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On the Class Basis of the Maldives Coup and the Internationalist Socialist Response
by Steven Argue
Friday Feb 17th, 2012 7:33 PM
President Nasheed has recognized that it was the owners of the luxury resorts and members of the former Gayoom dictatorship who were behind this coup stating, "The coup was largely financed by resort owners." Asked why, Nasheed responded: "I suppose they liked the old order of corruption."

[Photo: Daily Mirror, Protesters in Sri Lanka against police repression in the Maldives after the February 7 coup.]


On the Class Basis of the Maldives Coup and the Internationalist Socialist Response

This mailing consists of feedback from a couple readers on my article “Oppose the U.S. Backed Coup in the Maldives!” and my responses to those letters

Here is that article:
Oppose the U.S. Backed Coup in the Maldives!
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/02/10/18707054.php

From the Maldives a reader wrote:

Thanks for telling truth about the coup d’etat. Thanks for exposing India and USA governments. I live in Male. The return to dictatorship makes me angry… arrests… beatings…. big protest coming Friday. This isn’t done with. You gave socialist message for USA, what would socialist du here? –Anonymous in the Maldives

And another person who prefers to remain anonymous wrote:‎

"It's a complicated case. A lot of 'ins'. A lot of 'outs'. A lot of 'what-have-yous'" - The Big Lebowski

I mean, I hardly ever trust cops or the military. So, when they joined with the protests against Nasheed, that definitely seemed funny. But, Nasheed also extra-judicially imprisoned a judge called Adbulla Mohamed. Mohamed was imprisoned ...in a military prison and didn't get a fair trial. Mohamed, as a judge, freed Mohamed Jameel Ahmed. Ahmed is an Islamist crack-pot, but even Islamist crack-pots deserve the right to freedom. The Maldives Supreme Court (the only government body able to Constitutionally remove a judge) asked for Mohamed to be presented to the Supreme Court, and Nasheed's Army refused.

Apparently, Ahmed was saying things that were against the ruling administration. The best way to deal with this is let him go and deal with him on his merits. Give him enough rope to hang himself rather then to throw him in prison.

Plus, Nasheed is not a socialist. He's just a liberal politician. And given the fact that there were popular uprisings against him (grated there were also protests in support as well), in the grand scheme of things this gets a rather low priority. His Vice-President, who was elected with Nasheed, is now the President, so it's not a military junta or anything like that. There are some troubling things around this crisis, but I can't say that Nasheed is on the correct side.

******
On the Class Basis of the Maldives Coup and the Internationalist Socialist Response

By Steven Argue

Thanks for your questions.

There have been a lot of lies in the imperialist / corporate owned press, so a couple corrections are in order here.

This was a coup that was carried out on a day when there were only tens of protesters in the streets. Thousands of protesters have since responded in opposition to the coup, but before Friday February 17th these protests were largely suppressed with tear gas, arrests, and brutal beatings of protesters under the newly formed, and U.S. backed, dictatorship of Hassan.

This U.S. backed coup has reinstalled ministers from the brutal dictatorship of Gayoom, a dictatorship that President Nasheed defeated through decades of activism that included Nasheed's own personal repeated jailings and torture at the hands of the Gayoom dictatorship. Through that mass struggle with the support of outlawed trade-unionists, the movement forced the first ever democratic election in Maldives history in 2008, with Naheed defeating Gayoom in that election.

After the election President Nasheed's government legalized unions and became internationally known for its campaign against climate change. He was also working on amending the tax code so that wealthy luxury resort owners would pay more taxes.

Nasheed's regime, however, also appointed religious extremists to his cabinet and failed to attempt to change laws passed by Gayoom that discriminate against non-Muslims.

Naseed is not a socialist, but as a leader of an under-developed country he did three things the U.S. is always against: 1. He supported democracy. 2. He, at least to some degree, supported union rights and better conditions for workers. 3. He took on the global profits of the oil industry (in his case by challenging climate change).

The conflict between President Nasheed and the judiciary has primarily been one that resulted from the fact that the judiciary continues to be the appointees of the Gayoom dictatorship who refuse to apply the law to Gayoom and his good-old-boy network in regards to corruption and repression. According to President Nasheed and his supporters, Judge Abdulla Mohamed's arrest was due to his failure to deal with corruption and human rights abuses, and a result of the pro-Gayoom Judicial Services Commission’s orders to end investigations of several cases of corruption alleged against Judge Abdulla Mohamed. This contrasts sharply with repeated reports in the American corporate papers that Judge Abdulla Mohamed was arrested due to his failure to deal with the accusations of slander directed at President Nasheed by Islamic extremist Mohamed Jameel Ahmed who was accusing President Naheed of conspiring with Christians and Jews against Islam.

President Nasheed has recognized that it was the owners of the luxury resorts and members of the former Gayoom dictatorship who were behind this coup stating, "The coup was largely financed by resort owners." Asked why, Nasheed responded: "I suppose they liked the old order of corruption."

The class basis of the February 7, 2012 Maldives coup appears to be based among the hotel and resort owners of the islands. The 1,192 coral atoll islands of the Maldives are dotted with a luxury resort industry that, according to Sim Mohamed Ibrahim, Secretary-general of the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry, accounts for about 75-80 % of the country's $2.1 billion dollar economy. Those luxury hotel owners are upset by Nasheed’s fairer taxation and legalization of unions, with the country’s largest union being the Tourism Employees Association of Maldives (TEAM), legalized after President Nasheed took power.

Despite the fact that Nasheed was not a socialist, this coup was born out of the class struggle as a counter-revolutionary action by the capitalist class against the struggle by labor for better pay, working conditions, human rights, and a fairer taxation system. While the moves of the Nasheed government were very limited, they were steps forward not generally allowed by the capitalist classes of the under-developed world.

As Trotsky pointed out in the Theory of Permanent Revolution, socialism is the best cure for the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie of the under-developed world. A liquidated capitalist class no longer has its reigns on the economy to use that power to sabotage the economy and / or carry out the counter-revolution. The owners of the luxury resorts, had they been liquidated as a class and the resorts nationalized under state control, would not have been in the same position to overthrow the democratically elected president of the Maldives.

The problem with President Nasheed was not that he arrested a corrupt judge that participated in the corruption and repression of the old-regime, the problem was that he didn't do it soon enough. To take on the capitalist class of the Maldives as Nasheed did, Nasheed needed to mobilize the working class to rapidly liquidate the old capitalist state of the Gayoom dictatorship and develop a socialist economy from the expropriation of the bourgeoisie. Not being a revolutionary socialist, or even a socialist for that matter, Nasheed failed to take these basic moves. The moves he did make, however, were enough to bring about a counter-revolutionary coup on behalf of the bourgeoisie, with the backing of U.S. imperialism. As socialists in the United States it is essential that we denounce U.S. backing for this counter-revolutionary coup.

Repression since the coup has been documented by Amnesty International and has included brutal police beatings of protesters and members of Nasheed’s government and included at least one death and the hospitalization of others. .

Without giving political support to Nasheed, socialists in the Maldives would be right to oppose this counter-revolutionary coup and be in the streets demanding an end to the coup government and its brutality. Socialists should support campaigns against climate change, for union rights, and democracy, but you should be fighting for a program far more profound than anything put forward by Nasheed. A first order of business is to organize a socialist party with the following program and platform, a program very much tied to the need to promote socialist revolution in India as well. Unfortunately, without India, the Maldives with about 350,000 people will have a very hard time standing-up to U.S. imperialism and Indian intervention. In this modern era of global trade and imperialist military intervention, all socialist revolutions depend on extending the revolution and must be internationalist, but the Maldivian revolution’s immediate survival will likely depend on being internationalist from birth and getting help from a revolution in India. In response to your question, here is a basic programmatic outline of necessary positions that may be helpful to Maldivian socialists:

1. The organization of a socialist party.

2. Support for workers democracy. For the organization of workers militias to sweep away the coup government including its military, police, and courts and establish new democratic institutions based on working class democracy.

3. For the nationalization of the resort industry, banks, and fishing industry to eliminate the corrupting influence of their capital that has created capitalist dictatorship in the Maldives. Social economic planning could then be used to eliminate the high unemployment rate of the Maldives and provide human and economic needs like health care, housing, education, and meet projections for becoming carbon neutral.

4. Separation of Mosque and state. For an end to laws requiring citizens to be Muslim and an end to religious social controls and repression like those imposed by Nasheed’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

5. Opposition to foreign intervention in the country, like Indian and United State’s support for the coup. Opposition to calls for foreign imperialists to intervene to reinstall democracy. Truly meaningful democracy that benefits the Maldives working class can not come from foreign governments as they are presently constituted.

6. Opposition to India’s occupation and control of the Maldives island of Minicoy (Maliku Atoll) where the people were historically part of the Maldives, speak the same Dhivehi language, and are in closer proximity to the other Maldives than India. Indian prohibitions of contact between Minicoy islanders and Maldivians, a prohibition since 1956, must be ended.

7. For an end to all national oppression in India through promoting a socialist revolution that looks to Lenin’s program on the right of nations to self-determination. Such a revolution will be needed to prevent another Indian invasion of the Maldives, as it did in 1988 to re-install the Gayoom dictatorship and will be needed for other oppressed nationalities in India, like the people suffering the Indian government’s violence and oppression in Kashmir.

8. For a social revolution in India that combines egalitarian socialism with real workers democracy. With the Chinese Revolution there never was real workers democracy. Workers democracy includes the right to dissent including the right to form political parties (as long as they don’t take up arms against the revolution or accept money from foreign imperialists), freedom of press (under the same stipulations as parties) and freedom to form unions. Such a socialist revolution in India will include the total elimination of the caste system, an overthrow of capitalism and development of socialism similar to the early years of the Chinese revolution (without the top-down privileged bureaucratic dictatorship of a Maoist-Stalinist party). With that revolution a socialist economy brought a doubling of life expectancy during Mao’s rule, almost total literacy including for women, and massive gains for women’s rights. Even today, due to China’s social revolution and none in India, life expectancy for a Chinese woman is about ten years longer. Likewise, statistics say a woman in India is likely to be illiterate, while in China she is more likely than not to be literate. This program for India differs from Maoism in that it is a revolutionary Trotskyist program. Among other things, Trotskyism differs by advocating true workers democracy rather than top down Stalinist control.

9. While it is likely that the Maldivian Revolution’s is very much tied to building a revolutionary movement in India, the building of such an internationalist movement could have immediate and long term benefits for class struggle in both countries as well.

“All talk to the effect that historical conditions have not yet “ripened” for socialism is the product of ignorance or conscious deception. The objective prerequisites for the proletarian revolution have not only “ripened”; they have begun to get somewhat rotten. Without a socialist revolution, in the next historical period at that, a catastrophe threatens the whole culture of mankind. The turn is now to the proletariat, i.e., chiefly to its revolutionary vanguard. The historical crisis of mankind is reduced to the crisis of the revolutionary leadership.” - Leon Trotsky, The Transitional Programme (The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International).1938.


Check out the statement of purpose of the Revolutionary Tendency of the Socialist Party (RT-SP):
http://la.indymedia.org/news/2012/02/251336.php

Update from Liberation News:
Maldives: Protesters Win Demand for Early Elections from Coup Government
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/02/17/18707594.php

This is an article of Liberation News (not associated with the Stalinist PSL who stole our name), subscribe free:
https://lists.riseup.net/www/info/liberation_news