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Swat is a place known for religious extremism and the Taliban. A war has been going on between the Pakistan Army and the draconian religious fanatics it itself created and nourished just two years ago. During all those months of warthe Marxists not only exposed the reality of the Islamic fundamentalists and their connections with the Pakistani state but also organized the local masses against this evil nexus. Many comrades themselves became victims of this religious terrorism including one comrade who was shot and had eight bullets in himfrom a G-3 rifle. Only his will power and hatred against the cruelty of the state and the Taliban kept him alive.
[We received this report from the National Youth Marxist School in July. Due to administrative errors the report was lost and not published. We publish it now and apologise to our readers for the delay. The significance of the meeting is even clearer today, after yesterday's attack on one of the participants by the Taliban.]
Many other comrades who had faced the brutalities of these beasts called the Taliban were not only present in the Marxist Youth School but were organizing it. In one incident the Taliban killed 14 people in one village and hanged their bodies from trees declaring that nobody could touch them. Only two people at that time dared to bury those bodies according to proper rituals and afterwards organize resistance against these monsters. Those two people are now members of the IMT and were leading the organizing committee. The branch of that same village raised Rs.35,000 ($ 365) for the fighting fund for the school. The word spread across the whole region that Marxists from all over Pakistan had gathered there to discuss their ideology, something that was hugely welcomed by everyone. Even the military people on duty near the School attended many of the sessions.
The youth of this very region, which once was the hub of religious extremists and fundamentalist militants,are now being armed with the ideas of Marxism and Scientific Socialism. The National Youth Marxist School was organized in Mangora, Swat from July 13th to July 15th 2012. With revolutionary enthusiasm more than 225 comrades from all over the country participated in the school.
Comrade Ghufran Ahad opened the school by saying that the organization of the Marxist School in this region proves that local people not only hate the Taliban but want to fight against them. The only thing missing in this scenario is a strategy based on a scientific ideology which can only be provided by Marxism. This school is a milestone in this journey against capitalism, religious extremism and state terrorism. Comrades from the whole country had gathered in Swat despite long distances, tough economic conditions and the horrible image of Swat presented by the Taliban. This school has given us great energy and strength to fight for the ideas of scientific socialism which could provide an alternate to religious fundamentalism and bourgeois liberalism.
The first session with the topic “World Perspectives”, chaired by Comrade Sajid Alam, started shortly afterwards. In his lead off Comrade Asif Rashid explained the changes which have been taking place throughout the world since 2008, after the global financial crisis started. He said that the flag bearers of the “end of history” are now finding themselves in a blind alley. All attempts to run world capitalism on an artificial basis have failed as the internal contradictions of the system have reached their extremes. Revolutions and movements throughout the world show that the working class and the youth will not tolerate the decline in living standards. The role of China as a potential imperialist power, the expected collapse of the European Union, the crisis of American Capitalism, perspectives for the Arab revolution, elections in Egypt and Mexico, the contradictory relationships between the different imperialist powers and contradictions within Chinese society and the bureaucracy were explained in detail. The perspective of an American withdrawal from Afghanistan and its after effects was also explained.
The lead off was followed by questions raised by the audience, after which comrades from different parts of the country started making their contributions. Comrade Rizwan from Faisalabad, Comrade Sohail from Dadu, Comrade Sher Jan from Attock, Comrade Rashid from Lahore and Comrade Talha from Karachi made their contributions, answered questions and analyzed the events taking place on a world scale. Comrade Asif Rashid summed up the session by answering the remaining questions. He said that without a Bolshevik leadership on a world scale capitalism can’t be overthrown and history has placed this great responsibility onto our shoulders.
After the lunch break the second session with the topic “The History of The Chinese Revolution” started, chaired by Comrade Irtqa. Comrade Rashid Khalid in his lead off said that the history of human society is the history of the class struggle. The Chinese revolution was a great event in history, second only to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and it must be analyzed from a Marxist stand point. Everyone is aware of today’s China but a very few know about the movements of the peasants and the working class which had been taking place for hundreds of years. After the intervention of Spanish, English and other colonialist powers in China a new epoch started. The East India Company used opium and drugs to gain access to China and raise profits. Small industry along with a proletariat emerged in the 1880s after which a proletarian class consciousness took root in Chinese society and the distinction between ‘Right’ and ‘Left’ became clear. With the rise of the class struggle revolts and movements erupted in which peasants took part on a large scale.
Marxist ideas were getting popular in Europe especially after the Russian Revolution (1917) and Chinese students who were studying in Europe brought them back home. In 1921 the foundations of the Communist Party of China were laid but it was the epoch when the Stalinist degeneration of the Comintern and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union had already started. This degeneration resulted in the class collaborationist policies and the ideology of “Two Stages” adopted by the Comintern which resulted in the failure of the revolution of 1925-27. Comrade Rashid further explained the pros and cons of the Chinese Revolution of 1949 and explained how the communist regime of Mao adopted Stalinist policies from the very first day. He said that today class contradictions are getting sharper in China and world capitalism will tremble once the Chinese proletariat rises.
Many interesting questions were asked after the lead off. Comrade Mujahid Pasha from Faisalabad, Comrade Waleed Zahid from Lahore, Comrade Ibrar Latif from Kashmir, Comrade Adam Pal from Lahore, Comrade Hina from Islamabad and Comrade Razzaq from Peshawar further enriched the discussion after which Comrade Rashid summed up the session by answering the questions asked by the audience.
On July 14th the third session of the Marxist School started with the topic “Pakistan Perspectives”. It was chaired by Comrade Shehryar Zauq. Comrade Vinod in his lead off analyzed the economic, political and social conditions in Pakistan. He said the Pakistani State is facing its worst crisis today and running the whole country on internal and external debt. Neo Liberal policies as dictated by imperialist institutions are being imposed on the Pakistani working class. Privatization, downsizing and restructuring are throwing millions of people below the poverty line every year. Capital is being shifted abroad due to the energy crisis thus creating massive unemployment. In this scenario the ruling classes are creating non issues to divert popular attention from the real issues but all this won’t last for a very long time. Pakistani capitalism and the ruling classes wouldn’t be able to survive even a single volcanic eruption of a mass movement. The role of a Bolshevik organization would be decisive in such revolutionary movements.
Comrade Rehana from Kashmir, Comrade Zubair from North Punjab, Malala Yousafzai from Swat, Comrade Mahblos from Multan, Comrade Razzaq from Peshawar, Comrade Rashid Khalid from Lahore, Comrade Atif Javed from Rajanpur, Comrade Khalil from Kashmir, Comrade Safdar from Faisalabad, Comrade Hosho from Dadu and Comrade Adam Pal made their contributions in the light of questions asked by the audience. Comrade Vinod summed up the session by saying that only a Socialist Revolution can solve the everyday problems of the masses in Pakistan and a Bolshevik Party is required for this great historical task which we are already trying our best to carry out.
Chaired by Comrade Saeed Khaseeli the fourth session of the school started after the lunch break. The topic was “Value, Price and Profit”. Comrade Imran Kamyana in his lead off explained how Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels fought ideological battles against different petty bourgeoisie tendencies within the First International. He explained the background of the debate between John Weston and Karl Marx. This debate resulted in a masterpiece such as “Value, Price & Profit” which is actually composed of rough notes written by Karl Marx to facilitate the verbal debate in the General Council of the First International. Comrade Imran explained that the prices of commodities are not determined by the mere will of capitalists. The capitalist economy works by its own dynamics and under the influence of its own contradictions. He explained, with examples, the concepts of value, labour power, surplus value, wages and prices.The contradictions leading to the struggle of the working class for wage increases, better working conditions and a reduction in working hours and the results of this class struggle were also explained.
Many questions were raised by the audience after which Comrade Naveed Shaheen from Kashmir, Comrade Sibghat and Comrade Nasira from Gujranwala, Comrade Waseem from Lahore, Comrade Ali from Multan, Comrade Faris from Karachi and Comrade Ali Baig from Central Punjab contributed to the topic. Comrade Imran Kayana summed up the session by saying the study and analysis of the capitalist economy is vital for a better understanding of Socialism. He explained how a planned economy under Socialism would work and how a society without poverty, deprivation and unemployment could be achieved.
On July 15th the last session of the school took place regarding the strategy of work among the youth all over the country, chaired by Comrade Rashid Sheikh and led off by Comrade Amjad Shahsawar, who explained how important the role of youth is in a revolution and what tactics should be adopted in order to engage with wider layers of youth. The lead off was followed by regional reports from the whole section.
Throughout the five sessions many comrades could not make their contributions due to time constraints. During the sessions many comrades read revolutionary poetry, sang revolutionary songs and the overall environment was full of enthusiasm and energy.
Comrade Adam Pal summed up the school by saying that this school has given us new hope and we shall continue our fight against Imperialism, State repression and religious fundamentalism. The only way forward for humanity is socialism. He quotedthe American revolutionary John Reed who, at the time of his death, said that “Big events are coming ahead, which are worth living for, which are worth dying for”. Comrade Adam Pal said that the message of this Marxist School is that we can live for the socialist revolution and we can die for the socialist revolution.
The school was concluded by singing the Internationale.
The suffering of the people of Pakistan is largely unknown in the West. A veil of silence has been carefully drawn over the number of people killed every day by American drones and Taliban murders. But recently a small corner of the curtain was raised as the result of a particularly appalling event.
Malala YousafzaiYesterday Malala Yousafzai was brutally shot by gunmen as she was returning home from school. Masked assassins stepped onto a bus filled with terrified children, identified her, and shot her at point blank range in the head and neck.
Who are these men who wage war on defenceless schoolgirls? We know who they are because they have already admitted their guilt. The cowardly murderers who perpetrated this vile deed feel no need to hide away from public opinion. They feel no shame, for they are utterly shameless. The Pakistan Taliban has claimed responsibility for this act of bloodthirsty savagery.
What crime did this fourteen year-old girl commit that could justify the taking of her life? Was she a friend of American imperialism? Did she support the occupation of Afghanistan? Was she on the side of the Pakistan government and its army?
No, she was none of those things. On the contrary, Malala was on the side of the oppressed people of Pakistan and Afghanistan and every other country. She was an enemy of imperialism, landlordism and capitalism. She stood for the cause of freedom, progress and socialism. And for that they have tried to take her young and innocent life.
Swat laid wastePerhaps nowhere has the sufferings of the people of Pakistan been greater than in the mountainous area known as Swat. The Swat valley is a picturesque place that was famed for its music and tolerance. It used to be a favourite holiday and honeymoon destination. Now it has been laid waste by a war characterised by the utmost savagery on all sides.
Because of its proximity with Afghanistan, this beautiful region has been plunged into a bloody war, in which the Pakistan army, the Taliban and US imperialism have vied with each other to win domination.
First the Taliban seized control. They made life a hell for the people of Swat, forcing men to grow beards, beheading their opponents, imposing sharia law and other reactionary measures to keep the masses in a state of ignorance and illiteracy in which they would be more easily dominated by the mullahs and religious fanatics.
In one incident the Taliban killed 14 people in one village and hanged their bodies from the trees as a warning. Only two people dared to bury the bodies. Later they began to organize resistance to the terrorists and they are now members of the IMT. Despite all the difficulties and dangers, the comrades of the International Marxist Tendency in Swat organized a very successful Marxist School this summer, from July 13th to July 15th.
The school was attended by more than 225 comrades from all over the country. Even some soldiers were present. Also present was comrade Malala Yousafzai, who spoke in the debates. She was full of confidence and enthusiasm in the just cause for which she was fighting.
Now, not three months later, she is fighting for her life in an intensive care ward in a Peshawar hospital, with a bullet lodged close to her brain.
Reactionary nature of the TalibanThere are those in the West who consider themselves “lefts” who think it is right to support the Taliban, allegedly because they are “fighting imperialism”. Here we have ignorance and cynicism combined in equal proportions.
The Taliban and other such reactionary outfits were never anti-imperialists. In the past they were sponsored, armed and financed by imperialism, which used them as a tool against the Soviet army in Afghanistan. Then the western media described them as “freedom fighters”. Now they describe them as terrorists. In fact they were counterrevolutionary terrorists then, and they are counterrevolutionary terrorists now.
Reactionary movements like the Taliban are intimately linked to the landlords and capitalists. They defend the interests, not of the poor, but of the wealthy merchants, money-lenders, landlords and drug smugglers. It is an open secret that they are financed, armed and, to a great extent, controlled by elements in the Pakistan state and the notorious intelligence service, the ISI.
To the extent that they are opposed to the American presence in Afghanistan, it is because their masters in the ISI are seeking to turn Afghanistan into a colony of Pakistan. This would not represent an advance for the suffering people of Afghanistan, only the exchange of one brutal foreign oppressor for another.
The struggle against imperialism can only be successful if it is led by the working people under the guidance of a revolutionary Marxist party. The real way to defeat the imperialists is to root out their points of support – the corrupt landowners and capitalists. The fight against the foreign oppressors can only be successful if it is linked to the overthrow of landlordism and capitalism.
The Pakistan Marxists have consistently exposed the close connections between the Islamic fundamentalists and the Pakistani state. That has earned them the undying hatred of the Taliban, who fear, quite correctly, that the spreading influence of revolutionary Marxism is undermining them.
In Swat our comrades have organized the local masses against these reactionaries. As a result many comrades have been the victims of fundamentalist terrorism. One comrade had eight bullets from a G-3 rifle pumped into him. The comrades reported that “only his will power and hatred of a repressive state and the Taliban counterrevolutionaries kept him alive”.
Malala’s heroismMalala Yousufzai speaking at the Marxist school in SWATAfter the horrors of the Taliban occupation, the Pakistani Army swept into the valley causing mayhem. That offensive uprooted an estimated 1.2 million Swat residents. The army has also been guilty of human rights abuses, including murder, torture and the massacre of prisoners. The ordinary people were, as usual, caught in between.
The Taliban counterrevolutionaries were particularly opposed to women playing any role in society other than that of domestic slaves. They wanted to prevent girls from going to school. Such was their fanatical hatred of learning that they destroyed schools and murdered schoolteachers. Malala’s father was the head of the last girls' school to be closed.
During the occupation of Swat by the Taliban in 2009, Malala, then 11 years old, spoke out against the closure of girls' schools. At a time when the cowardly politicians in Islamabad were busy appeasing the Taliban, she spoke out against them. She wrote a blog for BBC Urdu under a pseudonym. She has subsequently continued to speak up against the Taliban, an action that took tremendous courage on her part. They began to threaten her, but she continued her defiant struggle, which took on an increasingly conscious and political character.
The Taliban leaders put out false information, accusing her of being pro-Obama and pro-Western. That is a lie. Although she was fundamentally opposed to the counterrevolutionary Taliban, comrade Malala was also opposed to US imperialism and the corrupt bourgeois regime in Pakistan. Her sympathies lay in a different direction altogether: with revolutionary socialism and internationalism.
Of course, at this point it suited the bourgeois that someone like her should expose the crimes of the Taliban. She was given the national peace prize in 2011. But then the bourgeois sources go quiet on her activities. The news reports of her attempted assassination make oblique references to her growing interest in politics, but they do not say what these politics consisted of. In fact, she was a sympathiser of the IMT.
This is not hard to understand. At the present time, the Pakistan section of the IMT is the only organized Left force that exists in Swat. Over the past few years our ranks have been swelled by an influx of former members of the Communist Party who have remained loyal to the ideas of Marx and Lenin and who are continuing to struggle for socialism despite all the dangers.
The report of the Marxist school in Swat, which we published in Marxist.com, concluded: “This school has given us great energy and strength to fight for the ideas of scientific socialism which could provide an alternate to religious fundamentalism and bourgeois liberalism”.
A Taliban spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, confirmed by phone that Malala had been the target, calling her crusade for education rights an “obscenity.” The real obscenity is a society that is based on the slavery of millions of workers and peasants and treats women as slaves of slaves. The real obscenity is child labour and illiteracy, poverty, disease and ignorance. And these are precisely the things the Taliban wishes to perpetuate.
Malala is one of the many outstanding young comrades who are looking for a way out of the present infernal impasse by taking the revolutionary road. In so doing she was well aware of the risks. She was prepared to put her life at hazard to fight for such basic human rights as education. And she has paid a heavy price.
Every class conscious worker in the world will keenly feel the tragedy of a young girl shot down in cold blood by a cowardly assassin for the crime of demanding rights for women. Our hearts bleed for the suffering of her family, friends and comrades. We fervently wish for her recovery.
This vicious attack will not deter us from our task. By exposing the baseness and cruelty of our enemies, which is only the distilled essence of the baseness and cruelty of the society that spawned these monsters, it will steel our resolve to continue the fight for which comrade Malala made such a great sacrifice.
Now more than ever the only choice for humanity is: socialism or barbarism. It is a choice between the forces of darkness and light, between ignorance and knowledge, between savagery and civilization. It is an easy choice to make, and Malala made it. Let her life and courage be an example to us all.
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