Archive for the ‘Labour Movement’ Category
Seymour Cautiously Predicts Civil Strife in Middle East.
An elegiac Richard Seymour begins today by lifting out hearts.
“We face an absurd situation. A war that is already, on its face, a sort of defeat. Liberal and left intelligentsia once more carolling support for ‘humanitarian intervention’. From the political class, the feast of reason and the flow of the soul, as always. “
The “vim” , he discourses, that is ” impossible to fault as a desideratum.”
What else? Well, isn’t it about time – isn’t it always time? – to arm the rebels? The bearers of this slogan are a living illustration of an old axiom about the proximity of liberalism and ultra-leftism, for they are ultimately as dependent upon the happenstance benign behaviour of imperialist states as those who call for direct military intervention. And then, what else? A solidarity campaign. Fundraising, petitions, protests outside Downing Street, a workers’ convoy of aid to the Kurds. If the Iraqi left is non-existent, its working class weak, let the imperishable British left substitute for it.
Note: this looks very like (as Seymour would no doubt opine on imperishable reflection) a reference to the mass-line of Tendance Coatesy.
“And behold the mortal dread, the fear of the risen proletariat, in the looks of ISIS. “
By happenstance, perchance, mayhap…..mortally…..the sight of the “risen proletariat”….. after the crucifixions of ISIS…..?
Seymour continues, lugubriously,
I may sound frankly tired and cadaverously grim about the prospects, but don’t let that fool you: I very well am both tired and grim.
Note: Buy Seymour a copy of Fowler’s Modern English style with entries on elegant variation and inversion underlined.
It would be tone dumb, as well as in factual error, to counter this by saying that military action is illegal. No such axiom will do. The answer to the ridiculously simple slogans of humanitarian intervention cannot be shibboleths of our own.
Tone dumb indeed.
That copy of Fowler’s is winging its way already…..
The prospect which the British government is shamelessly vaunting, that they can defeat ISIS in three years, is about as believable as any other ‘cakewalk’ scenario….
The biscuit taken, the sonorous (perhaps I should say, orotund?) conclusion arrives.
“Civil war, then, in both Iraq and Syria, for the foreseeable future.”
As usual, I have no solutions.”
Comrade Tatchell’s Call is the Right Response.
Few will have much time for those who simply dismiss any action against the genociders of ISIL as “imperialism”.
It is unfortunate that those who wish to “stop the war” rely on arguments that conflate the murders of a totalitarian gang with all the other forces at play.
It is even more unfortunate that ‘Little Englander’ arguments are used against the war, about its expense, and the fear that killers may attack “us”.
But we should be extremely wary of getting enthusiastic for a bombing campaign without clear objectives, and without a real chance of a democratic outcome.
It would be misguided to jump on the bandwagon that looks as if it’s going to lead to moves for “regime change” in Syria – a recipe for more chaos, suffering and the growth of Islamist killer forces.
But there is one dimension in which we can support intervention.
Patrick Cockburn states
What the plans of President Obama and Mr Cameron lack is a diplomatic plan to bring the war between the non-Isis parties in Syria to an end. The two sides fear and hate each other too much for any political solution, but it may be possible for the foreign backers of the two sides to pressure them into agreeing a ceasefire. Neither is in a position to win against each other, but both are threatened by Isis, which inflicted stinging defeats on both Assad and anti-Assad forces in the summer.
Britain should press for such a truce even if it is only engaged militarily in Iraq, because it is the outcome of the war in Syria that will determine what happens in Iraq. It was the Syrian war beginning in 2011 that reignited Iraq’s civil war and not the misdeeds of Mr Maliki.
If Isis is to be combated effectively, then the US, Britain and their allies need to establish a closer relationship with those who are actually fighting Isis, which currently include the Syrian Army, the Syrian Kurds, Hezbollah of Lebanon, Iranian-backed militias and Iran itself. The necessity for this is being made tragically clear in the Syria Kurdish enclave of Kobane on the Syrian-Turkish border, where Isis fighters have already driven 200,000 Kurds into Turkey.
Perhaps as the Stop the War Coalition has published Cockburn they might heed what comrade Peter Tatchell says,
The truth is that if the US and UK are serious about fighting ISIS they should start by aiding the people on the ground who know the region best, have local roots and who are already leading the fight against the jihadist menace – the peshmerga army of the Kurdish regional government in Iraq and guerrillas from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and allied movements in Syria. This aid could include training, weapons, military intelligence, food and medical equipment. With extra assistance and supplies, they could be a powerful, effective counter-force to ISIS. The aim would be to empower them to liberate themselves.
Kurdish protesters made this call in London during the last week. They want international military aid to enable Kurdish fighters to roll back the ISIS advance.
Sadly, the UK Stop The War Coalition (STWC) has allowed its opposition to war to trump support for democracy and human rights. It is laudable to oppose western military attacks but a betrayal to show no solidarity with the democratic, secular, liberal and left forces in Iraq and Syria who are fighting ISIS and Assad’s blood-soaked tyranny.
Not backing military aid to these progressive forces, as an alternative to Western intervention, is a serious misjudgement. STWC’s failure to support those fighting an emerging genocide has a whiff of de facto acquiescence and collusion.
I hate war and see it as a last resort. But to stave off a bloodbath and enslavement, the progressive anti-ISIS fighters deserve assistance from the West and the whole international community. If military aid to partisans fighting Nazi fascism was the right thing to do in the 1940s, then surely support for those opposing ISIS clerical fascism is the right thing to do today.
We can discuss for hours the ultimate responsibility for the rise of Islamic State.
But there is one major problem that affects everything here and now: the actions of the Turkish government, nominally a backer of the anti-ISIS coalition.
The Guardian today publishes this report, on the attitudes of the Kurds,
Like the majority of Kurds here he firmly believes that Ankara is actively supporting Isis with heavy weaponry, medical care and money – a charge that the Turkish government vehemently denies. Facebook pictures and YouTube videos that appear to back up their suspicions are eagerly shared among the picnickers, and continuous attacks by Turkish security forces on Kurdish activists gathering in border villages is proof enough for most that Turkey does not want the Kurds to prevail in Kobani.
“We arrived on Monday from Siirt,” explains Mehmet, 55. “We want to show support and be there for our brothers and sisters across the border. We want to show them and the world that we will not give up on them. We will stay as long as we have to.” Guardian.
So, how are we to back the Kurds?
George Galloway, after some distasteful rhetoric, and for all the distaste we have for him, had a brief moment of good sense in the House of Commons yesterday,
Galloway eventually outlined a plan when Rory Stewart, the Conservative chairman of the Commons defence select committee, challenged him to “please bring us towards his solution to this problem”. The MP for Bradford West called for a strengthening of forces already fighting Isis; arming the forces fighting Isis; and strengthening of Kurdish forces. Guardian.
If Galloway’s Moment of Clarity was not to last (he has since been raving in support of Assad and people’s right to set up states based on Islamic ‘law’) this is of rather more weight:
The Morning Star says (Editorial, Friday),
What’s needed instead is support for those anti-Isis forces in the region which are genuinely broad-based and secular.
The Syrian, Iraqi and Kurdish authorities on the ground should set the terms for assistance in that struggle, endorsed by the United Nations, not the US president, his wire-pullers and their imagined allies in Turkey and the Gulf states.
With this consensus growing on the British left * (one that already exists on the largely pro-Kurd Continental left) – outside the depleted ranks of the SWP and other die-hard ‘anti-imperialists’ – we hope that others will voice their backing for the Kurdish fighters.
* See for example, (Socialist Resistance) STOP THE BRUTAL ATTACKS BY ISIS IN KOBANE, and the declarations by groups such as the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (see this important article, ISIS horror forces a culture shift on the left) and the general trend towards backing the Kurds, amongst many other declarations.
The French bloc Ensemble (in the Front de Gauche) refuses to back “national union” behind the air-strikes but then adds a call for “un engagement dans le soutien aux peuples en lutte contre l’Etat islamique, essentiellement de la force de la résistance kurde et syrienne, qui sont des acteurs essentiels pour l’avenir de la région et par le refus des interventions déstabilisatrices des grandes puissances.” A commitment to support the peoples in struggle against the Islamic state, principally the Kurdish and Syrian resistance, who are the central actors in assuring the region’s future, against the destabilising effects of the great powers’ interventions.
Will this Defeat UKIP?
Some on the left remain in mourning for the failure of the Scottish referendum to “bring their country into the world of free and sovereign nations”. Some console themselves that Alba is already a “transformed, empowered country.” (Neil Ascherson. Observer. 21.8.14.)
Westminster Centralism appears on the wane. A large constituency demands a “grant of real responsibility to local communities.” This means, they say, a change in the structure of the British constitution, perhaps an English parliament, certainly greater control for regions and cities inside and outwith Scotland’s borders.
Constitutional issues are not the preserve of Scottish nationalists or the new regionalists. UKIP has made its transition from pressure group to serious political contender by demanding that Britain be ‘free’ from the legislative power of the European Union. The issue of sovereignty is the central concern of Nigel Farage’s party. UKIP is, first and foremost, anti-EU. It wants ‘independence’ for the British people from ‘Brussels’. It is not ‘Eurosceptic’; it is Europhobic.
The Scottish separatists want to see the back of ‘Westminster’, for the good of their own people. Some, notably in the SNP, claim to see the European Union as a positive force that would help them towards that aim. With their common concern with national power we can call both parties, despite this major difference on the EU, “sovereigntists.” The party once led by Alex Salmond believes in a limited degree of pooled sovereignty in order to ‘save the nation state’ (as Milward called it), UKIP is simply wants to shore up the nation state. (1)
Stand up to UKIP.
Left-wing activists, called to support the campaign Stand up to UKIP, which plans a major demonstration outside the Party’s conference next weekend, can be forgiven for forgetting the word “independence” in the title. The launch of this campaign, after all, declares,
“It has built up its electoral base by both presenting itself as a party opposed to the European Union, but more importantly by spreading poisonous lies and hatred towards migrants and Muslims. We believe UKIP is a racist party. This may be something Farage and the party’s leadership is quick to deny. But in the run up to the European elections UKIP’s mask slipped. UKIP presents the anti-racist movement with a major problem – dragging British politics to the right.”
Let us leave aside the claim that UKIP specialises in ‘anti-Muslim’ campaigning. This will come as news to the Bangladeshi organisers of the Ipswich ‘Multi-cultural festival’ at the end of August this year, who included a full page UKIP advertisement, along with Labour and Tory endorsements, in the day’s programme. It will also be a surprise to anybody reading official UKIP material, which does not single out the topic of Islam, but instead includes it within a blanket condemnation on multi-culturalism – the real reason to be astonished at the Ipswich anomaly.
Andy Jones argues, “UKIP is the main organised expression of the new anti-immigrant racism.” (International Socialism. June 2014. No 114) Nobody can deny that it has gained support for its hostility towards migration – their leaflets warning of a mass Bulgarian and Rumanian invasion are still fresh in people’s minds. Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin point to their ability to “recognise and often moblise public resentments of immigration and ethnic minorities among the white majority” (Page 159 Revolt on the Right. 2014).
Is this part and parcel of a “party of bigots, sexists, Islamophobes and homophobes”? Perhaps. But does this imply that they have won votes as this kind of party? Stand up to UKIP clearly seems to think that “exposing” them as such will eat away at their support. Others consider that this is part of their appeal.
Ford and Godwin state that UKIP’s “electoral base is old, male, working class, white and less educated, much like the BNP’s (Ibid). Their analysis of the attitudes within the group they identify would tend to support the view that many of UKIP’s less attractive and prejudices attitudes have an echo within their constituency. Others note that the Stand up to UKIP list of bigoted opinions, slightly more politely expressed, is shared with middle class and upper class voters, the readership of the Daily Mail, Telegraph, and the Times. That UKIP voters are by no means largely working class. (2)
In the publicity for the 27th demonstration at UKIP’s conference it’s stated, “UKIP likes to say it is the “people’s army” in opposition to the political elite in the mainstream parties. But it is a racist party that blames migrant workers for the problems in society it is acting as a shield for the bankers who are really responsible for the economic crisis.”
Is shouting “racist party” outside the UKIP meeting going to change anybody’s opinions? I say shouting, but screaming ‘racist’ is the likely prospect. The involvement of Unite Against Fascism (UAF) signals the direction the protest is taking. This Sealed-Knot re-enactment of the Anti-Nazi League (ANL) demonstrations of yesteryear is a dead-end. The chorus, conducted by the Socialist Workers Party (Stand up’s main initiator) is not going to win over anybody outside their ranks.
Revealing the role of UKIP as “shield for the bankers” is as unlikely undermine their support as “unmasking” them as an unsavoury load of old racists. The competition created in the labour market by migration is – on at least some evidence deliberately encouraged by employers – is the material basis on which people ‘blame’ foreigners for low wages.
A trade union approach is to set a standard, the Living Wage, and high social benefits and work protection for all. Only unions are capable of grappling with these problems directly, bringing the actual and potential UKIP voters together with migrants on the basis of common interests. The left needs to focus on campaigns by the TUC and its affiliates, to prevent the bosses from setting one group against another. It is the European Union which should create the conditions for continent-wide higher wages and social benefits, a strategy of upgrading standards. Any form of sovereigntist politics, from UKIP, the SNP (which advocates lower corporation tax in Scotland) to the Conservative Party’s own Eurosceptic policies (the most direct threat), is an attack on this internationalist approach.
After Douglas Carswell’s resignation from the Tory party and decision to stand for UKIP in Clacton on the 9th of October the party is rarely out of the headline. Polls gives Carswell a wide lead. The group now has 39,143 members. The left has to think, deeply and seriously, without yelling, about how to deal with UKIP’s appeal.
UKIP’s biggest weakness is not that it is a party with an exceptionally high membership of obsessives, xenophobes and oddballs. Having set out on a ‘populist’ path, that is, with the call for the British to rise up against the Brussels elite, its focus anti-European policies cut if off from the large numbers of people who (correctly) identify the ‘elite’ with a domestic Establishment. Many in these circles, including those who are virulently opposed to ‘Brussels’, are attracted, with a degree of ‘cultural cringe’ to the United States. They are prepared to cooperate with Washington and Wall Street in enterprises like TIIP, which open the way to an even greater extension of free-market power.
Farage’s organisation does not combine their prejudices with a degree of ‘social’ demands (protecting ‘the British worker’ ‘our NHS’). It opts for hard-line free-market policies. Continental populists, by contrast, are often opposed to ‘globalisation’ and ‘neo-liberalism’. Some European ‘populist’ parties, like the French Front National, have even tried to influence trade unions (3). This may reflect their middle class base, although the French FN equally benefits from electoral backing in middle class and wealthy areas (the traditional fiefs of the right and extreme-right in cities like Paris).
Yet UKIP’s electoral success (27.5% of the vote in the European elections) has had exactly the same effect: a constant drag towards the right, hauling political players towards its brand of patriotism.
That they are braggarts, demagogues, that their xenophobic policies (directed against other Europeans) have racial overtones (against any ‘foreigners’ – that is, including British citizens, ethnic minorities), is important. This should be brought out and attacked.
But the only way Farage’s party will be sent back to the margins is by facing up to the issue of Sovereignty. To Stand up to UKIP is to stand up for the European Union, to engage in the transformation of its structures and to build a European Social Republic.
Note: for a real anti-racist campaigning group see Hope not Hate which has covered everyday racism, UKIP, the BNP and other UK far-right groups, including Islamists.
(1) The European Rescue of the Nation State (1999) by the late Alan Milward.
(2) “The data on which Ford and Goodwin base their analysis of Ukip voters consists, as they acknowledge, of people who intend to vote Ukip, rather than those who have. On the occasions when Ukip’s vote increases dramatically (such as in European elections) their new or temporary voters are more likely to be middle-class, financially secure and from Conservative backgrounds. And, while Ukip did indeed attract more former Labour voters during the later New Labour years, they have won a substantially higher proportion of Tory voters since the coalition came to power.
So there might be another explanation for the high Ukip vote in Labour areas. As the BBC’s political research editor, David Cowling, points out, in Labour’s safest seat in the country at the 2010 election, 28% of voters still supported other parties. This is not because Liverpool Walton is peppered with enclaves of bankers and stockbrokers; it’s because a substantial section of the working class has always voted for parties other than Labour and now that vote is going to Ukip. Ford and Goodwin argue that Ukip’s success has reduced the swing to Labour among old, poor and male voters. But that’s different from saying that Ukip is eating into the existing Labour vote, as it clearly is into the Conservatives’.” David Edgar.
(2) See the collection of articles in Nouveau Visages des Extrêmes Droites. Manière de Voir. Le Monde Diplomatique. 134. Avril Mai 2014.
Update: SWP Party Notes,
Stand Up to Ukip: Doncaster 27 September
Ukip look odds on to win their first MP in the Clacton by-election on 9 October following the defection of Douglas Carswell to Ukip from the Tories.
Nigel Farage hopes to exploit the tensions inside the Tory party together with rising Islamaphobia to increase Ukip’s influence. This will drag politics further to the right, further boosting racist scapegoating.
The demonstration outside Ukip’s conference in Doncaster on Saturday 27 September is a key step in developing campaign against Ukip.
Every branch needs to think about transport to Doncaster. Approach trade unions for sponsorship and to publicise the demo and we should produce tickets to sell. (a template is attached). We should leaflet FE colleges and universities as they return. Using the Stand up to Ukip statement, which has an impressive list of ‘big’ names on it around work and with people we know locally is a good way to talk to people about the importance of coming to Doncaster and showing that there is organised opposition to Ukip.
More transport has been put on over the last week – including from Huddesfield, Chesterfield, Nottingham, West Midlands, Newcastle, Derby. For the full list go to standuptoukip.org
There are SUTU public meetings tonight in Manchester and Cambridge.
To order colour 2-sided A5 leaflets advertising the demo in Doncaster, firstname.lastname@example.org – 1,000 cost £15.
Loser expects Devolution Demands to be met “in Rapid Form”.
The campaign for Scottish Independence lost the referendum.
“With the results in from all 32 council areas, the “No” side won with 2,001,926 votes over 1,617,989 for “Yes”.” (BBC)
With the grace and good humour of a stoat, a stoat that’s just had a rabbit snatched from its maw, Alex Salmond, leader of the SNP announced, “Scotland has, by a majority, decided not at this stage to become an independent country. And I accept that verdict of the people. And I call on all of Scotland to follow suit in accepting the democratic verdict of the people of Scotland.”
The First Minister of Scotland quickly added, “The unionist parties made vows late in the campaign to devolve more powers to Scotland. Scotland will expect these to be honoured in rapid form.” (Guardian)
Tommy Sheridan of ‘Solidarity’, tweeted, ” Bosses, Bankers, Billionaires & Millionaires unite with Labour MPs, Tories, UKIP & UK Establishment 2 celebrate Project Fear.”
Colin Fox Spokesperson of the Scottish Socialist Party found time to state (Sky), “The big story tonight is the astonishing levels of turnout in a political contest in Scotland, which is on a par with North Korea, China, Cuba and those places.I think it’s remarkable and I certainly want to pay tribute to the Yes campaigners who over the last two years have energised this country. Clearly both sides of the campaign deserve credit for those levels of turnout.
Commenting on the relatively lower turnout in Glasgow in comparison with other areas, Mr Fox said: “Glasgow’s turnout in the Scottish Parliament elections is usually 40% and it is now 75%, so that’s not to be sniffed at.Let’s hope we can keep it at that level, I think it’s astonishing. Nearly doubling the turnout in Glasgow is a significant achievement for Scotland’s biggest city, with the greatest deprivation and the biggest social problems.”
This mobilisation apparently was the most impressive aspect of the campaign to Red Pepper. Ken Ferguson wrote this breathless article in the Red-Green journal – before the referendum yesterday.
Whatever the outcome of the Scottish independence referendum on 18 September one thing is certain: the campaign waged by Yes has electrified large swathes of public opinion and reinvigorated democratic debate. The formal Yes campaign, launched two years ago, has been the public face of the pro-independence case. But this has been eclipsed by a burgeoning mass movement of unprecedented scale and breadth.
Ferguson saw many things in this movement, though not, apparently the loyalty to their ‘ain’ State by many of the Yes supporters.
The character and content of the campaign, with its stress on social justice, poverty and opposition to Trident (Scottish CND back Yes), is clearly of the left but it has now far outgrown the organisations of the left. The task, then, is to find an approach that keeps this movement mobilised and able to deal with whatever the referendum produces.
He then observed,
A No result poses even more difficult challenges. First, many of the layers of people – particularly youth – energised by the campaign would face a bitter defeat. It would be vital that the left acts to assess the result and how to deal with it to prevent disillusionment and demobilisation.
For the first time in many years the left has been part of, indeed helped to create, a mass movement that goes beyond the single issue of Yes and starts to open up a vision of a different Scotland and, more widely, a different world. Whatever the result, a democratic debate on how we find both a grassroots and electoral expression of that movement needs to take place immediately.
At its heart will be the need for the left, in dialogue with and not dictating to the mass movement, to win purchase for the kind of green, left democratic politics that energises the broad Yes movement. The consequences of not doing so were shown at the Euro elections, when early discussions of a red/green candidate backed by the Greens and the SSP fell by the wayside. Such an alliance might well have prevented UKIP winning Scotland’s fourth Euro seat and, while a bitter lesson, it also points to the prospects that exist if the left can grasp the opportunities to hand.
Democracy has been the driver of the Yes campaign’s aims and on 18 September it needs to be the watchword for the left whatever the result.
Energising, bitter lessons, democracy, and not a word about the hysterical patriotism of the Yes campaign’s supporters.
This stand is shared by the Radical Independence Campaign whose left-wing politics have been watered down (perhaps wisely in view of the above observation – they worked very closely with the SNP in the final days of the referendum, even organising joint canvassing) to this harmless statement,
We believe Scotland should be a people’s democracy, a society of equality, a great welfare state, a good neighbour, and pioneer a just economy.
More realistic are European observers who note the nationalism of the main party campaigning for the Yes vote, the SNP – whose name might be a clue in this respect.
In the French and Belgian media they call them “sovereigntists” – those who want Scottish sovereign power above everything else.
This, it is true, would be used to create a slightly different world, one in which another small state offers advantages to corporations in order to compete in the European Union, and makes sure its own party snaffles as much power and privilege as it can get.
The snaffling is proceeding with Salmond’s demands for “more power”.
Nobody can deny that the mild social democratic policies (on, for example, Student fees and prescription charges) of the Holyrood government have advantages over those pursued in the rest of the UK.
Some would argue that this is proof that they should be extended to England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and not restricted to Alba.
This contrasts with the ambitious thinking of leftists prepared to settle, if not for socialist politics, at least for the radical ambition of a ‘break up’ of Britain.
Tom Nairn, a New Leftist who enjoys close relations with the SNP, is known for this phrase. (1)
He called the British state, Ukania (on the model of the novelist Thomas Musil’s name for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Kakania), one of many unfunny jokes of which Nairn alone has the secret.
The end of this Prison of the Peoples would set the ….People free.
For reasons which are all too obvious a certain type of leftist dullard saw in this a call to “smash the (capitalist) state”.
On this basis the nationalist programme of standing up for one People, the Scots, became the cause of the Peoples.
The workers had a country, and that country was Scotland.
It would apparently be moving in a “republican” direction -despite not a squeak on this change from the SNP.
Indeed Salmond seemed to think he would be anointed in power by the Queen, no doubt in full ceremonial dress.
Arguments which are harder to follow were used to assert that a separatist movement in the United Kingdom was in reality….internationalism.
Another state would bring nations and the working classes of the world closer together.
And another state, and another……
This is the logic of the ‘negation of the negation’. It resembles Trotsky’s claim in Terrorism and Communism (1920), that “The road to socialism lies through a period of the highest possible intensification of the principle of the state … Just as a lamp, before going out, shoots up in a brilliant flame, so the state, before disappearing, assumes the form of the dictatorship of the proletariat…”
Stalin put paid to the application of that argument in the Soviet Union.
Unfortunately, with Salmond still panting for ermine and the Royal blessing for independence, and many on the Scottish left continuing to believe in their ain state for their ain folk, their ideas have not been fully refuted by their present defeat.
The ‘patriots’ of the SNP and the left seem determined to continue.
As indeed do UKIP – our next target.
(1) See (some parts dated) The Break-Up of Tom Nairn? Tom Nairn, Pariah: Misfortunes of the British Kingdom, Verso, 2002. Hardback, 300pp, £15.99. Reviewed by Andrew Coates.
The Parti Communiste Français (PCF) declared in July,
The Islamist terrorist organisation Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which decreed the creation of a Caliphate which straddles Iraq and Syria, has launched a military offensive against independent Syrian Kurdistan.
Taking advantage of the disintegration of Iraq and seizing heavy weapons, they have taken their fight to Kurdish districts in Syria, areas in which the population has for months waged a heroic struggle against these obscurantist forces – supported by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The “West”, including the United States and France bear a huge responsibility in this regional disintegration and in the violence against civilians. Turkey has also shown a benevolent attitude towards this offensive, which fulfils their aim of breaking the democratic experience of the (autonomous Kurdish) town and surroundings of Rojava.
With the Kurds threatened with new massacres indifference is shameful and inhuman.
The French Communist Party expresses its solidarity with the Syrian Kurds. It calls the French government and the European Union to use all their power to stop these crimes.
French Communist Party
Paris July 7, 2014 (adapted)
The PCF has since that date issued numerous appeals.
Support for the Kurds is a priority. Anything that can help, such as the withdrawal of the PKK’s designation as a ‘terrorist organisation’, should be encouraged. France could, as a member of the Security Council initiate a regional conference to help reconciliation, rebuild the Iraqi state and preserve the unity of the Middle East. There is still time to contain the conflagration sweeping the region.
The PCF expresses its support and solidarity with the Kurdish forces and commits itself on the side of the democrats and Kurdish forces against the Iraqi ISIS. In this terrible ordeal, Communists will spare no efforts to ensure that peace and democracy can win out.
Stop the cruelty and persecution against the Kurdish people and minorities in Iraq (August 23rd) called for support for a demonstration in Marseille that day in support of minorities in Iraq.
PARIS, France – High-profile French politicians are urging greater international support for Iraqi Kurds in their fight against jihadists of the Islamic State (IS), saying the autonomous region is fighting for Western democratic values and should be helped in its protection of Christians and Yezidis.
“The Kurds are fighting also for our democratic values and for our safety,” said a petition published in the French newspaper Le Monde.
“Let’s help Kurdistan protect the Yezidis and the Christians. Our values depend on it,” said the appeal, an initiative of the Kurdish Institute of Paris.
It was signed by former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and Michel Rocard, former ministers of foreign affairs Bernard Kouchner and Hubert Vedrine, the current mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, and former ministers Cecile Duflot, Francois Loncle and Pierre Lellouche, among other high profile academics and intellectuals.
Their statement referred to the grave situation faced by the Kurdistan Region, which has received hundreds of thousands of refugees escaping the war by Islamic jihdists. Erbil also is having to protect over 1,000 kilometers of its border against the highly armed forces.
“Since June, Iraqi Kurdistan has been receiving hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people fleeing the massacres committed by the jihadists of the Islamic State. Among them are tens of thousands of Christians, Yezidis, Shabaks and members of other religious minorities,” the statement said.
“Coming after the first wave of 250.000 Syrian refugees, this massive flood far exceeds the Kurdistan Regional Government’s hosting capacities,” it noted. Kurdistan “does not have, on its own, the material means to provide for the accommodation of this additional population of over a million people,” it added.
It noted also that, as the KRG struggles against this deluge, Baghdad has cut monthly budget payments to Erbil over an oil row, cutting deeply into Kurdish finances.
The Kurdish Peshmerga forces have been the toughest line of defense against the jihadis, backed with air support by the US and Iraqi air force.
Erbil has also allowed refugees to cross into its borders, regardless of religion or ethnicity.
“Such a rare example of democracy in the Islamic world not only deserves encouragement but it also needs active and massive solidarity of the citizens and the governments of the Western Democracies,” the French appeal said.
The group called for the intensification of humanitarian aid by the UN agencies and the European Union, implementation of promised arms supplies and measures to enable the KRG to protect minorities in the frontlines. It also called for action to encourage oil-rich Gulf countries to finance the ongoing relief efforts in Kurdistan.
“An international air protection should be provided to Christian and Yezidi areas of the plain of Nineveh in order to enable the return of these vulnerable peoples,” it pointed out.
The petition also urged France, which took the initiative of mobilizing the European Union, to propose a resolution at the UN Security Council to force Baghdad into restarting the constitutional budget payments to Erbil.
Finally, the petition asked the European Union to appoint a special envoy to ease direct mediation, and re-establish dialogue among Iraq’s Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites.
Original, Le Monde 8.9.14. “Aidons le Kurdistan à protéger yézidis et chrétiens, nos valeurs en dépendent.”
A sceptical approach to arming the Kurdish Regional Government and others, which argues that they will use them, “pour affirmer l’autonomie grandissante de leur région, voire leur volonté d’indépendance, ce qui serait un pas décisif vers l’éclatement de l’Irak.” , Questions sur l’armement des Kurdes d’Irak. Alain Gresh. (Blogs, 18th August. Le Monde Diplomatique)
Yet….even Comrade Bob sometimes has a Wee Greet.
In a spirit of comradely solidarity we post this important and fruitful article from the website of the Revolutionary Communist Party (USA)
Watching Fruitvale Station With Bob Avakian. (Unsigned. August 2014)
“Not too long ago, I watched Fruitvale Station with Bob Avakian (BA), chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Towards the very end of the film, agonizing, heartbreaking and infuriating scenes are shown: The cop shooting Oscar in the back; Oscar’s girlfriend frantically rushing to the scene, trying to find out what happened; Oscar’s loved ones gathering together and waiting desperately to find out if he would make it, only to find out he was gone forever.
As these scenes unfolded, I looked over at BA. He was sobbing. Not just misty-eyed. Sobbing. And he continued to cry tears of heartbreak and rage for several minutes, as the closing credits rolled.”
This made a very big impression on me. BA did not know Oscar Grant personally. But he felt the sting of his murder in an extremely raw and visceral way. And I think his reaction speaks volumes about who Bob Avakian is, what he represents, and what he is all about.
BA has literally been fighting against this system for 50 years. He has been a revolutionary communist for about 45 years. He has been shouldering the responsibility of leading the Revolutionary Communist Party for almost 40 years. And over the course of the last several decades, he has forged the theory and deepened the science for the revolution humanity needs to get free, while also providing practical leadership to the party and movement working for that revolution.
And all of this has involved not only tremendous work, but also tremendous risk and sacrifice on BA’s part as anyone with a sense of U.S. history, and/or BA’s personal history—specifically, what this reveals about the way the U.S. government viciously goes after revolutionary leaders—should well understand.
And over all these decades, and through everything described above, BA has never lost an ounce of his love and feeling for the masses of people, his sense of outrage and hatred for all the ways in which the masses suffer needlessly, and his fire for revolution to emancipate the masses all over the world. Not one bone in his body has become numb.
Amor Vincit Omnia.
The Humble Servant of the People is indeed an example.
I’ll say it again: We had better fully recognize and appreciate what we have in BA, and act accordingly.
Say it again, say it twice, say it thrice,
And when I say “we had better,” that “we” is addressed to many different people and audiences. Yes, I am most definitely speaking to revolutionaries and communists and to all those who are already deeply familiar with and supportive of BA. But in saying “we,” I am also speaking to those who are just now—or just recently—learning about and getting introduced to this revolutionary leader—including, to quote BA, “Those this system has cast off, those it has treated as less than human” who “can be the backbone and driving force of a fight not only to end their own oppression, but to finally end all oppression, and emancipate all of humanity.”
” BA is not only the leader of the revolution, he is also a best friend to the masses of people.” As is said, “Every Communist working in the mass movements should be a friend of the masses and not a boss over them, an indefatigable teacher and not a bureaucratic politician.” (Mao Tse Tung) My new best friend – BA as we chums call him – has more qualities,
“He is a leader who has done decades of work in the realm of theory to bring forward the scientific method, strategy and vision needed to make revolution and bring into being a radically new world where all the horrors that humanity suffers unnecessarily would be no more. He is continuing to develop the advanced scientific method that he has forged, and apply that method to all of the big questions and obstacles confronting the revolution.”
We all love advanced scientific methods.
“Investigation may be likened to the long months of pregnancy, and solving a problem to the day of birth. To investigate a problem is, indeed, to solve it.” (Mao Tse Tung)
The world awaits.
“We must study, and learn all we can from his incredible body of work on the biggest questions of revolution and human emancipation, as well as the lessons of who he is and what he stands for as a revolutionary leader. “
We shall indeed BA.
“To behave like “a blindfolded man catching sparrows”, or “a blind man groping for fish”, to be crude and careless, to indulge in verbiage, to rest content with a smattering of knowledge – such is the extremely bad style of work that still exists among many comrades in our Party, a style utterly opposed to the fundamental spirit of Marxism-Leninism. Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin have taught us that it is necessary to study conditions conscientiously and to proceed from objective reality and not from subjective wishes; however, many of our comrades act in direct violation of this truth.” (Mao Tse Tung)
But what is this we hear? Hark! The Bob (BA) is in danger!
This means taking very seriously the need to do everything we can to protect and defend BA. This means denouncing and not giving a millimeter of space to those who slander and personally attack BA, because these attacks and slanders are part of creating the poisonous atmosphere and conditions that would make it easier for the powers-that-be, or those doing their bidding, to take BA from the people of the world.
Plunged into the slough of despond at this what can we do?
Protecting and defending BA, and building a wall around him, also means boldly and sharply challenging those who may not be part of the camp of the enemy, but who are wallowing in, or at least being influenced by, arrogance, cynicism and snark, and who seek to dismiss without seriously engaging what BA has brought forward; this arrogance, snark, cynicism, and dismissal, regardless of the intent of those who fall into it, stands in the way of BA and all that he has brought forward having the reach and societal influence that this urgently needs to have.
Too true, too very true.
But the good news is: It is not too late. We, and the masses of the planet, have BA right now. We had better realize, and let everyone know, what that means.
Heed the call and build the wall!
Maybe one day we might even get around to seeing Fruitvale Station.