Archive for the ‘International’ Category
At the risk of a visit of the Suffolk Police anxious to protect the reputation of the Muslim Brotherhood…
Not an endorsement, but this cover by secular leftists of Gloria Gaynor’s 1978 “I will Survive,” with satirical Arabic lyrics (translated in subtitles) about the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis in Egypt since the fall of dictator Hosni Mubarak gives a window into the grievances and disappointments of the youth who made the January 25, 2011 revolution.
Thousands of protesters gathered in Tahrir Square today, Friday, demanding that Muslim Brotherhood leader and Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi call early presidential elections. The ‘Rebel’ campaign is supported by a group of leftist and liberal parties.
Real Left Unity.
Marxist Dentists around the UK leave copies of The Lady and Country Life to stir up class hatred.
At least that was my theory on reading Rachel Johnson’s magazine this morning waiting for an appointment.
One article about a Lady of the British Empire who could not boil an egg, had crossed the planet, swum with dolphins, holidayed in the Savanna, struck me.
I doubt if she was prepared to walk to Liddle to get 15 pence off a tin of sardines.
This, I suspect, is not a lone reaction.
Margaret Thatcher’s death and the rise of UKIP brought back a cold draft of class politics to this country.
Many realised that the Thatcher project, to make everybody stand or fall in the gales of competing on the market, and the pumped-up loathing of foreigners |(notably excepting the USA) that went with it, is alive and well.
Like many on the left, trade unionists and anti-cuts activists, I am committed to the People’s Assembly Against Austerity.
This is a grand occasion for us to get together on issues that affect us all, to build a constructive left-wing alternative to the politics of hate and the priorities of the wealthy.
It will unite us with our fellows across Europe in opposing the financial forces that have imposed cuts and more privatisation in the UK, and destitution and mass unemployment in countries from Greece and Spain to Portugal – not to mention the misery brought upon UKIP’s bogies in Rumania and Bulgaria.
There is a serious debate to be had about the European Union, and the role of the ”Troika’ in pushing through austerity.
The French left is divided between those who think that Angela Merkel is at heart a pragmatist and will – eventually – see sense and launch an expansionist drive. French president Hollande’s intervention yesterday, in which he proposed a European economic “governance” went in this sense. Some on his side believe in federalism, a politically united Europe.
Others are sceptical. They want a radical overhall of the EU. A few want greater national sovereignty restored.
In the UK we have by contrast, as Seamus Milne noted in the Guardian this week, a debate on Europe whose agenda is set by the right.
This is a threat,
a successful Tory-led campaign to pull out of the EU would risk unleashing a carnival of reaction, anti-migrant hysteria, more attacks on social rights, and a further lurch to the right.
Milne states, rightly,
What has been almost entirely missing from the mainstream British public debate has been the progressive case for fundamental change that has been central to the struggle over the EU and its treaties in mainland Europe. In the 1975 referendum, the left case against the then common market was that it was a cold war customs union against the developing world that would block socialist reforms. But the modern EU has gone much further, giving a failed neoliberal model of capitalism the force of treaty, entrenching deregulation and privatisation and enforcing corporate power over employment rights.
What would be fatal would be to allow the nationalist right to continue to dictate the EU agenda and wrap itself in the mantle of democratic legitimacy. The terms of debate have to change – for the sake of both Britain and Europe.
Much of the British left remain dominated by the anti-EEC ideas of the 1970s.
They have not confronted this menace.
Indeed they think their tiny forces can intervene to make the “progressive” case for a sovereign UK outside the EU.
We need a real campaign in place of this: for a united social Europe!
The People’s Assembly could be a place to make the case of this.
Some of the left think there is a mileage in the Left Unity appeal of Kate Hudson and Ken Loach.
Recent prominent members of Respect , who failed to protest against George Galloway’ s politics, they are not in a position to preach unity to anybody least of all the ‘left’.
I merely cite this report by Tina Becker from the Weekly Worker to show that this is a dead-end,
Kate Hudson and Andrew Burgin (important driving forces) would have liked the proceedings to have gone differently. After all, the Stop the War Coalition and Respect – organisations both comrades were prominent in – were far more choreographed. But, ironically, bureaucratic coherence in fronts like these was provided by the likes of the Socialist Workers Party, part of the organised left to which LU is to a great extent a reaction. The politically decrepit Socialist Resistance – the one ‘insider’ group – is no substitute.
The proposed political platform written by Kate Hudson was circulated three days before; a proposal for the electoral procedure to the national coordination committee was sent out 20 hours before; the chairs seem to have been pre-chosen on the basis that they had no previous experience of handling big meetings (one chair was actually introduced as someone who had “never attended a political meeting before”). No wonder that quite a few times people in the room (the chairs included) did not actually know what exactly they were voting on. It was pretty chaotic, in other words.
This was also reflected in the rather uneven attendance. Local groups were supposed to send two delegates each, but where more people expressed an interest in coming, they were advised by the interim leadership to simply divide their group into smaller parts. For example, Manchester comrades – all sitting together in the same meeting, in the same room – selected five delegates from different parts of the city. Elsewhere, groups had not even met yet. Andrew Burgin admitted that about half of the “90 or 100” local groups exist only in so far as one person had volunteered to be the local contact. So the reality was that pretty much anybody who wanted to come could do so.
Unless, of course, you happened to be a representative of a political organisation. The interim organising committee had decided to bar existing groups from even sending observers – apart from a representative of the Red-Green Alliance from Denmark, who showed up halfway through the meeting. Obviously it would have been a little harsh to send this poor comrade packing after he had made such a long journey, presumably on a well-informed hunch.
Followed by the latest TUSC (Left involving the RMT, Socialist Party and SWP) election result.
Election of a Borough Councillor for Rawmarsh Ward (Rotherham) on Thursday 16 May 2013
|Baldwin, William George||British National Party||80|
|Gray, Andrew Tony||Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts||61|
|Meharban, Mohammed||Liberal Democrats||28|
|Parker, Martyn Lawton||The Conservative Party Candidate||107|
|Vines, Caven||UK Independence Party||1143 Elected|
|Wright, Lisa Marie||Labour Party Candidate||1039|
From Le Monde,
Les onze hommes sont qualifiés de “soldats apostats”, et leur bourreau, le visage couvert d’une cagoule noire, affirme dans cet enregistrement qu’ils ont été condamnés par un tribunal islamique de la province de Daïr Az Zour, dans l’est de la Syrie. Les “condamnés”, agenouillés et les yeux bandés, sont exécutés d’une balle à l’arrière du crâne. A chaque détonation, des islamistes brandissant des drapeaux noirs crient “Allah est grand.
The rebels from the Front Al-Nosra, linked to Al-Qaeda, have executed 11 Syrians accused of taking part in massacres committed by Bachar Al-Assad’s forces – according to a video put on line Thursday the 16th of May.
The 11 men are called “apostate soldiers”, and their butchers, their faces covered with a black hood, claim, in the video-recording, that they have been condemned by an Islamic Tribunal in the province of Daïr Az Zour in the Eastern Syria. The “condemned”, kneeling and blindfolded, are executed with a bullet in the back of the head. At each shot the Islamists wave black flags and shout, “Allah is Great.”
A further report in English,
Another video from Syria has emerged on YouTube showing jihadists of the rebel al-Nusra Front executing 11 men accused of playing a role in massacres by President Bashar al-Assad.
Earlier this week, footage posted online by a group loyal to the Assad regime showed a man, knife in hand, slicing parts of a dead soldier’s torso before turning to the camera and putting the heart in his mouth.
Like many, every day we have less and less sympathy for the Syrian Islamists.
Indeed with anybody engaged in killing.
Bangladesh May 6th: Human Rights Watch Calls for Inquiry into Deaths, But Says ‘Genocide’ Claims Unfounded.
Al Jazeera reports,
Al Jazeera has obtained video footage suggesting that the Bangladesh government has been providing inaccurate death tolls from recent violence.
According to official figures, 11 people had died during fighting between police and protesters from Hifazat-e-Islam, an Islamic group, on May 6, a day protesters refer to as the “Siege of Dhaka”.
Human Rights Watch, a US-based rights group, said that the exact number of deaths resulting from the protests are “unclear”.
“Independent news sources put the figure at approximately 50 dead, with others succumbing to injuries later,” HRW said in a statement on Saturday.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Dipu Moni downplayed reports of inaccuracy in government figures.
Human Rights Watch says,
The Bangladeshi authorities should immediately set up an independent commission to investigate the large numbers of deaths and injuries during the Hefazat-e-Islaam-led protests in Dhaka and elsewhere on May 5-6, 2013, Human Rights Watch said today.
The commission should also investigate violence that killed dozens in February, March, and April after protests and counter-protests broke out after the announcement of verdicts by the country’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT).
The exact number of deaths during the May 5-6 protest remains unclear, with figures ranging from the official government figure of 11 deaths to Hefazat’s estimate of thousands. Independent news sources put the figure at approximately 50 dead, with others succumbing to injuries later. The dead include several security personnel.
“Bangladesh will see a plethora of demonstrations this year in response to additional verdicts from the ICT and in the run-up to national elections,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Without an independent investigation, accountability, and improved policing methods, we could see serial bloodbaths.”
Human Rights Watch said that political tensions are likely to increase as more war crimes verdicts are handed down at the ICT and as elections scheduled for late 2013 or early 2014 approach. Opposition parties, including Hefazat, have already announced several protests scheduled over the next week. A flashpoint could be the reaction to the May 9 death penalty handed down by the ICT against Mohamed Kamaruzzaman, a leading official of the Jamaat-e-Islami party. Past war crimes verdicts have been a catalyst for protests and violence throughout Bangladesh.
Human Rights Watch called on opposition parties such as the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the Jammat-e-Islami Party, as well as independent organizations such as Hefazat, to condemn and take steps to deter their supporters from carrying out unlawful attacks, including on law enforcement officers or members of the public with different political views.
Human Rights Watch called on the government to publicly order the security forces to follow the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, which state that security forces shall “apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms,” and that “whenever the lawful use of force and firearms is unavoidable, law enforcement officials shall: (a) Exercise restraint in such use and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offence and the legitimate objective to be achieved; (b) Minimize damage and injury, and respect and preserve human life.”
Section 22 of the Basic Principles states that: “Governments and law enforcement agencies shall establish effective reporting and review procedures for all incidents…Governments and law enforcement agencies shall ensure that an effective review process is available and that independent administrative or prosecutorial authorities are in a position to exercise jurisdiction in appropriate circumstances. In cases of death and serious injury or other grave consequences, a detailed report shall be sent promptly to the competent authorities responsible for administrative review and judicial control.” Section 23 states that, “Persons affected by the use of force and firearms or their legal representatives shall have access to an independent process, including a judicial process. In the event of the death of such persons, this provision shall apply to their dependants accordingly.”
“The Bangladeshi government has a responsibility to victims, whether protesters, bystanders or police, to ensure that an effective investigation is carried out into each death,” Adams said.
Hefazat, the conservative Muslim group that draws support from thousands of religious seminaries, led a “siege of Dhaka” on May 5, with demonstrations taking place in other parts of the country. Human Rights Watch said that claims of “genocide” by Hefazat and other opposition parties are unfounded and have only served to heighten tensions.
“The toxic swirl of rumor and rhetoric surrounding the protest of May 5-6 will only get worse unless the government acts quickly in a transparent manner,” Adams said. “Given the lack of trust between various parties, it is imperative that these answers come from an independent and impartial body.”
Human Rights Watch expressed concern that Hefazat recruited boys from madrassahs to participate in the “siege.” Many of the boys were unaware of the risks of marching into Dhaka. Independent journalists told Human Rights Watch that after the protests were broken up by security forces, they encountered groups of boys who had never been to Dhaka before and were terrified by the experience of seeing dead bodies and large-scale violence. The boys asked journalists for directions to bus stations so they could go home. They were no longer accompanied by adults.
Human Rights Watch called on the government to ensure media and civil society are able to independently report on the protests. Two television stations that support opposition political parties, Islamic TV and Diganta TV, were taken off the air by the government on the night of May 5-6 and remain off the air at the time of writing. The stations were reporting live from the site of the protests. In April, the government shut down opposition newspaper Amar Desh and jailed its editor, Mahmdur Rahman, and other journalists. The government has also jailed some bloggers who had expressed atheist sentiments in their writings.
“The government’s claims to be the most open and democratic in Bangladesh’s history are undermined by censorship of critical voices,” Adams said. “The government can take reasonab
This is what George Galloway said when calling for the overthrow of the Bangladeshi government last weekend ,
Galloway denounced the massacre of Islamic scholars earlier in the week.
“Even on the most conservative estimates of the number of people murdered, it exceeds the loss of life in 9/11,” said Galloway.
Last night Enrico Tortolano, spoke on neo-liberal economics and politics to a public meeting at he UNITE offices held by the Ipswich People’s Assembly Against Austerity.
Up to 30 people turned up her brother Tortolano, who has worked on human rights with social movements in Latin America, and now is a research officer for the PCS union as well as writing for Tribune.
Enrico gave a talk of great clarity on how the wealthy have established free-market economics as the foundation of state policy in many countries. Everybody is told to be ‘self-reliant’ as taxes are lowered for the well-off and all forms of redistribution are undermined. We have, Tortolano said, crept back to pre-First World War levels of inequality.
In Britain attacks on welfare and privatising the state were being pushed through as part of what Naomi Klein called the “shock doctrine”. That is, taking advantage of a crisis to push through extreme free-market ideas.
He noted that the first to apply this method had been Augusto Pinochet , the Chilean dictator.
The recently deceased Margaret Thatcher had admired the leader of the Chilean coup, which had left thousands of left opponents dead and many more imprisoned and tortured.
From annual get-togethers in Davos (Switzerland), to thousands of ‘think-tanks’ and sympathetic media, their message has been relayed by all the main political parties in the West.
British politics seem to be restricted to the limits set by the ‘orthodox’ free-market economics.
The People’s Assembly, Tortalano said, offered a real opportunity for the left to unite and to put forward a different economic and political strategy. Ultimately the threat to the planet’s resources from the market would affect everybody.
The audience, which included trade unionists, local Labour councillors, library campaigners, and activists from the Green and socialist parties, joined in a fruitful discussion on this talk.
It was suggested that the People’s Assembly should take up the issue of low pay (very important in Ipswich), of the Bedroom Tax, and the fight against the wave of further cuts in public spending that will affect council (above all County Council) services in the coming months.
The Secretary of the Trades Council, Teresa Mackay pointed out that 80% of the cuts were still to come.
It was argued that the People’s Assembly needs a constructive and a positive message. It was not enough to just fight neoliberal economics and the hatred of the poor and migrant workers stirred up by the Liberal-Tory Coalition.
The left has to offer a democratic and egalitarian way of creating institutions for equality and collective need.
A co-ordinator will organise E-Mail contacts for the Ipswich People’s Assembly.
Transport will be available from Ipswich to take people to the London Assembly.
In the coming weeks we will be organising a campaign locally to draw attention to the links between Primark and other retail outlets and the terrible deaths of garment workers in Bangladesh.
As an activist said, “The numbers of the dead just keep rising.”