Wednesday, 20 May 2015

PIONEER OF SOUTH ASIAN RADICAL CULTURE, SAIFULLAH/SAM ZAMAN AKA STATE OF BENGAL, PASSES ON


Brother Mathis Richet informed me of the terrible news this morning that our older brother, comrade, musical-cultural-political pioneer Sam 'State of Bengal' / Saifullah Zaman, and the intense energy of light, creativity, laughs and love has passed on.

We became close friends in the last several years, and he often schooled me in the history of South Asian cultural experience and resistance on this island while I would be surrounded by the seemingly endless South Asian drums covering one side of his living room come studio, with his music production equipment crammed in the other half. We discussed plans to hold a celebratory event for Black and Asian musical resistance histories in this country - something I will still go ahead with in helping to make happen and turn into a celebratory event for Sam's life!. He always encouraged me in my political work and always would say it is better to never sell out to the enemy and keep true to your people, community and our liberation struggle.

Sam exposed in the late 1990s some organised sexual abuse going on in Tower Hamlets of young Bengali boys by members of the white political elite which has of course been covered up. For Sam's work on this issue they punished him somewhat but he seemed to be getting through that and other challenges in life. Sam did not care about the fall out onto him in exposing this abuse and defending our youth. Sam would never kowtow or be intimidated by the enemy, nor would he be bought off or bribed and sell out to the enemy. He had backbone and was fearless and courageous in this regard.

I expected to have Sam as one of my mentors for decades to come, just recently he contributed to the Malcolm X Movement's Malcolm X Film Festival by facilitating communication and building relations between myself and some individuals connected to a big venue and a well known South Asian radical music group. Sam is the real older brother of another South Asian pioneer, Deedar Saifullah Zaman, someone I consider one of the best Emcees these islands has ever produced, and former front man (albeit very young man) of Asian Dub Foundation (Official), with Sam having a leading part in the writing and composition of some of the well known old school tracks of ADF that Deedar was on.

Sam and I even discussed doing some music and he sent me over half a dozen tracks for me to step back on the Mic, to make some tracks for this Malcolm X's 50 martyrdom anniversary. Recently last year he had a successful trip to India to play music, and he was keen to get back into schools and colleges and work with young people like he always has, and touring in India etc.

We often went into Lahori Nihari restaurant, a working class simple Punjabi restaurant next to his house in Upton Park and he would school me intensely in the hidden histories of the South Asian political and musical scene that he was a leading part of. He used to tell me about growing up as a militant young Bengali youth in East London, literally playing gigs and having running street fights with racists and the far right. And of course he would always impart his knowledge of the healing qualities of bass frequencies and harmonies!!

God bless you, brother Saifullah, brother Sam! You were the kind of older struggler, revolutionary and brother and mentor that we need so much to value and share your creativity and experiences to our peoples, especially the younger ones who perhaps don't know the sacrifices and histories.
And anyone who spent anytime with Sam will know of his wicked wit and sense of humour, and the way his eyes would twinkle and shine with his typically cheeky infectious Bengali smiling face.

I Love you brother. Sorry I was not there more for you, I wish came over in recent months and we could have gorged on Nihari and lemon juice drenched onion salad and discussed and schemed together. Thank you for bringing me into your heart and life and giving me the privilege to sit at your feet. You were and will always remain of one of our greatest cultural revolutionaries and humans who sought to bring liberation and elated mediation and dance for our peoples, and your beautiful beautiful son who I know you adored so much is the most gorgeous being who carries you inside him for life.

- Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm







Tuesday, 19 May 2015

CHINESE INTERCONTINENTAL MISSILE CAPABILITIES DEVELOPING


China rapidly upgrading nuclear arsenal with MIRVed missiles – report

RT

China is fast refurbishing its arsenal of silo-based long-range ballistic missiles to carry multiple independently targetable warheads, defense experts say. The move comes decades after Beijing acquired the technology, indicating a strategy change.

It has been speculated on for years that the Chinese military is upgrading some of its bigger ICBMs with Multiple Independently-targeted Reentry Vehicle technology (MIRV), which allows a single missile to carry multiple warhead across the globe and deploy them to aim at individual targets.

The assessment was endorsed by the US government in the latest Pentagon report on Chinese military might, which marked Dongfeng-5 missiles, China’s large liquid-propellant rocket capable of reaching the US, as MIRV-capable. The same report said Dongfeng-41, smaller solid-propellant road-mobile ICBMs were “possibly capable of carrying MIRVs.”

According to The New York Times, as many as half of China’s 20 DF-5 missiles may have been upgraded by now. With a conservative estimate that each missile would carry three individual warheads, it increased the number of warheads that Beijing may fire at an enemy to 40, up from 20, the newspaper said, citing a number of defense experts.

“China’s little force is slowly getting a little bigger, and its limited capabilities are slowly getting a little better,” Hans M. Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, told NYT.

In an earlier report on the development, Kristensen said China is probably upgrading its arsenal in response to the buildup of the global antiballistic missile system by the US. Washington says it needs the system to protect itself and its allies from an attack by nations such as Iran and North Korea. But strategists in Moscow and Beijing see it as threat to the national security of their respective countries.

“If so, how ironic that the US missile defense system – intended to reduce the threat to the United States – instead would seem to have increased the threat by triggering development of MIRV on Chinese ballistic missiles that could destroy more US cities in a potential war,” Kristensen said.

“China is working on a range of technologies to attempt to counter US and other countries’ ballistic missile defense systems, including maneuverable reentry vehicles (MaRV), MIRVs, decoys, chaff, jamming, and thermal shielding,” it said.

China reportedly had technology needed to miniaturize nuclear warheads enough to fit several of them on a missile for decades, but chose not to upgrade its arsenal. Beijing’s nuclear deterrence strategy is to have just enough weapons that they could survive a nuclear attack and deliver monumental damage to the aggressor.

“This is obviously part of an effort to prepare for long-term competition with the United States,” Ashley J. Tellis, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a senior national security official in the George W. Bush administration, told NYT. “The Chinese are always fearful of American nuclear advantage.”

The beef-up of China’s small but punchy nuclear arsenal may trigger similar efforts from other nuclear powers in the region - India and Pakistan. So far only the US, Russia, Britain and France have deployed MIRVed ICBMs.

US make nuclear reduction senseless

Moscow indicated it may see fit to stockpile more nuclear weapons depending on US foreign policies. The warning came from Mikhail Ulyanov, chief of the non-proliferation department in the Russian foreign ministry, who is attending a UN conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The Russian diplomat was speaking about the New-START nuclear reduction treaty signed by the US and Russia in 2010, saying Moscow is sticking to its commitments, but would not go any further due to US behavior.

“The things the Americans are doing objectively hampers if not completely eliminates any prospect of further nuclear disarmament,” Ulyanov said.

“As of now there are no factors that would make our continued participation in the [New START] treaty counter to Russia’s interest, but hypothetically such a situation may arise from US actions, which we would not want to see,” he added.

The US and Russia have parity in nuclear weapons, but America has far more conventional forces. With Russia relying on its nuclear arsenal to safeguard it from a massive US attack, the development of the US anti-missile system is viewed as a dangerous threat to national security in Moscow.

FULL FOOTAGE OF HISTORIC RUSSIAN-LED/HOSTED VICTORY PARADE WITH CHINESE & INDIAN MILITARY MARCHING

GREECE INVITED BY RUSSIA TO JOIN BRICS BANK


Greece to Escape West’s Chokehold by Joining BRICS Bank - European Lawmaker

Sputnik

Last week, Russia invited Greece to become the sixth member of the BRICS New Development Bank.

MOSCOW (Sputnik), Daria Chernyshova — Greece could climb out of the debt hole created for it by International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank if it accepts Russia's proposal to join the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB), Sofia Sakorafa, a member of the European Parliament from the Greek ruling Syriza party, told Sputnik on Monday.

"[Greek] attempts to escape from the deadly embrace of the IMF and the World Bank have been made in the past. [The invitation to join] the bank of BRICS makes this effort the most advanced one to break the monopoly of terror."

Five major developing economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — signed an agreement to establish the NDB at a summit in Fortaleza, Brazil in July 2014. The bank is expected to become an alternative to Western-dominated financial institutions and will focus mainly on funding infrastructure projects.

She stressed, that in order to make this attempt successful, the NDB must stick to its commitment to economic development instead of trying to strangle the Greek people as their Western creditors are currently doing.

"The participation of Greece, therefore, in the new development bank of BRICS, with the objective to finance development projects, is an interesting alternative option that should be evaluated with great seriousness by the Greek government," the Greek Member of the European Parliament stressed.

Earlier, a source in the Greek government told Sputnik that Prime Minister Tsipras would have an opportunity to discuss Athens' accession to the bank with the leaders of the BRICS group in St. Petersburg during an economic forum to be held there on June 18-20.


SNP LEADER NICOLA STURGEON MEETS CHINESE AMBASSADOR

H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming Meets with First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon

Chinese Embassy in UK

On 28 January, Ambassador Liu Xiaoming met with First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon at the Embassy. Present at the meeting was China’s Consul General in Edinburgh Pan Xinchun.

Ambassador Liu congratulated Sturgeon on her election as the first-ever female First Minister of Scotland. He spoke most positively about China-Scotland relations and reaffirmed China’s willingness to make joint efforts with Scotland to bring the mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas to a higher level. Ambassador Liu welcomed a visit to China by the First Minister at a convenient time for both sides.

Sturgeon said that Scotland pays high attention to the development of Scotland-China relations. She looked to continuously strengthen economic and trade cooperation with China and welcomed Chinese companies to invest and thrive in Scotland, including engaging in key industries and projects that are of strategic significance to the economy of Scotland. Scotland is also willing to strengthen cultural exchanges with China through the important platform of Edinburgh International Festival. The First Minister also said she was looking forward to paying her first visit to China soon.

MACEDONIA PROTESTS LINKED TO PRO-NATO INTERESTS


Russia links west to Macedonia violence

[source]

Macedonia is emerging as a potential flashpoint in a geopolitical stand-off between Russia and the west, with Moscow accusing western capitals of trying to foment a revolution in the former Yugoslav republic.

The western Balkans state has been rocked by violence and demonstrations in the past 10 days, amid accusations that Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski is becoming an authoritarian leader.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of the capital, Skopje, despite intense heat on Sunday to demand Mr Gruevski’s resignation. The mass demonstration came a week after tensions between ethnic Albanians and Macedonians exploded in clashes between police and gunmen in the town of Kumanovo where at least 18 people were killed.

The instability has prompted concerns in EU capitals that unrest in Macedonia could spill over into neighbouring countries such as Serbia and destabilise the rest of the western Balkans.

But Moscow has constructed an alternative narrative. Senior Russian officials and media have suggested that the west is behind the protests against a Macedonian leader it had initially backed as someone who would speed his country’s progress towards EU membership.

Speaking on a visit to Serbia on Friday, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said events in Macedonia were “unfolding against the background of the government’s refusal to join the policy of sanctions against Russia and the vigorous support Skopje gave to the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project”.

Turkish Stream is a scheme that Moscow is promoting to replace the South Stream project to bring Russian gas into southeast Europe which was abandoned in December after EU opposition.

Russia’s foreign ministry on Saturday followed Mr Lavrov’s comments with a statement citing Serbian media reports of the arrest of a Montenegrin citizen alleged to have “assisted Kosovo-Albanian extremists” in Macedonia.

It said the arrest was “convincing proof of plans launched from outside to destabilise the internal political situation in this country, an attempt to push it into the abyss of a coloured revolution”.

The statements were retweeted by Russian diplomats overseas on Monday.

Sputnik, the state-run Russian news agency, reported that Macedonia was being “forced to decide between a national identity and EU/Nato integration”. It alleged that the west had increased financial support for pro-democracy activities, such as the $4.8m Civil Society Project, which “trained over 1,000 young people in the use of social media”.

The claims echo the Russian narrative surrounding last year’s protests that toppled former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich, who had initially claimed to be pro-western but swung towards Russia. Moscow says he was removed by a “US-backed coup”.

Monday, 18 May 2015

READING LIST ARISING FROM SUKANT's INTERVIEW WITH MARK McGOWAN


Finally brother Mark McGowan, AKA Artist Taxi Driver, and I met up and he kindly interviewed me me for his excellent youtube channel.

For those who do not know McGowan, he is one of the very few relatively successful online personalities in the last decade in england who has developed a platform which advocates for the rights of the oppressed who are victims of the British state and of 'western' imperialism generally. He is a very decent comrade, and has a open political heart to many trends within radical politics, and I especially respect him for taking a lot of time to point peoples attention to the Scottish peoples experience of mass politicisation towards countering the war and militarism, racism and xenphobia, privatisation and austerity which defines the neo-colonial governments in London.

I am also really appreciative of the very positive feedback I have received on twitter as a result of the interview, especially from our Scottish family and those in england who are open to these issues.

I am going to suggest some further readings etc, as a few people on twitter requested such.


I start by discussing the historical genesis of what brought about thing which is sometimes called 'capitalism, 'democracy', 'the west', 'modernity', ie., the system of global colonial and now neo-colonial domination.

I discuss some of the first steps in this genesis which was the new capitalist ruling classes' (and often in alliance with the older feudal ruling classes, the latter merging into the former) war against the poor which lasted from roughly the 16 through to the late 19 century in what is called the 'clearances' or 'enclosures', which is nothing but actually a massive brutal class war against the peasants. Actually Scotland was one of the last region of the british isles that saw the english colonialists complete their process of domination through the clearances.

I am not going to go into all the details of this terrible process of perhaps the start of what became global colonialism and capitalism, but needless to say this was a a war on all fronts to strip the land away from the peasants, literally replaced the masses from the land in order to replace them with the more lucrative sheep and deer pastures for the cotton industry and in the case of vast areas of land in Scotland, so that the rich could hunt game!

Marx in chapter 27 of his revolutionary critique of the rise of capitalism (note: when 'capitalism' in the western sense, is synonymous with colonialism, the two terms are interchangeable) lays out some of the details to this oppression and its impact on the masses, which can be read HERE

In this piece, Marx with his characteristic scathing revolutionary wit, denounces the english rich in complaining to about the enslavement of African peoples in north america when they themselves are conducting such horrific acts in Scotland, and states only the victims of english capitalism amongst the poor in england, Scotland and Ireland have the right to attack the enslavers in north america!

I also mention that the war on the peasants was also a war on women. Indeed, these oppressions are not narrowly class-based in their nature, but encompass the traumatisation of all aspects of human relations, and human relations between ourselves and nature, and also a 'ideological genocide' in that this oppression also wiped out ancient systems of knowledge of the peoples handed down the generations. Often those who would hand down these healing and pro-people knowledge systems were women in these communities, and being in that position of intergenerational bearers of knowledge in terms of healing and nutritional plants, and also hold responsibility for reproductive, child rearing and child birth issues, these societies saw an open war against women, which resulted in millions of them being lynched in a systematic way for centuries in what is dismissively called by the mainstream (mis)education system the 'witch hunts'.

For a fantastic book on this issue, which weaves together how the emergence of capitalism was also of colonial was also of a war on peasants and was also a war on women, is the book by Silvia Frederici called 'Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation', someone has very kindly put the book into a PDF here. I am personally not a supporter of 'wages for housework' as Frederici is, but that is another discussion and this book is just an amazing piece of work. THIS is also a good youtube interview with Frederici on the same subject.

On the subject of putting people outside the zone of humanity into the zone of animals, which is one of the unique contributions of the colonialists to the world, is laid out in this piece by decolonial scholar Ramon Grosfoguel.

I then discuss issues relating to Nato's war against Libya and the war the british have always teamed up with the very depraved sectarian death squad forces ('AlQaeda', 'Isis' etc). Mark Curtis' book called 'Secret Affairs: britain's secret relationship with radical Islam'. While I do not agree that what Curtis is referring to is Islam at all (rather it is actually a very british perversion of Islam!), nonetheless, the book is without competition in terms of its thorough nature and the research makes this a very authoritative piece. One can read the introduction to the book HERE.

On the issues to do with Libya, on can always flick through my dozens of appearances on this subject on youtube in my interviews on Press TV and RT as well as others. But the best books on the subject is by Horace Campbell, Cynthia McKinney, for the best historical book on Libya please see Jonathan Bearman's Gaddafi's Libya (extract of which here). Also Maximillian Forte, Fancis Boyle's books, and I have written quite a bit on Libya which can be found looking through the tag 'Libya' on my blog Sons of Malcolm. 

On the recent controversy over the deaths of Asian and African people being sent to their death by mafia (who were brought to power by Nato in Libya) is covered here in this sharp article by one of my long time colleague and comrade Dan Glazebrook. He also presents his book HERE which lays out very well the current strategy of british imperialism currently especially in the Middle East and North African region: divide and ruin.

I mention that colonialism was directly used by the english imperialists to corrupt the british working class (working not so well on the Scots at the moment), and here is the direct quote from Cecil Rhodes that I cite:

"I was in the East End of London (a working-class quarter) yesterday and attended a meeting of the unemployed. I listened to the wild speeches, which were just a cry for 'bread! bread!' and on my way home I pondered over the scene and I became more than ever convinced of the importance of imperialism.... My cherished idea is a solution for the social problem, i.e., in order to save the 40,000,000 inhabitants of the United Kingdom from a bloody civil war, we colonial statesmen must acquire new lands to settle the surplus population, to provide new markets for the goods produced in the factories and mines. The Empire, as I have always said, is a bread and butter question. If you want to avoid civil war, you must become imperialists.

To develop the analysis further, this is one of the most important texts in the USA context which lays out an analysis as to how the working classes are deeply corrupted by a settler-colonial consciousness: J Sakai's 'Settlers' and a further development of the analysis by Sakai (who built upon the initial thesis and analysis by Lenin) of Divided World Divided Class by Zak Cope.

Lenin himself wrote extensively about this issue especially in his work 'Imperialism and the Split in Socialism', in which he quotes Marx and Engels on the same issue:  “"..The English proletariat is actually becoming more and more bourgeois, so that this most bourgeois of all nations is apparently aiming ultimately at the possession of a bourgeois aristocracy and a bourgeois proletariat alongside the bourgeoisie. For a nation which exploits the whole world this is of course to a certain extent justifiable." (Engels in a letter to Marx, Oct 7 1858, quoted in Lenin's Imperialism and the Split in Socialism) 

Furthermore:

 “You ask me what the English workers think about colonial policy. Well, exactly the same as they think about politics in general. There is no workers’ party here, there are only Conservatives and Liberal-Radicals, and the workers gaily share the feast of England’s monopoly of the world market and the colonies.” (letter to Kautsky, Sept 12 1882, quoted in Lenin's Imperialism and the Split in Socialism)

On the Bengal Famine, the best work by far yet published is Madhusree Mukerji's 'Churchill's Secret War', there are two youtube videos featuring Mukerji in relation to her work here and here.

On China and Africa, as well as the official Forum on China and African Cooperation website, there is also THIS very interesting paper, and I used to run a blog called Friends of China which still has some very good content on in. I would like to reinvigorate that Friends of China project, but do not gave the human resources at the moment to do so.

Other multilateral bodies of the Global South I would encourage people to learn about are the following:


Learning about these groups of the Global South, and also others such as the African Union, will give people a much more rounded understanding of where we are right now in history in the long march of our peoples struggle for liberation against colonialism and imperialism and for a world that is in harmony with other peoples and nature, something I and many other people across the world would call socialism, ie., the rule and management of society run by those interests who seek peace, mutual respect and friendship and respect for nature and pro-people systems of knowledge and/or liberation ideologies of our peoples.

Specifically on Africa, and Britain's planned but failed war of aggression and invasion on Zimbabwe, please see HERE and HERE, and also another comment on this by another giant of the African liberation struggle, SWAPO/Namibian leader Sam Nujoma HERE.

Finally, HERE is my article on the 10 preconditions imho for a rebuilding of the english left post the last general elections.

I hope these links are of some use to people. I would really encourage people to engage with this kind of materials, as it really humanises our peoples histories and helps us chart ways in our pursuit of achieving for ourselves and the coming generations a world which is not dominated by the 'biggest purveyors of violence in the world'  to paraphrase Dr King, which are the regimes of london, paris and washington.

- Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm