ?

u.s. imperialism creates conditions of life in other countries that are so bad, people have to leave their homes to try and find a better life somewhere else, just to fucking survive. So why not try to get to the place that has been sucking the wealth out of your country for so many years ? Because racist entitled motherfuckers will try and keep you out, not matter the cost in human suffering. Fuck the u.s.a.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A 7-year-old girl who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border with her father last week died after being taken into the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol, federal immigration authorities confirmed Thursday.
The Washington Post reports the girl died of dehydration and shock more than eight hours after she was arrested by agents near Lordsburg, New Mexico. The girl was from Guatemala and was traveling with a group of 163 people who approached agents to turn themselves in on Dec. 6.
It's unknown what happened to the girl during the eight hours before she started having seizures and was flown to an El Paso hospital.
In a statement, Customs and Border Protection said the girl had not eaten or consumed water in several days.
The agency did not provide The Associated Press with the statement it gave to the Post, despite repeated requests.
Processing 163 immigrants in one night could have posed challenges for the agency, whose detention facilities are meant to be temporary and don't usually fit that many people.
When a Border Patrol agent arrests someone, that person gets processed at a facility but usually spends no more than 72 hours in custody before they are either transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement or, if they're Mexican, quickly deported home.
The girl's death raises questions about whether border agents knew she was ill and whether she was fed anything or given anything to drink during the eight-plus hours she was in custody.
Immigrants, attorneys and activists have long raised issues with the conditions of Border Patrol holding cells. In Tucson, an ongoing lawsuit claims holding cells are filthy, extremely cold and lacking basic necessities such as blankets. A judge overseeing that lawsuit has ordered the agency's Tucson Sector, which patrols much of the Arizona-Mexico border, to provide blankets and mats to sleep on and to continually turn over surveillance footage from inside the cells.
The Border Patrol has seen an increasing trend of large groups of immigrants, many with young children, walking up to agents and turning themselves in. Most are Central American and say they are fleeing violence. They turn themselves in instead of trying to circumvent authorities, many with plans to apply for asylum.
Agents in Arizona see groups of over 100 people on a regular basis, sometimes including infants and toddlers.
Arresting such groups poses logistical problems for agents who have to wait on transport vans that are equipped with baby seats to take them to processing facilities, some which are at least half hour north of the border.
The death of the 7-year-old comes after a toddler died in May just after being released from an ICE family detention facility in Texas, and as the administration of Donald Trump attempts to ban people from asking for asylum if they crossed the border illegally. A federal appeals court has temporarily blocked that ban, but the administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate it Tuesday.
Cynthia Pompa, advocacy manager for the ACLU Border Rights Center, said migrant deaths increased last year even as the number of border crossing dropped.
"This tragedy represents the worst possible outcome when people, including children, are held in inhumane conditions. Lack of accountability, and a culture of cruelty within CBP have exacerbated policies that lead to migrant deaths," Pompa said.

WE WILL FREE OURSELVES

The oppressed of the world should understand that they will never be freed due to any benevolence of the oppressor nations. Putting your hopes in the actions of the u.s.a., kkkanada, england, france, etc., will only lead to failure and demoralization. People have to free themselves. The imperialist nations of the earth only know how to steal from and starve other countries.

Ahmad Sa’adat: Palestine will be freed by the people, not the elites

The following interview with imprisoned Palestinian leftist leader, Ahmad Sa’adat, the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was published first in the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto on November 9, 2018. Sa’adat has been imprisoned in Israeli prison since 2006, when he was seized along with several comrades in a violent Israeli attack on the Palestinian Authority’s Jericho prison.
Prior to the Israeli attack, he had been imprisoned since 2002 by the Palestinian Authority under U.S. and British guard. The imprisonment of prominent Palestinians like Sa’adat played a role in the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council elections in which the legislative party associated with Hamas, the Change and Reform Bloc, prevailed. Less than a week before the new PA officials were to be sworn in, Israeli armed forces attacked the Jericho prison, killing two Palestinians.
Since that time, Sa’adat was sentenced to 30 years in Israeli prison, even though he was not charged in the assassination of Rehavam Ze’evi. The notoriously far-right Israeli tourism minister was assassinated by PFLP fighters after the Israeli army assassinated PFLP General Secretary Abu Ali Mustafa in his Ramallah office, using a U.S.-made and –provided helicopter-fired missile on August 29, 2001. Several of Sa’adat’s comrades were sentenced to life imprisonment after the raid.
Israeli officials have repeatedly demonstrated their fear of Sa’adat’s political influence. He was held under isolation for three years, an isolation that ended as part of the 2012 Karameh mass hunger strike. He writes and issues statements from prison, thanks to the creative work of fellow prisoners and their comrades in making sure that the writing and analysis of Palestinian prisoners are not isolated from the world. The interview follows below:
Q: How would you assess the current situation in Palestine and the attitude of the U.S. administration under Donald Trump?
First of all, I would like to thank you for this interview. It is absolutely crucial to communicate with Italian readers and explain the Palestinian left vision for the current situation in Palestine and in the region. We view the United States, under the Trump administration, as an extremely dangerous power, not only for the Palestinian people and for our region, but for all of the people of the world. It is often said that the only difference between Trump and previous administrations is that Trump reveals the true, ugly face of capitalism and imperialism, taking the use of plunder, hegemony and exploitation to an extreme level.
Trump’s declaration on recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli state and the transfer of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is the natural continuation of 100 years of colonization in Palestine and the 1917 Balfour Declaration. It is part and parcel of the ongoing attempt to liquidate Palestinian rights and to accelerate the ethnic cleansing of our people, especially in Jerusalem. Palestinians across the board politically reject Trump’s attempt to eliminate the Palestinian cause. Our people are resisting and rejecting this attempt not only with words, but with action: the launch of a true, heroic popular uprising in Gaza – the Great March of Return, in the spirit of the first Intifada and with the participation of the PFLP and a broad range of Palestinian political forces.
2) What current strategy would allow for the rebuilding of a strong Palestinian liberation movement?
The main task facing us today is the project of rebuilding and reconstructing the Palestinian national liberation movement. The primary Palestinian national objective today is to place Palestine, once again, on the road of liberation by restating and reaffirming the essence of the Palestinian struggle. That is, the return of the refugees and building the liberated, democratic secular society in Palestine – not the “Palestinian state on 1967 borders alongside Israel.”
A historic and devastating rupture has taken place in the Palestinian movement after the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993. This has distorted the true meaning of our struggle and the essence of the conflict. An entire Palestinian generation has been born and grown up since the signing of that catastrophic document on 13 September 1993 in Washington, D.C. Since then, the Palestinian movement has been shattered, splintered and chaotic.
As for the immediate tasks, it is critical to reestablish the Palestinian national liberation front, the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) if you will, in order to provide the necessary conditions for a renaissance of the Palestinian movement and the Palestinian revolution. We come from a different perspective than both Fateh and Hamas, and we are committed to a real national unity that includes our progressive framework and which must be based on popular representation and participation. All Palestinian classes must be a part of this process, and the popular classes must not be excluded from the leadership of the movement as they have been for the past 40 years. The freedom of Palestine will be won by the people, not the elites.
3) What alternative political direction does the PFLP suggest?
We think that the main premise of change is popular participation that allows Palestinians to participate in the struggle and in political decision-making, in a manner that is effective and meaningful. This not only requires struggle against occupation, but also struggle to regain those Palestinian rights to participate in our own movement. For example, in Jordan, there are over four million Palestinians whose demands, needs and calls to action may seem to be absent. However, they must be heard. The same is true for Palestinians in Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere, as well as those in Palestine.
Popular participation and leadership is necessary for rebuilding the resistance movement against Zionist colonization and implementing a strategy for the liberation of Palestine. This must also take place in the diaspora as well as in Palestine, in Europe and elsewhere in the world where there are Palestinians. If our communities are always threatened by all kinds of criminalization, repressive laws and right-wing attacks, then our tasks will be more difficult. The cornerstone of our vision lies upon this – people’s right to participate in developing their future. This is the most advanced, democratic process of participation which we are fighting for, unlike those who have imposed an elite hegemony on the Palestinian people.
4) The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has marked the fiftieth anniversary of its founding. How do you evaluate the situation of the Front today?
The Front concluded its seventh convention in early 2014, and we are now approaching the eighth convention of the Front. This will be an opportunity for all of our comrades inside and outside Palestine to assess the strengths and weaknesses of our Front and evaluate its advances and retreats.
In the last five years, we can say that the Front has faced tremendous difficulties and challenges that have manifested political and financial siege: repression, mass arrests of its cadres, the killing of cadres. Yet we have advanced in our military capabilities in Gaza because we do not face the same conditions that we do in the West Bank under occupation and Palestinian Authority security coordination. Several comrades – including myself – are imprisoned precisely because of this security coordination between the PA and the occupier, but we are not alone in this regard. Hundreds of cadres have been subject to oppression and arrests as well.
In terms of the Front organizationally, we also have made progress in terms of youth participation and renewal in various different aspects of our work. It is always challenging to accumulate achievements due to our circumstances, so we are always engaged in a process of building and rebuilding.
5) How has the PFLP changed since its foundation until now?
The Front has changed tremendously in that time – we are talking about half of a century. There are four stages in the life of our party. The first, which could be identified as the “Jordan era,” from 1967 until 1972; the second, the experience of the Palestinian Revolution and the PFLP in Lebanon, from 1973 until 1982; the third, the first great Palestinian popular uprising from 1987 until 1993; and, since then, we have been living the stage of the so-called Oslo process.
Now, these changes have affected the Front on many levels: political, theoretical, organizational. These have affected us as they have others: the wars in the region, the peace pacts between Arab regimes and Israel, the fall of the Soviet Union and the larger socialist bloc and the liquidation process (also labeled the “peace process.”) All of these factors and many others have affected the Front, its strength and its analysis.
Certain positions which we took in a time of retreat made the Front look more “realist,” but that was due to internal contradictions in the Front. We discussed this publicly in our documents from the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Conventions. The Front always engages in self-criticism and we do not hesitate to point out our shortcomings. But the conclusion to which we have arrived, from 1992 until today, is that the party, like our people, is living through a comprehensive crisis, theoretically, politically, financially and otherwise, and this crisis can only be overcome through resistance and struggle at all levels.
6) How do you see the role of the prisoners’ movement inside Israeli prisons?
The prisoners’ movement inside Israeli jails has, historically, played a major and central role in the fight against Zionist oppression. This comes not only in our daily confrontation of the occupier and prisoners’ responsibility as the first advanced rank of the revolution but also in our role in the overall political scene in Palestine.
We must remember that the national consensus agreement for Palestinian national unity has been called the Prisoners’ Document. It was drafted inside prisons and formed the basis of all later discussions for the Palestinian movement’s national unity. The prisoners’ movement has lived through various experiences of campaigns, hunger strikes, and prisoners lives’ being taken under torture.
We political prisoners have been called the vanguard and the heart of the Palestinian revolution. This is because Israel always targets the Palestinian movements and their leaders for imprisonment – student movements, women’s movements, labor movements, youth movements. In essence, prisons have been a place where all of these aspects of our movement meet and engage in thorough discussions. That is why Palestinians often call prisons “the schools of the revolution.”
We are not separated from the liberation movement outside prison. Palestinian prisoners are from all of Palestine – the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, the Triangle, the Naqab, Galilee, all of our land. We also consider Palestinian political prisoners in American and French jails as part of our movement, particularly Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, imprisoned in France for over 34 years.