The Rebel Road…

I know you’ve come to kill me. Shoot, coward, you’re only going to kill a man. – Ernesto Che Guevara

Fall of the Socialist bloc – II.

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Although there are a multitude of liberation movements in the world, it is my opinion that limiting this presentation to some relevant movements in this regard is needed. It is interesting to note that the USSR was supporting (through funding and arms provision) almost all the major liberation movements at the time. The most important liberation movement was in Africa, i.e. against Apartheid (racial segregation). Notable leaders of this movement include such great individuals as Nelson Mandela who was imprisoned for 27 years for his political activism against Apartheid. Mandela himself makes numerous references to the ANC, which in turn was funded and supported by the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA as it was known at the time). Furthermore, it should be emphasised that of the people arrested with Nelson Mandela, a vast majority belonged to the CPSA.

“Our Party’s relationship with the ANC is based on mutual trust, reciprocity, comradeship in battle and a common strategy for national liberation. Our unity of aims and methods of struggle is a rare instance of positive alignment between the forces of class struggle and national liberation” (SACP, 1).

Another example of the USSR’s direct help for SACP and ANC members, who were fighting against Apartheid, was the manner in which academic and political education and training was imparted to them.

“From 1962 South African students began coming to the USSR for academic and political training. All in all about 200 ANC members completed training in Soviet tertiary institutions, mostly with Masters and some with PhD degrees (the official government figure is smaller, 145, but it does not include those South Africans who were registered as citizens of Lesotho, Zambia or other Southern African countries). On top of this about 200 ANC and SACP members studied at the Institute of Social Sciences (it was also known as the International Lenin School), on the Leningradsky Avenue in Moscow and at its campus outside the capital and dozens in trade union and youth schools” (Shubin, 6).

At the same time violent guerrilla action against state-supported Apartheid forces was going on. Other than the USSR, numerous comrades from Cuba were also waging this war on behalf of the oppressed people of Africa.

“South Africa secured the withdrawal of Cuban troops from neighbouring Angola where most of the Namibian independence war was fought. The Cubans went to Angola, to fight, on behalf of communism, against the Apartheid occupation of Namibia” (Waldmeir, 120).

Another extremely important liberation movement that is still ongoing is the movement headed by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO). The case of the Israel-Palestinian conflict is not a new one; Jewish Zionists forcefully took the land of the settled Palestinian Arabs of this region and ejected them, on pain of death, towards the hinterlands that now constitute Palestine. Having their pleas fall on the deaf ears of the US (which was much more concerned with keeping friendly and open ties with Israel to ensure its own interests in the Middle East), the PLO turned to the USSR for help. The USSR took into account the correctness of the Palestinian cause and therefore supplied support to the PLO.

“They [read PLO] were offered [by the USSR] infantry weapons for 2,000 combatants (to be supplied through East European states) and training at Soviet military academies, as well as medical equipment and light industrial machinery for DFLP clinics and workshops” (Sayigh, 342).

The Soviet Union had always maintained that one must have a correct analysis of the situation in order to succeed. For this purpose the USSR also offered to help train the leadership of the PLO.

“The USSR meanwhile deepened political and military relations with Fateh and the PLO. Arafat was offered training and arms during a visit to Moscow in November 1973, but most important was the Soviet effort to persuade the Palestinian leadership of the value of diplomacy. The thrust of the argument, as Fateh central committee member Khalaf relayed to the home audience, was that ‘there is no revolution in the world that does not have a programme for each phase. You must phase your struggle’” (Sayigh, 342).

The USSR has supported many different liberation/decolonization movements in the past. Some of the other prominent movements include the liberation movements in Zimbabwe (Zanu-PF), Nicaragua, Guinea Bissau, Guatemala, Vietnam, Algeria, etc.

Ever since the fall of the USSR, the global political climate has become much more tense. The world superpower has a free hand to deal with any country as it deems fit, it has a free hand to utterly ignore UN conventions on any subject because it happens to be the primary financial supporter of the UN. The White House has subverted the role of the UN and turned Kofi Annan into a puppet at best. One must acknowledge that these are very trying times.

Today the White House can throw any country into its phantom ‘axis of evil’; today any person, you or I, can be termed a terrorist at whim; today almost all organisations that are working towards the cause of liberating their people have been labelled as ‘terrorist’ organisations. The rise of militant fundamentalism, of structural oppression, of enforced structural economic programmes by the World Bank and the IMF, of income disparity, of the marginalisation of nations such as the Palestinians and the Kashmiris, of unimpeded bonded labour, of the rising exploitation of the working class, of military dictatorships are a direct result of the format of policies followed by the White House. The list of their crimes is endless.

It is my assertion that in such a situation only a Marxist-Leninist approach can prove to be the solution for the masses; in such a world order if a superpower of USSR’s calibre existed, as long as revisionism was avoided, then, in the author’s humble opinion, many of the liberation movements would not have been thrown back decades; then some measure of resolution would have been attained to some of the conflicts, which constitute political fault-lines in the world today. The world, in short, would have been a better place to live in.


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