All posts filed under: historical perspectives

Why I join the ILP

by George Orwell We’re republishing Orwell’s 1938 piece here for its continuing relevance in our times.  First published by New Leader on June 24, 1938, the text is also available at the Marxists’ Internet Archive. Perhaps it will be frankest to approach it first of all from the personal angle. I am a writer. The impulse of every writer is to ‘keep out of politics’. What he wants is to be left alone so that he can go on writing books in peace. But unfortunately it is becoming obvious that this ideal is no more practicable than that of the petty shop-keeper who hopes to preserve his independence in the teeth of the chain-stores. To begin with, the era of free speech is closing down. The freedom of the Press in Britain was always something of a fake, because in the last resort, money controls opinion; still, so long as the legal right to say what you like exists, there are always loopholes for an unorthodox writer. For some years past I have managed to …

The Russian minority in the Baltics live under ‘apartheid’ states

Max Parry It has been nearly three decades since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Despite Russia’s reemergence on the world stage as a respected power after market-oriented ‘reforms’ destroyed its economy for the duration of the nineties, the breakup of the USSR is an event regarded by an increasing amount of Russians as a catastrophic tragedy rather than a triumph of ‘freedom and democracy.’ In recent years, there have been numerous polls showing that more than half of Russians not only regret the collapse of the Soviet Union but would even prefer for its return. However, the nostalgia only comes as a surprise to those who have forgotten that not long before the failed August Coup that led to its demise, the first and only referendum in its history was held in March of 1991 which polled citizens if they wished to preserve the Soviet system. The results were more than three quarters of the population in the entire socialist federation (including Russia) voting a resounding yes with a turnout of 80% in the …

European Holocaust had roots in Africa, now Namibia is suing Germany

In Africa, Namibian history is no secret. Nothing is taboo. This is what is common knowledge in Windhoek or in Cape Town in neighboring South Africa:

The Germans drove into the desert, and then exterminated, over 80% of the entire nation – the Herero. The Nama people lost around 50% of its population. The concentration and extermination camps were built; monstrous medical experiments on human beings were perpetrated. German ‘doctors’including those who were working on ‘the pure race doctrine’ in Namibia (the doctrine later used by the Nazis in Europe), subsequently ‘educated’ many German racist physicians, including the notorious ‘Angel of Death’ – Mengele. The most notorious doctor, who experimented on human beings in Africa, was Eugen Fischer.

The Satanic Nature of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

American history can only accurately be described as the story of demonic possession, however you choose to understand that phrase. Maybe radical “evil” will suffice. But right from the start the American colonizers were involved in massive killing because they considered themselves divinely blessed and guided, a chosen people whose mission would come to be called “manifest destiny.” Nothing stood in the way of this divine calling, which involved the need to enslave and kill millions and millions of innocent people that continues down to today.

New Zealand – The ebb & flow of History

Hugh O’Neill There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat.” Julius Caesar, Act iv, Scene iii After Napoleon’s defeat in 1815, the British Empire had few rivals in the first half of the 19th Century, but when Britain allied with France in the Crimean War against Russia, they realised that wooden ships were no match for French iron ships. The Industrial Revolution was spreading and other empires were rising: Russia, Japan, America, France and Germany all wished to join the global game of chess. Russophobia thrived in NZ since the Crimean War, encouraged by newspapers e.g. Daily Southern Cross whose 1873 ‘hoax’ report of Russian ship “Kaskowiski” invading Auckland caused panic. When the Russian Empire did collide with the British in Northern Afghanistan (Pandjeh Incident 1884), the NZ public demanded protection in the form of coastal batteries, torpedo boats and militia training, …

The Blatant Conspiracy behind Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s Assassination

Fifty years ago on June 5 1968, Robert F. Kennedy, younger brother of the murdered president, was shot and killed under circumstances perhaps even more suspicious and bizarre than those surrounding John Kennedy’s murder. No even slightly satisfactory explanation has ever been offered for the glaring anomalies and contradictions in this case. Here Edward Curtin revisits some of the abiding questions surrounding this third politically motivated assassination to impact America in five years, and the legacy it left behind

The U.S. won’t say ‘genocide’ but cares about Armenian democracy?

by Max Parry “Did Armenia just dance its way to revolution?” Mass demonstrations that have shut down Armenia leading to the replacement of its prime minister have queued the obligatory western media push for regime change. Already dubbed a ‘Velvet Revolution’ after the 1989 protests that collapsed communist Czechoslovakia, there have been so many ‘color revolutions’ in former Soviet states that the colors are being recycled by the NGOs. The first crowds gathered in April in response to the Republican Party of Armenia’s decision to nominate outgoing leader Serzh Sargsyan as the sole candidate for Prime Minister after having already served as the country’s President since 2008. Despite its constitutional legality, this was perceived by many to be a consolidation of power as he would have retained the same authority since the country just transitioned to a prime ministerial system. Predictably, the western media commentary has framed the protests in the context of the new Cold War by emphasizing the ruling party’s links to ‘Kremlin oligarchs’ and Armenia’s presence within Russia’s sphere of influence. However, …

The Russian V-Day Story (Or the History of World War II Not Often Heard in the West)

by Michael Jabara Carley, via Strategic Culture Every May 9th the Russian Federation celebrates its most important national holiday, Victory Day, den’ pobedy. During the early hours of that day in 1945 Marshal Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov, commander of the 1st Belorussian Front, which had stormed Berlin, received the German unconditional surrender. The Great Patriotic War had gone on for 1418 days of unimaginable violence, brutality and destruction. From Stalingrad and the northern Caucasus and from the northwestern outskirts of Moscow to the western frontiers of the Soviet Union to Sevastopol in the south and Leningrad and the borders with Finland, in the north, the country had been laid waste. An estimated 17 million civilians, men, women and children, had perished, although no one will ever know the exact figure. Villages and towns were destroyed; families were wiped out without anyone to remember them or mourn their deaths. Most Soviet citizens lost family members during the war. No one was left unaffected. Ten million or more Soviet soldiers died in the struggle to expel the monstrous Nazi invader and …

From Troy to Damascus: Seeing the Light

by Hugh O’Neill One of the oldest cities in the world, Damascus was already 2,000 years old at the time of Homer’s Trojan War (1200 BC). In order to understand the present, we have to place it within the context of the past. However, there is a caveat that only the winners write history and so the challenge to historians is to read between (and behind) the lines. Historians must also deploy their judgement of the various human factors in the events recorded, by whom recorded and why; they must also be aware of their own biases which inevitably influence their vision i.e. what they choose to see or ignore. War may be defined as the deployment of mass violence to acquire resources of the many to benefit the few. Homer would have us believe that many thousands of Greek heroes left their homes and families for ten years so that King Menelaus could rescue Helen his queen who had been abducted by Paris, son of King Priam of Troy. We also learn from Homer …

The ‘Crucifixion’ of the Black Messiah

On this the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King, a soon-to-be-published book provides us the most comprehensive account of this event, the shock of which reverberated across America and the world. More than that, the anniversary gives us all ample reason to reflect on the man and his impact, and where America is at present in the context of the main pursuits to which he devoted his life: racial equality, justice, liberty, truth, freedom, and peace. Oh, and a slice of the American Dream. Australian writer Greg Maybury reports.

American “Regime Change War” Was Born in Belgrade 19 Years Ago Today

by Adam Garrie, March 24, 2018, Eurasia Future Throughout the 20th century, the US had been in the business of overthrowing governments that it did not like, almost always because such governments did not create conditions unilaterally favourable to US business interests. From overthrowing multiple Latin American governments, most famously the leftist government of Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973, to the overthrow of Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran in 1953, to the installation of the Pakistani Dictator General Zia who executed the democratically elected Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the US has been ‘changing regimes’ long before the post-Cold War era. However, in the 21st century, the idea of ‘regime change’ went from an unspoken reality to a stated goal among increasingly war-hungry US leaders. A “new world order” – a regime change order After the Cold War, when George H.W. Bush declared a “new world order”, the US and its European allies began backing radical far-right nationalist and Takfiri insurgencies throughout Yugoslavia, beginning in 1991. This resulted in the secession of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and the anti-western and therefore unrecognised Republika …

Hotel Propaganda

by Anthony Black, September 8, 2014, via Canadian Dimension On the evening of April 6th 1994 a plane carrying the Hutu leaders of both Rwanda and Burundi was shot down as it approached Kanombe airport. The assassins had little trouble targeting the flight as only one of the two runways was open, the other having been closed two months earlier on the orders of General Romeo Dallaire. Simultaneous to the shootdown, that is on the eve of April 6th, a 30,000 RPF (Tutsi) army based in Uganda invaded from the north. At the same time, hundreds of covert armed RPF cells came to life in and around Kigali and began attacking Rwandan government forces (FAR). The population, roughly 85% Hutu, and encompassing at least a million refugees in and around Kigali displaced by previous RPF incursions from Uganda, began to panic. A genocide was about to begin. But it was a genocide neither against, nor by, the actors cited in the ?official? narrative. Indeed, Rwanda circa 1994, is, in all likelihood, if not the, then …

“Yanks to the rescue”: Time’s not-so secret story of how Americans helped Yeltsin win 1996 presidential election

Imagine Izvestia ran a headline in January 2018 titled “Rescuing Donald”, in which it proudly boasted that a group of crack Russian election-fixers had been sent over to Washington to make sure Trump beat Hillary. Does anyone imagine it would stop short of impeachment for Trump and maybe even hot war with Russia? Yet 22 years ago Time magazine ran just such a feature on how four Americans and an ex-pat Russian had managed the 1996 Russian presidential election to ensure a win for Boris Yeltsin. And apparently that was something to openly boast about

The Defining Year Was 1991: The Demise of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union

by Marcus Papadopoulos, via Global Research Whilst there are no golden ages, it is abundantly clear that the world today is in a very unhealthy state. From Eastern Europe to North Africa to the Middle East, countries, in recent years, have been severely destabilised, resulting in carnage and the destruction of hundreds of thousands of lives. And at the heart of that destabilisation is American and British foreign policy. But how have we arrived at this situation in the world today? And what are the roots of America and Britain’s ‘humanitarian intervention’? A lot of people answer the above questions by citing the illegal American and British invasion of Iraq. Well, they are emphatically wrong. What we are seeing today in, for example, Syria, has its origins in 1991. Because that year was a turning-point in geo-politics. It was the year that saw the dismemberment of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Yugoslavia was the first step in a series of Western interventions in the …

The Christmas Truce 1914

The unofficial Christmas truce of 1914, year 1 of the Great War, saw German, British and French soldiers defying orders to openly fraternise in no-man’s land and even in each other’s trenches. Gifts were exchanged, carols were sung. Peace reigned in the midst of war. This was not to the liking of the military establishment, and the following year the artillery was made to fire on no-man’s land throughout the Christmas period, to prevent any further spontaneous gestures of friendship

Dickens’ A Christmas Carol: cosy seasonal tale or passionate condemnation of unfettered capitalism?

Today we think of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as a cosy piece of traditional seasonal fare, replete with steaming puds and roasted goose and comfortably easy lessons about not being stingy at Crimbo. But when Dickens wrote his novella in 1843 he was delivering a far more serious – and possibly freshly relevant – warning about the moral bankruptcy of a society that destroys human lives in pursuit of profit

Thanksgiving for JFK

by Edward Curtin If he had lived, President John F. Kennedy would have been 100 years old this year. At Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, his family would be raising a glass in his honor. But as we all know, he was murdered in Dallas, Texas on this date – November 22nd – in 1963. A true war hero twice over, he risked his life to save his men in World War II, and then, after a radical turn toward peace-making in the last year of his life, he died in his own country at the hands of his domestic enemies as a soldier in a non-violent struggle for peace and reconciliation for all people across the world. But we can still celebrate, mourn, and offer thanksgiving for his courageous witness. When we gather tomorrow to give thanks, we should remember today – the profound significance of the date – and the absent presence of a man whose death, dark and bloody as it was, is a sign of hope in these dark times. For if John …

Long Live the Great October Revolution – 100 years of screwing Imperialism!

The world is in ruins. It is literally burning, covered by slums, by refugee camps, and its great majority is ‘controlled by markets’, as was the dream and design of individuals such as Milton Friedman, Friedrich von Hayek, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Führers like Kissinger and Brzezinski, sacrificed tens of millions of human lives all over our planet, just to prevent nations from trying to fulfill their spontaneous socialist, and even, God forbid, Communist dreams and aspirations. Some of the tyrants were actually very ‘honest’: Henry Kissinger once observed, publicly, that he saw no reason why a certain country should be allowed to “go Marxist” merely because “its people are irresponsible”. He was thinking about Chile. He “saw no reason” and as a result, several thousands of people were murdered…

Reading the Reformation

by Philip Roddis Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man! We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out. Bishop Latimer: Oct 16, 1555 On this day five hundred years ago an exasperated preacher and professor in moral theology is said to have nailed his ‘grievances’, ninety-five theses written in the spring and summer of 1517, to a chapel door at Wittenberg Cathedral. First in his sights was the trade in indulgences: papal promises signed by this bishop or that to expedite the progress of the purchaser’s soul through purgatory. One practitioner was Dominican friar Johann Tetzel, seller of indulgences who rose to become Grand Inquisitor of Heresy to Poland, aided by a ditty Madison Avenue itself could not have improved on: “as soon as gold in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.” Disgusted of Wittenberg – a Martin Luther soon outflanked by fiercer critics of Rome – was by no means the first to look askance on …

The Baltic Holocaust and Russophobia

by Frank Lee On 23 June 2017 in the Parliament Square of Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, an official celebration of the uprising of 23 June 1943 against Soviet rule took place. The event was orchestrated mainly by veterans of the Lithuanian Freedom Fighters Association, a far-right militia group. During these celebrations an exhibit of more than 12 posters were hung which presented the anti-Soviet insurrection one that “drove terror into the Bolshevik occupying army and the lackeys of the occupation forces.” Some historical context is needed here. In June 1941, Hitler had launched a surprise attack on the Soviet Union, overrunning the Baltics in a few weeks. As documented by eyewitness testimony, photographs, and Nazi records, the Christian majority welcomed the Germans as liberators and right-wing paramilitary groups began massacring their Jewish neighbours before German rule had even been firmly established. Over the next three years of German occupation, around 200,000 Jews, more than 95 percent of Lithuania’s Jewish population, were murdered—a more complete destruction than befell any other European country. In an of inversion …