The US imperialism now operates more than 10,000 drones with an annual budget of $5bn. Truth is there's profit to be made, the market for drones is already valued at $5.9bn and is expected to double in 10 years
The most despicable curse of capitalist society is competition. All initiatives and every incentive are based upon lust and greed. In every walk of life, profession, family and section of society this competition that often assumes cut throat ferocity in periods of crisis envenoms and depraves human relations and interaction. In this system the ultimate motive of life becomes money and the pursuit never ends. This is exhibited in the obsessions of the television hosts with ratings and the elite politicians with surveys and opinion polls. This was manifestly depicted by the reactions of the political elite during the recent caricature of a long march launched and abruptly ended half way by Imran Khan.
The commercial mullahs and the liberal bourgeois politicians had their own axe to grind. Playing their game of exchanging insults and accusations, undermining the real issues of the oppressed masses it was business as usual for the politics of ideological and intellectual decay immersed in the froth of corruption. Their diatribes and crude allegations against Khan’s march were more out of jealousy and their fear of losing political ground to him. The media bosses chipped in with their own sensationalism of another amusing issue. Imran proclaims it as a stupendous success with the main pretext that more than a hundred channels highlighted the plight of the people of tribal areas in the international media.
The first question that arises is whom they want to address by this media exposure. Is it the “international community”, the UN or in reality the perpetrator of these drone attacks, US imperialism. Would they listen or do they not know the devastation and innocent blood being spilled by the Hellfire missiles fired by these predator reapers. The US imperialism now operates more than 10,000 drones with an annual budget of $5bn making it the preferred instruments of destruction from a remote and at a safe distance in Nevada. Truth is there's profit to be made, the market for drones is already valued at $5.9bn and is expected to double in 10 years. Advancements in warfare technology do not have a good track record in terms of unintended consequences. As Chris Hedges reveals in his book War is a force that gives us meaning, an estimated 62 million civilians perished in the 20th century's wars – "nearly 20 million more than the 43 million military personnel killed". The biggest beneficiaries of the 4.4 trillion dollars spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been the military industrial complex and the media empires. The imperialist war industry needs these conflicts and bloodshed for its gargantuan rates of profits, more than any other industry.
The capitalist media is very selective from a class point of view of what it propagates and the news it gives out. The media empires of billions of dollars have their own financial and vested interests and all their policies and stories are determined in accordance with those preferences. The main role of the present day dominant media is to vent the anger of the masses against the system and the perpetrators of the exploitation and oppression. It consciously deviates, distorts and tries to drive a wedge against the class struggle. It superimposes non issues over real issues. The international media’s coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan has always been one sided and that in essence means defence of western imperialist interests.
Against the general perception the reality is that for the struggle of the masses to attain a widespread support and recognition they have to overcome the media rather than hoping that the media would promote them. We have recently witnessed an unprecedented attack on Hugo Chavez and his social programmes in Venezuela. Chavez’s opponent was being fervently supported and campaigned for by the national and the international media. Chavez was being portrayed as a villain, tyrant and yet he won against an avalanche of slanders and abuse of the media. This was only possible because he faced the onslaught of the media head on with his radical socialist programme.
The plight of the people of Afghanistan, Baluchistan and the tribal areas is the product of this new great game being played by the different imperialists’ countries for the resources and the strategic importance of these regions. The wealth and resources of these areas have paradoxically become a source of agony and disaster for the inhabitants who are forced into mayhem, poverty, misery and primitiveness by these champions of freedom democracy and human rights. This gimmickry of long marches and political acrobatics cannot salvage these oppressed victims of imperialist aggression and religious terror. Imran Khan said that the long march was called off not that the military stopped them but it had made them aware of the dangers of entering Waziristan. Is he that naive that he didn’t anticipate the ‘dangers’ in the region before announcing and embarking upon the long march to Waziristan? Or was the army orchestrating this whole episode in their own clash of interests with their imperialist bosses? The barbarity of the terrorist attacks killing and maiming thousands of innocent people and their heinous crimes with the latest brutal assassination attempt on the 14 year old girl Malaya Yousafzai blatantly lays bare the bestial nature of these Islamic fundamentalists. A cursory analysis of the last few years amply demonstrates how Pakistan’s security apparatus orchestrated the bloated and corrupt Pakistan media and politicians in chest-beating, drum-banging, fire-and-brimstone national chauvinism and religious bigotry. Each time the security apparatus abandoned their cherished and sacred nationalism for a fistful of dollars.
The oppressed people of Waziristan are suffering from perhaps the worse form of combined and uneven development under this mafia capitalism. Satellite phone arrived here without waiting for the land lines to be introduced. Planes arrived without the people ever experiencing the train or decent road transport. The most advanced weapons such as drones were used in this one of the most primitive hinterland of rugged mountains and pre tribal society. Cable television came before any tapped running water has reached this isolated region. Drug trade created a mafia economy before the advent of the relatively less profitable industrial enterprise. These most advanced gadgets in this wasteland have ruptured the medieval culture and traditions of the region. The obsolete social fabric on which tribal relations and structures were based upon for centuries has been torn apart by this uneven patterns of technological and economic intervention. The black money has intruded deep down the socio economic relations of the past. The mind set and the human interaction has been tainted with this economic incursion. But the imperialist and capitalist modernisation has failed to lift the region from its medieval backwardness. Rather it has further convoluted and perverted this medieval social and economic setup. This primitiveness has now violently struck back against this debilitated and benighted modernity with a vengeance.
Capitalism is too frail and impotent to develop this region. It cannot provide it with a modern infrastructure, health education and modernisation. The infrastructure built by the army is for military purposes and their cantonments. The warlords, mainly mullahs exhibiting piety but indulged in heinous crimes, are obscenely rich and their wealth flourishes in the far pavilions. In a callous manner they exploit the deprived youth as raw fodder for their mercenary wars. They are rented rather than bought by the imperialists and the state actors. The impoverished masses have not just suffered extreme deprivation and life of misery but have been the victims of the cross fire of the imperialist players of these great games for generations.
If the socioeconomic patterns of development are based on extreme uneven and combined development then a new generation has also grown out of this phenomenon. In spite of being between rock and a hard place, they have developed a world outlook and some of the brightest students have proved their talent in various fields. They are conscious of the fact that the imperialists and the fundamentalists represent the same economic and social system of greed and lust i.e. capitalism. This aspect of the situation in Waziristan was revealed in the 2008 elections when Comrade Ali Wazir contested the national Assembly election (NA-42) from Wana, Waziristan constituency. He stood against the right wing mullahs with a programme of real issues faced by the masses of the area. Ali vehemently opposed the imperialist aggression and religious terrorism. He accepted that he was a communist and launched a vigorous campaign. The result of this election was disputed and withheld for a long time. Even the officially announced votes of Ali Wazir were enough to win in relation to the voting patterns of the tribal areas. Ultimately the judiciary decided in favour of a mullah. This aspect concealed by the media might be a surprise for many but the campaign on a programme of revolutionary socialism and the tremendous response it received especially from the youth of Waziristan adds a new dimension to the perspectives of the region. In the forth coming elections and the events the impacts of this rising tendency would be difficult for the main stream media to conceal. Linking this struggle of the oppressed classes to the class struggle in Afghanistan can be bonded with the movement to break the shackles of this system of greed and repression. These youth are reviled by this war and exploitation. They are in search of a path out of this nightmare. At long last they are finally discovering it.