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Workers Vanguard No. 1053

3 October 2014
The closing date for news in this issue is 30 September.


Workers Vanguard

U.S. Troops Out of Liberia!

The Ebola Crisis and the Imperialist Rape of Africa

SEPTEMBER 29—The deadliest Ebola outbreak in history is ravaging the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, spreading rapidly as the number of infections doubles every two to three weeks. Since the outbreak was first reported in March, the official count of those infected is over 6,000 as we go to press, with around half of those cases resulting in death. Those numbers are a vast underestimation, particularly given the remoteness of many of the affected areas and non-systematic reporting. Infection clusters have been detected in Nigeria and Senegal. Scientists project that up to 1.4 million people could be infected by early next year, with the potential for the disease to become a permanent feature of life in West Africa.

Spurring the exponential spread of Ebola are the misery, poverty and entrenched backwardness that are the legacy of colonial rule and imperialist pillage. Looted by the Western capitalist powers, the affected countries are largely rural, with scant technology and infrastructure, limited education and skeletal health care systems. The few health workers in the region have been fighting heroically, short of equipment, facilities and medicine and with little to no access to electricity and clean water. Hundreds of health care providers, including many volunteers, have contracted the virus.

After contemptuously ignoring pleas for medical aid and personnel for months, in mid September President Obama announced the deployment of 3,000 U.S. troops to Liberia. There is a sinister reality behind Washington’s professed change of heart. Presenting Ebola as a global security threat, Obama made clear his motivation for intervening militarily: to curb the political and economic “ripple effects” that the spread of the virus could have on the region and beyond. His calling Ebola a “national security priority” is a declaration of U.S. intent to limit the epidemic to Africans and not let it reach American shores.

The profoundly cynical pledge to combat Ebola came packaged with $750 million to set up a military command center and construct medical treatment facilities. But military spokesmen admit that the treatment centers will not be up and running for months. Meanwhile, the “staging area” being set up in Senegal to train aid providers and distribute supplies assumes that there actually are personnel to train and that the necessary food, water and goods exist and can actually reach people. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby announced that the U.S. is committed to a military mission for a minimum of six months in which troops will not “come into contact with patients.”

In stark contrast to the U.S. imperialists, the Cuban and Chinese deformed workers states have responded generously with crucially needed aid. Cuba is dispatching 461 physicians, epidemiologists and other health professionals. China, which has close to 20,000 citizens working and living in the three most affected countries, is contributing millions in financial aid and increasing the number of its medical personnel in Sierra Leone. What the U.S. is offering is troops, i.e., further terror. (read on)

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About the ICL

V.I. LeninLeon TrotskyThe International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist) is a proletarian, revolutionary and internationalist tendency committed to the task of building Leninist parties as national sections of a democratic-centralist international. Our aim is the achievement of new October Revolutions—nothing else, nothing other, nothing less. The ICL bases itself on Marxist historical, dialectical materialism and seeks in particular to carry forward the international working-class perspectives of Marxism developed in the theory and practice of the Bolshevik leaders V. I. Lenin and L. D. Trotsky and embodied in the decisions of the first four Congresses of the Communist International as well as key documents of the Fourth International such as the Transitional Program (1938) and "War and the Fourth International" (1934). We also look to James P. Cannon, a leader of the early American Communist Party who was won to Trotskyism and went on to become a principal founder of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), working in close collaboration with Leon Trotsky. The origins of the ICL are in the Spartacist League/U.S., which began as the Revolutionary Tendency in the SWP and was bureaucratically expelled in 1963. Our ICL "Declaration of Principles and Some Elements of Program" was modeled on the Declaration of Principles adopted at the 1966 founding conference of the SL/U.S.

Adopted at the Third International Conference of the ICL in early 1998, the declaration presently exists in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, German, Russian, Polish, Italian, Turkish, Indonesian, Greek and Tagalog. In this post-Soviet period, marked by a deep regression of proletarian consciousness, we continue to be guided by Trotsky's statement that "the task of the vanguard is above all not to let itself be carried along by the backward flow; it must swim against the current." Reforge the Fourth International, world party of socialist revolution!