March 5 marked ten years since the passing of Commander Hugo Chávez, former president of Venezuela and the father of the Bolivarian Revolution. Chávez was Venezuela’s president from February 2, 1999, until his death on March 5, 2013.
Chávez inaugurated a new period in Venezuela’s history. Through his comprehensive and inclusive social and economic policies, he brought back dignity and pride to the Venezuelan people and transformed the social reality of the country. He forged important projects for Latin American unity and integration such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Peoples’ Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP), and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). He died at the age of 58, following a two-year battle with cancer.
Professor Joma Sison expired in the night of December 16th. Joma died peacefully after a period of confinement in a hospital in Utrecht, The Netherlands last night at around 8:40 p.m. (Philippine time). He was 83.An irreparable loss of one of the great Marxist intellectuals and leaders of our times. Sison has departed but he has planted seeds for many roses to bloom. He propelled the Filipino people to shape the country’s future and achieve their aspirations for national freedom and democracy.
He was responsible for re-establishing the Communist Party of Phillipines in December 1968 and igniting the spark of the armed struggle in 1969.Unfortunately the bourgeois media is hailing Sison’s death as a culmination of the armed insurrection of the CPP, and a victory of the fascist Duterte regime. Bourgeois intellectuals are labelling late Sison as a terrorist, responsible for bloodshed.
As a consequence of my fledgling activism in my student life to my dedicated commitment towards socialism till now, I found umpteen occasions to meet and interact with many people active in this stream. I constantly learned and picked up something from verily everyone during my work and interactions with them. Of them some became the source of intellectual inspiration, a few helped me in grasping the situations better while others taught me to keep the struggle on even keel in adverse circumstances. As with all other movements, in the socialist fold as well, there were some committed few who selflessly played their part in enriching the movement.
[Fifty five years ago today (October 09, 1967), Comrade Che was murdered by the CIA in Bolivia. A hero of the world proletariat, Che continues to live in our memory and through our struggles against imperialism and capitalism. JoP republishes this post from 2017 to commemorate the death anniversary of the great revolutionary Che Guevara.]
This is an updated, re-edited version of my 2007 essay written for a Celebration of Ernesto Che Guevara’s life held in New York City in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of his execution, attended by 300 people. —Ike Nahem
Che died defending no other interest, no other cause than the cause of the exploited and the oppressed of this continent. Che died defending no other cause than the cause of the poor and the humble of this earth.
—Fidel Castro, October 18, 1967
On October 9, 1967, the highest levels of the United States government transmitted orders to CIA-operative Felix Rodriguez who passed them on to Washington’s flunkies in the Bolivian military regime. The orders were to murder Ernesto Che Guevara—a wounded combatant captured in battle. They proceeded to display Che’s mutilated corpse to gawking journalists and selected spectator-voyeurs before burying his remains in what they planned on forever being a secret, unmarked grave.
Hundreds of people who are fighting for and supporting agrarian revolution attended, including a big number of adivasi and poor peasants, and large number of women. The meeting held in the peak of rainy season went on from10.30 am to 5pm (with 30-minute lunch-break), speakers explaining the revolutionary politics, current politics and ongoing struggles. Far left are adivasi and poor pesant leaders, Muttayya and veteran fighter Padiga Yerraiah (President of Grameena Pedala Sangham of rural poor). Far right is Dr. Jatin Kumar, OPDR leader from Telangana.
Currently struggles of adivasi and poor and landless peasants for podu (forest lands),who occupied and tilled thousands of acres and demanding pattas (legal rights) as per Forest Rights Act , 2006,are going on in various parts of Telangana.
Speakers asked if the newly-elected President Draupadi Murmu, born and projected by Modi-led BJP as adivasi herself will stand by the rural poor fighting for their land and democratic rights.
T.Nagi Reddy died 46 years ago on July28,1976, and DV Rao died on July12, 1984. Every year in July, meetings, small and big, are held across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh by UCCRI-ML remembering the revolutionary mass line they founded, and reviewing struggles along that line. The above is one such well-attended meeting (see photos below)
countercurrents.org has a rich archive on the lives and work of Comrades TN and DV: see at the end of the article for more.
An avoidable controversy has arisen recently due to the unfortunate comments of a politician of Punjab who called Shahid Bhagat Singh a terrorist. That this politician is linked closely to the Khalistani ideology explains his narrow worldview, and his comments regarding Bhagat Singh were quickly dismissed by most people. However to counter false propaganda based on such comments, it will be helpful to record some more details.
Bhagat Singh and his close colleagues made it amply clear time and again that they did not believe in indiscriminate violence and greatly valued human life. Bhagat Singh wrote very clearly, ‘non-violence as a policy indispensable for all mass movements’ while force is justifiable only ‘when resorted to as a matter of terrible necessity.’ During their trial Bhagat Singh and B.K.Dutt said in a joint statement,‘ We hold human life sacred beyond words.’ When asked to define ‘revolution’, they said equally clearly that it did not mean the cult of ‘bomb and pistol’. World level fraternity based on equality and justice was emphasized by Bhagat Singh.
Rosa Luxemburg (1871, Zamosc, Poland–1919, Berlin, Germany) is one of the most fascinating and imposing revolutionary figures in modern European history and, at the same time, one of the most discussed to date. Her friends and adversaries emphasize the penetrating acuity of her intelligence, her great willpower, her lively and impatient temperament, her strong combative nature, and her great moral rigour.
She was born in Poland in 1871, the year of the Paris Commune, the youngest of five children in a cultured and relatively wealthy Jewish family. Intelligent and brilliant in her studies, independent and rebellious in spirit, she was involved in socialist political activity from her early youth. When she was a little girl, as a typical cultured Central European, she spoke three languages: Russian, Polish, and German. She became an activist in the Proletariat Party, founded in 1882 (almost two decades before the founding of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks), in which she organised and led striking workers. In 1886, four of its leaders were executed, while others were locked up and exiled.
The 18th of June marked the 140th birth anniversary of the great Bulgarian communist, leader of the Communist International from 1935 to 1943, Georgi Dimitrov. As a tribute to his memory we publish his famous defense speech during the Reichstag fire trial in Leipzig, when he refused counsel and proudly defended himself against his Nazi accusers.
Dimitrov: By virtue of Article 258 of the Criminal Procedure Code I am entitled to speak both as defender and as accused.
President: You have the right to the last word and you can make use of that right now.
Dimitrov: By virtue of the Criminal Procedure Code I have the right to argue with the prosecution and then to deliver my final speech.
My Lords Judges, Gentlemen for the Prosecution and the Defence. At the very beginning of this trial three months ago as an accused man I addressed a letter to the President of the Court. I wrote that I regretted that my attitude in Court should lead to collisions with the judges, but I categorically refuted the suggestion which was made against me that I had misused my right to put questions and my right to make statements in order to serve propagandist ends. Because I was wrongly accused before this Court I naturally used all the means at my disposal to defend myself against false charges.
‘I acknowledge, I wrote, that several of my questions had not been as apposite from the point of view of time and formulation as I could have wished. May I explain this by referring to the fact that I am not acquainted with German law and further that this is the first time in my life in which I have played a part in judicial proceedings of this character. If I had enjoyed the services of a lawyer of my own choice I should doubtless have known how to avoid these misunderstandings so harmful to my own defence.