Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Moazzam Begg: Back Islamists of Al Nusra and from Al-Qaeda to Defeat Daesh.

with 17 comments

 

Al-Nusra: Stopping Daesh Narrative, Says Moazzam Begg.

David Cameron will not engage the only people able to stop the IS narrative writes Moazzam Begg on the Middle East Eye (Tuesday 30 June 2015).

Hat-tip: David T.

In this article these are the sentences that matter:

Ahrar al-Sham – part of the Islamic Front coalition – and Al-Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front are the largest, most effective opposition forces in Syria. They have been at the forefront in the fight against IS. Thousands of their members have been killed in battle, tortured, beheaded and crucified. Despite Al Nusra’s confirmation that Syria would not be used as a launchpad for attacks on the West both groups have been bombed by coalition forces.

Arguably the most credible voices against IS have been Islamic clerics traditionally associated with Al-Qaeda. These include Jordanian scholars Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi and Abu Qatada. Cameron’s government fought very hard to deport the latter from Britain where he had been imprisoned on the basis of secret evidence, without charge, for over a decade.

In the end, Abu Qatada opted to return to Jordan, of his own accord, where he was acquitted of terrorism charges against him. During and after his imprisonment in the UK and Jordan Abu Qatada made repeated calls for the release of British aid workers and journalists held by militant groups – including IS. He declared their consequent murders unlawful and subsequently issued scathing fatwa [religious edicts] denouncing IS:

“This group [IS] does not have the authority to rule all Muslims and their declaration [the caliphate] applies to no-one but themselves. Its threats to kill opponents, sidelining of other groups and violent way of fighting opponents constitute a great sin, reflecting the reality of the group.”

Cameron must be wondering how many young Britons would have joined IS if Abu Qatada made these statements from the UK instead of Jordan?

Many people will consider Begg’s intervention as part of the effort to “re-brand” Al-Nusra (The rebranding of the Nusra Front.Mehdi Hasan).

But in this case it appears to be part of an attempt to extend this to elements within Al-Qaeda.

It’s not as if there is a lot to white-wash.

I am at present about half-way through this important book: Al Qaeda’s Global Crisis. The Islamic State, Takfir and the Genocide of Muslims. V. G. Julie Rajan 2015.

This book focuses on the crises facing Al Qaeda and how the mass killing of Muslims is challenging its credibility as a leader among Islamist jihadist organizations.

The book argues that these crises are directly related to Al Qaeda’s affiliation with the extreme violence employed against Muslims in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the decade since 9/11. Al Qaeda’s public and private responses to this violence differ greatly. While in public Al Qaeda has justified those attacks declaring that, for the establishment of a state of ‘true believers’, they are a necessary evil, in private Al Qaeda has been advising its local affiliates to refrain from killing Muslims.

To better understand the crises facing Al Qaeda, the book explores the development of Central Al Qaeda’s complex relationship with radical (mis)appropriations and manifestations of takfir, which allows one Muslim to declare another an unbeliever, and its unique relationship with each of its affiliates in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The author then goes on to consider how the prominence of takfir is contributing to the deteriorating security in those countries and how this is affecting Al Qaeda’s credibility as an Islamist terror organization. The book concludes by considering the long-term viability of Al Qaeda and how its demise could allow the rise of the even more radical, violent Islamic State and the implications this has for the future security of the Middle East, North Africa and Central/South Asia.

It would be very complex to go into the various alliances and conflcists between the different groups in Syria and Iraq – though there have no doubt been convergences between the so-called “opponents” of Daesh – Al-Nusra and the Islamic Front.

Perhaps a simpler way of dealing with Begg’s lies about Al-Qaeda and the Al-Nusra Front is to cite Patrick Cockburn in yesterday’s Independent.

 Because Isis publicises and boasts of its atrocities in order to spread fear, it masks the fact that official al-Qaeda affiliates, such as Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria or AQAP in Yemen, are just as dangerous.

Their basic agenda is very similar to that of the self-declared caliphate, with al-Nusra carrying out the enforced conversion of Druze and the massacre of those who resist. This attempted rebranding of extreme but non-Isis Sunni jihadis is opportunistic and often directed at making them more palatable as proxies for Sunni states such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

 There is more in Begg’s ideology: the reference to the importance  of the ‘Caliphate’.

He ends his piece with this distasteful observation:

…why did Seifeddine Rezguie kill 38 innocent tourists? Warped as his ideas must have been, he saw the tourists as representatives of Britain. Britain that had wanted to destroy the caliphate past, and, the caliphate present. The only ones who can successfully challenge the IS narrative, however, are the only ones the government will not engage with.

‘Caliphate John’ would doubtless agree.

Elderly working class tourists are indeed ‘targets’ for vengeance against the destruction of the ‘Caliphate past’, the “dismembered and occupied” Ottoman Empire.

But what exactly was this past?

The Caliphate – if we can condense so many different forms together,  as Begg does was marked by the treatment of   non-Muslims  as second class citizens and women as second class citizens. The caliphates were for most of their history based on slavery and landowner  exploitation. The Caliphate empires were grounded on the oppression of peoples, from Eastern Europe to North Africa. They regularly engaged in massacres of minorities, the torture and the murder of political opponents.

The clue perhaps lies in the word “empire“, not the word “Ottoman”.

Most people who are acquainted with the real – not fairy-story – history of the Caliphate, will feel sick in the stomach at  the thought that the Caliphate should be revived.

Whether it’s by Daesh or the forces Begg appears to favour, it is a potent symbol of tyranny, of class, sexual and religious oppression.

It is to hoped that this is the last time we will hear anybody on the left defending Moazzam Begg

Christine Lagarde: the Wrong Person to Deal with the Greek Crisis.

with 7 comments

 http://www.london24.com/polopoly_fs/1.4131724!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_630/image.jpg

 

Protesters gather in Trafalgar Square to support the Greek government’s attempts to throw off austerity (Photo: Chris Plexidas via Twitter).

 

Yesterday Evening:

The Greece Solidarity Campaign wants a European conference to cancel Greece’s debts, and around three thousand people are at the square now to show their support and hear speeches from a range of MPs and activists including Paul Nowak from the TUC, Owen Jones, Sarah-Jayne Clifton of Jubilee Debt Campaign, Andrew Burgin of Left Unity, and John Rees of the People’s Assembly.

Jeremy Corbyn has said: “There is an escalating crisis of Greek society. There is no sane solution to the situation in Greece that involves repaying this debt. “The only sensible way forward is to cancel the Greek debt – or at least substantial swaths of it – and for the international community to support Greece’s democratically elected government to rebuild its society and its economy.”

Andrew Burgin from Greece Solidarity Campaign said: “We are coming together today to stand with the people of Greece and say: no to austerity, yes to democracy.

London 24.

The news today:

If Greece does not transfer the equivalent of €1.6bn to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday, it will become the first advanced economy to default to the fund in its 71-year history. The country will also take a step closer to what some fear could be its exit from the eurozone and another round of economic turmoil in Europe.

Writes the Financial Times.

It continues on site with a list of “10 things worth keeping in mind.”

One should add another “thing” to remember.

Christine Lagarde is the IMF managing director.

 Christine Lagarde was appointed head of the IMF – following Dominique Strauss Kahan’s ‘resignation’.

One reason was that it was “buggin’s turn’ – the post would still be held by a French person, but after the (Socialist politician) this time it would be a right-wing French politician.

Largarde’s political career has taken place  essentially in the exalted regions of appointees, beyond more than nominal engagement in electoral politics (councillor in the 12th arrondissement of Paris).

But she was, from 2007 to 2011, Ministre de l’Économie under  Prime Minister François Fillon (more detailed summary on French Wikipedia)

That is,  perhaps more significantly, during the reign of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

This was a right-wing government pursuing a neo-liberal economic strategy, mired in scandal.

This relates to a notorious, and long-lasting, ‘affaire’.

Investigation into alleged misuse of power

On 3 August 2011, a French court ordered an investigation into Lagarde’s role in a €403 million arbitration deal in favour of businessman Bernard Tapie. On March 20, 2013, Legarde’s apartment in Paris was raided by French police as part of the investigation.[57] On 24 May 2013, after two days of questioning at the Court of Justice of the Republic, Lagarde was assigned the status of “assisted witness”, meaning that she was not herself under investigation in the affair. According to a press report from June 2013, Lagarde has been described by Stephane Richard, the CEO of France Telecom (a former aide to Lagarde when she was Finance Minister), who has himself been put under formal investigation in the case, as having been fully briefed before approving the arbitration process which benefited Bernard Tapie. Subsequently in August 2014 the Court of Justice of the Republic announced that it had formally started a negligence investigation into Lagarde’s role in the arbitration of the Tapie case.

This is what Lagarde said in an interview with the Guardian in  May 2012 when asked about the crisis in Greece.

….when she studies the Greek balance sheet and demands measures she knows may mean women won’t have access to a midwife when they give birth, and patients won’t get life-saving drugs, and the elderly will die alone for lack of care – does she block all of that out and just look at the sums?

“No, I think more of the little kids from a school in a little village in Niger who get teaching two hours a day, sharing one chair for three of them, and who are very keen to get an education. I have them in my mind all the time. Because I think they need even more help than the people in Athens.” She breaks off for a pointedly meaningful pause, before leaning forward.

“Do you know what? As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about all those people who are trying to escape tax all the time. All these people in Greece who are trying to escape tax.”

Even more than she thinks about all those now struggling to survive without jobs or public services? “I think of them equally. And I think they should also help themselves collectively.” How? “By all paying their tax. Yeah.”

It sounds as if she’s essentially saying to the Greeks and others in Europe, you’ve had a nice time and now it’s payback time.

“That’s right.” She nods calmly. “Yeah.”

At the time Le Monde commented that the Greeks felt “shocked” and  “humiliated” by the Director of the IMF’s lecture on how, after living the life of Riley, they should now pay their taxes.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon remarked that it was Greek ship-owners and the Orthodox Church who ahd avoided paying taxes, not the ordinary people.  (Les Grecs se disent “humiliés” par les propos de Christine Lagarde.)

Largarde has made one notable further gaff (Wikipedia),

In January 2015, on the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Lagarde said “he was a strong believer in pushing forward women’s rights”.

Christine Lagarde is a vegetarian and is near-teetotal. Her pastimes include hanging out in the gym, swimming and cycling.

 

Tunisian Slaughter will Stop When Tunisia Stops Invading Middle East and Backing War on Terror: Stop the War Coalition.

with 12 comments

Tunisians Demonstrate Against Terrorist Murders.

Latest news on the Tunisian atrocity:

The number of Britons killed in Friday’s beach massacre in Tunisia is now expected to pass 30, it has emerged, as hundreds of British police were deployed in one of the biggest counter-terror operations since the London bombings on 7 July 2005.

Informed sources said the eventual death toll could be even higher. So far only 15 Britons have been confirmed among the 38 dead in a process overseen by a British coroner whose job has been complicated because of the nature and location of the attack, and the numbers involved.

The assault is already the biggest loss of British life to terrorism since the 2005 London bombings in which a total of 56 people including the attackers were killed.

Guardian.

This is how the Stop the War Coalition (StWC)  has reacted:

After terrorist atrocity in Tunisia it’s time to face facts: ISIS is a child of US-UK wars.

Lindsey German.

HERE IS a sense of shock and horror at the series of terror attacks which took place yesterday.

One can only condemn attacks which lead to the deaths of innocent people, whether praying in a mosque or lying on a beach.

The claiming of these actions by ISIS speaks of a strategy which is not just about fighting in the Middle East but about bringing the war into Europe.

ISIS explicitly stated with the Tunisia attacks that they were in response to members of the coalition at present bombing in Iraq and Syria.

While we can all condemn the attacks we need to also try to understand he reasons why they happen.

ISIS is the child of war, the creation of more than a decade of invasion, occupation and bombing in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere.

It’s brutality was forged those wars, funded by Saudi princes, facilitated by the Turkish government which allowed it to cross its borders, tacitly supported by Middle East despots.

Isis and other terrorist groups have grown as a result of the civil war in Syria, the bombing of Libya and the sectarian tensions fostered by the US in Iraq.

Support for it has also grown in western countries because of the way in which Muslims are treated here. The growth of Islamophobia means that Muslims are repeatedly under attack by government, police, media and the establishment.

The Prevent strategy in Britain is an attempt to criminalise, to spy on and to censor the Muslim community.

The vast majority of Muslims reject terrorism, but they are now being told that even if they are non violent extremists, this leads to violent extremism. The only   Muslim acceptable to them are those who raise no criticism of government policy.

Racism and attacks on civil liberties will only serve to marginalise young Muslims.

All these policies are symptomatic of government failure in its various policies.

The war on terror has created more terrorism. The prevent strategy has not prevented anything but has bred resentment among Muslims.

These are the problems which need to be addressed if we are to stop the tragedies like those on Friday, and the daily tragedies which afflict so many people in the Middle East.

Source: Stop the War Coalition.

This bundle of mendacious confusion shows why no progressive should back the ‘Stop the War Coalition’.

Some “problems which need to be addressed” by the StWC.

  • Whatever the ultimate causes of the growth of the Islamic State/Caliphate/Daesh, what are the StWC proposing to do to fight it?
  • Is support for the Daesh  in “western countries” a result of European ‘Islamophobia’? What kind of reaction to this feeling is joining a genocidal organisation that murders, rapes, and enslaves? What causal link is being made her? What kind of counterfactual conditions are explored? How many other victims of racism and Western ill-treatment turn to mass murder?
  • Is Tunisia in the Middle East or in  Europe? Is Tunisia bombing Iraq and Syria? As it is not, the wish to overthrow a democratic secular government looks a more probable reason for this attack than the fantasy offered by the StWC.
  • The StWC shows not the slightest concern about the victims of these genociders, the martyrs slaughtered in Syria and Iraq, and women abused and treated as chattel, the people living under their totalitarian oppression.
  • The War on Terror may be fundamentally flawed, but when will the StWC support the very real war carried on by the Kurdish people against Daesh?

The fact is that Tunisia and the Maghreb more widely faces a violent Islamist threat that predates the rise of Daesh.

It includes the assassination of prominent Tunisian leftists, the beloved martyrs  Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi (both in 2013).

Born in the Middle East at present, Daesh has a dynamic of its own: its ideology, backed by substantial finance and resources,  has become a material force.

Whether or not this is “real” Quranic Islam or not is irrelevant.

Daesh is part of actually existing Islamism.

It has created a totalitarian prison, its own ‘ruling class’, grounded on religious tyranny, sexual apartheid,  exploitation, and genocide.

As in this:

Its Western recruits and sympathisers are the modern equivalent of those complicit in the acts of the Second World War Einsatzgruppen.

There should be not the slightest tolerance shown to these criminals.

The immediate objective of progressives should be to back the democratic forces fighting them: in the first instance the Kurdish Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat‎, the PYD and its armed wing.

Tariq Ali tells Porkies about the French Left (Parti de Gauche, Mélenchon) and the stand on Greece.

with 21 comments

Tariq Ali : Plenty of Books, Should Brush up his French.

The crisis faced by Greece is extremely serious.

The international left, and in particular the European Left, has expressed solidarity with the Alexis Tsipras and the Syriza-led government.

We expect that there will be criticism from the fringes against their strategy.

We support, absolutely,  the British Greece Solidarity Campaign.

But there is one person, the ageing sage of Highgate, and Norfolk Lord of the Manor, who cannot resist the opportunity to use the drama facing Greece to pursue his personal vendettas.

In this case against Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of the French Parti de gauche and a staunch secularist (the latter playing a big part in Ali’s reaction).

Reading yesterday’s Le Monde in an Athens cafe I saw two long articles. Habermas denouncing Syriza for being nationalist and defending the EU and praising MarioDraghi, etc. A long interview with Melenchon arguing against Syriza defaulting because it would hurt FRENCH banks. I had heard that Melenchon was in a state of degeneration but hadn’t realised that the political cancer had affected his brain. The sooner this imbecile is replaced by his group, the better.

Greek Diaries. Counterpunch.

Now there are many reasons to be criticise Mélenchon (if Ali is going to pose as an expert in French politics the accent would seem obligatorily) .

This range from his personal behaviour which is not always very amiable, though personally I find his use of the word ‘connard’ often merited. to his vaunting as a model the alliance between his party, citizens’ groups  and the Greens (EELV) in Grenoble (which has just privatised the town’s street lighting). There is also his belief that the French left needs a form of populist left not dissimilar to Podemos. This, he indicates,  should be led by a bold-thinking leader, whose identity I am sure everyone can guess.

Recently another reason to be wary of the former French Presidential candidate (2012, 11.05%), a bit more than Ali’s  (0,9%) in Southall in 1979,  Mélenchon has been strongly criticised for his pamphlet, le Hareng de Bismark, which attacks the German “poison” (an oh-so-funny pun on “poisson”, fish) infecting European politics (see: Quand le pamphlet anti-allemand de Mélenchon agace.

But to our knowledge Mélenchon has always expressed absolute support for Syriza.

As indeed he did in the Le Monde article Ali half-read, where he laid the blame for the present Greek predicament on…….Germany.

La responsabilité intégrale du danger repose sur Merkel et Schäuble [la chancelière et le ministre des finances allemands], qui ont parié sur la tension et l’inertie de Hollande.

The complete responsibility for the danger (facing Greece TC) lies with Merkel and Schäuble (German Minister of Finaces), who have relied on the tensions facing Hollande (French President) and his inertia.

He indicated, simply,  that France would also suffer from the results of forcing Greece into a corner, and into destitution.

Al in other words, confused the observation that that this would have a bad effect on French banks, with an argument that this was the reason why Mélenchon was worried about a  Greek default.

Or maybe the French was simply too much for the Counterpunch puffer to grasp.

Yesterday Mélenchon issued an argument appeal for France to support the Greek government: Mélenchon à Hollande sur la Grèce: “Tu ne peux pas laisser faire ça.

So, if there is anybody who has “degenerated” it is “Tariq – “Charlie Hebdo had it coming to them” – Ali.

Though – to pursue our own long-standing feud  – his politics have been falling apart for some time now:  Punish the warmongers: vote Lib Dem Tariq Ali. (2007 Red Pepper).

 

Syrian Kurdish forces expel ISIS from Kobani: activists.

with 9 comments

Libé du 27 juin 2015

As the Enemies of the Peoples of the World Murder, the Kurds Fight Back!

 

BEIRUT: Kurdish YPG forces expelled ISIS fighters from Syria’s Kobani on Saturday and took back full control of the town on the Turkish border, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

There were still some clashes between the YPG and the militant group to the south of the town, the Observatory’s founder Rami Abdulrahman said.

ISIS has killed around 200 people in the Kobani area since launching a raid on the town early on Thursday, he added.

Daily Star Lebanon.

    BEYROUTH, 27 juin (Reuters) - Les miliciens kurdes de l'YPG 
ont repoussé l'offensive des djihadistes de l'Etat islamique 
contre la ville syrienne de Kobani à la frontière turque et en 
ont repris la totalité du contrôle, rapporte l'Observatoire 
syrien des droits de l'homme (OSDH), samedi. 
    Des combats se poursuivent entre les peshmergas et les 
islamistes au sud de la localité, a précisé l'OSDH. 
    Les combattants de l'Etat islamique auraient tué environ 200 
personnes à Kobani et dans ses environs depuis le début de leur 
offensive jeudi. 
     
 
 (Reuters: Sylvia Westall; Pierre Sérisier pour le service français)

This is what the YPG are battling:

Solidarity with our Kurdish Sisters and Brothers and all Democrats Fighting the Islamic State/ISIS!

with 8 comments

Kurds to Come Out onto the Streets for Kobanê Once Again

Solidarity with our Sisters and Brothers Fighting the Islamist Murderers .

Latest attacks:

Tunisia.

1530 Ministry of Health confirms 28 dead and 39 injured. Nationalities involved are French, German, Russian, Belgian and British.

1513 British, German and Belgian tourists are among the dead according to agency reports

1443 Among those transferred to hospital are British and Germans

1434 Second gunman captured by police

1415 Retired General Mokhtar Ben Nasser said: “This type of terrorist attack was expected and is intended to the tourist industry. Beji Caid Essebsi and Habib Essid to visit Sousse.

1400 Six Nationalities among dead according to Ministry of Interior.

Gunmen have attacked two tourist hotels in the Tunisian town of Sousse.

Reports claim that a man entered the hotel armed with a kalashnikov rifle and opened fire on tourists shortly before lunchtime.

Meanwhile another gunman opened fire at holidaymakers in another hotel adjacent to the shoreline resort.

Ministry of Interior spokesperson Mohamed Ali Alaroui confirmed that at least 27 people have killed.

At least one gunman has been killed, according to security sources cited by the Reuters news agency.

The other gunman has since been apprehended and is being held in police custody.

Tunisia Live.

France.

France has begun a terror investigation after a decapitated body was found at the scene of a suspected Islamist attack on a US-owned gas factory near the south-eastern city of Lyon.

One arrested man suspected to have rammed a car into the factory had been investigated over possible ties to Islamist radicals, officials said.President Francois Hollande said the aim was to blow up the factory

Officials say the decapitated person was a local businessman.

His head was found on a post at the gates to the Air Products gas factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, some 40km (25 miles) from Lyon.

Mr Hollande said the decapitated body had “inscriptions” on it. The French interior minister said: “A flag with Arabic writing on it was found at the scene”.

BBC

Syri,  Kobani:

Fighters with the Islamic State, or ISIS, are holding at least 50 hostages inside a besieged hospital in the Syrian city of Kobani in the aftermath of Thursday’s attack on the Kurdish city, a Rudaw reporter inside the city has said.  Rudaw

According to the London based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) and journalists on the ground, the death toll in Kobanê has reached 146.

The massacre carried out by ISIS gangs on Kobanê has left 146 mostly civilians, women and children, dead according to SOHR. 120 people injured in the suicide attacks in the town centre of Kobanê have died in hospital. 72 civilians were massacred in the Halnaj area of while the others were from the Maqtala neighbourhood. Of the 200 wounded some are still in critical condition and it is feared the death toll could rise.

The number of people who were executed in the village of Berx Botan located near the town of Serrin south of Kobanê has risen to 26, including children and women, while others were wounded too, some of them in critical situation.

This is the second-largest massacre perpetrated by ISIS gangs since the declaration of its alleged ‘caliphate’.

Kurdish Question.

Response:

26 June 2015

KQ News Desk

Kurds and their friends around the world are coming out onto the streets to condemn the attacks by ISIS gangs on innocent civilians in Kobanê. The multiple attacks on 25 June have already claimed the lives of 146 people, mostly women and children and wounded over 200.

There have already been demonstrations in Copenhagen, Paris and Saarbrucken. Demonstrations in other major European cities are being planned after the Democratic Kurdish Society Congress of Europe made a declaration calling people to come out onto the streets to condemn, uncover and take a stand against ISIS and the powers behind them.

Many of the demonstrations are targeted at the Turkish state for its support of the ISIS gangs. Many sources are claiming that the ISIS gangs who perpetrated the massacre crossed over from the Turkey border into Rojava (Northern Syria) and were allowed passage by the Turkish state.

Children executed in their homes by ISIS gangs in Berx Botan village

Our Sisters and Brothers Massacred by the Islamic State/ISIS.

Kurdish Question News Desk

According to reports from journalists in Kobane the multiple and co-ordinated attacks by ISIS gangs who crossed into the city from the Turkey border has left 42 people dead and 55 wounded.

22 civilians were massacred in the city centre and 55 were wounded while over 20 people were executed in their homes in the village of Berx Botan 30km to the south of Kobanê. There is no information about the 5 families kidnapped by the gangs to use as human shields.

The operation carried out against the attackers by by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Asayish (security) forces is ongoing. 11 gang members were killed in the Azadi square in the centre of Kobanê.

Claims that the ISIS gangs crossed over from Jarablus rather than the Turkey border have been refuted by the Kobanê Canton administration. There is no crossing from Jarablus into Kobanê because the bridge that connected the two areas was blown up by ISIS gangs recently.

A second attack was carried out later in the morning (5.15am) at Turkey’s Mursitpinar border gate to Kobane and a truck was blown up.

 

A demonstration is being held in London at 13.00 in front of the Turkish Embassy on Friday 26 June. 

French Demonstration: Massacres commis par Daesh à Kobanê, avec le soutien de la Turquie. Friday 26 June 18h, Place de la République

Written by Andrew Coates

June 26, 2015 at 4:37 pm

Morning Star Attacks “Unhinged” pro-Europe Trotskyist Left’s “alliance with CBI” and David Cameron.

with 30 comments

‘Unhinged” Leftists Say yes to European Unity. 

The Morning Star has published and extraordinary article, EU Referendum: Vote to Get Out, by Brian Denny (No2EU spokesman)  in support of the Campaign to vote to withdraw from the European Union.

It is headlined with a sentence containing this, “the EU functions as a cheerleader for unconfined monopoly capitalism.”

Younger readers may not have heard of “monopoly capitalism” which is known partly from Harry  Braverman’s Labor and Monopoly Capital (1974) but owed its currency in Orthodox Communist circles under the name of “State Monopoly Capitalism.”

Elaborated by post-war Soviet, Eastern European and Western European Communist party economists ideologues, it is one of the planks of ” Marxist–Leninism”. The  thesis is that big business, having achieved a monopoly or cartel position in most markets of importance, fuses with the government apparatus. A kind of financial oligarchy or conglomerate therefore results, whereby government officials aim to provide the social and legal framework within which giant corporations can operate most effectively. This is a close partnership between big business and government, and it is argued that the aim is to integrate trade-unions completely in that partnership.” (Wikipedia)

State monopoly capitalism formed the foundation of the programme of the  1960s French Parti Communiste Français, and other orthodox Communist Parties. It featured in the Communist Party of Great Britain’s programme, such as Britain’s Road to Socialism (1968).

At present the Communist Party of Britain, CPB  (best known for the Morning Star) believes that the emphasis has shifted.

The European Union and Marxist theory and practiceRobert Griffiths, Communist Party of Britain general secretary 2004 (Extracts)

The drive to construct a monopoly capitalist United States of Europe with a common foreign and military policy has the same three-fold purpose identified by Lenin in 1916: to promote monopoly capitalism and suppress socialism at home, to exploit neo-colonies abroad and to compete against rival imperialist powers and in particular the US. At the global level, it should be no surprise that the EU is a champion of privatisation, the free movement of capital, GATS and other archetypal ‘globalisation’ measures aimed at the developing and former socialist countries.

It is the drive to a United States of Europe which threatens, in our assessment, to undermine and circumvent the democratic institutions of EU member states. More specifically, EU laws and treaties have sought to limit the powers of democratic national parliaments – themselves the product of long working class struggle – precisely in those areas where they might limit the power and freedom of capital. Meanwhile, such unelected EU institutions as the European Commission and the European Central Bank acquire powers to initiate and enforce policies of privatisation, deregulation and monetarism enshrined in EU fundamental law.

In the present day, popular sovereignty is the struggle to impose the will of the working class and its allies – the vast majority of the nation – over monopoly capital. In Britain, the campaigns against participation in imperialist wars and in the US Star Wars programme are embryonic expressions of the aspiration for popular – and not just national – sovereignty.

Our party does not see anything progressive in the drive to construct an imperialist military United States of Europe. We do not believe that the creation of a rival imperialist super-power bloc, even if can be achieved despite its internal contradictions, would be a valuable ‘counter-weight’ to US imperialism. The two super-powers would collaborate with one another, and do rotten deals with each other, in their joint interest to suppress the working class movement at home and exploit and oppress other peoples around the world.

In the immediate future, as Communists and internationalists in Britain our responsibility is to ensure that the referendum campaigns against the single European currency and the EU constitution are imbued with the same spirit.

Imbued with this ghost of the call for ‘national sovereignty’, not to mention the phantom of the old Soviet Union,  as ramparts against international monopoly capitalism, Brain Denny launches into a tirade.

After an all too brief critique of  the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Brian Denny follows it up by this:

The EU has also been openly financing a junta that has violently grabbed power in Ukraine and which is led by fascists and revanchist groups promoting a cult around former Nazi collaborators.

This cult focuses particularly on Stepan Bandera, leader of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists, which joined forces with the nazis during the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.

Numerous monuments to Bandera have been erected, particularly in western Ukraine, including a statue in the city of Lviv, site of one of the largest anti-Jewish pogroms in WWII.

The Kiev regime even saw fit to pass a law under which wartime nazi collaborators, who carried out these mass murders, are officially recognised as “fighters for the freedom of Ukraine.”

At the same time it banned communist symbols and socialist thought across Ukraine.

This repressive, anti-democratic far-right regime is enthusiastically backed by its EU allies. Meanwhile Dmitry Yarosh, the neonazi leader of the Right Sector fascist party, has just been appointed as advisor to the chief of general staff of the armed forces.

This is how the EU projects its power externally on the international scene.

There is more in the same vein about the EU’s crimes, ranging from youth unemployment, privatisation, ” and so-called “free-market competition,” which is actually institutionalised monopoly capitalism”, to the, inevitable issue of fish.

Ultimately, the EU is a Tory project. The Tories took us in, campaigned to stay in, virtually wrote the 1986 Single European Act and supported the Maastricht Treaty and every right-wing, neoliberal treaty ever since.

Europhile Tory leader David Cameron claims that he wants to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership before holding an in-out referendum, probably next year.

But after a private meeting with the prime minister, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said Cameron wants to use the upcoming EU referendum to “dock” Britain permanently to Brussels.

Cameron has no intention of fundamentally changing Britain’s relationship with the EU, mainly because finance capital does not want it altered.

There is no sign that he will end the supremacy of EU law over British law or even that he will keep Britain out of the eurozone in the long run.

Denny then evokes the spectre of ‘Trotskyism’ and its alliance with the Conservatives – perhaps an improvement on previous Stalinist claims about links between Trotskyists and much less pleasant political forces.

Cameron is already building an alliance for his strategy which stretches from the CBI to the more unhinged parts of British Trotskyism.

But, ultimately, by campaigning for a Yes vote you are effectively endorsing all of the above crimes inflicted on Europe and further afield by fundamentally anti-democratic EU institutions.

It is without doubt that this does not refer to the SWP or the Socialist Party, both of which intend, like the CPB, to mark their ballots in the same way as UKIP,  the Tory ‘Eurosceptics’ and their big business supporters.

The “unhinged” left is without doubt here:

Campaign for a workers’ Europe!

This letter will be circulated to gather support for left opposition to UK withdrawal from Europe.

With the formation of “Conservatives for Britain”, the right-wing campaign to exit the EU has begun. Unfortunately, it is likely to be mirrored on the left.

A number of Labour MPs and trade unionists and the Morning Star newspaper will group themselves behind the banner of “Labour for Britain”, saying life will be better for British workers outside the EU.

Far-left groups are likely to dissociate from the nationalist name and from Labour. They say they will organise an internationalist anti-EU campaign, one that defends the rights of migrants.

They are all setting themselves an impossible task: the automatic right of EU workers to migrate to the UK, and of UK workers to migrate to EU countries, will be ended by UK exit. Those that do arrive after a UK exit are likely to come on worse terms than workers currently do, and they will arrive to a climate poisoned by the xenophobia of the referendum campaign, an atmosphere in which the left itself cannot thrive.

A UK outside the EU will offer worse prospects for fighting for workers’ rights than we have staying in. The nationalist right, no friends to workers, will have the political upper-hand in a post-exit UK, and UK workers will lose the possibility of organising a common struggle for better rights by workers across Europe.

The left cannot be anti-EU without being dragged behind the right-wing and anti-migrant backlash. It will raise a tiny voice, inaudible against the right-wing anti-EU campaign which has money, press backing, and establishment support, a campaign that is all about putting up borders and actively restricting migrants coming to the UK. The left-wing voice will be drowned out in the growing nationalist gale.

The concessions Cameron is seeking from the EU also threaten workers’ rights: in the first place, migrant workers’ rights to in-work benefits. He is also likely to seek further opt-outs from those European regulations that benefit workers. Many other EU governments will be sympathetic to Cameron’s vision of the EU: less regulated, more ruthlessly neo-liberal.

The Tories that want to get out and the Tories that want to stay in offer no choice for workers. But we should not be indifferent to the question posed in the referendum. The integration of capitalism results naturally from the process of outgrowing national boundaries, and workers do not have any interest in seeking to turn back the clock of history or re-erect national barriers. We oppose UK exit from the EU.

At the same time, we recognise that the EU, like its constituent member states, is organised primarily in the interests of capital, an increasingly pressured capital, forced to compete with growing industrial powers such as China and India, and therefore looking to liquidate those elements of “Social Europe” that still remain. We should not join any cross-class alliance with pro-EU Tories or business leaders: we do not positively support bosses’ Europe.

Instead, voices on the left are discussing a campaign for a workers’ Europe in the coming referendum. We will:

• defend migrants’ rights and oppose racism;

• vote against UK withdrawal from the EU;

• campaign for a workers’ Europe, based on solidarity between working people.

A reply to Denny by Jim can be seen on Shiraz.

The Tendance has signed the Campaign for a Workers’ Europe declaration.

Yes to a United Social Europe!

Against the chauvinist anti-EU left!

Update: a serious discussion of the problems of the EU, Britain and Europe after the general election: An interview with John Palmer.

Party of the European Left:

…..the Left, if it wants to channel its resistance against the demolition of the social state and of democracy into political alternatives, has to express itself as united at the European level and develop necessary concrete and alternative proposals for a different EU, and a different Europe together.

Why should it not find and determine the common political denominator – not the smallest, but in face of neo-liberal social destruction the largest – in order to successfully exist as an independent political force, and, at the same time, as a partner to  social movements, in order to be recognised as an actor capable of influencing and changing European politics?

In the light of the strength and tradition as well as the expectations of the feminist, ecological, and peace movements, it is high time for the political Left to live up to its responsibility. We want to contribute to the creation and realisation of new political strategies.

This is, without any doubt, the central challenge to left parties in the EU and in Europe, in a situation where neo-liberal thought is occupying ever more space in the minds of the people, a situation of apparent absence of alternatives to capitalist market logic, cost reductions, rigid and outrageous social demolition, and even the economic market sale of the whole society.

The Party of the European Left demands another Europe:

 

  • a Europe that says no to war and militarization. The European Left is an anti-war Left;
  • a Europe that defends the social states, and renews it, as well as redistributes wealth, power, and influence;
  • a Europe of diverse cultures, of freedom of spirit, and open to the world. The European Left is a cultural Left, which refuses historical revisionism, because it is capable of dealing with its own history critically and respectfully;
  • a Europe open to a world that resists capitalist globalisation. The European Left is critical of capitalism: It is anti-capitalist and aims at a transformation of societies beyond the rule of capitalism;
  • a democratic Europe. The European Left wants to get politics out of the backrooms of power and back into society, onto the squares and streets, into the debates of citizens, men and women of all ages. Politics is a part of movements and it forms parties; the parties act in parliaments and in governments, in initiatives and in extra-parliamentary protests; it is counter-power and a designing force. It is ready to be held accountable, which is what distinguishes parties in the broad social discourse.

We have to work seriously and honestly with all of the people who want to walk this path with us. In the sense of “Carpe diem!” we say: The social, peaceful and solidarity-based Europe needs our intervention! It is just the beginning!

Written by Andrew Coates

June 25, 2015 at 11:46 am

Helly Luv (Helen Abdulla) – Everything for our Kurdish Sisters and Brothers!

with 3 comments

https://i0.wp.com/iranian.com/data/images/ddrsqsdi1pci.jpg

Helly Luv Supporting our Kurdish Sisters and Brothers.

This was on Channel Four News last night.

Kurdish singer Helen Abdulla – better known as Helly Luv – has suffered death threats from Islamic groups in Iraqi Kurdistan for her provocative, revolution-tinged music videos.

In an apparent contradiction, her calls for peace are mixed with images of weapons and war, – her first video Risk It All showed her throwing a petrol bomb and dancing with peshmerga soldiers waving AK-47 rifles.

But she was unfazed after the death threats flowed in February 2014 – largely through social media – and said she would carry on filming her videos in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The 26-year-old is a strong supporter of Kurdish independence, but has been based in the US since she turned 18, and is keen to promote her career globally. She told Channel 4 News how she witnessed both men and women leave their homes to fight against Islamic State, “without any kind of military training or any kind of plan”. “It’s not just the story of Kurdistan, it’s the story of the whole world… it’s not just Kurdistan’s enemy.” But what about the messages of peace backed up with images of war? “I need to show the truth of what is going on here,” she told Jon Snow, I don’t want to sugar-coat it – I have to show what happened here and what is still happening here.”

Wikipedia.

Her Facebook Page. Helly Luv 15 hrs ·

REVOLUTION Music Video has reached over 1 MILLION views on VEVO in 3 weeks!!!!!!! so proud and happy to know that our voice has been heard and shared around the world in such a short time. CONGRATS TO US ALL!!

ڤیدیۆ کلیپی شۆرش تەنها لە ڤیڤۆ لە ماوەی سێ هەفتەدا زیاتر لە ١٠٠٠٠٠٠ یەک ملیۆن بینەری تێپەراند

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

June 24, 2015 at 10:55 am

Syrian Kurds Beating Back ISIS Genociders.

with 9 comments

 

 Syrian Kurdish fighters take control of key Islamic State base north of Raqqa.

Is there no end to the rush to “explain” why some British Muslims have gone to join Daesh?

This was the latest:

British police are partly responsible for the radicalisation of three sisters thought to have taken their children to join extremists in Syria, it has been claimed.Mohammed Shoaib and Akhtar Iqbal, whose wives both left their homes in Bradford to travel to Syria, suggested that police encouraged their radicalisation by urging the women to contact their brother who had already left for Syria. It is believed he is fighting for with the Isis terror group. Independent.

Everyone is responsible, except the volunteers for oppression, terror and  genocide.

On the Stop the War Coalition (StWC) site, they posted  – not too long ago –  Russell Brand (6.3.15.) spouting  this self-indulgent piffle.

‘Jihadi John’ – widely regarded to be the masked executioner featured in several videos, produced by the extremist group Islamic State (ISIS), showing the beheading of a number of captives in 2014 and 2015 – has been revealed as West Londoner Mohammed Emwazi. Russell Brand ask whether the attraction of Islamic State for some young people in Britain, like Mohammed Emwazi, is due to the loss of identity and power in our communities.

More recently there is an article that singles out ‘Islamophobia’ as the greater menace, The status of Muslims in the west is under threat by David Miller, Narzanin Massoumi, Tom Mills & Hilary Aked.

The (academic) authors are very big on “anti-Muslim hate crime” – no doubt a serious problem.

But they fail to mention the actually existing Islamist hate crimes of the jihadis.

The template: ‘Islamophobia-Identity-Crisis-Imperialist-Intervention-in-the-Middle-East‘ – a kind of puddle of images, not an argument –  just about overwhelms any rational explanation  from this quarter.

One thing is, nevertheless clear – they are asserting that the Jihadis are just as much ‘victims’ as those they slaughter.

A rare glimpse of sanity came when Shiraz Maher published these words in the New Statesman on the 17th of June.

The experience of Britain’s suicide bombers shows how these men are full participants in the war engulfing Syria and Iraq. Over the past two years British fighters have tortured prisoners in their care, executed prisoners of war, beheaded journalists and aid workers, and participated in the revival of slavery. As this brutal nihilism has taken hold, some fighters, among them many Britons, have grown weary of its trajectory and left the conflict. Not so the suicide bombers. Theirs are the actions of the conscientious and committed.

Western liberals and the left could perhaps do better by first considering the acts of those resisting  Daesh.

The StWC lost interest in the Kurdish people’s battle around the end of last year, some of their supporters darkly hinting at US or ‘Zionist’ involvement in their operations.

By contrast many of us, socialist internationalists,  continue to back our Kurdish sisters and brothers.

There are some important recent articles on the fight back by the Syrian Kurds against ISIS/Islamic State. Or, as it’s widely known, Daesh.

This is one, from Arab Awakening

Syrian Kurds have won a strategic victory in Tel Abyad, uniting two of their self-run cantons and putting ISIS on the back foot.

The struggle against ISIS continues to be a topsy-turvy affair. Recent setbacks include ISIS’ capture of historic Palmyra in eastern Syria and the important Iraqi city of Ramadi. In northern Syria, along the Turkish border, however, the situation is entirely different.

On 16 June, the Kurdish militia of the YPG (People’s Protection Units) and YPJ (Women’s Protection Units), accompanied by allied Arab military units and supported by US-led airstrikes, captured the ISIS stronghold of Tel Abyad (Girê Sipî‎ in Kurdish).

Tel Abyad was of pivotal importance to ISIS as a gateway to the Turkish border post of Akçakale, through which foreign fighters had allegedly come, and as a supply route to ISIS’ self-declared capital of Raqqa.

In recent months, Kurdish forces have moved rapidly to reclaim large swathes of territory from ISIS in northern Syria. The capture of Tel Abyad came after a pincer movement of Kurdish militia and their allies from the east and west.

Prior to the capture of Tel Abyad, units from the separate Kurdish-run cantons of Kobanê and Cizîrê made contact for the first time. With Tel Abyad in YPG/YPJ hands, two of the three autonomous cantons of the Syrian Kurds’ self-declared Rojava territory are now linked and Kurdish control extends almost 400 km along the Syria/Turkey border, from the Iraq frontier in the east to the Euphrates in the west.

This represents a remarkable reversal of fortune for Syria’s Kurds and their allies. Late last year, ISIS appeared all but unstoppable in Syria. Equipped with heavy weapons abandoned by retreating Iraqi troops, it swallowed up territory and pushed the lightly armed Kurds into a corner.

In October, ISIS was poised to capture the Kurdish city of Kobanê and extinguish one of the fledgling Kurdish cantons. It was only the determined resistance of the YPG and YPJ and the commencement of a US-led air campaign against ISIS that saw the city saved.

Kobanê became a rallying point for the Kurdish cause. Kurds in Turkey who I spoke to at the time of the siege remarked that it had brought together Kurdish communities spread across the borders of Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. “We have thousands of years of history,” one man remarked, “now, for the first time all our hearts are beating together.”

The siege also saw greater coordination between the Kurdish YPG and the US military. On January 26, after a siege that had lasted 134 days, Kurdish forces broke ISIS’ stranglehold on Kobanê. Since then, the Kurds and allied forces have made rapid gains.

In the course of their brave fight against ISIS, the Kurdish militias of Syria (and Iraq) have won considerable international attention and sympathy. They have also attracted western recruits to the cause. In February, Australian Ashley Johnston was the first westerner to be “martyred” fighting alongside the YPG militia. An American, Keith Broomfield, was also killed earlier this month.

Kurdish advances in northern Syria have not been without controversy, however. Social media users and some ethnic Arab and Turkmen refugees have accused Kurdish forces of ethnically cleansing areas they have captured. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has echoed these allegations.

In a battlefield rife with conspiracy theories and misinformation it is difficult to determine the veracity of such claims. Kurdish activists, for instance, often allege that Turkey has supported ISIS against the Kurds.

The YPG, for its part, denies that it has ethnically cleansed the areas that it has recently captured. In fact, it has issued an appeal to refugees fleeing combat zones, regardless of their ethnicity, to come to “safe areas” under its control, an appeal that many have eagerly taken up.

It is also clear that the Kurdish YPG and YPJ militias are not acting alone in the campaign against ISIS. The recent battle for Tel Abyad included ethnic Arab brigades of the Free Syrian Army, participating under a joint operations command known in Arabic as Burkān al-Furāt (the Euphrates Volcano). It seems implausible that Arab militia would allow the ethnic cleansing of their kin by the Kurdish forces they are fighting alongside.

The Turkish president, meanwhile, has also expressed his displeasure at US air support for the Kurdish campaign. Citing the YPG’s affiliation with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), he argues that it amounts to western backing for terrorist forces.

Turkey’s misgivings about the Syrian Kurds’ advances have been evident for some time. Notably, the day after the siege of Kobanê was lifted, Erdoğan stated that Turkey would not tolerate an Iraq-style Kurdish entity on its border with Syria.

Turkey, the US and the EU classify the PKK as a terror group. Erdoğan’s scolding is a reflection of Turkey’s refusal to view the PKK as anything other than a terrorist vehicle, despite the significant role it has played in pushing back the jihadi forces of ISIS in both Syria and Iraq. It is also evidence of a deep-seated Turkish mistrust of Kurdish intentions.

Turkish concerns notwithstanding, the Kurds’ recent victories have changed the complexion of the region. By linking two of their cantons, the Syrian Kurds will now find themselves on a much stronger strategic footing.

Despite (as yet unsubstantiated) claims of ethnic cleansing, the Kurds in Rojava have established a political entity run according to a post-nation-state model of democracy and accepting of diverse ethnic groups. On the battlefield they have proven reliable and highly effective.

It beggars belief that western governments, looking upon the chaos of the region with dismay, have not established formal alliances with the PYD, the political entity administering the Syrian Kurdish cantons.

Perhaps most importantly, the Syrian Kurds have demonstrated that ISIS is not the military powerhouse it was once envisaged as, but is in fact eminently beatable.

It beggars belief that the majority of the British left has not followed the example of the rest of the European left and backed our Kurdish sisters and brothers.

This the latest news, from the Kurdish news agency Rûdaw:

BEIRUT (AP) — Kurdish fighters and their allies have captured a Syrian military base once held by the Islamic State group, activists and officials said Tuesday, moving within some 50 kilometers (30 miles) of the extremists’ de facto capital.Taking the Brigade 93 base further squeezes the extremists, especially after they lost a major supply line when the Kurds captured the town of Tal Abyad on the Turkish border last week.However, even with the aid of U.S.-led airstrikes, battling even closer to the Islamic State’s stronghold of Raqqa could prove costly for the Kurds and allied rebel factions.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Kurdish activist Mustafa Bali said Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, captured the base Monday night. Both said YPG fighters and their allies later entered parts of the nearby town of Ein Issa, the last major residential area north of Raqqa, which the Islamic State group considers the capital of its self-declared “caliphate” across Syria and Iraq.

The YPG’s official Facebook page said “dozens of Daesh mercenaries were killed” at Brigade 93, using an Arabic acronym for the extremist group. The Observatory said that Islamic State militants transferred the corpses of 26 of its fighters to Raqqa after they were killed in Ein Issa by airstrikes.

The U.S. has found a reliable partner in the YPG, who have been the main force in the battle against the Islamic State group in Syria. They are moderate, mostly secular fighters, driven by revolutionary fervor and deep conviction in their cause. They are backed by Arab tribesmen, Assyrian Christian gunmen and members of the rebel faction known as Burkan al-Furat — Arabic for the “Volcano of the Euphrates.

“The Islamic State group continues to have a supply line to Turkey running through northwestern Syria to Raqqa. It’s not clear whether the Kurds will push in further on Raqqa. When cornered in the past, the militants have relied on coordinated mass suicide car bomb attacks and other scorched-earth tactics.Those tactics have included mass killings. On Tuesday, a media arm of the Islamic State group in Iraq posted a video online purporting to show it kill over a dozen men it described as spies by drowning them in a cage, decapitating them with explosives and firing a rocket-propelled grenade at them in a car.

More News: Syrian Kurdish fighters take control of key Islamic State base north of Raqqa.

We note the words “The U.S. has found a reliable partner in the YPG…” in this article: so expect the StWC to wash their hands of the Kurds completely.

Galloway Goes Treasure Island.

with 7 comments

34 People going!

 

The Railway Tavern 18.00

15 Liverpool Street, EC2M 7NX London, United Kingdom

Bijou Ale House. 

The Galloway Campaign for London Mayor is underway and things are hotting up.

150 people crammed into a small room in Conway Hall to listen to the man who has vowed to take on Long John Silver, slay the Buccaneers and find the buried gold.

More Galloway Stuff:

 

Written by Andrew Coates

June 23, 2015 at 12:52 pm

Asghar Bukhari, Israel’s Covert War On Muslims: I would walk barefoot to defend my people — they can keep the shoe.

with 6 comments

The Story that Will not be Lost!

In the interests of promoting free speech we publish the following harrowing document (only just available, thanks to CAF):

Asghar Bukhari: Israel’s Covert War On Muslims

I am going to tell you my story, one where violence, intimidation, letters in the night and psychological torture techniques were used to silence me.

This heart-rending account of a man persecuted by Zionists to the point where even a man’s shoes are no longer safe is this year’s must-read.

Let me explain. Odd things had been happening in my home for some time. Things had been moved around, windows that my wife assiduously closed were open when we returned, the window seals on my car were pulled up, the gas on the cooker on, and on and on it went. Each time I put it down to forgetfulness, mistakes, or something none of us could explain, I just shrugged it off and got on with it.

Either way, I didn’t think much of it.

But on this night, something happened I knew was nothing to do with me being forgetful. It was all to do with a new pair of shoes.

Bravely  Asghar Bukhari publicised this heinous Zionist crime.

But what happened?

Within hours Facebook had banned me and a global campaign against me started. 

They also banned all videos being uploaded onto the MPACUK Facebook page. In effect stopping me communicating to the very audience that had heard my message. The timing seemed far more than chance to me. No sooner than the ban took effect, scores of Zionists started to troll my page attacking me.

The story was passed to the Media and a Zionist campaign started.

Worse was to come….

A day after my Jewish neighbours, both of whom are lawyers, stopped my wife and pointed out that they had found some slippers in their garden, they were placed, next to some feathers. They surmised a fox must have had something to do with it, they didn’t know much more as they had been on holiday.

The slippers, ripped and scuffed up, were the final nail in the coffin of any doubt that there was any plausible explanation at all for the strange and odd things that had happened over the last few months.

You see for those slippers to have been taken by an animal, that animal would have had to enter not just one door, but two, and then on the way out — lock both of them. There was no chance on earth an animal had taken my slippers or my shoes. I had been targeted for Zersetzung.

They will not win!

However, in trying to defeat me, the bungled attempt at trying to play with my mind had failed. They had made a story, where there was none. If they had left my post on Facebook, tens of thousands would never have never known about their actions — the invisible hand of Israel and its attempts to covertly destroy its opposition would have remained undocumented. But in their rush to silence me, they made a strategic misjudgement — they decided to go big with it — they panicked, and played a hand they did not have to play and that misjudgement reader — is why you are reading this right now.

One can only admire  Bukhari’s pluck:

As for me — I would walk bare foot to defend my people — they can keep the shoe.

On twitter @AsgharBukhari

Written by Andrew Coates

June 22, 2015 at 4:56 pm

Dominique Strauss-Kahn: Hello Twitter! Jack is back!

with 2 comments

Ripping Good Fun from Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

The UK’s reputation as the leading Clown Country – the home of stars like  Asghar Bukhari  (Zionists ate my shoe) and George Galloway (Mia-ow!)  -faces stiff competition from Dominique Strauss-Kahn today.

France 24 reports,

Disgraced former IMF boss and one-time French presidential hopeful Dominique Strauss-Kahn made a bizarre public debut Sunday on Twitter, the go-to social network for politicians, pop stars and journalists.

“Hello Twitter! Jack is back,” the once hugely popular Socialist politician declared on his (verified) Twitter account.

His inaugural post has since been retweeted 2,400 times (1) and he has already garnered 20,000 followers since creating his account.

Known by his initials DSK in France, Strauss-Kahn was seen as France’s best shot for president in the 2012 election, won by fellow Socialist François Hollande.

But his bid for the presidency was scuppered in May 2011 when a New York hotel maid accused him of sexual assault, an incident that destroyed his political ambitions and forced him to step down as head of the IMF.

His alleged victim Nafissatou Diallo dropped charges in the civil case against DSK when he settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. But his legal woes and the damage to his reputation didn’t end there.

In July 2011 journalist Tristane Banon filed a legal complaint against DSK, claiming he had attempted to rape her, but French prosecutors later dropped the charges for lack of evidence.

DSK was also hauled through the courts on charges of “aggravated pimping” in the so-called “Carlton Affair” trial, during which his lurid sexual proclivities – including Viagra-fuelled group sex romps – were enthusiastically reported.

Strauss-Kahn admitted taking part in orgies, but denied knowing that the participants were paid prostitutes and was cleared on June 12 of any criminal wrongdoing.

If “Jack is back”, the French are certainly paying attention.

The Independent signals,

One anonymous contributor to the Le Monde website pointed out that “jack” had a particular meaning in the Urban Dictionary, an on-line compilation of streetwise slang. “ JACK=Highly Attractive and Sexually Intriguing Individual. An Ultimate Sex God.”

Here is what was said, (le Monde )

Urban Dictionary: JACK=Highly Attractive and Sexually Intriguing Individual. An “Ultimate Sex God” …C’est tout à fait ça! :D … J’invite mes amis lecteurs à se familiariser avec le slang. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Jack (definition “4”) La 6 est pas mal non plus…

sur Dominique Strauss-Kahn arrive sur Twitter 18

My bet is that DSK would also like this definition of Jack (Urban Dictionary).

The hottest most sexiest guy on the planet. a real comedian, but sometimes doesn’t stop talking. has the hottest eyes, hair, and body. a swimmer.
I love jack!
Though perhaps not this (in the plural):
Toilet in Ireland. Usually the gent’s toilet. Usually covered in piss maybe with a shite in the urinal. Accompanied by humorous and often informative graffiti.

L’Express  airs other  theories,

It’s a reference to a restaurant in the town of  Ocre, le Jack is back.

Or,

It’s a reference to the film L.A. Confidential,  in which  Kevin Spacey,  as Jack Vincennes, ‘comes back’ to fight again.

Or,

It alludes to Jack Torrance de Shiningan in “”All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”

Other theories include Jack Sparrow (Johnny Deep, Pirates of the Caribbean), Jack the Ripper…..and so it goes.

(1) At present (15.52) it’s 3,800 retweets and 32.900 followers.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

June 22, 2015 at 4:14 pm

French President Hollande: Greek PM, Tsipras’s proposals are “acceptable”

leave a comment »

Pétition - La France doit soutenir la Grèce

La France doit soutenir la Grèce!

As the Greek crisis develops some new,  just now from Libération (adapted)

Monday morning: receiving a delegation of political and community leaders supporting the Greek government, the Head of State said he was convinced that an agreement is “close.”

Will France stand alongside Greece? This is what President of the Republic assured a delegation of signatories for the appeal “The role of France is alongside the Greek people” launched last week at  the Elysée,   this morning.

In the Green Room of the Elysée, the Head of State reiterated his government’s  position on these policies to this delegation from the left,  “There has to be an agreement” , ” Agreement is near” and “Tsipras’s proposals are acceptable ” .

“He gave credit to Tsipras for standing up to the Troika demands” , insists Julien Bayou, the spokesperson  for French Green Party (EELV)  and a member of the delegation.

A note of caution:  “Acceptable does not mean accepted. This is a negotiation “

Anne Sabourin,  of the  Parti Communiste, spoke of how President Hollande sided with Tspiras’ negotiation stance.

“He’s grasped that it’s not Greece that’s being intransigent.” added  Eric Coquerel of the  Parti de gauche,  who was present with other members of the  Front de gauche.

Coquerel, however, noted, that one can always leave an audience with François  Hollande at the Elysée with the impression that the President is on your side.

Afterwards…..the real facts come into play.

The Economic Times reports,

PARIS: A comprehensive deal with Greece allowing it to remain in the euro zone and live with its debts must be found either at a euro zone summit on Monday or in coming days, French PresidentFrancois Hollande said.

“If we get a deal tonight, that would be better, but if not, we’ll need to set the foundation tonight so that a deal can be reached in coming days,” Hollande told reporters in Paris before he was due to travel to Brussels for the summit.

Latest from Chron.

French President Francois Hollande says “progress has been made in the negotiations” between Greece and its creditors, which include eurozone states like France.

Hollande is urging Greece to find an agreement at a Monday summit in Brussels between Greece and its creditors.

“We must do everything so that an agreement is found tonight,” Hollande said at an event in Paris before heading to Brussels.

If Monday’s talks are inconclusive, Hollande insists an agreement would need to be found “within the next days.”

“France and Germany are aware that Greece must remain in the eurozone,” he said.

 More at l’Humanité,

End Austerity Now Demonstration: a Personal Report from Ipswich.

with 14 comments

Protesters flood Parliament Square (Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire)

Protesters flood Parliament Square (Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire)

End Austerity Now Demonstration: a Personal Report.

Around 80,000 people (the Tendance’s estimate) marched in London on Saturday. They protested against the newly elected Conservative government’s plans to continue, and deepen, austerity.

It’s unnecessary to list the faults of these policies. It’s enough to see the people begging in the streets, a few hundred metres from the office of Ipswich Tory M.P. Benedict Gummer. Without the response of the People’s Assembly, the unions, the diverse groups and parties on the demonstration, and the wider public, Cameron and Osborne will have free rein to create a mean-spirited free-market Britain.

From Ipswich and Stowmarket 42 people piled in our coach – there were more travelling to London by train. Up to 70% were under the age of 40, with a large percentage in their teens and twenties. This was reflected amongst the marchers, with a strong presence of young people.

While assembling by the Bank of England we were addressed by various speakers. Those advertised included Kate Hudson (Chair, Left Unity, CND) and Diane Abbott (Labour MP and candidate to represent the party for the London Mayoral contest). They and others made good, rousing, contributions on the need to fight austerity.

Weyman Bennett (SWP/Unite Against Fascism) linked people being rude to women wearing the Islamic veil to the massacre at Charleston and the heart-rending plight of migrants drowned in the Mediterranean. Lee Jasper (Respect Party), the ‘controversial’ former Director for Policing and Equalities under Ken Livingstone’s Greater London Authority Assembly continued in this vein.

Someone (one can imagine who) compared his peroration  unfavourably to Ali G.(1)  One Suffolk comrade remarked that on what she called the “shouting”.

It was to be regretted that there was nobody from the National Shop Stewards Network – a group which, whatever one’s political differences, represents a lot more than the former two users of the demo microphone – was not invited to speak.

The route of the protest, which began next to the City, took us from Ludgate Circus, down the Strand, past Trafalgar Square. This was the venue of a – poorly attended- commercial beano, a pop radio concert. It symbolised the use of public space for corporate gain.

Local People’s assembly groups (like Suffolk People’s Assembly) unions, Left Unity, anti-cuts organisations, disabeld rights groups,the SWP, the Socialist Party, and other (even) smaller left parties, the Labour Assembly Against Austerity , the Green Party …to Class War, were present.

In Parliament Square there were more speeches. Again there were solid well-argued arguments against the Cabinet’s plans, from Steve Turner (UNITE and the People’s Assembly) onwards. John Rees included a reference to the rights of atheists in a call for to defend the freedoms of different beliefs. His claim that the demonstrators were from all ethnic backgrounds was perhaps not fully substantiated by a glance at the overwhelmingly  white crowd.

Charlotte Church made an exceptional contribution.

The Mirror called it an “incredible speech“.

The Conservatives’ intention was to create a society around their principles, of private profit and public loss.

Describing the idea that Britain needs austerity as “the big lie”, Charlotte said: “They will sell off our schools and our hospitals. When it’s done, it will he hard to reverse.

“One aspect of this that really gets under my skin is that it’s all wrapped up in a proud-to-be-British package.

“I’m proud to be British because of the NHS and David Bowie, not because of the Union Jack.

“Be proud for the right reasons. We need to win back these young minds and save ourselves from years of yuppie rule.

“If you are ashamed that you have to use a food bank, because this Government would rather see you starve than put a note in your pocket, walk tall. You have the moral high ground.

“We are not afraid of national debt and we will not let our public services be attacked.”

She added: “What this country needs is economic stimulation – most economists around the world would say the same. We need to get the blood pumping.”

Earlier, she said: “I’m here today in a show of solidarity with everyone here – it is a massive turnout – everybody who thinks that austerity isn’t the only way and thinks it is essentially unethical, unfair and unnecessary.”

It was hard not to be moved by Charlotte’s clear and heart-felt words.

Her call for positive alternatives and hope will resonate across the country.

For many present, Jeremy Corbyn, standing for the Labour Party leadership, made a decisive call to make sure there is a strong left, anti-austerity,  vote in this election.

End Austerity Now was a success.

Where we go from now is the subject of serious discussion.

One way forward can be seen in the multitude of protests against welfare reform: from the continued campaign against the Bedroom Tax, Benefit cuts, Workfare, to the – still not fully implemented – psychological treatment of some claimants.

It is to be regretted that some parties see groups like the People’s Assembly as a recruiting ground.

In Suffolk the Green Party does not appear to publicise this:

Suffolk’s best-known Green Party politician has pulled out of the battle to become Ipswich MP in next May’s general election – because he hasn’t “got the heart” to take on Tory Ben Gummer.

Mark Ereira-Guyer, leader of the Green and independent group on Suffolk County Council and an experienced election campaigner, was chosen earlier this year to fight for the Ipswich seat, but has now dropped out.

“Although I find Conservative policies odious and overly focused on free market fundamentalism, crass cost-cutting measures and ecological destitution, I am of the view that the current MP Ben Gummer is dedicated and hardworking.

“I respect his honest endeavours for the town. And, therefore, I can’t drum up sufficient energies to really take him on. I like my politics to work on a human level, and not in a tribalist way.

Ipswich Star.

The day was an achievement for the organisers.

It was, as they say, only a beginning.

(1) This is what Jasper said (Charlie Hebdo and Europe’s rampant racism. 17th of January) about the massacre at Charlie Hebdo  (he doesn’t even mention the anti-Semitic murder at the Hyper-Casher):

“JeSuisCharlie in this context is nothing more than appeal from right wings white’s to be allowed to be racist without opposition in the name of free speech.  It’s a sort of ‪#WhiteLivesMatter statement particularly when viewed in the context of the tragic violence and world silence about the Nigerian massacre by Boko Haram.

This privilege allows them to disregard the social environment and political context of such satire and its consequences.  Writing in this flawed tradition is the perogative  of white, middle class Libertarian anarchists. Charlie Hebdo is for me,  a silly magazine and quintessentially an exercise in white privilege and arrogance.

Danish Election Defeat: Consequences for the Left.

with 27 comments

http://www.danskfolkeparti.dk/pictures_ed//stor%20forside%20billede(1).jpg

Anti-European Party Makes Gains in Danish Election.

The BBC reports:

Denmark’s opposition parties have beaten the governing coalition after a close general election.

With all mainland votes counted, the centre-right group led by ex-PM Lars Lokke Rasmussen beat PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s centre-left coalition, although her party is the largest.

Ms Thorning-Schmidt has now stood down as Social Democratic Party leader.

The right-wing, anti-immigration Danish People’s Party will become the second-largest in parliament

These are the results in Parliamentary seats:

  • The Social Democrats (A) – 47
  • Radikale, the Danish Social Liberal party (B) – 8
  • Socialist People’s party (F) – 7
  • Red-Green Alliance (Ø) – 14
  • The Alternative (Å) –9

Blue bloc:

  • Venstre (V) – 34
  • Danish People’s party (O) – 37
  • The Liberal Alliance (I) – 13
  • The Conservative People’s party (C) – 6

From the Guardian.

Consequences.

Flemming Rose, the foreign editor of the right-wing Jyllands-Posten, comments on Politico.

The anti-immigration and anti-EU Danish People’s Party received its best result ever. It is now the second biggest party and almost doubled its support compared to 2011. This will resonate around Europe, where anti-immigration and anti-EU forces are gaining ground in several countries. The big question is whether the Danish People’s Party will join the new government. If that happens, the party’s chairman, Thulesen Dahl, may become the next minister of finance. It will depend on negotiations with Lars Løkke Rasmussen. “Am I awake, or am I asleep and dreaming?” the founder of the party and former chairman, Pia Kjærsgaard, told Danish TV.

The Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti) policy includes the following (Party site):

    • The aim of the Danish People’s Party is to assert Denmark’s independence, to guarantee the freedom of the Danish people in their own country, and to preserve and promote representative government and the monarchy.
    • Denmark’s constitutional monarchy must be preserved.
    • The Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church is the church of the Danish people.
    • Danish independence and freedom are the primary objectives of Danish foreign policy.The Danish People’s Party wishes friendly and dynamic cooperation with all the democratic and freedom-loving peoples of the world, but we will not allow Denmark to surrender its sovereignty.As a consequence, the Danish People’s Party opposes the European Union.
    • Denmark is not an immigrant-country and never has been. Thus we will not accept transformation to a multi-ethnic society.

The other electoral fact which will have a wider impact is that the ‘meat-free days’ Alternative Party (Alternativet)  got more seats than the left-wing Socialist People’s Party, (Socialistisk Folkeparti)  though fewer than the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten – De Rød-Grønne).

They compare themselves to Podemos.

Wikipedia notes, “it refuses to position itself on the classical left-wing, right-wing political spectrum.The party states the aims of supporting sustainability and environmentalism, internationalism, social justice and entrepreneurship.

Their platform is grounded on the following:

The Alternative is based on six core values that characterise our internal and external working processes as well as specific political proposals.

The six core values are:
Courage. Courage to look problems in the eye. But also courage about the future we share.
Generosity. Everything which can be shared will be shared with anyone interested.
Transparency. Everybody should be able to look over our shoulders. On good days and on bad.
Humility. To the task. To those on whose shoulders we stand. And to those who will follow us.
Humour. Without humour there can be no creativity. Without creativity there can be no good ideas. Without good ideas there can be no creative power. Without creative power there can be no results.
Empathy. Putting yourself in other people’s shoes. Looking at the world from that point of view. And creating win-win solutions for everyone.

This is their ‘Manifesto':

There is always an alternative!

The Alternative is a political idea. About personal freedom, social dignity, and living, sustainable communities. A hope. A dream. A yearning. For meaning, sense and compassionate relationships. The Alternative is an answer to what is happening in the world today. All around us. With us.

The Alternative is a shout out. Against cynicism, lack of generosity and the ticking off which prevails in our society.

The Alternative is a positive countermeasure. The desire to bring real and serious answers to the environmental and resource crisis our planet is in the midst of. A crisis which every day worsens our own and our children’s and grandchildren’s opportunities for good, rich and meaningful lives.

The Alternative is curiosity. About developing our local societies, cities and nations. We want to take back ownership of the economy and of democratic decisions. At our workplaces and in the places where we live our lives. Without losing the global vision for the responsibility for finding mutual solutions with our neighbours – including those who live on the other side of the world.

The Alternative is collaboration. We know that private companies alone cannot solve these problems. Neither can the public sector, and neither can the NGO movement. So we need to invent completely new links and ways of working together where we use the best from the private, public and the NGO sectors.

The Alternative is openness. Towards trying out new ideas and creating solutions which work. The Alternative is also thoughtfulness. About understanding complex contexts and resisting the temptation of simplified arguments and pleasant illusions.

The Alternative is courage. To look problems in the eye. But also courage about the future we have to share together. The Alternative is also humour. Without humour there can be no creativity. Without creativity there can be no good ideas. Without good ideas there can be no creative power. Without creative power there can be no results.

The Alternative is already a reality. Around the world new types of institutions, businesses and social networks are being created. Whether in Copenhagen, Seoul, Durban or Rio. Individually they may not be that significant, but together they form a global wave of change full of vitality.

The Alternative is for you. Who can tell that something has been set in motion. Who can feel that something new is starting to replace something old. Another way of looking at democracy, growth, work, responsibility and quality of life. That is The Alternative.

Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias is  influenced  by ‘post-Marxist’ populist discourse theorist Ernesto Laclau (Understanding Podemos. New Left Review. May-June 2015).

This ‘manifesto’ sounds as if one of the influences (if in a diluted form) on the Alternative is the  ‘programme’ advocated by John Holloway in such books as  How to Change to World Without Taking Power, screams and shouts included.

The Alternative’s  success in winning seats on this ‘ programme’  after only two years of existence will not be universally welcomed on the European left.

By contrast we draw inspiration from the good result of the Danish Red-Green Alliance.

For more information  on their background see, Denmark: Fresh openings for Red-Green Alliance as it marks 25 years. And their site (English section)

But all of this is overshadowed by the boost given to anti-European, anti-Internationalist, and xenophobic Dansk Folkeparti.

Update: already the Independent (just on-line)  draws this conclusion: David Cameron could have a new ally for his EU reforms.

The right-wing populist Danish People’s Party is the undisputed winner of the elections. It took 21.4 per cent of the vote, up from 12.3 in 2011.

The eurosceptic group has struck a deal with his right-wing allies to support David Cameron’s plans for renegotiating EU rules about migration.

The PM wants to renegotiate rules around freedom of movement and social security payments, but has been stonewalled by a number of other European nations – he’ll welcome support from the new Danish government.

But…..

While Mr Cameron will see the result as a welcome boost, having Denmark on-side doesn’t necessarily make him any more likely to succeed.

In one sense, the prime minister is just standing still – he lost a close ally late last year in Sweden after the centre-left took power there. Denmark is really stepping in to fill the gap.

Despite its international reputation, Denmark is also a rather small country, with a population similar to that of Yorkshire.

The PM also needs to find agreement across Europe to actually effect any change. With so many countries actively set against his plans, this will still be difficult to achieve.

Peter Tatchell: Britain should treat Saudi Arabia as a pariah state. Free Raif Badawi!

with 5 comments

 Free Raif Badawi !

Peter Tatchell writes,

It is exactly three years ago today that the pro-democracy blogger Raif Badawi was arrested and imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. Earlier this month, the Saudi Supreme Court upheld the draconian sentence handed down for his ‘crime’ of setting up a liberal website: ten years jail and 1,000 lashes.

Meanwhile, Badawi’s lawyer and brother-in-law, Waleed Abu Al-Khair – himself a human rights activist and founder of the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia – had his 15 year jail sentence confirmed in February.

This is happening in a country that successive British governments have allied with, diplomatically and militarily, despite its tyrannical nature and its sharp divergence from our stated democratic, liberal and human rights values. Our foreign policy on Saudi Arabia doesn’t match what we say we stand for.

Indeed, as well as Raif’s and Waleed’s persecution, Amnesty international has documented ten different forms of gross human rights abuse perpetrated by the regime in Riyadh.

Despite UK government silence, human rights campaigners have kept the Badawi case in the public eye. English PEN has been holding weekly vigils outside the Saudi Embassy in London, and the Amnesty International petition calling for his release has over 1 million signatures. People worldwide are sharing the #FreeRaif appeal on social media, calling for his immediate, unconditional release.

Badawi is one of the human rights heroes of our age. He has been awarded several prizes, including PEN Canada’s One Humanity Award, and has been nominated for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. Numerous Nobel laureates have voiced their support for Raif, as have well-known public figures such as Patti Smith, Jimmy Wales, Salman Rushdie and Noam Chomsky.

…….

Today, on this third anniversary of Badawi’s arrest, we will be taking our campaign to Downing Street, with a delegation including representatives from Campaign Against the Arms Trade, English PEN, Index on Censorship, International Front for Secularism and the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

Our letter to the Prime Minister urges him to publicly call for the release of Raif and other political prisoners, and to condemn all human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia. We also want David Cameron to make trade with Riyadh conditional on the regime’s respect for human rights and ethical norms of governance – particularly in relation to the sale of weapons that could be used to oppress Saudi citizens. These demands will be reiterated at a public meeting this evening in the Houses of Parliament with MPs, peers and campaigners.

Until it conforms to international human rights standards, Saudi Arabia should be treated as a pariah state. Arms sales must end, the British ambassador should be recalled, and key regime figures sanctioned internationally.

The letter:

Dear Prime Minister

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi is currently imprisoned in a Saudi Arabian jail having received the first 50 of a threatened 1,000 lashes. If Raif survives these floggings he faces another 10 years in jail. His ‘crime’ was to have set up a website that called for peaceful change of the Saudi regime away from the repressive and religiously exclusive regime that it is.

In another shameful act his lawyer Waleed Abu Al-Khair, and other human rights activists were also later arrested. On February 20th this year Waleed had his sentence confirmed as 15 years in prison.

The European Parliament in its resolution of Feb 12th made clear its demands on Saudi Arabia to release Raif, as well as his lawyer Waleed and others imprisoned there for exercising their freedom of speech.

But to free Raif from this nightmare needs more than politicians saying that they disapprove of his punishment.

The total EU trade with the Saudi regime is currently close to €64 billion a year. The UK alone has approaching £12 billion invested in Saudi Arabia whilst it continues to invite Saudi investment in the UK, particularly in the property market. Saudi investment in the UK is currently over £62.5 billion.

As the regime inflicts beheadings and floggings on its people, questions have to be asked about why more cannot be done to promote the human rights of citizens of a country with which there is such extensive business. Particularly questions have to be asked about the morality of providing such a regime with arms, particularly the weaponry and facilities they use in their brutal penal system.

We ask that you make publicly clear your complete opposition to the human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia and demand the immediate release of Raif and Waleed as the EU parliament has done. We also ask that you make publicly clear what measures you will take as a government to put any trading with this regime on an ethical basis and what conditions you will demand from the Saudi regime if all of that trade is to continue – particularly in relation to weapons that might be used in oppression or imprisonment.

If nothing is done to stop the brutality, beheadings and floggings that are committed there – then any moral stand taken against similar horrors committed elsewhere by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria can only be compromised.

In the spirit of consistency, transparency and humanity we ask you to take action to Free Raif and promote human rights in Saudi Arabia

Yours

List of Signatures and more information: Free Raif Badawi.

Day of action for Raif Badawi (from English PEN).

 

Written by Andrew Coates

June 18, 2015 at 12:36 pm

Guardian Publishes Rational Article on Supporters of Isis Genociders.

with 7 comments

https://i2.wp.com/www.systemiccapital.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/0233.png

The Kurdish International Brigades Fight Against Islamic State and Foreign Jihadis.

I was going to post about the sick feeling in my stomach I get every time I hear people try to explain away the reasons why people from the UK go to join the genociders of the Islamic State.

I was going to begin by looking at some making excuses for Actually Existing Islamism on the Left. That is by citing  Alisdair Crook’s writings, such as Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution (2009) and his writings in Red Pepper, (Red Shi’ism, Iran and the Islamist revolution) which influenced leftists like Caliphate John.

But the delusions of these people, who see in Islamism something potentially progressive beyond Western secular imperialist ‘rationalism’, have crumbled. Even they balk at Isis.

I was going to have a go at the psychological template, “Teenagers and young people who flee Britain to fight jihad are just depressed and lonely and should be allowed to return to the UK without being criminalised, a leading professor has said. Kamaldeep Bhui, Professor of Cultural Psychiatry and Epidemiology, at Queen Mary University of London, said that radicalisation should be treated as a health issue in the same way as drugs or alcohol abuse. ” (Telegraph October 2014.) I don’t care about why they murder, I care that they torture, rape and slaughter.

I was going to have a go at people who talk about a crisis of values, Islamic or Western  – as if acts are not the most important thing in this.

I was going to cite the following, “A London woman who travelled to Syria to marry an Islamist militant has said she wants to be the first female jihadist to kill a British or American captive.Glorying in the beheading of James Foley on Twitter, Khadijah Dare asked for links to footage of the brutal murder. Writing under the name of Muhajirah fi Sham, which means “immigrant in Syria”, she said: “Any links 4 da execution of da journalist plz. Allahu Akbar. UK must b shaking up ha ha. I wna b da 1st UK woman 2 kill a UK or US terorrist!(sic)”. Independent August 2014.

I was going to look at another template: the Islamic State’s open racist hate There is plenty of that out there, full of loathing for the ‘kafirs’ and unbridled sadism.

I was going to say, that taking sides is important:  that the left should support the Kurdish fighters and their International brigade in the armed struggle against the Islamic State.

I was going to say that I hoped that British supporters of Isis who travelled to Syria and Iraq to murder our comrades and all the ‘kafir’  ended up dead as soon as possible, and if not they should be brought to justice and spend the rest of their lives paying for their crimes.

But most of what I have to say has been said by in the Guardian today.

We are the dupes if we think no British citizen could be illiberal enough to be seduced by Isis’s fanaticism

It has now become a bitterly regular scenario: news of the disappearance of one or more British citizens, apparently to join Islamic State, or the announcement of the deaths of those who already did so. Distraught families in Bradford raised the alarm this week when three sisters and their nine children – aged between three and 15 – failed to return from a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. On 9 June they are thought to have boarded a flight to Istanbul in Turkey – often used as the route into Syria – and nothing has been heard from them since. The brother of the women is already thought to be fighting with Isis.

……..

The observations frequently made following such news, from the media and devastated families alike, are that those involved have been “duped”, “fooled”, “groomed”, and “brainwashed” by radicals. The recruits are frequently described, no doubt accurately, in a domestic context, as pleasant and thoughtful family members and friends. It is natural that the British families of Isis recruits should wish to believe that their relatives have somehow been ideologically deceived into joining. Yet if we go along unquestioningly with that perception, we are also deceiving ourselves. Whatever other charges could be laid at the door of Isis, concealing its true nature is not one of them.

……

Isis doesn’t bother greatly with hypocrisy, however: that would imply a residual acknowledgement of liberal values in the first place. It openly defends the enslavement, sale and systematic rape of Yazidi women by Isis fighters. It posts pictures of Isis zealots throwing allegedly gay men off high buildings to their deaths. It shoots, decapitates, or immolates prisoners of war, and publicises its mass beheading of captured Coptic Christians because of their faith. It compels women to wear the full veil in public or be flogged. It glorifies violent death as martyrdom, despises other religions and cultures, and is happily intent upon erasing their most ancient history. Name a single liberal value, and Isis is in open opposition to it.

Written by Andrew Coates

June 17, 2015 at 11:20 am

Guillermo Zapata, Ahora Madrid, Backed by Podemos, Resigns From Madrid Council over anti-Semitic Tweets.

with 7 comments

Logotipo de Ahora Madrid - Compacto

Ahora Madrid Faces First Hiccup. 

The Local, an English language Spain based site, reports,

Guillermo Zapata, resigned as Madrid’s cultural councillor on Monday just 48 hours after accepting the role under new Madrid mayor Manuela Carmena, amid a row over anti-semitic ‘jokes’ that he tweeted back in 2011.

He had defended himself after tweets dating back to 2011 came to light arguing that they were made in the context of a debate on dark humour and before he went into politics.

On Sunday he closed down his Twitter account and apologized for the damage he caused but the row escalated and Carmena accepted his resignation on Monday afternoon.

The hashtag #ZapataDimision (Resign, Zapata) went viral in Spain, just one day after activists from the Indignados movement that organised mass street protests in 2011 became mayors in Madrid and Barcelona.

Zapata had made deeply offensive jokes about the Holocaust and gas chambers used by the Nazis during World War II. In another tweet, he had also taken aim at a victim of an attack by Basque separatist group ETA.

In a statement posted on social media platform Tumblr on Sunday, Zapata apologized, and said his jokes had been prompted by a debate on “the limits of humour”.

Claiming he did not identify with the content of his own tweets, Zapata said he was taking part in an online debate prompted by the sacking of a columnist of national daily El Pais, after he made a joke denying the Holocaust.

“Now some of those tweets, which were written within the context of a conversation on black humour, have been recovered with the goal of presenting them as though they represented my ideas — while in fact I do not defend them at all,” Zapata wrote.

“I firmly condemn all forms of racism, and, of course, anti-Semitism. I believe the Jewish Holocaust teaches us a lesson that humanity must never forget, so that it is never repeated,” he added.

Guillermo Zapata is a member of Ahora Mardid  – the Madrid election front, which is backed by Podemos, and embraces a range of other forces, including other leftists and citizens’ groups). It defines itself as “«candidatura ciudadana de unidad popular» citizen platform of popular unity, and as a  «partido instrumental sin vida orgánica» (an instrumental party without organic internal life).   Wikipedia on this bloc and its  ‘new politics': English, Spanish.

This incident perhaps reflects a problem with the entry of ‘new’ political forces without an “organic internal life”.

 

Latest news: Zapata dimite como edil de Cultura por el “dolor generado” por sus tuits.

Guillermo Zapata: “No me interesa mi cargo, solo pedir perdón y que nadie crea que defiendo la violencia”

 

Zapata’s background as a script-writer and cultural activist from the (conservative) ABC:Guillermo Zapata, de guionista anónimo a edil de la discordia.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

June 16, 2015 at 11:21 am

400 Leftist and other Foreign Fighters Join Kurds to Fight Islamic State Genociders.

with 11 comments

https://i1.wp.com/isyandan.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/3.jpg

Internationalist Leftists and Communists Fight with the Kurdish people.

The London-based Syrian Observatory For Human Rights says that 400 foreign fighters have so far joined the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.

The YPG has been active fighting against Islamic State (IS) in Hasakah, Raqqa and Aleppo provinces. The Syrian Kurdish group has been recruiting many of its foreign fighters through Facebook since last year. Recruits have joined the YPG from Europe, Australia, North America and South America. In addition, thousands of fighters that have joined from Turkey and Iran.

On 10th June, a New Leftist brigade was formed, modelled on the international leftist brigades of the Spanish civil war, called the Free Internationalist Brigades, reports IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Monitor.

The group consists of fighters from Albania, Armenia, Germany, Greece, Spain, Caucasus, and members from Turkish leftist organisations such as the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), Halk Kurtulus Ordusu, and Birlesik Özgürlük Güçleri (BÖG).

US citizen Keith Broomfield (36), died on 3rd June in the village of Qentere near Kobani. In addition, a German female fighter of the YPJ and a member of the MLKP died in clashes against IS around the town of Tal Tamer in last March.

A British YPG fighter also died after he was wounded in clashes with IS in the area located between the two towns of Tal Hamis and al- Hol in the province of al- Hasakah on March 4th. An Australia was killed in clashes with IS in the town of Tal Hamis in al- Hasakah on February 25th.

Bas News.

teleSUR  reports,

Internationalist Freedom Brigade say communist fighters from various nations will fight alongside Kurdish forces against Islamic State
An International armed group has been formed in Rojava, the Kurdish region in north of Syria, called Internationalist Freedom Brigade consisting of communist and leftist fighters from several countries around the world. The Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) of Turkey and Kurdistan has been the main force behind the establishment of the group. The group’s main objective is to fight the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq and any other occupying forces, according to a statement by the group on June 11.

Statement: “We are in the International Battalion to Protect the Rojava Revolution”

The Middle East is turned into a sea of blood by the hands of imperialist blood suckers and colonialism. Through the ISIS gangs organized by the same forces, the region is being tried to be occupied and the people are being forced to submit. Massacres committed by the ISIS gangs against Christians, Yazidis, Assyrians and Muslims, rapes, abductions and selling of the women and children, mass execution ceremonies, various inhumane practices are in fact the reflection of their imperialist masters and their centuries old practices.

The spectacular resistance of organized popular movements led by the YPG-YPJ against those who wish to drown peoples in this lake of blood, make them forget their languages, beliefs, lives and personalities have succeeded in Rojava, as it did in Kobanê, Shingal, Til-Hemis and Serêkaniyê.

The Rojava revolution has made a tremendous impact, the resistance of the YPG-YPJ has turned into a field that the impoverished peoples enviously admire, increase their solidarity actions and send fighters and it has became today’s Beqaa and today’s Palestine. The Rojava revolution is now, the Paris Commune under the German siege, Madrid of the Spanish Civil War and Stalingrad of the Second World War.

The Rojava revolution ran the power balances of surrounding countries, foremost Turkey upside down and has become the heart of the world revolutions that grow bigger every single day and a torch of resistance of the oppressed peoples.

As a women’s revolution, the Rojava revolution have created a strong women will against the male-dominated world reactionism and became its symbol.

Revolutionaries from the world who undertake defending the Rojava revolution and spreading its course as a historical duty and a responsibility have turned their faces towards the Middle East and have not hesitated, not even a moment to fight in fronts, shed their blood and die for the victory.

Revolutionary forces who have come to the lands of Rojava all around Turkey and the world to enhance and advance the revolution, as well as to greaten and carry the war to their lands have struggled for the essential contribution to the war and to the revolution.

We, who fight on every inch of Rojava, who die as martyrs, who raise the flag of resistance…

We, who fight up front against imperialism and regional reactionaries…

We, who confront the savage attacks carried out with all support in order to suppress the revolution by the ISIS gangs…

We, who live the revolution, who feel it in their veins and cells…

We, who realize the Rojava revolution, the peoples who live in Kurdistan, the workers, oppressed, women, internationalist revolutionaries who fight under the flag of YPG-YPJ…

We have taken an oath, made a promise to the ones who have fallen before us, to the values created before…

We are the Spanish, Germans, Greeks, Turks, Arabs, Armenians, Laz, Circassians, Albanians…

We, as internationalists, revolutionary forces, organizations, groups from all around the world have united under INTERNATIONAL FREEDOM BATTALION in order to defend the Rojava revolution.

The oppressed people, workers, labourers, women, youth, communities of different beliefs and identities, ecologists, anti-imperialists, anti-fascists, anti-capitalists, democrats and revolutionaries; we call upon you to fight and triumph under the flag of INTERNATIONAL FREEDOM BATTALION to defend the Rojava revolution, increase our gains, enhance the fraternity of the people and the revolution of the Middle East and the region…”

Syandan.

Meanwhile there are those from Europe who have gone to join the genociders.

Community leaders in the home town of a West Yorkshire teenager who reportedly carried out a suicide bombing in Iraq have spoken of their shock at the news.

Dewsbury councillor Masood Ahmed said Talha Asmal, 17, was “no different” from other teenagers, and said people in the town were “devastated”.

Asmal is believed to have become Britain’s youngest suicide bomber, in an oil refinery attack south of Baiji.

His family say he was groomed online, describing it as a “tragedy”.

At least 11 people were killed in the car bombings carried out by four suicide bombers near the city north of Baghdad on Saturday.

Social media reports linked to militant group Islamic State (IS) said Asmal, going by the name of Abu Yusuf al-Britani, was among the attackers.

Asmal would be Britain’s youngest known suicide bomber. Another West Yorkshire teenager, Hasib Hussein, was 18 when he blew himself up on a London bus in the 7 July 2005 attacks.

BBC

Solidarity with Asghar Bukhari: Zionists Ate My Sock!

with 19 comments

https://33.media.tumblr.com/a0114f4ee5687454d4b0a88866b9d6f3/tumblr_mj7wcxhTbL1rc5781o1_400.gif

Watch out for Zionist Shape-shifters!

This is all over Facebook and Twitter:

 

The original Facebook Page can be viewed here.

A Muslim campaigner claimed ‘Zionists sneaked into his home while he was asleep to steal his shoe’.

Asghar Bukhari, a founding member of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK, made the extraordinary claim in a Facebook post but soon faced ridicule.

Reports the Mirror.

 

 

We know exactly how Asghar Bukhari feels.

Zionists often creep into my gaff to steal my socks.  Only last week they nabbed one. They are cunning these Zioney  Zionists. They wait until I have drunk six pints of Abbott Ale and a bottle of wine, and, then, they nip in and pounce.

 

Zionist Booty.

It’s not just socks.

Over Christmas they took advantage – while I’d snaffled a bottle of Polish Vodka – to come in and “re-arranged things”.

I only found out the following morning.

The problem appears widespread.

Solidarity with Asghar Bukhari!

Or maybe not:

Muslim leader sent funds to Irving (Guardian).

One of Britain’s most prominent speakers on Muslim issues is today exposed as a supporter of David Irving, the controversial historian who for years denied the Holocaust took place.

Asghar Bukhari, a founder member of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC), which describes itself as Britain’s largest Muslim civil rights group, sent money to Irving and urged Islamic websites to ask visitors to make donations to his fighting fund.

This is what this individual said about Charlie Hebdo,

Charlie Hebdo: This Attack Was Nothing To Do With Free Speech — It Was About War

This magazine re-enforced everyone of those racist prejudices held in that polarised society, you may note that it was Algerian gun men who carried out the attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine.

More merriment on Harry’s Place.

Charlie Hebdo. Lettre aux escrocs de l’islamophobie qui font le jeu des racists. Charb. Review Article.

with 19 comments

https://i0.wp.com/img.over-blog-kiwi.com/0/94/72/48/20150517/ob_1f8eab_url.jpg

 Posthumous Bolt of Light.

Lettre aux escrocs de l’islamophobie qui font le jeu des racists. Charb. Les Échappés. 2015.

“This text was completed on the 5th of January 2015, two days before the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo, during which Charb lost his life.”

The Lettre addresses the reader, “If you think that criticism of religions is the expression of racism” “If you think that ‘Islam’ is the name of a people.” “If you think that punishing blasphemers will open the gates of heaven for you.” “If you think that left-wing atheists play into the hands of fascists and xenophobes” “If you think that it is essential to classify citizens according to their religion” “If you think that one can laugh at everything except whatever is sacred to you.” “If you think that popularising the concept of Islamophobia is the best way of defending Islam” ………..

“So, dear reader, this letter has been written for you”

Charb (Stephane Charbonnier) would not learn of the response of those he spoke to on the first pages of the Lettre. He was absent after those seeking paradise murdered him, eleven of his colleagues at Charlie Hebdo, a police officer and four customers of the Vincennes Hyper-Cacher.

In France, and across the world, millions expressed their solidarity and love for Charlie and all the victims of the atrocities. But there remained those who responded according to the 19 ready-made ideas about Islam Charb listed. Liberals and those claiming to stand on the left, marked by every single one of them, were prominent amongst those who contributed to a torrent of abuse whose echoes still resonate.

Mark Maguire, on the Stop the War Coalition’s site, stated that Charlie was “a rather unpleasant French magazine” that published “anti-Islamic cartoons”. Others pitched in. It was ‘Zionist’ and ‘neo-conservative’, with the imprint of former Editor Phillipe Val who is said to have promoted these views. It was – it would be an easy task to cite thousands of articles – ‘Islamophobic’. It was vulgar and racist. It specialised in the pornographic mocking of sacred beliefs, above all of Muslims.

The Weekly, as the Socialist Workers Party template set out, was known for its “provocative and racist attacks on Islam”. Norman Finkelstein tried to create an industry out of this holocaust. He declared that the paper was not satire but “sadism” and compared it to the anti-Semitic Nazi Der Stürmer. An apparently anti-racist alliance, Unite Against Fascism (UAF), held a special session at their AGM on why “je ne suis pas Charlie.”

This hostility has not died down. ‘Rules’ for satirists appeared – which Charlie had apparently broken. It should have targeted the “powerful.” Will Self judged that satire ought to “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted”. Literary critics, enforcing these new Aristotlean unities of satirical style – breached no doubt by Rabelais, Hogath’s drawings, and the plebeian Viz comic, not to mention early Soviet anti-religious propaganda – have tried to establish their decree. (1) We could call it ‘satirical realism’. Even cartoonists joined the would-be Zhdanovs of correct caricature. As have authors. Read the rest of this entry »

Podemos and the Game of Thrones.

with one comment

 Podemos: New Counter-Hegemonic Political Logic in Practice.

Pablo Iglesias SPAIN ON EDGE New Left Review. No 93 2015 (complete text here).

The Interview  begins with a lengthy question from New Left Review.

You’ve written about the intellectual influences shaping Podemos’s approach, singling out the work of Laclau and Mouffe. ”

– see link for rest of question/lecture.

Now what is Podemos’ counter-hegemonic articulative democratic  strategy (Laclau and Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy)? Or Laclua’s (even worse) On Populist Reason?

Our key objective was always to occupy the centrality of the political field, taking advantage of the incipient organic crisis.

Give examples (I’m already bored, hurry up)?

A concrete example of this is the complex scenario we’ve had today [15 April] with the visit of the King of Spain to the European Parliament. This confronts us with a difficult issue: the monarchy.

Why difficult? Because it immediately takes us out of the centrality of the field. Basically there are two options. The first, traditionally taken by the left—Izquierda Unida, for example—is to say: ‘We are republicans. We do not accept the monarchy, so we will not go to the reception for the King of Spain; we do not recognize this space of legitimacy for the head of state.’

That—even if it’s an ethically and morally virtuous position, which we can recognize and acknowledge—immediately puts one in the space of the radical left, in a very traditional framework, and straightaway alienates large sectors of the population who, no matter what they think about other issues, and despite their identifying the previous King with the corruption of the old regime, feel sympathetic towards this new one

. The monarchy is one of the most highly valued institutions in Spain, so that immediately antagonizes social sectors that are fundamental for political change. So, two options: one, we don’t go to the reception and stay trapped within the traditional framework of the far left, in which there is very little possibility for political action. Or, two, we go, and then Podemos appears surrounded by the parties of ‘the Caste’, respecting the institutional framework—as traitors, or monarchists, or whatever.

So what was their “new political logic”? What articulation of the discursive  counter-radical democratic strategy did Podemos offer?

So what did we do, in this uncomfortable, contradictory scenario? We went, with our usual aesthetic—casual dress and so forth, disregarding their protocol; it’s a small thing, but it’s symbolically representative of the kind of things Podemos does. And I gave the King a present of the dvds of Game of Thrones, proposing it as an interpretive tool for understanding what is going on in Spain.

Our aim is to dance within this contradiction, within these positionings, with an ironic message that is at the same time a plebeian gesture—and which is so far working very well in the media, by the way—that allows us to shift the axis of the discussion: not monarchy versus republic, a discourse immediately interpreted in terms of the heritage of the Spanish Civil War, which unfortunately is a losing frame in the battle for social interpretation.

New Left Review could only feebly comment “there’s another reading of Game of Thrones: as a formulaic combination of mildly sadistic soft porn and blood-soaked pseudo-mediaeval warfare, interspersed with occasional moments of ersatz grand strategy.”

We,  nosotros, simply burst out laughing.

I would say, that jargon aside, that there is something in Iglesias’ arguments.

For example, this, on their support, (from its origin inthe Indignados movement).

But as a political scientist, I would say that’s the general tendency—young workers in sectors with no strong union presence, identified in a very Laclauian manner with a plebeian or subaltern position, deriving from the fact that they were brought up believing in a social identity based on high consumption levels during the long real-estate bubble, and after the crisis were thrown into a position of social vulnerability and weakness. Despite the social complexity of 15-M’s composition, these impoverished middle classes are the most representative social layers.

It might have been useful not only to explore how the candidates for Podemos are chosen, but how the above base is organised in the party. The interviewers fail to cite critics of this ‘vertical’ structure, and its social foundations.

One thing is clear: the message of being against the Casta (political caste), being centrally concerned with political corruption, plays as important a part in Podemos as opposition to austerity.

There is no British parallel at all.

Another issue, not really rigorously covered in the interview, is Podemos’ potential strategy of a ‘broad front’ (frente amplio) to get above their projected general election vote of 13/14%.

This will still leave them out of power, but will add 5-6% “el Podemos Plus-Plus obtendría, en la versión más optimista, alrededor del 20% de los votos.” (the most optimistic version would see Podemos Plus-Plus get around 20% of the vote).

For more on that and other problems about Podemos (selection of candidates amongst them) see:  Cómo se ganarán las próximas elecciones  EMMANUEL RODRÍGUEZ (Viento Sur – the Fourth International aligned left of Podemos).

As for their counter-austerity programme, and wider political strategy, we shall leave debate on this until we have seen Game of Thrones….

Written by Andrew Coates

June 11, 2015 at 4:22 pm

Raif Badawi, Saudi Blogger, may receive second Whipping on Friday

with 3 comments

“Secularism respects everyone and does not offend anyone … Secularism … is the practical solution to lift countries (including ours) out of the third world and into the first world.”  Raif Badawi.

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi may receive second set of lashes on Friday reports Human Rights Watch.

Beirut) – Saudi authorities could resume lashing liberal activist and blogger Raif Badawi on June 12, 2015. On June 7, Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court upheld a sentence of 10 years and 1,000 lashes against him. Badawi, convicted in 2013 for setting up a liberal website and allegedly insulting religious authorities, has no more appeals. Prior to the Supreme Court review Saudi authorities lashed him 50 times on January 9.

On May 29, the Saudi embassy in Brussels sent an official statement about the case by the Saudi Foreign Affairs Ministry to members of the European parliament. The statement condemned any “interference in its internal affairs,” saying that “some international parties and media … drifted into an attempt to infringe and attack on the sovereign right of states.”

“Saudi authorities believe they are the ones under attack while Raif Badawi waits to be publicly flogged merely for expressing his peaceful opinions,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director. “All Saudi efforts to improve the country’s image internationally cannot overcome this ugly message of intolerance.”

The charges against Badawi are based solely on his peaceful exercise of his right to free expression, Human Rights Watch said. Badawi established his online platform in 2008 to encourage debate on religious and political matters in Saudi Arabia. Saudi authorities have detained Badawi in Jeddah’s Buraiman prison since his arrest on June 17, 2012.

More here.

Facebook: Free Raif (France) Free Raif (English Language).

Amnesty International UK SAUDI ARABIA, FREE RAIF BADAWI

This happened a few days ago, (7th of June)

Saudi Arabia hosts UN-backed human rights summit ‘on combating religious discrimination’

Saudi Arabia has hosted an international conference on human rights, attended by the president of the UN Human Rights Council, and resolved to combat intolerance and violence based on religious belief.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) – which has its headquarters in Jeddah – convened the fifth annual meeting of the Istanbul Process as the kingdom’s Supreme Court preparedto rule on the case of blogger Raif Badawi, sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam through religious channels”. It later upheld the sentence.

The UN HRC recently faced criticism over Saudi plans to head up the council from 2016, in what critics said would be the “final nail in the coffin” for the international body.

 And the Geneva-based human rights campaign group UN Watch accused HRC president Joachim Rücker of giving “false international legitimacy” to the two-day conference on religious freedoms held in Jeddah on 3 and 4 June.

According to a report in the Saudi Gazette, the participants in the conference “began with an agreement to put [HRC] resolution 16/18 into effect” – a pledge by all member states to combat “intolerance and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief”.

In addition, participants agreed on the importance on providing human rights education and encouraging religious and cultural diversity in communities.”

Invited to make the opening statement at the conference, Mr Rücker told the summit: “Religious intolerance and violence committed in the name of religion rank among the most significant human rights challenges of our times.”

But Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, said: “It’s bad enough that the oppressive and fundamentalist Saudi monarchy was elected to sit on the UN Human Rights Council.

“But for top UN human rights officials to now visit Jeddah and smile while human rights activist Raif Badawi languishes in prison for the crime of religious dissent, still under threat of further flogging, is to pour salt in the wounds. It’s astonishing

Independent.

Raif Badawi commented in 2010.

As soon as a thinker starts to reveal his ideas, you will find hundreds of fatwas that accused him of being an infidel just because he had the courage to discuss some sacred topics. I’m really worried that Arab thinkers will migrate in search of fresh air and to escape the sword of the religious authorities.

For more see Writings of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi

Update:

DAY OF ACTION: 17 JUNE 2015

From 1.30pm – Delivery at Downing Street

Organisations and individuals actively campaigning for Raif Badawi’s release will be holding a rally opposite Downing Street from 1.30pm. At 2pm, comedian Kate Smurthwaite and activist Peter Tatchell will join Jo Glanville (Director, English PEN), Maryam Namazie (International Front for Secularism), Pete Radcliff (Free Raif UK) and Melody Patry (Index on Censorship) to deliver our letter to the Prime Minister. MPs and peers including Baroness Glenys Kinnock, Lord Hylton, Caroline Lucas MP, Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Natalie McGarry MP, Stewart McDonald MP, and John McDonnell MP will also join the delegation.

You can read the full text of the letter and add your name here

From 6.30pm – Public meeting at Portcullis House

Representatives of campaigning organisations will come together with MPs to discuss and consider how best to secure the release of Raif Badawi and Waleed Abulkhair. Speakers include:

  • Natalie Bennett, Leader, Green Party
  • Ann Feltham, Parliamentary Co-ordinator , Campaign Against Arms Trade
  • Jo Glanville, Director, English PEN
  • Stewart McDonald, Scottish National Party
  • John McDonnell, Labour Party, Hayes and Harlington
  • Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, One Law for All
  • Peter Tatchell, Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation

The meeting will take place in the Boothroyd Room on the first floor of Portcullis House. The entrance to Portcullis House is on the Victoria Embankment. Please be aware that there will be standard security searches as with many other government buildings.

Please let us know if you plan to attend either or both of these events

TAKE ACTION

Written by Andrew Coates

June 11, 2015 at 12:02 pm

Internationalist Left on Voting Yes in EU Referendum.

with 10 comments

Stand with our European Sisters and Brother: Vote Yes to Europe!

As some groups, such as the SWP, the Socialist Party,  and the CPB (Morning Star) announce that they will campaign for a ‘No’ vote in the European Referendum, the internationalist left has been debating the launching of a ‘Yes’ campaign.

Alliance for Workers’ Liberty.

In an in-out referendum Workers’ Liberty will vote to keep the UK in the EU. We will do so for reasons similar to those that motivated our call to Scottish workers to vote against independence. In general, we are in favour of fewer and weaker borders and barriers between peoples.

If the issue in the referendum had been, for example, a vote on an EU economic treaty, we would probably have advocated abstention. It is not our job to choose between different methods of exploiting workers.

But the issue now is about strengthening borders and hostile attitudes towards other peoples; pulling the UK out of the EU will do both. It runs in the opposite direction to the creation of a federal Europe, which we favour.

The European bourgeoisies have pulled Europe together, substantially integrating Europe economically and politically. By doing so — in their own way, in their own interests — they have also expanded the possibilities for Europe-wide workers’ unity. We could add many qualifications — the expansion of bureaucracy, the capitalist nature of the process of integration — nevertheless European integration is historically progressive.

To try to break up the process of integration is as regressive as trying to turn the internet off because it is run by capitalist companies, or attempting to abolish parliament without bothering to see that bourgeois democracy is replaced with something better.

They state,

We advocate the left forms a united campaign with the following aims:

• To defend migrants’ rights and oppose racism

• To vote against British withdrawal from the EU

• To fight for a workers’ Europe, based on working class solidarity

Socialist Resistance.

SR has not yet taken a view on this. In my opinion, however, the right way to vote in this referendum will be Yes.

This could change over the next two years—we don’t know what is going to happen to Greece for example—but given the xenophobic politics that will dominate the main No campaign it is difficult in my view to do otherwise as things stand today. Any No vote is going to be seen as lining up with the racist elements that will be demanding this. It will be very difficult to avoid this.

A left -wing Yes campaign, under these conditions, should be based on a strong statement that recognises the real nature of the EU and explains why it is necessary to vote Yes under these conditions.

The conditions for a progressive and credible No campaign (i.e. on the basis of socialist and working class politics and significant forces) do not exist in Britain today.

Alan Thornett.

Things are moving.

The Weekly Worker noted last year this resolution by the Labour Representation Committee in 2011.

That the Europe-wide capitalist crisis requires a Europe-wide working-class response.

2. That we should no more oppose European capitalist integration than we would oppose the merger of two companies, even though the bosses use mergers as an excuse to attempt job cuts and other attacks. When Britain PLC merges into Europe PLC, the answer is to link up with other European workers in solidarity and struggle.

3. That demanding withdrawal from the EU, or opposing British entry into the European single currency, is a British nationalist position which misidentifies the enemy as ‘Europe’ rather than the ruling class. This is not altered by tacking on a slogan like ‘Socialist United States of Europe’.

4. The road to a socialist united Europe is the road of responding to European capitalist unification by organising for cross-European workers’ and socialist struggle. We advocate the following programme for this struggle:

  •   Oppose all cuts; level up wages, services, pensions and workers’ rights to the best across Europe;
  •   Tax the rich and expropriate the banks, Europe-wide;
  •   Scrap the EU’s bureaucratic structures; for a European constituent assembly;
  •   Against a European defence force; for a Europe without standing armies or nuclear weapons;
  •   For a European workers’ government.

5. In a referendum on British entry to the euro, our position will be to advocate an active abstention and our slogans will be along the lines of ‘In or out, the fight goes on’; ‘Single currency – not at our expense’; and ‘For a workers’ Europe’.

Active abstention is not an option today.

The nature of Tory Europhobes, UKIP and the right-wing press, have made this clear.

As Alain Thornett notes,

The conditions for a progressive and credible No campaign (i.e. on the basis of socialist and working class politics and significant forces) do not exist in Britain today.

With previous struggles around the EU—the introduction of the Maastricht Treaty and the single currency in the 1990s for example—it was possible to be part of broad left wing No campaign that was based, at least to some extent, on socialist and working class principles and represented something significant. It did not imply any alliance or common “national” interest” between British workers and “British” capital: while resisting global ambitions of capital it also resisted spurious notions of a common interest in British “sovereignty”.

Thornett also observes,

The Tory right, in the form of the ‘free market’ Institute for Economic Affairs, have already published scenarios that they would expect a Tory government to follow after British exit. These scenarios involve realignment of the UK state with the other major reactionary elements of the international bosses clubs – the World Trade Organisation, NATO, the European Free Trade Area (EFTA), the EU Customs Union and the European Economic Area (EEA).

The Tories would repeal the Working Time Directive that limits (however inadequately) workers’ hours and remove the EU restrictions on introducing genetically modified crops, as first steps in a long series of reactionary policies. Reactionary Free Trade Agreements would be negotiated and the possibility of signing the UK’s own version of TTIP or even joining the USA in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is proposed.

To put it simply, saying that a ‘No’ campaign could be independent of the right wing is ridiculous.

It will be ‘independent’ in name only: the crucial point is that they will vote with the xenophobes, nationalists  and ultra-free marketeers.

By contrast, a Yes vote, if the issue is ‘In’ or ‘Out’ of the EU is to stay in and transform the Union, from top-to-bottom.

Where we part company with members of Socialist Resistance is on the basis for change in the EU.

Following the Party of the European Left we would support a radical programme of reform of the EU, through co-operation with our sisters in brothers in other European countries.

The central plank of their platform is opposition to austerity.

We would campaign for a united social Europe – towards a united socialist Europe.

Our immediate concern is solidarity with the Greek people and their government Syriza.

Channeling energy into a campaign to stand aside from Greece by lining up against the EU with the right-wing Tories and UKIP, is not just unhelpful for their fight, it is seriously damaging.

Any victory for those wishing to leave Europe will be a victory of capital and reaction: austerity and the enemies of the left Greek government.

We back the AWL’s call.

Written by Andrew Coates

June 10, 2015 at 11:58 am

George Galloway Announces Twitter Amnesty as Facebook Page Reaches 110 Likes and 4 People Ready to Attend Mayor Rally.

with 16 comments

The Man with a Nifty Hat Books Brockway Room (seating capacity – 70).

As George Galloway’s Facebook Page, Galloway for London Mayor, reaches an amazing 110 members, and the George Galloway London Mayor Rally Page has 4 people going we learn that,

George Galloway Announces Twitter Amnesty For Thousands Of Users.

Huffington Post.

George Galloway has announced he has “kind of given up on blocking” people on Twitter and invited people who feel he blocked them “unfairly” to get in touch.

The London Mayoral hopeful and former Respect MP, who is well known for his habit of blocking people, told listeners on LBC that if tweeters felt they had been blocked unfairly they should let him know to be in with a chance of being reinstated.

Cue obvious jokes about how people couldn’t contact Galloway precisely because they had been blocked.

The execrable Max Keiser will be at the ‘rally’. No doubt with his grinning ninny side-kick.

 

Update: we are informed that Keiser is Galloway’s economic “adviser”.

‘If I’m London mayor, Max Keiser will be economic advisor’ – George Galloway June the 5th.

Background:

Keiser: “November 2012, he predicted that the UK pound was about to collapse.”

“In a 2013 interview with Bradford MP George Galloway, Keiser stated that if he had financial control over the City of London he would base the entire economy on the Bitcoin digital currency.In January 2014, Keiser launched a cryptocurrency called “MaxCoin”, which was created by two Computer Science students from the University of Bristol. MaxCoin was launched during episode 555 of the Keiser Report.[n June 2014, Keiser launched a cryptocurrency called “StartCOIN” for use as the main currency for crowd-funding site StartJOIN.

“Currently a max(Coin) is worth 1/1500th of a bit coin and the value is steadily dropping…” As of April 2015, the Maxcoin is valued 1/12,500 of a bit coin and is long overdue for a reverse max-split.”

Wikipedia. 

Galloway’s last firm friends: Speaking at the Stop the War Coalition Conference, 6th of June

Brutal Dispersal of Migrants in Paris: Left Protests Against “Unnecessary Force.”

leave a comment »

305256 Image 0

French Police Deal Brutally with Migrants.

The situation was tense in the day Monday for former refugees from the Chapel camp. Grouped in a camp in the 18th arrondissement,  for two days, they were brutally dispersed by riot police.

L’Humanité.

These events dominated the news on France-Inter this morning.

Several dozen migrants living in a makeshift camp in northern Paris were driven out Monday by French security forces, who used teargas to disperse activists and politicians who had come to support the migrants.

The undocumented migrants, who had been living in a camp outside the Vaclav-Havel library on rue Pajol in Paris’ 18th arrondissement, were driven out by French gendarmes and riot squads in an afternoon raid.

Officials herded migrants onto a bus, which left the working class neighbourhood in the north of Paris, shortly after 4pm, bound for an unknown destination. According to a police source quoted by AFP, 84 people were evacuated from the scene. Activists told FRANCE 24 that several migrants had been released by Monday evening.

About 40 activists and elected officials wearing scarves in the colour of the French flag were also at the scene to show their support for the refugees. The security forces used teargas to disperse the gathering, also arresting several activists.

The national secretary of the Communist Party, Pierre Laurent, said on Twitter that he was “revolted” by Prime Minister Manuel Valls’ choice to “send security forces against the refugees at Pajol”.

Lack of housing

Some migrants had been sleeping on rue Pajol at night, while others just came during the day to take advantage of food and clothes offered by several organisations who had set up shop there.

Most of the migrants said they had come to rue Pajol after police dismantled a camp near La Chapelle, in the same neighbourhood, on June 5. Almost 350 people, mostly Sudanese and Eritreans had been living there in squalid conditions, which FRANCE 24 witnessed when our journalist visited the camp before its closure to speak to migrants. The police were criticised for using unnecessary force during the evacuation.

Associations and numerous elected officials from the left criticised the lack of accommodation provided for the migrants expelled from La Chapelle, despite the fact that the authorities had pledged to find shelter for each of them, whether or not they are seeking asylum in France.

On Monday, Green party officials at the Paris Municipal Council “solemnly requested [Paris mayor] Anne Hidalgo to open a shelter for [the migrants] starting this evening.”

The La Chapelle evacuation and the one at Pajol on Monday are part of a series of police raids targeting undocumented migrants who have set up camp in northern Paris.

Last Friday, French forces also evacuated several dozen migrants camped outside the nearby Saint-Bernard Church. This church has played a recurrent role in France’s immigration history: in 1996, a group of undocumented migrants, including women and children, sought sanctuary in the church before being forcibly removed by French security forces. The dramatic event created a media storm and pushed the issue of undocumented migrants into the French public conscience.

France 24.

Protests today: here.

 

 

Left Kurdish Party HDP Celebrates Breakthrough as Erdoğan’s Islamists Face Set-Back.

with 16 comments

Our Sisters and Brothers Celebrate Break-through of HDP Party.

The Kurdish news agency, Rûdaw, reports,

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Democracy won over dictatorship in Turkey’s general elections on Sunday, said Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the HDP that looks set to become the first Kurdish-rooted party to enter parliament.

“In this election, supporters of peace and the democracy won against dictatorship and autocracy,” Demirtas said at a news conference after initial results showed the HDP had beaten the 10 percent required to get into the 550-seat parliament.

“Our victory was the victory of the proletariat, the working class and the exploited people of Turkey,” Demirta said. “It was the victory of those who intend to raise the Kurdish question.”

Demirtas reiterated that he would stand by promises made during the election campaign.

“Whatever we said during the election campaign will come true. From now, the HDP is a real party in Turkey. Thousands of people have a share in such an outrageous victory.”

With 99 percent of the votes counted, preliminary results showed that the HDP had won 12.6 percent of the votes across Turkey. With 10 percent of the votes, the HDP would win about 80 seats in the next parliament.

The victory means that the HDP, which is a pro-Kurdish party, had managed to win the votes of many non-Kurds, ending the single party rule enjoyed by the AKP since 2003.

It also means that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who angered the political parties by going against the constitution and virtually campaigning for the ruling party, will not have the pliant parliament he wanted to change the constitution, place himself as head of government and obtain unprecedented executive powers.

“There was a high inequality and the attacks they conducted against our supporters during the election campaigns was against peace and democracy,” Demirtas said, referring to deadly bombings and attacks on HDP offices and rallies in the run-up to the polls.

Latest news on the results (Guardian),

Opposition party leaders appear to be in no mood to discuss forming a coalition with the AKP.

The pro-Kurdish HDP party, which won 80 seats have repeated its unwillingness to do a deal with Erodogan’s party. Its leader Selahattin Demirtas, said:

“We have promised our people that we would not form an internal or external coalition with the AKP. We are clear on that.”

More significantly the nationalist MHP is also in an uncooperative move.

MHP leader Devlet Bahceli said:

“Nobody has the right to sentence Turkey to an AKP minority government. Whenever there can be early elections, let them take place.”

The Republican People’s Party [CHP], which came second with 25% of the vote, says it is ready to form a coalition if the other parties honour their pre-election promises of not forming a government with the AKP.

This Le Monde headline sums up the results.

Législatives en Turquie : Erdogan voit son rêve de sultanat lui échapper.

Elections in Turkey. Erdogan sees his dream of a sultanate escape him.

As we have already  posted during the election campaign Erdogan has railed against the opposition with exceptional virulence.

The Guardian reports,

Even by his shaky standards, Erdoğan’s behaviour during the campaign was exceptionally boorish. As president, he is expected to adopt a neutral stance. Instead, he barnstormed across the country holding rallies in support of the AKP. The results thus look like a very personal rejection.

Erdoğan directed insults, accusations and threats at his political opponents, female activists, the media, non-Muslims, and ethnic and cultural minorities of all descriptions.

Last week Erdoğan dismissed the HDP as a party of gay people and atheists, a description apparently designed to pander to the prejudices of the AKP’s largely poor, devoutly Muslim working class base. He suggested the HDP supported terrorism and was in league with the PKK.

Erdoğan notably failed to condemn more than 70 reported violent attacks on the HDP’s candidates, rallies and offices. After bombs killed two people and wounded more than 200 at an HDP rally in Diyarbakir, in the mainly Kurdish south-east, on Friday, Selahattin Demirtas, the HDP leader, condemned Erdoğan’s silence.

“He should go to Diyarbakir. Is he not the president of 77 million people? He ought to leave flowers where people were killed,” Demirtas said in Istanbul. Erdoğan later offered condolences but said it was Demirtas who should apologise over Syria-related violence last October.

Erdoğan has also been engaged in a vicious slanging match with opposition media, accusing reporters and commentators who criticise him of being part of a conspiracy to undermine Turkey.

People with memories (and not long-term ones at that) will recall that Erdogon and the AKK have been lauded as the moderate face of Islamism….

Update: “The election represents a watershed in Turkish politics, writes Constanze Letsch Istanbul and Ian Traynor in an analysis of the success of the leftist Kurdish HDP.”

The election result brought forth an embryonic new Turkey, but not the one the president wanted.

It produced what is tantamount to a cultural revolution in Turkish political life. Women will pour into the 550-seat parliament in Ankara in unprecedented numbers, 98 up from 79. Openly gay candidates won seats for the HDP. Most of all, the long-repressed Kurdish minority (one in 5 citizens) will be properly represented in the parliament for the first time with 80 seats.

“This is the first time that feminists in Turkey actively supported a political party,” said feminist activist Mehtap Dogan. “Up until now we have always done politics on our own, away from parliament. But this time we ran a campaign supporting the HDP because we believed in their sincerity when it comes to defending the rights of women, LGBTs and ethnic minorities.”

The HDP is the first party to introduce a quota of 50% female politicians, and all party offices and HDP-run municipalities are chaired by both a man and a woman.

The party’s successful attempt to break out of ethnic identity politics and broaden its appeal well beyond the Kurdish issue owes much to leader Selahattin Demirtas’ magnetism and his message of outreach.

But the mass protest movement born in a central Istanbul park two years ago and which mushroomed into national protests which Erdogan crushed mercilessly also fed in to the HDP’s support.

“During the Gezi [park] protests, many got an idea of what Kurds had to go through for years: the violence, the repression, the unjust arrests. It opened our eyes to the Kurdish suffering,” said Dogan. “At the same time, we saw how the pro-government press tried to turn our legitimate, peaceful protests into acts of terrorism.”

Just as Erdogan branded the protesters two years ago “riff-raff”, “terrorists” and “foreign agents”, in the election campaign he stoked division and malice by repeatedly smearing his HDP opponents as “terrorists, marginals, gays and atheists.”

He asked religiously conservative voters not to cast their ballots for “such people who have nothing to do with Islam.”

The tactic backfired as many religiously conservative Kurds shifted their votes from the AKP to a party that promised to represent everyone’s interests.

Guardian.

Background:

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (Turkish: Halkların Demokratik Partisi (HDP), Kurdish: Partiya Demokratik a Gelan) is an anti-nationalist[3][10]left-wing political party in Turkey, acting as the fraternal party to pro-KurdishDemocratic Regions Party (DBP). It was founded in 2012 as the political wing of the Peoples’ Democratic Congress, a union of numerous left-wing movements that had previously fielded candidates as independents to bypass the 10% election threshold. The party operates a co-presidential system of leadership, with one chairman and one chairwoman. As of 22 June 2014, these chairpersons are Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ respectively. The HDP is seen as the Turkish version of SYRIZA and Podemos.[11]

The HDP is a democratic socialist party that adheres to anti-capitalism and aspires to end religious, gender and racial discrimination. The party has a 50% quota for women and a 10% quota for the LGBT community when fielding candidates. The party is also environmentalist, opposing the introduction of nuclear power in Turkey and also speaking out strongly in favour of the Gezi Park protests in 2013 that began as an environmentalist demonstration. It is said to resonate with liberal, middle-class Turks.[12] Despite their anti-nationalist stance, the party has been perceived by some to be a Kurdish nationalist party due to their affiliation with the Democratic Regions Party and their support for minority rights. While the HDP maintains that the party looks beyond the traditional ‘Turkish or Kurdish’ dichotomy, it has openly participated in talks with imprisoned PKK rebel organisation leader Abdullah Öcalan.

More background: Turkey: Kurds, the working class and the new left — interview with Erdem Yörük.

Do not forget this: 12 YEARS OF MASSACRES IN AKP’S TURKEY.

The bomb attacks against the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Amed (Diyarbakir) on 6th June has once again revealed the Turkish government’s (AKP’s) plans to massacre civilians in order to stay in power. Erdoğan and his team came into power with a discourse of advanced democracy but committed 17,153 murders during their time in power.

Human Rights reports reveal that AKP has offered nothing but death and massacres to the public since it came into power in 2002. Human Rights Association, Turkey Human Rights Foundation, and Labor and Social Security Institution reports between 2002 and 2014 shed light on the 12 years of AKP history characterised by murders. The reports of these three non-governmental organizations show that a total of 17,153 people were murdered through unresolved assassinations, extrajudicial executions, custody and prison, and work accidents during AKP’s time in power.

An important detail from the reports reveal that these murders have been constantly increasing since Erdoğan and AKP came into power with the promise of advanced democracy, particularly in Kurdistan since Erdoğan acknowledged the existence of the Kurdish issue in 2005.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

June 8, 2015 at 10:45 am

Michael Meacher MP on Labour’s Defeat – Chartist AGM.

leave a comment »

 

https://i0.wp.com/www.chartist.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/AGM-images-2015-212x300.jpg

Michael Meacher MP Backs Jeremy Corbyn for Labour Leader.

The Chartist AGM was held on Saturday at the University of Westminster. Around 40 people gathered to discuss, as democratic socialists, “post election perspectives”.

The meeting began with Michael Meacher, the veteran (as they say) MP for Oldham West and Royton. He talked of how we are on the left are in a “very bad place” after the election defeat.

Why had this happened ? – Meacher asked. While there is a need to look at detailed analysis of the polls, which will emerge – there are some points, the MP said, that could be made now.

The principal point is that the evidence is that the party lost because voters were not “prepared to trust Labour with finances”. The Conservatives had, during the whole Coalition period, been hammering away at the claim that the legacy of the Blair and the Brown years had been economic incompetence faced with the banking crisis and its aftermath. They had left a massive budget deficit that, the Tories claimed, only they were capable of dealing with.

The Labour Party had not met this message, repeated and repeated. They had not clearly pointed to the flimsy foundations of the Conservatives’ claims to economic competence. The ‘recovery’ was already “fizzling out”, wages had not recovered, and more employment (largely confined to London and the South-east) was above all in the precarious and badly paid work. The Coalition had not even been able to meet their own claims to resolve their own favourite problem – the deficit. Instead Ed Balls and the team around Miliband had accepted the right-wing premise that austerity was necessary.

With Labour unable to challenge the grounds of David Cameron and George Osborne’s economic strategy, the electorate preferred to place their confidence in the outgoing Tories instead of a new government.

Meacher then outlined an alternative to austerity, and long-term measures to deal with inequality. Fiscal policy should be a form of modern Keynesianism. Against “market fundamentalism” strategic areas of the economy would benefit from public intervention and control. The poor services offered by the privatised utilities and transport, had to be tackled, and manufacturing promoted.

Through the tax system and inside companies measures should be introduced to reduce, by a long-term and determined effort, the gulf between the sky-high salaries of the super-rich and ordinary people. This would also help increase public revenue and provide increased revenue for public services.

The AGM then heard a valuable contribution on the Greek left government, Syriza, by Isidoros Diakides (Greece Solidarity Campaign and a Haringey councillor). He painted a picture of just how severe the plight of the Greeks people had become.

The day’s debates that followed these well-argued talks were wide ranging. Many different points were raised. Meacher’s principal explanation for Labour’s defeat – the feeling that Miliband was not to be trusted with the economy – received support. However appealing Labour policies on issues such as the living wage and increased workers’ rights were, they had not stood up clearly to the Tories in this area. Accepting tight fiscal policy, and the need to cutting back on public spending, was a principal problem.

Austerity had to be fought. This was one of the reasons why Meacher had now “switched” support in the Labour Party leadership campaign to Jeremy Corbyn.

Yet some new Labour MPs had managed to win by reaching out into the community. The undermining of the ground of social democratic politics was discussed. The view that British politics could melt down and prepare the way for a Syriza or a Podemos did not get much backing. The differences between Greek, Spanish and our economies and politics were underlined, from the scale of the economic disaster in Greece to the extent of corruption in Spain, which stimulated the rise of these parties, were mentioned. Problems with Podemos, such as its vertical structure, were mentioned.

For others there was the issue of Scottish nationalism and the high vote for UKIP (despite their failure to secure more than one MP). It was suggested that constitutional issues remained central. A candidate who had stood for the Bermondsey  Republican Socialists in London took the view that the whole electoral process had become irrelevant.

Somebody pointed out that the Republican socialist had received 20 votes in the General Election (0.0%).

We think we can guess who that somebody was.

There was panel on migration, racism and nationalism.

Don Flynn (Migrant Rights Network) warned the meeting of a new clampdown on migrants. ‘Illegal’ workers will find their wages treated as criminal revenue and confiscated. Tehmina Kazi (Muslims for Secular Democracy) spoke on the twin threats of prejudice against Muslims and the rise of intolerant Islam. Secularism, universal rights, was the alternative to both. She cited, as a young woman her inspiration: Southall Black Sisters and the beloved Gita Segal.

Andy Greeg (Race on the Agenda) outlined the issues involved in different ethnic or ‘race’ policies and the problems of politics which depended on ‘community leaders’. He mentioned that the Conservatives had actively sought support from Hindus. The election results showed that the Tories had scored well in this constituency, and amongst Sikhs. Labour could not take the Black and Minority Vote for granted.

A high-point of the day was a talk, “Cartooning against the Coalition’, illustrated by magic lantern, by the cartoonist, Martin Rowson.

It is hard to recall the name of the politician whose face he described as resembling a “balloon full of sick”.

We will leave it to readers to imagine who it is.

More on Chartist Magazine

George Galloway Mourns Tariq Aziz.

with 39 comments

Galloway, London Mayor Hopeful, with Friends. 

 

 

Tariq Aziz, known as the face of Saddam Hussein’s regime on the world stage for many years, has died in an Iraqi hospital, officials say.

Aziz, 79, served as foreign minister and deputy prime minister and was a close adviser to the former leader.

He was sentenced to death by the Iraqi Supreme Court in 2010 for the persecution of religious parties under Saddam’s rule but was never executed.

He surrendered to US troops in 2003 shortly after the fall of Baghdad.

A local health official told reporters that he was taken to hospital from prison after suffering a heart attack. Initial reports said he had died in prison.

He had long been in poor health, suffering from heart and respiratory problems, high blood pressure and diabetes, and his family repeatedly called for his release from custody.

BBC

Written by Andrew Coates

June 5, 2015 at 6:00 pm

Parti de Gauche Backs Left Kurdish HDP Party in Turkish Elections.

with 8 comments

French Left Backs our Kurdish Sisters and Brothers. 

The Parti de Gauche (Left Party), one of the largest components of the Front de Gauche (Left Front) in France, has issued a statement in support of the HDP saying that HDP’s overcoming the electoral threshold in the general elections to be held on 7 June is vital to the future of Turkey and of Rojava.

Reports The Kurdish Question.

The statement of Parti de Gauche drew attention to the importance of the general elections in Turkey to be held on 7 June, stressing that the elections might open the possibility for the realisation of a democratic, social, peaceful and anti-capitalist project defending the rights of the workers and the minorities (Kurdish, Alevi people, LGBT individuals, women, etc. ) as well as promoting ecology and the protection of the environment.

The statement stressed that that project is today defended in Turkey by the HDP, which is the sole political force able to break the political hegemony of the AKP, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and its government.

The statement said: “The power in Ankara has understood this: While the AKP representatives hold offensive speeches and stigmatise the HDP as a “terrorist organisation” or as “dangerous for democracy”, they do not seek to bring to light the bombings on the HDP election offices that were carried out in Mersin and Adana on 8 May 2015”.

French Left Party also drew attention to the 10 % electoral threshold of in Turkey, calling it undemocratic and unjust, and stressed that the HDP’s having votes over the threshold will undermine the will of Erdoğan to strengthen his grip on the society by changing the Constitution towards presidential system and greater authoritarianism. The statement also said a probable victory of the AKP would be a threat to peace and exacerbate the abuses of liberties, secularism and women’s rights, adding that worse would be the continuation of the support of the AKP government to ISIS gangs to break the autonomy of Rojava, despite the failure of this strategy in Kobanê.

The statement concluded by stressing the support of the Parti de Gauche to HDP and its candidates in the elections, adding that the people of Turkey demonstrated that they would not give in to this repression as has been proved by the events of Gezi and the successful results obtained by Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-chair of the HDP in the presidential election in 2014.

The Parti de Gauche’s best known figure is JeanLuc Mélenchon.

Turkey’s general election set for Sunday is predicted to be one of closest in more than a decade for the ruling AK Party. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan increasingly is targeting the HDP, the pro-Kurdish opposition party, which is seeking for the first time to enter parliament as a political party. A surge in political attacks on the HDP has coincided with an increase in the number of violent attacks against the party.

With just a few days of campaigning left before the June 7 election, the pro-Kurdish HDP is facing growing political violence. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to try and stop protesters trying to break up a HDP party rally in the eastern city of Erzurum.

In the same region, a mob attacked an HDP campaign bus and set it on fire. The bus’s driver was reportedly injured; how seriously is unknown. An HDP activist was fatally shot Wednesday night in southeastern Turkey near his campaign bus, which was raked with gunfire.

…..

The wave of political violence follows a speech in the same region Wednesday by Erdogan, in which he strongly condemned the pro-Kurdish party.

“The Armenian lobby, homosexuals and those atheists – all these representatives of sedition benefit from any HDP success,” said Erdogan.

Even though the president is bound by the constitution to be impartial, he has been stepping up his political rhetoric against the HDP. Recent opinion polls indicate the party will just pass the 10-percent electoral threshold required for parliamentary representation.

Original statement:

Le Parti de Gauche soutient les candidat-e-s du HDP

Des élections législatives ont lieu le 7 juin en Turquie. Elles constituent pour les citoyen-ne-s turcs/turques une opportunité pour faire avancer un projet démocratique, social, pacifique et anticapitaliste défendant les droits des travailleurs/travailleuses, des minorités (kurdes, alévis, LGBTI, droits des femmes) et promouvant l’écologie et la protection de l’environnement.

C’est le projet défendu par la coalition HDP (Parti démocratique des peuples), seule force politique en mesure de briser l’hégémonie politique du parti AKP, du Président Recep Tayyip Erdogan et de son gouvernement. Le pouvoir d’Ankara l’a bien compris : tenant un discours violent et stigmatisant le HDP qualifié d’ « organisation terroriste » ou de « danger pour la démocratie » par des responsables de l’AKP, il ne cherche pas non plus à faire la lumière sur les attentats à la bombe dont les bureaux du HDP ont été victimes dans les villes d’Adana et de Mersin le 18 mai 2015.

Le système électoral turc, profondément injuste, impose aux listes en présence de franchir la barre des 10% pour être représentées au parlement. Atteindre ce seuil constituerait pour le HDP une première victoire. Cela mettrait à mal la volonté du Président Erdogan de renforcer son emprise sur la société turque en modifiant la Constitution vers davantage de présidentialisme et d’autoritarisme. À l’inverse, une victoire de l’AKP serait une menace pour la paix et aggraverait les atteintes aux libertés, à la laïcité, aux droits des femmes avec la mise en œuvre d’une insupportable politique de régression sociale. Pire encore, le soutien du régime turc aux forces de l’État Islamique visant à briser l’autonomie du Rojava (Kurdistan syrien) se poursuivrait, malgré l’échec retentissant de cette stratégie délétère à Kobané.

Le peuple turc ne se résigne pas à cette éventualité comme l’ont démontré les manifestations de Gezi, les événements de la place Taksim et le succès du candidat du HDP, Selahattin Demirtas, aux dernières élections présidentielles de 2014.

Pour ces élections législatives turques, le Parti de Gauche apporte tout son soutien au HDP et à ses candidat-e-s.

Written by Andrew Coates

June 5, 2015 at 11:43 am

Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn launches bid for the Party Leadership on Anti-austerity Platform.

with 10 comments

Jeremy Corbyn in Bid for Labour Leadership.

After the election John  McDonnell MP  made this analysis (LRC).

THIS IS THE DARKEST HOUR THAT SOCIALISTS IN BRITAIN HAVE FACED since the Attlee government fell in 1951. It isn’t just the scale of the electoral defeat – but the overwhelming incorporation of so much of the Labour Party into the political and economic system that the Labour Party was founded to transform.

…..

There are three immediate tasks. First, we have to recognise – even more than before – that with a Tory majority government the main forms of effective resistance will be on the streets, in occupations and on picket lines. This is a time for intensive activism. This is not some form of displacement activity from other forms of political engagement, but an essential role that the left, especially the Labour left, must now grasp more enthusiastically and with more determination than ever. ….

Second, the Labour left may not have the resources in Parliament to secure a left candidate on the ballot paper for the Labour leadership election but we do have the intellectual resources to dominate the ideological and policy debate in this leadership election……

Third, the crisis our class now faces means that the left needs to get real and get together. This is no time for sectarian division. Anyone who divides us is aiding and abetting the Tories and other forces of reaction. I do not think the threat of UKIP has gone away.

It is the first and second points which make the most impact (because frankly there are divisions about, above all, the EU Referendum which are not due to ‘sectarianism’ but to very deep divisions over Europe which are not going to go away).

Now we hear.

Jeremy Corbyn runs for Labour leader: Veteran MP launches surprise bid declaring other contenders are too right-wing reports the Daily Mirror,

Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn tonight launches a surprise bid for the party leadership.

The left-winger revealed he wanted to give Labour members “a proper choice” when they elected a new chief.

He becomes the fifth MP to throw his hat into the ring, joining four already firmly-established contenders.

They are Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Coooper, Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall and Shadow International Development Secretary Mary Creagh.

 Mr Corbyn believed the four declared candidates were too similar, saying: “They are not offering a clear enough alternative on the economic strategy and austerity, and our attitude to welfare expenditure.

“We think the left members of the party need to have a chance of a debate.”

On his Blog site Jeremy Corbyn wrote after the election,

Voting Revealed A Disjointed Britain: Labour’s Task Is To Unify And Equalise It.

The real issue is of course austerity. Ed Miliband made some brilliant points during the campaign about wages, working conditions, education opportunities and housing, and clearly was mobilising quite a lot of younger voters to support the party.

The problem was that while Chancellor George Osborne was claiming that austerity was working and thus ignoring the inequality and poverty created, Ed Balls was in essence saying that the only difference in Labour’s policy was that his economic strategy would simply take longer to deal with the deficit.

He was not offering to restore the funding that the Tories have cut in local government particularly, or reverse cuts to benefits over the past five years.

The reality is that within a few months the Tories are going to be in disarray over Europe and many will rapidly realise the horror of what has happened when they see rising poverty and further attacks on working conditions. Surely the need for Labour is to examine the economic strategy needed to develop a more equal society with full employment, decent housing and a fully funded and public NHS, rather than taking the advice of Peter Mandelson and Lord Sugar that we weren’t “appealing to big business.” By September we will know who the new Labour leader is, and the rules require that 35 Labour MPs nominate an individual to be a candidate. I hope there are enough Labour MPs prepared to support an anti-austerity candidate in the leadership election so that party members and affiliated supporters have a real choice.

Owen Jones notes (just published on the Guardian website),

It is up to Labour MPs whether party members and trade unionists will have the opportunity to have a meaningful debate. Under Ed Miliband’s leadership the threshold for how many nominations a leadership candidate must receive to appear on the ballot paper was raised to 15%. Unless 35 Labour MPs nominate Corbyn, this farce of a leadership contest will continue and the Labour party – and the country as a whole – will learn nothing from it.

Back in 2007, I worked for the prospective Labour leadership campaign of John McDonnell, a close ally of Corbyn. But after McDonnell outshone Gordon Brown in a single leadership hustings – with the soon-to-be-unopposed leader becoming evidently flustered during the course of the evening – the Brownite goons roared into action. They knew their man would win, but they feared an unexpectedly positive showing by McDonnell in both the debates and the final result. Arm-twisting and arm-breaking followed, and a coronation ensued. Brown never defined himself, and arguably fatally wounded his premiership from the outset.

……

Corbyn was an arch critic of New Labour, and ironically would be the sole real defender of New Labour’s record in the contest. He would fight a rearguard offensive against the lie that Blair and Brown caused the crisis by spending too much money on schools and hospitals – spending backed, penny for penny, by the Tories until the end of 2008. He will be able to draw from the findings of Britain’s leading pollster, John Curtice – who accurately predicted the outcome of the election; these findings dispute that Labour lost for being too leftwing, and underline that Labour lost Scotland partly for being too rightwing.

Corbyn could also draw on the conclusion of Peter Kellner, the YouGov pollster, that however Ed Miliband allowed himself to be portrayed, his policies were less radical than those of Tony Blair in 1997. He could nail why Labour lost: the implosion in Scotland, and the consequent anti-SNP hysteria; the lie of “overspending”; and the lack of any coherent alternative.

If Labour MPs deny the party and the country a genuine debate, it will reflect disastrously on them. It will do whoever emerges victorious no good, either. Labour has just suffered one of the worst defeats in its history. If the party doesn’t have the good sense to have a meaningful debate now, you might wonder why it doesn’t just pack up. So come on, Labour MPs. Put your future careers aside for party and national interest. Lend Corbyn a nomination, and let a real debate begin.

I agree with Owen Jones.

A Corbyn candidacy would allow us to have a real debate, on a range of issues.

Whether we agree with Corbyn on every stand he’s ever taken is irrelevant.

He is the only one stand up against austerity.

That is the main issue.

Let’s not forget that it’s not only Labour members who will have a say in the end: it’s us affiliated trade unionists.

Our unions have taken a stand against austerity.

We have campaigned with organisations like the People’s Assembly against austerity.

Many of us also campaigned for the Labour Party.

We deserve a chance to back a candidate who expresses our views.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JeremyCorbyn4Leader?hc_location=ufi

Atena Farghadani, Iranian Cartoonist, facing a dozen years behind bars for drawing cartoons.

with 8 comments

Reported to be the offending Atena Farghadani cartoon

Our Comrade Faces 12 Years in an Iranian Gaol for Drawing this

Iranian artist-activist Atena Farghadani has been handed a 12 year prison sentence by Tehran’s Revolutionary Court for posting a cartoon in protest at legislation to restrict birth-control and make divorce more difficult in her country. The illustration, in which Iran’s parliamentarians were depicted with animal heads, was posted on Farghadani’s Facebook page.

After spending nine months in prison awaiting trial, during which time she reportedly suffered a heart attack while on a hunger strike, Farghadani has been found guilty of “insulting members of parliament through paintings” and “insulting the Iranian supreme leader.”

The 28-year-old painter had also been charged with “gathering and colluding with anti-revolutionary individuals and deviant sects” for contact she had with families of political prisoners and followers of the Baha’i faith during a painting exhibition.  The exhibition — Parandegan-e Khak (Birds of Earth) —  focused attention on protesters killed by government forces in the wake of Iran’s contested 2009 election.

More here

CARTOONISTS RIGHTS

Originally signaled by Ex-Muslims Forum.

Amnesty International adds (today).

Atena Farghadani

Atena Farghadani is a prisoner of conscience, sentenced to over 12 years in prison for her peaceful activism.

28-year-old Atena was tried on 19 May on charges including ‘spreading propaganda against the system’ and ‘insulting members of parliament through paintings’. She was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison.

Ahead of her trial, more than 33,000 of you signed our petition to the Iranian authorities calling for Atena’s release. We continue to call on Iran’s Supreme Leader and Head of the Judiciary to release Atenda immediately – she has committed no crime. The fight for her freedom continues.

Last August, 12 members of the Revolutionary Guards came to Atena’s house. They confiscated her personal belongings, blindfolded her and took her to Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison.  She was to be punished for her peaceful acts of political defiance, including meeting the families of political prisoners and for posting on Facebook a cartoon she’d drawn that was critical of members of the Iranian parliament.

Iran is currently creating a law that will roll back women’s rights in the country by restricting access to contraception and criminalising voluntary sterilisation. Atena’s cartoon, which depicted politicians in favour of this Bill, is now being held against her – one of the charges she has been convicted of is ‘insulting members of parliament through paintings’.

While in prison last year, Atena flattened paper cups to use them as a surface to paint on. When the prison guards realised what she had been doing, they confiscated her paintings and stopped giving her paper cups. When Atena found some cups in the bathroom, she smuggled them into her cell. Soon after, she was beaten by prison guards, when she refused to strip naked for a full body search. Atena says that they knew about her taking the cups because they had installed cameras in the toilet and bathroom facilities – cameras detainees had been told were not operating.

Atena was released in November last year, but rearrested just six weeks later. In the time that she was released, she gave media interviews and posted a video on youtube describing how the prison guards had interrogated her for nine hours every day for six weeks. She said that female prison guards had beaten her and subjected her to degrading body searches.

Just weeks after posting her youtube video, Atena was once again arrested – possibly as reprisal for speaking out.

She was sentenced to 12 yeas and nine months on  charges including

  • Gathering and colluding against national security
  • Spreading propaganda against the system
  • Insulting members of parliament through paintings
  • Insulting her interrogators

Atena is a prisoner of conscience – she has committed no real crime. She is being unfairly punished simply for exercising her right to free speech, association and assembly.

Atena was kept in solitary confinement for over two weeks when she was detained last year in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison. During that time she was denied access to her lawyer or family. After her release from detention, she said that she’d been beaten by prison guards.

Three weeks after she was rearrested in January this year, Atena went on hunger strike to protest that she was being held in extremely poor prison conditions, in a jail that does not have a section for political prisoners. Atena’s health suffered considerably as a result; her lawyer told us that the 28-year-old had suffered a heart attack and briefly lost consciousness in late February as a result of her hunger strike.

Atena has since been moved to another detention centre and stopped her hunger strike, but we remain worried about her health.

Written by Andrew Coates

June 3, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Jennifer Cody Epstein admits was wrong to oppose Charlie Hebdo Award: We expose one basis of anti-Charlie Hatred.

with 3 comments

Luz: New Album, Catharsis, on January Murders: On reste toujours avec toi Charlie!

<i>Catharsis</i>, la bande dessinée post-traumatique de Luz.

The Guardian Reports.

The American novelist Jennifer Cody Epstein has said that she “fundamentally misunderstood Charlie Hebdo’s mission and content” when she put her name to a letter condemning PEN’s decision to honour the magazine with an award.

…….

She now believes that Charlie Hebdo’s “controversial images – while arguably tasteless, offensive and not even particularly well-drawn – sprang from satire, not hate”.

“It is a profound and crucial difference: if one is to argue for freedom of speech there can be no caveats, no asterisks, no fine print qualifying that ‘freedom’ only applies to expression we don’t consider too upsetting, or doesn’t enrage right-wing fundamentalists with guns,” her letter reads.

She adds that she was “also under the misassumption that Hebdo disproportionately lampooned Islam”, and points to an article by Michael Moynihan in the Daily Beast, in which he highlights the fact that Charlie Hebdo has had more anti-Christian covers – 21 – than anti-Islam – seven – in the last 10 years.

It is worth reflecting on the words of those who oppose Charlie Hebdo root and branch:

Charlie Hebdo: Where Neocons, Zionists, Masons and Communists Converge

While pontificating about “free speech”, criticism of Israel was not tolerated, and any manifestation of the Nationalist Right was regarded as requiring state repression. Charlie Hebdo advocates the “liberalism” of the Jacobins, the argument of the guillotine, figuratively, if not literally. They try to titillate the “educated” classes of France with an illustration of Jesus sodomising God,[4] and other such puerilities on a weekly basis.

Never did they campaign in favor of genuine “heretics”, such as those who questioned the Holocaust, who are heavily repressed in France. Never did they respond to the cause of the continuously vilified, constantly prosecuted, and physically beaten Dr. Robert Faurisson. The former professor of literature at the University of Lyon, removed for his heresy, whose questioning on the matter of the gas chambers at least had the support of socialist-libertarian Serge Thion in France and in the USA of Dr. Noam Chomsky, on the basis of free enquiry.[5] But Chomsky is a rare breed of Leftist intellectual. Most of the CH types the world over believe in free speech only as far as it aligns with their own dogmas. CH served as a mouthpiece for the ideology of the world system in a convergence of Grand Orient politicized Freemasonry, economic liberalism, Jacobinism, Zionism, and Marxism. It is this type of convergence, during the Cold War, under CIA auspices, from which the neocons emerged. A similar process has resulted in parts of the French Left taking a neocon course, Islamophobic, in the name of “universal values,” to the point of supporting U.S. (and Israeli) policies. They are like the Trotskyite luminaries during the Cold War, including Trotsky’s widow, Sedova, Max Schachtman, et al, who ended up being avid champions of the USA.

Any resemblance between the above and the below is pure coincidence.

Sadly Charlie Hebdo had been drifting away from its roots in the revolutionary events of France 1968 for some time. In the aftermath of 9/11 its output became blatantly Islamophobic and increasingly Zionist.

Tim SandersSocialist Workers Party, Socialist Review.

 

Tikkun.

Some key players at Charlie Hebdo were part of the ‘Street Fighting Years’ of 1968. What do you have to say about the way they evo­­lved?

Tariq Ali.

They evolved sharply to the right, like French society as a whole. A friend of mine recently wrote: “…did I ever tell you that Cabu gave me my first job when I was still at the lycee? For five months I was at Le Canard Enchaine; that was in the late ‘80s…. Then he relaunched Charlie Hebdo and I joined him for a while, but I never felt at ease with this team and I broke off with them during the war in Yugoslavia (obviously Charlie was in favour of the NATO intervention) and I moved to London…. Then by the late ‘90s Charlie became definitely a right-wing fanzine, always trying to please the establishment and in favour of ALL the colonial wars

Parti des Indigènes de la République Against Mixed Marriage in Name of Race Struggle.

with 23 comments

There have been reports that the Parti des Indigènes de la République – much admired in the English speaking world by a fraction of the left, such as the US journal ironically titled Jacobin and Richard Seymour (often for their hatred of Charlie Hebdo) has been in the news recently.

In the May Issue of Le Monde Diplomatique Serge Halmi cited this statement by their spokesperson, Mme Houria Bouteldja.

« La perspective décoloniale, explique-t-elle, c’est d’abord de nous aimer nous-mêmes, de nous accepter, de nous marier avec une musulmane ou un musulman, un Noir ou une Noire. Je sais que cela semble une régression, mais je vous assure que non, c’est un pas de géant. »

The de(anti)colonial standpoint, she explained, is above all to love each other, to love our own, to marry with a Muslim man or woman, a black person with a black person. I realise this may seem a step backwards, but I can assure you it’s a giant step forward.

These are some of their tweets (hat-Tip K)

The Tweets read: the integration of whites into the marginalised is as impossible as the integration of the ‘indigenous’ into the republic.

For us races do not represent a theoretical concept, but a relation of struggle.

A white person converted to Islam can de-convert: but an Arab, even perfectly atheist, remains a Muslim.

For us there is a relation of force between the races, the aim of our organisation is to bring this relation in out favour .

When a White asks, How do you see the link between races and classes, one should not reply.

The struggle against domination, goes through the abandoning of privileges in favour of the privileges of others.

 

L’antisémitisme des Indigènes de la République

L'antisémitisme des Indigènes de la République

For more information see above.

The article largely refers to this:  Racisme (s) et philosémitisme d’Etat ou comment politiser l’antiracisme en France ?

 

Written by Andrew Coates

June 1, 2015 at 1:57 pm

Support George Galloway for London Mayor!

with 15 comments

Galloway at Recent Rally.

https://twitter.com/Galloway4Mayor/status/604350190666043394?s=04

 

11014755_10153295894302510_5383362069135050577_n

A group to share views, raise support, exchange opinion and affect change to elect George Galloway as Mayor of London for the 2016 mayoral vote.
Saurav Dutt's photo.
Saurav Dutt's photo.

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

May 30, 2015 at 2:13 pm

George Galloway to succeed Boris Johnson as Mayor of London.

with 23 comments

Next Mayor of London.

 

George Galloway has become the latest candidate in a crowded field vying to succeed Boris Johnson as Mayor of London.

Johnson will be stepping down as mayor in next year’s election, after he was elected to represent Uxbridge in Parliament.

Hat-Tip DT.

 

Galloway tweeted the announcement, urging anyone that can help his campaign to get in touch. The tweet features his son patting the politician on the back, with the caption “you’ve got this”.

 

 

 

He is expected to gain strong support from this rebel group.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

May 28, 2015 at 3:56 pm

Derek Hatton re-joins Labour Party 29 years after expulsion. But…………

with 3 comments

He was once dubbed a ‘firebrand’, was a member of the far-left Militant organisation and was one of Labour’s most controversial figures in the 1980s.

Now, 29 years after he was expelled, the former Deputy Leader of Liverpool City Council, Derek Hatton, is returning to the Labour Party.

In an exclusive interview with ITV Granada’s political programme Party People, 67-year-old Hatton revealed he re-joined the party on the 9th of May, two days after it suffered one of its worst ever electoral defeats, to ‘have one more go at having a say in the way the Labour Party is going’.

He told Party People Presenter Rob McLoughlin:

‘I just felt that I should do something. I think for too long now the Labour Party has drifted and drifted and drifted. There has now become no difference between the parties. It was the same type of Oxford/Eton person going forward. People now need to see there is a clear choice when they go into the voting booth.’

To some it will be a surprise to see Hatton re-admitted to the Labour Party, given the list of controversies which followed him in his political career and the way his relationship with the party broke down back in 1985.

He was at the centre of one of the great political storms of Thatcher’s Britain when Liverpool Council refused to comply with the Conservative government’s mandate to limit local council spending.

Hatton and the left-wing Labour Council refused to set a legal budget for the 1985/86 year, putting council jobs at risk and causing a financial crisis in the city.

Their rebellion was eventually defeated and at the Labour Party conference Neil Kinnock denounced the ‘grotesque chaos’ of Hatton and the Liverpool City Council before the National Executive Committee suspended the Liverpool district Labour Party and ordered an investigation.

The result was the expulsion of all Militant Tendency members from Labour.

DEREK HATTON REJOINS LABOUR

Good morning – we’ve got all the reaction this morning to the breaking story that Derek Hatton has applied to rejoin the Labour party.

Degsy’s back!

Derek Hatton has applied to rejoin the Labour Party, having been kicked out of it 29 years ago.

He rejoined – online – the day after Labour’s general election defeat, and told the ECHO he wants to ensure that the party maintains its historical links with the trade unions.

But at 67, Degsy has no desire to seek high office – so he won’t be challenging Joe Anderson, then, in a bid to become Mayor of Liverpool!

He told the ECHO: “I have no intention of being a main player. I have not joined to stand as a politician, I am just giving my opinion.”

Hatton wouldn’t be drawn on Andy Burnham’s bid to be the next Labour leader, saying only: “He’s a great Evertonian.”

Liverpool Echo.

But……

Labour’s general secretary has objected to a bid by former firebrand councillor Derek Hatton to rejoin the party.

Mr Hatton, the former deputy leader of Liverpool City Council, was thrown out of Labour in 1986 for belonging to the left-wing Militant faction.

The 67-year-old told ITV Granada he had rejoined the party two days after its general election defeat.

“I just felt I should do something,” he said, saying there was now “no difference between the parties”.

However he will need to appeal against the objection, from general secretary Iain McNicol, if he wants to continue with his application.

The Militant Tendency, which emerged from a Trotskyist group called the Revolutionary Socialist League, held key positions in the Liverpool Labour Party as it battled the Conservative Thatcher government in the 1980s.

BBC

Written by Andrew Coates

May 28, 2015 at 11:10 am

Socialist Unity Goes Russia Today.

with 8 comments

John Wight: Roguish Charm Wins Audiences on RT.

This morning on Russia Today the lead story was about Syria.

It was introduced  by  an old friend of this Blog, John Wight. *

Comrade Wight explained the crisis in the Middle East in way which we can only listen to.

It seems that it’s all about a rabbit, called Flopsy, which has got poisoned by Cordelia.

But Bashar al-Assad is standing up for rabbits.

Er…. that’s it.

 

* John Wight thas written for newspapers and websites across the world, including Pravda,   the Wiltshire  Farmers’  Gazette , Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, and Foreign Policy Journal. He is also a regular commentator on RT, Socialist Unity,  and BBC Radio Norfolk (co-host with Alain Partridge) .  You can follow him on Twitter @JohnWight1

The EU Referendum: The Left Faces a Descent into Irrelevance.

with 47 comments

No2EU:Rising?

The debate on British membership of the EU is the next big issue for the left.

This is a major story today,

The vote on Britain’s membership of the European Union may still be months away, but already the scare stories have started. One that is particularly revealing is the question about who should be allowed to vote in the in/out referendum. The Mail on Sunday reported Tory concerns that one million Europeans who are not UK passport holders could be allowed to cast their vote. Conservative MP Philip Davies told the paper that there was “massive concern that the referendum could be rigged to deliver a desired outcome. But it would be unjustifiable if EU nationals were allowed to take part in this vote”.

Guardian.

Expect loads of gobshite in this vein over the coming months.

As Cameron set out his stand this morning it would appear that the major renegotiation on the UK’s relation with the EU will over such issues as the right to cut EU migrants’  benefits.

Last night on Question Time Owen Jones came out with curious idea that the EU was all about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

He expressed the opinion that it was right to have a referendum on EU membership – no doubt on the basis that a non-EU UK would magic itself away from TTIP.

And no doubt global capitalism.

If Owen is ‘pro-E’ he has already conceded too much to the right by (1) Starting his comments in this way, without mentioning any social benefits of the EU and (2) Agreeing that somehow we need this referendum.

We predict that the left, having indulged Scottish nationalism against the UK ‘Imperial’ state, is about to take the same line on the ‘Imperialist’ EU.

That if Cameron ‘renegotiates’ a deal involving hitting at EU migrants, those voting for the EU will be accused of abetting  the Tories, and being racist to boot.

We also predict that the dead hand of No2EU shall rise from the grave.

No2EU – Yes to Workers’ Rights stood 46 candidates in seven regions in the May 22 euro election including London, North West, Eastern, Wales, Scotland, Yorks and Humber and West Midlands.

Electoral results of this lash-up, 2014.

Constituency Candidates Votes %
East of England Brian Denny, Eleanor Donne, Steve Glennon, David Goode, Leonardo Impett, Teresa MacKay, Emily Thompson-Golding 4,870 0.3
London Edward Dempsey, Alex Gordon, April Ashley, Annie Ngemi, Mary Davis, Paula Mitchell, Natasha Hoarau,[22] Michael Carty 3,804 0.2
North West England Roger Bannister, George Waterhouse, Jacqueline Grunsell, John Metcalfe, George Tapp, Mark Rowe, James Healy, Kevin Morrison 5,402 0.3
West Midlands Dave Nellist, Pat Collins, Joanne Stevenson, Sophia Hussain, Paul Reilly, Andy Chaffer, Amanda Marfleet 4,653 0.3
Yorkshire and the Humber Trevor Howard, Mary Jackson, Carrie Hedderwick, Adrian O’Malley, Steven Andrew, Iain Dalton 3,807 0.3
Scotland John Foster, Andrew Elliot, Murdo Maclean, Gail Morrow, Brian Smith, Ritchie Veitch 6,418 0.5
Wales Robert Griffiths, Claire Job, Steve Skelly, Laura Picand 2,803 0.4
Total 31,757 0

 

We say: Yes to the EU! Yes to Internationalism! Yes to working with our sisters and brothers in Europe to change the EU!

 

 

Justice for George Galloway: International Campaign Launched.

with 11 comments

Justice for George Galloway (Facebook Page).

 Free the Galloway One!

Ex-MP George Galloway referred to police over parliamentary expenses

A complaint against former Respect MP George Galloway over his use of parliamentary funds has been referred to the police, the parliamentary standards watchdog has confirmed.

Mr Galloway’s former parliamentary assistant Aisha Ali Khan reported him to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority earlier this year.

She has alleged she was required to run personal errands for him.

The former Bradford West MP said the claims were “news to me”.

Following an assessment of Ms Ali Khan’s claims, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Aurthority (IPSA) compliance officer Peter Davis has passed the case to the Metropolitan Police.

An IPSA spokesman said: “IPSA’S compliance officer has completed his assessment of the George Galloway complaint and has passed it on to the Metropolitan Police Service.”

Mr Galloway lost his Bradford West seat at the General Election earlier this month.

GALLOWAY GOES TO LAW TO SET ASIDE ELECTION RESULT

George Galloway, who lost his seat in Bradford West to Labour’s Naz Shah, has begun the legal process to have the result of the election set aside.

The ‘Green Shorts‘ of Respect say:

Fight the Zionist Hydra!

Please read: “The Bent Copper, his Jail-Bird Lover, the Manhattan Zionist & the Tel Aviv Law Firm: a Curious Tale”

Two appendixes included!

http://redmolucca.net/…/the-bent-copper-his-jail-bird-love…/

Justice for George Galloway's photo.

Justice for George Galloway's photo.

Rumours that an ‘unofficial’ Justice for Galloway Facebook Page has been launched have so far  been denied. 

Written by Andrew Coates

May 20, 2015 at 1:30 pm

Islamic State Goes Costa Coffee in ‘Posh Holiday Resort’.

with 8 comments

The ‘Brief Guide to the Islamic State’ talks the about cosmopolitanism and ethnic diversity of the region that runs counter to the group’s medieval interpretation of Islam and the Islamic State militants’ destruction of ancient historical sites and images of mass killings it releases almost daily.

“If you were worried about leaving behind your local Costa coffee, then you will be happy to know that the Caliphate services some of the best lattes and cappuccinos around”, the guide reads. “The Caliphate offers an exquisite Mediterranean climate that has all the makings of a plush holiday resort.”

The guide states at one point that in terms of transport “everything is on the table: zeppelins, hovercrafts, trams, microlites”.

“Twix, Kinder Surprise, Cadburys – yes, yes we have it all”.

Channel Four.

Apparently the weather is great as well.

This does not look so appealing:

Written by Andrew Coates

May 20, 2015 at 12:09 pm

His Lordship Mandelson Stabs Labour Party in the Back -Again.

with 2 comments

Mandelson: Long History of Backstabbing. *

Labour is “headed downward” as the main leadership contenders are “unwilling to make hard policy choices” and break the link with the past, Lord Mandelson has said.  The former Labour business secretary said that the challenge facing the party is worse than it was in the 1980s as he accused Ed Miliband of embarking on an “unconvincing ideological crusade” and trying to wage “class war”.
He said that voters had been “justly cautious” about backing the party as he accused the former Labour leader of “pitting one half of the nation against the other”.

In a direct criticism of the candidates for the leadership, he accused them of trying to focus on party unity and continuity, “a luxury that is not open to them if they want to win”.

Telegraph.

 

* 1999 January  Mandelson branded back-stabber

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

May 19, 2015 at 2:56 pm

Left Wing Candidate who got Zero Votes appeals.

with 27 comments

 

Socialist  Saucers to Save Left says SWP.

Posted by Morning Star in Britain

A LEFT-WING candidate at the general election who received zero votes is challenging the count on the grounds that he voted for himself.

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (Tusc) Rainham North candidate Paul Dennis was told he had no votes in the London constituency after they were counted on May 7.

Tusc said it will now petition Medway Council over the result. Mr Dennis says he should have got at least two votes as he claims that both he and his wife voted for him.

A Leftist Trainspotter comments:

The previous victory was held by Les Comités communistes pour l’autogestion who managed the stunning feat in the 18th arrondissement (Paris) in  the 1981 French legislative elections.

Zero votes.

Chapeau TUSC!

Meanwhile in a Parallel Universe.

Socialist Worker.

“We are still in the early stages of building a left challenge to Labour. To increase the vote for TUSC among a big swing to the right is a real achievement.”

In some areas the results were more disappointing—particularly where the share of the left vote fell.

Other left candidates also suffered setbacks. Bradford West Respect MP George Galloway lost his seat to Labour. He had won it from Labour in a landslide by-election victory in a 2012 .

But TUSC activists used the campaigns to build the fight against austerity after the election.

Jenny told Socialist Worker, “The point was to build a network of activists on the ground—that’s exactly what we’ve done in Tottenham.

“Even though our support wasn’t reflected in the vote we were very successful in getting out the message that austerity is a con in the interests of the rich.

“Things don’t change in parliament unless there’s a movement on the streets—that’s the next step.”

The task now is to build on the networks established through the campaigning. The result of the election shows the need to fight for a more united left wing alternative.

Jenny said, “We’re going to follow up our campaign with a public meeting on housing and regeneration—and we’ll be having regular meetings around the cuts.

“One thing is clear is—we can’t wait for Labour. There’s no option but to fight.”

Written by Andrew Coates

May 15, 2015 at 11:24 am

Your Royal Highness’s most humble and obedient servant.

with 4 comments

 

As a young French learner I had the honour of apprehending some handy formulas for addressing his Majesty, which readily translate as I am your groveling servant.

Apparently the same exists in English.

Humble and obedient? How ministers defied etiquette in replies to Charles

 

I have the honour to remain,

Sir,

Your Royal Highness’s most humble and obedient servant.

French examples:

(Prince)Je vous prie d’agréer, Prince,

 

 

Hautes autorités religieuses  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Les religieux (euses)

  Pape=Très saint père

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cardinal = éminence

 

 

 

 

 

 

Archevêque=Monseigneur

Evêque =monseigneur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mon père

Ma sœur

Monsieur le curé

Monsieur l’abbé

 J’ai l’honneur d’être avec le plus profond respect, de Votre Sainteté, le très humble et dévoué serviteur. 

Daignez, Votre Éminence, agréer l’expression de mon très profond respect.

 

Daignez, Votre Excellence, agréer l’expression de ma très respectueuse considération.

 

Je vous prie d’agréer, (titre), l’expression de mon respectueux souvenir.

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

May 14, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Ananta Bijoy Das, Beloved by Humanity, Hacked to Death by Islamists.

with 5 comments

Loved by all Progressive Humanity: hacked to Death by Islamists.

Ananta Bijoy Das: Yet another Bangladeshi blogger hacked to death.

 

(CNN)Attacks on bloggers critical of Islam have taken on a disturbing regularity in Bangladesh, with yet another writer hacked to death Tuesday.

Ananta Bijoy Das, 32, was killed Tuesday morning as he left his home on his way to work at a bank, police in the northeastern Bangladeshi city of Sylhet said.

Four masked men attacked him, hacking him to death with cleavers and machetes, said Sylhet Metropolitan Police Commissioner Kamrul Ahsan.

The men then ran away. Because of the time of the morning when the attack happened, there were few witnesses. But police say they are following up on interviewing the few people who saw the incident.

“It’s one after another after another,” said Imran Sarker, who heads the Blogger and Online Activists Network in Bangladesh. “It’s the same scenario again and again. It’s very troubling.”

Public killings

Das’ death was at least the third this year of someone who was killed for online posts critical of Islam. In each case, the attacks were carried out publicly on city streets.

In March, Washiqur Rahman, 27, was hacked to death by two men with knives and meat cleavers just outside his house as he headed to work at a travel agency in the capital, Dhaka.

In February, a Bangladesh-born American blogger, Avijit Roy, was similarly killed with machetes and knives as he walked back from a book fair in Dhaka.

The three victims are hardly the only ones who have paid a steep price for their views.

In the last two years, several bloggers have died, either murdered or under mysterious circumstances.

Championing science

Das was an atheist who contributed to Mukto Mona (“Free Thinkers”), the blog that Roy founded.

Mukto Mona contains sections titled “Science” and “Rationalism,” and most of the articles hold science up to religion as a litmus test, which it invariably fails.

While Das was critical of fundamentalism and the attacks on secular thinkers, he was mostly concerned with championing science, a fellow blogger said.

He was the editor of a local science magazine, Jukti (“Reason”), and wrote several books, including one work on Charles Darwin.

In 2006, the blog awarded Das its Rationalist Award for his “deep and courageous interest in spreading secular & humanist ideals and messages in a place which is not only remote, but doesn’t have even a handful of rationalists.”

“He was a voice of social resistance; he was an activist,” said Sarker. “And now, he too has been silenced.”

Taking to the streets

Soon after Das’ death, his Facebook wall was flooded with messages of shock and condolence. And hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Sylhet demanding that the government bring his killers to justice.

“We’ve heard from Ananta’s friends that some people threatened to kill him as he was critical of religion,” Das’ brother-in-law Somor Bijoy Shee Shekhor said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

“We are ashamed, brother Bijoy,” someone posted on Das’ Facebook page.

“Is a human life worth so little? Do we not have the right to live without fear?” wrote another.

The beloved comrade will be remembered by all humanity.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 12, 2015 at 5:04 pm

George Galloway Contests General Election Result.

with 30 comments

Galloway in a Pickle. 

George Galloway to challenge election result.

Former MP George Galloway has announced he has started legal proceedings to challenge his general election defeat.

Mr Galloway, leader of the Respect Party, lost his Bradford West seat to Labour’s Naz Shah, who he has alleged made “false statements” during the campaign to affect the result.

He also claimed “widespread malpractice” involving postal voting meant the result must be “set aside”.

A Labour spokesman said the action was “pathetic and without any foundation”.

Mr Galloway won the Bradford West seat in a by-election in 2012, but lost to Ms Shah – who secured a majority of more than 11,000 in last week’s general election.

However, the bitter campaign was dogged by claims and counter-claims between Labour and Respect over a number of issues – particularly relating to Ms Shah’s family background.

Labour accused Mr Galloway of breaching election law by making false statements during the campaign.

‘Divisive politics’

A spokesman for Mr Galloway said the legal action was at an early stage.

A complaint had been made under section 106 of the Representation of the People Act 1983, which related to candidates making false statements during campaigns, the spokesman said.

In a further statement, Mr Galloway – a former Labour MP – said: “It has come to my notice that there has been widespread malpractice in this election, particularly over postal voting.

“We are in the process of compiling the information which will form part of our petition to have the result set aside.”

A Labour spokesman said: “George Galloway should accept he was booted out by the people of Bradford West.

“They saw through his divisive politics and made a positive choice, by a majority of well over 11,000, to elect a brilliant new MP, Naz Shah.”

Mr Galloway was reported to police on Thursday for allegedly sending a tweet about exit polls before voting closed – which is banned under election law.

His spokesman called the allegation a “storm in a thimble”.

Speaking from his bunker in Berlin Mr Galloway, the leader of the East London based ‘Green Shorts’ party, added,

That was an order! Steiner’s assault was an order! Who do you think you are to dare disobey an order I give? So this is what it has come to! The military has been lying to me. Everybody has been lying to me, even the SS! Our generals are just a bunch of contemptible, disloyal cowards… Our generals are the scum of the German people! Not a shred of honour! They call themselves generals. Years at military academy just to learn how to hold a knife and fork! For years, the military has hindered my plans! They’ve put every kind of obstacle in my way! What I should have done… was liquidate all the high-ranking officers, as Stalin did!

Written by Andrew Coates

May 11, 2015 at 9:25 am

General Election: From Despair to Defiance – and Galloway Lost to Naz Shah.

with 38 comments

One Good Piece of News at least.

The visit of Lewis the Eighteenth, April 1814.

“There was a great crowd in the street when he came out of the hotel, and immense applause; the mob crying out, ‘God bless your Majesty!” as if they owed him all they had, and even their lives.”

((Zechariah Coleman, a radical and dissenter) “who did not hooray, and did not even lift his hat when the Sacred Majesty appeared on the hotel steps” is challenged by a drayman for not saluting the Bourbon King.

A full fight ensures.

Zechariah is rescued by Major Cartwright, “Holloa, my republican friend, d—n it, that’s a nasty lick you’ve, and from one of the people too; that makes it harder to bear.”

The Revolution in Tanner’s Lane. Mark Rutherford. 1887.

But, Lord, remember me an’ mine
Wi’ mercies temporal and divine,
That I for grace an’ gear may shine,
Excell’d by nane,
And a’ the glory shall be Thine,
Amen, Amen!

Holy Willie’s Prayer. 1785. Robert Burns.

“Election 2015: Ed Miliband resignation imminent as Conservatives win stunning majority”

Election results: Conservatives on course for majority.”

Ed Balls loses Morley & Outwood seat.”

Election 2015: SNP wins 56 of 59 seats in Scots landslide.”

Today is not a good day.

Not a good day at all.

The People have dealt us a nasty lick.

The vote for common decency – the Labour Party – did not succeed in squaring up to the Right.

Labour leader Ed Miliband is expected to step down later after his party’s disappointing general election showing, the BBC has learned.

Labour suffered heavy losses at the hands of the SNP, with the Tories forecast to achieve a majority.

BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said Mr Miliband was expected to address party staff, with two senior sources saying he would quit.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls was among the party’s big-name casualties.

It also lost its election campaign chief Douglas Alexander and its leader in Scotland Jim Murphy.

BBC

In England the electorate of Eatanswill has returned, like a dog to its vomit,  to David Cameron.

In Scotland, the alliance of Holy Willie and Oor Wullie has dealt a blow to more than the Labour Party – it’s hit socialism itself.

Those who imagine that the SNP’s politics of looking after their “ain folk” has managed to strike a blow against the British Imperial state, heralding a new politics of the ‘anti-austerity’ left, in association with Rupert Murdoch,  will soon find that reading Tom Nairn is no substitute for the realities of the egoistic and narrow goals of the nationalists.

Farage looks on course to fail to win a seat for UKIP.

If we can draw some further (meager) comfort from the results this is it:  George Galloway blames ‘racists and Zionists’ for defeat to Naz Shah in Bradford West.

There must be a lot of racists and Zionists in Bradford West as this was the vote, “The Respect party MP, lost his Bradford West seat with 8,557 votes to Shah’s 19,977.”

And hyenas “George Galloway has vowed to return to politics after losing his Bradford West seat, with a bizarre speech where he talked about lions and hyenas.”

So much for the strategy of aligning with Islamism.

There was no breakthrough for the left of the Labour Party.

The Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)  was, and remains, irrelevant.

Its votes were derisory.

In Ipswich we have this, much more depressing, news, “Election 2015: Ben Gummer increases his majority as he fights off David Ellesmere to hold Ipswich seat.”

Yesterday about 5 pm, as I was passing down Upper Brook Street, there was a street person on a stretcher surrounded by paramedics and Ipswich ‘Rangers’. Walking round the corner, in Dog’s Head Street, one of another group,  obviously buzzing on a mixture of illegal and legal highs, asked me for dosh. Back in the Street, entering Sainsbury’s a woman tried to reassure her tiny daughter, “You see things like this in London all the time”.

Quite.

We’ll see a lot more of that with Cameron’s victory.

I am in the mood to make sure that we fight this every inch of the way.

George Galloway Poo-poohs Throttling Claims of “Fucking Jew”.

with 16 comments

Galloway: Poo-Poohs Claims by “Fucking Jew”.

This refers to the following: A Jew in Bradford

How Britain’s Muslim North became George Galloway country.  By

The press officer — whose name I miss — says she has called Bradford HQ and they now “know who I am”: I must leave immediately.

I walk out and onto the sidewalk, and take a picture of the Respect activists and the seven Asian men milling about outside the Church. They have come to see Galloway: The event is described on social media as a rally for supporters.

A burly Asian man in a black suit and sunglasses rushes up and grabs me round the neck, pinning me to a low perimeter wall. “Get out, you fucking Jew,” he shouts. I am being throttled as around ten Asian men surround me. My teeth chatter as a man in a tracksuit punches me in the head.

“Delete, delete,” they shout at me, “delete the photos.”

An older man in a shiny crooner’s suit is shouting. “Let’s call the police. Let’s get him arrested.”

I fumble to delete the pictures and repeat over and over:

“You’re frightening me. Please let me go.”

The older man gestures for me to be released.

He finishes,

POSTSCRIPT: On Tuesday morning, after I had returned to London, I wrote to both Galloway and Karmani, the head of Respect in the Bradford City Council, complaining about the manner in which I’d been treated at the Respect rally to which I’d been given prior access. I described the physical assault, as well as the abusive language that had been directed at me, and sought an explanation.

Galloway responded via Ron McKay, a close aide whom I met (above), and did so in the following words:

“This is quite clearly a stunt by you and a deliberate provocation and the timing of it confirms that this is a calculated attempt to smear me and affect my electoral prospects.

“This was not a public event but a rally for Respect. You were allowed into the grounds of the church where it was held and would have been allowed to report on the rally but there were several objections to you photographing attendees, particularly from women. You refused to stop taking photographs of people and were asked to leave. You refused. You were then ushered off the premises. . . .” (The full text of his response can be found here.)

Karmani’s response was as follows:

“Dear Ben on a personal level I am disgusted by the despicable way you have been treated and am sorry that you had to experience that. Racism in any form is never justified and should be condemned unreservedly. Just for your information I am doing an event in Newcastle on 22 May against anti-Semitism with a range of Jewish speakers including Jeremy Beecham and the Ann Frank Trust as I have been a vehement anti-racist for the last 35 years.” (Click here to see Karmani’s response.)

Karmani subsequently phoned me. He said: “Whatever your writings or your views the event was a public event and you had every right to attend. You should not have been ejected. You should make a complaint to the police and I hope the complaint will be upheld as that is the only way to show those idiots.”

On Tuesday,  I reported the incident to the Community Security Trust, a Jewish community organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism. On Wednesday, I reported the incident to the police.

Galloway has not answered Juda’s charges!

He has simply denied them.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 7, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Vote Labour! Back the Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory.

with 16 comments

Vote Labour Tomorrow!

SOCIALIST CAMPAIGN FOR A LABOUR VICTORY: WHERE WE STAND

Another Tory government – ruling by themselves, with the Lib Dems or, worst of all, in coalition with UKIP – would be a disaster for the working class. As socialists, we want a Labour victory, not because we support Labour’s current position – a softer version of austerity and anti-migrant politics – but to throw out the Coalition, and because Labour is linked to workers’ basic organisations, trade unions. If the unions choose to fight, they can change Labour’s direction.

We don’t want to “hold our noses” and vote Labour as a lesser evil. We want to combine campaigning for a Labour government with making clear working-class demands, to boost working-class confidence, and strengthen and transform our labour movement so it is fit to fight.

We must challenge the idea that the working class should pay for the capitalist crisis through increased inequality, lower pay, job insecurity, workplace stress, draconian ‘performance management’ and cuts to services. The labour movement should be championing every working-class fightback against the bosses’ drive to squeeze more and more profit out of our work and our lives.

In place of the dog-eat-dog, exploiting society of capitalism, we socialists are fighting for a world of collective ownership, equality and sustainable planning for people’s needs, not profit. We want to spread these ideas in the working class and among young people.

A socialist transformation of society is not immediately on the cards. Socialism is only possible when a majority of workers are convinced and organised to make it happen. But if we work to strengthen the left and working-class struggles, and reinject socialist ideas into political debate, we can push Labour to shift course and deliver at least some positive changes for the working class.

Whether on the Living Wage or the NHS, free education or zero hours contracts, rail renationalisation or fracking, we need to up the pressure on Labour. We need to advocate radical policies like reversing all cuts, taxing the rich and taking the banks into democratic public ownership. The labour movement should aim for a government that serves the working class as the Coalition serves the rich.

We are fighting for democracy in the Labour Party so that working-class voices, muffled by the New Labour machine and union bureaucracy, can be heard.

We need a labour movement responsive and accessible to the working class in all its diversity, fighting bigotry and oppression. We oppose Labour’s shameful accommodation to anti-migrant agitation by UKIP and other right-wingers. British and migrant workers have the same interests. We support freedom of movement and equal rights for all. We want working-class solidarity across Europe and the world.

In the run up to the election, we are building a network of socialists to carry out this fight. Help us, get involved!

Demands:

As part of fighting for a socialist alternative to capitalism, we are fighting for the labour movement to campaign around a “workers’ plan” of demands in the interests of the working-class, such as:

1. Stop and reverse the cuts. Make the rich pay to rebuild public services. Tax the rich! Expropriate the banks!

2. A decent income for everyone: attack inequality and precariousness. Tax the rich, curb high pay. Nationalise companies that axe jobs; create decent, secure jobs in the public sector. Wage rises that at least match inflation for all workers. Raise the National Minimum Wage to the Living Wage. Full, equal rights for part-time and agency workers; ban zero hours contracts. Stop the war on the poor, unemployed and disabled: decent benefits. Good pensions for all, public or private, at no older than 60.

3. Rebuild the NHS. A comprehensive public health service providing high quality care for all, not a logo above a marketplace of profit-making companies. End outsourcing, marketisation and PFI. A free, public social care system.

4. End privatisation and outsourcing. Expand public ownership, starting with the railways, Royal Mail, the energy companies and other utilities, under democratic and workers’ control.

5. Stop scapegoating migrants. Freedom of movement and equal rights for all. End deportations and detention.

6. Promote workers’ rights. Scrap the anti-union laws. Introduce strong rights to strike, picket and take solidarity action, and for union recognition and collective bargaining, in individual units and sectorally.

7. End the housing crisis. Build millions of council houses. Repopulate empty homes and estates; take over property left empty; tax second homes; end the sell-off of public land. Control rents.

8. Free education. A good local, comprehensive school for every child. Abolish “free schools”, academies, grammar schools, public funding for religious schools. Reverse cuts in FE. Scrap tuition fees, a living grant for every student. Reverse cuts to Sure Start, invest in early years education.

9. Strong action for equality. Crack down on police and state racism. Ensure and make real civil rights for LGBT, black, disabled people and women, and expanded social provision and redistribution to fight inequality. Universal, free public childcare and nursery provision so no parent is forced to choose between work and care. Ensure equal pay and a Living Wage for all. Free abortion on demand.

10. Slash military spending: scrap Trident. Aid for working-class and democratic movements around the world, not support for dictatorships and imperialism.

11. Drive down carbon emissions. Public investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Stop fracking. A public, integrated transport system with radically reduced fares. Workers’ plans for a just transition to a sustainable economy.

12. Expand democracy. A federal republic of Britain: abolish the monarchy and House of Lords. Votes at 16. Re-empower local government. Extend civil liberties and rights to organise and protest. Disband MI5 and special police squads, disarm the police. MPs should only be paid a worker’s wage.

We need to transform our unions so we stop just adopting good policies on paper and start fighting effectively for the interests of the working class – in strikes and struggles, but also by putting forward a working-class political alternative, including demands on Labour. What we can win depends on to what extent we can convince, organise and mobilise people to fight, and in the process renew our movement and change it for the better.

We will prioritise support for Labour candidates who advocate these kinds of policies and represent a voice of working-class opposition within the party.

Tendance Coatesy supports this campaign (see list of signatories).

With  our own secularist angle:

Respect Mark ll Emerging ? Left Unity and Ian Donovan Unite to Back Rabina Khan.

with 33 comments

Image result for Rising from the grave

 Respect Mark ll ?

Following Left Unity extraordinary decision to unconditionally back Rabina Khan in the election to replace convicted frauster Lutfur Rahman as Tower Hamlets Mayor, Ian Donovan says, “Left Unity are to be congratulated on this brave and principled political stance.” He noted that this comes as a response to the “to a racist coup against the elected Mayor and council of Tower Hamlets, led by the Tory/Zionist minister Eric Pickles.

Ian Donovan was expelled from the Weekly Worker group after, “espousal of views that can only be described as anti-Semitic: in his opinion, there is a Jewish “pan-national bourgeoisie”, which has constituted itself as ruling class “vanguard” in key imperialist countries, and it is this that accounts for US support for Israel. ”

Socialist Worker reports today on the immediate background

Mass rally in Tower Hamlets backs Lutfur Rahman, by Annette Mackin.

TUSC and Left Unity parliamentary candidate for Bethnal Green & Bow with Lutfur Rahman at the meeting

TUSC and Left Unity parliamentary candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow Glyn Robbins with Lutfur Rahman at the meeting (Pic: Kelvin Williams)

Over 1,000 people came to a Defend Democracy in Tower Hamlets meeting in east London on Thursday of last week.

It was called after Lutfur Rahman was removed as mayor of Tower Hamlets after an islamophobic witch hunt.

Councillor Alibor Choudhury was also found guilty of “corrupt practices”.

Commissioners have been sent in to run the local authority until a new mayor is elected on 11 June.

Rahman announced that councillor Rabina Khan will stand as an Independent. He said, “The establishment could not win at the ballot box—37,000 residents’ votes have been overturned.”

Other speakers included Salma Yaqoob, Lindsey German from the Stop the War coalition, local trade unionist John McLoughlin, Weyman Bennett, and Andrew Murray from the Unite union.

Socialist Worker has given up bothering to contest in any rational way whether the decisions of the electoral court were based on fact.

It’s all “Islamophobia”.

No doubt all that will cease once the SWP runs voting, supervises the ballot boxes, and local government,  on the template they have set for internal party judgements in, say, the ‘Comrade Delta’ case.

East London Lines has its own take on events,

At a public event last Thursday titled “Defend Democracy in Tower Hamlets”, ex-mayor Lutfur Rahman introduced Khan as his Tower Hamlets First party’s new candidate for the position he had formerly held, until he was found guilty on April 23 of “corrupt and illegal practices” and removed from office.

This resulted in some confusion over which party Khan would represent, as Tower Hamlets First was delisted from the register of political parties last Wednesday – the day before the event.

An Electoral Commission spokesperson said the party was delisted because the financial scheme it submitted at the time of registration was not being properly implemented.

However, some residents are sceptical about how independent a candidate Khan will be.

Writing on his website Love Wapping, Mark Baynes referred to Khan as a “puppet” of Tower Hamlets First, saying: “All the bloc votes that were previously used for the benefit of the ex-Mayor are directed towards the new ‘front person’”.

In his judgment in Rahman’s case, Electoral Commissioner Richard Mawrey QC wrote: “The selection of candidates was made by Mr Rahman personally on the basis of the prospective candidate’s commitment to Mr Rahman personally.”

At the event on Thursday, Khan stated that she originally became a councillor because Rahman “gave [her] the confidence and the faith that [she] could do it as a woman.”

Some residents believe electoral fraud has been a recurrent issue for Tower Hamlets.

Stephen Jones, 22, a research assistant from the area, said: “Tower Hamlets has always had problems with vote-rigging, whichever party the MP or mayor represents.”

However, Tower Hamlets resident Peter Perren, a business consultant, said: “If every infraction of [Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act] PPERA was acted on, there’d be no political parties in the UK.”

In a statement on her website, Khan pledged to fight for a style of politics that puts “women, families and ordinary people at the heart of policy and decision-making.”

New political party Left Unity have pledged their support for Khan. In a statement on their website, they said: “She is standing… at a time when the council is being taken over by Tory government agencies [who are] whipping up Islamophobic scare stories.”

Left Unity have called upon those on the political left to support Khan’s campaign.

Mitch Winehouse, father of late singer Amy, has also endorsed Khan’s run for mayor. A Twitter user called @LutfurForMayor tweeted a picture of Winehouse and Khan together today.

Ian Donovan’s views in Winehouse’s ethnic background are, so far unavailable.

Update: Is Tower Hamlets really an Establishment conspiracy?

Sacha Ismail makes, amongst others, this important point,

Rahman’s left supporters are very bothered about the law preventing “undue spiritual influence” in elections. Counterfire claims that this law was “introduced by the British in Ireland to stop Catholic preachers rallying the Irish! One doesn’t need much imagination to see how this legal relic will be used against Muslims.” In fact, it was introduced by Gladstone, as he was becoming a supporter of Irish Home Rule, and as part of a package of measures which also, for instance, outlawed bribery and checked employers’ ability to coerce their workers to vote a certain way.

Despite the oppressiveness of British rule in Ireland, the law was not used to repress Irish nationalists; cases were brought by more radical and anti-sectarian nationalists against less radical and more sectarian ones (by a Parnellite against an anti-Parnellite nationalist in the Co. Meath case referred to Mawrey). The Catholic Church in Ireland was not an anti-imperialist force! It waged war against the most radical and left-wing nationalists.

And here we come to the fundamental problem with the whole approach of the left. The fact that an organisation has its base in an oppressed community does not necessarily make it progressive. Counterfire (and not only Counterfire) make arguments that tend towards assuming Catholic = anti-imperialist. In the same way, they assume Muslim = anti-imperialist or in this case really left-wing. CF’s John Rees argues that Rahman has been prosecuted “not for what he has done wrong [making cuts], but for what he has done right”. The Socialist Party also implies that all would be well with Tower Hamlets council if only it fought cuts.