April 26, 2014 - No. 16

Determined Opposition to
Harper Government's Anti-First Nations Education Act

First Nations Demand the
Withdrawal of Bill C-33


Mass action in Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, January 28, 2014 -- part of ongoing opposition by First Nations to attempts to interfere in their education systems and undermine their sovereignty. (Kahnawake Youth Forum)

Opposition to Interference in First Nations'
Right to Be -- Who Said What

Statement of Derek Nepinak, Grand Chief,
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

Information on Bill C-33

Legal Victory at Federal Court of Appeal for Métis' Rights
Métis' Rights Must Be Enforced
Métis Nation Scores Massive Victory in Daniels Decision
- Clement Cartier, President, Métis National Council -


Obama's Visit to Japan
Necessity to Break Away from Imposed
Reference Point of the Ruling Elite

- TML Correspondent in Japan -


Ukraine
Lost in the White House Hall of Mirrors
- Nathan J. Freeman -


39th Anniversary of Vietnamese People's
Victory Over U.S. Imperialists

The Real American War in Viet Nam -- Kill Anything That Moves
- Dougal MacDonald -



Determined Opposition to
Harper Government's Anti-First Nations Education Act

First Nations Demand the Withdrawal of Bill C-33


Kahnawake, January 28, 2014

First Nations across Canada have mounted a vigorous opposition to the Harper government's Bill C-33, the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act, introduced in Parliament on April 10 by Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. Bill C-33 follows the release last October of the framework document for First Nation education "Working Together for First Nation Students." The Harper government wants to use its ill-gotten parliamentary majority to railroad this bill through and into law before this session of Parliament adjourns for the summer with the aim of implementing it in the more than 600 First Nations communities when the new school year begins in September 2014.

First Nations, joined by Canadians from all walks of life, have called for the repeal of the bill. They are demanding a new process that respects their concerns regarding the education of their children and youth. Such a process must be carried out on a nation-to-nation basis, with respect to their constitutional, hereditary and treaty rights. First Nations have also denounced the Harper government for whitewashing the ongoing historic injustices and crimes committed against First Nations in Canada, including the severe underfunding of their treaty right to education. This funding needs to be on par with their demands as sovereign nations in charge of their own affairs.

That Bill C-33 purports to give First Nations control of their education is as bogus as it gets. If anything, the bill will remove what little say First Nations have now in terms of matters concerning the education of their children and youth. Bill C-33 treats First Nations as small municipalities or modern day Bantustans with school boards that administer the education budget, ensure the smooth running of the school and submit to the dictate of the government, which can act with impunity against them.

The Harper government's press release completely whitewashes the content of the bill: "The proposed legislation will provide First Nations students with the education standards, supports and opportunities that most Canadians take for granted. It will require that First Nation schools design curriculum that ensure students can transfer seamlessly between schools on and off reserve, that students meet minimum attendance requirements, that teachers are properly certified and that First Nations award widely recognized diplomas or certificates."

"The legislation follows years of unprecedented consultation, discussions, and studies and reflects the efforts of many First Nations individuals and organizations from across Canada," the government states, stating that now, "First Nations students have access to a quality education, consistent with provincial education systems across Canada."

Minister Valcourt commenting on the bill stated "Our government knows that a good education can change a life -- that's why I am so pleased that we have made reforming First Nations education a priority and introduced the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act. This will help First Nations access the skills they need to live healthy and successful lives -- this is good for First Nations, for Canadians and for our country's future."

Bill C-33 is framed within the 19th century, racist colonial outlook of the Canadian state expressed not only by the Harper government but also the provincial and territorial governments, which refuse to acknowledge international laws and treaty obligations as well as the constitutional, hereditary and treaty rights of First Nations in Canada. Furthermore, the provincial school systems are failing Canadian students, teachers and education workers because of the anti-social offensive of the provincial governments. How can the federal government's underfunding and neo-liberal austerity be the solution to the education problem facing the more than 600 First Nations across Canada?

The Harper government has essentially dismissed the outrage and resistance from First Nations and their political organizations before and immediately following the tabling of the bill. For all the disinformation about consulting with First Nations before this bill was tabled, and purported years of unprecedented consultation, discussion and studies, the content and spirit of the bill shows the political aim of the Harper Government to extinguish the constitutional, hereditary and treaty rights of First Nations in Canada recognized by international law and extinguish First Nations' right to decide on matters related to educating their children. It opens old wounds between the racist Canadian colonial state and First Nations by imposing a paternalistic regime as concerns First Nations education. Bill C-33 must not pass!

TML Weekly calls on all Canadians to join forces with First Nations to denounce the Harper Government for introducing this bill and demand its withdrawal. First Nations Chiefs across Canada have called for a new political relationship that needs to begin between Canada and the First Nations. This goes to the heart of the Constitutional question in Canada which the rich and their governments that control the Canadian state do not want to touch with a ten-foot pole.

As we approach the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, what comes to the fore is the necessity for First Nations, the Quebec people and Canadians to work together for the renewal of the political institutions and processes in Canada and to establish a new and modern Constitution based on enshrining the rights of First Nations and the Métis, the nation of Quebec and all citizens and residents of the country called Canada. There is no possibility of Canada leaving behind its colonial past if the Canadian state persists in treating First Nations as subject peoples and not sovereign nations which have the right to self-determination in all their affairs. In this regard, the future of the people of the First Nations, the people of Quebec and the people of Canada are bound together by our political unity in defence of the rights of all!

(With files from news.gc.ca)

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Opposition to Interference in
First Nations' Right to Be -- Who Said What

Bill C-33, the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act (FNCFNEA), which was introduced in Parliament on April 10, has been roundly denounced by First Nations across Canada.

One day after the bill was tabled in Parliament, Grand Chief Stewart Philip of the Chiefs' Council of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) demanded that Bill C-33 be withdrawn. He pointed out: "Bill C-33 reflects Canada's interpretation of control by ensuring that control remains with the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs with 'advice' from a Joint Council of Education Professionals leaving First Nations across the country to choose from the menu set by the federal government [...] The Bill imposes increased federal supervision, burdensome compliance and enforcement requirements, by imposing unilateral national standards and increased administrative reporting. With this bill, the federal government is plowing ahead with its punitive 'take it or leave it, resistance is futile' approach to First Nations where the Minister reigns and remains the supreme authority to appoint third party management or revoke a designation of a First Nation Education Authority."

Calling the FNCFNEA an "insult to First Nations," the Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Quebec-Labrador Ghislain Picard noted: "All this Government respects is its own legislative agenda. After years of neglect of the education of our youth, all that matters now to the Harper Government is quickly to impose its views and to adopt a Bill that we do not want and which is a frontal attack to the autonomy of our nations."

Chief Gilbert Whiteduck from Kitigan Zibi and the spokesperson for the education file, said, "Let's be very clear, all our Chiefs, all our teachers and all our specialists have been engaged for decades to ensure our young people get quality educational services to which they are entitled, and that the federal Government refuses to provide them. We have proposed repeatedly concrete solutions that the federal Government systematically refuses to listen to. It prefers to impose on us its views."

On April 14, the Prince Albert Grand Council First Nations (Woodland Cree, Swampy Cree, Plains Cree, Dene and Dakota) stated that it rejected Bill C-33, noting among other things: "We as First Nations must be able to define our own parameters of 'education needs' considering our unique education challenges. The Federal Government continues to perceive their version of First Nations Control of First Nation Education as 'We will control First Nations education on behalf of First Nations.' This federal government continues to erode the ethical principles of Duty to Consult and Accommodate, Human Rights and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights."

"They just don't get it, either that or they're hell bent on legislating First Nations to death," said Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee of the Anishinabek Nation in Ontario. He pointed out that the Anishinabek Nation has been in negotiations with the Harper government over an education system that was developed by First Nation parents and educators. "A true Anishinabek Education System is not about control, but about educating our children hand-in-hand with their cultural identity intact. ... The Minister of Indian Affairs has all the power and authority over First Nations education while taking on no legal responsibility whatsoever -- that's the reality of the kind of control this government is talking about. ... They talk about the FNCFNEA like it's the best thing First Nations could ask for, but this legislation is not anything close to what First Nations have been asking for. ... If they really want First Nations to have control of their own education then they'll close the funding gap on education immediately, and recognize our own processes that were developed by First Nations teachers and parents, it's really that simple."

In an open letter April 14 to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Minister Bernard Valcourt rejecting the FNCFNEA, Grand Chief Michael Delisle Jr. of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke referred to a letter received from the Minister's office on April 2. He stated, that the government's letter "illustrates how [the Minister] engaged the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) to collect consent in moving forward [with this bill]. We must inform you that we are in strong disagreement with the Federal government's use of the AFN as a duly mandated body to engage in consultations on matters that affect our Rights, and that you have neglected to engage the true Rights holders. The AFN is not a Rights holder, but is simply an advocate that can serve as a conduit to communicating with First Nations." Further Grand Chief Delisle notes: "Our collective history in education has been a turbulent one. Kahnawà:ke has had to experience having our most valuable resource, our children, taken and subjected to attending residential schools and day schools. For the past several decades, Kahnawà:ke has fought hard for the establishment and fostering of an education system that reflects the unique realities of our community. Kahnawà:ke will not give up this right. This community will not drop that fight and will not succumb to imposed legislation that violates our Rights to oversee our own system. It is urgent that Canada heed this fact and meet with our community to find a way to resolve our concerns."

(With files from www.turtleisland.org , www.kahnawake.com, www.ubcic.bc.ca; Photos: IAIA, Kahnawake Youth Forum)

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Statement of Derek Nepinak, Grand Chief,
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

The First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act [FNCFNEA], tabled in Parliament yesterday, is an attempt to create the illusion of First Nations control over education. At the same time it maintains -- in the spirit of Canadian colonial lawmaking -- an unfettered discretion accruing to the minister and granting him or her with sweeping power and control over a variety of educational matters.

The FNCFNEA is selling enticements of "control" while perpetuating the denial and the existence of inherent and treaty rights (i.e. jurisdiction) of indigenous peoples. The complicating factor in this case is that the illusion of First Nations control over education is being supported by Shawn Atleo, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), and a handful of AFN member community leaders. Support for the bill by the National Chief however is immaterial given the AFN does not hold decision-making powers that bind community decision-makers.

Indigenous peoples living in the successor state of Canada (with or without treaties), have rights of self-determination, recognized under international law and are blatantly denied in the current form of this bill. This is evidenced by the fact that the minister maintains an "Indian agent" role and can take control of a community education program based on performance outcomes that are not determined by our communities, but by standards developed within provincial education systems that we have historically had no input in developing.

This is problematic if you believe, like me, that as self-determining indigenous peoples, we hold the right to design and implement opportunities to develop the potential of our children and young people based on our own criteria and based on the priorities of our unique societies and cultures.

Some might say that this can be accomplished within the provisions of the bill. However, it is important to recognize that building an education system based on our languages and our cultural practices would not yield results that could be easily measured based on criteria and priorities identified by provincial education systems. There is evidence through multiple research studies and reports that western provincial school systems have failed our children. Only through the development of our own education systems based in our indigenous pedagogy and ways of being will our students thrive in a school system.

A good life for our children is still the goal of our families as indigenous peoples. As such, benchmarks of success in western education systems are incidental to building a beautiful indigenous life experience. Much has been made of the $1.9-billion investment and the lifting of the "funding cap" that forms part of the enticement package of the bill. The identification of a limited investment in the great divide that exists between on-reserve schooling and provincial education systems however should be a further indication of the lack of commitment towards real solutions.

The pursuit of parity in education opportunity for our young people requires significantly more than a partial funding of a historical inequity that has existed for decades. Real commitment to addressing the funding gap would start with a quantification of the real and current deficit in investment to establish a starting point for discussions on investments needed. It would also include an immediate implementation of the decision, opposed to a delayed implementation.

The current state of the funding mechanism as enticement to the bill is nothing more than a campaign promise -- a campaign promise of the same nature that this government and its bureaucracy call "corruption" when local leadership make spending promises in Indian Act election campaigns. It is also quite possible, based on past practice, that the Conservatives are buying time to find other existing Indian Act programs or services to cut funding from in order to raise the capital to fund the promise.

It should not be forgotten that successive generations of children from our communities have been subjected to a man-made funding crisis made all the more damaging by a failure to acknowledge the population boom that we are experiencing within our families and communities. The man-made funding crisis forced many of our communities into provincial agreements in recent years because there were no other options to counter the financial-starving-out strategy of federal governments.

The choice to enter into provincial agreements was not really a choice at all if communities wanted to provide our children with basic instruction and hire teachers at competitive wages. The new  has been touted as an enhancement or strengthening of provincial agreements, when the reality is that many of our communities had no choice but to make a provincial agreement.

There is a long history of colonial lawmakers in Canada creating laws and policies in the pursuit of making indigenous peoples more like them. This is evidenced by those who say we need to "close the gap" on education outcomes because it demonstrates an effort to push our children towards only one marker of educational accomplishment as set by others.

The use of laws and policies to push outcomes on indigenous families and communities is part of an assimilation agenda that gave rise to the residential school and today's child welfare system. The assimilation agenda finds its strength in discrimination and claims to racial superiority that are systemic problems in our relationship with Canadian governments. This new bill is not a departure from that age-old problem; it continues to affirm it.

(www.knet.ca)

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Information on Bill C-33

The First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act (FNCFNEA) tabled on April 10 was preceded by a proposed First Nations Education Act (FNEA), first floated by the Harper government last fall. So great was the objection from First Nations to the FNEA that the Harper government is trying to pull a fast one by presenting virtually identical old content with the addition of the words "First Nations Control" to the name of the bill, to cover up the fact that the Harper government is dictating education policy to First Nations. In fact, the spirit and content of the bill is the diametric opposite of First Nations controlling any aspect of the education of their children and youth.

The FNCFNEA unilaterally imposes mechanisms on First Nations, such as the Joint Council of Educational Professionals, comprised of experts in education, to advise First Nations and the Government of Canada on the implementation of the Act and the development of regulations.

The FNCFNEA also imposes provincial standards on First Nations and makes them more accountable to the funding that is supposed to come after the next federal election. This includes rules and regulations in line with provincial school boards. It introduces specific responsibilities for a Director of Education that include ensuring that the First Nation school has a principal who "stays on budget," that the school achieves its educational objectives and prepares students for post-secondary education, amongst other things.

It should be noted that provincial education systems are under broad assault by neo-liberal governments and their phony austerity agendas. Teachers and education workers in the provincial systems fighting for proper working conditions that affirm students' right to education reject this anti-social offensive on education. Is this model of underfunding and assault on the rights of teachers and education workers what the Harper government suggests will be suitable for First Nations? In Ontario for example, school boards that go into debt to deal with underfunding are then to be put under trusteeship by the province. To boot, First Nations' education systems have been subject to even greater underfunding than the provincial systems and the FNCFNEA does nothing to immediately rectify this.

On the surface, it seems normal to suggest that education systems should stay on budget. However, as part of the racist and paternalistic outlook of the Canadian state, a typical modus operandi of the state is to cause financial problems for First Nations by not meeting its fiduciary obligations to First Nations, resulting in lack of education, poverty and other social problems, not to mention debts. It then presents these problems out of context to justify oversight and intervention by the Canadian state so as to perpetually undermine First Nations' rights and sovereignty. This is what took place in December 2011 when the federal government sought to impose a Third Party Manager on the Attawapiskat First Nation and impugn the reputation of Chief Theresa Spence, rather than dealing with the housing crisis its policies had caused for the community.

Consider as well that the legislation also requires a school inspector whose job it would be to see that the First Nation school or schools he or she is looking after is in compliance with the FNCFNEA. They are to provide a report to the First Nations Education Authority and the Band Council, and a copy is to be sent to the Minister so that he or she can intervene immediately if the First Nation goes off track or contravenes the Act in any way. In the event of a First Nation's non-compliance with any aspect of the FNCFNEA, the Minister will have the power to impose a special advisor to provide advice on the development and implementation of the measures needed for that First Nation school to be in compliance with the Act.

Bill C-33 also requires a First Nation to offer English or French as the language of instruction, while it may, in addition, offer a First Nation language as a language of instruction, thus marginalizing the status of First Nations' languages. First Nations have been demanding that their languages be the medium of instruction on their territories. This is an absolute necessity for First Nations youth to enable them to understand and contribute to strengthening their cultures, to offset the cultural decimation that has taken place at the hands of the colonial Canadian state. Bill C-33 relegates the status of First Nations languages to something quaint but ultimately an obstacle to First Nations students' success in school. This marginalization is consistent with the Canadian state's continued denial of the nationhood of First Nations, relegating them to the status of just another "ethnicity" given token acknowledgement within a multicultural Canada.

Another striking feature of Bill C-33 is where the power lies. The bill makes clear that while the First Nations are to be responsible to the Canadian state, this is not a reciprocal relationship. According to the bill, no action can be brought against Her Majesty, i.e., the federal government or its Minister or his/her agents, for any act or act of omission done in good faith in the exercise of their powers or the performance of their functions under this Act. In other words, the onus for complying with the Act is on the First Nations and they will be required to submit to this new law no matter how long they have worked for or have had in place their own education programs and procedures.

(With files from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada)

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Legal Victory at Federal Court of Appeal for Métis Rights

Métis Rights Must Be Enforced


Métis flags at rally on Parliament Hill for opening of Parliament, January 28, 2013.

On April 17, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the ruling in the landmark case of Daniels et al vs. Canada which began in 1999 and ended on January 8, 2013. In the case, the Federal Court had ruled that Métis and non-status Indians in Canada have the same rights as those provided to First Nations citizens living on reserve. The plaintiffs had argued they have been denied certain benefits, which included access to health care, education and other social services; the ability to hunt, trap, fish and gather on public lands, and the ability to negotiate and enter into treaties with the federal government, on the basis of their status not being recognized as "Indians" within the Canadian Constitution.

The case was taken up by the late Harry Daniels, a Métis leader, and after long delays and procedural wrangling on the part of the federal government, the trial began in May 2011. The court heard evidence and argument for six weeks. The evidentiary record included 800 exhibits extracted from over 15,000 documents. The Plaintiffs spend more than $2 million to pursue the case. Following this Federal Court victory, the Harper government appealed the decision to the Federal Court of Appeal.

The decision of the Federal Court of Appea, which declares "that the Métis are included as 'Indians' within the meaning of Section 91 (24) of the Constitution Act, 1867," means that the Harper government now has a fiduciary responsibility to the Métis who can now access programming and services, previously only available to status First Nations people and Inuit.

The Federal Court of Appeal decision does not include non-status Indians, which the Court said was "a separate issue to be dealt with on a case by case basis." In keeping with the Harper government's spirit to attack rights, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Bernard Valcourt stated that he was "pleased" that the Federal Court of Appeal left the non-status Indians out of the decision.

Given the Harper government's record for spending public monies to deny people their rights, it is possible that the federal government would appeal this decision at the Supreme Court of Canada. Congress of Aboriginal Peoples National Chief Betty Ann Lavallée welcomed the ruling saying that it opened up a new era of collaboration.

(With files from www.aptn.ca)

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Métis Nation Scores Massive Victory
in Daniels Decision

On behalf of the Métis Nation, I applaud today's decision of the Federal Court of Appeal in the Daniels case. It reinforces our longstanding position that the federal government has constitutional responsibility to deal with the Métis.

Ottawa's non-recognition of Métis for jurisdiction purposes never made sense. Logic dictates that it should be Canada's national government that has a special relationship with the Métis, one of the three Aboriginal peoples in the Constitution and one of Canada's founding nations.

I am particularly pleased that the court clarified the Trial Judge's conception of the Métis to make it clear that he recognized the Métis to be a distinct people and that his conception was not contrary to history or the decisions of the Supreme Court in Powley, Cunningham or Manitoba Métis Federation. The Supreme Court had basically validated our own citizenship criteria adopted before the Powley decision based on ancestral connection to and acceptance by historical Métis communities.

I am also pleased by the Court's affirming that the trial Judge did not issue a declaration that lacked practical utility. The findings it cites in this regard bear repeating:

The federal government acknowledged that the Métis were far more exposed to discrimination than other Aboriginal peoples;

The federal government largely accepted constitutional jurisdiction over the Métis until the mid-1980s, when matters of policy and financial concerns changed that acceptance.

The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recognized the existence of a real jurisdictional issue and called for the federal government to bring a reference, particularly in respect of the Métis, to determine whether section 91(24) applied to the Métis people;

A government document entitled "Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples Final Report Comprehensive Assessment for Cabinet Purposes" concluded that it would be premature to embrace the Commission's recommendation to negotiate Métis claims to lands and resources in the absence of a higher court decision on, among other things, the division of federal-provincial liability.

The Métis were not supplied with services while governments fought about jurisdiction, principally a fight about who bore financial responsibility.

The political/policy wrangling between the federal and provincial governments produced a large population of collaterally damaged Métis. As a result, they are deprived of programs, services and intangible benefits all governments recognize are needed.

The resolution of constitutional responsibility has the potential to bring clarity to the respective responsibilities of the different levels of government.

The recognition of Métis as Indians under section 91(24) should accord a further level of respect and reconciliation by removing the constitutional uncertainty surrounding the Métis.

We as Métis are a practical people who seek practical solutions to make the Canadian federation work for us. As residents and taxpayers of the provinces, we always accepted that the provinces have an important role to play with us. At the same time, we always believed that Ottawa has primary responsibility to deal with us and must show leadership. The decision today buttresses this belief. The federal government can no longer shrug its shoulders and assume that Métis matters will be dealt with by others, all the while knowing this is not being done.

We are not the only ones who have been seeking confirmation of primary federal responsibility to deal with us as a distinct people. Industry has been seeking it as well because it wishes to collaborate with Métis authorities in filling labor market gaps and expediting major energy and resource development projects in western Canada. It wants to work with us in many areas and has been frustrated by Ottawa's indifference to Métis concerns and priorities. It, like us, wants the federal government to set out rules of engagement in matters such as Duty to Consult to facilitate their work with us rather than leaving them in the dark.

I will be writing to Prime Minister Harper, requesting that he enter into government to government talks with the Métis National Council to define the special relationship between the federal government and the Métis Nation.

(Métis National Council)

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Obama's Visit to Japan

Necessity to Break Away from Imposed
Reference Point of the Ruling Elite


Tokyo protest against visit of President Obama to Japan, April 23, 2014. Signs oppose Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's direction for Japan and U.S. demand to relocate its Futenma military base in Okinawa to ecologically sensitive Henoko Bay.

U.S. President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Abe met in Tokyo April 23-25, 2014 to consolidate the aggressive U.S./Japan military alliance. The U.S. President has been applying pressure for the Japanese military to participate directly in U.S.-led wars of aggression wherever they occur and to accept yet more U.S. weapons of mass destruction on its territory. Obama was in Japan to formalize the demand that no longer was it acceptable for Japanese military and industrial power to act only as a rearguard for the U.S. Empire and its predatory wars.

In preparation for a more aggressive militarist stance, the U.S. has given the Japanese ruling elite a green light to pursue territorial disputes with China, south Korea and Russia, and directly threaten the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The Japanese ruling elite has used the territorial disputes and threats against the DPRK to generate a pro-war hysteria in their mass media and politics generally. The recent visits of Prime Minister Abe, his ministers and 150 other members of the National Diet (bicameral legislature) to the Yasukuni Shrine, where the ashes of many of Japan's class A and other war criminals are found, is indicative of the current pro-war frenzy of Japan's ruling elite.

The U.S./Japan military alliance dating from 1960 replaced the declaration of unconditional surrender to the U.S. armed forces that followed the defeat and complete collapse of the Japanese Military Empire in August 1945. The U.S. military occupation of Japan by 1947 introduced a Westminster/U.S. system of political governance dominated by mostly state-organized and financed political parties. The U.S. occupying force also wrote and demanded the adoption of a new constitution.


Demonstration against U.S. bases in Okinawa, April 19, 2014. The extensive U.S. military presence there is a remnant
of the U.S. military occupation of Japan.

The U.S. imposed system of governance and constitution, and the U.S./Japan military alliance are to date considered legitimate expressions of the legal will of Japan governing the internal relations of the people and their international affairs.

Especially after the U.S. predatory war against Korea (1950-53), a majority of the Japanese monopolies and ruling elite has seen the imposed constitution and system of governance, and the capitulation to and eventual military alliance with U.S. imperialism as their reference point. They have imposed this reference point on all political parties and individuals without exception on pain of expulsion from the polity and severe punishment including civil death.

The Japanese ruling elite today consist mostly of descendants of the same monopoly capitalists and their political representatives that dominated economic and political affairs prior to and during WWII. Exceptions are found in those political and professional elements who have found a niche in the post-war U.S. imposed arrangements either as prominent members of civil society or leaders of political parties. The ruling elite embraced the U.S. military occupation and forms of governance after WWII so as to keep the working class in check, rebuild their private empires and avoid being held to account for their war crimes abroad and against the Japanese people.

The U.S. military, as part of its murderous campaign to contain communism and extend its empire, launched the genocidal anti-Korean war in 1950. The Japanese ruling elite used the U.S. anti-Korean war of aggression as an opportunity to re-establish its economic and political power. To conquer Korea and destroy the DPRK and Korean people's aspiration for independence and sovereign development, the U.S. military became the advanced guard and spear in the war. The Japanese industrial and agricultural means of production became the rearguard supplying essential material support for the anti-Korean war of aggression. The war revived the moribund Japanese ruling elite from their WWII defeat and convinced them that their survival for the time being at least was found within the U.S. Empire and its campaign to contain communism, suppress the international working class and directly confront any country that was opting for independent development outside the U.S. imperialist system of states.





Japan's renewed militarism, in particular the visits of Prime Minister Abe to the Yasukuni Shrine that honours Japanese war criminals, has been met with ongoing protests across Asia beyond. From top to bottom, left to right: Taipei, Taiwan, August 15, 2013; Hong Kong, China, December 13, 2013, 76th anniversary of Nanjing Massacre by Japanese imperialists; Seoul, Korea, December 27, 2013; demonstration by Chinese residents of U.S. in Chicago, January 28, 2014; residents of Tokyo file a complaint against Prime Minister Abe for his visits to the shrine, April 21, 2014.

The Japanese ruling elite greatly benefited from the successive U.S. murderous wars and subversive campaigns in Asia, including importantly the war against Vietnam. Profiting from U.S. wars and the U.S. market consolidated the view that their continued existence was for the moment found within the U.S./Japan military alliance and the reference point for politics must be the U.S. imposed forms of governance and constitution.

To sustain their political power, the Japanese ruling elite have consistently mobilized the state's immense material and subjective resources and mass media to undermine and disarm the Japanese working class and middle strata and cut off the head of any opposition that dared to question the established reference point. Of particular importance was the use of agents within the working class movement to generate ideological and political confusion and block the development of independent working class politics, thinking and outlook and a modern reference point. Every effort has been made to stop the working class from escaping the imposed reference point consisting of the U.S. system of governance and constitution, and the U.S./Japan military alliance. The working class has been channelled into waging its opposition struggles to defend its rights and secure its future within the reference point of the ruling elite.

A central task facing the working class everywhere is to develop its own reference point in the battle of the new against the old, to struggle for modern definitions, new forms of governance and constitution in harmony with the social and economic conditions. In Japan, an important fight is to establish an anti-war government that abrogates the U.S. military alliance, removes from its territory the tens of thousands of U.S. troops and their weapons of mass destruction, and forms relations of mutual benefit and development with all its neighbours in East Asia. The reference point for the Japanese working class desperate to come into being is the struggle between the old and the new and for modern definitions based on the concrete material and subjective conditions and contradictions. The independent politics of the working class are necessary for the working class to negate its negation as a reserve of Japanese and U.S. imperialism.

The pressure to view all aspects of politics from the reference point of the ruling elite is enormous. For example, on the issue of fighting for an anti-war government that rids the country of the U.S./Japan military alliance and removes the U.S. armed forces from Japan, the issue is often limited to defending Article 9 of the U.S. imposed constitution, which is referred to as the peace article. This reduces the anti-war movement to calling for policy objectives that are quickly dismissed, especially under exceptional circumstances and emergencies involving provocations where Japanese are portrayed as victims such as the alleged DPRK kidnappings and China's insistence on territorial sovereignty over a series of small islands that are far from Japan.



March and mass rally of 5,000 people opposes attempts by Japanese ruling elite to eliminate
Article 9 of Japanese Constitution, Tokyo, April 8, 2014.

In political affairs, the working class has been encouraged to limit the use of its resources and strength of numbers to win seats in the various legislative social forms. In every electoral campaign a great effort is made to seduce the working class into placing its hopes, security, rights and future under the banner of policy objectives of political parties both of the left and right. The struggle for people's empowerment within new social forms of governance consistent with the modern conditions has mostly been consigned to intellectual debates over policy objectives rather than practical politics and struggle to bring the people's empowerment into being. The necessity to deprive the ruling elite of its power to deprive the people of their rights is casually dismissed in favour of what is often called pragmatic politics.

The Obama visit, as part of the U.S. imperialist Asia pivot, was to demand that the ruling elite of Japan must today not only mobilize the people and armed forces as a rearguard to defend and expand the U.S. Empire but as an active member of the advanced guard directly taking part in U.S.-led military adventures against the world's peoples wherever those battles are being fought. Any debate within the U.S. ruling elite over this decision is whether this change may pose a challenge to their own power. Encouraging the Japanese ruling elite to become an active participant in wars abroad, opens the possibility that Japanese imperialism will want more than what the U.S. is willing to share, and will strike out on its own as an aggressive competitor in a renewed quest to establish its own Military Empire.

The international working class reaches out to all its contingents and encourages them to establish their own reference points for their political, theoretical and social affairs and struggles to defend the  of all and open a path forward to the complete emancipation of the working class. Breaking away from the imposed reference point of the ruling elite is an important step in negating the false consciousness of the working class, a necessary step in organizing its independent politics and waging consistent and successful class struggle on all fronts.



Protests against Obama's visit to Asia in the Philippines (top) and Malaysia (bottom).

(Photos: Xinha, Japan Press Weekly)

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Ukraine

Lost in the White House Hall of Mirrors

Standing behind the doors of Washington's attempted bribery of the EU are promises of natural gas to the end of time in exchange for unstinting diplomatic support of renewed U.S. effort to bottle Russia up.

Starting last autumn, throughout the full court press of agitations against the Victor Yanukovich government in Kyiv, the White House and State Department were putting it about among EU governments that they need not worry about losing access to Russian natural gas because... the US could supply more than enough natural gas to replace Russian gas deliveries. This claim was transparently fraudulent at the time.[1]

It seems to defy credulity that such a transparently false claim could have been repeated so widely and for such a long period. It was already well-known in western Europe that the scale on which gas may be extracted from shale by hydraulic fracturing is orders of magnitude less than conventional methods applied across entire fields of raw material. The average production lifetime of shale gas wells in relatively well-endowed geological conditions such as western and southern Texas is less than seven years, compared to the decades-long productivity of conventional gas wells in the same regions. In recent years, there were a number of incidents in various parts of western Europe of low-level mini- earthquakes taking place after "fracking" nearby.

Such disconnection between scientific fact and reality itself hints at major interimperialist and intermonopoly contradictions roiling between companies in the EU and the U.S. After his recent meeting with EU leaders, Obama issued a remarkable statement concerning the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Well aware that the TTIP is being secretly negotiated behind closed doors by the major private multinational companies, and playing on EU fears of Russian gas loss after the U.S.-orchestrated Ukraine coup of February 22, the U.S. President claimed these circumstances would make it easier for the United States to export gas to Europe and help the latter reduce its dependency on Russian energy. "Once we have a trade agreement in place," he opined, "export licenses for projects for liquefied natural gas destined to Europe would be much easier, something that is obviously relevant in today's geopolitical environment." In other current statements, referring to the recent boom in unconventional U.S. shale gas, Obama and Kerry have both stated the U.S. could more than replace all Russian gas to the EU. This is an outright lie based on physical realities.[2]

A second even more challenging problem emerges from the U.S. "offer" of gas to the EU to replace Russian gas. Fulfilling this promise entails creation of massive, costly infrastructure in the form of new Liquified Natural Gas terminals that can handle the huge LNG supertankers to bring it to similar huge LNG terminal harbors in the EU. Owing to various U.S. laws governing export of domestic energy and supply factors, however, there exist no operating LNG liquefaction terminals in the U.S.[3]

The third problem is that, even if new port capacity were installed on a scale that could satisfy EU gas needs to replace Russian supplies, domestic natural-gas prices would be pushed higher, cutting short the mini-manufacturing boom fueled by abundant, cheap shale gas. The ultimate cost to EU consumers of U.S. LNG would have to be far greater than current Russian gas pipelined over NordStream (under the Baltic Sea, direct to Germany) or through Ukraine to customers in southern and southeastern Europe.

The fourth problem is that the specialized LNG supertankers do not exist to supply the EU market. All this takes years, including environmental approvals, construction time, perhaps seven years on average in best conditions.

Conclusion

Today, the EU receives some 30 per cent of its gas, the fastest-growing energy source there, from Russia. In 2007, Russia's Gazprom supplied 14 per cent for France, 27 per cent for Italy, 36 per cent for Germany, with Finland and the Baltic states receiving as much as 100 per cent of gas imports from Russia.

Clearly the EU has no realistic alternative to Russian gas. Germany, the largest economy, has decided to phase out nuclear power in the same moment that its "alternative energy" sources -- wind and solar power -- are an economic and political disaster with consumer electricity costs exploding even though alternatives are a tiny share of the total market.[4]

The chimera of shutting Russian gas off and turning U.S. gas on instead is economically and energetically incoherent. It is the perfect fantasy of an economic order in which there is no longer any other god but Monopoly, and maximum is its profit. The overwhelming social and political reality pushing its way under the door, meanwhile, is rapidly increasing anarchy coupled with increasingly uncontrolled violence from the powers-that-be of the kind that usurped power this February in Kyiv.

Notes

1. The "shale gas revolution" in the USA has failed. The dramatic rise in U.S. natural gas production from "fracking" or forcing gas out of shale rock formations is being abandoned by the largest energy companies like Shell and BP as uneconomical. Shell has just announced a huge reduction of its exposure to U.S. shale gas development. Shell is selling its leases on some 700,000 acres of shale gas lands in the major shale gas areas of Texas, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Kansas and says it may have to get rid of more to stop its shale gas losses. Shell's CEO, Ben van Beurden stated, "Financial performance there is frankly not acceptable.... some of our exploration bets have simply not worked out."

2. A useful summary of the shale gas illusion comes from a recent analysis of the actual results of several years of shale gas extraction in the USA by veteran energy analyst David Hughes. He notes, "Shale gas production has grown explosively to account for nearly 40 percent of U.S. natural gas production. Nevertheless, production has been on a plateau since December 2011; eighty percent of shale gas production comes from five plays, several of which are in decline. The very high decline rates of shale gas wells require continuous inputs of capital-estimated at $42 billion per year to drill more than 7,000 wells-in order to maintain production. In comparison, the value of shale gas produced in 2012 was just $32.5 billion."

3. The only such terminal now under construction is the Sabine Pass LNG receiving terminal in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, owned by Cheniere Energy. John Deutsch, former CIA head, sits on the board. The problem with the Sabine Pass LNG terminal is that most of the gas has been pre-contracted to Korean, Indian and other Asian LNG customers; there is nothing left for the EU.

4. According to a report filed by Natalia Zinets over the Reuters news wires during Friday April 11, reality has been no impediment whatsoever to fantasy- spinning by the EU in cahoots with Kyiv's interim Energy minister, Yuri Prodan, in Kyiv about current and future EU-wide gas prospects:

"Ukraine said on Friday it would turn to Europe for gas and won a promise of help from Brussels after Russia warned it could cut supplies over Kiev's refusal to pay Moscow's 'political, uneconomic price' for supplies.

"Presenting a united front a day after President Vladimir Putin wrote to the European Union warning that its supplies could be disrupted if Ukraine failed to cover its bills, European officials said they had little to fear and would help Ukraine pay.

"With Russia increasing the pressure on Ukraine's faltering economy, Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan told parliament the EU would stand in solidarity with Kiev if Russia reduced supplies, making sure Moscow could not increase flows through alternative pipelines to bypass its neighbour.

"'Ukraine cannot pay such a political, uneconomic price, so now we are negotiating with the European Union about reverse deliveries into Ukraine,' Prodan said.

"'We will make gas purchases from reverse flows urgently. On the conditions offered by European gas companies. We plan that they will be Germany's RWE and a French gas company' [later identified as GDF Suez]."

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39th Anniversary of Vietnamese People's Victory Over U.S. Imperialists

The Real American War in Viet Nam --
Kill Anything That Moves


Tenacious fighters of the Viet Cong, whose heroism vanquished the U.S. imperialist marauders from Viet Nam.

Thirty-nine years ago, the U.S. imperialists were resoundingly defeated by the heroic Vietnamese people, who had suffered greatly at the hands of the French colonialists and then the U.S. imperialists. Historic photos show the last of the U.S. invaders scrambling frantically to escape Viet Nam by helicopter, trying to save their worthless skins from the wrath of people's war. After years of courageous resistance against every form of criminal aggression by the U.S. invaders, the people of Viet Nam succeeded in chasing the imperialists from their land and won total victory in 1975. In 1954, the Vietnamese people had already completely defeated the French colonialists, only to have the U.S. and its agents begin operations against them as early as 1956. For their huge contribution to world revolution, the people of the world will forever hold in highest regard the Vietnamese resistance, the great leader of Viet Nam, Comrade Ho Chi Minh and the other revolutionary Vietnamese fighters.

One of the notorious incidents of the U.S. war against the Vietnamese people was the My Lai Massacre, the mass murder of 504 unarmed civilians including women, children and infants in the My Lai and My Khe hamlets of Song Mai village on March 16, 1968. The perpetrators were U.S. Army soldiers from Company C of the 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Brigade of the 23rd Infantry Division. After the atrocity was first revealed to the U.S. public by journalist Seymour Hersh in November 1969, twenty-six U.S. soldiers were eventually charged with criminal offenses, but only platoon leader Lieutenant William Calley was convicted. Found guilty of killing 22 villagers, he was originally given a life sentence, but served only three and a half years under house arrest. The U.S. Secretary of the Army, Howard Callaway, was quoted in the New York Times as stating that Calley's sentence was reduced because Calley believed that what he did was a part of his orders, a rationale that contradicts the standards the U.S. agreed to at Nuremberg and Tokyo, which stated that the Nazi claim of only following orders was not a defence for committing war crimes.


Memorial to the My Lai Massacre.

Once it became public, the U.S. ruling circles and their monopoly media deliberately and widely publicized the My Lai Massacre as an aberration, an isolated incident carried out by a few "bad apples." But a recent book by U.S. journalist Nick Turse confirms what many have long believed, which is that My Lai was not exceptional but rather was part and parcel of official U.S. policy in Viet Nam, which Turse sums up as, "kill anything that moves", the title of his fact-finding book.[1] In fact, Turse's first chapter, which is about My Lai, is entitled, "An operation not an aberration." To reach his conclusions, Turse conducted a decade of research into secret Pentagon archives and conducted many interviews with U.S. military personnel, the majority of whom participated in the war. His book clearly exposes the sinister workings of a U.S. military machine that deliberately and systematically caused death and injury to millions of Vietnamese civilians, what one soldier he interviewed aptly called, "a My Lai a month."

Turse begins by pointing out that the U.S. troops in Viet Nam, drafted or volunteer, were mainly in their teens or barely out of them. They endured weeks of boot camp experiences designed to strip away their previous years of learning "through shock, separation, and physical and psychological stress, creating a tabula rasa on which a military imprint could be stamped."[2] Frequent punishments were meted out for simple infractions. Recruits were "indoctrinated into a culture of violence and brutality which emphasized above all a readiness to kill without compunction."[3] One common training camp chant was "Kill! Kill! Kill! To kill without mercy is the spirit of the bayonet." Explicit racism was part of the indoctrination. The Vietnamese were referred to as "dinks, gooks, slopes, slants, rice eaters...That they were less than human was clearly the message."[4] Once in Viet Nam, soldiers were told that all Vietnamese were enemies, including women and children. Anyone who tried to leave or run when U.S. troops arrived in a village was a legitimate target. Blind obedience to U.S. commanders was paramount at all times, even if ordered to threaten, torture, burn villages, or execute prisoners.

The Pentagon conducted the war itself as a murderous "numbers game." "Success" would be when U.S. soldiers were killing more Vietnamese than could be replaced, at which point the Vietnamese would supposedly surrender. Everything came down to "body count", both the military's scorecard and its raison d'etre, a concept applied as early as 1950 in the Korean War. "Enemies killed in action" became the primary indicator of military success. The pressure for high body counts impacted on those in the field. "Producing a high body count was crucial for promotion in the officer corps."[5] While officers chased body counts in the field, incentives were provided to soldiers who got "confirmed kills." "Box scores" were displayed all over Viet Nam. The pressure inevitably led to inflated numbers, both by fabrication and by cold-blooded killings of civilians and prisoners. Weapons were planted on dead civilians as standard operating procedure. Murdered children morphed into guerillas and uniformed enemy soldiers and were added to the count. In 1965, U.S. General Westmoreland issued a directive establishing "free-fire zones" which declared open season on millions of Vietnamese.

To increase body counts the U.S. routinely used weapons of mass destruction, including B-52 bombers, fighter-bombers, assault helicopters and ground-based artillery. The weapons included not only conventional high-explosive bombs and shells but also napalm, white phosphorus and cluster bombs. "In all, the United States expended close to 30 billion pounds of munitions in Southeast Asia over the course of the war."[6] The cratering of Viet Nam directly killed untold numbers of people. It also produced a cascade of damaging environmental effects. Rice paddies, orchards, farms and gardens were destroyed. The U.S. military "deliberately sprayed more than 70 million litres of herbicidal agents -- most notably Agent Orange -- across the countryside."[7] These defoliants still cause human casualties today. Children born decades after the war still suffer aftereffects. The U.S. military deliberately set fires which wiped out whole villages as well as 100,000 acres of forest. The program of destruction included the wholesale slaughter of farm animals. Violence against civilians greatly increased during the U.S. counteroffensive after the Vietnamese resistance launched the successful Tet Offensive. The brutality of the counteroffensive only became front page news when a U.S. news photographer snapped a photo of the puppet national police chief executing an unarmed bound prisoner on a Saigon street.

The pervasiveness of U.S. brutality during the Vietnam War "went hand in hand with a culture of defensiveness, denial, and ultimately impunity."[8] Standard operating procedure was not only to "kill anything that moves" but also to conceal the resulting atrocities, suppress investigations, release false information and drag out "investigations" as long as possible. Those charged could count on military juries or friends in high places to let them off with little punishment or none at all, especially when witnesses suddenly and mysteriously decided not to testify. Numerous offenders flouted the rules of engagement and violated the rules of war again and again without paying a significant price, even receiving plaudits for doing so. Turse provides several specific examples and names of perpetrators who both received military medals and promotions up the military food chain. One became a brigadier general and a top strategy planner under the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[9]

As time passed, some coverups began to crumble but, in general, both the ruling circles and the monopoly media prevented publication of any serious revelations until the exposure of My Lai in November 1969. On November 29, U.S. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, sent an urgent message to U.S. President Nixon warning that "the My Lai case could develop into a major trial almost of the Nuremburg scope and could have a major effect on public opinion."[10] Immediately, U.S. Commander of Operations General William Westmoreland ordered an inquiry, which from the beginning "centred on portraying My Lai as a one-off aberration rather than part of a consistent pattern of criminality resulting from policies set at the top."[11] In early 1971, Nuremburg prosecutor Telford Taylor publicly suggested that the war crimes committed in Viet Nam could put Westmoreland himself in the dock. Westmoreland immediately ordered a task force to investigate the overall conduct of the war which invested "more than 5,000 public hours putting together its whitewash of a report, which predictably concluded that war crimes allegations against the U.S. commander were unfounded."[12]

Turse's thoroughly-researched book not only reveals much more truth about the official U.S. policy in Viet Nam of "kill anything that moves" but also conveys a strong warning that such U.S. policies continued after Viet Nam and still continue today. Brutal U.S. aggressions have also been launched against other peoples of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the former Soviet Union and the peoples' democracies, leaving behind hundreds and thousands of victims. In addition, covert dirty wars have been carried out which have left millions of victims in Greece, Iran, Indonesia, Cuba, Guatemala, the Congo, Brazil, Chile, Nicaragua, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Grenada, Panama, Colombia and Venezuela, to name only a few. The U.S. ruling circles arrogantly declare that the crimes they committed in Viet Nam and continue to commit in other places around the world are all justified in the name of "opposing communism", "fighting terrorism", "humanitarian intervention", "national security" and other such bogus excuses. At the same time, first the Korean people and then the Vietnamese people defeated the U.S. imperialists, inspiring the peoples of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean to base themselves on their own strength and mobilize the human factor whose organized power will always be greater than the weapons of mass destruction used by the imperialists and their reactionary henchmen. Today, on the occasion of the 39th anniversary of the heroic victory of the Vietnamese people, the peoples of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean continue to deal with the U.S. imperialists and other contenders for world domination, fighting to defend their right to be and defeat the great powers who think they can act with impunity.

Notes

1. Turse, Nick (2013). Kill Anything That Moves: The Real U.S. War in Viet Nam. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

2. Ibid, p. 26.

3. Ibid, p. 27.

4. Ibid, p. 28.

5. Ibid, p. 43.

6. Ibid, p. 93.

7. Ibid, p. 94.

8. Ibid, p. 192.

9. Ibid, p. 202.

10. Ibid, p. 228.

11. Ibid, p. 230.

12. Ibid, p. 233.

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