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Pegida: a German Right-Wing Anti-Foreigner Populism Emerges

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Deutschland PEGIDA Demonstration in Dresden

10,000 people  marched on Monday the 15th of December  through the eastern German city of Dresden in an anti-Islamisation demonstration.

The march was the largest yet for the far-right populist PEGIDA movement.

This demonstration and its background were given great prominence in le Monde yesterday (En Allemagne, le discours raciste se banalise). Le Monde emphasised how the numbers attending weekly marches have grown and grown.

The media had not brought up the eternal ‘German neo-Nazism’ hook but the result of the emergence of a growing anti-immigrant/migrant movement in the Germany, a country that has hitherto been immune to the appeal of UKIP/Front National politics. In other words xenophobia knows no European political borders.

The first signs of these developments was in the rise of  Alternative für Deutschland.

“Alternative for Germany received 4.7% of the vote in the September 2013 federal election, narrowly failing the 5% threshold for representation.The party won 7 of Germany’s 96 seats for the European Parliament in the 2014 European election, and joined the European Conservatives and Reformists group in June 2014. The party exceeded forecasts in gaining its first representation in state parliament elections in Saxony, Brandenburg and Thuringia during 2014.”

The party is anti-Euro and against any transfer of sovereignty to the European Union. Its anti-immigration policies, and its ‘socially conservative’ (that is, reactionary) social stand, marks it even more firmly on the hard right.

Commentators (including Le Monde) observe an “overlap” between the AfD and PEGIDA,

 Der Speigel is one of many media outlets to cover the story  including those in the UK (Guardian)

15,000 march in anti-Islamisation PEGIDA (Patriotische Europäer Gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes) demonstrations in Dresden.

A record number of demonstrators turned out on Monday to march in support of the far-right populist PEGIDA group. The name loosely translates to “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West.”

“The people are with us!,” the group’s founder Lutz Bachmann shouted at the crowd. Monday’s turnout was 50 percent greater than that of a week ago. The rallies started in October in response to clashes between Kurds and Sunni Muslims over the West’s intervention in Syria.

But the nationalist group has largely been protesting over the immigration system in Germany, which has become Europe’s number one destination for asylum seekers – whose lands of origin include Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, as well as several African and Balkan nations.

The emergence of the movement has stunned politicians, one of whom – Ralf Jäger, the Social Democratic (SPD) interior minister for North Rhine Westphalia state – described PEGIDA’s members as “neo-Nazis in pinstripes.” While some neo-Nazis have been seen among the crowds, those gathered have mostly been disenchanted citizens.

More than 1,200 police kept a close watch on the non-violent crowds. Nearby, about 6,000 counter-protesters – made up of civic, political and church groups – marched under the banners “Dresden Nazi-free” and “Dresden for All.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the wave of PEGIDA marches and cautioned Germans against falling prey to xenophobic “rabble rousing.”

An associated right-wing BOGIDA protest took place in the western city of Bonn on Monday. While approximately 300 of the group’s supporters turned up, they were met by 2,000 counter demonstrators who called for peace and tolerance.

Der Spiegel.

Taz carries more details about Pegida’s opponents whose counter-demo moblised 5.500.

Reaktionäre Verrohung Europas!

The report by Michael Bartsch says that in response one marcher said that the threat was not the Islamisation of the West, but that of a reactionary and barbaric continent ( „Es droht nicht eine Islamisierung des Abendlandes, sondern eine reaktionäre Verrohung Europas!“) He notes however that this alliance against Pegida is “fragile” – it is composed of many very diverse groups, from the ‘anti-dogmatic’ far left, migrant and asylum groups, human rights organisations, religious bodies, to the established parties. The first group, prominent over years of anti-fascist activism, cannot easily co-operate with the later, particularly the governing CDU one of whose representatives, Martin Gillo, turned up at the end of their march.

British Conservatives.

This (from Wikipedia) relating to  the way the Tories have reacted to the rise of AfD is interesting:

During David Cameron‘s prime ministerial visit to Germany in April 2013, the British Conservative Party is reported to have contacted both Alternative for Germany and the Free Voters to discuss the possibility of cooperation, which was supported by the European Conservatives and Reformists group of the European Parliament.

In June 2013, Bernd Lucke gave a well attended question and answer session organised by the Conservative allied Bruges Group think tank in Portcullis House, London.

ConservativeHome, a British political website, viewed the AfD’s policies as, “wholly unremarkable,” in response to the AfD’s more cautious reception among the German public. The website also voiced the opinion that the party shouldn’t be compared to the UK Independence Party which calls for a British exit from the EU. According to the conservative grassroots site the AfD’s policies are much closer to those of the British Conservatives, who also reject the euro and wish to implement reform of the EU.

The Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan was speculated to have been advocating for the British Conservatives and AfD to link following the 2014 EU elections via the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists with possible membership in the EU parliament grouping European Conservatives and Reformists, which was formed after the Conservatives withdrew from the European Democrats sub group of the European People’s Party, to which Angela Merkel’s CDU belong.

Some British Conservatives such as Timothy Kirkhope were more reluctant to be seen as too openly courting the AfD, should it damage relations with Angela Merkel’s CDU, which they speculated could hinder attempts by the Conservative Party to renegotiate treaties before a proposed referendum on British EU membership in 2017. Hans-Olaf Henkel stated that the AfD had heard rumours that Angela Merkel had told David Cameron to keep his distance from the party during the run-up to the 2014 European Election.

Response from the political journalist Andrew Gimson writing at ConservativeHome was broadly positive about the possibility of the Conservatives working with AfD. Paul Goodman, editor of ConservativeHome has also been welcoming towards cooperation with AfD, playing down the risks that cooperation would affect the relationship between David Cameron and Angela Merkel.

Before the European Election Bernd Lucke had been in talks with the Czech and Polish parties of ECR, but acknowledged the concerns the British Conservatives had about the admission of the AfD into the group.

Young Men Who Fought in Syria with Kurds Against ISIS Return.

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Our Kurdish Sisters and Brothers. 

Exclusive: Death Pact Of IS-Fighting Britons

From Sky News.

Two Britons who went to Syria to fight IS have told of their battles on the front line – and how they vowed to kill each other rather than get captured.

Jamie Read and James Hughes told how they dodged bullets during chaotic patrols with Kurdish forces after recording a “goodbye” video for their families in case they died.

They described spending hours lying in the “pitch black” in no-man’s land, in conditions they said were reminiscent of World War One.

On one occasion, it was so cold that a young Kurdish comrade collapsed with hypothermia – “body-popping” on the ground next to them.

In an exclusive Sky News interview after their return to the UK, the pair also revealed how panic alarms have been installed in their homes, amid fears they could be targets for IS supporters.

They strongly denied being mercenaries, telling how they had sold possessions to fund their flights and had returned to the UK to “mounting debts and bills”.

They had not been paid “a penny” for their exploits, though they had been “treated like royalty” by some of the Kurdish troops, the men said.

Provided by Sky News And the former soldiers gave a detailed account of their time in Iraq and Syria, explaining that they had travelled to fight IS militants because they had “zero tolerance for terrorism”.

Describing what had prompted them to travel, Mr Read said the beheading of British aid convoy volunteer Alan Henning had been the final straw.

“Alan Henning – aid worker, British – put him on his hands and knees and cut his head off, you know what I mean,” Mr Read said.

“Can you really find justification in sitting back here and doing nothing?”

Mr Read, 24, and Mr Hughes, 26, revealed that organising the trip had been quite simple with a “phone call here or there” and some communication over Skype.

They were screened by simply having their Facebook posts checked and ensuring that social media friends were not IS supporters, Mr Read said.

The pair said that after arriving in Irbil, northern Iraq, they were transported via the Kurdish HQ to the front line in Syria.

During the journey the Britons said they had no idea whether they had landed in a trap.

“I’m not going to lie, this was one of the most frightening processes you can go through, you know, the paranoia: through the roof,” Mr Read said.

“You get picked up by a guy who doesn’t speak English, so straight away there’s a language barrier.

“When we got to the safe house… it’s sort of dodgy-looking, so you think ‘I don’t really like this’. At one point, you think ‘is this the point I’m going to get handed over?'”

After getting a uniform and weapons, Mr Hughes said they eventually “rocked up” on the frontline to an old schoolhouse covered in mud.

They arrived to cheers from their Kurdish comrades, were plied with chai (tea) and cigarettes, and met three other Westerners who had joined the fight.

During their three weeks on the front line, their duties included terrifying night patrols where it was the “blackest black… like being in a cave with no lights”.

“You are left staring into the pitch black, hoping no one sees you first,” Mr Read said.

The Britons said they had hatched a plan to shoot each dead rather than being caught and paraded on television as hostages.

“We wouldn’t get captured, bottom line, we couldn’t get captured, we’re not getting our heads paraded on YouTube, we made that vow before we went out.

“Everybody out there is carrying a round for themselves. Nobody wants to be captured by IS. Nobody wants to end up on YouTube getting their head cut off.

“So for us, as harsh as it sounds, it’s probably the better way to go. It’s the old saying, ‘you keep a round for each other’.”

Describing their final day, Mr Read told how the pair had been out on patrol towards a nearby village where IS militants had been holed up.

“All of a sudden we just got opened up on. Quite a lot of small arms (…) quite a lot of AKs and they were quite close.

“There were rounds coming in and they were really close – they were pinging and they were bouncing, whizzing over your head – obviously it’s a very distinctive noise.

“There was a lot of shouting, a lot of screaming, a lot of F-words being dropped.”

The pair said they were forced to flee through a village which was “littered with IEDs (improvised explosive devices)” before returning to base.

“We eventually made it out but this was a real eye-opener – this is how these people were going to act – there’s something more that needs to be done there.”

They returned to Britain last week and were questioned by anti-terrorism officers for six hours at Heathrow airport before being released.

Asked whether they would return to Syria, Mr Read said: “I’d like to think we would have the opportunity to go back.”

But he added: “I’m unsure on the political stance – I’m not sure whether our Government would appreciate us going back.”

The Independent reports,

After their three-week stint on the front line, they were held for questioning at Heathrow Airport for six hours and they claim to have faced mountains of debt on their return. Neither was arrested or charged for terrorism, unlike every other British national who left the country to fight in the Syrian civil war.

Read and Hughes also said they had “zero tolerance for terrorism” and cited that and the murder of British aid volunteer Alan Henning as their justification for choosing to fight against the militant group.

Their homes have been fitted with panic alarms in fear of Isis supporters who could be planning to seek retribution and the pair have also been monitored in a counter-terrorism watch.

Hughes, 26, from Worcestershire and served three tours of Afghanistan with the British Army, added during the interview with Sky News that patrols would be put out just in case their homes are attacked.

The Lions of Rojava page on Facebook, for the YPG which is also known as the People’s Defence Unit, has claimed that soldiers from countries such as the US, Germany, Netherlands and Estonia have also joined the Kurdish force.

Around 200 soldiers will be deployed by the British Army in the New Year to train Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers for six months, in plans announced last week.

We await complaints from the usual sources that that these brave young men were not charged with terrorism, that this shows UK ‘double standards’,  – that is from the same people who not too long ago were comparing  those fighting for the Daesh genociders with the volunteers defending the Spanish Republic in the 1930s.

Meanwhile comrade Janet Biehl has visited the Kurdish stronghold of Rojava

My Impressions of Rojava.

From December 1 to 9, I had the privilege of visiting Rojava as part of a delegation of academics from Austria, Germany, Norway, Turkey, the U.K., and the U.S. We assembled in Erbil, Iraq, on November 29 and spent the next day learning about the petrostate known as the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), with its oil politics, patronage politics, feuding parties (KDP and PUK), and apparent aspirations to emulate Dubai. We soon had enough and on Monday morning were relieved to drive to the Tigris, where crossed the border into Syria and entered Rojava, the majority-Kurdish autonomous region of northern Syria.

……………..

Anyone with a bit of faith in humanity should wish the Rojavans well with their revolution and do what they can to help it succeed. They should demand that their governments stop allowing Turkey to define a rejectionist international policy toward the Kurds and toward Democratic Autonomy. They should demand an end to the embargo against Rojava.

The members of the delegation in which I participated (even though I am not an academic) did their work well. Sympathetic to the revolution, they nonetheless asked challenging questions, about Rojava’s economic outlook, about the handling ethnicity and nationalism, and more.  The Rojavans we met, accustomed to grappling with hard questions, responded thoughtfully and even welcomed critique.

Full article via above link.

Isis Beheads Four Children for Refusing to Convert to Islam.

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ISIS Behead Four Children in Iraq - File Photo

ISIS Behead Four Children in Iraq – File Photo

British ‘Vicar of Baghdad’ claims Isis beheaded four children for refusing to convert to Islam

Isis have beheaded four Christian children in Iraq for refusing to convert to Islam, a British vicar based in the country has claimed.

Canon Andrew White, who is known as the ‘vicar of Baghdad’,told Orthodox Christian Network that the killings happened in a Christian enclave close to Baghdad which has been taken over by Isis (formerly known as Islamic State).

He spoke of how Isis has “hounded” the Christians out of Iraq, and how “they killed in huge numbers, they chopped their children in half, they chopped their heads off, and they moved north and it was so terrible what happened”.

He told the network that militants “came to one of our people the other day, one of the Christians”.

“They said to one man, an adult, ‘Either you say the words of conversion to Islam or we kill all your children’.

“He was desperate, he said the words. And then he phoned me, and said, ‘Abouna [Father], I said the words, does that mean that Yeshua doesn’t’ love me anymore?’ I said, ‘Yeshua still loves you, he will always love you”.

Canon White claimed that the children who were beheaded had refused to “follow Mohammed”.

“Isis turned up and said to the children, ‘You say the words that you will follow Mohammed’.”

“The children, all under 15, four of them, said no, we love Yeshua, we have always loved we have always followed Yeshua, Yeshua has always been with us.

“They said: ‘Say the words.’ They said ‘No, we can’t.’ They chopped all their heads off. How do you respond to that? You just cry.”

Canon White said that Isis were threatening to kill him, and that he is now living in Israel, following orders from the Archbishop of Canterbury to leave Iraq. He said that most of his staff are still in the north of Iraq trying to look after displaced Christians.

Independent.

Hat-Tip Lamina.

 

Before Being Killed, Children Told ISIS: ‘No, We Love Jesus’

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Canon Andrew Wright (Blog)  is amongst the most beloved of all progressive humanity.

Those clamouring for an amnesty for those who joined the genociders should consider acts like these.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 9, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Marine Le Pen and her Requited Love for Putin.

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lefortovo

Marine Le Pen in Moscow  (2013)

In October this story ran in the French media:

Marine Le Pen dit “admirer” Vladimir Poutine

“Je ne cache pas que, dans une certaine mesure, j’admire Vladimir Poutine. Il commet des erreurs, mais qui n’en commet pas ? La situation en Russie n’est pas facile, et on ne peut pas régler rapidement les problèmes issus de la chute de l’URSS” “

I don’t hide that, to a degree, I admire Vladmir Putin. He’s made errors, but who doesn’t? The Russian situation isn’t simple, and one cannot quickly settled the problems which have arisen from the fall of the USSR.

A couple of days ago this interview appeared on EuroNews, with Marine Le Pen.

SD
Are you ideologically close to Vladimir Putin?

MLP
I share at least a part of Vladimir Putin’s economic vision. That’s for sure, but it didn’t start yesterday.
The Front Nationale has never changed its position on this subject. We welcomed the arrival of a government that did not serve the ‘apparatchiks’ ; and which developed a patriotic economy.

SD
You’ve said you have a certain admiration for him as a person.

MLP
Yes. I admire his cool head. Because there is a cold war being waged against him by the EU at the behest of United States, which is defending its own interests. I admire that he has managed to restore pride and contentment to a great nation that had been humiliated and persecuted for 70 years. Simple as that. I think that there are things you have to look on with a positive eye, or at least with an impartial eye .

SD
Well, just on the reasons behind those tensions, a small number of countries have recognised the political situation in Crimea in relation to Russia. What about you. do you approve of the annexation?

MLP
At the time that that referendum was organised there was no legitimate power in Ukraine. It was an illegitimate power, a putsch.

SD
It was Viktor Yanukovich himself who left. No one forced him to go. He fled.

MLP:
Yes, with a knife at his throat. I think if he had stayed he would have been eliminated. So, I think the referendum was organised in conditions that were not so contestable and that the will of Crimea to be part of Russia is not so contestable. The annexation to Ukraine was against the will of Crimea.”

SD
But Ukraine didn’t steal Crimea. It was Khrushchev who gave Crimea to Ukraine.

MLP:
Yes, it was a gift. It was a gift, a gift. But I think Crimea would never have returned to Russia if the EU had not moved to recognise a government in Ukraine that was not, at the time, totally legitimate. The EU committed a serious error. In as much as there are highly dubious elements in this government, particularly a certain number of notorious Nazis.

SD
They say that about your entourage also!

MLP:
You’re joking, I hope! When I talk about Nazis in Ukraine, I’m talking about Nazis, Nazis, meaning Nazis with Nazi flags. But once again history will prove us right! But it’s alright, (sarcastically). I see, (you think), that there are nice Nazis. When they’re Ukrainian they’re ‘nice’ Nazis, not ‘nasty’ Nazis!

I’ve seen in the past governments condemned for brutalising their people, for firing on them. But that one in Kyiv is bombarding its own people, and no one is taking it to task.

Not surprisingly people have related this to the 9 million Euros lent to her party by a Russian Bank (First Czech Russian Bank (FCRB).

Her father’s ‘micro-party’ (Cotelec) has also benefited from similar largesse, – 2 millions Euros from a Cyprus based company run by a former member of the KGB.

Yesterday the Socialist Deputy, Razzy Hammadi, has demanded an inquiry into these  generous acts.

The New York Times reports,

The money appears to be yet another sign of growing closeness between Europe’s far-right parties and Russia. Ms. Le Pen has been steadfast in her admiration of Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, even as France’s and indeed most of Europe’s relations with Russia have frayed over events in Ukraine. She has proposed breaking France’s relationship with NATO’s command in favor of a new alliance that would include Russia.

Her father, Jean-Marie, has long had ties to Russia’s ruling officials. In recent years, Le Pen family members have been frequent visitors to the Russian Embassy. Some analysts say that Marine Le Pen is an even more attractive ally to the Kremlin these days as she is doing well in the polls.

The National Front’s chief financial officer, Wallerand de Saint-Just, said the party needed substantial amounts of money for campaigns and might return to the lender in Moscow, First Czech Russian Bank, for more as it would need a minimum of $50 million. He said the party was paying 6 percent interest, which suggested it “was no special favor.”

Nigeria: Boko Harem Attack.

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Nigeria unrest: Mosque attack death toll over 100

More than 100 people died in an attack on a Nigerian mosque on Friday, local government and hospital officials say.

The president of Nigeria has vowed “to leave no stone unturned” in tracking down the perpetrators of the gun and bomb attack during Friday’s prayers in the northern city of Kano.

Goodluck Jonathan urged the nation “to confront the common enemy”.

No-one has so far claimed the attack but officials say it bears the hallmarks of Boko Haram militant group.

Kano’s Central Mosque, where the attack took place, is where the influential Muslim leader, the emir of Kano, usually leads prayers.

Emir Muhammed Sanusi had recently called for people to arm themselves against Boko Haram, and there have been suggestions that the attack was in response to that call.

However, on Saturday the emir dismissed the claims, saying it must have taken at least two months to plan the attack. He made the comments during a visit to the mosque.

BBC

Today an update report continues,

The tension is palpable in Kano, after bombers and gunmen struck killing more than 100 people at the central mosque.

No-one here is in any doubt that Boko Haram did it.

It seems people do not know where to vent their anger now but hostility hangs in the air.

Inside the mosque, the sight is shocking.

Beyond the blood-soaked steps, the floor is strewn with debris: scattered prayer mats, beads, smashed spectacles and pages from the Koran.

There are bullet marks on the pillars and the suicide bombers’ blood can be seen splattered across the walls and right up inside the dome.

“We heard a loud sound outside, but people said let’s continue praying,” said Adamu Magashi, who was inside facing the imam who had just finished his sermon at the time of the attack.

BBC

There are those who explain Islamist violence as a ‘blow back’ at Western intervention.

Or as a struggle for a better world in a religious form….

How does this tragedy fit into their preconceptions?

Written by Andrew Coates

November 30, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Caliphate Motion Mover Criticises Lack of ‘Empathy’ Chez Coatesy.

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Left Unity member says Tendance Shows lack of “empathy” with Isis. 

John Tummon writes, 

Andrew, your demonisation of me seems to know no bounds and the lack of grammatical grasp that has caused lots of people who say they are angry at this proposed amendment shows their political cowardice in denouncing any attempt to try to reach out towards a more strategic analysis of the Middle East shows the moralism ratehr than the politics of you and them and dependence on western media for your facts.”

“What do you know about what the concept of the Caliphate is, has been and might be apart from via propaganda?

Using secularist reflexes rather than engaging empathy and curiosity is the mark of Left dogmatism.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 22, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Spartacist League Backs Isis Against US Imperialist “Main enemy”. Denounces Kurds as “US Adjuncts”.

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Imperialist ‘adjuncts’ Says Spartacist League. 

If ever there was a more bizarre example, and distasteful vile and foul,  at that, of ‘dialectical’ excuses for genociders it would be hard to find.

“It goes without saying that we internationalist communists are die-hard enemies of the ultra-reactionary social and political program of ISIS, whose methods of rooting out “apostates” amount to mass slaughter. We condemn communal atrocities on all sides. ISIS is itself the imperialists’ creation, having emerged out of the intercommunal slaughter triggered by the U.S. occupation.”

Workers Vanguard.

But (there’s got to be a but..) 

“But ISIS today is in battle against the local tools of U.S. imperialism, the main enemy of the world’s working people. A setback for the U.S. in Syria might give pause to Washington in its military adventures, including by encouraging opposition at home. Such opposition adds to the tinder that must be ignited in class struggle against the capitalist rulers who, in their quest for ever greater profits, beat down the workers, black people and immigrants.”

“We uphold the right of national self-determination for the Kurdish people, who are oppressed by the bourgeois regimes in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey.”

However (there’s got to be a howeverr)

“However, in Iraq and Syria today as in Iraq after 2003, when the Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan enrolled as adjuncts of the U.S. occupation, the nationalist parties have subordinated the struggle for Kurdish national rights to their role as imperialist proxies. Championing the Kurds in the current conflict can only mean lending support to imperialist plunder.”

“Protests called by Kurdish nationalist groups in Germany, Australia and elsewhere have backed U.S. airstrikes in Syria and demanded that the imperialists supply the Syrian Kurds with arms. These calls have been echoed by many reformist leftists around the world, giving credence to the “humanitarian” cover for the imperialist onslaught. Thus, the New Anti-Capitalist Party in France and some leaders of the Left Party in Germany (not to mention the bourgeois German Greens) have called on their respective capitalist governments to arm the Kurds in Kobani.”

 “By selling their souls to the imperialists as well as to various regional bourgeois regimes, Kurdish leaders help perpetuate the divide-and-rule stratagems that inevitably inflame communal, national and religious tensions and serve to reinforce the oppression of the Kurdish masses.”

Yet all ends happily…..

“The goal of Marxists in the belly of the imperialist beast is to instill in the U.S. proletariat the understanding that it has the social power and historic interest to destroy capitalist-imperialist rule from within, through socialist revolution. To realize this task requires forging a revolutionary workers party committed to the struggle for workers rule over the entire planet.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 7, 2014 at 6:40 pm