by the Peace and Solidarity Commission of the Party of Communists USA
The Taiwan Question
The people of China, after freeing themselves from Japanese colonial occupation in WWII, faced a new immediate threat: the growing power of the nationalist Kuomintang, setting the stage for their brutal rule over Taiwan with events such as the February 28 massacre of 1947.1
Taiwan was to become the final place of retreat for the Kuomintang, with American interference in the region consisting of unilateral support for Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang since the very beginning of the Chinese civil war. During this time the “United States continued to aid this dictator government with planes, guns, tanks, munitions and even clock, communication, uniform and medical equipment”.2
This aid, according to available American official reports, reached four billion dollars in gold, four times more than the amount of American aid during the anti-Japanese war. This was in return for territorial, sea, air, inland navigation, military, financial, economic, and communication right[s] sold by Chiang Kai-shek.2
The US propaganda machine is ramping up anti-Chinese rhetoric, framing all conflict between Taiwan and China as a case of the big country bullying the little country,3 ignoring the Taiwanese government’s own narrative where they claim to be the true government of China.
If, after the American Civil War, the Confederacy maintained political control over Texas and claimed to be the true American government, would we be expected to simply ignore them?
Not much is written about what the Taiwanese people feel about all the saber-rattling from China that has been in the news lately. However, a recent poll taken by Taiwan’s Commonwealth Magazine in January of this year sheds some light on how the people feel.
“A declining number of Taiwanese people fear an imminent war with China, suggesting the rest of the world is far more worried than those at the center of this potential geopolitical flashpoint. According to [a CommonWealth Magazine] poll, 35.3 percent of respondents said they were worried about a military conflict breaking out over the Taiwan Strait within the next year, a decrease of nearly 15 percentage points on the previous year’s survey. The survey also found 59.7 percent of people do not think Beijing will ultimately use force to take Taiwan, while more than 35% believed it would”.4 Another poll said most young people believe the US will come to Taiwan’s aid, while the older generation is not so sure.
The US sells billions of dollars in weaponry of defensive character to Taiwan.5 Washington officials have also made statements suggesting it was likely to come to Taiwan’s aid militarily in case of conflict.6 The main contractors would be Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin.7
The director of the opposition Kuomintang’s (KMT) international affairs department, suggested the results showed Taiwanese people were in denial of the reality. “China’s military threat is a fact Taiwanese are not willing to confront because it would incur real costs.”4 “For decades the US has operated a policy of strategic ambiguity, neither confirming nor rejecting commitments to help, in order to deter provocative action by both Beijing and Taipei.”8
The Tiananmen Square Massacre dampened Taiwanese enthusiasm for unification with the Chinese mainland. However, that being said, some observers feel that the Taiwanese want “their cake and eat it too”. Their “limbo” status has worked out well for them, they have the US supposedly protecting them from China, while their government operates autonomously.
The Cuban Blockade
The Cuban Blockade is Economic Warfare, intended to inflict maximum suffering on the Cuban people. This was the explicitly stated goal of the policy as set out in a 1960 State Department memorandum which calculated that by “denying money and supplies to Cuba,” the US could “bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government”.9
Although the main goal was to destitute the Cuban people so they would rise up against Fidel Castro, their goal was never reached. However, 60 years of failure has not stopped the US Government from wasting billions of the American people’s tax dollars while ignoring the needs of their own citizens.
The Cuban people do not have access to any US products, or any products that may contain only one US manufactured part. American companies cannot operate in Cuba. Financial services, such as Western Union or PayPal; software, such as Microsoft products; or internet services such as Zoom, are unavailable to the Cuban people. The embargo also prevents mutual trade with American businesses, which means less competitive prices, less access to farm produce, etc.10
The dramatic decline in tourism and remittances from Cubans overseas, together with grappling with job losses and lockdowns, have starved the communist-run country of the cash it needs to import basic goods. Shortages have worsened and Cubans line up in long queues outside stores to buy products, like chicken, when they become available. Travel to Cuba is restricted. Americans must obtain a license to travel from OFAC, Office of Foreign Assets Control.11
For 60 years the US Government has penalized its allies if they assist Cuba in any way, subjected the Cuban people to deprivation and abject poverty, and wasted billions of US taxpayer dollars to one of the most colossal failures in foreign policy; all because they are afraid of a small communist-run nation a few miles from our shore.
The US has been ridiculously unsuccessful in the decommunization of Cuba. The blockade is no different from the Bay of Pigs, the failed assassination attempts, or various unsuccessful color revolutions. In Fidel’s speech of “Socialism or Death” he mentions that the soldiers returning from fighting imperialism in Angola, “have found their country engaged in a tremendous struggle for development while continuing to confront the criminal imperialist blockade with exemplary dignity.”12 This dignity, respect, and solidarity for other workers, has raised Cuba to a higher standard of living than the rest of Latin America.
We must also fight for the workers. Even though Cuba has been successful against all odds, economic warfare must be considered warfare. Although it isn’t fueled by weaponry, the goal is still to make the workers suffer until the leadership of the country gives in to imperialist demands. Cuba and the United States are natural trade partners separated by 90 miles of water. Cuba has shown that they can survive without American commerce, but that isn’t enough. They must be given the chance to thrive! As this blockade is driven by politics instead of reality, we must swing public opinion on this issue. The World Peace Council, some religious organizations, and many international human rights groups actively oppose economic warfare and the inhumanity that it brings.
Manufactured Support for the Ukraine
The volatility of the Ukrainian region has been growing increasingly unstable, even before the recent military actions of Russia. NATO promised Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin that NATO would not expand even an inch to the east.13 Unfortunately, NATO is bad at keeping promises. The United States’ and NATO’s interests are to keep Russia in check and prevent them from competing with the United States in the global market.
Nationalism has been growing in Ukraine, and with that comes a hatred and persecution of non-Ukrainians. In fact, the Azov Battalion, an openly neo-Nazi group, is officially part of the Ukrainian National Guard.14 The chief of the Ukrainian National Police posted proudly on Facebook stating that he is a ‘Banderite’, a reference to Stepan Bandera.15 This growing disdain for Russian people and violence against them is useful to American interests. America and NATO would prefer for their enemy Russia to be weakened, but they want someone else to deal with this problem for them. The nationalists of Ukraine are perfect for this and are well supported financially and with favorable arms deals.16
The narrative that Putin is on a ruthless quest for power, with that being the only factor relevant to this conflict, benefits US imperialism. Putin is a capitalist looking out for his own interests. That is undeniable; but so are NATO members! It is preposterous to think that the best way to combat imperialism is to point away from the Empire and ignore the atrocities against the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, and others. We must not overlook the violence that Ukraine has caused in the Donbas region for years.
The Russian military is defending the autonomy of people’s republics that were established democratically. Along with the military from Lugansk and Donetsk, they work to neutralize neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Russia openly opposes US and NATO imperialism. These are things that antifascists and anti-imperialists should support. We must oppose this manufactured consent that benefits the interests of the United States.